Architectural Record: the canaries in the global warming-coalmine

Architectural Record: the canaries in the global warming-coalmine

The Dutch are the canaries in the global-warming coalmine, writes James Russell in his review of Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch in the December print issue of Architectural Record. ‘Sweet&Salt is a profoundly humanistic consideration of the culture of water, with many ideas by designers about how to deal with water’s myriad challenges.’ He describes the book as ”an intensely visual consideration of the history, culture and engineering of water that engages our senses and our emotions – not just our intellect – with its ravishing photography, cartography and art.” He is manifestly relieved that it is possible to talk about water issues and climate change without having to put on a hair shirt. 

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My Venice Biennale 2012 #4:  People’s urbanism in Caracas

My Venice Biennale 2012 #4: People’s urbanism in Caracas

With beer, Latin food, loud music and salsa dancing, Urban Think Tank’s Venezuelan bar was of course the hottest venue at the 2012 Architecture Biennale, which closes this weekend. Architecture’s bad boys Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, together with co-curators Justin McGuirk and photographer Iwan Baan, won the Golden Lion for the Biennale’s best project with their portrait of Torre David, a ‘vertical slum’ in downtown Caracas. Read the article…

My Venice Biennale 2012 #3:  Micro-urbanism the American way

My Venice Biennale 2012 #3: Micro-urbanism the American way

They call it ‘chairbombing’. Just the simple act of putting a chair on the sidewalk and sitting in it is a protest against a 2011 law that forbids people in San Francisco to sit or lie in public space. These chairs, and the initiative, came from Brooklyn-based design collective DoTank, which makes these chairs from old shipping pallets. In San Francisco they pinned a note to them, saying: ,,These are more than places to sit. They are a visual resistance to the privatization of public space.”

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Designing for water: the sweet & the salt of it

Designing for water: the sweet & the salt of it

Water is life – and death. As floods and droughts assume Biblical proportions in many areas in the world, the magnitude of the water issues we face is penetrating our awareness and our political and spatial agenda. Nowhere is that clearer than in the Netherlands, where mastery of the water has always been a condition for survival. If there is one element which is crucial to the Low Lands – for its sheer existence, for its landscape, for its identity – then that is water. The Dutch created land by pushing the water out with dikes and keeping it out with pumps. Now, however, the country that has refashioned its landscape so distinctly in order to keep water out, is letting it back in. For Landscape, the magazine of the British Landscape Institute, I wrote an essay based on my book in collaboration with Maartje van den Heuvel, Sweet&Salt: Water and the Dutch. Read the essay here: Tracy Metz – Designin for water: the sweet & the salt of it – 2012 – Landscape Institute

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‘Broken Light’ softens a hardscrabble street in Rotterdam’s old harbor

‘Broken Light’ softens a hardscrabble street in Rotterdam’s old harbor

The city of Rotterdam asked a group of artists to help rejuvenate the former harbor area of Katendrecht through the use of light. the winner of the competition was Rudolf Teunissen of Daglicht & Vorm. His award-winning design projects a wavy pattern on the street and siewalk and narrow pennants of lights on the facades of the social income housing. In the beginning the inhabitants were wary, but now they’re proud of the way that lighting project ‘Broken Light’ has softened the look and feel of the street. Read my story for Architectural Record here.   Read the article…