Today’s News - Tuesday, January 9, 2018
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● We lose ZGF's Bob Frasca, who "played an important role in the evolution of Portland as one of America's most livable cities," and "integrated nature, healing gardens, and art into his health-care buildings long before research proved their importance."
● Goldberger pens an oh-so eloquent tribute to John Portman: "his buildings, for all their failings, are enjoying a new popularity - there is something exotic about them now, a vision of the future that is simultaneously audacious and quaint."
● AIA 2018 President Elefante offers three "compelling reasons to believe that 2018 can be a threshold moment for architecture," and "a year of possibility."
● While Weiss cheers a boom in urban development and a "spectacular array" of "sleek" and "posh" projects finishing up in 2018, his focus is on three projects that address income inequality in Brooklyn, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
● Hume is less optimistic, saying Toronto's "homeless shelter crisis reveals an unabashed attempt to legitimize inequality" (too bad the homeless don't have cars).
● Gehl's Risom & Madriz report on their adventures in Buenos Aires: they were asked "to help redesign the city's most iconic informal settlement and learned to appreciate what residents had already built. These urban spaces need public support that doesn't over-regulate the organic life that has bloomed in its absence."
● Lamster weighs in on Snøhetta's "draconian" proposal for Johnson's AT&T Building: Its "Postmodern monumentality would be replaced by the kind of transparency made fashionable by Apple stores everywhere - moving forward should not entail erasing the past, however complex and contradictory that might be."
● Kamin x 2: He ponders his newspaper's upcoming exit from its iconic Tribune Tower, and "the illusion of architectural permanence. The challenge for new owners is one of creative recycling: Change the use but maintain the character."
● He reports on a 1958 Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building in Whitefish, Montana, that faces the wrecking ball "unless a preservation-minded buyer is found by Wednesday" (that's tomorrow! It's only $1.7 million; sadly, we didn't win the lottery).
● Sweet reports on "a significant victory for neighborhood and park advocacy groups": Chicago's "controversial" Obama Center takes one of a few "festering issues off the table" - a contested garage will be built underground in Jackson Park (yay!).
● A look at Gehry's redesigned hotel tower for Santa Monica's Ocean Avenue, lopped from 22 to 12 stories (looks a bit stumpy now?).
● Waite reports that what would have been Ole Scheeren's first U.K. project, a new home for the British Film Institute on London's South Bank, has been scrapped.
● Renzo Piano tapped to design a new mega-gallery in NYC for David Zwirner: "I have to remind him we don't need coat checks, we don't need ticket booths" (and Selldorf is still a friend).
● Google, BIG, Clive Wilkinson Architects, and OLIN have million-square-foot plans for Sunnyvale, California, to house up to 4,500 employees.
● Moore, with minor caveats, has high praise for Waugh Thistleton's Bushey Jewish Cemetery in north-west London: "It is elemental and familiar but also has a quality of otherness - a dignified, not-mundane, not-oppressive setting" + "Inspirations for modern cemeteries from around the world."
● Bernstein talks to Galilee re: the recent Met Museum marathon, "In Our Time: A Year of Architecture in a Day" (even with only 10 minutes to present, the stars did shine).
● Bierut & Helfand talk to PAU's Chakrabarti: "He sees architecture as a form of writing in the world. And in order to write you have to read. And so we take a lot of time reading the places in which we're designing."
● Gasp! For the first time in almost 50 years, the AIA is not honoring a project with a Twenty-Five Year Award: "the jury did not find a submission that it felt achieved 25 years of exceptional aesthetic and cultural relevance" (must've been one tough jury - hard to believe there wasn't one building?!!?).
