All items from Daily Dose of Architecture

Amazon's Bricks and Mortar

Earlier today I decided to check out the new Amazon Books, which opened a few days ago. The bricks-and-mortar version of the online powerhouse is located in Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. The store makes its presence known only subtly, with signage in the two windows above the BOSS logos on the right:

The store is located on the third floor of the building's mall, here seen from the outlook on the second floor:

Given the layout of the mall, the store is accessed via a bridge, which features some signage to entice shoppers below to take the escalator up a couple floors:

On this Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, there was a line to get into the store. For whatever reason (safety, not going over their occupancy limit, making it feel like an event, who knows?), the store let only ten people in at a time. My wait was about ten or fifteen minutes – more time that I would spend in the store.

Book Review: MAS Context 30-31: Bilbao

MAS Context 30-31: Bilbao
Edited by Iker Gil
Spring 2017, 456 pages

The year 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Frank Gehry's contribution to the Bilbao effect. Contribution is an important word here, since all too often the Bilbao effect is defined solely as the outcome of the architectural icon, ignoring the wider infrastructural improvements and other pieces of architecture added to the Basque city before and since. Even twenty years later, this is the case: Bilbao = Gehry's Guggenheim. This double issue of MAS Context is then a welcome publication on the city, coming at a time when the impact of the building and other urban developments can be gauged.

The 'Definitive' Carlo Scarpa

Yesterday the Graham Foundation announced "over $560,000 in new grants to individuals around the world to support 72 innovative projects engaging original ideas in architecture." On my first skimming of the list of exhibitions, film/video/new media projects, public program, publications, and research, one award stood out above the rest: Francesco Dal Co's "definitive book on Carlo Scarpa."

The Italian architectural historian has authored books on Scarpa already, including his Complete Works (Rizzoli, 1986) and a case study of Villa Ottolenghi (Monacelli Press, 1998). Yet even with the numerous other monographs on the architect (most recently Robert McCarter's Carlo Scarpa published last year by Phaidon), Dal Co's forthcoming book from Yale University Press sounds very promising.

Carlo Scarpa - Tomba Brion
[Brion-Vega Cemetery, San Vito d'Altivole, 1978 | Photo: Francesco Maria Gabriele Vozza]

A Peek Inside the Shed

Cards of the Moment

A+T – publisher of books and magazines on public spaces, work places, renovations, and collective housing – has just released 50 Urban Blocks, a "set of cards containing 50 examples of how to design an urban block."

Unlike previous titles from a+t, the deck of cards are hypothetical designs rather than specific case studies. Each scenario is given the same rectangular area, so they can be compared and contrasted easily.

El Helicoide

Head over to World-Architects to read my recap of the small but illuminating El Helicoide: From Mall to Prison exhibition at the Center for Architecture. The show focuses on the El Helicoide building in Caracas, which was built as a mall in the late 1950s but never used as such; it now functions as a prison – an illegal one at that.

The exhibition will be joined in the summer by the book From Mall to Prison: El Helicoide's Downward Spiral, published by Urban Research; it will be celebrated with a book talk on July 13th at the Center. Further, a complementary program, Modern Architecture and Design in Venezuela, will be held with exhibition curator Celeste Olalquiaga and others at the Center on May 30th.