The Psychology Podcast recap for February 2019
— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
Don’t ignore heart attack symptoms while traveling, keep emergency numbers at hand. That’s the main message of a new study. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of natural death among people who are traveling, yet, so far, the long-term outlook for those who have a heart attack while on a trip is unknown.
Getting vaccine exemptions may now be easier for residents in Texas after a new bill will filled in the Texas House of Representatives.
Before we present this weekÃ¢â‚¬s Weekend Reads, a question: Do you enjoy our weekly roundup? If so, we could really use your help. Would you consider aÃ‚Â tax-deductible donation to support Weekend Reads, and our daily work? Thanks in advance. The week at Retraction Watch featured the retraction of a highly cited paper on the effects … Continue reading Weekend reads: The fake sex doctor and his bizarre research; prof alleged to have stolen student’s work; worst scientific scandal of all time?
Not everyone gets chest pain and numb arms with a massive heart attackÃ¢â‚¬â€�Ed thought all he needed was some decongestant to feel better.
Why do we become more positive as we grow older? Why are adolescents so sensitive to negative social cues?
In last yearÃ¢â‚¬s brutal winter in Minnesota, Elisabeth Ostrander was watching the local news when someone on screen said they wished they had a place to walk their dog indoors. Ostrander was then the senior marketing manager for the Rosedale Center, a typical suburban shopping mall located in Roseville, about 11 miles north of Minneapolis. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So I thought, Ã¢â‚¬ËœWhy couldnÃ¢â‚¬t they walk at Rosedale before the mall opens?Ã¢â‚¬Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ she recalls.
The next Monday, she floated the idea past her general manager. By the following Sunday, the mall opened its doors to the Twin CitiesÃ¢â‚¬ four-legged friends, inviting them to take a stroll. With just a few posts on social media and a partnership with Sidewalk Dog, a dog-friendly guide to Minnesota, it took off from there.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“That first weekend there were probably 300 dogs,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Ostrander says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The area has a huge dog community, and it spread like wildfire.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ With stores closed and escalators stopped, the two-story shopping center quickly teemed with dogs and their people, flowing along the perimeter of the mall like the classic image of early-morning mall walkers. What was intended to be a once-a-month winter event turned into a year-round weekly walking bonanza, save for the holiday season, when dog-walking was paused for a few weeks to accommodate extended shopping hours.
But as any dog owner knows, even one pooch can be a handful. So you might understand what happened when hundreds came into the same place at the same time in a space that wasnÃ¢â‚¬t designed for dogs. Call it the tragedy of the canines: The janitorial team couldnÃ¢â‚¬t keep pace with the mess that grew along with the eventÃ¢â‚¬s popularity. After about a year of providing free, open space for people and their dogs to get some exercise, the mall called it quits on Sunday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It has gotten so successful that we had to cancel it, because we couldnÃ¢â‚¬t keep up with it,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ says Lisa Crain, the mallÃ¢â‚¬s general manager.
While Rosedale stands apart for its event-based approach, there are several shopping centers across the U.S. that allow dogs. The majority are outdoors, and many require pups to be in a bag or stroller when they enter stores, making it hard for people with larger breeds to participate. Then there are spaces like The Shops at North Bridge in Chicago that allow dogs of all sizes everywhere except the food court, with pet comfort stations treats, water, and poop bags galore.
As retail stores sufferÃ¢â‚¬â€�with shopping malls constantly on death watchÃ¢â‚¬â€�catering four-legged friends could be a way to attract shoppers who might otherwise spend their time and money elsewhere. For malls, the big crowds and fat margins of the 1980s are long gone, as is their role as the lively social centers of the suburbs. Mall owners and their marketing teams are left to expand their horizons to stay in business, whether that means letting pets in, organizing ticketed events like Cirque du Soleil performances, or taking on the functions of community centers.
But these promotional tactics face an innate challenge: Malls arenÃ¢â‚¬t true public spaces. TheyÃ¢â‚¬re privately owned shopping centers, and, when push comes to shove, it becomes clear that they were never meant to be anything else.
