Today’s News - Tuesday, June 2, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Strange days - how did we end up in these strange times? Between Christo's passing and our cities erupting (with no mention of COVID-19) - a sad way to begin and end the news today.

●  Kimmelman's personal (and delightful) recollection of Christo - "a dreamer with a cultish following to rival the Grateful Dead. 'The Gates' was a testament to his childlike wonder and sheer, implacable. Headstrong, impish, endearing. That was Christo."

●  Greenberger: "Christo, fearless maker of massive public artworks" - he, "with his wife and partner, Jeanne-Claude, shifted how public art is made and understood."

●  Gilbert: "It takes a truly unique eye to see beauty in bureaucracy, to look at a snarl of planning regulations and NIMBYism and red tape and to convert it, through sheer imaginative alchemy, into art itself. And yet that quality is exactly what defined the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude."

●  Kristen Richards: Wild about Saffron: Revisiting Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates": New York City, a February Tuesday, 55 degrees and sunny. It seems a timely moment to share my personal wonder while wandering their "rivers" of saffron that flowed through Central Park in 2005 (originally posted 02/21/05).

●  Ned Cramer (with news that left us gobsmacked!): He "indulges himself one last time, in a farewell message as editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT" (fish reference included). "I leave you in the supremely capable hands of a beloved friend and longtime partner in crime: Katie Gerfen." We wish them both our warmest, best wishes on their grand new adventures!

●  Kenney brings us an update on what's happening with Zimmerman's "Marabar" at National Geographic's D.C. HQ: The historic preservation board "will revisit vote that would allow its demolition - they were unaware that renovation plan would sacrifice the installation." NGS argues it is necessary "to make its campus more welcoming to visitors."

●  Koinyeneh reports that the Liberian Institute of Architects minced no words in a statement slamming "the constant abuse of the profession" - and warning "that it was time people consult an architect before putting up a building or any construction project, else Liberia will continue to be backward" - and "'will remain the least developed if this continues in this direction.'"

●  Kimmelman, on a brighter note, takes a virtual tour of NYC's Financial District and the Battery with WXY's indefatigable Claire Weisz: "With all the narrow streets, you often get a kind of child's view of the things - the view from the knees down is great" (with Vincent Tullo's fab photos).

●  Hickman reports on MASS Design Group co-leading a "tribal engagement process for Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon City, Oregon. The ambitious project aims to breathe cultural and recreational life into a long-blighted and closed-off industrial area spanning 22 acres" along the falls.

●  Woolner-Pratt was happily surprised when the Yasodhara Ashram in British Columbia commissioned Patkau Architects to design the Temple of Light - "the architects themselves were also pleasantly surprised at the sophistication implicit in the Ashram's receptivity to their firm's highly experimental proposal" where "mystical and architectural modes of imagination and representation converge."

●  Betsky makes no bones about "why we should save Brutalist-style bunkers instead of tearing them down. At least" BIG's design for the National Theater of Albania "looks more logical than Zumthor's LACMA satire on oozing sprawl. Both are clear architectural misdeeds, however, because we're losing historically important and wholly salvageable buildings" (among other "misdeeds").

●  Architectural photographer Amanda Large brings us eyefuls of her current "Fifty/50" series - "an ode to" 50 Modernist churches in Toronto: "While it is somewhat de rigueur to convert older, more stately churches into lofts, the same cannot be said of their modernist counterparts" - the series "raises questions about preservation and architectural legacy in my home city."

●  Great presentations of the 13 projects winning the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects' 2020 Awards of Excellence by illustrating "how landscape architects are helping to reshape our communities by defining the places where we live, work and play."

●  ANN feature: FXCollaborative's Dan Kaplan offers a most eloquent "quarantine-induced assessment of downtown Manhattan - lingering on the rich detail, walking down streets that we neglected in busier times. Hopefully we'll emerge from our collective timeout recommitted to creating a more equitable and resilient city."

Of protests, racism, and urban unrest - the industry responds:

●  Jordan Brooks of the United State of Women offers an in-depth list of resources "to fight structural racism today: Donate to Organizations Doing the Work; Support Black-Owned Businesses; Educate Yourself"; etc.

●  A round-up of statements condemning racism from: the AIA; American Planning Association; National Trust for Historic Preservation; Harvard University GSD; and the University of Minnesota.

●  Kimberly Dowdell of the National Organization of Minority Architects: "We are calling on our members and our broader professional community to take an active role in eliminating the racial biases that account for a myriad of social, economic, and health disparities, and most importantly - loss of human lives - Black lives."

●  The American Society of Landscape Architects: "As landscape architects, we work to ensure that all persons have the right to equitable access to environmental and community benefits in the places they live, work, and learn. Now is the time for us to work to help ensure that these communities have fair and equitable treatment in all aspects of life."

●  Gibson rounds up statements by individual architects and designers (and Black Females in Architecture) on both sides of the Big Pond who are calling for racial justice after George Floyd's death - "the industry has spoken out against racism in America."


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