Today’s News - Tuesday, December 8, 2020
● Fred A. Bernstein reports on MoMA and Harvard GSD's responses to the call to remove Philip Johnson's from titles and public spaces "because of his racist and white supremacist activities" - MoMA & Stierli "are taking this issue very seriously"; GSD Dean Whiting: "Undoing that legacy - of the field, not only of Johnson - is arduous and necessary...we are committed to seeing it through."
● Trevor Boddy offers some not-all-that optimistic "scenario speculations" for architecture's post-pandemic future. "The rainbow above these dark clouds - this is the last, best chance for architects to make a case for how their skills can empower better lives. No-one can advocate for positive rebuilding better."
● Evelyn Lee bemoans "the seeming shortage" of "emotionally intelligent leaders" - the lack of "EQ is striking for a profession that focuses on human-centered design: Now, more than ever, firm leaders should empathize with what their employees are experiencing. Here are 10 ways to help you build your EQ."
● A look at how some San Francisco Bay Area architects & landscape architects have been designing "sturdy" restaurant parklets that are "up to code and can last" for free. "When something is there, it's a lot harder to take it away" (of course, much may be moot with California's new lockdown mandates).
● Rina Chandran looks into the challenges of converting offices left vacant by COVID-19 to homes "to fix housing shortages" - turning them into "warehouse spaces for e-commerce companies, manufacturing facilities such as 3-D printing, vertical schools or urban farms is a far more feasible option" (Singapore has a cool idea for parking garages).
● Nate Berg delves into architect John Klein's new system that "helps architects design buildings with factory-produced parts - making them cheaper and more environmentally sustainable" that "can then be covered with whatever facade the architect designs."
● Saffron minces no words about the fate of Philly's 1965 International House, a residence hall with "a sculptural tour de force" facade "that stands as a monument to the idealism of the '60s" and is expected to be landmarked - "but don't expect the honor to protect" it - "odds are high that this landmark work of architecture will be chopped up for parts."
● Gina Pollara, on a brighter note, reports that Louis Kahn's Point Counterpoint II music barge has found a new home on the Delaware River in Philly (Kahn called home), alongside the 1917 Delaware Power Station being transformed into an arts and culture hub.
● Adjaye in Africa x 2: Ravenscroft reports on the "vision" for the Edo Museum of West African Art in Benin City, Nigeria, that "forms part of an initiative" of The Legacy Restoration Trust and the British Museum (unclear whether some of the British Museum's 900 the Benin bronzes will be repatriated or just on loan).
● Waite reports on a less-controversial Adjaye (and MMA Design Studio) project - the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library in Johannesburg that "will be built as eight cylindrical granary-style domes and constructed with a rammed-earth façade and timber cladding made from local wood species."
● The Cultural Landscape Foundation reports that Sugimoto's proposed design for the Bunshaft and Collins' the Hirshhorn Museum Sculpture Garden "hit a major speed bump" at a hearing last week, with one commissioner "warning the end result could make it look like an 'Olive Garden' - approval now seems unlikely."
● On a brighter note in DC: the National Building Museum is celebrating its 40th anniversary through December 12 with "a pre-holiday feast of free virtual programs and events - and special deals at the Museum Shop" (good timing for gift-giving).
● On a much sadder DC note: Katie Gerfen pens her farewell letter as editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT magazine: "After much reflection, I have realized that it is time...for me to leave to take on new challenges - to find new stories to tell and new ways in which to tell them."
● Executive director of the NYC Public Design Commission Justin Garrett Moore is heading to the Mellon Foundation "to serve as the inaugural program manager for Humanities in Place [and] help shape the Monuments Project."
● One we couldn't resist: Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins (a.k.a Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman) and others join the Project Northmoor, a campaign to buy JRR Tolkien's house in Oxford and "turn it into a literary center before it is put on the market."
● 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.
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Fred A. Bernstein: MoMA and Harvard GSD Respond to Activists’ Call to Remove Philip Johnson’s Name: ...from every “leadership title, public space or honorific” at those institutions because of his racist and white supremacist activities...MoMA's Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, Martino Stierli: “The Museum and I are taking this issue very seriously and extensively researching all available information"...GSD’s dean, Sarah Whiting...said the school will begin calling a house it owns...often known as the Philip Johnson Thesis House, by its address: 9 Ash Street...“Undoing that legacy - of the field, not only of Johnson - is arduous and necessary...we are committed to seeing it through." -- Emanuel Admassu, Sekou Cooke; J. Yolande Daniels; Felecia Davis; Olalekan Jeyifous;, V. Mitch McEwen; Germane Barnes; Amanda Williams; Walter Hood;d Mario Gooden; Mark Lamster- Architectural Record
Trevor Boddy: Post-pandemic Futures: ...many architects are breathing a sigh of relief at having navigated...a harrowing year...But what is most dangerous...is a false sense of security...Here are some scenario speculations...The rainbow above these dark clouds is the prospect that this is the last, best chance for architects to make a case for how their skills can empower better lives...No-one can advocate for positive rebuilding better...The single word that every architect needs to broadcast now is “public"...it could be the foundation of rebuilding.- Canadian Architect magazine
Evelyn Lee: Architecture Needs More Emotionally Intelligent Leaders: The seeming shortage of EQ is striking for a profession that focuses on human-centered design: Now, more than ever, firm leaders should empathize with what their employees are experiencing...EQ is typically broken down into four areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management...Here are 10 ways to help you build your EQ - and perhaps increase your chances of becoming a high-performer: -- Slack Technologies- Architect Magazine
Restaurant parklets are expensive, so Bay Area architects, landscape architects, artists have been designing them for free: ...not only to help local restaurants, but also in the hopes of sparking ideas about what public space could look like in the future...one step in creating a more vibrant, people-centric city...optimism is part of what drove these architects to build sturdy parklets that are up to code and can last..."When something is there, it’s a lot harder to take it away." -- Alec Hawley/Fauvescraper Studio; David Koo/Brennan Cox/Groundworks Office; Kristen Sidell/Rudabeh Pakravan/Sidell Pakravan Architects- San Francisco Chronicle
