Today’s News - Tuesday, December 4, 2018
● AIA releases "Guides for Equitable Practice" as "an educational resource to architects and firms on equity, diversity and inclusion issues" to AIA members - and "available to the public early next year."
● Okamoto parses "five takeaways from the AIA's Guide for Equitable Practice - but will it impact the profession for the better?" (hopefully!).
● Giovannini ponders PoMo's "Lazarus moment": "The irony of purposely ironic buildings that joked with history is that they are themselves verging on history, and history more than beauty is proving their strongest defense - the style wars continue."
● Kolson Hurley ponders "the folly of the U.K.'s new architectural style wars," now exacerbated by the new housing czar, Roger Scruton: "First, his theory" about what caused the housing crisis "is so off-base that any 'solution' premised on it will only make things worse - he really ought to look around more. The architectural culture he hopes to rein in is currently besotted with tradition, of all things."
● Tabor offers one of the best takes we've found re: the Amazon HQ2 saga: It "is an infrastructure company. The HQ2 bids were reconnaissance - data collection was the purpose all along - on its drive to become almost a para-governmental institution, it has always relied on help from actual governments to gain advantages over its competitors."
● Moore, in the meantime, mulls "the retail apocalypse," and what local spaces can "still offer that the internet can't - one of the main forms of shared public life is shopping, its loss becomes an existential threat to society; every town has the ability to reinvent itself," and "repurposing of retail space can come from the bottom up, if it is allowed to."
● Bliss considers the new draft plan for Sidewalk Labs' Sidewalk Toronto: "It's not that radical. Barring a few details, Quayside's pieces don't appear to break much new ground in urban design - the future doesn't look that much different from the present."
● Kamin considers a proposed 28-story residential tower, and whether it will "mar the beauty" of FLW's Unity Temple just down the road - a fascinating clash of public policy agendas is taking shape. No transit-oriented high-rise, no matter how much energy it saves, should be allowed to undercut its transcendent beauty."
● In Marfa, Donald Judd's "artsy outpost in the West Texas desert," new higher taxes on adobe homes are "pinching lower-income families who have lived there for decades." The absurdity: "because of the new tax revenue," the town "must refund more than $400,000 to the state for use in districts with less money" ("Why are you going to tax them for using the cheapest building material they could get?" - good question).
● Fazzare finds out from Diller why Aleph Zero + Rosenbaum's Children Village in Brazil won the 2018 RIBA International Prize: "The selection of a project with a philanthropic mission achieved a 'humble heroism' in its design," and "indicates that social architecture is what some of today's top practitioners consider an important conversation. 'We're no longer just looking for a great icon.'"
● Cotter cheers ("with reservations") the new Menil Drawing Institute in Houston: "It brings to mind a Shinto shrine, one of the simpler rural kinds of no-nonsense elegance - the building, despite its restraint, has all kinds of visual felicities" (though the exhibition gallery "is a letdown").
● Kafka hails Haworth Tompkins bringing back the Grand Hall, the "crown jewel" of London's Battersea Arts Centre, with "a sensitive, yet triumphant, new lease on life after a 2015 fire" ("Pluto the theater cat survived three days stuck in the basement" - yay!).
● Canadian Jack Diamond tells us how he "was lured by one of Britain's most famous boarding schools to transform a shabby hall into a state-of-the-art performing arts center": "There were limits on altering" the Grade II listed building. "But, as Diamond puts it, 'the secret of success in architecture is to make a virtue of a necessity."
● A dive into how architects are using "prefabricated modular buildings on a scale never attempted in the U.S., pioneering new [and "striking"] design solutions for affordable housing."
● The Dutch "typography whiz" Hansje van Halem is "using her unique vision to make a big impact in three dimensions" - her "most ambitious" project yet: designing "motifs in the main entryways of two affordable housing developments - tasked with the goal of giving residents 'the feeling of coming home.'"
● RAIC releases a "richly illustrated" Reconciliation, Place-Making, and Identity report on its International Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium that "summarizes the presentations of Indigenous architects, designers, and other professionals from across Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, to foster and promote Indigenous design and architecture."
● UNESCO and UIA to begin designating cities as "World Capitals of Architecture - seeking to create a 'synergy between culture and architecture in an increasingly urbanized world.'"
● One we couldn't resist: Snarkitecture's Snark Park will open in NYC's Hudson Yards next March (food, drink, and "retail experiences" included): "If it sounds like yet another Instagram 'museum' trap, that's because it is. But Snarkitecture was actually at the forefront of the phenomenon."
● ICYMI: ANN feature: rise Up: Sponsors are cheering on their student/architect teams working to find low-cost, sustainable housing solutions in the rise in the city 2018 design competition - but there are still teams that need sponsorship. Join those who are already reaping the rewards of the partnerships!
