Today’s News - Thursday, March 19, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Starting the day with some bright news: It's the first day of Spring (our daffodils are blooming!)! Meanwhile, tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, March 24. In the meantime - stay safe!
● Simons, executive director, Mayor's Institute on City Design: How 44 mayors and 45 design leaders "view the coming decade - will the decade be Reactionary? Rancorous? Revitalized?" (Results of a January survey - "we could hardly have foreseen the public health crisis that is currently unfolding across the world," sayeth Simon.)
● Kamin on the latest plan for the Chicago Spire site that has been "a pockmark on the cityscape" for the last 12 years: It "improves in some respects on its first version. Other changes, however, are for the worse" (it's all moot if the coronavirus crisis really crashes the economy).
● Maund, Ware & Gajendran find "heartwarming" the "willingness of government and community to work together" when housing Australia's bushfire victims - why not "adapt our collective thinking to solve" the "urgent" crisis of "homelessness and the overall need for affordable housing?"
● The design of the Hurricane Maria memorial slated for NYC's Battery Park City is unveiled, but critics say it "should be built in a neighborhood with stronger Puerto Rican ties" - and its timing is inappropriate when "tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without functional housing."
● A look at Sam Jacob's "ambiguous" street shelter in Shenzhen, China, that "serves no apparent or singular purpose" - and looks like "a peace offering from an alien race."
● Photographer Roberto Conte's photo essay that "captures the variety of modernist structures across Chandigarh, a city that continues to act as a visual and architectural inspiration."
● Call for entries (no entry fee!): The Unique Airbnb Fund: $1M for 10 groundbreaking ideas that "challenge the very idea of a house" for Airbnb: "Unusual shapes, unexpected locations, immersive concepts, spaces with a story."
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Weinstein uses a new British Museum exhibition catalogue as the starting point to delve into Piranesi's architectural imagination and why his architectural art matters today more than ever.
Weekend diversions + Page-turners:
● With just about every cultural space in the world closed until further notice, Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 2,500 museums and galleries with virtual tours and online exhibits (and "a handy shortlist of their top 10 virtual museums") + the Open Heritage series explores historical and cultural gems + podcasts (Very cool! We've gathered reviews that we'll run next week - if the shows are online).
● Davidson parses Season 3 of HBO's "Westworld" and "how real architecture inspired" its "deluxe urban dystopia - Bjarke Ingels, one of the most future-drunk architects around, raided his firm's cemetery of unbuilt designs and sprinkled them around the skyline."
● Design Observer is practicing social distancing in what promises to be a lively online conversation with co-founders Jessica Helfand & Michael Bierut, Harry Stevens from The Washington Post, Curbed's Alissa Walker, and moderator Hugh Weber.
● Welton talks to architect/planner-turned-landscape architect Watson re: "Lo-TEK": "'Can we look at low tech for rebuilding to harmonize with our ecosystems, and apply it to design and urbanism?' The answers are in her book."
● Brussat gives (mostly) thumbs-up to E. Michael Jones's "Living Machines: Modern Architecture and the Rationalization of Sexual Misbehavior" - a "curious and compelling" [and "spicy"] book "on the movement to shift ecclesiastical architecture away from its traditions to the deconstructivist strain of modern architecture" and "the indictment of modern architecture as a paragon of perversity."
COVID-19 news continues. With no light at the end of tunnel - yet - we decided to lead with two items that lifted our spirits.
● A choirmaster who can't convene his choir launches "The Sofa Singers," an international online community that "spreads joy and togetherness through the power of song - from the comfort of their sofas" (you can join in!).
● A look at some folks who "are failing hilariously at working from home" with cats and flatulent dogs (and naked bodies) as coworkers - "however rough your work-from-home experience has been, it could have been a lot worse."
● On more serious notes: Kimmelman on KCBS Radio talks about how "major epicenters of creativity and economy" arre "grinding to a halt," and ponders "when, or if, those cities will return to normal."
● Giacobbe talks to a number of architects about how the pandemic "will change the built environment"; howe its "rapid spread has caused the design community to reevaluate their life's work, and what it might mean to design for a world that will never be quite the same - a few ideas have already emerged."
● From Down Under: "If you're feeling discombobulated by the crazy mental contagion of our world right now, try this: a good night's sleep, an early morning walk in the sun. Meanwhile, from the heart of the property industry," here's what the future might bring.
● The Fifth Estate spoke to the experts re: how a WELL Certified Building can "help fight off sicknesses such as coronavirus," how "the potential contradiction between green buildings and healthy buildings can be managed" - and more.
● Marsh & Sayre of PLASTARC offer "10 ways to stay happy and healthy when working from home," and how to make it "a successful and sustainable experience" (#1: "Over-communicate"; #10: Get outside).
