The Skyscraper Museum Podcast

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


David Owen booktalk: Green Metropolis

In a persuasive and provocative challenge to established environmental thinking, David Owen's GREEN METROPOLIS challenges much of the conventional wisdom about being green and shows how the greenest place in the United States isn't Portland, Oregon, or Snowmass, Colorado, but New York, New York. Owen states that while most Americans view congested cities as environmental calamities, with their pollution, garbage, and gridlock, residents of dense urban environments individually drive, pollute, consume, and throw away less than other Americans. Residents of New York City-the most densely populated community in the U.S.-consume less electricity than the average inhabitants of any other part of the country, generate greenhouse gases at a level far below the national average, and rank last in gasoline consumption and first in use of public transportation.

David Owen's GREEN METROPOLIS redefines what it means to be green, and offers vital insights into how to make our way to a more sustainable future: instead of depending on the acquisition of fancy new "green" gadgetry or the advent of new energy-related technologies, we should look to the lo-fi solutions already at work in dense cities around the globe.

David Owen has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1991. Before joining The New Yorker, he was a contributing editor at The Atlantic Monthly, and prior to that, a senior writer at Harper's and a frequent contributor to Esquire. He is also a contributing editor at Golf Digest and the author of several previous nonfiction books. He lives in northwest Connecticut with his wife, writer Ann Hodgman, and their two children.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Paul Goldberger: Why Architecture Matters and Building Up and Tearing Down

The prolific architectural critic and journalist Paul Goldberger will discuss highlights from two collections of his essays released this fall by Monacelli and Yale University Press. Building Up and Tearing Down brings together more than fifty essays, from Goldberger's writings for the New Yorker, Metropolis, The New York Times, and other publications that range across architectural and urban issues from Havana to Beijing to Bilbao, Chicago to Las Vegas, and beyond. Dissecting projects from skyscrapers by Norman Foster and museums by Tadao Ando to airports, monuments, suburban shopping malls, and white-brick apartment houses, these essays cover a comprehensive account of the best --and the worst-- of the "age of architecture."

In Why Architecture Matters, Paul Goldberger examines "how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well as intellectually." In examples ranging from a small Cape Cod cottage, the Prairie houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Lincoln Memorial, to Borromini's Church of Sant'Ivo in Rome, Goldberger raises the awareness of fundamentals --proportion, scale, space, texture, materials, shapes, light, and memory --engaging the reader to learn a new way of seeing and experiencing the built world.

Paul Goldberger is the architecture critic for The New Yorker, where since 1997 he has written the magazine's celebrated "Sky Line" column. He holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at The New School in Manhattan. He began his career at The New York Times, where in 1984, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism.


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