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This week’s city reading: Apple’s sucky campus, Seoul’s “Neo-Brutalism,” what happens at SCI-ARC, the hotel theory of Los Angeles

If You Care About Cities, Apple’s New Campus Sucks (Adam Rogers, Wired) “Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general. People rightly credit Apple for defining the look and feel of the future; its computers and phones seem like science fiction. But by building a mega-headquarters straight out of the middle of the last century, Apple has exacerbated the already serious problems endemic to 21st-century suburbs like Cupertino—transportation, housing, and economics. Apple Park is an anachronism wrapped in glass, tucked into a neighborhood.”

How not to create traffic jams, pollution and urban sprawl (The Economist) “Many cities try to make themselves more appealing by building cycle paths and tram lines or by erecting swaggering buildings by famous architects. If they do not also change their parking policies, such efforts amount to little more than window-dressing. There is a one-word answer to why the streets of Los Angeles look so different from those of London, and why neither city resembles Tokyo: parking.” (See also my Notebook on Cities and Culture interview with parking theorist Donald Shoup.)

Korean Curiosity: Is Seoul Experiencing a “Neo-Brutalist Revival”? (Isabella Baranyk, Archdaily) “During his frequent travels to Seoul, Hong Kong- and Singapore-based photographer Raphael Olivier noticed a new trend taking the South Korean capital: a crop of geometric, concrete buildings of all genres. He calls the new style Neo-Brutalism, after the modernist movement that proliferated in the late 1950s to 1970s, in which raw concrete was meant to express a truth and honesty.”

Sci-Arc: for People that Already Know How to Design a Bathroom (Alexandra Sivtsova. Strelka) “The school also teaches you to detach yourself from existing ideas and make up your own. This is similar to Malevich’s theory of the black square, where the square is an absolute zero: the point from which everything begins. As Malevich used to say, when a person paints a landscape, he or she tries to copy what’s already there. That’s a lifeless depiction of life. The philosophy of suprematism showed that one should think from the perspective of pure shapes and color. That philosophy is close to SCI-Arc.”

And finally, from the oldie-but-goodie three-part-roundtable department:

Hotel Theory: The History of the Los Angeles Hotel (Erik Morse, Norman Klein, D.J. Waldie, Mark Z. Danielewski, Sid Krofft, Edward Soja, Thom Andersen, the Los Angeles Review of Books) “If the consummation of this cosmophagic impulse can be found in the kaleidoscopic — if not psychedelic — theme park resorts of Las Vegas, its historical and architectural roots are no doubt exhibited in L.A. landmarks like the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Biltmore, the Ambassador, the Roosevelt, the Bonaventure, and numerous other meccas of West coast hospitality, the model of which is to provide the tourist the Ur-experience of Los Angeles-as-environment — to bring them closer to its paradisal climates and ubiquitous sunlight and, simultaneously, to capture the sun inside a prism, reproducing its light as the simulated glow of celebrity.” (See also my Notebook on Cities and Culture interviews with Waldie, Soja, and Andersen.)