David Assael

The best of Postopolis! L.A.

Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee Interview

! LA has come to an end (at least for 2009). ! was discussion, debate and reflection around Architecture and a great variety of related topics: Art, City, Technology, Geography, Visualization, etc., which merged into a multidisciplinary conversation broadcasted live by seven different blogs. It’s impossible to resume in a couple of paragraphs what this days in LA were without thinking we suffered a big overdose of information that we need to take the proper time to digest.

Trying to sort out some ideas, I think at least five topics defined these days for us.

The event for itself, that concentrated expositions and discussions about some very interesting and diverse topics. From talks about the city and security with people from the LA Police Department to understand how some cities are reformulating the relation between cities and their citizens through technology, thanks to Ben Cerveny’s exposition. Complete list of everyone who participated can be found here.

In these five days we had the opportunity to interview some of the best exposers of Contemporary Architecture based in LA. Yo-Ichiro Hakomori (wHY Architecture), Dwayne Oyler & Jenny Wu (Oyler Wu Collaborative), Whitney Sander (Sander Architects), Sarah Johnston & Mark Lee (Johnston MarkLee) and Austin Kelly (XTEN Architecture), Eric Oweb Moss (Eric Owen Moss Architects), and some others we will introduce soon.

Of course, being in LA, we were forced to travel through the city and it’s renowned highways. We realized how hard it is to move without owning a vehicle. But we also got to know a friendly side of the city, with many interesting and different central places to visit.

Finally, a special mention for the place where Postopolis! was carried out: The Standard Hotel in Downtown LA, a great renovation of a 13 floor building by Konig Eizenberg Architecture, where it seems that everything was specially design for the hotel which has one of the most interesting rooftops of LA.

At the same time, Postopolis! was part of the LA Art Week, organized by the For Your Art foundation, so we were immersed in a great cultural environment. Finally, our most sincere thanks to everyone who made Postopolis! possible, specially to everyone who works at The Storefront for Art and Architecture (Joseph, Gaia, Cesar, José, Faris), For Your Art (Bettina, Devin, Julia, Melissa), to the folks at the Standard Hotel, each one of the curators: BLDGBLOG (Geoff), City of Sound (Dan), SubTopia (Bryan), Mudd Up! (Jayce a.k.a. dj/Rupture), We Make Money Not Art (Regina) and of course, every guest who gave life to the event. Thanks to all!

Images that try to resume these 5 days in LA, after the break.

Architecture and Influence: Brad Pitt

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It’s no mystery that you don´t need to graduate from architecture school at university to become an architect – just ask Le Corbusier, Mies or Frank Lloyd Wright.

Clearly didn´t go to school either, but trust me that I wouldn´t be too surprised to see him receiving an architect award or the honorary title from a renowned US university. Who´s more “architect”? The one that went to school and never built, o the one who didn´t went to school and builds?

Despite the fact that he states that “whilst acting is my career, architecture is my passion”,  not only he has more work that most of the architects i know.  As if announcing a 800 room sustainable hotel in Dubai wasn´t enough, he spent his visit to Washington DC meeting senators and congressmen -such as Nancy Pelosi, as pictured above-  to gather support for this project/foundation Make It Right, aiming to develop housing prototypes for the reconstruction of New Orleans.

This project works with practices such as MVRDV, Shigeru Ban and Morphosis, who developed 13 prototypes for the first stage to consolidate a 150-house neighborhood, having 90 financed so far thanks to donations to his foundation.

On previous news about Brad Pitt and his passion for architecture, several people commented that this was just an actor´s caprice… I would take this more seriously.  The fact of studying at an architecture school or not  seems very irrelevant to me, compared to the smart way on using his fame and exposition to develop and finance architectural projects, such as his house, a multi million dollar hotel, restaurants and interiors with Frank Ghery or a foundation to rebuild New Orleans, getting goverment´s attention and raising dozens of millions of dollars, something that lots of architects would really like to.

I´ve heard of very succesful architects coming from totallly unrelated backgrounds, such as finances… it seems that Hollywood and architecture don´t work bad either.

But beyond the anecdotal aspect, I think that what´s remarkable on this is how an “outsider” to the architecture world is able to give us a good teaching on how to origin, develop and finance an interesting project such as MIR making a good use of his available resources, such as public image and influence on this case.

Massimiliano Fuksas and the conflict

This morning we had the honor of interviewing Massimiliano at the chilean .

It was a great interview, along with others we conducted during this last month, that we are going to publish soon, so be ready.

After the interview, we continued talking down the hall with Mr Fuksas about the conception of his projects, and all of a sudden he asks “can i draw it?” and while i was looking for some paper, he just took out his pencil and started drawing on a column at the museum where the Biennale is being held. On the above picture you can see the relation between Fuksas’s mind and heart, on which according to his explanation the importance is on the space between them: the conflict. Something very interesting that i can’t explain here, but i hope that you can understand from the interview.

After that it came the funny part, as the museum staff noticed this “graffiti” and freaked out, since the Contemporary Art Museum is an ancient building. Some wanted to erase it, some wanted to frame it. But it’s still there, and will stay until the Biennale ends next weekend.

YAMoPo 2008: Yet Another Most Popular Architecture Sites Ranking

We are architects, and during the last few years we have been reading and commenting on several architectural websites. As many of you do, we love to watch, learn and discuss about architecture online, with people from around the world. One day we decided to put all these sites together to get the whole picture on architectural sites, and then order them according to our likings. But in the meanwhile, we noticed it wasn’t that easy, because each one of us had different interests and approaches.  In our listings, several sites were repeated, but in different places.

So, we decided to find a way to make a standardized procedure to rank and order these sites. Then we noticed Michiel van Raaij at Eikonographia repeated the ranking he started in 2007, the MoPo (Most Popular Architectural Blogs). Although Michiel did a very accurate job, he restricted it to English blogs from individual authors, leaving out several of our favorite blogs from either foreign languages or multiple authors, and some other sitess that mix architecture with other related subjects (design, sustainability, trends, etc).

To expand this rank, we decided to put together some common criteria. The most logical criteria should be the amount of visitors, but this is almost impossible since most sites don’t publish these stats. But there are some other factors you can use to measure the relevance of a website: (a) Rank of websites based on an estimate of their traffic, by Alexa, (b) Google Page Rank and (c) and the frequency of the updates, an average of the entries published in the last 2 months (done by us). That´s how we came up with (Yet Another MoPo).