Today’s News - Thursday, June 25, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Between cabin fever, an on-going heat wave, and the 4th of July holiday coming up, we're taking a much-needed break. We'll be back Tuesday, July 7. 'Til then: Stay well. Stay safe. Stay cool…
● ANN feature: Peter Piven's "The New Norm, Part 2: Finances": Recommendations and mandates to fight the COVID-19 pandemic impacted architectural practices immediately. The operational changes have financial consequences.
● Architectural historian and educator Samia Henni unpacks the "violent coloniality" that the Executive Order "Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" embodies, and calls on architecture schools to "do more to encourage current and future architectural 'possibilities of an otherwise.'"
● Wainwright takes a deep dive into what's been going on with the "seasteading" movement, including BIG's "slick Ted Talk-style vision of low-density suburbia sprawling virulently across the sea" ("remarkably" supported by UN-Habitat), and Waterstudio's "luxury 'SeaPods' that look like a row of gigantic motorbike helmets on poles."
● Gragg considers DLR Group's "reconstruction" of the Michael Graves-designed Portland Building that may cause it to be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places, which "foregrounds a fundamental question in the preservation of landmark Modernist and Postmodernist buildings - what's historic - the building with its original materials, or the design concept?"
● Ravenscroft reports on MAD Architects' "largely subterranean Shenzhen Bay Culture Park museum complex topped by two pavilions designed to look like groups of large stones" (archi-babble included - not his).
● A stellar list (and great presentation) of ASLA 2020 Honors Recipients & Honorary Members.
Weekend diversions + Page-turners:
● The National Building Museum presents "Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal" online exhibition of urban photographer Camilo José Vergara images of "how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people in poor, segregated neighborhoods across the New York metropolitan area."
● The Chicago Architecture Center re-opens next week, including the CAFC River Cruises and walking tours (yay!).
● The National Museum of African American History and Culture is launching "Rendering Visible," an "initiative focused on the creative production of black architects for inclusion in the NMAAHC's collection of digital images" (looking for "sketches, renderings, and artistic illustrations").
● Medina's great Q&A with Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley re: their (now particularly relevant) upcoming book on quarantine, formerly "The Coming Quarantine" and now "Until Proven Safe": "It does not seem to be a coincidence that these protests are at their most successful and widespread at the exact moment that cities are being redesigned, however temporarily, for better access to urban space."
● Wainwright cheers curator and architectural historian Mohamed Elshahed's "Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide" that includes unfinished, abandoned, demolished and never-built buildings, and "unpicks what Egypt's capital might have been - a rallying cry to take another look at the everyday fabric of this richly layered city" (ancient Egyptian revival meets high camp included).
● Indianapolis architect Gary Vance completes the 2nd book in his "Kid Architect" series for "kids K-12 to teach them about the wonders of architecture" - with all team activity pages now available to download for free.
Of protests, racism, and urban issues - the industry responds:
● Sitz talks to a number of Black architects and designers re: how they're confronting "structural racism in the profession - many professional groups, firms, and schools have released statements in support of racial justice," but for some, "many of those words fell flat."
● Matthew Fleischer: "Want to tear down insidious monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways. Our freeway system is one of the most noxious monuments to racism and segregation in the country" - and their history proves it.
● Budds cheers architectural designer and Harvard GSD professor Sean Canty's Airtable called "200 Black Creators" - like a spreadsheet, but it put faces to names (he's looking for more!).
COVID-19 news continues:
● Davidson delves into why "the American nursing home is a design failure. Even before COVID, its dynamics were deeply flawed. But there are people thinking about how to fix it" (there's hope!).
● Anthony Flint takes a deep dive into "the destiny of density" and "the impacts of an insidious virus - density itself is not the cause of collective pain - the issues cities urgently need to address are overcrowding, lack of affordability, and economic and racial disparities."
● To end on a lighter note: Barcelona's opera house "reopens with performance to 2,292 plants - to mark Spain's lifting of lockdown - each one will be donated to a healthcare worker at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona" (full disclosure: we love plants and Puccini - it's online!).
