Architects for Change

March 2014 Motto

Architecture is how the person places herself in the space. Fashion is about how you place the object on the person.

— Zaha Hadid


Architects for Change

Global Architecture Star Zaha Hadid: BBC Video plus my column for e-architect

++++ My column for e-architect begins:

Joel Solkoff’s Column – Volume II, No. 2

Writing on architects plus their role in the imminent global Baby Boom housing crisis

Zaha Hadid’s Miami compared to my life in rural “Rust Belt” Pennsylvania

“Miami has long been the economic and commercial capital of Latin America, both English and Spanish are commonly understood and it has been the place where many Latinos could be sure their money and their persons were safe from government takeover.”

The Almanac of American Politics by Michael Barone and Chuck McCutcheon

In 2016 Zaha Hadid will be instrumental in the revitalization of Downtown Miami. In four years, Zaha Hadid’s design for a residential high-rise in the financial district of Miami overlooking scenic Biscayne Bay will be completed. Currently, the design is presented to the public and potential buyers of condominiums in the form of an elaborately sophisticated laser-based imaging system that produces photographic images such as this one of Zaha Hadid’s One Thousand Museum project.

To see photographs and read all, please go to:

Caution: Readers may experience whiplash as the column goes back and forth from the luxury of Downtown Miami to the misery of Central, PA.

SUBSTITUTE. Katy Perry still plays Cleopatra not going down the Nile; an indoor exploding Cleopatra


My apologies:

Katy Perry IS Cleopatra here. She is NOT going down the Nile River.

Instead, here is a different version.

This version is an indoor live concert complete with singing, screaming and dancing attractive audiences formed in a circle around the kind of floor show displays lavish Las Vegas made famous.

[Full disclosure: I dated a belly dancer who performed in Las Vegas. This personal notice may indicate I know something about The Las Vegas I Imagine Las Vegas To Be.]

Katy Perrry puts on a good show. 

Permission to use on this site the going down the Nile version was at first canceled by Vimeo

I recommend you watch this outdoor version.

there.  First watch the indoor YouTube version that leads today’s posting. Third Is another Vimeo version of Red Horse where Katy Perry sports purple hair.

In many ways this is the best version of Katy Perry’s video ‘Dark Horse”. I do not understand the relevance of the song title to the theme.

Here Katy Perry appears dazzlingly outfitted in costumes commonly used by Cleopatra “a long time ago.”

Flashing strobe lights emphasize the pyramid theme. We see laser beams flashing animated pyramids of all shapes and sizes. This is Domain PERRY / CLEOPATRA:

  • Katy is wheeled in a chariot.
  • Is carried on chair.
  • Kills beautifully costumed people with her magic rays.

RECOMMENDATION. Watch this video as a silent movie. Much as I love Katy Perry’s singing….

Take a pause and watch it with the sound off.

I watch this video over and over because I think of myself as an Apprentice Cinematographer. I am now studying camera angles.



  1. Dark Horse
    Song by Katy Perry
I knew you were
You were gonna come to me
And here you are
But you better choose carefully
‘Cause I’m capable of anything
Of anything and everything
Make me your Aphrodite
Make me your one and only
But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy
So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know whatcha falling for
Baby do you dare to do this
‘Cause I’m coming atcha like a dark horse
Are you ready for ready for
A perfect storm, a perfect storm
‘Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine
There’s no going back


“Husbands would start wondering why they needed wives at all.”

“If there was one figure who came to symbolize the dazzling new American kitchen and all its astonishing appliances, as well as the revolution in selling and advertising that was taking place, it was Betty Furness–the Lady from Westinghouse. In 1949 Betty Furness was thirty-three, an ingenue whose career was winding down after thirty-six films in five years (most of them B films). In those days, the people who did television commercials usually had come from radio, which meant they were good at reading lines but not at memorizing them, and they had no earthly idea of how to look at the camera. One poor woman who was directed to stand at a Westinghouse stove and heat some chocolate had been so terrified by the idea of talking and demonstrating at the same time that she had spilled melted chocolate all over the stove….


“The Westinghouse people realized they had a star on their hands, and they asked [Betty Furness] to sign a three-year, noncancellable contract to represent Westinghouse exclusively, for $100,000 a year. With that she became the queen of American appliances, standing between a great faceless industrial company and American housewives. She knew little about the machines themselves except that they seemed well made and that the people who made them seemed like solid Americans from Ohio.

