Today’s News - Wednesday, February 19, 2020
● An odd news story to start the day: A 56-story luxury residential tower in NYC, designed by Elkus Manfredi, may have to remove 20 (or more) floors after judge rules it "exceeds the allowed zoning envelope for the site."
● Meanwhile, in Toronto, Hariri Pontarini's 95-story SkyTower, "just yards away from CN Tower," is set to be Canada's tallest residential tower.
● The French government is not mandating a "style" for public buildings, but is proposing that they "be built with 50% wood or other natural materials" - and plans to "invest €20 million to construct 100 urban farms in city suburbs - among "a number of other eco-friendly initiatives."
● This cheered the science & environmental geek in us: A new green technology "creates electricity from moisture in the air" that is "non-polluting, renewable and low-cost" (all started by a microbe discovered in Potomac River mud more than 30 years ago!).
● A new "video gives the first full, sweeping view" of the "massive $50M expansion" of Detroit's Motown Museum, designed by P+W's Freelon and Hamilton Anderson.
● Sitz reports that NBBJ has acquired ESI Design - the "staff will be retained, and six of the studio's design leaders will become NBBJ principals" (including Edwin Schlossberg).
● After three years flat-packed in storage ("along with buckets of bolts and screws") in Palm Springs, Albert Frey's 1931 Aluminaire House may finally find a permanent home at the Palm Springs Art Museum or on the College of the Desert campus.
● A call for Mid-century Modern history to include more women architects - "while there's increasing parity for women, there are still fewer women being celebrated, compared to men, or rising into leadership roles - looking at raw numbers isn't enough to combat sexism in the field."
● Black History Month x 2: Dorris highlights 10 pioneering African American architects - men and women who "were among the first in their field and, thanks to their increasingly recognized accomplishments, far from the last."
● A profile of Donald White, Michigan's first licensed black architect, who "broke new ground" - even though many of his buildings "have been torn down - a byproduct of so-called urban renewal projects in the 1950s and 60s."
● A good reason to head to Cape Town next week: Themed "A Better World Through Creativity," Design Indaba 2020 celebrates "a 25-year milestone" of being "crucial to the growth of the design and entrepreneurial industries in South Africa."
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Design Workshop's MacRae & Ficht consider three trends they see shaping landscape architecture.
● Call for entries: Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge international design competition: create unconventional designs for the iconic walkway that respect and enhance the bridge's landmark status (cash prizes).
● Call for entries: CTBUH 2020 International Research Seed Funding; no fee; $20,000 prize.
● Call for entries: CTBUH 2020 Student Research Competition (international); no fee; $20,000 prize.
● Call for applications: Be Original Americas Student Design Fellowship, open to 2nd- or 3rd-year undergraduate students studying in the U.S. (must be U.S citizen or have legal resident alien status).
● Call for entries: 3rd Q-City International Young Designer Competition: Quality City: Development Guided by New Technology (Handan City; China) - open to young designers & students; no fee; cash prizes.
And yet more thumbs-ups and -downs for the "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" (just when you thought it was safe to go outside):
● Volner: The "provocative" order is "a putative fatwa on modern design - reigniting a tiresome 1980s Style War, pitting pop historicists against high-minded modernists - it has tended to obscure some of the creepier implications of the incipient decree."
● NYC-based architect Colette Arredondo, on the other hand: "Ignore the critics - the executive order is a great step toward restoring beauty in government buildings. Beauty calls us to something higher than ourselves."
● Brussat: "Enough time has passed to declare modern architecture a failed experiment in federal placemaking. To need an 'official style' is surely regrettable," but "the draft order may have the effect of slowing down the atrophy of our civic life."
● Blair gets feedback from both sides of the fence: National Civic Art Society's Marion Smith, AIA's Robert Ivy, and HBRA Architects' Aric Lasher (who calls it "preposterous").
● Critics say "the government should simply not be deciding what is and isn't beautiful," including NOMA President Kimberly Dowdell classicism "carries a legacy of oppression"), HBRA's Lasher, and Carol Ross Barney - "the first woman to design a federal building."
