Today’s News - Wednesday, August 16, 2017
● Kamin x 2 (sadly, obituaries): Birkerts was "best known for light-filled modernist buildings," and the 2014 Latvian National Library in Riga, "a work of great personal meaning" (we'll miss his occasional comments on the day's news).
● Macsai, who specialized in multifamily housing, was "a colorful man" known for the very colorful (very purple!) Purple Hotel, and some of Chicago's "most eye-catching high-rises."
● Trump's infrastructure plan: environmental rules "aimed at reducing exposure to flooding, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change" be damned (we, of course, can hear the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Home Builders cheer).
● Agbo pens a letter from Abuja, Nigeria: "In spite of all its current problems, Abuja still has the opportunity to realize its ambitions of becoming a model for contemporary place making in Africa."
● White ponders Calgary's growing presence on the international scene (with two international conferences converging on Calgary in September), and whether "the average Calgarian really cares about urban design" (the answer is Yes).
● Malaysian architects are being overlooked because of the "influx of foreign architects, coupled with the colonial mind-set": "The last time we had faith in a local architect to take on the daunting task of building an iconic structure was in 1965. How long more will we wait to put our trust in another?"
● On a brighter note, "homegrown" talent in the Philippines is "beginning to show strong competitiveness - they do not just refer to value for money and commercialism but 'value for humanity and community, and environmental consciousness.'"
● Murphy visits Spaceport America: "For better and worse, this is the new face of infrastructure - a kind of futuristic Rorschach test" (great overview of the current, privately-funded space race, history and future, science and poetry - even the footnotes are fascinating!).
● Betsky explains why "architects designing for America's future suburbs should look back to the country's unsung modernists," the "timber constructivists who created site-appropriate and livable timber homes."
● Come September, the Architecture Center Houston, with its "highly functional" and "seriously flexible" interior, "stands a good chance of transforming former Produce Row into a street of creativity for the 21st century."
● Saffron has "a leisurely afternoon conversation" with Wilcots, "the overlooked African American architect who completed Louis Kahn's masterpiece" in Dhaka: now 89 and retired, "the Bangladesh government still relies on him to interpret Kahn's intentions. He became the Kahn whisperer."
● King admits that "bringing the Vaillancourt Fountain back to life was not a pretty sight - but a treat nonetheless," and should be restored ("at the very least," please "clean off the pigeon droppings").
● Budds talks to MVVA's Urbanski re: finding a city's "mute button hiding in plain sight - when thoughtful landscape architecture enters the picture, there's a shot at some aural relief."
● Darley cheers the "recycling of the spoils of Crossrail excavations into Europe's largest manmade coastal reserve" - what could have been an airport now sports "paths and hides for the ornithologically-inclined."
● There are "lessons engineers and architects should learn from nature and topology optimization: when you are aiming to design something that is unique and eye catching, then biomimicry and topology optimization tools can be invaluable."
● Kohlstedt reflects on NBBJ's "reflective skyscraper" that "bounces sunlight into shaded space: the project highlights how a limited resource (like sunlight) can be more strategically distributed in a city - by design."
● The 2017 Palladio Awards honor 11 firms for outstanding work in traditional design (great presentations).
● Shelter Global's Dencity 2017 Competition honors "3 winning designs for unplanned cities that focus on the people who live in them" (link to great presentation).
● The Society of Architectural Historians 2017 SAH/Mellon Author Award winners will receive financial help to publish "their first monograph on the history of the built environment."