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ANN feature: Peter Piven, FAIA: The New Norm, Part 2: Finances: Recommendations and mandates to fight the Covid-19 pandemic impacted architectural practices immediately. The operational changes have financial consequences.- ArchNewsNow.com
The Coloniality of an Executive Order: Samia Henni defends architectural "possibilities of an otherwise": "Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again"...the prescription of neoclassical architectural style...for new U.S. federal public buildings...signifies a continuation of U.S. imperialism...It opposes criticality, inclusiveness, and diversity. It incites to preserve a conservative attitude often entangled with masculine white Eurocentric principles...confirms the plurality of the discrimination that the order unscrupulously cultivates...Architecture schools should do more to combat this violence and begin or continue to teach, encourage, facilitate, accommodate, and voice current and future architectural “possibilities of an otherwise.” -- National Civic Art Society- Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA)
Oliver Wainwright: Seasteading - a vanity project for the rich or the future of humanity? Beloved by Silicon Valley tycoons and tyranny-fearing libertarians, are cities atop the waves Earth’s next frontier? ...their long-held ambitions have been bolstered by the current global pandemic...conceiving society as a technology that can be hacked and innovated upon as simply as an operating system...critics say it would lead to “an apartheid of the worst kind”...Oceanix City...designed in slick Ted Talk style by Bjarke Ingels...a vision of low-density suburbia sprawling virulently across the sea...Remarkably, their sci-fi scheme has won the support of...UN-Habitat...Ocean Builders team has been at work...Designed by Koen Olthuis/Waterstudio...luxury “SeaPods” look like a row of gigantic motorbike helmets on poles... -- Blue21; BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group- Guardian (UK)
Randy Gragg: DLR Group's 'Reconstruction' of the Portland Building: After an extensive renovation, controversy once again dogs the Michael Graves-designed building, which may be delisted from the National Register of Historic Places due to the radical change of materials: The architecture’s failures have been well documented...As one of the earliest public projects to use a contractor-led “design-build” process, [it] became a 15-story study in value engineering...relied on materials befitting a community stage set: paint, tile, and stucco...DLR’s approach and the potential consequences foreground a fundamental question in the preservation of landmark Modernist and Postmodernist buildings...what’s historic - the building with its original materials, or the design concept? -- Emery Roth & Sons; Patrick Burke- Architectural Record
Tom Ravenscroft: MAD Architects tops Shenzhen cultural park with "monumental stones": ...largely subterranean Shenzhen Bay Culture Park museum complex...will be topped by two pavilions designed to look like groups of large stones...will sit on a site between the commercial district and the waterfront...Creative Design Hall and Shenzhen Science and Technology Museum...swill contain reception spaces, galleries and cafes arranged around pools sunken into the park above that will bring light into the subterranean buildings...One of the stones...is topped with a public viewing platform... -- Ma Yansong- Dezeen
ASLA Announces 2020 Honors Recipients & Honorary Members -- Anne Whiston Spirn; Martha Schwartz; Glen Dake; Dan Wenk; Tom O'Rourke; Stephanie Rolley; James Corner Field Operations; Paul Busse; The Garden Conservancy; Diana Fernandez Bibeau- American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
“Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal": online-only photography exhibition of urban photographer Camilo José Vergara; records how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people in poor, segregated neighborhoods across the New York metropolitan area; National Building Museum -- Elihu Rubin- National Building Museum
Chicago Architecture Center will reopen July 3, resumes walking tours: ...with modified hours and COVID-19 safety measures...will debut 7 new architectural models - on loan from the likes of SOM, JAHN, and Studio Gang...New downtown-centered walks will commence on July 3...from the Center’s new-ish Mies van der Roh-designed home...CAFC River Cruises are also slated to depart again...“We also did everything we could to take advantage of more than three months of unplanned ‘down time’...Even those who visited us in early March will notice a lot of exciting changes...": Lynn J. Osmond, CAC president and CEO- The Architect's Newspaper
"Rendering Visible": A Digital Collecting Initiative: The National Museum of African American History and Culture is launching...initiative focused on the creative production of black architects...will allow the Museum to identify architectural illustrations that may be suitable for inclusion in the Museum's collection of digital images...We are interested in sketches, renderings, and artistic illustrations that convey the intent and concept of a design project.- National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)
Samuel Medina: Shut Ins: The authors of a forthcoming book on quarantine discuss its past, present, and future: Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley lapped the rest of the country on quarantine...in the middle of drafting...then titled "The Coming Quarantine" [since changed to "Until Proven Safe"] - when the first cases of the novel coronavirus were being discovered stateside..."Quarantine at its heart is an architectural, or spatial, undertaking...The world itself made our book relevant...it does not seem to be a coincidence that these protests are at their most successful and widespread at the exact moment that cities are being redesigned, however temporarily, for better access to urban space." -- BLDGBLOG- The Architect's Newspaper
