OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER
A few weeks ago I was assigned a magazine story about the architecture program of Woodbury University, a little-known school with a large Hispanic population drawn from its Los Angeles environs. I figured, and I think my editors did too, that it would be interesting to shine a little light on this small and neglected corner of the profession. I started calling around, and couldn't immediately find anyone who knew much about the school or had much of a sense about Hispanic architects, beyond the assumption that there are not too many of them.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
A premise of Joseph Giacomin's new book Thermal
is that global warming is hard to ignore when you view the world through thermal eyes.
Hard, but not impossible, to ignore. We humans are skilful evaders of uncomfortable truths.
OBSERVATORY : PHIL PATTON
When it was new, 50 years ago, the Selectric was a technological tour de force. The idea of an electric typewriter had been around for a long time, but the birth was difficult. Neither Remington nor Underwood nor any of the mainstream typewriter companies brought it into the world; instead, it was IBM, which was better known in those pre-computer days for calculators and card sorters — and only after decades of effort.
CHANGE OBSERVER : JONATHAN SCHULTZ
“Jamie was talking about Food Revolution being embodied by a kind of food truck,” says David Rockwell. “In a moment of euphoria ... [I] told him I’d be happy to design it.”
PLACES : MIMI ZEIGER
In the second installment of her series on creative responses to challenging times, Mimi Zeiger explores guerilla and DIY urbanist tactics that make ingenious use of print media. Zeiger focuses on multiple actions, from illegal posters announcing hypothetical developments in Katrina-worn New Orleans to guides distributed by urban design activists in New York City to the hastily printed-out pamphlet that helped Egyptian citizen-protestors overthrow an antidemocratic regime. Even in the digital era, Zeiger suggests, print remains a powerful, sometimes irreplaceable tool.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Welcome to Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities set aside for your perusal and enlightenment.
OBSERVER MEDIA : DEBBIE MILLMAN
In this audio interview with Debbie Millman, Jonathan Ford discusses going on eighteen job interviews before being hired by Michael Peters, his belief that a good idea cannot come from a computer, his interest in fear and the importance of doing work that is truthful.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
In a recent post about the British writer J.G. Ballard, I explored the idea of the “Ballardian” image and the ways that some designers and image-makers have interpreted it. Here, I want to consider an artist based in France whose paintings are the most Ballardian I have ever seen. So far as I am aware Peter Klasen has never been discussed previously in relation to Ballard or his writing.
OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER
Much in the spirit of MoMA's recent "Small Scale, Big Change" exhibition of socially engaged architecture, New York's Center for Architecture recently opened its own show
of design for the under-served, "Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities." While there's no precise English translation for the term jugaad
, make-do or jury-rigged approximate the idea. The show's subject is India, but the message is clear: the jugaad spirit is applicable the world over.