Today’s News - Wednesday, September 20, 2017
EDITOR'S NOTE: Apologies for late posting - we ran into some technical difficulties (again - ooofffaaa).
● A report on how the "European recession prompted a new generation of graduates to try their luck in China," but "Western architects' allure may be wearing off" (take heart: there's "an increasingly buoyant job market" back home).
● Heymann finds frustration in the "ugly pet" syndrome when it comes to green design: it's "homely well-intentioned construction that only a mother could love" instead of being "revolutionary to architectural form" (for now, anyway - though Murcutt and others do offer inspiring moments).
● Fulcher parses the jurors' take on the "10 star-studded teams" vying to design London's Holocaust Memorial, and his own take on each scheme: Adjaye's team offered "possibly the most compelling of all," and a few "shouldn't have made the final shortlist."
● Hawthorne has a very interesting take on how Apple and Amazon are taking "two paths to the same conclusion - that tech companies owe nothing to the American city" (e.g. Apple's "town squares" suggest that while it "has no desire to be in a city, it certainly wants its customers to think they are").
● Another most interesting take on Apple's "use of the term 'town square'" that "illustrates something bigger than a questionable branding strategy" - it's "the desire to look like a good citizen, but not necessarily act like one" (and it's not just Apple).
● Murali says it's time to go back to the drawing board in designing India's "ultra-mega-world-class-city" Amaravati: "Public money is being wasted on political hubris and nonsensical notions of public architecture" (Maki is out; Foster and Hafeez are in - for now).
● Bozikovic cheers Toronto's Eglinton Crosstown LRT that "makes infrastructure exciting again," and "shows how good urban design and architecture can be part of the package" (but a caveat: "designers are way down in the hierarchy").
● King x 2: He finds "reason for optimism" in Cavagnero and SOM's new wing of the Moscone Center: it "does its best to bring architectural nuance to what could be a numbing show. Thin icing on a massive cake, perhaps, but welcome all the same."
● He parses San Fran's new rooftop park atop the new transit hub with rules based on Yerba Buena Gardens, but a "programming model" based on NYC's Bryant Park: it "will be considered public even though a private firm handles maintenance and security."
● Litt considers a counter-proposal to Rosales's design for a (now over-budget) pedestrian bridge in Cleveland "inspired by plans for the $225 million Penn's Landing project in Philadelphia" (though it wouldn't cost that much - one can hope).
● Stern warnings from Scottish architects that the £414m Scottish Parliament building "might not last 40 years": "The Holyrood building is so ridiculously over-engineered."
● Scottish architects are also "furious" about an RIAS pop-up installation in Glasgow Central station, "branding it 'embarrassing', 'clumsy' and 'offensive to the profession.'"
● Bernstein cheers Flansburgh's new HQ for a world-famous dance festival: the Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio Is "a gorgeous high-tech building, at once casual and contemporary" - and "feels like it's been there for ages."
● A little-known (some say haunted) long-abandoned hospital-turned-asylum designed by Cass Gilbert in the 1930s could become a "crown jewel" on a "pristine slice" of Connecticut's shoreline.
● Dickinson cheers Christopher Alexander's new "Building Beauty" architecture program: "Unless we start teaching that the basis of designing buildings is found in the human capacity to create beauty (versus mimicking a style), architects will consign themselves to be aesthetic 'pickers.' The trick is to teach that truth."
● A profile of Weizman and the Forensic Architecture project that reconstructs what happened in devastated war zones to determine human rights violations.
● A look at how Dallas' Latinos in Architecture group "is stepping up to be a mentor in its community" to encourage diversity in the profession - it must be working - new chapters are popping up elsewhere.
● Canada's team for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, led by Douglas Cardinal, includes Indigenous designers from across Canada and the U.S. to create "an interesting narrative connecting past and present."
● Tezuka Architects takes home the $100,000 (CAD) 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize for Excellence in Architecture for its Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo.
