Categories
Architecture urbanism

Living facades

I. Proximity On a hot Friday afternoon, I was walking downhill toward the Hudson River through the Upper West Side with Alba and Josep, my friends from Barcelona. I was describing the peculiar kind of density found there: the neighborhood is a great example of how even 100 years ago Americans were able to build […]

Categories
urbanism

A Semi In A Strange Land

I: A Semi In A Strange Land These days, Charlotte and I hardly need alarm clocks to wake up in time for our morning walks. Around 7:30 in the morning, three things come to life in the neighborhood which rouse us: first, the robins and mockingbirds ramp up their chatter which flows in through our […]

Categories
dance

There is no cipher: Esmé Boyce’s “Title Comes Last”

Preface: I have been reviewing Esmé Boyce’s dance and choreography for years, and before that I’ve even collaborated with her. For the past two years, however, we have both taken slight detours out of New York to travel and get Master’s degrees. Hers was an MFA at the University of Wisconsin, and it is almost […]

Categories
urbanism

OK Google: Urbanism is a word

I wrote someone an email recently, and in it I used the word “urbanism.” To my surprise, Gmail spellcheck underlined that word in red. I tried other varieties. “Urban” does not get underlined. “Urbanization” is also OK. Even “urbanity” is in Google’s dictionary! So why is “urbanism” left out? “Urban” has been a Latin root […]

Categories
Architecture

The Ghost of Ebenezer Howard

My gut feeling is that, like me, when you first learned about Ebenezer Howard and The Garden City, you fell in love. England at the turn of the 20th century was living a double life. For centuries it had been defined by the characteristic rolling green hills and the shepherds and farmers who populated it. […]

Categories
Non-fiction

Restoration Hardware on trial

99% Invisible, one of my generation’s obligatory podcasts, released an episode about design, mass production, and authenticity– called 77 Steps. In it, the Emeco chair takes center stage as the industrial-product-turned-design-object par excellence, and Emeco’s legal fight to protect the intellectual property of their signature Naval Chair, using something called Trade Dress Protection. Trade dress protection […]

Categories
Non-fiction urbanism

A Recipe In Three Chapters

I: Data, Cities When we analyze cities through the lens of data and maps, how and when do people enter the picture? Data City, our data analysis and mapping seminar in the Master in City & Technology, was meant to explore the production, transport, consumption, and disposal of food at an urban scale, through the […]

Categories
Language

Wine-Dark Sea, revisited

I’m going to show a photograph I took. Hundred bucks if you can guess what I saw that blew my mind. On Black Friday weekend (pure coincidence), my parents and I took a day trip out of Barcelona to the wine region of Penedes, just to the west. The valley is stunted, the sun is […]

Categories
Architecture Non-fiction

ProproiSTEPtion follow-up: Barba

I was overcome with the quiet pride of a writer finishing her first novel when I packaged my thoughts on propriosteption. And then, in the kickoff session to our Robotic City seminar at IAAC, the concept reappeared before me, and I felt like the same writer learning that her novel got greenlit for a movie […]

Categories
Non-fiction

Modes of Nature

The following is an excerpt from an essay I wrote for the Fab City Design Strategies Seminar, at the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, Barcelona, in October 2017. Thoughts on Atlas for the End of the World[1] & Fab City Whitepaper[2] “Nature” and “artifice” are not as separate as we think. This revelation has […]