Tuesday, October 02, 2007

how important is a building?

i'm a huge fan of architecture. especially urban and industrial architecture.
I like row houses and apartment buildings and the crazy juxtaposition that the density of an urban environment can produce. I also love and am involved with community development, at both an economic, and design level.
the cross of art, culture and community bonding are very important to me.

There are two articles that i'm been hit with this morning that smack of each other and make me think of potentials in our area, in dc, in my own neighborhood. and also the pitfalls.

The first concerns Jane Jacobs, and a review of the exhibition Jane Jacobs, Foe of Plans and Friend of City Life

The other article
concerns itself with what the Bilbao Guggenheim ( and the architect Frank Gehry) did to the City of Bilbao, Spain.

both contain really interesting thoughts, both positive and negative about the impact of design on community, and a community's interest in integrating with that design.

Its funny, like the quote in the article concerning the Guggenheim:

“I've never been to the Guggenheim,” Ikel said between puffs, as mechanical street cleaners starting scrubbing beer and urine from the cobblestones. “It's for tourists.”

my first thought is.. i hate when reporters end articles that way, but secondly that i often hear this about the Mall and the Smithsonian. For me, my life is integrated with the Smithsonian. i love it and its one of the main reasons i love and live in DC. The buildings, grounds, and exhibits are a constant source of inspiration and respite for me.

The pitfalls of cultural development and rethinking urban design are obvious. Isolation. Design for non locals. Segregation of Communities.

The possibilities include community building, expansion of cultural horizons, and revitalized inner city neighborhoods.

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