Today’s News - Wednesday, November 28, 2018
● Wainwright reports from the recent Tbilisi Architecture Biennial: The city "has long been the plaything of outsize egos" with "catastrophic results of corrupt deals, destroyed heritage and the privatization of swaths of public parks - [the biennial] could grow into a powerful tool - providing a much-needed brake on Tbilisi's untrammeled steamroller of development" (and not very kind descriptions of two "Italian poundshop starchitects" and a "German blobitecture maestro").
● Sioux Falls, South Dakota, "is having a design moment. Good design is finding its voice - powered by young creatives, new thinking and a more public-friendly approach" and its own Design Center, "a rarity for a city of its size."
● Hatuqa delves into how a construction boom in the Palestinian city of Ramallah "has claimed much of the historic architecture" (replaced with, what else, apartment buildings, malls, and shopping centers), and how "some locals are trying to save what is left."
● Fracassa reports on a new report that "revealed a disquieting fact - 68 San Francisco high-rises have potential flaws prone to crack in quake" - blame "a welding technique" no longer permitted: "The whole profession was a little blindsided by this."
● A look at "what automation means to architects - if computers are fed with the right parameters, they will be able to recognize what people find aesthetically pleasing," but "architects are uniquely placed in the entire digital transformation of construction ecosystem."
● Sanjayan considers how "3D concrete printing could free the world from boring buildings" - but "this field of research is still in its infancy. The biggest hurdle is the concrete itself."
● Kimmelman cheers the completion of a two-year makeover of NYC's Ford Foundation, "a prescient example of civic architecture," and "a virtual reliquary of midcentury detail - Roche and Dinkeloo's geometry sings again" and "serves the foundation's social justice mandate" (though "not everyone will be popping corks").
● de Botton's Living Architecture, "a joyful, democratically-minded concept, was borne out of personal crisis": "I realized that if I cared so much about architecture, writing was a coward's way out; the real challenge was to build."
● A great Q&A with HGA's Cook, executive architect on Gehry's Weisman Museum, marking its 25th "birthday": Can you describe Gehry's design process? "He takes this box of wooden blocks, dumps it on the site model and says, 'This is your building'" (said not disparagingly).
● Eyefuls of Hôte photos of Gehry's aluminum tile-clad Luma Arles arts center in France and its "distinctive jagged form above the atrium echoes the region's rugged mountain ranges" (if you say so).
● Pogrebin reports that NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art's $70 million renovation by wHY's Yantrasast and $600 million revised design by Chipperfield are moving ahead.
● Downtown Los Angeles is getting a Mexican food museum as part of a new, mixed-use affordable housing development designed by Johnson Fain (elsewhere: "I would argue that L.A. is a museum dedicated to Mexican food," sayeth Carolina A. Miranda).
● Thoren offers an in-depth and fascinating profile of the pioneering landscape architect Martha Brookes Hutcheson, who "used her own farm to empower women and to build an ecological design theory through action" (an "ecofeminist" long before the term was even coined).
● O'Sullivan x 2: Berlin's "massive housing push sparks a debate about the city's future" has turned "the city's greenfield and brownfield sites into battlegrounds" - where should 200,000 new homes go?
● He parses how the Netherlands is turning to tiny, mobile, pre-fab homes in "temporary micro-neighborhoods designed to help manage emergency needs" while cities "build more permanent public housing," and hopefully "not end up as low-quality permanent housing delivered through the back door" (maybe Berlin should take a look?).
● Sisson parses whether the "radical rezoning" proposed in the Minneapolis 2040 plan could be a national model "for how to break through traditional gridlock when it comes to local limits on the housing supply," and dealing with climate challenges and racial inequality (or is it just a "meh sandwich").
● MacCash reports that "Brad Pitt wants Make It Right homeowners' lawsuit against him dismissed - residents accuse the non-profit organization of building and selling substandard houses that are rapidly deteriorating." The project, designed by "architectural superstars, was certainly one of the most audacious post-Katrina recovery proposals."