From the beginning, RosedaleÃ¢â‚¬s experiment had a lot going for it. This bustling suburban mall has large open spaces that are protected from the elements. In the pre-shopping hours, patrons enjoyed ample parking close to the buildingÃ¢â‚¬â€�which, for Minnesotans, often means a chance to leave heavy winter jackets in the car and walk around sweat-free as a result. And when the weather is at its very worst, there simply arenÃ¢â‚¬t many other places that invite people and their dogs to socialize indoors and get some exercise for free.
Stores got in on the action, too. Some left bowls of treats and water in front of their doors to welcome pups in the morning. Two coffee shops opened early, selling treats and giving humans a chance to caffeinate along the way. There were dog birthday parties, complete with dog-friendly birthday cakes. Breed-specific meetups were popular too, with groups of Schnauzers walking together, passing packs of German Shepherds along the way. Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and ages turned out by the hundreds, tethered to their humans. At one point, even a brave black cat on a leash meandered through the mix.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬s an enjoyable way for the dog and us to get some steps in [during] the winter,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Roseville resident and dog dad Matt Hagen says.
To address the anticipated mess, tables were set up throughout the two levels with poop bags and Clorox wipes. Once held for the two hours before the mallÃ¢â‚¬s 11 a.m. opening, the timing shifted this year, taking place from 8 to 10 a.m. to give staff more time to get the mall ready for shoppers and diminish allergens for those who might be affected. Even with the best of intentions, many owners missed accidents here and there if they were mid-conversation and not paying close attention, or if a dog let out a quick little piddle mid-stride. And once thereÃ¢â‚¬s a scent on the ground, dogs are sure to pile on. Many attendees made a community clean-up effort, trying to take care of messes that werenÃ¢â‚¬t their own, but ultimately it wasnÃ¢â‚¬t enough.
For the fans, the cancelation is a real loss. Where else can people and their dogs go to share in some social and physical activity thatÃ¢â‚¬s free and indoors? Other indoor options for dogs, like doggie daycare, can be expensive. Dog-friendly breweries are popular across the Twin Cities, but bellying up to a bar doesnÃ¢â‚¬t provide much exercise for either party.
Some found other benefits, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I started bringing my fosters there to get them exposure and made them a little Ã¢â‚¬ËœAdopt MeÃ¢â‚¬ scarf,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ says St. Paul resident Annette Pallesen. She fondly recalls events like last Halloween, when the mall brought in a professional to photograph dogs in their costumes, as well as visits from police K-9 units for a fundraiser. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ThereÃ¢â‚¬s nothing else like it, and itÃ¢â‚¬s free.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
The February 18th announcement that the event would end saddened the dog lovers of the Twin Cities area, but many saw it coming. Both Hagen and Pallesen worried that owners neglecting to clean up after their dogs could someday lead to the end of the event before the announcement was made.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬t blame a private entity for stopping a voluntary, free activity. [It is] definitely a loss for the dog community, but it was a ton of fun while it lasted,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Hagen says, hopeful that the event might return next winter after the mallÃ¢â‚¬s current renovations are complete.
Rosedale CenterÃ¢â‚¬s general manager said canceling was a difficult decision, but one that had to be made. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For right now, itÃ¢â‚¬s done,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Crain says. Ã¢â‚¬Å“There might be an occasional pop-up event in the future, but for now weÃ¢â‚¬ve moved on to other promotions.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
Looking back on what might have made the event more manageable, Crain says it might take a dedicated team of five or six people to clean up during the event, plus an outdoor space among the mallÃ¢â‚¬s concrete landscape for pups to relieve themselves.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It makes me sad,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Pallesen says, but jokes: Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬m just going to start shopping at Home Depot for things I donÃ¢â‚¬t need now. They allow dogs.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
A 50-year-old Florida woman gave birth to a baby boy in December, despite being told by doctors in 2017 that she was in menopause and had a Ã¢â‚¬Å“close to zeroÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ chance of getting pregnant, the Naples Daily News reported.
Researchers describe the use of 13 molecular tools for measuring different intracellular signaling pathways and evaluating the action mechanisms of new drugs.