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AIA Releases “Guides for Equitable Practice”: Guides provide an educational resource to architects and firms on equity, diversity and inclusion issues: The American Institute of Architects and the University of Minnesota are helping shape architecture firm culture by releasing the first three chapters...to AIA members...The guides will be available to the public early next year.- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Katie Okamoto: Five Takeaways from the AIA’s Guide for Equitable Practice: The American Institute of Architects issued the first of three sets of guidelines on workplace culture. But will it impact the profession for the better? ... initial chapter...concerns...“Intercultural Competence,” “Workplace Culture,” and “Compensation"...Much of the recommendations are based on existing, open-source guides by Parlour, an Australian platform for women in architecture. But EQFA widened its focus to include facets of equity beyond gender...- Metropolis Magazine
Joseph Giovannini: Should PoMo Architecture, at the 50-Year Mark, Be Saved? Post-Modernist monuments by Michael Graves and Philip Johnson are spared but a museum addition by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown is being demolished: In the fickle turn of architecture’s style wheel, some of the complex architectural collages that once challenged Modernism’s cool, geometric simplicity are now enjoying a Lazarus moment...attracting a second look - and sympathy - even from people who never liked them. But will these loved-hated structures be saved, and should they? The irony of purposely ironic buildings that joked with history is that they are themselves verging on history, and history more than beauty is proving their strongest defense...the style wars continue. -- Snøhetta; Annabelle Selldorf; Irving Gill (1915) [images]- New York Times
Amanda Kolson Hurley: The Folly of the U.K.’s New Architectural Style Wars: The U.K.’s new housing czar Sir Roger Scruton thinks traditional architecture can foil NIMBYs. But architecture didn’t cause Britain’s housing crisis: ...there are bigger problems...than his personal preference for Georgian and Victorian architecture...First, his theory as to what caused the U.K.’s severe housing crisis is so off-base that any “solution” premised on it...will only make things worse...What people overwhelmingly dislike about many new buildings is the sense that little effort has gone into their design and construction...in any style....[he] really ought to look around more. The architectural culture he hopes to rein in is currently besotted with &hellip tradition, of all things...Contemporary architecture is a much broader church than the Scrutonians give it credit for. -- Building Better, Building Beautiful- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Nick Tabor: Amazon Is an Infrastructure Company. The HQ2 Bids Were Reconnaissance: The data...it solicited could guide the next steps in its evolution: ...could guide it in its expansion of the physical footprint, in the kinds of services it rolls out next, and in future negotiations and lobbying with states and municipalities...in some places, [it] did receive proprietary information...chambers of commerce, which handled many of the bids, don’t have to tell the public about their negotiations. Sometimes even city officials weren’t privy...When it announced it was dividing HQ2...it was obvious that all the other cities had been scammed...Some observers...have suggested data collection was the purpose all along...on its drive to become almost a para-governmental institution, [it] has always relied on help from actual governments to gain advantages over its competitors...- New York Magazine
Rowan Moore: After the retail apocalypse, what next for the high street? Out-of-town shopping centres and online giants decimated our town centres - what can local spaces still offer that the internet can’t? As it has become ingrained that one of the main forms of shared public life is shopping, its loss becomes an existential threat to society...It might, to look on the bright side, lead to a rediscovery of the things we like about human contact...the future lies in offering things that the internet can’t, in providing for the needs of humans as social and embodied beings...every town has the ability to reinvent itself...repurposing of retail space can come from the bottom up, if it is allowed to. As happened with abandoned warehouses, new life occupies the slack space... -- Lara Marrero/Gensler- Observer (UK)
Laura Bliss: Sidewalk Labs’ Neighborhood of the Future in Toronto Is Getting Closer: The new draft plan for the “smart” waterfront development offers broad proposals for housing, transportation, and energy use. But it’s not that radical: For better or worse...the model of urban development put forth by Sidewalk Toronto...may more in keeping with contemporary principles of good urban planning than it is visionary...Barring a few details, Quayside’s pieces don’t appear to break much new ground in urban design...at the most superficial level, at least...the future doesn’t look that much different from the present. -- Waterfront Toronto- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Blair Kamin: Oak Park may get a new tallest tower. Will it mar the beauty of Wright's Unity Temple? ...home to the world’s finest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, a fascinating clash of public policy agendas is taking shape...The first agenda is historic preservation...The second agenda is transit-oriented development...just down the road from Unity Temple...That proximity has the people who safeguard Wright’s buildings worried...No transit-oriented high-rise, no matter how much energy it saves, should be allowed to undercut its transcendent beauty. -- Harboe Architects; Solomon Cordwell Buenz [images]- Chicago Tribune
In a Texas Art Mecca, Humble Adobe Now Carries a High Cost: In Marfa, Tex., officials have raised taxes on adobe homes, pinching upscale homeowners as well as lower-income families who have lived there for decades: ...gentrification of the adobe home has made living in one rather expensive...for hundreds of more modest, weather-beaten residences clustered around the south side of Marfa, where historically most of the town’s Hispanic population has lived. “Why are you going to tax them for using the cheapest building material they could get?”- New York Times
