Today’s News - Tuesday, July 21, 2020
● Alissa Walker delves into why "urbanism hasn't worked for everyone" - creators of projects like Atlanta's BeltLine "have almost universally failed to consider the effect they will have on the Black people who already live in those cities. Lynn Ross of Urbanist Leaders of Color isn't hopeful that white-centered urbanist groups can grow to encompass Black needs."
● King sees hope - and problems - with the Plan Bay Area 2050: It "will be more crowded - planners want to make it more equitable, too" - but "even if all 25 strategies are implemented, the Bay Area of 2050 won't blossom into an egalitarian paradise - despite the proposed investments in affordable housing, gentrification and displacement" will still "threaten lower-income residents of neighborhoods that have convenient access to transit or jobs."
● Lynn Sweet re: the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park: "The debate over the use of a historic park has exposed race and class fault lines in Chicago when it comes to the questions of whose voices should prevail" - the first Black U.S. president "'deserves to be recognized, honored, for what he accomplished, not remembered for what he destroyed.'"
● Betsky has high hopes for architect Michael Marshall's "promising and intriguing proposal" for a rating system similar to LEED "for equity in architecture firms" - but warns of pitfalls - the "effort will require focusing on confronting unconscious bias and conscious exclusion, both in the educational system and the discipline as a whole."
● Sitz parses the NCARB By the Numbers 2020 report that "includes early findings from a survey on equity, diversity, and inclusion in licensure conducted with the National Organization of Minority Architects" - the findings "highlight the need for culture and systematic shifts throughout the profession."
● Jessica Lynne reports on the launch of The Nexus Podcast, "a showcase for Black scholars, writers, designers, and educators" in a collaboration between Harvard GSD, the school's African American Student Union, and the Loeb Library.
● Marcus Fairs on the Architects Climate Action Network calling on Foster + Partners to withdraw from the Amaala airport project in Saudi Arabia (with "climate-controlled hangars for private jets") - "or resign as a signatory of the Architects Declare movement - for the time being, in order to safeguard the integrity and credibility of the initiative."
● Kimmelman takes on how, "30 years on, the Americans with Disabilities Act/ADA has reshaped American architecture and the way designers and the public have come to think about civil rights and the built world. But there's still a long way to go."
● Q&A: Trinity Simons, executive director, Mayor's Institute on City Design, queries MICD founder and former mayor of Charleston (for 40 years!) Joseph P. Riley re: "the project he considers to be his life's most important work" - Charleston's International African American Museum, and "the importance of telling history in the places where it occurred."
● Margolies on the battle over Sugimoto's plans for the Hirshhorn Museum's Sculpture Garden; critics question "why it isn't being accorded the same respect that is being bestowed upon the [Bunshaft-designed] building."
● Nate Berg, on a brighter note, parses the 13 "bold, and often comparatively weird" - but now falling apart - Modernist buildings, "from a flying saucer-shaped concrete memorial in Bulgaria to sphere-topped towers in Kuwait City, set "to receive significant conservation grants through the Getty Institute's Keeping It Modern program."
● The National Building Museum names Brent D. Glass, former head of the National Museum of American History, as Interim Executive Director while it searches for Chase Rynd's replacement.
● Nayeri reports that, while Christo's plan to wrap the Arc de Triomphe in Paris is on track, "his collaborators hope they can pull off one more feat": a gigantic big brother to his Serpentine Lake mastaba "permanently installed in the Abu Dhabi desert."
● Depressing news: arson is suspected in the blaze at France's Nantes Cathedral: "Authorities were quick to point out that the blaze inflicted less damage than the devastating inferno at Notre-Dame" last year.
COVID-19 news continues:
● Kennicott re: understanding "the role of architecture post-pandemic": Is this "a revolutionary moment, a call to rethink everything? It seems we want an architecture that does everything. But what does that look like in real life?"
● Sisson parses a new C40 Cities report that explains "how the '15-minute city' could help post-pandemic recovery as an economic boost for coronavirus-ravaged municipal budgets - very doable in cities of any size."
● Meg Holden, director, Urban Studies at Simon Fraser University, outlines three types of love for a city: "If we love our cities, we'll make better decisions about their future after the COVID-19 pandemic. Decolonized urban planning permits us to think about cities loving us back. Different kinds of love feed and starve our cities."
● Kuth Ranieri Architects suggests "micro-hoods" for downtown San Francisco: "With COVID-19 proving that many companies can operate on full-time remote staffs," vacant office space can be put to new use - helping with the city's "gaping need for low-cost housing and injecting lifeblood into the city's urban core" (cool graphic presentation).
● The AIA's new COVID-19 Frontline Checklist, developed by architects and frontline workers, "provides strategies to support health care staff and patients."
