Defpoints


Architect as Secretary of HUD
December 15, 2008, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Architecture, North America, Politics, Urban Design

Shaun Donovan, armed with degrees in architecture and public policy from Harvard’s GSD and Kennedy School, is Obama’s nominee for HUD. In 2004 he foresaw the subprime crisis, which means he is a sharper cookie than 99.99% of Wall Street.

New York HPD bio

New York Times profile

Interview with Gwendolyn Wright in the Architects’ Newspaper

And an interview with the Observer.



Obama’s audacious public works
December 15, 2008, 8:02 pm
Filed under: Design, Economy, North America, Politics, Transportation

In the Boston Globe, Bob Campbell comments on Barack Obama’s proposed public works program: “The audacity of hope for better public works.”

In his radio announcement, Obama mentioned roads and bridges, sewer systems, schools, mass transit, electrical grids, dams and other public utilities, windmills and solar panels, and expanded access to the Internet.

Nothing in there specifically about architecture.




McDonald’s, WalMart, Subway, Oh My!
November 9, 2008, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Design, Economy, Green, North America

retailers go green, big time.



Anish Kapoor + Herzog de Meuron = ???
August 7, 2008, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Architecture, art, North America
Barcelona Forum, Herzog de Meuron

Barcelona Forum, Herzog de Meuron

At 56 Leonard Street in Tribeca, New York (corner of Church and Leonard Streets), Herzog de Meuron and Anish Kapoor are collaborating on a new residential tower. Kapoor will design a site specific sculpture for the ground floor.

Millenium Park sculpture, Chicago, Anish Kapoor

Millenium Park sculpture, Chicago, Anish Kapoor



Housing Lenders Fear Bigger Wave of Loan Defaults
August 4, 2008, 8:25 am
Filed under: Economy, North America

More bad news on the housing / economy front from the New York Times.



Sting likes Bob Stern!
August 3, 2008, 3:44 am
Filed under: Architecture, North America, Urban Design
The highest priced new apartment building in New York City. Photo by Todd Eberle, Vanity Fair.

The highest priced new apartment building in New York City, 15 Central Park West. Photo by Todd Eberle, Vanity Fair.

Sting, Bob Costas, Norman Lear, Sandy Weil, and Denzel Washington live in the new Robert A.M. Stern building on Central Park West. In Vanity Fair Paul Goldberger discusses how this retrograde-looking building turned out to be the most successful in recent New York development history:

nothing appeals to people, particularly rich people, like something new that doesn’t look too new. . . . What Stern actually designed, it turned out, was a building in which every apartment looked like an old Park Avenue apartment after someone had renovated it.

Architect Robert A. M. Stern stands on the concierge desk at 15 Central Park West.

Architect Robert A. M. Stern stands on the concierge desk at 15 Central Park West.



Rising construction costs
July 30, 2008, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Economy, North America

What to do about it, from the Observer:

As the economy sours, ever-rising construction costs seem to be an in-vogue subject: Last night, the New York Building Congress released a report on the topic; the

Manhattan Institute put out recommendations for controlling cost escalations earlier this month; and, on Monday, the Bloomberg administration announced a set of initiatives to lower costs of city projects.

The basic problem–costs have been going up at least 10 percent annually for the past few years–doesn’t seem to have any easy solutions, as the reports (both of which involved consultation with the same firm, Urbanomics) recommended a broad array of changes that could lower costs to varying degrees.



7-sq-mile sheet of ice drifts away from Canadian ice shelf
July 30, 2008, 1:37 pm
Filed under: Green, North America
A chunk of ice is shown drifting after it separated from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf off the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's far north on Sunday July 27, 2008. The sheet is the biggest piece shed by one of Canada's six ice shelves since the Ayles shelf broke loose in 2005 from the coast of Ellesmere, about 500 miles from the North Pole.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sam Soja)

A chunk of ice is shown drifting after it separated from the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf off the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's far north on Sunday July 27, 2008. The sheet is the biggest piece shed by one of Canada's six ice shelves since the Ayles shelf broke loose in 2005 from the coast of Ellesmere, about 500 miles from the North Pole. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sam Soja)



Work Inquiries down in architecture
July 22, 2008, 11:32 am
Filed under: Architecture, Economy, North America, Work Life

From the AIA:

Billings at U.S. architecture firms slowed again in May, marking the fourth straight monthly decline. Inquiries for new project work also declined, pointing to continued slowing in billings over the next few months. Work at institutional firms remained at healthy levels, while residential and commercial/industrial firms reported further weakness. Firms in the Midwest reported a rare increase, mild as it was, while work softened further in other regions of the country



The End of White Flight
July 19, 2008, 7:46 pm
Filed under: North America, Urban Design

From the Wall Street Journal, an article on the the changing racial composition of our cities.

Today, cities are refashioning themselves as trendy centers devoid of suburban ills like strip malls and long commutes. In Atlanta, which has among the longest commute times of any U.S. city, the white population rose by 26,000 between 2000 and 2006, while the black population decreased by 8,900. Overall the white proportion has increased to 35% in 2006 from 31% in 2000.

In other cities, whites are still leaving, but more blacks are moving out. Boston lost about 6,000 black residents between 2000 and 2006, but only about 3,000 whites. In 2006, whites accounted for 50.2% of the city’s population, up from 49.5% in 2000. That’s the first increase in roughly a century.