Los Angeles-based architecture firm Keating unveiled a $400 million luxury apartment tower for the east end of Miracle Mile on Wilshire Boulevard, the famous street that boasts cultural institutions like LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits, and the Peterson Automotive Museum. Set next door to the historic Sontag Drug Store building, 5411 Wilshire features a curvilinear design perched on a multi-story parking podium. The project is being developed by the Marks family which has owned the 84-year-old building since 1968. According to Keating, they decided to revamp the site and renovate the Sontag Drug Store ahead of the Purple line subway extension that's slated to open blocks away in 2023. “There are going to be a lot more people [in the neighborhood]," Walter N. Marks III told the Los Angeles Times. “Industry follows people, my grandfather used to say.” Standing 42 stories tall, the glassy 5411 Wilshire will include 371 units of luxury apartments, 56 of which will be set aside for affordable housing. Keating envisions the design of tower as a nod to the Art Deco-style luxury residential towers that can still be found a few miles east on Wilshire Boulevard. While most buildings in the neighborhood do not exceed 50 feet, the proposed tower would rise nearly 521 feet tall with a sky deck located at the very top. The residential complex will also feature 15,000-square-feet of ground-floor retail, along with a slew of other amenities. It will house a bowling alley, a VR gaming room, a golf simulator, a yoga studio, as well as a dog-grooming space, a demonstration kitchen, a wine-tasting counter, and a billiard room. Studio-MLA, led by landscape architect Mia Lehrer, will design a private garden set above the retail and parking space. Tenants will be able to drop their cars off at an automated valet system, located behind the building's main entrance in a nod to the spatial organization typical of buildings on Wilshire Boulevard. Keating will also revitalize the adjacent Sontag Drug Store—also an Art Deco structure—complete with its original signage, materials, windows, and awnings. A restaurant and café, as well as retail space, will outfit the interior. The Marks family aims to complete the renovation and construction by 2023.
Search results for "east"
To combat the foreseeable effects of climate change, few proposals seem too farfetched to be taken seriously. While change should come primarily from global shifts in political and cultural attitudes, technological advancements are undoubtedly playing a large role in the fight against environmental degradation. One such development with seemingly limitless potential is a Kickstarter project developed by Toronto-based company Flash Forest that proposes the use of drones to plant over 1 billion trees globally by 2028. "We started Flash Forest with one clear goal: healing our planet’s lungs," the Kickstart reads. "Until that job is done well, no other job matters." Over time, deforestation has contributed to climatic instability with a gradual decrease in biodiversity and an increase in airborne carbon dioxide. According to Flash Forest, planet Earth loses 13 billion trees and regains only half of them each year. While several companies and think tanks are devising strategies to rapidly plant trees through a variety of methods, Flash Forest believes that drone reforestation is the most efficient solution. A single drone can plant over 20,000 seeds in a day—over ten times as much as a human planter—while also eliminating the 22 percent injury rate and excessive water use. These heavy-lift drones are each equipped with a pneumatic firing device that can insert planting pods into the soil at an ideal depth with minimal error. Every pod contains at least three pre-germinated seeds as well as a cocktail of ingredients that aid in the seeds' growth. A second drone will sweep the same ground covered by the first and spray the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients to promote expedient growth. According to the company's webpage, they are working closely with forestry experts and botanists, while also using a multi-spectral mapping UAV technology that helps them locate the best planting sites and track its overall health.
Flash Forest has already exceeded its goal of raising $7,684 in the Kickstarter campaign and is now seeking a total of $100,000 before it ends on January 18. Currently, the company has raised $50,880.
Meet Me on the East Side
Oza Sabbeth opens the East End House on its rear for privacy
Located on the edge of Long Island in Sag Harbor, New York, the East End House by Oza Sabbeth Architects takes cues from the surrounding landscape. Sag Harbor developed as a working port on Gardiner’s Bay and was designated as the first port of entry to the United States. Today, the village is home to a range of vernacular structures associated with whaling. Inspired by this context and the densely vegetated pond on-site, the East End House reinterprets both regional forms and materials. The project is bookended by the pond and a busy turnpike. To create a tranquil sense of place, the home’s form turns away from the sights and sounds of street traffic and toward the pond and forest. The building features a sequence of moments that showcase its layout and materials. The entry is composed of a dense bulwark of concrete and wood, as well as an intimate forecourt. From there, an entrance foyer opens up to the landscape and pond. The organization in plan generated a private front and an accessible backyard with multiseasonal outdoor spaces on the lowest level. Oza Sabbeth experimented with using substrates as finish materials for the home. The roof and walls are designed as a rain screen assembly of exposed rubber (EPDM) and mahogany decking material. “The substrate, EPDM in this case, is revealed in instances and slips behind the mahogany shell where needed,” said Oza Sabbeth principal Nilay Oza. The flooring is a poured self-leveling concrete, typically used as a substrate for tile. For the millwork and wall panels, the team used a Baltic birch platform as a base upon which more expensive finish veneers were applied. Architect: Oza Sabbeth Architects Location: Sag Harbor, New York Engineer: CRAFT | Engineering Studio Contractor: Modern Green Home Facade: Mahagony decking over Pro Clima weather-resistant membrane; EPDM over plywood sheathing Roof: Mahagony decking over EPDM Aluminum doors: Arcadia Aluminum windows: Gerkin Windows and Doors
Bring The Heat
Modernism's Visible Hand reveals how regulatory governance has shaped American architecture
