Today’s News - Tuesday, January 7, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: We hope everyone's New Year has begun with banners flying high - and remain so for years to come! Now, to some serious catch-up over the next few days (and apologies for tardy posting - it took time to get back into the swing of things).
● Betsky considers what the 2020s will bring us: "Architects will focus on reuse, flexible spaces, and earthy materials," but "memes will be more effective than monuments - we should not repeat the High Modernist mistake of throwing out the historical baby with the fluidity of the modern bathwater."
● More than 100 Australian firms offer pro-bono design services to those impacted by bushfire crisis, forming Architects Assist- -"we are ready when they need us."
● In California, San Clemente finalizes a "sea level rise report in hopes of establishing a coastal program," including continuing to bring in sand to restore its beaches - but the "Surfrider Foundation advocated for methods like pairing the living shoreline with managed retreat" (read the comments - yikes!).
● Brandes Gratz "weeps" for NYC as she watches her city commit "urban suicide" with supertall towers "spreading like kudzu - a visible disgrace" that "reflects how real estate owns and controls a city (demolition of 270 Park Avenue is the poster child).
● Jacobs cheers MoMA's new curatorial approach, but bemoans "the missed opportunities of its expansion - it had become a better museum but a worse building - like a major airport terminal - as it's grown, it's become less distinct."
● Curator and critic Belogolovsky visited the new MoMA and found "a genuine sense of pleasure - it feels like exploring a real city - crowded, loud, fascinating, surprising. But as far as architecture, I am unsettled. Nothing is quite special, intimate, and magical - there are wonderful moments, but they can be easily missed."
● Chances of Breuer's Central Atlanta Library making National Register of Historic Places "are slipping away" because of a $50 million renovation that includes "chiseling windows" into the façade, though "historic designation likely wouldn't have spared the library from exterior changes."
● On brighter notes: Zaha Hadid Architects' revised design for a timber stadium in Gloucestershire, U.K., (finally) wins planning permission.
● Gendall explains why "the coolest architecture on Earth is in Antarctica - long the purview of engineers, now attracting designer architects looking to bring aesthetics to the coldest neighborhood on Earth" (one research station "could be mistaken for an art museum").
● Toyota has an "audacious plan" - and taps BIG to design a prototype "city of the future" at the base of Japan's Mt. Fuji "aimed at creating safer, cleaner, more fun cities."
● Ingalls parses plans for an "urbane village" that taps an impressive list of architects to "redefine the ski town in a tech-utopian Utah community" ("TED meets Burning Man").
● Conklin, meanwhile, considers Canada giving "utopia a chance with The Orbit," a 450-acre smart city master plan. "While PARTISANS does admit to Garden City inspiration, their reasons for departure from the framework are weak - they just replace 19th-century jargon with 21st-century jargon" (and a digital master plan).
● Hatherley, on the other hand, parses how, in the 1980s, "high-tech architects showed little affinity for urban complexity," and why "it's unsurprising that they've tended instead towards either the business park, or the theme park."
● DSAI's Schmitt explains that Canadian architects "are winning more work beyond our borders - and welcome excellence from anywhere because it makes us stronger competitors everywhere" (hopefully, not behind a paywall!).
● Scruton chronicles what was a difficult year "in which much was taken from me [including dealing with cancer and chemo]. But much more was given back."
● AIA releases final set of chapters of "Guides for Equitable Practice" online that "focus on developing employee career paths; building and involving authentic community engagement, and measuring firm progress in developing equitable practices."
● We're sad to end on a sad note: The rector of Notre Dame says there's a "50% chance" the structure might not be saved because of scaffolding "threatening the vaults of the Gothic monument."
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Peter Piven: Cultural Fit: What is cultural fit when design firms merge or acquire, and how do you achieve it?
● ANN feature: JoAnn Locktov: Venice Gift Guide: Many Venetian artisans and small businesses suffered extensive damages in the unprecedented acqua alta flooding in November, so when you invest in their creativity, you are helping them to repair, restart, and recover.
