Today’s News - Wednesday, April 18, 2018
● Leaked Grenfell Tower report "recounts in forensic detail how the original concrete building was turned from a safe structure into a tinderbox," and "exposes hitherto unknown areas of incompetence - the fire would not have claimed even a single life if the original façade had not been re-clad."
● Goldblatt parses how Ho Chi Minh City and World Bank teams are connecting AI, emerging technology, and machine learning to key development stakeholders to help improve lives, and how "this new wave of technology will allow making smarter decisions, thus smarter cities."
● Kamin & Ori report on the proposed AS+GG-designed tower next to Chicago's Tribune Tower that would be the city's second-tallest skyscraper - "a tapering shaft of metal and glass" that "resembles the top of Batman's black mask" (though the "proposal is 'aspirational' and could change," it would certainly benefit the city's affordable housing fund).
● Eyefuls of AS+GG's Tribune Tower addition that would "shake up Chicago's skyline with a striking 96-story skyscraper."
● Moore (waxing almost poetic) parses Britain's giant distribution centers supporting online businesses (a place called Dirft included), "where the virtual becomes physical, with a vengeance" - they're a "new breed of superstructures trying very hard to disappear" (with the help of architects).
● Rybczynski ponders Calatrava's bridge in Venice, which, though "full of novelty," is a reminder "of the dangers of architectural experimentation. Beware of architects bearing shiny new gifts."
● Trufelman offers a most engaging (and rather romantic) profile of Las Vegas, Venturi, Scott Brown, and Postmodernism: as it "became sillier and sillier, it strayed further and further from what they were originally trying to do" (a great read).
● Sarasota architect Parks takes issue with three master plan schemes for the city's Bayfront that call for the "elimination of two architecturally significant buildings" (by SOM's Netsche): it would "bring us closer to being just another faceless coastal community."
● Schumacher discovers murals in Milwaukee's 1963 State Office Building that are now in jeopardy: 93-year-old Marjorie Kreilick "was a woman in a boy's club - there should be public debate about" their fate that "should include Kreilick. To meet her is to understand she's lived the life of a pioneering artist with much to offer a rising generation of feminists."
● Baldwin parses architectural criticism and what seems to be a growing role for in-house critics, a.k.a. Design Editors, who are "bringing systematic, critical conversations of design to architects themselves. In doing so, they join journalists and activists in beginning to move criticism forward. Now more than ever, we need critics outside practice and within it."
● Frampton will take home the 2018 Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement.
● A long-overdue tribute - in English - to Lin Huiyin and Liang Sicheng: In the 1930s, they "began surveying and recording China's overlooked ancient buildings, in an effort to begin preserving them. Their efforts have since inspired generations - they've become folk heroes, their lives recounted in novels, films and a documentary series" (Maya Lin is Lin's niece).
Of housing - and the lack thereof:
● Florida & Schneider crunch the numbers and parse reports re: the global housing crisis - the world's most unaffordable cities are not where you might think (check out the Comments section, too!).
● Wagner (of McMansion Hell fame) tackles "architecture, aesthetic moralism, and the crisis of urban housing": "new-build apartment architecture, specifically, has become a social media scapegoat for today's urban housing crisis - there's a reason developer-chic architecture has become so loathed by those fighting for the right to affordable housing."
● Bouw explains how "a coalition of urban designers and residents are planning their neighborhood from the ground-up" in a tiny Amsterdam neighborhood that serves as "a prototype for grassroots urban planning - instead of letting the highest-paying developers take the reins" (toolkits on collaborative urbanism and grassroots city-making included).
● Kolson Hurley reports on how a Chicago suburb is "wooing millennials" by billing itself "as a hip, diverse, urban neighborhood that they can afford" - via a new comic-strip ad campaign ("the old dichotomy of city vs. suburb is blurring").
● O'Sullivan reports on how Barcelona is attempting to solve an affordable and interim housing shortage, a "problem that many cities face," by "forcing banks to find tenants for properties they own, but leave empty."
At the opposite end of the housing scale - and your eye candy for the day: a double dose of Zaha!
● A 360-degree video tour of Hadid's 520 West 28th Street, along the High Line in New York City.
● The "spaceship has landed": if you happen to have $140 million lying around, you might be interested in Hadid's 36,000-square-foot home set in a forest outside of Moscow - not for the acrophobic - the master bedroom is about 117 feet above the ground (watch the video!).
