Today’s News - Tuesday, July 14, 2020

●  Sisson delves into the do's and don'ts of building trust in community-led design projects, especially now: "Architects will be challenged like never before to help disadvantaged communities irrevocably changed by coronavirus and protests, both of which have altered perceptions of public space" (don't be tone deaf).

●  Meaghan O'Neill on "why justice in design is critical to repairing racial inequity - here's how we can begin to fix that. Design professionals alone, of course, are not to blame. But they have some power - and responsibility - to help un-build inequity."

●  Giovannini re: LACMA: "By Jane Jacobs's measure, the Zumthor design not only arrives DOA but also kills the street - so self-absorbed - simply hiking up its skirts as it wades across Wilshire in order to avoid getting soaked in the urban toxins" when it should be "the core of a lively district."

●  Moore mulls "wasteful, damaging and outmoded" skyscrapers and whether it's time to stop building them: "In Britain, they are signs of failed planning. In Gulf States, they often indicate corruption. What they are not are markers of progress."

●  Wainwright minces no words about "the most audacious shaft that God's Own Country has ever seen," confirming that new developments in Leeds are leaving it looking "like a depot of discarded fridges"; the proposed (tallest) tower "looks like some contorted Space Invaders monster with a fire-hazard death-wish" and "represents a new low."

●  King, on a brighter note, cheers Studio Gang's "twisty white Mira tower" that is "dazzling" on San Francisco's skyline - "a flowing [39-story] stack of tightly wound white metal bays, frozen in motion - a voyeuristic kick made more satisfying by the thought that went into it."

●  Linda Cheng reports on the Australian Institute of Architects' testimony before an Australian parliamentary inquiry re: why the "'wasteful and unnecessary' war memorial project should be ditched. The Institute has long campaigned to stop the proposed demolition" of Denton Corker Marshall's award-winning Anzac Hall, "but its efforts have been met with disdain from the Australian War Memorial."

●  On a brighter note, The Momentary, a satellite of the Walton Foundation's (courtesy Wal-Mart) Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, is set to re-open - Wheeler Kearns's transformation of the former cheese factory is a "gritty (yet comfortable) mix of the old and the new."

●  Ravenscroft x 2: He reports that Architectural Association director Eva Franch i Gilabert has been fired for "specific failures of performance" - the AA is "now planning to redefine the role of the director position before finding a replacement."

●  His good news: Notre-Dame's spire will be a replica of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's 1859 spire - the "decision ends speculation" about a design competition for a contemporary structure (yay!).

●  Meanwhile, the French government estimated that the Notre Dame fire released about 330 pounds of lead, but calculations by a geochemist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory found "that about a ton of lead probably ended up on the ground, on sidewalks and streets, and filtering into buildings" (and children).

●  ICYMI: 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."

Winners all:

●  The Van Alen Institute's Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge Competition results in a shortlist of 6 proposals to reconfigure the bridge "as a pedestrian-friendly structure, part of the public spaces of the city - online presentations and a Design Showdown, i.e. public voting, begin July 23.

●  An impressive international team wins the competition to design a new waterfront tower in Brisbane with a "distinctive" design for a "cleverly conceived shading system."

COVID-19 news continues:

●  Russell explains why calling on "the talents of architects and other designers can get us through a 'reopening' that is at once liberating and horrifying - design thinking is especially valuable at this time - UK's Maggie's Centers offer a model. The frontline health workers who have done the most with the least deserve nothing less."

●  Gunts reports on Baltimore's Design for Distancing initiative that "aims to bring life back to public spaces left dormant in lockdown," and the free online "Design for Distancing Ideas Guidebook" that can "serve as a jumping-off point for other cities looking into reopening strategies."

●  Lydia Lee's (great) Q&A with San Francisco-based David Baker re: "affordable housing in COVID times. The pandemic's financial impact could be devastating, but for Baker, it's the right time to tackle the city's housing shortage."


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