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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