Today’s News - Friday, May 20, 2011
• Ordos 100 architects "accuse the profession of not speaking out about Ai Weiwe's incarceration for fear of losing work" (some big names beg to differ).
• Haggerty and Perine call for NYC to renovate housing laws and take a cue from "Tokyo and San Diego, which permit innovation in housing design and living arrangements."
• Rybczynski ruminates on the demise of the McMansion (a good thing).
• Saffron x 2: a "striking" hangar-shaped HQ at the end of a former runway "may look like an alien spaceship landed," but it really "conjures memories of more glorious times, restoring some lost dignity to the site" and "offers bright ideas for cubicle slaves" (it's also LEED Platinum green).
• She cheers the unexpected reprieve for a historic church from impending demolition with high hopes that it "could still be a catalyst for a neighborhood revival."
• Ijeh wonders whether Chipperfield's Hepworth Wakefield gallery is a "work of art devoid of humanity" even with its "impeccably well crafted" sculptural form and "vibrant, charismatic" gallery spaces.
• Glancey's first in a series of weekly architecture round-ups finds "the architectural world was a cabinet of curiosities."
• Weekend diversions:
• In Wilmington, NC, Toby Keeton offers "a visual exhibition of design activism."
• Inspired by Fathy, a French architect who specializes in sustainable development brings her exhibition to Cairo.
• LaBarre relishes Herman Miller's new POV series, where "house porn meets furniture porn" (with pix to prove it).
• Caldwell and Serraino talk about the re-issue of "California Houses of Gordon Drake."
• It may be the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs' "Death and Life of Great American Cities," but it "still resonates" and "current leaders would do well to read it."
• Gruber offers two takes on essays that make up "Reconsidering Jane Jacobs" (some thumbs-up's, some thumbs-down's).
• "The Architecture of Harry Weese" is "extensively researched, honestly written and generously illustrated" and demonstrates what "made him arguably more influential than any of his contemporaries" (great pix!).
• "CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed" is an amazing collection of "weird and wonderful Soviet architecture."
• Zeiger's "Micro Green - Tiny Houses in Nature" is "succinct but high on style" (terrific slide show - we'll take one of each, please!).
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Architects accused of silence over Ai Weiwei: Practices are putting business interests before conscience...The two British practices working with Ai Weiwei on a Chinese housing project [Ordos 100] have accused the profession of not speaking out about his incarceration for fear of losing work. -- DRDH Architects; Simon Conder Associates; Herzog & de Meuron; Encore Heureux; Will Alsop; Robert Adam- BD/Building Design (UK)
Op-Ed: Renovate rundown housing laws: Recent N.Y.C. deaths underline urgent need for reform: Unlike cities such as Tokyo and San Diego, which permit innovation in housing design and living arrangements, New York City's pileup of 20th century laws and regulations keeps our legal housing options frozen in time. By Rosanne Haggerty/Common Ground and Jerilyn Perine/Citizens Housing & Planning Council (CHPC)- NY Daily News
The Death of the McMansion: When the housing market returns, we'll want smaller homes built closer together...It is likely that in the future multifamily housing will represent a larger share of the American housing market...An alternative scenario is that American optimism will prevail and it will be business as usual...But I wouldn't count on it. By Witold Rybczynski- Slate
Vertical Screen building offers bright ideas for cubicle slaves: ...striking, hangar-shaped building...has a knockout form, but one that is also simple and clear...it may look like an alien spaceship landed. Located at the end of what used to be a runway, the hangar conjures memories of more glorious times, restoring some lost dignity to the site. By Inga Saffron -- Erdy McHenry Architecture; Re:Vision Architecture [images]- Philadelphia Inquirer
Licenses & Inspections Review Board spares historical church: ...stunned preservationists and voted to spare the Church of the Assumption ...from impending demolition...Although the church lost some of its grandeur when Siloam gutted the interior...the building could still be a catalyst for a neighborhood revival, especially if it is sold to an arts group. By Inga Saffron [images]- Philadelphia Inquirer
Sculpting the Hepworth: Art meets industry in David Chipperfield’s Hepworth Wakefield gallery, reflecting two facets of its Yorkshire location’s heritage. But is this work of art devoid of humanity? Its sculptural form is certainly well assembled and the galleries are vibrant, charismatic spaces...But the exterior lacks the empathy and humanity to elevate it from being anything greater than an inanimate - if impeccably well crafted - object. By Ike Ijeh [images]- Building (UK)
