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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Obituary by Martin Filler: Elizabeth Sverbeyeff Byron, prescient architectural talent scout, 96: ...a longtime architecture editor at several home design magazines...Her combination of a feverish work ethic, discriminating eye...and endless curiosity made her a valued talent scout and interior stylist with a keen instinct for the next and best new thing...we forged a most unlikely but fruitful partnership, sometimes contentious but always rewarding...I had unflagging confidence in [her] impeccable taste...Our good cop/bad cop routine was an essential division of labor...- The Architect's Newspaper
Joseph Giovannini: Michael McKinnell, 84; Architect of a Monumental Boston City Hall: His and Gerhard Kallmann’s sculptural and public-minded design...helped spur the cityscape’s revival in the late 1960s. He died of the coronavirus: Like the Sydney Opera House, the structure...a symbol of the new Boston...the masterpiece that would hover over the rest of [his] nearly 60-year career...by 1974...[they] found themselves out of work...If the firm lost the attention of modernists, it gained the support of a larger audience, and Kallmann McKinnell & Wood went on...to design embassies, academic buildings and museums around the world...He remained the dedicated architect and builder even on his deathbed...He described to his wife the design for a grave site, to be created in their backyard garden... -- Stephanie Mallis- New York Times
Q&A: Joseph Giovannini Calls for Halt to Demolition & Suburbanization of LACMA: "There's no way forward...without jeopardizing the institution, and all for a building that nobody wants...It’s a self-centered building—a kind of “look at me” thing that doesn’t defer to, or support, the immediate and larger contextual urbanism of Wilshire Boulevard, the ceremonial spine of Los Angeles." -- Peter Zumthor; Michael Govan; Citizens Brigade to Save LACMA- The Planning Report
John King: Rising seas threaten Bay Area economy, infrastructure, environment, says most detailed study yet: ...newly released, 700-page official report argues that without a far-sighted, nine-county response, the region’s economic and transportation systems could be undermined along with the environment...concedes that “the findings in this report may cause some alarm.” But it argues that coordinated action is needed sooner rather than later...“We can’t let perfect solutions be the enemy of workable and fair ones."- San Francisco Chronicle
Sam Lubell: Ma Yansong takes L.A.: How the quiet force behind George Lucas’ museum makes his mark: ...next to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum...a raised metallic hulk that looked like the damaged Millennium Falcon undergoing repairs...will eventually be the curved, shimmering Lucas Museum of Narrative Art...he hovers in the background, nonetheless wielding enormous power. This is exactly how he likes things...a man of few words, lets his images, and his ideas, do the talking...Ma is not without his detractors...he stopped obsessing over criticism long ago... -- MAD Architects; Frank Gehry; Zaha Hadid; Peter Eisenman; Daniel Gillen; Flora Lee- Los Angeles Times
Aaron Betsky: Experimental Education, from Taliesin to Virginia Tech: Why the School of Architecture at Taliesin should be saved, and on what his next chapter holds: I believe the [school] should...expand to embrace the design and arts activities Frank Lloyd Wright believed were integral to this purpose...the foundation’s attempts to close it down to replace it with some form of continuing education or education-for-hire is an insult to [FLW's] legacy...[At VT] I look forward to developing interdisciplinary projects...to build on the school’s achievements to enhance the spirit of experimentation...- Architect Magazine
Antonio Pacheco: UPenn Weitzman School of Design Architecture Chair Winka Dubbeldam on Architectural Education for the Future: ...a founding principal at Archi-Tectonic, highlights some of the latest research and academic endeavors...including the school's new advanced research and innovation lab, innovations in design deliverables, and how the school hopes to integrate recent technological leaps into the design and fabrication process..."The challenge to architects is to operate at scales greater and smaller than that of the building..." -- University of Pennsylvania- Archinect
Harvard GSD Design Dean Sarah Whiting to “Step Back” for Cancer Treatment: The new dean has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: The text of Whiting’s community message follows..."Rahul Mehrotra and Niall Kirkwood have agreed to help shoulder day-to-day responsibilities that I won’t be able to attend to..."- Harvard Magazine
Harvard GSD announces April 2020 virtual events series: GSD faculty will offer looks into their ongoing and upcoming design preoccupations, while voices from outside the school bring welcomed insights and dialogue. -- Dan D'Oca/Interboro Partners, Oana Stanescu, Jenny French/French 2D; David Moreno Mateos; Laleh Khalili/Queen Mary University of London; Heinz Emigholz & Anselm Franke, “Goff in the Desert”- Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)
William Morgan: Architecture in a Time of a Pandemic: In a world that has been turned upside down by the coronavirus, many of us are struggling to find how to help keep our communities safe and whole...Architecture is absolutely essential in constantly reaffirming who we are...architecture - the physical container of our town - allows us to remember who we are...We need [buildings] as assurances of a commonality in a time of fear [and] recall times of confidence and vitality.- GoLocalProv.com (Providence, Rhode Island)