“The one thing she did notice about the appliances, as she continued to promote them, was her sense that she was beginning to shrink–because the machines were getting bigger. When she started in 1950, the first refrigerators came up to her shoulders, which made them about fifty-eight inches high, on average. Gradually, they began to gain on her and became even fancier, with enormous ‘frost-free’ freezers. In this new wonder age, she mused at the time, people were being swallowed up by their kitchen appliances.

“The only appliance she represented for Westinghouse that did not sell well was the dishwasher. For a long time the people at Westinghouse, as well as at other companies, were both surprised and disappointed by that appliance’s poor showing. Persistent research with consumers finally showed that women were wary of buying dishwashers because the modern kitchen had become so automated that they feared if they stopped doing the dishes by hand, they would lose their last toehold in the kitchen and husbands would start wondering why they needed wives at all.”

–from David Halberstam’s The Fifties.

Hortatory recommendation: Buy this book promptly. For Baby Boomers such as myself, it is a way of remembering our childhood. The chapter on Elvis is especially good. For those of you who are going to be taking care of Baby Boomers retiring at the rate of 10,000 a day, it would be helpful to read the chapters on the development of the birth control pill, the launching of the first satellite, and the massive migration to the suburbs.



Architects for Change

Motto February 2014

People have been looking at the environment, as environment, for only a very short time. It has always been there, but it has finally been recognized as something that is terribly responsive to acts of will and judgment that have an endless impact on the state of humanity. The way we live, or exist, is the generator of many of the problems called the urban crisis. How we live, or exist, is what urban design and planning are all about. Esthetics is not some kind of optional extra or paste-on for pretty facades; it is the satisfaction of the needs of the body, the spirit  and the senses through the way an environment looks and functions–two inseparable factors. Every social plan has a form, good or bad. The art of design is an unavoidable part of part of every urban decision. Until this is understood as the planning process, and design is accepted as an inescapable determinant of the result, we will simply produce more environmental failures.

Will they Ever Finish Bruckner Boulevard? by Ada Louise Huxtable


Robbing poor children of the ability to smile

“More than 16 million children in the U.S.—22 percent of all children live in families with incomes below the poverty level.” This quote is from Columbia University’s National Center for Children in Poverty.

Dental Crisis in America,The Need to Expand Access, a February 2012 report from the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Chaired by Bernard Sanders [I Vermont] found that because of low-income one out of every five U.S. children go without dental care every year.

The report notes: “Dental carries (cavities) are the most common chronic disease among children, affecting 60% of American kids. Poor children are more than twice as likely as their affluent peers to suffer from toothaches. For kids with special needs, the likelihood is even greater.”

The report singled out for special mention: “February 25, 2012 marks the five-year anniversary of the tragic and untimely death of 12-year old Deamonte Driver of Maryland. Deamonte died from an infected tooth. His Medicaid coverage had lapsed, and yet even with insurance, Deamonte’s mother struggled unsuccessfully for months to find a dentist who would see her children and accept their Medicaid coverage.”

The American Dental Association (ADA), in a report Breaking Down Barriers to Oral Health for All Americans: Repairing the Tattered Safety Net stated, “As the economy has worsened and stagnated, and safety net dental programs suffer cutbacks, hospital emergency departments increasingly bear the burden of oral health emergencies, a large portion of which are preventable….

“Approximately half of these ‘emergencies’ resulted from preventable conditions which, owing to the lack of regular dental care, deteriorated to the point where the patient was in sufficient pain to seek emergency care. The worst part of the equation is that most of these patients do not receive dental care during these episodes. Instead they typically are given antibiotics and pain relievers, which relieve the symptoms temporarily. But absent dental treatment, such symptoms generally return, often engendering the same fruitless cycle, not solving the real problem while contributing to the to the continuing increases in health care costs borne by all.”

The Surgeon General of the United States and others have concluded that poor oral health care can lead to stroke and heart disease and other serious physical problems.

This brings us to Obamacare and the pretense of caring about pediatric dental care. The official name of the legislation signed by the President on March, 2010 is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148).

The law defines the 10 Essential Health Benefits it is intended to provide, produced here verbatim from Section 1302 B:

“(A) Ambulatory patient services.

(B) Emergency services.

(C) Hospitalization.

(D) Maternity and newborn care.

(E) Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.

(F) Prescription drugs.

(G) Rehabilitative and rehabilitative services and devices.

(H) Laboratory services.

(I) Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.

(J) Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.”

