Today’s News - Tuesday, April 7, 2020

●  Filler pays eloquent tribute as he reflects on his almost 10 years working with editor and "prescient architectural talent scout" Elizabeth Sverbeyeff Byron, and "her combination of a feverish work ethic, discriminating eye, and endless curiosity" (we will miss her radiant smile and quick wit).

●  Giovannini's elegant profile of Michael McKinnell, the "architect of a monumental Boston City Hall. His and Kallmann's sculptural and public-minded design helped spur the cityscape's revival in the late 1960s," and "the masterpiece that would hover over the rest of his nearly 60-year career" - if his firm "lost the attention of modernists, it gained the support of a larger audience."

●  TPR's extensive and thoughtful Q&A with Giovannini re: his call for a "halt to demolition & suburbanization of LACMA": "There's no way forward without jeopardizing the institution, and all for a self-centered building that nobody wants."

●  King parses a new, detailed report re: how "rising seas threaten the San Francisco Bay Area's economy, infrastructure, and environment - coordinated action is needed sooner rather than later."

●  Lubell's great profile of MAD's Ma Yansong, "the quiet force behind George Lucas' museum - a man of few words, he lets his images, and his ideas, do the talking. He is not without his detractors," but "he stopped obsessing over criticism long ago."

●  Betsky explains why he thinks the School of Architecture at Taliesin should be saved, and what he hopes to accomplish during his next chapter at Virginia Tech.

●  Pacheco's great Q&A with UPenn Weitzman School of Design's Winka Dubbeldam re: "architectural education for the future": "The challenge to architects is to operate at scales greater and smaller than that of the building."

●  Less than a year after taking the post, Harvard GSD Design Dean Sarah Whiting to "step back" for treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; Mehrotra and Kirkwood will hold down the fort + her message to the GSD community (we wish her speedy recovery!).

●  On a brighter note, Harvard GSD has posted its (free) April 2020 virtual events series, with faculty who "will offer looks into their ongoing and upcoming design preoccupations, while voices from outside the school bring welcomed insights and dialogue."

COVID-19 news continues - still:

●  Morgan on the importance of "architecture in a time of a pandemic - architecture allows us to remember who we are. We need buildings as assurances of a commonality in a time of fear," and to "recall times of confidence and vitality."

●  Bozikovic x 2: He wonders if the coronavirus will "mean the end of density. When we're allowed to go back outside, will we want to? If we don't," it would mean "more highways and more houses, fenced off from each other - a landscape that's alive but not entirely healthy."

●  He wonders why, if Calgary, Winnipeg, and other cities around the world can reallocate city streets to walking and cycling, why can't Toronto - "city dwellers need room to breathe on the streets."

●  Davidson minces no words re: NYC's "pathetic" and "grudgingly implemented street-closure mini-program" that was "scrapped" after 10 days "for a collection of spurious and contradictory reasons. Perhaps the mayor worries that successful closures would set a precedent. If that were to happen, it would be one benevolent legacy of an awful time."

●  The AIA COVID-19 Task Force is "seeking designs for alternative care sites that will be added to an online resource and serve as a research database moving forward" (with links to lots of other info).

●  AIA also offers the "Architect's Guide to Business Continuity" that "shares lessons learned from previously impacted firms, and helps firms remain open in the face of disruption."

●  Something we never imagined we'd hear: Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan (and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world) is removing its thousands of chairs "to make room for a more grim sight: a coronavirus field hospital."

●  Russell reports that architects hired for NYC projects "were stunned to get orders to stop all ongoing design work" - especially smaller firms hoping "that government jobs would get them through the coronavirus crisis," AIANY and others make the case "that design work now being done remotely, and without plans, construction cannot resume quickly when the crisis has passed."

●  Hughes delves into how NYC developers are trying to "limp forward" during the city's construction "stop-work order to keep workers safe - that has been met with confusion and resistance."

●  Wainwright looks on in wonder as "Britain is responding to coronavirus with a new kind of elemental architecture" of mobile morgues (astounding descriptions) and pop-up intensive care wards, particularly BDP's transformation of the ExCel convention centre into NHS Nightingale - "might the whole experience offer some lessons for the future?"

●  Jessel on BDP's first nine days converting the convention center into NHS Nightingale, and the firm's "instruction manual showing the fit-out processes and strategies used in the hope it will be useful for other emergency facilities" + Q&A with BDP's Hepburn & Johnson.


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