Amanda Shapiro

  • culture June 23, 2014

    Deventer by Matthew Stadler

    According to novelist and critic Matthew Stadler in his new book, Deventer, the Netherlands has long been a place where “homeless drunks” debate museum design in soup kitchens and “housewives have opinions about architects.” There’s no better setting, then, for a book that believes sincerely in architecture’s potential to change the world.

    According to novelist and critic Matthew Stadler in his new book, Deventer, the Netherlands has long been a place where “homeless drunks” debate museum design in soup kitchens and “housewives have opinions about architects.” It was from this localized foundation that Dutch architecture gained, in the last few decades, unprecedented international attention, as architects like Rem Koolhaas rose to prominence and shook up the status quo. There’s no better setting, then, for a book that believes sincerely in architecture’s potential to change the world.

    Deventer is a true story about a hospital

  • culture March 31, 2014

    House of Outrageous Fortune by Michael Gross

    Author Michael Gross has a bottomless appetite for real-estate gossip. In 2005, he wrote 740 Park, a 600-page history of an Upper East Side co-op (“the world’s richest apartment building”). Gross then decamped to Beverly Hills to write Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition, and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles. Now, his latest book finds him back in New York, at a building where a three-bedroom condo recently sold for $29 million.

    Reading the cumbersomely titled House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address is a lot like watching an episode of VH1’s The Fabulous Life Of… Should we feel envious? Disgusted? Or should we just let ourselves be hypnotized by its shmoozy, clubby charm?

    For those unfamiliar, Fifteen Central Park West is a very expensive Manhattan apartment building built in 2012. Thanks to a high-profile team of architects and developers, 15CPW was also a media darling long before it rose from the Upper West Side, and it continues to attract attention as an emblem

  • syllabi March 10, 2014

    Urban Planning (or Placemaking)

    What should we call the design, construction, and study of the built environment? “Geography” is too broad. “Regional planning” sounds like a job reserved for bureaucracies. “Urban planning”—the usual catchall term—is a holdover from the profession’s early years, when industrial blight was one of America’s biggest domestic problems. Today we are worrying about our cities for different reasons, and our suburbs and open spaces are demanding equal concern. How do we retrofit our aging suburbs? Can design foster stronger communities? What does sustainable development really mean? These questions