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Time magazine called it “Hong-couver” in the 1990s. Between Expo 1986 and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics planning in Vancouver took a turn for the worse building a tower-and-podium typology many hoped would make the city ‘world class’. However, as tower developers drive into the neighborhoods in search of cheap land a different Vancouver is being loudly proclaimed. Continue reading
What if the cars are not the problem? What if vehicular congestion, pollution, and environmental degradation are symptoms of bad urbanism, but not the cause? What if the greatest challenge facing urban sustainability are the towers and the freeways—the permanent structures and public investments—rather than the cars? Consider that the fleet changes over every 4 to 10 years making it possible to retrofit new technologies at a fast rate. Leading indicators like the taxi fleets have gone electric signalling a truly revolutionary change ahead. Towers and highways, on the other hand, will be with us for centuries to come inscribing patterns on the landscape—and in our social circles—that are much more difficult to break Continue reading
Aerial View: Florence, Italy
1939 New York World’s Fair
General Motors Pavilion Lapel Button
As Nazi Germans were preparing to take northern Europe and France by Blitzkrieg the top corporations in the U.S. were readying their displays for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Visitors to the General Motors futurama came away with a lapel button inscribed: “I Have Seen the Future” and a brochure containing still photos of a floor-size scale model depicting what American cities would look like in just twenty years. History would show the futurama to have been highly accurate in both detail and scope. Yet, it didn’t tell the whole story.
Privately planned & developed new satellite city for 80,000 people (30,000 families) will be built on a green field outside Chengdu as a model ‘Great City’ for the rest of China.
A manipulated photo showing Norman Foster’s Gherkin skyscraper (2004) as a flaccid phallus has been used by a UK retailer to advertise pharmaceuticals. Continue reading
O’Hara House, Richard Neutra (Los Angeles, 1959)
What are the advantages to living here, in the west coast of the New Continent? This film provides interesting point of view taken from a daring stance: Anticipating the Decline and Fall of the Great Modernist Architecture, it profiles the west coast, 20th century—mostly—residential buildings to suggest that the flame is still glowing. But is it really? If the last foothold of the Modernism’s avant-garde is to be the few and privileged places of its origin—the corporate commissions for isolated and reclusive private homes—then what can we say about the health and well-being of that other project—the construction of the socially balanced city and neighbourhood? Enjoy. Some of these houses represent the best architecture of the last 100 years.