Today’s News - Wednesday, December 20, 2017
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● Kamin x 2: he ponders "where to draw the line between coverage of aesthetics and politics" when it comes to architectural criticism - "should critics strive for a position of Olympian detachment," or "engage in political acts?" His answer: yes, engage. "This is what journalists do" ("civic criticism" - yes!).
● He parses what lessons the next Chicago Architecture Biennial should learn from the current edition: the "most obvious, widely criticized shortcoming - jargon-laced archi-babble" wall labels, for one," but "the answer isn't to dumb down the material."
● Moore takes on his "tweeting colleagues in the architectural press who have chosen to be particularly unkind" to London's new U.S. embassy: it may be "bland, vanilla," and "somewhat Starbucks," but it's better than everything going up around it - "faint praise, of course, but it's not damning."
● O'Sullivan also has issues with "America's passive-aggressive" embassy in London: "despite its softened edges and embellishments," it's still "a miserable barrack - the screen of fiddly sails comes across like a piece of tatty 1970s costume jewelry" (let bunkers be bunkers).
● Hong Kong architect Lim thinks the city should rethink its vertical growth: "urban planners and developers should be more creative - think more about street-level development," and find "a balance between making money and good urban planning."
● Mathew parses "the power of the Louvre Abu Dhabi" to reshape the Gulf's image: "the project's long term success has two factors in its favor": location and the "chance to choose its own distinct identity" when it loses the "Louvre" in 2037.
● Hume hails Toronto's new "beautiful" subway extension - the new stations are "a stunning visual treat - but it's not the line we should've built."
● Bateman finds some "shortcomings" in Toronto's newest subway stations, but each of them beautifully "blurs the line between public art and architecture" (with big development coming soon!).
● Florida finds hope and opportunity in the great "retail apocalypse" that is turning retail stores and malls "into more productive community spaces"; some great examples to be found in Dunham-Jones and Williamson's database of more than retail 1,500 retrofits and redevelopments.
● Rogers looks at "the airport's terminal identity crisis - not really knowing what they are anymore. My optimistic pitch for the terminal of the future is all about embracing the terminal-ness of it all."
● FXFOWLE falls for the tower it designed, now rising in Brooklyn, so it'll be decamping from Manhattan and moving in.
● Voien takes on "everything you should know" about the new Penn Station, "NYC's most despised transportation hub - there are competing schools of thought for what should be done with the current 'modernist mediocrity.'"
● Aghajanian cheers Detroit's Hamtramck Disneyland, and how a quirky art installation created by an auto-plant worker "has become a symbol for the hope and heartbreak of immigrants" for over 25 years.
● Koolhaas has big plans for the Guggenheim Museum's spiral rotunda in fall 2019: "Countryside: Future of the World" ("the California-Nevada border near Reno has been turned into 'Silicon Valley's back of house'").
● When it comes to solving the cruise ship crisis in Venice, "who calls the shots? (not the city of Venice, that's for sure)."
● Jolliffe calls for stripping RIBA awards from practices that exploit unpaid internships: "Ultimately if we devalue our own qualifications in our employment practices how can we expect anyone else to value what we bring to the table?"
● Call for entries: nominations for the 2018 ASLA Honors, including the ASLA Medal; Community Service Awards; Landscape Architecture Firm Award; etc. (scroll down past 2017 info for 2018 details).
● Call for entries: AIA/ALA Library Building Awards.