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Ruling could force developer to demolish top 20 floors of Manhattan luxury tower: ...56-story luxury residential skyscraper in New York City designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects...New York Supreme Court Justice...found that the property at 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the city’s Upper West Side was being developed in excess of its allowed zoning... the portions of the building that exceed the allowed zoning envelope...will have to be removed...20 floors could be removed...The number could also be higher.- Archinect
Canada’s tallest residential tower revealed for downtown Toronto: ...at just over 1,027 feet tall...the 95-story project...will be part of a three-tower luxury condo development called Pinnacle One Yonge...SkyTower...will anchor the 4.4-million-square-foot waterfront site...Hariri Pontarini Architects conceived the masterplan and designed the trio of high-rise buildings...just yards away from CN Tower...One Yonge will be connected to a revamped public transit system and include improved pedestrian and cycling access...- The Architect's Newspaper
French public buildings to be built with 50% wood: ...or other natural materials...proposal aligns with France's Sustainable City plan [and] drive for the country to be carbon-neutral by 2050...French government will also invest €20 million (£16.8 million) for the imminent construction of 100 urban farms in city suburbs...follows a number of other eco-friendly initiatives in recent months...-- Populous; Egis- Dezeen
New green technology generates electricity 'out of thin air': Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air...could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change and in the future of medicine.: "Air-gen. or air-powered generator...is non-polluting, renewable and low-cost..."For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could help power your home."- Phys.org
New Motown Museum animation reveals how massive $50M expansion will really be: ...you can at last get a full look at the planned expansion of the historic Detroit site...video gives the first full, sweeping view of the charted 50,000-square-foot project - and shows how the landmark Hitsville, U.S.A., house will fit into the bigger installation. -- Phil Freelon/Perkins and Will; Hamilton Anderson Associates- Detroit Free Press
Miriam Sitz: NBBJ Acquires ESI Design: ...a new partnership highlights the growing importance of multidisciplinary collaboration...NBBJ and ESI have worked together in the past...All ESI staff will be retained, and six of the studio’s design leaders will become NBBJ principals. -- Edwin Schlossberg- Architectural Record
New plans in the works to exhibit Albert Frey's Aluminaire House in Palm Springs: Three years after arriving in pieces [it] has yet to find its permanent home...a decision could be coming soon...It may be reconstructed at the Palm Springs Art Museum or the upcoming...campus of College of the Desert...In the meantime, the pieces are stacked up in flatpacks in storage, along with buckets of bolts and screws...[in 1931] prefab structure made of metal and glass was erected in 10 days... -- Lawrence Kocher (1931); Alan Hess- The Desert Sun (Palm Springs)
Modernism Week 2020: Why midcentury modern history should include more women architects: ...the writing of history in architecture...has a bias toward male narratives...while there's increasing parity for women in architecture, there are still fewer women being celebrated...compared to men, or rising into leadership roles...From Eileen Gray [to] Zaha Hadid, the world is speckled with significant works from female architects...looking at raw numbers of women's participation isn't enough to combat sexism in the field. -- Charlotte Perriand; Michela O'Connor Abrams/Moca+; Jane Hall/Assemble; Charles and Ray Eames; Marion Mahony Griffin; Pearl McCallum McManus; Helena Arahuete; Jeanne Gang/Studio Gang; Michelle Kaufman- The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California)
Jesse Dorris: 10 Pioneering African American Architects and the Legacy Buildings They Designed: Each were among the first in their field and, thanks to their increasingly recognized accomplishments, far from the last. -- Robert Robinson Taylor; Julian Abele; Vertner Woodson Tandy; Paul R. Williams; Clarence W. “Cap” Wigington; Beverly Loraine Green; John Warren Moutoussamy; John S. Chase; Norma Merrick Sklarek; Wendell J. Campbell- Interior Design magazine
Donald White, Michigan's first licensed black architect, broke new ground: Many of White's buildings have been torn down over the years, a byproduct of so-called urban renewal projects in the 1950s and 60s...his work influenced another prominent black architect in Detroit: Nathan Johnson. He's possibly best known for designing the People Mover. -- Karen Burton/Noir Design Parti- NPR / Michigan Radio
Design Indaba 2020 Releases Program as it Celebrates a 25-Year Milestone: ...multidisciplinary platform guided by the principle of “a Better World Through Creativity”...in Cape Town, February 26-28...known for showcasing ideas that become real-world solutions creating a better world for all...has been crucial to the growth of the design and entrepreneurial industries in South Africa.- ArchDaily
