Today’s News - Tuesday, April 2, 2019
EDITOR'S NOTE: We hope to have the newsletter ready to go tomorrow morning early - before we head to a preview of DS+R/Rockwell Group's The Shed at Hudson Yards, but with those pesky technology gods, one never knows...
● Kamin is disappointed in Chicago's new Essex on the Park apartment tower: Its "skyline presence is a tall order of metal-and-glass 'meh.' That's not good enough - it comes up short."
● Viglucci reports on "a new starchitect mega project" in Miami: BIG's "otherworldly plan" to "'float' apartment and office blocks on stilts over the old Allapattah Produce Center warehouses" (for the same developer of H&deM's 1111 Lincoln Road garage).
● Plitt reports that Adjaye will help reimagine Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn's 50-year-old Restoration Plaza. The changes "are less about transforming the physical space and more about ensuring that area residents have access to the same types of resources found throughout the city."
● Moore x 2: He minces no words when it comes to a development in south London "where children from affordable housing have been excluded from a playground used by the children of private owner-occupiers - it's plain mean-spirited," but that's what you get when "developers run open spaces."
● He parses the possible future of the 2017 Stirling Prize-winning Hastings Pier that "seemed like a victory for community goodwill, lottery money and visionary design - until it went bust and was sold" to a gold-plated businessman of questionable repute - the process was "a shambles."
● Miranda parses how Zumthor's latest "ever-evolving" redesign for LACMA: It's smaller - "and shapeshifts yet again. Where once we had sci-fi, now we have an agreeable cream-colored concrete structure" that "bears the profile of a small-city airport terminal" (references a not-complementary tweet from Justin Davidson - ouch!).
● Cornwell, on a brighter note, reports that Kuma's Odunpazari Modern Museum in Turkey, set to open in June, will show the collection of architect Erol Tabanca: "With stylistic echoes of his V&A Dundee, the museum's stacked timber design reflects surrounding wooden houses from the Ottoman era."
● Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan "pledges to revert" the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which has been a museum since 1935, to a mosque. If that happens, "he is likely to get a lot of backlash from countries around the world" and "could endanger its standing as a UNESCO World Heritage site."
● Fairs has an interesting conversation with Schumacher re: Zaha Hadid Architects' plans for the future: ZHA "may rebrand itself this year, with a new name that represents its 'overall creative direction and ambition.'"
● Schumacher weighs in on the debate over the Kiley-designed grove at Milwaukee's Marcus Center: It is "about design, not trees." The Center's "decision to invest in its campus could be an opportunity to correct some of the design misadventures of the past, rather than to further diminish the work of Harry Weese and Kiley."
● Yesterday brought good news: Milwaukee's Historic Preservation Commission "deemed" the Kiley grove historic - preservationists have won this round - but the battle isn't over - the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will be appealing the decision.
● New York City's congestion pricing plan is "a first" for U.S: From 2021, "drivers will likely be charged more than $10 to travel below 60th Street in Manhattan" - good news for public transit (the state budget also "includes a ban on disposable, single-use plastic bags").
● Rainwater, of the National League of Cities Center for City Solutions, hopes that NYC is "the beginning of a congestion pricing revolution - it could bring in more than $1 billion a year for badly needed public transit upgrades - hopefully other cities will follow."
● Helmut Jahn pens a hand-written note in magenta ink "attacking the 'premeditated' selection of Studio Gang for O'Hare airport expansion" - and sends it to Kamin (it really is magenta!).
Of Nouvel's adventure in Qatar:
● Cole: The "breath-taking" National Museum of Qatar "reveals that it has found some answers to what could have been deemed difficult questions at best, and judged serious shortcomings at worst - it also manages to have heart and soul."
● Noce talks to Nouvel re: his "desert rose" of a museum in Qatar that "blooms against the odds," and his "search for a national landmark and the hurdles that faced the mammoth project."
