Today’s News - Tuesday, February 27, 2018
● Davidson, at his poetic best, makes the case for why SOM's "gracious and vibrant" 270 Park Avenue "deserves to continue existing": "If New York can't distinguish standouts from knockoffs, it doesn't deserve the next generation of architecture. And then it becomes a disposable city" (a must-read!).
● Lange also makes the case for saving the Union Carbide building: aside from renovation being a better use of resources than demolition and replacement, "there is something unseemly about crowing over what would be the largest voluntary building demolition in the world" - with replacement architect as yet unnamed, "are they hiding?" (comments are fast and furious - on both sides).
● Meanwhile, in Armidale, Australia, architects are making the case to save a 1964 modernist college designed by Michael Dysart, now facing demolition: "It is especially remarkable that it was the work of a 24 year old trainee in the NSW Government Architect's Branch" (never mind the cost difference between demolition and refurbishment).
● A different battle looms over "the most contentious building in Warsaw": Does Poland hate "a harsh reminder of Soviet occupation enough to tear it down?" Ironically, it's a "younger generation that has emerged as guardians of the city's troubled past and its foremost conservationists."
● In Tripoli, Niemeyer's now- abandoned "monument to Lebanon's aspirations" is an "eerie yet magical" site with his "fantastical buildings, frozen in time, at once retro and futuristic"; funding to restore "is unlikely to materialize any time soon."
● Researchers in Denmark "looked back at 250 years of architecture to identify the features that make buildings last a long time," in hopes that "their results will highlight the role of architecture and built heritage in addressing climate change and today's throw-away society."
● Hume cheers a new project in Toronto "that may not seem particularly remarkable but it is": It "marks the first time brick-and-beam construction has been used in the city in almost a century - the great virtue these simple but elegant boxes possess is their flexibility; they can be used and reused."
● Wainwright is more than a bit disappointed in Southampton's £30m "culture palace": "commercial interests have overshadowed a bold cultural vision" - it "squats on the town square looking like the entrance to a cut-price dictator's palace" (ouch - but not entirely the architects' faults).
● Hall Kaplan holds high hopes for Gehry's next go at L.A.'s not-so-grand Grand Avenue: "it appears a viable design has emerged, grand, if ambitious, it will be, a $1 billion stacked conceit," but "while hoping the Grand will indeed" be grand, he's reserving judgment.
● Henning Larsen unveils its £400 million Belfast waterfront master plan that uses the redevelopment of Copenhagen harbor as a model, with the hopes that "outdoor areas could remain comfortably in use for up to 25 weeks - in contrast to the 9 weeks the city's inclement weather typically permits."
● Litt takes a long look at the master plan for Cleveland's third biggest suburb that serves as a case study for the challenges facing the "reboot" of aging, inner-ring suburbs elsewhere: "The plan has buy-in. The big question now is what to do first, and how to pay for it."
● A beautiful Carrère and Hastings church in NYC to be reincarnated by FXCollaborative as the new home of the Children's Museum of Manhattan (a much happier fate than original plans to go condo).
● Moore offers an in-depth (and fascinating!) look into Forensic Architecture: The "organization that uses architectural evidence in cases of war crimes or other human rights abuses is making itself enemies in high places" by making "visible those things that are kept hidden. The material is harrowing," but it "changes lives and, sometimes, policy."
● Stinson's Q&A with Michael Green re: why he "loves building skyscrapers made of wood."
● Kirk takes a deep dive into why "the number of young people choosing architecture school is declining," and what's being done to make "the profession easier to join and more welcoming."
● Your eye candy for the day (we've been bumping this for awhile now): Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani is a sort of present-day Gaudi, creating "psychedelic dream homes" (to put it mildly!).
● The "most striking architecture images shortlisted" in this year's Mobile Photography Awards - a showcase of "the most talented smartphone snappers."
