Two recent interviews

Asla’s the DIRT interviews  Joyce Lee, the Director of the Active Design Program for the City of New York Department of Design and Construction. Download NYC’s Active Design Guidelines for free.

The way in which the guidelines seek to create an overlap between active, sustainable, and universal design. Active design is thus an multi-disciplinary concept. It can be applied in a  range of prescriptions from public health to storm-water management.

Meanwhile Nicholas de Monchaux is interviewed as part of the launch of his new book, Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG writes that the book is full of  “shocking juxtapositions” and also alerts readers to the fact that Monchaux will be leading a newly announced architectural design track at UC-Berkeley, called Studio One.

Talking about the meaning of the spacesuit Monchaux in response to a statement from Geoff  “there are at least three different ways, I’d say, of preparing humans for inhospitable circumstance”

Argues that “Embedded in both of those ideas is the notion that we can reduce a complex, emergent system—whether it’s the body or the planet or something closer to the scale of the city—to a series of cybernetically inflected inputs, outputs, and controls.

Speaking about the idea of management and how this approach defined the American space efforts of NASA, he argues against the idea of parametrically designing entire cities or Smart Cities management.

As for the architecture of fabric more broadly, I think, as was the case in the Apollo program, fabric has a discourse of softness, protection, and layering that is very appropriate to our current architectural moment, despite the hard logic of systems that underlies much of what passes for fashion in architecture these days. 

It’s also important to note that, in a world that is moving so fast, and in such uneasy and unsettling directions with issues such as climate change, peak oil, and the resilience of cities, that something like a clothing-based solution is probably more credible than parametrically designing whole future cities from scratch. 

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