President-elect Barack Obama gave a half-hour interview to CNBC tonight (full interview here, transcript here) that was impressively policy heavy–a real treat for the wonks out there, though who isn’t these days–in advance of the unveiling of his nearly $800 billion stimulus package tomorrow. One of the issues he necessarily touched upon was the housing crisis (video), given its place at the center of the current meltdown. Read More
Over the weekend, the NYT’s Week in Review ran a scattershot call–”Design Loves a Depression” by Michael Cannell, former editor of the paper’s House & Home section–for design to “come down a notch or two.” Enter the Grand Poobah of contemporary design, Murray Moss, who savagely rebutted Cannell’s claims in a guest column for Design Observer cleverly titled “Design Hates a Depression.”
Philippe Parreno, Marquee Guggeneim, NY, 2008. Photo: Kristopher McKay/Guggenheim Foundation
Listen up insomniacs and coffee snobs, the Guggenheim is hosting a 24-hour talk, appropriately on the theme of time, as a companion to the exhibition theanyspacewhatever. The event starts at 6:00 pm tonight and runs through 6:00 pm on Wednesday, and includes artists, designers, curators, social scientists, philosophers, and others. Read More
Amid the anxiety, speculation, and real hardship caused by the ongoing economic downturn, the provocative thesis of this Washington Post article stands out, which, if correct, could hold a silver lining for architects. Reporter Elizabeth Razzi interviews housing historian Virginia McAlester about how previous periods of economic declines shaped consumer demand for housing. The answer is simple and somewhat obvious: the demand for small houses rises. Her predictions for this cycle are less so. Read More
First Laurie Olin, now Frank Gehry. That was the news earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal reported that the Santa Monica-based architect had laid off “more than two dozen” staffers involved with Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards project. What followed was a string of cheers predicting the troubled Brooklyn mega-development’s demise. After all, how could it go on without its signature architect?
While considering this question, I kept thinking of a comment made by Kermit Baker yesterday, during an interview about the abysmal November billings index. Given what’s going on elsewhere in the industry, the termination of a handful of architects may not signal the doomsday scenario the project’s critics would like, and instead may be one more credit-related payroll pause like many others around the nation: Read More
A recent New York Times article piqued not only a literary memory of the cult classic Ecotopia, but also a visual memory from an early work by the exemplary West Coast practitioner Craig Hodgetts.
Writing from what used to be called “Berserkley,” California, Scott Timberg begins his article with these observations:
“Sometimes a book, or an idea, can be obscure and widely influential at the same time. That’s the case with Ecotopia, a 1970s cult novel, originally self-published by its author, Ernest Callenbach, that has seeped into the American groundwater without becoming well known. Read More