Tag Archives: Film

Retrofitting Suburbia: The Future of Real Estate


Fellow CNU board member, Ellen Dunham-Jones has a wonderful presentation up on TED Talks. I am lucky enough to be working on one of the projects she mentions, Mashpee Commons. She, as well as Galina Tahchieva with her Sprawl Repair Manual, have been doing a wonderful job pushing this emerging innovation in real estate development that is sure to help change the American landscape for the better.

How can your community address the following?

1. Plan for retrofitting  suburb locations at a regional scale. These projects are improved by their proximity to transit, and additional density in these locations can help waterways, food production and habitat recover from over development in other locations.

2. We must demand better architecture. New buildings must have a timeless quality that is flexible enough to change over time. The architecture must also be beautiful so people will love it, manage it and care for it as the building ages.

3. Everyone needs to demand more dynamic and sustainable places. Support the projects that are in you community, and “let the suburbs grow up” by voting yes on zoning, land use or planning bylaws that will allow retrofitting to be possible.

We are trying our best in Mashpee on all three of these, but there is still much more work to be done. Thank you Ellen for pushing this important innovation forward.

If you are interested in more details I recommend ordering Ellen’s new book, Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs

Rafael Manzano Martos Receives 2010 Driehaus Prize in Classical Architecture

Rafael Manzano Martos, a Spanish architect known for his distinctive use of the Mudéjar style, will receive the 2010 Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture at a ceremony March 27th in Chicago. The $200,000 Driehaus Prize, presented annually to a distinguished classical architect, represents the largest recognition of classicism in the contemporary built environment. In conjunction with the Driehaus Prize, legendary  Yale professor and preservationist  Vincent J. Scully will receive the $50,000 Henry Hope Reed Award.

Thoughts on Providence from Nail Communications

My friend Matt Grigsby is shooting interviews around Providence this fall for the Foundation. The first few in the series are available here with more on the way soon. I felt compelled to share the interview of Alec, from Nail Communication. Not only does he have some great things to say about Providence, but the video gives you a glimpse of their offices that I helped design and build last year.

Skateboarding in Kennedy Plaza


While researching for a lecture I’m giving at Miami’s School of Architecture on Monday, I came across this nice little video of how Providence is supporting skateboarding in Downtown. The Greater Kennedy Plaza placemaking effort has been working on improvements to the square for two years now, and it has been super cool to watch the PVD skating scene descend on the rink every Thursday night. I’ve asked the questions before, but how is your city supporting alternative sports?

Objectified Movie Premiere in Providence Tonight

objGary Hustwit’s latest film, Objectified, is being premiered in Providence tonight. His last film, Helvetica, did wonders for typography. We are lucky enough to have convinced Gary to make the trip up from NYC for tonights premiere. It will be interesting to discuss his views on consumer culture, the complicated relationships of our manufactured world and how design could help improve the whole mess.

There are a limited amount of tickets still available. Order tickets HERE. Join us for a great party after the film being thrown by CONCENTRIC.

CONCENTRIC started with an idea that good things happen when different industries get to know one another. Providence, and Rhode Island as a whole, has a unique ecosystem of creative, tech-related, and innovative organizations. CONCENTRIC, using simple events, has tried to connect these local groups. Its been a great success, and we are just beginning to look at how we can develop new tools for this integrated & local approach to economic development. Stay tuned.

A big thanks to the IDSA and Hasbro for making the showing of Objectified possible. Let me know how you enjoyed the film?