Dense and weighty as a sachertorte, Adolf Loos: Works and Projects documents the existing buildings and interiors designed by the architect. And just as this dessert is considered too dry to be eaten without the whipped cream, the new, color photos by Philippe Ruault and architectural drawings by Irene Ciampi and Thiys Pulles enhances Ralf Bock’s dry commentary.
Loos was one of the greatest architect-writers of the twentieth century and is, of course, best remembered for his provocative essay “Ornament und Verbrechen” (Ornament and Crime) of 1908 where he famously wrote that “whoever goes to the Ninth Symphony and then sits down to design a wallpaper pattern is either a rogue or a degenerate.”
Aerial view of Virginia Point [Courtesy of Adams Architects]
A model made from Ike debris, on display at Gulf Coast Green, showing a rehabilitated and roof-supplied future for Maya's Grocery in Galveston [Photo by Raj Mankad]
From April 16 to 17, several hundred environmentally-minded individuals gathered at the 2009 Gulf Coast Green Symposium. While keynote speaker Alex Steffen addressed the issues of a growing worldwide middle class (and the largely-inevitable consumption that comes with it), Steve Mouzon, AIA, LEED AP discussed “living traditions” right down to the detailing of an organic kitchen garden for a sustainable home. But it was the local speakers who took on the specific challenges Houston faces.
Vision for a sustainable downtown Houston, 2030 [Original photo from The Positive Image, rendering by Kirksey EcoServices]
The architecture and interior design firm Kirksey was approached by the Houston Chronicle to provide a look at the buildings of the future.
The response was a green metropolis, where buildings are wind-powered, collect rainwater, and black top streets are replaced by parks and lakes.
Memorial for Leigh Boone at Dunlavy and Westheimer [Photo by Raj Mankad]
Map generated by Walk Score. Green means very walkable, red means car-dependent, and yellow is in between.
The above map purportedly shows what parts of Houston are walkable. An algorithm generates the scores using distances from a given location to different types of amenities. That measurement is weighted according to population density. So a place where people live that is close to restaurants, grocery stores, and schools gets a high rating. Houston got an overall rating of 51, the bottom end of “somewhat walkable.” The score for my home address in the Montrose was a 91, just inside the highest category, “walking paradise.” Most of the results are intuitive, but there are some surprises.
Henrique Oliveira's "Tapumes" installation at the Rice Gallery [All photos by Jesse Hager]
Five days before the opening of “Tapumes,” stacks of thin wood lay parallel across the Rice Gallery floor, arranged in varying widths of similar colors. Ladders and lifts outnumbered the installers. Behind the screened entry, shapes jump and dive into view giving passers-by a notion of what is to come, the first solo exhibition in the United States from Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira, now open at the Rice Gallery until May 9, 2009.
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Google map showing the El Rondo Motor Lodge (green arrow) amid churches (red markers)
Last week’s news was punctuated by several stories about sex and the sex industry, including a court victory in the city’s effort to shut down an alleged “hot sheet” motel. Though Houston lacks zoning, an ordinance passed over a decade ago, but challenged in courts until the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, prohibits sexually-oriented businesses (or SOBs) from operating within 1,500 feet of churches, schools, day care centers, and parks.
Friday April 3
Vile trade Pimping children is closer to home than you’d imagine – Houston’s a hub. [Houston Chronicle] “According to the nonprofit group Children at Risk, Houston is the nation’s largest hub for child trafficking. Near a national border, we’re known for a free-and-easy attitude toward sex businesses. The FBI divides human trafficking into two categories: international and domestic. International cases involve people – usually girls – born in foreign countries. (In multicultural Houston, that can mean anywhere in the world. Guatemala leads the list.)”