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Our PARK(ing) Day installation was a rousing success.  What was once a dearth of human interaction sprouted into a buzzing public park for the day.  Imagine if this one day turned into a week, months, years.  A much better use of our shared public space.  For more, read our parking treatise here.

radioIn case you missed our interview on this morning’s 848 with Allison Cuddy, here is the audio

More press on us here;

WBEZ blog (with video), Gapers Block, Timeout Chicago

PARK(ing) Day 2009Chicago contains roughly 8,000 miles of surface roads, amounting to 77,575 acres of pavement dedicated to the driving and parking of automobiles.  Automotive real estates further balloons when you consider the private parking lots, garages, and alleys.  Comparatively, Chicago dedicates 7,300 acres to public parks.

The streets of Chicago are typically inhospitable to anything but cars, choking out pedestrians, funneling stormwater runoff to inappropriate locations, contributing to air pollution, and obstructing a genial atmosphere amongst the users.

Imagine the possibilities if streets served more than just a single automotive purpose.  A place where, in addition to transportation, water was recharged, food was grown, and people were present.  On Friday, September 18, from 9a-6p at 3552 North Southport Avenue, moss, along with collaborators Stand Design, will transform a surface street parking corral into public space for PARK(ing) Day.  Reclaiming the public realm for the use of all of the public.  Read the rest of this entry »

Water Hazard is an ongoing architectural research project by moss.  We are studying water related issues to become better stewards of this most precious resource.  Below is the latest dispatch. (This report was originally published by moss in March of 2005)

golfcourse1aThe United States is home to more than 23,000 golf courses, by far the most in the world. A large number of courses are located in the west and southwest regions of the country; regions that are in severe drought [1].  In addition, most golf courses are only available to a select few that can afford green fees and access the course.  This would not pose such a problem if golf courses did not consume a surfeit of natural resources that are important to the survival of the public.  Courses consume an enormous amount of land (an 18 hole golf course of 6200 yards or more would require 110 to 180 acres of land [2]), and water for decorative features and irrigation.  California alone boasts 912 golf courses, second only to Florida which is home to over 1,100 courses [3].  Therefore, California, looking right in the face of severe drought, uses over 164,000 acres of mainly urbanized and irrigated land for golf courses; that equates to 256 square miles, or roughly the size Memphis, Tennessee. Read the rest of this entry »

cattleRecently we visited Randy and Lynn Anderson (photos after the jump) who run a 100% grass fed beef, pork, and poultry farm in Arkansaw, Wisconsin.  While picking up some cuts, Randy gave us a tour of his pasture and animals.  While surveying the grounds I noticed no feedlots or antibiotics, only green pasture and healthy clover. Read the rest of this entry »

eisenhowersignA recent New York Times Magazine article described the difficulty of piecing together the ballot-initiated California High Speed Rail, which will connect Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes (with eventual spurs to Sacramento, north, and San Diego, south) at top speeds of 220 miles per hour.  Quite an improvement over the bumbling trip, along a similar path, on Amtrak that now takes over 12 hours and costs you $55.  The main stumbling block appears to be acquiring right-of-way to allow for straight stretches of tracks (obviously the straighter the track the faster the train can coast).

This got me thinking that Chicago doesn’t at all have a right-of-way problem.  Read the rest of this entry »

There is definitely a movement towards more sustainable building in this country and around the world, and rightly so.  There is only so much energy we can extract, drill, or techno-create and only so much landscape to cultivate.  We live in a finite system with finite resources where infinite growth is not scientifically or rationally conceivable.  Buildings currently consume the lion’s share of energy in the United States at 48%, checking in ahead of transportation (27%) and manufacturing (25%) (source: US Energy Information Administration).  They also swallow up once productive land while leaving a trail of asphalt and turf in its wake.  After a typical building is constructed it is hooked up to the power grid to produce electricity, to the water supply to provide potable water, and to the sewer system to carry waste.  Gobbling up resources from those utilities to support its needs while never giving anything back.  Historically, there is not much longevity for an eco-system or civilization operating under that premise.  This is due, in large part, to the design paradigm of one-size-fits-all architecture.  A house in Fargo looks and behaves no differently than one in Fort Lauderdale. Read the rest of this entry »

traffic lightsQuite a bit a fallout this week on the parking meter fee increase which has pushed most Chicago parking meters from $0.25 an hour to $1.00 and hour, the exception being West Loop meters at $2/hour and Loop meters at $3.50/hour.  The backlash has resonated everywhere, from parking meter blogs to a round table discussion on NPR’s eight forty-eight last Friday.  This has caused such an uproar that the Sun-Times is calling it a “quiet rebellion”, and unleashed speculation that this could be the undoing of the mayor as a final straw.  Really?  I am sure there could be a more worthy cause than parking meters? Read the rest of this entry »

sun of the first nationsThe inaugural post should explain the header, right?  Right.  The overall vision is to give an insider’s look at the architectural practice through the lens of my own architectural practice (see “about” page).  In doing so I hope to shed some light the the intricacies of the profession, but more specifically where I would like to see it go and the avenues for getting there.  I think that broadest boulevard is paved with straw, metaphorical straw, of course.  Architects are supposed to be on the front lines of innovation since we see the project first, get our hands dirty first, and typically get to control the flow and direction.  However, too many contradictory interests have invaded our once prominent stronghold.  All in all, we have lost our way.  We are no longer the creators of innovation but the proprietors of sameness. Read the rest of this entry »

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