FEATURED THIS WEEK : JONATHAN MASSEY
"So you want to change the world? Start by changing the built environment." Here architect and educator Jonathan Massey offers a guide, "idiosyncratic and partial," to activism through architecture. Massey describes how the cumulative effects of comparatively ordinary activities — voting, shopping, building a house, organizing a community, throwing a party — can make our lives better — more just, responsible, connected and convivial.
CENTER FOR LAND USE INTERPRETATION
Every year 28 million barrels of petroleum are extracted from the 41 fields located within Los Angeles — making L.A. the most urban oil-producing site in the nation. Created by the Center for Land Use Interpretation, and now on exhibit at its gallery in Culver City, Urban Crude
photo-documents this metropolitan petroscape — paying special attention to the myriad efforts to camouflage the fact that some 5,000 wells remain active in the second most populous city in the U.S.
, marking ten years of the National Design Awards program, opened last month at the Cooper-Hewitt. Mimi Zeiger describes an exhibition that balances a celebration of innovative (and often pricey) artifacts with recognition of our recessionary times.
In 2004 the U.S. Congress designated the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City the nation's official World War I museum. Today it will be the scene of ceremonies commemorating the signing of the armistice that ended the war on November 11, 1918. Places contributing editor Keith Eggener traces the architectural history of a once-celebrated design, and sees in its austere classicism a road not taken for American modernism.
RENATA STIH, FRIEDER SCHNOCK
For two decades the Berlin-based conceptual artists Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock have been creating provocative works of public art exploring questions of German memory, history, politics and identity. Here they curate a selection of projects and images, containing and referencing multiple works, to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall.
JAN OTAKAR FISCHER
In August 1961 the German Democratic Republic began to construct the Berlin Wall, and for almost three decades the 96-mile-long concrete barrier encircled West Berlin, isolating it from the communist-ruled GDR. On November 9, 1989, with the politburo's decision to open the border crossings, the wall effectively fell. Berlin-based architect–writer and Places contributing editor Jan Otakar Fischer remembers the transformative events of '89, recounts the failed effort to create a national reunification memorial, and explores the still charged questions of German identity and memory.
PLACES ARCHIVE: SUMMER 1983
A 1983 interview with James Turrell, then beginning his transformation of the Roden Crater. The monumental work is scheduled to open to the public in 2012.
University of Michigan, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning
The fields of architecture and urban planning are poised to undergo dramatic
changes. Beginning in the nineties, we saw the emergence of the "star"
architect as a cultural force and the consolidation of architecture as an agent
for physical and economic change in cities across the world. The 2008 Summer
Olympics in Beijing were a culmination of this era and a demonstration of the
potential power of architecture. However, this model of practice has already
shown its limits, its weaknesses, and its flaws. It is safe to say that a new
generation of practitioners will not be able to follow in the footsteps of its
predecessors and, more importantly, should not.