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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Sam Jacob: Will Alsop 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: New Islington was about how to make somewhere through imagination...geared to making somewhere better in ways that we could never imagine in the first place...another world was, it seemed at least, possible...changes, on both left and right of the political spectrum, meant that Will’s attitude and aesthetic fell out of step with British culture...[his] ability to provide a difficult question to an easy answer will be sorely missed. So too will his generosity. -- Urban Splash; FAT- Dezeen
Richard Waite & Bruce Tether: Race Diversity Survey: is architecture in denial? AJ, in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, investigates attitudes to race within the profession: The findings paint a picture of a profession struggling with unacknowledged racism where architects from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds feel the colour of their skin hinders their career...Comments...give a unique insight into the ongoing challenges faced by many non-white architects...points to an industry...largely unwilling to recognise it has a problem.- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Peter Schubert/Ennead Architects: End the skyscraper craze and build China’s cities around its public space: China’s decision to move away from showpiece tower blocks creates an opening for the reinvention of the public square...For better or worse, America’s...singular contribution of the skyscraper as an urban icon was a leading factor in the past 20 years of urban development. Sadly, the Western notion of a civic piazza or square as a community gathering space has not been one of our contributions...Civic space is the literal common ground essential to the identity and livability of cities...- South China Morning Post
Sam Gennawey: The cautionary tale of San Diego’s Horton Plaza and what it says about the retail landscape: [It] once attracted over 25 million people, a “city” in which a visitor could get “safely lost.” Now it’s a ghost town. The retail landscape has changed and malls are rapidly becoming retail/leisure destinations: Funtopia is one of the new breed of attractions...Entertainment in retail is becoming a necessity more then a fad...the malls that destroyed downtown and getting a taste of their own medicine... -- Jon Jerde; Victor Gruen- Blooloop (UK)
J. Michael Welton: These 81 acres may be developed in Raleigh's future. What are your dreams for the site? ...now occupied by Central Prison and Governor Morehead School for the Blind...a rare conversation about design excellence for downtown Raleigh...Five leading designers, planners and landscape architects from New York City will join North Carolina architects [“Connections 81.2", May 18-20]...anticipate a fresh set of New York eyes looking at downtown...and no small amount of buzz. -- Erin Sterling Lewis; Michael Samuelian/The Trust for Governors Island; Thomas Woltz/Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects; Marianne Kwok/Claudia Cusamano/Kohn Pedersen Fox/KPF; Andre Kikoski; Frank Harmon; Steve Schuster- News & Observer (North Carolina)
Too much heritage affected by roads and MRT [Mass Rapid Transit] lines: Architect, historian Lai Chee Kien: ...the loss of heritage and nature in Singapore deeply concerns him...He strongly believes that there is space to be “creative about how we can keep these old buildings." Justifying the destruction of heritage and nature with reasons such as the need for development and catering to a country’s current needs “is not right.” He believes “there are ways to do both...I think there is a need for us to...really think about what kinds of developments should proceed because heritage and nature does not come by a second time."- Channel NewsAsia (Singapore)
Alexandra Staub: Is bigger really better? The United States is facing a housing crisis: Affordable housing is inadequate, while luxury homes abound. Homelessness remains a persistent problem...Despite this, popular culture has often focused on housing as...the American Dream wrapped within four walls and a roof...As an architect and scholar who examines how we shape buildings and how they shape us, I’ve examined the trend toward “more is better”...Yet what are the ethical consequences of such aspirational dreams? Is there a point where “more is better” creates an ethical dilemma?- The Conversation
South Auckland architect tackling poverty, homelessness through social design: John Belford-Lelaulu has set himself what could be a lifelong challenge - to solve poverty and homelessness. The plan? Through architecture...a trip to New York in 2016 where he worked on creating mobile facilities where the homeless could be creative that was a real eye-opener..."I started refining how I saw architecture. I see it now as being a tool to respond to systemic issues"...he launched a social design practice called MAU Studio, with three friends. [images]- Manukau Courier (New Zealand)
Oliver Wainwright: Royal Academy of Arts expansion reveals hidden life of art schools: David Chipperfield’s £56m project includes a subterranean vault, which offers visitors an enticing glimpse of studios: The architect...would be quite happy if you visited...and couldn’t quite tell what he had done...the illustrious Piccadilly pile in central London 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. -- Julian Harrap- Guardian (UK)
