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The Second Studio Podcast: Dynamics of Working for Small and Large Architecture Offices

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.

A variety of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina of FAME Architecture & Design discuss the benefits and negatives of working for small and large architecture offices as a young professional. The two share their own experiences and cover why working at different-sized offices can be beneficial.

Jane Jacobs, Cyclist

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In 1956, when car ownership and the suburban development that this enabled were just being embraced as American cultural ideals, pioneering urbanist Jane Jacobs wrote that the U.S. was becoming “an unprecedented nation of centaurs. … Our automobile population is rising about as fast as our human population and promises to continue for another generation.” She continued, “the car is not only a monstrous land-eater itself: it abets that other insatiable land-eater—endless, strung-out suburbanization.”

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Tadao Ando Transforms Historic Scuola Grande in Venice into an Exhibition Dedicated to Artist Zeng Fanzhi

A new exhibition presenting the works of artist Zeng Fanzhi has opened in the historic Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Venice, Italy. Running from April 17 to September 30, 2024, concurrent with this year’s edition of the Venice Arts Biennale, the “Zeng Fanzhi: Near and Far/Now and Then” exhibition showcases the latest breakthroughs in the artist’s practice in a space adapted by architect Tadao Ando.

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The Second Studio Podcast: An Interview with Alejandra Zaera-Polo

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.

A variety of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina of FAME Architecture & Design are joined by Architect and Scholar Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Founder of Alejandro Zaera-Polo & Maider Llaguno Architecture to discuss his background; studying architecture; working at OMA; starting his own practice; winning the Yokohama Terminal Project; teaching; his time at Princeton University; contemporary academia; and more. Enjoy!

Powerhouse Sydney Reveals Heritage Restoration Plans for Australia’s Largest Museum Institution

Powerhouse, Australia’s largest museum institution dedicated to applied arts design, and technology, has revealed the plans for a comprehensive restoration of its three sites located in Sydney, Australia, in addition to the opening of a new site in Parramatta in Western Sydney in 2025. The Powerhouse Ultimo site contains two heritage-listed buildings: the Ultimo Powerhouse and the Ultimo Post Office. The project for the renovation of this heritage location is led by a team of architects, Durbach Block Jaggers working in partnership with Architectus, Youssofzay + Hart, and landscape architects, Tyrell Studio.

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What Happened to New York City Public Housing, and How Can We Fix It?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The U.S. has a long tradition of republicanism and laissez-faire capitalism that has not favored strong federal housing policy or intervention in the housing market. Policymakers have believed that private enterprise could best provide sufficient housing and that, as with healthcare and education,[1] government involvement would bring in “socialism” and undesirable control of the free market. There are two major exceptions to this tradition: the 1937 National Housing Act, a result of the devastation of the Great Depression, and the “war on poverty,” initiated by the Johnson administration in the mid-1960s.[2] Successful as these programs were, subsequent federal housing policy has mostly been aimed at undermining them, through either malice or neglect. Instead, federal policy has mainly sought to promote home ownership, the American dream, but that approach was eviscerated by the collapse of financing due to the subprime loan crisis and its aftermath. The result is that there is currently virtually no cogent federal housing policy. Thirty-five million Americans live in substandard housing; a much larger number devote 50% of their income to a roof over their heads. Housing construction is at a historic low, and construction costs have risen so high that they are well beyond the means of the average citizen.

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New Constitution Gardens Will Be a Biodiversity Mecca

“Constitution Gardens will become a biodiversity hotspot on the National Mall,” said Adam Greenspan, FASLA, design partner at PWP Landscape Architecture. “We will create a garden, based in nature, while respecting the historic design.” Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C. opened in 1976 to commemorate the bicentennial of the American revolution. Concepts outlined in the McMillan Plan and designs by Dan Kiley and SOM shaped the landscape.

But over the past forty years, the gardens fell into disrepair and became a pass-through site on the way to other more popular destinations on the mall. Now, the second phase of a three-phase plan to revitalize the garden has been approved by the Commission of Fine Arts and National Capital Planning Commission. The design by PWP Landscape Architecture and Rogers Partners Architects will create a “new ecological landscape” designed for people and hundreds of plant and animal species.

