Today’s News - Thursday, May 3, 2018
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, May 8.
● ANN feature: Stark pens Nuts + Bolts #17: The Dismissal Luncheon (or Breakfast): If your boss asks you to join him or her for breakfast or lunch and there is no specific agenda, beware. Something is afoot.
● Kafka, like Wainwright (see Yesterday's News), minces no words re: OMA's Blox project in Copenhagen that "rejects typical Danish urbanism - it feels uncomfortable - welcoming becomes watched, intriguing becomes befuddling."
● Fairs parses Schumacher's latest "provocative intervention" ('er diatribe?) in the housing debate written for a free-market think-tank (miles of comments, as expected).
● Six firms release preliminary renderings of design solutions for the Grenfell Tower estate restoration as part of a 456-page book of ideas - "however, the tower is not included in renovation plans."
● Desmond, of "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" fame, talks about the National Building Museum's show and Princeton University's newly-launched Eviction Lab website.
● Two of our faves: Walker's great Q&A with KCRW's Anderton re: "why valuing L.A.'s good design matters more now than ever": "When I started the show, I do remember hearing people express puzzlement at the notion of a show primarily focused on L.A. architecture, as in, 'what architecture?'"
● Five finalists chosen for Quebec's "Architecture and community commitment: A tale of aluminum" competition (vote for People's Choice Award until May 25).
● Corcoran on "Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project," opening today at the National Building Museum, that "examines the exceptional design thinking required to build three clandestine cities" - SOM's "hidden cities were a laboratory for the most cutting-edge explorations of town planning, engineering, and efficiency of mass and scale."
● Madsen on "Secret Cities": "The clandestine nature of these places is by design - their history and built forms became proving grounds for planning concepts; these instant communities continue to thrive" (we have family in Oak Ridge, TN - an interesting burg if ever there was one).
● Filler tackles the "whirling mechanical Precisionism" found in "Cult of the Machine" at the de Young Museum in San Francisco (then moving on to Dallas): "Over the past decades, there have been frequent reiterations of this familiar subject matter - the question inevitably arises, 'Why again?' The material on view is, to be sure, perennially popular with the general public," with "cocktail shakers that look like skyscrapers, skyscrapers that look like cocktail shakers," and an "almost complete absence of human figures" (great images!).
● NLÉ Works' "Prelude to The Shed" is a temporary arts pavilion that teases what DS+R// Rockwell Group's arts building in Hudson Yards will be in a year: it's "a reconfigured steel shed crossed with a party limo - a humble dwelling amid the towers."
● Curators Becker & Negussie's great Q&A Jan Gehl adapted from the book accompanying "Ride a Bike! Reclaim the City" at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt.
● Jones is fairly smitten with "Monet & Architecture" at London's National Gallery: "He is known as a joyful painter of lilies and picnics. But this thrilling show recasts him as an artist aghast as the world hurtled towards calamity - he was painting to restore the heart of a heartless world."
● Wainwright finds "Disappear Here" at RIBA, London to be "a muddled view on architectural perspective - in danger of vanishing thanks to a scattershot display - it wouldn't have hurt to put the theme of perspective more in perspective."
● McGuirk cheers Sennett's "Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City": "His experience as a planner notwithstanding, it is Sennett the writer and sociologist who is most rewarding. Part of the charm of the book is its intimacy. The nub is that the open city is a demanding place - getting people to agree is hard work."
● Moore cheers Boughton's "Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing," a "serious, heartfelt book" that "makes a convincing case that publicly provided homes have to be at least part of the response to the dysfunctional state that British housing has now attained."
● Ducote decodes Chey's "Multi-Unit Housing in Urban Cities: 1800 to Present Day": It "is not only refreshing to read but a tremendously valuable tool for city planners, urban designers and architects."
● Logan talks to Maki re: "City with a Hidden Past," written over 30 years ago "as a way to understand the hidden factors that make the seemingly inscrutable city of Tokyo legible" - and now available in English for the first time.
● In "New York New York: A Visual Hymn by Richard Koek," the Dutch photographer "went after light and color. It enters through a bridge and leaves the same way. You are swept in, there's no turning back."
