Today’s News - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

●  Betsky contemplates the "lessons I didn't learn at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale. Beyond [a] handful of moments, I am afraid that I do not remember much. Overall, I would give it an A+ for its own architecture, but a failing grade for the overall content" (this is Part 1 - with lots of his own fab photos!).

●  Kornblatt minces no words about what he thinks of Selldorf Architects' "controversial addition" to Irving Gill (1915) and Venturi Scott Brown's (1996) San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art: "The sum total of the new plan would be a mishmash. It would lose the crescendoing choreography of spaces that gives it vitality and order. And not for any good reason."

●  Wainwright x 2: He parses the "design rethink" for a cultural hub at London's Olympic park (formerly Olympicopolis, rebranded East Bank): "what was a parade of dour brick blocks has been jollied up in more expressive clothing - but it feels a little contrived" and "feels painfully imbalanced" (the V&A outpost, "once the star of the show, now looks like a dinky trinket").

●  His take on Frida Escobedo's Serpentine Pavilion: she "has made a rough, tough backdrop for summer frolics" (he loves the paddling pool!); meanwhile, Christo's "Mastaba," the "monolithic monument soon to be cast adrift in the middle of the Serpentine lake looks surprisingly puny."

●  Connolly is quite taken by Eliasson as he gives her a tour of his "imposing and inviting, disorienting and playful" Fjordenhus that "grows" from a Danish fjord, and is "predicted to put on the map a small city hitherto known for its chewing-gum factory."

●  Moore cheers "a glorious reprieve" for the Preston bus station: "Earmarked for demolition just six years ago, the brutalist gem has been sympathetically renovated - the grace and power of this structure is considerably less boring than the commercial miasma that now engulfs most centers of public transport." - King cheers San Francisco's public toilets v. 2.0 (talk about a public building type!): SmithGroupJJR's competition-winning design to "replace the current mock-Parisian models" calls for "bulbous metallic orbs" that are "sleek, shiny and modern - there's sure to be scrutiny from design watchdogs who are happy with the traditional-looking kiosks and loos."

●  Lange takes a long look at how public libraries now "offer teenagers space where no one tells them to sit up straight or be quiet" by "giving them room to act like teens."

●  Sad news: it looks like the "ambitious" plan to transform Gillespie, Kidd & Coia's derelict 1966 St. Peter's Seminary complex, "one of the UK's most important modernist buildings," into an arts center "has fallen victim to funding cuts."

●  Three brighter notes: AmEx ponies up $1 Million to fund restoration of 8 threatened cultural sites included on WMF's 2018 World Monuments Watch list.

●  The Van Alen Institute has established a Climate Council, a cross-disciplinary initiative, co-chaired by Claire Weisz/WXY Studio and Mark Johnson /Civitas, to investigate "climate-related issues through curated trips to destinations that are undergoing, or will soon undergo substantial environmental change."

●  Grimshaw London names Kirsten Lees as the firm's first woman managing partner: "The proportion of women in the senior leadership team has risen from 12% to more than a quarter" and is "moving towards" 40%.

Of history, gender equality, #MeToo, and studio culture:

●  Gibson's great Q&A with Beverly Willis re: her new documentary short "Unknown New York: The City that Women Built": "'Women are doing some of the most prestigious work in New York,' but nobody knows who they are."

●  Willis & Donoho outline "what individuals and organizations, including the AIA, can do to rid the design profession of its rotten apples" - but don't conflate these activities "with issues relating to equity or discrimination."

●  Grandstaff-Rice cheers "Willis's commitment to equity and diversity - men are on notice that the Mad Men behaviors Willis and other trailblazers were forced to endure for decades won't be tolerated any longer" (a bit of conflation here).

●  Betsky cautions not to "mistake hard work for harassment" when it comes to student charrettes: "We absolutely need to punish and eliminate sexism and harassment in architecture schools. But an environment where hard work, especially creative hard work, is valued, is not, in my opinion, a hostile work environment."


●  Call for entries (deadline looms!): World Resources Institute/WRI Ross Prize for Cities: a global competition to celebrate transformative projects that have ignited citywide change ($250,000 prize!).

●  Call for entries (deadline looms!): Dezeen Awards for the world's best architecture, interiors and design.

●  Call for entries: Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing (managed by Strelka).

●  Call for entries: London Affordable Housing Challenge International Architecture Competition.

●  Call for entries: IsArch Awards for Architecture Students (early-bird registration deadline looms!).


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