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When Is Architectural Symbolism Hypocrisy?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Architecture mirrors the culture it is built from, while simultaneously aspiring to lead that culture. This is almost oxymoronic, since reflecting and projecting our values is an essential part of every human life, and architecture is exquisitely human. Our buildings embody us, with all of our mixed messages.

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How Can Modular Design Be Used to Revolutionize Housing Architecture?

Housing is a diverse architectural typology whose configuration is determined not only by those who design it but also by the use of those who live in it. Therefore, homes are fundamentally adaptable structures that evolve in line with their time and users, undergoing constant changes manifested in the ways of living. The house conceived today will not be the same as the one built tomorrow, so it becomes necessary to maintain a critical and profound approach to the role it plays in the built environment.

In this sense, modular architecture has consistently presented itself as a dynamic design strategy that has revolutionized housing, developing versatile solutions for sustainable spaces and construction practices. Thus, modular housing has been fertile ground for exploring and deepening ways of inhabiting space and addressing human needs. From the prefabricated catalog houses of the 19th century to the post-World War II housing boom, its evolution reflects both past proposals and the exploration of new concepts for the future.

Kéré Architecture Breaks Ground on New Childcare Center in Munich, Germany

Kéré Architecture has revealed the design for a vertical childcare center at Munich’s Technical University (TUM) in Germany. Named "Ingeborg Pohl Kinderoase an der TUM," the center will be built in wood to the extent allowed by local norms and regulations for energy efficiency, thermal comfort, fire protection, and acoustics. The new building, located between the TUM main campus and the university canteen, broke ground on April 18 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.

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The Second Studio Podcast: The Role of the Owner’s Representative

The Second Studio (formerly The Midnight Charette) is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by Architects David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features different creative professionals in unscripted conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and personal discussions.

A variety of subjects are covered with honesty and humor: some episodes are interviews, while others are tips for fellow designers, reviews of buildings and other projects, or casual explorations of everyday life and design. The Second Studio is also available on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube.

This week David and Marina of FAME Architecture & Design are joined by CEO & Founder of Peak Projects, Grant Bowen, to discuss how clients can have a successful project, Grant’s background; the role of an owner’s representative throughout design and construction; working with clients and different professionals; construction costs; fees; different project types; and more.

Concéntrico, Logroño’s Festival of Architecture and Design, Prepares Its 10th Anniversary Edition

From April 25th to May 1st, 2024, in the Spanish city of Logroño, Concéntrico prepares for its 10th anniversary edition. Envisioned as a contemplation of changing urban environments and an opportunity to share insights about these processes, this year’s International Festival of Architecture and Design incorporates new formats to engage a wider audience and explore time as a catalyst for change in urban and social design. The festival expands its program, featuring 21 installations by designers of 20 different nationalities, in addition to several other initiatives and explorations.

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Are For-Profit Developments Consistent With the Values of a Public University?

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

I am by no means an expert on public-private partnerships. But for about 10 years, as the University of California Berkeley’s campus planner and then campus architect, I watched these developments play out in higher education—sometimes from a front-row seat, sometimes as a participant. During that time, this strategy, promoted with great enthusiasm and optimism, was touted as the answer to whatever problem arose. And yet the definition of a public-private partnership was slippery. The concept itself seemed to be all things for all people, depending on what was needed, who was recommending it, and what equivalents (if any) existed outside the university. The bandwagon continues to play today, making it ever more important to nail down the pros and cons of this development strategy, not only for colleges and universities, but for all public decision-making.

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Simone Farresin From Formafantasma On Milan Design Week and the Responsibility of Designers

Simone Farresin from the Italian studio Formafantasma talks about his practice, together with his partner Andrea Trimarchi, their work, and the different approaches to projects. He also tackles their participation in the Milan Design Week, and the political role of creatives in the world.

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