Today’s News - Tuesday, November 6, 2018
Rather discouraging - but also hopeful - news today:
● Journalist and Cairo resident El Rashidi describes the demolition of the Maspero Triangle, a historic part of the city, and its cost in terms of heritage, characters, and customs: The "government must stop looking outward to mimic other parts of the world."
● Australian architects call for "a level playing field" in the tender process for Sydney's controversial relocation plan for the Powerhouse Museum - it's "not about protectionism - a craving by Australian clients for starchitect-designed buildings doesn't necessarily result in the best work by that big-name architect."
● U.K. architects mince no words about what they think of the new Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, headed by Scruton, as "an attempt to recreate an 'a-historical fantasy [to] appeal to blinkered, quasi-fascist old white men'" (ouch!).
● Moore uses Heatherwick's Instagramable Coal Drop Yards shopping mall as the jumping-off point to air his architectural "quibbles" about the entire King's Cross development and its "over-managed feel": It is "an impressive achievement" - but... (great read).
● Some development going on around the V&A Dundee "could condemn Dundee's waterfront to 'cheap mediocrity'" of "undistinguished steel-framed boxes - a 'kitsch Las Vegas' would be preferable."
● TCLF adds the Hall of Fame for Great Americans at Bronx Community College to its list of "at-risk landscapes" - the college "has a foundation that hopes to raise money to preserve the Hall."
On to brighter news:
● King on the Bay Area's housing debate "dissected in a fascinating trio of pieces by J.K. Dineen - first there were NIMBYS. Now, meet YIMBYs."
● An uplifting report about how Syrian refugees and Jordanians are optimistic about "a pilot project to retrofit and build affordable green homes" that is "solving the dual issues of housing and community cohesion."
● University of Cape Town researcher Suzanne Lambert uses human urine to create "a zero-waste building material" that "could be a real alternative to traditional bricks" in a process that "creates nitrogen and potassium - good for fertilizer - as by-products" (cool!).
● Minutillo brings us an eloquent tour of the Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee in Houston, "a stunning composition of bent steel that is outwardly subtle but at moments quite dramatic - it achieves a quiet monumentality - more akin to sculpture than architecture."
● A profile of Chandra Moore, an African-American woman architect who "is bringing fresh ideas to big projects in Detroit": "This is a good time to be a woman architect. The world is changing right now, and women are ready to take charge" (she's working on a project with Saundra Little, another African-American woman architect - yay!).
● A report from the 46th National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) 2018 conference themed "Unbounded" that leapt "beyond typical conference fare of newfangled products, technology innovations and business strategies" with "a deeper message of inclusivity, solidarity and support," and broke "out of the confines of stuffy hotel rooms."
● The NYT and WSJ report that Amazon will split its HQ2 between Crystal City, Virginia, and Long Island City in Queens, New York, "driven by the need to recruit enough tech talent" and ease "potential housing and transit problems caused by a sudden influx of tens of thousands of workers" ("Amazon declined to comment").
● Betsky cheers DS+R's "Mile-Long Opera: A Biography of 7 O'Clock" that "sadly, lasted for only a few days on New York's High Line - we need a Mile-Long Opera every night, in every city, and at every scale. Architecture should sing the city alive, and the Opera did that" (great pix!).
● Dezeen's Bauhaus 100 series celebrates "the most influential art and design school in history" on its 100th anniversary with profiles of the school's key figures and projects.
● Architect of the Capitol Ayers is stepping down after serving 11 years (and three presidents) - the AIA "will convene a task force to determine candidates to recommend."
● Call for Proposals: 1st International Conference on Urban Experience and Design: Ux+Design 2019.
● Call for entries: The Pavilosta Poet Huts Competition for a retreat within the quiet fishing village on the Latvian coast.
One we couldn't resist (an anthem for election day?):
● Poon brings us Taipei's mayor who "will destroy you with his new rap video "Do things right." To the mayors of the U.S...your move."