Modernism’s Visible Hand: Architecture and Regulation in America By Michael Osman University of Minnesota Press $30.00 Thermostats, refrigerators, dioramas, slide rules, organizational charts, paperwork—these are some of the elements Michael Osman scrutinizes in his book Modernism’s Visible Hand: Architecture and Regulation in America, which examines the “crossing points among architectural design, management, and environmental control” to reconstruct the regulatory apparatus of American architecture between the Civil War and World War I. Osman is part of the architecture history collective Aggregate, whose 2012 book, Governing by Design, significantly reconfigured the field by asserting a “shared conviction that agency is complex; that authorship of the built environment is dispersed across multiple registers comprising not only architects and designers but also many other kinds of producers and consumers, along with a multitude of associations, institutions, and bureaucracies.” Osman’s latest book takes up a similar approach to explore the ways in which an emerging regulatory imagination at the turn of the 20th century shaped the built environment at range of scales and levels: domestic interiors, industrial warehouses, natural history museums, laboratories, factory floors, and finally the architectural office itself. Osman animates this material to dazzling effect, showing how management of the built environment enrolled people, commodities, nature, time, labor, and design in regulatory regimes, often by transforming them into legible and fungible economic units. The first two chapters consider how new technologies of environmental regulation affected built forms and the ways in which those forms were made available for regulation. “The Thermostatic Interior and Household Management” traces the development of conditioning systems to show how the regulation of the domestic interior was fundamental to the constitution of social roles. These systems create an interior environment independent from its surroundings and therefore stable, regardless of fluctuating exterior conditions. This impact of this ability becomes more extreme in “Cold Storage and the Speculative Market of Preserved Assets.” By examining the development of cold storage warehouses, Osman argues that the buildings were instrumental in transforming perishable goods into reliable economic elements, effectively slowing down time through an architectural response and creating a futures market in the process. Chapters three and four turn to modes of visualizing regulatory systems. “Representing Regulation in Nature’s Economy” considers two modes of scientific inquiry—fieldwork and laboratory work—to argue for connections between ways of representing ecological data and a corresponding regulatory imagination. By making links between the shared linguistic root of economy and ecology, Osman shows how nature itself became likewise imagined (incorrectly) as a self-regulating system whose discrete components could be disaggregated and subject to rationalized scrutiny. Representation of managerial work is the focus of the chapter “Imaging Brainwork,” in which the book considers how the “indirect” labor of management was visualized in order to justify its existences and solidify its power. The tools of regulation in this chapter are the managers who sit between the “controllable” conditions of the factory inside (labor is, of course, one abstraction among many from their perspective) and the unpredictable conditions of the market outside. The final chapter, “Regulation through Paperwork in Architectural Practice,” uses the office of architect Albert Kahn to argue that bureaucratic techniques emerging from scientific management theory were essential to shaping modern architecture. A template for the contemporary office, Kahn’s was organized around principles of industrial work that subdivided architectural projects into discrete sets of tasks. This was “premised on the extraction of data from the firm’s daily operations” so that managers could then make decisions about where to direct resources based on cost and efficiency. Architectural design was thus increasingly cast as a service that represented clients’ financial interests as well as their artistic ones. Though Kahn’s office was organized to appear similar to a machine shop, it was the technologies of management—including paperwork, circuitry, and telephones—that allowed the company to remain profitable in the face of unpredictable exterior circumstances. Throughout the book, “dynamic infrastructures” mediate between intensely managed interiors and volatile exteriors to support regimes of control and together constitute the “visible hand” of the book’s title. Osman makes a clear case that what is at stake is more than the apparent stability of the “interior,” but the ways in which managerial abstraction creates conditions of risk and then presents itself as the inevitable solution. These systems rely on data to mitigate risk through a suite of technologies and techniques. Of the book’s many contributions, the relationship it articulates between regulation, data, and the built environment stands out as especially relevant in our current political and technological moment. The data of Osman’s case studies are generated from discrete, observable, and recordable actions or conditions (temperature, time, piece work, etc.), which then inform managerial action. The input of an external stress (e.g., a surfeit of a commodity) can then be adjusted for—often with the support of the built environment—to maintain equilibrium (or at least the image of it). One century later we find ourselves in a world in which data, risk, and control have come to be defining features of contemporary life, only now, data is not recorded by a diligent supervisor—it is automatically generated with our every click, keystroke, and glance. The world has become data-driven and our gestures, habits, and impulses become justification for a host of decisions made by “managers” interested in minimizing risk, often at the urban level. Modernism’s Visible Hand, beyond offering a brilliant reassessment of the emergence of modern architecture, also, like the best history, illuminates our contemporary condition. Osman reminds us that none of the systems he analyzes were “assumed to be part of an inescapable future.” As our own managers and regulators are increasingly invisible, increasingly automated, and increasingly manipulating “data” to their ends, we would do well to remember that these systems are likewise not inescapable. Jesse LeCavalier conducts research and design at LeCAVALIER R + D and is an associate professor at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture at the University of Toronto.
