August 2010 China confounds our Western guilt with its ambitious Expo 2010. How could any building be higher? How could any development be larger? Have we gone as far as we can go? We seem to have reached a limit this year with the completion of the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai, U.A.E. — featured in this issue — which scrapes the heavens at 828 meters (2,717 feet). While beautifully realized, it calls into question the basic programmatic decisions of the forces that conceived it. The Burj culminates an era of financial expansion worldwide, yet opened, ironically, in the aftermath of
July 2010 David Dillon exemplified why good criticism is local. David Dillon, architecture critic for The Dallas Morning News for 25 years and longtime contributing editor of this publication, died unexpectedly on June 3. His passing marked a sea change for many of us in architectural journalism, forcing us to reflect on the current state of the craft and how it has inalterably shifted with the rise of the blogosphere. Dillon — who graduated from Boston College and held a master’s in literature and a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard — forged a deep relationship with his adopted subject,
June 2010 The National Building Museum speaks for the building arts. As Jim Pate, the executive director of New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, took center stage to accept an award, he articulated a serious dilemma his city had faced. New Orleans’s musical heritage, an ineffable, irreplaceable treasure he described as the city’s soul, resided in the hands of a few people — the long-time musicians who had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In a city besieged with so many problems following the storm, a group of contemporary musicians and friends devised a plan: Providing safe, affordable
March 2010 Shattering the Myths of Sustainability It might be counterintuitive to most Americans, but cities offer the most viable models of sustainability. That assertion runs counter to our cultural history. Since the Romantic period of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, we have vilified urban life and been enamored, like Henry David Thoreau, of living close to nature. The results of our hunger sprawl around us. Today, rather than finding ourselves freed to commune with the out-of-doors, we have become shackled to the automobile, a situation in which it takes an SUV to get from Walden Pond to
February 2010 What can we learn from Haiti? Tragedy has struck Haiti again. On Tuesday, January 12, at 4:53 p.m., a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck 10 miles from the heart of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, along the fault line that stretches from the Dominican Republic to Jamaica, rendering entire quadrants of the hilly, coastal city in ruins. As of this writing, approximately 3.5 million persons out of a total population of approximately 9 million have been affected in a country roughly the size of the state of Maryland. The dead number at least 50,000, with some estimates as high as 200,000.