07 April 2008

lost city

[Staff House, North Brother Island. image: Christopher Payne]

[Tuberculosis Hospital, North Brother Island. image: Christopher Payne]

Via Architect's Newspaper: Christopher Payne's photos of the abandoned buildings of NYC's North Brother Island. Very cool.

Also check out Payne's website for lots more photos of waterfront scenes, asylums, power substations, and other fine industrial detritus.

06 April 2008

hudson yards: a critique

From Metropolis: Stephen Zacks offers a critique of the recent bid contest for the development rights to the West Side rail yards in Manhattan. Without going into too much detail: in the wake of several failed attempts to develop this mega-site with public funding (Olympic stadium, Jets stadium, Javits Center expansion, etc. etc.), the MTA, owner of the site, solicited bids from developer-bank teams for the air rights to the railroad yards. Teams included, among others, architects Steven Holl, a KPF-Stern partnership, and a super-st.architecture lineup of Di-Sco-Fro/SANAA/SOM/Field Operations/Thomas Phifer/SHoP/Gary Handel. In the end, a Helmut Jahn / Peter Walker scheme for developers Tishman Speyer / Morgan Stanley took the cake. Needless to say, the winner's a real doozy.

[image: Tishman Speyer's scheme for Hudson Yards, from Metropolis]

I had some reservations with Zacks' piece on Dubai a few months back, and his positioning with regard to the role of corporate capitalism in architectural patronage is still a tad too accommodating for my tastes (for example: "I don’t have that much of a problem with corporations per se"). But I can agree to disagree: this is a fine piece, full of bite and wit, and it deserves a close read.

link: "Follow the Money" by Stephen Zacks, in Metropolis

"a nation worth defending"

Came across this speech that critic Jim Kunstler gave back in 2004:

In true form, he's a bit all over the place, but I must confess a certain affinity for Kunstler's ranting and raving. At times. There's something interesting about his simultaneous progressive posturing (sustainable living in the face of "peak oil") and his reactionary leanings (an apparent partiality for New Urbanist planning strategies). Plus, he's deniably an entertaining and captivating speaker. I could do with a little less of the apocalyptic doomsday scenarios, though. I think a small dose of utopian optimism is in order—this might add a bit more bite to his bark, if you know what I mean.

01 April 2008

foot in mouth

[image: Inhabitat]

Just when I go ahead and put myself out on the line for Frank Gehry with an adamant defense of not only his ugly Serpentine Pavilion but also his entire career, he goes ahead and does this.

And to top it off, it took me half the day to realize that it's all a big April Fools gag. Nicely done, Inhabitat...