Today’s News - Thursday, December 13, 2018
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days - we'll be back Tuesday, December 18.
● Kamin delves into how Chicago architects, who "have long been viewed as more high-minded than developers," are making "timely donations" to "aldermen that "begs the question of whether they are complying with the AIA's ethics code," and "part of an overall pattern of giving that is widely accepted among the city's tight-knit architecture community and is little-known to the public."
● A look at how New York won Amazon HQ2 - with link to official proposal - complete with re-do of "I Love NY" logo (Amazon smile instead of a heart - read Milton Glaser's response in "Yesterday's News").
● A look at "how NYC and Arlington, VA, are prepping communities for Amazon HQ2: NYC has formed a Community Advisory Committee, "designed to share information and solicit community engagement." Arlington has "taken to Facebook for a 'community engagement strategy' - showing officials are trying to do things differently and more strategically than residents may have originally thought."
● The tale of Kenya's struggle "to give life to futuristic 'Silicon Savannah' city: Grandiose plans, red tape and a lack of funding have left the $14.5 billion Konza Technopolis way behind schedule. Some critics say it was ill-conceived from the start."
● Henaul takes a deep dive into Perkins+Will's revamp of an Erickson classic, the Bank of Canada HQ in Ottawa that includes a "vibrant" public plaza and "dynamic - one could even say joyous - workspaces. P+W and its collaborators must be commended for their tremendous - and humble - efforts in adapting the complex to contemporary realities while respecting the original design."
● Davidson x 2: He cheers Gensler and Raymond Jungles' "sensitive, even self-indulgently gorgeous renovation" of the Ford Foundation in NYC: "The premises were quiet on the day I visited," which "allowed me to linger over the building's inherent genius, and note the care and the fault lines in the restoration. Astonishingly, the feel of the original emerged largely intact."
● His take on Snøhetta's original "sheer negligee of glass," and revised design for the AT&T Building (a.k.a. 550 Madison Avenue): "Craig Dykers expressed a profound ambivalence toward Johnson's design. He got over it, I guess. Having overreached, he and his firm doubled back, this time seeing how little they could intervene."
● In Tbilisi, where "a building boom is underway," residents are reinventing their public spaces - "it is not how most cities do public spaces," but they "have come up with innovative ways for locals to congregate in their ancient and fast-changing city."
● DLANDstudio's Drake talks to the Trust for Public Land's Strickland about how the TPL is transforming "low-performing asphalt 'play yards' into multi-benefit play spaces" for both the schools and the local community (last of 3-part series - link to Q&A's with NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and Deborah Marton of the New York Restoration Project).
● Davidson offers "a solution for fixing the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: Get rid of it - we keep clinging to outdated infrastructure because doing anything else would be too burdensome even to think about. The BQE is an anthology of coulda-shoulda-wouldas."
● Nielsen & Bourne offer a "case study in complexity" in a post-Superstorm Sandy world, and designing a waterfront park on Manhattan's East River: "As landscape architects, we realized we would need to weave education - our own and the community's - into our design process. 'What does safe mean?' Do we mean resilient...Or do we mean protection" (link to PDF for great images).
● A fascinating look at what the London Eye did right that the New York Wheel on Staten Island did wrong: "The answer is 'political will'" - never mind it's all about location, location, location.
● One we couldn't resist: Scraps from ill-fated New York Wheel, the "would-be world's tallest Ferris wheel," go up for auction next month (36 capsules for $23 million - possible emergency housing pods?).
● Lam considers her new motherhood: "Having a kid changes everything. I didn't expect that to include my view of architecture - my interaction with the built environment has been shifting as I learn to navigate the world with a tiny human. It's helpful to have mother-architects and father-architects to get that detail right."
● For the kid in all of us: Brussat brings us "House Fancy," an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants: "The Encyclopedia SpongeBobia, whose very existence is a comment on our culture," summarizes a wrecked house as "a work of abstract art.' And of course that's a comment on our culture as well."
● Newman finds Chicago's Joffrey Ballet presentation of "The Nutcracker" to be possibly "the most graceful urban planning history lesson ever" (Drosselmeyer, the magician, is replaced by a new character based on Daniel Burnham.
● House of Today/HoT Biennale 2018 in Beirut, themed "Elevate, the Quest for Heightened Senses," is a showcase of contemporary Lebanese design, and includes the "first ever retrospective celebrating Khalil Khoury's furniture work."
● "Syria Matters" at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha puts the spotlight on historic sites destroyed by years of civil war.
● Eliasson's "Ice Watch," a collection of ice boulders outside the Tate Modern and Bloomberg HQ, "aims to make the impact of climate change a more immediate, physical experience - jarringly sad, evoking a very real sense of loss" (through Dec. 21 - if they last that long).
