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Rem Koolhaas

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  • Wandering Eye: Art is celebrated and suppressed in Russia, the Magna Carta at 800, and more

    Wandering Eye: Art is celebrated and suppressed in Russia, the Magna Carta at 800, and more
    The story of George Lucas' self-financed, $100 million affordable housing project on his own land in Marin County, California, is so great you can't believe it. Described as "workforce housing," the 224 apartments would be available to households earning $66,000 to $101,000 a year, NPR's Marketplace reported Friday, before interviewing nice Lucas Valley Homeowners Association people who lamented the loss of the fields upon which they once rode their horses, etc. The back story, according to the radio piece, was a battle over affordable housing that began three years ago, which the show illustrated with an audio clip from a meeting where residents literally used the word "ghetto" to describe the threat posed from riffraff earning barely six figures (7:22). The Washington Post actually had more background in April, noting that Lucas originally wanted to use the site to expand his production company, but was beaten back by neighbors. The affordable housing use is his second choice. "We got letters saying, 'You guys are going to get what you deserve. You're going to bring drug dealers, all this crime and lowlife in here,'" Carl Fricke, a board member of the Lucas Valley Estates Homeowners Association, told the Contra-Costa Times in 2012. In the world of Lucas-level money there is a well-established tradition of "spite housing." (Baltimore residents may look no further than Reservoir Hill, where the "mother of all spite houses" blocks the lake view of the once grand—now very Baltimoreified—Emerson Mansion at 2500 Eutaw Place, which is set once again for auction next week.) Lucas professes surprise that anyone would see his plan in that light. WaPo found this quote, also from the Times: "I've been surprised to see some people characterize this as vindictive." Then WaPo throws in the kicker: "According to Census estimates, 7.7 percent of county residents live below the poverty line." The poverty line, remember, is not $66,000 a year, the minimum cutoff for this proposed affordable project. It's more like $24,000, for a family of four. Those people are nowhere in this conversation. (Edward Ericson Jr.)
  • Will L.A. County give its art the space it's due?

    Will L.A. County give its art the space it's due?
    In a prelude to its 50th anniversary celebration, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art released Swiss architect Peter Zumthor's most recent plan to expand the museum at the end of March. County money has been earmarked, and there's a sense that LACMA...

    List of architects for Chicago Biennial begins to take shape

    List of architects for Chicago Biennial begins to take shape
    Emphasizing fresh faces and ideas instead of star architects and their familiar styles, organizers of the fledgling Chicago Architecture Biennial on Tuesday announced their first list of participating architects and artists as well as a $1 million gift...

    Toyo Ito's architecture beckons a critic to Asia

    Toyo Ito's architecture beckons a critic to Asia
    Jet lag can do strange things to a person. But it wasn't just a mixed-up body clock that had me awake at 3 a.m. during a trip to Japan a few years ago, madly scrolling through online ferry schedules and trying to plot a route by train, boat and taxi to...

    Google's new headquarters design takes transparency to new levels

    Google's new headquarters design takes transparency to new levels
    As an architect, what do you give the company that has everything? More to the point, what do you design for the company that is everywhere, that has become digitally ubiquitous? If you're Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels, the rising-star architects...