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Aaron Betsky: The 2020s "will see the return of the real": ...architects in the new decade will focus on reuse, flexible spaces and earthy materials: Our agenda must be to stop the waste of natural resources we cannot renew, stop the pollution, and reuse, rethink, reimagine, and relive our present... Memes will be more effective than monuments...I wonder whether this will be the decade in which the very notion of architecture as the production of buildings will dissolve...the days of the monolithic discipline and profession finally seem numbered...we should not repeat the High Modernist mistake of throwing out the historical baby with the fluidity of the modern bathwater.- Dezeen
Australian architects offer pro-bono design services to those impacted by bushfire crisis: Over 100...studios have formed...Architects Assist...will offer free design and planning assistance to help people "rebuild their lives"...It will also offer support to small businesses or communities to replace structures such as shops, halls, churches or theatres..."we are ready when they need us"...Airbnb is...providing free temporary housing for people who have been displaced... -- Atelier Jiri Lev- Dezeen
San Clemente Finalizes Sea Level Rise Report in hopes of establishing a Coastal Program: ...aims to show the California Coastal Commission that [it] needs funding and approval to develop its program...program contains the ground rules for future development and protection of coastal resources...In the past, [it] has elected to bring in loads of sand to restore its beaches and is planning to use this method again...Surfrider Foundation advocated for methods like pairing the living shoreline with managed retreat...- Voice of OC (Orange County, California)
Roberta Brandes Gratz: How New York Is Zoning Out the Human-Scale City: By no logic...does demolition of 270 Park Avenue make sense...exemplifies how a vital aspect of the urbanism on which this city has evolved and excelled over decades is now being dangerously eroded...I weep for my city; it is committing urban suicide...supertall towers that are spreading like kudzu...an increasingly visible disgrace...reflects how real estate owns and controls a city... -- Jane Jacobs; Natalie de Blois/Gordon Bunshaft/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- New York Review of Books
Karrie Jacobs: The Missed Opportunities of MoMA's Expansion: the good (a new curatorial approach) and the regrettable (an overlooked genre-busting move): ...I arrived with baggage...angry at the museum ever since it tore down the American Folk Art Museum...My first visit to the newly expanded MoMA did little to counter that feeling...it had become a better museum but a worse building...despite moments of high-ceilinged grandeur - amorphous and bland...I returned a few weeks later...I came to appreciate aspects of the architecture...Still, [it] has become one of those buildings - like a major airport terminal...as it's grown, it's become less distinct. -- Tod Williams Billie Tsien; Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Gensler; Philip L. Goodwin; Edward Durell Stone; Philip Johnson; César Pelli; Yoshio Taniguchi; Yoshio Taniguchi- Architect Magazine
Vladimir Belogolovsky: Insisting on Being Modern: the new MoMA in New York: ... the experience brings me a genuine sense of pleasure...it feels like exploring a real city - crowded, loud, fascinating, surprising...But as far as architecture, I am unsettled...a missed opportunity. I want to know why...we will not recognise MoMA's history of six major expansions. There are still bits and pieces...There seems to be an urge...to rewrite history every time...Everything is sacrificed towards turning the building into...a mere flexible space for display. Nothing is quite special, intimate, and magical...everything is impressive, grand, and impersonal...there are wonderful moments...but they...can be easily missed. -- Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Gensler; Tod Williams Billie Tsien; Yoshio Taniguchi; Cesar Pelli; Philip Johnson- STIR (See Think Inspire Reflect)
Renovations jeopardize [Central Atlanta Library's] shot at making National Register of Historic Places: Chiseling windows into the final work of...Marcel Breuer is creating some issues: ...thanks largely to the $50 million renovations underway at the well-known Brutalist structure...with the Cooper Carry-designed updates...the architecturally significant library’s chances of earning a place on the NRHP are slipping...construction [includes] holes chiseled into the facade for windows...historic designation likely wouldn't have spared the library from exterior changes.- Curbed Atlanta
Planning Permissions Granted for Zaha Hadid Architects' Timber Stadium in England: The world’s greenest football stadium....will be built in Gloucestershire...a second attempt to gain permissio...ZHA had to modify the design, and introduce new strategies that could potentially “make up for” the destruction of the original plot and its green fields...Transportation and infrastructure were also tackled differently...to reduce noise and traffic...Home for the Forest Green Rovers football club...5,000-seat timber stadium, will be entirely powered by renewable energy sources...- ArchDaily
John Gendall: The Coolest Architecture on Earth Is in Antarctica: Who said a polar research base had to be ugly? Gradually, designers are rethinking how to build for the world’s harshest environment: [Brazil’s] new Comandante Ferraz Research Station...could be mistaken for an art museum or a boutique hotel...Construction in Antarctica, long the purview of engineers, is now attracting designer architects looking to bring aesthetics...to the coldest neighborhood on Earth. -- Estudio 41; Hugh Broughton Architects; bof architekten; OZ Architecture- New York Times