Three we couldn't resist (two rather dystopian):
● Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is looking forward to an indoor, domed August Moon Drive-In, where "moviegoers would sit in 40-45 permanent classic cars surrounded by trees, grass, gravel paths, starry skies and an August 'sailor's moon.'" (Nashville could be next).
● Schwab considers what ARO came up with when Fast Company asked the firm to "envision Amazon's New York, and it's terrifying" - two dystopian concepts for a fulfillment center (one includes draining the East River). "While the concepts are obviously satirical, there's some unnerving truth to the world they portray."
● Howarth brings us the horrifying Lego-style Build the Wall Starter Kit (a.k.a. "MAGA building blocks") to "encourage children to construct toy border wall - with packaging that social media users are describing as rip-off and racist" ("an angry-looking Trump figurine," along with Hillary "dressed in an orange prison uniform" (we do not endorse, and hope you don't buy this!).
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Oliver Wainwright: Vanity projects and kamikaze loggias: Tbilisi’s architectural disaster: The centre of the Georgian capital has long been the plaything of outsize egos - but can its architecture biennial inspire useful debate about the city’s future? ... “ugly walks”...highlighting the catastrophic results of corrupt deals, destroyed heritage and the privatisation of swaths of public parks...structures...designed by Italian poundshop starchitects Massimiliano Fuksas and Michele de Lucchi...fondness for gratuitous form-making...also commissioned German blobitecture maestro Jürgen Mayer H...With a little less conceptual art and a little more critical focus on the city’s urgent problems...Tbilisi Architecture Biennial could grow into a powerful tool for airing debate and effecting change, providing a much-needed brake on Tbilisi’s untrammelled steamroller of development. -- Irakli Zhvania; Tinatin Gurgenidze/Otar Nemsadze; Shin Takamatsu; Temur Botchorishvili- Guardian Cities (UK)
Sioux Falls is having a design moment. Here's why, and why it matters: Good design is finding its voice...powered by young creatives, new thinking and a more public-friendly approach: ...aims to engage the community. The proof is everywhere, if you look around...consider the Sioux Falls Design Center, a nonprofit organization with a downtown location dedicated to supporting and promoting good design - a rarity for a city of Sioux Falls' size...The timing of this moment is proving crucial. -- Strong Towns; Sara Lum/JLG Architects; Koch Hazard Architects; Tom Hurlbert/CO-OP Architecture- Argus Leader (South Dakota)
Dalia Hatuqa: Developers in This Palestine City Are Destroying Historic Homes: A construction boom that begun...has claimed much of the historic architecture in Ramallah. Some locals are trying to save what is left: At least four historic stone houses...have been demolished since 2016, with apartment buildings, malls, and shopping centers erected in their place...There were 832 historical buildings...25 years ago...Today fewer than half are still standing...several attempts were made to pass architectural conservation laws...never enacted. -- Sahar Qawasmi/Sakiya; Fida Touma [images]- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Dominic Fracassa: 68 SF high-rises have potential flaws prone to crack in quake: A landmark report released recently that evaluates the seismic resiliency of San Francisco’s tallest buildings revealed a disquieting fact...a welding technique that experts now know is particularly susceptible to fracture during an earthquake...doesn’t necessarily mean the high-rises are unsafe...City officials are figuring out how to implement new requirements to ensure that buildings that might have sustained unseen damage from the Loma Prieta quake get the scrutiny they need..."the whole profession was a little blindsided by this," Gregory Deierlein said.- San Francisco Chronicle
Can computers design buildings? What automation means to architects: Many argue that computers don’t have an aesthetic sense as humans do. But with machine learning, if computers are fed with the right parameters, they will be able to recognize what people find aesthetically pleasing: With the advent of BIM, mixed reality, 3D printing, and other emerging technologies, architects are uniquely placed in the entire digital transformation of construction ecosystem.- Geospatial World
Jay Sanjayan: 3D concrete printing could free the world from boring buildings: ...technique will likely also give architects the freedom to inject more creativity into their designs for new structures...3D concrete printing has an advantage over conventional construction methods when it comes to building non-rectilinear shapes, such as curved shapes with intricate details...This field of research is still in its infancy. The biggest hurdle...is the concrete itself.- The Conversation (Australia)
