Today’s News - Thursday, November 19, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're taking a Thanksgiving Day break to contemplate how much we have to be thankful for, even in this weird world we're all stuck in - and start planning for next year's celebration - with friends and family - in person! We'll be back Tuesday, December 1. In the meantime: Stay well. Stay safe.

●  ANN feature: Patrick MacLeamy: In this excerpt from his new book, "Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm: The People, Stories, and Strategies Behind HOK," the former HOK CEO contends that just as buildings need strong foundations, companies on firm footing stand a better chance of long-term success.

●  Patrick Sisson takes a deep (and fascinating) dive into "how a federal volunteer corps could enlist architects to design not just buildings, but a new social fabric. The nation doesn't need more Hoover Dams as much as it needs a corps of architects to help fix what's broken," from housing to "restoring our natural land and ecosystems."

●  Betsky considers how COVID-19 "has brought the profession to an apparent standstill - so far, I see the pandemic leading only to the design of cleaner surfaces and not more experimentation" - projects like the Driehaus Prize winners present "the true opportunity for the discipline - in the struggle for true sustainability and social equity."

●  Edward Gunts explains why "Modernist architects may have dodged a bullet" with the election of Joe Biden - "there's a good chance" that the "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" EO won't be signed, giving Biden "a chance to rethink many other real estate- and architecture-oriented decisions that Trump has never resolved" (like: where to build a new FBI HQ; U. S.-Mexico border wall; fencing around the White House; Mount Rushmore(!); etc.).

●  Architect D'Arcy Jones gives (mostly) thumbs-up to BIG & DIALOG's "daring" and "brawny" Vancouver House - "a symbol of structural audacity and soaring real estate values" with "a nonchalant personality - major moves were handled with aplomb. But value engineering's inevitable effects show up in some smaller details."

●  Justin Davidson considers the almost-completed 52-story 200 Amsterdam Avenue in NYC that "may soon have to be partly undone" - lopping off the top 20 or so floors - "a slow-motion decapitation from the inside out, which is about as gruesome as it sounds."

●  Adele Peters, on a brighter note, parses HGA's prefab STAAT Mod (Strategic, Temporary, Acuity-Adaptable Treatment), "Lego-like modular ICU rooms turning hospital parking lots into COVID-19 units."

●  Anthony Pak of Priopta, a Life Cycle Assessment consultancy, considers embodied carbon, and offers his "basic primer on material-by-material assessment, focusing on the biggest carbon considerations for each material" - Architecture 2030's Carbon Smart Materials Palette website "is among the best resources for further research."

●  The Museum of Modern Art announces the establishment of the Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment, "dedicated to understanding the interaction between architecture and ecology" and "highlighting the urgent need for an ecological recalibration."

●  The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy launches the Center for Geospatial Solutions "to expand the use of advanced technology to manage land and water resources with precision," and "will prioritize access to people and communities that have been historically marginalized, governments in the developing world, under-resourced non-profit organizations, start-ups," etc.

●  Yesomi Umolu will take the reins of London's Serpentine Galleries next year as the inaugural director of curatorial affairs and public practice - the native Londoner is now the director and curator of Logan Center Exhibitions at the University of Chicago, and was the artistic director of last year's Chicago Architecture Biennial.

●  ICYMI: ANN feature: Artist Gordon Huether: "Amid Social & Economic Uncertainties, Major Public Art Welcomes & Elevates. We are in difficult times, and cost concerns may affect plans for site-specific art. Yet, if there was ever a time that art mattered, when art could unite us, this is that time" (his installations for the Salt Lake City Airport prove it).

Weekend diversions + Page-turners:

●  The World Architecture Festival launches new WAFVirtual, November 30 - December 4 (free registration!) - speakers will include Jeanne Gang, Ben van Berkel and Sir Peter Cook.

●  Design Miami/ 2020, themed "America(s)" curated by Aric Chen, kicks off next Friday with 10 international design galleries, four Curio presentations, and much more.

●  "Memphis: Plastic Field" at the MK Gallery in Milton Keynes, U.K., "will explore the subversive and irreverent spirit of the Memphis Group" with "the design collective's most significant objects whose bold and playful look pushed boundaries - full of punch and vitality."

●  Welton cheers Steve Kroeter's Louis I. Kahn Facsimile Project to reissue "The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn," by one of his students and early employees, Richard Saul Wurman, that has been out of print for almost 50 years.

●  Cole Akers, Curator + Special Projects Manager at The Glass House, brings us a great interview with Janna Ireland re; her book "Regarding Paul R. Williams: A Photographer's View," the importance of Williams' work, and more.


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