Growing older and a high-fat diet enriched with omega 6 fatty acids are major contributors to health risks ranging from diabetes to heart failure. How these factors regulate the immune response is now described — a calorie-dense, obesity-generating diet in aging mice disrupts the composition of the gut microbiome. This correlates with development of a system-wide nonresolving inflammation in acute heart failure, with a notable disruption of the immune cell profile, primarily the neutrophil-leukocyte ratio.
Researchers have found that spider silk produces a strong twisting motion when exposed to humidity, and may be usable for future artificial muscles or actuators.
Carol Orzel knew she wanted her skeleton to be displayed in a museum back in 1995.
This piece is part of our Finding Community series. Find previous entries here.
On an orange sofa resting against the wall by the entrance, the light of the projector screen intermittently illuminates the sitting room. I am flanked by two women: Elizabeth, an art administrator from New York, and Ijeoma, a lawyer and literary promoter. Drawing giggles from a number of people in the room, a muffled voice sings a response to music from the film, music that sounds similar to the Zulu intro of the Lion KingÃ¢â‚¬s Circle of Life.
When the filmÃ¢â‚¬s comic relief, a character called Mercenaire, repeatedly tries to woo young women who have come to his open-air thrift store to buy radio batteries and long sticks of baguette, the room is livened by bursts of laughter and mini commentary. In another scene a short while later, a young girl is being taken to a circumcision table and her cries cut through the room like a new knife in butter. A silence settles in the room and Stacey will tell afterwards of how she tried to mask her tears.
We are watching MoolaadÃƒÂ©, a 2004 film by Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane SembÃƒÂ¨ne. It follows the story of the strong lead character, CollÃƒÂ©, and her vehement stance against female genital mutilation after a group of young girls escape their purification ceremony and find solace in her home. There are roughly 12 to 15 people in the room. A handful of them, like myself, are regulars to the Neighbour-Hood Film Series. The series is a breakout endeavor of the Neighbour-Hood Project, an intervention centered on photographs, designed to expand the narrative about Bariga, a Lagos neighborhood that had become associated with crime and gun-violence in peopleÃ¢â‚¬s consciousness. The films are shown at a house in the heart of Bariga, on a calm street where children play outside even at midnight.
At first, even I didnÃ¢â‚¬t understand why I spent three hours traveling, taking a motorbike and two creeping buses, to watch a film, especially one from the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ60s or Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ70s, with a number of young artists I barely knew. Six screenings later, much of the writer I am proud to be now, and the artist community I am proud to be a part of, are products of the Neighbour-Hood Film Series.
I first came across the series when I answered a public call by the Invisible Borders artist-led organization for participants for a road trip across Nigeria in 2017. At this time, I had been in Lagos for three years having moved from my quiet, laid-back hometown in Southeast Nigeria, Enugu, a land atop hills, with rocky topography, red sands and biting harmattan cold. My move to Lagos had been on a whim. Lagos wasnÃ¢â‚¬t a place I had considered moving to on a permanent basis. It is boisterous, loud, and fast, the very opposite of docile, quiet Enugu. I had followed the first job that came calling after the compulsory service year for Nigerian university graduates, to my auntÃ¢â‚¬s house in Ikeja, a quiet area of Lagos.
In the first months, the flexibility of my job allowed me ample time to catch up with friends, many of whom had thronged to Lagos in search of more lucrative opportunities. By 2016, when I got my first real writing job at a business newspaper, the frequency of my interactions with university friends had whittled as my desire for a broader circle of friends had grown.
Months into my writing job, my career path, which had hitherto been a constant meander, had begun to crystallize. I wanted to write. I wanted to tell stories and I wanted them to count. I wanted them to shape cultures and ways of thinking, and so building new interactions that were writer or art-inclined became paramount. I attended quite a number of artsy events organized by small art communities, events not in short supply in Lagos. Many comprised a mix of poets and fiction writers, some of whom had recorded reasonable success. Every week there were meet-ups: to discuss art, enjoy spoken word performances, explore writing. There was not one where I felt at home, or where I felt a genuineness of process and purpose that I wanted to return to.
