Today’s News - Wednesday, November 29, 2017
● Volner at his best describing his "mind-warping" visit to Trump's border wall prototypes: "nothing can quite measure up to the experience of seeing them for oneself. As no other architectural initiative before it, the prototype exhibition bodies forth an imminence of absolute doom" (with a "touch of evil" thrown in - your must-read of the day!).
● Hosey has issues with "what critics of contemporary architecture [like D'Aprile, Rennix & Robinson] are missing" by assuming "architecture and capitalism don't mix - it's that architects fail to grasp the relationships between those things. It's at once aesthetic, cultural and economic."
● Day parses adjusting to life in Jakarta, with its towers "that look like leftovers from other hyper-expansive cities" washed up "like gargantuan discarded water bottles - one finds as much sunshine as noir, perhaps the truest realization of a post-colonial cosmopolis."
● Shaw ruminates on the just-ended first biannual "Exhibit Columbus" that "could be read as another 'biennial,' or 'Design Week,' but proved to be something different. It is positioned to be a unique voice among many voices in the cultural events sector."
● Brady tackles the "promise and the pitfalls" of online architectural education: it "will eliminate many self-defeating aspects of today's studio culture," but could also "acquire its own bad habits. Architectural educators should take it upon themselves to drive this change, lest it drive them instead."
● Johnson's AT&T Building took its "first formal step" in the landmarking process - "a promising sign."
● Chakrabarti's PAU gets a green light from the NYC Landmarks Commission for the Domino Sugar Refinery redesign: it "won the praise of the commissioners" (except one, still not convinced: "I can't bring myself to approve destroying a building to essentially save it").
● Hume hails Toronto's King Street streetcar pilot project (even if too short): "For the first time in living memory, the city has taken a step that prioritizes public transit over the private vehicle. It offers a glimpse of a different, smarter, more humane city."
● Chandigarh's architect department, on the other hand, is falling short: "In a city that is known for its architecture and planning excellence around the globe, the department has failed to save it from going astray from the path set by Le Corbusier."
● Then there's Chandigarh's "affordable housing conundrum": "The style pioneered during initial years of the city's development still holds valuable lessons for achieving the goal of housing for all," but they "have largely been overlooked by planners."
● Meanwhile in Mumbai, Anupama Kundoo is determined to make a difference for some of the millions of slum-dwellers in India with her low-cost, sustainable, DIY Full Fill Home.
● The 14-member non-profit Architects for Society, made up of architects from eight countries, has designed the 500-square-foot "Hex House" - a "rapidly deployable and easy-to-build dwelling for refugees and others in desperate need of shelter."
● Budds ponders Leo A Daly's Intelligence Community Campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and the "new paradigm for intelligence architecture" that "allowed this governmental architecture to shed its militaristic shell and take on the guise of a nice office building," but it is also "a wolf in sheep's clothing - just because it doesn't look like a bunker doesn't mean we should let our guard down."
● For Tabanlioglu Architects, "preservation and restoration were top priorities" in modernizing the Ataturk Cultural Center in Istanbul.
● Shipping containers are the material of choice for a new 2022 World Cup stadium in Doha, Qatar, "allowing it to be quickly assembled, disassembled and then reassembled in a new location" (and oh so green!).
● "Mass timber is having its Maison Dom-Ino moment": AN's Timber issue has something for everyone.
Head-turners for page-turners:
● Saffron cheers the "transformation" of four Free Libraries that "marks the beginning of a sea change for Philadelphia, from the library as a storehouse of books to the library as a community gathering place - the early numbers are encouraging."
● P+W's very colorful Albion Library in Toronto's Rexdale neighborhood of "predominantly immigrants, minorities, and low-income residents" includes "community areas for new Canadians" and "a wide range of services that go beyond traditional book lending."
● MVRDV's futuristic Tianjin Binhai Library: "more fiction than books - if you read between the lines you'll find something is missing" (like books - another quirk: irregular stairs "have proven hazardous for selfie-snappers").
