PLACES : LEIGH MERRILL
When photographer Leigh Merrill lived in the Bay Area, she took thousands of photos of houses in San Francisco. The "Streets" series presented here focuses on houses in the Sunset neighborhood — images that are, as Merrill explains, digital fabrications, with each image "typically made from several photographs of individual houses combined with tens to hundreds of smaller bits and pieces from other photographs of houses." The results are images that appear to be plausible, straightforward, but are in fact illogical, even strange — like home ownership in America today, they are an unsettling mix of fantasy and reality.
OBSERVATORY : ERNEST BECK
Of course, there were big names at New York's annual furniture show, like Tom Dixon
and Patricia Urquiola
. Spain and Austria showcased their top talent with polished displays. But there was also room for upstarts.
CHANGE OBSERVER : JOHN THACKARA
Emitting messages, however clever and evocative they may be, is not the same as being with real people, in real places, who are changing their lived material reality. That's why I have a radical proposal: Consider speaking your words in a place rather than pressing "send."
CHANGE OBSERVER : ELIZABETH HELMAN MINCHILLI, ANNIE SCHLECHTER
For over two decades, chef, author and founder of Chez Panisse, Alice Waters has been working tirelessly to change the way we eat in America. Four years ago, she sent chef Mona Talbott to put her words into action at the American Academy in Rome.
PLACES : JESSE LECAVALIER
Walmart is one of the biggest corporations in the world (last year it ranked third, after Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil) and the largest private employer in the United States (the federal government is the largest employer). Since opening its first store in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962, the discount giant has become a ubiquitous, not to say defining, presence in suburbia. And now, having "saturated its rural and suburban markets," writes architect Jesse LeCavalier, it is training its sights on cities. Where some might see a threat, LeCavalier sees an opportunity — an opportunity not merely to make better-looking big boxes but to explore how architects might adapt the retailer's phenomenal expertise in logistics and operations to make better-performing environments.
OBSERVATORY : JAMES MERRILL
Look closely at the letters...
OBSERVATORY : ERIC BAKER
Here are Today's images.
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.
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.
CHANGE OBSERVER: PROJECT ARCHIVE
Report on Peepoobag, a new self-sanitizing, single-use, biodegradable container for human waste.
PLACES ARCHIVE: WINTER 2005
How to turn a lackluster midwestern campus into an international cultural destination.