Today’s News - Wednesday, November 8, 2017
It's a Louvre Abu Dhabi kind of day (it opens Saturday!):
● Wainwright offers cheers: Nouvel's "spectacular palace of culture shimmers in the desert. There is an air of sheikh chic to it all" - and jeers: "there's no whitewashing the appalling treatment of the laborers who built its light-filled halls."
● Pes says the Louvre Abu Dhabi "puts a $1 billion spotlight on globalization," but "the stress on equality across eras and cultures sits oddly with the blind eye it turns to the long history of human inequality and exploitation" (then there's the "elephant in the room - when, or indeed whether, the other planned museums would be built").
● Mannes-Abbott ponders the Louvre Abu Dhabi: is it a "universal museum or memorial to forced labor? Nouvel claims to have checked" working conditions "and saw 'nothing' of concern"; he "refers to evidence of modern-day slavery as an 'old question'" (he "has always been a doughty self-publicist" - ouch!).
● Suri's Q&A with Nouvel: he "pulls back the curtain on the import, challenges, and even politics of his most highly anticipated project": it is "is one of the best works I have been fortunate to achieve" (no mention of labor conditions).
In other news:
● Hume on how Google's "Sidewalk Labs' admiration for Toronto's 'openness to new things' could start to wear thin" when it faces "the parochial realities of city hall" - but "who knows? - things might just work out."
● Australia's coal capital "is reinventing itself as a beachier Boston and, in the process, bringing its young people back," but Newcastle still has issues to overcome.
● Jiao, Miró & McGrath weigh in on "what public transit can learn from Uber and Lyft": "Uberization" has already begun with some cities already "teaming up with ride-hailing companies to provide on-demand public transit" (some appalling rush-hour traffic congestion/commute time stats!).
● Meanwhile, "the latest fake town built for self-driving cars has opened in South Korea that will simulate downtown areas, city outskirts, and 35 different driving conditions"; it joins "a growing village of faux communities built" for such purpose.
● Lutz, former vice chairman and head of product development at GM, explains why "we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile - in 15 to 20 years human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways" ("probably everybody sees it coming, but no one wants to talk about it").
● FXFOWLE's redesign of Hudson Yards' 3 Hudson Boulevard includes larger floor plates, but a lower height (no more "supertall" status?), and "like the last bridesmaid to get engaged, there's still no ring on the finger - or anchor tenant inked on a dotted line."
● Cuozzo reports that Rockefeller Plaza in front of the former McGraw-Hill tower on 6th Avenue will undergo "the most sweeping transformation" since it opened in 1969 by replacing "the space-wasting sunken plaza with a new, public-friendly plaza at sidewalk level" and a large circular cutout to bring natural light to retail below.
● Your eye-candy fix for the day: MVRDV's new futuristic Tianjin Binhai Public Library in China "is unlike any we've seen before" with "a distinctive sci-fi feel" (that's putting it mildly!).
● There are some issues with changes to Philip Johnson's former Four Seasons (landmarked) interior: "The large, inelegant reception desk belongs in an airport," and "the mezzanine looks as if it had been moved on a trailer from some other building and attached with thumbtacks" (double-ouch!).
● Krakoff is crafting a fresh image at Tiffany's Fifth Avenue digs, beginning with the home and accessories floor where an "injection of levity is not an unwelcome twist" - and the new Everyday Objects collection has "set the internet a-dither."
● What's set the internet a-dither (and just in time for Christmas!): for the architect who has everything, Tiffany's Everyday Objects collection includes a ruler, protractor, and triangle, $400 to $500 range, a $350 drinking straw, and, last but not least, an $8,900 ball of yarn (good grief!).
Natural disasters and us:
● Russell reports on Marvel, Meyer, Bolstad & Roig's "ambitious nonprofit" Resilient Power Puerto Rico that is installing permanent solar arrays targeting community facilities.
● Adriaenssens & Strauss report on their Form Finding Lab at Princeton University that is "pursuing infrastructural solutions that are flexible, adaptable, and economical" for coastal defense using "inflatable seawalls."
● Orff's speculative "oyster-tecture" designs have moved from MoMA's 2010 "Rising Currents" exhibition to reality: Hurricane Sandy "opened new funding avenues for coastal resilience projects" that are "part ecosystem, part infrastructure" (includes the amazing history of oysters and NYC!).
● Texas is looking for $61 billion for its post-Hurricane Harvey plan that includes an "Ike Dike," elevating buildings, and buyouts: it "will be a tough sell" considering Puerto Rico, Florida, and California "are also in line for billions more in federal disaster funding."
● An architect working with the AIA Firestorm Recovery Committee may have a solution to rebuilding a California town after the devastating wildlfires: "Donoho wants to rebuild neighborhoods like you would a big development, and she wants to do it fast" (she's already has half of the $500 million cost lined up).