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Ian Volner: Prototypes of Trump's border wall offer chilling lesson in the power of architecture: ...the most powerful government on earth is currently staging the most extraordinary architecture exhibition in human history...nothing can quite measure up to the experience of seeing them for oneself...a mind-warping, possibly unprecedented instance of architectural representation collapsing instantaneously into messy reality...As no other architectural initiative before it, the prototype exhibition bodies forth an imminence of absolute doom... [images]- Curbed
Lance Hosey: What Critics of Contemporary Architecture Are Missing: The Value of Design: If there is a “crisis” in contemporary architecture...it is not merely that too many buildings are “ugly” or that architecture and capitalism don’t mix - it’s that architects fail to grasp the relationships between those things...Fully unpacking the social, economic, and environmental value of aesthetics could revolutionize our profession, if we’re willing to rethink the purpose and practice of design. -- Marianela D’Aprile; Brianna Rennix; Nathan J. Robinson- Common Edge
Joe Day: Spires and Gyres: Contemporary architecture in Jakarta can be charted in the utopian terms of the Five Pancasilas, the founding principles of modern Indonesia: Tower designs that look like leftovers from other hyper-expansive cities seem to wash up here...like gargantuan discarded water bottles. In its glaring Global South disparities...one finds as much sunshine as noir...perhaps the truest realization of a post-colonial cosmopolis. -- Deegan-Day Design [images]- Places Journal
Matt Shaw: Athens of the Prairie: Columbus, Indiana ... Don’t call it a comeback: ...the first biannual "Exhibit Columbus" proved to be something different...continuing and re-aestheticizing the design culture of the place by connecting the residents...This might prove to be the best lesson...How to engage with the heritage of a place while pushing forward cutting-edge design...has much to offer as a living, urban laboratory...It is positioned to be a unique voice among many voices in the cultural events sector. [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Ross Brady: Is Online Learning Really the Future of Architectural Education? The promise and the pitfalls of this inevitable shift: ...will eliminate many self-defeating aspects of today’s studio culture, but there’s also potential pitfalls that need to be addressed, before an online version of that culture acquires its own bad habits...now is the time to shape the social dynamics of tomorrow’s architecture schools in a way that could make the whole profession stronger. Architectural educators should take it upon themselves to drive this change, lest it drive them instead.- Common Edge
PoMo's Golden Boy: Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building clears first hurdle in landmarking process: ...first formal step in the designation process, is a promising sign...landmarking initiative was given a jumpstart this month after Snøhetta unveiled plans...reaction was swift, with architects and critics from around the world weighing in both for and against the redevelopment...If landmarked, [550 Madison Avenue], completed in 1984, would beat out the former Citicorp Building at 601 Lexington Avenue to become the youngest landmarked building in the city.- The Architect's Newspaper
Domino Sugar Refinery redesign approved by Landmarks Commission: Vishaan Chakrabarti’s PAU will bring its glass barrel vault concept to the historic refinery building: The second time’s a charm for Practice for Architecture and Urbanism...won the praise of the commissioners, who by midway through the presentation seemed all but won over by the proposal. [images]- Curbed New York
Christopher Hume: King streetcar pilot represents a monumental shift for Toronto: For the first time in living memory, the city has taken a step that prioritizes public transit over the private vehicle: ...in a city that never lets reason get in the way of transit planning, these tweaks matter enormously...represents a huge change, a paradigm shift...a reminder of what transit could be. It offers a glimpse of a different, smarter, more humane city.- Toronto Star
Chandigarh’s architect department has little say over city’s architecture: After the UT administration decided to construct an underpass connecting Rose Garden with Sector 17 to facilitate pedestrian movement...it is learnt the UT architect department raised an objection: In a city that is known for its architecture and planning excellence around the globe, the department has failed to save it from going astray from the path set by Le Corbusier.- Hindustan Times (India)
An answer to affordable housing conundrum in Chandigarh: The style pioneered during initial years of Chandigarh’s development still holds valuable lessons for achieving goal of housing for all: Brick jallis, standardised facades, row housing with common walls...among common architectural elements that are not only aesthetically admirable, but also tell a story of how low cost mass housing was achieved...Lessons from Chandigarh...have largely been overlooked by planners. -- Pierre Jeanneret; Jane B Drew; Maxwell Fry; Le Corbusier; Sangeet Sharma/SD Sharma & Associates [images]- Hindustan Times (India)
