Today’s News - Tuesday, February 19, 2019
EDITOR'S NOTE: Everyone under clear skies tonight should look up! You'll get a smile back from a magnificent Super Snow Moon! (The "second of this winter's trio of supermoons," and the "biggest full moon of 2019," according to Space.com.)
● Oddo pays eloquent tribute to Alessandro Mendini, "the protagonist of a real revolution in design. His ideas were a poetic expression of freedom, experimentation, and emancipation from common expectations."
● On a happier note, Murcutt is tapped to design 6th MPavilion for Melbourne (no renderings - yet).
● Davidson offers his up-close and personal take on NYC's Hudson Yards, complete with the "endearingly weird" Shed: "Each time I approach, I feel a volatile mix of wonder and dejection roil in my chest - gifted architects worked hard to figure out how gargantuan buildings could form a place where human beings feel like they belong. They created the opposite of their intention."
● Brandes Gratz explains why "the Amazon HQ2 brouhaha needs a clarification" - it isn't abandoning NYC. "It's simply cancelling the construction of a physical campus. Surely, it is not going to leave the field entirely to others, even without a helipad" (use Google as a model).
● Sidewalk Labs Toronto reveals Snøhetta and Heatherwick's designs, and "documents detailing how the company plans to pay for the ground-up development" (with link to official presentation - worth a look!).
● Litt x 2: "Cleveland Heights deserves better than the joyless" apartment complex proposed for prominent site (even local architects picketed): "Apart from its dullness - it isn't awful in comparison with earlier versions. Style is not the problem here. It's that the project looks stale."
● He parses the "clash of positive values" surrounding Cleveland's planned Red Line Greenway: "It's a case of nature versus transit-oriented development, which is unfortunate. The two can, and should, work together."
● Rob Walker walks us through what went wrong with Brad Pitt's Make It Right project in New Orleans: It "has gradually evolved from a bold example of design's potential to solve problems into a cautionary tale."
● Pedersen's Q&A with Walker re: his "deep and critical look at the architectural experiment" that is Make It Right is it "a litmus test for 'Architecture with a capital A'?": "A lot of social design suffers from a flashy debut - and then no maintenance. It can't just look good in a portfolio. It has to work in real life."
● Moore minces no words about "an absurd vanity project" - London's Garden Bridge, a "scandalously mismanaged 'gift to the people of London'" where "rules were bent and arms were twisted. If we weren't so distracted by that other Johnson-generated fiasco, Brexit, it should be at the centre of attention."
● King, on a brighter note, cheers two new ferry terminals in the San Francisco Bay Area that "address the practical - sea level rise - with style. Architecturally, each delivers infrastructure with a flourish."
● Kafka cheers Berlin's IBeB cooperative housing development: "While the construction of a large housing development at such a centrally located and historically loaded neighborhood is surprising and inspiring, even more impressive are the politics and design collaboration that made it possible."
● Kamin praises Preissner's pro-bono proposal to help a troubled South Side community in Chicago: "It remains to be seen whether his dream will ever materialize, but it already qualifies as a strong display of out-of-the-box thinking - a promising interweaving of social purpose and aesthetic innovation."
● Perhaps something all these cities should study: Riggs, Steins & Shukla's "City Planning Technology, 2019 Benchmarking Study" on the current state of Internet technologies and systems adopted by 600 cities across the U.S. that "focuses on the websites of city planning departments as one of the most common places citizens interact with government."
● Okamoto profiles Rosa Sheng, Equity by Design, and how her team is "using data to make architecture more equitable - the 2016 election and #MeToo have fostered a sense of urgency and ushered in new voices. There is much work ahead."
● Hewitt dares to utter the "B" word, and "how a more universal concept of beauty can reshape architecture" (sciences involved - what a concept!).
● Robinson takes issue with minimalism: "It is delightful to have a world dotted with small visual Easter eggs. Contemporary design deprives us of these wonderful, whimsical features - we should embrace the filigree of life" (includes his made-up "New Maximalists" manifesto).
● A good reason to head to Washington, D.C. this week: the Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to the National Building Museum: "ADFF: D.C. will screen films that explore design and its connection to issues of social justice, diversity, technology, and equity."
