Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is the set of Mandelbrot discovered or invented?

Set of Mandelbrot

As you can see in my CV, my line of research is Fractal Urban Morphology. That´s why I´m so interested in fractals. I´m still reading Pi in the Sky, by John D. Barrow and I´ve already ordered The Artful Universe, same author, it seems promising to me.
Well, in Chapter ¨Footsteps through Plato´s footnotes¨ Barrow says that Pythagoreans began to see things solely as numbers, that are immanent property of things; that is numbers are ¨in¨ things and cannot be separated or distinguished from them in any way. As  a contrary point of view, I read that Plato maintained that we discover the truths and theorems of mathematics: we do not simply invent them; for him, mathematics is an  (wonderful) example of a particular form of knowledge that owed nothing to the process of human recognition.
Then, in chapter ¨The Platonic world of mathematics¨ (p. 261), Barrow says that the most famous exponent of Platonism was undoubtedly Kurt Gödel. And, what ´s more important for me ¨Most recently, the belief in ¨Pi in the sky¨ Platonism in mathematics has  been forcefully restated by Roger Penrose who uses the example of the intricacy of structure displayed by fractals like the Mandelbrot set, which he claims ¨is not an invention of the human mind: it was a discovery. Like Mount Everest,... it is just there¨, to argue that this bottomless structure is not invented by the mind, rather,
though defined in an entirely abstract mathematical way, nevertheless (it has) a reality about it that seems to go beyond any particular mathematician´s conceptions and beyond the technology of any particular computer... it seems clearly to be ¨there¨, somewhere, quite independently of us or our machines.¨ (P.262)




Above, the set of Mandelbrot and three variations. All fractals generated by arq. Myriam Mahiques

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vertical gardens in Mexico


I remember many years ago, when the newspapers published that Mexican women traveled to the country to give birth to their babies, because of the terrible pollution in the City.
At least, some effort is shown to find a solution. From New York Times, by Damien Cave:

 “We must cultivate our garden,” Voltaire famously wrote at the end of “Candide,” but even he could not have imagined this: a towering arch of 50,000 plants rising over a traffic-clogged avenue in a metropolis once called “Mexsicko City” because of its pollution.

The vertical garden aims to scrub away both the filth and the image. One of three eco-sculptures installed across the city by a nonprofit called VerdMX, the arch is both art and oxygenator. It catches the eye. And it also helps clean the air.
“The main priority for vertical gardens is to transform the city,” said Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, 30, the architect who designed the sculptures. “It’s a way to intervene in the environment.”(.....)
“Both L.A. and Mexico City have improved but in Mexico City, the change has been a lot more,” said Luisa Molina, a research scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has done extensive pollution comparisons. Mexico “is very advanced not just in terms of Latin America, but around the world. When I go to China, they all want to hear the story of Mexico.”
Partly, it is policy. Starting in the 1980s, Mexico’s government created mandates that reformulated gasoline, closed or moved toxic factories, and banned most drivers from using their cars one day a week. More recently, Mexico City added a popular free bicycle loan program and expanded public transportation systems.
The Eco sculpture. Photo by Rodrigo Cruz
Picture from verdmx. com


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Toronto, the first city in North America to require the installation of green roofs


Today I´m sharing an interesting article by Kaid Benfield, published at theatlanticcities.com:

