FEATURED THIS WEEK : THOMAS FISHER
"Rapidly rising human populations living in increasingly unsanitary conditions, combined with transcontinental air travel, have greatly increased the likelihood of a viral pandemic — one that would affect both daily life and the global economy in profound ways," says architect and educator Thomas Fisher. Fisher traces the interconnections between urban design and public health, from the plagues that ravaged medieval Europe to last year's H1N1 outbreak — which is likely a harbinger of worse to come. This is, Fisher argues, a threat to take seriously — although "history suggests that we rarely act against an invisible threat until we have suffered the pain of ignoring it."
"Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement," which opened last week at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, reinforces the institution's current focus on design as an agent of change, begun last year with "Rising Currents." Of course, as architect Quilian Riano notes in his review, which follows Alexandra Lange's on Change Observer, the exhibition is less a discovery than a rediscovery. "Leading architects," Riano writes, "were once fluent in the language and practice of social change." With this latest exhibition, he suggests, MoMA is attempting "to start up an old conversation — to move into the mainstream a movement long consigned to the edges, to the thankless realm of the 'alternative.'"
The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, in Northern Italy, has issued a call for proposals for scholarly and artistic residencies in the summer and fall of 2011.
Applications are due by December 1, 2010.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001
A critique of New Urbanism focusing not on its traditionalism but on the unsustainability of its planning models.
Pratt Institute, School of Architecture
The work of the students here at Pratt shows a clear appreciation and understanding of the possibilities of architecture today, as the mission of the school is dedicated to design and a complete understanding of the making of cities and buildings. The spirit of advancing architectural ideas in terms of both form and technique is at the essence of the transformation of contemporary design.