Today’s News - Wednesday, May 16, 2018

●  Sam Jacob pens a most thoughtful and personal tribute to Will Alsop, who "had the balls to think differently - he wasn't always right, nor was his work always great - but his wild imagination and generous spirit were much needed in British architecture - his ability to provide a difficult question to an easy answer will be sorely missed."

●  Waite & Tether parse the AJ/ Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust Race Diversity Survey: "The findings paint a picture of a profession struggling with unacknowledged racism" and "points to an industry largely unwilling to recognize it has a problem" (fascinating, sad).

●  Ennead's Schubert cheers "China's decision to move away from showpiece" architecture, which "creates an opening for the reinvention of the public square. America's singular contribution of the skyscraper as an urban icon was a leading factor" in China's urban development. "Sadly, the Western notion of a civic piazza or square as a community gathering space has not been one of our contributions."

●  Urban planner Gennawey tells the "cautionary tale of San Diego's Horton Plaza" (now "a ghost town"), and "what it says about the retail landscape - the malls that destroyed downtownsare getting a taste of their own medicine" ("retailtainment destination" is their salvation).

●  Welton cheers "Connections 81.2" in Raleigh, May 18-20, bringing 5 leading NYC designers, planners and landscape architects together with North Carolina architects to explore the future of 81.2 city acres - he "anticipate a fresh set of New York eyes looking at downtown - and no small amount of buzz."

●  Architect/historian (and "architectural geek") Lai Chee Kien is "deeply" concerned about "the loss of heritage and nature" in Singapore," giving way to roads and Mass Rapid Transit lines: "He strongly believes that there is space to be 'creative'" about both meeting development needs and preservation.

●  A. Staub, an architect and scholar, ponders whether it's time to redefine the American Dream when it comes to housing: "I've examined the trend toward 'more is better,'" but "is there a point where 'more is better' creates an ethical dilemma?"

●  A young South Auckland architect "has set himself what could be a lifelong challenge - to solve poverty and homelessness - through architecture, via MAU Studio, his social design practice.

●  Wainwright cheers Chipperfield's makeover of London's Royal Academy: "the illustrious Piccadilly pile celebrates its 250th birthday with less of a flashy architectural statement than a series of discrete acts of corrective surgery - which, together, promise to transform the entire institution" ("The politicking was worth it.").

●  Moore thinks "Chipperfield has created an intriguing space for the Royal Academy. The totality of this new version of the RA is diffuse, eventful, intriguing, sometimes beautiful. It will need to be curated with energy and wit."

●  "Venice Virgins": a look at the six first-time national pavilions at the 2018 Venice Biennale.

●  Litt has a great conversation with Adjaye, "a designer motivated by social justice - he could certainly be considered a global star in his profession. But that's not how he sees himself."

●  Sweet reports on a Federal lawsuit filed to block Obama Center in Chicago's Jackson Park: "Among the reasons cited - an 'institutional bait and switch.'"

●  Flynn parses what the new tax reform means for small firms - it "will allow small firms to be taxed at lower individual rates - but for some, that's not the whole picture - benefits for the immediate future may be negligible" (at least preservation of the Historic Tax Credit is an "indisputable triumph").

Women in architecture:

●  Schwab reports on readers' responses to her report about open-plan offices being terrible for women: "Crucially, these responses reveal that while open plan offices might be bad for everyone's productivity, they tend to make work more difficult for women."

●  Toronto-based Q4 Architects shows "motherhood and demanding careers can co-exist": founder Frances Martin-DiGiuseppe, "looking back on her over 30 years in the profession," says: "I don't want them to have to go through what I went through."

●  Speaking of architect-moms: Schwab reports that CannonDesign's "mobile lactation pod isn't as crazy as it sounds": Now that they're required in companies with 50+ employees, Sona could be "best as a solution" when facility re-builds aren't possible (or affordable).

●  London's "Underground commissions only female artists in 2018 - in honor of the suffrage centenary, bringing creativity and feminism to the city's public transport network" (fits nicely with the mayor's #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign).

●  A fascinating profile of "Michigan native and design icon" Florence Knoll Bassett: "Her inspirational story is not often told and few realize how much of an impact she made."


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