Today’s News - Tuesday, June 27, 2017
● We are so saddened by the news that we've lost the ever-enthusiastic urbanist and editor Branden Klayko - at only 33.
● Jenkins minces no words: "The lesson from Grenfell is simple: stop building antisocial, high-maintenance, disempowering, unnecessary, mostly ugly" residential towers. "There is no need to build high at all."
● Anderton queries fireman-turned-engineer Wittasek re: lessons from Grenfell: "the U.S. has a pretty good record because designers have developed a 'belt and suspenders' approach with multiple redundancies built in."
● Budds parses a new study by the Center for Active Design that actually quantifies the impact that "simple interventions" like benches and greenery have on the "civic life of a city."
● Grabar says Bloomberg's $200 Million American Cities Initiative may not solve big problems, but even "small grants give mayors the political capital go out on a limb with endeavors that might not seem like an obvious use of public money."
● Katz and Noring use Copenhagen as a case study of institutional innovation regenerating a city - the results "have been nothing short of transformative - smart city institutions matter as much as innovative urban techniques and tactics."
● Pedersen visited Copenhagen ("an American Portland - except better"), and "left with an acute case of urban envy" - it's a "shared belief that transcends urban design - getting that level of buy-in is ultimately not a design problem, but a political and cultural challenge."
● King gives thumbs-up to a long-term (well, for three years) homeless shelter that "is an odd cross between institutional and inviting. Ad hoc yet humane" ("Inchworm green" and "Aegean blue" included).
● Central Florida "might soon become one of the few places in the nation using metal shipping containers to build affordable apartment complexes aimed at millennials, baby boomers and anyone else on a budget and seeking nontraditional living quarters."
● In Melbourne, John Wardle Architects' "benevolent office tower" is heading for approval: "It's not often that one collates commercial buildings with a social conscience," but "in off-peak office hours the showers and change room facilities will be opened up to local homeless people."
● The expiration of a 30-year deal leaves 80 artist/residents in L.A.'s Santa Fe Art Colony fearing dramatic rent increases will force them out; fingers crossed that "a group of outside investors is prepared to make a bid to purchase the property if necessary."
● Bozikovic cheers Diamond Schmitt Architects' "very tasteful for 2017, tightly detailed and hospitable" and "sleek addition" to Ottawa's National Arts Centre, but it does raise questions when it comes to modernizing a textbook Brutalist fortress.
● Hawthorne sees "one obvious criterion guiding the design" of the Museum of the American Revolution in Philly - "the building had to embody a certain Americanness - we desperately need a new definition of Americanness in our architecture."
● McGivern gets Piano to explain why he rejects comparisons between Spain's new Centro Botín and the Guggenheim Bilbao: "I suppose our strategy was the opposite of the Guggenheim. How many Bilbao effects can you have after all?"
● Safdie tells the tale of Habitat 67 - and reflects "on how we must radically change our thinking if we are to build the dense, liveable cities of our future."
● Gendall talks to Safdie and Blake Gopnik about what it was like to live in Habitat 67: "Safdie is overseeing the painstaking historic restoration" of an apartment, with the intention of giving it "to a Montreal institution that will make it open to the public."
● On a more depressing note, Sasaki's Citicorp fountain has been demolished, and the sunken plaza "eviscerated": "AN is planning a follow-up story - the approvals process that led to the fountain's destruction deserves explanation." (we think so, too - it's been our water-song subway stop for a gazillion years!)
● On a brighter note, a 1970s co-op in the Bronx "gets an elegant, High Line-inspired green roof" that is more a "communal garden that covers two-thirds of an acre."
● CTBUH crunches the numbers in a study that "presents data on the height and prevalence of tall timber buildings around the world" (along with a handful of theoretical "Vision" projects).
● Canadian giant Stantec acquires Denver-based RNL Design: "The two firms are no strangers to one another - they've collaborated on more than a dozen projects over the years."
● One we couldn't resist: Sperber offers a response to Ivanka Trump and her "manual for architecting the life you want to live": "She demonstrates that a white, powerful and enormously wealthy woman can be as ignorant to her own privilege as any white man."
● Call for entries (deadline extended!): ARCHITECT Studio Prize for "thoughtful, innovative, and ethical studio courses at accredited architecture schools."
