Today’s News - Friday, May 4, 2012
• Weinstein finds Zardini and Borasi's new book "Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture" a "healthy tonic countering academically anemic architectural education."
• Rudolph's Orange County Government Center may have won a reprieve - but its future still remains in limbo.
• Goldberger ponders the fate of the OCGC: his buildings "can be harsh, and tough...But oh, can they be beautiful" (and the county executive wants to replace it with "a bland, pseudo-Georgian building, a sort of blown-up version of a Friendly's ice-cream store" - doesn't that sound yummy - not).
• Russell minces no words about NYU's "bloated" plan for Greenwich Village: facing well-organized local opposition, "the university has made changes," but it's "only made the proposal worse."
• Talen looks at how zoning laws, building codes, and other regulations "have a powerful - and often negative - impact on urban areas; what's needed are "more adaptive, more form-based" rules "to produce better places."
• Pedersen uncovers who's behind efforts to repeal an energy-reduction law for federal buildings: one is a signatory of the 2030 Challenge, and another touts a Zero Energy Buildings Whitepaper on its website, putting them "in the uncomfortable position of being politically at odds with their customers. Not the best place to be."
• Nobel (back with a new column - yay!) parses 1 WTC's "tallest" claim: "Does it appear very tall? To my eyes it doesn't. Because, despite its tapering, it is fat" with "a dowdy profile" - but "it will look terrific at dusk."
• Saarikoski gives us the skinny on what sank the Guggenheim Helsinki: some "wanted a landmark attraction with a lot of eye-candy for wealthy tourists," but opponents felt the Guggenheim Foundation "was merely trying to milk the naive Finns."
• Neustein offers a lively blow-by-blow of a debate between the architects of Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art addition and its critics ("Most architectural criticism is drivel," sayeth the architect).
• Birnbaum is broiling over UCLA's plans to possibly sell off "one of the rarest private Japanese gardens" in the U.S., a bequest to the university on the condition that it "retain the garden portion in perpetuity."
• Rose's review of the week in architecture includes FAT's "Community in a Cube," Paul Noble's "Nobson Newtown" - "Hieronymus Bosch meets Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse," and orangutans, "the Gaudìs of the jungle."
• An in-depth (and surprising!) look at architectural lineages: "architects beget architects, so it seems."
• Weekend diversions:
• Heathcote, Searle, and Moore leave us chomping at the bit to cross the Big Pond to see "Bauhaus: Art as Life" at the Barbican: the show "helps put the fun back into functionalism" + it offers lessons for contemporary art education and its "lack of common purpose, the overweening bureaucracy, the disillusionment and grasping for fees, the box-ticking lostness of so much of it" + how the Bauhaus building "in a provincial town could have had so much effect" (all with great slide shows!) + one amazing infographic.
• Two different takes on the Guggenheim's "stillspotting nyc" and SO-IL's "Transhistoria": "you're likely to discover more than what is advertised" + its "a vaguely colonial exercise" with "staged rooms that make the absence of their original inhabitants palpable, transhistoria feels disconnected from the neighborhood's own natives."
• Goldberger gives Lange's "Writing About Architecture" two thumbs-up (with small niggle).
• Grescoe's "Straphanger" makes a case against the car: it is "well-researched, nicely written and timely...He goes to his personal version of hell. But he also finds hope."
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Imperfect Health: Probing the Porous Interface between Architecture and Health: A new book and website linked to the recent Canadian Centre for Architecture exhibition "Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture" offer a healthy tonic countering academically anemic architectural education. By Norman Weinstein- ArchNewsNow
Diana's push for new Government Center fails: Orange County Government Center won a reprieve Thursday, when County Executive failed to garner enough support from lawmakers to demolish and replace the 42-year-old office complex...But the outcome left no clear future for the Center... -- Paul Rudolph- Times Herald-Record (Middletown, NY)
Can Paul Rudolph’s Architecturally Vital Orange County Government Center Be Saved? His assertive modernist buildings of concrete and glass are not what anyone would call user-friendly. They can be harsh, and tough...But oh, can they be beautiful...county executive...has in mind is a bland, pseudo-Georgian building, a sort of blown-up version of a Friendly’s ice-cream store. By Paul Goldberger- Vanity Fair
NYU Attacks Greenwich Village With Bloated Plan: ...it has faced a well-organized wall of local opposition. The university has made changes...That’s only made the proposal worse...Nothing about this plan speaks to the way the university will nurture the city just as the city nurtures it. By James S. Russell -- Grimshaw Architects; Toshiko Mori Architect; Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates [images]- Bloomberg News
America's Cities Shaped (and Mishaped) by Rules: Zoning laws, building codes and other regulations can seem like bureaucratic obscurities. But they have a powerful—and often negative—impact on urban areas...Most urban advocates are convinced that different kinds of rules – more adaptive, more form-based – are needed to produce better places. By Emily Talen/Phoenix Urban Research Lab, Arizona State University [adapted from new book "City Rules: How Regulations Affect Urban Form"]- City Limits (NYC)
Political Hardball: What is Section 433 and why should architects care? It mandates a fossil fuel-free future for federal buildings...So, who is behind this attempt to thwart and ultimately kill [it]? ...a couple of surprises. Schneider-Electric has actually signed onto the 2030 Challenge. Johnson Controls has a Zero Energy Buildings Whitepaper featured on their website. By Martin C. Pedersen- Metropolis Magazine
