the way we live

city of the future

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a while back the history channel came to three cities across the united states to put on a design charette with some of the top local architecture and urban design firms.  the topic was what should the respective city look like in 100 years.  a finalist from new york, chicago, and los angeles were then put in a head to head competition via online voting.  while all the proposals were extremely innovative (and certainly filled with great eye candy) chicago’s entry was recently awarded the top prize.  designed by urban lab, the scheme features a system of eco-boulevards in which biologically natural processes are engaged to purify water.  the problem is all to credible: the most valuable resource will be water.  the solution is elegant: create a system of eco-boulevards spreading throughout the city to function as a, “giant living machine.”  this living machine will treat 100% of chicago’s wastewater and rainwater runoff using plants, invertebrates, other animals, and microorganisms in a natural process.  this closed loop natural water purification system is fascinating.  imagine the aesthetics of these natural wetlands running their course throughout a dense midwestern city.  congratulations goes out to sarah dunn, martin felsen, and all the other folks over there at urban lab for their phenomenally innovative, aesthetically pleasing, and extremely sustainable proposal.

9 February 2007 Posted by | architecture, green, society, urban planning | Leave a comment

american’s favorite buildings

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a couple of days ago the american institute of architects (aia) released a poll in celebration of their 150th anniversary. the topic of the poll was american’s favorite buildings, the top 150 favorites to be exact. the list is rather intriguing to say the least. overall people tended to like big symbolic structures. blair kamin over at the chicago tribune had a great critique of the list and i must agree with him. fame seemed to trump quality every time. he notes some of the ranking order that “is sure to make architecture critics cringe.” interestingly he points out, the bellagio in las vegas was ranked higher than frank lloyd wright’s fallingwater in pennsylvania among others. surprisingly there were a great many spectacular omissions including the fact that there wasn’t a single mies structure on the list. as for chicago, they had 16 buildings, the highest ranked being number 31…wrigley field. the seemingly bizarre nature of the order and some of the structures that made it compared to those that didn’t really makes me think. it’s worth checking out.

9 February 2007 Posted by | architecture | Leave a comment