Hudson Yards reviews continue:
● K. Jacobs tackles the "antisocial stairway" that is the Vessel: "Although I'd long been hating on the architectural bon bon I think of as the Heatherwick Object, I was determined to visit with an open mind" - but she "felt a profound need to stop moving, to push back against the thing's hamster-wheel momentum - but I couldn't do it."
● Schwab on "why everyone hates the Vessel" that "has drawn relentless criticism. The descriptions are hilarious, but the derision points to a bigger problem."
● Lamster offers 21 (often hilarious) takes: The Shed "looks genuinely futuristic whereas everything else looks like what was futuristic in 1980. Or 1920." The Vessel: "climb up to an elevated platform and stand around waiting and nothing happens. It's just like taking the train in Queens" (ouch!).
● Swanson takes on Hudson Yards - and other topics with Selldorf, Viñoly, SOM's Cooper, and BIG's Sundlin (his own take: "I was strangely emotionally hung over from the opening: I found it, completely, surprisingly alienating").
In honor of April Fool's Day (a day late)
● "Eight of the best April Fools' Day pranks from architecture and design - including a dog walking drone and Swiss Army sunglasses come with a built-in knife."
● Our fave: "Norman Foster unveils plans for The Unicorn tower - a supertall cone-shaped skyscraper suspended above Bloomberg HQ," and "clad in iridescent glass that will reflect rainbows of light down on to the street below" - with "a helter-skelter slide that will spiral down the outside" (alas, no images).
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Blair Kamin: Michigan Avenue has a new tower, but it doesn’t live up to the street’s high standards: ...as new towers muscle into Grant Park’s southern edge, development pressure continues to weigh on the historic district...Is this evolution for the better? I’d say no based on the new Essex on the Park, a solid but unremarkable 56-story apartment tower...Though it’s sensitively designed at street level, [its] skyline presence is a tall order of metal-and-glass “meh.” That’s not good enough...[it] comes up short. -- Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture- Chicago Tribune
Andres Viglucci: A new starchitect mega project is coming to Miami: ...an otherworldly plan in the industrial heart of Allapattah, the multi-ethnic, working-class enclave that’s been stamped as Miami’s next hot ‘hood'...BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group would dramatically “float” a collection of staggered apartment and office blocks on stilts over the old Allapattah Produce Center...warehouses...would be converted into retail, a trade school and possibly even an urban farm...lush landscaping...turning what’s now a stretch of treeless asphalt and concrete into an island of green...the handiwork of Robert Wennett, best known for building the singular 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage... -- Herzog & de Meuron; Rem Koolhaas [images]- Miami Herald
Amy Plitt: David Adjaye tapped to help reimagine Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza: A 50-year-old community anchor will be reimagined with the help of the British starchitect: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the country’s first community development corporation, was established in 1967...Restoration Plaza opened five years later...has become a neighborhood hub...[changes] are less about transforming the physical space and more about ensuring that area residents have access to the same types of resources found throughout the city...Restoration and Adjaye will work together on implementing a five-year strategic plan...will also be informed by local input.- Curbed New York
Rowan Moore: Dividing rich and poor is inevitable when developers run open spaces: Social segregation diminishes city life. Community groups must take the lead: In the case of the Baylis Old School development in south London, where children from affordable housing have been excluded from a playground used by the children of private owner-occupiers, there is no excuse. This segregated playground is plain mean-spirited...The bigger question is why developers should have become the primary providers of playgrounds...and public space in general... -- Rycroft Associates- Observer (UK)
Rowan Moore: Is it the end of the pier for Hastings? The seaside town’s  Stirling prize-winning pier seemed like a victory for community goodwill, lottery money and visionary design - until it went bust and was sold off for a mere £60,000. Now it’s shut: For a community asset to pass into private hands was...like a bereavement...The mystery is why the pier should have been entrusted to a man with this record...the tale of Hastings pier has wider lessons. -- Eugenius Birch (1872); de Rijke Marsh Morgan/ dRMM- Observer (UK)
