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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Will Hurst: Obituary: Bill Menking,The Architect’s Newspaper co-founder: Tributes have been paid to New York-basedMenking, a key figure in New York’s architecture community...He lived in London during the 1990s, becoming a tutor at the Bartlett, developing his admiration for Archigram and writing for architecture titles in Britain including the AJ and Building Design...Tributes by British figures including New London Architecture chair Peter Murray, journalist Catherine Slessor, architect Rob Gregory, critic and curator Lucy Bullivant, Bartlett professor Murray Fraser; AA director Eva Franch i Gilabert; Alison Brooks; etc.- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Nathan Silver: A Carbon-Neutral Energy Plan for the United Kingdom: Wave Power: The means of achieving this goal is hydrokinetic energy: In February, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, London-based architect and author Silver submitted a remarkably detailed plan to convert the U.K. to carbon neutral energy production. He wrote to Dominic Cummings, a chief advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Here is Silver’s letter: "...generating electrical energy from offshore wave power should be easier, quicker and cheaper to achieve than with offshore wind power."- Common Edge
Australia pulls out of the 2020 Venice Biennale: The Australian Institute of Architects has announced it will no longer participate in the 2020 Venice Architecture Biennale, scheduled to begin in August: “We know that COVID-19 is presenting architects with significant financial and economic challenges. Therefore we are going to reallocate our resources to fund initiatives to help support our members as they navigate through this crisis."- ArchitectureAU (Australia)
Aaron Betsky: Wall Fitting Revisited: A Study in Organic Architecture: Dylan Pero, a student at the Taliesin School of Architecture, has designed a nest-like dwelling in the desert: ...a shelter woven out of twigs..."Nest"...a marvel of messy architecture...it accommodates a bed as well as weeds...Pero was inspired by experiments in the merging of natural elements with human-made forms, a sort of semi-organic grafting...The project’s qualities...are remarkable...evokes both the history of human shelter and the landscape of the desert. What makes it even more beautiful is its ephemeral quality...- Architect Magazine
Li Edelkoort proposes "World Hope Forum" in manifesto for rebuilding society after coronavirus: People "don’t want to go back" to how things were before coronavirus, claims trend forecaster...in a new manifesto of hope for a post-pandemic world, which is published exclusively on Dezeen today as part of Virtual Design Festival..."The economy of hope has the potential to transform society from within."- Dezeen
ADFF: ONLINE: Architecture & Design Film Festival will offer one film each night, including a live introduction and Q&A with the director; the films are all uplifting and positive. Thursday, April 16 - Sunday, April 19 (2 wcreenings each night): Boris Benjamin Bertram: "The Human Shelter"; Catherine Hunter: "Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place"; Marianne Gerdes: "James Hubbell - Between Heaven and Earth"; Joseph Hillel: "City Dreamers" (Phyllis Lambert, Blanche Lemco van Ginkel, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, Denise Scott Brown)- Architecture & Design Film Festival (ADFF)
Roadside America: On a series of road trips across the US over 40 years, John Margolies recorded the fading remnants of a culture of roadside architecture...His photos of the bizarre, the surreal and the often downright brilliant examples of 20th century popular architecture...photos were, in their own way, as important as the writings of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown and Charles Jencks in arguing for a more inclusive and more entertaining canon of modern design.- Reading Design.org
Justin McGuirk/Design Museum: Space Unleashed: The city without citizens is inherently uncanny. Milan’s Piazza Duomo deserted at noon...LA’s freeways free of cars...a fox roaming casually through Covent Garden. These are the spatial symptoms of an event...This is plague space...This is one of those moments when life starts to imitate art...From Renaissance paintings of ideal cities to contemporary architectural photography, the removal of people has been a potent aesthetic device...Architecture, usually the backdrop to some human drama, becomes instead the figure. The stage set takes a bow...It is the presence of strangers that defines public space...Take away the strangers and public space suddenly becomes oppressive.- e-flux
Christopher Bonano: New York, Four Weeks In: Portrait of an empty city:...after the citywide clampdown began, Alexei Hay, like a lot of photographers, realized this was a fleeting extraordinary moment...These are middle-of-the-night photos shot in broad daylight, snow-day pictures without the snow...panoramic views and super-fine grain of 8x10-inch sheets of film loaded into a view camera [used] a century ago...these new pictures will almost instantly become historical photographs themselves...The very overfamiliarity of some of the sites...is paradoxically what...keeps you looking. Nothing is visibly wrong, exactly, but everything is wrong.- New York Magazine
