THIS ONE GOES OUT TO THE LADIES…
We are recovered, at last, from the haze of the holidays, though still haunted by the memory of Steven Holl’s office party: Did the slideshow projected on the wall really show the man in question shirtless? At the time, we asked him, and he mentioned something about being a young architect, just getting started, etc. Footloose and garment-free, eh? But we digress… In the spirit of self-sacrifice for which we are widely unknown, we dispatched ourselves over to Madison Square Park the other day to test out the Nicholas Grimshaw–designed pissoirthat has caused so much twittering since it was installed in mid-January. (Admittedly, there was some self-interest involved, as we are cursed with what could be described as the bladder of a third-grader, and—happier thought!—the Shake Shack, to whose burgers we are very partial, is right nearby.) So, Gentle Reader, off we went! As we waited for the man in front of us to, ahem, take care of business, we spotted a CEMUSA truck parked on the curb, and a young man in a CEMUSA jumpsuit leaning up against it, undoubtedly to watch his employer’s snazzy new toilet. (For those oddities among you who are not fascinated by the sanitary habits of New Yorkers, CEMUSA is the Spanish company producing these miraculous cabins of comfort.) Channeling our inner Brenda Starr, we smiled broadly and asked how it was being received. Our charming young informant told us all about it and said it’s a hit: “The men, the ladies, they all love it. But especially the ladies, who like how clean it is.” We agreed that clean is good and continued to chat away when, suddenly, the young man blurted out, “FINALLY! You can pee in style!” Were the cabin door not opening, and our turn arriving at last, we would have cheered because we couldn’t agree more: We pride ourselves on doing everything in style.
Robert A. M. Stern may have already gotten the commission to design theGeorge W. Bush Presidential Library, but some folks apparently think he could use some help: The Chronicle of Higher Education is holding a competition to deliver Stern a wealth of ideas. Standard architecture contest rules apply, with one catch: Your entire concept must fit on the back of an envelope. (Insert your own joke here; we made ourselves delete it.) Readers will vote on the best design, the winning designer will get an iPod Touch, and the architecture world will earn the undying admiration of the Republican Party. Deadline is February 1, for details and to vote, visit chronicle.com/indepth/architecture/architecture-contest.htm.