● Lewyn cheers Speck's "Walkable City Rules," which "not only makes the case for narrow, walkable streets, but also provides more detailed guidance for specialists," and is "worth reading even for those of us who will never set foot in a planner's office."
● Phaidon's "Atlas of Brutalist Architecture" is "the most comprehensive survey to date," and "marks the latest output in a recent explosion of interest in this iconic yet often scorned typology - contemporary examples are a testament to the enduring appeal of this iconic style."
● Moore picks his must-reads of 2018, which include "a visual celebration" of Burle Marx, "Hassan Fathy: Earth and Utopia"; Thomas's "Drawing Architecture"; Rattenbury's "The Wessex Project"; and Boughton's "Municipal Dreams."
● Welton' picks: Locktov's "Dream of Venice in Black and White"; Thomas's "Drawing Architecture"; Suckle & Singer's "Cocktails and Conversations"; Hess & Stern's "Modern Hollywood" (and his own "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand").
● ICYMI: Weinstein at his eloquent best with his pick of the 10 Best Architecture and Design Books of 2018, which he describes as "invaluable and impeccably designed"; "quirkily inclusive"; "charmingly loopy"; "enthralling"; "produced with panache" (and then some!).
● ICYMI: ANN feature: rise Up: Sponsors are cheering on their student/architect teams working to find low-cost, sustainable housing solutions in the rise in the city 2018 design competition - but there are still teams that need sponsorship. Join those who are already reaping the rewards of the partnerships!
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Blair Kamin: Chicago architects shower aldermen with campaign cash - raising 'serious questions' about ethics: [They] have long been viewed as more high-minded than developers...But that image of political purity bears little relation to reality...The timing of the donations begs the question of whether [they] are complying with the American Institute of Architects’ ethics code, which forbids contributions that seek to sway officials’ judgments...campaign finance watchdogs worry that the contributions give architects an advantage over ordinary residents...timely donations are part of an overall pattern of giving that is widely accepted among the city’s tight-knit architecture community and is little-known to the public.- Chicago Tribune
How New York won Amazon: See the official proposals for each NYC neighborhood: ...while Amazon selected the Queens neighborhood of Long Island City as its new home, officials had proposed bringing Amazon’s campus to the Farley Building, 3 World Trade Center, Brooklyn Height’s Watchtower building, Bjarke Ingels’ The Spiral, and even Governors Island. [images]- 6sqft (New York City)
How NYC and Arlington, VA are prepping communities for HQ2: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the formation of a Community Advisory Committee (CAC), designed to share information regarding Amazon HQ2 and solicit community engagement...In Arlington, local officials have taken to Facebook for a "community engagement strategy"...showing they are trying to do things differently and more strategically than residents may have originally thought.- Smart Cities Dive
Kenya struggles to give life to futuristic 'Silicon Savannah' city: Grandiose plans, red tape and a lack of funding have left Konza Technopolis - the $14.5 billion new city...way behind schedule on its goal of having 20,000 people on site by 2020...the first building has yet to be completed...three years after breaking ground, and business has shifted its focus to other African countries, like Rwanda, with competing visions to become modern tech hubs...Some critics say Konza was ill-conceived from the start.- Place / Thomson Reuters Foundation
Odile Henault: A Banking Legacy: By the time Arthur Erickson tackled the design of the Bank of Canada Headquarters in Ottawa in the late 1960s, he had demonstrated mastery in concrete...and made forays into using glass...there was the need to integrate the existing 1938...neo-classical building...[P+W] tasked with two major objectives: to address performance and infrastructure deficits...and to modernize the Bank as a workplace...transformed the offices into a series of dynamic - one could even say joyous - workspaces...a rather uninteresting raised plinth...stood where the now-vibrant plaza currently presides...[P+W] and its collaborators must be commended for their tremendous - and humble - efforts in adapting the complex to contemporary realities while respecting the original design. -- Cornelia Oberlander; Keith Loffler; Jim Strasman; Julia Gersovitz; DTAH; EVOQ [images]- Canadian Architect magazine
Justin Davidson: Growing Out of the ’60s: The Ford Foundation Building Gets Renewed: Plantings that work, restored mid-century credenzas - and, finally, wheelchair access that’s not through the back: Preservation means understanding that a course chosen decades ago no longer means the same thing. In the 1960s, a handsome ashtray embedded in an armrest was a touch of thoughtfully deluxe design...Those brass ashtrays remain...after a sensitive, even self-indulgently gorgeous renovation...The premises were quiet on the day I visited...allowed me to linger over the building’s inherent genius, and note the care and the fault lines in the restoration...Astonishingly, the feel of the original emerged largely intact....the heart of the building remains Kiley’s climate-controlled Eden. Its mere existence is a miracle...even more miraculously, the garden looks and feels lusher and more layered than it did before...New signage inviting the public into the atrium will strike a blow against the “monetization of public space.” -- Kevin Roche; John Dinkeloo; Dan Kiley; Gensler; Raymond Jungles [images]- New York Magazine
