Today’s News - Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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● An Amazon HQ2 kind of day: Florida: "Splitting Amazon HQ2 between New York and D.C. is a telling case of the big getting bigger and the rich getting richer. But America's mayors and governors are the bigger culprits," offering millions (and billions) of taxpayer dollars that "could be used to fight poverty, improve schools, or build affordable housing. About the only hope left is that Amazon wakes up and does the right thing."
● Thompson couldn't agree more: The "Amazon HQ2 spectacle isn't just shameful - it should be illegal. Why the hell are U.S. cities spending tens of billions of dollars to steal jobs from one another in the first place" with deals that "take scarce resources from everything local governments would otherwise pay for, such as schools, roads, police, and prisons."
● Schafer lays out how "Minnesota, like others, was played by Amazon in the HQ2 sweepstakes. Nearly 240 cities and regions provided a ton of information about their communities and growth plans. The businesses that compete with Amazon sure don't have access to that kind of information" (and who knows what it will do with all that confidential data).
● Denver architect Ruggles worries that contemporary architecture "meant to excite is also causing neuroaesthetic problems. 'This is a public-health issue, not a style issue,'" but others beg to differ (Parikh: "This is more a conservative-versus-progressive argument").
● Bisset ponders "mental wellbeing in architecture," and what can be done to improve things: "Frameworks that encompass the mental health of architects and architecture students are long overdue."
● Brussat (at his curmudgeonly best) cheers Scruton being named chair of the U.K.'s Building Better, Building Beautiful commission: "The choice has irked the forces of modern architecture whose helots have already started heaving hot pitch over the walls to block him" - his appointment "bodes poorly for the modernists as they cling ludicrously to their power. Scruton as the knight errant of beauty is an idea whose time has come."
● Speaking of Trad vs. Mod: Chicago may be "a Mies van der Rohe town," but "Stern wants to mess with that equation" with his One Bennett Park supertall" that will "stand out against the modernist, glass-sheathed towers that have shaped Downtown" ("Mies had a heavy hand in this city," sayeth Stern).
● Ford taps Quinn Evans Architects to lead in the renovation of the 104-year-old Michigan Central Station in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood; the automaker is "redeveloping the depot and several other nearby sites to put its stamp on Detroit's revival" (tax breaks included, of course, but at least there's a community benefits agreement).
● A very different kind of preservation: In Japan, the 250-acre Meiji-mura museum that opened in 1965 hosts more than 60 structures from 1868-1912 - not replicas, but the actual buildings, including the original lobby and first floor of FLW's Imperial Hotel.
● Lange makes the case for why "every city should have a toy library": "The 'toyery' once made play a part of civic infrastructure. It's time to bring it back - toy librarians of the 1930s had it right: Toys should be free" (an "Unusual Stuff to Borrow" collection in Ann Arbor - fascinating history lesson, too - who knew?!!?).
● Hawthorne explores three California ghost towns and what they "tell us about the state's more successful settlements" (check out what's at the end of Zzyzx Road).
The Year of the Woman (and not just in politics):
● Matthewson parses the Parlour Census Report and other data re: gender equity: "My analysis shows that the growth in the proportion of women is more sluggish than might be expected," but the good news is that "the most striking change since 2012 is a big jump in the proportion of women gaining registration, from 34% to 41%."
● Ednie-Brown is inspired by the Leading Change conference "marking an extraordinary moment in which women are leading every architecture school in Victoria" and beyond. "How might we work with this emerging situation to best leverage productive change for the discipline of architecture?"
● A good reason to head to Miami December 3-4: Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation's annual Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat, this year themed "Women Up: Successfully Navigating the #MeToo Business Environment.
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Richard Florida: Why New York and D.C. Make Sense for Amazon’s HQ2: When all is said and done, splitting Amazon HQ2 between New York and D.C. is a telling case of the big getting bigger and the rich getting richer...a reflection of our lopsided winner-take-all urbanism...But America’s mayors and governors...are the bigger culprits: Instead of standing firm...they’ve offered up hundreds of millions and in some cases billions, of taxpayer dollars [that] could be used to fight poverty, improve schools, or build affordable housing instead of being placed in the hands of a trillion-dollar corporation...About the only hope left is that Amazon wakes up and does the right thing.- CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities)
Derek Thompson: Amazon HQ2 Spectacle Isn’t Just Shameful - It Should Be Illegal: Each year, local governments spend nearly $100 billion to move headquarters and factories between states. It’s a wasteful exercise that requires a national solution: ...saga had all the hallmarks of the gaudiest reality TV. It was an absurd spectacle, concluding with a plot twist...in a classic late-episode shock, several news outlets reported that Amazon would split its second headquarters...Why the hell are U.S. cities spending tens of billions of dollars to steal jobs from one another in the first place? ...spend up to $90 billion in tax breaks and cash grants...deals take scarce resources from everything local governments would otherwise pay for, such as schools, roads, police, and prisons.- The Atlantic
Lee Schafer: Minnesota, like others, was played by Amazon in the HQ2 sweepstakes: Amid the flood of media coverage...a couple of columns that saw real potential in the project for Minnesota, and they were written by me. What a sap. There is no Amazon second headquarters project with 50,000 new jobs. There may not have ever been. [It] managed to orchestrate a sophisticated PR and marketing campaign...to get offers of tax breaks and free stuff from cities and regions...Nearly 240 cities and regions...provided Amazon a ton of information about their communities and their growth plans...What use Amazon makes of all that confidential information is entirely up to Amazon. The businesses who compete with Amazon sure don’t have access to that kind of information.- Minneapolis Star Tribune