I first met the convener of the Neighbour-Hood Film Series, and founder of the Invisible Borders organization, Emeka Okereke, during my follow-up interview after being shortlisted for the Invisible Borders 2017 road trip. It was the first time I would visit the house in Bariga. I was asked about my writing in ways I hadnÃ¢â‚¬t thought of it before. I said what I believed I wouldÃ¢â‚¬ve loved to hear had I been sitting on the other side and I came away thinking I had impressed the panel of three: Emeka, Innocent, the organizationÃ¢â‚¬s spirited project manager and Kemi, the quiet, smiley, then director of communications.
When the mail bearing my verdict came, it wasnÃ¢â‚¬t good news. I hadnÃ¢â‚¬t been selected. But it did invite me to my first film screening.
The first screening I attended was a 2016 documentary by the filmmaker Raoul Peck, I Am Not Your Negro. It was a product of an unfinished manuscript James Baldwin was working on before his death in 1987, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Remember This House.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ The documentary chronicled the lives and murders of his close friends and key black emancipation activists, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. I had heard about Malcolm and Martin Luther King, Jr. but I had never heard about James Baldwin prior to this time. I remember vividly the animated discussion that followed afterwards, moderated by Emeka, who that evening was acting as host, the person who introduces the film and newcomers, and moderates the conversation afterward so it doesnÃ¢â‚¬t get too rowdy.
While racism, which is the core of the documentary, isnÃ¢â‚¬t something we deal with in Nigeria, its bedfellows, ethnicity, religiosity, and politics remain as divisive as the constructs of blackness and whiteness. I made a comment that sparked an argument that continued well after the screening had come to a close. My comment had inadvertently revealed a subconscious ethnic bias I held. It had been called out. I found it fascinating, this battle of ideologies and thought processes. I couldÃ¢â‚¬ve been in a meeting of the Harlem WriterÃ¢â‚¬s Guild, having my writing questioned and my views of the world interrogated. This process of submitting to rigorous peer- and self-examination was one Baldwin required of himself. I felt like I had found a group that shared my hunger for the mental exercise that produced the kind of creative work I had just seen in the film, and that I wanted to do.
As I made the journey back home that night, I knew I wanted to return for another screening.
Six film screenings later, including one I was honored to host, of Still I Rise, a documentary about Maya Angelou, my approach to writing has continued to evolve in a direction that pleases and excites me. And I have begun to invite friends to the screenings.
Writing, I have found, just like a number of other art disciplines, is solitary. There is the tendency to get lost in reading and writing and not to realize how much of the realities of our world that one skims through. The film screenings are a way to look outward, to share in experiences and to confer with kindred spirits about the potential of essay, image, or film to create the realities that we want to see and to make sense of the effect our art can have.
After each screening I come away feeling like I have partaken of a lavish meal, and I am always keen to ask someone to come join us, especially if they are as hungry as I am, for depth and richness in their art.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I probably spend more time in places like Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus, and Lexington than any other New Yorker you know,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ Deborah Berke says inside the library of her firmÃ¢â‚¬s office in ManhattanÃ¢â‚¬s Flatiron District.
The Queens-raised architect has been running her own practice, Deborah Berke Partners, for over 30 years now, with a body of work that leans surprisingly heavy on the mid-sized cities of AmericaÃ¢â‚¬s Midwest and East Coast. Most of these projects leave a distinguishing modern mark on handsome 19th-century buildings through design interventions that give new uses and new energy to old spaces.
SheÃ¢â‚¬s also the dean of the Yale School of Architecture, a position sheÃ¢â‚¬s held since 2016; she has taught at the school since 1987. That combination of teacher/practitioner gives her a particularly valuable perspective on the state of architecture in America today. So CityLab decided to catch up with her to ask her about a few projects sheÃ¢â‚¬s worked on and how the world of architecture is changing.
Your firm has done quite a few college-campus projects. At SUNY Fredonia, you added something new to a 1960s campus planned by I.M Pei & Partners. How did you determine its needs for renovation versus expansion?