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More freedom, bigger buildings: Europe's young architects choose life in China: Although..."starchitects" like Zaha Hadid and Rem Koolhaas had been cashing in...the European recession prompted a new generation of graduates to try their luck...Should they choose to return home, [they] can expect to find an increasingly buoyant job market...some believe that the golden era for overseas architects is coming to an end...Western architects' allure may be wearing off. -- Alina Valcarce; SURE Architecture; GroupGSA; Nicola Saladino/reMIX studio; Anna Pipilis/Studio O; MAD [images]- CNN Style
David Heymann: The Ugly Pet: Sustainability should be revolutionary to architectural form. But it hasn’t been, at least not yet: The experience of sustainable space is hyper-mediated...scripted like some organically and ethically sourced food product, with an explanation of its goodness provided, somehow. Hence all the words. Frustrating. -- Thomas Herzog; KieranTimberlake; Glenn Murcutt; Baumschlager Eberle [images]- Places Journal
Merlin Fulcher: Holocaust Memorial contest: What the jury heard: 10 star-studded teams...£40 million monument...next to the Houses of Parliament...one of the most eagerly awaited public projects in recent years...AJ’s verdict on how the different schemes fared... -- Adjaye Associates/Ron Arad Associates/Gustafson Porter + Bowman/DHA/All Clear/Accept & Proceed/Abigail Morris/Jonathan Safran Foer; Allied Works/Ralph Appelbaum Associates/Robert Montgomery/OLIN/Lisa Strausfeld; Zaha Hadid Architects/Anish Kapoor/Event London/Sophie Walker Studio/Lord Cultural Resources/Arup Lighting Design/Whybrow/and Access=Design; Caruso St John/Rachel Whiteread/Marcus Taylor/Vogt Landscape Architects/Arup Lighting Design/David Bonnett Associates; Diamond Schmitt Architects/Martha Schwartz Partners/Ralph Appelbaum Associates; Foster + Partners/ichal Rovner and Future\Pace/Local Projects/Avner Shalev/Simon Schama/Samantha Heywood/Tillotson Design Associates/David Bonnett Associates/Whybrow; Heneghan Peng Architects/Gustafson Porter + Bowman/Event/Bruce Mau Design/BuroHappold/Bartenbach/Duncan Boddy (PFB Construction); John McAslan + Partners/MASS Design Group/DP9/Ralph Appelbaum Associates/Local Projects/Modus Operandi/JencksSquared/Lily Jencks Studio; Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects/David Morley Architects/Ralph Appelbaum Associates/Hemgård Landscape Design; Studio Libeskind/Haptic Architects/Martha Schwartz Partners/Lord Cultural Resources/BuroHappold/Alan Baxter, Garbers & James/James E. Young- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Christopher Hawthorne: Apple and Amazon take two paths to the same conclusion - that tech companies owe nothing to the American city: Amazon is framing its campaign to build a second headquarters first as a sort of stress test of competing cities - and perhaps of American urbanism itself...distancing itself from one fellow tech behemoth in particular: Apple...the company has built an exquisite monument to Steve Jobs, as opposed to a place for the future Apple to define itself.- Los Angeles Times
Here's Why People Were Mad When Apple Called Its Stores "Town Squares": Championing urban, civic values in design - or at least rhetoric - is how the tech industry sells itself to the public: ...the use of the term “town square” illustrates something bigger than a questionable branding strategy...It’s not just Apple...their desire to approximate urbanism in fact reflects the broader contradictions in their outward-facing image: the desire to look like a good citizen, but not necessarily act like one. -- Allison Arieff; SPR; Jerold Kayden; Anthony Maniscalco; Christopher Hawthorne- BuzzFeed
Tara Murali: Irrationalism in city planning: It is better to go back to the drawing board in designing Amaravati: ...an ‘ultra-mega-world-class-city’ that was being rushed through by destroying thousands of acres of prime farm and forest land...This unscientific and irrational approach to city planning and architecture displays the extent to which the malaise has spread. Public money is being wasted on political hubris and nonsensical notions of public architecture. -- Foster + Partners; Fumihiko Maki/Maki and Associates; Hafeez Contractor- The Hindu (India)
Alex Bozikovic: Metrolinx's Eglinton Crosstown makes infrastructure exciting again: ...when enormous building projects are classed as "infrastructure," too often the idea of design quality disappears...LRT line...shows how good urban design and architecture can be part of the package...Yet the $6-billion effort also reveals just how hard it is...to focus on delivering high-quality places for the public...designers are way down in the hierarchy...The stakes are high...Do we want the best? Or do we simply want the trains to run on time? -- gh3; IBI; NORR; DIALOG; Daoust Lestage; Marianne McKenna- Globe and Mail (Canada)
John King: New Moscone Center strives for elegance amid enormity: ...a wing that does its best to bring architectural nuance to what could be a numbing show. Thin icing on a massive cake, perhaps, but welcome all the same...the test...will be whether the architects have succeeded in making Moscone feel like something other than a super-scaled world unto itself. Judging by the fresh installment, there’s reason for optimism. -- Mark Cavagnero; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) [images]- San Francisco Chronicle
