Today’s News - Thursday, August 22, 2019

EDITOR'S NOTE: For the last lazy, hazy week of summer, we're taking a lazy, hazy break (maybe the heat wave will, too!). We'll be back after Labor Day (U.S.). See you in September (we feel a song coming on!).

●  ANN feature: Nicholas Boys Smith & Roger Scruton: Lesson Plan #3: Beauty and Sustainability in Architectural Education: We were greatly heartened to see architecture students call for a curriculum change to address social, political, and ecological challenges, and we want to say something about how their proposals intersect with the work of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission.

●  Saffron has (mostly) high hopes for PAU Studio's towers at Philly's Schuylkill Yards: "A corporate skyscraper is not expected to be fun. It is not supposed to make people think of a tumbling stack of children's blocks. And it is definitely not supposed to be fire-engine red - all the usual expectations have been tossed out the windows."

●  Eyefuls of Zaha Hadid Architects' sculptural flood protection barrier, the Niederhafen River Promenade in Hamburg, Germany, that "offers the city a new public space and riverside walkway," with "plenty of space for passersby, street performers and food stalls."

●  Brussat explains why InFORM's new pedestrian and bicycle bridge in Providence, RI, has "has nudged me out of my lane. Its design is modernist. I like it. This does not compute" (he admits he likes something modernist - gasp!).

●  A look at "old parking behemoths" being "born again - ripe for adaptive reuse. Others are being constructed from scratch in ways that will allow them to be repurposed down the road" (Broadway Autopark in Wichita - wow!).

●  Granny flats (a.k.a. accessory dwelling units/ADUs) can create more affordable housing - "but also a denser population and neighborhood change," along with "financial, political, and technical challenges. Perhaps the trickiest problem is cultural and racial."

●  Urban planner Gray considers how Amazon "could transform the tiny house movement from a niche fad into a national housing solution. The wave of recent reforms to laws regulating ADUs bodes well for Amazon's awkward first steps into the mail-order housing space."

●  A short video explains "why so many suburbs look the same: It was all part of the plan - we still live in a culture shaped by the Federal Housing Administration's ideal suburban design" from the 1930s (worth a watch!).

●  Walmart picks an impressive team for its "new massive" HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas, "expected to include more than 15 acres of lakes, bike trails, flexible workspaces and buildings, and landscapes designed to create zero waste and operate with 100% renewable energy."

●  Keskeys explains how Utile's "series of seemingly simple improvements have fundamentally changed" Boston City Hall (a.k.a. "the world's ugliest building") - "the original Brutalist vision for the building has become legible again."

●  Morgan considers Saarinen's St. Louis Arch to be a monument that "could not be more simple - nor more powerful - a brilliant and many-layered symbol of the heart of America and of the modern age that has become a Walt Whitman-esque song to ourselves."

●  Lavin digs deep (really deep!) into "plant architecture - today, plant-thinking may be that which is bringing the attention of contemporary architects to the plant as they begin to realize that the survival of life in its many forms will depend on plants as much as on plans."

●  The latest AIA Billings Index "shows how the trade war is hitting commercial real estate - design contracts fell into negative territory for the first time in almost a year."

Weekend diversions:

●  Walker watches Alexander Girard's designs "come to life" in a short video (now streaming) that "dips deep into the Herman Miller archives. If you're looking for the ultimate design pilgrimage," head to Santa Fe to see "Alexander Girard: A Designer's Universe" (it moves to Palm Springs in November).

●  A good reason to head to the Loft Coast: AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design's month-long16th Annual Architecture + the City festival: "There's something for everyone."

●  In Columbus, Indiana, MASS, So-il, et al.'s "Miller Prize installations lean heavily to landscape architecture - so much so that most of the works could be partly referred to as creative plantings. Or maybe seeds of innovation."

●  "Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx" at the New York Botanical Garden presents the 20th-century "artist-designer-preservationist whose work could help cities survive in this century."

●  In Berlin, "beyond bauhaus - prototyping the future" exhibition & festival "takes up modernism's central question concerning the world-changing power of design and carries it into the present to confront current social, ecological and global challenge."


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