The Oculus book talk on the new book, How to Study Public Life, at the Center for Architecture with Jan Gehl and his co-author Birgitte Svarre was like seeing the documentary The Human Scale come to life—only with a sense of humor. Gehl’s urban theories have gained a lot of traction, not least in New York City. Jeanette Sadik-Khan went to Gehl's native Copenhagen two weeks into her job as commissioner of NYC's Department of Transportation (along with fellow commissioner of City Planning, Amanda Burden) and experienced the city's pedestrian-over-cars public plazas, rode bicycles on protected bike lanes, and absorbed the lessons of the city that is repeatedly named the most livable in the world. The 77-year-old Gehl traces his crusade back to a New York antecedent, Jane Jacobs' 1961 Death and Life of Great American Cities, published one year after he graduated from architecture school. He was trained to make free-standing buildings that “look nice from an airplane,” but married a psychologist who challenged him: why aren’t you interested in people? Gehl began to observe the behavior of people in cities (people like to cluster near the edges, not stand in the open, for example) and came up with measurable statistics in a series of studies that began to influence policy. In 1962, Copenhagen pedestrianized its first street, Stroeget Street, which began its transformation from a car to a biking and walking city. Today, Copenhagen has seven times more people space than in the 1960s, and all taxis and public transportation are legislated to have bike racks to widen the reach of this preferred mode of transport. I was reminded of the new film, Copenhagen, winner at the Slamdance Film Festival, where the human-scaled city traversed by bike is a main character. Gehl noted that the “Brasilia Syndrome” of cities that look good from the air but not from the ground, is still rampant in China, Dubai, and even in Brooklyn. He calls this birds-eye-view building “birdshit architecture.” His twin devils are the two M’s: modernism and motorists, and he’d prefer to have a Department of Pedestrians to a Department of Transportation (no city yet has taken on the challenge). Perhaps the proof that Gehl’s theories work is that in 2012, New York City was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize recognizing the transformation of the city during the Bloomberg administration. Books by Jan Gehl available from Island Press: How to Study Public Life, 2013 Cities for People, 2010 Life Between Buildings, 2008
Posts tagged with "Events":
The California College of the Arts (CCA) was founded in 1907 by Frederick Meyer, a German arts and crafts cabinetmaker and did not have an architecture program until the 1980s. However it has been making great strides in the past 10 years to become more of a presence on the international art and design stage. But like all schools it struggles with rising fees and costs to educate young people so it has come up with Blueprints, Blue Jeans & Bluegrass, a fundraiser that will take place in its fantastic San Francisco campus. The party will honor Art Gensler the founder of the San Francisco firm that bares his name. All net proceeds from the gala will go to scholarships for talented and deserving students at CCA. The event takes place on March 26 and features a complete dinner, fancy cocktails and Bluegrass music. I want to fly out to San Francisco just to attend the Blueprints.
This Sunday the Tribeca Grand Hotel will be hosting a screening of Andreas Dalsgaard's documentary, The Human Scale. Sponsored by the Tribeca Trust, the film will be followed by commentary from architectural critic and author Michael Sorkin. The movie examines human happiness within the context of urban life and was screened in New York last year as part of the Architecture and Design Film Festival. Tickets for the event can be purchased here with all proceeds benefiting Tribeca Trust's public space initiative.
