Friday, September 21, 2007

Cleveland Sketch Crawl

Via Brewed Fresh Daily, there is word of a new monthly "Sketch Crawl" debuting Saturday, October 6th in Downtown Cleveland, free and open to all. As additional details become available, I'll post them here. In the meantime, here is the post pulled directly from the Cleveland Sketch Crawl weblog:

This coming October 6th (Saturday), the first Cleveland Sketch Crawl will take place in Downtown!

The Sketch Crawl is a monthly event where sketchers of all skill levels meet Downtown and sketch a series of different locations throughout the city. The sketch crawl is a simple way to explore parts of the city you've never seen. and share your art with others.

The first Saturday of every month, from 10am - 12noon, the Cleveland Sketch Crawl will meet. The initial meeting place is the Downtown Cleveland Alliance's storefront in the Old Arcade (420 Superior Avenue). From there, we will venture out to our sketching destination for that month. The only thing you need to bring is your pencils, sketch pad and a friend, if you like.

If you feel like you can't draw...don't worry. It doesn't matter; you are welcome! Cleveland artist Thomas Roese will be on hand with coaching and encouragement for those who want it.

The crawl is being sponsored by the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and is free to anyone that wants to draw, paint or charcoal the city on paper!

Come Downtown the first Saturday of every month ready to draw and explore the city.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Medical Mart at Ameritrust Tower?


The County Commissioners favorite topics as of late have been: 1) the construction of a new Administration Center at the site of the Ameritrust Tower and 2) the construction of a Medical Mart/Convention Center. It may just be me, but I'm having a harder and harder time telling these very different projects apart these days...

At least it keeps folks talking about an alternative future for the Tower, right? BUT, there may be no more awful location for a convention center than one at Prospect, Ninth and Euclid. Says Hagan, "Its one of the sites we think ought to be considered. We'd have to acquire additional property." Have the Commissioners' demolition appetites not yet been sufficiently satisfied? Is there not a billion acres of already vacant land at the city's core and development-ready?

From Wednesday, Sept. 19th on

CLEVELAND - In the search for a possible Medical Mart location, Cuyahoga County Commissioners are now looking at East 9th Street and Prospect. The site may replace the plan for the county headquarters building.

Sources also tell Channel 3 News that the Ameritrust Tower is also in the running along with the old Higbee's building and the present Convention Center.

Some people are wondering if there is enough room for a Medical Mart and Convention Center.

"It's one of the sites we think ought to be considered," said Commissioner Tim Hagan. "We'd have to acquire additional property. We have not dismissed the County Administration building as a concern. There's only so much you can put on people's plates and accomplish rationally."

Millions of dollars were already spent on the headquarters plan and many ideas are still in play.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

On Architectural Blogging

I must admit, more than 90% of my daily/weekly architecture and design news comes from online newsletters, blogs, and aggregators. There are few print sources in the architectural realm (of the American variety) that satisfy, and many are little more than picture books (or cookbooks) for sensational forms and cutting edge 'decoration'.

One of few magazines I read with any regularity and genuinely look forward to reading is Architect Magazine (maybe its that 'free' thing that makes it so easy to enjoy), providing an often varied insight into practitioners and current directions/influences of the profession.

In the September 2007 issue, architectural blogging and some of the widely-read weblogs fill several of its pages. While the article offers no insight into the frequency practioners access blog-based information as opposed to print media, I suspect that the maturation of aggregators, widespread use of rss feeds (email clients often support site feeds), and increasingly tech-savvy 'whippersnappers' are accelerating the architecture blog's popularity.

"The ranks of small, independently published magazines that enlivened architectural discourse in the 1960s and 1970s have left few direct offspring in print. Instead, that culture of intrepid architectural commentary has re-emerged online, in the form of blogs."

Thus far, Architect notes, most research and criticism is still left to scholars and professional journalists, but blogs have accelerated and intesified the dissemination of "breaking news" as well as bred hybrid topics and provided deeper exploration "deep into the realms of theory, commentary, and fantasy."

Check out the Cleveland Design City for a collection of area architecture blogs - while the interface is somewhat primative (as limited by Blogger's aggregating capabilities), it is a reasonable starting place for checking out what's happening in the realm of architecture, design, and urbanism - at least until something better comes along. Contact the Design Rag or any of the bloggers if you or someone has a blog that should be added to this site.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cardboard Lawnchair (Launch-chair?)

A couple of us participants in the monthly "Launch" discussion/drinking sessions will host an afternoon-long Cardboard Lawnchair contest, open for making and viewing to all interested.

Details, including date, time, location, and participation info will be posted here or there (and on the Launch page) and hopefully some other internet/email places shortly.

Call it a spectacle, a "nonsense contest," or simply an excuse to spend a weekend afternoon with creative folks at an area bar - whatever you want to call it, it should be a good time.

Heck, if Frank Gehry can do it, why can't we?

Better Design = Better Living

I came across this competition series in Singapore a bit late, but as it prepares to enter a third phase (of three phases), it still seems topical. Simply stated, the so-called "10TouchPoints" consists of three interdependent phases: the first, a public vote for Singapore's 10 worst-designed public items; the second, designers compete to redesign each item; the third, winning 'redesigns' are implemented.

The ten items for redesign are public toilets, bus shelters, recycling bins, mailboxes, playgrounds, bicycle dismounting system, hospital signage, takeaway mealboxes, multipurpose IDs, and drains/canals. The Competition Submission for all items closed in July and it appears that winners will (or have) be announced on the website shortly.

10TouchPoints is an initiative of DesignSingapore (a public council steering a national design agenda, of which competitions, exhibitions, and design festivals have been borne as of late) and includes partners and supporters from several corporations and local agencies. What was most impressive was the bredth of engagement in the series including exhibits and workshops where public could comment on the 10 items selected for redesign, a series of short videos by local filmmakers on the role of design in our lives, extensive resources on accessibility, usability, and universality in design, and competition jury workshops with representatives from applicable implementing public agencies to refine each design brief - all of which are available on their website.

An excerpt from 10TouchPoints introduction to the redesign challenge:

"10TouchPoints seeks to demystify design. Not just about relative coolness and high prices, or what you see on the glossy pages for the hip and rich. Design makes up what is around you. Design is about the relationships people forge with things. Design is thus something we value as it has an effect on how we get to work, better communicate and the energy we save.

10 TouchPoints is a call for good design. Good design puts people in the centre of the design process. It incorporates systems thinking, technology, historical and contextual relevance. It is economically viable. It is informed by ethics and responsibility without impeding social and technical innovation. It is beautiful.

10TouchPoints is the opportunity for us all to positively impact our surroundings and how we live. It is a voicebox for you opinions as users to be heard as you vote for what can be better designed. For designers, it is a challenge to produce the best redesign solutions for implementation, while getting the chance to win attractive prizes and bringing your share to better living. For service providers, it is a platform to tap into users' insights and using the best design solutions to remake and enhance existing items and services for the people."

While I admire the charge, I admit that I am viewing this rosy from afar and cannot comment on its real effectiveness in Singapore. However, this presents a convenient excuse to travel to Southeast Asia and stay in the world's second-most densely populated country.