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Leaked Grenfell Tower dossier reveals how disastrous refurbishment turned tower into a 'tinderbox': Report lays bare the failures that caused the fire to spread, killing 71: ...recounts in forensic detail how the original concrete building was turned from a safe structure into a tinderbox by the refurbishment between 2014 and 2016. It not only finds the cladding material and insulation was combustible, but also exposes hitherto unknown areas of incompetence...[fire] would not have claimed even a single life if the original facade of the building had not been re-clad.- Evening Standard (UK)
Ran Goldblatt: Artificial intelligence for smart cities: insights from Ho Chi Minh City’s spatial development: AI...can help improve lives...machine learning and AI are increasingly used to provide near real-time analysis of how cities change in practice...But the barriers to applying these technologies can still seem daunting for many cities...World Bank [teams are] helping connect emerging technology and machine learning to key development stakeholders in Ho Chi Minh City...This new wave of technology will allow making smarter decisions thus smarter cities.- WorldBank,org
Blair Kamin & Ryan Ori: Developers plan city's second-tallest skyscraper next to new Tribune Tower condos: ...a tapering shaft of metal and glass...resembles the top of Batman's black mask...only 29 feet shorter than Willis Tower...$1 billion-plus...developers’ proposal is “aspirational” and could change...To increase the density, the developers would pay about $14 million into a city fund that seeks to encourage commercial development in struggling areas of the South and West sides, as well as $12 million into the city’s affordable housing fund. -- Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture; SCB/Solomon Cordwell Buenz; Vinci Hamp Architects [image]- Chicago Tribune
1,422-foot Tribune Tower addition would be Chicago’s second tallest building: The mixed-use skyscraper...to shake up Chicago’s skyline with a striking 96-story skyscraper...will eclipse both Trump International Hotel & Tower and the under-construction Vista Tower while coming up just 29 feet shy of the roof of Chicago’s Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. -- Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture [images]- Curbed Chicago
Rowan Moore: A shed the size of a town: what Britain’s giant distribution centres tell us about modern life: These boxes are of such importance that some are classed as “nationally significant infrastructure projects”...where the virtual becomes physical, with a vengeance...a “new breed of superstructures trying very hard to disappear”...It’s welcome that architects and developers should try...mitigate their impact with woods, ponds...these uncompromising building types will only become more essential to our lives. The contrast between what was previously thought of as natural and urban landscape will only become more stark. -- Chetwoods [images]- Observer (UK)
Witold Rybczynski: A Bridge Too Far: Reading about Venice’s Ponte della Constituzione I was reminded - again - of the dangers of architectural experimentation. The bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is full of novelty...All these innovations have created problems...Beware of architects bearing shiny new gifts, whether in terms of untested materials, new technologies, or unusual solutions...Traditional building is not about nostalgia or sentimentality as its critics would have it, but rather about imitating what works.- WitoldRybczynski.com
Avery Trufelman: Lessons from Las Vegas: To this day, architects tend to turn their noses up at Las Vegas...The 1960s Strip was the exact opposite of what Modern architects thought the world should look like..."Learning from Las Vegas" forced architects to consider design...and the kinds of everyday places people occupy (and love)...as Postmodernism became sillier and sillier, it strayed further and further from what Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi were originally trying to do...a lot of clients and architects went back to Modernism...the Strip continued to reinvent itself...Soon, without a doubt, the Strip will shift shape again...if one wants to observe the ever-shifting state of the American landscape, there’s still no better place...- 99% Invisible
Dale Parks: Architectural heritage at risk: ...three master plan schemes for the Bayfront...what was evident was the elimination of the Van Wezel and the former county library, also known as G.Wiz...two architecturally significant buildings...The city seems to place no value on the architecture that defines our sense of place that is Sarasota. Further destruction of this fabric only brings us closer to being just another faceless coastal community...these structures should be saved, repurposed and worked into the long-term goals for which this master plan seeks to be a solution. -- D/Parks Architect; Walter Netsche/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1975)- Herald-Tribune (Florida)
Mary Louise Schumacher: State Office Building  murals by pioneering feminist artist in jeopardy: Public art projects become...taken for granted until we learn we might lose them...93-year-old Marjorie Kreilick says...“I think people are walking in out of the cold and suddenly they are doing a double take"...She’s right. I did a double take. We all should...she's not a famous artist. She was a woman in a boy’s club...there should be public debate about the fate of this little-known, taxpayer-funded art project...should include Kreilick, who says the destruction of her work “would be just stupid"...To meet her is to understand she’s lived the life of a pioneering artist with much to offer a rising generation of feminists.- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Eric Baldwin: The Practice of Criticism: How does the practice of architecture itself stay informed and self-critical? ...who is bringing systematic, critical conversations of design to architects themselves? ...the in-house critic...Design Editor, providing informed feedback...is there a suggestion...[t]hat practice isn’t already nimble, self-critical? To an extent, yes...the work of the Design Editor must be a self-aware, systematic study and disciplined exercise. In doing so, they join journalists and activists in beginning to move criticism forward...Now more than ever, we need critics outside practice and within it. -- Mimi Zeiger; Blair Kamin; Christopher Hawthorne; Sam Lubell; Christopher Hawthorne; Alexandra Lange; Ian Volner; Jenna McKnight/SOM; Philip Nobel/SHoP; Trevor Boddy; John J. Parman/Gensler; Alan Maskin/Olson Kundig; Reinier de Graaf/OMA- Archinect
