Rise Of The New Radical Pragmatist

Fashion East Taps Two New Talents

Image Courtesy of The Architectural Review The -ism was ostensibly a Modernist construct, with commonplace examples popping up in art and architecture, such as Cubism, Futurism and Surrealism. The construct, since the mid-fifties (taking, for the sake of argument, Banhams postulation as a starting point) has gradually developed into a cliche, as architecture has continued to observe, construct, postulate, reinstate and evaluate a number of styles and movements, allocating each with its own snappy moniker. The new Brutalist style, deriving from two key protagonists English architects Peter and Alison Smithson was a movement that could be genealogically linked to Modernism and as such was locked in an Oedipal complex to free itself from its forebear. Modernism , as a style that defined pre- and postwar periods, requires little introduction. Charles Jencks may have once famously exclaimed the death of Modernism and birth of Postmodernism , pinpointing an exact date and time (July 15, 1972 at precisely 3:32pm) when the Minoru Yamasaki -designed Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St Louis , Missouri was demolished, but Modernisms stronghold may still ruminate in the present in adapted forms. In Japan , the Metabolist style also sprung from Modernism at the Congres Internationaux dArchitecture Moderne (CIAM) conference, Hoddesdon, 1951, using the megastructure as a technological and formal aesthetic to symbolise the movement. Also worthy of note, was the Deconstructivist movement from the 1980s a point at which architecture slid down a slippery slope of Post-Structuralist semiotics with its beginnings established in an exhibition at the go!! Museum of Modern Art , New York (1988), curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley . The exhibition comprised a haphazardly mixed group of architects, all of whom distanced themselves from the -ism soon after. Australia has never fully developed a particular style of its own. This is not to say that Australian architecture has not learned, evolved and built within a range of stylistic regimes. Of course it has had influences from both the Modernist and Postmodernist styles, for example, Harry Seidler s Modernist stronghold on the Sydney skyline (Australia Square, Horizon Apartments, Blues Point Tower apartments, MLC Centre); Ashton Raggatt McDougall s Postmodernist examples in Melbourne (RMIT Storey Hall, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne Recital Centre, Hamer Hall); and, even Brutalism was de riguer for a short while through the works of Iwan Iwanoff in Western Australia (Schmidt-Lademann House, Marsala House, Northam Public Library, Curtin University). To categorise further, Glenn Murcutt could be catalogued by some theorists as Regionalist in his approach to Modernism a specifically Australian interpretation of European/North American Modernism, stemming from the theoretical works of Kenneth Frampton s Critical Regionalism. However, at the turn of the twenty-first century, even though the anxiety to be labelled as a style may still be common in fourth-year studios, there is no longer an -ism reigning over the architectural profession. No longer are architects under the auspices of Postmodernism, for instance even though theoreticians like Alan Kirby suggest society remains in a pseudo-Postmodern age and given the commonplace rejection of Patrik Schumacher s Parametricism as a validated style one of few architects with the temerity to dare to pose a new contemporary style architects are currently somewhat undefined. It may be said that architects are no longer working under the constraint of a stylistic -ism. But it is important to ponder what the -ism does for architects. A style or movement can be seen as a cohesive body, where construction methodologies, aesthetic, moral and artistic codes are aligned. A style may be a communal belief as to a way of building a powerful tool in the validation of the architectural object. If style is undefined in architecture, architects do not work under communal codes. This is not to discount the twenty-first century as being without creative, formal or aesthetic outlet, rather the freedom from style has created a multiplicity of aesthetic and moral responses in architecture. That being said, how do architects validate, justify, analyse and critique their work as a collective if they are no longer acting under a communal banner? It may seem somewhat superfluous to draw on the lack of collective style impacting upon the profession in the contemporary, but it becomes increasingly intriguing when comparatively linked to the rise of other forms of control in the postwar period: statutory regulations and building code. It is not posited that the loss of style is especially positive or negative, but rather more presciently, that the loss of style has coincided with the increase of often disciplinary-devised regulation, demanding codes, controls and various factual validation methods to get the project over the line. This