DOC NYC New York City November 14-21 IFC Center and SVA Theater This year the 4th DOC NYC documentary film festival boasts 132 films and events: 73 feature-length, 39 shorts, and 20 panels. Tucked into the schedule are films about architecture, design, and the arts amongst a wide array of subjectmatter. Only one, If You Build It, was also seen at the recent Architecture & Design Film Festival, so here’s your chance to view a new crop and to see the ones you’ve missed. Rebuilding the WTC documents the process of rebuilding at Ground Zero for six years with time-lapse photography, paintings, drawings, and interviews with the working men and women on site. Tiny: A Story About Living Small chronicles one couple’s documentation of their efforts to build a micro-house from scratch in the Colorado mountains raising questions on sustainability, good design, living in houses smaller than the average parking space, and countering the trend of MacMansions. In Michel Gondry’s (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) charming self-drawn animated film on linguist Noam Chomsky, Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?, he cites Frank Gehry’s work as 3D Mondrian. Toxic Hot Seat unpicks the history and consequences of regulations mandating fire-retardants for furniture, starting with the tobacco industry’s successful lobbying to blame house fires on upholstered furniture rather than lit cigarettes, and the resulting deadly chemicals inhabiting our interiors. PHOTOGRAPHY. Photographer Ishiuchi Miyako muses on the personal artifacts of Hiroshima victims: “To most people they’re only objects, but to me I see them as living creatures. I’m willing them into existence, saying, ‘please become visible’” which she does in her haunting photographs that infer the stories of their owners in Things Left Behind. Another photographer, Saul Leitner, deals with the triple burden of clearing an apartment full of memories, becoming famous in his 80's and fending off a pesky filmmaker in In No Great Hurry. A mysterious nanny, who secretly took over 100,000 photographs that were hidden in storage lockers and discovered decades later, is now the subject of an exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery (through December 14) and the film Finding Vivian Maier. ARTS. If you followed the trail of moving the 340-ton granite boulder across 105 miles, through 22 cities to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art last year for Michael Heizer’s installation of Levitated Mass suspended over a V-shaped walkway, here’s a chance to follow the process. 88-year old outsider artist Al Carbee makes art featuring Barbie dolls in Magical Universe, while Grey City depicts the struggle of a Brazilian graffiti art whose works are painted over by the city of Sao Paulo. The graphic mindscape and journals of Leonardo pop to life in the third dimension in Inside the Mind of Leonardo: 3D, and three Italian master tailors display their disappearing Old World Craft in Men of the Cloth. MUSIC. On the music front, there is Punk Singer Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill and Le Tigre (and wife of Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz); Revenge of the Mekons, the British punk-turned-country bank that’s been together since 1977 and is admired by Luc Sante, Jonathan Franzen, Mary Harron, and Fred Armison (who was married to the lead singer); We Always Lie to Strangers about the phenomenon of Branson, Missouri, the “live music capital of the world”; Harlem Street Singer, about the blind Reverend Gary Davis, whose blues and gospel mentored members of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Peter, Paul & Mary and played with Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Brown McGhee; Pleasures of Being Out of Step, a portrait of 88 year-old jazz writer Nat Hentoff, who champions the idea of free expression as the defining characteristic of the individual; the exhilarating 20 Feet from Stardom about heard-but-not seen backup singers; We Don’t Wanna Make You Dance, a twist on the 7 Up series of revisiting the same cast of a white teen funk band over time; and Mercedes Sosa: Voice of Latin America on the Argentinean singer’s 60-year career. View the full schedule here. Films and directors: Finding Vivian Maier, JOHN MALOOF & CHARLIE SISKEL Grey City, MARCELO MESQUITA & GUILHERME VALIENGO Harlem Street Singer, TREVOR LAURENCE & SIMEON HUTNER If You Build It, PATRICK CREADON In No Great Hurry, TOMAS LEACH Inside the Mind of Leonardo: 3D, JULIAN JONES Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?, MICHEL GONDRY Levitated Mass, DOUG PRAY Magical Universe, JEREMY WORKMAN Men of the Cloth, VICKI VASILOPOULOS Mercedes Sosa: Voice of Latin America, RODRIGO H. VILA Pleasures of Being Out of Step, DAVID L. LEWIS Punk Singer, SINI ANDERSON Rebuilding the World Trade Center, MARCUS ROBINSON Revenge of the Mekons, JOE ANGIO Things Left Behind, LINDA HOAGLUND Tiny: A Story About Living Small, MERETE MUELLER & CHRISTOPHER SMITH Toxic Hot Seat, JAMES REDFORD & KIRBY WALKER 20 Feet from Stardom, MORGAN NEVILLE We Always Lie to Strangers, AJ SCHNACK & DAVID WILSON We Don’t Wanna Make You Dance, LUCY KOSTELANTZ
Michael Maltzan is the guest of honor at ForumFest 2013, the Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Design's annual fundraising party. The event will take place this Saturday, November 9, from 6 to 10 pm at the Maltzan-designed Inner-City Arts in Downtown Los Angeles. Maltzan studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design and Harvard University's Graduate School of Design before working in the offices of Machado Silvetti and Frank Gehry. In 1995 he founded Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA). MMA's work in LA includes Regen Projects, the Billy Wilder Theater and Cafe at the UCLA Hammer Museum, the Biscuit Company Lofts, Inner City Arts, and several noted projects for Skid Row Housing Trust, including the Rainbow Apartments, the New Carver Apartments, and the upcoming Star Apartments. Saturday's festivities will include installations by participants in the Forum's 2013 Out There Doing It Series, plus music by KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox and a silent auction. For sale at the auction are drawings by Maltzan and other local architects, including Greg Lynn, Tom Wiscombe, Scott Johnson, Doris Sung, Larry Scarpa, Michael Lehrer, Barbara Bestor, and Tim Durfee. Two photographic prints of MMA-designed buildings, by photographer Iwan Baan, will also be featured. For more information or to order tickets, visit the LA Forum website.
