Today’s News - Friday, July 23, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: Travel back to home base (and home time zone!) precludes posting the news on Monday, but we'll be back Tuesday, July 27.
• Calys on SFMOMA selecting Snøhetta: "a happy middle ground" between a starchitect and a fine architect who "may have been a tad too risky."
• Arieff analyzes her adventure with the Build a Better Burb competition, and comes down hard on how some good ideas are badly communicated - she blames architecture schools that "promulgate the notion that an idea can't be important unless it's indecipherable."
• A new report points to the numerous benefits of demolishing an elevated expressway in New Orleans.
• Saffron says Philly's Franklin Court renovation plan needs reworking: "a big challenge remains: How do you provide a new ending to an acknowledged masterpiece?"
• Merrick is mightily disappointed in de Botton's Modernism for the masses: is the "Living Architecture scheme to popularize contemporary architecture trivializing world-class design?"
• Vale on the valiant and the vane at Expo 2010 Shanghai.
• Pitera presents a (terrific!) portfolio of artists, architects and activists working to reinvigorate some of Detroit's abandoned landscapes.
• Carbuncle Cup shortlist names and shames Britain's worst architecture.
• Results are in for DESIGN 21/IDEO Living Climate Change Video Challenge.
• Weekend diversions:
• In NYC, "Cars, Culture, and the City" explores just how central the car has been to New York's evolution, though on the street, Rothstein sees "another kind of unyielding grid" being imposed.
• Lange lauds "Our Cities Ourselves" - but "longs for life beyond bikes and BRT."
• In Prague, "City Interventions Prague 2010" offers designs by top architects for the city's public spaces.
• "The Unbuilt Berlin" (in Berlin) presents 100 never-realized ideas from 100 architects that offer inspiration for the future (great slide show).
• Searle tours Schütte's "Big Buildings, Models and Views" in Bonn, a "mysterious, Piranesian - but often very funny - world."
• Kennicott tours Tucker's "Lego Architecture: Towering Ambition" in Washington, DC: the "models have a cultural power that ordinary architectural models might not - it will make you wish that you had more bricks to play with" (great pix!).
• Russell finds the newest "AIA Guide to New York City" a "love letter to the city" made more lovable by thoughtful if "acerbic assessments" and "witty comments and bad puns."
• Q&A with Grumbine re: his new book that "explores the tangled relationship between conservation and development in China."
• Q&A with Friedman re: her new book that links the work of postwar architects glamour: "a sensual, emotional and magical sensibility" that elevated "the ordinary...into the extraordinary."
• Wainwright cheers a new EH guide to Manningham in Bradford, "one of England's greatest Victorian suburbs."
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SFMOMA looks north: Norwegian firm selected for expansion: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art announced the selection of...Snøhetta..."They are both daring and safe...work is not formulaic or whimsical....will put San Francisco on the map in terms of serious 21st century architecture." By George Calys -- Kenneth Caldwell; Foster + partners; Diller Scofidio + Renfro; David Adjaye- San Francisco Examiner
Blueprints for a Better ‘Burb: ...“suburb” has outlived its usefulness...as a model for future planning...So where to start?...Build a Better Burb competition...Architectural schools often promulgate the notion that an idea can’t be important unless it’s indecipherable. It’s time for this to change. There’s no shortage of good ideas, but communicating them so they make sense to those who stand to benefit is essential. By Allison Arieff -- Rauch Foundation; Long Island Index [images, links]- New York Times
Claiborne Avenue elevated expressway demolition gets support in report: ...would have numerous benefits, such as removing an eyesore...increasing opportunities for public transit, and promoting investment that would eliminate blight and create economic development in the Treme and 7th Ward neighborhoods. -- Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU); Waggonner & Ball; Smart Mobility [images, links]- The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
Franklin Court renovation plan needs reworking: ...is no ordinary renovation project. There are two pasts embedded here...a big challenge remains: How do you provide a new ending to an acknowledged masterpiece? By Inga Saffron -- Venturi & Rauch (now Venturi, Scott Brown); Quinn Evans Architects [images]- Philadelphia Inquirer
Alain de Botton's modernism for the masses: Is the philosopher's new Living Architecture scheme to popularise contemporary architecture trivialising world-class design? By Jay Merrick -- Peter Zumthor; Hopkins; MVRDV; Jarmund/Vigsnaes Architects- Independent (UK)
Shanghai's Avenue Queue: This latest world's fair is a study in superlatives...Expo 2010 Shanghai bristles forth as the "shock city" of our age...succeeds in staking out yet another case for China’s restored global pre-eminence...brazenly displays this New World Order... By Lawrence Vale [images, links]- Places Journal
