Today’s News - Wednesday, March 4, 2020
● Sad news: We've lost Henry Cobb at 93, "the bold Modernist architect" whose work with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners "earned the firm a special place in architectural history as purveyors of some of the most iconic (and tallest) towers of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s." (Kimmelman tweeted the news last night).
● Catesby Leigh continues his campaign supporting the proposed "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" executive order: "What a fabulous idea - it is not perfect. Even if the kinks aren't ironed out - it represents a much-needed shock to a rigged system."
● Baskin begs to differ: "While there is much to appreciate in classical and neoclassical buildings, admirers have long included authoritarians" who "want to use architecture to inspire a kind of superiority" ("Trump is not an obvious champion of 'classical'" architecture - his properties tend to look more like cigarettes wearing body armor than replicas of the Parthenon").
● Plans for Western Sydney's new, $1.5 billion Powerhouse Museum seem to have "a major design flaw - it has no entry for visitors" - but there are assurances that it will be a "highly connected and accessible museum."
● Koziarz reports that the heights of SOM's plan for two towers on the former Chicago Spire site are being scaled back: "It seems a real shame that downtown Chicago's most prominent development site has waited this long for a plan that may be more 'thoughtful' than its predecessor, but is certainly less significant in its scope and ambition."
● Meanwhile, "if you needed further evidence of Austin's boomtown status," here are eyefuls of "37 towers in the works for downtown. Will all of them rise? Time will tell" (with most of the architects named - what a concept!).
● Wainwright delves into "how God is getting into construction" as "cash-strapped churches are inviting developers to build pricey flats on their turf. Is this the promised land for faith buildings - or a deal with the devil?" (a show of 23 such projects is on view in London 'til Saturday impressive, even "a cynical atheist" can't deny "that faith buildings have a useful future in them yet").
● DLR Group's 21-story, 450-room Dream Las Vega luxury hotel on the Strip will be a "welcome addition to the Sin City skyline" (and a neighbor of the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign).
● Jersey City is about to get a two-tower apartment complex to include a pedestrian connection to a nearby light rail station and a new park on a 17.5-acre former brownfield site.
● Filmmaker and CEO of the FLW Revival Initiative Michael Miner has bought Wright's Pappas House in west St. Louis County with plans to turn it into museum after "a few major repairs - it will need some TLC for FLW."
● Olson talks to P+W principal and director of global diversity Gabrielle Bullock: "By addressing diversity and inclusion, she is amplifying her message and others' while making the field more receptive" (while working on some cool projects!).
● Moore x 2: He offers a plan, "which I offer for no fee, would make a gigantic super-airport" ("Mooreport"?), while "a visit to Abbey Wood station makes me wonder if any project involving trains and tunnels should ever be attempted in Britain again" (and musings on "Parasite" and skunks).
● He catches up with Herb Greene: "Now 90, he reflects on his work and that of his fellow 60s renegades. You can't talk to or about him, without also talking about the dazzlingly original Bruce Goff."
● Bollen profiles Scarpa, whose "reimagining of ancient public buildings made him an Italian icon - today, his message - that true beauty endures, transcending global tumult and uncertainty - has never seemed more germane."
● A bit of history is always good: Brussat brings us a (fab!) video of Manhattan in 1911: "Some of today's most recognized buildings slide by - there's even a stretch that conveys a strong sense of the Manhattan skyline of the era."
● Kohlstedt of 99% Invisible delves into setbacks, "the century-old NYC mandate that shaped modern skylines" across the U.S. (fab photos!).