Calling all landscape architects and urban designers. Are you heading to Boston for the 2013 American Society of Landscape Architects Conference? I am. On Saturday, November 16, I'll be reviewing projects and portfolios during a "Meet the Editors" event, alongside colleagues from a variety of shelter, design, and garden publications. There are still a few open spots, so sign-up or just drop by and introduce yourself. I hope to see you there. Also, check out this year's ASLA award winners designed by students and professionals. Great work!
SMPS New York’s largest event of the year, the ninth annual THE Marketing Event “Maximizing Value”, is going down this Friday. Hundreds of AEC professionals from across the region are coming together to discuss how you can make a serious impact on the outreach and performance of your firm for little or no cost. As the industry emerges from the long recession, this year’s conference turns towards the strategies that you can implement to stabilize and expand your business without putting a dent in your budget. Conference workshops are divided into three tracts, so you can customize your schedule to meet your business’ needs. Marketing, business development, and leadership experts will be on hand to share their trade secrets as they discuss topics like public relations, implementing new technologies, and productivity. The symposium begins Friday at 8:00 a.m. at the CUNY Graduate Center and continues throughout the day.
The 11th edition of NeoCon East, the sister show to Chicago's summer contract furniture fair, was held October 16 and 17. Despite the government shutdown that legally prevented some GSA employees from attending, more than 7,000 visitors attended the show at Baltimore's Convention Center to peruse the wares of over 250 exhibitors. Keynote addresses from Michael Graves—who launched a new collection of textiles with cf stinson—and Suzanne Tick were augmented with ongoing educational seminars. Tonic Watson Designed in collaboration with San Francisco–based industrial design firm Mike & Maaike, the freestanding benching system (above) is designed with steel and MDF for both durability and flexibility. A center deck can support video and computer monitors, storage, and LED lamps with a concealed four-circuit, eight-wire raceway. Vistas cf stinson New at NeoCon East, the Vistas collection of upholstery and privacy curtains is Michael Graves' third collection with cf stinson. Six unique patterns render abstractions of the natural environment in soothing blue and green tones. Line Davis Part of the Elements accessories collection, Line is a flush-mounted vertical storage component designed by Apartment 8. A slim, recessed stainless steel bar folds down from the top of the beam, with additional hanging storage on three square knobs in vertical succession below. Line comes in 12 vibrant colors, as well as natural oak or walnut. Diffrient Smart Humanscale Designed by the late Niels Diffrient, the eponymous Smart task chair features ergonomic comforts like Humanscale's patented weight-sensitive recline mechanism that automatically adjusts to the weight and height of the sitter. Three panels of proprietary Form-Sensing Mesh adjust to various body sizes, and armrests are attached to the seat back, as opposed to the seat pan, to echo the chair's angle of recline sans additional adjustment. PolyChair Kimball Office A mesh back and seat on the PolyChair provide maximum user comfort and stacking capabilities—30 high on a dolly and 10 on the ground. Available in five different colors, the polished chrome sled base also features black plastic tabs for ganging. Focal Point OFS Available in a variety of sizes, configurations, and color combinations, Focal Point is a power-integrated seating solution for individual work and break-out group sessions. The angle of the back supports lounging posture, while the exaggerated wings provide a sense of user privacy. An optional 6-inch arm is sized for tablet usage at a table-top height. I.D. Freedom Tarkett New at NeoCon East, the line of luxury vinyl planks and tiles comes in 90 SKUs of natural looks, from bamboo to sandstone to steel. Custom shapes can also be specified from Tarkett's Alabama production facility. The collection contains 53 percent pre-consumer recycled content and is FloorScore certified to contribute to healthy indoor air quality. Cork Wolf-Gordon Sourced from the bark of living quercus suber trees, the sustainable upholstery material is naturally stain and water resistant. Wolf-Gordon's cork textiles exceed 100,000 double rubs and come in four natural colors.
