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The Design Observer Group
Places

WEEKLY EMAIL: APRIL 03, 2013


The Irrational Exuberance of Rem Koolhaas

FEATURED THIS WEEK : ELLEN DUNHAM-JONES

The Irrational Exuberance of Rem Koolhaas

For decades Rem Koolhaas has been not only a leading global architect but also a restless provocateur. Ellen Dunham-Jones explores his protean career, from the early fantastical projects to the big books and bigger buildings of recent years. It's a career that has come to embody, she argues, "the inevitable contradictions in trying to marry art and capitalism, radicalism and pragmatism, icon-making and city-making."
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ARTURO SOTO & AARON ROTHMAN

Blind Views

Photographer Arturo Soto, who lives in Mexico City, is especially interested in what he calls "the visual infrastructure of the street." Soto tends to avoid, as Aaron Rothman says, the "big, recognizable views, focusing instead on the unremarkable spaces of ordinary life, where physical form is determined by patterns of everyday use and the accumulation of individual actions, more than by formal planning or design." We're pleased to present a selection of Soto's recent work.
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JAMES BARILLA

My Backyard Jungle

How do you transform your backyard into certified wildlife habitat? Environmental writer (and new homeowner) James Barilla finds the process is more like being ordained online as a minister than registering a LEED home. As he opens his yard in Columbia, South Carolina, to owls, termites, cockroaches and legless lizards, he reconsiders the meaning of urban ecology.
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NEWS FROM DESIGN OBSERVER GROUP SPONSORS

What are you doing this summer? How about studying design history, theory and practice in Italy — the birthplace of Western typographic tradition. You can at the Masters Workshop in Rome May 26-June 9, 2013.
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MFA Design Program >>
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MARK FELDMAN

Illuminating the Petrochemical Landscape

To what extent can photographs convey political and ecological content? In a review of several ambitious new projects and books, including Petrochemical America and Arctic Voices, Mark Feldman explores the challenge of blending environmental activism with artistic ambition. He focuses especially on promising collaborations among photographers, landscape architects, writers and scientists, all of which illuminate the impacts of oil on the global environment.
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SIMON SADLER

Steve Jobs: Architect

What is revealed when we contemplate the late Steve Jobs not only as a technologist extraordinaire but also as a sort of architect? And if we then compare Jobs with another complicated virtuoso, Rem Koolhaas? As Simon Sadler argues, "Jobs and Koolhaas both seem to have been driven by the possibility that they can act inside, or around, a postmodern world resistant to purpose. Both share an attraction toward design as a type of hermeneutics — a will to learn about the world through the attempt to change it."
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ARJUN APPADURAI

Housing and Hope

Today, writes Arjun Appadurai, "housing for the urban poor is intimately connected to processes that characterize the modern world: overcrowded megacities; complicated forms of taxation, credit and debt; legal structures that have turned housing into property; political systems that have made housing a pawn in high-order corruption, criminalization and political warfare." Appadurai recounts the global struggle for housing as a human right, and emphasizes the relationship of secure housing to personal dignity and full citizenship.
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Design History, Theory and Practice in Italy
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SUPPORT PLACES FORUM OF DESIGN FOR THE PUBLIC REALM

PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2001

The High Line

High Line photographs from Joel Sternfeld.
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MIT

PARTNER SCHOOL

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.

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