Today’s News - Tuesday, November 5, 2019
● Betsky paints one of our fave portraits of Charles Jencks: "The brilliant witticist, raconteur, and connoisseur of remarkable buildings became the maker of monuments that demonstrated architecture's ability to bring us back to ourselves."
● The Citizen's Brigade to Save LACMA issues a call to arms to storm tomorrow's Los Angeles City Council's meeting to express opposition to Zumthor's Wilshire Boulevard bridge - or send an email, fax, or letter.
● Gibson reports that Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto have released new details for Quayside, Toronto's proposed smart city - new stipulations include "restrictions on Sidewalk Labs' ability to collect data" and a dramatic reduction in size (from 190 to 12 acres!).
● Gelinas on MoMA's makeover: It's not about architecture and art. It "is a monument to the one commodity more priceless than a bunch of Monets: superfluous space" - the museum "is good at real estate. But has no idea what to do with much of its new space. Still, it is ineffably fun."
● Otterman parses Holl's Queens Public Library, the "$41.5 million masterpiece heralded as an architectural triumph," but its "accessibility problems" have left library officials and the architects "hurrying to find solutions. How the planning process for the building did not include more of a consideration for accessibility has left critics puzzled and frustrated."
● Moore mulls "Aberdeen's bid to reinvent itself" with a new events center ("an entertainment and display factory"), and a revamped art gallery: "It's a difficult sweet spot for a local authority to hit, to achieve architecture that both keeps its feet on the ground and transcends its function. Aberdeen, like many others, hasn't quite found it."
● Wainwright, on a brighter note, cheers what Niall McLaughlin and SANNA have - and will - wrought at the 1,000-year-old Auckland Castle in North East England - he "scales its siege tower - and marvels at the prospect of a 13-orb glasshouse" (SANAA's first permanent project in the UK - very cool).
● Astbury brings us eyefuls of The Last Redoubt, China's first museum for architectural models inspired by sci-fi films because "the collection was chosen to present architectural visions of the future," and "designed to give the sense that it is one giant architectural model housing scores of models, like a dollhouse."
● Pagliacolo parses Brooks + Scarpa & Plant Prefab's prefab affordable housing "toolkit for curbing homelessness" that "features off-the-grid energy, water, and sewage systems" and will fit 80% of the lots in Los Angeles County.
● Bernstein calls on critics and journalists to start asking architects about embodied energy (the energy used for construction), and not just buy into their "spin" that "their projects as sustainable - journalists should dig to expose the real truth" (so far, he's "been disheartened").
● Plans are afoot to revive FLW's massive 1921 A.D. German Warehouse in Richland Center, "one of his largest buildings in Wisconsin," thanks to a Saving America's Treasures grant.
● Brussat takes issue with Beatriz Colomina's article "Far From Being a Temple to Rationality, the Bauhaus Was a Cauldron of Perversions": Having read Stevens Curl's "Making Dystopia" led "me (for some demented reason) to expect more."
● One we couldn't resist: Kamin reports on CTBUH's 50th anniversary fete ("fittingly held on the night before Halloween"): "Evoking a celebrated 1930s ball where architects dressed as likenesses of their skyscrapers," architects from 15 countries came to the party dressed as their own skyscrapers (check out the pix!).
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Lesson Plan #5: Letter from an architect to the gurus [teachers] and chelas [disciples] of architecture: From India, Shirish Beri writes this special letter out of a restlessness that arises from a genuine concern for the present state of architectural education and profession, as well as that of our society.
● Call for entries: Harvard GSD Loeb Fellowship for Class of 2021: open to mid-career practitioners.
● Call for entries: One Drawing Challenge to "create a computer-generated visualization that powerfully communicates an architectural form or space and the experience of those that would inhabit it."
● Call for entries: The Forge Prize: 2020 AISC Vision in Steel for Architectural Excellence and Speed Conceptual Design Competition, open emerging architects who are working professionals based in the U.S.
