September 4, 2011 |
Any skyscraper is a contradiction. The tall tower is architecture's most famous building type and also the one most clearly at odds with the profession's roots. Fundamentally, architecture is shelter, a concession that we're afraid to face the elements without protection. A skyscraper is vertical hubris. Perhaps no architect embodied the oddness of skyscraper architecture more than Minoru Yamasaki, the Seattle native who designed the 110-story World Trade Center towers. Yamasaki was afraid of heights; he made the windows of the twin towers just 18 inches wide to ease the fears of the people inside the buildings who shared his anxiety.
July 24, 2011 |
Donna and Bob Moran moved to the wind-whipped foothills here four years ago looking for solitude and serenity amid the pinyon pines and towering Joshua trees. But lately their view of the valley is being marred by a growing swarm of whirring wind turbines — many taller than the Statue of Liberty — sweeping ever closer to their home. "Once, you could see stars like you wouldn't believe," Donna Moran said. "Now, with the lights from the turbines, you can't even see the night sky. " It's about to get worse.
March 24, 2011 |
Barack Obama returned home this week from his trip to Latin America having showcased two distinctly different faces of presidential power: one humble, the other resolute. He ordered a cruise missile assault against the Libyan regime on the first day of the trip, kicked soccer balls with Brazilian kids on the second. He issued warnings to the Libyan ruler, made a toast to the Chilean president. It was a tough balance to strike: a charm offensive in Latin America paired with a military campaign in North Africa.
February 7, 2010 |
Somewhere on Earth there must be a cheaper, easier, more exotic cruise, packed with even more beautiful sights and filled with more history, providing even tastier food, but for now, I'm happy to settle on this one: Ionian Cruises' daily excursion from Corfu, Greece, to Sarande, Albania. How cheap is it? Thirty-eight euros (about $55) for the round-trip boat ride, 19 euros (about $27) for a shore excursion that includes a fabulous buffet lunch. That's about $82 for an enchanting day in Albania, an additional dollar if you want a big glass of wine with lunch.
June 13, 2009 |
It's always a little risky to see in one headline about the architecture business, or in the fate of a single firm, a parable for the profession as a whole. But news that the prefab specialist Michelle Kaufmann has suddenly closed her Oakland office and laid off all 17 of her employees does seem to have Larger Symbolism written all over it. Kaufmann's is hardly the only prefab firm to face trouble in recent months.
February 22, 2009 |
"Empty," says Jack Rodman, an expert in distressed real estate, as he points from the window of his 40th-floor office toward a silver-skinned prism rising out of the Beijing skyline. "Beautiful building, but not a single tenant. "Completely empty. "Empty." So goes the refrain as his finger skips from building to building, each flashier than the next, and few of them more than barely occupied.