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Runways to Greenways: Lateral Office Imagine WWII Airstrips as New Urban Landscapes

Lateral Office, founded in 2003 by Mason White and Lola Sheppard, is an experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, landscape, and urbanism. The studio describes its practice process as a commitment to “design as a research vehicle to pose and respond to complex, urgent questions in the built environment,” engaging in the “wider context and climate of a project: social, ecological, or political.” For their Runways to Greenways, an urban design proposal for the Vatnsmýri area of Reykjavík, the architects sought to simultaneously acknowledge the rich history of the site while looking forward to new economies and public realms. The project area, a significantly-sized defunct World War II runway, was slated for universities, bio-tech, housing and commercial development. This proposal, which used landscape and exterior program as a catalyst for urban development, identifies exterior space as equally charged with activity, use and event as built or interior spaces within the city. The figure of the runway is used to identify three primary axes, and each former runway is converted into a “greenway” that uses a quality of the city as its primary trait: namely, ecology, recreation, and production. Lateral Office join the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial alongside over 100 architects, artists, and designers from around the world.

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The National Flower

“Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf,” wrote Lewis Mumford in 1961. Driving per person continued to rise steadily for 43 years after that, and then it stopped. Automobile miles per capita have declined every year since 2004. Also, those concrete cloverleafs have become expensive maintenance problems. One could say the national flower has begun to wilt.

Quote source: Top 10 Reasons for a New American Dream - BetterCities.net

Images: the cloverleaf interchanges of Atlanta’s I-285

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Neon New York | Via

It was for photographs of New York, such as these taken for LIFE magazine, that Andreas Feininger (1906-1999) attained fame. A trained architect, Feininger turned to photography at age 30. In 1939, he emigrated from Europe to New York, where he made photography his career.

Just three decades earlier, a large-scale neon light was switched on in front of the public for the very first time when Georges Claude — aka “the Edison of France” — demonstrated his invention at the Paris Motor show in December 1910.

Claude’s company was creating huge amounts of neon as a waste product of its core business, liquefying air, and it was this supply of neon that kicked off the age of the neon sign. With his patents, Claude had a monopoly on neon sign production.

The neon signs might have been made purely for advertising. A variety of colors could be made to light tubes that were bent into any and every shape, including letters and numbers. In 1913, three years after the Motor Show a huge Cinzano sign was on display in Paris, and in 1923, Claude sold two neon signs to an LA car dealership — the first American neon signs. (They said “Packard.”)

Licensing smaller manufacturers to create neon signs in specific geographic territories, Claude’s neon sign company took a percentage of the entire business, valued at $16.9 million by 1931. A year later, his patent expired. By 1940, almost 2,000 small workshops were crafting neon signs in the U.S.