The campus and its concrete is really pure, slightly heavy-handed Modernism. The original I.M Pei & Partners drawing of the campus is so interesting, with the grand gesture [a circular road that defines the campus boundary]. I like it now; it was so aspirational, but thatÃ¢â‚¬s not the way one thinks of it today. The school built giant parking lots and ruined the master plan, so our addition addressed the fact that people were parking in the middle of the campus.
Our work on the Rockefeller Arts Center is a renovation of and a big addition to an I.M. Pei building which had a long concrete wall that was meant to be its backÃ¢â‚¬â€�itÃ¢â‚¬s where the loading docks wereÃ¢â‚¬â€�but because of the way parking ended up being placed, it was also where everyone entered. Pei really wanted you to enter it from the other side and then move through the building to the theaters, but this didnÃ¢â‚¬t address how life really works. It was as if he thought people were going to be dropped off at school by their driver or something.
For the new addition, we took the palette of the old building, the concrete, and gave it more depth, better performance with glass and steel as well as concrete. Now, with our building, that really long wall is mostly inside as a long hallway connecting the old and the new buildings. The old character was pretty brutal and non-revealing; there was no interaction to be had with what was going on inside. But with ours, you can see people dancing, people having coffee. ItÃ¢â‚¬s a new front door. We added classrooms, sculpture and ceramics studios, and performance spaces.
The sons and grandsons of the local guys who did the concrete work for the original campus are also great concrete guys, so it was fun to work with them and their skill set.
New additions at SUNY schools seem to primarily function as corrections to original mistakes. ThatÃ¢â‚¬s the main point here, right?
That was huge for us. People were literally entering an arts building through a loading dock. And this school, which is known for its performing arts, had to rent a van to move large instruments from one building to another when all you needed was a hallway. So, part of the motivation for this project was to generally bring the campus to the 21st century, but it was also like, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hey, we shouldnÃ¢â‚¬t have to rent a van every time we need to move a bass.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
In Buffalo, you turned part of a vacant mental hospital by H.H. Richardson into a contemporary hotel. What were the main challenges with that site?
We were hired to do the middle three buildings, but also, philosophically, you had to start with the central buildings with those towers, you couldnÃ¢â‚¬t start at one end and make your way over.
We wanted to change the entrance from one side to the other. There was an awful addition from the Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ30s or Ã¢â‚¬Ëœ40s, with concrete block and terrible little windows. So, because something foreign to RichardsonÃ¢â‚¬s design had already been there, we could take that off and present something of our ownÃ¢â‚¬â€�itÃ¢â‚¬s consistent with the history of the building. We needed to remove that section and make a statement to solve a 21st-century problem of getting in, getting to the second floor, finding registration and event spaces, the guest rooms, et cetera. And that space needed to clearly be of another era, not something pretending to be Richardson.
I think some of the best modern designs in Buffalo are understated additions to older, canonical buildings, like Gordon BunshaftÃ¢â‚¬s black box at the Albright-Knox and Toshiko MoriÃ¢â‚¬s visitors pavilion at Frank Lloyd WrightÃ¢â‚¬s Martin House. Did those approaches inspire you?
Our addition is very much of that spirit. We already had the idea for it before we first went up there, but I think one can imagine that Toshiko and I are of the same era and this is the appropriate strategy for handling these important works by major architects. It has to be of your time and highly respectful of the work youÃ¢â‚¬re dealing with. You donÃ¢â‚¬t ever imitate it or take away from its character. Our glass structure sits in between two corners, letting the Richardson design remain dominant. It was a tight fit to figure out, but itÃ¢â‚¬s the right attitude. ItÃ¢â‚¬s new but H.H. Richardson is still the story.
Did preservationists put up any obstacles?
I have the utmost respect for the locals who fought to save this place for decades. I applaud what they did. There were occasional moments where the preservationists were difficult, like about our glass volume coming forward or not forward of the Richardson design, but I mostly agreed with them.
The rooms are small and the hallways are vast, facing south so that the patients could face the sunshine as part of their cure. But when we were brought in to the project, the first drawings we were shown turned the building inside out. It had the hallways turned into guest rooms and blew doors through the patient rooms to turn [them] into a hallway. We thought that that made no sense; it was insulting to the historic integrity of the building.