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Obituary by Antonio Pacheco: Henry N. Cobb, 93, the architect behind some of America's most iconic skyscrapers: ...the bold Modernist architect responsible for the designs of a wide range of iconic buildings through his work with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners...Cobb, alongside Pei and an ever-growing roster of designers, helped give life to the skylines of several American (and international) cities...bold experiments that fused platonic shapes at a super-sized scale, earned the firm a special place in architectural history as purveyors of some of the most iconic (and tallest) towers of the 1970s, '80s, and '90s....His work extended beyond high-rises... -- I.M. Pei & Associates- Archinect
Catesby Leigh: Against Architectural Relativism: “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again"...What a fabulous idea...America didn’t get Speered after the war. It got Corbed and Miesed...Leaving aside the guilt-by-political-association routine...how does that negate a legitimate public interest in restoring a classical tradition in federal architecture...draft order has spurred more “public discourse in the design of public architecture” than we’ve seen in years...Too many who should know better...have yielded to architectural relativism...The draft order is not perfect...Even if the kinks aren’t ironed out, Trump should sign the order, as it represents a much-needed shock to a rigged system. -- National Civic Art Society- First Things magazine (Institute on Religion and Public Life)
Morgan Baskin: “Classical” Architecture Is Just One Way Tyrants Build in Their Own Image: Trump’s draft plan for federal buildings has something in common with 20th century fascists - and 21st century strongmen: ...while there is much to appreciate in classical and neoclassical buildings, admirers of these styles have long included authoritarians...they want to use architecture to inspire a kind of superiority...Trump is not an obvious champion of “classical” architecture...But...he shares the authoritarian’s impulse to remake cities in his image...When you prize only the veneer of functionality, making America greater is just a matter of putting up some marble columns. -- National Civic Art Society; Bjarke Ingels- Slate
Western Sydney’s new Powerhouse Museum designed without an entry: A major design flaw has been revealed...it has no entry for visitors...museum has to be elevated because it will sit on a flood plain in Parramatta and one option is to put it on stilts. But such a plan hasn’t allowed for a way to get in...Shadow Arts Minister Walt Secord...previously criticised the [$1.5 billion] building as being a “monstrosity on stilts”...Lisa Havilah has since issued a statement...saying the new building will be a “highly connected and accessible museum.” -- Moreau Kusunoki Architects; Genton- NEWS.com.au (Australia)
Jay Koziarz: Two-tower plan for former Chicago Spire site gets significant height reduction: The tallest building has been cut from 1,100 feet down to 875 feet: The long-anticipated plan to redevelop the infamous hole left behind by the failed 2,000-foot-tall [Santiago Calatrava] Chicago Spire...keeps getting less grandiose...[changes include] removal of the project’s hotel component...It seems a real shame that downtown Chicago’s most prominent development site has waited this long for a plan that may be more “thoughtful” than its predecessor but is certainly less significant in its scope and ambition. -- David Childs/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- Curbed Chicago
37 towers in the works for downtown Austin: Will all of them rise? Time will tell: If you needed further evidence of Austin's boomtown status...A whopping 3.7 million of the 10 million square feet of office space under construction......more offices on the drawing board. And condos. And apartments. And hotels. Plus a courthouse....Google to sail by the river. -- Gensler; Page Southerland Page; Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; GFF Inc.; TBG; Solomon Cordwell Buenz; Kirksey Architecture; Beck Architecture; Duda/Paine Architects; STG Design; Ziegler Cooper Architects; Studio Outside Landscape Architecture; GDA Architects; Nelsen Partners; DWG; Lake Flato Architects; Nudge Design; Rhode Partners; BOKA Powell; Clayton & Little; BKL Architecture; Pickard Chilton; Kendall/Heaton Associates; HKS; Simeone Deary Design Group- Austin Business Journal (Texas)
Oliver Wainwright: Holy housing developments! How God is getting into construction: Cash-strapped churches are raising money by inviting developers to build pricey flats on their turf. Is this the promised land for faith buildings - or a deal with the devil? ...on display in the atmospheric crypt of St Mary Magdalene in Paddington...23 contemporary faith buildings organised by the Architecture Foundation..."Congregation" paints a fascinating picture of the ingenious ways that churches, mosques, synagogues and more are responding to the different pressures they face...it’s hard to deny, even as a cynical atheist, that faith buildings have a useful future in them yet. -- Thornsett; John Pawson; Es Devlin; Ellis Woodman; Rosie Gibbs-Stevenson; Shahed Saleem; Haworth Tompkins; Dow Jones Architects- Guardian (UK)
Dream Las Vegas: ...a free-standing 450-room luxury lifestyle hotel on the Las Vegas Strip...21-story hotel tower will feature a diverse mix of dramatic venues...[DLR Group's] undulating contemporary design will feature a lustrous glass and metal façade, boasting....radiused corners, spacious double-height terraces, oversized windows...[a] welcome addition to the Sin City skyline...will be one of the first hotel properties seen from the iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign.- Hospitality Net
