All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities

All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities

Michael Sorkin

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 1844672204

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Robert Hughes once described Michael Sorkin as “unique in America––brave, principled, highly informed and fiercely funny.” All Over the Map confirms all of these superlatives as Sorkin assaults “the national security city, with its architecture of manufactured fear.”

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dramatically. As the gentrification of Harlem proceeds at a rapid clip, the character of 125th Street has itself been transformed, marked by the brisk penetration by multinational chains. Indeed, 125th Street has effectively become the urban analogue to a suburban mall, cleansed of locality. Anchored at one end by a multiplex theater in a building that also houses several national chain stores and at the other by a major supermarket (a considerable rarity in Manhattan), the street’s once

still larger territorial reorganization. As roads are built, forest is cleared to make way for three rows of agricultural plots, each 250 by 2,000 meters, creating a space twelve kilometers wide and, in aggregate, hundreds of miles long, a vast linear settlement occupied by “colonos” from elsewhere in the country—well over a quarter of million have poured into Oriente since the discovery of oil. Much of this is pasture land: rainforest soils are a poor basis for conventional agriculture, and

familiar. For a culture that is immersed in an internal argument about “opening” to the outside, the conflicts between tradition and globalism are of striking importance. A revelatory incident in this debate was surely the closing last year of the Starbucks that had been operating within the Forbidden City since 2000. Closing the store was the result of a petition drive that collected half a million signatures in protest of this “affront to China’s dignity.” But where to draw the line? China has

ideas, to insist that what can be thought can be expressed. By proposing juxtapositions just beyond what we know, comedians de-center us with our own spontaneous laughter at the unexpected. In 1968, Doug partnered with fellow architect Chip Lord (later joined by Curtis Schrier, Hudson Marquez, and a free-floating collection of collaborators) to found that greatest of American architectural countercultural groups, Ant Farm. Responding to comedic, utopian, and critical muses, Ant Farm produced a

potential sports fans. Moreover, a stadium could help save Sunset Park from the likely fate of Greenpoint under the city’s just announced re-zoning plans. Their implementation threatens existing neighborhood character both by their upmarket, over-scaled ambitions for the waterfront and through a mixed-use policy that is likely to see remaining industry displaced by gentrification. The Sunset Stadium—combined with a planned park, nearby cruise ship terminal, recycling plant, and automobile

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