FEATURED THIS WEEK : JOSH BERTA
As designers, we solve problems. Indeed, pursuing a design education is probably the first great problem we’re tasked with solving. It all starts with uncertainty and learning, moves on into hard work and refinement, and ends (ideally) with a really simple goal: becoming a designer.
With that in mind, here is some advice to design students either starting, or starting back to school this autumn. Herewith, ten things (naturally!) in no particular order.
PLACES : BARRY BERGDOLL
For several years now, through exhibitions and workshops that explore how designers might engage such pressing topics as housing production, climate change and global poverty, Barry Bergdoll, curator of architecture and design at MoMA in New York City, has sought to expand the role of the art museum. As he says here, in an essay describing his goals: "From the start I gave myself the mandate of making the museum a platform for architecture as it is practiced now, where gallery goers could confront the process of design thinking rather than merely observe the end results. The display of beautiful buildings divorced from the contextual framework of their genesis is an old art museum paradigm — one that runs ever the risk of reducing works of architecture to so many consumer or media objects."
OBSERVATORY : THE EDITORS
We are pleased to announce that Season Seven of Design Matters with Debbie Millman will premiere on Observer Media this Friday with special guest and designer of the World Trade Center Memorial, Michael Arad.
OBSERVERS ROOM : RICK POYNOR
Richard Hamilton, who has died aged 89, was one of the finest British artists of the post-war years. He was an unusual and appealing mixture, an old-school fine artist who loved paint as a medium, measured his progress against the masters, and never gave up on what used to be called visual values; and yet at the same time, an observer with an acute awareness of design and the contemporary world.
PLACES : ARON CHANG
For half a century the single-family suburban house has dominated American homebuilding; yet during that same period household demographics and energy economics have changed dramatically. As architect Aron Chang writes, "The disconnect between the diversity of housing needs and the monotony of housing production speaks to the tenacity of the postwar American dream, as well as to the profitability of catering to it." Here Chang argues that the foreclosure crisis — which has upended both the dream and the profits — highlights the need "to rethink suburban housing: to make it responsive not to dated demographics and wishful economics but rather to the actual needs of a diversifying and dynamic population."
OBSERVERS ROOM : ROB WALKER
Likeness as object, and likeness as non-object: A striking addition to the history of pictures of people holding pictures.
OBSERVERS ROOM : ALEXANDRA LANGE
Can a blogging platform change the way you research?
OBSERVERS ROOM : MARK LAMSTER
This week, a new exhibition opens at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp dedicated to the painter's work as an architect. Rubens was a man of many talents beyond the profession for which he is best known—among them, he was a gifted statesman, book designer, and antiquarian. Architecture was another field in which he could engage his absurdly grand intellect. In celebration of the show, to follow is an excerpt from my book on Rubens, Master of Shadows, describing the house as it was in his time.
PLACES : MIMI ZEIGER
In this latest installment of her ongoing series on interventionist tactics in DIY urbanism, Mimi Zeiger looks at a range of projects, from community gardens and food trucks to pop-up markets in shipping containers to small business incubators in an old steel city. She then asks a tough question: How do we evaluate these kinds of projects? As Zeiger asks, how do we judge "
ephemeral works that skirt the edges of activist art and community organizing? How do we measure the impacts of ambiguously defined and informal activities that are not only creative and civic but also emotionally charged?"
CHANGE OBSERVER : RACHEL SIGNER
Leif Percifield, a graduate student at Parsons, who describes himself as a “Hacker, Interactive Developer, and Geek,” hopes to install a prototype of a sensor that will allow New York City sewers to “talk back” to residents.
OBSERVATORY : ADAM HARRISON LEVY
In 2006 Henry Singer produced and directed The Falling Man
, a 90 minute documentary for Channel 4 Television in the UK. The film was screened in over 30 countries and was nominated for an International Emmy in 2006.
The following is an interview with Henry Singer. It took place on September 4, 2011.
A totally unvarnished and uncoated look at what goes on behind the glossy world of print production.Off Register >>
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CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Unemployed workers retrofit their former business cards to send hopeful messages.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2008
In creating a new U.S. embassy in Berlin, architectural design is just one of the challenges.