Constructive criticism: In the first of our weekly architecture round-ups, shopfronts breathe, towers flower and the Walkie-Talkie wins light rights...The architectural world was a cabinet of curiosities this week... By Jonathan Glancey -- Eric Parry; Metaphor; Honey architects; Duggan Morris; Chetwoods Architects; 3XN; AEW; Zaha Hadid; Rafael Viñoly [images, links]- Guardian (UK)
Architecture exhibit focuses on problem-solving: Projeckte Projects [Wilmington, NC] presents "MICROSCALE" by Toby Keeton...a visual exhibition of design activism...features seven socially innovative design proposals for housing and public health structures.- Star-News (North Carolina)
Cairo has potential to become sustainable city, says eco-architect: Dominique Gauzin-Müller, a French architect who specializes in sustainable development...brought her exhibition “Live ecological: what types of architecture for a sustainable city” to Egypt in part because one of the pioneers of eco-responsible architecture is Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy.- Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt)
Five Architects Define The Meaning Of California Cool: House porn meets furniture porn, in [POV] a new video series by Herman Miller. Oh, baby! In a masterstroke, Hello Design tapped Juergen Nogai to shoot the interior spaces...the former business partner of Julius Shulman... By Suzanne LaBarre -- Marmol Radziner; Cigolle X Coleman; Jennings Architecture; LeanArch; JFAK Architects [images, videos]- Fast Company
Talking Gordon Drake: William Stout Publishers recently reissued "California Houses of Gordon Drake" by Douglas Baylis and Joan Parry, with a new preface by Glenn Murcutt and a new introduction by Pierluigi Serraino...Kenneth Caldwell sat down with [him] to get his thoughts about the newly reissued book. [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Jane Jacobs was the seer of the modern city: "Death and Life of Great American Cities"...classic book on urban living is 50 this year. Our current leaders would do well to read it...there is something almost eerily contemporary about [her] work...Her belief that urban planners and architects should not be realising visions, but creating and preserving resilient, inclusive and adaptable neighbourhoods...still resonates. By Ben Rogers -- Peter Hall; Ebenezer Howard; Patrick Geddes; Le Corbusier; Edward Glaeser; Richard Florida- Guardian (UK)
Iconoclasm and Iconolatry: A Review of "Reconsidering Jane Jacobs"...If Jacobs might not recognize "ideas and planning practices" that her name has come to symbolize, then what are those ideas and practices, and who decides what they are, and for whom? what in particular makes [the book] exceptional is that the editors, Max Page and Timothy Mennel, take a broad view...This is (mostly) not a book about planning so much as it is a book about culture... By Frank Gruber- Huffington Post
Proxy Wars: More on "Reconsidering Jane Jacobs": Jill Grant...considers the relationship between Jacobs and New Urbanism. What becomes apparent is that Grant doesn't like Jacobs, but because of Jacobs' unassailable status, Grant goes after her through that convenient punching bag, New Urbanism. By Frank Gruber- Huffington Post
"The Architecture of Harry Weese" by Robert Bruegmann with Kathleen Murphy Skolnik: ...[his] hundreds of built projects, unrelenting urban boosterism, and deep commitment to public life and preservation made him arguably more influential than any of his contemporaries. It is hard to avoid that conclusion after reading [the book]...Extensively researched, honestly written and generously illustrated, this is a first-rate monograph... By Ian Baldwin [images]- Places Journal
Photographer Frederic Chaubin's weird and wonderful Soviet architecture: "CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed"...90 unconventional, rarely seen buildings...These weird, modernistic structures reveal a surprising freedom after the strict controls in 1920s Constructivism...- Los Angeles Times
"Micro Green - Tiny Houses in Nature" by Mimi Zeiger: ...succinct but high on style...serves up realistic doses of architectural aspiration that are very hard to resist. -- Olson Kundig Architects, Gianni Botsford, Tham & Videgård Arkitekter; Manuel Villa/Alberto González; Michael Janzen; Cheng + Snyder; OLGGA Architectes; Gert Eussen; Taylor Smith Architects; FREAKS freearchitects; Franklin Azzi Architecture; C-Laboratory; buildingstudio; Max Pritchard Architect; Studio Granda [slide show]- Dwell
MVRDV: China Comic and Animation Museum, Hangzhou, China
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