● ENR is "tracking developing industry impacts as COVID-19 interrupts global business" with links to "ongoing reporting, analysis and commentary on construction sector developments" (not included in ANN's coverage).
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Trinity Simons/Mayor's Institute on City Design: How Mayors and Design Leaders View the Coming Decade: The people shaping our communities...are faced with a fundamental challenge: How do you design for an uncertain future? ...will the decade be Reactionary? Rancorous? Revitalized? 44 mayors and 45 design leaders participated...Answers ranged from the practical to the alarmist, from the aspirational to the fantastical...interrelated themes emerged. Climate; Affordability; Autonomous vehicles; Digital privacy; What’s Old Will Become New Again; Era of Single-Objective Infrastructure Ends; Stewards of Social Infrastructure; “The Bottom Line Will Be Quality of Life”- Common Edge
Blair Kamin: The latest plans for the Chicago Spire site: Is this land cursed? The 76-foot-deep foundation hole...is a pockmark on the cityscape...[mayor's] urban planners...are desperate to fill the cursed hole...they’re cutting a lousy deal for the people of Chicago...That became clear when Related Midwest unveiled revised plans [for] the 2.2-acre site...changes show a watering-down of the project’s previously arresting skyline presence and a weakening of its contribution to...public spaces...400 Lake Shore Drive...improves in some respects on its first version...Other changes, however, are for the worse. -- Santiago Calatrava; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- Chicago Tribune
Mark Maund, Kim Maund, SueAnne Ware & Thayaparan Gajendran: We're innovative when housing bushfire victims. Why not all the homeless? With more than 3,500 homes destroyed...the willingness of government and community to work together...has been heartwarming...But what about the many...who were homeless before the bushfires? ...we can certainly learn from the bushfire examples of innovation in planning to solve a crisis...If we accept homelessness and the overall need for affordable housing as a crisis, and are willing to adapt our collective thinking to solve urgent problems - as we have for bushfire-affected communities - then imagine what we could achieve.- The Conversation (Australia)
Hurricane Maria memorial unveiled for Battery Park City: Designed by Puerto Rico-based architect Segundo Cardona and...artist Antonio Martorell, the glass spiral aims to be a symbol of resiliency for the Puerto Rican community...Critics have...voiced concerns that the memorial should be built in a neighborhood with stronger Puerto Rican ties. Controversy...expands to its timing and appropriateness...it’s not time yet for a memorial in New York, but for renewed reconstruction efforts in Puerto Rico...over two-and-a-half years later, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without functional housing.- The Architect's Newspaper
Sam Jacob designs ambiguous street shelter in Shenzhen: While the Yantian Dolmen is about the size of a bus stop, it serves no apparent or singular purpose...at first appears to be a peace offering from an alien race...part of a family of urban furniture elements that blur the distinction between art and design...commissioned for the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture of Shenzhen and Hong Kong (UABB 2019)...“Urban Interactions”... SJS- The Architect's Newspaper
Modernist Chandigarh Through the Lens of Roberto Conte: ...represents an iconic fragment of Modernist architecture...meant to showcase the progressiveness of the 1950s' newly independent India...This photo essay...captures the variety of modernist structures across.a city that continues to act as a visual and architectural inspiration. -- Albert Mayer;d Matthew Nowicki; Le Corbusier; Pierre Jeanneret; Maxwell Fry; Jane Drew- ArchDaily
Call for entries: The Unique Airbnb Fund: $1M for 10 groundbreaking ideas (no entry fee!): We’re giving 10 people $100,000 each to build the most unconventional Airbnb they can dream up. Unusual shapes, unexpected locations, immersive concepts, spaces with a story...challenge the very idea of a house; deadline: April 15- Airbnb
Lilly Smith: Stuck at home because of coronavirus? How to get your art and design fix from your couch: Just because [you're] avoiding public spaces doesn’t mean you can’t get cultured: Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world...most include online exhibits...Google curated a handy shortlist of their top 10 virtual museums...many offer robust virtual catalogs of their collections...Open Heritage series is another way to explore lesser-known and endangered historical and cultural gems...for some audio inspiration...podcasts...are great wells of design inspo to keep the creativity flowing...watch curated video series and lectures...- Fast Company / Co.Design
Justin Davidson: How Real Architecture Inspired Westworld’s Futuristic Cities: The meaning behind season 3’s deluxe urban dystopia, agleam with prosperity and gentrified to a high polish: The creators tapped Bjarke Ingels, one of the most future-drunk architects around, to consult on the city’s shape; he raided his firm’s cemetery of unbuilt designs and sprinkled them around the skyline...the latest in a long line of meticulously fantasized urban futures...Filmmakers hardly need to make anything up, since real-life architects and planners are constantly imagining future versions of the cities we live in...- New York Magazine