Call for entries: Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge international design competition: rethink the iconic walkway...create unconventional designs that respect and enhance the bridge’s landmark status, think inclusively about mobility and access, and accommodate commuters, visitors, and vendors; six finalist teams awarded cash prizes; deadline: April 5- Van Alen Institute / New York City Council
Call for entries: CTBUH 2020 International Research Seed Funding: Research proposals should directly relate to the tall building typology and/or urban habitat; no fee; $20,000 prize; deadline: April 18- Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Call for entries: CTBUH 2020 Student Research Competition (international): Proposals should directly relate to the 2020 topic of “Sustainable Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat"; open to students under the guidance of a professor; no fee; $20,000 prize; deadline: April 18- Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Call for applications: Be Original Americas Student Design Fellowship, June 15 - July 17: open to 2nd or 3rd year undergraduate students, studying at an accredited college/university in the U.S.; must be U.S citizen or have legal resident alien status; deadline: March 27- Be Original Americas
Call for entries: 3rd Q-City International Young Designer Competition (Handan City, Hebei Province, China): Quality City: Development Guided by New Technology; open to young designers & students; no fee; cash prizes; registration deadline: June 1 (submissions due June 15)- Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine (China) / Hebei Provincial Department of Housing & Urban-Rural Development, Dept. of Natural Resources of Hebei Province / Handan Municipal People’s Government
Ian Volner: Trump Can’t Make Architecture Great Again Without an Infrastructure Plan: ...provocative new executive order...a putative fatwa on modern design...Appearing under the snappy title “Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again...although the future of the proposal remains unclear, the Greco-Romano-Colonial camp can claim a partial victory. They shouldn’t...reigniting a tiresome 1980s Style War, pitting pop historicists against high-minded modernists - it has tended to obscure some of the creepier implications of the incipient decree. -- National Civic Art Society; Catesby Leigh- Art in America
Colette Arredondo: Making Federal Architecture Great Again: Ignore the critics: ...executive order is a great step toward restoring beauty in government buildings: ...one of the essential complications in the shift to modern architecture was a shift in the idea of beauty...not only a shift in aesthetic, but also in power, from client to architect...This is a very different approach from the one classical architecture takes...Classicism is the language of humanism, and a universal sense of beauty that is based on that humanism. Humanism is what America is...Beauty calls us to something higher than ourselves.- National Review
David Brussat: Parsing classical creativity: Enough time has passed to declare modern architecture a failed experiment in federal placemaking...To need an “official style” is surely regrettable...modernists have hauled out the usual old chestnuts ..[two arguments are] more serious and proponents of the design change...must address...that classical architecture stifles innovation and that modern architecture is scientific...springing from a historically narrow definition of innovation and creativity...the draft order may have the effect of slowing down the atrophy of our civic life... -- National Civic Art Society; Nikos Salingaro; Ann Sussman; Roger Scruton- Architecture Here and There
Elizabeth Blair: 'Just Plain Ugly': Proposed Executive Order Takes Aim At Modern Architecture: The architectural world is reeling over..."Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" takes an out-with-the-new, in-with-the-old approach to architecture...National Civic Art Society... has been the driving force behind the [order]. Marion Smith believes Americans want the kind of neoclassical architecture that he says is designed to inspire the ideals of American democracy...Others feel differently...it would be "preposterous" for the government to dictate any style of architecture... -- Robert Ivy/American Institute of Architects (AIA); Aric Lasher/HBRA Architects- NPR / National Public Radio
Draft Executive Order Would Make ‘Federal Buildings Beautiful Again’: ... [it] has been met with widespread condemnation. Critics say the government should simply not be deciding what is and isn’t beautiful...Kimberly Dowdell/National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) says [it] isn’t just creatively limiting...it also carries a legacy of oppression...Aric Lasher/HBRA Architects says the Tuscaloosa courthouse shouldn’t be used as an ideological pawn, but instead as a celebration of architecture that’s reflective of its local culture...“A one-size-fits-all [is] contrary to the whole American ideal"...Carol Ross Barney...the first woman to...design a federal building..."The level of security...you have to provide ...the Parthenon just wouldn’t do it."- WTTW Chicago / PBS
ANN feature: INSIGHT: Jim MacRae & Jason Ficht: 2020 Trends in Landscape Architecture: Three trends we anticipate growing this year: addressing air quality as part of climate change; cultural and ecological inequities; and converting antiquated roadways into green infrastructure systems.- ArchNewsNow.com
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