Oliver Wainwright: Unfinished, abandoned, demolished: how Cairo is losing architecture it never knew it had: From grand visions that fail...to everyday buildings knocked down before they can be considered for heritage protection, "Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide" unpicks what Egypt’s capital might have been: ...[curator and architectural historian] Mohamed Elshahed...includes 226 buildings...Many...not the kind historians would necessarily regard as worthy of veneration. And that’s precisely the point...His book is...a rallying cry to take another look at the everyday fabric of this richly layered city...a number of curious outlier buildings...defy stylist conventions altogether.- Guardian (UK)
Indianapolis architect Gary Vance completes 2nd book in children's series during coronavirus pandemic: "On my bucket list was to write a children's book about architecture...If we're going to do it, we're going to do a series"...for kids K-12 to teach them about the wonders of architecture - all in a visually stimulating way...one team activity for every building and public art...all team pages were added to the series' website to be downloaded for free..."Kid Architect"...intentionally went without that character...he wants the child reading the book to be the main character... -- Vance Consulting- WTHR (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Miriam Sitz: Designers Confront Structural Racism in the Profession: In architecture, where demographics skew toward white male homogeneity, many are beginning to interrogate the ways that systemic racism has shaped the profession and the built environment: The lack of representation in professional leadership and education, especially, has emerged as a top concern for many...many professional groups, firms, and schools have released statements in support of racial justice. But for Tiffany Brown...at SmithGroup and NOMA executive-board member, many of those words fell flat. -- National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA); Kimberly Dowdell; Amanda Williams; Sekou Cook; Pascale Sablan/S9 Architecture; 400 Forward; Beyond the Built Environment- Architectural Record
Matthew Fleischer: Want to tear down insidious monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways: ...here’s some ugly truth about the city of Los Angeles: Our freeway system is one of the most noxious monuments to racism and segregation in the country...When the 1944 Federal-Aid Highway Act allocated funds for 1,938 miles of freeways in California, planners used the opportunity...to obliterate as much as possible the casual mingling of the races...segregated housing patterns have largely persisted to this day...L.A. is not unique in this regard. Cities across the country made similar choices. And yet nowhere have the consequences been felt more profoundly.- Los Angeles Times
Diana Budds: An Architectural Designer Made a List of 200 Black Creatives You Should Follow: Sean Canty made it easier to diversify your Instagram feed: ...a professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, has a couple hundred suggestions...created an Airtable called “200 Black Creators"...inspired by a list...compiled by Dong-Ping Wong...But instead of a spreadsheet, Canty wanted to put faces to names. -- Thelma Golden; David Adjaye; Black Females in Architecture network; Olalekan Jeyifous; Nina Cooke John; Amanda Williams; Germane Barnes; Mark Grattan/Vidivixi; Jerome Byron- Curbed
Justin Davidson: The American Nursing Home Is a Design Failure: Even before COVID, its dynamics were deeply flawed. But there are people thinking about how to fix it: The nursing-home system is an obsolete mess...The whole apparatus is ideally suited to propagating infectious disease...represents a colossal failure of imagination - worse, it’s the triumph of indifference...we don’t need to reinvent the nursing home, only build on humane principles that already succeed...Focus on how people live, rather than on how long...Demand better. -- Victor Regnier; Perkins Eastman; CF Møller- New York Magazine
Anthony Flint: The Destiny of Density: Affordability, Equity, and the Impacts of an Insidious Virus: The crisis threatens the building blocks of a functioning urban economy...the recovery of urban areas is of vital importance...Historically, cities have responded to disease and disaster with affirmative measures...This time around...density has been in the spotlight...density itself is not the cause of collective pain...the issues cities urgently need to address are overcrowding, lack of affordability, and economic and racial disparities...New policies and practices...will be informed by nuanced analysis of what’s actually happening on the ground...David Dixon/Stantec: “Major cities aren’t losing their allure, they are losing their affordability.”- Land Lines / Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Barcelona opera house reopens with performance to 2,292 plants: Gran Teatre del Liceu...musicians played to an unusual audience on Monday to mark Spain's lifting of lockdown - as thousands of plants filled its seats...the work of conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia and included a performance from the UceLi Quartet string quartet...plants were brought in from nearby nurseries and each one will be donated to a healthcare worker from the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona.- CNN Style
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