Today’s News - Wednesday, April 15, 2009
• The Smithsonian makes its pick for Museum of African American History and Culture (we're so sad Max Bond isn't here to celebrate).
• Goldberger and Farrelly wax positively poetic about Zumthor's Pritzker win: a sign that "we ought to slow down and smell the buildings"; he may inspire architects, but "he's not someone they copy, in method or in form."
• Another take offers "a few caveats one might keep in mind when considering his place in contemporary architectural practice."
• Hume talks to Toronto architects who find the city's planning system a "messy democracy" (but maybe condo towers will get better?).
• Hawthorne takes on two mega-projects in L.A. that "spotlight the city's all-or-nothing planning mind-set."
• RIBA's latest Future Trends Survey: not very good news (but not all bad, either).
• Crosbie's case for a long overdue re-assessment of James Marston Fitch's influence on preservation and sustainability.
• Where's Fitch when you need him: Portland architects rally against demolition of SOM's 1960 Memorial Coliseum (to make room for a baseball stadium - what else?).
• Boston's Zakim Bridge architect pays to keep the lights on for another three months (three cheers!).
• A more in-depth (and rather amusing) report on the Barbican debate (minus Hadid): "There was plenty of meat...aside from this outbreak of pugilism."
• Koolhaas "flames out" at Harvard GSD's "Ecological Urbanism" conference (but there were others who had plenty to spark the discussion).
• We couldn't resist: 3 houses from the divine to (you fill in the blank): Rose raves about revamp of a modernist classic 007 would love to live in. - A house in a fire-prone California canyon is designed to harvest the sun and the wind. - A $24 million home MoMA's Lowry calls "one of the most important private houses built in North America in a long time" (for $24mil, one would hope so!).
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Designer Chosen for Black History Museum: Team Wins Bid With Crown-Shaped Plan...Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup will design the $500 million signature building across the street from the Washington Monument. [links to video, Kennicott Q&A]- Washington Post
Dream Team: Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup chosen for African-American museum on the Mall: "The joy of this moment comes with mixed emotions...Max Bond...worked tirelessly in conceiving the programming and design of our submission. We miss him especially on this incredible day.” By Clay Risen -- Freelon Group; Adjaye/Associates; Davis Brody Bond Aedas [images, links]- The Architect's Newspaper
Peter Zumthor’s Quiet Power: The jurors who chose the winner of the annual Pritzker Prize...have often seemed caught between a desire to celebrate the architect as international celebrity...and the notion that flash and glitz aren’t the only route to the architectural pantheon...As we come to the end of an age when architecture has often seemed shrill and overblown, honoring Zumthor is a way of telling us,...that we ought to slow down and smell the buildings. By Paul Goldberger- New Yorker
Pritzker gives permanence to an ephemeral magic: Peter Zumthor is habitually hailed as the archetypal architect's architect...In truth, the reclusive Swiss who has landed this year's Pritzker, may inspire other architects...but he's not someone they copy, in method or in form. By Elizabeth Farrelly- Sydney Morning Herald
Zumthor, for better and worse: ...endorsement by the Pritzker Prize is more complex than it might seem — that is, there are a few caveats one might keep in mind when considering his place in contemporary architectural practice...sanctions this vision of architecture for architecture’s sake as an ideal for the profession. But in endorsing this exception, we reveal our own powerlessness.- Architectural Record
Current planning system a 'messy democracy': Architects don't usually agree on much, but in Toronto there's one thing on which they all see eye to eye: The city's planning system doesn't work. By Christopher Hume -- Rudy Wallman/Wallman Architects; Babak Eslahjou/Core Architects; David Pontarini/Hariri Pontarini Architects; Roland Rom Colthoff/Raw Design- Toronto Star
High-rises dwarf options for downtown L.A.: Mega-projects have their place, but two new Figueroa Corridor proposals spotlight the city's all-or-nothing planning mind-set...The enemy in this is certainly not the high-rise form itself...It is a process that all but rules out other kinds of development in certain pockets of downtown. By Christopher Hawthorne -- AC Martin Partners; Daniel Libeskind; DeStefano + Partners; Gensler- Los Angeles Times
RIBA Future Trends Survey: underemployment and declining overseas work- The Architects' Journal (UK)
The Legacy of Fitch: ...James Marston Fitch, a genuine Renaissance figure in architecture who helped change the way we think about buildings in the environment and their preservation...[his] contributions to...our understanding of sustainability are woefully underrated, and he is long overdue for a re-assessment of his influence. By Michael J. Crosbie- AIArchitect
Architects Rally Against Memorial Coliseum Demolition: Mayor and Commissioner may think tearing down Portland’s 49-year-old Memorial Coliseum to make room for a new minor-league baseball stadium is a done deal. But a serious opposition has begun to coalesce. -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/SOM (1960) [image, links]- Willamette Week (Portland, Oregon)
Zakim Bridge architect pays to keep the lights on: ...gazing mournfully at his creation, darkened for the first time since it opened to great fanfare in 2002, he decided to do something about it...mailed a check for $15,000 -- enough to light the bridge for three months -- and urged the agency to, please, pretty please, let the lights shine again, for the sake of the city. -- Miguel Rosales [image]- Boston Globe
The Barbican Debate: Can Good Design Change the World? There was plenty of meat to the rest of the debate, aside from this outbreak of pugilism...the only two principles that mattered in the real world were to get the job and to keep it. -- Winy Maas/MVRDV; Cameron Sinclair/Architecture for Humanity; Charles Jencks; Sean Griffiths/FAT. Zaha Hadid/Fabian Hecker; Massimiliano Fuksas- Icon magazine (UK)
Koolhaas Flames Out, Shantytowns Inform: ...keynote speaker for the “Ecological Urbanism” conference at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)...raised eyebrows...had never shown any particular interest in subject...hoping his speech would redeem his formerly blasé attitude towards sustainability...No such luck. -- Mitchell Joachim; William Mitchell/MIT; Inaki Abalos; Christian Werthmann;- The Architect's Newspaper
From Hampshire with love: the renovation of Seymour Harris' Tukal: It's a modernist classic straight out of a spy film - complete with yacht landing, indoor pool and marble-lined interiors...a revamped pad where 007 would have felt at home. By Steve Rose -- Nic Bailey [image]- Guardian (UK)
Montecito Residence: A house in a fire-prone California canyon is designed to harvest the sun and the wind — just the climatic conditions that make the site so dangerous. -- Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen [slide show]- Architectural Record
An 'Accordion' of Wood and Glass: A $24 million home (with its own concert hall) has architects and musicians buzzing..."I think it's one of the most important private houses built in North America in a long time," says Glenn D. Lowry/MoMA -- Shim-Sutcliffe Architects [slide show]- Wall Street Journal
One on One: Elusive Architecture: Interview with Kengo Kuma: "I want to create a condition that is as vague and ambiguous as drifting particles. The closest thing to such a condition is a rainbow." By Vladimir Belogolovsky [images]- ArchNewsNow
Competition winner: Herreros Arquitectos: Munch Area/Lambda, The Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway
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