ArchiWEB Explorer: America

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Lot In America: 10 More Abandoned Auto Dealerships

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

When the auto sector’s hurting, dealers feel the pain and these closed and abandoned auto dealerships are the poster-kids of decline in a once-proud industry.

The Buick Stops Here

Take Rassas Buick, a GM dealership in Red Bank, NJ that closed after an astonishing 83 years in business because, according to Flickr member Jazz Guy, “GM wants to right-size markets it considers overfranchised.” Too bad the braintrust at GM couldn’t let the market decide which dealerships were viable and which ones weren’t… applied capitalism, one might say.

The "Tiny House Nation" Series is Now Available on Netflix

Batipin Flat / studioWOK. Image © Federico Villa Batipin Flat / studioWOK. Image © Federico Villa

Netflix has published a new show on its streaming service on the subject of tiny houses. “Tiny House Nation” follows renovation experts John Weisbarth and Zack Griffin across America, as they help design and construct tiny homes in spaces under 500 square feet. The seven episodes from the 2014-2017 series feature homeowners from all walks of life, from Florida to Hawaii, seeking to join a Tiny Houses Movement that prioritizes smart living.

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Lessons from the Lawn

Lessons from the Lawn: The Word Made Flesh: Dialogues Between Citizens and Strangers
Peter Waldman
ORO Edition, January 2019



Hardcover | 11 x 11 inches | 176 pages | # illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1940743998 | $34.95

Publisher Description:
This project demonstrates the utility of heuristic thinking serving as an introduction to the central core of the book: the primer of spatial and material elements, which guides individuals and groups to analyze, engage, and initiate the constructed environment. It provides a broad overview to the analytical method Waldman has developed over half a century of teaching and practice, framing its relevance of architecture at the scales of both the garden and the city and the importance of understanding “building” as a verb. Waldman reflects here on how his lessons are all around us, first chanted as nursery rhymes, then synthetic carols, if not complex chora, to reveal the utility of orientation and the profound effects of gravity. Finally, this book lands readers on the Lawn in an essay on the contemporary relevance of Charlottesville’s Landscapes of Aggression of 8/11/2017 and resilience founded on the eschatological catalyst of Fallow Ground. Jefferson kept journals all his life at Monticello and later at Poplar Forest of both natural conditions and human consequences and made plans accordingly of building up and tearing down to make a covenant with the world, again.

Make Sense

Make Sense: Architecture by White
White Arkitkter
Laurence King, May 2019



Hardcover | 7-3/4 x 9-3/4 inches | 272 pages | 3670 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1786274144 | $29.99

Publisher Description:
White Arkitekter, Scandinavia’s leading interdisciplinary architecture practice, create environments that inspire sustainable ways of living. An employee-owned company founded by Sidney White in 1951, White is a collective of people interested in people. They are architects, anthropologists, planners, engineers, artists, sustainability experts, researchers and more.

In their new book, White showcase over 80 international projects. By integrating research and practice, their work pushes levels of sustainability even higher – it ‘makes sense’ in every way. Their projects range from residential apartments to trekking cabins, from schools to offices, from pop-up parks to nature reserves, and from hospitals to an entire city relocation. To build takes many hands and many minds – it is a marriage of sensibility and sensitivity. The projects in Make Sense aim for a better future – for people and for the planet.
dDAB Commentary:

“We Want to Enjoy the Work, Enjoy the Fight”: In Conversation with Qing Fei and Frank Fu of Renhe Architecture

Quake Projects, Minle Houses, Mianzh. Image © Renhe Architecture Quake Projects, Minle Houses, Mianzh. Image © Renhe Architecture

Last year I was invited to teach design studio for the first time by Tsinghua University in Beijing, home to the top architecture school in China and one of the strongest in the world, according to the latest international ratings. There, I met husband-and-wife teaching practitioners Qing Fei and Frank Fu. As soon as I witnessed their unorthodox way of teaching by challenging students with rigorous questioning, I wanted to interview them. Their innovative approach did not fit my impression of how architecture is tackled in China. Fei and Fu are Tsinghua graduates; they moved to America in the late 1980s where they studied, worked, and researched both art and architecture for almost two decades. They opened their experimental practice after coming back to Beijing in 2005. Since then they produced urban masterplans, design guidelines for public spaces in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone, and exhibited their work in galleries. We met before their class where they oversaw students’ designs for a new architecture school in place of the current one, articulating what works, what doesn’t, and how to make it a more exciting place to explore architectural possibilities.

“Architecture Making is Like the Unveiling of a Surprise": In Conversation with Leers Weinzapfel Associates

DB timber. Image Courtesy of LWA DB timber. Image Courtesy of LWA

Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates was founded by two women, Andrea Leers and Jane Weinzapfel, in 1982, later joined by a next generation of partners, Josiah Stevenson, and Tom Chung. The majority of their work is done on university campuses across America, but this can hardly be identified as the firm’s focus, as campuses are actually cities in miniature, containing nearly every building type imaginable. The point of difference, however, is that campus buildings are generally designed with more idealism than projects in our chaotic cities and mundane suburbs.

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The Augusta National Golf Club

The Augusta National Golf Club: Alister MacKenzie's Masterpiece
Stan Byrdy
Sports Media Group, March 2005



Hardcover | 10-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches | 224 pages | b/w & duotone illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1587262586 | $35.00

Publisher Description:
This book reveals the true genius of the Augusta National Golf Club like no other-documenting its original design, chronicling the architectural and design changes over time, and analyzing the philosophies of its creators, Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones. The Augusta National Golf Club will help you understand why the course has a reputation of legendary proportion and how MacKenzie single-handedly changed forever the way courses are built.
dDAB Commentary:

“Intuition Must Be Grounded to The Site and Context”: In Conversation with Oscar Ko of Interval Architects 

Tower of Bricks. Image Courtesy of Oscar Ko Tower of Bricks. Image Courtesy of Oscar Ko

Oscar Ko was born in Harbin, China and moved with his parents to Hong Kong at the age of five. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Michigan and Master’s from Columbia University in 2006. After spending seven years in America, he relocated to Europe where his original plan was to stay for four-five years or longer but after talking to older friends practicing in China he quickly realized that there are more opportunities in his native China.

Overland Architects Designs 3D Printed Neighborhoods in Texas

3D Printed Neighborhood. Image Courtesy of Overland Partners 3D Printed Neighborhood. Image Courtesy of Overland Partners

San Antonio based architecture firm Overland Partners have designed a series of proposals for new 3D printed neighborhoods in Texas. Teaming up with nonprofit, 3 Strands Neighborhoods, and ICON, a creator of printers, robotics, and advanced materials, the firm utilized the Vulcan II 3D printer to revolutionize home building. The collaboration aims to address the housing crisis in America and establish a sense of community for disadvantaged families.

Radical Suburbs

Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City
Amanda Kolson Hurley
Belt Publishing, April 2019



Paperback | 5 x 7 inches | 160 pages | No illustrations | Languages | ISBN: 978-1948742368 | $16.95

Publisher Description:
America’s suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today’s suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of white picket fences is well past its expiration date.

The history of suburbia is equally surprising: American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing. We have forgotten that we built suburbs like these, such as the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania; a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey; a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland; a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania; experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.