Today’s News - Thursday, June 4, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, June 9. 'Til then: Stay well. Stay safe. Stay in! In the meantime, it's an odd sort of news day - with both inspiring and depressing news - followed by a Weekend diversion & Page-turners.
COVID-19 news continues:
● Moloney reports on Medellin, Colombia, pushing "'eco-city' aims using the coronavirus recovery to reach climate goals - one of dozens of cities around the world aiming to use a post-lockdown economic restart to simultaneously bootstrap environmental measures."
● Moser, Malzieu & Petkova of Foster + Partners' Urban Design team have spent the last few weeks "exploring how recent and fast moving developments in urban planning will affect and shape the future of cities worldwide."
● ThinkLab's Amanda Schneider takes a look at the first results of its Industry Impact Survey "measuring the fallout of COVID-19 for the design industry to help designers and design manufacturers move forward during these challenging times" - and invites you to participate.
Of protests, racism, and urban unrest - the industry responds:
● Michael Ford will launch the Hip Hop Architecture as Design Justice Competition with a webinar on Saturday - the challenge: "use hip hop lyrics as prompts to imagine spaces, places, and products for a Just City!"
● Gamolina dedicates Madame Architect's June Q&As honoring "the intersection of both the black and the LGBTQ+ communities" + The archive of interviews with an amazing line-up + "A Day With" series (all impressive Black women - all great reads!).
● Black Brazilian feminist Stephanie Ribeiro, whose "decision to study architecture was a naive one" in her "search for women and men like me: black architects and urban planners - race and gender can no longer be neglected in course curriculums" (the industry in general "needs more emphasis on women").
● Beamon: "Dear White Architects, Be B.R.A.V.E, Not Sad. Love, NOMA": "If firms have seemed blind to violence against black citizens, they have also largely ignored the dismally small percentage of black architects" - join #DesignAsProtest in a Day of Action this Friday "to correct the design of spaces that dehumanize black people."
● Saffron ponders the destruction of buildings in Philly and elsewhere: "You can be appalled and heartbroken by our country's deadly racism, and yet still quake at what the damage to downtown portends - the destruction is devastating for the future of cities"
● Architect and educator Sekou Cooke reflects "on this current moment and what it says about Blackness and architecture in America - they are inextricably linked. Maybe there is a parallel to be drawn between the lack of Black perspectives within the architectural 'we' and the inability of the profession to find a suitable response to the current state of social justice."
● Architect and design justice advocate Bryan Lee, Jr. explains how "America's cities were designed to oppress. Architects and planners have an obligation to protect health, safety and - we've failed. Here is the start to a path forward - as much a call to action as it is an act of healing" (some comments are excruciating).
A weekend diversion & Page-turners:
● Hickman offers a sampling of "outdoor art spaces that are now open across the country for socially-distanced summer enjoyment."
● Wainwright x 2: He recalls his own grand adventure as he cheers Phnom Penh's "glorious architecture lovingly captured in a thrilling new book" that documents "more than 140 buildings - often for the first time. But can it survive a tidal wave of foreign investment"?
● He cheers Jethro Marshall's "Halls & Oats" that documents the "bleak, bulky yet strangely beautiful, village halls" that "are the beating heart of rural Britain - sheds full of civic ambition". (with intro by Sam Jacob).
● Moore mulls Maclean's "Circles and Squares: The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists": "This was an exceptional bunch of people who deserve a more illuminating treatment than they get here."
● William O. Gardner: an excerpt from his "The Metabolist Imagination: Visions of the City in Postwar Japanese Architecture and Science Fiction" (very long, but worth the time).
● ICYMI x 2: ANN feature: Kristen Richards: Wild about Saffron: Revisiting Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates": New York City: a February Tuesday in Central Park. 55 degrees and sunny (originally posted February 21, 2005).
● 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."
