Today’s News - Tuesday, March 13, 2018
● Hawthorne marks the end of an era with an eloquent explanation about why he's leaving the L.A. Times to become the city's chief design officer, hoping to nudge "huge public-sector agencies to see good design as fundamental to their missions" (good news for L.A. - we're sad - but thrilled for him - cheers, friend! We hope the paper finds someone great to take his place - big shoes to fill, f'er sure).
● Shaw makes the case for why SOM's Union Carbide building "should be torn down": There's "been little to no convincing argument offered to save 270 Park Avenue - we should cheer as it falls because it represents the worst of midcentury American corporate architecture" and "shouldn't be cried over."
● Lange thinks otherwise, offering both "an appreciation of the trailblazing" Natalie de Blois, and "many reasons to save the Union Carbide Building - it remains one of the best examples of the postwar modernist building boom in New York."
● Meanwhile, here are eyefuls of 17 "ambitious concepts" shortlisted in a competition to re-imagine the median along the stretch of Park Avenue that includes 270 Park, Lever House, Seagram Building, etc. (worth a gander at some bizarrely wonderful stuff - two winners to be named tomorrow).
● Hatherley explains why "the destruction of Coventry's post-war architecture needs to stop" before it takes on the mantle of U.K. City of Culture in 2021: "These are not the moves of a city that is proud of its architecture."
● It's a Toronto kind of day: A look at how "Google's sibling" Sidewalk Labs plans to "turn Toronto into a world renowned innovation hub" using "high-tech infrastructure as a way to solve urban problems cities face."
● Rider says not so fast, as experts warn of "the risks of becoming a Google city" - it's all about the data - who controls it and how it's used (never mind it spilling over into 800-acre, city-owned Port Lands): "Sidewalk's assurances that it envisions making money from licensing new technologies created in the high-tech district, rather than selling data, are not allaying fears."
● Hume cheers a new program to fund "people with ideas about how to make better use of public space," but fears "Toronto's political masters" getting in the way by watering down winning projects "beyond recognition. Toronto's record on civic space is spotty."
● Liddell takes a deep - and fascinating - dive into why "we should steal da Vinci's ideas" about urban planning: He "came up with a series of alternative designs that hold valuable lessons for today's cities" to "pivot away from an inefficient and untenable past and toward a more livable, sustainable future."
● Honolulu architect Wozniak "has become a leader of Oahu's efforts to develop innovative solutions to the low-income housing shortage" (often for free).
● Liminal Studio, Snøhetta, and Rush Wright Associates win the Cascades Female Factory competition to transform "Australia's most significant historic site associated with female convicts" into a new history and interpretation center.
● O'Donnell explains why it's important for architects to embrace artificial intelligence: "Not all architects have taken advantage of emerging technologies, and there is a growing sense that if firms don't incorporate AI into practice, they'll get left behind."
● ArchPaper offers a useful round-up of scholarships and resources for women in architecture.
● Kapoor is "disgusted" by the NRA's use of his Chicago "Bean" sculpture in an ad: "The National Rifle Association's 'intolerant, divisive vision perverts' the work's democratic nature with its representation as a sinister, anti-populist object" (Gehry and Piano turn sinister, too).
It's a Doshi/Pritzker kind of day:
● Keegan's great Q+A with the 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate: How important is it to be the first architect from India to win the award? "It's very significant for us, for our country, and also for creating a new generation to imagine what India can do, in terms of planning, and urbanization, housing, quality of life, etc. Those issues can now come out in the forefront."
● Doshi "is still actively looking for the intangible" in a "quest for kumbhaka - the gap within. 'Between inhaling and exhaling, there is a gap. That gap is what we're looking for in a building.'"
● Beaumont talks to Doshi about his call for the "profession to rethink the way it approaches building for the most impoverished communities - his Aranya stands out as a success story in a country with substantial and persisting housing issues for its poorest citizens."
● Doshi gets the Vogue India treatment with "a look back at his genius": Even at 90, his "passionate commitment coupled with a compulsive need for challenge makes him virtually unstoppable."