A Chromatic Wonderland
Peter Halley’s Heterotopia II explored the relationship between painting, architecture, and image
Peter Halley’s Heterotopia II, a candy-colored shrine to geometric abstraction closed on December 20 at Greene Naftali gallery in Chelsea (Manhattan). The exhibition, which embodied the relationship between painting and architectural space, brought visitors into a disorienting, hyperreal world collaged out of references to science fiction, modernist architecture, and mass media—all painted in fluorescent hues. The installation was both a fortress and a stage set and brought to mind the importance of creating alternative worlds and ways of seeing while also probing the ties between architecture, art, and image. The experience could be described as stepping into one of the Neo-Geo paintings Halley became known for in the ’80s. Or, like stepping into a Josef Albers color study—the same floor appearing to drastically transform in color as one moves from a room with pink walls to one painted orange. Housed between floor-to-ceiling yellow walls coated in Roll-A-Tex, visitors could catch small glimpses of the polychromatic, multi-level interior spaces from narrow cut-outs along the perimeter prior to entering and one could enter one of two ways: through a long hall covered in glimmering metallic tinsel, or an entry immediately confronted with a set of low, blue steps. Eight rooms in total contained eight new shaped-canvas paintings that incorporated the same Roll-A-Tex coating as the exterior walls. Like the three-dimensional space the paintings occupied, symmetry was abandoned in favor of variously sized stacked rectangles reminiscent of prison cells, circuit boards, or maybe a section taken through a PoMo building. The rooms emanated from a central glowing core which was the only space in the gallery that could not be climbed into and occupied, but only looked down into through three distinct apertures in the surrounding rooms. Both the positive and negative shapes recalled iconic elements from modernist architects—Luis Barragan or Ricardo Legorreta’s stairs (not a handrail in sight), Louis Kahn’s concentric cut-outs, or Peter Eisenman’s grid. Halley utilized such elements to compose sightlines, resulting in the most exciting views of the paintings being not from directly in front of, but mediated by the architecture itself—from the top of a staircase, at the intersection of two contrasting colored walls, between beams and columns, or framed by a “window”. The paintings themselves are worlds within a world within a world and have accordingly been named after Isaac Asimov’s fictional universes: Helicon, Galaxia, Terminus, and Gaia. Creating paintings that depicted both social isolation and connectivity, the artist's work has often looked to geometry as a metaphor for society. A heterotopia can be defined as institutions that are in opposition to the utopia, spaces that are different and that operate outside of societal norms (prisons, temples, cemeteries, and brothels are some of the examples Michel Foucault outlined in his essay "Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias"). At the same time, heterotopias often reveal as much as they conceal, acting as a mirror that reflects back the values of the dominant culture. Halley’s Heterotopia II is a labyrinthian universe that highlighted visitors’ relationship to and perception of color in the built environment whether applied to a canvas, a wall, or pixels of a photo uploaded to social media. In today’s terms, the installation is “Instagrammable,” to say the least. The work exhibited tensions and connections between rationalist geometry, color, and the relationship to technology that seem inescapable. So of course, I posted an image of the alien green room housing the painting Terminus to my Instagram story, to which my sister replied: “Wow! It looks like Mario World.” Despite her distance from any sort of contemporary art world discourse, she’s not all that far off. And perhaps like Mario World, much of the essence or aura of the installation was lost in stillness, on pause, or in a photograph. It took traversing the space, hugging the wall so as not to fall off the different heighths of stairs, moving up to go back down again, hopping over obstacles, or darting past other gallery-goers to truly experience the work. It’s impossible to enter this exhibition and not think about the thousands of uploads it will, and has, generated in digital space. In the age of pop-up experiences and Instagram museums, Heterotopia II inevitably lends itself well to fashionable stories and selfie opportunities (yes, it was listed on FOMOFeed). Perhaps the work was more of a reverie than critique. The installation depicted digitally in the square cells of Instagram, rather than the physical location itself, could be viewed as the heterotopia at hand. How we see and perceive color on the screen, as opposed to witnessing the interplay of surfaces IRL, reveals a lot about how we’ve come to relate to, consume (and share) both art and architecture on a broader level.
A House Divided
Where do the Democratic frontrunners stand on housing?
