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Metropolis Magazine: The Latest Architecture and News

Surveying 100 Years of the Regional Plan Association

The Constant Future: A Century of the Regional Plan, an October exhibit at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal is a succinct yet gripping display of civic dreams selected from the imagination of the Regional Plan Association (RPA), an independent non-profit that conducts research on the environment, land use, and good governance with the intention of promoting ideas that improve economic health, environmental resiliency, and quality of life in the New York metropolitan area. The occasion is the organization’s centennial, and the show is a testament to its powerful role in developing the tri-state region. Not all of its ideas have been good, but the city owes a debt to the group’s long-term view.

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Can Local Architecture Help Cure the Ills of Globalism?

The global pause of the COVID pandemic has provided an opportunity to assess present-day globalism and the architecture that has emerged alongside it. Stemming back to the broad expansion of free trade in the 90s at the end of the Cold War, globalism’s cultural promise was simple and aspirational: integrating markets globally would increase the interaction between and learning of different cultures. By normalizing such experiences in our daily lives, we would become global citizens liberated from our previous prejudices–all well-intentioned objectives.

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3 Doctors Who Design Share What’s Energizing Health Care Architecture

Public health and the built environment have a long-intertwined history—one that was catapulted into the limelight amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The global crisis made us all acutely aware of how design, whether for dedicated medical buildings or other building types, can affect our ability to respond to health emergencies as well as our daily well-being. Those most attuned to this connection are a niche group of architecture and design practitioners who also have medical experience.

A New Book Chronicles the Turbulent History of Architectural Complexity

The marquee-busting title says it all: Joseph Giovannini’s Architecture Unbound is an ambitious attempt to explore the wilder shores of design and explain how and why maverick architects have dared greatly. It’s also a wide-ranging introduction to artists who laid the groundwork for architectural innovation a century ago; to the philosophers and theorists who mapped new ways of thinking, and to the complexities of chaos theory, parametric and software programs that have shaped exceptional buildings over the past few decades.

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Following Years of Revitalization, Detroit Still Has a Long Way to Go

Detroit is different.

We say that with confidence knowing the city’s demographics (nearly 80 percent African-American and with one of the highest poverty rates in the United States) present unique challenges to providing economic opportunity. And we say that with certainty knowing that a pernicious history of redlining, loan discrimination, and other inequities has denied Detroit’s Black majority the kind of power and say-so in design and economic development that would produce more favorable outcomes.

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Steven Holl’s Architectural Archive Preserves His Firm’s Designs and the Landscape

Steven Holl can often be found reading poetry and painting watercolors in a tiny cabin overlooking lotus flowers on the edge of a lake in Rhinebeck, New York. The cabin sits on a 28-acre reserve that Holl purchased in 2014 that now hosts Holl’s full-time office, and ‘T’ Space, a nonprofit arts organization offering creative exhibitions, environmental installations, and architectural residencies. Wrapping around several large trees and linking through a passageway to another existing 1959 cabin, the Steven Myron Holl Foundation’s Architectural Archive and Research Library, built in 2019, is the latest building to be carefully situated in the lush landscape.

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The PILARES Program Seeks to Bring Beautiful Design to Mexico City’s Neglected Neighborhoods

Most visitors to Mexico City spend their time exploring tranquil, idyllic neighborhoods like Roma and Condesa, filled with quaint buildings, bustling pedestrian promenades, and cosmopolitan attractions. But life in the Mexican capital finds most of the population on the disadvantaged side of a vertiginous inequality, defined by meager wages, the looming threat of violence, and a glaring lack of public infrastructure. The government’s attempts to address the latter have often stumbled; it is common practice for projects that require architectural expertise to be assigned to building contractors, who produce layouts lacking in any design sensibility. This even though Mexico City now boasts one of the world’s most fertile design scenes and has a strong legacy of renowned architects working in tandem with the government to produce exceptional public works—from the urban housing projects of Mario Pani to the monumental buildings of Pedro Ramírez Vázquez.

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Spirits in the Material World: A Trip to the Eames Institute

Metropolis Magazine's Kenneth Caldwell visits the Eames Ranch in Petaluma, California to unpack the goals and secrets of the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity. He explains that he may not be the best person to write objectively about the recent public launch of the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, a non-profit formed in 2019 to help us explore Charles and Ray Eames’ legacy; particularly their timeless, iterative design process; the chair he sits in every day was designed by the Eameses the year he was born, and their work has been part of his life since he was a young boy looking for the future in architecture magazines at the local public library.

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The Adjaye Associates–Designed Basquiat Exhibition Looks Beyond the Myth of the Icon

Immense fame, especially when left behind by a deceased artist, may lead to a hierarchal understanding of their legacy—leading one aspect to overshadow other crucial dimensions of their life and oeuvre. Brooklyn-born Jean-Michel Basquiat’s meteoric recognition as an artist and a cultural influence throughout the 1980s led to his energetic mind-map-like paintings being acquired widely by museums and private collections alike, in addition to being mass-marketed in a variety of products, such as fast-fashion clothing and New York-related souvenir items. Basquiat: King Pleasure, a new exhibition organized by Jean-Michel’s sisters, Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux, breaks down the myth surrounding the late artist’s legendary rise from the gritty streets of 1980s New York to a rarely-achieved artistic success.