In January of 2010, Toronto became the first city in North America to require the installation of green roofs on new commercial, institutional, and multifamily residential developments across the city. Next week, the requirement will expand to apply to new industrial development as well. Simply put, a green roof is a rooftop that is vegetated. Green roofs produce multiple environmental benefits by reducing the urban heat island effect and associated energy demand, absorbing rainwater before it becomes runoff, improving air quality, and bringing nature and natural diversity into urban environments. In many cases, green roofs can also be enjoyed by the public much as a park can be. Toronto’s requirements are embodied in a municipal bylaw that includes standards for when a green roof is required and what elements are required in the design. Generally speaking, smaller residential and commercial buildings (such as apartment buildings less than six stories tall) are exempt; from there, the larger the building, the larger the vegetated portion of the roof must be. For the largest buildings, 60 percent of available space on the roof must be vegetated. (...) 
The triptych image above was developed by students at the University of Toronto to illustrate changes that could ensue from ten years of progress under the city’s requirements. Prior to the bylaw, Toronto was second among North American cities (after Chicago) in its total amount of green roof coverage.
READ IT IN FULL:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The end of ¨New Towns¨ projects in Seoul


This picture by Jo Yong hak of a new town in Seoul looks scary. Even worst it is to know that approximately 48000 houses were demolished in Seoul for redevelopment and only 22000 new units were built.
From The Atlantic Cities.com:

After 10 years, a Korean program that actively tore down older, low-density neighborhoods and replaced them with high-density “new towns” is coming to an end. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon announced the end of the program, which was intended to help provide housing for the rapidly growing South Korean capital, last week. The "new towns" were initially heralded as a success but quickly fell victim to the global economic downturn. Thousands of Seoul residents have been caught in the crash.(...)
The new towns seemed like a good idea during the real estate boom, with locals in “old towns” clamoring for the redevelopment projects that would grandly increase their property values. But now, most residents in areas that had been slated for redevelopment as new towns would prefer to stick with the old as the financial benefits of redevelopment have disappeared. Indeed, 85 percent of the proposed new town developments haven’t broken ground. Property values, though, are not the only reason the citizens of Seoul have turned against new towns. Many of the new towns have been built so far out into the periphery that it takes hours to commute to the city, where jobs are. And many residents have been priced out of the marketplace, taking buyouts for their demolished homes that don’t come close to paying for new ones in the city.
Keep on reading Nate Berg´s article:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Urbes opulentas y guetos miseria. De Héctor Pavón