Although the 2020 election is a year out at the time of writing, and the first Democratic primary in Iowa is two months away, the battle to become the Dem frontrunner is becoming increasingly brutal. As the campaign field is winnowed on what seems like a daily basis, and a once sprawling cast has been cut back to a handful of mainstays and self-financed billionaires, we've aggregated the housing views of the top six Democratic contenders. Whoever wins the next presidential election will have the ability, and mandate, to reshape the American housing landscape; and in turn, how our cities develop. (For brevity's sake, President Trump's housing plans have not been included, as they will likely remain the same. This may change over the course of the presidential campaign proper.) Of course, because housing, urban development, and construction are issues intertwined with livelihood, race, climate, trade, and a myriad of other issues, each candidate's approach can't be examined from just one angle. Joe Biden While former Vice President Joe Biden has not released a housing plan writ large, he has announced a goal to house all formerly incarcerated people as a part of his Plan for Strengthening America’s Commitment to Justice. His announcement promises to direct the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to require all contractors to allow formerly incarcerated people in their facilities. This implies that HUD is building much at all at this point, whereas the reality is that so much funding has been drained away from the department over the years that what is created through federal grants is a paltry drop in the bucket. The department's total budget is $42 billion; more than half of that goes towards rental assistance, $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grants, and $2.78 billion for public housing capital projects. Not only is this figure inadequate for the housing needs of people of low-to-moderate means in general, it wouldn’t even meet the needs of the formerly incarcerated. Biden’s plan also argues for more funding for transitional housing, something previously cut by the Trump administration. However, by addressing such a narrow part of the general problem of housing, Biden tends to inadvertently suggest how little he is conscious of the actual problems of housing in the U.S.; as the New Republic put it, based on what he has plans to do, Biden should be president for five minutes. That doesn’t mean that Biden’s policies might not indirectly improve housing conditions for those in need of assistance. His Plan for Rural America for instance, talks about improving the middle class and investing in rural places. But the details are more about improving trade policies to help farm exports, which might benefit large agribusiness more than small farmers. Biden also talks about providing microloans for beginning farmers and aiding sustainable farmers with access to markets by having federal programs buy from them directly, which are so small-bore and marginal as proposals as to reinforce the notion that Biden has awfully few ideas when it comes to rural housing initiatives. Perhaps the most promising areas of Biden’s policies that could be relevant for housing are his Plan to Invest in Middle-Class Competitiveness, which is essentially an infrastructure bill, and his Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice, which is essentially a policy in support of the Green New Deal resolution. Biden talks here about directing HUD to increase the energy efficiency of low-income housing, which wouldn’t expand the housing stock; however, it would increase the federal energy standards for appliances and building equipment, accelerating the adoption of stricter building codes. The knock-on effects of these could hold real promise for improving the quantity and quality of housing, if legislated well, but there are huge gaps here in terms of addressing the incentive structures that cause the housing stock to remain unaffordable to half of American households. Biden mentions increasing the funding of the New Market Tax Credit (a tax incentive to build in low-income communities) to $5 billion to support Community Development Financial Institutions. This is still a drop in the bucket for a nationwide program and totally insufficient to support the needs of small-and-medium-size cities—for instance, it's estimated that the New York City Housing Authority could need up to $68.5 billion in repair costs alone by 2028. Elizabeth Warren As one would expect from her “She’s Got a Plan” motto, Warren has a relatively substantial set of policy proposals for how to create affordable housing. Her Safe and Affordable Housing plan hits back at a number of factors causing distortions in the housing marketplace to the detriment of lower and middle-income earners. The plan sets a top-line goal to reduce rents by 10 percent, but her argument is initially premised on the mistaken assumption that prices are a function of supply and demand. In the very next line, Warren correctly acknowledges the contrary: Market incentives are producing higher-end housing that is more profitable but doesn’t meet the needs of at least half of the population. In response, Warren has introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act in the Senate, legislation that would invest $500 billion over ten years to build, preserve, and rehabilitate up to 3.2 million units affordable to lower-income families. This goes a long way toward injecting capital into a part of the housing market that banks don’t lend to and that has been starved for access to federal loans and grants for decades. Some of the smaller aspects are relatively minuscule but may be marginally helpful, such as providing capital to black communities and underwater mortgages, trying (again) to force banks to lend to low-income communities in line with the long-ignored Community Reinvestment Act, and offering incentives to municipalities to loosen restrictive zoning that limits lot sizes and requires parking, driving up costs. At the same time, Warren has put forward a plan to protect and empower renters, a group largely ignored by the American dream of homeownership that turned into a nightmare during the mortgage-backed securities crisis. Thirty-percent of homes are renter-occupied in the U.S., with 57 percent owner-occupied and more than 10 percent vacant either annually or seasonally. Warren wants to use the $500 billion in federal housing subsidies as a prod to force states and municipalities to adopt a federal just cause eviction standard, a right to lease renewal—effectively a sort of federal rent control if done right—protections against construction evictions, and protecting tenants’ right to organize. To the extent it could be effectively written, passed by Congress, and enforced, this legislation could substantially change the trajectory of housing costs. Apart from that, Warren has a number of clean energy policies that would impact the housing sector; in particular, the ambition of creating a zero-carbon building standard by 2023, a mandate to move toward 100 percent zero-carbon new buildings by 2028, a subsidy for retrofitting existing building through tax credits, access to financing for moderate-income households, and direct federal grants. Bernie Sanders True to form, Bernie Sanders' housing plan is articulated in broad, sweeping strokes, premised on ideas of economic justice. “Housing for All” is simple and to the point: “In the richest country in the history of the world, every American must have a safe, decent, accessible, and affordable home as a fundamental right.” It’s also comprehensive in addressing the problem, analyzing the shortfall of 7.4 million units of housing affordable to the lowest-income households. Sanders' plan