Cool Spaces! The Best New Architecture has released their first full episode online. The PBS television series, hosted by Boston-based architect and professor Stephen Chung, AIA, profiles the most provocative and innovative public space architecture in North America. With the general public as its targeted audience, each hour-long episode is organized around a central theme – such as Art Spaces – and profiles three buildings. In this episode, Chung discusses what makes Tod Williams Billie Tsien’s Barnes Foundation, Steven Holl’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Phil Freelon’s Harvey B. Gantt Center so cool.
“People often ask me what Cool Spaces is all about. And I never can answer without giving a bit of background,” says host Stephen Chung. “You see, it really begins over seven years ago, during the recession, which decimated the architecture profession. In a four-year span, approximately 30% of all architecture jobs in the U.S. were lost — including my own. This time away from practice allowed me to reflect on the profession and its problems and to think about what role I might play in bringing about some positive change.”
“I decided to focus my energies on finding a way to share my passion for architecture with the general public — to bridge the gap between my fellow designers and those who use the places we create. My hope was that if we, as architects, could better explain what we do, and why it’s important, it would increase interest in architecture. With a more engaged general public, there would be more opportunities for architects to build. Ultimately, I figured, the increased attention could lead to a better built environment. And by that I mean it could be better designed, less costly, more sustainable, and more beautiful. Everyone would benefit. Too ambitious, you say? I think that ambition is a quality that afflicts all architects.
“I assume that most readers of ArchDaily are architects or design professionals. And although I very much hope that you enjoy the show, please understand that the design world is not the target demographic. You already love and appreciate architecture. This show was made to appeal to a general audience that might have a passing interest in design, or engineering, or travel — and after watching Cool Spaces, hopefully architecture as well. There is much work to grow the appetite for architecture. And this show is a small part of that effort.”
Photograph & text: Archdaily