Today’s News - Tuesday, May 2, 2017
● We lose Acconci, an "audacious artist" turned "experimental architect - he committed to making public spaces that were both utilitarian and playful."
● McKeough revisits Acconci with a fascinating 2007 profile "about his unexpected foray into architecture."
● A bridge too far: Wainwright parses the demise of London's Garden Bridge, "fiercely opposed by supporters of gardens and bridges alike, of which this vanity project was clearly never either."
● Heatherwick weighs in on the "endless political wrangling": "It is always easier to stop an unusual new idea than to make it happen. I firmly believe [the Garden Bridge] will happen one day" (comments mince no words, too).
● Lumley goes on the attack: "I hope we're not turning into the sort of country that instantly says no before it considers saying yes. The silent majority still loves the bridge, but of course they were not asked what they think."
● Lane calls for Garden Bridge funding to go to new pedestrian crossings that are actually needed: "There has been plenty of proposals - all are far cheaper than the Garden Bridge."
● Elledge ponders: "Where did it all go wrong? It should have been great. So how did something so lovely end up so loathed?"
● O'Sullivan says: "Good riddance to London's age of fanciful, functionless infrastructure. It won't be missed" - along with his a litany of other "major hare-brained schemes that actually made it through."
● On a much (much!) brighter note (we hope!): the new federal spending bill would spare - and even slightly increase - funding for PBS, NEA, and NEH.
● Kunzig considers "the world's most improbable green city": Dubai "had one of the largest ecological footprints of any city in the world. By 2050 it wants to have the smallest" - and many "believe the city might actually pull that off" ("when camels fly," perhaps?).
● Hosey, on the other hand, hails Washington, DC, as the "quiet capital of sustainable design," with codes and laws "considered a national model" (who knew?!!?).
● Boston planners and green space advocates hope "to fulfill Olmsted's vision" of the city's "green necklace" by transforming a homely, traffic-clogged road into a greenway - the city "has tentatively embraced the idea" (but no funding - yet).
● Kimmelman takes issue with the NY State governor's plan to fix Penn Station: "In effect, Cuomo wants to slap a two-car garage onto a dilapidated split-level and declare the property good as new" (oh joy).
● Dunlap, meanwhile, gives thumbs-up to 3 new "ethereal" and "diaphanous cable-stayed bridges" in New York that "are already transforming the skyline."
● Hawthorne tells the tale of Paul R. Williams and his connection to the "bleak" 25th anniversary of the L.A. riots: a Williams-designed bank building "went up in flames," along with "a large chunk of his archive. Race can never be detached from any discussion of his relative prominence in Los Angeles or in the profession."
● Anderton takes us on a tour of Mayne's replacement for Ray Bradbury's house that he promised "would honor Bradbury. Did they deliver?" (the neighbors think so).
● As Cuba "embraces global tourism" with lots of international hoteliers renovating historic buildings, "what will happen to those less prominent and more sensitive relics?"
● Gopnik tells us how wonderful it was to grow up Safdie's Habitat, which, "for sheer sensory excitement, could not and cannot be matched" - but so many other Brutalist gems have been demolished.
● A good reason to head to NYC at the end of the week: the National Planning Conference: NPC17 has the big three: Location. Learning. Connections.
● Call for entries (reminder: deadline looms!): WAF Awards + INSIDE World Festival of Interiors Awards 2017.
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Obituary: Vito Acconci, Audacious Artist and Experimental Architect, 77: For a little under two decades, he produced strikingly original and impressionable art, before abandoning it for experimental architecture and design...he committed to making public spaces that were both utilitarian and playful. By Elisa Wouk Almino -- Steven Holl- Hyperallergic
Tim McKeough: Revisiting the World of Vito Acconci, 1940-2017: ...a story from our October 2007 issue about his unexpected foray into architecture: ...his work has always been about one thing: human experience...freeing up how people interact with the environment around them - or at least making them more aware of their surroundings - remains his guiding objective. -- Steven Holl [images]- Azure magazine (Canada)
Oliver Wainwright: The garden bridge is dead - now £37m of public money must be repaid: Despite its exclusivity and rickety economics, the project went far further than it should have thanks to Boris Johnson’s disregard for planning rules...fiercely opposed by supporters of gardens and bridges alike, of which this vanity project was clearly never either...Sadiq Khan, has refused to guarantee further funding for his predecessor’s misguided folly. -- Thomas Heatherwick; Arup- Guardian (UK)
Thomas Heatherwick: One day I hope London gets its garden bridge: ...those of us who believe [it] would benefit the city have been forced to fight to make it happen...endless political wrangling has now brought it to a standstill...It is always easier to stop an unusual new idea than to make it happen. I firmly believe it will happen one day.- Evening Standard (UK)
Joanna Lumley attacks Sadiq Khan's scrapping of Thames garden bridge: ...describes London mayor’s decision to pull financial backing for project as...“absolutely shattering, devastating...I hope we’re not turning into the sort of country that instantly says no before it considers saying yes...The silent majority still love the bridge, but of course they were not asked what they think.”- Guardian (UK)
Thomas Lane: It's time to divert Garden Bridge funding to other Thames crossings: Our reader poll demonstrates an appetite for more Thames pedestrian crossings...Regeneration of the former docks, Nine Elms and Battersea has made the case for new crossings more urgent...There has been plenty of proposals, some have planning and a degree of funding - all are far cheaper than the Garden Bridge.- BD/Building Design (UK)
