Today’s News - Thursday, February 11, 2021

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We have a Tuesday morning commitment - though a forecast for 5-8 inches of snow may change that plan, and we'll be back Tuesday, February 16. Another forecast says "snow possible" - in which case we'll be back Wednesday, February 17.

●  Stephen Zacks delves into the AIA statement against designing jails and prisons, the project to close Rikers, and the process of reforming the justice system in NYC: Critics of the U.S. prison system "discourage architects from participating" - long-time practitioners contend that "nonparticipation would be more harmful if architects were not engaging with the system."

●  Urban designer Mark Favermann considers Paul Rudolph's now-demolished Burroughs Wellcome HQ and an 1899 Boston church that met the same fate - what merits saving: "It is progressive politics vs. moral authority vs. money-making vs. nostalgia."

●  On brighter notes: Mavros reports that Finland is proposing 13 Alvar Aalto buildings be added to UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List, asserting that each "meets the criteria for Outstanding Universal Values, a prerequisite for inclusion in the World Heritage List."

●  Brussat cheers Berlin-based Sebastian Treese winning the Driehaus Prize: He "is part of an admirable European trend toward traditional architecture that may be outstripping the strides being made on this side of the Atlantic."

●  Hilburg brings us eyefuls of Kéré Architecture's "swooping new parliament hall for the Republic of Benin - modeled on the distinctive shape (and traditional function) of the native Palaver tree."

●  Adjaye's Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library in Johannesburg, that "resembles traditional African granaries" being built using local mud, stone, and wood, and will include solar panels, a geothermal heating system, and rammed earth walls (great animation).

●  Scott Lewis parses proposed "drastic and controversial" changes to ICC's Model Energy Code Development: "Homebuilders, energy interests and manufacturers maintained that the update would raise house prices. Most building officials, architects and energy-efficiency advocates say those short-term costs pale compared to longer-range energy savings and environmental benefits."

●  The creative directors of Australia's now cancelled 2020 National Architecture Conference: "We believe that architectural wit and intelligence, agility and diligence, cheekiness, and humor, restraint and flamboyance, ethics and goodwill can all be deployed to maximize advantage - in social, environmental and economic terms" + Q&A with Alan Ricks/MASS Design Group - 1st in a series.

●  One we couldn't resist (a video): "While the world has been distracted - change has been happening anyway. Empower women and change the world" (the best 2 minutes we've spent in a long time!).

Weekend diversions + Page-turners:

●  Now available online: Beatrice Galilee's The World Around Summit 2021: "20 ground-breaking architecture and design projects presented by award-winning international architects, designers, filmmakers, researchers, and artists from14 cities and cultural institutions."

●  Louis Kahn at 120: An Online Event (free): Richard Saul Wurman in conversation with Kahn's three children Sue Ann Kahn, Alexandra Tyng, and Nathaniel Kahn, presented by UPenn's Weitzman School of Design and Designers & Books.

●  Steven Litt gives (mostly) thumbs-up to Galen Pardee's "The Great Lakes Architectural Expedition" in Cleveland that "makes the Great Lakes an imaginary client - captivating and imaginative - asserts that architects ought to think not just about serving a specific client today, but also future generations, and the entire planet. Amen to that."

●  Just a reminder: The non-profit Modernism Week's online auction ends Monday!

●  Justin Davidson cheers Annalee Newitz's "Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age" - a "nuanced overflight of history, alighting on four metropolitan centers that took centuries to rise and endured for centuries more before following unpredictable paths to disarray" - relating them to NYC that "has been suffering a more protracted death than the soprano in a Verdi opera."

●  William Morgan cheers Françoise Astorg Bollack's "Material Transfers: Metaphor, Craft, and Place in Contemporary" that "is replete with serendipity, ingenuity, and the stretching of material limits" - and "many visual rewards."

●  Peluso cheers "1,182" by architect/photographers Alessandro Cimmino and Emanuele Piccardo that offers "an unprecedented (photographic) account" of the fall and rise of Genoa's Morandi Bridge: "It teaches us to look more carefully."


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