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).

Housing, housing:

●  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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