Friday, April 22, 2011
REDACTED: The Rodney Dangerfield Of Architecture & Urbanism
"NEW URBANISM is the most important phenomenon to emerge in American architecture in the post-Cold War era" Herbert Muschamps wrote in the New York Times in 2004. So how come the movement can't get no respect? Muschamps himself never said anything good about it again. In fact, he actively worked behind the scenes to keep New Urbanists off the short list in the competition to redesign Ground Zero.
[REDACTED - I'm tired of the esoteric ideologues]
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
April in New York
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Travels with my iPhone
Framed views can be even more beautiful than open views, and the Serliana is a particularly felicitous form. (The first Seaside Pavilion, Ernesto Buch, 1982)
For more iPhone travel photos, click here
"There will always be women in rubber flirting with me."
Brought to you by the experts who brought us credit default swaps, the rape of Fannie Mae, the collapse of our economy, interest free bailouts and the mega-bonuses that followed
GLOBAL CAPITALISTS have placed short term gain over long term energy conservation. American and European manufacturing was sent to China and the Far East, enabled by cheap oil for shipping and cheap coal power in China, which in a few short years has become the largest energy user in the world. In America, we sold the Chinese products in Big Box stores that used the buyers as the delivery system - another energy wasteful decision. We made a mortgage system that was guaranteed to go bust to sell people bigger houses to put these things in, and McMansions and SUVs to move between the McMansions and the Big Boxes were among the few things we did manufacture here. Now the global capitalists want shiny office towers with large trading floors and the same super luxury chains wherever their jets land - and of course jets waste energy.
To present this as green is ridiculous. But it is noticeable that someone like the World Trade Organization is successfully promoting this vision of every city remade with glass towers with large floorplates. The height of the towers, their glass skins and large floorplates are not the solutions that sustainability drives us towards, but London and Paris, not only Houston, Hong Kong and Dubai, are all moving in that direction.
From the Wall Street Journal today: Experts believe the 108-story ICC, now the fourth-tallest tower in the world, is a significant step towards the supercity of the future, which will soar into the skies amid increasing population pressures. Key to such towers is the integration of services and infrastructure, particularly transportation. The 1,588-foot ICC—which houses the Asian headquarters of Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse—is set atop a transportation hub that connects the local subway, a 20-minute express train to the airport, and railways to China.
"The ICC is a wonderful example of linkage," says Paul Katz, architect of the ICC and many other supertall structures. Bankers can fly in from New York, hop onto the airport express and enter the ICC ready to conduct business on site before zipping upward on some of the world's fastest elevators to a king-size bed at the plush Ritz. "There are considerable savings in the amount of energy not wasted in moving these people around," Mr. Katz says.
BTW, I'm not against luxury
Here's a post I sent to an internet list:
Some might wonder why I write about lunch at an expensive French restaurant on a discussion list for urbanism. Well, all urbanists should go to Paris. And if they don't visit one of the best French restaurants while they're there, they've missed one of the great experiences of French and Western civilization.
We went to lunch at Lucas Carton, a three-star restaurant in the Michelin guide, because they have a lunch menu that costs considerably less than ordering à la carte: about $55 each when the dollar is strong. We noticed that many of the items on the à la carte menu could be ordered with glasses of wine chosen by the sommelier, and asked if we could do that with the menu. We took several of the wines chosen for the same courses on the à la carte menu, and the sommelier helped us with the rest.
For Americans, it's a unique experience. Lucas Carton has one of the two or three best wine cellars in Paris, and it goes without saying that the sommelier there is a master of his profession. None of the wines he chose were overly famous or expensive, but they were all great. And we discovered that they would refill your glass for free, somewhat like the bottomless coffee cup at HoJo's. In the end, 15 glasses of wine, champagne and port cost about $60 each.In 2001, I had the lunch menu at Alain Ducasse, an eponymous restaurant that belongs to the only chef in the century-old history of the Michelin guide to have two three-star restaurants. The meal at Lucas Carton was even better, and Ducasse, as far as I know, does not have wines by the glass. If he does, he doesn't feature them as Lucas Carton does. And when you step outside after lunch and find yourself facing the Madeleine, the urbanism is that much better. Save your centimes and go to a three-star restaurant when you're in France.
Amuses bouches (shellfish in cream sauce)
Lucas Carton champagne
Scallops marinated in olive oil with herbs (for my wife)
Crozes-Hermitage "Mûles Blanche" 1998 - Jaboulet (Northern Rhône) Scallops in raviolis (for me)
Savoie Verre de Chignin V.V. 1998 - Quenard (Savoie, Chignin)
Saddle of lamb with eggplant in three styles
Bandol Château de Pibarnon 1989 (Provence)
Pauillac La Fleur de Haut-Bages Libéral 1997 (Bordeaux, Haut-Medoc)
Vanille Mille Feuilles Napoléon (for my wife)
Chocolat "Sanbamb" (for me)
Muscat de Rivesaltes 1998 - Domaine Cazes (Languedoc-Roussillon)
Biscuits and chocolates
Fonseca Port 20 Ans