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Posts Tagged ‘Cameron Sinclair’

Allison Arieff Checks In On Rebuilding Progress in Biloxi

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We said you’d be seeing Allison Arieff lots more in the pages of the NY Times, and today she’s got a piece about the home-building recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. “Design Steps Up in Disaster’s Wake” talks about the Biloxi-based approach by Architecture for Humanity, the Biloxi Model Home Program.

The program went above and beyond other efforts by establishing a loan fund, a board to identify the neediest families and a crew of surveyors to go door-to-door, documenting every property in eastern Biloxi. They then put out the call to architects in a unique process that actually let the homeowners pick the design they wanted:

Thirteen responded, and last August they presented their designs to the seven families and the town of Biloxi at an Architecture for Humanity-sponsored house fair held downtown in a Salvation Army Quonset hut. Each family was allowed to choose its architect (even if another family had chosen the same one), a highly unusual form of client empowerment in this kind of housing competition.

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Cameron Sinclair and Crew Get Crowdsourced

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The results of Jay Rosen‘s Assignment Zero experiment are in, according to this piece in Wired News, and it worked, kinda. For the design through peer production beat, they focused on Architecture for Humanity‘s Open Architecture Network.

Rosen points to the transcripts of interviews with Marlon Blackwell, Kate Stohr and “VanillaCameron Sinclair who said this:

There’s an assumption that if I’m helping people, then I must not like design. But that’s not true, [it's] the reason I became an architect. So people assume I’m critical of the celebrity architect or the “starchitects.” I look at it like this, in the medical profession. There are plastic surgeons, and people need them, but we’re in the emergency room. There’s always going to be a need for both. I don’t mean that in a rude sense. I mean that in like you have different roles in your industry.

Starchitects as the nipple repositioners of architecture. We like the sound of that.

Christopher Hawthorne Wishes He Could Find Some Green Designers to Write About For Once

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With Philip Nobel lighting the way for architecture critics to speak their tainted little minds, critics everywhere are now making pointed attempts at abrasiveness. But sometimes it just doesn’t fly. When Christopher Hawthorne at the LA Times finally makes it out to NY to review the “Design for the Other 90%” show, he tries to make some kind of point about the lack of green designers. We only have to wonder…what on earth is he talking about?

Rem Koolhaas has offered what seems like a dozen explanations–some of them rather convincing, actually–for his willingness to take commissions from the Tibet-paving, coal-belching Chinese government. Peter Eisenman has long been happy to play the charming villain for the green crowd. Zaha Hadid‘s buildings show a mesmerizing disdain for the idea that she bears responsibility for anything beyond the health of her own legacy.

Horrible use of the starchitect card. Ho hum. Nothing new there. Try again.

Among the green generation, who is heading up the charge? Well, nobody, really. This may be the first movement in architectural history whose followers are more famous than its leaders. Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Orlando Bloom are well-known fans of green design. Among green designers, on the other hand, we have the ambitiously principled (read: sorta vanilla) Cameron Sinclair, who leads Architecture for Humanity; the great, greatly mustachioed and soft-spoken Shigeru Ban; and William McDonough, who is beginning to project an Andy Rooney vibe.

Although we can’t disagree with either the vanillaness of Sinclair or the Rooneyness of McDonough (or the greatness of Ban), we have to say it’s clinically insane to say that there’s a dearth of well-known green designers. Really? Leo and Brad are the greenest architects you could find?

Hawthorne, what are you smoking? We bet that’s green.

Jay Rosen’s AssignmentZero Needs a Few Good Design Writers

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As our laptop dries out from an exceptionally damp weekend in New York (a reliable umbrella would make a nice gift for your editors this holiday), we discovered a great way for all you aspiring design writers to get your feet wet. We met NYU’s Jay Rosen this weekend, mind behind PressThink and enabler for the Polling Place Photo Project experiment we chatted about last year. He’s recently launched AssignmentZero, the open source journalism initiative, and we were delighted to see that there’s plenty of design-related topics for you to dive right into.

There’s an Open Source Car Design assignment, which is helping to propel the OScar project. The Architecture for Humanity assignment recruits assistance for Cameron Sinclair‘s org. There’s one for peer-produced design and perhaps our favorite, the Threadless assignment, where the tagline reads “Any idiot can design a T-shirt!”

Funny, AssignmentZero’s tagline doesn’t say “Any idiot can write an article!”