Today’s News - Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Let's get "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" and other disturbing news over with first
● Kamin's second take on the "profoundly misguided proposal" that "is devolving into a superficial style war. No style has a monopoly on quality. Both sides need to take off ideological blinders. The point is choice, and maintaining the ability to choose."
● Lykoudis of Notre Dame School of Architecture: "Trump's plan for federal buildings is a bad idea" that "potentially reduces an entire architectural philosophy to a caricature. Arbitrarily pasting columns and arches on a building doesn't make the building classical" (it's also "pretentious").
● Brussat's second take: "The classicists have formed a classic circular firing squad," with some "willing to play into the modernists' weak hand - popular preference for classical and traditional architecture gives classicists a big advantage. If we have the courage to fight this battle."
● In other dark news, Darke delves into Idlib, Syria's "ancient, ruined riches - endangered and largely forgotten amid the bombs."
● Venice is "choking on its own pollution" with diesel-powered vaporetti spewing out tons of carbon - a prototype hydrogen-powered vaporetto sits idle "because Italian law doesn't allow boats powered by alternatives to fossil fuel to sail."
● "Controlled blasting" inside Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, "home to sacred Native American burial sites," has begun to make way for a border wall "without consultation from the Native American nation."
Now for some good news
● Johannesburg-based Counterspace Architects, the youngest-ever Serpentine Pavilion designers (3 partners turn 30 this year), is planning a pavilion "based on and inspired by places where people gather across London."
● Betsky: cheers small design-build projects that "offer an alternative to the profession's focus on the big and profitable. It is the small projects that give me hope."
● Morgan gives thumbs-up (and down) to Fox Point, "one of the most intriguing areas of Providence undergoing some remarkable changes" - too bad there's "a near frenzy of domestic construction" with row houses being "replaced by vanilla plain boxes - [they] are cheap and they look it - threatening the very character that makes the neighborhood so appealing in the first place."
● Eyefuls of projects by "architects obsessed with turning cities into forests to combat climate change. These unreal photos show that the extraordinary idea actually works - biophilia should be used to bridge the gap between 'the haves and the have nots.'"
● Nicholas de Monchaux appointed to lead the Department of Architecture at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning "at a time of rapid technological change, enormous environmental challenges, and equally sweeping social shifts."
● Rice parses former Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers' 22-year "legacy of leadership," who is now "leading AIA through the study, design and renovation of its headquarters building in Washington, D.C."
● Landscape educator, historian, and curator John Beardsley is selected to curate the inaugural Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize ($100,000 purse).
● CTBUH announces the winners of its Lifetime Achievement Award, 2020 Fellows, and 10-Year Award of Excellence winners.
● Nine projects take home the 2020 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel Awards (IDEAS2).
● Winners of the 2020 U.S. WoodWorks Wood Design Awards announced.
● Eyefuls of the MICROHOME 2019 - Small Living, Huge Impact! design competition that is "spearheading the Small Scale Architecture Appreciation Movement" (see Betsky above).
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Blair Kamin: Don’t impose classicism on federal buildings - but don’t demonize it either. Let communities choose what kind of architecture they want: ...the debate over a profoundly misguided proposal...is devolving into a superficial style war - a new front in the culture wars roiling Donald Trump’s America...Style wars invariably fail to address the underlying characteristics...that render architecture and urban design worthy or not. No style...has a monopoly on quality. The problem [is] the imposition of classicism...from a single central authority...Both sides...need to take off ideological blinders...The point is the choice, and maintaining the ability to choose. -- National Civic Art Society; Richard H. Driehaus- Chicago Tribune
Michael Lykoudis: I teach architecture. Trump’s plan for federal buildings is a bad idea: Even though I have devoted my career to teaching generations of students the importance and relevance of classical architecture, I read with great dismay...about a potential presidential executive order...“Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” potentially reduces an entire architectural philosophy to a caricature. Arbitrarily pasting columns and arches on a building...doesn’t make the building classical....many government buildings are unappealing to the eye, bland at best and sometimes outright hostile...But the solution isn’t the imposition of a uniform style by the executive branch. Architecture does not belong to one political faction or another - it transcends them all. -- University of Notre Dame School of Architecture; David M. Schwarz Architects; Marc & Nada Breitman; Merrill, Pastor & Colgan Architects- Washington Post
David Brussat: Unify in the fight for beauty: The draft executive order to encourage classical architecture for federal buildings...has shifted the world of architecture on its axis...What has happened since Feb. 4...is that the forces of modernism have coalesced in a high and mighty dudgeon of opposition...In response, the classicists have formed a classic circular firing squad...some classicists seem so willing to play...into the modernists’ weak hand..widespread popular preference for classical and traditional architecture...gives classicists a big advantage. If we have the courage to fight this battle. So, please, let us unify. If we don’t, there will be no second chance.- Architecture Here and There
Diana Darke: Syria war: Forgotten amid the bombs: Idlib's ancient, ruined riches: The haunting beauty of Syria's so-called Dead Cities, once seen, is never forgotten. Here on the wild and magical hills of the north-west nestles the world's richest repository of 4th, 5th and 6th Century churches - over 2,000: ...today...they are endangered and largely forgotten...So forgotten were they, that...Unesco only recognised as them as a World Heritage Site in June 2011...Confusion over what to call them remains, but beyond doubt is their astonishing state of preservation...The ancestor of France's beloved Notre-Dame Cathedral still stands...- BBC News
