Urban Design Review

I’m pleased to announce that the Summer 2006 issue of the Urban Design Review has been released; it’s also the first issue for which I served as Senior Editor. There will be many more to come.

The issue includes some fantastic work. You’ll find an amusing – and much-needed – analysis of New York Times Magazine real estate ads, written by Brand Avenue’s own Chris Timmerman; Charles Jencks’s Iconic Building is reviewed by Michiel van Raaij, the latter being one of today’s most uncannily sharp-eyed critics of iconic architecture (van Raaij’s blog is worth a long visit); David Haskell gives us an essayistic look at urban event places, reviewing architectural attempts “to make the city a perpetual festival”; and, among many other texts – including short interviews with both Charles Jencks and Mike Davis – you’ll find an interview with Jinhee Park and John Hong of SINGLE speed DESIGN. SsD is now relatively well-known for their work on the ingenious Big Dig House, a single-family home built from old Boston highway parts. The Big Dig House was reviewed three days ago in USA Today.
From SsD‘s own description of the project:

As a prototype for future Big Dig architecture, the structural system for this house is almost wholly comprised of steel and concrete from Boston’s Big Dig, utilizing over 600,000 lbs of recycled materials. Although similar to a pre-fab system, the project demonstrates that subtle, complex spatial arrangements can still be designed and customized from pieces of the I-93 offramps: Varying exterior and interior planes create an ascending relationship from ground to roof as large upper-level plantings blur interior and exterior relationships.

UDR is published by David Haskell’s Forum for Urban Design. (David is also Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Topic Magazine).
So check it out.

3 thoughts on “Urban Design Review”

  1. SSD’s prototype Big Dig House is a nice custom design, but I wonder how many suitable highway parts and pieces are just waiting around to be assembled into living spaces? The process looks heavy, inflexible, unwieldy on small urban residential lots, and $$$.

    OTOH, there are apparently quite a few used shipping containers (from ocean highways), and their modular design is ready made to keep on truckin’ (and stackin’). It seems like these would be more adaptable for a wider variety of shelter applications: see the CNN video Shipping Containers Recycled as Homes [via digg].

    The homes shown in the video are by Peter DeMaria Design, and many other concepts can be seen at fabprefab‘s ContainerBay.

  2. Hah! – great concepts, those.

    I’d like to see Maynard’s Hool House trucked container-like to the site and automatically unfold at the press of a button. You’d just reverse the process to move (after putting the cat out, of course).

    Add a fourth strut—so you always have a three-point anchor—to the Styx Valley treehouse, then autonomously and gracefully move it from tree to tree (like a loris in slow motion.)

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