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About a month after the brown waters of Lake Pontchartrain breached the levees and inundated New Orleans, I found myself listening to a long discussion on NPR about the plight of the Formosan termite. This is a terrible bug, capable of eating its way not only through wood, as one expects of its kind, but also, an on-air entomologist informed us in the direst tones, vinyl siding, lead sheets, concrete, and copper--in short, not just the cellulose bones and skin but everything that makes up a home. Before Hurricane Katrina this creature had been eating New Orleans. The termite smuggled its way back from Asia in palettes as the military infrastructure of the Second World War was dismantled, and like the plagues of gypsy moth caterpillars in the Northeast and zebra mussels in the Great Lakes, it ran amok in its new ecology. The storm was a reprieve; the entomologist, citing his research, noted that the population would be much reduced: Formosan termite colonies can't survive more than a few weeks underwater.metropolis mag
By that point the Katrina coverage was clearly ebbing with the flood waters. The damage from the storm had been described by panicked pols as worse than September 11 and Hiroshima, an "American Pompeii," and with infamous overstatement by the mayor of Biloxi, "our tsunami." Unwatchable images of government neglect and tales of official malfeasance were everywhere. Who could begrudge the radio pundits and producers their attempt to find a silver lining? New Orleans had ceased to be...but the termites were dead! It was a classic example of late-cycle media overreach; with the flood and the reaction to it dominating the news for a month, all other tales had been told. A city had been submerged, its people had been scattered, its buildings and infrastructure were at that point defunct. Cue the bug guys. And we still hadn't heard from the architects.
Last week "...FEMA officials [met] with the people or Rural Studio to review a proposal to provide the federal disaster agency with "research, precedent and feasibility studies as well masterplans, models, and schematic designs to establish an array of 'container housing' communities of 100 to 10,000 inhabitants."
As for ideas, plenty of experts are spouting them already. Immediately after Hurricane Katrina, the American Institute of Architects warned about the dangers of isolating temporary housing far from services and infrastructure. Other national organizations of planners and historic preservationists have weighed in and are sending volunteers to New Orleans to help. And in architecture schools across the country, disaster recovery has become a hot topic this term. Students at the Rural Studio at Auburn University in Alabama have just designed a prototype for a temporary shelter made from shipping containers (there are thousands of empty ones along the Gulf coast), which can be adapted for habitation for $2,500 each. They hope a representative of FEMA will come check them out next week. And at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, architect Frederic Schwartz switched the subject of his studio to New Orleans just as the term began; he plans to take his 12 students to the Big Easy next month for research. Schwartz brings a special perspective to his course: he spent more than a year working on proposals for Ground Zero in Manhattan. “The lesson from that is don’t let political people decide to make the rebuilding their legacy, as [New York Gov. George] Pataki did,” says Schwartz. “It isn’t anyone’s legacy. And beware when it gets taken over by real estate.”
jim louis has a friend down in nola who was asking about the availability of shipping containers in the area. on craigslist i found this sweet looking 40 footer for $3,500.00 and he has two. note thats a little high but the containers look to be in pretty nice condition. although one appears to be an 8 footer and the other eight and a half. go for the headroom if you can.
On 9-11 the U.S. government faced a terrible decision: Should the military be ordered to shoot down other commercial airplanes full of civilian passengers, so that they, too, would not be used as missiles? Vice President Dick Cheney, although not part of the National Command Authority, gave the orders, although under the Constitution the vice president has no authority to command the military. The 9-11 Commission dealt with this fundamental issue by ignoring it. Among the other 9-11 topics the commission ignored.
On Monday, December 5, the 9-11 Public Discourse Project—a private group formed by 9-11 Commission members after their official mandate lapsed in 2004—held a wrap-up press briefing in Washington, signaling the last gasp of official inquiries into the attacks four years ago. The National Institute of Standards and Technology also recently completed its final report on the twin towers. Already gathering dust are a Federal Emergency Management Agency study, the joint inquiry by Congress, the McKinsey reports on New York City's emergency response, probes by federal inspectors general, and other efforts to resolve the myriad doubts about the hijackings.