Toyota to build prototype city of the future in Japan: ...to build a prototype "city of the future" at the base of Japan's Mt. Fuji, powered by hydrogen fuel cells and functioning as a laboratory for autonomous cars, "smart homes," artificial intelligence and other technologies...audacious plan for..."Woven City"...aimed at creating safer, cleaner, more fun cities...commissioned BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group to design the community...open to partnerships with other companies...to use the project as a testing ground for technology. (Reuters)- Place / Thomson Reuters Foundation
Julia Ingalls: Activating the Urbane Village: Architects and designers redefine the ski town in a tech-utopian Utah community: How do you translate a "TED meets Burning Man" vibe into the design of a year-round property - as the investors behind Utah's...Summit Powder Mountain are attempting to do...The trick is to create a population density that can support amenities like restaurants, grocery stores, and public gathering areas...for year-round inhabitants to successfully activate the village. MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Olson Kundig, Marmol Radziner, Studio Ma, JVA Arkitekter, and Tom Wiscombe Architecture are among the architects who have signed on... -- OFFICEUNTITLED- The Architect's Newspaper
Emily Conklin: Canada gives utopia a chance with The Orbit: ...a smart city master plan in Innisfil, just north of Toronto...While PARTISANS does admit to Garden City inspiration, their reasons for departure from the framework are weak: The design claims to use a unique street grid form the firm has called "squircles"...But really, they just replace 19th-century jargon with 21st-century jargon, and instead of idyllic lawns for children to play on, the plan speaks to more efficient and environmentally friendly suburbanization patterns...following in the footsteps of...Sidewalk Labs...their main drawback is that they are digital master plans, and their biggest ideas...require the intervention and cooperation of many different parties...undermine the authoritative leadership proposed by a utopian plan and jeopardize the guarantees the designers see...- The Architect's Newspaper
Owen Hatherley: High-tech now looks very much like another post-imperial delusion: High-tech architecture aligned with the revival of Victorian values in the 1980s, but did not end up producing the factories of a new period of British creativity: In the end, the main high-tech contribution to industrial design was some see-thru vacuum cleaners....In theory...the high-tech architects should have spent the Thatcher era designing the new factories, bridges, power stations...Of course they didn't... High-tech architects showed little affinity for urban complexity...it's unsurprising that they've tended instead towards either the business park, or the theme park.- Dezeen
Donald Schmitt: Canadian architects are taking on the world: [They] aren't just winning more work beyond our borders; we're designing iconic work for a few of the world's pre-eminent institutions...the most creative architects from elsewhere also see Canada's growth as an opportunity for them too...There was a time when Canadian architects feared this competition. But now, we welcome excellence from anywhere because it makes us stronger competitors everywhere...There's something else uniquely Canadian that gives us a competitive edge, though...teams work...a set of values that celebrates collaboration...and an eagerness to use design as a competitive advantage. -- Diamond Schmitt Architects; KPMB Architects; Hariri Pontarini; Foster + Partners; WilkinsonEyre; 3XN; BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group; Snohetta; MJMA Architects- Globe and Mail (Canada)
Roger Scruton: a year in which much was lost - but more gained: Despite everything, I have so much to be grateful for: My 2018 ended with a hate storm, in response to my appointment as chair of the government's Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission...The Spectator...interview is duly published - a mendacious concoction of out-of-context remarks and downright fabrications...I obtain an apology...By that time the damage has been done. I have been dismissed from the Commission...[Brokenshire's]apology leads to my re-instatement, and even the architectural press...ceases to repeat the fantastic and fabricated...During this year much was taken from me...But much more was given back...- The Spectator (UK)
Three new chapters of “Guides for Equitable Practice” available online: Guides provide an educational resource to architects and firms on equity, diversity and inclusion issues: ...final set of chapters focus on developing employee career paths; building and involving authentic community engagement and measuring firm progress in developing equitable practices.- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Notre Dame rector: Fragile cathedral might not be saved: ...there’s a “50% chance” the structure might not be saved, because scaffolding...is threatening the vaults of the Gothic monument...restoration work isn’t likely to begin until 2021...Some 50,000 tubes of scaffolding crisscrossed the back of the edifice at the time of the fire...Removing them without causing further problems is one of the toughest parts of the cleanup effort.- Associated Press/AP
ANN feature: Peter Piven, FAIA: Cultural Fit: What is cultural fit when design firms merge or acquire, and how do you achieve it?- ArchNewsNow.com
ANN feature: JoAnn Locktov: Venice Gift Guide for the Venetophile in your life! Many Venetian artisans and small businesses suffered extensive damages in the unprecedented acqua alta flooding in November, so when you invest in their creativity, you are helping them to repair, restart, and recover.- ArchNewsNow.com
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