Praxis 8

Praxis 8 is now available from

My essay “Programming After Program: Archizoom’s No Stop City” explores the history of the Italian radical architecture group as a kind of retroactive manifesto for the sort of work that I am doing these days.

The editors explain the issue theme:

“RE: programming” reflects upon the complex, ambiguous and ultimately paradoxical set of ideas denoted by the term program. The elusive definition of program is not only because of its complex history but more importantly because of its continuous redefinition in contemporary architectural practice. A broader shift in the term program, with the emergence of computer culture, has empowered architects to see what was traditionally considered a given, as something that can be reprogrammed at will.

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Cubicle Culture

Fortune Magazine carries an article Robert Propst and the history of the cubicle. As moves away from physical offices toward more fluid, cybernetically conceived spaces, cubicles were an evolutionary step toward the networked workplace of our own day. Along with the fascinating history of this ubiquitous part of office design, the article makes some surprising observations about the present, most notably that 26 million Americans now telecommute via broadband. The article is, unfortunately, vague about whether this mean they just check their email once a day from home or whether they don’t bother going into the office at all.
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Johnson Symposium Summary

Archinect’s Yale school blogger Enrique sums up the Philip Johnson symposium in an eloquent post. Enrique mentions that the symposium left him feeling “a little creepy.” Harrowing might have been the term I would have used. If it was billed as a celebration of Johnson, the symposium was far from that, by no means the kind of pre-digested conference so common in architecture schools. Much praise goes to conference organizers Emmanuel Petit and Robert Stern for not shrinking from debate in organizing the conference.

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Architecture Machine Lab Videos

The Institute for the Future of the Book has put up a web page containing videos from the Architecture Machine Group, which later evolved into the MIT Media Lab. Two things immediately fascinate me about this project. First, as Institute for the Future of the Book Director Bob Stein has pointed out, much of this material is still visionary and like the work of Kit Galloway and Sherri Rabinowitz, still hasn’t been made real. Second, what fascinates me is that this project, which is so foundational to our notions of the user interface begins in the discipline of architecture and is fundamentally spatial in character.
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The February 2006 issue of the Journal of Architectural Education is out. Look for it in your favorite school of architecture.

Why? Because this issue is edited by George Dodds of University of Tennessee, Knoxville and myself. Hatched at Jacques-Imo’s in the Riverbend/Carrollton area of uptown New Orleans in September 2004, this issue looks back, to 1966, 40 years after Robert Stern put together the seminal 40 under 40 exhibit. An interview with Stern about the show is a highlight, as are Simon Sadler’s essay “Drop City Revisited,” Hadas Steiner’s “Brutalism Exposed. Photography and the Zoom Wave,” Mary Lou Lobsinger’s “The New Urban Scale in Italy. On Aldo Rossi’s L’architettura della citt?ɬ†,” Stanley Mathews’s “The Fun Palace as Virtual Architecture. Cedric Price and the Practices of Indeterminacy,” and Peter L. Laurence’s “Contradictions and Complexities. Jane Jacobs’s and Robert Venturi’s Complexity Theories.” In the book reviews section, Andrew Ballentyne reviews Sadler’s The Situationist City and Patrick Harrop reviews the CCA’s The Sixties: Montreal Thinks Big.
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No More Ambassador Hotel

Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel is gone. I hate to say that I never had a connection with the place, but I didn't. I came to Los Angeles after it was shuttered and saw it only as the object of a longstanding attempt to preserve it. What fascinates me about the destruction of the hotel is that the fixtures from the pantry, in which Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. was shot, ar being preserved, have been packed into two steel containers as part of an agreement with the school district. Nobody seems to want them, least of all the Kennedys. Technorati Tags: historic preservation, history, los angeles
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