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WEEKLY EMAIL: DECEMBER 01, 2010


New Deal Utopias

FEATURED THIS WEEK : JASON REBLANDO

New Deal Utopias

For many Americans these are hard times, and Thanksgiving a test of fortitude. No wonder, then, that we are focused so much on another difficult era — the Great Depression — and that we continue to recall the New Deal that aimed to bring back good times. In this spirit Chicago photographer Jason Reblando has been documenting some of the Greenbelt Towns built in the '30s as part of the federal effort — derided back then as "socialistic" — to ensure decent housing for struggling citizens. Whatever the label, Reblando has found vital towns, positive results of the "intersection of place and politics."
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DAVID HEYMANN

A Cloud on a Lake

What is the connection of a building to its site? How does a work of architecture relate — or not — to a particular place on the surface of the earth? For architects and landscape architects, these are central questions — but the fundamental question, as architect David Heymann argues, is the "relationship between humans and nature." Here, in the first of a series that will appear on Places, Heymann explores how the relationship has been negotiated in works as varied as Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Blur Building, photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto's seascapes, and one of Mark Rothko's late period paintings.
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BARBARA PENNER

Flush with Inequality: Sanitation in South Africa

November 19 is World Toilet Day — a.k.a., the big squat — and so we are pleased to feature architectural historian Barbara Penner's wide-ranging look at the complicated political, social and ecological meanings of sanitation in post-apartheid South Africa. With flush infrastructure the standard for the privileged classes, and dry systems for the former townships, it isn't surprising that, as Penner says, "toilets have become potent symbols of human dignity and equal rights."
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THOMAS FISHER

Frederick Law Olmsted and the Campaign for Public Health

In 1858 Frederick Law Olmsted won the state-sponsored competition to design the new Central Park in New York City. The project that resulted would define Olmsted's career and establish him as the founder of the American profession of landscape architecture. In 1861 Olmsted was appointed general secretary of the newly created U.S. Sanitary Commission, charged with improving conditions at Union Army camps and hospitals. In his second article focusing on design and public health — see also "Viral Cities" — Tom Fisher explores this largely forgotten episode in Olmsted's illustrious career, and argues that it might provide a template for contemporary practitioners.
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PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001

The High Line

High Line photographs from Joel Sternfeld.
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Pratt Institute, School of Architecture

PARTNER SCHOOL

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.

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