Q&A with Vishaan Chakrabarti: Consequences of Incompetence: How do you see the city through 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...There's [a] mindset that says cities are necessary evils, and if you take the necessity away, people will not live in cities anymore. Which belies the fact that human beings actually like human connectedness...Cities are just constant proof of that...this is going to be a very interesting time to talk about the future of human habitation and environmental design. -- Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU)- Frank News
Trinity Simons: Governing in the Time of COVID-19: A Conversation With Salisbury, Maryland, Mayor Jacob Day: People “expect that the city will keep running, but they’re looking to me to console and reassure": Trained as an architect and urban designer...we discussed leadership in times of crisis and ruminated on what this might mean for the future of cities: "I would personally crusade against any effort to tie this disease directly and only to density...let’s also not forget that the history of cities is tied to public health...Our cities will change after this threat, too, but we’re the ones that get to write that narrative."- Common Edge
Inga Saffron: Civic groups call on Mayor Kenney to close Benjamin Franklin Parkway lanes to relieve crowding at Schuylkill River park: ...allowing people to spread out...other U.S. cities have gone further, banning traffic from a variety of key streets to create more elbow room for their residents...urbanist groups...argued that the city needs to create car-free streets in a wider variety of neighborhoods...the administration is currently “analyzing the benefits of possible additional closures... city has a long track record of organizing closures for special events...traffic is down at least 37%.- Philadelphia Inquirer
Michael J. Crosbie: In Praise of Cemeteries: In the age of social distancing, their charms are attracting a new audience: Lately, I’ve noticed that the cemeteries I visit are more populated with the still-upright...As we strive to devise and practice a coronavirus etiquette of distance without rudeness, a newfound love of cemeteries as places of rest and reflection is bound to blossom...Even a familiar cemetery possesses that universal element of all great public places, surprise...even humor (“I told you I was sick,” declares a headstone in a Key West cemetery)...Before there were many public parks, cemeteries were places of respite...At this moment, cemeteries (especially older ones) offer environments that might provide us some perspective on our current crisis.- Common Edge
Elizabeth Fazzare: On the Bright Side: Workshop/APD Is Making It Easier for Architects and Designers to Do Business During COVID-19: Matt Berman created an open-source document to help with project sourcing: ...compiles product brands, showrooms, and manufacturers that are still operating within their country or state’s respective lockdown regulations, as well as what you need to know about placing orders, lead times, stock availability, and customizations.- Architectural Digest
Confronting COVID-19: ULI Members Give Back to Communities: ...mobilizing their businesses to serve urgent needs...Many of these projects are focused on supporting health care workers on the front lines, as well as the small businesses and low-income communities reeling from the sudden economic impacts...If you or your firm are running a service initiative in response to COVID-19, please reach out. -- Jay Valgora/Studio V Architecture; CBT Architects; Thomas Kerwin/bKL Architecture; Sares Regis Group; AIANY- Urban Land Magazine (Urban Land Institute/ULI))
Caroline Spivack: How NYC architects are 3D printing protective gear to help local hospitals: Architects are crafting thousands of face shields for first responders each week: ... joining grassroots movements across the country to produce desperately needed personal protective equipment (PPE)...Studio V Architecture, was among the first to join a statewide effort known as Operation PPE...launched at the fabrication lab of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning...To keep up with demand, designers are innovating to increase production...in some cases, designers are making enhancements. -- Jay Valgora/Studio V Architects; Gregg Pasquarelli/SHoP Architects; Erik Cederberg/3D Verkstan; BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group; Handel Architects; Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF); Illya Azaroff; John Meyer/Edg- Curbed New York
One Bright Thing: Need a little lift? Amid the bleakness, 18 Times writers shared moments that lightened their moods: A friendship revived. A musical discovery. A scream fest. As the pandemic rages on, we can all use a lift, no matter how fleeting, especially if it makes us feel connected. Or just makes us feel, period...Manny Fernandez, Houston bureau chief: "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."- New York Times
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