Today’s News - Wednesday, April 15, 2020

●  From across the Big Pond, Hurst gathers tributes to Bill Menking, who lived in London during the 1990s, from noted British architects, a critic, a journalist, and educators.

●  Also from the U.K.: London-based architect and author Nathan Silver's "remarkably detailed plan to convert the U.K. to carbon neutral energy production" that he sent to a chief advisor to the prime minister: "...generating electrical energy from offshore wave power should be easier, quicker and cheaper to achieve than with offshore wind power."

●  The Australian Institute of Architects pulls out of the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale: "We know that COVID-19 is presenting architects with significant financial and economic challenges - we are going to reallocate our resources to fund initiatives to help support our members as they navigate through this crisis."

●  Betsky cheers a Taliesin School of Architecture student's "nest-like dwelling - a shelter woven out of twigs" that is "a marvel of messy architecture" with "remarkable" qualities. "What makes it even more beautiful is its ephemeral quality."

●  Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort kicks off Dezeen's Virtual Design Festival today with "a new manifesto of hope for a post-pandemic world."

●  Tomorrow through Sunday, the Architecture & Design Film Festival offers ADFF: ONLINE, with one film each night (screened twice), and a live introduction and Q&A with the director; "the films are all uplifting and positive."

●  One we couldn't resist: Eyefuls of John Margolies' 40 years of documenting "the fading remnants of a culture of roadside architecture - photos of the bizarre, the surreal and the often downright brilliant examples" - they are, "in a way, as important as the writings of Venturi, Scott-Brown, and Jencks in arguing for a more inclusive and more entertaining canon of modern design."

COVID-19 news continues (it's not all glum):

●  McGuirk at his most poetic about empty urban spaces: "Architecture, usually the backdrop to some human drama, becomes instead the figure. It is the presence of strangers that defines public space. Take away the strangers and public space suddenly becomes oppressive."

●  Bonano offers a "portrait of an empty city" with stunning(!) images by photographer Alexei Hay: "These are middle-of-the-night photos shot in broad daylight. Nothing is visibly wrong, exactly, but everything is wrong."

●  Q&A with Chakrabarti re: the future of cities from a planning perspective: "I think a lot of the battles that we've been fighting in urban planning for the last 10 years have become all but irrelevant - this is going to be a very interesting time to talk about the future of human habitation and environmental design.

●  The Mayors' Institute on City Design's Simons' Q&A with Salisbury, Maryland Mayor Jacob Day, who trained as an architect and urban designer, re: "governing in the time of COVID-19": "I would personally crusade against any effort to tie this disease directly and only to density. Our cities will change after this threat - but we're the ones that get to write that narrative."

●  Saffron reports that civic groups are calling on Philly's mayor to close lanes on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, where "traffic is down at least 37% - to relieve crowding at Schuylkill River park - the administration is currently 'analyzing the benefits of possible additional closures.'"

●  Crosbie's lovely ode (nothing ghoulish) to cemeteries: "In the age of social distancing, their charms are attracting a new audience: At this moment, cemeteries (especially older ones) offer environments that might provide us some perspective on our current crisis."

●  Fazzare reports on Workshop/APD's "open-source document to help with project sourcing" by compiling "product brands, showrooms, and manufacturers that are still operating," and "what you need to know about placing orders, lead times, stock availability, and customizations."

●  A report on ULI members who are "mobilizing their businesses" to focus on "supporting health care workers on the front lines, and small businesses and low-income communities reeling from the sudden economic impacts" of the pandemic.

●  Spivack focuses on the NYC architects are "joining grassroots movements across the country to produce desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE)" (Studio V's Valgora schlepped his 3D printers home).

●  One we couldn't resist (your must-read of the day!): "18 NYT writers share moments that lightened their moods": "I'm sure I had better things to do than eavesdrop on my daughter's Zoom session with her second-grade class. Things fall apart. Second grade carries on."


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