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Manhattan’s Japan Society Explores Artist Kazuko Miyamoto’s Relationship with her Studio Architecture

Recreating the artist studio in an exhibition has always been a challenge for curators and exhibition designers––bringing in the right amount of “mess,” intricately revealing the workings of artistry, and maintaining the visual coherence are all boxes to be checked while letting the audience behind the curtain. Kazuko Miyamoto: To perform a line, Japan Society’s survey of the artist’s five-decade career in sculpture, drawing, and performance solves this challenge in ways that are both practical and poetic.

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Mariam Kamara Could Profoundly Change Design Pedagogy Everywhere

Architect Mariam Kamara—founder of Niamey, Niger-based firm Atelier Masōmī—is a contrarian of design pedagogy as it is largely practiced today. To Kamara, modern is not synonymous with European forms, architecture is not only for Westerners to define, and the so-called canon of great buildings actually ignores most of the built world. The Niger-based architect's rapidly growing practice informs a series of lectures she has delivered recently at MIT, Columbia University GSAPP, the African Futures Institute in Ghana, and Harvard GSD.

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Manhattan’s Center for Architecture Imagines the Future of Universal Design

How can Universal Design bridge the divides that have left many Americans stranded in their own communities? In its latest exhibition, Manhattan’s Center for Architecture calls for a “reset.” On view until September 3, Reset: Towards a New Commons, displays projects that “encourage new modes of living collaboratively” and “more holistic approaches to inclusion.”

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In San Francisco, the 5M Development Envisions Public and Private Space for the Future

The chance to reimagine a four-and-a-half-acre site containing both historic buildings to be preserved and lots slated for development in a major American city is rare. For the team behind 5M, a project on a nodal site in downtown San Francisco, this prospect came with exciting potential to engage with all aspects of community building and place making. Completed by SITELAB, KPF, and a host of other firms, 5M reveals a transformed, multi-use downtown site following a decade-long process.

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Esch 2022 Celebrates One of Europe’s Most Stunning Industrial Turnarounds

For quaint riverfront views, historical fortifications, and castles, head to Luxembourg. For sky-high remnants of the steel industry, there’s the country’s second largest city, Esch-sur-Alzette. Suffering, until recently, from the 1970’s steel manufacturing exodus, Esch, 10 miles to the northeast of the border of France, is emerging as an unexpected cultural mecca, where industrial infrastructure is being converted en masse into cultural and learning space. This rebirth is being celebrated thanks to a generous flow of cash via its designation as Esch2022: Esch-sur-Alzette European Capital of Culture 2022 (Kaunas, Lithuania and Novi Sad, Serbia, also named European Capital of Cultures this year, share the designation for 2022). For Esch, the title comes with $54.8 million in funds from EU, national, local, and private sources.

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Putting Ray Eames’s Design Contributions in Context

On the heels of the Eames Office’s 80th anniversary marked by an exhibition and a Ray-inspired sneaker, director Eames Demetrios spoke to Metropolis about the matriarch who continues to inspire design.

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10 Architecture and Design Books to Add to your Spring Reading List

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Courtesy of Publishers

Around the two-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little that looks the same as it did in March 2020, whether it’s how we work, how we study, or even how we move about our own homes. Many titles in this selection of spring architecture and design book releases show just how authors and design professionals are grappling with the major changes of our time. Volumes such as Debbie Millman’s Why Design Matters and Paola Antonelli’s Design Emergency share the diverse viewpoints and design solutions of some of the world’s leading creative voices; Otto von Busch’s Making Trouble and Max Holleran’s Yes to the City evaluate forms of DIY and housing activism; and Stephen Vider’s Queerness of Home and Suchi Reddy’s Form Follows Feeling tap into a more empathetic, human-centered approach to space. All of them, in some way, look at the past as a way to see clearly into the future of the built environment.

How Will the Metaverse Be Designed?

Michael Beneville opened his studio in the Flatiron district of New York City a decade ago. The renovated two-floor office has 20-foot-high ceilings, custom furniture, and a wall of arched windows that look out onto 19th Street. Beneville and his team haven’t been inside the studio together on a regular basis for months—at least not physically. The employees of the small creative studio, known for its design work on immersive experiences like Las Vegas’s mega–entertainment complex AREA15, are scattered across the country due to the pandemic, but they regularly gather in a virtual replica of the studio for meetings, sitting around a digital table, their avatars carrying digital cups of coffee.

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Cairo Modern Celebrates Egyptian Modernism and Raises the Alarm for Its Future

On view at the Center for Architecture in New York City, the exhibition features 20 projects in Cairo and a warning about the threatened future of Egypt’s Modernist heritage.

Cairo Modern, a new exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York, features 20 demolished, extant, and proposed projects in Cairo dating from the 1930s to the 1970s and also shines a light on the wrecking ball-threatening Modern architecture here and elsewhere.