30 January 2013

Live Blog: WXY

The liveblog is back but I am not sure for how long or how lengthy the entries will be...

Mark Yoes and Claire Weisz
Founding partners of WXY Architects

The Social Life of (Infra) Structures

 Malls and sprawl in Dallas
 Completely commodified public space
 but architecture school ignore these issues and didn't engage the world around them
    instead it emphasized an inner coherence that was primarily about architecture itself

In school more influence came from
Peter Eisenman
Italian neorationalism like Aldo Rossi

"Then I met JB Jackson"
He saw the landscape differently
He could see both its good and bad qualities simultaneously
Strip development was crass, but its crassness was an American form of expression

Their Battery Bosque kiosk was meant as something unique to the Battery but also something that could easily be reinterpreted for other cities

They also talked about some different designs at Rockaway Beach.

We are entering an age when even roads are suddenly being viewed and designed as a remarkable multi-purpose structure that is for far more than just cars

This week is the 100th anniversary of Grand Central Station, so you might also want to peek at the WXY proposal for that landmark.

29 January 2013

Lecture by WXY tomorrow

On Wednesday, Mark Yoes and Claire Weisz, the founding partners of WXY Architects, will discuss how they manipulate architectural tectonics to create infrastructures that enhance social interaction. WXY Architects is currently engaged in the feasibility study for a visitor's center for Rutgers Gardens.

The lecture, which is open to the public, will be held in Rm. 110 Cook Douglass Lecture Hall @ 4 PM. (http://ruevents.rutgers.edu/events/displayEvent.html?eventId=75495)

Matt Ball on the Geodesign Summit

GIS reporter Matt Ball of Vector1 Media has been actively reporting about last week's Geodesign Summit in Redlands, CA. His articles already cover:

But I bet he has a few more that will drop in the coming days, so keep an eye out for them.

28 January 2013

Digitally manipulated landscapes

 Photographer Robert Schlaug has produced a fascinating series of landscape photographs that Slate reviews. They explain his technique this way:

Schlaug feels his images appear as a cross-section of landscape that lure the viewer into believing they are seeing something below the surface of the land. It’s an intentional trick that is meant to keep the viewer looking at the image for a longer period of time.
But there is something else about the landscapes he has chosen. Many are seemingly mundane, working landscapes. With his selection, though, these landscapes are transformed into a place of focus.

25 January 2013

23 January 2013

Student work presented

The Milltown Council recently heard a presentation by Rutgers' Dr. Jean Marie Hartman on the work of the Lawrence Brook regional design studio.Full report here.

22 January 2013

15 January 2013

Trove maps

The National Library of Australia has created an online treasure trove of documents called, appropriately, Trove. Check out the diverse international map collection,

11 January 2013

Quote about thinking

[There is a] rather widespread belief that thinking must interfere with doing. …  [But] both ordinary people and professional practitioners often think about what they are doing, sometimes even while doing it.
–Donald Schön

08 January 2013

Geodesign International Conference

2013 Geodesign International Conference will be held in October 28-29, 2013 in Beijing, China. This conference will be the joint effort of Peking University and ESRI, building upon recent advances in the US and elsewhere.

Many internationally renowned researchers, such as Carl Steinitz, Stephen Ervin, Bill Miller, Mike Goodchild, Ian Bishop, Christophe Girot, Henk Scholten, Doug Olson, as well as many other Geodesign related professionals will involve in the conference as keynote speakers or participants. 

07 January 2013

Public safety vs. Private property rights

After Hurricane Sandy, there was a period of time during which New Jerseyans set aside political and personal differences to better their battered communities. But a story in the Star-Ledger suggests that is waning down in Toms River.

Shortly after the storm (11/18/12), the Star-Ledger's MaryAnn Spoto reported on a fairly clear correlation: areas with healthy coastal dune systems suffered limited damage while those with weak dunes experienced greater damage. Both scientists and politicians acknowledged this relationship, with Spoto offering this notable piece of evidence:

"If you look at the towns that have had engineered beaches, up and down the state, those are the towns whose damage was minimal," Gov. Chris Christie said during a visit to Monmouth County last week. "Other towns that didn’t, the damage was much greater. I think that’s a lesson for us as we move forward." 
 She also singled out one spot as being among the clearest for these issues:

By contrast, the Ortley Beach section of Toms River had the lowest and thinnest dunes — 10 to 12 feet high and less than 50 feet wide — and it sustained the most damage on the coast, Farrell said.
But now (1/5/12) Spoto reports that some Toms River property owners are keeping the municipality from building new post-storm dunes. With just 2 or 3 exceptions, the owners are refusing to sign over an easement along the shorefront, preventing the town from building the protective dunes. Not only does a delay leave open the possibility of new damage from a Nor'Easter, but it might also cause the town to miss its chance at Federal clean up funds.

The complaint, according to the article, isn't that this is an out-of control government taking their private property without justification. Instead, it seems focused on concerns about turning private beach into public. Spoto got this explanation:

Patricia Suriani, a member of one of the homeowners association boards that hasn’t signed, says a majority of the residents voted against giving the easement because they don’t want the private beach open to the public. She said the easement request, seeking the strip of property "in perpetuity," is vague and doesn’t give residents any assurance that they won’t be required to build public bathrooms or a boardwalk.
This isn't the first such case. A few years ago the NY Times Magazine ran a feature on the US Supreme Court case, STOP THE BEACH RENOURISHMENT, INC. v . FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION et al. The story weighed the State's concerns about beach erosion and storm damage against the hypothetical potential for the public beach being used for hot dog carts and spring break parties.

Barry Chalofsky recently suggested that we start evaluating whether some beach communities should be very gradually depopulated. The next few months should bring more conflicts, but it will be especially interesting to see which way the public sentiment goes.

04 January 2013

Happy New Year predictions

James Howard Kunstler has a full post on the coming year including predictions like:
  • "The Dow will hit 4000"
  • "California, Illinois, and New Jersey beg the broke federal government for bailouts."
Urban Times has a list of impressive city-building megaprojects to watch for in the new year.

GIS Cafe has geospatial predictions for the next year, none are surprising but that doesn't make them less interesting.

Inhabit got green design predictions from notables like Bill McKibben and Jean Lin.

Directions Magazine has its editors' predictions as well: "Crowdfunding will come to geospatial in 2013" and "SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile)".

According to an NYC architect, design trends could include community gardens, designing with Nature, and getting rid of the lawn.

For Vancouver, housing and transportation will be hot in 2013. (Watch them! Vancouver is usually about a decade ahead of many American cities)

Google Maps popping up in cars

TPM reports that Google Maps is now getting integrated into new cars. Google's John Hanke (and previously Keyhole) has even gotten one of the annual Innovation awards from The Economist. Geospatial is starting to really matter.

Time for April

One of our more recent alums is in the news for an award that her firm has won. Congrats April!