That’s right, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom came by the Dwell on Design conference to end the day with a surprise speech. He lead off by saying that he’s proud of his city and of the fact that when visitor’s leave here, they’re thinking “why can’t it be like that everywhere else?” He’s proud that it’s the greenest city in America, but interrupts his applause to tell us that’s not enough. We can be better. We NEED to be better.To hear it from the Mayor, the future really looks bright for San Francisco. By 2010, they entire fleet of taxis will converted into green vehicles. The city has instituted new policies, such as faster, cheaper permitting, to make it easier for people to integrate green design features into their homes and buildings. 69% of our waste is recyclable, but, he says, want zero waste by 2020. He lists off other new policies, geared towards a green San Franicsco: No plastic bags. No bottled water in city hall. Harvesting power from the tides below the Golden Gate Bridge. Greening street mediums, new lighting, new benches, new sidewalks.Then the mayor starts name-dropping architects who are building in the area, an impressive list to say the least – Libeskind, Pelli, Piano, Calatrava, Herzog & deMeuron, and yes, even Gehry. He follows this with a warning to all builders: starting in 2008, the city will have incredibly aggressive green building regulations, requiring at least silver certification for all new construction – even residential remodels. “You want to do business in San Francisco, that’s fine. Here are the rules.”He closes by telling everyone that he (honestly) is a subscriber to Dwell and, he says, “I hope you have fun and I hope you learn something.”
This morning’s most entertaining presentation was given by from Dan Maginn, principle of the Kansas City-based architecture firm el dorado inc.Speaking as a representative of the Counterintuitive Comparison Institute of America (“like you – only more so”), Maginn’s presentation, “The Big Chart: Recent Developments in Counter-Intuitive Comparison” was a hilarious look at a unique design classification system. (Is it just me or is Borges’ The Analytical Language of John Wilkins an incredibly popular reference right now?) Described in the schedule as “A highly idiosyncratic ratings systems for all things designed,” The Big Chart is a near-infinite NCAA-like bracket. By utilizing highly scientific factors such as the astonishment index and fascination coefficients, it is able to determine important truisms – like the fact that Justin Timberlake and Maria Sharapova reading Encyclopedia Brown paperbacks in their underwear is a good thing. Clearly, this is incredibly valuable research.More of Maginn’s writings can be seen @ the el dorado website, as well as Dwell Magazine
This morning didn’t start well. I woke up to find that someone had knocked over my scooter. A potential disaster, but thankfully it only suffered minor damage and a flooded engine. After a short wait a quick fix, I was sputtering and chainsawing my way to Dwell on Design. Alas, another problem. I got lost in the shuffle and somehow didn’t get registered as an attendee. A great start to this Friday, to be sure.Soon enough, I had my credentials and the minute the conference started, things dramatically improved. Anyway, I thought I’d type up a brief summary in the break before the next session starts. Link updates and more detailed posts will follow.Mark Lakeman, Co-Founder, CityRepair Project and Design Principal Communitecture, was the morning’s first speaker, and spoke about city repair, specifically in relation to his home town, Portland Oregon. Using monopoly as metaphor, Lakeman spoke of the american attitude towards construction and community. Gentrification as a game where the goal is to build houses, only to raze them and replace them with hotels, and the only shared space is a parking lot and a jail. Most of his presentation focused on Street intersection in Portland where the communities are beginning to reclaim space and (re)create true interstions – places where people come together.whoops, out of time! more to come!
Dwell on Design is this weekend, and Life Without Buildings will be there. Check back often on Friday for updates, lecture reviews, and photos. Maybe I’ll even seeya there.And speaking of magazines, there’s an article in this month’s Architect Magazine about the state of the architectural blogosphere. “Meet The Bloggers: With an Unorthodox Mix of Reporting, Commentary, and Activism, a new Generation of Architectural Pundits is Making its Voice Heard – Online.”
It’s almost that time of the year again. From September 14th – September 16th, “nice modernists” will descend on San Francisco for Dwell on Design 2007.Last year’s conference was inspiring, informative, and incredibly entertaining, yet this year’s, themed Building Community in the Modern World, is promising to be even better. Can’t miss events include the San Francisco Living: Home tours, featuring the Ocean Beach Residence by Aidlin Darling Design (recently featured in the New York Times), and the real-time construction of InstaHouse, a 12×12 modular house designed by Zack/de Vito Architecture.For those of you have yet to register, Life Without Buildings readers are invited to use the following promo codes for a discounted registration fee:lwbblogp – promo code for the Passport packagelwbblogb – promo code for the Basic packageThanks to Dwell for setting that up.This event is still a month away, so look for updates as the date draws closer. Seeya there!