Wow, this was quite the nerdy weekend in New York. You would think that after two major reviews we would stay away from anything even remotely architectural – but here we are. The talk was to commemorate the launch Tschumi’s new book; Event Cities 4. It was held at the Storefront which fits nobody comfortably and this particular evening it was at capacity an hour before the talk was supposed to start as well none of the doors/windows(?) were opened beyond a crack to the discontent of the ballooning crowd on the sidewalk. This intrepid student found a window to peer into when a yellow shirt donning gentlemen made his way beside me to try and squeeze through the ajar window/door, when he was refused entrance Peter kindly said “I’m kind of speaking tonight, and would need to be inside” of course
Midreviews are behind us – and for the undergrads it marks a special milestone; Shigeru ban offers some face time. Not actually being in Shigeru’s studio it’s hard to offer first hand testimonial but maybe speaking about starchitect studio in general; the consensus is that you dont get much feedback from the named professors. And from what I understand it’s no different here, understandably of course; running an international firm and jet-setting around the world is probably quite taxing on anybody. So what then is a proper model for visiting international tutors? Having an associate from the named firm can be hit or miss, getting in the main partner might only be possible two or three times in a semester and having them in at a final review is only valuable for posterity. Obviously there are tremendous benefits to a starchitecture studio (like being poached by the office for outstanding performance) but is there a better way a school can select potential architects? or requirements for attendance/availability/feedback? How does Rem do it?
After missing the Gehry lecture and being in Brooklyn, we tried to make the most of the beautiful day. Walking around looking for a lunch place we were overcome by the intoxicating allure of a greasy spoon that turned out to be Chinese take out. It was overrun by local elementary school kids looking for a place to burn their allowance. Only after we ordered typical take out fare we noticed the most peculiar thing; what I’m going to call ‘Chinese fries’ (get it? like French fries but served in a take out box and with hot and sour sauce – jokes are funnier when explained)
Anyone who has seen ‘Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist’ regardless of their opinion on the film could agree that making the city of new york a character was probably one of the more redeeming aspects of the film – and they managed to do that through the rich indie music scene this city has. I love going to concerts, when I lived in Toronto I learned a different and transitory side of the city because of that. It became apparent that if I were to get that kind of familiarity with NYC I would have to get into the concert scene here. Last Saturday a friend and I walked down to the Lower East Side to check out the Givers at the Mercury Lounge. It’s supposedly a popular venue for up and coming bands, moderate cover and wonderfully intimate (about the size of the aap studio). Even the opening band was great (the Guards) but the Givers definitely were the big show – I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year they start headlining bigger shows. The crowd was made up of friends of the band and casual fans – no pretense no hipsters.
This could be an entire blog on its own – NYC food! In between classes, site visits and studio we find time for gastronomic exploits. One of my favourite places in Toronto for late night food is called Pho Pasteur (Dundas and Spadina – for those interested). Over the years I’ve developed a sort of affinity for the over-sized Vietnamese soup. So it was a bit of a surprise to me when I realized I haven’t tried a pho place in NYC. Upon recommendation I came across Tu Do Restaurant which is just south of the New Museum on Bowery (102 Bowery to be exact)
Most pho places are seldom more than mom’n'pop operations and typically those are the best – Tu Do is no exception. Affordable prices, fresh ingredients, generous portions and great service. Definitely recommend, supposedly one of the best pho places in the city, obviously try the pho!