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Obituary: Branden Klayko, urbanist and former AN editor, 33: ...former senior web editor at The Architect’s Newspaper...he will perhaps be best remembered for Broken Sidewalk, a website devoted to his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky.- The Architect's Newspaper
Simon Jenkins: The lesson from Grenfell is simple: stop building residential towers: ...a modern, sociable city needs neighbourhoods...residential towers...are antisocial, high-maintenance, disempowering, unnecessary, mostly ugly, and they can never be truly safe...We gasp at their magnificence, their extravagance, their sheer height. Yet like Grenfell they are alien creatures in a British city...There is no need to build high at all.- Guardian (UK)
DNA/Frances Anderton: How safe from fire are high rise buildings? London’s Grenfell Tower fire shows what can go wrong when a high rise building is not designed or retrofitted in accordance with fire and safety needs. But the fire safety engineer for Wilshire Grand says...the US has a pretty good record...because designers have applied lessons learned from past disasters...and developed a “belt and suspenders” approach with multiple redundancies built in. Q&A with Nathan B. Wittasek/Simpson Gumpertz & Heger- KCRW (Los Angeles)
Diana Budds: Science Is Proving Why Urban Design Matters More Than Ever: Benches and greenery may seem inconsequential, but a new study quantifies how deeply they impact the civic life of a city: "The Assembly Civic Engagement Survey"...found that simple interventions can make a big difference...Here are three takeaways: ...small details, which often get eliminated from projects due to budget restrictions, actually have more value than decision-makers might assume. -- Center for Active Design [link to report]- Fast Company / Co.Design
Henry Grabar: Michael Bloomberg’s $200 Million Gift to Cities Won’t Solve Their Big Problems. Could It Solve Some Small Ones? ...$200 million is pocket change against the billions the Trump budget cuts [to] federal outlays on which cities depend. Still, small grants give mayors the political capital to try new things, or go out on a limb with endeavors that might not seem like an obvious use of public money. -- American Cities Initiative- Slate
Bruce Katz & Luise Noring: The Secret Copenhagen Model for Regenerating Cities: A little known publicly owned corporation...is one of the main reasons for this remarkable turnaround...The results of this institutional model have been nothing short of transformative...The upshot of the Copenhagen story is that smart city institutions matters as much as innovative urban techniques and tactics.- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Martin C. Pedersen: What We Can (and Can’t) Learn from Copenhagen: [I] left with an acute case of urban envy...the seemingly effortless civility, [its] amazing level of grace, is not an accident of place or happenstance. It’s the product of a shared belief that transcends urban design, even though the city is a veritable laboratory for pretty much all of the best practices in the field...getting that level of buy-in...is ultimately not a design problem, but a political and cultural challenge. -- Jan Gehl/Gehl Institute- Common Edge
John King: When architects design a long-term homeless shelter: Dogpatch Navigation Center...the first designed from the ground-up by architects at the Department of Public Works...shows the effort to create a framework that serves the residents while not disrupting what’s around it...enclave is an odd cross between institutional and inviting. Ad hoc yet humane...intended to be in place for only three years, so no permanent structures could be installed. -- Paul De Freitas; Edgar Lopez [images]- San Francisco Chronicle
Central Florida may get apartments built using shipping containers: ...might soon become one of the few places in the nation using metal shipping containers to build affordable apartment complexes...metal-frame apartments, 40 feet long and 8 feet wide, are aimed at millennials, baby boomers and anyone else on a budget and seeking nontraditional living quarters. -- Stephen Bender [images]- Orlando Sentinel (Florida)
John Wardle Architects receives approval for benevolent office tower: It’s not often that one collates commercial buildings with a social conscience. The two are implicitly linked [in] impending Melbourne project, Northumberland...will be one of the first projects to contribute to the Homes for Homes initiative...In off-peak office hours...the showers and change room facilities will be opened up to local homeless people as safe, clean spaces to occupy. [images]- Architecture & Design (Australia)
