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BLDGBLOG - The Big Issue

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The Big Issue

The March 2008 issue of Dwell is now out and, as some of you may or may not know, I recently became one of Dwell's Senior Editors – joining the woman who puts the cool in school, my new colleague Amber Bravo.
March is the first issue in which I've had a real impact on content, so I thought I'd urge everyone to go check it out! It's good for you.

Imagem colocada[image: A page from Dwell featuring scenes from the short film After the Rain by Ben Olszyna-Marzys, produced for a architecture studio taught by Nic Clear].

The cover itself is gorgeous, featuring a project called the Boxhome by Finnish artist and architect Sami Rintala. I was very happy to send British novelist – and occasional BLDGBLOG commenter –*Clare Dudman over to Oslo in October '07 to see the Boxhome firsthand. Clare compares the Boxhome to a TARDIS from Dr. Who, "a tiny telephone box that opens into a series of rooms."
Clare's recent novel One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead is well worth the read; it's an historical retelling of the life of German naturalist Alfred Wegener, who first pioneered the theory of "continental drift." Dudman is an extraordinary writer, and it was a genuine pleasure to work with her – and Sami is an enthusiast, plain and simple, so corresponding with him was a delight. Clare's article starts on page 114.
I've basically got three articles of my own in there, as well.
First, I interviewed architect David Adjaye when he came through town last Fall. You'll see a "Conversation" with Adjaye on page 92.
Adjaye was surprisingly fun to talk to, I have to say, and I'm quite proud of the resulting transcript. We talk about LEED certification, the state of the U.S. construction industry, David's ongoing urban interest in Africa, and the idea that, to quote Adjaye himself:As cities grow, and as the experience of urbanism becomes overwhelming or intoxicating, I think the notion of the domestic retreat becomes more and more important.It's a short article, but give it a read if you can.

Imagem colocada[image: Three projects by David Adjaye].

I also visited a house in Chicago while I was there in September '07, and an article about that residence appears on page 80. The house is a converted tavern in Bucktown. It's been fitted out with geothermal wells, solar panels, and some really cool wind turbines by Bil Becker of Aerotecture International; 80% of the construction waste was recycled. The coolest detail, for me, was the bathroom floors, which are made from a glass aggregate in which the pulverized remains of old musical records can still be seen. I actually got to tour the house with the lead and project architects, and they pointed out small, recognizable fragments of old LPs in the floor beside the toilet.
It's a beautiful house; it's received an awful lot of media attention, including an entire show by National Geographic, but hopefully my little three-page article adds something to the conversation.

Imagem colocadaImagem colocadaImagem colocadaImagem colocada[images: Photos taken by Michael Tercha for the Chicago Tribune; I have actually sat on one of those loungers, surreally enough].

While I was in Chicago, then, I was also given a long tour of one of the houses that appears on page 64. Designed by Chris Talsma, of Filoramo|Talsma, it's his own house; Chris, his wife, and I walked around for nearly an hour exploring the place, looking out over the city from the enormous – genuinely just enormous – roof deck, talking about architecture and the Pompidou Centre and the changing neighborhoods of Chicago, where I once lived, and I wish that we could have covered the house in more detail, but at least we managed to include it. If you're looking for a residential architect in Chicago, consider giving Chris a call.
Finally, I've got a short, uncredited article about professor Nic Clear, from the Bartlett School of Architecture, who, for nearly a decade, has been using a heady mix of film production, sci-fi, and J.G. Ballard to teach his students the narrative rudiments of built space. I showed some of Clear's students' work at a film festival I helped curate in Pasadena last year, so I was excited to include Clear in the issue.
So go check it out! It's got small houses in London and New York, and an "Archive" piece, by Aaron Britt, about Bertrand Goldberg, architect of the corncob towers in Chicago, of Wilco fame. It mentions Piranesi and the book Hyperborder. It's got fish made from bone china and a tour of Lima, Peru. It's got iPod docks.
If you do pick up a copy, I'd love to hear what you think – of the Adjaye conversation and the Nic Clear article, in particular.
At the very least, just look at that cover! It's gorgeous.

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