Skyline!

Skyline

Clinton Hill — Grinding everything to a halt daily is the point.
East Village — A purist waterscape of faraway springs, streams, and reservoirs formed in my mind.
Hudson Yards — It became hard to hear over the consultant speak and self-congratulatory backslapping.
Flatiron — “We are all writing the story of the Portal and it’s still being written.”
Upper East Side — “It’s like an endurance test,” she said. “If you made it through, we’ll give you a badge.”
Soho — A who’s who of Dimes Square literati and Canadians who moved to Berlin who moved to New York
Flatiron — The word that went mostly unsaid at the event was power.
Hamilton Heights — Maybe this is why the encampment I saw being built at City College felt so sturdy, less an act of defiance than an acknowledgement of its necessity.
East Village — You can’t enter the houses Donna Dennis builds, and for good reason.
Morningside Heights — “I wanted to take on something overtly political within architecture, and abortion clinics are one of the most contested spaces in this country.”
City Hall — “What do we want?” “Housing.” “When do we want it?” “Now!”
Lower East Side — “You can’t stop the inevitable.”
Morningside Heights — “Given the way the world looks right now, world-building isn’t the task that we want to set for ourselves.”
Chinatown — “Rats—they are builders of the natural environment. They’re architects!”
Prospect Heights — Lecture topics ranged from Palestinian liberation to the ethics of AI; a Marxist theater troupe from Vermont performed twice.
Upper West Side — “Everyone who came to hold the sign and carry it with me through the neighborhoods became part of a collective monument.”
Midtown — In place of the transit nerds I had expected to find were aspiring comics and adherents of the funny pages.
SOHO — No one I spoke to had heard of him, though googling eventually turned up a website with a Wayback Machine-via-Wix aesthetic that doubles as an archive.
LAGUARDIA PLACE — The Principles of Good Urban Design could become a valuable resource for New Yorkers, if they would take the time to read it.
Los Angeles — A joyous confluence of art and architecture, activated by a respectful intrusion of movement and sound throughout the (relatively) modest modernist villa.
GRAMERCY PARK — The titular chase through the city and the Lincoln Tunnel ends in a New Jersey landfill.
Clinton Hill — “We are doubting our own methods; we are doubting our own efficacy; we are engaging in our work because this is what we know how to do.”
Chinatown — “LA has an incredible legacy of design and architecture that’s about its connection to landscape...”
MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — If, as Walker described, monuments are “furniture” that drift into the civic background of city life, then tributes to the Confederacy are active clarion calls.
FIDI — I had assumed that the hip kids flocking to the slightly dour office building on a Sunday night would all be going to the same destination, but what did I know? “That’s why you shouldn’t just follow people,” my friend said to me.
ARTS DISTRICT — “Fuck shit up.”
COOPER SQUARE — “When we speak of friends we’ve lost, we speak inevitably of ourselves.”
Cooper Square — “You can add all the entrance ramps in the world, but I’m not going to come to this museum because the height of the pictures makes it clear you are not thinking of me.”
MIDTOWN — “What, if anything, did we do right?”
KENMARE STREET — “During the day, it is the source of my income. At night, it is my home,” she said in reference to the massage parlor.
LA BREA — ...a big ask for a crowd who wants to know whether you can park out front after 6 p.m. without getting towed
LAGUARDIA PLACE — “I like to think of [pools] like the pub, or the park, just a place to meet up,” he said, evoking the kinship of small-town life.
RED HOOK — “If we have burning questions that we want to ask, we’re going to put them in the ‘Ideas Bin,’” she said.
WEST VILLAGE — Groeneboer said he aimed for the scale of the work to be “the architectural rather than the monumental,” though he might have added infrastructural.
Hollywood — “She had me practice on a chicken breast. I was super nervous.”

2023

Zoom — Today, terms like “conflict” are employed by the media to minimize the extreme violence being inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli forces.
East Village — “People don’t tend to think of books as being shapes, but they are shapes...”
The Seaport — “When you cook, you’re left with scraps that make the perfect beginnings of another meal.”
Westwood — Young attendees seemed put off by the absence of pragmatic concerns...
Chelsea — Roaming packs of alligators
CLINTON HILL — We can’t simply say that “we don’t want cooling anymore.”
Gowanus — “It’s up to us to say, ‘This is what a community trying to make a change looks like.’”
Downtown — Is it “the role of artists in weakened democracies” to promote their own memoirs and films?
MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Among their chants was an architectural critique, “from Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go.”
Zoom — “She wanted all land-use decisions to include community groups.”
11/13

In-Joke

FIDI — “I just made up a client in my head.”
Zoom — “Architecture is settler colonialism’s best friend.”