The problem is while pediatric services are defined as “essential” their impact is negligible regarding access to dentists treating, reducing pain and restoring smiles to poor children. A family selecting a plan on the Health Care Exchanges is required (the relevant word is “mandated”) to select insurance that includes, for example, hospitalization but does not require coverage for oral care for minor children.

Colin Reusch, Senior Policy Analyst at the Children’s Dental Health Project, explains that parents are mandated to obtain a policy that provides dental care for their children. “The mandate only applies to individual and employer-based plans.” Regarding employer-based plans the Administration has extended implementation beyond 2014, plus the family of minor children may not be employed. If an individual wants to purchase an independent insurance plan—going directly to the insurance company and avoiding the exchanges entirely (the probability is extremely low), the individual is mandated to make sure the plan has dental coverage.

The key to the hypocrisy of promising to protect children’s teeth and not delivering on the promise is right here: If the parent purchases an insurance plan on the Exchanges, she or he is released from the mandate to provide coverage to one’s minor children.


The best reporting I have read on the Affordable Care Act is: Landmark, The Inside Story of America’s New Health-Care Law and What it Means for Us All by the Staff of The Washington Post. The authors write: “A few days before Congress took its final votes on the legislation, the president of the American Dental Association dispatched a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that the group opposed it. The bill was missing “a commitment to improve the oral care for those citizens at the lowest end of the economic ladder,’ the letter said.”

Since publication in 2010, the book’s subsequent description of how children might receive real dental coverage under Medicaid has been made irrelevant by the portion of Obamacare  where the Supreme Court approved the legality of the mandate but ruled unconstitutional health care benefits to the poorest of our citizens. When talking about dental coverage under Medicaid or even the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, one must be careful to recognize coverage rarely results in the ability to see a dentist on a regular basis. The vast majority of dentists will not work for the cynically low rates provided by Medicaid illustrating the empty promise of dental care.

Last year, State College, PA Mount Nittany Medical Center performed a study on access to health care here in Centre County. The study concluded: “There is a shortage of dental providers who accept Medical Assistance. Even among providers who do accept public insurance, not all are accepting new patients. CVIM [Centre Volunteers in Medicine] provides free primary medical and dental care to Centre County residents who pass a means-based test …. CVIM‘s services are in demand; there is a waiting list of over 2,000 individuals in Centre County…. “


Author’s note: Writing about dental care for children in poverty is depressing.

The reality is if you are poor and a child, your ability to see a dentist and receive the care available to the rich and middle class is negligible. There is widespread recognition across the political spectrum that pediatric dental care should be a priority and our children in the U.S., in Pennsylvania, and in Centre County where I live ought not to be in pain.

To reach this realistic conclusion, one must analyze a complex variety of public and private programs some of which do some good but have a negligible effect on the overall problem. If, in this presentation I have failed in my understanding of the nuances, please provide corrections.

Understand, the complexity is part of the problem. If I had not been able to support dental care for my now adult children, I would have been handed a list of organizations that might help. In the past 20 years, resources have declined substantially; the evidence points toward the conclusion that seeking help may very well be a waste of time.  Consider, for example, the fact that more dentists are retiring than are graduating from medical school.


I began this article awaking in the middle of the night screaming because of dental pain. In April, I had successful cancer surgery. The surgery means I will have 10 years more of life. The pain questions my rationale for staying alive if staying alive means living with the kind of dental pain I have experienced and am likely to experience again. I am 66 years old. My sole income is my monthly social security check. I have a competent caring dentist and a modest dental insurance. I AM  seeking money to pay for my dental care. I am clear about the path I have chosen for my life.


Thanks to contributions, I received enough to obtain treatment to reduce the immediate pain. I know more pain is coming unless I raise the money for additional treatment. If I fail, it will be pain pills and misery.

This article on dental care for minor indigent children is my pay back. Internet services on how to raise funds suggest providing contributors with a keepsake—the moral equivalent of a key chain. Think of this article as a key chain that has allowed me to be productive again. I have now added to my list of life objectives working to make dental care accessible to all.

I started writing about children because I thought promises raised by the Affordable Care Act were real and because children are so vulnerable—especially to pain.

—  Joel Solkoff

Note: “One fourth of adults in the U.S. ages 65 and older have lost all of their teeth.” [Haley J et al. “Access to Affordable Dental Care: Gaps for Low-Income Adults.” Kaiser Low Income Coverage and Access Survey]

Note 2:  I will be able to produce another article on dental care once I receive the resources to get the required care and the resultant freedom from pain to be productive.