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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Aaron Betsky: Lessons I Didn’t Learn at This Year’s Venice Architecture Biennale: For this latest iteration of the International Architecture Exhibition, curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara try to teach us architecture: "Freespace"...the teaching is clear: For building to become architecture, it must offer surplus value...Beyond [a] handful of moments, I am afraid that I do not remember much from this year’s Biennale...what did I learn? Not much...Overall, I would give this Biennale an A+ for its own architecture, but a failing grade for the overall content. [images]- Architect Magazine
Izzy Kornblatt: Unpacking Selldorf Architects’ controversial addition to Venturi Scott Brown’s San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art [in La Jolla]: ...built in pieces between 1915 and 1996 - mixes austere concrete with playful color, oversize plaster columns with powerful round arches...a spare house by...Irving Gill, gently tussles with VSBA’s surrounding addition...The sum total of the new plan would be a mishmash: an unhappy family of buildings that refuse to talk to one another...It would lose the crescendoing choreography of spaces that gives it vitality and order...And not for any good reason. [images]- The Architect's Newspaper
Oliver Wainwright: From Olympic Park to East Bank: how St Paul's 'faux pas' led to design rethink: Plans for a cultural hub at the Olympic park have been relaunched...include an east London outpost of the V&A. But will it draw the crowds? ...what was a parade of dour brick blocks has been jollied up in more expressive clothing...a wider variety of shapes and materials...but it feels a little contrived...the result is design by committee...The V&A, once the star of the show, now looks like a dinky trinket...small, but potentially perfectly formed...for all the architects’ best intentions, the apartment-to-culture ratio feels painfully imbalanced. -- O’Donnell + Tuomey; Allies and Morrison; Arquitecturia; Diller Scofidio + Renfro [images]- Guardian (UK)
Oliver Wainwright: Serpentine Pavilion 2018 - cement tiles, shade and a paddling pool: Only the second solo woman and the youngest architect to win the annual commission, Mexico’s Frida Escobedo has made a rough, tough backdrop for summer frolics: Christo’s "Mastaba"...soon to be cast adrift in the middle of the Serpentine lake...looks surprisingly puny...[They]...have conjured their works from the repetitious stacking of standard objects. But while one is a monolithic monument, to be admired from afar, the other provides a subtle spatial sequence, mute from outside, which reveals its qualities the longer you linger. [images]- Guardian (UK)
Kate Connolly: Disorientating and playful, Olafur Eliasson's first building 'grows' from Danish fjord: Fjordenhus, an elliptical, twisting structure: “Finally, this looks like a living building"...which rises from the waters of the Vejle fjord [in Demark]...it is both imposing and inviting, disorienting and playful...Dubbed “Vejle’s new cathedral"...predicted to put on the map a small city hitherto known for its chewing-gum factory...-- Sebastian Behmann/Studio Other Spaces [images]- Guardian (UK)
Rowan Moore: Preston bus station - a glorious reprieve: Earmarked for demolition just six years ago, the brutalist gem that is Ove Arup’s bus station has been sympathetically renovated, right down to the route numbers: ...the listing of postwar architecture is the last, best defence of public space that the tattered planning system can provide...the grace and power of this structure is considerably less boring than the commercial miasma that now engulfs most centres of public transport. -- Building Design Partnership (1969); John Puttick- Observer (UK)
John King: New design for SF’s public toilets is sleek, shiny and modern: It’s take two for San Francisco’s public toilets 2.0, with a proposed design that would replace the current mock-Parisian models with bulbous metallic orbs that could be topped by plants or shrubs...there’s sure to be scrutiny from design watchdogs who are happy with the traditional-looking kiosks and loos...The most important gauges of a public toilet’s success, of course, are whether they are used by the public and whether they work from one day to the next. -- SmithGroupJJR [images]- San Francisco Chronicle
Alexandra Lange: Young adult architecture: Public libraries offer teenagers space where no one tells them to sit up straight or be quiet: Today, it is hard to find a public library that isn’t investing in teens or, in librarian parlance, young adults. New central libraries...make space for young adults a priority...it wasn’t until the 1990s that public libraries realized their most loyal patrons were teens - and started giving them room to act like teens. -- WORKac; Anthony Bernier; Will Bruder Architects; Group 4; LWC Inc.; Rice+Lipka Architects; TEN Arquitectos [images]- Curbed