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Alissa Walker: Urbanism Hasn’t Worked for Everyone: “Who are we city-making for? These ‘experts’? Or is it the other human beings who call that place home?” [Atlanta's] BeltLine is one of the most well-known (and copied) urbanism efforts...also one of the starkest examples of the reality that...creators of those projects have almost universally failed to consider...the effect they will have on the Black people who already live in those cities...urbanists are being called out more directly...Black practitioners...are facing their own reckoning across a white-centered field...organizations associated with the planning, policy, and design of cities, like CNU, the APA, and AIA have remained overwhelmingly white ..Lynn Ross isn’t hopeful that white-centered urbanist groups can grow to encompass Black needs. -- Ryan Gravel; Urbanist Leaders of Color/BlackSpace; Congress for the New Urbanism; Justin Garrett Moore/APA; American Institute of Architects; Amina Yasin/Canadian Institute of Planners Social Equity Committee; Pete Saunders; Kristen Jeffers; SPUR- Curbed
John King: Bay Area of 2050 will be more crowded - planners want to make it more equitable, too: For the first time, the Bay Area’s largest planning agencies have mapped what the region might look like...warns that...lower-income residents will still be under pressure from housing and transportation costs...officials...say the pandemic’s long-term impact is likely to be relatively minor...Even if all 25 strategies are implemented, the Bay Area of 2050 won’t blossom into an egalitarian paradise...despite the proposed investments in affordable housing...gentrification and displacement would threaten lower-income residents of neighborhoods that have convenient access to transit or jobs.- San Francisco Chronicle
Lynn Sweet: Years-long federal review of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park in final stages: City Hall will not insist on replacement land outside of [the park] to make up for the 19.3 acres the complex will occupy: The debate over the use of a historic park has...exposed race and class fault lines in Chicago when it comes to the questions of whose voices should prevail...These matters take on a new importance in this new era we’re in..."the first Black president of the United States deserves to be recognized, honored, for what he accomplished, not remembered for what he destroyed.” -- Frederick Law Olmsted; Calvert Vaux; Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects- Chicago Sun-Times
Aaron Betsky: LEED for Diversity: A Proposal by Michael Marshall: The Washington, DC-based architect wants to create a rating system for equity in architecture firms: It's a promising and intriguing proposal...LEED certainly has its flaws. A small industry of experts and consultants has figured out how to game the system, so that its ratings have lost much of their relevance...an army of equally highly paid experts advising firms on how to sail around demands for both minority participation in government contracts and community participation...How could [his scheme] avoid such pitfalls? ...AXP internship program might offer a model...effort will also require focusing on confronting unconscious bias and conscious exclusion, both in the educational system and the discipline as a whole...Marshall’s idea is one promising way forward.- Architect Magazine
Miriam Sitz: NCARB By the Numbers 2020 Offers Closer Look at Demographics and Diversity: ...includes early findings from a survey on equity, diversity, and inclusion in licensure conducted with the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA): The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards 9th annual report...showed that fewer than two in five architects are women, and fewer than one in five identifies as a racial or ethnic minority...calls the higher level of attrition of people of color “understandable, and potentially preventable"...such findings “highlight the need for culture and systematic shifts throughout the profession.”- Architectural Record
Jessica Lynne: The Nexus Podcast: A showcase for Black scholars, writers, designers, and educators: Founded in the wake of the GSD’s first Black in Design Conference in 2015, the Design Nexus is a collaboration between the school’s African American Student Union and the Frances Loeb Library...inaugural episode features Boston-based architect, filmmaker, illustrator, and children’s book author Aisha Densmore-Bey. -- Tara Oluwafemi; Caleb Negash; Stephen Gray; De Nichols; Trenton Doyle Hancock- Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)
Marcus Fairs: ACAN [Architects Climate Action Network] calls on Foster + Partners to withdraw from Amaala airport project over climate concerns: ...or resign as a signatory of the Architects Declare movement..."mirage-inspired" design for an international airport at the huge Saudi resort set amid 4,155 square kilometres [1,604 square miles] in the Prince Mohammad bin Salman Natural Reserve...will feature "climate-controlled hangars...for private jets"..."we suggest that you consider stepping down from Architects Declare for the time being, in order to safeguard the integrity and credibility of the initiative."- Dezeen
Michael Kimmelman: Building Accessibility Into America, Literally: 30 years on, the Americans With Disabilities Act has reshaped the way designers and the public have come to think about equity, civil rights and American architecture. But it’s only a start: A.D.A. has reshaped American architecture and the way designers and the public have come to think about civil rights and the built world...has baked a more egalitarian aesthetic of forms and spaces into the civic DNA. But there’s still a long way to go...A ramp can be something stuck onto a building to check off some legal requirement. Or it can inspire... -- Karen Braitmayer; Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects; Weiss/Manfredi; Joel Sanders/MIXdesign- New York Times
Trinity Simons: Former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley on the International African American Museum: The Dean of America’s Mayors talks about this seminal project, 20 years in the making: ...he’s been working diligently on the project he considers to be his life’s most important work: Charleston’s IAAM, which broke ground in October 2019...Q&A re: the importance of telling history in the places where it occurred. -- Harry Cobb/Pei Cobb Freed; Walter Hood/Hood Design Studio- Common Edge
