review of Drosscape by Alan Berger

Just came across this old book review on Amazon.

From back in 2007. I think I posted a version of this to Archinect’s old Book Review section as well. Which vaporized with the Nect 3.0 launch.

This book is a natural extension of the direction Alan Berger took in his first book Reclaiming the American West. While in his first book he examined the “leftover” space, of human industrial development in the American West in his new book he examines the range of wasted spaces which are created by current urban development patterns. Although specifically about the American urban landscape, his work can be at least loosely applied anywhere where sprawl or horizontal urbanity has become the norm. A key aim of his book is to go beyond the partisan debate of pro-or anti sprawl activists. Instead, Berger sets out to initiate a conversation and to develop a vocabulary through which this phenomenon of “inevitable” horizontal development can be understood and critiqued. However, this is arguably one weakness of the book. Although he develops a wonderful analysis of the phenomenon, his acceptance of it’s inevitably, especially in the face of the efforts of many to change the game, can come off as defeatist. Yet, his focus on the liminal nature of the typologies he outlines does open up many fascinating areas of discussion. For inspiration he draws on everything from William Gibson’s Neuromancer to Lars Lerups’ concept of Stim & Dross. Ultimately, his approach is hopeful though. He concludes that because of the large scale nature of the problem, any solution must draw on abilities and knowledge of all the design disciplines from landscape architecture to urban planning. Berger suggests a paradigm shift, asking “designers to consider working in the margins rather than at the center.

 

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Two from Places: re: neo-Gothic fantasy and Jakarta

Back in October, Places Journal published Belmont Freeman’s case against the architecture of higher education, which all too often abdicates “leadership in promoting artistic innovation as they pander to plutocratic donors.” Choosing instead a nostalgic “idealized version of the Ivy League“.

The next month, Joe Day explains, the history of contemporary architecture in Jakarta, in the utopian terms of the Pancasilas, the founding principles of modern Indonesia.

Which includes the below, as it’s last footnote;

It should be noted that this “Architectures of the Pancasilas” approach underserves more than few gifted Jakarta architects. Between the AMI and the post-’98 generations — that is, between those now circling 60 and those still under 40 — I would point to Anthony Liu and Ferry Ridwan, partners in the prolific Studio TonTon (designers of the widely published Kosenda Hotel), to Ahmad Djuhara (the outspoken president of the Indonesian Institute of Architects) and his partner Wendy Djuhara, and to Stanley Wangsadihardja and Susi Gunawan, both educators as well as designers. It is in this group that Jakarta’s specific rapport with Japanese contemporary architecture is most profound. 

 

An architecture of “cowboy nomads” + Depoliticization

Over at e-flux, Douglas Spencer reflects on the exhibition California: Designing Freedom at the Design Museum, London, 2017.

California’s “tools of personal liberation” further the depoliticizing ends of neoliberalism, both in the conditions of temporality they impose, and in their tendency to atomize the social into an aggregate of hyper-connected individuals constituted, as such, by their investments in capital and its technological apparatus. Depoliticization, rather than some unfortunate and unforeseen outcome of an originally radical counterculture, is inherent to it.

h/t @NicholasKorody

Mike Davis re: the “Tubbs Fire” et al.

The Diablos are the Bay Area’s upscale version of Southern California’s autumn mini-hurricanes, the Santa Anas…The big picture, then, is the violent reorganisation of regional fire regimes across North America, and as pyrogeography changes, biogeography soon follows.

via London Review of Books

re: a “Trivial Profession”

Places Journal published, ‘Jane Jacobs and the Death and Life of American Planning‘, an essay by Associate Professor Thomas J. Campanella.

Therein he explains why;

To understand the roots of this sense of impotence requires us to dial back to the great cultural shift that occurred in planning beginning in the 1960s. The seeds of discontent sown then brought forth new and needed growth, which nonetheless choked out three vital aspects of the profession — its disciplinary identity, professional authority and visionary capacity.”

first detailed computer calculation of a black hole’s appearance

luminet-image

by JEAN-PIERRE LUMINET

In 1978 at the Paris Observatory, Jean-Pierre Luminet became the first to make a detailed computer calculation of a black hole’s appearance. He did so, he told me, by programming a (by then already obsolete) 1960s IBM 7040 computer, using punch cards…Because Luminet had no way to print out the resulting image or visualize it on a screen, he used the data to draw an image by hand, putting individual dots of India ink onto a photographic negative.

via @(((Castelvecchi)))

Wines I am drinking

Wine has come and gone as a thing in my life. Always tended towards basic reds (Tempranillos, Cabernet Sauvignons) or whites, like Pinto Grigio or Sauvignon Blancs.

Nothing too adventurous or unique.

Definitely been phases when I kept bottles of wine around, regularly. Though in recent years, been more into having a bar. Making cocktails or pouring a dram.

That being said, over last couple years, have discovered a couple of wines that I really dig. Includes;

Luberon, Malvasia, Picpul, Tavkeri, Txakoli

Late Update: Avinyó Petillant, a vi d’agulla

Some common themes, include wines that are buttery, chalky, dry, naturally fermented/sparkling, not too sweet, or unfiltered.