HELL’S KITCHEN — “How do we honor our dead?”
LAGUARDIA PLACE — No one seemed to be getting much sleep.
Chelsea — “Money is a design object.”
Westwood — “We landed a man on the moon. We can solve class A office conversions.”
Mid-City — Mugs adorned with phalluses “danced” to lustful sounds.
Silver Lake — I tried to imagine what a Soviet citizen, especially one familiar with such spaces, would think of the assembled crowd.
East Village — “The process of healing is already underway.”
Brooklyn Navy Yard — The non-catalog was a “repositioning,” a “field guide” and a “critical tool to catalyze the future.”
MEATPACKING DISTRICT — ...absent of jargon, though not light on substance.
NOMAD — “I was sitting in Crown Hall with a friend, and Judy walked by.”
Lincoln Heights — What collective bending must we all engage in to keep more of LA’s water local, saturating our own parched neighborhoods?
Clinton Hill — “I think we all need a drink after this.”
MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — “How might this regime called land be made different (speaking in passive voice) and in active voice, how to can we name the makers and hold them to account in the remaking?”
Chelsea — “This is all I do,” she told me after the tour. “I have no husband, I have no cat, I have posters.”
UNION, NJ — “Rather than having [students] look at some building in France they could never go to, I [had] them draw the buildings they are constantly running through in video games.”
AMES, IA — Ten years ago, the phrase land back wasn’t even in the vocabulary of the average architecture professor or student.
Gowanus — “The weight of these buildings is on unstable ground,” cautioned one participant.
Sutton Place — Sporting tan tennis shoes, the architecture critic shared more neighborhood lore, pointing out I.M. Pei’s former residence, as well as Andrew Bolton and Thom Browne’s manse.
Cambridge, MA — In a gesture welcomed by presenters on stage, elderly community members interjected and rebutted from the stands, offering their own accounts of historical events and movements of Black representation and political thought.
Zoom — Architectural workers can be product-oriented to a fault, even (especially?) within a grassroots organization advocating for just labor practices and an equitable build environment.
Garment District — The group grappled with the work it will take to implement a Green New Deal for New York—not just retrofitting buildings and protecting against sea level rise, but building an organized design industry capable of advocating and delivering these projects.
CLINTON HILL — Martin explained that the purpose of his recent work is to reintroduce labor to much-disputed questions about capital and value within architecture. “[It’s about] going to the basement, taking people down to the furnace, to the sites of actual production.”
Laguardia Place — “We are no longer designers, we have to [also] be activists, engineers, and advocates, [to] play a bigger role, to use what we have and collaborate with others.”
Cambridge, MA — These may seem like odd ingredients for an ecological utopia, but they suit Yu, who has distinguished himself by making unexpected connections between culture, land use, and public policy.
Los Angeles — “We’re not cake decorators,” he intoned from his seated position while showcasing his Orange County Museum of Art, a swoopy concoction with half-baked detailing that opened last October—mostly to negative reviews.
KENMARE STREET — His backing choir belted out verses like “a tree is the opposite of a cop!” and “I am a snake, I am a lake.”
East Williamsburg — Days after attending the rehearsal, I felt similarly marked by the opera’s thickly sedimented opening refrains: “Don’t be scared / Don’t touch the water / Don’t get in the water / Don’t drink the water.”
Hell’s Kitchen — Lost in a champagne sea of figurative flotsam and abstract jetsam, I finally stumbled upon art that affirmed my own taste, which we’ll call a mix of Adbusters and “institutional critique.”
LAGUARDIA PLACE — “NY kinda sucks these days” was the subtext of AIANY’s 2023 Recipe for a Room, a competition to sketch out spaces that could theoretically alleviate contemporary problems.
ZOOM — Tall, phallic buildings fronted by empty plazas and larger-than-life Calder sculptures are back! Or so a viewing of Barbie would suggest.
WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK — Taking apart these infrastructures at both the diagrammatic and syntactical level is, of course, a very Easterling move, despite the scholar adding little to the discussion.
EAST HAMPTONS — “It’s like a prison,” Renfro said. “A really pretty prison.”
ZOOM — “I wouldn’t care to live on the top of such a fragile flagpole.”
EAST HAMPTONS — This is the problem with taking things from the past and trying to live seamlessly in them: many people simply don’t want to. Instead, they jam together a renovation of ideas you theoretically agree with but practically reject.
Chinatown — What are “poots?”
Kenmare Street — Cecilia Vicuña and Ricardo Gallo arrived at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in the late afternoon and wordlessly took their positions on a makeshift stage.
FiDi — Joshua Citarella, an artist and connoisseur of the esoteric corners of the internet, had convened a young and engaged crowd at Fulton Street project space Dunkunsthalle.