● And just because: a round-up of architecture critics' twitter comments about Doshi being the Pritzker pick, and whether "juror Richard Rogers had a conflict of interest."
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Christopher Hawthorne: Why I'm leaving The Los Angeles Times for a job at City Hall: Mayor Eric Garcetti has asked me to fill a new post called chief design officer for the city...to raise the quality of public architecture and urban design across the city - and the level of civic conversation about those subjects. If there's one message I want to underscore...as I've tried to do...it's that good design, even ambitious design, can be a mechanism for efficiency...nudging huge public-sector agencies to see good design as fundamental to their missions.- Los Angeles Times
Matt Shaw: The Union Carbide building should be torn down: ...after the initial shock at such a huge building being torn down has faded...there has still been little to no convincing argument offered for JP Morgan Chase to save 270 Park Avenue...In fact, we should cheer as it falls because it represents the worst of midcentury American corporate architecture...Mies was great, but his copiers were not...A nondescript corporate box from 1957...shouldn’t be cried over...demolition could offer a useful case study to learn from...However, just because it is not worth saving does not mean that what replaces it couldn’t be worse. -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- The Architect's Newspaper
Alexandra Lange: Natalie de Blois: a pioneer of postwar corporate modernism: An appreciation of the trailblazing architect behind some of Park Avenue’s most iconic buildings: There are many reasons to save the Union Carbide Building...it remains one of the best examples of the postwar modernist building boom in New York. -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Gordon Bunshaft- Curbed New York
17 Shortlisted Designs Announced for "Beyond the Centerline" Competition: ...to re-envision and revitalize the medians on New York City's Park Avenue between 46th and 57th Streets...ambitious concepts, including an artificial mountain, a large-scale aquarium, a botanical circus, a forest, a river, and floating gardens...Fisher Brothers will announce two winners on March 14. [link to entries/images]- Architect Magazine
Owen Hatherley: These are not the moves of a city that is proud of its architecture: With Coventry set to be UK City of Culture in 2021, the destruction of the city's post-war architecture needs to stop: The main obstacle to the public appreciation of these buildings is simple - they're often dirty, covered in pigeon spikes and/or pigeon shit, neglected and worn. They're mostly well built and easily repaired and cleaned...Why not make being a City of Culture about pioneering a new civic culture...rather than waiting around for developers to save us?- Dezeen
A high-tech neighbourhood could turn Toronto into a world renowned innovation hub: From convertible buildings to self-driving transit to paths that melt snow, Sidewalk Toronto pegs the high-tech infrastructure as a way to solve urban problems cities face: ...designed by Google’s sibling company...as a way for Toronto to become a hub in the burgeoning field of urban innovation.
Sidewalk Labs...charged with developing Quayside... -- Waterfront Toronto; Ken Greenberg; Daniel Doctoroff- Toronto Star
David Rider: The risks of becoming a Google city: The rush to become a tech hub raises questions about Toronto’s independence and just who will control the city’s valuable Port Lands: Waterfront Toronto’s eagerness to sign a deal with [Sidewalk Labs] has alarmed experts who warn cities are easy prey for Big Tech and its unquenchable thirst for data...Sidewalk’s assurances that it envisions making money from licensing new technologies created in the high-tech district, rather than selling data, are not allaying fears. -- Dan Doctoroff- Toronto Star
Christopher Hume: Toronto’s political masters are the biggest threat to a plan to improve public space: A new program will hand out $340,000 to people with ideas about how to make better use of public space. The hardest part may be getting the city to approve the ideas: Big and small, in and out of the box, all submissions are welcome...The worry is that by the time each city department has had its kick at the can, the ideas could be watered down beyond recognition...Toronto’s record on civic space is spotty. -- Public Space Incubator; Park People- Toronto Star
Devin Liddell: The Plague Inspired Leonardo da Vinci To Design A City. We Should Steal His Ideas: The bubonic plague spread, in part, because of poor urban planning. [He] came up with a series of alternative designs that hold valuable lessons for today’s cities, as they face challenges from climate change to self-driving cars: ...ideas he sketched in the 15th century: a city that moves differently so that it can pivot away from an inefficient and untenable past and toward a more livable, sustainable future.- Fast Company / Co.Design