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Blair Kamin: Obituary: Gunnar Birkerts, acclaimed Midwestern architect, 92: ...best known for light-filled modernist buildings...moved to the Detroit area in the early 1950s when that city's architectural scene was surging with energy....worked for...Eero Saarinen...later became chief designer [for] Minoru Yamasaki...In 2014, Birkerts realized a work of great personal meaning, the Latvian National Library in Riga.- Chicago Tribune
Blair Kamin: Obituary: John Macsai, 91: A colorful man best known for a colorful building, Chicago architect...designed Lincolnwood's Purple Hotel and some of Lake Shore Drive's most eye-catching high-rises...His specialty was housing...lead author of the 1976 book "Housing," which focused on the design, building, financing and management of multifamily housing. -- Robert Hausner; Holabird & Root; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); PACE Associates; Wendell Campbell- Chicago Tribune
Trump infrastructure push rolls back environmental rules: ...revokes an Obama-era executive order aimed at reducing exposure to flooding, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change...required that builders factor in scientific projections for increased flooding and ensure projects can withstand rising sea levels and stronger downpours..."Eliminating this requirement is self-defeating; we can either build smarter now, or put taxpayers on the hook to pay exponentially more when it floods. And it will."- Reuters
Mathias Agbo, Jr.: Letter From Abuja: The Fading Sheen of Nigeria’s Capital City: Originally planned to replace Lagos, the new city now has many of the problems associated with the old one...the city’s newer districts...still lack basic amenities like roads and streetlights...also grappling with the issue of potable water...In spite of all its current problems, Abuja still has the opportunity to realize its ambitions of becoming a model for contemporary place making in Africa...It behooves authorities to see the challenges as an opportunity to organically build an all-encompassing Abuja.- Common Edge
Richard White: What projects are worthy of Mayor's Urban Design Awards? Does the average Calgarian really care about urban design? David Down, Calgary’s chief urban designer, thinks we do: ...Calgary’s local urban design community - with the assistance of signature international designers - have created a critical mass of good urban design projects that have captured the attention of the international design community. -- Ground 3 Landscape Architecture; Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC); Walk21 Conference; International Play Association World Conference- Calgary Herald (Canada)
Change or crumble: Malaysia may have achieved her independence six decades ago, but...we may still be bound to the shackles of the colonial mind-set...Now...we’re ready to compete, our good architects are being overlooked...The last time we had faith in a local architect to take on the daunting task of building an iconic structure was in 1965. How long more will we wait to put our trust in another? -- Baharuddin Kassim; Azim A. Aziz/ Zulqaisar Hamidin/ATSA Architects; Che Wan Ahmad/Chewan Architects; Hud Abu Bakar/RSP Architects; Lilian Tay/Veritas- New Straits Times (Malaysia)
Architects and the boom! Architecture industry gets boost from real estate sector’s growth: ...homegrown architects are beginning to show strong competitiveness and an utmost desire to pursue design excellence...they do not just refer to value for money and commercialism but “value for humanity and community, and environmental consciousness.” -- Loloy Castro; United Architects of the Philippines; ArchiGlobal, Arkinamix, and Canizares Architects; Jaynice Bandalan/Goudie Associates- Cebu Daily News (Philippines)
Jack Murphy: Surface to Unlimited: A visit to Spaceport America, where the coming of the Second Space Age is already history: For better and worse, this is the new face of infrastructure...a building meant to be seen from the sky...The building’s swoop is heroic but enigmatic; a kind of futuristic Rorschach test...identity issues have always been a problem for Spaceport America, which has grafted a tourism business onto a major scientific endeavor. It’s fair to ask, What is the point of all this? -- Foster + Partners; SMPC Architects [images]- Places Journal
Aaron Betsky: We have much to learn from the "timber constructivists": Architects designing for America's future suburbs should look back to the country's unsung modernists, who created site-appropriate and liveable timber homes: They eschewed monumentality, but not sweep or even grandeur. -- Frank Lloyd Wright; Carl Strauss; Ralph Rapson; John Howe; Edward Fickett; William Wurster; Bernard Maybeck; Moore Lyndon Turnbull Whitaker; John Yeon; Paul Kirk; Jim Olsen/Olsen Kundig; Jim Cutler; Miller Hull- Dezeen
A new center for architecture in downtown Houston: 1906 Riesner Building is being remade into 'the cultural heart' of an improving district: The highly functional interior is seriously flexible...Architecture Center Houston stands a good chance of becoming the cultural heart of the district...and in the process transforming former Produce Row into a street of creativity for the 21st century. -- Murphy Mears Architects [images]- Houston Chronicle
