EXTENTS’ ‘image matters’ explores potential role of architecture in modern image culture

EXTENTS' tintypes have been produced within an enormous occupiable camera named the conditions room, a fully-functional sliding-box camera with a variable focal length.

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a rainbow observation deck is soothing the anxious at coachella

this year, coachella’s featured artists have made it their responsibility to provide peaceful places, away from the noise.

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alberto meda designs modular radiator with pleated surfaces for tubes

the aluminum module features elliptical ribs and can stand alone or placed beside another module to create four different configurations.

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St. Louis Coalition Seeks Creative Solutions to Blight

A blighted lot in St. Louis. (Photo by Laurie Skrivan)

The fight against neighborhood blight could get a significant boost in St. Louis, from the formation of a new coalition of government, community, and nonprofit groups to address the city’s 25,000 vacant and abandoned properties, St. Louis Public Radio reported.

Nearly a dozen stakeholders — including neighborhood associations, academia, and legal services — announced on Tuesday their formation of a “Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative” to “work together to create tools and resources to address the problem of vacancy in St. Louis,” Sundy Whiteside, board president of the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, said at a press conference, the radio station reported.

The 25,000 vacant and abandoned St. Louis properties include 7,100 abandoned buildings. The coalition plans a multipronged approach to dealing with the issues associated with them, including crime, drug dealing, gun assaults, and falling property values — not to mention the social impact of blight. A March 2018 study from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that cleaning up distressed lots doesn’t just increase residents’ feelings of safety, it affects their actual safety as well.

The 38-month Columbia study also discussed how simple tweaks like trash removal or upgrading lawn conditions often do more to transform blight than “more expensive solutions” — which can in turn lead to a rapid influx of wealthier residents, causing the displacement of existing low- and moderate-income residents, creating “further entrenched neighborhood segregation.”

Other American cities are dealing with urban blight in creative ways. In Long Beach, California, the state developed “Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones,” giving tax breaks to landowners who pledge to use their vacant properties for urban gardening or farming for at least 5 years. In working with its 23 square miles of weed-filled vacant land, the nonprofit Detroit Future City (DFC) has built a grant program to develop a green stormwater infrastructure and created sustainable templates to build “rain gardens” and native-plant meadows that redirect rainwater.

In St. Louis, the Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative hopes to tackle the issue from many angles, including holding absentee and negligent property owners accountable through litigation or government fines. Other solutions include better transportation options and the popular “Mow to Own” initiative, which allows a citizen to maintain a vacant property and keep it cleaned up, and after a certain period of time, receive title to the land.


Frame awards the best stands at Salone del Mobile 2018

Yesterday in the hour of Italian aperitivo , the Diocesan Museum courtyard came alive with the most noteworthy designers and brands at Salone this year.

Buffalo Dipping Its Toes into the Linear Park Pool

The Buffalo skyline is seen beyond construction work in October 2015. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Neighbors packed into Buffalo’s Saturn Club on Tuesday night to discuss a proposal to turn a blighted elevated railroad line into an elongated park and urban connector, WBFO reports.

Such an effort would add to the growing list of “linear parks” recently converted or soon-to-be converted from (mostly) abandoned rail lines in urban cores around the country. These include The 606 and the Englewood Line, both in Chicago; the Rail Park in Philadelphia; The Meadoway in Toronto; Detroit’s Dequindre Cut; Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston; and similar projects or proposals in St. Paul or Seattle.

But, while attracting lavish praise and many fawning headlines, the flagship examples of such projects, NYC’s High Line and Atlanta’s BeltLine have also garnered criticism for failing to deal with the sudden rise in property prices along both linear parks, turning long-established working-class neighborhoods into towering landscapes of luxury condos and rentals.

In Atlanta, the BeltLine did start out with a plan for financing affordable housing along its route, but those goals have mostly been ignored, leading the project’s original designers to quit leadership of the effort last year. At least one nonprofit has tried to step into the affordable housing breach around the BeltLine.

According to WBFO, Buffalo project consultant Anthony Armstrong said on Tuesday that support for the project was widespread.

“We’ve had surveys back from almost 500 people. We’ve spoken to hundreds of people in community meetings and at open houses. Here, tonight, we will have a couple hundred more. The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” WBFO quoted Armstrong saying. “From our surveys, we have over 90 percent, reaching 95 percent, people who want to see this happen, who want to have a place where they can connect with nature close to downtown, where they can connect with others in a new positive public space.”

At least one Buffalo resident, Jarrett Coppin, worried that so far, those participating in the planning process haven’t been sufficiently representative of Buffalo’s population. “There should be a Buffalo voice in planning it, because this is a community that’s comprised of multiple different races and ethnicities,” WFBO quoted Coppin saying. “So I think that everybody should have a voice in the planning and implementation of the project.”

In Washington, D.C., the 11th Street Bridge Park is another linear park under development, to be constructed atop a former highway bridge that would connect the wealthier neighborhoods of Capitol Hill and Navy Yard with the long-segregated, lower-income neighborhood of Anacostia. That park includes a plan for equitable development, which recently got a funding boost to get the ball rolling, even as park construction has yet to begin. The plan includes a community land trust that would preserve both affordable rentals and affordable homeownership. The recent funding boost includes dedicated dollars for the land trust to begin acquiring properties.


Why emotions must run high in retail

Ahead of the Retail Design Expo in May, Sarah Adams looks at the reasons why emotions must run high in the retail industry.

UNStudio + USM explore the boundaries between work and domesticity at salone del mobile

the installation brings furniture design to an architectural scale, creating the biggest piece of USM modular furniture ever built.

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Meet the inspiring young design studio behind London’s first women-only members’ club

We speak to Emma Rayner, co-founder of design studio No12, about furniture, creativity, and being part of the design team behind the first women-only members’ club in London.

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Architect Mahmood Fallahian

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