Curtain Wall Storefront Entrance Systems Operable Windows Ventilation Systems slope systems Skylights Translucent Panels
Books necessity of "narratives of resilience for successful reconstruction efforts"—that is, officially supported accounts of how the disaster occurred and how it is being overcome. The authors add, however, that such narratives are always contested. Successful urban resilience, they insist, is linked to larger national efforts and is always made possible by political and financial contributions from beyond the immediate area of the crisis. The authors believe rebuilding is driven by remembrance, and they are fascinated by "power of place" in allowing urban residents to overcome disasters. They conclude by insisting that resilience encompasses more than rebuilding, pointing to Guernica's unhealed wounds despite rapid physical rebuilding.
The case of Guernica, well presented by Julie B. Kirschbaum and Desirée Sideroff, has particular resonance today, as the Nazi bombers targeted the most populated downtown civilian area to instill fear in a population for whom the town symbolized Basque democracy and autonomy. Although Francisco Franco oversaw the city's reconstruction, it was Picasso's famous painting Guernica that survivors saw as the real memorial of the event. The authors conclude that Guernica offers a particularly clear example of the need for long-term study of urban resilience within cultural, political, and emotional frameworks. It is, in fact, an approach used in many of the essays included in this thoughtful book. Eric Mumford
In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World, by John Thackara. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2005, 321 pages, $32.95.
John Thackara, whose previous books include Design After
YYePG Proudly Presents, Thxfor Support rector of "a design futures network based in Amsterdam and Bangalore." His book's title is a phrase used by air-traffic controllers to describe their state of mind when they feel fully in control—a feeling he believes we can achieve if "people are designed back into situations." The book advocates such humanistic redesign. It is organized by themes of modern life, including "lightness," "locality," and "flow." Within these themes, Thackara leaps nimbly from sta
tistics to observations to anecdotes, from past to present to future, from energy to the environment, from the Burning Man Festival in Arizona to the Bombay Lunch Delivery program.
Many of his observations touch on architecture. A Prada store in Tokyo by Herzog & de Meuron "smelled like the last days of Rome." The Roissy Terminal 1 at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport is a "disorienting" example of a "building that serves the system, not the system's users." And Rem Koolhaas's Euro-Lille in France makes its users "feel like one of those tiny humanoid figures architects use to decorate their models: sleek, but blind."
Thackara begins with the premise that "if we can design our way into difficulty [and he clearly thinks we have], we can design our way out." His final words support connections and collaborations: "Whatever you choose to do, don't try to do it alone. We are all designers now." Stanley Abercrombie
Was this article helpful?