Not many architects can boast being the subject of a pop song, but, then again, Frank Lloyd Wright was always something special. Back in 1969, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel eulogized the architect in the eponymous “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright,” appearing on their Bridge Over Troubled Water album. Garfunkel took an interest in Wright while studying architecture at Columbia and later challenged Simon to write the song while living in California.
While some argue that the song is really a cryptic breakup poem between the two singers on the verge of splitting, I’m sticking with architecture going mainstream. As the song says, “Architects may come and/Architects may go and/Never change your point of view./ When I run dry/I stop awhile and think of you.”
MVRDV just completed “Le Monolithe,” a mixed-use project in Lyon, France featuring social housing, apartments, disabled residences, offices, and retail organized along a central exterior axis of courtyards. The 350,000 square foot structure overlooks the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers and represents a collaboration of several architects and landscape architects.
While bringing nature back into the city is generally heralded as a sign of improvement, this is hardly the best path to that end. Next American City‘s Willy Staley recently took a walk through Detroit‘s East Side with vacant property guru Sam Butler to surmise the problems of abandonment facing the city. Detroit, seeking to demolish some 3,000 structures, has long been at the center of a movement to “shrink” cities suffering from population loss and blight.
You won’t see German artist Tobias Rehberger‘s proposed Lighthouse installation at this year’s Art Basel exhibition in Miami Beach, but if the city approves the project next week, the towering beacon could be lighting up the night sky by the end of 2011. To be located in South Pointe Park at a cost of $500,000, the 55-foot tall Lighthouse is comprised of stacked cylinders and would represent Rehberger’s first public commission in the United States. [ Via The Art Newspaper. ]
Aye, those swashbucklin’ pirates are at it again, matey! This time, though, they’re not after gold, DVDs, or designer purses, but the identities of architects. The Guardian‘s Jonathan Glancey relates that Chinese firms posing as British officers of Aedas and Broadway Maylan have been pursuing bids with false information. He points out the dangers that such a development might entail for the profession and wonders if starchitects like Zaha Hadid could be the next victims.
Want a free trip to Europe? Tile of Spain has just the ticket, but you have to act fast. The tile manufacturer is offering four architects and interior designers a chance to taste the local cuisine, see a few of the local sites, take in a tile trade show, and probably learn quite a bit about the offerings of Tile of Spain. But hey, it’s a free trip right? You just have to answer a few questions, but, hurry, the deadline’s tomorrow.
Philly’s East Market Street could offer a small slice of Times Square’s neon nightlife if a proposed “commercial advertising district” makes it through City Council. Developers and billboard proponents are betting that digital advertising signs will keep tourists shopping – and spending – downtown, but the Philadelphia Daily News says not everyone is going along for the ride.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta points out a University of Michigan, Ann Arbor study suggesting that city dwellers harbor more stress than their suburban counterparts, but says access to parks could be the cure. Researchers have found that spending time in parks or park-like settings can help reduce cognitive effort and promote relaxation.
The cult of decay is an enthralling topic. This inevitability of time serves as the inspiration of Italian artist Daniele Del Nero‘s new project “After Effects” consisting of a series of model houses in advanced states of decay. Del Nero covered the models in flour and mold which then grew to nearly consume the models. These eerie miniatures appear strangely similar to plant-strewn ruins of many ailing rustbelt cities that have captivated public imagination as cities continue to wrestle with abandonment and revitalization. [ Via designboom. ]