This was designed around the most humanitarian, forward-thinking mental health ideas of its time. The thought that you could take this space with incredible sunlit proportions and cut it into chunks? Never! You canÃ¢â‚¬t do that. We were going to figure out how to make the rooms work and werenÃ¢â‚¬t going to let that hallway get cut up. So that was not only us siding with the preservationists but collaborating with Richardson, as if to say to him, Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬re in this together, man. WeÃ¢â‚¬re keeping your hallways!Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
I noticed you do a lot of work for one particular hotel chain around the country, 21c Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
WeÃ¢â‚¬ve done all of the 21cÃ¢â‚¬s so far. There are eight of them and seven are adaptive reuse projects. The new build is in Bentonville [in Arkansas].
TheyÃ¢â‚¬re mostly in Midwestern cities, and the brandÃ¢â‚¬s model is based around the idea of having contemporary, provocative, controversial art in a warm and welcoming environment to help revitalize downtowns. I think people who see the art in a 21c hotel are often people who would not go to MoMA or even visit New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â€�they happen to see art because the hotel restaurant is good, they like the hotel bar, or Grandma is staying there.
The first one was in Louisville, where 21cÃ¢â‚¬s foundersÃ¢â‚¬â€�wonderful people, urbanists at heart who intuitively understand that cities are where itÃ¢â‚¬s atÃ¢â‚¬â€�are from. It was supposed to be a one-off because they just wanted to do something for their downtown. But the result was successful beyond what they imagined. Some people from Cincinnati came, saw it, and said they wanted one. So a public-private partnership was formed in Cincinnati, dealing with their theater district, and now their 21c is next to the Zaha [Hadid]-designed Contemporary Arts Center; itÃ¢â‚¬s centered around the same idea of creating cultural density.
Maybe itÃ¢â‚¬s because I came of age in New York when people were living in lofts, but I really love taking old buildings and reusing them for environmental and community-sustainability reasons. This has become the 21c model, doing something of your time and making a clear distinction between old and new.
How does teaching influence your practice?
IÃ¢â‚¬ve been the dean at Yale for two-and-a-half years now, and that position has always been held by a practitioner. Before me [were] Bob Stern, Cesar Pelli, Charles Moore, Paul Rudolph, et cetera. IÃ¢â‚¬ve been teaching forever as part of practice, starting right out of undergrad teaching at an elementary school through a National Endowment for the Arts program. ThereÃ¢â‚¬s a heavier load as dean, but itÃ¢â‚¬s not new to me. My daughter is grown and no longer home, the practice has grown, and so my partners and other senior people lead more of what happens here. So IÃ¢â‚¬m not the sole head of business here.
How much do you look at the program and determine how it should stand apart from, say, what Harvard or Syracuse is doing?
I wouldnÃ¢â‚¬t define it that way, partially because accredited architecture schools have to have a ton in common. I think at Yale we are distinct because of our Building Project. WeÃ¢â‚¬re small and came out of an art school, not an engineering school, so we emphasize the making of buildings, hand-drawing, model-building. Yale has the greatest strengths in the arts out of all the Ivy League schools.
As dean, IÃ¢â‚¬m emphasizing issues of sustainability, building ecology, and environmental responsibility for architects. I think that comes naturally out of YaleÃ¢â‚¬s history, but as citizens of the globe weÃ¢â‚¬re desperate for architects to take on this responsibility. Similarly, with engaging communities that architects have ignored in the past. I believe that built-environment social justice is a real thing and architecture is a part of that. Everyone is entitled to a just and fair built environment, and that can be as simple as beautyÃ¢â‚¬â€�even if itÃ¢â‚¬s just seeing something nice on a walk to workÃ¢â‚¬â€�or as complex as equally distributed infrastructure.
Speaking of Yale, youÃ¢â‚¬re working on a really dynamic project in New Haven called NXTHVN, a neighborhood arts incubator as envisioned by an artist. How did that come about?