Rina Chandran: Left vacant by COVID-19, can offices become homes to fix housing shortages? South Korean government...will add 114,000 homes for public housing...by buying empty hotels and offices and converting them into residences. Singapore is pushing a plan...for converting excess car park spaces into residences, shops, restaurants and indoor farms...it may be "far more feasible" to turn unused offices into warehouse spaces for e-commerce companies...modern manufacturing facilities such as 3-D printing, vertical schools or urban farms are a far more feasible option...Apart from being difficult and expensive, converting offices into housing can also have "negative social consequences"....- Thomson Reuters Foundation News
Nate Berg: The case for cookie-cutter buildings: A new system helps architects design buildings with factory-produced parts - making them cheaper and more environmentally sustainable: But the decentralized construction industry isn’t exactly conducive to standardization...architect John Klein...set out to create a systematized approach...Generate uses a catalog of pre-tested designs for the main structural components...standard kit of parts can then be covered with whatever facade the architect designs. -- CLT/compressed laminated timber; Passive House; Placetailor- Fast Company / Co.Design
Inga Saffron: Debate over International House highlights what’s wrong with preservation in Philly: Everything is negotiable: ...Philadelphia Historical Commission...is expected to recommend the designation of...the brutalist-style residence hall that stands as a monument to the idealism of the ’60s...But don’t expect the honor to protect the former student dormitory...already having discussions with the developers over how to carve [it] up...a design by ALMA Architecture would virtually entomb [it] inside a contemporary addition...the equivalent of someone being buried up to their chest in beach sand...odds are high that this landmark work of architecture will be chopped up for parts. -- Bower & Fradley (1965); Robert Geddes- Philadelphia Inquirer
Gina Pollara: Louis Kahn's Music Barge Finds New Home: Point Counterpoint II...having narrowly escaped the scrapyard, this 195-foot-long double-hulled steel vessel will finally dock permanently in Philadelphia - coincidentally the city Kahn called home...long, low profile that resembles a flute...doubles as a floating art gallery...Yo-Yo Ma made a plea in 2017...to save “this remarkable mobile cultural institution” from the scrap heap...[will dock] on the Delaware River, alongside the renovated power station...[will serve] as the key musical component of the arts complex when it opens in 2022. -- Robert Boudrea; Nathaniel Kahn; George Djurkovic; Lee Skolnick- Architectural Record
Tom Ravenscroft: Adjaye Associates reveals vision for Edo Museum of West African Art in Nigeria: ...a site in the centre of Benin City...forms part of an initiative...by The Legacy Restoration Trust and the British Museum...to feature archaeological remains found during construction and may include reconstructions of the structures that formerly occupied the site...building's arrangement is derived from the ruins of the historic city that the current Benin City stands above.- Dezeen
Richard Waite: David Adjaye unveils designs for rammed earth library in Johannesburg: ...a new learning centre, museum, gallery and events spaces dedicated to South Africa’s second post-Apartheid president...Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library...will be built as eight cylindrical granary-style domes and constructed with a rammed-earth façade and timber cladding made from local wood species...Adjaye Associates is working with Johannesburg-based MMA Design Studio...- The Architects' Journal (UK)
Planning Officials on the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden Redesign - Not so Fast: The proposed revitalization of the Sculpture Garden hit a major speed bump at a National Capital Planning Commission hearing on December 3. Commissioners repeatedly expressed skepticism about core elements of the redesign proposed by the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, with one warning the end result could make the Sculpture Garden look like an “Olive Garden"...[approval] now seems unlikely...a growing chorus that acknowledges that this masterwork by Gordon Bunshaft and Lester Collins is an important work of art.- The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)
National Building Museum Celebrates 40th Anniversary with a Week of Free Events: On December 12, 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed an act of Congress that established a museum...to inspire curiosity and knowledge about the world we design and build...during the week of December 7–12 the Museum will host a pre-holiday feast of free virtual programs and events...and special deals at the Museum Shop.- National Building Museum / NBM (Washington, DC)
All Good (and Terrible) Things ... : Katie Gerfen reflects on a difficult 2020 and a hopeful future in her farewell letter as editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT: 2020 has...pushed us beyond our limits with a confluence of events that revealed the many ills plaguing our society that we have ignored for too long...But...there have been successes to celebrate...I look forward to seeing how this resilient industry will continue to confront the challenge of designing the equitable, safe, and sustainable places and communities...after much reflection, I have realized that it is time...for me to leave ARCHITECT to take on new challenges - to find new stories to tell and new ways in which to tell them.- Architect Magazine
Justin Garrett Moore exits New York City Public Design Commission for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: ...to serve as the inaugural program manager for Humanities in Place [and] help shape the Monuments Project, a five-year, $250 million grant initiative...that will fund the creation of new memorials, monuments, and “historic storytelling spaces”...will also provide grants to efforts that relocate problematic and painful relics existing in the public realm [or] leave these monuments standing where they are but in a newly contextualized manner...- The Architect's Newspaper
Campaign to buy JRR Tolkien's house backed by Lord of the Rings actors: Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman support £4.5m crowdfunding campaign to turn the Oxford home where Tolkien wrote his most famous books into a museum: Author Julia Golding has launched Project Northmoor, a charity that has started a crowdfunding campaign... to buy the house and turn it into a literary centre before it is put on the market.- Guardian (UK)
ANN feature: Dave Hora: 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.- ArchNewsNow.com
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