Alex Bozikovic: Will cities stay healthy, or will the coronavirus mean the end of density? When social distancing is done and we’re allowed to go back outside, will we want to? ...there is a possibility that urbanism will start spinning outward once again...Will some of us fear being around other people? This isn’t a technical question; it’s a cultural one...We’re at a moment in Canadian urbanism when more of us are learning to enjoy living together. Urban density is ascendant...when...it’s safe to go out again...we’ll need to choose to do so...If we don’t...The marks of the virus would be more highways and more houses, fenced off from each other...a landscape that’s alive but not entirely healthy.- Globe and Mail (Canada)
Alex Bozikovic: City dwellers need room to breathe on the streets. Why is that so hard in Toronto? [It] is going to be locked down for a while yet...But one thing remains unclear about how Torontonians are supposed to cope: When we go outside for a walk, where can we go? The answer is clear: in the street...it’s tough to keep two metres away from another person...many sidewalks...are 1.8 metres wide at best...car traffic has dropped dramatically. Our streets are wide. It’s time to reallocate that space to allow for walking and cycling...A number of major cities around the world, even Calgary and Winnipeg, have...But Toronto is resistant. Why? -- Gil Penalosa- Globe and Mail (Canada)
Justin Davidson: Mayor De Blasio’s Street-Closure Mini-Program Was Pathetic, and Now It’s Over: Grudgingly implemented, on far too small a scale, and prematurely ended: On March 27, the [city] launched...an open-streets pilot program...a total of 1.5 miles. [Sunday], he scrapped the idea, for a collection of spurious and contradictory reasons. It rained, so nobody showed up. But lots of people might show up, and...cops would have to break up groups...[He] was effectively using pedestrian advocates’ arguments against them...widening roads creates more traffic...If you try to reduce crowding by giving people more space, then more people will go out...Perhaps he worries that successful closures would set a precedent...If that were to happen, it would be one benevolent legacy of an awful time.- New York Magazine
AIA COVID-19 Task Force Seeking Designs for Alternative Care Sites: This information will be added to an online resource "to catalog current public health and healthcare facility [responses] and to serve as a research database moving forward."- Architect Magazine
AIA's Architect’s Guide to Business Continuity: Guidance for reducing firm disruption: ...guide shares lessons learned from previously impacted firms, builds on and adapts business continuity best practices specifically for the building industry, and helps firms remain open in the face of disruption.- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Including Crypt, Will Become a Hospital: The Manhattan church, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, will be able to care for at least 200 patients during the coronavirus outbreak: ...the thousands of chairs that normally sit beneath its soaring ceiling and stained-glass windows removed to make room for a more grim sight: a coronavirus field hospital...Nine climate-controlled medical tents...will be erected inside the cathedral by the end of the week...roughly 400 beds were delivered...last week- New York Times
James S. Russell: New York City Halts Public Design Work: Though most construction in NYC has been halted, architects hired for city projects were stunned to get orders...to stop all ongoing design work...The impact...falls heaviest on smaller firms...those architects hoped that government jobs would get them through the coronavirus crisis as private clients put projects on hold...AIA New York [and] local chapters of engineering, construction and labor groups, has petitioned [the mayor]...reminds him that design work is low-risk because it is now being done remotely [and] without plans, construction cannot resume quickly when the crisis has passed. -- Frances Halsband/Kliment Halsband Architects; Matthew Bremer/Architecture in Formation; David Burney- Architectural Record
C. J. Hughes: Construction in New York Limps Forward Despite Shutdown Order: The city is trying to enforce a stop-work order to keep workers safe. But there are exemptions, and many developers want one: “Essential” projects - like hospitals and homeless shelters - were allowed to go forward...in a city...where the real estate industry still has clout...the stop-work order has been met with confusion and resistance...Hotels have been deemed an essential construction type because they can serve as housing for medical workers.- New York Times
Oliver Wainwright: How to build a hospital in nine days: emergency architecture in a pandemic: From mobile morgues to pop-up intensive care wards, Britain is responding to coronavirus with a new kind of elemental architecture - and it needs lots of it: It is an Olympian effort...as existing buildings have been repurposed in a matter of days...architects, engineers and fabricators are responding...the transformation of the ExCel convention centre [into] NHS Nightingale...has stretched the building’s flexible nature to the limit...Similar emergency hospitals are under way...Despite the rushed intensity of the process, might the whole experience offer some lessons for the future? -- Portakabin; James Hepburn/BDP architects- Guardian (UK)
Ella Jessel: NHS Nightingale: BDP on the first nine days converting the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands: ...already seen the completion of 500 beds...set to eventually house 4,000 beds...with ‘minimum building intervention’...The architects have also drawn up an...instruction manual (see below) showing the fit-out processes and strategies used...in the hope it will be useful for other emergency facilities + Q&A with BDP principal James Hepburn and architect director Paul Johnson- The Architects' Journal (UK)
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