I'm a bit late in commemorating this, but a couple of weeks ago Brand Avenue passed its first birthday.
Herman Hertzberger's body of work (a diagram of Centraal Beheer, above) has always interested me, and I find myself continually returning to it and questions he raises: about spatial identity, about image and aspiration, about communication and relationships, about architecture's connections to culture, about urbanism, experience, "placeness". Hertzberger is just one jumping-off point to consider these things, but as an architect and a lover of cities, I think all of the above are always present at the scale of the architectural as well as the urban. Culture is both implicitly and explicitly spatial.
With this weblog, I've been attempting to chronicle my primary interest in these topics for my own sake; my secondary interest is to contribute to a greater conversation about the places we inhabit, our relationships to them, how culture and place connect, and how we capitalize on all of this. My starting point was a fascination with gentrification and marketing (neighborhoods, at right) and how we perceive place and space. I'm pretty pleased with the directions this has gone since then.
To those of you who read this site regularly (or even irregularly), many thanks. I hope you've found at least some of Brand Ave. interesting. Please visit the links at left, too--they are disparate and fascinating and each worthy of attention.
I would love feedback, suggestions (especially books), etc--get in touch and introduce yourself.