Today’s News - Wednesday, February 28, 2018
● An obituary, of sorts: We are so sad to learn of the collapse of Artifice and Black Dog Publishing that has left "architects scrambling to rescue copies of their books and retrieve digital files," or waiting to hear whether the purchaser will go ahead with projects already underway.
● George-Parkin parses a survey of "some of the industry's most powerful practices" re: how they "measure up in the #MeToo era" - is architecture facing "a reckoning of its own?"
● Waite reports on the London Festival of Architecture's anti-discrimination campaign "tackling the elephant in the room" by "calling on the industry to 'pledge positive actions to stamp it out for good'" - the "built environment industry must get its house in order."
● Betsky, in light of last week's school shooting in Florida, explains "how architects must work to make our world safer": He "lays some blame at the triumph of the virtual over the real, and tasks architects with helping to change that."
● If the National Rifle Association has its way, the way to "harden" schools of the future would be to turn them into prison-like "windowless bunkers."
● Mathew looks at how a new zoning law in Manhattan is helping JPMorgan Chase to "tear down one of Natalie de Blois's greatest achievements"; DOCOMOMO wonders why the bank doesn't just relocate to another, larger building; and Alter points out that its 2011 LEED Platinum renovation makes the 57-year-old Union Carbide building actually only six years old.
● Brasuell offers a fascinating look at FLW's "place in Los Angeles architectural history" that "stands as a small but deeply informative collection of case studies" about how difficult it is to navigate the "long and expensive obstacle course" facing preservation - "even homes by some of the world's most famous architects don't survive this gauntlet."
● On a brighter note, the L.A.-based father/son team of Stayner Architects wins the bid to buy and restore Walter S. White's "Wave House" in Palm Desert (yay!).
● And just because: Eyefuls from photographer/architectural historian John Margolies' archive of 30 years "documenting the quirky, tourist-y architecture" of America's roadside attractions - "functional signage and structures built by local tradesmen rather than a fancy design firm" (now owned by the Library of Congress).
● Kamin visits "two TOD hotbeds" and explains why one "sparkles," and another that's "just dull" (and worse)
● Stephens tells a most engaging "tale of two cities" in Sri Lanka: one is ancient, and couldn't be built today ("it wouldn't have enough parking"); the other (scarcely older than Instagram) "amounts to 30 restaurants connected by a traffic jam - both are having their moments. For completely different reasons."
● An impressive series of articles looking at rethinking urban spaces in Dhaka and beyond.
● Morshed offers a great, in-depth look at the past and future of architecture in Bangladesh: "an architectural culture has been taking root with both promises and perils, introducing contentious debates about its origin, nature, and future."
● Fluid Motion Architects' avant-garde mosque in Tehran "has emerged as the latest battleground in a longstanding culture war between hard-liners and Iran's vibrant artistic community" (fab interior photos).
● Las Vegas is inspired by a project in San Antonio: a "Corridor of Hope" that will make a homeless encampment permanent, complete with social services and a path to finding homes.
● Dickinson brings home lessons from Michelangelo's "remarkable drawings" that "revealed a reality that we're losing in the avalanche of technology" by "the balkanization of architecture into constellations of independent operators of exclusive expertise."
● Architect Hafeez Contractor, architect-activist, PK Das, and others offer to design railway stations in India for free: "the country suffers when a 'lousy job' is done."
● Yona Friedman named the Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize winner for his "innovative achievements in the fields of architecture and the arts."
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Collapse of Artifice and Black Dog Publishing "a terrible blow to architectural culture": ...leaving architects scrambling to rescue copies of their books and retrieve digital files...Contract publisher St James's House Media has since bought the assets of both companies...architects said they were waiting to hear whether their publishing projects would go ahead as planned, with some making alternative arrangements.- Dezeen
Hilary George-Parkin: How top architecture firms measure up in the #MeToo era: We surveyed some of the industry’s most powerful practices on how they handle sexual harassment in the workplace: Will architecture face a reckoning of its own? All of the firms that responded...say they have formal antiharassment policies in place...Many firms’ policies also include reporting guidelines and anti-retaliation clauses...more important than any corporate procedure is a company’s commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment.- Curbed
Richard Waite: London Festival of Architecture launches anti-discrimination campaign: ...calling on the industry to ‘pledge positive actions to stamp it out for good': The LFA’s Elephant Campaign - aimed at ’tackling the elephant in the room’...wants to challenge outdated attitudes and ensure that the property industry is safe and welcoming for everyone...the ‘built environment industry must get its house in order’.- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Aaron Betsky: Making It Real: How Architects Must Work to Make Our World Safer: While the primary reason for America’s mass shootings is insufficient gun control, Betsky also lays some blame at the triumph of the virtual over the real, and tasks architects with helping to change that: This is not a call for paper architecture, academic flailing, or utopian thinking. This is a reminder of the necessary task of making a life-affirming architecture.- Architect Magazine
The NRA wants to “harden” schools into windowless bunkers: ...President Trump and the National Rifle Association have been banging on alternative solutions to prevent mass shootings in schools...if the NRA had their way, what would the school of the future look like? ...they’d likely resemble prisons.- The Architect's Newspaper
Teresa Mathew: A Female Architect's 'Post-War Miracle' No Match for New Zoning: ...a new zoning law in Manhattan’s Midtown East is helping a bank tear down one of Natalie de Blois's greatest achievements: What perplexes Kyle Johnson and DOCOMOMO’s...Liz Waytkus is why JPMorgan Chase is insistent on tearing down 270 Park rather than simply relocating to another, larger building....[it] was renovated in 2011 to obtain an LEED Platinum rating...At the time, it was the largest renovation project to achieve such a status...As Lloyd Alter pointed out..."this building isn’t 57 years old; it’s six years old." -- Gordon Bunshaft/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
