A Community of Eco-Friendly Cottages by Grigori Fateyev in Dwell

Photo by Scott Benedict

A Community of Eco-Friendly Cottages Pops Up in Massachusetts: Modeled after New England barns and surrounding a shared garden, these sustainable homes form a forward-thinking co-housing community. Dwell, Jan. 17, 2020. 

A developer and interior designer bought the lots in 2012 and hired Hillsdale, New York–based Grigori Fateyev of Art Forms Architecture to design a co-housing community of small-footprint, ecologically sustainable homes on the site. The existing, preserved Victorian on the site was meant to provide shared amenities, but as contingencies pressed against plans, the collection took another form: a set of extremely energy-efficient, 2,000-square-foot homes adopting a near-passive building approach, oriented around an edible landscape on the edge of the Housatonic River. 

Design for Aging in the Big Apple: No Picnic in L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui

“Design for Aging in the Big Apple: No Picnic.” L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui 434, Dec. 2019.

The building at 175 Delancey Street recently finished construction within the large-scale Essex Crossing megadevelopment, containing a total of 99 well-appointed studios distributed to qualifying applicants through a lottery system, half of them from the neighborhood, with income-based rents ranging from $396 to $1,254 a month. A medical facility run by NYU is on the ground floor, and the building features planted rooftop lounging areas and a cafĂ©, if you’re lucky enough to win the lottery and you don’t die first. It had 65,000 applicants. The wait lists to get a senior apartment are seven to ten years long, and you can’t apply until you’re 62. My mother’s approval came in the mail about a year after she perished. 

PS1's Young Architects Program going on hiatus in the Architect's Newspaper

MoMA and PS1's Young Architects Program is going on hiatus, Architect's NewspaperNovember 22, 2019.

If SHoP’s origins as a young firm are hard to remember, it’s even more difficult to retrieve the imperative that once made PS1 so improbable and ingenious a proposition in the first place—and the Young Architects Program an innocent delight—when its enterprising founder Alanna Heiss somehow convinced the Queens borough president to hand over a closed-down public school to a group of misfits from the SoHo/ Tribeca alternative space scene who proceeded to saw through floors as sculptures.

Notably, one of the names that appears as a funder in the first decade of YAP, along with Bloomberg, Agnes Gund, and Isaac Liberman, is none other than real-estate-reality-show-specter-turned-president Donald J. Trump. How a contemporary art center can meaningfully respond to the current situation, if at all, could be a starting point for the continuation of the program or its eventual cancellation, but the Young Architects Program unquestionably pioneered a model of temporary urban pavilion imitated worldwide, activating public spaces that without major capital improvements or altering their historic character remained inhospitable and inflexible for contemporary needs.

Rikers replacement process begins in the Architect's Newspaper

Rikers replacement process begins as New York issues RFPs, Architect's Newspaper, November 19, 2019.

Whether or not you believe in the abolition of the carceral state in New York City—in its case, 9,400 people in jail are waiting for trial on any given day—the announcement of the start of the Rikers Island jail replacement project may be good news. The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) will start issuing Request for Proposals (RFPs) for early program work later this month, in preparation for four design-build projects to create new jail towers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.

The brief will aim to create a new borough-based jail system comprised of smaller, safer, more humane facilities, located within easier reach of courts, families, lawyers, social workers, educational services, and care providers.

Extinction Rebellion sinks a house in the Thames in the Architect's Newspaper

Extinction Rebellion sinks a house in the Thames for climate protest, Architect's Newspaper, Nov. 19, 2019.

Last Sunday, a sinking house in London’s River Thames became a trending meme-of-the-day, specially manufactured by sculptor and fabricator activists from Extinction Rebellion U.K. to imitate conditions under a global climate emergency. The stunt worked particularly well in the U.K. as it happened to fall on the same day as flooding in Derbyshire and Yorkshire in Northern England, a coincidence—like the Venice City Council voting against climate legislation as high tides bathed Louis Vuitton shoppers on St. Mark’s Square—likely to become increasingly more common.

the_shed_is_a_shack pokes fun at Hudson Yards in the Architect's Newspaper

the_shed_is_a_shack pokes fun at Hudson Yards and corporate malfeasance, Architect's Newspaper, Nov. 18, 2019.

On June 21, a couple of months after the opening of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group-designed Shed, the anonymous group behind the_shed_is_a_shack Instagram account began trolling the billionaire-real-estate-developer-funded arts center. Its organizers, who include an artist and an executive director of an arts institution, followed their friends’ Instagram accounts to attract followers and began lampooning the Shed. They published a photo of a cracked electrical outlet cover and an electrical box with wires sticking out, poked fun at design and programming decisions, and savaged the financing behind the project. Increasingly they focused on its embodiment of extreme economic stratification, poor labor practices, and the “artwashing” of real estate the project embodies. We asked The Shack—as they call themselves—about the account, their trolling of the Shed and Hudson Yards, and their view of what should have happened there instead. They responded with a remarkably cogent argument for an alternative decision-making process for development on public property.

City Council approves East Side flood protection

New York City Council approves controversial East Side flood protection plan, Architect's Newspaper, November 15, 2019.

The project has experienced strong ongoing opposition from organized community groups, civic associations, and neighborhood parks advocates, who voiced opposition to the extended loss of play areas, removal of trees, and lack of consultation during the design process. A coalition of community groups had drafted an alternative People’s Plan, which the final project considered as a part of its community engagement, along with the EDC’s Waterfront Esplanade plan and XYZ Studio’s East River Blueway Plan. The city responded with a plan to phase work over a longer period to ensure the availability of parks during the construction.Others, like architect William Rockwell, who lives in an Amalgamated Dwellings Cooperative building and experienced severe flooding and loss of power during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, voiced support. Among the notable benefits of the design, apart from potentially live-saving flood protection, will be vastly improved pedestrian connections to the East River across on grade bridges spanning FDR Drive.

Is Torkwase Dyson's abstract recount of racial violence a missed opportunity? in the Architect's Newspaper

Is Torkwase Dyson's abstract recount of racial violence a missed opportunity? Architect's Newspaper, October 21, 2019.

“These systems also consider infrastructure and the environment to create a visual amalgamation that recognizes the ways that black people move through, inhabit, cleave and form space,” Dyson is cited as saying the catalog, describing her nomenclature of representation as “black compositional thought.” Often Dyson uses dancers accompanying installations to animate them with exuberant gestures, and the presence of performers might make this rhetoric seem less overblown. If these works constitute a kind of expressive freedom grounded in black narrative and experience, they operate within the exclusive prison-house of the institutional contemporary art and academic architecture world, its markets, nonprofits, grants, and formalist language games.

It’s a project worthy of poststructural critique to seek liberation even within the most repressive situations. As with the collapse of the New Museum’s Ideas City program in the Bronx, it can be challenging to reconcile the sustained intellectual discourse with the urgent, viscerally felt problems of the world: lack of control over space and governance, being unable to afford a place to live or to find adequately paid work, and abstract financial forces determining the fate of your community.

Inclusivity and Economic Development at Detroit Month of Design in Metropolis Magazine

Inclusivity and Economic Development Emerge as Top Themes at Detroit Month of Design: In looking beyond the city’s central business district, the annual design festival staked out new ground for architecture and design. Metropolismag.com, September 30, 2019

The height of cool in Detroit at the moment is equitable distribution of resources for economic development. Residential and commercial projects are pushing further into high-vacancy areas like Woodbridge, North Corktown, and McDougall-Hunt. The planning department has asked the city to issue bonds for $250 million to demolish all of Detroit’s remaining abandoned property within five years, clearing the way for a series of interwoven neighborhood parks.