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Anastasia Moloney: Colombia's Medellin pushes 'eco-city' aims in coronavirus recovery: From doubling public transport to expanding electric bike rentals, Colombia's second city wants to use the virus recovery to reach climate goals: ...focusing on transport...one of dozens of cities around the world aiming to use a post-lockdown economic restart to simultaneously bootstrap environmental measures...[Its] post-COVID transformation will focus on education as a key pillar to drive change...has set an ambitious aim to electrify all public transport by 2030...- Thomson Reuters Foundation News
Bruno Moser, Theo Malzieu & Paula Petkova: Tactical Urbanism: Reimagining Our Cities post-Covid-19: Significant and long-lasting repercussions...are sure to influence the way we approach the design of our buildings and cities. Over the past few weeks, the Urban Design team at Foster + Partners has been exploring how recent and fast moving developments in urban planning...will affect and shape the future of our home city and others worldwide.- ArchDaily
Amanda Schneider: Measuring the Fallout of COVID-19 for the Design Industry: Take a look at the first results of ThinkLab’s Industry Impact Survey, which is generating data to help designers and design manufacturers move forward during these challenging times: ...an ongoing research initiative that we invite you to participate in...Over six weeks of research between March and May...here’s what we found...we segmented the research by audience, geography, and company and market size.- Metropolis Magazine
Michael Ford to Launch the Hip Hop Architecture as Design Justice Competition: ...the architectural associate at SmithGroup and founder of the Hip Hop Architecture Camp, will open the call for submissions [with a webinar] on June 6: ...use hip hop lyrics as prompts to imagine spaces, places, and products for a Just City! A city which has dismantled and defeated racism...open to everyone of every age - includes non-architects; deadline: June 19- Architect Magazine
Julia Gamolina: Step One is to Listen to and Share the Stories: This month, we want to show up for our black community by focusing the upcoming line up on interviews with black women...The topics...race, of course, but also thoughtful and rigorous design, finance in architecture, entrepreneurship, firm management, company culture, urban engagement, city planning, and construction...June [is] Pride Month...interviews that honor the intersection of both the black and the LGBTQ+ communities. -- Determined by Design: Kia Weatherspoon on Equity, Empathy, and Real Engagement; To come: Maya Bird-Murphy/Chicago Mobile Makers; Vernelle A.A. Noel/Georgia Institute of Technology + Archive: Gabrielle Bullock/Perkins and Will; Nina Cooke John; Jeanine Hays/AphroChic; Jennifer Newsom/Dream The Combine; Kimberly Dowdell/HOK/ National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA); etc.- Madame Architect
Stephanie Ribeiro: Architecture Must Recognize the Debate Around Race and Gender: My decision to study architecture was a naive one...Architecture and Urban Planning is one of the most elite courses in the most renowned Brazilian universities...race and gender...can no longer be neglected in course curriculums. So in my first year, one of my priorities was to search for women and men like me: black architects and urban planners...architecture and urbanism needs more emphasis on women... -- Elizabeth France; Paulo Mendes da Rocha; Oscar Niemeyer; João Batista Vilanova Artigas; Álvaro Siza; Zaha Hadid; Lina Bo Bardi; Georgia Louise H. Brown; Allison Williams/Perkins & Will; Charlotte Perriand; Dora Alcântara; Patricia Anahory; Carmen Córdova; Rosa Kliass; Alejandro Aravena; Annabelle Selldorf; Kazuyo Sejima/Saana- ArchDaily
Kelly Beamon: Dear White Architects, Be B.R.A.V.E, Not Sad. Love, NOMA: The National Organization of Minority Architects says to end racial violence, ban the bias inside of firms: If firms have seemed blind to violence against black citizens, they have also largely ignored the dismally small percentage of black architects (less than 2%) which hasn’t budged in 30 years...Members just launched #DesignAsProtest, a black-led organizing effort to correct the design of spaces that dehumanize black people, beginning with a Day of Action this Friday, June 5th. -- Kimberly Dowdell- Metropolis Magazine
Inga Saffron/Philadelphia Inquirer: Damaging buildings disproportionately hurts people protesters are trying to uplift: Does the destruction of buildings matter when black Americans are being brazenly murdered in cold blood....That’s the question that has been raging on the streets of Philadelphia... as a dark cloud of smoke spiraled up from Center City...Hardly any building...was left unscathed, and two mid-19th century structures...were gutted by fire. Their chances of survival are slim, which means there could soon be a gaping hole in the heart of [the city]...The anger is fully justified...But as a practical matter, the destruction of downtown buildings...is devastating for the future of cities...You can be appalled and heartbroken by our country’s deadly racism, and yet still quake at what the damage to downtown portends...The momentary satisfaction of destroying a few buildings...All it does is weaken our city.- Newsday