identifies seniors and people with disabilities as particularly vulnerable, in addition to those affected by rising prices and the failure of wages to keep up with prices in cities and rural areas. Also true to form, Sanders does not shy away from addressing the costs: $2.5 trillion over 10 years to build nearly 10 million permanently affordable housing units. The breakdown is distributed through a $1.48 trillion investment in HUD’s National Affordable Housing Trust Fund, focused on building permanently affordable rentals and providing assistance to first-time homeowners. He proposes allocating an additional $400 billion towards the construction of two million mixed-income social housing units, $410 billion to fully fund Section 8 rental assistance for the 7.7 million rent-burdened households nationwide, along with $70 billion to rehabilitate and decarbonize public housing. Sanders would ask Congress to repeal the 1999 law that prohibits using federal funding for new public housing. In rural and tribal areas, Sanders has proposed adding $3 billion to the Indian Housing Block Grant Program to build, preserve, and rehabilitate affordable housing in sovereign tribal lands, and $500 million for affordable developments in rural areas, along with regulations protecting existing units from conversion to market-rate housing. Sanders’s platform includes measures for combatting gentrification, exclusionary zoning, segregation, and housing speculation. Like Warren, he would protect existing tenants by implementing national rent regulation, specifying limits to annual increases of no more than a three percent annually or 1.5 times the Consumer Price Index, with waivers for significant capital improvements; a “just-cause” requirement for evictions, and a right to counsel in housing disputes. Sanders has proposed a 25 percent "flipping tax" and a two percent empty home tax, but the rest of this part of the platform is fairly weak compared to the direct language elsewhere, as it leverages access to federal funds to incentivize jurisdictions to pass their own inclusionary zoning laws. Also like Warren, Sanders has included a robust set of policies to achieve reduce energy consumption in homes, aiming for 100 percent sustainable sources of electricity and a zero-carbon building sector by no later than 2030. This would be achieved by weatherizing, handing out grants for retrofitting, replacing mobile homes with zero carbon modular units, replacing gas heat with electricity, and subsidizing HVAC replacements with energy-efficient equipment. Pete Buttigieg Pete Buttigieg’s language is measured, reasoned, and clear, making concerted arguments that are rooted in unifying, centrist values. “Security means ensuring every American family has safe, affordable housing” is the headline under affordable housing in his list of campaign issues. But in spite of that, his platform on affordable housing is extremely narrow, oriented around what he calls the Community Homestead Act, a part of his set of proposals for how to redress the history of redlining and discrimination against Black homeownership. Somewhat like land banks in cities with a history of housing vacancy and abandonment, Buttigieg proposes to create a national housing trust that would purchase abandoned properties and redistribute them to qualifying families in pilot cities. Sounds extremely limited, and the bigger problem—as anyone familiar with land banks knows—is that abandoned properties are generally stripped of anything of value. They typically sit empty for many years and lack building services, the building envelopes and rooftops often needs expensive rehabilitations, and they have other serious problems that make them inordinately complicated and time-consuming to fix compared to new construction. Beyond that, Buttigieg lists in bullet points the goals of ending homelessness for families with children, national funding for affordable housing construction, and expanded federal protections against eviction and harassment of tenants, but he provides no detail how to achieve any of them. Michael Bloomberg Mike Bloomberg’s campaign includes proposals for new housing and an earned income credit under one headline policy, perhaps acknowledging that wages and affordability are inevitably linked. As one might expect, his pitch to primary voters leans heavily on his record as mayor of New York City, claiming a legacy of pioneering programs to allow New Yorkers to “gain access to housing and build house wealth” (He doesn’t say which New Yorkers or how many, and certainly some people got rich and were able to buy homes during his administration). An “expansion of funding for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit…would add hundreds of thousands of units of affordable housing over ten years,” claims the Bloomberg campaign. This policy will be familiar to New Yorkers, who recall the city aiming to create or preserve 250,000 units of affordable housing during five years of his administration. This same target, more or less, was the ambition of every mayor since Koch in the 1980s, including Bill de Blasio. We don’t know if Bloomberg achieved it or not, but the campaign's literature quotes an official crediting him with creating 165,000 units during his 12 years in office. Homelessness had significantly increased by the end of Bloomberg's third term, however, and the city had lost more affordable housing than it had gained. This proposal is somehow even less ambitious but stretched thinner, and on a national scale. Bloomberg has also called for an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, which would especially help single families with children, and an increase in the minimum wage, which would theoretically address the income levels of households, while leaving untouched the market incentives that tend to push up prices. At $15 an hour, a single-income household would be earning $31,200 a year, which is around one-third the income needed to rent a typical apartment in New York City. Andrew Yang Despite Yang’s excitement about some shipping containers he encountered during a campaign stop in Las Vegas, with apologies to Lo-Tek, the future of housing is not discarded cargo shipping containers, nor is it at the center of his proposed housing policies. That said, the incident does capture the infectious tech optimism of the Yang campaign, a sense of hopefulness about finding data-driven or engineering solutions to problems. Yang's argument for what he calls human-centered capitalism is an argument for regulating markets in a way that serves public interested goals rather than profit-making. Unfortunately, his thinking about housing policy doesn’t take how profit-making functions in the actual housing market into account.
Yang’s proposed housing policy falls under the category of zoning, and focuses on the need to eliminate zoning limits that supply-siders think are the main reason why housing is expensive. Free up restrictive zoning and money will magically flow through the invisible hand of the market to fill the affordable housing gap, the thinking goes. As we know, in reality, all things being equal, the market tends to supply housing to the highest income earners, because it favors higher profitability when there are no other regulations or mandates in place. Yang uses San Francisco as a model of how restrictive zoning prevents new housing from being created, but that is a gross oversimplification of San Francisco's problem, and it suggests that historic preservation, protection of neighborhood character, and a human scale can be easily sacrificed for greater density, rather than using other constraints and incentives to produce a more balanced housing market. Zoning is one tool among many, but by itself, it’s not sufficient.
