Today’s News - Thursday, July 9, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days - we'll be back Tuesday, July 14. In the meantime, this week's Weekend diversions include virtual shows (except one - in the U.S., of course) - and exhibitions you can actually walk through (what a concept!) in Berlin and Norfolk, U.K.

●  ANN feature: Bloszies' Left Coast Reflections #7: Plague 2.0: Architects, for the most part, are idealists but have little power to affect change beyond altering the built environment one building at a time. What does COVID-19 portend when economic growth is driven by "greed-ocracy."

●  Lamster cheers the Trinity Park Conservancy's plans to reimagine "the ugliest building in Dallas" and develop new playgrounds by MVVA along the Trinity River that "will dramatically reshape the entry into downtown, transforming what is now an unremarkable journey into a dramatic scenic passage" (click "Yesterday's News" above for RFQ for Dawson Jail project - deadline July 23).

●  Kimmelman parses proposals to turn NYC into a "biking city" with "425 miles of interconnected bike lanes" and "new car-free bridges into Manhattan from Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The main obstacle is political courage - not engineering."

●  Goyanes reports on "'a real climate of fear' as students and former staff speak out about the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation's CEO" with "allegations of intimidation, threatening comments, retaliation, and a hostile work environment" (reads like a bad/sad soap opera - but the characters are real).

●  Sussman & Ward: "Science tells us we're attracted to buildings that are connected to our bodies" using Sicily's FestiWall, "devoted to enhancing the public realm," and biometric software.

●  Jocelyn Rogers offers a wonderful profile of Julian Abele, whose "legacy is no longer in 'the shadows' - his story serves as a poignant yet inspiring example of the challenges faced by generations of African American architects."

●  Balderrama Morley's Q&A with Goteh, Grandoit, and Stillwell, founders of Deem, a new "biannual journal that approaches design as a social practice": "Design fell in love with itself and forgot about the people."

●  USGBC names recipients of its 2020 European Leadership Award: "Watch and see how five companies are advancing sustainable, healthy, and resilient buildings, cities, and communities."

●  ICYMI: 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.

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

●  Saffron puts a spotlight on "Philadelphia monuments we need to preserve" - Black cultural sites that should be "properly recognized and supported - especially those that desperately need some TLC right now."

●  Wandile Mthiyane, founder and CEO of UDG, an architectural organization that focuses on social impact design projects, explains why "it's important for us as architects to take responsibility for the fact that design has historically been one of the most powerful tools to perpetuate systemic racism. Architecture is never neutral; it either heals or hurts" (his summer abroad program sounds cool!).

●  Germane Barnes' reading list: "My research practice attempts to interrogate a multitude of issues in disenfranchised black communities and raise awareness of the legacies those communities possess. These texts provide entry to those legacies."

COVID-19 news continues:

●  Zeiger delves into how "the magnitude of this pandemic" has made clear "that architecture's capacity to protect is limited - it's now, while everything is in flux, that new, hybrid approaches might take root - especially since COVID-19 and the ongoing climate crisis are not just parallel emergencies but intertwined."

●  Leah Kemp, of the Small Town Center at MSU, looks at "how small towns are responding to the pandemic" to remain "active and vibrant" - they are "more nimble and responsive to crisis than cities," with "fewer regulations and more opportunities to be creative about problem-solving."

●  Sisson looks at how, while "the pandemic hastens the retail apocalypse, some developers are betting that empty malls can mix housing with stores and community space."

●  Suchayan Mandal looks at how architects in India see a green future in a post-COVID-19 world - "the need for sustainable buildings with the focus on hygiene will be the calling card of urban planning - turning existing buildings green will add an edge to the green movement."

●  Roychowdhury delves into how COVID-19 is transforming hospital design in India: "The buzz words seem to be a modular design [and] recycling sea containers" - the pandemic should also "act as a warning to correct the defective infrastructure and policies to strengthen existing medical facilities."

Weekend diversions:

●  The 4-day launches July 15, reimagined as "an ongoing, socially distant celebration" (with an impressive list of curators!).

●  Neri Oxman takes her interdisciplinary MoMA retrospective online - complete with "a close-up view of Silk Pavilion II, a towering web of spun silk," a collaboration between Oxman and "an army of 17,532 silk worms."

●  Kamin cheers "Edith Farnsworth's Country House," a "daring and fascinating exhibition" that is "the closest we've ever come to seeing it as its namesake lived in it, not as Mies would have furnished it. She emerges as formidable rather than pitiful - first because she hired Mies - and then because she defied him - her presence is palpable."

●  Nate Berg parses "Snøhetta: Arctic Nordic Alpine - In Dialogue With Landscape" in Berlin that "suggests that architecture can coexist with the extreme landscapes of a changing climate, without itself exacerbating the changing climate. And might just be models that other buildings in more populated places need to follow."

●  "Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall" in Norfolk, U.K., presents his "ground-breaking body of work created over the past 40 years" that "challenge the classical [Palladian] architecture of the house and the idyllic beauty of the grounds."


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