Today’s News - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

●  A judge gives the go-ahead for the Obama Center to be built in Chicago's Olmsted-designed Jackson Park - the mayor is "in favor of the center and its controversial location, but also pledged to negotiate a community benefits agreement" (Protect Our Parks will appeal).

●  Hewitt minces no words: "The claims made by many architects, to justify shape-making, often borders on the specious - using pseudo-functionalist rhetoric to offer empty and often false explanations for their 'signature' buildings. Eventually, high-design buildings became mere sculpture or structure, either third-rate conceptual art or second-rate bridge technology" (ouch!).

●  SelgasCano designs a "co-working jungle" for Second Home Hollywood, opening in September, with "inclusivity measures that have the potential to breathe fresh air into the elitist luxury workspace arena" (and "a new architectural trophy - SelgasCano's 2015 Serpentine Pavilion, which will be used as an events space").

●  Russell explains how developers "game" the system to build super-tall skyscrapers in NYC, leaving the city "facing 'mechanical-void abuse' - empty space that exists only for the purpose of giving billionaires bragging rights" ("New Yorkers have taken umbrage," but they've "found little support among city agencies").

●  Berg delves into the fascinating tale of "the Berlin activists who staged a protest at a vacant government building," and ended up leading "one of the most significant real estate developments in Berlin" that could be "a model for bottom-up city-making."

●  Wainwright takes us "inside the world's most madcap menagerie" in Belgium, with "Frankenstein fauna and cosmopolitan chickens" - Vanmechelen's eco-park, designed by Botta, "puts the perverse into biodiversity - it looks like some secret facility for developing future species. The reality is not far off."

●  Davidson x 2: He cheers Atterbury and Olmsted's 1912 Station Square in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, "perfectly restored" with "an antique, organic look - the architectural equivalent of pre-torn jeans" - and now "the prettiest block in New York."

●  He visited the "home-as-lifestyle-laboratory" Eames Case Study house and Lautner's Silvertop in Los Angeles, "and came away excited and reassured that another generation is working to preserve those architectural experiments and keep their improvisational spirit alive - not an easy trick."

●  Ketcham offers "a reality check for Sea Ranch," and considers whether "this one-time beacon of Northern California experimentalism" still has lessons for the world - "idealistic practices of the 1960s can now be at odds with sustainable building."

●  A look at how, 50 years ago, the Scottish landscape architect Ian McHarg "revolutionized how designers and planners think about ecology" with his book "Design With Nature." Now, UPenn's Weitzman School of Design Is celebrating the milestone with a new book, exhibitions, an international conference - and a new climate and design research center named for him.

●  It's about time: Ravenscroft reports that Gaudí's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona "finally gets building permit after 137 years - the basilica is only around 70% complete, with eight of its proposed 18 spires built."

●  Kimmelman cheers "The Value of Good Design" at MoMA (it closes June 15!): "If most Americans had little patience for Picasso, everybody needed a decent can opener. Like a Trojan horse, that can opener could sneak modernist ideas through the front door," but much has "inevitably become status symbols for the 1%. Maybe it's time for a new round of 'Good Design' exhibitions."

●  Reed Kroloff takes the helm as dean of the IIT College of Architecture - "the school that Mies built has a new leader" (yay, Reed!).

●  British architect and professor Harriet Harriss is named dean of Pratt Institute School of Architecture, following Thomas Hanrahan's 22 years at the helm; she joins "a number of women currently heading prestigious architecture schools."

●  ICYMI: ANN feature: Bouras talks to Betsky re: experiment and experience at Taliesin - and beyond: Architecture, he says, is everything that is about building or buildings: how we design, represent, and discuss them, what they mean, and how they act in our society.

Winners all!

●  Detroit's Midtown Cultural Connections competition taps a team led by Paris-based Agence Ter to shape a Midtown cultural center.

●  Three impressive teams, led by Dorte Mandrup, WEISS/MANFREDI, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, are shortlisted in the La Brea Tar Pits master plan competition to renovate and future-proof the 12-acre campus.

●  Cheers to Cooper Hewitt as it celebrates the 20th anniversary of the National Design Awards Program - and announces 11 winners of the 2019 Awards - "honored for design excellence and innovation."

●  Arch Record announces winners of Good Design Is Good Business 2019, who "demonstrate how architecture can benefit a business's bottom line."

●  12 winners take home the AIA 2019 Small Project Awards.

●  RAIC announces the 2019 winners for Young Architect, Emerging Architectural Practice, and Architectural Firm awards.

●  A spotlight on the affordable housing developments honored with 2019 Gold Nugget Awards (with link to full list of winners - over 50 categories).


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