Disability Access Design Issues, Renzo Piano USA, Mobility & Architects

Joel Solkoff’s Column – V1, No. 2

Column by Joel Solkoff, PA, USA


Joel Solkoff avatar

Screen shot by Joel Solkoff of a virtual reality model showing how Solkoff looks were he an avatar.

On disability issues relevant to architects


I would like to be brief

Joel’s Column, Vol.I, Number 2
I begin this column today with the confession that I am not brief. I would like to be brief. Extra words come and pretty soon lots of words. Lots. Mostly, I recognize that I am not brief—sorry for that.

Brevity is on my priority TO DO list so I can communicate better with my audience of architects—architects in your 20s and 30s (and other ages!).

Marlene Dietrich in 1931
photo courtesy of the Whitney Gallery of Art, a major force in Manhattan’s art community

The new Renzo Piano Whitney overlooking the Hudson River, adjacent to a really fun public park, has brought to near completion, another magnificent new Piano. Within the Gallery is the original photograph Edward Steichen took of Marlene Dietrich in 1931. The Whitney will soon be launching a new Exhibition of Steichen’s work.


About the columnist

I am a 66 year-old paraplegic who gets along quite well even though I cannot walk. For the past 20 years I have been redesigning in my mind the world around me so that there would be a more disability friendly built environment.

I am trying to alert architects that it could prove career damaging to underestimate the danger of neglecting the alarming housing crisis when the largest generation in U.S. history is retiring at a rate of 10,000 people a day. That is 10,000 a day every day for the next 20 years. The mind boggles.

My use of the word retiring has a formal meaning. It means the individual is now receiving a comfortable Social Security check every month for the rest of his or her life and receive Medicare benefits.

It is useful for architects working in the Unites States to be alerted to federal and state government policies affecting the architecture, engineering, and construction community. Stay tuned. Updates will be provided.


What I mean when I say I am a columnist may not be clear. The term columnist has special meaning for me. When I lived in San Francisco, EVERYONE read Pulitzer Prize Winning Columnist Herb Cane. As a seeming digression from architecture , I will conclude with selection from Wikipedia’s entry on Herb Cane

Herb Cane (April 3, 1916 – February 2, 1997) was a San Francisco journalist whose daily column of local goings-on and insider gossip, social and political happenings, painful puns and offbeat anecdotes—”a continuous love letter to San Francisco” appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle for almost sixty years (excepting a brief defection to the San Francisco Examiner) and made him a household name throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

The secret of Caen’s success was his outstanding ability to take a wisp of fog, a chance phrase overheard in an elevator, a happy child on a cable car, a deb in a tizzy over a social reversal, a family in distress and give each circumstance the magic touch that makes a reader an understanding eyewitness of the day’s happenings.

A special Pulitzer Prize called him the “voice and conscience” of San Francisco.”



Piano Watch

Shown on the construction site earlier this year, is Renzo Piano in Fort Worth, Texas.

Renzo Piano in Fort Worth, Texas
permission to use of the photo is courtesy of the Kimbell Gallery of Art

The photograph shows Piano earlier this year during construction of his most recently completed projects. This new Piano Kimbell opened to the public last month. To view the collection or see photographs of the Fort Worth Piano, go to the Kimbell site: http://www.kimbellart.org/

–Joel Solkoff

Good bye and good luck.


Joel Solkoff. Joel is currently working on making videos detailing the process of creating three dimensional models. This is technology currently being used in architecture, engineering, and construction offices throughout Manhattan.

Morgan Library and Museum
photo © Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery


Joel Solkoff – regular guest editor at e-architect

J.P. Morgan Library and Museum Building, New York City, USA
Morgan Library and Museum
photo by Michel Denancé, provided by permission of the Morgan Library and Museum
J.P. Morgan Library and Museum Building : architecture article by Joel Solkoff. 13 Jul 2013

Why did it take New York City so long to recognize that Renzo Piano is a good architect?

Part 1 of 3: Giorgio Bianchi interview

Part 2 of 3: Giorgio Bianchi

Morgan Library and Museum
photos by permission of Robert Silman Structural Engineering, New York, New York

American Architecture

Renzo Piano Building Workshop

American Architects

American Buildings

American Building Developments

Columbia University Medical Center

Comments / photos for the Joel Solkoff’s Column Vol.I, Number 2 page welcome

Joel Solkoff’s Column Vol.I, Number 2 : page