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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: A sad news day as the coronavirus hits close to home. Michael Sorkin, a friend and one of our heroes (right, comrade?), left this world last Thursday. On Friday, we lost Michael McKinnell, co-designer of Boston City Hall, which Robert Campbell calls "an ugly/wonderful work of architecture." Alas, we fear they will not be the last to leave us…sigh - stay safe, stay in.

Click here to see Today's News (feature articles below the news note).
Giovannini's tribute to Michael Sorkin, who inspired so many "to use architecture to change lives, resist the status quo, and help achieve social equity," and "helped reset the field's moral compass - speaking truth to power." -- Weizman pays tribute to Sorkin, his "architectural god-father": "Only a few weeks ago he took the time to campaign for me when I was not allowed to travel to the U.S., just as he often did for others less privileged" with "his sense of urban justice, and feisty activism - we all need to continue the fight." -- Michael Murphy of MASS Design Group: "To me, he was an elder - a visionary, a teacher, but also a mensch" who wanted "to make architecture 'less evil, more kind' - we have lost an oracle and a soothsayer." -- "The voice of architecture with a purpose" is remembered by Ivy, Mayne, Murphy, Giovannini, Suckle, Tehrani, Gutman, Hodgetts, Weiss, and Manfredi. -- Gibson gathers an "outpouring of warm tributes" for the "fierce and brilliant" Sorkin from Kimmelman, Kamin, Heathcote, Beirut, Manaugh, and McGuirk. -- Sorkin in his own words, from 2018 - a must-read! "250 Things an Architect Should Know: 47. What the brick really wants. 130. How to escape a maze. 168. How to patch leaks. 172. The way to Santa Fe. 198. Why you think architecture does any good. 200. What rusts." -- Bernstein honors Michael McKinnell, 84: "The beginning of his career as an architect was almost like a fairy tale"; Barker calls him "a generous mentor" + A tribute by Robert Campbell. -- "On what turned out to be the final full day of his life McKinnell spoke with his wife [Stephanie Mallis] about his plans for one final design - his final resting place - a garden as small as City Hall is large covered with white roses." -- In other news: Hopkirk reports that Alan Jones, RIBA president, has temporarily stepped down, citing "a personal matter. Staff is still in the dark about the reasons but has been told he will be uncontactable for four to six weeks." -- Pingel delves into accessible design 30 years after ADA: "The concept has evolved from a practical matter to a complex idea about beauty, equity, and what it means to live well," but "architects and designers who are disabled themselves" say "the furnishings market lacks enough well-made, well-designed options." -- Russell: parses Perkins and Will's Rush University Medical Center in Chicago "planned for a pandemic. Conceived after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent anthrax terrorism," it "could be a model for hospitals that have not added surge capacity." -- Joyner parses Seneca College's Centre for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship, by Perkins and Will Toronto, that "facilitates storytelling with Indigenous cultural elements and inspiration" by working "with the First Peoples@Seneca Office to ensure that the Indigenous communities the building represents would be conveyed in the design." -- The CBC reaches into its archive for the 1960 broadcast of "Front Page Challenge" with Viljo Revell as the mystery guest: What did he think of FLW calling his Toronto City Hall "a grave marker for a cemetery" - "I hope he was wrong."

COVID-19 news continues - the last item a much-needed lift for our spirits:
-- Fairs reports on American architects and institutions that have teamed up as part of an open-source project using their own 3D printers (a link to "Operation PPE" open-source 3D files in the first comment). -- A new American Institute of Architects task force report, to be released in early April, "will offer insights for adapting buildings into temporary healthcare facilities" to deal with COVID-19 "in an effort to help inform decisions to address the pandemic." -- The Australian Institute of Architects pens an open letter to the prime minister outlining "initiatives that would help to keep the industries in action during these uncertain times." -- Massengale calls for "a network of 'quiet streets.' COVID-19 demonstrates the need for more space for people. We should use this time when traffic is light to work on ideas for safer, quieter, and more pleasant streets for pedestrians and cyclists now and in the future." -- Chakrabarti looks ahead to "a new New York. As this virus eventually fades - let's not just rebuild our old economy and old city, but a new city resilient to the shocks we know are coming, like the biggest shock of them all, climate change." -- Hernandez ponders "the meaning of public spaces amid social distancing" after L.A. closes down its beaches: "One of the last remaining channels of social cohesion and mental well-being is access to public lands," while Hawthorne says the "crisis is forcing all of us to make sacrifices - 'this is about keeping that common good in mind.'" -- One we couldn't resist: "Getty Museum challenges people in self-quarantine to recreate favorite works of art with objects at home - the museum's direct messages have been 'flooded' ever since with hilarious re-creations" (dogs and hockey sticks included!).

  

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