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Aaron Betsky: Remembering Charles Jencks: the late theorist and designer, who believed that the message was the message was the message: He will always be the Man Who Invented Postmodernism...[He] loved buildings that clearly told you what they were - the houses that looked like houses and the banks that looked like banks - as well as those structures, such as Cesar Pelli’s Pacific Design Center or Le Corbusier’s chapel at Ronchamp, that could be whales, icebergs, or nun’s caps...The brilliant witticist, raconteur, and connoisseur of remarkable buildings became the maker of monuments that demonstrated architecture's ability to bring us back to ourselves. -- Maggie's Centre- Architect Magazine
A Call to Arms: A Call To Arms: save LACMA this Wednesday, November 6, at the LA City Council's meeting, f you cannot attend, express your opposition to the Wilshire Boulevard bridge by sending an email, fax, or letter... -- Peter Zumthor- Citizen's Brigade to Save LACMA / saveLACMA.org (Los Angeles)
Eleanor Gibson: Sidewalk Labs advances plans for Toronto smart city [Quayside]: ...after addressing a number of "critical issues" in its initial scheme...Waterfront Toronto...released new details of the conditions for the scheme...Among the new stipulations...are restrictions on Sidewalk Labs' ability to collect data...has also reduced the scale...from 190 acres (76 hectares) to 12 acres (4.8 hectares)...this amend limits the ability for them to scale it up. -- Dan Doctoroff; Rohit Aggarwala; Thomas Heatherwick- Dezeen
Nicole Gelinas: Modern Art of the Deal: With its bold makeover, MoMA flaunts the power that matters in Manhattan: extra space: The new MoMA is a monument to the one commodity more priceless than a bunch of Monets: superfluous space...still not much to look at from the outside. It’s changed from a squarish, nondescript warehouse-looking space to a more rectangular, nondescript warehouse-looking space...how did [it]...increase its capacity by one-third? MoMA is good at real estate...But [it] has no idea what to do with much of its new space...Still, it’s hard to be too negative...The new MoMA is ineffably fun... -- Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Gensler- City Journal/The Manhattan Institute
Sharon Otterman: New Library Is $41.5 Million Masterpiece. But About Those Stairs: It has been heralded as an architectural triumph, but the most expensive Queens Public Library branch ever built has accessibility problems: ...left officials with the Queens Public Library hurrying to find solutions and the architects exploring ways to retrofit the building...Some of the accessibility problems...are rooted in the design itself...How the planning process for the building did not include more of a consideration for accessibility has left critics puzzled and frustrated. -- Chris McVoy/Steven Holl Architects- New York Times
Rowan Moore: Aberdeen’s bid to reinvent itself falls between a rock and a hard place: The granite city’s multimillion-pound events centre and revamped art gallery are practical and ambitious - but can they transcend mere function? ...[Aberdeen Art Gallery] roof extension looks like a neither a tattie shed nor a bahookie, but is a complementary addition to what was already a work of accretions...P&J Live...makes no great claims for architectural nicety...it’s a business proposition...inside especially, an entertainment and display factory...it's hard to escape the feeling that something has been missed...It’s a difficult sweet spot for a local authority to hit, to achieve architecture that both keeps its feet on the ground and transcends its function. Aberdeen, like many others, hasn’t quite found it. -- Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Hoskins Architects; Studioarc; Sasanbell; Keppie- Observer (UK)
Oliver Wainwright: Hothouse towers: Auckland Castle's skyscraping revamp: After 1,000 years, the fortified stronghold of Durham’s mighty bishops is finally opening to visitors. Our writer scales its siege tower - and marvels at the prospect of a 13-orb glasshouse: ...the idea for the tower began as a light-hearted quip in a meeting...Backed by [investment banker] Jonathan Ruffer’s infectious enthusiasm, Niall McLaughlin's whimsical suggestion gained ground...expressive entrance building provides a prelude of what’s to come...looking for “an extra wow” to lure visitors to the depressed former mining area...will soon rise an extraordinary sight...a cluster of impossibly thin glass bubbles...the vision of SANAA...its first permanent project in the UK.- Guardian (UK)
Jon Astbury: White steel and mirrored halls form sci-fi themed architectural model museum in China: Wutopia Lab has used over 5,000 white steel pipes to form the structure of The Last Redoubt, China's first museum for architectural models...Designed by for exhibition company Fengyuzhu, the museum is divided into zones with names taken from science fiction films...The collection was chosen to present architectural visions of the future...diaphanous effect of vertical dividers is designed to give the sense that [it] is one giant architectural model housing scores of models, like a dollhouse.- Dezeen
