FEATURED THIS WEEK : MICHAEL LIGHT & DAVID L. ULIN
For several years photographer Michael Light has been engaged in an aerial exploration of the arid West. Here we present a selection of his images of Los Angeles, along with an essay by David Ulin inspired by Light's daytime and nighttime views of the metropolis. As Ulin writes, if L.A. often seems like a dream, it is "a dream of substance ... a built dream, as concrete as it is abstract, an imposition of collective will. It is a three-dimensional set of hieroglyphs, a runic architecture unveiled in cloverleafs and rail yards, skyscrapers and industrial plants, dotted with small houses etched into the flats and hillsides, a narrative interposed upon the land."
For millennia water has been celebrated in cultures worldwide; today it is increasingly central to professional and scientific discussions about global sustainability. "Is it time, then, to rethink our relationship to water and how we imagine both its presence and absence in design? Can new attitudes, questions, and techniques of visualization aid us in this creative endeavor?" These are some of the questions that have inspired a new exhibition, now at Penn Design, curated by Anuradha Mathur.
For a few weeks this winter, the architecture school at Syracuse University was host to the exhibition "Marcel Breuer and Postwar America," curated by architecture students under the direction of faculty member Jonathan Massey and MoMA curator Barry Bergdoll. With its focus on lesser known works — even as the fate of Breuer's Whitney Museum remains uncertain — the exhibition illuminates unfamiliar dimensions of the great architect's legacy. As Massey says, "When you look afresh at Breuer, you find that his work unsettles what you thought you knew about postwar modernism."
What is the future of the architectural monograph? In a provocative column for Architectural Record
, Martin Filler laments what he describes as the "steady devaluation" of the format, to the point that such volumes have become "little more than glossy hardcover promotional brochures to entice an uninformed and impressionable lay clientele." Mark Lamster defends the monograph, and also looks forward to promising alternative directions, "as a new generation takes on the medium."
Earlier this year we featured Fragmented Cities
, a portfolio by photographer Alejandro Cartagena documenting the effects of urbanization, especially exurban housing, on his home city of Monterrey. Here we present another in his series, this focusing on ecological damage to the region's rivers. As Places photography editor Aaron Rothman, who curated both portfolios, says, "Lost Rivers
depicts places poised between loss and beauty, acknowledging the price of urbanization while seeking to reclaim a sense of connection with these natural spaces."
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2008
As the planet warms, rising seas will endanger coastal communities around the world. Engineer Guy Nordenson proposes a bold plan to protect New York City.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning
The unifying theme of all our activities is design. Through the design of physical spaces, and through the design of policies and technologies that shape how those spaces are used, we aim to sustain and enhance the quality of the human environment at all scales, from the personal to the global. We believe that design and policy interventions should be grounded in a commitment to improving individual human lives, equity and social justice, cultural enrichment and the responsible use of resources through creative problem-solving and project execution.