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Obituary: Robert J. Frasca, 1933-2018: He played an important role in the evolution of Portland as one of America’s most livable cities...was so prolific that the press coined the term “Frascaville"...pioneered a holistic and humane understanding of research facilities and pediatric hospitals...He integrated nature, healing gardens, and art into his health-care buildings long before research proved their importance. -- Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects/ZGF Architects [images]- Architectural Record
Paul Goldberger: Looking Back on the Work of John Portman: ...was like no other figure in American architecture...For most of his career he was an outsider to the academic architecture establishment, which came to embrace him only toward the end of his life when, like Morris Lapidus, his flamboyant work could be analyzed as a cultural marker rather than feared as a disrupter...an architecture of futuristic fantasy...[His] earnestness, and his curiosity, were relentless...his buildings, for all their failings, are enjoying a new popularity...there is something exotic about them now, a vision of the future that is simultaneously audacious and quaint. [images]- Architectural Record
Carl Elefante: A Threshold Moment for Architecture: It's time to make 2018 a year of possibility: With 2017 a year of disruption...there are compelling reasons to believe that 2018 can be a threshold moment for architecture. Here are three...the urban era is dawning...research is focusing on environmental influences...And lastly, our profession is called upon to resolve - not improve, but resolve - its systemic inequities and lack of diversity.- Architect Magazine
Sean Weiss: Architecture in 2018: Look to the streets, not the sky: A decade after the global economic collapse, urban development is booming...A spectacular array of sleek museums, posh hotels and some of the world’s tallest towers are slated for completion...But income inequality is on the rise...with many city dwellers reaping few benefits...a library in Brooklyn, a low-income housing project in Chicago, and transitional housing for the homeless in Los Angeles demonstrate architecture’s unique power to build, sustain and forge communities. -- Marble Fairbanks; Landon Bone Baker Architects; Landon Bone Baker Architects [images]- The Conversation
Christopher Hume: Homeless shelter crisis reveals unabashed attempt to legitimize inequality: Not having enough beds for the homeless is designed to keep property taxes down. It’s an example of rich thinking: ...this month’s extreme cold has revealed just how little spare capacity there is in Toronto’s ability to respond to such a crisis...Better Living Centre...homeless shelter. Far from transit, but surrounded by parking, the shelter...has beds for 20 and plans for 100 by the middle of the month. Too bad the homeless don’t own cars.- Toronto Star
Jeff Risom & Mayra Madriz/Gehl: Embracing the Paradox of Planning for Informality: We went to Buenos Aires to help redesign the city’s most iconic informal settlement and learned to appreciate what residents had already built: City makers love to use terms like organic, spontaneous and authentic, but tend to plan and design areas that limit these very qualities...[Villa 31] outperformed the wealthier parts of the city in key indicators of urban vibrancy and sustainable mobility...These urban spaces need public support that doesn’t overregulate the organic life that has bloomed in its absence. [images]- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Mark Lamster: Preservationists Protest Changes to the AT&T Building: 30-odd years ago...America’s most controversial (and hated) new building. How times change...[Its] Postmodern monumentality would be replaced by the kind of transparency made fashionable by Apple stores everywhere...has the whiff of marketing rather than architecture...Such draconian steps are unacceptable...moving forward should not entail erasing the past, however complex and contradictory that might be. -- Philip Johnson; Craig Dykers/Snøhetta- Architectural Record
Blair Kamin: The illusion of architectural permanence: ...I’ve known for more than a year that our newspaper would be leaving our namesake tower...Buildings may be designed as cathedrals of commerce or shrines to a free press, but they’re also commodities...Impermanence reigns because a building’s occupants inevitably change...A skyscraper devoted to permanence will join the ranks of buildings whose original occupants proved quite temporary...The challenge for new owners is one of creative recycling: Change the use but maintain the character. -- Raymond Hood; John Mead Howells (1925)- Chicago Tribune
