Oculus - Spring 2015 - (Page 11)
Letter from tHe editor
f ever there was a city that represented a place
"on the edge" of just about everything - architecture, design, art, fashion, technology, even politics
(never mind miles of shorelines) - it's New York.
So winnowing down an impressive list of firms,
architects, and projects to highlight in an issue
themed "Dialogues From the Edge of Practice" was
no easy task. What is the "edge of practice"? We decided to focus on four areas where architects have
extended themselves beyond the traditional scope
of architecture: Research, Practice, Incubator, and
Advocacy. How better to kick things off than with
futurist David Zach's exhortation for architects to
"think into other boxes."
Research being done by the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology, a collaboration between SOM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, is
bringing building and environmental technologies
out of the lab and into real-world applications at
space-race speed. ARO's experimentation with
digital technologies has led the firm to take what
some might consider a mundane material (felt!) to
new levels of sophistication - and a new product
line. And Grimshaw's NY/London think tank uses
research, theory, and public discourse to create better built environments.
Perkins+Will has devised new tools for design
research that uses big data in resilience design
and planning, resulting in new service areas - and
revenue streams. REX considers contract details
as important as any design challenge, employing a sort of "architectural therapy" with its
clients. Melissa Marsh, an organizer of AIANY
Professional Practice Committee's Transforming
Architectural Practice series, explains how engaging new data sources can transform architectural
practices. The New Museum's incubator NEW
INC is designed by SO-IL and Gensler to nurture multidisciplinary entrepreneurs. Last, but
certainly not least, Deborah Gans, FAIA, outlines
why it's so important to advocate for communities
to be involved in post-disaster planning of their
In our regular departments, "One Block Over"
looks at the choppy waters lapping at the feet of
redevelopment plans for the South Street Seaport
historic district. "In Print" cheers Bricks & Mortals:
Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made,
and Tales of Two Cities: Paris, London and the
Birth of the Modern City, and several other tomes.
Swid Powell's eclectic lines of tabletop accessories,
designed by some of the design industry's most notable names thinking out of the box, is the subject
of "31-Year Watch."
When I joined Interiors magazine in 1989, one
of my first assignments was to check out the justcompleted Natural Resources Defense Council's
NYC headquarters on West 20th Street, designed
by Croxton Collaborative Architects. It was considered one of the first "green" projects back in the
day, when many architects, designers, clients - and
editors - weren't really sure what "green" meant.
It was so cutting-edge, so out-there, that many
poo-poo'd it as a passing fashion that would never
catch on, was too costly to go mainstream, or was
pie-in-sky idealism signifying not much. Fortunately, more thoughtful - and optimistic - minds
prevailed. Today, sustainable design is considered
the norm and, in many places, is mandatory.
As Forrest Gump might have said, life is like riding the crest of a wave - always moving forward, but
always on the edge. What will tomorrow's edge be?
The Edge of New
Editor on the edge.
Kristen Richards, Hon. AIA, Hon. ASLA
Correction: In the Winter 2014 feature "Hello, We're at a Place Called Vertigo," the credit list for 432 Park, pg. 25, should have
included Reginald Hough Associates as concrete consultant.
Dialogues from the Edge of Practice
Spring 2015 Oculus
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