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Justin Davidson: The Death of a Skyscraper: I went to pay my respects to the old Union Carbide Building. The tower glowed softly in the drizzle. Its polished steel pinstripes caught the passing taillights...appeared gracious and vibrant...It did not look doomed, but it is...will become the tallest structure ever demolished by peaceful means...destruction of 270 Park Avenue will act out a ruthless architectural Darwinism...If New York can’t distinguish standouts from knockoffs, it doesn’t deserve the next generation of architecture. And then it becomes a disposable city. -- JPMorgan Chase; Natalie Griffin de Blois/Gordon Bunshaft/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- New York Magazine
Alexandra Lange: Why SOM’s modernist Union Carbide building [270 Park Avenue] is worth saving: Renovation is always a better use of resources than demolition and replacement: ...not alone in being threatened by the East Midtown upzoning...there is something unseemly...about crowing over what would be the largest voluntary building demolition in the world...No architect was mentioned...on the replacement. Are they hiding? -- JPMorgan Chase; Gordon Bunshaft/atalie de Blois/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1960)- Curbed New York
Architects come out in defense of modernist college facing demolition: ...penned a letter to the NSW heritage minister...asking that the University of New England’s Robb College housing complex , designed by Michael Dysart, receive heritage protection: “It is especially remarkable that it was the work of a 24 year old trainee in the NSW Government Architect’s Branch"...letter also noted the difference in cost between...demolition and reconstruction...and the possible refurbishment...- ArchitectureAU (Australia)
The Movement to Destroy Warsaw’s Tallest Building: The 44-story architectural icon is a harsh reminder of Soviet occupation. Does Poland hate it enough to tear it down? ...the Palace of Culture and Science  was designed by...Lev Rudnev...what to do about the city’s socialist realist architecture? ...tearing down a statue is one thing; knocking down a functional high-rise building is another...for some, repurposing of these structures doesn’t go far enough...in a reversal of traditional roles, it is Warsaw’s younger generation that has emerged as guardians of the city’s troubled past and its foremost conservationists. -- Maciej Jakub Zawadzki/KAMJZ [images]- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Inside Tripoli's abandoned fairground: an eerie monument to Lebanon’s aspirations: The Tripoli International Fairground symbolises the country’s ambitions and its lost hopes: Set amid a square kilometre of landscaped gardens...designed by Oscar Niemeyer...Today, the abandoned site is eerie yet magical. Its gardens have been restored to their former beauty...[his] fantastical buildings, frozen in time, are at once retro and futuristic...without funding, [his] visionary buildings will gradually crumble away...full rehabilitation of the site would cost $33 million, a sum that is unlikely to materialise any time soon.- The National (UAE)
Beautiful buildings are more sustainable: It is not all about energy efficiency. Preserving beautiful old buildings that are functional and use high quality materials is a form of sustainability, say researchers: ...research project “Sustainable Build Heritage"...looked back at 250 years of architecture to identify the features that make buildings last a long time...[they] hope that their results will highlight the role of architecture and built heritage in addressing climate change and today’s throw-away society.- ScienceNordic (Norway / Denmark)
Christopher Hume: Liberty Village building project a sign of the future (and the past): A planned midrise commercial building...is a contemporary remake of Toronto's historic factories and warehouses. That may not seem particularly remarkable but it is: ...marks the first time brick-and-beam construction has been used in Toronto in almost a century...the great virtue these simple but elegant boxes possess is their flexibility; they can be used and reused...80 Atlantic comes out of an understanding of city-building that goes beyond the bottom-line, get-in-and-out-quickly mentality of the condo industry. -- Quadrangle Architects [images]- Toronto Star