Michael Kimmelman: A 21st-Century Renaissance for Ford Foundation Landmark: The building, a prescient example of civic architecture, sees the light after a two-year makeover: ...project was a Mad Men-era version of a Gesamtkunstwerk, a complete work of art...[Ford] downsized its footprint, making room for other foundations...Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice...a virtual reliquary of midcentury detail...Roche and Dinkeloo’s geometry sings again...renovation serves the foundation’s social justice mandate. It also recognizes the architecture’s original public-spirited, civilizing mission. A half-century old, the new Ford remains a singular gift to the city. -- Dan Kiley; Warren Platner; Sheila Hicks; Raymond Jungles; Gensler- New York Times
The Cynical Optimism of Living Architecture: Alain de Botton’s project - a joyful, democratically-minded concept to share quality architecture in the UK - was borne out of personal crisis. [He] gained fame in both popular and architectural circles following..."The Architecture of Happiness"..."I realized that if I cared so much about architecture, writing was a coward’s way out; the real challenge was to build"...The isolated and occasionally mundane locations of the homes are by intention. -- Peter Zumthor; FAT & Grayson Perry; NORD (Northern Office for Research and Design); John Pawson; MVRDV; Hopkins Architects; Jarmund/Vigsnæs Architects- ArchDaily
A Minnesota architect looks back at creation of U's 'expressive' Weisman Museum: The University of Minnesota's Frank Gehry-designed art museum is marking its quarter-century birthday this month: ..."he takes this box of wooden blocks, dumps it on the site model and says, 'This is your building'"...became a talked-about Twin Cities landmark the moment it opened...in 1993....[executive architect] John Cook...reminisced on the building’s tight budget, the ins and outs of its famous stainless-steel exterior and the experience of collaborating with the man who is now probably the country’s - if not the planet’s - most famous living architect. -- John Cook/HGA Architects- Minneapolis Star Tribune
Niall Patrick Walsh: Frank Gehry's Jagged Aluminum Luma Arles Takes Shape in France: New photography by Hervé Hôte has been released...arts center...on a former SNCF rail yard, will offer exhibition, research, education, and archive space within a 46-meter-tall, aluminum tile-clad tower...part of a complex with six existing industrial buildings, five of which are being restored by Selldorf Architects...within a public park designed by bas smets, reactivating a site which has been abandoned since 1986. [images]- ArchDaily
Robin Pogrebin: Met’s Leaders Move Ahead With Modern and Rockefeller Wings: Max Hollein and Daniel H. Weiss...on making a home for contemporary art and the wing devoted to Africa, Oceania and the Americas: Metropolitan Museum of Art...$70 million renovation of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing...designed by the architect Kulapat Yantrasast of the firm wHY...the Southwest Wing, with a revised design by David Chipperfield, was projected to cost $600 million, compared with an estimated final price tag of $800 million for the previous plan.- New York Times
A Mexican food-themed museum is coming to downtown L.A. in 2019: Downtown Los Angeles-based LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a cultural center located in L.A.’s El Pueblo Historical Monument, is pushing for a new Mexican food-themed museum...dubbed La Plaza Cocina, is slated for the forthcoming LA Plaza Village, a new, mixed-use affordable housing development designed by Johnson Fain. -- SWA; Rodrigo Vargas Design [image]- The Architect's Newspaper
Roxi Thoren: “Dreaming True” For nearly half a century, the pioneering landscape architect Martha Brookes Hutcheson (1871–1959) used her own farm to empower women and to build an ecological design theory through action: [She] lived in an age when most American women...might consider landscape gardening as a “novel occupation"...she saw the potential for landscape design to serve a social agenda...to improve lives and conserve natural resources. One of the first women trained at university level...Dissatisfied with MIT’s lack of emphasis on horticulture and social reform...she left to open her own firm...Throughout her career, she advocated for garden designers in general - and women in particular - to create and manage gardens that could provide physical and mental health benefits, foster aesthetic and civic education, and protect natural resources. -- Beatrix Jones (later Beatrix Farrand); Merchiston Farm; Reginald Blomfield; William Robinson; Amy Folsom; Elizabeth Britton; Thasia Way; Deborah Nevins- Places Journal