One of Los Angeles' Oldest Artist Communities Fights to Stay in Arts District: The Santa Fe Art Colony, a converted garment factory...Many of the 80 artists...fear a dramatic rent increase will force them out...the city’s only rent-restricted property dedicated solely to artist housing...owners gave residents 6-month notice in March that rents will increase as much 80% and in some cases will double...a group of outside investors and is prepared to make a bid to purchase the property if necessary.- KCET.org (California)
Alex Bozikovic: The Brutalist Truth about The National Arts Centre: The Ottawa complex’s $110.5-million renovation aims to draw a broader community with open, hospitable architecture. But will this approach undercut the very qualities that defined the country’s flagship performing-arts hub? ...a sleek addition by Diamond Schmitt Architects - very tasteful for 2017, tightly detailed and hospitable. -- Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold, Sise (1969) [images]- Globe and Mail (Canada)
Christopher Hawthorne: An identity crisis for American architecture? If there was one obvious criterion guiding the design of the new Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia...it was that the building had to embody a certain Americanness...But what is Americanness in 2017? ...museum is an endorsement of American continuity...I hope that the larger point I’m trying to make is clear...we desperately need a new definition of Americanness in our architecture... -- Robert A.M. Stern Architects- Los Angeles Times
Hannah McGivern: Spain’s new Centro Botín shuns the ‘Bilbao effect’: Renzo Piano rejects comparisons between Santander’s latest art centre and the Guggenheim museum: ...to be as invisible as possible from the city centre. “I suppose our strategy was the opposite of the Guggenheim. How many Bilbao effects can you have after all?” ...unlike flashier art museums...the centre’s primary mission is to serve the local community.- The Art Newspaper
Moshe Safdie Tells the Tale of Habitat 67 - And Predicts Housing’s Future: On the occasion of Habitat 67’s 50th anniversary, Safdie addressed a crowd at the Centre de design de l'UQAM and reflected on how we must radically change our thinking if we are to build the dense, liveable cities of our future. [images]- Metropolis Magazine
John Gendall: What It Was Like to Live Inside Habitat 67: AD spoke with Moshe Safdie and a former resident of the iconic Brutalist housing development about living inside the top level apartment: "We used a lot of Legos. We bought out entire stores of Legos"...Safdie is overseeing the painstaking historic restoration of the apartment's interior...“My intention is to gift it to a Montreal institution that will make it open to the public.” -- "Habitat ’67 vers l’avenir / The Shape of Things to Come" at the Université du Québec à Montréal- Architectural Digest
Landmarked Sasaki fountain at Citicorp demolished: ...eviscerated the sunken plaza...eliminating its late modern fountain and plaza, one of the last surviving works by Hideo Sasaki’s firm in New York...AN is planning a follow-up story...the approvals process that led to the fountain’s destruction deserves explanation... -- Hugh Stubbins and Associates; Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation/TCLF; Gensler- The Architect's Newspaper
Bronx co-op building gets an elegant, High Line-inspired green roof: The 30,000-square-foot garden features winding paths, a gazebo, and more: ...the Whitehall in Riverdale...communal garden that covers two-thirds of an acre...more like a small park than a standard-issue terrace. -- G. Masucci Architects; Site Works [images]- Curbed New York
Tall Buildings in Numbers: CTBUH Tall Timber: A Global Audit: ...study presents data on the height and prevalence of tall timber buildings around the world, as the tall building industry continues to embrace timber structural systems + a selection of theoretical "Vision" projects. [images]- Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Top Denver architectural firm RNL Design acquired by global Canadian giant Stantec: The two firms are no strangers to one another - they’ve collaborated on more than a dozen projects over the years- Denver Post
Esther Sperber: Architecting Your Life: A Response to Ivanka Trump: She tells us that her book ["Women Who Work"] is a “manual for architecting the life you want to live"...I was troubled by her limited understanding of architecture and its complexities...She demonstrates that a white, powerful and enormously wealthy woman can be as ignorant to her own privilege as any white man. -- Studio ST Architects- Ms. Magazine
Call for entries - deadline extended: ARCHITECT Studio Prize: recognizes thoughtful, innovative, and ethical studio courses at accredited architecture schools; cash prizes; deadline: June 30 (late deadline: July 7)- Architect Magazine
ANN feature: Charles F. Bloszies: Left Coast Reflections #2: "Architect" is Not a Verb, Ivanka: The profession has a problem, and the advice proffered in "Women Who Work" (or any other insipid milkshake) is no cure.- ArchNewsNow.com
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