Today’s News - Thursday, March 29, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, April 3 (April already?!!?).

●  Kimmelman at his most eloquent explains why Charleston needs the Pei Cobb Freed-designed International African American Museum, "a subdued, graceful project" - a "plain-spoken modernism comes across as almost whisperingly defiant promising a deliverance from history" in a city that "can come across as Disneyland for the Confederacy."

●  Cummins considers what we should "do with all the bodies" of dying big box stores, and talks to Lewis; Leddy, and Christensen re: "how to remove, reuse, or recycle these fallen retail giants": while "demolition may be the most practical, adaptive reuse is gaining ground" (some "Toys 'R' Us carcasses" to be Amazon brick-and-mortar stores - great read).

●  Lamster laments Dallas's central library "verging on obsolescence, a dated relic from a generation past," while "Austin is reinventing the public library. It is a lesson Dallas would do well to follow."

●  Davidson x 2: He delves into NYC's Design and Construction Excellence program "that has dusted the city with good buildings at an agonizing pace and an exorbitant cost - how to build good public architecture briskly and frugally has little to do with design and everything to do with bureaucracy - it's hard to identify whose decision caused which screw-up."

●  He explains why NYC'ers "should be in favor of congestion pricing": "There's plenty of room for skepticism" - but "the major objections have answers, most of them satisfying" (includes a link to "a beautiful plaything for a data geek").

●  Hume spends some time in the Eternal City and finds, "despite the chaos, crowds, filth, noise, pollution, ankle-breaking sidewalks, murderous traffic," Rome "reminds us of the forgotten power of the beautiful. In Toronto, we make do with Tim Hortons."

●  Santora offers a fascinating tour of Skopje, Macedonia, that "could be one of the kitschiest capitals on the planet," including an "opulent house dedicated to Mother Teresa" he describes as "Miami meets the Flintstones - part of a long-running face-lift for the city roundly derided by urban planners and architects" - though "there are those who appreciate it, even for its sheer madness" (great pix!).

●  LeBlanc cheers the "Dickinsonian vibe still alive" at Centennial College's 1954 Story Arts Centre, "one of Toronto's almost-forgotten Modernist gems" designed by "a larger-than-life, British expat who chain-smoked and partied his way into the hearts of the postwar city."

●  Baird-Remba takes a deep dive into whether SOM's 270 Park Avenue deserve to be saved: Preservationists and architecture fans may be up in arms, but "not everyone believes that it is worthy of being saved - demolition offers an opportunity to think about more efficient ways to take apart skyscrapers," and keeping it could hold the neighborhood back "from competing with more modern office developments."

●  Bernstein profiles Toshiko Mori, who "challenges strong men through her architecture": "I'm respectful but not subservient."

●  A good reason to head west next week, where "the world of design collides in Los Angeles at Dwell on Design," and architects, designers, and industry tastemakers are in "for a sensory experience."

Weekend diversions:

●  The production designer of the stop-motion film "Isle of Dogs" explains how its "hellish and beautiful" architecture was influenced by Metabolist architecture - and FLW.

●  "SUPERSTRUCTURES: The New Architecture 1960-90" at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich, U.K., "showcases the architects who challenged conventions with their experimentation and interest in engineering and industrial production."

●  Q&A with Garrett Nelli, who "challenges the profession to establish a focus on more community-engaged design" with "In the Public Interest" at the Center for Architecture and Design, Seattle.

●  Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA's "The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930" has traveled to NYC's Americas Society.

●  "Philippe Rahm: The Anthropocene Style" at the San Francisco Art Institute is the first U.S. solo show of the Paris-based Swiss architect, whose "practice is at the vanguard of thinking about the future of humanity in an era of rapid climate change."

●  "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" at Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian American Art Museum offers "giant art installations" of everything from "ornate temples to colorful mushrooms to larger-than-life animal sculptures" from "the free-spirited desert festival."

●  The H&deM-designed Parrish Museum, Southampton, NY, presents "Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture," which "tracks how architectural photography sells a narrative as much as the buildings themselves" (great pix!).


●  Feighan cheers Conway and Haefner's '"Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy" that "goes behind the scenes of 34 iconic buildings - making the case that Michigan was a 'cradle for modernism'" (great pix!).

●  Waldek promises that Allen and McNear's "The Photographer in the Garden will "make you rethink garden photography" - it "chronicles over a century of the relationship between photographers and gardens."


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