Today’s News - Thursday, February 18, 2021

EDITOR'S NOTE: Happy 19th ANNiversary! launched this day - in 2002! We are taking a brief break - the newsletter will return Thursday, February 25.

●  ANN feature: Tom Marshall, AIA, LEED AP: Resurrection: Architecture Rebuilds Community Connections in Memphis: The site of a dying mall is reinvented with new public buildings and activities designed to create a critical mass of vibrancy and social cohesion.

●  Cathleen McGuigan's eloquent tribute to Leslie Robertson: "Revered and beloved by the architects with whom he collaborated" - perhaps best known for engineering the WTC's Twin Towers - "9/11 left him grief-stricken" - he was "unfailingly charming, in a self-effacing way - a force field of ingenuity, invention, and inspiration. He was a national treasure" (we couldn't agree more).

●  Betsky on "the merits of the 'look-ma-no-hands' approach to design - twisting forms do produce exciting shapes and spaces - we seem to have gotten stuck in a 'box versus blob debate" (though he's "actually eager to see some of them realized").

●  Michael Huston is nowhere near as optimistic in his take-down of "artificial complexity - buildings that contort, pop up and down, are split in the middle have very little - and, often, nothing - to do with the function, economy, or beauty."

●  Mark Alan Hewitt takes on "three astounding, world-shattering shifts" that have "beset our old and esteemed profession and wreaked havoc on architects. It is now our duty to recognize our predicament and address the challenges in order to create a humane, sustainable, and healthy environment."

Moving on to brighter news notes:

●  Feargus O'Sullivan reports on Mad Arkitekter's new timber tower in Berlin that "comes with lofty ambitions - to be an emphatically community-focused, affordable development - a charismatic architectural showpiece in an up-and-coming neighborhood without exclusion or displacement."

●  Linda Poon reports on organizations "finding a second life" for plywood from boarded-up stores as tiny houses, public art, voter registration booths, BVN's street furniture for outdoor dining, and more. "This riot wood was once put up in fear and anxiety, and now it's being reused to build a hopeful future."

●  Jason Pugh, NOMA's new president, explains why he "remains optimistic during these challenging times - a few shimmering rays of daylight have pierced through the clouds, signaling that change is near" - including "the increased dialogue on discriminatory practices. NOMA is facing challenges, but good ones."

●  Q&A with Eera Babtiwale of HMC Architects re: "her introduction to Architecture and Sustainability, her process for approaching each project, and her advice for women entering the field": "This industry needs you. It needs your capacity to craft a plan that addresses multiple concerns. It needs your ability to uplift and empower others."

●  Pamela Puchalski is named Executive Director of Open House New York to lead the organization in "catalyzing new models for inclusion and equity" and "bring community, philanthropic, and business leaders together to tackle head-on a myriad of challenges confronting the city."

●  A great presentation of the Architectural League Emerging Voices 2021 Award winners and their "distinct design voices that have the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design."

●  Looming deadline reminder: Call for entries: 2021 ASLA Professional Awards honoring the best in landscape architecture from around the globe; registration deadline: this Monday, February 22!


●  Jeffrey A. Kroessler cheers Roberta Brandes Gratz's "It's a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York" that "reveals how actual people generated the ideas that returned the city to prominence. However powerful the impersonal forces of history destroying New York may have been, they had a formidable opponent" in the Kaplan Fund.

●  Designers & Books has launched its Kickstarter campaign for "The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn" - an "exact copy of the architect's long-unavailable 60-year-old book accompanied by a new, illustrated Reader's Guide" (great pix and excerpts!).

●  Lizzie Crook talks to Sam Lubell re: "Life Meets Art" that "offers a glimpse inside homes of leading creatives from across six different centuries and more than 30 countries + Her pick of 10 designer homes from the book.

●  Welton talks to Samuel G. White re: "Stanford White in Detail" that "zeroes in on the finer points" of his great-grandfather's work - the ornament and interiors that he dispatched with unmatched elegance" - a "sumptuous - and to some degree astonishing" book.

●  ANN Reprise: Excerpt: "Stanford White in Detail" by Samuel G. White: A rich presentation of the sensual and scenographic effects created by the legendary architect. For White, every surface was an opportunity.


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