Stopping Venice choking on its own pollution: It is well-known that Venice is drowning as global sea levels rise because of climate change. Less well-known is that it is also choking on its own pollution. Hundreds of diesel-powered vaporetti - commuter boats or water buses - spew out tonnes of carbon as they zigzag through the city's canals...But some...believe they have at least a partial answer...an alternative vaporetto powered...by hydrogen, a fuel that emits only water vapour...Still, [it] won't be taking to Venice's waters anytime soon...A prototype...is sitting idle...because Italian law doesn't allow boats powered by alternatives to fossil fuel to sail.- BBC (UK)
Arizona national monument, home to sacred Native American burial sites, is being blown up for the border wall: "Controlled blasting" inside Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument began without consultation from the Native American nation...land is also a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve...many people are concerned with how the unnatural barrier will irreparably impact [the] unique habitat...Trump administration has waived dozens of laws - including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Environmental Protection Act - in its bid to construct the border wall.- CBS News
Counterspace Architects to be Youngest Serpentine Pavilion Designers: South African firm will celebrate London communities in the Serpentine Galleries’ 50th year: ...led by Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers and Amina Kaskar. Each will be 30 this year...pavilion to be based on and inspired by places where people gather across London, particularly migrant and other peripheral communities.- Guardian (UK)
Aaron Betsky: A Movement in Miniature: Small design-build projects in communities around the globe offer an alternative to the profession's focus on the big and profitable: It is the small projects that give me hope...architects and activists are working with communities to develop structures that house people in not just decent, but beautiful ways; they are building...centers for learning and healing. They are experimenting with materials that are local, recycled, or easily reusable. They are offering alternative careers for nascent architects...The roots of such activities lie in the “tactical urbanism”... -- Scarcity and Creativity Studio; Urban Think Tank; Rural Studio- Architect Magazine
William Morgan: Fox Point Success Story: ...one of the most intriguing areas of Providence, and one that is undergoing some remarkable changes...Part of [its] extraordinary renaissance is the surge of restaurants and businesses...[and] a near frenzy of domestic construction that is at once hopeful and alarming...row houses are being torn down and replaced by the lowest-end real estate...vanilla plain boxes that make almost no attempts to ameliorate the blandness of their shape...[they] are cheap and they look it...Alas, the success...is threatening the very character that makes the neighborhood so appealing in the first place. -- Jeff Pivorunas; Laura Briggs & Jonathan Knowles/Briggs Knowles Architecture + Design- GoLocalProv.com (Providence, Rhode Island)
Radical architects are obsessed with turning cities into forests to combat climate change. These unreal photos show that the extraordinary idea actually works: Biophilic design has become popular among architects wanting to combat air pollution...Singapore's Supertrees, Amazon's Spheres, and indoor cloud forests are just some examples of how architects and botanists are working together...biophilia should be used to bridge the gap between "the haves and the have nots." -- Patrick Blanc; Stefano Boeri; Laura Gatti; Margaret Montgomery/NBBJ; WilkinsonEyre- Business Insider
Nicholas de Monchaux appointed to lead the Department of Architecture at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning: ...renowned scholar, educator, designer, architect, urbanist, and public intellectual, [he] will bring extensive experience and a broad perspective to leading the department at a time of rapid technological change, enormous environmental challenges, and equally sweeping social shifts. -- Kathryn Mol/modem- MIT School of Architecture and Planning
Justin Rice: Former Architect of the Capitol, Stephen T. Ayers, Leaves Legacy of Leadership on Capitol Hill: ...worked for the AOC for 22 years, including 11 as the agency's leader...only the 11th person to hold the position...established in 1793...oversaw the upkeep and preservation of more than 17.4 million sq ft of facilities and 580 acres of grounds on the Capitol campus...[he] is a consultant and project executive...leading AIA through the study, design and renovation of its headquarters building in Washington, D.C. -- .J. Brett Blanton; Bill Bonstra/Bonstra | Haresign Architects- ENR/Engineering News Record
Landscape educator and historian John Beardsley selected to curate inaugural Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize: The prize, which is set to be awarded for the first time in 2021 and will come with a $100,000 cash award...Beardsley is an influential writer, curator, historian, and professor who has taught and worked at the intersection of landscape and culture for decades. -- The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)- Archinect
CTBUH Names Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, 2020 Fellows & 10-Year Award of Excellence Winners: Lynn S. Beedle Lifetime Achievement Award: Moshe Safdie, Safdie Architects Fazlur R. Khan Lifetime Achievement Award: Wuren Wang, CITIC Heye Investment Co.; 5 CTBUH Fellows: Guo-Qiang Li, Tongji University; James Parakh, City of Toronto Planning Division; Javier Quintana de Una, IDOM UK; Irene Wai, Kai Shing Management Services; Carol Willis, The Skyscraper Museum- Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH)
Nine structures honored in 2020 IDEAS2 Awards for innovative steel design: 2020 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel Awards (or IDEAS2 for short)...regarded as the highest honor in in the U.S. structural steel industry. -- ROSSETTI; ISTUDIO Architects; ikon.5 architect; DLR Group; AC Martin Partners; SmithGroup; HOK; Ross Barney Architects; Little Diversified Architectural Consulting; American Institute of Steel Construction- Archinect
2020 U.S. WoodWorks Wood Design Awards winners -- Hacker; Leers Weinzapfel Associates; modus studio (AOR); Mackey Mitchell Architects; Neumann Monson Architects; LEVER Architecture; SOM/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Opsis Architecture; Rowell Brokaw Architects (AOR); Jones and Jones; HGA; Siegel & Strain Architects; eytc.- The Architect's Newspaper
MICROHOME 2019 - Small Living, Huge Impact! design competition results: ...spearheading the Small Scale Architecture Appreciation Movement...winning entries were innately hopeful in nature, offering sustainable, small housing solutions with many possibilities for use and implementation. -- Jerry Liu & Jesse Basran (Canada); Bilyana Apostolova & Slavena Todorova (Bulgaria); Raina Kanari (Sweden)- Bee Breeders (formerly HMMD/Homemade Dessert)
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