Lebbeus Woods: Architect of Spaces in Crisis

I first saw Lebbeus Woods’ science fiction inspired architectural drawings at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA. I was immediately drawn to his dystopian cityscapes overcome by buildings resembling machines and monsters. According to Woods, the spaces he designs are intentionally uncomfortable and aimed at disrupting bourgeoisie practices, “You can’t bring your old habits here. If you want to participate, you will have to reinvent yourself” (qtd in Ouroussoff, Nicolai. New York Times, August 2th, 2008). Primarily seen as an architect who is revolutionary but who ultimately designs the impossible, he theorizes places in crisis, re-designing buildings and structures such as the site of the former Berlin wall, war zones in Bosnia, and the Korean De-militarized zone. Described on his faculty webpage at The European Graduate School, Woods “holds the position that architecture and war are in a certain sense identical, and that architecture is inherently political. An explicitly political goal of his highly conceptual work is the instantiation of the conflict between past and future in shared spaces” (For his bio, click here).

It will be exciting to see one of Woods’ buildings leave the purely visual and be completed in real space. Set for completion in 2013 in Chengdu, China,  the structure that Woods, in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, designed is “a riot of angled steel beams housed in polycarbonate sleeves containing LEDs” (Fred Bernstein, Architectural Record. March 26, 2012). I love the disjunction of the word “riot” to describe what Woods envisioned as a sanctuary among the urban sprawl. Surely, its effect on the space and the experience of space will be interesting to follow. For more info click here.

Proposals for Rationally Improving the City of Paris (from 1955)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Nothing like a light, humorous reading at the end of the semester when the summer still seems a distant dream (although the last day of class is April 23rd–not too shabby–and I’m heading to a conference next week the KFLC–not that many urban sessions but there seem to be more every year-check the program).

Luckily, the Proposals for Rationally Improving the City of Paris hits the spot (available in the Situationist International Anthology and also online here). Not light humorous reading necessarily, maybe serious, humorous reading… Continue reading

Originally posted on Urban Choreography:

More on Crowd-sourced Smart Cities and why  this is about the “internet of people” and not the “internet of things” and reiterates the position of Saskia Sassen in her op-ed Open Source Urbanism by Guido Stevens on cosent via Scoop.it Urban Life

The Internet of Things can be used to create a surveillance society, but also to empower bottom-up community building.

Crowdsourcing Smart Cities

Smart Cities is a catchy concept used by big IT vendors like IBM, to market their technology vision. A smart city is what happens when the city you live in (a dumb city?) is upgraded with a specific new infrastructure:The Internet Of Things.

Imagine a pixie dust of networked sensors sprinkled on everything you see. Imagine how everything is outfitted with sensors and an Internet connection: every door, every light, every solar panel, every car, every intersection. Every coffee machine and dishwasher. Every piece of clothing in shops…

View original 110 more words

Urban Street Art – Obey – Shepard Fairey

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Street artist turned corporate artist Shepard Fairey had a name for himself before the Obama poster with the iconic “Obey” image of Andre the Giant (above–the 80s performance artist/wrestler [which is it again?] whose face was “both sinister and goofy” as Fairey explains in the video below). There are plenty of these stuck up over town in Charleston, SC (and likely in your town?), and he’s got some more recent work as well, such as this image on Spring street in Charleston which I’m told was just outside the historic-district zoning or it would have been taken down/painted over)