Today’s News - Thursday, March 12, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, March 17 (and hoping Friday the 13th might bring the world some good news!).

●  ANN feature: Weinstein uses a new British Museum exhibition catalogue as the starting point to delve into Piranesi's architectural imagination and why his architectural art matters today more than ever.

●  Davidson parses NYC's Sunnyside Yard master plan: A "pleasant hilltop village will materialize" on a "massive platform over 180 acres of working rail yards. It's a thrilling prospect," but "isn't a plan so much as a wish list" - though the "fantasy drawings rest on a scaffolding of concrete research."

●  In Austin, Texas, "a small neighborhood of six 3D printed homes" (the first in the country) "are now a part of a 51-acre master-planned community for the city's former homeless community" (with link to news of a similar 40 tiny-house community in San Jose, California).

●  Eyefuls of Canada's first zero-carbon, mass timber higher-education building, by DIALOG and Smoke Architecture, that "will embody Centennial College's commitment to Truth and Reconciliation" with a design that "brings together Indigenous and Western cultures in both the form and function."

●  Izon's Q&A with Pharrell Williams re: "plans to convert a song into architecture" with his Untitled residential development in Toronto, his favorite elements, and some personal discoveries: "I've always admired architecture. I didn't know that I would get the developer itch."

COVID-19 and urban issues:

●  Walker considers what some cities are attempting to do for their extremely vulnerable homeless populations who can't really follow coronavirus advice like washing hands and stocking up on food when they don't have a permanent address.

●  Klaus's Q&A with Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab re: "why COVID-19 could change how we study cities, how we live in them, and the urban planning dimensions of pandemic preparation." ("Digital infrastructure might be the sanitation of our time.")

●  Bollen pens a "love letter" to Venice - "a city that has already survived two millennia of invasions and plagues, and will continue to if we remember to protect its treasures - it has become increasingly clear that Venice is on the cusp of vanishing."

●  A 74-year-old culture and arts publicist in Rome pens "a firsthand account of what life has been like, as she tries to find a rational path between cavalier disregard and outright panic": "Everything's quiet, except for the parks."

●  "There is nothing funny about a global pandemic, but people are expressing their feelings about not commuting to the office in creative, witty ways on workfromhomeaggedon" (memes for a much-needed giggle - cats - and a few dogs - rule!).

Weekend diversions (check that venues are open):

●  Wainwright x 2: "Formafantasma: Cambio" at the Serpentine Gallery is "a research-driven show" that raises "some provocative ideas" using "creative ways to expose myths about wood's sustainability," but it "can't escape an overall sense of preciousness."

●  He tours "New Stone Age" at London's Building Centre with curator Amin Taha, who "is on a mission to reveal how this primal material has the potential to revolutionize contemporary construction as we know it. Brace yourselves."

●  Ravenscroft talks to Taha about the show and his proposed 30-story stone skyscraper that he hopes will "demonstrate to commercial clients that stone is cheaper and enables a 90% reduction of embodied CO2" - a stone frame with CLT floors "could create carbon negative buildings."

●  Osman is quite taken with Jean-Louis Cohen's "Building a New New World: Americanizm in Russian Architecture" at the Canadian Centre for Architecture: "The experience is hugely rich - it traces a dialectic between Russians attracted to American modernity and those who found it repellant."

●  Marani finds "Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect" at NYC's classical Morgan Library to be "a fantastical retrospective of expert draftsmanship - a succinct and, truth be told, sublime survey" in "a fitting curatorial space for the show."


●  Tarmy offers a fab photo essay re: Hopkins' "Postmodern Architecture: Less Is a Bore" that argues "postmodernism, long derided as ugly and garish, is on its way back. But is the world ready? Many people considered it one of the ugliest, most garish building trends in the history of Western civilization."

●  Waldek brings us luscious eyefuls from Zerbst's "Gaudí. The Complete Works" that "surveys his oeuvre, and the many inspirations that went into creating his defining aesthetic."

●  Riechers cheers Osterwalder's "Olympic Games - The Design" that "encapsulates global politics and culture; in doing so, it serves as a de facto history of 20th-century graphic design" - to call the 14-pound, 1,552-page pair of books "an exhaustive publication is like saying that the Queen of England owns some jewelry."


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