The Fraught History Of America’s Most Pervasive Brand

A very difficult yet poignant history to tell particularly during these times of high level discrimination in our government and society.  How does a Nation of people remain calm under the humiliation of the white man I just do not know. Peace and humility has got to be the only answer! God Bless the American Indian! -Ed Estes

They’re on baking powder boxes, break fluid containers, and cigar boxes. They’re featured in logos for companies that sell refrigerator compressors and canned peas. They adorn bubble gum boxes and Kanye West T-shirts. There are classy motorcycles and deadly missiles named for them. They’ve become mascots for sports teams both large and small.

Images of American Indians are everywhere in modern American life. That ubiquity is the subject of a new exhibition called Americans at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and an online version of the show. With almost 350 artifacts that stretch across three centuries of history, the show has a poignant message: Though imagery featuring Indians is deeply embedded in American life, many of us scarcely notice it’s there. The exhibition is designed to help you look, but it also reveals how images of Indians, as conceived by white Americans, have become a branding tool in a culture that has systematically oppressed those same Indians.

 

American culture has used imagery of American Indians to symbolize authenticity in branding, or combativeness in sports and the military, even as it has subjugated real-life Indians throughout history. At its core, the artifacts in the exhibition reveal how Indians have become an integral part of the American brand itself–something that companies have been capitalizing on for decades.

“You brand yourself to add value to the product,” says Paul Chaat Smith, the exhibition’s curator. “What is the value that it adds? It’s integrity, authenticity, and a certain kind of Americanness. It’s what’s special about the U.S.”

Source: The Fraught History Of America’s Most Pervasive Brand

The Obama Presidential Center Makes Design Changes After Criticism

The design process for the Obama Presidential Center is well underway, and, as with any design process, the architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are iterating on their initial vision–mostly in response to some of the criticisms of the first design.

Somewhat unconventional, this week the Obama Foundation–the nonprofit tasked with building and operating the library–circulated a list of 11 criticisms and concerns from the community, along with a list of the explicit design changes the architects and foundation itself are making to address them.

 

For instance, the initial plans included a massive blocky building that critics complained would have a large footprint on Jackson Park, located on the South Side of Chicago. Now, it’s been updated to be a much taller, thinner mass, with more windows and a 100-foot-tall glass segment facing the north. To represent the importance of words in Obama’s presidency, the tower’s facade will include screens made of stone letters (though what they’ll spell out is still TBD).

Source: The Obama Presidential Center Makes Design Changes After Criticism

Solar-powered school will teach children how to grow and cook their own food

Interesting concept for a European form of Education. But is it sustainable as an American  public school form of educational facility. It could possibly work in DC as the parental culture has leaned towards ecology and sustainability. DOEE would love the  family ties with DCPS! – Ed Estes

C.F. Møller has unveiled new renderings for the New Islands Brygge School, an innovative lower-secondary school that takes a more hands-on and experimental approach to learning. Located in the heart of Copenhagen , the 9,819-square-meter school will teach children how to harvest and cook the food grown in the rooftop garden.

Source: Solar-powered school will teac

h children how to grow and cook their own food

The Racist Roots Of “Urban Renewal” And How It Made Cities Less Equal

It sounded like a great idea at the time: give cities funding to clean up their impoverished areas and invest in affordable housing and urban infrastructure projects. But the federal policy of urban renewal, established by the Housing Act of 1949 that lasted through the 1950s and early 1960s, had devastating consequences–including displacing more than a million people from their homes.

A new project from the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab uses data to investigate the number of displaced families from 1950 to 1966 in hundreds of cities and towns in the United States. The end result, an interactive data visualization called Renewing Inequality, highlights the cost of urban renewal by overlaying data about displaced families with data about race and redlining, the discriminatory practice during the 1930s that barred black people from living in certain neighborhoods.

Source: The Racist Roots Of “Urban Renewal” And How It Made Cities Less Equal

Google Reveals Plans for 1 Million Square Foot BIG-Designed Campus in Sunnyvale, California | ArchDaily

Google has unveiled plans for a new BIG-designed campus in Sunnyvale, California that will be located just a few miles from its long-awaited Googleplex HQ.

Located at 100 and 200 W. Caribbean Drive, the complex will consist of two terracing buildings containing over 1 million square feet of office space and room for up to 4,500 employees.

And as in many of BIG’s most successful projects, the design concept centers on fostering activity and maximizing accessible space, including on its ramped roof where Google workers will be able to walk, bike or rollerblade between levels. The development is also aiming for high standards of environmental sustainability, including a LEED Gold rating, an integrated public transportation system, and a native, low-water landscaping plan.

By bringing the roof down to ground level, the buildings will become a visual extension of the surrounding parks and neighborhood, a site that Google envisions as a future mixed-use community where its employees could both work and reside.

Source: Google Reveals Plans for 1 Million Square Foot BIG-Designed Campus in Sunnyvale, California | ArchDaily

MRP Realty Team to Redevelop DC’s Northwest One Parcel

A decade after DC’s New Communities Initiative put forth “Northwest One” as one of a handful of redevelopment sites, the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has selected a development team for the parcel. The team of MRP Realty and CSG Urban has been chosen to redevelop the 3.5-acre site at North Capitol and K Street NW (map), which includes the former Temple Courts Apartment building.

As presented in April, the MRP and CSG Urban proposal would create a three-building development, designed by Marshall Moya Architects, that would deliver 806 residential units in two phases. Over 500 of the units will be designated as affordable, many of which will be 3- and 4-bedroom units, one of the key reasons that DMPED went with this development team.

Source: MRP Realty Team to Redevelop DC’s Northwest One Parcel

Singapore May Have Designed the World’s Best Bus Stop

An architecture firm and the government collaborated on a bus stop with books, a rooftop garden, and a swing.

While the U.S. is known for its sorry bus stops—despite creative grassroots efforts to improve them—Singapore’s bus stops are already pretty decent. In the year and a half I lived there, I never came across one without seating and a roof—vital in a tropical climate prone to downpours. Still, they’re pretty humdrum affairs, and not places you’d want to spend much time in.

What if the humble bus stop could be a place you actually looked forward to frequenting? That’s the question the Singaporean firm DP Architects aimed to answer. “We wanted to redesign a commonplace thing we take for granted,” says Seah Chee Huang, the firm’s director.

Now, thanks to DP Architects in collaboration with various agencies of the Singaporean government, there’s a bus stop in Jurong, an area in the southwest of the island city state, that has elements you might find in a café, park, or your living room—all places you’d probably prefer over a bus stop.

Source: Singapore May Have Designed the World’s Best Bus Stop