Public Transportation in Crisis in Oculus

Public Transportation in Crisis, Oculus, Summer 2020. 

“I can imagine no shortage of scenarios,” says Transportation Alternative director Danny Harris of the hopes for a change in priorities. “The reality is that we have this administration and any administration that would come next. We should wish to have a high-speed rail network like Japan, Germany, Switzerland, or France, and a bike network like the Netherlands or Denmark. We should wish to have active and vibrant public space as they do throughout southern Europe. But all that requires the political will and the vision that those things are not whimsy, they’re not partisan. When you build them, they create more vibrant and connected regional economies.”

Well-Being at Work: Models and Pandemic for L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui

Well-Being at Work: Models and Pandemic, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui 436, May 2020. 

À l’heure de la première crise mondiale susceptible de forcer une remise en question de nos modes de vie contemporains, la quête du bien‑être au travail vit le pire des scénarios, apocalyptique : le bureau à domicile obligatoire. Passage en revue des espaces de travail du XXIe siècle en temps de pandémie.

Art Nouveau Carriage House to Barcelona Loft by Kirsten Schwalgien for Dwell

An Art Nouveau Carriage House Is Reborn as a Luxe Barcelona Loft: Architect Kirsten Schwalgien converts the former stable of a famed Catalan modernist building into a contemporary loft, Dwell, May 18, 2020.

The entrance to Amir Kassaei’s Barcelona loft passes through an ornate atrium with an extensively bracketed skylight, punctuated with brightly colored stained glass cut in organic motifs. A carved bear with arms around a lamppost is stationed at the newel of a curling, sculptural staircase.

Beneath it are arched double doors leading to the former carriage house of the art nouveau Casa Bures, designed by Francesc Berenguer i Mestres, an associate of Antoni Gaudí. Architect Kirsten Schwalgien transformed the space into a loft apartment while preserving its fluted cast-iron columns and Catalan vault ceilings.

A Polygonal Refuge in Silver Lake by Tom Marble in Dwell

A Polygonal Refuge Takes Root in the Hills of Los Angeles, Dwell May 11, 2020

"I did not want a box," Tim Tattu says. "I wanted to look at the view from many angles. I’m not a huge fan of houses where you go straight out and look at the view straight on—that makes the view too overwhelming. I like a big view, don’t get me wrong, but I like to have different angles on the view, because it kind of shifts your perception."

Beach House Brings California Surfer Vibes to Chigasaki, Japan in Dwell

An Architect’s Beach House Brings California Surfer Vibes to Chigasaki, Japan, Dwell, Apr. 30, 2020. 

"So many Japanese people love the California lifestyle," Yusuke Makino says. "Their image is of a California surfer that lives close to the ocean in a ’60s- or ’70s-style wood-sided house, even if it’s not true. I think many surfer guys don’t have money. They only love to surf. Sometimes they live in very cheap apartment. But the Japanese image of the surfer’s home is a very nice, clean wood-facade house close to the ocean."

Net-Zero Passive House in West Vancouver in Dwell

An Engineer Builds the Net-Zero Passive House of His Dreams in West Vancouver, Dwell, April 2, 2020. 

James Dean believes his 4,000 net-zero-energy home is the future of construction. Situated on the southern slope of the mountains along English Bay, with three stories of wall-to-wall glass, it gathers effusive sunlight during the cooler months, reducing the need for heating. Terraces flow from each level, blocking direct sun during the hot summer months. 

Built of four-and-a-half-inch prefabricated cross-laminated timbers, the structure was erected in a few weeks rather than months, reducing construction costs and exposure to rain. And the volume is insulated by 17-inch walls, which retain heat and virtually eliminate thermal bridging—the conduction of heat through the building envelope—to maximize comfort.

Countryside, unnatural nature in Abitare

“It’s the kind of show we should wish architects engaged in and museums sponsored constantly, asking big questions that go far beyond the scope of the building project or the display of collections. The exhibition speaks to how we make the world, for whom, and what are its consequences.”

Neri Oxman's Art and Matter in L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui

Neri Oxman's Art and Matter, L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui 435, March 2020.

“Other ethical questions are evoked by an experiment like Wanderers, unveiled in 2014 for an exhibition in Berlin: here the lab combined cyanobacteria with e. coli that lives in our digestive systems, developing a series of abstract futuristic wearables. Her MIT lab is equipped with specialized biosafety rooms to protect against spread of the potentially hazardous bacteria. Playing with the danger of contamination and the beauty of fluorescence that could arise in materials through interaction of the microorganisms with interplanetary environments, the project brings to mind the doomsday bunkers of the superrich that abandon humanity to protect a few.

Notably, funding for Oxman’s research intersected with a major scandal at MIT last year: acceptance of $125,000 for the lab—and much more by Media Lab—from Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire influence peddler and convicted sex offender, which resulted in an uproar of protests by students, resignation of Media Lab director Joi Ito, and an apology from Oxman.

Another source of revenues for the lab has been the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Department of Defense’s program that funds development of military technologies: her collaborator synthetic biologist Christopher Voigt belongs to teams that won a $32 million contract from DARPA in 2015 and another $9.1 million in 2017. Military and space research frequently provides breakthroughs in other fields—most famously the internet—but it’s worth adding a dose of skepticism to the Media Lab’s techno-optimism, as so much of the electronic media age promoted as the dawning of a new age of enlightenment is being adopted by industries and governments for nefarious purposes and spurring reactionary revivals across the globe.” 

Melbourne Warehouse Conversion in Dwell

With Just $7K, a Creative Duo Transform a Melbourne Warehouse Into a Cheerful Home and Studio, Dwell, Mar. 17, 2020. 

"The real estate market in Melbourne is limiting if you’re a renter," says Leah Hudson-Smith. "We don’t have huge incomes: we’re both in the creative industries, so we don’t have loads of money to spend on housing all the time. This was a great opportunity to create something that would fit us perfectly rather than us fit the house." 

8 Black Designers Whose Socially Impactful Work Challenges the Status Quo in Dwell

8 Black Designers Whose Socially Impactful Work Challenges the Status Quo, Dwell, February 18, 2020.

Places convey whether they are designed for us or not in often subtle ways. Cultural values lurk behind aesthetic choices, and small details signal inclusion or exclusion—both in the development process and the ultimate design. We spoke with eight Black designers whose work manifests social impact, both on a large scale—addressing deep-rooted sources of system injustice—and on a more intimate scale—creating interiors that cause a psychological shift.