How Tall is Your Tall? One World Trade Center's 'Tallest' Claim: ...the ultimate metric of a developer's hubris, a contractor's joy, sometimes a neighborhood's consternation, always a city's self-esteem: height...Does it appear very tall? To my eyes it doesn't. Because, despite its tapering, it is fat. Because its battered sides give it a dowdy profile...it will look terrific at dusk, it may never appear to be as tall as it should. By Philip Nobel- Curbed New York
How did the Guggenheim Helsinki dream go sour? The cultural landscape has changed. Conservatives backed the Guggenheim, and the left and the greens smashed it: The stubborn resistance of many leading artists was probably the main thing that killed [it]...after all this squabble other international players might think twice before coming to Finland. That would certainly be a sad outcome of a seemingly perfect match turned into a messy break-up. By Saska Saarikoski- Guardian (UK)
MCA: open conversation or guarded debate? Last night in Sydney, the architects of the new Museum of Contemporary Art fronted up to their critics about the contentious new public building. Did the event deliver an architectural KO, or did the critics – and the audience – pull their punches? "Most architectural criticism is drivel.” By David Neustein -- Make-Space for Architecture; Philip Cox; Elizabeth Farrelly; Sam Marshall; Andrew Donaldson- Australian Design Review
UCLA Violates a Long-Standing Regent's Bequest and Endangers One of the Rarest Private Japanese Gardens in the United States: Hannah Carter Japanese Garden...designed by Nagao Sakurai in 1959...terms of the bequest...require the university to "retain the garden portion in perpetuity." By Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation [images, links]- Huffington Post
Constructive criticism: the week in architecture: The FAT collective get their teeth into Middlesbrough, and the master builders of the animal kingdom receive their due...Paul Noble's "Nobson Newtown"...is like Hieronymus Bosch meets Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse...Exeter University has a new centrepiece... By Steve Rose -- Will Alsop; Feilden Clegg Bradley; Branson Coates; Grimshaw; Wilkinson Eyre/Buro Happold- Guardian (UK)
All in the Family: Architectural DNA: Where there’s an architect, there are probably a few more—from the same gene pool. Architects beget architects, so it seems...And if not begotten, then nearly so... -- Eliel Saarinen Eero Saarinen; Frank Lloyd Wright; Walter Gropius; Maya Lin; Lin Huiyin; Charles Eames; William Eames; Henry Smith-Miller/Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects; Theodore Smith-Miller/Mary Elizabeth Houck; Silas Smith; Annabelle Selldorf; Herbert Selldorf; Dorrit Selldorf; Vica; Taal Safdie/Safdie Rabines Architects; Moshe Safdie; Rob Rogers/Jonathan Marvel/Rogers Marvel Architects; Andrea Bucher Rogers; Stefan Behnisch; Günter Behnisch- Architectural Record
"Bauhaus: Art as Life" at the Barbican Art Gallery, London; ...attempts to humanise that image of a technocratic will to modernity...bring to light a little publicised aspect of life at the Bauhaus: humour...It was, at least in its early years, nothing like the modernist machine of myth...show helps put the fun back into functionalism. By Edwin Heathcote -- Walter Gropius; Mies van der Rohe; Hannes Meyer; Carmody Groarke; APFEL [slide show]- Wallpaper*
"Bauhaus: Art as Life": Tracing the trajectory of the radical German art and design school from its founding in Dessau by Walter Gropius in 1919 to its closure in Berlin in 1933, the exhibition is superb...There is a lesson here about much contemporary art education: the lack of common purpose, the overweening bureaucracy, the disillusionment and grasping for fees, the box-ticking lostness of so much of it. By Adrian Searle [slide show]- Guardian (UK)
Bauhaus: a blueprint for the future: Rowan Moore explores the enduring appeal and influence of the Bauhaus school...To visit the Bauhaus building now is to be struck again by the extraordinary way in which a single construction in a provincial town could have had so much effect. -- László Moholy-Nagy; Marcel Breuer; Walter Gropius; Mies van der Rohe [slide show]- Guardian (UK)
Infographic: The Bauhaus, Where Form Follows Function: The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture...but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach...- ArchDaily
Stillspotting Queens: Transhistoria: The sites are as gratifyingly diverse and surprising as the texts with which they have been paired...spaces are tied together by SO-IL’s elegant and subtle design intervention...you’re likely to discover more than what is advertised. -- Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu; stillspotting nyc: queens [images]- Urban Omnibus
In Jackson Heights, "stillspotting nyc," an exploration by the Guggenheim turns into a vaguely colonial exercise: Like the Tenement House Museum, with its staged rooms that make the absence of their original inhabitants palpable, transhistoria feels disconnected from the neighborhood’s own natives... By Lara Pellegrinelli -- Solid Objectives - Idenburg Liu/SO-IL- Capital New York
Eyes Have It: Paul Goldberger on Alexandra Lange's new book, "Writing About Architecture": ...a how-to book for a profession that has never, so far as I know, had one before...analyzes her key texts with great care and perceptiveness, and happily she is wide ranging in her taste...selected some of my favorite pieces of writing to use as her paradigms... -- Charles Moore; Jane Jacobs; Lewis Mumford; Ada Louise Huxtable; Michael Sorkin; Herbert Muschamp; Frederick Law Olmsted- The Architect's Newspaper
In "Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile," Taras Grescoe makes a case against the car: Well-researched, nicely written and timely, the book follows his visits to 14 cities. Along the way...He goes to his personal version of hell...But he also finds hope.- Montreal Gazette
Book Review: "Social Media in Action: Comprehensive Guide for Architecture, Engineering, Planning, and Environmental Consulting Firms" by Amanda Walter & Holly Berkley: This practical handbook is invaluable for practitioners who realize that social media is not a passing phenomenon and can play a part in their business. By George Calys- ArchNewsNow
-- Exhibition: "Massimo Scolari: The Representation of Architecture, 1967-2012"; Architecture Gallery, Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, Connecticut
-- Zellnerplus: Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles, California
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