May 26, 2012

The Power of Networks

I thought I would share this wonderful stop motion movie from director Mikey Please. It is a brilliant animation, but what I want to highlight is not so much the movie, but what makes it possible...the power of networks.

Today, crowd funding networks are the platforms that give creatives and others “permission...” In other words...funding. I am referring to networks like Kick Starter, IndieGoGo, Kiva and other crowd or social funding sites. They are giving “permission” to a new wave...and much needed community building projects and creative expression.

These networks are responsible for unleashing the pent-up creativity that lies within all of our communities...creativity and energy that would otherwise lie dormant if left up to the number crunching and mind numbing legacy system found within our institutions of banks, governments, foundations and educational entities. It is these institutions that have traditionally held the keys to our communities’ growth.

The old model of asking for “permission” is broken and cannot foster the vision needed to make the moral and ethical decisions for resource allocation that builds our communities. I believe it is the legacy system of governance that has caused our institutions to lose sight of their original role of community building. Instead we are all trapped by a drive to create more and more fiat money as an end and not a means of fostering community.

The world is too complex for the health of a community to be measured in cold financial metrics and dispassionate statistics. One dimensional information and concentrated decision making authority is strangling our society.

So, networks like Kick Starter and IndieGoGo have popped up to help us see others’ vision and pool our resources to bypass the old system and give “permission” to projects like Mikey Please’s next film and others’ lofty dreams...


Our old institutions must learn from the power of networks and make the necessary changes that will foster healthy community.

Oh, in case you are interested in how Mikey made his film...enjoy...

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May 14, 2012

Preserving Chicago, One Photo at a Time

Lyra Jakabhazy for Preservation Chicago
Fire has been a catalyst for Chicago; spawning invention, innovation and industry. Cowles Fire Escape Works was established in 1875, four years after The Great Chicago Fire. More than a century later, these majestic steel skeletons still line our alleyways and inspire our imagination. An iconic image in any major city, these mazes of zigzagged steel always draw my eyes upward. This fire escape behind my building brings to mind the great Midwest steel mills, the fire that brought architectural visionaries to Chicago to dream - and makes me ask what, that we build today, will endure and still be admired a century on? Built to last, I hope to see these pieces of iconic hardware preserved alongside the buildings they continue to serve.  —Lyra Jakabhazy

Lyra is a finalist in the 1st Annual Preservation Chicago “People’s Choice” photography competition. Have a look! And then vote (click like!) for the photo that you think best represents the City of Chicago and also draws attention to their mission of preserving Chicago’s great architectural heritage.

Once you get to the Facebook page click “back to album” to view the other contestants.

May 8, 2012

IIT Architecture Student Project: Mending Fences

One of the interesting student projects was a cedar community fence that pairs of students had to execute and “stitch together” each pair came up with their own take on the project. It seemed that all of the students tried to interact with their surroundings by incorporating planters, gates, trellises and other organically inspired creations.

Amanda and her partner Karl designed a gate as bench (with a planter on the opposite side)...
...form follows emotion, not function.

May 7, 2012

Great Work, Amanda!

What amazing talent at IIT's Architecture Student Open House! We were all winners...not just Amanda...who won the Peterhans Visual Training Project Prize! 


...I am sure Amanda is grateful for everyone’s support...past and present...keep up the great work!

About the award...

Peterhans Visual Training Project Prize
This prize is a direct, merit-based award which recognizes excellence in IIT Visual Training coursework demonstrating the principles of Walter Peterhans, the noted IIT Architecture professor and colleague of Mies.  This prize was decided by the Peterhans Visual Training Project Prize Committee, composed of the Dean of the College and at least three faculty members teaching the Visual Training principles, and Mr. Julian Kerbis, the son and representative of the donor, the Gertrude P. Kerbis Trust.