East River — Here we were, two strangers standing a few feet apart on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, taking in a classic New York moment.
ZOOM — The mission of Tokyo’s Window Research Institute is almost breathtakingly prosaic.
DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — An unusual union of a high-rise residential tower and a mid-rise school rises over Flatbush Avenue.
West Village — D. Smith’s admission that she cut the film using iMovie elicited a ripple of sympathetic laughter inside the IFC Center.
LaGuardia Place — At a continent-straddling symposium, architects and planners shared their experiences with post-disaster responses.
LaGuardia Place — As troubling as the continued aversion of some starchitects toward ADA is, money presents the greatest obstacle to realizing affordable and accessible housing.
Morningside Heights — The Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s Arguments lecture series ended its summer run on a gentle note.
Morningside Heights — “I was born in a year no cars were produced in America,” the artist Chip Lord said in a talk at Columbia GSAPP.
Zoom — “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” might have been a more fitting title for the Skyscraper Museum’s public lecture, “The Future of the Past on Park Avenue: Lever House and the Waldorf Astoria,” held online this Tuesday.
LaGuardia Place — “I am an architect,” begins a wall text at the Center for Architecture’s new exhibition, Janna Ireland on the Architectural Legacy of Paul R. Williams in Nevada.
Morningside Heights — Denouncing capitalism for its inability “to achieve a real democracy,” they called for worldwide socialist planning, a rewilding of half the earth, and a rapid transition to renewable energy.
Zoom — “You have to have a photographer’s eye to see the things that will kill ‘a historic’ shot”
Upper East Side — Abbott was a self-identified lesbian and “new woman” who was seeking a voice and found it behind a camera.
LaGuardia Place — Do clients and the public understand an architect’s value? Do architects understand it?
Zoom — In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the nature of the workplace has become a focal point of debate and transformation.
Los Angeles — What should aspiring architects take away from a lecture on fetishistic sand piles?
Montreal — How do we, as architects and planners, make space for water?
Coney Island — At this year’s Mermaid Parade, homespun fashion transformed hopeful fictions into galvanizing community.
Long Island City — Plus Pool, an imaginary bobbing lido in the East River, is a project for people who want to live somewhere else entirely.
Zoom — The final pair of presentations from the Architecture League Prize’s Uncomfortable series treated the audience to a playful, animate vision of architecture as facilitator of empathy, love, and “second lives.”
LaGuardia Place — “If we allow ourselves to believe that places have a soul,” said Raunaud, “we are more inclined to respect them, to preserve them.”
Zoom — “If you don’t own the means of production,” he said, “you are not the author. We have to access the processes. Otherwise we become the product.”
Lower East Side — “We live in a culture of marketing and things for sale. Critics are on the periphery of that culture,” Hawthorne said.
Meatpacking District — “The things that excite me the most are the same things that scare me the most.”
LAGUARDIA PLACE — “It takes six hours to fly from Mexico City to NYC but twelve hours to Buenos Aires,” Enrique Norten stated at the start of a conference about Latin American architecture.
Clinton Hill — In which a plucky group of students surveys Greenland’s energy and water intake systems and extractive infrastructure—and gets stranded in the process
ZOOM — For these two architects, Euclidean geometry and personal narrative go hand in hand.
Morningside Heights — The “wood wide web” remains a “sapling of an idea” in architectural discourse.
New Orleans — How many spatial designers does it take to create a protest mural?
Kenmare Street — Dressed in brightly colored outfits, the chorale belted out beguiling lyrics that entwined such ills as toxic consumerism, climate change, and police brutality.
Morningside Heights — “Aeropolis is a queering territory,” she said, before inviting everyone to become “Aeropolians.”
Gramercy — An authority on skyscraper design spoke to a crowd at the National Arts Club about the ins-and-outs of this “fundamental building block of the modern city.”
Upper East Side — At the 49th Museum Mile Festival, all I could think about was how I've never noticed how nice this part of town looks.
Clinton Hill — Keller Easterling shares her reading habits of late.
Lower East Side — Housing is a fundamental right. Can architecture accept this?
London — A modern, timber roundhouse invites people to find common ground in a rarefied setting.
Los Angeles — At an LA book launch, taco-wielding attendees mingled against a backdrop of protest banners and DIY “Catholic prayer candles for architecture.”
San Francisco — The Disneyfication of the AIA national’s annual conference
Clinton Hill — “Did we pass a dumb law? No. We are not stupid hippies,” said an activist from the New York Communities for Change.
Chelsea — “What we think produces what we make and do.... We are less comfortable thinking about our thoughts and the forms and shapes they take.”
Morningside Heights — “I would wrap everything in fabric if I could.”
FiDi — “A building with specificity is strangely more flexible,” Ramus said.