Titus Kaphar is a fascinating guy. He went to Yale, studied in the arts school we designed, but we actually met through the 21c people because they collect his work. KapharÃ¢â‚¬s work fits in the kind of stuff they wantÃ¢â‚¬â€�things that challenge social norms, that provoke. I met Titus at the opening of the 21c in Lexington, an old McKim, Mead & White-designed bank, and his art was in the opening exhibition. We got to talking, realized we had the Yale connection, and then he told me about his interest in doing something like what ended up becoming NXTHVN in Dixwell. I told him thatÃ¢â‚¬s exactly the type of work I want to be doing. One building is finished and the artists are now in it as of January. ItÃ¢â‚¬ll be complete by the end of the year.
When I think of New Haven, I think about all of its Brutalist architecture. Is that part of what influenced your concrete facade treatment at NXTHVN?
No, I sit in a Paul Rudolph building every day IÃ¢â‚¬m up there so I didnÃ¢â‚¬t feel like I needed to make more of that [laughs].
To go back a bit in your portfolio, the Irwin Union Bank branch you did in 2006 [in Columbus, Indiana] obviously has a lot of design ambition for such a straightforward project. It seems like an Ã¢â‚¬Å“only in ColumbusÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ kind of commission. Was it?
The client really believed in architecture. At the site, thereÃ¢â‚¬s a giant LoweÃ¢â‚¬s, a giant K-Mart, giant parking lots, and then our teeny little building. ItÃ¢â‚¬s unbelievably simple: ThereÃ¢â‚¬s a brick volume that goes one way and a glass volume that goes another. End of story. But by lighting up the buildingÃ¢â‚¬s upper section, it has a presence beyond its size.
Actually, in the movie Columbus that came out a couple years ago, the main girl in the movie, Casey, has a thing for the building and hangs out there. [AuthorÃ¢â‚¬s note: It is CaseyÃ¢â‚¬s Ã¢â‚¬Å“third-favoriteÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ local building.]
Cummins is a Columbus company, and the Irwin family behind it almost single-handedly made it a mecca for top-notch Modernism. Was the Irwin Union Bank design how you got CumminsÃ¢â‚¬s attention for its Indianapolis office building?
Sort of, in a roundabout way. We had done a library in Hope, Indiana, just outside of Columbus, and through that Cummins invited us to be part of a small competition for that building and we ended up winning. Doing something in downtown Indianapolis felt recognizable, at the right scale, and something I wanted to be a part of.
I probably spend more time in places like Indianapolis, Louisville, Columbus, and Lexington than any other New Yorker you know. I like those people and that part of the country, they feel good to me. [Doing] meaningful projects in mid-sized cities, where you really feel that saving an old building or doing an infill project to make a street feel whole again, to change a downtown and restore its vibrancy, is really rewarding.
What projects do you have coming up that youÃ¢â‚¬re excited about? Things you want to do but havenÃ¢â‚¬t done yet?
IÃ¢â‚¬m excited about NXTHVN being fully up and running. WeÃ¢â‚¬re in the midst of designing the biggest project weÃ¢â‚¬ve ever done, which is two new residential colleges at Princeton. ItÃ¢â‚¬s a big change for the school to expand by 1,000 students, and itÃ¢â‚¬s a big, fun, challenging design project. WeÃ¢â‚¬re also doing a building at Harvard Law School. At a much smaller scale, weÃ¢â‚¬re restoring a barn in Montauk and making it a residency for the Edward Albee Foundation.
As for something I havenÃ¢â‚¬t done, IÃ¢â‚¬m not a religious person, but I would love to do a house of worship or sacred space. A Quaker meeting house, or something like it, where you think about light, quiet, peace, serenity, and self-questioning. Since our lives are so busy and charged these days, IÃ¢â‚¬m thinking of a building where youÃ¢â‚¬d have to turn off your phone before entering. A big theater would be fun too.
How has the architecture industry changed since you started?
I would say it feels different because people who train to be architects train to do many more things, like work at Pixar, design consumer objects, or make video games. What an architect does with a small-letter Ã¢â‚¬Å“aÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ is broader than itÃ¢â‚¬s ever been before, and thatÃ¢â‚¬s fantastic. I think concerns about the built environment are more expansive and broadly defined than ever before. The younger generation of architects is taking on that challenge.
