Travel, as I have often said to my colleagues, is an excellent means to explore and understand architecture, especially if that has to do with regional values. Last year, after having missed many earlier opportunities to do so, I finally visited the sites of great architectural works of the Mughal Dynasty in India. For most people, the Taj Mahal is a household word. For me it had always been the fore-runner of an argument that mosques and mausoleums are not the same and hence their formal structures cannot share in the semiology employed by modern day designers of religious buildings in the light of Bob Venturi’s “decorated shed” paradigm. A peek into the timeless past of Mughal architecture in India
David Prowler just returned from a trip to Japan. He wrote about his impressions, accompanied by photos, in his blog. As those of you have previously read David’s musings know, he is a keen observer who notices things that many of us don’t. His writing is always enjoyable and informative. This post, originally published as Souvenirs of Japan in David’s personal blog, is no different* –
An increasingly large percentage of the population qualifies as having one or more disabilities. Many everyday features of our built environments are access barriers for people with certain disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has dramatically improved access since its effective date in 1992, especially in new buildings. California had access construction standards even before the enactment of the ADA. The combination of the ADA and pre-existing California access has resulted in a unique statutory framework that has resulted in an explosion of lawsuits. These lawsuits often target older buildings which were built before the code section forming the basis of the lawsuit. Kim Blackseth, California’s foremost expert on disabled access construction standards, explains how and when a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) can help. (forward by W. Adams) Do you need a CASp in California?
The common wisdom is that all the new development, or at least all the interesting development in San Francisco, is South of Market. This of course makes news because it represents a sea change from the prior 100+ years when “south of the slot” was the industrial, working class (or worse) sector of the city. Where grows San Francisco?
Real walkable neighborhoods[i] are in such demand today that they are creating a real estate frenzy[ii] in older walkable cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. The reason for the frenzy is simple economics of supply and demand. The demand for Walkable Urbanism[iii] is increasingly outstripping the supply and this situation seems to be getting worse. Desirable Walkable Neighborhoods: How we lost them, why we don’t create new ones, and what we need to do to start.
In this beautifully designed addition to the Princeton Architectural Press’s Architecture Briefs series, San Francisco architect-engineer Charles Bloszies provides clear thinking and non-dogmatic analysis on the intersection of historic preservation and progressive architectural design. Old Buildings, New Designs: Architectural Transformations
ZETA Communities, a company outside of Sacramento, is taking up the challenge of a changing world where the population is growing and the rate of consumption is climbing by finding creative ways to use limited space. ZETA Communities Builds Homes for Limited Space, Sustainability
Many people applaud the foresight of regional governments for addressing climate change and quality of life through strategic planning. Others, including the East Bay Tea Party, are crying foul. Does this group represent another shade of “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBYism), or an indication that regional planning is poorly understood by many of the people it affects? Strategic regional planning? Others see “Green Tyranny”
Architecture at its best is composition. By that, I mean that whatever humans build provides punctuation marks in nature, somewhat like the punctuation marks that give grammatical composition to prose. Reflections On Architecture