Unfrozen Music Santa Monica Main Library Saturday, October 26th, 2013 7:00-9:00pm Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium 601 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA It's that time of year again: time for local architects to put down their laptops and pick up their musical instruments. This Saturday, October 26, Shimahara Illustration will hold its fifth annual Unfrozen Music concert at the Santa Monica Main Library. The concert program includes six short sets performed by Los Angeles architects. AN's West Coast Editor, Sam Lubell, will MC the event. Performers include Alice Kimm (principal of John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects and Director of undergraduate programs at USC) on piano, Jonathan Ward (Partner at NBBJ) on acoustic bass, Terence Young (Design Director for Aviation, Transportation, and Retail Entertainment at Gensler) on cello, and many more. The concert series takes its name from a quote by theorist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "I consider architecture to be unfrozen music." This year's event will feature digital animations corresponding to each piece, a new wrinkle that will bring in a visual element; fitting considering who is performing.
TransformKC is underway in Kansas City, and the dozens of projects on display are provoking discussion on topics from public transit to energy infrastructure. A joint effort between the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance (KCRTA) and the American Institute of Architects Kansas City (AIA KC) Young Architects Forum (YAF), TransformKC curated built and unbuilt work around the topic of “regional mobility” in an attempt to “inspire the public’s imagination.” Explore all of the submissions here. Categories include architecture, infrastructure, planning, transit stations and urban design. The exhibition is on display in the East Hall of Kansas City, Missouri’s Union Station through October 25. Some work is local, like BNIM’s Better Block KC. Part of the 2011 Grand Boulevard Streetscape Plan, Better Block KC “envisions a safe, livable and walkable downtown” that uses complete street concepts. Disclosure: The Architect’s Newspaper is a media sponsor, and AN contributor Gunnar Hand served as the exhibition’s co-chair. Here are a few of the high-profile projects from outside Kansas City: BIG: Loop City Bjarke Ingels Group looks to a new light rail loop connecting 20 development zones around the 4-square-mile inner city of Copenhagen. They propose tying energy and water infrastructure into the rail line, creating “an artery of true urbanity pumping life into the heart of the suburbs.” KPF: Hudson Yards See AN's coverage of Kohn Pedersen Fox’s Hudson Yards towers here. SOM: Denver Union Station Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's plan calls for turning the historic Denver station into a multi-modal transportation network. John Gendall looked into the project for AN's feature on master planning.
On Saturday night, New York's architecture community gathered in Manhattan's historic 69th Regiment Armory to celebrate the Architectural League of New York on the centennial of the original 1913 Armory Show. The sold out party welcomed 1,350 design-minded revelers dressed as their favorite "–ism," the theme of this year's event, representing everything from surrealism, revivalism, Dadaism, classicism, and brutalism. In all, over $100,000 was raised for the League. SITU Studio designed an installation to bring scale to the cavernous armory space, working with Renfro Design Group on an integrated lighting scheme. A series of white fabric prisms were suspended from the ceiling, serving to humanize the space while providing an armature for digital projections. Pulsing music built excitement throughout the night, which culminated in a procession of giant vellum marionettes, each controlled by a team of three performance artists, and a troupe of vellum-clad artists wandering through the armory, encouraging attendees to dance. Photos by Fran Parente.
The California AIA's biennial Monterey Design Conference is on the next two days—September 27th and 28th—at Asilomar, the glorious Julia Morgan– and John Carl Warnecke–designed center on the Pacific Ocean in Pacific Grove. The conference will feature lectures by Thom Mayne, Marlon Blackwell, Thomas Phifer, Kengo Kuma, and AN board member Odile Decq. But first up this morning was Greg Otto from Buro Happold who presented various Happold projects that were created using a multi-disciplinary approach and discussed design and legal issues around responsibility and how these "stress traditional design assumptions." Otto also discussed his ongoing New York projects with Jeff Koons who wants to make large steel structures look "like marshmallows." Next a Pecha Kucha–type session on Technology Serving Design where German Aparicio, CCA and UCLA professor and AECOM architect, presented his "informedCITIES" digital data research on urbanism and how it can be applied to design. Aparicio has done fascinating urban metrics research on pre- and post-earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand. It's great to be at an architecture conference that does not just discuss local or regional issues but brings in the world's most important designers to present work of high quality and offers a 6:00a.m. "restorative wake-up Yoga" session sponsored by Academy for Emerging Professionals.