August 2015

The Obama Presidential Library: A Call For Restraint

There’s a circus coming to town.

And by “to town”, I mean the United States.  And by “circus”, I mean the horrifically overblown pomp and circumstance that’s going to get accorded the Obama Presidential Library.

You guys, can we just agree in advance to CHILL OUT about it?

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“Writing Architecture”: A Panel on Architectural Criticism

Our clients and education deserve the very best work that we are capable of producing, and this means doing some intellectual and philosophical heavy lifting about our projects and practices. This means understanding the formal and historical contexts in which our work finds itself and interpreting the design briefs and problems we’re given within the larger body of work in which it naturally exists.

But really…who has time for all that?

Enter architectural criticism.

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How To Citizen

We’ve all been there: an ugly building goes up in a neighborhood we used to love.  A street gets widened, taking away the last available sidewalk down that road.  A proposition on the ballot asking whether we want road repairs to be funded by corporations or a gas tax.  Another strip mall goes up where a wildflower meadow used to be.   An old building downtown is put up for preservation or demolition, and a public referendum held asking which it’s going to be.

We take these changes in our everyday landscape for granted – changes that often feel like they are for the worse – when in actuality, we have a lot more agency over these things than most of us realize.  But even when we genuinely want to take an interest and have a greater say in how our cities and neighborhoods are managed, matters of urban development, preservation, neighborhood management, and transit and transportation seem hard to research and, worse, dauntingly complex to understand.

Good news: there’s good news.

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Put a Little Song(bird) In My Heart

You know that feeling of pleasant surprise when someone who does something you love, does it well a second time?  When you see a movie sequel expecting shallow reproductions of the same jokes, and are instead presented with fresh new material that makes you laugh all over again; or a singer whose standout first album is followed up by a second with as much heart and originality; or an author whose first book is so strong you can’t imagine another one…until the next one comes out and you discover with shock that it’s just as un-put-downable as the first book?

A young patron places an order for something yummy.

A young patron places an order for something yummy.

Ann Arbor, you’re in for a treat.

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