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[ Journalist and Cairo resident ]
Yasmine El Rashidi: Why Do We Destroy What Makes Us? A historic part of Cairo is being razed. Its demolition means the loss of heritage buildings - and of characters and customs: Maspero Triangle...some 85 acres that has been home to 18,000 residents...government started forcibly evicting what residents it could by cutting off water and electricity, and then bulldozing buildings...The district’s first signs of development date back to the 1400s...main structures were erected in the 19th century...vacant land...was built up informally, by residents with no formal deeds, slowly becoming part of the architectural and cultural heritage of Cairo..."We won’t leave any room for randomness to come back to this area again"...government must stop looking outward to mimic other parts of the world.- New York Times
Don't favour foreign firms: Powerhouse Museum fears tender unite Australian architects: Sydney's controversial relocation plan has become even more fraught, with a roll call of the country's top architects demanding the NSW government commit to an equal go in the design tender for the $645 million project...target the selection of London-based Malcolm Reading - who managed the competition for Adelaide Contemporary...not about protectionism, but about a level playing field...a craving by Australian clients for starchitect-designed buildings undermines the country's own efforts to promote the industry overseas and doesn't necessarily result in the best work by that big-name architect. -- Australian Institute of Architects; Alec Tzannes; Peter Stutchbury; Ian McDougall; Gerard Reinmuth; Ingrid Richards; Richard Francis-Jones; John Wardle; Rachel Neeson; Wendy Lewin; Diller Scofidio + Renfro/Woods Bagot; Rogers Stirk + Harbour; UNStudio/Cox Architecture- Australian Financial Review
UK's new commission for beautiful buildings is "tedious hangover from 1980s" say architects: ...new Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission...set up to improve the design quality of homes and places...an attempt to recreate an "a-historical fantasy [to] appeal to blinkered, quasi-fascist old white men"...Roger Scruton...who has a long championed traditional architecture, will chair the new body. [He] is an outspoken critic of contemporary architects...Owen Hatherley accused the think tank of campaigning to "make thousands of council tenants homeless for the sake of aesthetics." -- Charles Holland; Sam Jacob; Douglas Murphy- Dezeen
Rowan Moore: Thomas Heatherwick’s Coal Drops Yard - shopping in the Instagram age: ..."kissing" roofs top a new high-end shopping mall in the old coal sheds. But why does the whole King’s Cross scheme not quite feel real? ...it is a thing of use and craft repackaged by design and marketing...clean, prosperous, safe and managed, where before it was dirty, rundown, risky and anarchic...[His] superstructure grabs attention...with more chutzpah than most... there’s not much to make them linger if they don’t want to shop...Many of the buildings are handsome and few are poor, but eventually...become oppressive, or enervating, or both...they are somehow neutered by the tasteful landscaping and cladding....The upside is that the job actually gets done...The downside is the over-managed feel. -- Demetri Porphyrios; Allies and Morrison; David Chipperfield; Eric Parry; BIG- Observer (UK)
Developments like site six could condemn Dundee’s waterfront to ‘cheap mediocrity’: Dundee Civic Trust has hit back at critics who labelled the city’s waterfront project tacky. However, the heritage group has said even the prospect of a “kitsch Las Vegas” would be preferable to more developments like the controversial site six office block...could set a precedent for more “undistinguished steel-framed boxes”...Will Gompertz...aid there was no need to “decorate” the V&A Dundee with “tacky add-ons” like site six. [images]- The Courier (Scotland)
James Barron: The Hall of Fame for Great Americans: As Forgotten as Some of Its Members: A preservation-minded group put the Hall, an open-air sculpture gallery in the Bronx, on a list of “at-risk landscapes.” Millions of dollars are needed for repairs...an open-air gallery of statues of important Americans - or, at least, Americans who were considered important when they were chosen...it has become a snapshot of who was who...Bronx Community College has a foundation that hopes to raise money to preserve the Hall. -- Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation/TCLF; Samuel G. White- New York Times
John King: In housing debate, first there were NIMBYS. Now, meet YIMBYs: Back in the 1970s, the Bay Area was an incubator for political activism...that often sought to block new development that seemed to threaten a neighborhood’s character. Now, a much different activism is rearing its head: a push by mostly younger adults to demand that more housing be built, and the sooner the better...it’s dissected in a fascinating trio of pieces by Chronicle reporter J.K. Dineen.- San Francisco Chronicle
Brick by brick: green homes build cohesion between Syrian refugees and Jordanians: ...a pilot project to retrofit and build affordable green homes, led by...the Jordan Green Building Council (JoGBC) and Habitat for Humanity...solving the dual issues of housing and community cohesion meant the green homes were both lowering emissions and...becoming more popular. There are now waiting lists...with families keen to lower their costs and emissions, and with builders looking to market their green credentials. [images]- Place / Thomson Reuters Foundation
