FEATURED THIS WEEK : MITCHELL SCHWARZER
In these early days of the digital revolution, the introduction of game-changing, paradigm-shifting technology can seem almost ordinary. Here, in the first of a two-part essay, architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer explores how technology — especially the real-time, mediating imageries of augmented reality — influences how we perceive and inhabit place. "We're in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place," he writes, "as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society." Today, he argues, the "convergence of mobile phone, camera, wireless Internet and satellite communication — the key ingredients of the digital handheld — accelerates the reconstitution of place from real, occupied space to a collage of here and there, past and present." We will feature part two tomorrow.
BRIAN DAVIS, JULIENNE SCHAER
This spring saw the openings of Pier 1 and Pier 6, the first phases of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a major transformation of the former industrial waterfront of New York City's most populous borough. To mark the occasion, landscape designer and journalist Brian Davis interviewed landscape architect Matthew Urbanski, principal of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Their conversation focused on the design and construction of Pier 1, and on the challenges of both continuing and extending the city's extraordinary legacy of public parks, including Frederick Law Olmsted's Prospect Park. To complement the interview, we are pleased to include a slideshow of photojournalist Julienne Schaer's images of the park under construction. This is the first of an occasional series on Places of interviews with leading landscape architects.
In the second part of his two-part essay — please see the first installment, below — architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer continues to examine how the mediating technologies of augmented reality, combined with rapidly proliferating social networking sites, are reshaping the experience of place. "Like spiking a drink," Schwarzer writes, "Augmented reality punches up both our visual field and our consciousness." And what is more, he argues, the new technologies promise to bring about "nothing less than a new epoch of social relations."
ALEJANDRO BAHAMóN, MARIA CAMILA SANJINéS
Earlier this spring we featured The Art of Solid Waste
, a public art project at a solid waste transfer station in Phoenix, Arizona, by photographer Paho Mann, that illuminates the nature of what we throw away. Here architect Alejandro Bahamón and artist Maria Camilo Sanjinés spotlight an important emerging trend — the reuse of waste in works of architecture. The projects range widely in scale and material, from a hikers' refuge in the Chilean Patagonia constructed from discarded timber, to school additions in Cape Town that repurpose old tires, to a public art project assembled from old refrigerators.
When photographer Leigh Merrill lived in the Bay Area, she took thousands of photos of houses in San Francisco. The "Streets" series presented here focuses on houses in the Sunset neighborhood — images that are, as Merrill explains, digital fabrications, with each image "typically made from several photographs of individual houses combined with tens to hundreds of smaller bits and pieces from other photographs of houses." The results are images that appear to be plausible, straightforward, but are in fact illogical, even strange — like home ownership in America today, they are an unsettling mix of fantasy and reality.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1983
Just before his death in 1984, the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch compiled a list of topics he thought important for the future of cities. The list is as relevant as ever.
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.