Today’s News - Tuesday, January 5, 2021

EDITOR'S NOTE: We're b-a-a-a-c-k - and so a new year begins. We wish everyone happiness, good health, prosperity - and peace. Now, to some serious catch-up and new news...

EDITOR'S NOTE #2: Apologies!!! The December 17 newsletter was sent out in error - this is the right one!!!

Click here to see Today's News. Feature stories below the news note.

"Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" - or not:

●  Kriston Capps: The "executive order might be more than just symbolic - all 7 members of the Commission on Fine Arts are now white men - deeply steeped in yesteryear's European art forms."

●  Jeff Speck's open letter to Justin Shubow, president of National Civic Art Society: "I used to support NCAS when it was effectively a voice for diversity" - now the "goal is no longer diversity, but domination. Far from improving the prospects for traditional architecture - you have doomed it, and the NCAS, to permanent association with a would-be tyrant."

●  Betsky parses Americans preferring Classical architecture: "There is nothing magical about the preference" - it conveys "a message of importance and elegance" but can be "just a default manner of puffing up a building" that "can hide shoddy construction" and "easily succumbs to mediocrity."

●  Brussat "applauds modernist critic Betsky's kind words for classical architecture" (and a thumbs-up for Capps' article above): "Betsky lets his classist cat out of the bag" by acknowledging "that it makes sense for the public to prefer classical to modern architecture."

●  Meanwhile, the AIA "condemns" the executive order that "inappropriately elevates the design tastes of a few federal appointees over the communities in which the buildings will be placed."

●  Docomomo US "is disturbed and appalled by the announcement promoting beautiful federal civic architecture - we are incredibly frustrated by this attempt to suggest to the American people what is and what is not beautiful civic architecture."

On the preservation and housing fronts:

●  Marcus Fairs reports that, "following an international outcry," plans to demolish Louis Kahn's dormitories at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad "have been withdrawn" - with links to board of governors' letter, and Architectural Review's petition that has garnered over 16,000 signatures as of this posting.

●  Davidson steps inside Penn Station's new, $1.6 billion Moynihan Train Hall that "seems like one more hallucinatory experience at the end of an implausible year" (it only took 27 years) - "there's a lot of Grand Central envy going on," but "New York finally - or once again - has a camera-ready set that proclaims the city's long-term faith in rail."

●  Gunts cheers the preservation board of Brookline, Massachusetts, voting to give H. H. Richardson and John Charles Olmsted homes "a temporary reprieve from the wrecking ball - for 18 months" - though the "votes do not prevent changes to the landscape - preservation staff has more work to do if it wants to save the houses."

●  Ravenscroft reports on Italian architect Franco Stella's reconstruction a baroque German royal palace to become the Humboldt Forum on Berlin's Museum Island - with 3 reconstructed facades and one modern.

●  SPUR's Karlinsky & Aecom's Bevington parse their report on international delivery systems for affordable housing, and ponder: "Why don't we treat housing as infrastructure" and "a human right? Many cities and countries have found ways - we can look to these examples to create our own solutions."

●  KFA's Lise Bornstein considers ways to "rewrite the narrative to reframe density as the hero. Density does not have to be a dirty word. Fear of density is the fault of bad design. If we get density right, Los Angeles can be a role model to other postwar car cities as they navigate change."

That was the year that was - and what's next:

●  Michael Geller takes "a look back at the past year and trends to watch for in 2021. COVID-19 will have lasting effects on the design of our housing, neighborhoods and cities. I do not expect to see an end to higher density developments. I do expect a much greater interest in 'the 15-minute city.'"

●  Wainwright & O'Hagan look back at "the best photography and architecture of 2020: high camp to Dungeness."

●  Wainwright and others offer their take on "2021's best art, architecture and photography: Frank Gehry unleashes a tornado."

●  Moore picks his five fave projects of 2020: "Reasons to cheer include a sociable new university building, a Taiwanese shopping mall lagoon, and a house extension with mountain attached."

●  Brussat offers his pick of the "best trad buildings of 2020 - is it possible that 2020's crop of traditional and classical buildings should be even smaller than last year's? It is depressing. It is embarrassing."

●  One we couldn't resist: Lamster & Lange's 2020 Architecture and Design Awards (11th annual!): "It has been a year, people - here's what we'll remember from this year to forget: Design of the Year: The mask; Building(s) of the Year Award: streateries; Annual What Are You Thinking, LACMA? Award: To LACMA; Posthumous Lump of Clay: Philip Johnson" - and more!.

ICYMI x 3 ANN features:

●  Peter Gisolfi: Consider the Place.

●  Trahan Architects & Spackman Mossop Michaels' design for the renewal of Luther George Park in Springdale, Arkansas.

●  Duda & Paine: Predicting the Unpredictable - 2021 Workplace Trends.


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