Justin Davidson: Will the AT&T Building Ever Work? A First Look at the Revised Renovation Plan: A year ago...Snøhetta unveiled plans for a risqué renovation of Philip Johnson’s AT&T (a.k.a. Sony) Building at 550 Madison Avenue...Off came 10 stories’ worth of demure masonry, replaced by a sheer negligee of glass...Preservationists swung into action...Craig Dykers, expressed a profound ambivalence toward Johnson’s design...He got over it, I guess. Having overreached, he and his firm doubled back, this time seeing how little they could intervene. [images]- New York Magazine
Boxing on a bridge? Tbilisi reinvents its public spaces: It is not how most cities do public spaces, but Tbilisi is shaking off decades of Soviet rule to reinvent itself: In the Georgian capital...residents have...come up with innovative ways for locals to congregate in their ancient and fast-changing city...developers have bent once-tight planning rules and a building boom is underway - one that is...jeopardising the open areas where Georgians meet. -- Teimuraz Bochorishvili; Nikoloz Lekveishvili; Timm Architecture- Place / Thomson Reuters Foundation
Susannah Drake: How the Trust for Public Land is converting schoolyards to playgrounds: Q&A with Carter Strickland, the New York State director of the TPL: "Since 1996, TPL has been working...to transform low-performing asphalt “play yards” into multi-benefit play spaces used by the schools...and the local community...Our work breaks down the physical border between schools and the surrounding community by unlocking fences and opening a new neighborhood park...involving the community in the visioning and design process before the park is built, and in the programming and use of the park after it is built." -- DLANDstudio- The Architect's Newspaper
Justin Davidson: Here’s a Solution for Fixing the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: Get Rid of It: New York City wants to spend billions upgrading a perpetually jammed roadway. Bad idea: ...the situation many American cities find themselves in when it comes to their highways. Elevated multilane interstates...have become clotted receptacles for vehicles that idle, inch forward, and brake. These roads work, after a fashion...And so we keep fixing them up, clinging to outdated infrastructure because doing anything else would be too burdensome even to think about...The BQE is an anthology of coulda-shoulda-wouldas.- New York Magazine
Signe Nielsen & Molly Bourne: A case study in complexity: After Superstorm Sandy, reclaiming the waterfront is a many-layered thing: As landscape architects, we realized we would need to weave education - our own and the community’s - into our design process to achieve more robust landscapes that...stretch beyond the beautiful and functional to those that strengthen ecological systems. This is a story about designing a public waterfront park, Pier 42...along Manhattan’s East River...Municipalities need to encourage federal agencies to recognize local conditions and expand the tool kit of resilient solutions...“What does safe mean?” Do we mean resilient...Or do we mean protection... -- Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects- ArchitectureBoston (Boston Society of Architects/BSA)
What did London Eye do right that the NY Wheel did wrong? When the London Eye was built in 2000 it was initially supposed to be a temporary attraction. But 18 years later, it’s one of England’s biggest tourist venues...honored with 85 awards for national and international tourism, outstanding architectural quality and engineering achievement...Abraham Unger: “The answer...is ‘political will,’ specifically on the mayor’s level"...London mayor...Ken Livingstone, backed the project...Mayor Bill de Blasio said...he didn’t see the project as “economically viable"...Another reason...is its location...[it] could have been successful in another location.- SILive.com (Staten Island)
Scraps from ill-fated New York Wheel will go up for auction next month: ...the would-be world’s tallest Ferris wheel in Staten Island was called off in October, after nearly a decade of delays and $450 million in investment...9,147 tons of steel could also be sold for scrap metal.- 6sqft (New York City)
Elsa Lam: Design Like A Mother: What they say is true: having a kid changes everything. I didn’t expect that to include my view of architecture. But over the past year of maternity leave, my interaction with the built environment has been shifting as I learn to navigate the world with a tiny human...The mental map of my neighbourhood altered...It’s helpful to have mother-architects and father-architects to get that detail right...Experience is the ultimate teacher in life, as well as in design. -- Stantec; LGA Architectural Partners- Canadian Architect magazine
