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progressive reactionary

architectures, cities, politics

Updated: 2017-06-21T22:20:57.987-04:00


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preserving entropy


From the New York Times, the Dia Foundation's oxymoronic, futile, and yet nonetheless commendable effort to preserve Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Gotta love it.(image)

afterparty @ p.s.1


Stopped by the opening of MOS's outdoor installation Afterparty at P.S.1 this afternoon. I must admit my expectations are not typically stratospheric for these things, since the limited budget for the annual Young Architects Program really precludes anything too ambitious. And, frankly, the projects of the last few years have been kind of redundant in the sense that there are only so many ways (image)

the architecture of the credit crunch


Another day of bizarre weather here in New York... as the thunderstorms cleared for a second time, I just snapped this photo looking down Barclay Street at the new Goldman Sachs building that's almost done. It is, to put it mildly, unimpressive. Did the credit crunch render the storied investment bank unable to procure a decent curtain wall? Particularly in comparison to the unexpectedly gorgeous(image)

the twits


progressive reactionary can now be found on twitter. better late than never. let's see how long this lasts... (image)

strange times


[image: China Radio International, via NY Times] Just when you think things could not get more surreal—with Republicans staging "teabagging" parties across the nation and pirates once again ruling the high seas—you come across a news story like this. Dolphins? Saving a Chinese freighter from pirates?(image)

creatures on the beach


[image:] I came across this TED talk by Dutch artist Theo Jansen, who makes these fantastic, kinetic sculptures called Strandbeests. They are stunning and (apparently) analog computing systems that exhibit behaviors that we would normally associate with living organisms, not handmade assemblages of plastic piping. Jansen's simple manifesto as expressed on his website imagines a (image)



Orhan Ayyuce calls this "the day the iconic building died." Should be interesting to see how Koolhaas spins this one. UPDATE 11:20pm EST: From surreal to the sublime, and back again. More photos, courtesy of fuzheado's flickr site. One wonders if this won't go down as a Pruitt-Igoe moment for the excesses of contemporary architecture.(image)

towards a critique of sustainability


From the latest issue of Volume: a decent critique of that ever-elusive term "sustainability." The very word, emptied of meaning through overuse, increasingly dominates architectural design and discourse, and—frankly—it drives me crazy. People use it all the time without really knowing what they are talking about. I always ask: sustainable of what? Too often the word becomes appropriated as a (image)

a new year


It's a difficult thing—in the midst of two wars, a burgeoning economic disaster, an escalating conflict in Gaza, and countless other calamities worldwide—to identify things to look forward to in 2009. But if there's one thing that 2008 taught us, it's that hopes are not always left unfulfilled, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable adversity. We forget this lesson at our peril as this new (image)

ground zero from above


At a party on the top floor of 7 World Trade Center a few weeks back, I managed to snap a photo of the massive construction site below. Seeing the state of affairs laid out before my eyes some fifty stories below, I thought to myself: Wow, we've come a long way; but boy, do we have a lot of work yet to do.I'll leave you with that, as I escape to the dark woods of the the northern wilderness for (image)

donovan to HUD


As you've likely heard by now: Barack Obama has nominated Shaun Donovan, present head of NYC HPD, as his Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. Now I know ShaunDon wasn't on my wishlist of potential HUD nominees [posted in the comments section of one of Nick Kristof's posts from last month), but it should be noted for the record that this Progressive Reactionary did politely suggest hiring an (image)

now this is what i'm talking about


Ada Louise Huxtable valiantly reenters the fray this week with a piece in the Wall Street Journal on the endless 2 Columbus Circle debates. It's fitting that the critical history of 2CC both begins and ends with Huxtable: she is the critic who initially catapulted the original Edward Durell Stone building into infamy in the 1960s with her branding of those "lollipop" columns, and with this (image)

"by the time one future's there, there's another one being imagined"


I am presently reading Tom McCarthy's Remainder— a brilliantly complex novel that will merit its own post once I complete the book. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share a passage from the beginning of the novel that today is eerily poignant. The book's narrator, recently recovered from an accident and awarded generous compensation by those responsible (it's all very vague), meets with a (image)

recycled landscape


Another good one from New York magazine: Robert Sullivan on Fresh Kills Park and its designer, James Corner of Field Operations. Worth a read. Precisely the kind of mega-infrastructural project that we've been talking about as a means to stimulate the economy (and keep architects in business).(image)

the infrastructure gap, cont'd.


Over in New York magazine, Justin Davidson picks up where I left off with a call for a massive national program of infrastructural rehabilitation. Although perhaps a little too fixated on bridges (there are other kinds of infrastructure, too, you know), Davidson does touch on all the important arguments for such a much-needed stimulus: the economic advantages, the moral imperative, the symbolic/(image)

derivative of what?


Finally. John Lanchester, of whom I must admit I have never before heard, has a stunning piece buried in the back of Nov. 10 New Yorker on the credit crisis as it relates the broader cultural paradigms of modernism and postmodernism. Although I've appreciated the commentary of Krugman (who just today so succinctly declared: "This is an economic emergency"), Reich, and others these past few months(image)

blog typology


Via Andrew... I just ran this site through the Typealyzer, which claims to analyze a website and categorize the author in terms of right-brain/left-brain dominance. This Progressive Reactionary landed smack-dab in the left-brain camp of the so-called "Mechanics": The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to (image)

urban policy in the whitehouse


Following up on an earlier post... there's an interesting rumor going around about President-Elect Obama's plans to establish a Whitehouse Office of Urban Policy. This is a good sign for the 70% of us Americans who dwell in urban areas! Dare I suggest that maybe an architect or planner should be appointed to head up such an office? Stay tuned for more.... (image)

on hope, redux


I'll spare you, dear readers, my own gushing post-election thoughts. Instead, I point you to a fitting coda to the tremendous milestone of Tuesday's election and to my own ruminations from a while back on the possibility of an Obama presidency. From a followup by Rebecca Solnit to her beautiful 2003 essay "Acts of Hope." Read it.(image)

signed, sealed, delivered.


[image: Reuters]Remember this moment, America.(image)

in the unlikely story that is america...


 [image: Getty Images] ...there has never been anything false about hope. Please vote today. (image)

the end draws nigh...


...and not a moment too soon. Let's go out there and win this thing, once and for all. This Progressive Reactionary has been dispatched to the swing-state hinterland for one last effort to spread the gospel of hope and change, so you won't be hearing much until I return on November 5. In the meantime: get off your ass, and go do something. History is on the verge of being made. Be a part of it.(image)

the election, from an architect's point of view


Some readers wonder why this Progressive Reactionary—typically so obsessed with such architectural obscurities as locative cartography, John Portman, and Swiss bunkers—has switched gears in recent months to become so fixated on the presidential election. Well, besides the obvious fact that we have a real chance with an Obama presidency to pursue an alternate (and better) future for this country, (image)

a reality check


This morning's political television provided a fitting contrast of the choice this country faces in two weeks time. On Meet the Press, former general and Secretary of State Colin Powell eloquently and wholeheartedly endorsed Barack Obama. In a 7-minute delineation of what led to his decision (which, like the New Yorker's long endorsement from a few weeks back, goes down the list, issue-by-issue, (image)

"landscapes of nostalgia"


Geoff Manaugh, in true form, has a great post up today at BLDGBLOG. It's is his own kind of geographical take on the state of American politics, and it's not to miss. As good an argument against rancher presidents as I've ever read. Check it out: "Minor Landscapes and the Geography of American Political Campaigns."(image)