I was in a shipping container apartment in Las Vegas that cost only $30,000 and was downright appealing. There are things we can do to make housing more affordable for many Americans.— Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) August 11, 2019
Made famous by its collaborations with Google, Lexus, Net-A-Porter, Netflix, Revlon, and Saks Fifth Avenue—to name (but) a few—cutting edge neon company Name Glo takes the design world by storm again and again. Founded in 2014 by Sas Simon and Lena Imamura, the boutique brand opened its first brick and mortar space earlier last week. Situated in Manhattan's edgy Lower East Side neighborhood, the new, compact Name Glo Light Bar is a sight to behold. Cast in a floor to ceiling "teal oasis" hue, the flagship's non-nonsense design is best suited to present neon signage and lighting. The locale incorporates both showroom and production facilitates. Customers can design their own neon masterpiece by mixing and matching shapes, plexiglass elements, and handmade terrazzo-like tiles. A virtual projection allows them to test out the scale of their compositions. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
AN rounds up 2019's must-reads for the holiday season
With the end of the decade on the horizon, AN has once again rounded up the best new releases for holiday reading. This list has something for everyone on your list, whether they want to dive back into Michelangelo's renaissance work, learn the ins-and-outs of socialist architecture, or explore the world's contemporary architectural biennials. While it's too late for holiday shopping, that doesn't mean you can't pick up something for the New Year's break. Note: AN may receive a commission for items purchased through the following affiliate links. Biennials/Triennials: Conversations on the Geography of Itinerant Display Léa-Catherine Szacka Columbia Books on Architecture and the City MSRP: $17.99 Recent decades have brought about an onslaught of -ennials (or -iennales), indicating both the growing importance in exhibition design for architects as well as increased capital and spectator entertainment value; architecture for show, but also a “taking the temperature” of the current climate. This little book colleccts conversations between the author and dozens of biennial and triennial curators, as they discuss the showpiece of our contemporary moment in context. Structured Lineages: Learning from Japanese Structural Design Edited by Guy Nordenson MoMA MSRP: $39.57 This collection of 10 seminal essays outlines the contributions of Japanese post-war architect-engineer collaborations that led to some of the country’s most iconic buildings. Japanese domes, bubbles, and sweeping forms fascinated architects and designers worldwide and led to an unprecedented non-linear chapter in architectural history. The essays, and their generous accompanying images and archival materials, show how the ideas and concepts of these collaborations were passed down seamlessly over several generations, and in some ways, how they still persists as a scientific feat in design imagination today. Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War By Łukasz Stanek Princeton University Press MSRP: $60.00 Political regimes have used architecture as a way of transmitting power, legacy, and permanence throughout all of history, and the socialist movements of the mid and late 20th century were no different. Throughout the Cold War years, architects and planners from socialist Eastern Europe worked closely with those in regions such as West Africa and the Middle East, resulting in a substantial reshaping of the great cities of Accra, Lagos and Abu Dhabi, among others. This text-heavy book brings this story of cross-continent collaboration to life with previously unpublished images and original archival research, revisiting the connective powers, as well as lessons through longevity, of architecture. A Moving Border: Alpine Cartographies of Climate Change By Marco Ferrari, Elisa Pasqual, and Andrea Bagnato Columbia Books on Architecture and the City MSRP: $25.52 A moving border is not a border at all—movement becomes negotiable, and the ebb and flow of human fabrication and implication are thrown out of balance. This is a phenomenon observed by ZKM researchers, who have dispatched equipment along the mountainous border between Italy and Austria, the ridge that forms the disparate water flows towards either Northern or Southern Europe. Their findings and cartographic visual language remind the reader that borders and the human political mind are in flux and impermanent, but that our actions towards melting glaciers and climate change are not: in fact, they’re reflected as hiccups in the very borders we try so hard to maintain. As glaciers melt, rivers flood, and borders shift, the environment is literally reshaping political boundaries. The Shenzhen Experiment: The Story of China’s Instant City Juan Du Harvard University Press MSRP: $35.00 The “instant city” concept of Chinese mega-development is crystallized in the success of Shenzhen, a government-planned city that seemingly sprouted from the ground. Recognized for its role as an international technology center, economic powerhouse, and mega-city population of over 20 million, Shenzhen also a bit of a mystery, as the same model has been applied to dozens of other "insta-city projects," but none have approached Shenzhen’s overnight celebrity. This book explores the blurry history of the city, beginning with its farmers and oyster fishermen. Tracing policymakers, government regulation, and that the concept of explosive overnight growth is desirable the world over, is an important story for architects and planners everywhere facing the excitement as well as perils of rapid urbanization and industrialization. Michelangelo, God’s Architect: The Story of His Final Years and Greatest Masterpiece By William E. Wallace Princeton University Press MSRP: $29.95 The last two decades of Michelangelo’s life were at first expected to be marked by failure and decline—the Renaissance artist even began to carve his own tomb. However, intervention via the Catholic Church landed Michelangelo with the master plan of St. Peter’s Basilica, a commission that would change his legacy, as well as the course of the Renaissance's architectural history. A fresh look at a portion of the artist’s life that often goes overlooked, the narrative aspects bring to light many myths and very human struggles that the venerated figure overcame. City on a Hill: Urban Idealism in America from the Puritans to the Present By Alex Krieger Harvard University Press MSRP: $35.00 A critically deep dive into the visions of utopia that have shaped American development, City on a Hill outlines the idealisms underlying various urban design movements, starting with the first wave of pilgrims looking for a new start. Krieger honors the grand ideas that have moved America and its cities forward over the centuries but also underwrites with a critical eye the lessons that can be learned as we move forward towards contemporary ideals of sustainability and smart cities today.