Inga Saffron: The overlooked African American architect who completed Louis Kahn's masterpiece [National Assembly in Dhaka]: Henry Wilcots’ story is especially remarkable because black architects are almost invisible in the profession...now 89...retired from architecture, but the Bangladesh government still relies on him to interpret Kahn’s intentions...His calm demeanor and their experiences in Bangladesh...enabled him to develop an easy working relationship...He became the Kahn whisperer. -- David Wisdom & Associates; Nicholas Gianopulos,/Keast & Hood [images]- Philadelphia Inquirer
John King: Testing the waters for bringing the Vaillancourt Fountain back to life: ... it was not a pretty sight. But the watery show on the Embarcadero was a treat nonetheless - one that demonstrates why this long-scorned public art deserves to be restored and enhanced...if it’s crude - well, crude can be compelling. Especially since the fountain now is an artifact - not a warning of what is to come, but a reminder of midcentury mistakes. -- Armand Vaillancourt; Lawrence Halprin (1971); Charles Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) [images]- San Francisco Chronicle
Diana Budds: The Secret Life Of Parks: Your city has a mute button, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Just ask the landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates: ...the sounds of a city are inescapably earsplitting...Could better design help? Turns out that when thoughtful landscape architecture enters the picture, there’s a shot at some aural relief. -- Matthew Urbanski [images]- Fast Company / Co.Design
Gillian Darley: Recycling the spoils of Crossrail: Turning subsoil from Crossrail excavations into a new nature reserve is a win win situation: ...Wallasea Island Wild Coast...Europe’s largest manmade coastal reserve...a restored landscape, gradually opening to visitors...All of this might have been lost to London’s proposed third airport in the 1970s...There is...something obscurely satisfying about all this. The idea of reuse, recycling or repurposing...is a kind of soft ergonomic triumph. [images]- BD/Building Design (UK)
Lessons Engineers and Architects Should Learn from Nature and Topology Optimization: Biomimicry Marries Aesthetics and Engineering - Not Just One or the Other: ...is topology optimization a must for AEC? Not really...Everything you need...is pulled from a library of parts. However, when you are aiming to design something...that is unique and eye catching, then biomimicry and topology optimization tools can be invaluable. -- Luca Frattari/Altair; solidThinking Converge Conference- ENGINEERING.com
Kurt Kohlstedt: No Shadow Tower: Reflective Skyscraper Bounces Sunlight into Shaded Space: NBBJ developed this project in response to issues of light access is growing cities around the world...After a number of iterations (some strange and dysfunctional)...an elegant pair of curved structures emerged...It has its limits...Still, the project highlights how a limited resource (like sunlight) can be more strategically distributed in a city by design. -- Chris Foyd/Perkins+Will [images]- 99% Invisible
2017 Palladio Awards: recognizes 11 firms for outstanding work in traditional design. -- PBDW Architects/Herzog & de Meuron; EYP Architecture & Engineering; OLSON LEWIS + Architects; O’Brien & Keane; Scott Henson Architect/Steven B. Jacobs Group; John B. Murray Architect; Nequette Architecture Design; Ferguson & Shamamian; Fairfax & Sammons; Land Plus Associates; Gerner Kronick & Valcarcel Architects [images]- Traditional Building Magazine / Period Homes
3 Winning Designs for Unplanned Cities Focus on the People Who Live in Them: Shelter Global’s Dencity 2017 Competition urges architects and planners...to “foster new ideas on how to handle the growing density of unplanned cities"...first place winner for 2017 is a water system for refugee camps in Jordan...second and third place winners address water challenges at the Syria-Turkey border and Delhi. -- Majed Abdulsamad/Jun Seong Ahn/Maria Isabel Carrasco/Haochen Yang; Abdelrahman Magdy/Islam El Mashtooly/Idil Kantarci/Muhammad Habsah; Adèle Hopquin [images]- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Society of Architectural Historians Announces 2017 SAH/Mellon Author Award Winners: ...to provide financial relief to scholars publishing their first monograph on the history of the built environment, and who are responsible for paying for rights and permissions...A total of $24,831 was awarded... -- hanchal Dadlani; Farhan Karim; Fabiola Lopez-Duran; Conor P. Lucey; Sun-Young Park; Avigail Sachs; Suzanne Strum; Zachary J. Violette- Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)
Nuts + Bolts #15: From Adversary to Partner: Managing Relationships in Construction Projects: Three core practices to help keep the peace while keeping a project moving forward. By Lisa Anders, LEED AP- ArchNewsNow.com
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