article makes no claims as to a new style, but to a new breed of architect: the New Radical Pragmatist. The demolition of the Pruitt-Igoe complex was branded by Charles Jencks as the end of Modernism. Image Courtesy of US Department of Housing and Urban Development The Building Code of Australia has undergone successive reform since 1996. Beginning in 1965 as the Australian Model Uniform Building Code (AMUBC) under the control of the Interstate Standing Committee on Uniform Building Regulations (ISCUBR), the agency contained proposals for both technical and administrative building matters as posited in the Reform of Building Regulation, Productivity Commission Research Report (November 17, 2004, Australian Government Productivity Commission). In 1979 the Interstate Committee was restructured to the Australian Uniform Building Regulations Coordinating Council (AUBRCC), further Site Steer renaming the AMUBC to its present incarnation, Building Code of Australia (BCA). Varying editions of the BCA were released between 1988 and 1990, with an increasing use of performance regulations. The current form of the BCA was first developed in 1996 and, since 2002, the agency successively appended a new name to reflect its continual revisions. The BCA is described as a living document and a nationally consistent source of technical regulation. The constant updates are endorsed in part due to the proliferating number of new technologies in building construction and also the need to keep abreast of performance-based, as opposed to prescriptive, code. The endlessly iterative alterations to code is one thing, but perhaps more concerning is the sheer number of additional modes of disciplinary control. Planning parameters in each state vary in form, but are a confluence of local and state legislation. The influx of environmental code in architecture has been increasing steadily since the 1990s, notably, the NSW Energy Code for residential houses and housing was established in 1996 (BASIX) and the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) has been in existence for more than a decade. The Green Star system began in 2003 by the Green Building Council of Australia and, similar to LEED accreditation in the US, architects are using the system as a tool for validation for their buildings, not just as a merit-based checklist for client approval. A 5-Star Green Star recognition signifies that the building has achieved Australian Excellence, and a 6-Star accolade achieves World Leadership in terms of sustainability measures. Architects, as well as the Green Building Council of Australia, subliminally promote the system as a method of validation as to their role in the construction process. The regulation set up by this independent subset exists in a reciprocal process: architecture, as a discipline, sets the target in order to chase it. In effect, the architect is slave to the objectifiable measures inherent within the system. Are we using these values to justify design and is this not simply a self-perpetuating bubble? The observation is again not to discuss whether the increasing sustainability , planning and building controls are positive or negative nor is it to justify the exclusion of style but to understand the contradiction in these two systems and to underscore how architects now validate their work. Are objectifiable measures such as Green Star-rated and maximising Net Lettable Area overtaking the stylistic values of Mies less is more, Le Corbusier s machines for living, or Venturi s less is a bore? The New Radical Pragmatist is the identification of a strand of the conflicted architect in the contemporary discipline. As outlined, where more radical formal approaches are possible through advanced technology, and with a lack of style whereby anything goes, does it not follow that ever-increasing regulation and specialised subsets provides the constraint of pragmatism and is this scenario actually oxymoronic? The New Radical Pragmatist is meticulous in the appropriation of systems and factual data, so as to allow for outcomes to architectural problems. They embrace all forms of technological codification, planning and design-based policies, stratagem, regulations and economic constraints as the justification for design. They project manage and tick boxes. They play into the hand of the client by using buzzwords such as Green Star. A radically pragmatic architect will refrain from discussing the visual impact without fact; for example, the facade is bridesmaid dresses purple structurally efficient in its radical form as it only uses four different panel types made from recycled material. Theory, conceptualisation and preconceived notions or retroactive research is not necessary to the radical pragmatist. What is important is the validation of fact. But this fact is commonly deriving from outside the discipline: from planning, from sustainability councils and from regulatory governing bodies.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.archdaily.com/454645/new-radical-pragmatism-the-21st-century-s-emerging-style/