Blair Kamin: After celebratory Frank Lloyd Wright year, one of his buildings faces demolition: A Wright-designed building in Montana will be demolished unless a preservation-minded buyer is found by Wednesday...Located in Whitefish, Mont., the threatened building originally was a medical clinic...designed in 1958...selling the building for $1.7 million- Chicago Tribune
Lynn Sweet: Controversial Obama Center garage moved: To be underground in Jackson Park: ...a significant victory for neighborhood and park advocacy groups...takes a festering issue off the table as others remain...decision also comes near the start of what may well be a tougher-than-expected federal review of changes in Jackson Park... -- Frederic Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects- Chicago Sun-Times
Get a load of Frank Gehry’s redesigned hotel tower for Santa Monica’s Ocean Avenue: It’s much, much shorter: Originally proposed five years ago as 22 stories, the hotel has been reduced to 12 stories...It’s just one part of a larger project that would also include a museum, shops, ground-floor open space, and 79 apartments. [images]- Curbed Los Angeles
Richard Waite: BFI scraps Ole Scheeren-designed Film Centre on London’s South Bank: The British Film Institute...originally aiming to open the new central London building in 2022....institute concluded it would now be unable to secure full planning for the proposals before the end of next year (2019) – a deadline linked to the lease requirements of the plot – and has therefore scrapped the proposals. The scheme, designed in collaboration with Haworth Tompkins, would have been Scheeren’s first in the UK.- The Architects' Journal (UK)
David Zwirner Announces New Renzo Piano–designed Mega Gallery in New York: ...new five-story gallery is set to open in 2020 in Chelsea: ...his first gallery designed by another architect since his string of galleries with Annabelle Selldorf...This will be Piano's first commercial gallery design, and Zwirner...has to give the architect a few pointers...“I have to remind him we don’t need coat checks, we don’t need ticket booths, and the size of the lobby doesn’t have to be quite that large"...Zwirner and Selldorf remain friends.- Architectural Digest
Google and BIG propose one million square feet of offices in Sunnyvale, California: ...called Caribbean...a pair of terraced office buildings for up to 4,500 employees...the project is only just beginning to work its way through the [approval] process. -- BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group; Clive Wilkinson Architects; OLIN Landscape Architects [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Rowan Moore: Bushey Jewish Cemetery - a place of dignity and ease: Elegant pavilions, a broad portico and thick walls of ‘rammed earth’ create a calm, unobtrusive £6m extension and 17,000 more burial spaces for the Jewish community of north-west London [Hertfordshire]: It is elemental and familiar but also has a quality of otherness...a dignified, not-mundane, not-oppressive setting...It’s hard to find many cemeteries this thoughtful in their design, which is strange, as architecture has always had a debt to eternity, or at least mortality. + Inspirations for modern cemeteries from around the world. -- Waugh Thistleton Architects; Gunnar Asplund/Sigurd Lewerentz; Carlo Scarpa; Enric Miralles/Carme Pinós; Aldo Rossi [images]- Observer (UK)
Fred A. Bernstein: The World’s Top Architects on the Most Important Projects of 2017: NYC’s Met Museum hosts the industry’s leading lights - David Adjaye, Wang Shu, Elizabeth Diller, among others - to reflect on a year of outstanding achievements: “In Our Time: A Year of Architecture in a Day"..."When you see one architect after another showing work that was built in the same year, it has a real impact." -- Beatrice Galilee; Junya Ishigami; Go Hasegawa; Amanda Levete; Shih-Fu Peng/Heneghan Peng Architects; Marwa al-Sabouni [images]- Architectural Digest
Michael Bierut & Jessica Helfand: Vishaan Chakrabarti: the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism [PAU], which is working on projects from Brooklyn to Mongolia. He sees architecture as a form of writing in the world. And in order to write you have to read. And so we take a lot of time reading the places in which we're designing. [podcast]- Design Observer
The AIA Is Not Selecting a Twenty-Five Year Award Recipient - For the First Time Ever: The American Institute of Architects jury did not find a suitable candidate for recognition of architectural excellence: The award, which was created in 1969 and made official in 1970...the jury did not find a submission that it felt achieved 25 years of exceptional aesthetic and cultural relevance while also representing the timelessness and positive impact the profession aspires to achieve."- Architectural Digest
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