Patrick Sisson: Can Minneapolis’s radical rezoning be a national model? Here’s what a plan to tackle climate change, density, and affordability looks like: Calling the Minneapolis 2040 plan ambitious is an understatement...officials hope to head off the housing shortage, all while showing how land-use policy can address critical climate challenges and the city’s history of racial inequality...Can Minneapolis be a model for how to break through traditional gridlock when it comes to local limits on the housing supply? ...many think it doesn’t go far enough, saying that it’s a “meh sandwich” that lacks the ambition to match the scope of the problem.- Curbed
Feargus O'Sullivan: Berlin’s Massive Housing Push Sparks a Debate About the City’s Future: The German capital has vowed to build 200,000 new homes, with half reserved for affordable rents. But where can they go? ...deciding which space to prioritize for development has turned the city’s greenfield and brownfield sites into battlegrounds on which the future shape of the city will be thrashed out, and the city’s government is finding itself on both sides of the argument...What has been retained...is a sense that the city is being expanded to make it more livable, not simply to squeeze profit from every spare square foot.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Feargus O'Sullivan: How Temporary Tiny Homes Could Solve Dutch Cities’ Housing Crises: As the Netherlands struggles to keep pace with its need for new homes, many cities like Rotterdam have sprouted temporary micro-neighborhoods: ...designed to help manage emergency needs while the city continues to build more permanent public housing...mobile prefabricated housing, normally located on brownfield sites...the housing they provide shows real care given to both internal layout and the grouping of units into viable communities...this high-quality temporary housing should not end up as low-quality permanent housing delivered through the back door. -- Heijmans [images]- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Doug MacCash: Brad Pitt wants Make It Right homeowners’ lawsuit against him dismissed: What was once an avant-garde architecture development meant to restore a flood-ruined Lower 9th Ward neighborhood has become a legal battleground...residents...accuse the non-profit organization of building and selling substandard houses that are rapidly deteriorating...a class action lawsuit on behalf of other residents who purchased the 109 experimental, energy-efficient homes...repairing the damage caused by rain and humidity...could cost Make It Right $20 million...The endeavor, which used house plans by architectural superstars...was certainly one of the most audacious post-Katrina recovery proposals. -- John C. Williams; Shigeru Ban; Thom Mayne/Morphosis; Frank Gehry- The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
Pigeon Forge $7M concept August Moon Drive-In offers immersive movie experience: ...entertainment producer Michael Counts hopes to launch...indoor movie theater concept, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee...indoor, domed 40,000 square foot facility would immerse moviegoers in a traditional outdoor drive-in experience without actually driving in. Moviegoers would sit in 40-45 permanent classic cars surrounded by trees, grass, gravel paths, starry skies and an August "sailor's moon" above the tree line...Nashville project still in the works... [images]- Knoxville News Sentinel (Tennessee)
Katharine Schwab: Architects envision Amazon’s New York, and it’s terrifying: ...Fast Company asked...Architecture Research Office...to imagine what Bezos’s New York will look like...One of ARO’s two concepts shows a huge white building...stretches from Manhattan into Queens...disappears over the horizon...second concept is even more dystopian: The East River...drained to make way for a fulfillment center...While the concepts are obviously satirical, there’s some unnerving truth to the world they portray... -- Adam Yarinsky; Stephen Cassell [images]- Fast Company
Dan Howarth: MAGA Building Blocks encourage children to construct toy border wall: Conservative retailer Keep and Bear has launched a Lego-style kit for Donald Trump's border wall, with packaging that social media users are describing as rip-off and racist...Build the Wall Starter Kit...accompanied by an angry-looking Trump figurine wearing a hard hat...also includes a figurine of...Hillary Clinton, dressed in an orange prison uniform. [images]- Dezeen
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