Ninjas on the ‘Net

[United States of Facebook - via archiCULTURE]

Happy March! With any luck, Spring is rapidly approaching, and things will start turning green again (Boston has been a lovely shade of overcast grey for months – as has most of the North East, I imagine).

Interesting news (for me, at least) to kick off the month: I’ve been asked to return to the firm that had to lay me off last year. Just over a year after cutting me loose (I’m estimating 54 weeks), they’ve contacted me about returning to help on some current projects. Now I say this is interesting not because I’m about to be employed full-time again, but because this is (I think) a telling example of how things are moving in architecture. Some work is picking up for this firm – in early design phases – but they’re still cautious about their immediate future, as everyone is unsure how far the projects will progress. I, for instance, am being brought back for a period of 3 months – after which I may be out again.

After meeting with my old co-workers and seeing what I’d be working on, I was struck by the fact that only one project (for now) was in the US – not because this is surprising in our current economy, but because for some reason it suddenly occurred to me that we may have hit a kind of critical density here. I know expansion is as American as apple pie and xenophobia, but it seems as if we’ve reached a point where the only way to populate a new community is to syphon population away from another area – essentially moving people simply for the sake of ‘progress’ and profit. There was so much talk last year about the end of the so-called “architecture of excess” (as if Thom Mayne should never work again because Wall Street and the Banks screwed us all), but I wonder if that isn’t missing the point. We’ll always need a certain number of new buildings, obviously – but what if the economic collapse means the death of New Urbanism and expansion for expansions sake? There’s a positive here, which is that this would create increased interest in our current urban/suburban areas – but how does the profession of architecture adapt to a change from the abundant growth from post WWII to the turn of the century to a more refined, perhaps more surgical, approach to dealing with what is already built / existing?

Maybe we all simply work for the UAE and China and don’t bother losing sleep over it.

Moving along, it’s time for this week’s link round-up. If you come across something on the interwebs that you think should appear on AMNP – as a post, as part of Ninjas on the ‘Net, or as a quick sidebar link – drop me an email at – or hit me up on Twitter (

Have a good week.

– the timeless work of I.M. Pei [the Guardian]

– “I’m a Western Architect” – interview with I.M. Pei [Financial Times]

– Ole Scheeren leaving OMA? [Archinect]

learning from “Learning From…” [Archinect]

– feds looking for suggestions for greener communities [Denver Post]

container city approved for Haiti relief [Inhabitat]

– architecture billings index drops in January [Building Online]

– the Architectures of Atelier Bow-Wow: Behaviorology [Dexigner]

– photog takes (beautiful) subjective look at homes [LA Times]

– how’s the environment doing? Ask the buildings [CNN]

educational agriculture [BLDGBLOG]

- Vitus Bering Innovation Park | C. F. Møller Architects [+MOOD]

interview with studiometrico [Archi-Ninja]

Posted: March 1st, 2010
at 12:00pm by orangemenace

Categories: Ninjas on the 'net

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'Ninjas on the ‘Net'

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  1. First off, I read your blog all the time, I really enjoy the way you reflect on some issues, and how some things you just find “dope”, I like that, keeps it nice and light and you make me laugh.
    Secong, kudos on being employed again, I usually do not comment on blogs and such, I think it’s a major waste of time and I haven’t the stamina to enter on-line discussions, but you being employed is a special and happy occasion.
    So.. Congratulations or, Felicidades as we say down here in México.


    1 Mar 10 at 10:28 pm


  2. yeah man, congrats on that…it’s about time. and hopefully its for longer than your initially agreed upon time period.

    on another note, you are completely ninja when you are talking about where the US (and architectural-based design firms in particular) are going to go from here. there may be land still available and there is most certainly willingness to build big/expansive projects, but we all may be entering a new era where a ‘3R’ approach begins to come into play. And in that i mean, there will be a reduction in new buildings being constructed, while many vacated existing buildings are going to flood the market due to companies struggling to stay a float. Those exited space will be renovated and adapted to new companies that made it through (either from a niche product necessary for the times or simply by luck in having solid clients who are in demand of services all the time), thus recycling existing spaces into new useful spaces once again. either way, and i feel this is the most important, firms will be CHALLENGED to creatively come up with ways to beat this economic beast we’re currently up against. but that’s the thing, as long as people are trying to move forward and not stay stagnant it will be used as a positive motivator to everyone else.

    take a typology of mill buildings. simply laid out structure. open floor plan. EASILY divided. for start-ups looking for space and established firms that have the space, looking to downsize for a short time, its a win-win. and who knows. perhaps the ‘architecture of excess’ is in withdrawl for a minimum of 5-10 years while this ‘3R’ re-establishes some firm grounding for companies to get back on their feet again. we won’t have to worry too long though because our massive egos will soon get the better of us (ha) and the monster that is excessive architecture will rise again. and it has to – that’ll be a sure sign that the country has stabilization in economy and industry once again.


    2 Mar 10 at 10:28 am


  3. Some emerging countries are really standing out in labor supply. China is certainly one of them.

    Stela Savage

    4 Mar 10 at 1:50 am



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