Today’s News - Tuesday, July 28, 2020

●  A sad way to start the day: We've lost Van B. Bruner Jr., 89, the second Black architect to serve as AIA vice president "known for his leadership on inclusion and diversity in the field."

●  Wainwright delves into a planning loophole "set to blight English housing - the government is only making it easier for cramped, substandard homes to be built," creating "a Kafkaesque situation."

●  Kamin cheers a new initiative to revive Chicago's South and West Sides, and the Chicago Architecture Center's help in picking architecture and design firms: "The strong response is a heartening sign. Yet there are limits to architecture's power to change lives and perceptions."

●  NOMA's Tiffany Brown: "I am a survivor of racist city planning. I am a designer of the built environment. My generation has our work cut out for us. We must put systems in place that will help diversify the talent pool and, in turn, the leaders in the profession - I ask you to engage now."

●  SmithGroup's Laura Walker re: designing prisons and such: "As architects, we tell ourselves we can solve these systemic issues by focusing on designing buildings and places, believing that if we make them beautiful, sustainable, and functional, they will benefit our communities" - but "we need the help of trained agencies and collectives - we are not equipped or experienced in moderating discussions on race" (Design as Protest is trying).

●  Frank Edgerton Martin talks "with three nationally recognized Black architects about practicing architecture in Minnesota," and "how race has shaped our environment. It's time to take a hard look at who has the power to shape our environment today" - it "is going to take a much deeper structural change than talk of good intentions from our profession" (some disturbing comments).

●  Carolina A. Miranda x 2: "Goodbye, guy on a horse. A new wave of monument design is changing how we honor history [spearheaded by Christopher Hawthorne] - these more collective design processes are not without friction. But this collective design process - messy as it is - can produce poignant works" (1943 Zoot Suit Riots and the Sleepy Lagoon monument - who knew?).

●  She presents "6 ideas for new monuments - in honor of migration, a massacre, and a tree. Artists, architects, and historians give their ideas for new monuments across the country" (and one idea of her own).

●  Waite reports that there's "renewed hope" for Gillespie Kidd & Coia's derelict 1967 St Peter's Seminary in Cardross now that the church has "transferred the ownership of the rotting Brutalist gem to a new charitable trust" - Alan Dunlop remains "skeptical until I see their proposals and their 'expert team.'"

●  Billock tells the fascinating tale of FLW's Laurent House in Rockford, Illinois, that "was a trailblazing example of accessible design - built 40 years before the ADA became law" - a design based around the wheelchair-bound owner's eye level - "once you sit, all feels just right" (and now open for tours).

●  Open Call: Be part of the Green New Deal Superstudio, a timely collaboration between the Landscape Architecture Foundation, the McHarg Center, the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes, ASLA, and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture - "a historic, national event; open to all design schools, professional practices, individuals," etc.

●  Call for papers (deadline looms!): Carolina Planning Journal: "The White Problem in Planning: how race intersects with planning"; topics include: Land Use; Housing; Transportation; Economic Development.

●  Eyefuls and great profiles of the winners of RIBA's Rethink 2025 challenge to reimagine society for a post-pandemic world.

●  Eyefuls and great profiles of the winners of RIBA's Eye Line 2020 drawing competition - the "lockdown effect is evident" but "delight beats dystopia."

●  One we couldn't resist: Townscaper invites you to "build your own empty town - it has no goal apart from the sheer enjoyment and satisfaction you get from seeing a pretty town rising from the sea as you click" (a "Zen experience").

●  ICYMI: ANN feature: Lesson Plan #10: Miguel Córdova-Ramírez: Throughout history, ornament has been used to transform the built environment into a friendlier and more empathetic place. Not to teach this higher role means to not value part of our centuries-old cultural history.

COVID-19 news continues:

●  Adlakh & Sallis, professors of environmental planning and family medicine, respectively, explain "why urban density is good for health - even during a pandemic - when it comes to COVID-19 the key issue is lack of space - not how many people live in a certain area, but the conditions they live in."

●  Saffron: "Coronavirus intensifies the city vs. suburbs debate in Philly - the narrative of pandemic-induced urban flight continues to spread almost as fast as the virus itself" - but "the rumors of the city's death seem greatly exaggerated."

●  Micallef cheers "pop-up patios" in Toronto being "a positive side effect of COVID-19" - part of the CafeTO program, and the "imperfect" ActiveTO "shared streets" initiative. "The predictable objections to these remain as tedious as they ever were" - drivers "are going to be in the pole position of urban design for a while yet."

●  William Morgan considers a post pandemic world: "Some of the things that we were seduced into believing were so wonderful will disappear [like "gluttonous over-indulgence"], but we may be better off without them."


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