Today’s News - Thursday, March 19, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Starting the day with some bright news: It's the first day of Spring (our daffodils are blooming!)! Meanwhile, tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, March 24. In the meantime - stay safe!

●  Simons, executive director, Mayor's Institute on City Design: How 44 mayors and 45 design leaders "view the coming decade - will the decade be Reactionary? Rancorous? Revitalized?" (Results of a January survey - "we could hardly have foreseen the public health crisis that is currently unfolding across the world," sayeth Simon.)

●  Kamin on the latest plan for the Chicago Spire site that has been "a pockmark on the cityscape" for the last 12 years: It "improves in some respects on its first version. Other changes, however, are for the worse" (it's all moot if the coronavirus crisis really crashes the economy).

●  Maund, Ware & Gajendran find "heartwarming" the "willingness of government and community to work together" when housing Australia's bushfire victims - why not "adapt our collective thinking to solve" the "urgent" crisis of "homelessness and the overall need for affordable housing?"

●  The design of the Hurricane Maria memorial slated for NYC's Battery Park City is unveiled, but critics say it "should be built in a neighborhood with stronger Puerto Rican ties" - and its timing is inappropriate when "tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without functional housing."

●  A look at Sam Jacob's "ambiguous" street shelter in Shenzhen, China, that "serves no apparent or singular purpose" - and looks like "a peace offering from an alien race."

●  Photographer Roberto Conte's photo essay that "captures the variety of modernist structures across Chandigarh, a city that continues to act as a visual and architectural inspiration."

●  Call for entries (no entry fee!): The Unique Airbnb Fund: $1M for 10 groundbreaking ideas that "challenge the very idea of a house" for Airbnb: "Unusual shapes, unexpected locations, immersive concepts, spaces with a story."

●  ICYMI: 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.

Weekend diversions + Page-turners:

●  With just about every cultural space in the world closed until further notice, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 2,500 museums and galleries with virtual tours and online exhibits (and "a handy shortlist of their top 10 virtual museums") + the Open Heritage series explores historical and cultural gems + podcasts (Very cool! We've gathered reviews that we'll run next week - if the shows are online).

●  Davidson parses Season 3 of HBO's "Westworld" and "how real architecture inspired" its "deluxe urban dystopia - Bjarke Ingels, one of the most future-drunk architects around, raided his firm's cemetery of unbuilt designs and sprinkled them around the skyline."

●  Design Observer is practicing social distancing in what promises to be a lively online conversation with co-founders Jessica Helfand & Michael Bierut, Harry Stevens from The Washington Post, Curbed's Alissa Walker, and moderator Hugh Weber.

●  Welton talks to architect/planner-turned-landscape architect Watson re: "Lo-TEK": "'Can we look at low tech for rebuilding to harmonize with our ecosystems, and apply it to design and urbanism?' The answers are in her book."

●  Brussat gives (mostly) thumbs-up to E. Michael Jones's "Living Machines: Modern Architecture and the Rationalization of Sexual Misbehavior" - a "curious and compelling" [and "spicy"] book "on the movement to shift ecclesiastical architecture away from its traditions to the deconstructivist strain of modern architecture" and "the indictment of modern architecture as a paragon of perversity."

COVID-19 news continues. With no light at the end of tunnel - yet - we decided to lead with two items that lifted our spirits.

●  A choirmaster who can't convene his choir launches "The Sofa Singers," an international online community that "spreads joy and togetherness through the power of song - from the comfort of their sofas" (you can join in!).

●  A look at some folks who "are failing hilariously at working from home" with cats and flatulent dogs (and naked bodies) as coworkers - "however rough your work-from-home experience has been, it could have been a lot worse."

●  On more serious notes: Kimmelman on KCBS Radio talks about how "major epicenters of creativity and economy" arre "grinding to a halt," and ponders "when, or if, those cities will return to normal."

●  Giacobbe talks to a number of architects about how the pandemic "will change the built environment"; howe its "rapid spread has caused the design community to reevaluate their life's work, and what it might mean to design for a world that will never be quite the same - a few ideas have already emerged."

●  From Down Under: "If you're feeling discombobulated by the crazy mental contagion of our world right now, try this: a good night's sleep, an early morning walk in the sun. Meanwhile, from the heart of the property industry," here's what the future might bring.

●  The Fifth Estate spoke to the experts re: how a WELL Certified Building can "help fight off sicknesses such as coronavirus," how "the potential contradiction between green buildings and healthy buildings can be managed" - and more.

●  Marsh & Sayre of PLASTARC offer "10 ways to stay happy and healthy when working from home," and how to make it "a successful and sustainable experience" (#1: "Over-communicate"; #10: Get outside).

●  ENR is "tracking developing industry impacts as COVID-19 interrupts global business" with links to "ongoing reporting, analysis and commentary on construction sector developments" (not included in ANN's coverage).


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