Is Denver’s contemporary architecture killing us? ...architect Don Ruggles worries that the odd angles and sharp points meant to excite are also causing neuroaesthetic problems. "This is a public-health issue, not a style issue": Someone could go to jail for funky design? And don’t we all have a few places in mind whose architects we’d like to punish? “Beauty is not ‘in the eye of the beholder...but a neurological event"...The most eye-popping examples are...The Hamilton wing of the Denver Art Museum and...Clyfford Still Museum...Parikh said, “this is more a conservative-versus-progressive argument.” -- “Beauty, Neuroscience and Architecture"; Ruggles Mabe Studio; Daniel Libeskind/Davis Partnership Architects; Harsh Parikh/Parikh Stevens Architects; Brad Tomecek/Tomecek Studios; Meredith Banasiak/Boulder Associates Architects- Colorado Sun
Catriona Bisset: Opportunity and autonomy: mental wellbeing in architecture: The need to meaningfully engage with mental health in architecture is clear, but what can we do? One possibility is to enhance student and practitioner autonomy by applying our skills to non-traditional problems...to improve mental wellbeing and advance design practice: Mental health sits at the nexus of the work we do and how we do it. It’s a challenge that arises from the very things that make architecture great...Frameworks that encompass the mental health of architects and architecture students are long overdue. -- Australian Institute of Architects Student Organised Network for Architecture (SONA)- ArchitectureAU (Australia)
David Brussat: Sir Roger’s hunt for beauty: Roger Scruton...has been named chairman of...Building Better, Building Beautiful to advise Britain’s government on issues of beauty in housing policy. This is fabulous news...the choice has irked the forces of modern architecture...whose helots have already started heaving hot pitch over the walls to block him and the forces of architectural tradition...the pathetic reaction to James Stevens Curl’s book ["Making Dystopia"] and to Scruton’s appointment bodes poorly for the modernists as they cling ludicrously to their power...do not denigrate what has come to be called the style wars...Trads who buy into modernist disdain for style as a primary consideration in architecture play right into the hands of the mods...Scruton as the knight errant of beauty is an idea whose time has come.- Architecture Here and There
Chicago is a Mies van der Rohe town. Robert A.M. Stern wants to mess with that equation: Unlike modernist towers in Chicago, architect wants One Bennett Park supertall to be ornamental: ...will be the tallest all-residential building in the city. It will also stand out against the modernist, glass-sheathed towers that have shaped Downtown - or at least that’s what Stern is hoping for...“Mies had a heavy hand in this city- The Real Deal Chicago
Ford chooses Christman Brinker, Quinn Evans Architects to lead Michigan Central Station project: ...will help shape its renovation of the 104-year-old [station] in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood...the central column of an estimated $740 million, 1.2 million-square-foot project...redeveloping the depot and several other nearby sites...to put its stamp on Detroit's revival...Detroit City Council approved $104 million in tax breaks over 35 years. It also approved a community benefits agreement in which Ford must invest $10 million in the neighborhood...- Crain's Detroit Business
In Japan, an open-air architecture museum that honors Western-inspired architecture: Meiji-mura in central Japan northeast of Nagoya. The [250-acre] open-air museum...open since 1965, is home to more than 60 structures from the Meiji era (1868-1912)...These aren’t reproductions or replicas...They are actual buildings, each procured, dismantled, moved and painstakingly rebuilt on site. The prize of the park...is the original lobby and first floor of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel, opened in June 1923...demolished in 1968...- Los Angeles Times
Alexandra Lange: Every City Should Have a Toy Library: The “toyery” once made play a part of civic infrastructure. It’s time to bring it back: By the 1930s...consensus had formed that...funds should be set aside for playing with toys...something both physical and mental, that happened when [children] worked their fingers. Imagination. Socialization. Freedom...Play is essential for the development of social, emotional, language, and cognitive skills - and play is threatened by academic expectations, mobility limitations, and screens...The toy librarians of the 1930s had it right: Toys should be free. And the library is the perfect platform...rather than this year’s toy, let’s invent a sustainable model for the toyery.- The Atlantic
Nathan Masters: Lost LA Field Notes: Ghost Towns: Sorry to disappoint fans of the paranormal, but the only ghosts in this episode...are the dreams of the past: visions of wealth, of new cities, of new ways of living that failed. We explore three ruins as the physical remnants of broken dreams...With the help of Christopher Hawthorne, L.A.’s first chief design officer and former architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times, we ask what California’s ghost towns might tell us about the state’s more successful settlements. [video]- KCET.org (California)
Gill Matthewson: Gender equity needed ‘in every nook and cranny of architecture,’ census analysis shows: Since 2012, and because of Parlour’s work, gender equity has become part of the national conversation in architecture...my analysis...shows that the growth in the proportion of women is more sluggish than might be expected...and suggests that gender-based bias impacts more severely upon those in the architecture profession as they age. Women’s representation at senior levels of the profession is still disappointingly low...The most striking change since 2012...is a big jump in the proportion of women gaining registration, from 34% to 41%...The jump means that women are taking matters into their own hands... -- Parlour Census Report- ArchitectureAU (Australia)
Pia Ednie-Brown: Women leading change: The potential for doing things differently: After attending an event marking an extraordinary moment in which women are leading every architecture school in Victoria, she asks if there is unseen value in diversity: As a trend, it extends beyond the university sector...How might we work with this emerging situation to best leverage productive change for the discipline of architecture? -- Onomatopoeia; Parlour; Naomi Stead; Julie Willis; Vivian Mitsogianni; Ursula De Jong; Jane Burry; Clare Cousins; Helen Lochhead; Amy Muir; Yvette Breytenbach; Suzie Hunt; Jenny Culgan- ArchitectureAU (Australia)
Gender Diversity Roundtable for Architects: Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) annual Industry Leaders Roundtable Retreat: “Women Up: Successfully Navigating the #MeToo Business Environment”; December 3-4, Miami- Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF)
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