Some questions can't be answered: People who lost loved ones will never know exactly how the end came, if it hurt, what the final thoughts and words were. But other questions are more tractable. Here are 10 of them:
1. Where was the "National Command Authority"?
2. Who gave the order to try to shoot the planes down?
3. What exactly were all those firefighters doing in the towers?
4. Did anyone think the towers would collapse?
5. Why was Giuliani's command bunker at ground zero?
6. Why did 7 WTC fall?
7. How did the twin towers fall?
8. How dangerous was—and is—the air at ground zero?
9. What exactly did Zacarias Moussaoui plan to do?
10. What's on those blanked-out pages?
leonardo on-line book review
The Culture of the Copy
Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimilies
Hillel Schwartz - MIT Press
The Culture of the Copy is an unprecedented attempt to make sense of our Western fascination with replicas, duplicates, and twins. In a work that is breathtaking in both its synthetic and critical achievements, Hillel Schwartz charts the repercussions of our entanglement with copies of all kinds, whose presence alternately sustains and overwhelms us.
Through intriguing, and at times humorous, historical analysis and case studies in contemporary culture, Schwartz investigates most varieties of simulacra, including counterfeits, decoys, mannequins, ditto marks, portraits, genetic cloning, war games, camouflage, instant replays, digital imaging, parrots, photocopies, wax museums, apes, art forgeries, not to mention the very notion of the Real McCoy.
At the same time Schwartz works through a range of modernist, feminist, and postmodern theories about copies and mechanical reproduction, posing the following compelling question: How is it that the ethical dilemmas at the heart of so many fields of endeavor have become inseparable from our pursuit of copies -- of the natural world, or our own creations, indeed our very selves?
The Culture of the Copy is a stunning, innovative blend of microsociology, cultural history, and philosophical reflection that will fascinate anyone concerned with problems of authenticity, identity, and originality.
In the 1880's, Currier & Ives, the printmaking company that was the Google Maps of its day, dispatched an artist to record a panoramic vista of New Orleans. The drawing shows a thriving port city - steamboats, church spires and all - whose populace clung to the elevated areas near the Mississippi.
There were few settlements in the flood-prone lowlands to the north. The swamps to the east were not deemed worthy of illustrating.
It is not easy to broach the idea of such a smaller-scale city. The people here have long defied the perils of this place, whether that meant the yellow fever outbreaks of the 1800's or Hurricane Betsy in 1965.
"New Orleans has survived for 300 years," said Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell.
But for much of that time, wasn't the city settled largely on the elevated areas?
"You are underestimating the intelligence of the people of New Orleans," Ms. Hedge-Morrell replied. "They know what they are doing."
Before lawmakers in Washington, D.C., break for Christmas, people in one hurricane-ravaged New Orleans neighborhood want to send them off with a yuletide message -- "We Want to Go Home."Lakeview Civic Improvement Association
In a full-color, full-page advertisement set to run next week in the influential Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, a group of Lakeview residents and other New Orleanians hope to impress upon legislators that the effort to rebuild the city's infrastructure and levee system is far from over.
The ad, called "A message from homeless New Orleanians," contains a 570-word message saying they "have lived like refugees in our own country" and are still waiting for members of Congress "to spearhead the rebuilding of our flood protection, and reclaim one of the nation's most important cities from ruin."
It's appalling to think that a book like this may enter classrooms and inflict itself on young minds with little or no acquaintance with art history. So I have a suggestion for parents of high-school students: Find out whether the college that your child hopes to attend plans to assign "Art Since 1900" in its art-history courses. If so, apply elsewhere.the wsj
This is a webpage devoted to listing as many examples of people using shipping containers as architectural elements as I can find, in an effort to embolden people to use containers in building projects, when and where doing so is feasible and appropriate. Be aware that containers are not a perfect building material, since they tend to corrode, but they have been used effectively in some cases, especially in areas near saltwater. This is mainly a links page, and I cannot guarantee anything at all about the sites that I am offering links to, but I try to periodically search for and add links that are fresh and offer something useful and interesting, and I remove bad links and projects where information is incomplete. If you have a site worth adding, or experiences to relate in using containers for building, please contact me.
Shipping Container Housing Guide is a site that came up after we searched the net for shipping containers information and saw that a lot of people and websites are talking about how can you build a house using shipping containers.