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Obituary by Francesca Oddo: Goodbye to Alessandro Mendini: the protagonist of a real revolution in design...A voice that stood out from the crowd: Brilliant, visionary, always interested in exploring different disciplines, in his 87 years of life he never stopped thinking of man, understood as “body, psyche and spirit”, as being at the centre of the project...His ideas were a poetic expression of freedom, experimentation, and emancipation from common expectations...- Abitare
Glenn Murcutt to design sixth MPavilion for Melbourne: ...will become the sixth designer of the temporary pavilion, which is installed every summer in Queen Victoria Gardens...Naomi Milgrom: "Quintessentially Australian and ahead of his time, Glenn's thoughtfulness about people, place making and the environment continues to inspire us all"...As with previous pavilions, both Carme Pinós' and Murcutt's pavilions are expected to eventually find a permanent home in the city.- Dezeen
Justin Davidson: I Have a Feeling We’re Not in New York Anymore Hudson Yards is a billionaire’s fantasy city and you never have to leave - provided you can pay for it: Besides being big, it represents something fundamentally new to New York. It’s a one-shot, supersized virtual city-state, plugged into a global metropolis but crafted to the specifications of a single boss...Each time I approach, I feel a volatile mix of wonder and dejection roil in my chest...They’ve paved a parking lot and put up a high-rise paradise. Yet I can’t help feeling like an alien here...Everything is too clean, too flat, too art-directed...A crowd of gifted architects worked hard to figure out how gargantuan buildings...could form a place...where human beings feel like they belong...Together, they created the opposite of their intention. -- Kohn Pedersen Fox/KPF; Elkus Manfredi; Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Rockwell Group; Foster + Partners; David Childs/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/SOM; Nelson Byrd Woltz; Thomas Heatherwick [images]- New York Magazine
Roberta Brandes Gratz: An Amazon Correction: The City Won - and the Company Isn’t Going Anywhere: Cancelling the construction of an anti-urban campus is not the same as pulling out of the city: The Amazon HQ2 brouhaha needs a clarification...It’s simply cancelling the construction of a physical campus in Long Island City...Amazon should take heed of Google...[It] now so dominates the West 20s that one might say it has created a campus of sorts, but in a more urban appropriate way...Surely, Amazon is not going to leave the field entirely to others, even without a helipad.- Common Edge
Quayside on the B-side: Sidewalk Labs reveals Snøhetta and Heatherwick designs for its Toronto development: ...[and] documents detailing how the company plans to pay for the ground-up development...being touted as a smart, interconnected, “100 percent timber” development...Michael Green Architecture has developed a mass timber kit-of-parts...A civic data trust would be responsible for removing identifying markers from any information gathered and aggregating it.- The Architect's Newspaper
Steven Litt: Cleveland Heights deserves better than joyless Top of Hill design: Local architects even picketed...it’s easy to see why...Apart from its dullness, the design looks too bulky...But it isn’t awful. In comparison with earlier versions...Nevertheless, the project is shaping up as the latest example of new apartment and mixed-use buildings...that look as if they could have been built anywhere...They look cartoonish, or thin, or brittle...They express aversion to risk, a desire to please, to play it safe...Architectural details...get squeezed out by “value engineering"...Style is not the problem here. It’s that the project looks stale. -- Eppstein Uhen [images]- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Steven Litt: RTA Red Line Greenway development prompts clash of positive values: This should be a time for rejoicing...Instead, there’s an air of conflict...raising a ruckus now over whether RTA should develop a sliver of land...that’s big enough to support housing and possibly retail....[opponents] want the land preserved as habitat for deer, monarch butterflies, foxes and other creatures...It’s a case of nature versus transit-oriented development, which is unfortunate...Cleveland shouldn’t have to choose between green space and TOD. The two can, and should, work together. [images]- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Rob Walker: When Brad Pitt Tried to Save the Lower Ninth Ward: His Make It Right Foundation built 109 homes in New Orleans, but critics say many of them are badly flawed: Make It Right has gradually evolved from a bold example of design’s potential to solve problems into a cautionary tale. -- David Adjaye; Shigeru Ban; Frank Gehry;Thom Mayne; Steven Bingler/Concordia; John C. Williams Architects- Bloomberg/BusinessWeek
Martin C. Pedersen: Rob Walker on the Mistakes of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right: A talk with the journalist and New Orleans resident, who recently took a deep and critical look at the architectural experiment: "A lot of social design suffers from a flashy debut - and then no maintenance...Everyone loves innovation. No one loves maintenance...it can’t just look good in a portfolio. It has to work in real life."- Common Edge
