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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