Who are we? We're not container specialists, engineers or architects. We're a bunch of young people who love to surf the net and thought that this will be an in interesting idea.
We plan to update periodically the information on this site with articles written by real specialists and with our own thoughts and opinions. We want this site to be your primary source of information regarding shipping container housing.
So the argument has been made that these containers could be turned into shelter for use in emergencies. In light of the recent aftermath of hurricane Katrina, there could actually be immediate need for such shelters. Ideally, the converted containers could be delivered by truck to the actual home sight of the disaster victims. They could live in the shelter on their own land, using the utilities that are already supplied to that lot until their home is rebuilt. The shelters would be preferable to tents because of their steel beam construction. They can endure strong winds, snow and even wildfires.
However, the first step is to get the containers converted. At the moment, there are a few problems that those performing the conversion face. First of all, the containers are only 8 feet wide which doesn't create much room. Cutting away sides and joining 2 containers together can solve this problem. Windows and other holes for utilities have to be cut with a blow torch, requiring specialized labor. So, at the moment, the cost of converting these shipping containers would be prohibitive.
But there is a solution to this problem. Proponents of the idea, including professors, students, nonprofit organizations and some members of the building industry suggest that the containers should be designed so that conversion is possible at some point in the future. They could have removable panels that would not endanger the integrity of the container when it's being used for shipping and could be easily removed when the container is needed in an emergency for shelter. When needed, these containers could then be transported and set up much faster and would be a much more comfortable solution for the victims.
she's about a mover - sir doug 5 and the joan of arch
Harvard Design Magazine Fall 2005 / Winter 2006, Number 23
Regeration - Design as Dialogue, Building as Transformation
ONLINE ONLY BOOK REVIEWS
post ex sub dis: Urban Fragmentations and Constructions* edited by the Ghent Urban Studies Team; The New Civic Art: Elements of Town Planning* edited by Andreas Duany, Elizabeth Plater–Zyberk, and Robert Alminana; reviewed by Susannah Hagan
Charlotte Perriand: A Life of Creation; An Autobiography* by Charlotte Perriand; Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living* edited by Mary McLeod; reviewed by Daniel Naegele
Moment of Grace: The American City in the 1950s* by Michael Johns; reviewed by Marshall Berman
Emily Talen's Response to Alex Krieger's Critique of Her Essay*
Hilary Lewis on Philip Johnson*
Regeneration: Design as Dialogue, Building as Transformation
Innovation and Insight in the Contemporary Architecture of Additions* by Paul Spencer Byard
Deference, Dialogue, and Dissolve How New Architecture Meets Old by Peter Buchanan
In Celebration of Complementary Architecture Architectural History's Suppressed Glories by Wilfried Wang
Masked Nostolgia, Chic Regression The “Critical” Reconstruction of Berlin* by Sebastian Schmaling
Reconstruction Doubts The Ironies of Building in Schinkel's Name by Barry Bergdoll
Roadside Redesigns —Woody and Variegated—to Help Sustain Nature and People by Richard T. T. Forman
Gathering the Given Michelangelo's Redesign of the Campidoglio by James Ackerman
Urban Land is a Natural Thing to Waste Seeing and Appreciating Drosscapes by Alan Berger
Bust or Fold Suburbia as Destiny by Jeffrey Inaba and Peter Zellner
ON CULTURAL POLITICS
The Work of Architecture in the Age of Commodification* by Kenneth Frampton
Diminishing Difficulty Mass Customization and the Digital Production of Architecture by Daniel WIllis and Todd Woodward
The Production of Locality in Josep Luis Sert's Peabody Terrace by Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Does Enforcement of Architects' Regulations Protect the Public Welfare? Not Enough.* by Thomas Spector
Moneo's Anxiety Rafael Moneo's Theoretical Anxiety and Design Strategies in the Work of Eight Contemporary Architects by Jeffrey Kipnis
Dark Age Ahead by Jane Jacobs; reviewed by Ken Greenberg
Present Pasts: Urban Palimpsests and the Politics of Memory by Andreas Huyssen; reviewed by Jan Otakar Fischer
Warped Space by Anthony Vidler; reviewed by Christopher Long
Ground Zero developer Larry Silverstein is being urged to speed up his rebuilding effort - or lose some public funding, sources said yesterday.