Elizabeth Fazzare: The 2018 RIBA International Prize Winner Underscores the Importance of Social and Educational Architecture: Jury chair Elizabeth Diller explains the selection of a project with a philanthropic mission: This year's winner achieved a "humble heroism" in its design...A cast of active designers choosing the world's best building offers a clear opportunity to make a statement, and the hyperlocal...Children Village indicates that social architecture is what some of today's top practitioners consider an important conversation...."We’re no longer just looking for a great icon"... -- Aleph Zero + Rosenbaum [images]- Architectural Digest
Holland Cotter: Menil’s New Drawing Institute: A Full-Service Home for Fragile Art: There’s more to love, with reservations, in the Houston museum’s Drawing Institute and its extraordinary inaugural show of Jasper Johns works: ...it brings to mind a Shinto shrine, one of the simpler rural kinds of no-nonsense elegance, buildings that seem to both stand apart from and be open to nature. Plain-style sublime is a very Menil dynamic...Architecturally, [the exhibition gallery] is a letdown...It could be anywhere, designed by anyone. The rest of the building, despite its restraint, has all kinds of visual felicities. But in the gallery there are none. -- Sharon Johnston/Mark Lee/Johnston and Marklee; Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates [images]- New York Times
George Kafka: After a Devastating Blaze, London’s Battersea Arts Centre Makes a Dramatic Comeback: Haworth Tompkins has given the 19th century performing arts hall a sensitive, yet triumphant, new lease on life after a 2015 fire: [BAC's] crown jewel was the Grand Hall...that featured a barrel-vaulted ceiling decorated with an elaborate plaster filigree...The reopening of the Grand Hall thus represents only the latest act in a 125-year drama, with architectural scenes across sites and scales unfolding throughout the BAC’s raw, sprawling interior.,,rather than copy the earlier ceiling design...[an] abstracted a version of the pattern...simultaneously hide technical facilities in the rooftop and create a striking contemporary take on [its] original elaborate ceiling. -- E.W. Mountford (1893) [images]- Metropolis Magazine
Jack Diamond: the architect behind the transformation of Marlborough College’s Memorial Hall: The Canadian was lured by one of Britain’s most famous boarding schools to transform a shabby hall into a state-of-the-art performing arts centre: While the St Petersburg building [Mariinsky II] was built from scratch, Memorial Hall was a reworking of a Grade II listed building...there were limits on altering it. But, as Diamond puts it, “the secret of success in architecture is to make a virtue of a necessity”...they now have the facilities with which to woo leading artists. -- W.G. Newton (1925); Diamond Schmitt Architects [images]- Financial Times (UK)
The Future of Affordable Housing: Architects are using modular design to create more cost-effective housing - changing the future of building in the process: Factory OS is creating prefabricated modular buildings on a scale never attempted in the US, pioneering new design solutions for affordable housing...modular is now attracting top architects to create striking buildings, pushing prefab and affordable housing into new markets...lowering housing costs across the board - thanks in large part to architects. -- Rick Holliday; David Baker Architects; Ken Lowney/Lowney Architecture; R. Denise Everson/Cure Architects- Wired
How This Dutch Graphic Designer Became a Civic-Architecture Star: Amsterdam-based typography whiz Hansje van Halem has been using her unique vision to make a big impact in three dimensions: ...most recently completed architectural projects include a 190-foot-long perforated steel screen fence at Schiphol Airport...and a nearly quarter-mile-long text monument to honor a historic Jewish area of Amsterdam...current architecture project...is her most ambitious, as she designs motifs in the main entryways of two four-story affordable housing developments...Tasked with the goal of giving residents “the feeling of coming home”... [images]- Architectural Digest
Reconciliation, Place-Making, and Identity: RAIC releases report on International Indigenous Architecture and Design Symposium: The richly illustrated 56-page report summarizes the presentations of more than 20 Indigenous architects, designers, and other professionals as well as students and interns from across Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand....the first project undertaken by the RAIC Indigenous Task Force, whose purpose is to foster and promote Indigenous design and architecture...- Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC)
UNESCO and UIA to begin Designating Cities as "World Capitals of Architecture": ...seeking to create a “synergy between culture and architecture in an increasingly urbanized world.” Cities designated...will become a global forum for discussion on the world’s most pressing challenges “through the prism of culture, heritage, urban planning, and architecture"...initiative is a response to Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.- ArchDaily
‘We Want People to Crawl in and Touch It’: Snarkitecture’s Instagram-Friendly Fun House Is Coming to New York: The 'Snark Park' will open in Hudson Yards in March 2019: ...playful, monochromatic aesthetic and feature three exhibitions a year...will also offer food and drink, as well as “retail experiences” designed to pair with each installation...If it sounds like yet another Instagram “museum” trap, that’s because it is. But Snarkitecture was actually at the forefront of the phenomenon...Snark Park will feature all new projects, serving as a kind of Snarkitecture incubator space.- artnet News
ANN feature: rise Up - be part of the solution for Africa's housing crisis: Sponsors are cheering on their student/architect teams working to find low-cost, sustainable housing solutions - but there are still teams that need sponsorship. Join those who are already reaping the rewards of the partnerships!- ArchNewsNow.com
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