This Honolulu Architect Designs Low-Cost Housing, Often For Free: Russell Wozniak has become a leader of Oahu’s efforts to develop innovative solutions to the low-income housing shortage: ...the city’s Department of Land Management contracted Wozniak...to design and construct six projects geared toward housing people well below the poverty line. His first undertaking was Hale Mauliola, a transitional homeless shelter...made of shipping containers...His experience in South America came to inform his understanding of what income inequality could lead to in Hawaii. -- G70 [images]- Honolulu Civil Beat
Liminal Studio, Snøhetta, Rush Wright Associates win Cascades Female Factory competition: ...to transform the World Heritage-listed...site in south Hobart...called for a new history and interpretation centre at the former convict site...Australia’s most significant historic site associated with female convicts. [images]- ArchitectureAU (Australia)
Kathleen M. O'Donnell: Embracing artificial intelligence in architecture: In recent years, technology and automation in architecture have soared, now spanning all aspects of practice including project delivery, performance, evaluation, and billings. But not all architects have taken advantage of emerging technologies, and there is a growing sense that if firms don't incorporate artificial intelligence [AI] into practice, they'll get left behind.- AIArchitect / American Institute of Architects
Woman Up! Here are some scholarships and resources for women in architecture. -- Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation/BWAF; National Organization of Minority Architects/NOMA; Architects Foundation; AIA; American Planning Association Foundation/AWA+D; National Organization of Women in Construction; Houzz Scholarship Program; American Association of University Women- The Architect's Newspaper
"Disgusted" Anish Kapoor condemns NRA’s use of his Chicago "Bean" sculpture in advert: The National Rifle Association’s “intolerant, divisive vision perverts” the work’s democratic nature: ...he emphasises the openness and democratic nature of Cloud Gate...in contrast with its representation as a sinister, anti-populist object in the NRA ad. -- Frank Gehry; Renzo Piano- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Edward Keegan: Q+A: Balkrishna Doshi, 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate: How important is it to be the first architect from India to win the award? "It’s very significant for us, for our country, and also for creating a new generation to imagine what India can do, in terms of planning, and urbanization, housing, quality of life, etc. Those issues can now come out in the forefront."- Architect Magazine
Pritzker Prize winner Balkrishna V. Doshi: The quest for kumbhaka: At 90, the pioneer architect is still actively looking for the intangible: ...the first Indian to win the the Pritzker Prize...is still looking for answers, for the kumbhaka, the gap within, “Between inhaling and exhaling, there is a gap. That gap is what we’re looking for in a building.”- The Hindu (India)
Peter Beaumont: Low-cost housing needs dignity, says Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi: Fresh from scooping architecture’s most august award [Pritzker Prize], the champion of housing for the poor is urging greater compassion: ...has called on his profession to rethink the way it approaches building for the most impoverished communities...in the chequered history of slum clearance and relocation...his Aranya stands out as a success story in a country with substantial and persisting housing issues for its poorest citizens. [images]- Guardian (UK)
How Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi has changed the face of Indian architecture: Doshi recently became the first Indian architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize...Here's a look back at his genius: Passionate commitment coupled with a compulsive need for challenge makes [him] virtually unstoppable. And at 90, he continues to make bold statements in the Indian architectural narrative..."The real question is: are we creating architecture suitable to the Indian ethos and style of living?" -- Vastu Shilpa; Louis Kahn; Le Corbusier [images]- Vogue India
Architecture Critics Sound Off on 2018 Pritzker Prize Announcement: Christopher Hawthorne, Blair Kamin, Mark Lamster, and more discuss the selection of Balkrishna Doshi on Twitter: ...praised the choice, but also questioned whether juror Richard Rogers had a conflict of interest. -- Paul Goldberger; Rory Stott; Witold Rybczynski- Architect Magazine
ANN feature: Jason A. Silva: From the Treetops #3: Is Art Redefining the Architecture of Sacramento? Temporary, multi-disciplinary arts projects are transforming the proverbial "white cube" gallery town by elevating the discourse around what art can be and the potential spaces it could occupy. [images]- ArchNewsNow.com
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