Rowan Moore: An absurd vanity project for our age - Boris Johnson’s garden bridge: This scandalously mismanaged ‘gift to the people of London’ will cost the taxpayer £43m. For nothing: When the bridge was announced in 2013, it was going to be free to the public, entirely funded by private sponsorship...rules were bent and arms were twisted...Flagrant conflicts of interest were ignored...If we weren’t so distracted by that other Johnson-generated fiasco, Brexit, it should be at the centre of attention. -- Heatherwick Studio; Arup- Observer (UK)
John King: Two new ferry terminals address the practical - sea level rise - with style: Architecturally, each delivers infrastructure with a flourish...recall a time when ferries were essential forms of transportation - while responding to our present desire for a waterfront that’s as public as can be...the Bay Area’s transportation scene has seen better days. The waterfront upgrades in Richmond and San Francisco offer a different vision - a confident future where substance and style are paired. Which isn’t a bad scenario at all. -- Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects; Roma Design Group [images]- San Francisco Chronicle
George Kafka: Six Years in the Making, Berlin’s IBeB Cooperative Housing Development Creates a Tight-Knit Community of Residents: Recently shortlisted for the 2019 EU Mies Award, the 66-unit project's lengthy customization process and ample common spaces form a community from the ground up: While the construction of a large housing development at such a centrally located and historically loaded neighborhood is surprising and inspiring, even more impressive are the politics and design collaboration that made it possible. -- ifau; Heide & Von Beckerath [images]- Metropolis Magazine
Blair Kamin: An architect has a concrete idea to help a troubled South Side community: Paul Preissner has been working with Ring of Hope...It remains to be seen...whether his dream will ever materialize, but it already qualifies as a strong display of out-of-the-box thinking. I hope Chicago’s philanthropic community and political leaders will consider supporting this promising interweaving of social purpose and aesthetic innovation. [images]- Chicago Tribune
William Riggs, Chris Steins & Shivani G. Shukla: City Planning Technology, 2019 Benchmarking Study: A report on the current state of Internet technologies, policies, and content management systems adopted by 600 cities across the United States: ...focuses on the websites of city planning departments as one of the most common places citizens interact with government...identifies trends based on changes from our research in 2015, and 2017, and suggests best practices for using technology in planning and cities in 2019 and 2020.- PLANetizen
Katie Okamoto: Game Changers: Rosa Sheng and Equity by Design Are Using Data to Make Architecture More Equitable: EQxD’s work - which she shares with architects Lilian Asperin, Julia Mandell, and Annelise Pitts - is collaborative and cumulative, rooted in feminist activism and building on work by groups like the Architecture Lobby, the National Organization of Minority Architects/NOMA and the AIA...the 2016 election and #MeToo have fostered a sense of urgency and ushered in new voices...There is much work ahead. -- The Missing 32%- Metropolis Magazine
Mark Alan Hewitt: The “B” Word: How a More Universal Concept of Beauty Can Reshape Architecture: There is a new school of architecture in Naples called “Building Beauty,” run by disciples of...Christopher Alexander. The name contains a deliberate reference to a word seldom used by establishment architects today..."beauty" is also appearing frequently...among evolutionary biologists...Some believe...that beauty in the environment...is necessary for the survival and health of Homo sapiens...ornament...is just as necessary....If the first issue [of "Intertwining"] is any indication, this melding of art, science, and design will change the way we look at the designed environment. -- "The Nature of Order; Vittorio Gallese; Juhani Pallasmaa; Harry Francis Mallgrave- Common Edge
Nathan J. Robinson: Death To Minimalism: Take away the unnecessary, untidy, and intricate and you take away a place’s soul: Minimalism is the aesthetic language of gentrification...The rule of contemporary architecture since World War II has been that there are only two options: a sleek, futuristic minimalism...or a postmodern pastiche of random elements...it is delightful to have a world dotted with small visual easter eggs. Contemporary design deprives us of these wonderful, whimsical features...Instead of futilely questing to turn ourselves into machines...we should embrace the filigree of life. -- Christopher Alexander/"The Timeless Way of Building"- Current Affairs magazine
Architecture & Design Film Festival returns to the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.: ADFF: D.C. will screen films that explore design and its connection to issues of social justice, diversity, technology, and equity, through the life and work of practitioners like Frank Gehry, Mies van der Rohe, Leslie Robertson, Renzo Piano, and Francis Keré. February 21-24- National Building Museum (Washington, DC)
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