Object Lesson

 

Faces, Places

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We've gotten a lot of email in reaction to the first issue of ARCHITECT. We've followed the threads on websites and blogs like www.apartmenttherapy.com, www.archinect.com, www.archnewspaper.com, www.mediabistro.com, Slate, and our own www.architectmagazine.com. And I must say we're pleased at the quantity and quality of the commentary.

Not that it's been a love-fest. Some readers seem off-put by the emphasis on people. It's an unusual approach for architecture magazines; our covers and coverage of individuals are going to take some getting used to. But given the nature of the comments about the cover of the first issue, I'd like to clarify our motives. We're not, as some have speculated, trying to perpetuate the culture of celebrity. We're trying to foster a sense of community. How many readers would have recognized Ross Wimer, a very talented and thoughtful architect, until he appeared in ARCHITECT?

So are we trying to mint new celebrities instead? No. We're trying to make connections among interesting and interested people—a mission that we believe has value, given the frantic pace and global scope of contemporary practice. Try to think of ARCHITECT as a convention in print, with an open invitation to meet the keynote.

This month, we'd like you to meet Blaine Brownell (“Material Witness”). With two blogs, a weekly subscription email, and a book, Transmaterial, Brownell identifies products that make a difference—aesthetically, environmentally, socially, and, yes, structurally. He's a one-man show, helping restore materials to the stature they enjoyed during the heyday of modernism—a time when they weren't just an afterthought, a necessary evil, but an integral part of the discipline of architecture. If you don't already subscribe to Brownell's email, Product of the Week, you should. Visit transstudio.com/tm/. There's no fee.

Readers do seem to appreciate the first issue's focus on process—on technology and business—and we're going to keep delivering. Witness, in this issue, the 12-page feature on Valerio Dewalt Train Associates' super-green headquarters for the Kresge Foundation (“Transparent Technology”). Architect Joe Valerio has shared a wealth of proprietary drawings and data to help explain the processes and technologies behind his design.

Indeed, all the features in this issue of architect address in some fashion the question of sustainability: Joel Sternfeld's remarkable essay on the history of America's Utopian communities (“Sweet Earth”); Linda Hales' report on a lost project by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the father of organic design (page 108); and Bradford McKee's investigation into the uncertain future of Washington, D.C.'s only building by Mies van der Rohe. We hope you like what you see, and read.

Please keep the comments coming—positive or negative, we learn from them all. The making of a magazine is an evolutionary process. I'd be foolish to promise that everything in ARCHITECT will be to everyone's taste, but hopefully each issue will offer something of use.

 
 

Comments (3 Total)

  • Posted by: Charles-Traylor | Time: 10:05 AM Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    I like it. Your email magazine is GREAT! We are also an online company, Archline (www.archline.com). We have present and past architect-clients in 26 states and the US Virgin Islands. We are a wide area network of university trained, self employed practicing architects, who come together on the Internet on an as-needed basis to provide architectural CAD work product exclusively to architectural firms. We have been doing this for 13 years-sort of grew up with the Internet. All of our CAD production teams live and work in Central and South America. It is a blast!

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  • Posted by: lglomset | Time: 11:27 AM Sunday, December 24, 2006

    I need to join in to the comments re: the new name and image of the magazine. I, like others, am put off by the "superstar" feel of larger-than-life photos of individuals on the cover. I joined the profession for the architecture, not the status. If the goal is to create connections between us, featuring photos of each architect and team as a part of feature articles would be much more informative. The cover should be reserved for architectural design. Best Regards, Leif Glomset AIA

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  • Posted by: carlsten@carlstensanford.com | Time: 10:11 AM Saturday, December 23, 2006

    Mr. Cramer: While these comments may be relevant only to Baby Boomer Professionals, I want to express my appreciation for making ARCHITECT graphically legible enough to actually read. As an Architect, I realize that literacy has rarely been considered one of our strengths. I know that I am guilty of treating the latest issue of my professional subscriptions as I might treat soft porn in that the photos will be more interesting than the accompanying text. I look forward to reading ARCHITECT as I believe that you already have & will continue to publish items of interest and value. I do look forward to the day when my snail mail box is empty & I can get my information exclusively from the ether, thus generating less kaolin coated paper choking the land fills as well as my overflowing recycling bin. Respectfully, Jon Carlsten, AIA, LEED AP President Carlsten Sanford Architects, PC carlsten@carlstensanford.com

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About the Blogger

Ned Cramer

thumbnail image Ned Cramer is editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT, and editorial director of ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING, ECO-STRUCTURE, and METALMAG, published by Hanley Wood, a Washington, D.C.-based business media company. Prior to joining Hanley Wood, Cramer served as the first full-time curator of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), where he organized public programs and exhibitions such as "A Century of Progress: Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair" and "New Federal Architecture: The Face of a Nation." At CAF, projects under Cramer's direction received support from foundations and corporations such as Altria, Boeing, the Driehaus Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation. He speaks regularly on architecture, design, and related issues. The Avery Architectural Index lists nearly 100 articles with Cramer's byline, many written in his former capacity as executive editor of Architecture magazine. The recipient of an Arts Administration Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cramer has held positions at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Menil Collection in Houston. Cramer is an alumnus of the Rice University School of Architecture. He was born and raised in St. Louis.