PLACES : DAVID HEYMANN
Earlier this week we republished J.B. Jackson's classic essay "The Westward-Moving House: Three American Houses and the People Who Lived in Them." Jackson traced three generations of a fictional American family, starting in colonial Massachusetts and then moving westward, first to the Midwest in the 19th century, then to Texas in the 1950s. Here we are pleased to feature David Heymann's contemporary continuation of this imaginative analysis of American homesteading — of the relationship between what we build and what we value.
CHANGE OBSERVER : PHIL PATTON
The National Building Museum, Time
magazine and the Rockefeller Foundation have teamed up to look at urban design in a new way. “Intelligent Cities” explores how information and the new devices that communicate it can improve the places where we live. The multi-year program includes a symposium, book and Time
-hosted website. The public is invited to contribute ideas via polls and online suggestions. Some of the results will be offered up in a publication this fall.
OBSERVATORY : ADAM HARRISON LEVY
To be a top-notch film editor you need to have the eye of a painter, the ear of a composer and the story sense of a writer. You also need the ruthlessness of a commodities trader. What can designers, architects and writers learn from the art of film editing?
OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
If an educated consumer is the best consumer, why don't social shopping sites have room for words?
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
How important is originality when it comes to book design? A while back I wrote an article about the prevalence now, particularly within the art world, of books based on the editorial structure of the dictionary. The device has turned up again in a new Magritte exhibition catalogue. Far from finding this an obvious or overused conceit, it strikes me as a perfect device for exploring the painter’s brand of Surrealism.
CHANGE OBSERVER : LAURA WEISS
Can we design nonprofits for efficiency as well as creativity?
PLACES : J.B. JACKSON
J.B. Jackson's "The Westward-Moving House," which explores the relationship of house building to cultural values over three centuries and across the American continent, was first published in 1953 in Landscape
, the journal Jackson founded and edited for many years. Over the decades the iconoclastic Jackson, who died in 1996, attracted a wide following, inspiring "several generations of designers to see the environment with fresh eyes," in the words of Herbert Muschamp. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Nevada, we are pleased to republish Jackson's classic essay.
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
Last week I was taught how to sharpen our kitchen knives by a wood carver, Howard Raybould, who's been honing his technique for 30 years. It's the most useful skill I've acquired since learning how to ride a bike.
OBSERVATORY : JESSICA HELFAND
It was the American novelist William Faulkner who once observed that we must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. So who am I to take issue with more contemporary interpretations of commemorative form?
A design critic, that's who.
OBSERVATORY : JOHN FOSTER
Accidental Mysteries, a weekly cabinet of visual curiosities curated by John Foster, highlights images of design, art, architecture and ephemera brought to light by the magic of the digital age.
PLACES : D.H. TRACY
A poem for Independence Day: "A Bronx cheer, sparklers, a bottle of root beer in each hand, to England, Salut."
OBSERVERS ROOM : JOHN THACKARA
When Jimmy Carbone, co-creator of The Good Beer Seal, was considering running for mayor of his old hometown in Haverhill, Massachusetts, he began to ponder possible new uses for industrial buildings that had fallen into disuse.