Detroit: Syncopating an Urban Landscape: ...a portfolio of...how artists, architects and activists are working to reinvigorate some of the city's abandoned landscapes...A syncopated urban landscape is not a vision of Detroit as a large park. By Dan Pitera/Detroit Collaborative Design Center -- Gregory Holm + Matthew Radune ; Phillip Cooley/Melissa Dittmer/Tadd Heidgerken/Noah Resnick; HousingOperative/Thomas Gardner/Matthew Miller [slide show]- Places Journal
Carbuncle Cup shortlist names and shames Britain's worst architecture: London's Strata Tower and Robert Burns memorial in Kilmarnock among six buildings in running for dubious honour...Bézier Apartments; The Cube; St Anne's Square, Belfast; Haymarket Hub, Newcastle [links]- Guardian (UK)
The Living Climate Change Video Challenge: results are now in. [links to videos]- DESIGN 21: Social Design Network / IDEO
The Anatomy of a Citywide Traffic Jam: “Cars, Culture, and the City” at the Museum of the City of New York explores...just how central the car has been to New York’s evolution....outside the museum, you don’t need to harbor Lamborghini fantasies to see that the result is not always felicitous. Yes, of course, the car can have deleterious effects on the urban fabric...but another kind of unyielding grid is being imposed. By Edward Rothstein [images]- New York Times
Next Exit for Transportation's Future: There are plenty of fine ideas in "Our Cities Ourselves" at the Center for Architecture...but Alexandra Lange longs for life beyond bikes and BRT...a good opportunity to review the possibilities and the realities of cities very different from our own. What it doesn’t do is question some dominant contemporary planning pieties... -- Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP); Terreform/Michael Sorkin Studio; HCP Design and Project Management; Budi Pradono Architects; PALO Arquitectura Urbana [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Flashes of the future: Top architects offer glimpses of a 21st-century Prague: "City Interventions Prague 2010" at the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art...includes 80 designs for Prague's public spaces from around 50 architecture studios... -- Sporadical; Coll Coll; Vallo Sadovský Architects; Josef Pleskot; Zdenek Fránek [images]- The Prague Post
The City That Never Was: "The Unbuilt Berlin" presents architectural visions that were never realized. By showing the spirit of the times, the exhibits offer inspiration for the future...presents 100 ideas from 100 architects...between 1907 and 1997. -- Carsten Krohn; Daniel Libeskind; Alvaro Siza; Rem Koolhaas; Mies van der Rohe; Albert Speer; Le Corbusier; Aldo Rossi; Joseph Maria Olbrich; Cornelis van Eesteren; Hugo Häring; Ludwig Hilbersheimer; Lebheus Woods; Emil Fahrenkam [slide show]- Der Spiegel (Germany)
Private View: A plan for a hotel that will never get built, a home populated solely by angels, a house designed to be lived in by terrorists ... Adrian Searle steps into the mysterious, Piranesian – but often very funny – world of "Big Buildings, Models and Views" by German artist Thomas Schütte, now on at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn. [podcast]- Guardian (UK)
"Lego Architecture: Towering Ambition" at the National Building Museum: ...Adam Reed Tucker's models of skyscrapers reveal the still-potent power of the simplest Lego elements...models have a cultural power that ordinary architectural models might not...it will make you wish...that you had more bricks to play with. By Philip Kennicott [slide show]- Washington Post
Hidden New York Revealed With 80,000 Photos in Latest “AIA Guide to New York City" by Norval White, Elliot Willensky and Fran Leadon: ...a 1,055-page love letter to the city...adds his own acerbic assessments to the witty comments and bad puns he inherited. By James S. Russell- Bloomberg News
Policy in motion: In "Where the Dragon Meets the Angry River," R. Edward Grumbine explores the tangled relationship between conservation and development in China. Here, he talks about the dam-building freeze on the Nu River and other lessons from Yunnan. [links]- ChinaDialogue.net
Talking With Alice T. Friedman: ...architectural historian and professor of American art history...has a new book, “American Glamour and the Evolution of Modern Architecture”...links the work of postwar architects...to a single quality: glamour...a sensual, emotional and magical sensibility that percolated up from American popular culture, elevating the ordinary...into the extraordinary. -- Morris Lapidus; Philip Johnson; Richard Neutra- New York Times
Manningham gets English Heritage guide: "Manningham: Character and Diversity in a Bradford Suburb": At times a byword for street violence and social problems, Manningham in Bradford has been chosen by EH for the latest book in its Informed Conservation series..."Look behind the occasional neglect and what you have is one of England's greatest Victorian suburbs." By Martin Wainwright- Guardian (UK)
Veni, Vidi, Vici: Museo MAXXI by Zaha Hadid Architects: Rome, Italy: The ancient city's newest museum is a reminder that here is a woman at the top of the field - and a testament to the fact that women build, and build well. By Ann Lui- ArchNewsNow
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