FEATURED THIS WEEK : ALEXANDRA LANGE
When I first saw the house that is now my home, it was hardly in an appealing state. Every window was obscured layers of screens, shutters and (amateur) stained glass. The bathroom was encrusted in pink-orange Mexican tiles, with trim to match. The living room walls looked like they were covered in moldy cork, actually wallpaper. I saw a man walk in, blanch, and walk out the front door of the open house. Maybe it is only natural that, from the moment I entered, I wanted the furniture more than I wanted the house.
PLACES : CENTER FOR URBAN PEDAGOGY
You turn on the tap and the water flows. You press the lever and the toilet flushes. But where does your drinking water come from? And where does the wastewater go? A team of staff and students from the Brooklyn-based Center for Urban Pedagogy set out to answer these most basic of urban questions, and the result is The Water Underground
. The 24-minute video tracks the complex — and aging and sometimes contested — systems of water supply, treatment and waste that serve New York City. Continuing our affiliation with CUP, which began with Bodega Down Bronx
, we are pleased to feature the video.
OBSERVATORY : HELEN CHANG
Turn-of-the-century Vienna was a magical, infectious brew. Take any city tourist brochure, and names from Vienna's years as an apogee of art and culture spill out: Klimt, Freud, Schoenberg, Wittgenstein, Loos, the list goes on. Viennese children's book illustrations at the time were no exception.
PLACES : UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND
The University of Maryland has selected David Cronrath as the new dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Cronrath brings to the school experience in the post-Katrina restoration of Louisiana and a commitment to building a sustainable future.
PLACES : BETH WEINSTEIN
"Throughout the global architectural community there is a concern and interest, if not obsession, with the development of compact, self-sustaining dwellings," writes architect Beth Weinstein in her review of Self-Fab House
, a compilation of the results of a competition sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia. Weinstein questions the preponderance of schemes that feature lone houses in the wilderness — the self-fab primitive hut — yet commends the optimism of many of the proposals, and also their openness to new materials, ranging from algae to nanogel, inner tubes to biodegradable plastic.
OBSERVATORY : ERIC BAKER
Here are Today's videos.
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Peepoobag, a new self-sanitizing, single-use, biodegradable container for human waste.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 1983
Just before his death in 1984, the influential urban planner Kevin Lynch compiled a list of topics he thought important for the future of cities. The list is as relevant as ever.