Radical Urban Theory

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Metropolitan Dubai and the Rise of Architectural Fantasy.

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Architect Joshua Prince-Ramus on the Seattle Public Library: TED Conference 2006 Podcast

George Katodrytis


See an amazing video podcast of rising star architect Joshua Prince-Ramus that the TED conference just posted on the new Podcasting site TEDTalks, at http://www.ted.com/tedtalks.


Complemented by incredible visuals, Prince-Ramus advocates a hyper-rational process without signature or authorship that challenges the high modernist notion of flexibility throughout a building, which he believes results in generic spaces. He argues that to control operational costs, which have outstripped capital costs, projects should instead focus on "compartmentalized flexibility," where some spaces have fixed uses, and others can evolve based on future unanticipated needs.

Through a series of beautiful visualizations, he deconstructs the collaborative process of building the Seattle Public Library, and also offers a sneak preview of his works in progress (The Wyly Theater in Dallas, Texas and Museum Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky).

Joshua Prince-Ramus is architect of the Seattle Public Library and principal of REX (Ramus-Ella Architects). Previously, he was U.S. Director of Rem Koolhaas's Office of Metropolitan Architecture.
[Recorded February, 2006 in Monterey, CA. Duration: 20:41]

His talk is part of TEDTalks, a new series of audio and video podcasts recorded at the TED conference in Monterey, CA and made available FREE to the general public for the first time ever. We add new speakers every week.

TEDTalks Debut!

For the first time, we're releasing some of the best TED talks to the world. They are available as a podcast series, TEDTalks, in both audio and video, at http://www.ted.com/tedtalks and http://tedblog.typepad.com. We launched with six talks, and added two this week. They are fully searchable, and absolutely FREE.

This is a big moment for us: Until now, TED has been an invitation-only experience, limited to 1,000 people each year. But these talks are so powerful, we felt they deserved a much wider audience... So we partnered with BMW to bring them out to the world.

To ensure the widest possible audience, we're publishing TEDTalks across multiple formats (Flash Video, QuickTime, MP4 video, MP3 audio) and locations (TED.com, TEDBlog (via VideoEgg), iTunes, GoogleVideo, RSS feeds...). They're being released under a creative commons license, so non-commercial sites are free to re-post them, in their entirety. Simple instructions for this will be included in each entry on the TEDBlog.

About the sponsor:

Thanks to the support of BMW, we're able to release these talks for free, and distribute them widely. We've really been struck by the passion with which they got behind the idea. Partner-wise, they're a perfect fit, both because of their history of innovation (Chris Bangle, head of BMW Group Design, was a 2002 TED speaker) and their legacy of supporting ground-breaking media (think BMW Films).

About the speakers:

TEDTalks launched with 6 inspired presentations: Al Gore's sage advice on living a carbon-neutral life, Hans Rosling's inspired interpretation of global statistics, Ken Robinson's vision for an education system that values creativity; Majora Carter's commitment to environmental justice; Tony Robbins' roadmap for reaching your potential; and David Pogue's software-inspired show tunes. This week we added former Saturday Night Live comedian and playwright, Julia Sweeney performing an excerpt from her one woman show "Letting Go of God," and architect Josh Prince-Ramus of REX architects (ex-Rem Koolhaas's studio) showing three inspired, amazing projects: the Seattle Public Library, the Wyly Theatre in Dallas, Texas, and Museum Plaza in Louisville, Kentucky.

About the search:

Powered by Podzinger's speech-recognition technology, it allows you to find keywords or phrases within individual TEDTalks, and then play the video from the moment they're mentioned. (Try searching for "South Bronx" or "carbon neutral"). The transcripts generated aren't perfect — punctuation is often missing, and many of the small connecting words are lost in translation — but they're extremely effective for keyword searching and precision playback.

About the production:

The TEDTalks video series was created in-house, and edited specifically for the micro-screen (closer shots, faster cuts...) Our audio series was produced with podcast pioneers WNYC/New York Public Radio, and is also edited specifically for the medium, with crisp edits that cut out extraneous elements (prolonged introductions, AV problems, commentary on visual information the listener can't see, etc)

About the goal:

I think it's worth emphasizing that our goal here isn't to profit or even to drive interest in the conference (TED2007 is already sold out), but simply to find the widest possible audience for these talks.

About our partners:

Along with BMW, we partnered with Adobe, Apple, Clickability, Feedburner, Google, Podzinger, StreamGuys, Typepad, VideoEgg, and WNYC (New York Public Radio) to bring TEDTalks to life.

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Radical Urban Theory