Carolina A. Miranda: In a new redesign LACMA experiences shrinkage - and shapeshifts yet again: ...handful of renderings of Peter Zumthor’s ever-evolving [Los Angeles County Museum of Art] design...immediately likened to a coffee table...Where once we had sci-fi, now we have an agreeable cream-colored concrete structure...bears the profile of a small-city airport terminal...Ecological considerations around the tar pits led to [it] losing its artsy inkblot form...What exactly are we building? How long will it last? We’ll need more than a few partial renderings to begin to answer those questions. -- William Pereira; Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer [images]- Los Angeles Times
Tim Cornwell: Major museum designed by V&A Dundee's architects to open in Turkey: Odunpazari Modern Museum designed by Kengo Kuma, which will show the collection of architect Erol Tabanca, will open in the university city of Eskisehir in June: With stylistic echoes of his V&A Dundee, the museum’s stacked timber design reflects surrounding wooden houses from the Ottoman era...Kuma and Yuki Ikeguchi...say that they intended the 4,500 sq. m, three-floor building...to “resonate both on a human scale and with the unique streetscape.” -- Polimeks Holding- The Art Newspaper
Turkish president pledges to revert Hagia Sophia [Istanbul] to a mosque: [It] has been a museum for the better part of the last century as a compromise for Muslims and Christians as they both have sacred ties to the historic place of worship...If Erdogan decides to follow through with the conversion, he is likely to get a lot of backlash from various countries around the world...converting the museum could endanger [its] standing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. If changes were made to [its] stance as a museum, its ‘outstanding universal value’ could be in jeopardy.- Art Critique
Marcus Fairs: "We need to become a creative brand" says Zaha Hadid Architects principal Patrik Schumacher: ...[he] talks about the impact her passing had on the studio, how it has grown, and its plans for the future...ZHA may rebrand itself this year, with a new name that represents its "overall creative direction and ambition."- Dezeen
Mary-Louise Schumacher: Debate over Dan Kiley grove at Marcus Center is about design, not trees: What was notable about the reaction to my column...was not the quantity of responses...but the nature of them...This is the test of a great work of art - that it has been so evidently experienced...[Center's] decision to invest in its campus could be an opportunity to correct some of the design misadventures of the past, rather than to further diminish the work of Harry Weese and Kiley... -- Jim Shields; Jennifer Current; Mark Debrauske- The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)
Marcus Center, Dan Kiley Grove Deemed Historic: Commission decision stalls redevelopment, but allows four ailing trees to be cut down.: ...president of the Marcus Center has vowed to appeal the commission’s decision...is seeking to redevelop the complex. -- Harry Weese (1968); Jim Shields; John Vogel- Urban Milwaukee
New York City's congestion pricing plan a first for United States: From 2021, New York drivers will likely be charged more than $10 to travel below 60th Street in Manhattan, to cut congestion and pollution: ...part of an effort to reduce the number of cars and invest in public transit...budget that also includes a ban on disposable, single-use plastic bags.- Place / Thomson Reuters Foundation
Brooks Rainwater: Let New York be the beginning of a congestion pricing revolution: Now that one city has embraced the policy, hopefully other cities concerned about traffic will follow...end results [elsewhere] have borne out their efficacy. This is not to say that there hasn’t been controversy...there is a need for education around innovation in road pricing...[will] affect all drivers south of 60th Street entering Manhattan...it could bring in more than $1 billion a year [for] badly needed public transit upgrades. Cities across the U.S. will likely be watching...- Fast Company
Helmut Jahn pens magenta note attacking "premeditated" selection of Studio Gang for O'Hare airport expansion: ...hand-written note to the Chicago Tribune [Blair Kamin]...""I am embarrassed that some of my most respected colleagues have been misused to placate [a] premeditated decision not justified by design or experience"...Gang defendants tell Jahn to "take a flying leap" -- Studio ORD; Solomon Cordwell Buenz; Corgan; Milhouse Engineering and Construction; STL Architects- Dezeen