Restoration of St Peter's Seminary, Cardross abandoned: Avanti Architects project falls victim to funding cuts as charity closes: ...ambitious refurbishment and conversion...abandoned after seven years...[It] is regarded as one of the UK’s most important modernist buildings and is one of only 42 post-war Scottish buildings to be given Category A protection...derelict complex was to be turned into an arts centre while preserving the ruined quality of the buildings...Avanti insisted there were still reasons to be hopeful. -- Gillespie, Kidd & Coia (1966) [images]- BD/Building Design (UK)
American Express Awards $1 Million to Threatened Cultural Sites Included on 2018 World Monuments Watch: Funding to Restore Eight Cultural Heritage Sites Including Historic Kitchen Garden of Versailles and Iconic British Piers Damaged from Effects of Climate Change: projects in France; Beijing, China; Takamatsu, Japan; León, Spain; Blackpool, England; Matobo, Zimbabwe; and Oaxaca, Mexico- World Monuments Fund/WMF
Van Alen Institute Introduces Climate Council: Investigative Program Brings Range of Professionals Together to Establish a Common Language of Resiliency Across Disciplines: ...to explore climate-related issues through curated trips that incorporate design, educational, social, and professional activities...centers on investigative travel to North American destinations that are undergoing, or will soon undergo substantial environmental change. -- David van der Leer; Claire Weisz/WXY Studio; Mark Johnson/Civitas- Van Alen Institute
Kirsten Lees takes the helm at Grimshaw London: Architect appoints first woman managing partner: ...unanimously elected by the other partners when Mark Middleton stepped down after six years...Lees is the only woman among the London office’s current 10 partners, something they say they are committed to changing...The proportion of women in the senior leadership team has risen from 12% to more than a quarter during Middleton’s tenure and he said this is “moving towards” 40%.- BD/Building Design (UK)
Eleanor Gibson: Hardly anyone can name more than one female architect, says director of new movie about women that built New York: "Women are doing some of the most prestigious work in New York" but nobody knows who they are, according to architect and filmmaker Beverly Willis..."Unknown New York: The City that Women Built"...Written and directed by the 90-year-old architect...Film follows major moves to improve gender equality in architecture. -- Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation- Dezeen
Beverly Willis & Julia Donoho: Sexual Misconduct in Architecture: Here's what individuals and organizations, including the AIA, can do to rid the design profession of its rotten apples: There have been too few consequences and too much looking away...However, none of these activities should be confused with issues relating to equity or discrimination...Sexual misconduct is a men’s problem, and only the men can resolve it, because the men have the power - for now...I describe how I would like the men of the AIA to respond...Let’s get rid of the rotten apples.- Architect Magazine
Emily Grandstaff-Rice/Arrowstreet: The AIA on Sexual Misconduct in Architecture: The AIA echoes Beverly 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.- Architect Magazine
Aaron Betsky: Let’s Not Mistake Hard Work for Harassment: sexism and macho cults do taint, but do not take away from, the logic of studio culture: It seems the argument about sexism in architecture...has expanded from the uncovering of and calling for action on sexual harassment to a demand for an examination of studio culture itself...Charrettes can turn into a blood sport...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.- Architect Magazine
Call for entries: WRI Ross Prize for Cities: a global competition to celebrate transformative projects that have ignited citywide change; $250,000 cash prize; deadline: June 30- World Resources Institute / WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities
Call for entries: Dezeen Awards for the world's best architecture, interiors and design, as well as the studios and the individual architects and designers producing the most outstanding work; deadline: June 30- Dezeen
Call for entries: Open International Competition for Alternative Layout Design in Standard Housing: develop concept designs of three residential buildings in accordance with the typology provided in the Brief; cash prizes; Stage 1 deadline: August 3- JSC DOM.RF / Strelka KB / Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector
Call for entries: London Affordable Housing Challenge International Architecture Competition: devise creative solutions to the complicated crisis in Britain’s capital; cash prizes; earlybird registration deadline (save money!): July 17 (final registration: October 9; submissions due November 5)- Bee Breeders (formerly HMMD/Homemade Dessert)
Call for entries: IsArch Awards for Architecture Students; earlybird registration deadline (save money!): June 30 (submissions due October 15)- ISARCH
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