Rowan Moore: New light for old masters: revamp for jewel in the crown of British art: David Chipperfield has created an intriguing space for the Royal Academy of Arts: ...a multifaceted place not only of blockbuster exhibitions...but also where students learn, where art is made...Architecture, usually art’s poor relation in the RA’s priorities, will...have its own gallery...The totality of this new version of the RA, Burlington House plus Burlington Gardens, plus the new interventions, is diffuse, eventful, intriguing, sometimes beautiful...It will need to be curated with energy and wit. -- Wirtz- Observer (UK)
Venice Virgins: Here are the six first-time national pavilions at the 2018 Venice Biennale: Responding to the Biennale’s "Freespace" theme in manifold ways, the new participants deal with everything from humanity’s relationship to the environment to faith and religion. Saudi Arabia; Vatican/Holy See; Pakistan; Antigua and Barbuda; Guatemala; Lebanon [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Steven Litt: Q&A with David Adjaye, designer of Smithsonian's African American museum: ...one of the world's most admired architects, described himself...as 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...African-Americans are highly under-represented in architecture...what advice would you give to students..."Being part of the building of the fabric of your community empowers you and generations around you to feel a sense of place...Architecture to me is successful when the community is empowered by it, is edified by it, and is elevated by it."- Cleveland Plain Dealer
Lynn Sweet: Federal lawsuit filed to block Obama Center in Jackson Park: Among the reasons cited in the lawsuit to support the request for a court order: An “institutional bait and switch"...Transfer of park land to a non-governmental private entity violates the park district code...The park district and the city will receive only token rent for the land...- Chicago Sun Times
Katherine Flynn: For small firms, tax reform brings advocacy wins with undefined benefits: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will allow small firms to be taxed at lower individual rates - but for some, that’s not the whole picture: ...the profession avoided a worst-case scenario - being taxed at the corporate rate...but that benefits for the immediate future may be negligible...While the potential pitfalls and benefits of the final piece of legislation remain unclear, one indisputable triumph came in the form of the preservation of the Historic Tax Credit.- AIArchitect / American Institute of Architects
Katharine Schwab: Readers Respond: Open Offices Are Terrible For Women: “It couldn’t have happened without an open office plan": ...readers, who have detailed the impact open plan offices have had on their work and mental health. 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, who are scrutinized for their appearance at a far greater extent than men.- Fast Company / Co.Design
Architect moms at Toronto firm show motherhood and demanding careers can co-exist: Q4 Architects makes accommodations so working parents can take care of the kids and do their jobs: Frances Martin-DiGiuseppe hopes the adjustments make it easier for women to succeed in a male-dominated industry with a large gender gap. "I don't want them to have to go through what I went through," she said, looking back on her over 30 years of experience in the profession.- CBC (Canada)
Katharine Schwab: This mobile lactation pod isn’t as crazy as it sounds: Pumping at work is nothing to be ashamed of: Lactation rooms are no longer a nice-to-have perk...just because [they] became an architectural requirement for companies with more than 50 employees...doesn’t mean they’re well designed...Sona is a mobile pod designed to make pumping a private, pleasant experience for working moms...can be placed anywhere in the office - or in other kinds of public spaces...best as a solution for companies that can’t entirely rebuild their offices to create dedicated lactation rooms. -- Tina Manis/Carolyn Zoerb/CannonDesign [images]- Fast Company / Co.Design
Reclaiming the Tube: Art on the Underground commissions only female artists in 2018: In honour of the suffrage centenary, Art on the Underground’s 2018 programme focuses solely on female artists, bringing creativity and feminism to London’s public transport network...London mayor Sadiq Khan launched the 2018 campaign #BehindEveryGreatCity, celebrating the contributions women have made in making London a great city...That this feels such a radical move, though, demonstrates how far the art world still needs to go in the equal representation and celebration of women artists...- DesignCurial / Blueprint Magazine (UK)
Shu In: The Story of Design Icon Florence Knoll Bassett: Happy Birthday, Shu! Isabelle Weiss of NEXT:SPACE explores the life of the Michigan native and design icon: While many know Florence as an arbiter of international style for the mid-20th century, her inspirational story is not often told and few realize how much of an impact she made...her sense of design developed beyond just ‘architecture’ or ‘furniture’ to encompass both, embodying ‘total design,’ the credo she learned from the Bauhaus masters...designing space around use...paved the way for the field of interior design. -- Cranbrook; Eliel Saarinen; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Walter Gropius; Marcel Breuer; Hans Knoll- Detroitisit
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