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ANN feature: Nuts + Bolts #17: The Dismissal Luncheon (or Breakfast): If your boss asks you to join him or her for breakfast or lunch during a period of uncertainty and there is no specific agenda, beware. Something is afoot. He or she may want to drop the boom and do the deed in a controlled setting away from the prying eyes of the office staff. By Stanley Stark, FAIA, LEED AP:- ArchNewsNow.com
George Kafka: OMA’s New Mixed-Use BLOX Project in Copenhagen: The diversely programmed building...rejects typical Danish urbanism - but is that a good thing? “I had one conversation with Jan Gehl and I got into a fight with him,” says...Ellen van Loon...Considering BLOX is the new home of the Danish Architecture Center (DAC), this refusal to be Dane-splained on public space is bold...a critique of Danish urbanism: “It’s all a bit too nice"...The point is, however, labored to the extent that it feels uncomfortable...welcoming becomes watched, intriguing becomes befuddling. Perhaps Danish urbanism wasn’t such a bad idea after all. [images]- Metropolis Magazine
Marcus Fairs: Unfettered capitalism “can solve the housing crisis” says Patrik Schumacher: Height restrictions, space standards and rent controls should be scrapped in order to solve the housing crisis, according to Zaha Hadid Architects' principal...[He] sets out his thinking in an essay written for free-market think-tank the Adam Smith Institute, titled "Only capitalism can solve the housing crisis"...The essay marks the latest provocative intervention in the housing debate...following his infamous 2016 lecture, in which he called for the scrapping of social housing and the abolition of public space.- Dezeen
Architects Release Preliminary Plans for Grenfell Tower Estate Restoration: Six firms make recommendations for improving the 1960s housing estate in west London: ...preliminary renderings of design solutions as part of a 456-page book of ideas. This effort was initiated in the months following the deadly Grenfell Tower fire, which left 71 people dead; however, the tower is not included in renovation plans...the residents will vote on which designers will carry out...their proposed plans. -- Adjaye Associates; Cullinan Studio; Levitt Bernstein; Maccreanor Lavington; Murray John Architects; Penoyre & Prasad [images]- Architect Magazine
Reframing Evictions as a National Crisis: Two new related projects...aim to highlight the U.S. eviction epidemic: ..."Evicted," a year-long exhibition at the National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., and the debut of Eviction Lab, a website created by a team at Princeton University that maps eviction records from across the United States...show combines the macro and micro: nationwide statistics combined with individual stories...website...deals primarily in the macro. -- Matthew Desmond/"Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" [images]- Architect Magazine
Alissa Walker: Bringing LA’s great architecture to the masses: Frances Anderton, host of KCRW’s DnA: Design and Architecture, on why valuing LA’s good design matters more now than ever: Q&A re: the city’s 1980s design scene, covering LA’s defining moments, and what it’s like to live in an apartment designed by a rather famous architect [Frank Gehry]...“When I started the show, I do remember hearing people express puzzlement at the notion of a show primarily focused on LA architecture, as in, ‘what architecture?’”- Curbed Los Angeles
Five finalists chosen for Quebec aluminum in architecture competition: "Architecture and community commitment: A tale of aluminum"...seeks to promote the innovative use of aluminum in the building sector...vote for People’s Choice Award until May 25. -- Centre d’expertise sur l’aluminium (CeAl); Alcoa Innovation; Association des Architectes en pratique privée du Québec (AAPPQ); Groupe A / Annexe U; Mercier Pfalzgraf Architectes; Luc Plante Architecture + Design 7 Charles Godbout/Topo Design; Provencher Roy; ADHOC Architectes [images]- Canadian Architect
Heather Corcoran: Secret cities of the Manhattan Project...at the National Building Museum: In the midst of World War II, three new cities sprung up...built from scratch..."Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project"...examines the exceptional design thinking required to build three clandestine cities [Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico; Hanford, Washington]...the hidden cities were a laboratory for the most cutting-edge explorations of town planning, engineering, and efficiency of mass and scale. thru March 3, 2019 -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Deane Madsen: Secret Cities: Exhibition Explores the Architecture and Planning of U.S. Nuclear Sites: "Secret Cities: The Architecture and Planning of the Manhattan Project" at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C...If you’ve never heard of Los Alamos, New Mexico; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; or Hanford and Richland, Washington, you’re not alone. In fact, the clandestine nature of these places is by design...[show] aims to reveal much of their history and built forms...became proving grounds for planning concepts...looks back 75 years to the formation of these instant communities - all of which continue to thrive...and their contemporary implications. thru March 3, 2019 -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) [images]- Metropolis Magazine
Martin Filler: Whirling Mechanical Precisionism: “Cult of the Machine”...over the past decades, there have been frequent reiterations of this familiar subject matter...the question inevitably arises, “Why again?” The material on view...is, to be sure, perennially popular with the general public...cocktail shakers that look like skyscrapers, skyscrapers that look like cocktail shakers...One of the most noteworthy aspects of Precisionist painting is its almost complete absence of human figures...Charles Sheeler blandly replied that such vacancy showed “what a beautiful world it would be if there were no people in it.” de Young Museum in San Francisco, thru August 12; Dallas Museum of Art, September 9, 2018 - January 6, 2019 [images]- New York Review of Books
