Good morning, architects. "The map is not the territory," said Alfred Korzybski, in a quote that has inspired writers from Jorge Luis Borges to Michel Houellebecq. "Nuh-uh," Google appears to be saying in response. Every day, Google inches closer to giving users both. For example, Google is working to map the world's cultural treasury by putting museum collections online, artwork by artwork, through the Google Art Project. Not only is Google mapping art, the company is now also mapping museums—and other cultural institutions—floor-plan by floor-plan. More than 10,000 indoor maps of airports, rail stations, casinos, shopping centers, and museums the world over are already available. A screengrab of the map of the interior of the Victoria & Albert Museum is pictured above. It doesn't give a lot of architectural detail—there's no callout for the Daylit Gallery, designed by MUMA, for example—but this new level of Google Map detail could conceivably be very useful for architects. (Hat-tip: Marina Galperina.)
TORONTO UNLEASHED. The Atlantic Cities is celebrating the ouster of notoriously anti-urbanist Mayor Rob Ford, who will be ejected from office in two weeks' time after a court found that he had failed to declare a conflict of interest as a member of Toronto's City Council. The Ford administration may be best known (to outsiders, anyway) for ripping out bike lanes throughout the city. The Toronto Star's Christopher Hume lists some qualities that the next mayor should possess, many of which ought to appeal to architects. Unless they're drivers.
SMART BOX. In The Philadelphia Inquirer, architecture critic Inga Saffron reviews the 1978 "dumb box" shed by Venturi and Scott Brown, which has just been retrofitted by MS&R Design. Saffron's into it. "MS&R's designers, Jeffrey Scherer and Garth Rockcastle, didn't merely rearrange the partitions," she writes. "They exploded them, turning the institute's plain vanilla, open-plan floors into a mind-blowing, Escher-inspired puzzle space."
WELCOME TO COLUMBUS. Reason magazine has a great video on Columbus, Ind., one of the great architectural gems of the United States. I know, I don't buy it either. It's not even America's first or even second most-famous city named Columbus! You're just going to have to watch the video.
...AND REMAINDERS. A look at the improving U.S. building stats, from down under... Micro-apartments approved for San Francisco... Alberto Embriz-Salgado's Tái Yàng Tower Complex both looks and acts like an energy plant... Baltimore needs more architectural design competitions... The year in library design.