Today’s News - Friday, April 17, 2009
• The National Mall: ASLA panel finds its current condition an "international embarrassment" and calls for a more defined vision (suggestions included).
• Kennicott on Gehry taking on Eisenhower Memorial on the Mall: "he must not only reinvent the paradigm for memorialization, he must also reinvent himself...He deserves the freedom to try."
• Tigerman's Illinois Holocaust Museum is the "most important building I've ever done" (it opens in Skokie, IL, this weekend; reviews will surely follow).
• Glancey cheers refurbishment of Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum as a perfect example of how not to dumb down cultural wonders - elsewhere, a sad trend "as if we were wholly dim."
• Depressing study results: World Trade Center project won't be finished until 36 years after 9/11 (granted, it's the "gloomiest of several studies").
• How to reverse-engineer the collapsed development bubble: convert luxury apartments to affordable housing (good idea, but expect "a lot of wrangling").
• Designing for disaster: an eyeful of how some architects are "noodling on ways to meet the challenge."
• Hospitals beginning to turn to design-build to save money; critics contend "focus on controlling costs can lead to cutting corners on design and construction."
• Russell sits down with Safdie, who "fears more austere times will return us to enervating, expedient architecture."
• Weekend diversions: Campbell says "Ecological Urbanism" at Harvard GSD is "as good a look into the future as you'll find today."
• Kamin has two words for Fuller's "striking, very groovy" Fly's Eye Dome at Chicago's Merchandise Mart: "See it" (it's free).
• Breuer, Bauhaus, and Brutalism on view at RISD: "Should he be celebrated for his early work as a pioneering designer-architect...Or should he be blamed for spawning one of the least popular architectural styles in history?"
• This weekend, "Elastic Plastic Sponge" by Ball-Nogues Studio and SCI-Arc will leave L.A. all misty.
• Page turners: Hume finds "The Shape of the Suburbs" a "fascinating, if damning, tale."
• Hawthorne admits his hopes for "Conversations With Frank Gehry" were not especially high, but finds it "surprisingly rich and even, at times, revelatory."
• Gorlin finds "The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern" tends to "confirm Johnson as a shallow stylist who used great wealth and charm&hellip"
• "Sir John Soane's Museum, London": the "architectural language of death and loss is never far beneath the surface of his very individual creation."
• "City and Structure" by architectural photographer HG Esch "promises more than it delivers."
• "European design since 1985 " is not only "a superior coffee table book," it is "an ambitious attempt to impose a sense of structure on this complex and evolving story."
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The National Mall: From Crisis to Vision: ASLA’s Blue Ribbon Panel...released the results of its assessment of the National Park Service’s Plan for the National Mall. The panel said the current state...is an "international embarrassment" and call for a more defined vision... [link to report, video]- The Dirt/American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
For D.C. Debut, Gehry Grapples With Ike Site -- And Himself: It is a strange match of architect and commission...it seems they're hiring Gehry to design a bathroom, bookstore, small office and glorified sunshade...if Gehry is to succeed in Washington, he must not only reinvent the paradigm for memorialization, he must also reinvent himself...He deserves the freedom to try. By Philip Kennicott- Washington Post
Designer: Center the "most important building I've ever done": Stanley Tigerman presented his design for the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on an airplane napkin. Within hours, the museum's board of directors awarded him the commission...set to open April 19. -- Tigerman McCurry Architects [image]- Daily Herald (Chicago)
Don't make museums for morons: Pringle Richards Sharratt Architects’ refurbishment of Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum evades the vogue for dumbing down our cultural wonders...Museums should be places...where our knowledge and imagination are extended and excited, and not curtailed, packaged and marketed as if we were wholly dim. By Jonathan Glancey- BD/Building Design (UK)
World Trade Center project won't be finished until 36 years after 9/11...a new study says...the gloomiest of several studies...- NY Daily News
Towns Look to Reverse-Engineer Development Bubble: Plan emerges to convert luxury apartments to affordable housing...details of such a plan would, at the very least, involve a lot of wrangling.- City Hall News (New York City)
Designing for Disaster: Designers have been noodling on ways to meet the challenge. It's worth taking a step back and surveying the basic design strategies they've come up with. -- Deltec; Waterstudio; Shigeru Ban [images, links]- Fast Company magazine
Hospitals Merge Design and Building to Cut Costs: Using the design-build method...can save hospitals money...by eliminating turf battles between architects and construction managers...Critics say...focus on controlling costs can lead to cutting corners on design and construction... -- HBE- New York Times
Interview: Moshe Safdie Conjures $5 Billion Casino, Tunnels Mountains: He fears more austere times will return us to enervating, expedient architecture. “It’s appropriate to celebrate important public institutions. Their meaning transcends the day to day.” By James S. Russell [slide show, links]- Bloomberg News
Exhibit provides sense of the future: "Ecological Urbanism" at the Harvard Graduate School of Design sees world of opposites..."a first glance at what ecological urbanism is and might be." Maybe so, but it's as good a look into the future as you'll find today. By Robert Campbell- Boston Globe
Fuller's Fly's Eye Dome: A striking, very groovy presence at the Merchandise Mart: I have two words to pass along about the dome, which complements the Museum of Contemporary Art's fine but flawed Fuller show: See it. By Blair Kamin [images]- Chicago Tribune
Breuer, Bauhaus and Brutalism: “Marcel Breuer — Design and Architecture”: Poor Marcel Breuer. If he’d just stuck to furniture, his place in the pantheon of great 20th-century designers might be secure...Should [he] be celebrated for his early work as a pioneering designer-architect...Or should he be blamed for spawning one of the least popular architectural styles in history? [opens today at RISD Museum]- Providence Journal (Rhode Island)
This sculpture will get 'em all misty at Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival: "Elastic Plastic Sponge"...designed to spray water on passers-by...April 17 to 19 -- Ball-Nogues Studio; Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) [image]- Los Angeles Times
Book review: Former Toronto mayor documents high cost of suburbia: In his highly informative new book, "The Shape of the Suburbs: Understanding Toronto's Sprawl," John Sewell examines the local history of suburbia and includes facts and figures that in themselves tell a fascinating, if damning, tale. By Christopher Hume- Toronto Star
Book review: "Conversations With Frank Gehry" by Barbara Isenberg: My hopes, I'll admit, were not especially high...collection of recent interviews with the architect...surprisingly rich and even, at times, revelatory. By Christopher Hawthorne- Los Angeles Times
Book review: Barbs from the Beyond: "The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern" is a curious time capsule from 1985...does little to bolster his reputation; it tends to confirm Johnson as a shallow stylist who used great wealth and charm... By Alexander Gorlin- The Architect's Newspaper
Book review: The gathering darkness in the life of Sir John Soane: "Sir John Soane's Museum, London" by Tim Knox sets it in the context of its creator’s difficult life...The architectural language of death and loss is never far beneath the surface of Soane’s very individual creation.- BD/Building Design (UK)
Book review: "City and Structure" by architectural photographer HG Esch: A rather generic book of micro-details and megacities only half excites...promises more than it delivers.- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Book review: European design’s fin-de-siècle uncertainties: "European design since 1985: shaping the new new century" by Craig Miller, Penny Sparke and Catherine McDermott...a superior coffee table book....the result of six years’ meticulous research into contemporary European design, and is an ambitious attempt to impose a sense of structure on this complex and evolving story.- BD/Building Design (UK)
Op-Ed: Designing the New Public/Private Model: Greater government involvement in design can be an opportunity - if done correctly. That requires architects to be to be at the table from the beginning. By Peter Schubert, AIA- ArchNewsNow
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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