John King: Transit hub park using sites in SF, New York as models: When the rooftop park opens next spring...the rules will be based on the ones at Yerba Buena Gardens. The programming model is something more distant: New York City’s Bryant Park...will be considered public even though...a private firm handles maintenance and security. -- PWP Landscape Architecture- San Francisco Chronicle
Steven Litt: Green Ribbon Coalition touts "land bridge" for downtown lakefront instead of Miguel Rosales design: ...would cost $100 million...would create a landscaped platform with more than five acres of park space, sloping down from the Mall to the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...inspired by plans for the 11-acre, $225 million Penn's Landing project in Philadelphia... -- Ted Ferringer/Bialosky Cleveland [images]- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Experts warn £414m Scottish Parliament building might not last 40 years: ...building won't stand test of time like old parliament building which was completed in 1639: ...could reach the end of its “useful life” by 2060: ...MSPs [Members of the Scottish Parliament] could be forced to find another home or approve a massive refit of the building...“The Holyrood building...is so ridiculously over-engineered.” -- Enric Miralles/EMBT/RMJM (2004); David Black; Peter Wilson- Daily Record (Scotland)
Furious Scottish architects complain about 'embarrassing' RIAS pop-up: ...have slammed...installation in Glasgow Central station, branding it ‘embarrassing’, ‘clumsy’ and ‘offensive to the profession’...small structure showcasing 100 of the best ‘one-off houses or housing developments built in Scotland since 2000’...small structure showcasing 100 of the best ‘one-off houses or housing developments built in Scotland since 2000’... [images]- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Fred A. Bernstein: The New Jacob’s Pillow Performing Arts Studio Is a Study in Cutting-Edge Design: At the New England HQ of a world-famous dance festival, a gorgeous high-tech building works hard to blend in: ...the building [in Becket, Massachusetts] is no simple rectangle; angles dictated in part by topography make it look at once casual and contemporary...its placement among large boulders and trees makes it feel like it's been there for ages. -- Flansburgh Architects [images]- Architectural Digest
In Ruins by the Shore, Some See Connecticut’s ‘Crown Jewel’: On a pristine slice of shoreline, a vacant sanitarium designed by Cass Gilbert [in the 1930s] could be transformed into a lodge that might help the state’s ailing finances: The proposed lodge, which is being weighed against options including simply clearing the property, is just the latest wrinkle in over two decades of floated possibilities...Neighbors, however, are wary of development that would disrupt their tranquil existence. [images]- New York Times
Duo Dickinson: Christopher Alexander’s New Architecture Program Offers an Alternative to Style and Orthodoxy: ...called “Building Beauty"...This new voice is essential...either education changes or the humans involved in architecture will continue to become less relevant...Unless we start teaching that the basis of designing buildings is found in the human capacity to create beauty (versus mimicking a style), architects will consign themselves to be aesthetic “pickers"...The trick is to teach that truth.- Common Edge
Meet the Team Investigating Human Rights Violations with Forensic Architecture: Eyal Weizman uses floor plans, cell phone footage, and road maps to reconstruct what happened in devastated war zones...and investigate whether the attack may have violated international law. [video]- Vice
Designing Diversity in Architecture: Dallas' Latinos in Architecture group is stepping up to be a mentor in its community: ...active in visiting local schools, serving as mentors, and shedding light on a career in architecture...new chapters popping up in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, San Francisco... -- AIA Dallas; Texas Society of Architects; Eduardo Castañeda/CallisonRTKL; Zaida Basora/Huitt-Zollars- D Magazine (Dallas, Texas)
Indigenous Group UNCEDED to Represent Canada at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale: Joining them is a team of roughly 18 Indigenous designers from across Canada and the U.S...many different cultures, each with their own histories, are represented in the group, and it creates an interesting narrative connecting past and present. -- Douglas Cardinal; Gerald McMaster; David Fortin; Patrick Stewart- Urban Toronto
Tezuka Architects: Wins 2017 Moriyama RAIC International Prize for Excellence in Architecture: Fuji Kindergarten in Tokyo "looks like a simple structure. But it's a layering of many ideas combined"...$100,000 (CAD)...celebrates a single work of architecture that is judged to be transformative within its societal context... -- Takaharu Tezuka- Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)
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