Design


Don't Hide Cell Phone Antennas, Embrace Them

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July 2, 2012
Calling for better designed telecommunications infrastructure.

The mobile phone in your pocket or purse is part of a vast communications system that is mostly beyond our vision, much like the internet. But as journalist Andrew Blum explains in his new book Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, the bits and blogs of the seemingly wireless internet still travel to us on hard infrastructure and get stored in physical places. Similarly, the voices and texts and data that we regularly zip back and forth on our cell phones travel as radio waves we can't see and are connected through fiber optic cables buried beneath our feet.

How San Francisco Is Designing Its Metro Train of the Future

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September 16, 2014
BART cars are about to get their first real overhaul since the system launched in 1972.

On September 11, 1972, crowds lined up for hours to be the first passengers aboard the sleek and high-tech trains of the new San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system. In the lead-up to the opening, newspapers had envisioned a gleaming future for train travel in America.

Shigeru Ban: Triumph From Disaster

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August 31, 2014
Shigeru Ban, winner of the architecture world's top "Oscar," the Pritzker Prize, sets an important example: creating buildings for people, rather than glamor and prestige.

Earlier this month a brand new art museum opened in the posh mountain resort town of Aspen, Colorado. As a relatively high-profile museum, the project gathered an expected amount of attention from the architectural press. On top of that, the building drew an atypical amount of mainstream attention due to the fact that its designer, the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, had recently been named the 2014 Pritzker Prize laureate, the highest honor in architecture.

Team Building in the Age of BIM

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April 1, 2014
Andrew Pressman’s new book offers a tipsheet for how to collaborate more effectively. Hint: BIM is not the magic bullet.

Contrary to the long-glamorized Howard Roark model, architecture is a team sport. But getting a team to work together seamlessly can be a challenge. In his book, Designing Relationships: The Art of Collaboration in Architecture, Andrew Pressman, FAIA, argues that effective collaboration is a prerequisite for good design work. Pressman, a professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico and a lecturer at the University of Maryland, runs his own architectural practice in Washington, D.C.

Make No Small Plans

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April 28, 2011
Grounding architecture within a larger building ecology.

Regional issues such as stormwater treatment and energy production have become major elements of the design of architectural projects, even at a very small scale. As demand for natural resources rises and the impact of pollution spreads, taking these issues into consideration is likely to become a more important part of urban planning and architecture. This year’s national AIA convention recognizes the shift with its theme “Regional Design Revolution: Ecology Matters.”

But many argue that the long-term thinking of regionalism is still a burgeoning concept.

John D'Amico

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April 27, 2011
The project-manager-turned-public-servant discusses the ideas that helped him defeat an incumbent for a seat on West Hollywood’s city council.

John D’Amico, 47, is the newest member of the City Council of West Hollywood, Calif., which is a small, independent city of 34,000 people almost completely surrounded by the metropolis of Los Angeles. But unlike the typical cadre of attorneys and organizers who fill these sorts of seats in cities across the country, D’Amico comes to his new role with a master’s degree in architecture and urban design and a second in aesthetics and politics, plus more than 20 years of experience in the field.

Out-of-This-World Cup Stadia in South Africa

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June 11, 2010
A look at four interesting stadia designed for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, and their uncertain futures after the Cup.

Americans do like soccer, contrary to what many around the world believe. American architects, though? Hard to say. But even for the most soccer-agnostic architects, there are four good reasons to watch — or at least glancingly pay attention to — this year’s World Cup in South Africa. Four of the 10 stadia designed or renovated for this year’s quadrennial World Cup really are worth checking out beyond the context of international soccer matches.

Want the Medal? Keep the Metrics

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January 20, 2010
If you’re being taken for granted, it can be hard to tell. Just ask the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certification system.

For years, as more and more flashy new buildings lined up for their bona fides, LEED routinely allowed them to stand on its shoulders and reap the benefits of sustainable credentials and higher property values. But once the certifications had been awarded, did those buildings look back? Did they keep the green promises they’d made?

“It’s been like an arranged marriage. You go to the ceremony, then never see each other again,” says green building consultant Jerry Yudelson about LEED, now in its third major iteration. “That’s not the way it’s going to be going forward.”

Hollenbeck Police Station

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August 13, 2009
AC Martin's new police station in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles strives to create a strong sense of community.

When the city of Los Angeles announced it wanted to redesign 13 of the city’s aging police stations, architect David Martin set his sights on a station in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in town: Boyle Heights. “It’s a rough, tough area,” says Martin, principal at local architecture and planning firm AC Martin. “So we thought, of all the sites, we might really be able to make a difference on this one.”