The Big Issue

The March 2008 issue of Dwell is now out and, as some of you may or may not know, I recently became one of Dwell‘s Senior Editors – where the other Senior Editor is Amber Bravo, the woman who puts the cool in school.
March is the first issue in which I’ve had a real impact on content, so I thought I’d urge everyone to go check it out! It’s good for you.

[Image: A page from Dwell featuring scenes from the short film After the Rain by Ben Olszyna-Marzys, produced for an architecture studio taught by Nic Clear].

The cover itself is gorgeous, featuring a project called the Boxhome by Finnish artist and architect Sami Rintala. I was very happy to send British novelist – and occasional BLDGBLOG commenter – Clare Dudman over to Oslo in October ’07 to see the Boxhome firsthand. Clare compares the Boxhome to a TARDIS from Dr. Who, “a tiny telephone box that opens into a series of rooms.”
Clare’s recent novel One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead is well worth the read; it’s an historical retelling of the life of German naturalist Alfred Wegener, who first pioneered the theory of “continental drift.” Dudman is an extraordinary writer, and it was a genuine pleasure to work with her – and Sami is an enthusiast, plain and simple, so corresponding with him was a delight. Clare’s article starts on page 114.
I’ve basically got three articles of my own in there, as well.
First, I interviewed architect David Adjaye when he came through town last Fall. You’ll see a “Conversation” with Adjaye on page 92.
Adjaye was surprisingly fun to talk to, I have to say, and I’m quite proud of the resulting transcript. We talk about LEED certification, the state of the U.S. construction industry, David’s ongoing urban interest in Africa, and the idea that, to quote Adjaye himself:

As cities grow, and as the experience of urbanism becomes overwhelming or intoxicating, I think the notion of the domestic retreat becomes more and more important.

It’s a short article, but give it a read if you can.

[Image: Three projects by David Adjaye].

I also visited a house in Chicago while I was there in September ’07, and an article about that residence appears on page 80. The house is a converted tavern in Bucktown. It’s been fitted out with geothermal wells, solar panels, and some really cool wind turbines by Bil Becker of Aerotecture International; 80% of the construction waste was recycled. The coolest detail, for me, was the bathroom floors, which are made from a glass aggregate in which the pulverized remains of old musical records can still be seen. I actually got to tour the house with the lead and project architects, and they pointed out small, recognizable fragments of old LPs in the floor beside the toilet.
It’s a beautiful house; it’s received an awful lot of media attention, including an entire show by National Geographic, but hopefully my little three-page article adds something to the conversation.

[Images: Photos taken by Michael Tercha for the Chicago Tribune; I have actually sat on one of those loungers, surreally enough].

While I was in Chicago, then, I was also given a long tour of one of the houses that appears on page 64. Designed by Chris Talsma, of Filoramo|Talsma, it’s his own house; Chris, his wife, and I walked around for nearly an hour exploring the place, looking out over the city from the enormous – genuinely just enormous – roof deck, talking about architecture and the Pompidou Centre and the changing neighborhoods of Chicago, where I once lived, and I wish that we could have covered the house in more detail, but at least we managed to include it. If you’re looking for a residential architect in Chicago, consider giving Chris a call.
Finally, I’ve got a short, uncredited article about professor Nic Clear, from the Bartlett School of Architecture, who, for nearly a decade, has been using a heady mix of film production, sci-fi, and J.G. Ballard to teach his students the narrative rudiments of built space. I showed some of Clear’s students’ work at a film festival I helped curate in Pasadena last year, so I was excited to include Clear in the issue.
So go check it out! It’s got small houses in London and New York, and an “Archive” piece, by Aaron Britt, about Bertrand Goldberg, architect of the corncob towers in Chicago, of Wilco fame. It mentions Piranesi and the book Hyperborder. It’s got fish made from bone china and a tour of Lima, Peru. It’s got iPod docks.
Sam Grawe, the Editor in Chief, has put together a really cool issue.
If you do pick up a copy, I’d love to hear what you think – of the Adjaye conversation and the Nic Clear article, in particular.
At the very least, just look at the cover! It’s gorgeous.

7 thoughts on “The Big Issue”

  1. triggered by this post, geoff, i grabbed the new dwell off the bottom of the stack (where all the new mags go until i get to them) and read the pieces you mention.

    nice work, of course. most intriguing was the adjaye interview. a smart man, obviously. my only complaint is that the interview was too abbreviated!

  2. I know, the final edit of the interview is quite short, and there were a few questions that I had to cut which really were interesting, but the final result is quite good, I think. At least it sums up the conversation accurately, and leads to some interesting points. By which I’m referring to Adjaye’s answers, not anything I say or do in the text! This isn’t meant to be self-congratulation.

    Thanks for checking out the magazine, though, and I’ll post more updates in the future as the next few issues come out. Lots of good stuff in store! Seriously. Some really cool stuff is coming up.

  3. Looking forward to your David Adjaye interview! He’s my favorite architect right now and his lecture at SFMOMA was so damn inspiring, I ended up buying a ticket to London the next day. Congrats on the big issue!

  4. Geoff, its great to get a little more insight into the articles here. I’ve been a dwell subscriber for a couple years now and reading your blog for nearly as long. Its one of the few magazines I read cover to cover. Anyways, I’m always looking forward to seeing more!

  5. geoff_
    thanks for all the great contributions and changes to the “new” dwell. i’d rather refer to the content [especially the adjaye interview] as being concise rather than short. nice work.

    i’m always interested in what david has to say about the new mcart that he did here in denver. looking forward to see more intriguing stuff…

  6. I just got a subscription to Dwell. It’s one of my favorite magazines. Congrats on Senior Editor and I look forward to seeing your articles and additions when my new issue arrives 🙂

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