Just Around the Riverbend
Harvard taps Studio Gang and Tishman Speyer for new innovation campus
Harvard University is getting larger. The Cambridge-based institution has long-planned to diversify its physical presence in Boston and has finally chosen a developer and several big-name architects to lead the build-out of its innovation campus in the nearby Allston. New York real estate firm Tishman Speyer was selected out of a large bid for the highly-sought-after project, as well as partner studios Henning Larsen, Utile, Studio Gang, and SCAPE. According to The Boston Globe, the team will transform 14 acres of Harvard’s land ownings across the Charles River into the 900,000-square-foot Enterprise Research Campus. “Capturing the spirit of innovation of the Enterprise Research Campus, our design will transform a former industrial site into a fertile new ground for the exchange of ideas and creative expression," said Jeanne Gang, lead architect of the project, in a statement. "We envision a neighborhood brought to life with low-carbon buildings and resilient green spaces that foster community and connect people to their natural environment." Rob Speyer, Tishman Speyer’s chief executive, also told The Globe the site would be developed in partnership with city officials and residents of Allston and will be the first phase in a series of developments totaling 36 acres dedicated to research, learning, and community. “This is going to be the furthest thing from a technology fortress,” said Speyer. “This is going to be a neighborhood, a neighborhood that embraces the diverse community around it.” Allston, though small and largely residential, boasts almost 30,000 people, many of whom are immigrants. Students and young professionals make up the majority of residents, which makes sense given the neighborhood's proximity to Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The new research campus, meant to house a mix of offices, labs, a 250,000-square-foot hotel and conference center, as well as up to 300 apartments, will be located across from the university’s business school and the nearly complete science and engineering complex designed by Behnisch Architekten. According to The Globe, the number of affordable homes on site has yet to be determined, although Harvard has a commitment to the city requirement of at least 13 percent. Another important part of the research campus will be its role as a start-up incubator. It’s been reported Tishman Speyer is partnering with the Cambridge-based shared space company LabCentral on the project. A completion date for the Enterprise Research Campus has yet to be announced.
Trees, Frieze, and
AN rounds-up the best exhibitions to see before the end of the year
As the year comes to a close, AN has gathered some of the best architecture exhibitions worldwide to feast your eyes upon before (and into) 2020. Historical retrospectives, site-specific installations in starchitect designed museums, even methods for how to scale the walls of the Eastern State Penitentiary—the list represents the breadth of subjects that architectural theory and curatorial practice have explored this past year and decade. Gio Ponti. Loving Architecture November 27, 2019, through April 13, 2020 MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts Via Guido Reni, 4A, 00196 Rome, Italy
Love architecture, be it ancient or modern. Love it for its fantastic, adventurous and solemn creations; for its inventions; for the abstract, allusive and figurative forms that enchant our spirit and enrapture our thoughts. Love architecture, the stage, and support of our lives. -Gio Ponti, Amate l’architettura (In praise of architecture) 1957In collaboration with CSAC of Parma and Gio Ponti Archives, MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts has put on a major retrospective of work by Italian architect, Gio Ponti. The exhibition is curated by Maristella Casciato (the senior curator of architectural collections at the Getty Research Institute) and surveys Ponti’s prolific, multifaceted career as an architect, designer, poet, and critic through models, photographs, books, objects, and more. Margherita Guccione, director of MAXXI Architettura said in a recent press release, “Neither classical nor modern, the work of Gio Ponti was unique... ranging from the design of objects of everyday use to the invention of spatial configurations for the modern home and the creation of complex projects embedded within the urban context, maintaining architecture, setting and saving grace of our lives, as the fixed core of his research.” Alexander Rosenberg: A Climber's Guide to Eastern State Penitentiary or, Eastern State's Architecture, and How to Escape It On view now through January 1, 2020 Eastern State Penitentiary 2027 Fairmount Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130 Alexander Rosenberg is a Philadelphia-based artist, educator, and writer. Receiving his BFA in Glass from RISD and Master of Science in Visual Studies from MIT, much of his work is a deep exploration of the study of glass as a material. In this body of work, Rosenberg produced a site-specific installation and performance in response to the architecture and preservation of Eastern State Penitentiary. Rosenberg has developed and climbed more than a dozen possible routes to scale the prison’s 30-foot walls using “clean climbing” techniques. For the climbs, the artist fabricated climbing gear from materials that would have been readily available within the penitentiary at the year of its closing in 1971, as well as maps of the climbs and a guidebook for “how to escape” the architecture. According to an artist’s statement, the project aims to “provoke discussion about conservation and preservation between nature and artifice in the built and ‘natural’ worlds.” Architecture Arboretum November 4, 2019, through January 21, 2020 Princeton University School of Architecture North Gallery School of Architecture, Princeton, NJ 08544 A new exhibition at Princeton University School of Architecture investigates the important relationship between architecture and trees. Architecture Arboretum, curated by Sylvia Lavin, a professor of history and theory of architecture at the university, evaluates trees as natural objects that have influenced major shifts in architectural thinking. The exhibition looks at how modern architectural drawings are filled with a variety of carefully considered trees that have been used as objects of observation, linguistic signs, as well as objects in themselves that can be designed. The concept of the show, as described on the University’s website, is that “Architecture and trees share important features—the capacity to define space, produce climates, and shape the visual field—but also because trees perform architectural tasks in ways that care for the earth’s surface better than most buildings.” Lauren Henkin: Props November 22, 2019, through March 2020 Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati 44 East 6 Street, Downtown Cincinnati Conceived as a dialogue between site-specific