Elizabeth Pagliacolo: A Prefab Toolkit for Curbing Homelessness: Brooks + Scarpa has been a trailblazer in what until recently was a niche area: affordable housing that is ecologically sustainable...its projects...are vibrant, modern and beautiful...Nest Toolkit, in partnership with Plant Prefab...offers modules for erecting anything from a dormitory-style co-living situation...to a multi-family development...features off-the-grid energy, water and sewage systems. It was awarded $1-million from the Los Angeles County Housing Innovation Challenge...80% of the lots in the county are 50 by 150 feet. “We basically tailored our product to that lot size..."- Azure magazine (Canada)
Fred A. Bernstein: Why Architecture Critics Should Ask about Embodied Energy: When designers try to spin their projects as sustainable, journalists should dig to expose the real truth: ...the energy used for construction....I have been disheartened by the lack of attention the profession has paid to this reality. It’s as if architects believe that [it]...can be wished away (or at least offset with minimal effort)...a kind of fairy tale some of us are all too happy to believe...architecture critics have, for the most part, failed to expose this myth in their reporting...we need to know what’s possible - and what isn’t...I plan to keep reminding architects that they should care about embodied energy, as if our lives depended on it. -- Renzo Piano Building Workshop; Foster + Partners; Snøhetta- Architect Magazine
Frank Lloyd Wright warehouse in western Wisconsin closer to restoration:There are no restrooms, running water or heating and air conditioning systems. There is a functioning freight elevator, but it's powered by hand...A.D. German Warehouse in Richland Center. It's one of [his] largest buildings in Wisconsin...officials here are trying to convert the building into a home for events and perhaps artists, small businesses and a museum...received a major boost when it was one of 41 projects in 23 states to receive a Saving America's Treasures grant. (AP)- MPR / Minnesota Public Radio
David Brussat: A “cauldron of perversions”: I did a double-take when I saw, in Metropolis, the article “Far From Being a Temple to Rationality, the Bauhaus Was a Cauldron of Perversions,” by Beatriz Colomina...having read “Making Dystopia” [by] James Stevens Curl...leading me (for some demented reason) to expect more condemnation from Colomina...appears to have engaged in a triple inversion: she falsely associates modern architecture with stability and normality, then announces that “the normal is not normal. It is a construction,” and finally asks readers to consider the abnormal normal. Whew! Sadly, [her] project of normalizing the abnormal was accomplished decades ago.- Architecture Here and There
Blair Kamin: Architects come to a party dressed as their skyscrapers and paint a picture of today’s high-rise scene: Evoking a celebrated 1930s ball where architects dressed as likenesses of their skyscrapers...a costume contest that was won by an outfit that turned Malaysia’s Petronas Twin Towers into back-to-the-future jetpacks. Featuring more than 40 entrants from over 15 countries...put on by...Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat [CTBUH]...celebrating its 50th anniversary...- Chicago Tribune
Call for entries: Harvard GSD Loeb Fellowship for Class of 2021: open to mid-career practitioners whose work focuses on improving the built and natural environment; deadline: January 6, 2020- Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)
Call for entries: One Drawing Challenge (international): Create one rendering - a computer generated visualization - that powerfully communicates an architectural form or space and the experience of those that would inhabit it; cash prizes; early bird & regular deadlines (save money!): November 22 & December 20; late entry January 10, 2020- Architizer
Call for entries: The Forge Prize: 2020 AISC Vision in Steel for Architectural Excellence and Speed Conceptual Design Competition: open to emerging architects currently pursuing licensure or licensed 10 years or less; must be working professionals based in the U.S.; cash prize; deadline: January 15, 2020- American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC)
ANN feature: Lesson Plan #5: Letter from an architect to the gurus [teachers] and chelas [disciples] of architecture: From India, Shirish Beri writes this special letter out of a restlessness that arises from a genuine concern for the present state of architectural education and profession, as well as that of our society.- ArchNewsNow.com
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