Ciudad artificial en Dubai. Imagen que acompaña al artículo de Pavón

El porvenir urbano ya está escrito, proyectado y construido. Hacia el año 2050, un 70% de la población mundial vivirá en ciudades: un diagnóstico opuesto al que se presentaba cien años antes (1950) cuando sólo el 30% de los habitantes vivía en zonas urbanas. La proyección es del Instituto de Análisis de Mercado Emergente de Credit Suisse. 2009 fue el año en que se cruzó el umbral del 50% y en el que por primera vez hubo más personas viviendo en la ciudad que en el campo. Para 2025 sólo dos de las que serán las 15 mayores ciudades del mundo están en el Primer Mundo: Tokio y Nueva York. En Africa e India se producirán las mayores tasas de crecimiento de la población urbana. 
 “Las ciudades siempre tienen que ver con la tensión y la diferencia. Siempre tienen que ver con el cambio y nunca son estáticas, explica el geógrafo marxista David Harvey, autor de Urbanismo y desigualdad social . El fenómeno de las urbes superpobladas está cruzado por las ciudades dentro de las ciudades. Las que vendrán sólo tendrán variantes visuales y estéticas en torno de un trazado que no se modifica: inmensos barrios pauperizados conviven con fortificaciones herméticamente cerradas. Pobres y ricos de un lado y otro de los muros. La tendencia que comenzó a percibirse en los 70, a concretarse en los 80 y masificarse a partir de los años 90 hizo un corte transversal y global donde no importa la pobreza o riqueza de las naciones. “Cercas, rejas y muros son esenciales en la ciudad hoy en día, no sólo para su seguridad y la segregación, sino también por razones estéticas y de estatus. Todos los elementos asociados con la seguridad se vuelven parte de un nuevo código de expresión de distinción que yo llamo ‘estética de la seguridad’. Este código encapsula elementos de seguridad en un discurso de gusto y los transforma en símbolos de estatus” escribió la antropóloga urbana brasileña Teresa Caldeira en su libro Espacio, segregación y arte urbano en el Brasil . Según Zygmunt Bauman: “En las grandes ciudades, el espacio se divide en “comunidades cerradas” (guetos voluntarios) y “barrios miserables” (guetos involuntarios).
 El resto de la población lleva una incómoda existencia entre esos dos extremos, soñando con acceder a los guetos voluntarios y temiendo caer en los involuntarios”. Del otro lado se hallan las megafortalezas que partieron de barrios cerrados, desarrollaron pueblos privados y que hoy encuentran su clímax en el emprendimiento artificial llamado The world sobre el mar de Dubai. Un conjunto de islas privadas y erigidas sobre el agua que representan territorios del globo. La toma de una imagen aérea da la idea de mapamundi. En Territorio, autoridad y derechos , la urbanista Saskia Sassen observa que hay nuevas ciudades compuestas por enormes territorios que atraviesan el espacio geográfico. “¿Cómo etiquetar hechos como los que ocurren en Africa cuando Arabia Saudita planta ‘su’ arroz en Etiopía o cuando empresarios chinos compran 2,9 millones de hectáreas en el Congo...?” De ese modo, explica Sassen, se generan “territorialidades elementales”, “inserciones” como ocurría en el Medioevo cuando los comerciantes atravesaban los campos de la aristocracia, de la Iglesia para ir de ciudad en ciudad construyendo nuevos espacios geográficos. Richard Sennett está trabajando en el tercer tomo de su tríptico sobre cultura material donde aborda, entre otras cosas, el futuro de las ciudades desde el hombre; analiza las habilidades necesarias para producir y habitar entornos sostenibles. Algo que ya había esbozado en El artesano . Las soluciones urbanas van muy por detrás de los problemas. De todos modos, en la búsqueda perpetua por recuperar el humanismo, se sueña con la ciudad inteligente, descontaminada y al servicio del hombre.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Faith and Form. CALL FOR PAPERS


This year, the Faith & Form/IFRAA Awards for Religious Art and Architecture is open to all students of art, architecture, interior design, environmental design, or liturgical design. Students in religious or secular institutions of higher learning in the U.S. or abroad are eligible to submit entries regardless of project/artwork location (worldwide), project/artwork size, budget, or style. All projects/artworks must support a religious purpose, be the product of a course assignment, may be unbuilt or built, and completed since January 2007. Submissions are open until June 30, 2012. For more information and to submit, visit

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Experiencing light 2012. Call for papers




Final call for papers: EXPERIENCING LIGHT 2012
Second international conference on the effects of light on wellbeing
12-13 November 2012, Eindhoven, The Netherlands


Light is essential for human beings. Not only does light allow us to see, it affects our mood, health, and productivity, while shaping deeply the way we experience our surroundings. Because light is ubiquitously present in our environment, it has great potential to influence the way we feel, think, and act, and therefore deserves attention in research across disciplines.
 EXPERIENCING LIGHT 2012 is an international two-day scientific conference for people interested in the effects of light and light design on human wellbeing. It approaches wellbeing in its broadest sense, including mood, emotions, subjective and objective health, comfort, atmosphere perception, productivity, and performance. 
 EXPERIENCING LIGHT 2012 follows the successful Experiencing Light conference in 2009, and focusses on the psychological processes related to the perception of and exposure to both natural and artificial lighting. The goal is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of researchers and designers working in this domain so they can meet, share experiences, present research, and exchange ideas.
The abstract submission deadline for Experiencing Light has been extended to May 1st, 2012. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Drylands Deserts and Desertification Conference. CALL FOR PAPERS


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.
This coming November (12-15) the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research will be hosting for the fourth time the Drylands Deserts and Desertification Conference (DDDC) under the umbrella of Implementing Rio+20 for Drylands and Desertification:

 We would like to invite you to submit abstracts of papers to be presented at the Workshop, as well as nominate candidates for the Award who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to desert architecture through their research, academic, design and planning, educational and other related work. Previous Award recipients were Prof. Baruch Givoni (2008), and Arch. Prof. Arvind Krishan (2010). Candidacy should be submitted with a one-page brief of the candidate and their work, including their contact details and relevant site URLs. The award includes a modest prize and the recipient is expected to present his or her work at the conference. Abstracts and candidacy briefs should be emailed to sakis@bgu.ac.il no later than May 31, 2012.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Renzo Piano´s addition to Ronchamp´s site

Notre Dame du Haut. The new visitors´ center and the nuns convent, designed by Renzo Piano. Photo by Iwan Baan

I´m happy that I had the opportunity to see the work on Renzo Piano in San Francisco, and also, I´ve been at the exhibition of his work at LACMA, the Museum of Art of Los Angeles.
Though, I don´t like his proposal for the City of Los Angeles, in the area surrounding the Museum  -it is said that Piano won the competition because he respected the sponsors´ buildings- :( , I think he has always respected the environment and the landscape. As Michael Kimmelman says in the New York Times article, ¨Quiet Additions to a Modernist Masterpiece¨, humility is a virtue. 

Ronchamp. Grand Opening. Photo by Michel Denancé, Architectural Record

 RONCHAMP, France — Completed in 1955, Le Corbusier’s hilltop chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in this hardscrabble patch of eastern France attracts some 100,000 supplicants each year, architectural and religious. If critics still sometimes blame Le Corbusier for inspiring generations of soulless, cookie-cutter housing projects and office parks, he remains the high priest of Modernism for singular works like this. So it was predictable that a firestorm broke several years ago after plans circulated for a convent and new visitors’ center at the site of the chapel. Renzo Piano was the designer. Big-name colleagues like Richard Meier, Rafael Moneo and Cesar Pelli signed an online petition denouncing the $16 million project. The Fondation Le Corbusier, keeper of the architect’s flame, fumed. Now the buildings have opened, with some landscaping (by Atelier Corajoud, a Paris firm) and a bit of tinkering yet to come. I took a train from Paris recently and found the chapel empty on a bright, crisp spring morning (a godsend), then visited the nuns. They are not quite a dozen elderly Poor Clares, lately moved from their home of 800 years at Besançon, 60 miles to the south, which they had sold to help pay for the new place. Cheerful in their light gray habits, the sisters were finishing lunch in the refectory around a handsome glazed courtyard open to a cloudless sky. A few minor acoustic problems with the nuns’ concrete quarters aside, Mr. Piano and his team (Paul Vincent was the partner in charge at Renzo Piano Building Workshop) have created remarkably light and peaceful spaces that are virtually invisible from the chapel and gracefully connected to nature. Competing with Le Corbusier’s masterwork would have been a fool’s game and an affront, Mr. Piano clearly realized; spoiling it, a cinch. Doing neither, the additions insert new life onto the hill, and in the process remove a despised 1960s gatehouse that had obscured sight of the chapel from the town below. Humility is a virtue. That’s the obvious lesson, but doing anything, even constructing a few self-effacing buildings at Ronchamp, is a big deal. Mr. Piano solved the riddle of adding to a site without appearing conspicuously to do so by burrowing into the brow of the hill, below the chapel, and inserting the convent and visitors’ center into the cuts, half buried, with zinc-and-glass facades to let in light. He placed the visitors’ center beside the old pilgrims’ path, which winds through woods from the valley all the way up the hill, and adjacent to a parking lot, which has been usefully trimmed.