Shacked Up: NLÉ Works’ "Prelude to The Shed": ...DS+R/Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the Rockwell Group’s...arts building in Hudson Yards is a solid year away from hosting performances. In the meantime...curators are teasing the public with...a temporary pavilion for dance, theater, and art...The building, a reconfigured steel shed crossed with a party limo...a humble dwelling amid the towers... thru May 13 -- Kunlé Adeyemi; Tino Sehgal [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Annette Becker & Lessano Negussie: Copenhagen Mastermind Jan Gehl Isn't Sold on 'Smart' Cities: Architect and planner...looks back on how he helped transform Copenhagen into one of the world’s most livable cities and talks about how people can reclaim the streets: ...a conversation with the curators of “Ride a Bike! Reclaim the City" at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt, Germany, Gehl discusses his observations and philosophies of how cities can become as bike-friendly, people-friendly, and climate-friendly... [Q&A adapted from exhibit’s accompanying book]- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Jonathan Jones: "Monet & Architecture" - glorious pleas for humanity show Monet in a new light: He is known as a joyful painter of lilies and picnics. But this thrilling show recasts him as an artist aghast as the world hurtled towards calamity: ...reveals a very different Monet, one anxious about the industrial world and horrified by its injustices...This shockingly unexpected encounter with Monet the critic of capitalism...shows that his love of nature is not mere escapism. It is a craving for human survival in an age of growing industrial inhumanity...Decades before the first world war...he was painting to restore the heart of a heartless world. National Gallery, London, thru July 29- Guardian (UK)
Oliver Wainwright: "Disappear Here" - a muddled view on architectural perspective: A haul of architectural drawings explore perspective over the centuries, but the point is in danger of vanishing thanks to a scattershot display: ...intriguing haul has been thrown on the wall in a seemingly random order...Adding an extra layer of disorientation to the jumbled hang, the small gallery’s walls have been transformed into a trompe-l’oeil stage set...it wouldn’t have hurt...to put the theme of perspective more in perspective. RIBA, London, thru October 7 -- Sam Jacob; Marie Bak Mortensen [images]- Guardian (UK)
Justin McGuirk: Can Cities Make Us Better Citizens? For Richard Sennett, meeting strangers is a civic duty...“Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City” distills...his thoughts on how urban design shapes the ways in which we relate to one another...he argues for a city that embraces difference...Is the answer to give more power to the urban planners? Not quite...More power, then, to the citizens? Yes and no...His experience as a planner notwithstanding, it is Sennett the writer and sociologist...who is most rewarding. Part of the charm of [the book] is its intimacy...The nub of the book is that the open city is a demanding place...getting people to agree is hard work.- New Yorker
Rowan Moore: "Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing": John Boughton traces the vexed history of social housing in this timely, persuasive study: A new divide has emerged between owner-occupying haves and renting have-nots...[book] brings a broad but informed view...Architects’ megalomaniac fantasies, combined with the municipal Stalinism inherent in the very notion of council housing were to blame. Boughton rebuts this...serious, heartfelt book makes a convincing case that publicly provided homes have to be at least part of the response to the dysfunctional state that British housing has now attained.- Observer (UK)
Frank Ducote, FCIP: Collective Visioning: An ambitious new research project maps out the past and present of multi-unit living: ...it’s surprising how few in-depth case studies exist of residential building types...Thus, Katy Chey’s..."Multi-Unit Housing in Urban Cities: 1800 to Present Day," is not only refreshing to read but a tremendously valuable tool for city planners, urban designers and architects...Her in-depth documentation of each typology...an ambitious report that shows how our present-day cities are both helped and hindered by these pre-existing street and block patterns. [images]- Canadian Architect
Greg Logan: Fumihiko Maki: Finding intimacy in the city: He talks about a landmark book of Japanese architecture, "City with a Hidden Past," and the virtues of Tokyo's inner havens: Originally published more than 30 years ago...Maki and his coauthors wrote it as a way to understand the hidden factors that make the seemingly inscrutable city of Tokyo legible. It is a guide to the city’s idiosyncratic streets, the many layers of its urban facade, and the microtopology that brings a sense of place to its many neighborhoods.
“City with a Hidden Past,”- Japan Times
Alice Rose George: New York: A photographic celebration of NYC's architecture and street life: Richard Koek lives in New York but he is from another world. In his obsession to photograph his chosen place...Dutch photographer...went after light and colour. It is strange but most often it takes an outsider to see the richness of detail and peculiarities of a place..."New York New York: A Visual Hymn by Richard Koek" enters through a bridge and leaves the same way. You are swept in, there’s no turning back. [images]- Independent (UK)
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