We shared PRAXIS’ ninth issue with you a few days ago, and we are excited to feature their tenth issue today. Entitled Urban Matters, this issue focuses on the challenges hyper-metropolises present – specifically, as editors Amanda Reeser Lawrence and Ashley Schafer comment in their introduction, how “to mediate between expansion and liveability” to define and shape the ever changing, and ever growing, urban condition. Architecture and the urban are encouraged to be in constant dialogue; an interconnected network which balances the macro “environmental, topographic, social/political, and technological” to form, and potentially, uplift the micro urban quality of our metropolises.
An article on New Orleans explains Thom Mayne’s initiative to build upon the Make It Right Foundation’s single dwelling unit to re-think a larger scale urban transformation. The article shares a brief chronology of how the city was formed and settled – first people occupied high elevations and then moved to the lower regions after the government added the necessary levee infrastructure. Mayne’s new vision sees residents transitioning back to the higher elevations, allowing the lower terrain to return to its natural state. Andrew Colopy terms this move the “reverse-engineering” of the area, and the article is a smooth transition from Jane Amidon’s Ecologue for the Metropolis which introduces several projects exploring “entrepreneurial environments” as a way for natural environments to complement the built developments of urban areas.
One of our favorite parts of Colopy’s piece is the discussion led by PRAXIS’ editors which analyzes, discusses and questions the implications of this reverse-engineering proposal.
Mari Fujita and Matthew Soules’ 7 Points for EcoMetrolitanism proposes a complete exploitation of the relationship between the natural and the built by redefining and rethinking what we have grown accustomed to accepting. For instance, ordinary structures are transformed into ones that, in addition to functioning programatically, also address agricultural needs and even include wildlife circulation corridors. Ordinary structural pile systems now become host to an abundant ecosystem, building surfaces are faceted to include roof top vegetation and a home for birds, and interiors are fully “ecologized” with living wall papers.
The issue also includes a Hydrauli_city project by Christopher Hight, Natalia Beard and Michael Robinson that tackles the concrete chanels of Houston. These bayous present a challenge to improving the quality of the city, as they are necessary to prevent flooding, yet “obstruct the city’s civic aspirations.” With this new proposal, a network of chanels offers a new spatial language with the flexibility to adapt to differing scenarios.
Another one of our favorite parts is Frederick Tang’s Diagrammatic Urbanisms. The article explores great projects that truly redefine programmatic relationships as well as the relationship to the urban context.
Amanda Reeser Lawrence’s piece on Lincoln Center provides an indepth exploration of DS+R’s transformation of the iconic cultural entity. Complete with detailed drawings, models, and renderings, the articles provides insight into the firm’s approach and solutions for the Amsterdam Corner, Julliard Expansion, North Plaza Lawn Roof, Infopeel and Grandstair.
The issue also focuses on digitally enhanced environments as this route can “engage a culture, society, and, most importantly, an urban condition profoundly transformed by technology,” explained Ashley Schafer in her Urban Projects piece. Elizabeth Steol’s piece is a great addition as it expands upon large scale video installations and their effects on pedestrians.
As usual, PRAXIS offers a comprehensive and varied perspective with each article. The issue highlights projects of all scales as a way to address the many facets of urbanism. It is a great read for those concerned with how an extended scope can strengthen the relationship between architecture and the urban.
Amanda Reeser Lawrence | Ashley Schafer
FEATURED ARCHITECTS & DESIGNERS
Morphosis | REX | OMA+REX | Diller + Scofidio+ Renfro | Thurlow Small + Muchi East | La Dallman Architects | Supersudaca | Jonah Freeman| Howeler + Yoon | Kinecity and James Carpenter Design Associates | David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang | Khoury Levit Fong | Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Jane Amidon| Mary Fujita + Matthew Soules | Natala Beard, Christopher Hight, and Michael Robinson | Teddy Cruz | Rafael Lozano-Hemmer | Ed Keller | Elijah Huge