Helen Lawrence (who was featured on Style.com for Spring 14 ) and Louise Alsop will join Fashion East veteran Ashley Williams in presenting their collections this February. Lawrence (left), a graduate of Central Saint Martins MA program, is best known for her vibrant knitwear, and for the past few seasons, has been working with much-touted rising menswear designer Craig Green. Alsop, meanwhile, graduated from the University of Westminster in 2013, and boasts an intriguing dark, grungy, layered aesthetic. The pair of talents replaces Fashion East grads Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo, who completed their third and final season with the initiative in September. Katharine K. Zarrella Photo: Courtesy of Fashion East
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.style.com/stylefile/2013/12/fashion-east-taps-two-new-talents/

New Yorkers to vote on Vegas-style casinos that promise millions in city school aid

(FILES)American actor Paul Walker presents a creation by Colcci during the 2013 Summer collections of the Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 21, 2013. Fans and fellow actors on December 1, 2013 mourned the death of Paul Walker, best known as undercover agent Brian O Casinos would be banned in the city and its suburbs for at least seven years. And none of the new casinos would be located near the five gaming palaces operated by Indian tribes upstate. Administration officials estimate the new casinos would generate 6,700 construction jobs and 2,900 permanent jobs. An additional $420 million in tax revenue would also be generated, they claim, much of it directed to education. City schools would get up to $94 million a year in new aid, according to the estimates. Ninety-four million will buy a lot of materials for the schoolchildren of New York City, Mulgrew said. Mulgrew is one of the business and union heavyweights behind New York Jobs Now, a political action committee created with Cuomos backing to promote the amendment. RELATED: OCT. 15: GAMBLING, THE SHUTDOWN AND THE GIANTS Daily News Photo Illustration; photos by Splash News, Getty Images Gov. Cuomo is hoping to rake in millions for the state as voters decide whether to allow as many as seven Las Vegas-style casinos in New York. The group, which includes the New York State Business Council and Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, has raised more than $3.8 million since Oct. 1 for TV ads and mailings. One of the groups largest donors was Malaysian gambling giant Genting owner of the Resorts World video slots parlor at Aqueduct which has given $750,000, according to records. Critics scoff at the administrations revenue estimates and argue that casinos do more harm than good, generating most of their profits from poor and working-class New Yorkers who can least afford to lose money. It is a regressive way for the state to raise revenue, said David Blankenthorn, of the Institute for American Values, which opposes the amendment. It takes money away from the have-nots and gives it to those who have. E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for Public Policy, said even the revenue and job projections cited by the Cuomo administration would do little to boost the overall economy or the fortunes of school districts. You are talking peanuts, McMahon said, noting the state spends more than $23 billion each year on education aid alone. RELATED: FOR N.Y., AN ELECTION DAY GAMBLE Gaming experts also question whether New York can sustain additional casinos without harming the existing Indian casinos or the nine racetrack-based video slot machine parlors spread across the state. We are reaching a saturation point in the Northeast, said Prof. Clyde Barrow, a gaming expert at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. We are not there yet but we will be there in the next five years. Barrow and other gaming experts said an upstate casino would find it difficult to compete with casinos in Connecticut and Atlantic City, which are relatively easy to reach and have established relationships with gamblers.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/new-yorkers-vote-vegas-style-casinos-article-1.1504975

Preservation Hall celebrates the season, New Orleans style

Dancers rehearsing the Abduction from the Seraglio. Or maybe thats 100 years, if you consider when the tunes the band favours got their start. My biggest fear with this album is: how do you remain relevant without taking anything away from the traditions? says Ben Jaffe, bandleader, tuba and bass player, spokesman and chief songwriter of most of the albums 11 tracks. I wanted the album to be fun the way Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five is fun. Past and present are synchronized in I Think I Love You you can imagine Fats Domino doing the sexy roadhouse tune or August Moon, would could be a jazz standard from the 30s. Yet while Preservation Hall is the very kind of band expected to play When the Saints Come Marching In, the saints in question nowadays have more in common with our Madonna than the biblical one. The band looked entirely at home playing a blistering version of Thats It! with breakdancing accompaniment Jimmy Kimmel Live on Jimmy Kimmel Live a while back. But this record is a natural evolution of the early Preservation Hall music, says Jaffe on the phone recently during a break in the bands tour. Founded in 1961 by Bens parents, Allen and Sandra Jaffe, a pair of transplanted Pennsylvanians, Preservation Hall was carved out of an old space in the citys French Quarter as a venue where the citys musical veterans might get together to play. In its earliest days, it could have been called the Kid Thomas Valentine band after its leader, a gnarly trumpeter from the old school who had first led his own band back in 1926. Thomas who always thought of Louis Armstrong as a raw upstart with a funny voice played well into the 80s, passing away in 1987 at age 91. It was my job at the time to make sure these musicians were taken care of and were comfortable, says Jaffe. They guided me. But hurricane Katrina also had a lot to do with us thinking about the responsibility we had to the tradition. This is my 21st year with the band Im 42 and Ive seen at least two dozen members pass away. There was a time when I spent time sitting in their shadows. But Im not a kid any more. Two factors early on stopped critics from treating the early versions of the band as a geriatric novelty act. For starters, these musicians broke a good many social and racial conventions by playing in upscale venues with implacable dignity, although all around were racists who want to run them out of town. And hey, some of these guys could barely walk. America was going through a racial and political crisis, says Jaffe. We were at war internally and externally. Also keeping critics at bay was the bands ability to play early jazz with the aplomb, joy and dignity that it deserved and does even now. In New Orleans, music has always served as a social function, Jaffe goes on. Its such a simple idea but it is so essential to who we are. For our music to exist it has to be relevant. Then we know its real. Every Sunday you can drive around the city and find a parade. We have this unbroken blood line that runs from the origins of jazz to today. It amazes me. Peter Goddard is a freelance writer. He can be reached at peter_g1@sympatico.ca Alternative Christmas concerts George Frideric Handel isnt the only composer who should be heard around the holidays. Good King Wenceslas shouldnt be the only royal treat. In addition to the Preservation Hall Jazz Bands Creole Christmas at Roy Thomson Hall on Dec. 19, a number of alternative musical festivities can be found. Here are three worth a venturing across a snowdrift for: Jesus Versus Santa is the anti-season comedy splurge, Dec. 19 at Hughs Room , with Wendell Ferguson, Katherine Wheatley, Johnny Dymond, Sean OGrady and a special appearance by Charlie Farquharson, a real country cracker character whos actor/writer Don Harrons artful way of channeling his own Ghost of Christmas Past. Alex Pangman and her Alley Cats, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. at the Palais Royale . Think of this as an old movie style of Christmas party come to life. Pangmans retro looks, musical inclinations and determination her career looks to be great, her health permitting will establish the nights stylish atmosphere.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/music/2013/12/14/preservation_hall_celebrates_the_season_new_orleans_style.html

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