Imagine Coney

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Send us your ideas for Coney Island! Tropolism means good ideas win.

The Municipal Art Society of New York today announced a new initiative to re-imagine Coney Island, called Imagine Coney. Coney Island, that land of mystery and wonder, the genesis of delusional fantasies both distant and contemporary, has been in decline for some time. New York City has taken some actions to spur its revival, but the plans that have come forth have been less than satisfactory. To that end the MAS is leading an effort that only they can lead: bringing the public and private concerns together. In addition, they are drawing upon their line of recent successful design competitions, where they solicit public input but wisely create their own design short list. Today they are announcing this effort, part of which is to solicit design ideas for their design team to look at in mid-November.

Tropolism is inspired by this public brainstorming session. We are asking all our readers to send us your ideas (especially visual illustrations) for Coney Island. Anything we get we will forward to the MAS; the best ideas we will post on Tropolism. This is open to everyone and anyone. Whether you're an architect or an admirer, t's time to fantasize again. Send whatever you can to [email protected]; the deadline is November 12.

Tropolism Books: More Mobile: Portable Architecture for Today

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Title: More Mobile: Portable Architecture for Today

Author: Jennifer Siegal

Publication Date: November 1, 2008

Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press

ISBN: 978-1-56898-758-3

The last few years have seen an explosion of explorations of the structures, armatures, tools, and systems that constitute a new nomadic living. The explorations chosen for this book range from smart fashion installations to surrealist fantasies to RVs for the West Elm set. But they all have one thing in common: they expertly explore what architecture can be in the wireless age. They suggests that transitional, temporary, and moveable placemakers are not merely appropriate for our digital lives, but they can even be comfortable. All of the projects here challenge what is expected of house and home, from the art installation tricked-out sleeping bags of Studio-Orta to Andrea Zittel's A-Z Wagon Station (pictured). They challenge conceptually what can be made into a home or public space, the way Archigram's work does. Yet many of them go far beyond being polemics of our time; some (like Zittel's work) strive to being useful, giving us entirely new architecture even as they strip most of the materials away.

This book can be purchased at Amazon.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Keep Loving Plans

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In this crazy online architectural wonderland, pictures rule all, be it renderings or photos of the built work. Less common is the underused (but still useful) tool of plans and sections, as well as the relative newcomer, the animated diagram. It's a way of understanding projects that can add (or detract) from the genius of a design. Sometimes interesting photographs of a house reveal, in plan, to be a lame 3 bedroom 3.5 bath house. Sometimes the plans and sections support brilliant awesomeness in the pictures. I am tempted to complain about how the general level of skill at drawing has dropped precipitously since schools started going all-digital, but I think that is a topic for another post. Besides, I think the pendulum is swinging back to drawing, since renderings of clouds with text labels on them are not cutting it as cutting edge anymore.

It should come as no surprise then that my favorite weblogs are those that include plans and sections with every project selection. Daily Dose deserves special mention for devoting posts soley to plans and diagrams.

Tropolism Newsletter 1.0: Sign Up Now

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Some of you have signed up for The Tropolism Newsletter. Ages ago. And you have never received anything. Soon your infinite and kind patience will be rewarded. Launching soon: Tropolism Newsletter. In it you will be able to read even more writing from the Tropolism crew. The first few will be some in-depth commentary and inside scoops only available through the newsletter. Sign up today so you don't miss newsletter 1.0. Just enter your email address in the box on the right, and click yes when you get the follow up email.

House Within A House

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I know sub-studio posted about this a few days ago, but I think it bears repeating. I have loved the Wohlfahrt-Laymann Residence by Meixner Schluter Wendt since we wrote about their spaceship Star Wars thing way back in April. In this very unique house addition, what looks like an existing ski chalet from central casting is completely enclosed in a new box, creating some great interior spaces with what used to be the exterior of the house. The sophisticated cut outs in the new box relate well to the interior layout, and some new sculptural additions to the existing house are also added, also on the interior of the new box. Got that? Check out their great diagrams and plans if you need to get up to speed.

Furniture Fridays: Nightwood In Brooklyn

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Nightwood in Brooklyn is a shop that revives old chairs and recycles furniture scraps, all the while maintaining a clean look. But not too clean: the furniture keeps enough of its rough edges without getting too rustic on you. Our favorites are the Dusk Plank Dining Table and the Sunrise Chair (pictured). The shapes never get too modern, which means they rely almost entirely on the character of the individual scraps to push a design into new territory, meaning this is less the work of a designer and more the work of a curator/editor. Which is awesome.

Discovered through the always-fresh Remodelista.

Next Generation House Update: Winner!

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This just in: Sou Fujimoto Architects' Next Generation House, as seen here on Tropolism yesterday, won the Private Houses jury at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona. We concur with their report, this house is a winner.

Stair Porn

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Stair Porn. The title (and design) of this blog says it all: it's about stairs of every kind, leaning toward the awesomely designed. The categories of stairs on the sidebar are going to turn this into a great architectural reference. It's run by the same people who do the brilliant Materialicious. Pictured is a stair by Gio Ponti with the comment "All we need now is for Sophia Loren to walk down those stairs."

Note to Stair Porn: include my West Village Duplex stair?

Libeskind Does Shopping Malls

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Daniel Libeskind designed a shopping mall over in Switzerland.:

“Architects for a long time thought malls were below their dignity,” Libeskind says. “But if you bring nature and culture into the building, you can make it a radically different place.”

He's absolutely correct. Architects did some amazing shopping malls in the 1960s and 1970s, and then they kind of let go of those projects. The only problem is that what Libeskind designed actually looks like any ole mall in New Jersey.

Via Archinect.

Switch Bays

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One of our favorite articles over the summer, during our sleepy time, was Daily Dose's piece about buildings with Switch Building like facades. While we will always have a fondness for the original Switch, we admit we are swayed by SHoP's M127 facade for its more elegant assembly of a diversity of typical New York materials: brick, metal, glass, into something entirely new. But still lovely.

Next Generation House

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One of our favorite architecture studios has recently posted about their Next Generation House. Sou Fujimoto Architects is the land of awesome houses, and the heavy-timber Jenga game that is this house is no different.

Tipped off by sub-studio design blog, where even more awesome pictures can be found.

MONU NOW MUDOT

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Our favorite small mag has changed its name. Monu is now mudot. Yeah we don't get it either. What hasn't changed is their great design, their commitment to pdfs of every page online, and the microcontent mashup. It's our flavor of obsessed.

Boulders and Color

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Speaking of Boulders and Things We Just Love, we are in love with this graphic design idea by Sagmeister Inc. for the boulderesque Casa da Musica in Porto. Stefan Sagmeister says it best: “We failed to avoid using the building shape” said Sagmeister in yesterday's lecture at the design forum Vienna, "so we looked for a different approach". Instead a color calculator uses colors from a poster's image, or portraits of people whose name are on the business card, to generate the coloration of the logo. It's ever-changing, and a brilliant interpretation of the chameleon like shape of the concert hall.

Herzog & DeMeuron's Tate Modern Mountain

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While we were intrigued with Tate Modern 2.1, revealed way back in 2006, the stacked box pyramid we think has since found better expression and program and site in their proposal for the Parisian mega-pyramid of residences, mostly because the Paris project is much larger, and so the box thing turns into a pyramid from far away. It looked too jumbled to be Tate 2.1.

We are much more excited with Tate Modern 2.2, a smoother pyramid that works better with the existing power station and neighborhood, without losing its crazy awesome loudness. Check out their site geometry image at the bottom of this page for how it was generated. It also keeps with today's boulder theme.