Today’s News - Tuesday, January 12, 2021
● Harvard GSD's Travis Dagenais pays tribute to the pioneering Black architect Donald L. Stull - "a groundbreaking architect" whose "remarkable career" included supporting and amplifying "the unique contributions of Black architects and designers."
● Kimmelman cheers Moynihan Train Hall: "It's stunning - it delivers on its promise, giving the city the uplifting gateway it deserves. When was the last time you could say something like that about a public works project?" (Though it "doesn't magically extinguish the raging dumpster fire that is Penn Station.")
● Benjamin Kabak has a totally different take: "New York spent $1.6 billion on the Moynihan Train Hall, but all we got was a big waiting room/mall with nowhere to sit - it's the infrastructure equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig - public space but hostile architecture."
● And now on the table: a $60 million, 1,200-foot elevated pathway that would connect the High Line to the Moynihan Train Hall (sort of) - it "raises questions about spending at a time when the state faces a major financial crisis."
● McGlone reports that the Smithsonian is scrapping its $2 billion expansion plan and "jettisoned the eye-popping elements" of Bjarke Ingels' "controversial design," opting instead to focus on the renovation and restoration of the Castle and the Arts and Industries Building.
● Nancy Kenney reports that the Hirshhorn Museum is "under pressure to reconsider the redesign of its sculpture garden - Sugimoto defends his designs but says he is open to negotiating" (maybe - he contradicts himself).
● On two brighter notes: Paris plans to turn the Champs-Élysées into an "extraordinary garden" - and to redesign the Place de la Concorde (great renderings by the Paris-based multidisciplinary firm PCA-Stream).
● Dorn Townsend reports on Vertical Vigo, which "may be the most striking example of an under-reported trend for mass mobility that is reshaping many of Spain's urban cores with public elevators, escalators and electric walkways" (take heed, cities with steep inclines!).
● Justin Davidson takes a deep dive into Venice's floodgates - the "$6 billion duct-tape fix" called MOSE that "may not be enough" to stave off rising sea levels. "The saga of Venice's water wall is one other coastal cities should study as they contemplate a future" climate disasters.
● Architecture 2030 founder Edward Mazria strikes a more optimistic tone when explaining why "a zero-carbon building sector by 2040 is within reach."
● Betsky explains why he thinks Biden's infrastructure plan "falls short. So far - the signs are not good - the administration-in-waiting appears to be made up of too many familiar faces who have espoused discredited or tired ideas."
● PBDW's Matthew Mueller delves into the "hidden and extremely valuable 'cost' of modular construction which no one seems to be talking about - the industry needs a construction process landing somewhere between the traditional and modular methodologies to be truly sustainable and future friendly."
● Anna Fixsen's great Q&A with Emilio Ambasz, "a godfather of green architecture," re: his foundation's $10 million grant to MoMA for a research institute - "for someone with a larger-than-life reputation and a preference for fedoras and grandiloquence, he remains something of an enigma."
● One we couldn't resist: Italy plans to rebuild the Colosseum's floor, "restoring the arena to its gladiator-era glory" (complete with "trapdoors, lifts, and other mechanical elements used in Roman times - but no gladiator shows."
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Obituary by Travis Dagenais: Remembering pioneering Black architect Donald L. Stull, 83: ...a groundbreaking architect...who supported and amplified the unique contributions of Black architects and designers. In a remarkable career, he founded two firms that were owned and led by Black architects, through which he would shape cityscapes, harmonize architecture and social change...helped establish the New DesigNation conference... -- M. David Lee/Stull & Lee Inc.- Harvard Graduate School of Design/GSD News
Michael Kimmelman: Moynihan Train Hall: It’s Stunning. And, a First Step: A $1.6 billion transformation of a post office has gifted the city with a lofty, light-filled steel, glass and marble cathedral: In the midst of everything else, we needed this. New York needs this...[it] doesn’t magically...extinguish the raging dumpster fire that is [Penn Station]. It leaves all sorts of Herculean challenges and tasks...unresolved. But it delivers on its promise, giving the city the uplifting gateway it deserves. When was the last time you could say something like that about a public works project? -- McKim, Mead & White; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Peter Pennoyer; Rockwell Group; FXCollaborative; PAU- New York Times
Benjamin Kabak: Some thoughts on Moynihan Train Hall and designing public spaces with nowhere to sit: New York spent $1.6 billion...but all we got was a big waiting room/mall with nowhere to sit...$4 billion on Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus [and] $1.4 billion on the Fulton St. Transit Center, but all we got was a big waiting room/mall with nowhere to sit...what does this say about how we’ve chosen to treat our public spaces and transit infrastructure? ...it’s the infrastructure equivalent of putting lipstick on a pig...public space but hostile architecture...Why...do we make public places so anti-public? The answer is rooted in our inability to house the homeless...- Second Ave. Sagas (NYC)
$60 Million High Line Expansion to Connect Park to Moynihan Train Hall: Gov. Cuomo will propose a 1,200-foot elevated pathway that will lead to the new Penn Station development: ...the park, which showed how the city could reinvent itself and reimagine decaying spaces, is to be expanded...another possible expansion of the High Line to connect it north to Pier 76 on West 38th Street, where Mr. Cuomo wants to turn a Police Department tow pound into another park...engaging with the community would be critical... -- Joshua David; Robert Hammond- New York Times
Peggy McGlone: Smithsonian abandons $2 billion expansion plan unveiled in 2014: The controversial design is being scrapped: ...jettisoned the eye-popping elements of the design by Bjarke Ingels, opting instead for a dramatically downsized version...focuses on the renovation and restoration of the James Renwick-designed Castle and the adjacent Arts and Industries Building (AIB), another National Historic Landmark designed by Adolf Cluss and Paul Schulze...2014 design was controversial from the start. -- BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group- Washington Post