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Blair Kamin: The Case for Skyline Watchdogs: Architectural Criticism and Political Acts: ...where to draw the line between coverage of aesthetics and politics: ...should critics strive for a position of Olympian detachment, soaring above the fray so they can more easily observe its actions and discern its meaning? In short, should architecture criticism engage in political acts? My answer is plain...critics should engage the political fray even if they aren’t in the political fray. This is what journalists do. And it’s what they should do in a world where social media makes everyone a critic.- Nieman Reports
Blair Kamin: Chicago Architecture Biennial needs to relate better to local audience: ...most obvious, widely criticized shortcoming: Many non-architects have found it difficult to understand the show...“Make New History”...wall labels...often written in jargon-laced archi-babble...Going forward, the answer isn’t to dumb down the material...It takes time to build great cities and great biennials. Chicago’s has made an impressive start, but it can improve...- Chicago Tribune
Rowan Moore: London’s new US embassy: a very diplomatic America on Thames: [It] may be just a glass cube with disguised fortifications, but it is also restrained, efficient, green ... the antithesis of Donald Trump: ...my tweeting colleagues in the architectural press have chosen to be particularly unkind...There are even aspects of the building...for which to be grateful...[It] is bland, vanilla...Its use of art and nature and decoration are somewhat Starbucks...[it] is also better than everything else that developers are putting up around it. This is faint praise, of course, but it’s not damning. -- KieranTimberlake [images]- Observer (UK)
Feargus O'Sullivan: America's Passive-Aggressive New Embassy Arrives in London: Why can’t we let bunkers be bunkers? ... despite its softened edges and embellishments, a miserable barrack...The screen of fiddly sails...comes across like a piece of tatty 1970s costume jewellery attached to the sleeve of a storm trooper’s tunic...the result ends up being rather sinister...This begs the question of whether it is actually a good idea to try to soften the look of a building that is inherently defensive...It’s not as if visual austerity can’t be beautiful. -- KieranTimberlake [images]- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
The only way is not up, says Hong Kong architect who thinks city should rethink its vertical growth: William Lim: "I think urban planners and developers should be more creative...We should think more about street-level development...developers are thinking of how to sell more flats, they should also try to strive a balance between making money and good urban planning." -- CL3; Norman Foster/Foster + Partners; I.M. Pei- South China Morning Post
Shaj Mathew: The Power of the Louvre Abu Dhabi: Can the museum tell a new story about art - and reshape the Gulf's image? New cultural institutions...are often criticized as imitations or mere outposts of Western museums...So long as Western institutions continue to dot its landscape, the country’s own history will likely continue to be discounted or ignored...the project’s long term success has two more factors in its favor. One is location...A second is that in 2037, [it] will lose the “Louvre” from its name, and will have a chance to choose its own distinct identity. -- Jean Nouvel [images]- The New Republic
Christopher Hume: Toronto's new subway extension is beautiful, but it's not the line we should've built: ...will make the already crowded metro more congested than ever: ...the recently opened stops are a stunning visual treat. Though some might see it as an attempt to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, this time, perhaps, it's a case of look good, feel good...Yet here is a line that leads to a construction site decades from completion. -- Will Alsop; Foster + Partners; Grimshaw Architects- Toronto Star
Chris Bateman: The Ambitious Design and Low Density of Toronto's Newest Subway Stations: Despite its shortcomings, the scope of the 5.3-mile Spadina line addition is significant: Each of the six new stations...blurs the line between public art and architecture; a philosophical continuation of the original Spadina line that opened in 1978...the first Toronto subway line to feature stations designed by multiple architects...site immediately surrounding the station is being developed by SmartCentres... -- Will Alsop; Foster + Partners; Aedas; Grimshaw Architects; Diamond Schmitt Architects; KPMG; Claude Cormier- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Richard Florida: The Great Retail Retrofit: The “retail apocalypse” affords a unique opportunity to turn retail stores and malls into more productive community spaces: WeWork’s takeover of Lord & Taylor could be a good portent for urban economies. Work, not shopping, is the key to urban productivity and growth....Ellen Dunham-Jones [and] June Williamson have put together a database of more than 1,500 retrofits or redevelopments of abandoned malls, strip centers, big-box stores...As these anachronistic retail spaces begin their second lives, a few distinctive use cases have emerged.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Adam Rogers: Checkpoints, IMAX, and Waterfalls: The Airport's Terminal Identity Crisis: The identity crisis comes from terminals and the land they sit on not really knowing what they are anymore. Agora? Mall? Concert hall? Gateway? New technologies are about to grind up the fundamental elements of airport design...My optimistic pitch for the terminal of the future is all about embracing the terminal-ness of it all. Transparency!- Wired
