Today’s News - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

●  O'Sullivan delves into France's €5 billion ($6.1 billion) plan to revamp 222 small city cores "to undo the damage of urban sprawl - many are in a bad state through a string of mistakes that will seem eerily familiar to North Americans" (an international competition for architects to launch for "new templates for how a revitalized medium-sized city might look").

●  Pacheco ponders whether Christopher Hawthorne has "what it takes to plan for L.A.'s future" as the city's new chief design officer. "Would a designer be better equipped for the job? I think so."

●  Schwab joins BIG's Ingels and WeWork's Neumann on the roof of Manhattan's Lord & Taylor (soon to be WeWork's HQ) to talk about the architect's new role as the co-working/living/education company's first "chief architect": Ingels "lends star power to Neumann's ambition to remake cities in WeWork's image."

●  Finch points out "thumping gaps" in Schumacher's "unpopular" housing manifesto: "We tried ditching standards and counting on private house-builders before, and it became a race to the bottom - he tries to convince us of the validity of his views by stating some truths, then throwing in an enormous falsehood or non sequitur which we are supposed to regard as just another fact."

●  Meanwhile, LOHA is working on "a collection of novel" and "eye-catching" affordable housing projects in L.A.

●  Wainwright x 2: He parses the new Cube Haus initiative to "disrupt the housing market" with pre-fab, modular homes designed by notable architects (including Adjaye) "that can be adapted to fit awkward infill sites and backland plots" (cool idea, though we question their concept of "reasonable prices").

●  He cheers the renovation of Kew Gardens' 1898 Temperate House, "the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world": the result of the "mammoth undertaking is suitably breathtaking - a triumph of iron and glass [that] now feels more like the architecture, rather than the plants, is the star of the show" (mention of goats included & link to in-depth history).

●  The Obama Presidential Center faces its first (of many) hurdles next week when the Chicago Plan Commission votes thumbs-up - or thumbs-down: residents of the lower-income neighborhood fear gentrification, and "some environmentalists and historians are unhappy with plans to swoop in and take over a national historic place."

●  The Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is ready for its close-up, and will celebrate its 60th anniversary with "Canada Builds/Rebuilds a Pavilion in Venice" (opening May 26) that "offers an unprecedented study of the building's important modern architecture" (with link to Adele Weder's great "Venice Redux").

●  Martin offers a sneak-peek of Snarkitecture's "Fun House" mini-retrospective for the National Building Museum's Summer Block Party (opening July 4), which includes a full-size house with 11 rooms, and a front- and backyard (and lots of white).

●  Fujiki, a young, NYC-based architect, explains why "architecture's crisis is deeper than #MeToo - we must expand how architecture is evaluated and rethink how it is taught. Those of us who love architecture must refuse to say yes to its unhealthy and degrading demands."

●  Betsky also tackles how students should be evaluated: "Architecture schools need to do a better job defining how their students should be evaluated - attempts to apply standards from science or the humanities to architecture are flawed because they weigh publication over building or just designing, discourage experimentation and speculation, and favor emerging 'sciences.'"

●  The National Endowment for the Arts names urban planner and acting director Jen Hughes to replace Schupbach as Director of Design and Creative Placemaking; she "will also manage leadership initiatives that include the Mayors' Institute on City Design and the Citizens' Institute on Rural Design."

Winners (and almost winners) all:

●  Cheers to the Cooper Hewitt's 10 (impressive!) winners of its 2018 National Design Awards.

●  There are 9 buildings in the running to be named for AJ100 Building of the Year.

Three we couldn't resist (having to do - or maybe nothing to do - with architecture):

●  Kanye West launches Yeezy Home, and is looking for talented architects and designers "who want to make the world better," and plans to develop a 300-acre property in L.A.: "Yeah, we're going to develop cities."

●  Mock considers Kanye West's plan "to develop cities. Don't let him do this": He "believes that his love for all people is all the evidence that's needed for people to trust his development vision - a personality trait of the worst kind of developer."

●  Definitely nothing to do with architecture, but how could we resist! JetBlue "will deliver NYC pizzas to L.A. for $15 or less" between today and Friday. "No joke. Get 'em while they're hot, people."


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