Today’s News - Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Will Alsop has died - a sad day for architecture. A character. A talent. A disruptor if ever there was one. We met once, on the sidewalk outside some yawn-inducing event in NYC. I needed a smoke - he was already on his third. The conversation was totally hilarious, off the wall - a joyful moment. We've read dozens of obits and tributes, and offer a handful of what we think are the most meaningful:

●  Wainwright x 2: He pens a thoughtful (and amusing) tribute, telling the tale of a recent "smoky, boozy, extraordinary afternoon" spent at Alsop's studio, a "mind-boggling cabinet of curiosities" (includes link to pix of the studio - "mind-boggling" indeed!).

●  He is just as eloquent in penning a straight-on (but hardly dry) biographical obituary for Alsop: "To his critics, he was a reckless pied piper. To his fans he was a mischievous breath of fresh air" in "a profession that was all too beige."

●  Finch recalls several of his encounters with Alsop, who "made a difference by remaining fiercely independent. With Cedric gone, then Zaha, and now Will, the brightest lights of my life as an architectural journalist are being snuffed out, too early." + Will Hurst: "Battle of Wills: writing about Alsop could be a hazardous exercise" + Simon Allford on Alsop.

●  Alsop in his own words: "Why Will has no Grace," a reprint of his 2004 essay, "just after his Fourth Grace had been canned by Liverpool council. It shows him at his fiery best" + Links to tributes and more.

●  Across the Big Pond, Bozikovic considers Alsop, the "crazy-brilliant creator of playful structures who brought a sense of color, literally and figuratively, to his profession" - his Sharp Centre for OCAD University - "built quickly and cheaply - quickly redefined the art school it housed and, along the way, Toronto," as did his two recent, "remarkable" subway stations.

●  Hume weighs in on Alsop, "the bad boy of British architecture," and his "special relationship with Toronto." His Sharp Centre for Design "raised Toronto's international profile and managed to make a cold city seem cool. For him, every project was an excuse for play."

●  A round-up of tributes from by notable names to Alsop's "true free spirit" and "a lover of prodding hornets' nests."

In other news:

●  Campbell-Dollaghan parses NYC's new - and free - report, "Designing New York: Quality Affordable Housing," a "quietly ambitious project to give everyone - from citizens to politicians - the language to talk about and advocate for good design - it's a useful resource for any city struggling with its own housing crisis."

●  J. Stephens returns to Honolulu after many years, and bemoans that it has become "a poster child for American auto-centric urbanism. If you're going to pave over paradise, at least do it well. Honolulu looks like Houston with volcanoes."

●  Bozikovic minces no words about what he thinks of the proposal to stick "a 44-storey stack of condos - clumsily designed, awkwardly detailed - on top of" Toronto's "solidly built and beautifully detailed" 1958 Bank of Canada building: "Leave it alone."

●  Wallis takes us on deep dive into "the new 'green' architecture" by architects who "are designing structures that would put the mythic Hanging Gardens of Babylon to shame."

●  Diaz waxes almost poetic about Snøhetta's "stunningly beautiful" planetarium and visitor center in Norway: "There's an otherworldly quality to some of Snøhetta's work that makes me suspect some of its designers aren't of this world, either."

●  The World Monuments Fund pledges $1 million to support disaster response and restoration efforts at the earthquake-struck Monte Albán Archaeological Site in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Stellar winners and shortlists abound:

●  Eyefuls of the six international teams shortlisted to design South Australia's Adelaide Contemporary art gallery (great presentation - stellar, indeed!).

●  Eyefuls of the RIBA Awards for International Excellence 2018, which includes 20 new buildings in 16 countries + RIBA International Emerging Architect 2018 (also great presentation).

●  Litt cheers the 3 "strong choices" shortlisted to design the Cleveland Public Library's MLK Branch, but the one that rejects the idea of apartments overhead is best (lots of pix).

●  The South African Institute of Architects announces the winners of the 2018 Corobrik SAIA Architectural Awards - two memorials, an office building, and two homes.

●  Winners of the International A' Design Award & Competition 2018 announced - over 1,900(!) in 99(!) different design disciplines.


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