Sekou Cooke: Blackout: Amplifying the Voices of Blackness Within Architecture: ...the role of the profession in confronting historically entrenched racism and violence in the U.S.: I...took a picture of pure blackness...to replace...a spot usually reserved for some headshot...to communicate...what I felt at the time: an empty, lightless, hollowed-out void. I chose the language of image because, as an architect and professor of architecture, I consider it my native tongue...With no clear thoughts to express, all we had was our Blackness...Today...I’m more able to reflect on this current moment and what it says about Blackness and architecture in America...they are inextricably linked...Deans, directors, and chairs of architecture programs...have issued well-crafted public statements...The idea that Black and designer, or Black and architect, can be one and the same is absent from the language used by many of these leaders...Maybe there is a parallel to be drawn between the lack of Black perspectives within the architectural “we” and the inability of the architectural profession to find a suitable response to the current state of social justice.- Architectural Record
Bryan Lee Jr./Colloqate Design: America’s Cities Were Designed to Oppress: Architects and planners have an obligation to protect health, safety and welfare through the spaces we design. As the George Floyd protests reveal, we’ve failed: For nearly every injustice in the world, there is an architecture that has been planned and designed to perpetuate it. That’s a key principle of the Design Justice movement...This moment...grew out of the apathy of this nation toward a black community so profoundly sickened by our built environment that a global pandemic disproportionately impacts us...The profession of architecture is as complicit as any...Here is the start to a path forward...This is as much a call to action as it is an act of healing.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Matt Hickman: Outdoor art spaces that are now open for socially-distanced summer enjoyment: ...a modest of trickle of museums and cultural institutions have slowly and cautiously begun to reopen their doors...For those who aren’t quite ready to venture indoors...standalone sculpture parks and outdoor art spaces...remain a viable alfresco option...a sampling of sculpture parks and outdoor art spaces currently open across the country...We will continue to add to this list- The Architect's Newspaper
Oliver Wainwright: My lockdown fantasy: I wish I was back in the bustling, mind-blowing beauty of Phnom Penh: ...the city’s glorious architecture is lovingly captured in a thrilling new book. But can it survive a tidal wave of foreign investment? ...you can indulge your wanderlust with an architectural guidebook from...Dom...Chief form-giver to much of this was Vann Molyvann, a young architect who...brought a fresh new approach, combining international modernist principles with a deep appreciation of Khmer culture...As the authors lament, the last decade has seen unprecedented growth, with destructive consequences...Documenting more than 140 buildings in detail, often for the first time [it] makes a powerful argument to preserve the richly layered urban fabric, much of which now stands in the line of fire. -- Terry Farrell; Pen Sereypagna- Guardian (UK)
Oliver Wainwright: This way for Bums and Tums! The discreet charm of the village hall: Bleak, bulky yet strangely beautiful, village halls are the beating heart of rural Britain, where great events happen for £8 an hour. We meet a photographer celebrating these harmonious hubs: Jethro Marshall...has surveyed a range of village halls across the West Country [in] "Halls & Oats," a celebration of...“utilitarian bucolic construction”. In the midst of the pandemic, his carefully framed black and white images, devoid of human life, take on a new level of pathos...these buildings tend to be fairly nondescript, if not downright bleak...sheds full of civic ambition. -- Sam Jacob- Guardian (UK)
Rowan Moore: "Circles and Squares: The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists" by Caroline Maclean - Hampstead's brave and brilliant souls: Anecdotes take precedence over insight in this biography of the 30s modernists who dreamed of creating a new way of life: At its best, this is a story of brave and sometimes brilliant souls defying convention to live and work as they wish...At its worst, 30s Hampstead was a tepid version of its European inspirations...I wish that Maclean...did more to change that perception...this was an exceptional bunch of people, who deserve a more illuminating treatment than they get here. -- Wells Coates; Walter Gropius; László and Lucia Moholy-Nagy- Observer (UK)
William O. Gardner: Liquid Cities: In Japanese architecture and science fiction from the 1960s through the 1990s, we can trace an enduring question: “how to make substantial architecture when substantial things are losing their meaning": Architecture and science fiction are interrelated forms. The author of a plan or a story imagines an intervention in the environment and a change in the lives of its inhabitants...In "Blade Runner" and "Neuromancer," we see Tokyo viewed through an international lens of anxiety and desire which associates Japanese urbanism and technology with global futurity.- Places Journal
ANN feature: Kristen Richards: Wild about Saffron: Revisiting Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates": New York City: a February Tuesday in Central Park. 55 degrees and sunny… (originally posted February 21, 2005)- ArchNewsNow.com
ANN feature: Dan Kaplan, FAIA, LEED AP: Quiet and Disquiet Together: A Quarantine-Induced Assessment of Downtown Manhattan: We savor the city, lingering on the rich detail, walking down streets that we neglected in busier times. It does feel like the proverbial music has stopped. How could it not? Hopefully we'll emerge from our collective timeout recommitted to creating a more equitable and resilient city. -- FXCollaborative- ArchNewsNow.com
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