Saturday, November 16, 2013
New York, New England, New Marlborough
ONE of the many great things about New York City is that it's easy to get from New York to many great places. We tend to head northeast to New England.
The Berkshire mountains in Western Massachusetts are distinctly not in New York, even though many New Yorkers visit the Berkshires. There are many beautiful ways to drive there, none of which require getting on an interstate highway. You can make the trip in 2 hours, or you can make it take all day. There are also trains to Dutchess County, New York, and people are working on a reviving the old rail line, which still has daily freight trains.
I've been to old Marlborough in olde England, too. It's in our new Street Design book.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
#Bloomberg Administration London Envy Softens—City Planning Withdraws East Midtown Upzoning
"Key members of the Council said on Tuesday that the proposal — to rezone a 73-block area into a district of sleek glass towers that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said would make New York competitive with London and other world-class cities—" New York Times: End of Proposal to Raise Skyline on the East Side
The Shard—Europe's Tallest Building—pointed to by supporters of the East Midtown upzoning as the type of iconic building New York needs.The office space has no tenants, and all the apartment buyers have been absentee investors from other countries. Eighty percent of The City is owned by foreign speculators, and Britons are responsible for only one in four residential transactions in central London, because of the high prices brought about by foreign speculation. In other words, they're even worse off than New Yorkers.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Two types of architecture: good, and the other kind
THE ARCHITECTURE CRITIC for New York magazine wrote about the work of Robert A.M. Stern in an article entitled Unfashionably Fashionable. I commented:
"There are two kinds of music," Duke Ellington famously said. "Good music, and the other kind."
When I had Bob Stern as a teacher, the architectural academy and the architectural establishment were equally open-minded. Bob Stern, Peter Eisenman, Léon Krier, Michael Graves, Richard Meier and many others formed a disparate and friendly group that agreed with Duke Ellington, accepting many things (and each other), as long as they were good.
Today, we have ideologues controlling much of "the discourse" in the academy and the establishment. In musical terms, they are saying that everyone must work in the tradition of Philip Glass: Classical music, Hip Hop, bebop, jazz, folk, rock, indie rock, pop...are all verboten. They're more close minded than the Tea Party.
Is this about to change? Things like the New York article or one in the magazine of the American Institute of Architects by Aaron Betsky in which Betsky calls the traditional work of former Stern employee Tom Kligerman "breathtaking in its sophistication and beauty," suggest that maybe they are. The magazine has probably never published Kligerman's work, and has certainly never praised it before.
Worth noting: like most people other than architects, the readers of New York are not ideological about traditional or modern design. You particularly see this in New York in the hangouts of the young and the hip, where you find traditional design, modern design, and places that comfortably combine both. Craftsmanship and natural materials, both conspicuously missing in the work of most Starchitects and New York's gleaming tall towers, have been strong trends for years.