Jane Margolies: At the Hirshhorn, a Battle Over Plans for Its Sculpture Garden: The museum is going ahead with meetings on a design by Hiroshi Sugimoto that preservationists say would undo key features of postwar landscape design by Lester Collins: Green space would decrease and paving increase...Critics question the very idea of remaking the garden...asking why it isn’t being accorded the same respect that is being bestowed upon the [Gordon Bunshaft-designed] building, whose envelope is scheduled to be restored beginning later this year. -- Theodore Prudon/Docomomo US; Kate Kerin; Charles Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF); New Material Research Laboratory/Tomoyuki Sakakida- New York Times
Nate Berg: Modernist architecture has a dirty secret: Many of the buildings were too innovative: And now they’re falling apart. The Getty Institute announces funding to help conserve 13 modernist buildings, from a flying saucer-shaped concrete memorial in Bulgaria to sphere-topped towers in Kuwait City: Bold, and often comparatively weird...to receive significant conservation grants through the foundation’s Keeping It Modern program...has given grants to conservation efforts for 77 buildings in 40 different countries. -- Charles Correa; Malene Bjørn; Buckminster Fuller; Álvaro Siza; Wallace K. Harrison- Fast Company
National Building Museum announces Interim Executive Director: Brent D. Glass, former head of the National Museum of American History, to lead institution through early 2021: Chase W. Rynd. the institution’s fourth and longest-serving Executive Director (17 years; 2004-2020), has been named Executive Director Emeritus. It is the first time such an honor has been bestowed by the NBM.- National Building Museum / NBM (Washington, DC)
Farah Nayeri: It’s Christo’s Final Show. But Is It the Last We’ll See of Him? ...had planned to wrap the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The project is delayed, but on track for next year. And his collaborators hope they can pull off one more feat, too...to realize another of his lifelong ambitions: a trapezoidal pyramid (or mastaba) made of oil barrels, permanently installed in the Abu Dhabi desert. Raising the $350 million budget for it will be tough. -- Jeanne-Claude- New York Times
Suspected Arson at France’s Nantes Cathedral Destroys Organ, Stained Glass: Authorities were quick to point out that the blaze inflicted less damage than the devastating April 2019 inferno at Notre-Dame...fire appears to have started in three separate places...French government owns Nantes Cathedral and will foot the bill for its restoration with the help of donations...- Smithsonian Magazine
Philip Kennicott: Designing to Survive: As we try to understand the role of architecture post-pandemic, we have to first better understand the ways we inhabit buildings and move through space: By April...the profession was at a crossroads. Was this a time for quick, targeted, pragmatic responses to a built environment that no longer felt safe, or was this a revolutionary moment, a call to rethink everything? We need architecture that is sustainable, flexible, adaptive, responsive and local, but without being parochial. But we also need architecture that is cosmopolitan and smart, engaged and connected. It seems we want an architecture that does everything. But what does that look like in real life? A virus is giving our planet a remedial lesson about how we are all connected, and architecture may be the science that consolidates this terrible but liberating new wisdom. -- Hashim Sarki; Michael Murphy/MASS Design Group; Liz Diller/Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Kulapat Yantrasast/wHY Architecture; David Benjamin/The Living; George Ranalli; Anne Valentino- Washington Post Magazine
Patrick Sisson: How the ‘15-Minute City’ Could Help Post-Pandemic Recovery: A new C40 Cities report touts Paris’s model for putting essentials within close walking or biking distance as an economic boost for coronavirus-ravaged municipal budgets: Mayors’ Agenda for a Green and Just Recovery...emphasizes several familiar pillars of progressive urbanism - renewable energy investment, energy-efficient buildings, improved mass transit, and spending on new parks and green space...The agenda recommends that “all residents will live in ‘15-minute cities'"...concept may be the most concise and catchy way to repackage the idea as a pandemic economic recovery tool..."15-minute change is very doable in cities of any size."- Bloomberg CityLab
Meg Holden: If we love our cities, we'll make better decisions about their future after the COVID-19 pandemic: It’s the most famous city slogan in the world: I Love New York. And yet, surprisingly, love doesn’t seem to play a part in how urban planners build cities...[They] often explain them through growth, power, efficiency and grandeur...But what would it mean for all urban planners to confess to their love for the places they plan? ...urban planning has always been about taking a long-term view. Decolonized urban planning, as viewed by Indigenous planners, goes further in considering planning for cities whose future residents we already love, and planning to make a gift of the city to them. Decolonized urban planning permits us to think about cities loving us back. Different kinds of love feed and starve our cities.- The Conversation
Welcome to the micro-hood: A new vision for downtown San Francisco: The guiding theory of Elizabeth Ranieri’s and Bron Kuth’s concept...With COVID-19...proving that many companies can operate on full-time remote staffs, we’ll have a permanent surplus of vacant office space in downtown high rises. It’d be only natural then to put that space to new use - perhaps serving [the city's] gaping need for low-cost housing and injecting lifeblood into the city’s urban core. -- Kuth Ranieri Architects- San Francisco Chronicle
Architects and frontline workers develop COVID-19 healthcare facility design checklist: AIA’s new COVID-19 Frontline Checklist provides strategies to support health care staff and patients by specifically addressing the unique challenges imposed by COVID-19... -- American Institute of Architects; Molly Scanlon/Phigenics; Eve Edelstein/Clinicians for Design- Boston Real Estate Journal
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