Laguardia Place — “The rock tries to fall; it can’t fall because there’s other rocks holding it together.”
Los Angeles — Which side of the Whole Earth Catalog—green capitalism or hippie modernism—was Jaque on?
SoHo — The party spirit that animated this “block party” was only slightly dampened by a didactic art installation.
Venice — After a long flight and a series of late trains, I arrived in Venice a little worse for the wear.
Brooklyn Navy Yard — A new documentary short tells the stories of migrant women organizers in New York City.
LAGUARDIA PLACE — Contemplating mass timber futures with Lindsey Wikstrom and Carson Chan
City Hall — A few dozen birders, ornithologists, environmentalists, and elected officials rallied outside City Hall on behalf of their feathered friends.
Cambridge — If a school of architecture seems an odd venue for a climate-themed film festival, it is.
London — Another movie night—this time, featuring a powerful depiction of life in New York’s underbelly.
UPPER WEST SIDE — Beyond the frame lies something more mundane: drywall, and lots of it.
Astor Place — The long-postponed opening of Vkhutemas: Laboratory of Modernism 1920–1930 drew out avant-garde aficionados like myself.
Morningside Heights — “The past cannot change, [people’s] trauma cannot change, but seeing monuments [come] alive helps them move on.”
Union Square — A cinematic version of New York should consider the unremarkable sides of urban life, says this filmmaker.
Clinton Hill — Sylvia Lavin talks trees and Cedric Price at e-flux.
Midtown — A real-life New York archidrama crosses the footlights.
Astor Place — “We see the [imperiled] building as a mine.”
Union Square — The relationship between the architect and the museum is one of scales of time.
Chicago — Like the bicycle, a building is a tool.
Pittsburgh — “We didn’t hear so much about the impact of that kind of thinking on architecture in the conventional sense.”
Austin — “All tools contain inherent biases,” said Tyler Swingle, just as “influences come in the form of standards.”
Astor Place — “Have you ever felt frustrated working in axonometric?”
Princeton — “Architecture requires a multi-contextual approach.” Got it?
ASTOR PLACE — A sprawling timeline alleged to tell the energetic history of the world; the entirety of the Detrital Fossil Carbon era was crammed into about two inches.
Chicago — “This Is Not Contemporary” put the keyword through the paces.
Chinatown — Design-types flocked to Citygroup for the opening of The Great Outdoors, a taxonomy of New York’s dining sheds.
Zoom — A slipperiness of simultaneity accompanies any attempt to limn a futurity from fragmented histories.
Toronto — “How I got started on this project is that I’m an Instagram junkie,” said Phyllis Lambert, incongruously.
Wall Street — “I’ve seen the renderings, and it ain’t going to work out.”
Los Angeles — “Mike rejected pessimism as political fatalism in favor of the optimism necessary for organization.”
PRINCETON — Kats’s presentation diverged from the standard monographic treatment by fastening onto a wider perspective.
World Trade Center — “The problem with ‘genericism’ is it costs so much operating budget to change the space, it may as well be a strait-jacket.”
Morningside Heights — The housing system is one of alienation and abstractions. Are there alternatives?
Chelsea — I stumbled across a poignant juxtaposition.
Ludlow Street — On Wednesday, Untapped, a new online publication, tap-danced its way onto New York’s design scene.
LaGuardia Place — Water attracts and repels, offers sites of leisure and submerges fraught histories.
Zoom — The 1970 takeover of a New York City hospital by the Young Lords was not simply an occupation but a liberation of city space.
New Haven — “Denise Scott Brown: A Symposium” was a Festschrift in spirit, if not quite in name.
Lower East Side — A DJ was stationed at the back of the shop; readers were hunched over stacks of the spiral-bound publication, while others were carefully assembling BDSM rope flowers.
West Hollywood — Three projects unburdened by the frictions of reality...
SoHo — At the closing event of “Parallel Rules,” the audience couldn’t help but dazzle at the technical virtuosity on display.
Houston — ...an excuse to produce nice-looking, normative buildings.
Houston — “We almost called this lecture ‘Enjoy Architecture.’”
Brooklyn Navy Yard — ...many heads buried in fresh issues.
New Haven — The process of architectural translation—between cultures and economies, private and public realms—has been unfolding for far longer than we might appreciate.
LAGUARDIA PLACE — Design can happen anywhere, with whatever (and whomever) is at hand.
New Haven — “[The monument] came into fruition through a collective desire to face the past.”
Brooklyn Navy Yard — “The scandal isn’t the sex.”
Toronto — A panel about practice offered a sobering, yet inclusive, riposte to architectural gatekeeping.
Toronto — “There are corners, areas where you have to go in and discover new images.”