M. Sophia Newman: Is This the Most Graceful Urban Planning History Lesson Ever? Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet [presents]...“The Nutcracker,” this time placing the story inside the 1893 Columbian Exposition...depicts immigrant construction workers at a modest Christmas party - a far cry from the traditional setting of an opulent upper-class home. It revises protagonist Marie (sometimes called Clara) from a rich girl...to the child of an impoverished single mother...Drosselmeyer, the magician...gets reworked as the “Great Impresario,” a new character based on the real architect and city planner Daniel Burnham. thru December 30- Next City (formerly Next American City)
House of Today/HoT Biennale 2018: "Elevate, the Quest for Heightened Senses": Beirut, Lebanon, December 12-28: Products by 21 designers will be exhibited to showcase contemporary Lebanese design...First ever retrospective celebrating modernist architect Khalil Khoury’s furniture work. HoT is an internationally recognized non-profit organization that identifies, nurtures, mentors, curates, showcases and connects emerging Lebanese designers.- House of Today (Beirut, Lebanon)
Syria’s war-ravaged heritage to be the focus of new Qatar show: Museum of Islamic Art looks at historic sites destroyed by years of civil war: The destruction of Syria’s heritage over the past eight years is the subject of..."Syria Matters"...to explore the country’s centuries-old “extraordinary cultural heritage” against the backdrop of the raging conflict that has seen the destruction of six Unesco world heritage sites; in Doha , thru April 30- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Ice Watch’ confronts Londoners with the realities of climate change: ...24 ice boulders arranged at the front of Tate Modern. They’re already melting...Created in collaboration with [geologist] Minik Rosing...aims to make the impact of climate change a more immediate, physical experience...jarringly sad, evoking a very real sense of loss...outside Tate Modern, and Bloomberg HQ, London, thru December 21- Wallpaper*
Michael Lewyn: "Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places": A Detailed Guide to Walkability: Jeff Speck's new book not only makes the case for narrow, walkable streets, but also provides more detailed guidance for specialists: ...worth reading even for those of us who will never set foot in a planner's office...[it] tells readers what can be done to improve upon the status quo.- PLANetizen
Mapping Brutalist Architecture: Phaidon’s "Atlas of Brutalist Architecture" presents the most comprehensive survey to date of this ever-controversial building typology...marks the latest output in a recent explosion of interest in this iconic yet often scorned typology...This vast selection highlights the versatility and popularity of the Brutalist approach...contemporary examples provided are a testament to the enduring appeal of this iconic style...- TLmagazine - True Living of Art & Design (Brussels, Belgium)
Rowan Moore: Best books of 2018: "Roberto’s Rio" is...primarily visual celebration of...Roberto Burle Marx..."Hassan Fathy: Earth and Utopia" is a more substantial and solemn tribute to the Egyptian architect...The pleasure of both is in entering the singular mind of the architect...Helen Thomas’s "Drawing Architecture" a treasury of quite wonderful images...As a voyage through the delight that architects can take in their work, it is hard to beat...Kester Rattenbury argues in "The Wessex Project" that Thomas Hardy's thinking remained that of an architect - and a radical one at that...John Boughton’s "Municipal Dreams"...illuminates...the inadequacies of Britain's housing supply...- Observer (UK)
J. Michael Welton: This Year, Give the Gift of Architecture: The myth of the disappearing book is greatly exaggerated, judging from this reviewer’s weekly mailbox intake...here are a few that A+A finds gift-worthy for 2018: JoAnn Locktov: “Dream of Venice in Black and White"; Helen Thomas: "Drawing Architecture"; “Cocktails and Conversations"; Alan Hess & Michael Stern: “Modern Hollywood"; Welton: “Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand"- Architects + Artisans
Dazvid Brussat: SpongeBob HouseFancy: SpongeBob’s friend Squidward, a squid, turns on his TV to see his old high-school rival Squilliam’s house being featured on... “House Fancy"...With its solid-gold door knobs, it looks as if it must be a cartoon version of a certain president’s 5th Avenue penthouse. Except that the episode was filmed in 2007...The Encyclopedia SpongeBobia, whose very existence is a comment on our culture, has a summary of the episode, whose analysis holds that host Withers considers the wrecked house “a work of abstract art.” And of course that’s a comment on our culture as well.- Architecture Here and There
ANN feature: Norman Weinstein: Best Architecture and Design Books of 2018: 10 Books to deepen historical awareness and stretch imagination.- ArchNewsNow.com
ANN feature: rise Up - be part of the solution for Africa's housing crisis: Sponsors are cheering on their student/architect teams working to find low-cost, sustainable housing solutions - but there are still teams that need sponsorship. Join those who are already reaping the rewards of the partnerships!- ArchNewsNow.com
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