Keep on reading:
Read the on line petition:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In Memoriam. Arquitecto Néstor Pablo Doval


Este post es en homenaje a mi colega y ex compañero de estudios, arquitecto Néstor Pablo Doval, quien falleciera el 30 de Septiembre de 2011 a los 49 años de edad. Me acabo de enterar.
Pablo residía en Key Biscayne, Florida. Estudió en la Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo de Buenos Aires y alcanzó su Master degree en Harvard.
Con Pablo habíamos cursado en la FADU y estudiado juntos para exámenes de Sistemas Constructivos, materia que no era de su agrado, su gran preferida, al menos en ese momento, era el diseño arquitectónico.
Nos vimos por última vez de casualidad, esperando mi esposo y yo para cruzar una de las vías del Barrio de Belgrano R, Buenos Aires. Nos intercambiamos noticias, ambos ya estábamos casados y con hijos.
Lamento mucho su deceso; la noticia me causó gran pesar.
Para conocer los proyectos del arq. Néstor Pablo Doval:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Which cities are the richest ones?


According to the 2012 Wealth Report released by real estate firm Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank. The report is based on detailed data on the number, distribution, and preferred locations of high net-worth individuals (defined as households with more than $100 million in assets). This is the globe-straddling capitalist over-class that Cynthia Freeland has dubbed the "new global elite," or what the report itself labels the global economic "plutonomy" of the "richest 1%."
  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Paris
  5. Singapore
  6. Miami
  7. Geneva
  8. Shanghai
  9. Beijing
  10. Berlin
The report also asked respondents to predict the most important cities in 10 years. The projected key cities of 2022 include:
  1. London
  2. New York
  3. Beijing
  4. Shanghai
  5. Singapore
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Paris
  8. São Paulo
  9. Geneva
  10. Berlin
Reference:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seventh International Conference on the Arts in Society. Call for papers



The Arts Conference will be held in partnership with the Institute of Cultural Capital from 23-25 July 2012 at the Art and Design Academy at Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, UK. The conference provides an interdisciplinary, scholarly platform for discussion of the arts and art practices and is intended as a place for critical engagement, examination and experimentation of ideas that connect the arts to their contexts in the world - in studios and classrooms, in galleries and museums, on stage, on the streets, and in communities. Plenary speakers, who will address our special theme 'The Art of the Event', include: 
 * Dr. Beatriz Garcia, Head of Research, Institute of Cultural Capital, Liverpool, UK 
 * Prof. Andy Miah, Director, Creative Futures Research Centre, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK 
 * Sally Tallant, Artistic Director and CEO, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK 
 In addition to plenary speakers, proposals for paper presentations, workshops, or colloquia are invited. The deadline for the next round in the call for papers (a title and short abstract) is 22 May 2012. Future deadlines will be announced on the conference website after this date. Full details of the conference, including an online proposal submission form, may be found on the conference website. Presenters may choose to submit written papers for publication in the fully refereed International Journal of the Arts in Society. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, virtual registrations are also available, allowing you to submit a paper for refereeing and possible publication, as well as access to the journal. Whether you are a virtual or in-person presenter at this conference, we also encourage you to present on The Arts in Society YouTube playlist. Please select the Online Sessions link on the conference website for further details.

READ MORE:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

About Michael Graves´ Portland Building

The Portland Municipal Services Building. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Building

I have been reading an article at the DJC Oregon, about the importance of Michael Graves´ Portland Building, and its pros and cons. I´ve never seen it with critic eyes, because for me, Michael Graves´ works have been great symbols of post modernism, so, historically speaking, nice or not, they are really important, at least for me. Here, an excerpt from this article:

