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Thursday, December 12, 2019

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, December 17. Also of note: Tonight's full moon (known as the Cold Moon) is the last full moon of the decade (how time flies!).

Click here to see today's news.
ANN double feature: Lesson Plan #7 by Dalrymple: An Implicit Rather than Explicit Model for Teaching Architecture: I would institute an annual prize for architecture students who would be given the task of designing a building that surpasses an iconic monstrosity in ugliness. -- ANN feature: Locktov, on the one-month anniversary of the devastating floods in Venice, describes the damage wrought on the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, including Scarpa and Botta interventions, and calls for support of fundraising for the restoration of its architectural and cultural treasures. -- Miranda brings us "mammoth news!" The La Brea Tar Pits chooses a design team led by Weiss/Manfredi (L.A.'s "beloved mammoths will not be going extinct" - as DS+R's plan would have done). -- Davidson tours S.F.'s Transbay district with King, "and found a neighborhood that aspires to be the apogee of the early-21st-century city," but "reveals how limited and banal our urban imagination has become - this fresh crop of architecture feels already wilted" (though he likes the elevated park that "feels deliciously private."). -- Eyefuls of MVRDV's competition-winning (and "ambitious") plan for a stretch of Seoul's riverfront that includes altering "the path of the river from a straight canal to a more natural-looking meandering waterway," and turning an existing highway ramp into an elevated park. -- Franklin reports on "the U.S.'s next largest mass timber office building" by Hacker Architects, part of a 28-acre development on San Francisco's historic Pier 70. -- Moore raises issues about Christmas markets, like the one in Trafalgar Square, that Stephen Bayley, in Grinch mode, "calls a 'hurdy-gurdy of kitsch' and 'an assembly of tat' - it's possible to see what he is complaining about." -- The 2020 AIA Gold Medal goes to Marlon Blackwell, and Architecture Research Office (ARO) takes home the 2020 AIA Firm Award - our heartiest congrats! -- Call for entries deadline reminder (next week!): 2020 Fairy Tales Competition: Tell us a bedtime story that will keep us up at night. -- ICYMI: ANN feature: Norman Weinstein: Top Architecture and Design Books of 2019: 10 books offering historic sweeps, global visions, and heroic quests.

Year in review:
-- Kamin picks his "Best in architecture in 2019: Building boomed. Quality was hard to find. Here are the projects and events that stood out. Plus some notable losses." -- AN round-up x 2: The "funniest, most important, and most controversial stories that illuminated some shadowy status-quo practices, as well as fails by some worldwide favorites." -- AN looks back "on the great architects, designers, and curators we lost in 2019. The world is a little less bright without" them. -- Rodkin rounds up 2019's "five architectural standouts" in Chicago "that rose above the rest" - they "enhanced the look and character of the neighborhoods around them - some of them in surprising ways."

Weekend diversions:
-- Todd cheers "Gio Ponti: Loving Architecture" at the Zaha Hadid-designed MAXXI in Rome that narrows in on the polymath's architectural legacy - he "had a lot of tricks up his sleeve." -- Frearson cheers "The Architect's Studio: Tatiana Bilbao Estudio" at Denmark's Louisiana Museum that showcases her "socially minded architecture" + Frearson's Q&A with Bilbao: "'We banned renders' from the design process." -- "Structuring Form: Innovative Rigour of Mahendra Raj" at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi showcases the legacy of the 95-year-old engineer "who showed that walls can be finger-thin, and roofs can fly."

Page-turners:
-- Chandler cheers Kuang & Fabricant's "User Friendly: How the Hidden Rules of Design Are Changing the Way We Live and Play" that "doesn't require a degree from design school to appreciate. It's erudite and steeped in big ideas. But its main strength is great storytelling." -- In McCormack's "The Art of Looking Up," "the world's most spectacular ceilings are celebrated for their aesthetic power and examined for what they mean to those who created them - an alternative look at art where we might not expect it." -- Kohlstedt gives kudos to Schuster's "Swiss Cat Ladders" that presents cat ladders in Bern, Switzerland, "as a sociological, architectural and urban phenomenon - these complex creations reflect a reverence of cats but it also requires a level of community participation and acceptance" (our must-have tome!). -- Walker, Sisson & Polsky round up "101 books about where and how we live. Urban classics and new favorites to read and give." -- Wallpaper*'s round-up of "architecture books to lose yourself in - photographic tomes, architects' monographs and limited editions that we couldn't resist."

  

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