James Brasuell: Preserving Frank Lloyd's Wright Place in Los Angeles Architectural History: ...requires navigating a long and expensive obstacle course...Even homes designed by some of the world's most famous architects don't survive this gauntlet...Amidst the uniquely L.A. landscape of architectural heritage mingling side by side with skyrocketing real estate prices, [Wright's work] stands as a small but deeply informative collection of case studies. [images]- KCET.org (California)
Iconic midcentury “wave house” in Palm Desert will be restored by L.A.-based architects: The historic Miles C. Bates house in Palm Desert, California, was purchased at auction over the weekend by Stayner Architects...To sweeten the deal, Palm Desert officials offered up to $50,000 toward the cost of restoring the abandoned home...father-and-son team...prevailed over four other bidders...reaching the final sale price of $360,000. -- Walter S. White [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
These vintage Michigan roadside landmarks are like postcards from the past: ...photographer and architectural historian John Margolies, who spent more than 30 years...documenting the quirky, tourist-y architecture that had sprung up along America's highways and main streets during the nation's heyday of roadtrip travel..."vernacular architecture" - functional signage and structures...built by local tradesmen rather than a fancy design firm...12,000 color slides that comprise the John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive (now owned by the Library of Congress)... [images]- MLive.com (Michigan)
Blair Kamin: 1 suburban transit-oriented development sparkles, another's just dull - here's why: My column...about a graceless new apartment building in downtown Wilmette...bought a strong response ...“Are there any good ones out there?” TOD isn’t a mere urban-planning fashion...Wouldn’t it be great if these projects weren’t eyesores and actually delivered on the TOD gospel of creating walkable, energy-efficient downtowns? Unfortunately, not all of them do, as I learned during a visit to La Grange...The Main [in Evanston] is what TOD is supposed to be: urban and urbane...The suburbs - and the city of Chicago...need more buildings like this. -- Opus Group; GREC Architects- Chicago Tribune
Josh Stephens: A Tale of Two Cities: Tourism and Imperialism in Sri Lanka: Today, the colonnades, courtyards, terra cotta roofs, and woodwork of Galle Fort stand firm against the predictably functional architecture of...a developing country with rich culture but no money to build with much more than cinder block and rebar...Galle could not be built today. It wouldn’t have enough parking. It would be too dense. The walls would block someone’s ocean view...Ella, in its current form, has been around scarcely longer than Instagram has...amounts to 30 restaurants connected by a traffic jam...both cities...are having their moments. For completely different reasons.- Common Edge
Rethinking urban spaces: Dhaka and beyond: ...we need to rethink our priorities when it comes to planning, be mindful of preserving our heritage and invest in infrastructure that are needed for today and the future...our concerns cannot remain with Dhaka only - development and planning must decentralise towards a wider vision for the whole country: Framing a shared urban vision; Our wetlands and a sustainable urban future; Mega projects and our hopes and concerns; Why Dhaka is not a walkable city, yet!- The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
Adnan Morshed: Does architecture define a "new" Bangladesh? In the midst of infernal urbanisation across the country, an architectural culture has been taking root with both promises and perils, introducing contentious debates about its origin, nature, and future...It is useful to look back at some of the earlier architectural energies that may shed some light on the current architectural scene. -- Muzharul Islam; Louis Kahn; Paul Rudolph' Constantinos Doxiadis; Robert G Boughey; Richard “Dik” Vrooman; Bashirul Haq; Chetona; Kashef Mahboob Chowdhury; Marina Tabassum; Aga Khan Award for Architecture [images]- The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
Avant-garde mosque angers hard-liners in Iran: The architects behind the Vali-e-Asr mosque [in Tehran] dispensed with the traditional rounded domes and towering minarets, instead opting for a modern design of undulating waves of gray stone and concrete...has emerged as the latest battleground in a longstanding culture war between hard-liners and Iran's vibrant artistic community... -- Reza Daneshmir/Catherine Spiridonoff/Fluid Motion Architects [images]- Boston Herald (via AP)
Las Vegas Isn’t Clearing its Homeless Encampment - It’s Making it Permanent: As part of a broader strategy...the city is building an open-air courtyard where homeless people can legally camp...Some social services are already operating in the area, but the city plans to bring even more...officials were inspired to create a “Corridor of Hope"...by a similar facility in San Antonio...“Haven for Hope"...The key is that the courtyard has to be more than a “human bullpen,” where people...are funneled into one place and then left to fend for themselves.- Next City (formerly Next American City)
Duo Dickinson: Michelangelo’s Lesson: Specialization in Architecture is Not The Only Way: The effortless confluence of words, drawings, music, humans, buildings, carbon lines and sepia ink revealed a reality that we’re losing in the avalanche of technology...The balkanization of architecture into constellations of independent operators of exclusive expertise wrecks the simplicity of conception, natural elegance of thought, and effortless coincidence of architecture, words, music, bodies and things that danced through the rooms of the Met. [images]- Common Edge
Architect Hafeez Contractor Offers to Design 19 Railway Stations for Free : ...among four who had offered to design...the pro-bono offer was his way of "helping my country"...He said the country suffers when a "lousy job" is done...Among the others who have offered...is architect-activist, PK Das, one of the foremost voices on preservation of open spaces in Mumbai.- News18.com (India)
Yona Friedman announced as Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize winner: ...granted biennially by the City of Vienna and Republic of Austria and awards €55,000 prize (approximately $67,000) for innovative achievements in the fields of architecture and the arts...Due to his own refugee background, Friedman is deeply attached to human architecture and the rising issue of migrant nomadism... [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
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