Oculus - Spring 2015 - (Page 44)
Raves + Reviews
Bricks & mortals: ten Great Buildings
and the people they made
By Tom Wilkinson
This is a fascinating but often exasperating study of
how 10 signal buildings are intertwined with their
patrons and stewards. Wilkinson, history editor of
The Architectural Review, believes these projects
embody critical ideas about architecture, its roles,
and its trajectory. Their greatness lies in the debate
they stimulate and the issues they raise.
The Tower of Babylon represents the use of
architecture as a symbol of power. The Great
Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali, is
discussed as an object of memory and a target
of the author's dissatisfaction with the politics of
world heritage sites. Renaissance Florence gave us
Giovanni Rucellai's palazzo: a home, banking headquarters, and example of architecture as both art
and business. This launches Wilkinson's skewering
of modern corporate architecture and real estate
Other projects illustrate how architecture is
entangled with broader issues: Beijing's Garden
of Perfect Brightness with colonialism; Wagner's
Spartan Theatre in Bayreuth as a model of public
entertainment space; Ford, Fordism, and factory
architecture with the industrial process; Eileen
Gray's E-1207 house in Cap Martin as a tale of
love, sex, and the mad resentment of LeCorbusier
for her design achievement; Tecton's Finsbury
Health Centre as an example of Modernism, with
all its tropes, in service of the social good; and
Niemeyer's footbridge in Rocinha, a favela in Rio
de Janeiro, symbolic of the future, looked at with
both favor and dismay. Wilkinson believes that architecture can address the problems of the modern
world, particularly the affordable housing shortage,
but is neither oriented nor organized to do so. It is
hard to disagree with this conclusion.
tales of two cities: paris, london
and the Birth of the modern city
By Jonathan Conlin
This is the story of how Paris and London, Europe's
two major capital cities and rivals, competed, collaborated, copied, and bested one another in developing features we regard as fundamental elements
of modern urban life. From the mid-18th century
Oculus Spring 2015
revieWs BY s tA n LeY s tA rk , fA iA
to 1914, these cities traded influence as they spun
toward the future.
Conlin studies six areas where this collaboration and cross-learning had an innovative effect:
the emergence of high-density apartments for
residents of all socioeconomic levels; transformation of the hazardous urban streets into pedestrian-friendly thoroughfares; the development of the
urban restaurant and the phenomenon of dining
out; the evolution of theaters, music halls, and
public entertainment; efforts to make the urban
environment safer; and the integration of cemeteries into meditative urban space.
The underlying theme is that the processes by
which urban environments improve and grow is
wired into us. We benefit from the crosscurrents of
insight and influence from rivals who also have the
capacity to be collaborators.
New York: Bloomsbury USA,
2014. 352 pp. $21.99
Berkeley: Counterpoint Press.
2013. 312 pp. $30
Noted but Not Reviewed
visionaries in urban development:
15 Years of the uli J.c. nichols prize Winners
By Trisha Riggs, et al.
This book documents the winners of the Urban
Land Institutes J.C. Nichols Prize since the program began in 2000. Familiar names and remarkable achievements inspire and motivate land use
professionals in both private and public sectors.
Washington, DC: Urban Land
Institute, 2014. 2014.
140 pp. $59.95
american urban form:
a representative history
By Sam Bass Warner and Andrew H. Whittemore
The evolution of a typical American city is depicted
by drawing on the histories of Philadelphia, Boston, and New York and creating a mythical city
that embodies key elements of all three.
Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012.
200 pp. $14.95
preservation is Overtaking us
By Rem Koolhaas, with a supplement by Jorge
Koolhaas's 2004 essay about preservation law and
timelines; his 2009 Bayard Memorial Lecture on
recent work, museums, preservation, and starchitecture; and OMA's Preservationist Manifesto.
Stanley Stark, FAIA, served as chair of the Oculus
Committee from 2005 to 2007.
New York: GSAPP Books,
2014. 104 pp. $22.95
Dialogues from the Edge of Practice
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2015
First Words Letter from the President Repositioning All Around By Tomas Rossant, AIA
Letter from the Editor The Edge of New By Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA
Center for Architecture Center Highlights
One Block Over Rough Waters: Squalls continue over the redevelopment of South Street Seaport By Claire Wilson
Opener: Thinking Into Other Boxes By David Zach
Mars in the Bronx CASE gets new environmental technologies out of labs and into buildings at (relative) warp speed By Jonathan Lerner
Spinning Research Into Practice Intense experimentation with digital technologies is yielding remarkable designs and products by ARO By Lisa Delgado
A Results-Oriented Think Tank Defining architectural practice broadly enough to include research, theory, and public discourse, Grimshaw’s Urban Research Unit is a full-circle activity leading to a richer built environment By Bill Millard
The Resilience Factor Perkins+Will is making resilience design and planning a growing area of practice and income By Richard Staub
Socrates at the Drafting Table REX champions a slow thinktank architecture of methodical problem-solving By Janet Adams Strong
Architecture in the Social Data Era Transforming our practice to engage new data sources and design intents By Melissa Marsh
Museum as Incubator The New Museum hatches a multidisciplinary workspace to nurture creative entrepreneurs By Julia van den Hout
When Bottom-up Meets Top-down The benefits of community engagement in post-disaster rebuilding plans By Deborah Gans, FAIA
In Print Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made By Tom Wilkinson Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the Birth of the Modern City By Jonathan Conlin Visionaries in Urban Development: 15 Years of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize Winners By Trisha Riggs, et al. American Urban Form: A Representative History By Sam Bass Warner and Andrew H. Whittemore Preservation is Overtaking Us By Rem Koolhaas, with a supplement by Jorge Otero-Pailos Reviews by Stanley Stark, FAIA
31-Year Watch Architectural practice once embraced dinner plates and candlesticks produced by Swid Powell By John Morris Dixon, FAIA
Last Words Eve of Construction By Rick Bell, FAIA
Index to Advertisers Alphabetical & Categorical Index
Oculus - Spring 2015
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