Today’s News - Thursday, December 3, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days - we'll be back Tuesday, December 8. In the meantime: Stay well. Stay especially safe.

●  ANN feature: Dave Hora's Nature of Order #2: The First Eight of Christopher Alexander's 15 Fundamental Properties of Wholeness: These are properties that describe how centers work together to produce life in a given scope of the structural fabric we inhabit, the wholeness.

●  Sisson parses a new report that "paints a disturbing future" when it comes to "how climate change will slowly drown a significant part of the nation's already inadequate stock of affordable housing" ("some potential good news, too").

●  Shannon Mattern (in a tweet): "I wrote about plexiglass as a pandemic prophylactic and a polymeric paragon of paranoia and racial prejudice" (and a fascinating history of plexi in architecture).

●  Colleen Wilson's deep (deep!) dive into the potential future(s) for Penn Station, now "a shell of its former flawed-but-bustling pre-pandemic self" - the big question is whether it "will return to greatness for its bustling commuter dwellers or simply those who want to stand in awe of an urban wonder in the middle of New York City" ("lipstick on a pig" included).

●  Kimmelman's latest walkabout - this time around the "resilient and proud" Chinatown, "the tiny community that remains the origin story for Chinese culture in New York" - with Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of the Museum of Chinese in America, as his guide.

●  Ravenscroft x 2: After his Q&A with Architects Declare folks (see Tuesday's News), Foster + Partners withdraws from the climate change group "following tensions over signatories who have designed airports."

●  That was yesterday - today he reports that Zaha Hadid Architects has also "withdrawn from climate action network" Architects Declare: "We need to recognize that we have a significant difference of opinion with the [AD's] steering group on how positive change can be delivered."

●  Diana Budds reports that "a largely anonymous group of designers and architects" is demanding that MoMA remove Philip Johnson's name "from all spaces and titles" because of "his white-supremacist past" - 31 "prominent names" also signed on to the initiative that "joins other recent efforts to address racism in cultural institutions, design, and academia."

●  ICYMI: 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.

Cool competition (no fee; cash prizes!):

●  Call for entries: Low-Rise: Housing Ideas for Los Angeles (international): asks architects and landscape architects to imagine appealing and sustainable new models of low-rise, multi-unit housing (sponsored by the Mayor's Office; overseen by Christopher Hawthorne, L.A.'s Chief Design Officer).

Weekend diversions + Page-turners:

●  Philadelphia-based architect Joel Levinson launches the Daring Diagonal Virtual Museum, "dedicated to the obscure but surprisingly commonplace geometric motif of diagonality that appears in art, architecture, and numerous design-related disciplines - visual treats and fascinating articles fill the 33 galleries."

●  Wainwright cheers "Memphis: Plastic Field" at the MK Gallery in "modernist" Milton Keynes - "a luscious feast of eye-searing colors, polished synthetic surfaces and clashing patterns, executed with brash, swaggering brilliance - exactly the saturated, joyful tonic we all need" in these times (a great analysis of Memphis history, too).

●  Gompertz cheers "Memphis: Plastic Field" in Milton Keynes - "a town that took to post-modernism like Don Johnson to a fuchsia suit in Miami Vice. It is their gaudy, joyous world of ebullient expressiveness you enter -.Memphis was a rebuke to a cold, glum world. We could do with a bit of that spirit today."

●  "All Will Be Well: Children's Rainbows from Lockdown" at the V&A: "step inside a large scale installation of these joyful artworks. These homemade rainbows became an international signal of hope and animated streetscapes around the world during lockdown."

●  Kolson Hurley cheers "the enigma Jason Diamond plumbs in 'The Sprawl: Reconsidering the Weird American Suburbs' - an enjoyable, generous, and heartfelt tour around the suburbs of the American psyche."

●  Brussat hails "The Art of Classic Planning: Building Beautiful and Enduring Communities" - a "comprehensive, fascinating and brilliant volume by Nir Haim Buras" that "should be the new bible for the planning profession. My joy at his thumping of modernism knows no end."

●  Welton: "In a time of fake news - why not take a look at fake architecture around the world?" In Anne-Catrin Schultz's "'Real and Fake in Architecture: Close to the Original, Far from Authenticity?' we have the perfect read for 2020."


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