Bio-bricks made from human urine could be environmentally friendly future of architecture: University of Cape Town researcher Suzanne Lambert has created a zero-waste building material...which hardens at room temperature...could be a real alternative to traditional bricks, which are heated at temperatures of more than 1,000 degree Celsius, producing huge carbon dioxide emissions...process creates nitrogen and potassium - good for fertiliser - as by-products, and is ultimately zero-waste with 100% of the urine converted into something useful.- Dezeen
Josephine Minutillo: The Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee: There’s been a lot happening at the Menil Collection’s art campus in Houston...the first freestanding building in the U.S. dedicated to modern and contemporary drawing...a stunning composition of bent steel that is outwardly subtle but at moments quite dramatic... it achieves a quiet monumentality through radically different measures from Renzo Piano’s elaborate, now instantly recognizable, detailing...more akin to sculpture than architecture. -- Renzo Piano (1986); Stern and Bucek; David Chipperfield; Michael Van Valkenburgh [images]- Architectural Record
This African-American woman architect [Chandra Moore] is bringing fresh ideas to big projects in Detroit: Most recently, her firm, coG-Studio is helping to transform Stelden Street into a Midtown hotspot...one of four firms participating in Midtown Detroit Inc.'s $21 million rehabilitation of the long-neglected street..."This is a good time to be a woman architect. The world is changing right now, and women are ready to take charge"...Moore's father, Walter Moore, built multi-family housing in San Francisco...what makes her most proud are the smaller commissions she does for her community. -- Saundra Little/Centric Design Studio- Model D (Detroit)
The 46th National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) 2018 Takes Their Show To The Streets: Leaping beyond typical conference fare of newfangled products, technology innovations and business strategies, “Unbounded,” the theme...delivered a deeper message of inclusivity, solidarity and support...the “without walls” format “breaks us out of the confines of stuffy hotel rooms.”- Newcity Chicago
Amazon planning to split second HQ between 2 cities: reports: ...decision was driven by the need to recruit enough tech talent...will spread the impact of..."HQ2" across two communities, easing potential housing and transit problems caused by a sudden influx of tens of thousands of workers...Washington Post reported ...Amazon is holding advanced discussions about opening HQ2 in Crystal City, Virginia...New York Times's sources confirmed that location and said the second location was the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens...Amazon declined to comment.- The Hill (Washington, DC)
Aaron Betsky: Singing the City Alive: ...in the City That Never Sleeps "Mile-Long Opera: A Biography of 7 O’Clock" evoked the loneliness embedded in our architecture: I realized that the urban symphony was the whole point of the Opera, the performance that, sadly, lasted for only a few days on New York’s High Line...we need a Mile-Long Opera every night, in every city, and at every scale, to remind us that architecture is not just an act of building boxes, but at its best also of letting us see, hear, and feel real life. Architecture should sing the city alive, and the Opera did that. -- Liz Diller/Ric Scofidio/Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Rockwell Group [images]- Architect Magazine
Dezeen's Bauhaus 100 series: The Bauhaus, the most influential art and design school in history, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019...series exploring the school's key figures and projects. By Owen Hopkins, Jon Astbury, Alyn Griffiths [images]- Dezeen
Stephen Ayers Stepping Down as Architect of the Capitol: Ayers has served under presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump during his 11-year tenure: AIA will convene a task force to determine [AOC] candidates to recommend to a congressional commission charged with filling the position.- Architect Magazine
Call for entries: Call for Proposals: 1st International Conference on Urban Experience and Design: Ux+Design 2019 at Tufts University, Somerville, Massachusetts, April 26, 2019; deadline for abstracts: November 15- Tufts University / Genetics of Design
Call for entries: The Pavilosta Poet Huts Competition: design a retreat within the quiet fishing village on the western coast of Latvia & a multi-functional space for small exhibitions, gatherings, and permanent accommodation for the host family; cash prizes; early bird registration deadlines (save money!): December 4, 2018 & April 12, 2019; final registration: April 16, 2019 (submissions due June 4, 2019)- Bee Breeders (formerly HMMD/Homemade Dessert)
[ One we couldn't resist (an anthem for election day?) ]
Linda Poon: Taipei’s Mayor Will Destroy You With His New Rap Video: Mayor Ko Wen-je just dropped a trap song with one simple message: “Do things right": The overall message is straightforward: Behave. Achieve greatness...The video conjures up lots of feelings. It’s threatening, partly inspirational, a little bit cringe-worthy, if we’re being honest. If nothing else, it’s a catchy song that’s probably already stuck in your head. To the mayors of U.S., your move.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
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