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.
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."
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.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001
High Line photographs from Joel Sternfeld.
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.