Kenneth Frampton: Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the Biennale Architettura 2018: Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara: "...he occupies a position of extraordinary insight and intelligence combined with a unique sense of integrity. He stands out as the voice of truth...His humanistic philosophy...is embedded in his writing and he has consistently argued for this humanistic component throughout all the various ‘movements’ and trends often misguided in architecture in the 20th and 21st century."- La Biennale di Venezia/Venice Biennial
Overlooked No More: Lin Huiyin and Liang Sicheng, Chroniclers of Chinese Architecture: In the 1930s, the couple began surveying and recording the country’s overlooked ancient buildings, in an effort to begin preserving them: ...were among the first preservationists to operate in China, and by far the best known. Their efforts have since inspired generations of people to speak out for architecture threatened by the rush toward development...“Liang and Lin: Partners in Exploring China’s Architectural Past,” the English-language story of their lives by Wilma Fairbank ...They have also become folk heroes in China, their lives recounted in novels, films and a documentary series.- New York Times
Richard Florida & Benjamin Schneider: The Global Housing Crisis: Scarce, unaffordable housing is not a local problem in a few places, but is baked into the 21st-century global city. It’s time for cities, nations, and global leaders to start acting like it: ...housing has been financialized and turned into an investment vehicle...higher levels of government and international development organizations will need to step in to rein in financialization...But if past is precedent, cities...will have to come up with creative solutions to this crisis...we must no longer see housing primarily as a financial instrument or investment vehicle, but as a basic human right.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Kate Wagner: Architecture, Aesthetic Moralism, and the Crisis of Urban Housing: ...architecture is not urban planning...new-build apartment architecture specifically, has become a social media scapegoat for today’s urban housing crisis: escalating developer-driven gentrification...Aesthetic moralism is unfortunately trenchant...Modernist public housing was not the failure of architecture it was the failure of people - through racial prejudices, misguided and poorly thought out policies, ugly politics...there’s a reason developer-chic architecture has become so loathed by those fighting for the right to affordable housing...When a city requires any new building to look a certain way as a condition of its being built, judging a book by its cover is certain to backfire.- Common Edge
Matthijs Bouw: This Tiny Amsterdam Neighborhood Is a Prototype for Grassroots Urban Planning: ...a coalition of urban designers and residents are planning their neighborhood from the ground-up: Beleef Buiksloterham (“Experience Buiksloterham”) pitched a new direction...what if, instead of letting the highest-paying developers take the reins, Buiksloterham became a living laboratory...the brownfield has become a long-term experiment prototyping the potential of organic, bottom-up planning...The Hackable City recently released a series of informal toolkits on collaborative urbanism and grassroots citymaking. -- One Architecture and Urbanism; The Mobile City; DELVA Landscape Architects [images]- Metropolis Magazine
Amanda Kolson Hurley: The Suburb Wooing Millennials With Avocados, Kombucha, and Cheap Houses: In a new comic-strip ad campaign, Homewood, Illinois, bills itself as a hip, diverse, urban neighborhood that Millennials can afford. The only catch: It’s in the suburbs: ...about 25 miles south of downtown Chicago, just launched a new advertising campaign called “Think Homewood"...reveals just how much the old dichotomy of city vs. suburb is blurring...proves a fact that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago: Suburbs now have to work to attract the cohort they were built for.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Feargus O'Sullivan: In Search of Affordable Housing, Barcelona Turns to Repossessed Homes: Spain’s second city is forcing banks to find tenants for properties they own, but leave empty: ...part of a broader general assault on a specific problem that many cities face - where to house people waiting for public housing while new units...are still under construction...The plan could help find medium-term homes for people on the waiting list [for homes], as could a pilot scheme to build 92 sustainable temporary homes...this year.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Take a 360 Video Tour of Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th Street in New York: Clad in patinated stainless steel that references the adjacent High Line, the residential complex features 40 units that bear a light touch of ZHA's signature flowing forms. [images, video]- Metropolis Magazine
Zaha Hadid’s Only Private Residential Home Is Now Completed: The $140 million project is half submerged into the ground and located in the heart of Russia's Barvikha forest: ...the Capital Hill Residence is a neo-futuristic building that stands apart from the thick forest...roughly two miles west of central Moscow...36,000-square-foot home..."She created the perfect livable sculpture." -- Vladislav Doronin; Patrik Schumacher [images, video]- Architectural Digest
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