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Oliver Wainwright: Louvre Abu Dhabi: Jean Nouvel's spectacular palace of culture shimmers in the desert: With its cosmic dome and starry latticework, the water-lapped Gulf outpost shuns the petrodollar glitz of its neighbours. But there’s no whitewashing the appalling treatment of the labourers who built its light-filled halls: Architects are fond of talking of painting with light, but here it rings true. The combined effect is mesmerising...There is an air of sheikh chic to it all... [images]- Guardian (UK)
Javier Pes: The Louvre Abu Dhabi Puts a $1 Billion Spotlight on Globalization - But Makes Some Glaring Historical Omissions: Jean Nouvel says Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Foster + Partners' Zayed National Museum “need to be built” too on Saadiyat Island: The elephant in the room was when, or indeed whether, the other planned museums would be built...The massive, shallow dome both dominates and enlivens the space below...the stress on equality across eras and cultures sits oddly with the blind eye it turns to the long history of human inequality and exploitation. [images]- artnet News
Guy Mannes-Abbott: Louvre Abu Dhabi: Universal museum or memorial to forced labour? ...had an opportunity to mark a bold cultural shift in built form but chose to memorialise forced labour instead: No doubt it is an architectural and engineering achievement, but can or should a cultural institution of this kind, in particular, be built under conditions of forced labour in 2017? Jean Nouvel has always been a doughty self-publicist...[He] claims to have checked conditions that south Asian men live and work under and saw "nothing" of concern. He now refers to evidence of modern-day slavery as an "old question."- Middle East Eye
Charu Suri: Jean Nouvel Reveals His Singular Vision Behind the Louvre Abu Dhabi: On the eve of the museum's opening, [he] pulls back the curtain on the import, challenges, and even politics of his most highly anticipated project: "[It] is one of the best works I have been fortunate to achieve." [images]- Architectural Digest
Christopher Hume: How cracks could appear in the Sidewalk dream: Just wait until the Google offshoot has to face the parochial realities of city hall. That’s when Sidewalk Labs’ admiration for Toronto’s “openness to new things” could start to wear thin: When was the last time the millionaire president of a large development corporation deigned to appear before a neighbourhood he was about to change forever? ...who knows? - things might just work out. -- Will Fleissig/Waterfront Toronto; Dan Doctoroff- Toronto Star
Australia’s Coal Capital Is Vying to Become the World’s Most Surfable Smart City: How a blue-collar city is reinventing itself as a beachier Boston and, in the process, bringing its young people back: More than half a billion dollars in public investment is going to help Newcastle...the public cash flow has set off a run of private investment...Honeysuckle...one of the biggest urban renewal successes in Australia...a renewed focus on ensuring the city remains affordable and inclusive...There are still issues to overcome.- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Junfeng Jiao, Juan Miró & Nicole McGrath: What public transit can learn from Uber and Lyft: "Uberizing” public transit services...can transform our approach to transportation issues...cities have to get creative...teaming up with ride-hailing companies to provide on-demand public transit, as well as so-called first- and last-mile connections to transit services...By connecting ride-hailing apps with public buses and rail, cities can help residents seamlessly move from one form of transportation to another.- The Conversation
The latest fake town built for self-driving cars has opened in South Korea: [79-acre] K-City...will simulate downtown areas, city outskirts, and communal environments. It will present 35 different driving conditions, including toll gates, pedestrian- and train-track crossings, and even potholes and construction sites...Alphabet’s self-driving car project Waymo has revealed its own 91-acre fake town, named Castle...in Attwater, California...a growing village of faux communities built to test self-driving cars: The University of Michigan’s 32-acre MCity...and Uber’s 42-acre Almono in Pittsburgh...- Quartz
Bob Lutz: Kiss the good times goodbye: Everyone will have 5 years to get their car off the road or sell it for scrap: ...we are approaching the end of the line for the automobile...The end state will be the fully autonomous module...in 15 to 20 years - at the latest - human-driven vehicles will be legislated off the highways...The era of the human-driven automobile, its repair facilities, its dealerships, the media surrounding it - all will be gone in 20 years...probably everybody sees it coming, but no one wants to talk about it.- Automotive News
3 Hudson Boulevard is getting a major upgrade: FXFOWLE [has] redesigned the building to better align with today’s office tenants - incorporating larger floor plates...boosts the tower to 2 million square-feet on 53 floors while lowering its height to 940 feet...But like the last bridesmaid to get engaged...there’s still no ring on the finger - or anchor tenant inked on a dotted line.- New York Post