The behind-the-scenes push comes as Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki suggested publicly that some of the $3.35 billion in tax-free Liberty Bonds Silverstein is counting on could go to other developers.
Silverstein, who leases the site from the Port Authority, is finishing one office tower, plans to start the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower in the spring and hopes to erect four more office buildings. But questions have arisen about whether he can line up the prospective tenants he needs to keep the projects moving.
"There are a variety of projects [the bonds] could be used for," the mayor said. "Some are Silverstein projects, some are other projects."
Pataki said a bigger role by the Port Authority and "private-sector investors" might be best.
Sources said the Port Authority wants to renegotiate its lease with Silverstein so the agency can move up development of two Church St. sites.
Real estate developer Larry Silverstein, who holds the rights to build on Ground Zero, is asking the state and city for permission to sell $3.3 billion worth of so-called Liberty Bonds to help finance the office towers that are supposed to rise on the site. He must be required to make some very big promises to get them.
Gov. Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg must use every bit of leverage they can apply to persuade Silverstein to surrender his near total control over building the mega-project. And, critically, they must insist that Silverstein forfeit the bonds if his development scheme doesn't meet the tightest possible schedule for construction.
Created by the federal government after 9/11, the bonds are a critical economic development tool that must not go to waste. If Silverstein falters for a minute, he must lose them. And there is great concern he will falter because his plan to build 10 million square feet of office space in five buildings around Ground Zero is economically dubious, even if he does receive all the proceeds of the insurance he had on the World Trade Center.
The Stork Club: Quintron, The Frogs and Gorky's Zygotic Myncifmu bonus :
For a brief but delirious spell way back in the 1990s, The Stork haunted our halls. That's him on the left. Stork hosted a must-listen program called Live At The Stork Club, mostly on Sunday nights, if memory serves. As the name might imply, mostly Stork hosted live musical guests, in his own impeccably gracious manner.
I bet somewhere on The Internet there exists a full list of all the bands who served time in Stork's "Moose Room". Unfortunately, most of this stuff happened during the last Stone Age, just before we began archiving all our programming. Happily, many of these shows do exist, someplace, in some form or another; and where time, technology and endurance permit, we'll make the archives available to you. Here's three vintage shows to get you started:
Christmas With Quintron - Mr. Quintron, Miss Pussycat and Flossie & The Unicorns joined Stork on Xmas Eve, 1995 for a uniquely warped evening of organs, drum buddies & puppet shows. Listen here (mp3 stream).
The Frogs - Wisconsin's legendary Flemion brothers celebrate their newfound 90s celebrity among the era's alt-rock elite; spin records by Wesley Willis, Beck and Jewel; and perform an acoustic set of music positively guaranteed to get us some major FCC finery were this show to be aired today. From July 20, 1997. Listen here (mp3 stream)
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - On July 16, 1998, WFMU consummated its love affair with these Welsh psych-folk imps. And Stork was there. Gorky's would visit us three more times over the years, visiting Irene's show and my own show (twice, in fact). Listen here for their first appearance, with Stork.
NYC Radio The Night John Lennon Died (mp3) Here's a dial scan of New York City's FM band from 25 years ago (MP3). It was recorded shortly after the news of John Lennon's murder broke. The recording was made by an unknown listener, and it was included on our CD compilation, Radio Archival Oddities, Vol. 2.
A long-standing debate as to whether Frank Lloyd Wright or his former employer, Louis Sullivan, designed two beachfront bungalows in Ocean Springs, Mississippi may have been rendered moot by the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.
One of the homes, built as Sullivan's coastal retreat in 1890, was vaporized by the wind-driven 30-foot swell that surged out of the Mississippi Sound on August 29. The remains of the house and its separate servants' quarters lie heaped in ragged outcroppings of rubble. The other house and its octagonal guest cottage, built next door the same year for Sullivan's friend James Charnley, are still standing, but just barely. Knocked off its piers, the house sits crumpled and forlorn, its windows and doors blasted out by the storm. The guest cottage is in a similar state of disarray.