Jonn Elledge: The Garden Bridge was a symbol of everything wrong with modern London. I'm glad it's dead: Where did it all go wrong? ...[it] should have been great...So how did something so lovely end up so loathed? The obvious explanation is the growing sense that the whole thing has been a bit of a con...there's another, more philosophical reason why a lovely idea...should have become so unpopular... -- Thomas Heatherwick- CityMetric (UK)
Feargus O'Sullivan: The Death of London's Garden Bridge, and the End Of An Era: Good riddance to London’s age of fanciful, functionless infrastructure: People want charm and beauty in their lives, and they also want useful stuff like bridges, if they’re actually going to prove useful. London’s folly boom produced some very pretty renderings, but its overall effect served to corrupt rather than enhance public debate. It won’t be missed. -- Thomas Heatherwick- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Federal budget deal would spare arts agencies: The new federal spending bill would spare - and even slightly increase - funding for three arts-related agencies that President Trump has proposed eliminating: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting [PBS], the National Endowment for the Arts [NEA] and National Endowment for the Humanities [NEH].- USA Today
Robert Kunzig: The World's Most Improbable Green City: A decade ago Dubai had one of the largest ecological footprints of any city in the world. By 2050 it wants to have the smallest. Can it get there? When camels fly, you might say...Many people...believe the city might actually pull that off. And if it can happen here, they say, it can happen anywhere. -- Janus Rostock/Atkins; Neil Walmsley/Arup; Yasser Elsheshtawy; Norman Foster/Foster + Partners- National Geographic
Lance Hosey: Washington, DC, is the Quiet Capital of Sustainable Design: ...the city’s greenest asset - its buildings. The District long has been the center of the green building movement...became the first city in the nation to pass a law mandating LEED certification for both public and private buildings, and its Green Construction Codes...are considered a national model...the city represents the cutting edge of sustainable design...- Huffington Post
Boston Planners See a Greenway Where There’s a High-Traffic Road: ...there’s a growing movement among planners and green space advocates to fulfill Olmsted’s vision by turning Columbia Road into a greenway...the city has tentatively embraced the idea...has not found its way into the capital budget...the idea of fulfilling his vision carries resonance for many...But that doesn’t mean [it] would look anything like well-known Olmsted-era parkways.- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Michael Kimmelman: Cuomo Has the Opportunity to Fix Penn Station, but Will He? The transportation hub serving about 650,000 daily passengers desperately needs an overhaul. So far, the New York governor’s plans don’t begin to address the problems: In effect, [he] wants to slap a two-car garage onto a dilapidated split-level and declare the property good as new. -- Vishaan Chakrabarti- New York Times
David W. Dunlap: 3 New Eye-Catching Bridges Rise in New York: The home of past-century wonders like the Brooklyn Bridge returns to building...diaphanous cable-stayed bridges that look almost too ethereal to bear the load of thousands of vehicles and people each day. They are already transforming the skyline. -- Bradley C. Touchstone/Touchstone Architecture [images]- New York Times
Christopher Hawthorne: For the late L.A. architect Paul R. Williams, national honor overlaps with a bleak anniversary: ...25th anniversary of the day the Broadway Federal Savings & Loan...went up in flames......The fire not only destroyed the bank but a large chunk of Williams' archive...[and] one of his landmarks in addition to all those drawings...Race can never be detached from any discussion of his relative prominence in Los Angeles or in the profession.- Los Angeles Times
DNA/Frances Anderton: What would Ray think? Thom and Blythe Mayne’s house in Cheviot Hills is almost ready to call home: Ray Bradbury lived in the same house for 50 years...one of LA's most prominent architects...bulldozed it...promised a “very, very modest” house that would honor Bradbury...Did they deliver? ...the compelling design has garnered approval from the neighbors...described its quirky and playful interior...like “European puppet theater.” -- Thom Mayne/Morphosis [images]- KCRW (Los Angeles)
As Cuba’s economy embraces global tourism, modernist works fall under threat: ...a ballooning interest...by international hoteliers...Real questions exist...not only in terms of the quality of these renovations, but also with regard to the status of other cultural, archeological, and architectural artifacts...What will happen to those less prominent and more sensitive relics? -- Belmont Freeman; McKim, Mead & White; Welton Becket; Lin Arroyo; Gabriela Menendez; Ricardo Porro; Vittorio Garatti; Roberto Gottardi; Humberto Alonso; Universo Garcia Lorenzo- The Architect's Newspaper
Blake Gopnik: Growing Up in a Concrete Masterpiece: My childhood home is turning 50, just in time for the rebirth of Brutalism, an architectural style that has been scorned for years: For sheer sensory excitement, Habitat could not and cannot be matched...Poured concrete...was honest and audacious in avowing its bulk, primeval and pretense-free...in recent years many have been demolished. -- Moshe Safdie; Marcel Breuer; BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group; Jonathan Marvel/Marvel Architects- New York Times
National Planning Conference: Planning in Motion: NPC17 has the big three: Location. Learning. Connections. May 6-9, New York City:- American Planning Association (APA)
Call for entries (2): WAF Awards + INSIDE World Festival of Interiors Awards 2017 changing the face of global architecture and interiors; deadline: May 18- World Architecture Festival (WAF) / INSIDE World Festival of Interiors
ANN feature: 2017 AIA Architecture Firm Award Winners: An Interview with Bill Leddy, Marsha Maytum, and Richard Stacy of LEDDY MAYTUM STACY Architects: "Our track record of pushing to make a difference shows that a small firm can make a difference." - Marsha Maytum [images]- ArchNewsNow.com
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