Alison Cole: Jean Nouvel's National Museum of Qatar opens with surprises at every turn: Every aspect of modern museography is used to create immersive displays and engaging learning experiences: ...reveals that it has found some answers to what could have been deemed difficult questions at best, and judged serious shortcomings at worst...breath-taking building...leaves most state-of-the-art museums in the shade...This is a 21st-century museum, which emphasises the 3D experience in all its manifestations, but it also manages to have heart and soul. -- "Making Doha 1950-2030"; Rem Koolhaas/OMA; Samir Bantal; Fatma Al Sahlawi- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Vincent Noce: Jean Nouvel: 'desert rose' Qatar museum blooms against the odds: We speak to the French architect about the search for a national landmark and the hurdles that faced the mammoth project: ...complex architecture...he regards as “an archaeological piece in itself”...Asked about the welfare of migrant construction workers...[he] says that his team checked that there were decent working and living conditions for employees of the museum building project.- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Karrie Jacobs: The antisocial stairway of Hudson Yards: From Columbia’s Low Library to Times Square, New York City’s greatest stairways are also its most convivial public places. Not so at Hudson Yards: Although I’d long been hating on the architectural bon bon I think of as the Heatherwick Object, I was determined to visit...with an open mind...I try to understand urban places by immersing myself in them...walking around, and sitting still...only one of them is appropriate for Vessel...the ability to comfortably linger is the hallmark of a great public place...I felt a profound need to stop moving, to push back against the thing’s hamster-wheel momentum - but I couldn’t do it.- Curbed New York
Katharine Schwab: Why everyone hates the Vessel: The centerpiece of New York’s massive new Hudson Yards development has drawn relentless criticism: It started as the “stairway to nowhere...has invited more fantastical descriptions...The descriptions are hilarious, but the derision points to a bigger problem...Even the Vessel is supposed to be a temporary name, until the public comes up with a better one...This is meant to reinforce the idea that the structure is for everyone, not just Hudson Yards’ wealthy residents...perhaps the public will have the last laugh...I’ll be voting for Staircase McStaircaseface. -- Thomas Heatherwick- Fast Company / Co.Design
Mark Lamster: A Dallas architecture critic’s hot takes on Hudson Yards and the Vessel in New York: 21 observations on this city constructed from whole cloth: ..the critical problem...the scale of the towers is so enormous that even a massive bauble like the Vessel seems like a toy...I'm not exactly sure what the Shed is or why it's necessary...It looks genuinely futuristic whereas everything else looks like what was futuristic in 1980. Or 1920...The Vessel: You climb up to an elevated platform and stand around waiting and nothing happens. It's just like taking the train in Queens. -- Thomas Heatherwick; Diller, Scofidio + Renfro; SOM; KPF- Dallas Morning News
Carl Swanson: Is Hudson Yards Really the City of Tomorrow? A debate between four starchitects: I was strangely emotionally hung over from the opening: I found it, completely, surprisingly alienating...Selldorf: "It’s not a place for people. It’s a very very highfalutin community, if you can call it a community." Viñoly: "The mistake...is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the street...irrespective of the architectural quality. -- Annabelle Selldorf; Rafael Viñoly; Chris Cooper/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill/SOM; Daniel Sundlin/BIG -Bjarke Ingels Group- New York Magazine
Eight of the best April Fools' Day pranks from architecture and design: ...including plans for a gondola in Edinburgh, a dog walking drone and Swiss Army sunglasses come with a built-in knife.- Dezeen
Norman Foster unveils plans for The Unicorn tower to rival The Tulip: ...a supertall co-working and living space suspended above Bloomberg HQ...307-metre tower will be shaped like the horn of a mythical creature...Clad in iridescent glass that will reflect rainbows of light down on to the street below, the cone-shaped skyscraper will have several floors dedicated to hot-desking offices and sleeping pods aimed at London's young, urban population...artist Carsten Holler...to design a helter-skelter slide that will spiral down the outside... -- Foster + Partners- Dezeen
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