Design Observer Studio Sessions: Join us as we practice social distancing the best way we know how - in conversation...co-founders Jessica Helfand + Michael Bierut, Harry Stevens from The Washington Post and Alissa Walker from Curbed. Moderated by Hugh Weber. Friday, March 20- Design Observer
Michael J. Welton: Julia Watson’s "Lo-TEK": Symbiosis with the Land: After 20 years of studying indigenous people and their solutions to environmental challenges, the architect/planner-turned-landscape architect offers another solution: ...and offers 18 case studies that address it - in her new book..."there’s a lot of the technology that we’ve overlooked from cultural bias,” says Watson...“the concept of low tech has not been explored, because racism and colonialism have prevented it. Can we look at it for rebuilding to harmonize with our ecosystems, and apply it to design and urbanism?” The answers are in her book.- Architects + Artisans
David Brussat: Deconstructing the church: ...a curious and compelling book..."Living Machines: Modern Architecture and the Rationalization of Sexual Misbehavior" by E. Michael Jones. It makes a strong case for what has become a notable cliché: that modern architecture symbolizes the degeneracy of its founders and subsequent practitioners - and today represents our degenerate popular and...scholarly culture...a spicy book...on the movement to shift ecclesiastical architecture away from its traditions to the deconstructivist strain of modern architecture...[it] is mostly a delight...whether classical architecture reflects the Word of God or not, it does reflect order and knowledge in architecture...modern architecture is certainly anti-traditional, not to mention disordered and ignorant...book adds considerable detail (much of it titillating) and much useful, engaging analysis to the indictment of modern architecture as a paragon of perversity.- Architecture Here and There
Online choir spreads joy and togetherness during coronavirus outbreak: When it became impossible to run his real-life choirs as normal...James Sills launched The Sofa Singers. The virtual group invites people from all over the world to connect through the power of song - from the comfort of their sofas...project encourages participants to “sing as if no one is listening.. because they won’t be!”- Positive News magazine
Mark Wilson: Farts, cats, naked bodies: People are failing hilariously at working from home: Heroes, all of you! Work culture will need to adjust to the new normal, in which toddlers and flatulent dogs are our coworkers...prove that, however rough your work-from-home experience has been, it could have been a lot worse.- Fast Company
Major Epicenters of Creativity and Economy Grinding to a Halt: The question now is when, or if, those cities will return to normal. Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times...spoke with KCBS Radio News anchor Margie Shafer.- KCBS Radio News (San Francisco)
Alyssa Giacobbe: How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change the Built Environment: This won’t be the first time in history that cities and buildings will be reimagined in response to an increased understanding of disease: ...rapid spread...has caused the design community to reevaluate their life’s work, and what it might mean to design for a world that will never be quite the same...while the particular lessons...are still very much TBD, a few ideas have already emerged. -- Rami el Samahy/OverUnder; David Dewane/Barker/Nestor; Lionel Ohayon/ICRAVE; Kobi Karp; Dan Meis; Craig Scully/Design Collaborative- Architectural Digest
On a walk in the park, and a peek into turmoil: If you’re feeling discombobulated by the crazy mental contagion of our world right now try this: a good night’s sleep, an early morning walk in the sun, a bit of nature...When something as mad as this coronavirus comes around it’s worth remembering that it’s up to us to sift out the things that really matter. Meanwhile, from the heart of the property industry; Behaviour patterns will change; It’s all connected- The Fifth Estate (Australia)
Coronavirus: What we know so far about managing the risk in buildings: Wondering if buildings can help prevent the spread and impact of COVID-19? ...the recommended response for building operators is evolving daily. The Fifth Estate spoke to the experts. How can WELL Certified Building help fight off sicknesses such as coronavirus? The potential contradiction between green buildings and healthy buildings can be managed. Working from home might become more common. -- AIRAH (Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating); International WELL Building Institute- The Fifth Estate (Australia)
Melissa Marsh & Mike Sayre/PLASTARC: 10 ways to stay happy and healthy when working from home: ...telework is a skill that is mastered through practice; organizations or individuals who view it merely as a stopgap measure will not realize the benefit...some suggestions to guide telework novices and veterans alike toward a successful and sustainable experience: Over-communicate; Define boundaries; Take breaks; Stay social; Connect creatively; Brush up on security risks, policies, and best practices; Build trust; Get outside- Real Estate Weekly
Latest Updates On The Virus Pandemic: Tracking developing industry impacts as COVID-19 forces closures and interrupts global business: ...ongoing reporting, analysis and commentary on construction sector developments, with updates as they occur.- Engineering News-Record (ENR)
ANN feature: Norman Weinstein: Piranesi Drawings: Why his architectural art matters more than ever: The exhibition catalogue for a new British Museum exhibition provokes questions about neglected levels of classical heritage.- ArchNewsNow.com
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