Today’s News - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

●  Journalist and novelist Kevin Baker pens a scathing lament (obit?) about "a once great city," a.k.a. New York, which is "in imminent danger of becoming something it has never been before: unremarkable - the world's largest gated community" (a fascinating/depressing read, perhaps a bit over the top, but do check it out!).

●  Evans makes the case that "if developers really want to build communities, they need to stop trying to control everything." So, architects, "instead of holding your next presentation in your meeting room or at the client's office, book the local pub and explain why: it's about being part of a community."

●  Kamin has a few issues with the just-released "utterly underwhelming design for a vertical expansion" of Chicago's Union Station that "would bring to the forlorn but grand train station all the grandeur of a Holiday Inn" - despite "some good design strokes - it's just banal."

●  Betsky parses the Vatican's "follies for pilgrims to the Venice Biennale": the 10 chapel/follies "are both experiments in architecture and expressions of faith"; one should have won Golden Lion for best project (along with the "most bombastic," the "most ethereal" - and his own fab photos).

●  Moore lunches with Eva Franch i Gilabert, the AA's incoming "force of nature - an incredible cloud of energy, intelligence and sociability without it always being clear where it all goes - the effects could be felt in the world of architecture for decades."

●  Five Boston-area architects, landscape architects, and activists offer their recipes for "food as a neighborhood planning tool, including urban beekeeping, beer urbanism, and land trusts as a way to slow the march of gentrification."

●  Budds parses NCARB's preliminary data from its 2018 "By The Numbers" report: "Diversity in architecture is improving - sort of. The diversity pipeline remains a challenge for the industry as a whole."

●  Keane reports on the Voices of Plurality flash mob at AIA 2018 Convention, inspired by the Biennale's flash mob in Venice: "'Clearly, architecture has a recognition and inclusion crisis. Fortunately, we have a power team.' A power team is right."

●  One we couldn't resist: Kapoor sues the National Rifle Association for using "The Bean" in a promotional video: "I am disgusted to see my work - in truth the sculpture of the people of Chicago - used by the NRA to promote their vile message" (miles of comments ensue).

The Mac: To rebuild the Glasgow School of Art - or not:

●  Cramer: "It hopefully goes without saying that it should be restored, or even re-created - I find it hard not to appreciate ensembles rebuilt from nothing. No, it won't be the same, but it'll be better than nothing at all."

●  Flatman: "Rebuild the Mac, but why stop there - the world is full of widely recognized historic landmarks that have been rebuilt after being totally obliterated. The option to repair and even recreate what was lost should be a standard part of the urban repair toolbox."

●  Røstvik uses rebuilding a smaller project in Norway as an example of the challenges/questions raised about rebuilding the Mac: "The main question we should ask is: how will 'history' in the clearer light of the future view our decisions today? A decision to demolish is final. It is forever. It will be too late for regrets."

●  Brussat ponders some "predictably cockamamie calls to demolish rather than rebuild" the Mac, and shares a response "by architect Jeremy Fass that is especially inspired."

●  Hopkirk reports on Dunlop's outspoken take: "Don't rebuild the Mac: We need to accept it's gone - while there's a debate to be had over" over replication, "my view is that replication is something they do in China, not here - there are young architects capable of producing something just as outstanding."

Winners (and disappointment):

●  An "outstanding women-led collaborative effort" by six firms wins the International Making Cities Livable Honor Award For Excellence in Designing Healthy, 10-Minute Neighborhoods with VeloCity: Oxford to Cambridge Regional Corridor, "a visionary conceptual plan" that "offers an exemplary model for future development that, because of its small scale approach, is inherently deliverable."

●  Wilson parses the 49(!) RIBA National Award 2018 winners: "There are some seriously high-quality buildings that restore your faith in the power of architecture - but an unflattering reflection of present-day society's priorities can also be seen in the weighting and omissions of the selections" (and his 2018 Stirling Prize pick).

●  On a darker note, Northern Irish architects "slam RIBA over National Awards snub" and "the 'disappointing' omission of Northern Irish projects" after 12 won RIBA Regional Awards; there was "also a complete absence of schemes from the East Midlands regions."

●  On a brighter note: eyefuls of the 2018 RIBA National Award winners (great presentation).


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