Tropolism Newsletter 1.6


Tropolism Newsletter 1.6 comes out this weekend, and in it I'll be writing about my five favorite buildings of 2008. Each building isn't just about the building, but about the bigger memes that surrounded it. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter in the upper right hand field on this page so you get it!

Mirrored Summerhouse


This little magical summer house was built in England in 2005 by architects Ullmayer Sylvester. It's got a very DIY interior, and the exterior is the perfect, minimalist folded mirror. The house is further accentuated by being inside such a great landscape: a thin lot with lots of decking and flowers and ornamental grasses. It also looks like it didn't cost a fortune, like anyone could have one. If they have a little slice of pretty England to built it in.

More Spanish PDF Awesomeness


First El Croquis, now a+t architecture publishers: they are offering projects from the four volumes of their now out-of-print Density series in PDF format. Each project is only 5€. It's like itunes, except for architecture books: brilliant.

Tropolism Books:New York City Landmarks


One book we haven't gotten a review copy of yet is New York City Landmarks, the 4th Edition of the book put out by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. It's so new, it's not even available on Amazon yet. It's fieldbook sized, so perfect for running around town, but I'm frankly more interested in how they cover the buildings involved in some of their more controversial decisions (if at all).

Farnsworth Flooding


Mies sad.

Way back in September, when we were a little quiet around these parts, the Farnsworth House got flooded. Yes, again. The house is built in a crappy spot. But it's Mies, and he did the mystic dance that caused him to select that site, so ne'er shall it be moved, or whatever. Anyway we've assembled some of the writing and images about it here, for your convenience.

First up is Preservation Nation, which documented the flooding on September 14, 2008, with a blog news alert, and, rock the party mic, a video of the building flooded. Crazily enough, the building is being restored after being flooded yet again. I visited the Farnsworth House when ye olde Lorde Palumbo owned it, in the spring of 1994. Shortly after my visit it flooded. Shortly after that it was restored. And we're guessing that there's been another flood or three since then? This is the abusive spouse of modern houses, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation is apparently the enabling abusee: they are offering tours to those interested in the restoration process, in order to pay for said restoration. For those who like architectural train wrecks. Like us!

Or like Strangeharvest! There's an essay there musing about their last visit to the house (also during Palumbotime) and a discussion of its relationship to nature.

Finding New York City For Film


Speaking of documenting New York City, a new weblog called Scouting NY documents the travels of a film location scout. He is dedicated to the art of actually looking at New York City, while everyone else rushes on the sidewalk to get on with their business. His business is looking, and by what is on his site so far, he appears to have some great observations.

Via Curbed!

Manhattan Street Corners


Between March and November 2006, Richard Howe photographed every street corner in Manhattan. Yes, he took pictures of all four corners too. The images are powerful because of the close cropping of the buildings on that corner: you get a generous panorama of the bank or deli on the corner (or, being 2006, construction scaffolding) and not much else.

There are roughly 11,000 street corners in Manhattan. The New-Yorke Historical Society is going to include them in their collection. As Howe alludes to in the text on his page, it is interested to see what he defines as corners. Is a corner a street intersection? For instance, where Broadway collides with 5th Avenue, just above the Flatiron Building (and now a pop-up park), there appear to be multiple pictures of the same corner, due to how he is defining corners. Hopefully they will all appear in a room together with some sort of map to document the process. However they are displayed, they are a powerful record of our messy, disruptive city life, systematically organized.

Via Materialicious.

Neutra Renovation, Again


Speaking of Marmol Radziner renovations of Neutra houses, we came across this recounting of a visit to the Sten-Frenke house. The article includes a link to an amazing slideshow over at Pentagram, who collaborated on the renovation. The photograph I have included is of the renovated house, and is by none other than Tropolism favorite Julius Shulman.

The Space Of Unite


In a side room of the installation of Zaha Hadid's stalactites, at Sonnabend Gallery, was a room of Beate Gutschow's photographs. Artnet has a handy little gallery of the images. They are like deserted movie sets of Corbusier-influenced superbuildings. My favorite is S#26, a large panorama of the entire place.

Pretty Pictures: Garden Towers #1

Tropolism's Top Posts, 2008


This is one of our favorite time of years: mine Google Analytics for good, hard data about what everyone liked last year. The results surprised even us. Click here to read the list of our top 10 posts, as decided by you, the dedicated reader.

Helvetica And The New York City Subway


Even though we are architects, we have a special hobby called typefaces. We love them. We collect them. Our favorite are the sans-serif fonts developed in the middle of last century. We collect books that heavily feature them. And so this long, in-depth, and heavily illustrated article about the story of the typeface Helvetica (and Standard!) in the New York City subway is nothing short of rapture for us.

And we're not the only ones.

The Trippy Florescent Light Sculptures of Yuichi Higashionna


Yuichi Higashionna is a Japanese artist whose most eye-catching work are florescent light fixture sculptures. They are almost like creatures, or armatures of the kind you'd find on the set of Twelve Monkeys. There are several photo galleries floating around, including this great one about his March show at Designboom. Also check out the interview with Shift earlier this year.

Tropolism Books: The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture

Title: The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture

Author: The Editors of Phaidon Press

Publication Date: December 1, 2008

Publisher: Phaidon Press

ISBN: 9780714848747


Few architecture books dare to take on the mantle of Atlas, but The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century Architecture seems to comfortably wear it. The book is a sequel to 2004's The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture--whose general outline and format the current book shares--and by looking at the measly amount of buildings that showed up in magazines between now and then, you would think that the new book would have lots of projects reprinted. Not so: almost all of the 1,037 buildings did not appear in the 2004 book. But when you consider the deluge of projects that have shown up online in that time, it's nothing short of astonishing that the book encapsulates such an encyclopedic spectrum. The project covers 6 world regions, and many of them, like China, seem remarkably well-covered.

Click this way to read the complete, large-format review...