 Thirty years after it was completed, the Portland Building continues to elicit strong opinions. The controversial structure, designed by world-renowned architect and product designer Michael Graves, has been declared both an architectural atrocity and a brilliant piece of innovation. Some people criticize its small windows and low ceilings, while others laud it as the spark that started the postmodernism architecture movement. One thing everyone can agree on, however, is that the building has had an impact – whether positive or negative – on the city and its architectural community. “The Portland Building did get people talking, which was useful in a city where the 1970s had brought largely corporate box architecture,” said Carl Abbott, who teaches urban studies and planning at Portland State University and is writing a book on the development of city planning in Portland. “For a couple years, it put Portland on the national architecture map.” The 15-story, 362,422-square-foot building was the result of a design competition sponsored by the city in 1979. Two other architects created designs of glass and concrete, but Graves chose to use terra-cotta tile and vibrant colors inspired by architecture he had seen on a recent trip to Italy. According to Graves, city officials were confused by his approach. “The submissions went to City Council, and the color on it was not to their liking – they were all modernists,” Graves said. “With the rain, everything in Portland is gray. Why would I make a gray building? I did it to spice things up.” The council named Graves the winner – in part, he admits, because one of the other competitors exceeded budget restrictions. “As the building emerged and was occupied, displaying its many deficiencies as a functional space, opinion shifted as reality set in,” Abbott said. “Ironically, the attention to the building may have turned opinion leaders away from innovation. (They said,) ‘We tried to be cutting edge; we didn’t like what we got, so let’s be more cautious.’ ” Despite being only three decades old, the building last year was added to the National Register of Historic Places, adding fuel to the debate. Most structures on the register are at least 50 years old, though exceptions have been made, including in Portland.


The Portland Building. DJC Oregon files
Interior of the Portland Building. From friendsofsdarch.photoshelter.com


READ MORE:

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Some urban art works by Liu Bolin

Hiding in the City. Dragon Series. Photograph. 118x150 cm. 2010

Hiding in the City No 2. 2005. Photograph

Hiding in the City No 3. 2005. Photograph

Hiding in New York. Tiles for America. Photograph. 118x150 cm. 2011

Hiding in the City. The Yellow River. Photograph. 118x150 cm. 2011

Pictures above from:

Liu Bolin. Lost in Art

In 1903, Georg Simmel wrote ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life,’ postulating the emergence of a new urban lifestyle and a sharp discontinuity from life as man had known it. Overwhelmed by the onslaught of stimuli, the modern man must uphold a reserved—and what Simmel calls blasé—attitude as a means of self-preservation. To live in the metropolis was to maintain a safe distance from the churning of its gears, a spiritual separation and freedom from its calculating forces. So what does it take to get noticed in the city, to awaken the intrinsically unsympathetic dwellers of Simmel’s metropolis? For Chinese artist Liu Bolin, the answer is complete invisibility.

Excerpt and third picture from:

Friday, April 6, 2012

A bright future for New Urbanism???

Built in 1995 overlooking the Gulf of Mexico on Florida's Panhandle, Rosemary Beach was based on the principles of neo-traditional design and new urbanism. (John Handley, Photo for the Chicago Tribune / March 23, 2012)

Is there a bright future for New Urbanism? We´ll need years ahead to find out, though Andrés Duany and wife are optimistic: 
 "There has been a long dry spell in new urbanism developments because of the economy," said Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, dean of the school of architecture at the University of Miami. But she sees better days ahead: "The new urbanism product has maintained its value, and going forward there will absolutely be a resurgence. New urbanism is still a model for the future. It's exactly what the boomers want." Her opinion carries weight since she and her husband, Andres Duany, were among the pioneers in new urbanism.¨ (Chicago Tribune.com) 

