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Witold Rybczynski: The Latest Architecture and News

Witold Rybczynski on Charleston, Small Scale Development, and the Need for “Locatecture”

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

In late May, my friend Witold Rybczynski published Charleston Fancy: Little Houses & Big Dreams in the Holy City (Yale University Press), about a group of architects and developers building small infill housing in Charleston, South Carolina. Having recently witnessed too much large scale development in my hometown, Boston, the topic piqued my interest so I called up Witold to talk about his new book.

Twitter Critics React to Frei Otto's Posthumous Pritzker

The sudden and unexpected announcement of the Pritzker Prize yesterday evening sent shockwaves through the architecture world. With the sad death of the Prize's latest laureate Frei Otto on Monday, the Pritzker made the unprecedented decision to announce the winner two weeks early, ensuring that Otto's final, crowning achievement would make its way into the obituaries of this great man.

Of course, despite the sudden nature of the announcement, the many critics on Twitter were on hand to lend their initial thoughts in what was an interesting mix of congratulations, sadness and nostalgia. Read on after the break for all the reactions.

In Defense of Locatecture: Why We Should Move Away From Globalized Models Of Architecture

"Today, European architects regularly work in the United States, Americans work in Europe, and everybody works in Asia. This globalization of architecture would seem like a good thing for us and it's obviously good for (many) architects. [...] Architecture, however, is a social art, rather than a personal one, a reflection of society and its values rather than a medium of individual expression. So it's a problem when the prevailing trend is one of franchises particularly those of the globe trotters: Renzo, Rem, Zaha and Frank. It's exciting to bring high-powered architects in from the outside. [...] But in the long-run it's wiser to nurture local talent; instead of starchitects, locatects."

"Design Mind" Witold Rybczynski Discusses His Latest Work

While most of the profession looks forward, author Witold Rybczynski is focused on the past. Named 2014's “Design Mind” by the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum earlier this month, Rybczynski writes about historical buildings to give a better understanding of modern architecture. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Rybczynski talks about his latest book “How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit,” the dangers of “celebrity” architecture, and his favorite non-designer chair. Check out the full interview here.

Brooks + Scarpa, Witold Rybczynski Win Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award

Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa of Brooks + Scarpa have been recognized for their “leadership in sustainable and socially progressive design” by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The Los Angeles-based architects will receive one of 10 National Design Awards given by the Museum in honor of “lasting achievement in American Design.”

Witold Rybczynski, writer and professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, will also receive a National Design Award for his many written contributions to architecture, urbanism and design. 

A complete list of the 2014 National Design Award winners, after the break...