When people ask about change in architecture, itÃ¢â‚¬s phrased in terms of economic cycles, but to get the conversation away from being solely a service industry itÃ¢â‚¬s more important to talk about what architects bring to the larger social discourse. The good news is that itÃ¢â‚¬s a more expansive definition nowÃ¢â‚¬â€�it can include nanotechnology, jewelry design, or regional planning.
Architecture has long had a reputation for being a boyÃ¢â‚¬s club. Have you noticed any change since #MeToo?
Well, IÃ¢â‚¬ve been practicing architecture for a long time. The number of women in the profession is increasing. In schools, too. ThereÃ¢â‚¬s a much more vocal demand to be treated equally, fairly, to not be harassed or assaulted. All of that is really good and necessary. I think the changes one is seeing now have actually been more gradual and continuous. #MeToo is an important moment and a big uptick in this long, gradual change, but itÃ¢â‚¬s not as if the number of women in architecture schools changed overnight. The number of women who are partners in big firms has been increasing and that hasnÃ¢â‚¬t been overnight eitherÃ¢â‚¬â€�itÃ¢â‚¬s not high enough, but that change is happening. ItÃ¢â‚¬s a combination of todayÃ¢â‚¬s moment and the work over the past couple of decades that got us here.
ArchitectureÃ¢â‚¬s discrimination against women and the problems women have had (and continue to have) are signs of a bigger issue, which is that architecture needs to look like the public it serves. Why canÃ¢â‚¬t the profession not only be 50-percent female, but also have more members of every minority community? Of different economic backgrounds? ThereÃ¢â‚¬s a lot more to be done.
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Testing the waters: In a special election this week, the residents of Toledo, Ohio, took the unusual step of adopting a bill of rights for a lake. A ballot measure will amend the cityÃ¢â‚¬s charter to establish that Lake Erie has the right to Ã¢â‚¬Å“exist, flourish, and naturally evolve,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ giving legal rights to the source of drinking water for 11 million people.
ToldeoÃ¢â‚¬s move makes it the first municipality in the country to adopt a Ã¢â‚¬Å“rights-of-natureÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ law over a certain ecosystem. The action is already being challenged in court, but if it stands, it will allow citizens to sue polluters on the Great LakeÃ¢â‚¬s behalf without having to demonstrate injury to a human. Past problems with Lake ErieÃ¢â‚¬s water quality prompted activists to find new ways to safeguard it. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For three days in 2014, we lost access to our drinking water, and we didnÃ¢â‚¬t see any action come out of that,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ one organizer tells CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Nicole Javorsky, Ã¢â‚¬Å“We wanted to do something for ourselves.Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½
ThereÃ¢â‚¬s a simple reason why commuters typically prefer trains over buses: Buses have to share. The rubber-tired coaches could almost run as reliably as rail if not for all those other vehicles on the road. ThatÃ¢â‚¬s why city leaders should be bullish about building dedicated bus lanes, or to Ã¢â‚¬Å“tactical transit lanes,Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ to whip up bus-only infrastructure on the cheap, according to a new report from UCLAÃ¢â‚¬s Institute of Transportation Studies. Simply by running pilots with cones, a city can figure how much faster buses can run when they have their own lane. Once people see the benefits, cities can lay down a coat of red paint and just add service. CityLabÃ¢â‚¬s Laura Bliss has the how-to guide: To Build a Better Bus Lane, Just Paint It
New York leaders urge Bezos to reconsider Amazon dumping the city (Bloomberg)
How tiny shotgun houses could help solve DallasÃ¢â‚¬s housing crisis (Dallas News)
Op-ed: The new Ã¢â‚¬Å“dream homeÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½ should be a condo (New York Times)
Ã¢â‚¬Å“TheyÃ¢â‚¬re cutting everythingÃ¢â‚¬ï¿½: As coal disappears, Appalachians lose access to basic services (Southerly)
More than 300 total students at a middle school in Illinois called out sick earlier this week reportedly due to an isolated outbreak of the flu.