Nancy Kenney: Hirshhorn Museum is under pressure to reconsider redesign of its sculpture garden: Critics and city planners question changes to a historic reflecting pool and addition of stacked stone walls in a Modernist environment, while Hiroshi Sugimoto defends his designs but says he is open to negotiating: National Capital Planning Commission approved...preliminary site development plans with the exception of the proposed changes to the reflecting pool and inner partition wall...TCLF sent a letter to the Smithsonian’s Office of Inspector General asking it to investigate whether officials...have been guilty of an abuse of power or inappropriate behavior... -- Gordon Bunshaft; Lester Collins; Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation; Liz Waytkus/Docomomo US- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Kim Willsher: Paris agrees to turn Champs-Élysées into 'extraordinary garden': Mayor Anne Hidalgo gives green light to £225m-scheme to transform French capital’s most famous avenue: ...will not happen before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics...plans include reducing space for vehicles by half, turning roads into pedestrian and green areas, and creating tunnels of trees to improve air quality.. [and] redesigning the famous Place de la Concorde...This is expected to be completed before the Olympic Games. -- Philippe Chiambaretta/PCA-Stream- Guardian (UK)
Dorn Townsend: Can escalators and elevators solve the last-mile problem? Vigo’s perpendicular modifications are a striking example of the mass mobility trend reshaping many of Spain’s urban cores: Churchgoing residents of the Travesia neighbourhood...of Vigo, Spain, used to face a weekly dilemma: travel 2km along a flat road or climb 50m up a steep set of outdoor stairs...Vertical Vigo, a programme to reconnect neighbourhoods with public elevators, escalators and electric walkways, has been eliminating barriers to commerce and community...may be the most striking example of an under-reported trend for mass mobility that is reshaping many of Spain’s urban cores...model of “mobility as a service”...over a dozen Spanish cities...have installed such conveyances. -- Carlo Ratt/MIT Senseable City Lab; Thom Mayne/ Morphosis- City Monitor
Justin Davidson: ‘You’re Responding to Yesterday’s Disasters’: The $6 Billion Floodgates of Venice May Not Be Enough: Proposed decades ago, they were not built for the coming sea rise: ...MOSE has been stuck in the “getting there” phase for a lifetime...it’s still not quite complete - that’s still a year away (maybe)...The saga of Venice’s water wall is one other coastal cities should study as they contemplate a future of higher tides, nastier hurricanes, and more aggressive waves...For all its exquisite engineering, MOSE is...a $6 billion duct-tape fix...the technology predated the latest science...New York....faces similar issues...connected to a far more extensive ecosystem that embraces three states... -- Salvatore Settis/"If Venice Dies"; Henk Ovink/Rebuild by Design- Curbed New York
Edward Mazria: CarbonPositive: A Zero-Carbon Building Sector by 2040 Is Within Reach: Architecture 2030 founder is confident that the building industry can phase out carbon emissions in the next two decades: ...the building sector’s 2020 operating carbon emission...was 27% below 2005 levels...met the U.S. commitment to the...Paris Agreement...achieved the goal five years ahead of the 2025 target date...Emissions have been dropping significantly because new and existing buildings are designed and constructed more efficiently each year...Unless the world collectively reduces current levels of global carbon emissions...devastating impacts of climate change will dramatically escalate...limiting average global temperatures to an increase of 1.5°C while addressing energy poverty is both feasible and profitable.- Architect Magazine
Aaron Betsky: Biden Should Build from the Ground Up: the ways the President-elect's infrastructure plan falls short: As we look forward to a post-pandemic world...what kind of political initiatives and developments can we expect that will affect the design world? So far...the signs are not good...administration-in-waiting appears to be made up of too many familiar faces who have espoused discredited or tired ideas...We do not need a Department of Housing and Urban Development; we need a Department of Re-Housing and Urban Redevelopment...The priority should be how to reuse and improve what we have...reinventing and reinvesting in America from the ground up.- Architect Magazine
Matthew Mueller/PBDW Architects: The hidden cost of modular construction: For a building to be truly sustainable, it must maintain the three corners of the triangle paradigm throughout the building’s lifecycle: ...affordable, built well, and built quickly...Merely checking off the sustainable “boxes” at the front end of the building process does not necessarily promise a sustainable building lifecycle...Modular construction...limits a building’s potential for adaptive re-use...sets it on the course for demolition...a hidden and extremely valuable “cost” of modular construction which no one seems to be talking about...the industry needs to adapt a hybrid construction process which lands somewhere between the traditional and modular methodologies to be truly sustainable and future friendly.- Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
Anna Fixsen: Interview with Emilio Ambasz: In 1968, at the tender age of 25, he became a design curator at the Museum of Modern Art: ...he is best regarded as a godfather of green architecture...his foundation granted MoMA a $10 million gift to establish the Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment, a research organization dedicated to the ways buildings and cities might favor “green over the gray"...for someone with a larger-than-life reputation and a preference for fedoras and grandiloquence, he remains something of an enigma."- Architectural Record
Italy Will Rebuild the Colosseum’s Floor, Restoring Arena to Its Gladiator-Era GloryL Officials plan to host concerts and theater productions on the new, retractable platform: ...will feature replicas of trapdoors, lifts and other mechanical elements used in Roman times...retractable area must be able to close quickly in order to protect the ancient tunnels from the elements...“The arena will be used for high culture, meaning concerts or theater...but no gladiator shows.”- Smithsonian magazine
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