Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
My children's birthdays are on the heels of one another. I have acquiesced to their demand of kiddie extremes at indoor sport complexes to entertain their flock of friends and the familial entourage. Next year, with the force of lunch lady biceps, I plan on strong-arming them into a Big Green Truck pizza party. Good old fashion outdoor deliciousness. These guys rock and are the Gibraltar of a pizza bash. Check them out at www.biggreenpizza.com
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
French photographer "JR" is known for posting his enormous portraits on urban facades. The social context he weaves into his art is uniquely sensational.
In Mexico, the portraits are of crime victims. His goal was to reduce regional stats by illuminating a face of hardship.
In the Middle East, the subjects are of Israeli and Palestinian citizens... positioned individually but, ear to ear and simply smiling. His goal was to suggest the idea of peace.
SOHO has been tattooed with portraits of Native American Indians. His goal was to raise awareness of the plight of the Dakotas.
His installations are worth a thousand words.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Over the weekend, I returned to Harvard for a symposium on "Landscape Infrastructure". Christophe Girot's presentation on Point Cloud technology was fabulous. (Although, the silver medal went to Sabine's trash-talk on harvesting nitrogen from Paris during the 18th century...there's always a place in my heart for anything landfill related.)
Hired by the Swiss and outfitted with Point Cloud geo-referencing technology on loan from the military (very Jason Bourne), Girot generated 3-D models of Gotthard Pass in the Alps.
Point Cloud technology relies on 7 satellites to measure several vertices on the surface of an object. The effect this extraordinary detail has when applied to the topographic extremes of the Alps was unbelievable. Even the subtle change in elevation between a cigarette butt and the pavement was mapped and charted. With all jaws agape, Girot took us on an aerial tour. We flew through mountains, hovered over the Devil's Bridge and then within a keystroke- he sectioned the landscape as if it were a nut being broken in two.
Point Cloud makes an AutoCAD rendering look like a cave drawing at Lescaeux. Current technology has only allowed landscape architects to crudely plot models of what the landscape might be. Point Cloud is so sophisticated that it actually displays what the landscape is in real-time....as you manipulate it. Genius.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Should reincarnation be legit, make me a bitch and send me to Henrietta's for an unleashed boondoggle.
A friend in London was looking for a kennel for her dog while the family was on vacation. She found Henrietta's "a home from home for your dog". Located in the Wye Valley of Wales, the canine hostelry sits on 2,000 green acres of manicured bliss. Once touring the gardens, I'd heel myself under the shadow of the pleached hornbeams and dream of dog paddling through the perennials.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Motorhome technology has come a long way since the nadir of 70's when engines were customized by Singer and hulls were designed by Mister Softee.
A client of mine is planning a glorious RV holiday with his family. They are set to get lost in the natural allee of a National Park. I'm not sure if I'm more envious of mastering the thrill of air brakes or experiencing some fantastic terrain. It sounds like Clark Griswold perfection.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
My children and I had a glorious, mulleted* weekend. Over a two day summit, I met with clients to tattoo their front yard with spray paint to appease the last tree and shrub detail of their Master Plan. While adults vacillated in the front between privet vs. boxwood, water runoff coefficients, optimal water views and embedded infiltrators.... our collective brood simply whooped it up under a magnificent maple in the back. Perfection.
*Mulleted: A coif popular with Canadian hockey players. "Business in the front, party in the back."
Posted by Sow and Sow at 5:10 AM
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
As my lower lip shifts to the left and my eyes swing high right...I'm doing my best in reserving judgement as per the latest bid to replicate the High Line on the Lower East Side. Dubbed "The Lowline", it has the air of a wannabe.
Developers have proposed to retrofit an abandoned underground trolley terminal below Delancey Street into an interior public park (that just seems like an oxymoron). The whole project looks like a Mall of America crush with the Velvet Underground.
Monday, March 12, 2012
On Friday, I was a couple of storeys up in SOHO. Looking to secure a moment to munch on cookies from Dean and Deluca with my children, I pulled them into a window enclave to quell our sweet tooths. Gazing upwards while deciding if chocolate chip or ginger were as stellar as my Mom's (no), I spotted this most glorious window dressing from across the courtyard. Delighting truly only the airspace (and my crumb freckled grin), each window was outfitted with fabulous metal shutters. Their effect on the space instantly reduced the scale and intimacy of the site. Loved it.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Peripherally, I've been following a recent plague of fake ivy creeping up the facade of Greenwich Village. Incredulously, the story broke in the NY Times. Vexed preservationists are mulched over this overt breach of landmark violation.
Personally,just about any plantings in the built environment should be considered attributes to the space. Even if the the ivy is fake, it softens the urban landscape and reduces scale along pedestrian friendly open spaces. In this case, I think that a little "leafage lip-synching" is just as wonderfully iconoclastic as the foundation of the neighborhood.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
I found this image on CORE Architect's website. The turnstile entrance the firm created for a residential client is fabulous. If it were mine, I would find all kinds of excuses to leave home and then conveniently forget my keys,umbrella or pocketbook just to spin one more time. I love that when the door is closed, it blends into the facade as a textured wall. True beautility.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
"Bridge and Tunnel" is an derogatory term given to commuters from points beyond NYC. Plinkoed from a high rise on the Upper East Side and blissfully settled in Connecticut, I am now a member of this chagrined set.
Perhaps this blemished reputation wouldn't be so unfortunate if Santiago Calatrava had his way with the Triborough Bridge. His designs are sensational. They conjure prehistoric skeletons but float as if spun from cobwebs. Tracking back to the hood by the grace of an architectural phenom could potentially start a cultural revolution. Look at what the High Line did to the Meat Packing District. Humorously, a little Calatrava could be capable of lifting the stigma associated with an E-Z Pass and out-of-state plates.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The dominant genes of my family tree have rooted a numeric spin to my DNA double helix...I calculate my steps as I trace stairs or open spaces. It's a cradled trait bequeathed to me from my paternal grandfather and I have passed it umbilically to my son. An inherent tape measure, I rely on it professionally in calibrating the scale of an open space in relation to the anthropometrics (think Vitruvian Man) of the design.
When I saw Thomas Heatherwick's staircase topography for Longchamp's flagship in NYC I was stopped in my tracks. The hot rolled steel installation was akin to scaling the treads of a Steinway. The design expression was so intriguing that it tripped the rise out of my familial run.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Thomas Heatherwick's "Autumn Intrusion" is an infusion of iconoclastic design theory that arrests the pedestrian from the expansion joints of the sidewalk. It's an architectural portmanteau. To amalgamate the interior and exterior spaces, he simply stitched a luminous thread through the two entities. Love it.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Douglas Burnham's concept to bridge two barren blocks on San Francisco's Octavia Street is superb. He borrowed ideals from the ancient marketplaces of Rome and Greece to replicate the collision of commerce/culture in his "Proxy" prototype. By poaching spent shipping containers and repurposing them into storefronts, he created a modern day pop-up complete with art, food and shopping. I love the Paxton practicality- the entire hub is modular and mobile but suggests an intentional and lasting footprint needed to resuscitate the community. Genius.