installation work and Zaha Hadid’s first U.S. building, Lauren Henkin’s, Props, will be on view at Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati through March 2020. The exhibition features eight sculptures scattered throughout the museum in locations considered “unconventional” or “unintended” exhibition spaces, never before used to display art. “Henkin’s pieces will invite visitors to consider with greater care and nuance often overlooked architectural details and spaces,” said Harris Weston, director and chief curator in a press release. The physical access given to the artist provides her with the room to interrogate the architectural and stylistic elements of the starchitect-designed museum. The Architect’s Studio: Tatiana Bilbao October 18, 2019, through March 5, 2020 Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Gl Strandvej 13, 3050 Humlebæk, Denmark Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao explores Mexico’s culture and building traditions in a new exhibition at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. The show is the third in The Architect’s Studio series, which focuses on a new generation of architects who work with sustainability and social practice in mind. “When you come from a country without resources, you are used to not wasting them,” Bilbao explained in an interview on the museum’s website. The analysis of both landscape and cultural traditions plays a major role in Bilbao’s work which makes use of materials such as rammed earth and ideas on how the built environment influences those who occupy it. Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience Through May 3, 2020 The Museum of Craft and Design 2569 Third Street, San Francisco, CA An exhibition at San Francisco’s Museum of Craft and Design will showcase visionary solutions for emergency shelters in the wake of natural disasters. Curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg of Art Works for Change, Survival Architecture and The Art of Resilience imagines the future of a climate-constrained world by addressing the need for adaptable housing for vulnerable populations. One project, Cardborigami (2016) by Tina Hovsepian, is a compact and foldable cardboard structure suitable for two people to sleep in. Other projects by over 20 artists and studios illustrate similar radical proposals for navigating the possibility of extreme weather. Organized into four themes—Circular, Portable, Visionary, and Resilient—every project begs the viewers to examine how the built environment can be designed flexibly when change is the only constant.
(W)rapped Up In A Bow
L.A.'s long-awaited Eric Owen Moss-designed tower shows signs of progress
Exactly 20 years after it was approved by both the Los Angeles City Planning Commission and the Los Angeles City Council, an Eric Owen Moss Architects-designed project is finally showing signs of life. (W)rapper, a 17-story office tower being developed by local real estate investment firm Samitaur Constructs, is sited just south of the La Cienega/Jefferson Expo Line station in Culver City. The firm is also responsible for the development of over 10 buildings designed by Eric Owen Moss on nearby Hayden Avenue, including Vespertine, the Lindblade Tower and Paramount Laundry Building, and Pterodactyl. At 230 feet, (W)rapper would be the second-tallest building in its immediate area and one of the tallest in Culver City. The name of the project is a reference to the ribbon-like exoskeleton structural system that “wraps” the structure on all four sides, allowing the interior to be entirely column-free. Each floor will contain an uninterrupted 22,000 square feet of floor space, three of which will have ceiling heights of over 24 feet. (W)rapper will be topped by an expansive penthouse and roof deck. An external elevator will be placed on the southern face of the building to maintain the aesthetic and spatial simplicity of the portions facing the Expo line station, while an external staircase was included as a major design element of the structure's eastern facade. The design and structural innovations of the project won the AIA/LA NEXT LA Merit Award in 2010. With neighboring companies including Apple/Beats By Dre, HBO, Amazon, Nike, WeWork and Jam City, Samitaur Constructs is hoping that (W)rapper will attract similar high-end clientele to the tower's 180,000 square feet of office space, while also offering public and retail space on its ground floor. The original proposal for the lot was for two 230-foot-tall towers, though the final design was scaled back for the project's current iteration. After beginning construction this month, it is projected that (W)rapped will be completed by the first half of 2021.
screaming into the void
Battle over Snøhetta's Upper West Side tower continues
The debate over imposing height restrictions for the Snøhetta-designed tower at 50 West 66th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side continues. The preservation group Landmark West is arguing that Extell, the building developer known for its Billionaire’s Row towers along 57th Street, is continuing to illegally use mechanical void space to circumvent height restrictions according to Gothamist. Such voids are meant to hold mechanical equipment and have been, until recently, exempt from maximum floor area caps according to zoning regulations, giving developers leeway to inflate building heights and charge a premium for boosted units. The life of the now-775-foot tall tower began in 2015 when the project was announced at just 262 feet, but the building had swelled to its current height by the time the first renderings were released in 2017. As previously reported in January, Extell was given a 15-day window to scale the design back after pushback from local politicians and community groups. The current design has a total of 176-feet blocked out for mechanical equipment, which was reduced from the original 192-foot void. A recent amendment to the zoning law, however, which counts any mechanical space over 25-feet toward the maximum floor area, will not affect 50 West 66th Street because it was passed after plans were already approved. Activists and politicians alike are now accusing Extell of keeping the majority of the building’s 176 feet of mechanical floors empty of any equipment. Landmark West claims that only 22 percent of the void space will actually be filled with equipment, meaning that the mechanical rooms are predominantly included to boost the building’s overall height. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal have both opposed 50 West 66th Street, which could potentially become the tallest building on the Upper West Side. “These ‘mechanical floors’ are not being occupied by their purported use. They are more than half filler space that will go unused,” said Brewer in a statement to the Board of Standards and Appeals yesterday. “To permit this development to move forward as proposed sets a dangerous message to other developers who will surely seek similarly unjustified mechanical deductions for their buildings.”