 I´m not a fan of New Urbanism. I can accept the walking distances, and the town like neighborhood, but these developments will never become real ¨barrios¨, like the ones we used to live in. New Urbanism projects are big scenography and if you´ve seen The Truman Show movie, you´ll perfectly understand what I mean. Do we need to copy old styles in plastic, foam board, stucco, to be happy? Ridiculous. 
Many years ago, I´ve also read that Celebration, the neighborhood with the Disney stamp, was not full as expected, and though the advertisements showed black and white people, the residents were all white. You understand what I mean. And I don´t know other cases of mixed populations, again, too similar to The Truman Show. 
  ¨The movement arose as an antidote to sprawl, promoting the use of mass transit and encouraging walkable neighborhoods, like those that were built years ago, rather than the drive-everywhere neighborhoods of suburbia. This glorification of the past meant copying vintage housing styles. At Rosemary Beach, for example, the more than 600 residences reflect the historic architecture of the West Indies; Charleston, S.C.; St. Augustine, Fla.; and New Orleans. Neo-traditional design hit a peak of popularity in 1996 with the opening of Celebration near Walt Disney World in Florida. The 4,900-acre development by Walt Disney Co. was created to resemble small-town America of the 1930s and before. Victorian and Colonial Revival styles predominated in the 2,500 residences. Though Celebration ranks as new urbanism's most famous project, the trend was launched on Florida's Panhandle in 1981 at Seaside, not far from where Rosemary Beach is today.¨ (Chicago Tribune.com) 


Let´s see the following four pictures I´ve selected from Celebration´s web page: do you see anybody walking, navigating? (!!!)




 Is anybody here to feed the ducks?
Where are the children and pigeons?

Also, our life style has changed, I don´t see too many children playing outside and leaving their electronic games, and front porches are always empty, unless you are living in a latino neighborhood. The fans of New Urbanism design remembering their lives as kids, but it can´t be so any more. 
 ¨Not everyone is a cheerleader for old-style houses with front porches. Among the critics is California architect Barry Berkus. "Neo-traditional design looks back, not forward. New urbanists think all good architecture was done before 1940. But society has moved on," said Berkus, founder and president of B3 Architects and Berkus Design Studio in Santa Barbara. "New urbanism has been promoted as the great answer to housing needs and urban sprawl. But it's not for everyone. Before air conditioning, there were reasons for front porches. People in summer would sit on porches until the house cooled down. That's not the way people live today," he said. John McIlwain, senior fellow for housing at the Urban Land Institute, agrees with Berkus on front porches. "Going forward, there will be changes in new urbanism, and it will continue to be part of master-planned communities. Some core elements will remain, but characteristics like front porches may become marginal," McIlwain said. "Expect future new urbanism projects to include more rental, high-rises and open spaces, but fewer single-family homes." (Chicago Tribune.com)

 I absolutely agree with arch. Berkus and Mr McIlwain. 

All references from:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hanging out clothes in the sun. The green point of view

Mercado La Paloma, in Los Angeles. And its neighbors. Photo by architect Luis R. Makianich
Do not reproduce without permission

Last Sunday I went to Los Angeles with my husband in search of murals. And I was surprised to see that next door to the famous Mercado La Paloma, a residential condominium exposed lots of underwear and more clothes hanging from the wire fence. I was thinking about how much I missed to hang out our clothes in the sun, like I did in Buenos Aires, -except on rainy days, of course- and was also wondering why the condominium residents didn´t choose to use the windows instead. I´m not sure in the rest of the USA, but in California you must use the washer and dryer, to avoid creating visual pollution. Also, the machines cannot be exposed, outside . To approve the location of your laundry, you must have it somewhere inside, with the corresponding ventilations. Today, it was by chance that I´ve read this article by Sara Robinson at AlterNet.com, well, I didn´t think about the green point of view.
Let´s read an excerpt from Making Sustainability Legal: 9 Zombie Laws That Keep Cities From Going Green:

 You’ve done your part, you good greenie, you. You’ve changed out the light bulbs, bought energy-saving appliances, learned to recycle, tuned up your bike, joined a co-op, and bought a transit pass and/or a fuel-efficient car. Now you’re looking around, wondering what to do next. With spring around the corner, maybe you’d like to hang out the wash on a sunny day. Or perhaps you could build an apartment in your basement to increase both your income and your neighborhood’s density…. Not so fast. Because this is the point at which your city government is very likely to swoop down in a flurry of paperwork and citations, telling you in no uncertain terms: No. You can’t do that. We don’t care how green it is, it’s also against the law.

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