Development, project team eye groundbreaking for 170 apartments in Jersey City: ...will include two 89-foot buildings that will each rise seven stories over two floors of parking...a new streetscape will...provide pedestrian connectivity to the nearby...Light Rail station...park...on a 17.5-acre former brownfield site, includes basketball and tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, a playground, rain garden, 600 trees and a splash pad water park...will also include 18 units of moderate-income housing. -- Dresdner Robin; Monteforte Architectural Studio- Real Estate NJ (New Jersey)
Filmmaker to turn newly purchased Frank Lloyd Wright house into museum: A rarely seen [FLW] house in west St. Louis County...Michael Miner, CEO FLW Revival Initiative...has produced documentaries about the designer’s work across the U.S. And when the opportunity came to purchase the Pappas House, he pressed the pause button on any possibility of this unique home on the National Registrar of Historic Places being demolished...structurally-sound home will remain, albeit with a few major repairs...a structure that will need some TLC for FLW.- KTVI FOX 2 (St. Louis, Missouri)
Carly Olson: How Perkins and Will’s Gabrielle Bullock Built a Career Empowering People of Color: Architect and advocate Bullock [talks] about her latest project on L.A.’s Crenshaw Boulevard, addressing the pipeline problem, and carving a new path forward: An art teacher suggested that preteen Bullock consider architecture as a career...“I never looked back. My whole goal was to improve the way black and brown people lived"...has worked with [P+W] since 1988, and currently serves as principal and director of global diversity...she splits her time between architectural projects and spearheading the diversity council...By addressing diversity and inclusion...she is amplifying her message and others’ while making the field more receptive.- Architectural Digest
Rowan Moore: Connecting flights the fast way, upcycling on a grand scale, "Parasite" and skunks: RM imagines an engineering feat to create a gigantic super-airport for London: My plan, which I offer for no fee, would make a gigantic super-airport, Gatrow or Heathwick...Stansted, Luton and City airports could be connected too. Heathwickstantonity. Bit of a mouthful. In lieu of the aforementioned fee, perhaps it could be called Mooreport...On the other hand, a visit to Abbey Wood station makes me wonder if any project involving trains and tunnels should ever be attempted in Britain again.- Observer (UK)
Rowan Moore: Herb Greene: "I wanted it to look like it really came from Oklahoma": The U.S. architect’s bold, sustainable designs - most famously his Oklahoma Prairie House - provided radical alternatives to European models. Now 90, Greene reflects on his work and that of his fellow 60s renegades: It starts - for me...with a house shaped like a chicken...an image of a future not chosen...With a book, "Renegades," about the school of which Greene was part, coming out...You can’t talk to...or about him, without also talking about the dazzlingly original Bruce Goff...Greene's lo-tech responses to the climate have been seen as an early version of sustainable design...he is a singular soul, a rare combination of creative courage and intellectual reflection...his projects still have plenty to teach. "Renegades: Bruce Goff and the American School of University of Oklahoma Fred Jones Jr Museum of Art thru April 5- Observer (UK)
Christopher Bollen: Who Was Carlo Scarpa? His reimagining of ancient public buildings made him an Italian icon, but the 20th-century architect is perhaps best understood through the private homes he designed: In the decades after his death in 1978, he largely had come to be regarded as an ingenious but inessential roadside attraction on the superhighway of organic Modernism...today, his message - that true beauty endures, transcending global tumult and uncertainty - has never seemed more germane. -- Sergio Los- New York Times T Magazine
David Brussat: Video of Manhattan in 1911: This is...the best video of old New York City that I’ve come across. At 8 1/2 minutes, it is among the longest, with crisp photography and a wide range of locations. Ladies and gentlemen of every status, kids, hucksters and hoboes manage to stroll by...Some of today’s most recognized buildings slide by - there’s even a stretch of film, shot from a high floor or the roof of a building, that conveys a strong sense of the Manhattan skyline of the era.- Architecture Here and There
Kurt Kohlstedt: Progressive Setbacks: The Century-Old NYC Mandate that Shaped Modern Skylines: The shape of some classic NYC towers, like the Chrysler Building, can make it seem like setbacks are aesthetic design decisions, but...reflect a highly specific, city-shaping ordinance...The Equitable Building...the canary in the coal mine...leading to the end of...structures filling out their lots and rising straight up into the air...momentum had been building... restricting this kind of architecture...1916 Zoning Resolution was the first citywide zoning legislation in the U.S......providing more light and fresh air on the city streets below. Architects in other cities followed suit, even in the absence of setback rules...- 99% Invisible
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