Today’s News - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Happy 18th ANNiversary! launched this day - in 2002 (and we don't feel a day over 97!). Interestingly, in reviewing early newsletters, it seems that these 18 years are book-ended by "style wars." 2002: debates re: what to do at Ground Zero. 2020: debates re: "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" (which continue below).

●  Bennes explains why, even though Shanghai's West Bund Museum "isn't a lamentable building, it certainly doesn't speak of Chipperfield at his restrained, luxurious best" - blame the Centre Pompidou's "exacting specifications - the architects had to reconfigure their own structure post-completion."

●  Holmes delves into "how the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures went $100 million over budget. Renzo Piano's design is certainly elaborate, but he can't be blamed for all of the mounting costs."

●  Mazumder, a Canadian therapist in community mental health, talks about "how urban design affects mental health, what makes a happy city, and how to build people-centered cities."

●  Koziarz reports on The 78, a $7 billion, 62-acre mega-development on a long-vacant stretch of riverfront in Chicago, master planned by SOM.

●  Massengale & Norquist make the case for not replacing a stretch of the collapsing Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: NYC "would own several new blocks of land for affordable housing" and traffic would decrease (and, while we're at it, pedestrianize the Brooklyn Bridge).

●  Morgan makes the case that, instead of demolishing a dilapidated railroad bridge in Providence, an international design competition could transform the superstructure "into an urban design success story" (think High Line).

●  As Kamin's "Amherst College" hits bookstores today, he delves into some stories that "lurk beneath the gloss of many campus buildings" (including Mies's Crown Hall). "Buildings are repositories of tales - some innocently forgotten, others willfully ignored - that have the capacity to illuminate our past, inform our present and shape our future."

●  Brown brings us ARO's $30 million renovation of Houston's Rothko Chapel and campus intended "to better reflect the artist's [and Philip Johnson's] original design for it."

●  Architect and historic preservationist Krishna cheers old, empty churches being repurposed in up-and-coming neighborhoods, but is particularly taken by two Buffalo churches transformed into an Islamic mosque and a Buddhist temple - "this phenomenon can preserve historic architecture and strengthen burgeoning communities."

●  The Architecture & Design Film Festival kicks off at the United Nations in New York today, and puts out its 2020 tour dates.

●  ICYMI: ANN feature: Design Workshop's MacRae & Ficht consider three trends they see shaping landscape architecture.

Giovannini's 3-part lament for LACMA (we ran Part 1 last week, but included here so they're all together):

●  LACMA, Part I: "It's much worse than you think - the county and the museum, both evidently co-conspirators to keep hidden the galloping cost escalation [and] the deception about size" (and is "a major architectural let-down" to boot ).

●  LACMA, Part II: Spamming the Public: "In a slow-motion but breathtaking campaign of spin, cover-ups, disinformation, and fabrications, the museum has gaslighted Angelenos" (Govan is "a camera-ready, charismatic Elmer Gantry on a mission").

●  LACMA, Part III: The Way Forward: "One deceptive pronouncement about the Zumthor project followed another - there are three corrective measures that can be undertaken now, and each would prove a better solution" (including reviving Renzo Piano's 2003 master plan).

More thumbs-up than thumbs-down meditations on the "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" draft executive order:

●  Pedersen: The mandate is "a recipe for really bad buildings" and "for most architects under 40, these aesthetic battles are an old man's game - they've got bigger fish to fry, like survival of the species. Classical architecture deserves a better fate."

●  Curry, dean, USC School of Architecture: "Within each genre of architecture there are examples of mediocre and exceptional works. Elevating the quality of architecture should be our common goal, not singling out a particular style to represent the nation."

●  Kunstler: "The mandarin uber-class among the elite, especially the Pooh-Bahs in the architecture schools, can't bear the thought that things are tending this way. Modernism doesn't care about truth and beauty; it cares about power, especially the power to coerce - to separate us from nature."

●  Semes: "There was little or no consultation with those most directly affected: classical architects - hold off on any further official moves pending a more comprehensive conversation. On the plus side, architecture is now a subject of public interest and debate for the first time in decades. Let's seize the opportunity to get this right."

●  Mehaffy, Salingaros & Sussman each weigh in: "Architectural bullies protest restricting their ability to terrorize everyone else," sayeth Salingaros.

●  Dalrymple explains that it's the Modernists who are totalitarian: "There is no reason why good, classical buildings cannot be built, except for the arrogance, tastelessness, inhumanity, egotism, incompetence, persistence in crime and megalomania of the architects who want to show off to each other."


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