Oliver Wainwright: Studio 144: why has Southampton hidden its £30m culture palace behind a Nando's? ...new arts venue has been almost 20 years in the making and consumed millions in public funds. But commercial interests have overshadowed a bold cultural vision: ...squats on the town square...looking like the entrance to a cut-price dictator’s palace...contractor-led aesthetic continues inside...lending the whole place a cheap, institutional air...As a diagram of public funds being swallowed by private interests, this little slice of city couldn’t be more explicit. -- Adam West/CZWG Architects; Glenn Howells- Guardian (UK)
Sam Hall Kaplan: Frank Gehry Gets Another Go for Downtown L.A.: Grand Avenue is not very grand. But there is hope...it appears a viable design has emerged...grand, if ambitious, it will be, a $1 billion stacked conceit by Gehry...Architects do have a way of saying one thing, what a client or the media want or likes to hear, and then designing another. So while hoping the Grand...will indeed revitalize Bunker Hill and that L.A. at last will get a grand boulevard, we at present have to be reserved and hold back judgment.- City Observed
Henning Larsen Architects reveals £400 million Belfast waterfront masterplan: ...to transform the east bank of the River Lagan...using the redevelopment of Copenhagen harbour as a model...The 6.5-hectare Belfast Waterside masterplan...will see the creation of 750 new homes...a hotel, leisure and office spaces...a new pedestrian and cycle bridge...by reducing the wind speed along the waterfront, outdoor areas could remain comfortably in use for up to 25 weeks of the year - in contrast to the 9 weeks the city's inclement weather typically permits. [images]- Dezeen
Steven Litt: Will Euclid's new master plan reboot an aging, inner-ring suburb? Cleveland's third biggest suburb is a case study in what's happening to older, inner-ring communities hit by sweeping regional and national trends...On the plus side...[its] once drab downtown is showing signs of life...On the downside...[it] is threatened by rising poverty...deferred maintenance of infrastructure...Problems can also migrate across municipal boundaries, linking the fate of one community to that of its neighbors...The plan has buy-in. It grew out of extensive community engagement...The big question now is what to do first, and how to pay for it.- Cleveland Plain Dealer
FXCollaborative [formerly FXFowle] will design Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s new Upper West Side HQ: ...church that was once slated for condos will soon become the new headquarters for the [museum]...CMOM acquired the former First Church of Christ, Scientist at 361 Central Park West earlier this year for $45 million. -- Carrère and Hastings (1903)- Curbed New York
Rowan Moore: Forensic Architecture: detail behind the devilry: An organisation that uses architectural evidence in cases of war crimes or other human rights abuses is making itself enemies in high places: "We think that architects need to be public figures,” says Eyal Weizman. “They should take positions...We’re building a new sub-discipline of architecture"...they try to make visible those things that are kept hidden...The material is harrowing...[its] work, which stands up in court, gets ministers to recant their previous statements, and changes lives and, sometimes, policy.- Observer (UK)
Elizabeth Stinson: Why This Bold Architect Loves Building Skyscrapers Made of Wood: Vancouver-based Michael Green speaks about the role of wood in architecture and why the U.S. is poised for a big movement in sustainable building: You just revealed plans for a 10-story wooden commercial tower in Newark, New Jersey. "The big step forward right now is scale. The big change is height." -- Michael Green Architecture- Architectural Digest
Mimi Kirk: Why Architecture? Recent statistics show that the number of young people choosing architecture school is declining. What can be done? The main culprit: Other majors...those that lead directly to jobs, such as engineering...issues of class and cost intersect with architecture’s longstanding “diversity” issue in terms of gender and race...these initiatives help to move the profession in the right direction: toward long-term, fundamental changes in the culture of architecture schools and architecture more broadly. -- Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)- Architect Magazine
Step Inside Bolivia’s Psychedelic Dream Homes: Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani is gaining fame for his elaborate, electric style of architecture that he sees as part of a movement embracing local culture and traditions. [video]- New York Times
The stunning architecture photos taken with a smartphone: The Mobile Photography Awards showcase the most talented smartphone snappers...the most striking architecture images shortlisted in this year's competition. [images]- BBC Designed
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