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Today’s News - Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Of buildings, beauty, and affordability (mass timber & upzoning included):

●  McGuigan parses what "appears to be a preliminary draft" of "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" - an executive order that would declare "the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style" for federal buildings, and "decries the quality of architecture" under the GSA's Design Excellence Program (President's Committee for the Re-Beautification of Federal Architecture - oh joy).

●  Mehaffy & Salingaros decry "Colonialist Modernism" and the "profoundly negative" results of the 1933 Charter of Athens and the 1964 Venice Charter on the Conservation of Monuments and Sites: Will we "continue to allow an outmoded century-old ideology to cause the degradation of cities?" (with ink to ICOMOS/EU proposal).

●  Birnbaum parses the process that indicates the Trump Administration could be "the Obama Presidential Center's most unexpected ally" with "a confounding interpretation" of the responsibilities of the federal agency overseeing the review process ("stunning irony" included).

●  Moore "truly hopes" that the U.K.'s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission succeeds, but "the suspicion is that talk of 'beauty,' using Scruton's erudite but superficial understanding, will only be a dressing on the not beautiful realities of government-approved, developer-led housing."

●  Dougherty, on the other hand, considers "how beauty could help solve the housing crisis - Scruton believed that beauty was part of the solution. It's up to the rest of us to carry it on."

●  Make up your own mind - check out the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission's report "Living with beauty" that proposes "a new development and planning framework, which will: Ask for Beauty; Refuse Ugliness; and Promote Stewardship."

●  Budds delves into the cities and states that "are proposing new upzoning laws to combat the housing crisis," and considers whether they will work ("Oregon and Minneapolis are going to be our guinea pigs").

●  Walker wades into whether a 35-story, mass timber tower proposed by Sidewalk Labs "might make building homes cheaper and more climate-friendly - CLT construction "could reduce the cost by 20%, but first, "what's essentially a brand-new construction method" must be developed.

Taliesin tales, tears, and finger-pointing:

●  Kamin considers how FLW's Taliesin campuses were more "a community, not just an academy" that some "characterized as artistic communes of the highest order," while others thought they "were not-so-benign dictatorships. However one perceives the campuses - the school's absence will likely be keenly felt."

●  Scavnicky, a former Taliesin teaching fellow, minces no words: "Shame on the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The architecture community needs to be cognizant of the potential impact outsiders can have on our field who fetishize and exploit the genius of our heroes."

●  Lynn & Schweiker "want to set the record straight" about closing: The school's governing board "did not feel comfortable putting our staff, students and board members in the position of providing their expertise and deep wells of knowledge to help the Foundation establish a new non-accredited program."

●  Graff, president & CEO of the FLW Foundation, has a different take: The decision to close "could be made only by the school itself, and not by the Foundation," which is now considering "potential partners to create a new and sustainable educational model - we will announce those plans when they are finalized."

On (much needed!) brighter notes:

●  Wainwright cheers "Captain Scarlet," a.k.a. Ab Rogers, and his new "uplifting Maggie's Centre full of zing and zest - a cheery foil to the jumble of large institutional buildings that form the rambling warren" of the Royal Marsden hospital (spoiler alert: he likes red!).

●  Orlando on MoMA's makeover: "The finished structure exhibits a formal purity that Corbu would have admired: there are no decorative elements to interfere with the bare engineering. This new MOMA is exhausting - and serene, and thrilling."


  


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