Architecture firm falls in love with tower it designed: FXFOWLE will be moving its offices to the new building...at One Willoughby Sq. in Brooklyn...will be housed in 40,000 square feet on the seventh through ninth floors of the 36-story project...“At first, it was...if we were occupying the space, what would we want? Then, if we were occupying it, transitioned into, this could be a great home for us.” -- Dan Kaplan- New York Post
Guelda Voien: The New Penn Station: Everything You Should Know: Replacing NYC’s most despised transportation hub - a win for both preservationists and more than 600,000 commuters a day - could be closer to happening than we thought: ...even as commuting in Gotham sinks to a new nadir...there are competing schools of thought for what should be done with the current “modernist mediocrity"... -- McKim, Mead & White (1910); Justin Shubow/Rebuild Penn Station/National Civic Art Society; Jeff Stikeman; Vishaan Chakrabarti [images]- Architectural Digest
Liana Aghajanian: The Disneyland of Detroit: How an art installation created by a Ukrainian-American auto-plant worker has become a symbol for the hope and heartbreak of immigrants: For over 25 years, Hamtramck, a small Michigan city...has been home to this unusual folk-art installation...Hamtramck Disneyland's renaissance in this political climate doesn't just stand as a testament to the city's support for its existing immigrant population; it also expresses how the city is constantly reinventing itself to accommodate new residents. -- Dmytro Szylak [images]- Pacific Standard magazine
Rem Koolhaas Plans a Countryside Exhibition at the Guggenheim: His recent research obsession will be the subject of “Countryside: Future of the World"...for the Guggenheim Museum’s spiral rotunda in fall 2019...organized by Troy Conrad Therrien in his most ambitious project...will explore how the world’s rural landscapes have been altered by technology, migration and climate change. -- OMA/Office for Metropolitan Architecture; AMO- New York Times
This is no way to solve the cruise ship issue in Venice: The Italian government’s latest decision is in hock to the port’s own interests: At a time when estimates of sea-level rise by 2100...and extreme weather events are multiplying, this demonstrates no concern for the safeguarding of one of the world’s greatest treasures...Who calls the shots in the port of Venice? (not the city of Venice, that’s for sure)- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Eleanor Jolliffe: We should strip RIBA awards from practices that exploit interns: Unpaid internships are a form of modern slavery and cannot be justified: I have heard the rather limp defence that without unpaid (or very low-paid) interns and students some practices are no longer profitable...the harsh truth is that any business that cannot sell its product for at least the cost of making it is likely not to be viable...Ultimately if we devalue our own qualifications in our employment practices how can we expect anyone else to value what we bring to the table?- BD/Building Design (UK)
Call for entries: Call for nominations for the 2018 ASLA Honors, including the ASLA Medal; ASLA Design Medal; Community Service Awards; Landscape Architecture Firm Award; Olmsted Medal; etc.; deadline: January 30, 2018 [(scroll down past 2017 info for 2018 details]- American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
Call for entries: AIA/ALA Library Building Awards: open to architects licensed in the U.S.; projects may be located anywhere in the world; deadline: January 12, 2018- American Institute of Architects (AIA) / American Library Association (ALA)
ANN feature: Christian Bjone: Drama in Architecture: Three Books that Defy Expectations: These choices are all well off the beaten path but enjoyable in the views of the road least taken. -- “World Film Locations”; "The Drama of Space: Spatial Sequences and Compositions in Architecture" by Holger Kleine; "The House that PINTEREST Built" by Diane Keaton- ArchNewsNow.com
ANN feature: Norman Weinstein: Time for Jazzing Up Architectural Imagination? A monumental catalogue of a great exhibition architects need more than they may know - hurry to Cleveland if you missed it in Manhattan. Explore "The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s."- ArchNewsNow.com
ANN feature: Fred A. Bernstein: Arthur Cotton Moore: Bold Citizen-Architect: Some of the ideas seem impractical. Others would be ruinously expensive. Still others are sensible and ought to be considered, or at least admired for their audacity. A sampling from Moore's new book, "Our Nation's Capital: Pro Bono Publico Ideas." [images]- ArchNewsNow.com
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