Steve Cuozzo: Rockefeller Plaza set to undergo sweeping transformation: ...1221 Sixth Ave. is poised to undergo the most sweeping transformation since the former McGraw-Hill tower...opened in 1969....will replace the space-wasting sunken plaza with a new, public-friendly plaza at sidewalk level. A large circular cutout in the center will allow natural light to reach 35,000 square feet of newly created store space on two below-grade levels. -- Citterio-Viel & Partners [image]- New York Post
China’s new futuristic library is unlike any we’ve seen before: MVRDV just completed the Tianjin Binhai Public Library, a spectacular cultural center: ...features floor-to-ceiling bookcases that cascade in curves around a luminous spherical auditorium. The undulating bookshelves and layered ceiling gives the cavernous library a distinctive sci-fi feel accentuated by the giant illusion of an eye visible from the outside. -- TUPDI [images]- Inhabitat
The Pool Strives to Deal With Its Famous Dining Room: Changes to the landmark interior of the former Four Seasons create challenges: ...took its cues from Philip Johnson...Much of this restaurant’s appeal, as well as some of its problems, come from its architecture...you don’t need to be an architectural historian...The large, inelegant reception desk belongs in an airport...the mezzanine looks as if it had been moved on a trailer from some other building and attached with thumbtacks...Landmarks Preservation Commission is waiting for a response from the landlord before ruling on the new fixtures. [images]- New York Times
At Tiffany, the Fifth Avenue Face-Lift Starts at Home: ...Reed Krakoff has undertaken to freshen the image of the 180-year-old jewelry company. His first major footprint is [the] home and accessories floor...where the sacred and the profane are now commingling cheerfully...the Tiffany Tin Can (actually sterling silver and vermeil, $1,000), whose humble shape and unhumble price tag set the internet a-dither...injection of levity is not an unwelcome twist on the usual gilded or silvered theme. [images]- New York Times
Tiffany & Co releases £945 tin can as part of Everyday Objects collection: The shapes of common or oft-discarded objects have been cast in precious metals, expensive wood and fine porcelain...for the desk, there is a silver, walnut and enamel-accented ruler (£425), protractor (£400), and triangle (£375)...The most expensive item in the collection is the £6,840 "ball of yarn"... [images]- Dezeen
James S. Russell: Architects Bring Solar to Hurricane-Battered Puerto Rico: ...an ambitious nonprofit called Resilient Power Puerto Rico that aims to rapidly restore electrical service by installing permanent solar arrays...launched only a week after the hurricane...targeting community facilities... -- Jonathan Marvel/Marvel Architects; Walter Meyer,/Jennifer Bolstad/Local Office Landscape and Urban Design; Christina Roig- Architectural Record
Sigrid Adriaenssens and Steven Strauss: Blow-Up Bulwark: ...traditional responses to the risk of coastal flooding in dense cities all carry enormous - even prohibitive - financial, social, and environmental costs. At the Form Finding Lab at Princeton University, we are pursuing infrastructural solutions...that are flexible, adaptable, and economical...coastal defense strategies that use lightweight forms...“inflatable seawalls"...are more economical compared to hard coastal structures.- Urban Omnibus
Oyster-tecture: Architects and engineers are considering all kinds of different ways that cities can redesign their infrastructure to prepare for climate change...When Orff debuted her “oyster-tecture” designs in 2010 [part of MoMA's "Rising Currents"], they were speculative designs...But Hurricane Sandy...opened new funding avenues for coastal resilience projects...hopes to have a robust reef system...creating something totally new - part ecosystem, part infrastructure. -- Kate Orff/Gina Wirth/SCAPE; Living Breakwaters; Rebuild by Design; Billion Oyster Project [images]- 99% Invisible
Texas-size $61 billion Harvey plan includes 'Ike Dike,' new reservoirs, buyouts: About 60%...would go to "future proof" flood-prone areas and 33% would pay for buy-outs and elevating buildings in low-lying regions...The initial reaction from Washington officials to the request: Surprise at its size and scope...will be a tough sell with...at a time when hurricane damages to Puerto Rico and Florida, and losses in California to wildfires, are also in line for billions more in federal disaster funding.- Construction Dive
Santa Rosa Wildfire Victims Consider Collective Rebuilding Of Their Homes: “It’s just really overwhelming, it’s like where do you start?"...Which is why Julia Donoho and the AIA Firestorm Recovery Committee have floated a possible solution. She wants to rebuild neighborhoods...like you would a big development, and she wants to do it fast...working with the Northern California Builders’ Alliance to create a large-scale, neighborhood-wide development project...would cost $500 million. She’s already got half of that lined up...- KPIX 5 / CBS SF Bay Area (California)
ANN feature: Jason A. Silva: From the Treetops #2: Sacramento Riverfront Development Brings New Life to an Overlooked Part of River City: There is a laundry-list of possibilities for creating those oh-so important physical and the more elusive perceived connections to our urban waterfront. Critical to the success of riverfront development: access, activation, and awareness.- ArchNewsNow.com
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