Best of 2015: Architectstasy’s Top 6 Articles
2015 is a special year for Architectstasy, being its first. It’s been a phenomenal year of architectural conversations; from the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial to Ann Arbor’s struggle with its version of the Roman Forum, the following were Architectstasy’s most-read articles of 2015. Thanks for following along so far, and here’s to a new year of even more and more interesting conversations in 2016. See you next year!
TOP ARTICLES OF 2015
Most popular Ann Arbor article
Ann Arbor’s Roman Forum: A Rundown of the Library Lot Proposals
Okay, Ann Arbor. I don’t want to freak you out or anything, but we have a real opportunity to make a profound impact on the face and function of our city for a long time to come. The so-called “Library Lot,” just north of the Downtown Library branch and just east of Blake Transit Center, is arguably the most central civic property in the city. The great and terrible news is: it’s up for development.
So, you know. No pressure.
Most popular U.S. article
Chicago Architecture Biennial: The State of the Art of Sustainability
Chicago is hosting North America’s inaugural Architecture Biennial this fall (3 October – 3 January). Titled “The State of the Art of Architecture,” architectural firms and practices from all six continents have been invited to display their work. Spanning all sizes and kinds of projects, the Biennial is showcasing solutions to design problems from spiderwebs to social housing.
U.S. buildings use around 40% of all the country’s energy consumption. It is a disconcerting truth that even if every building starting tomorrow were to be net-zero energy and net-zero water, we’d still be on a crash course draining more naturally-available resources than our one planet can permanently sustain. In this environment, architectural designers have a special responsibility to educate themselves about innovative sustainable design techniques, from those that have worked for thousands of years to those that, as the Biennial’s title hopefully suggests, are state of the art.
So what does the Biennial have to say about sustainability? Below are five different approaches at five different scales: material, building, resource, city, and the globe.
Most popular World article
How Buildings Collapse
In 1989, architectural critic Herbert Muschamp wrote an essay for the New York Times, “How Buildings Remember”, that took the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. as a case study. In it, he discussed Modernism, transparency, the uneasy intimate relationship between art and politics, wondered aloud how much a museum should be responsible – or even can be responsible – for in terms of absolution, the Holocaust Museum type, and ended on an unsettling parallel between old and new propaganda and the timeless persistence of denial. He describes carefully, almost tenderly, James Freed’s formal, spatial, and material answers to the question, “How does a building represent a catastrophe?”
But sometimes, the building IS the catastrophe.
Most popular book review
Writing About Architecture
I sought this book out because (A) as an aspiring architecture critic I thought I should know what others are saying about it, and (B) Dr. Lange is kind of funny on Twitter. I am enormously glad that I did.
Who should read this book: practicing architects and architectural designers; urban planners; engaged citizens.
Most popular TED talk
Chicago Architecture Biennial: TED Nerdout
You guys love architecture, you guys love biennials, but most of all, I think you guys love TED talks! This compilation of all of the TED talks given by CAB participants was one of the most popular articles of the entire year.