Ephemeral, Elemental Shelter


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Sukkah City, New York City 2010:

12 Radically Temporary Structures will be built in Union Square Park in New York City, September 2010.


Biblical in origin, the sukkah is an ephemeral, elemental shelter, erected for one week each fall, in which it is customary to share meals, entertain, sleep, and rejoice.

Ostensibly the sukkah’s religious function is to commemorate the temporary structures that the Israelites dwelled in during their exodus from Egypt, but it is also about universal ideas of transience and permanence as expressed in architecture. The sukkah is a means of ceremonially practicing homelessness, while at the same time remaining deeply rooted. It calls on us to acknowledge the changing of the seasons, to reconnect with an agricultural past, and to take a moment to dwell on–and dwell in–impermanence.

And also

‘Sukkah City: New York City’ will re-imagine this ancient phenomenon, develop new methods of material practice and parametric design, and propose radical possibilities for traditional design constraints in a contemporary urban site. Twelve finalists will be selected by a panel of celebrated architects, designers, and critics to be constructed in a visionary village in Union Square Park from September 19-21, 2010.

Please visit the Official Website

A Poem (and a Photograph)


Anchored to the Infinite

The builder who first bridged Niagara’s gorge,
Before he swung his cable, shore to shore,
Sent out across the gulf his venturing kite
Bearing a slender cord for unseen hands
To grasp upon the further cliff and draw
A greater cord, and then a greater yet;
Till at the last across the chasm swung
The cable then the mighty bridge in air!

So we may send our little timid thought
Across the void, out to God’s reaching hands—
Send out our love and faith to thread the deep—
Thought after thought until the little cord
Has greatened to a chain no chance can break,
And we are anchored to the Infinite!

Edwin Markham

Image: Photograph of Hearst Tower, world headquarters of the Hearst Corporation, New York City, by the architect Norman Foster.

The Last Ten Years in Architecture


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Treehugger’s terrific slide show “The Decade in Review: 14 Themes, Memes, and Dreams in Architecture.” Worth a look.

(Image: China’s National Stadium by the Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron).

When Buildings Get Sick


…you’d better watch your head!”

From Fast Company: “Six Architectural Bloopers”

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I don’t know why I derived some small degree of satisfaction from reading the failings detailed in this article.

(h/t @kchavda)

20 Super-Duper Humans


TED announces its 2010 Senior Fellows:

The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. Fellows are drawn from many disciplines that reflect the diversity of TED’s members: technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, the humanities, the arts, NGOs, business and more.