Liza Foreman: Could DIY homes transform India? Could self-build, modular homes be a solution for some of the millions of slum-dwellers in India? ...meet the architect who is determined to make a difference: Anupama Kundoo grew up in Mumbai, close to one of the ubiquitous makeshift slums that house an estimated 65 million people...prompted her to develop the Full Fill Home, possibly the first designer home for some of India’s most underprivileged citizens...to cost around £4,000 ($5,277) each, her low-cost, sustainable houses [are] DIY, modular and affordable. [images]- BBC Designed
Architects create a tiny house for a big problem: Architects for Society has an unusual design concept for emergency housing: a small hexagon-shaped, rapidly deployable and easy-to-build dwelling for refugees and others in desperate need of shelter...The 14-member nonprofit, made up of architects from eight countries, is bringing that vision to life in the form of its 500-square-foot “Hex House"...low-cost, mobile, and easy to put up for people who aren’t professional builders. -- Amro Sallam; Altaf Engineer [images]- Finance & Commerce (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota)
Diana Budds: The Architecture Of 21st-Century Intelligence: The modern intelligence agency hides in plain sight: ...ICC/Intelligence Community Campus...it’s as familiar as it is novel...a new paradigm for intelligence architecture...allowed this governmental architecture to shed its militaristic shell...The campus’s “niceness” is certainly a boon for employees’ quality of life...However, the project is also a wolf in sheep’s clothing...The architecture of intelligence is evolving, but just because it doesn’t look like a bunker doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. -- Leo A Daly [images]- Fast Company / Co.Design
The Ataturk Cultural Center: The New Cultural Icon For Istanbul: Murat Tabanlioglu is modernizing the cultural center his father, Dr. Hayati Tabanlioglu, once designed in the 1960s, and again in the 1970s after his first design burnt down...Preservation and restoration were top priorities...will be a bridge between generations and cultures...intends to unite the urban fabric and Turkish people. -- Tabanlioglu Architects [images]- ArchDaily
A Modular, Demountable Stadium Built From Shipping Containers Will Be Erected for Qatar 2022 World Cup: ...allowing it to be quickly assembled, disassembled and then reassembled in a new location...modular design will require fewer materials, create less waste and reduce the overall carbon footprint...aiming to achieve a four-star Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certification. -- Fenwick Iribarren Architects (FI-A) [images]- ArchDaily
Timber Issue: Mass timber is having its Maison Dom-Ino moment: The lumber industry looks to respond to the rise of mass timber; Is mass timber really sustainable?; Cross-laminated timber (CLT) could lead a mid-rise revolution; How mass timber could transform our cities (really); Congress gears up for a fight over mass timber legislation; Arbora housing complex in Montreal points to the future of timber construction [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Inga Saffron: Renovated Free Library branches aim to get more people in the door: The transformation marks the beginning of a sea change for Philadelphia, from the library as a storehouse of books to the library as a community gathering place...Can brighter rooms and cafe counters really attract people who perceive libraries as musty throwbacks, while keeping those who still like to physically scour the stacks for information? ...the early numbers are encouraging. -- James R. Keller [images]- Philadelphia Inquirer
Colourful strips surround Toronto's Albion Library by Perkins+Will: ...features community areas for new Canadians...located in the Rexdale neighbourhood...where the population is predominantly immigrants, minorities, and low-income residents...."houses a wide range of services that go beyond traditional book lending to include cultural orientation, social integration, employment skills, and access to technology and knowledge" [images]- Dezeen
China's futuristic library: More fiction than books: Tianjin Binhai Library has wowed book lovers around the world...but if you read between the lines you'll find something is missing...rows of book spines are mostly images printed on the aluminium plates...original concept was for the upper bookshelves to be accessible...but a fast-tracked construction schedule forced them to drop the idea...decision was made "locally and against the MVRDV's wishes"...library's deputy director, blamed the design for putting them in a bind...There's another quirk: The irregular white stairs have proven hazardous for selfie-snappers. [images]- AFP / Agence France-Presse:
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