Today’s News - Thursday, June 25, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Between cabin fever, an on-going heat wave, and the 4th of July holiday coming up, we're taking a much-needed break. We'll be back Tuesday, July 7. 'Til then: Stay well. Stay safe. Stay cool…

●  ANN feature: Peter Piven's "The New Norm, Part 2: Finances": Recommendations and mandates to fight the COVID-19 pandemic impacted architectural practices immediately. The operational changes have financial consequences.

●  Architectural historian and educator Samia Henni unpacks the "violent coloniality" that the Executive Order "Make Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" embodies, and calls on architecture schools to "do more to encourage current and future architectural 'possibilities of an otherwise.'"

●  Wainwright takes a deep dive into what's been going on with the "seasteading" movement, including BIG's "slick Ted Talk-style vision of low-density suburbia sprawling virulently across the sea" ("remarkably" supported by UN-Habitat), and Waterstudio's "luxury 'SeaPods' that look like a row of gigantic motorbike helmets on poles."

●  Gragg considers DLR Group's "reconstruction" of the Michael Graves-designed Portland Building that may cause it to be de-listed from the National Register of Historic Places, which "foregrounds a fundamental question in the preservation of landmark Modernist and Postmodernist buildings - what's historic - the building with its original materials, or the design concept?"

●  Ravenscroft reports on MAD Architects' "largely subterranean Shenzhen Bay Culture Park museum complex topped by two pavilions designed to look like groups of large stones" (archi-babble included - not his).

●  A stellar list (and great presentation) of ASLA 2020 Honors Recipients & Honorary Members.

Weekend diversions + Page-turners:

●  The National Building Museum presents "Documenting Crossroads: The New Normal" online exhibition of urban photographer Camilo José Vergara images of "how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people in poor, segregated neighborhoods across the New York metropolitan area."

●  The Chicago Architecture Center re-opens next week, including the CAFC River Cruises and walking tours (yay!).

●  The National Museum of African American History and Culture is launching "Rendering Visible," an "initiative focused on the creative production of black architects for inclusion in the NMAAHC's collection of digital images" (looking for "sketches, renderings, and artistic illustrations").

●  Medina's great Q&A with Geoff Manaugh & Nicola Twilley re: their (now particularly relevant) upcoming book on quarantine, formerly "The Coming Quarantine" and now "Until Proven Safe": "It does not seem to be a coincidence that these protests are at their most successful and wide­spread at the exact moment that cities are being redesigned, however temporarily, for better access to urban space."

●  Wainwright cheers curator and architectural historian Mohamed Elshahed's "Cairo Since 1900: An Architectural Guide" that includes unfinished, abandoned, demolished and never-built buildings, and "unpicks what Egypt's capital might have been - a rallying cry to take another look at the everyday fabric of this richly layered city" (ancient Egyptian revival meets high camp included).

●  Indianapolis architect Gary Vance completes the 2nd book in his "Kid Architect" series for "kids K-12 to teach them about the wonders of architecture" - with all team activity pages now available to download for free.

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

●  Sitz talks to a number of Black architects and designers re: how they're confronting "structural racism in the profession - many professional groups, firms, and schools have released statements in support of racial justice," but for some, "many of those words fell flat."

●  Matthew Fleischer: "Want to tear down insidious monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways. Our freeway system is one of the most noxious monuments to racism and segregation in the country" - and their history proves it.

●  Budds cheers architectural designer and Harvard GSD professor Sean Canty's Airtable called "200 Black Creators" - like a spreadsheet, but it put faces to names (he's looking for more!).

COVID-19 news continues:

●  Davidson delves into why "the American nursing home is a design failure. Even before COVID, its dynamics were deeply flawed. But there are people thinking about how to fix it" (there's hope!).

●  Anthony Flint takes a deep dive into "the destiny of density" and "the impacts of an insidious virus - density itself is not the cause of collective pain - the issues cities urgently need to address are overcrowding, lack of affordability, and economic and racial disparities."

●  To end on a lighter note: Barcelona's opera house "reopens with performance to 2,292 plants - to mark Spain's lifting of lockdown - each one will be donated to a healthcare worker at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona" (full disclosure: we love plants and Puccini - it's online!).


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