Today’s News - Thursday, April 9, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days (so we have time to explore the last item!). We'll be back Tuesday, April 14. 'Til then, stay safe, please!
● Franklin takes a deep dive into how "big things are happening" in Arkansas, "a place that's far from the profession's traditional epicenters," that are pushing it "to the forefront of architectural innovation" - and the many who's who with projects there.
● Broyles talks to Wheeler Kearns' Calli Verkamp (a native Arkansan) about how she and her team transformed a former Kraft cheese factory into The Momentary, a new contemporary art space for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, and "the latest example of Northwest Arkansas' cultural renaissance."
● Scholar and critic Marc Treib pens an open letter making the case that National Geographic should not demolish Zimmerman's 1984 "Marabar": "It is a key representative of American site-specific art, elegant in its form, impressive in its use of stone, and engaging in its effects."
● Hart Howerton 2020 Travel Fellow is Sarah Zamler, a Master of Architecture candidate at Columbia GSAPP, who "will study the history and role of 'The Company Town.'"
● Eyefuls of Fairy Tales 2020 winners, who "offer tales of warning and hope during uncertain times - through wonderfully crafted short stories and artwork."
● Barragan reports that demolition of the first of four LACMA buildings "is being torn down right now - clearing the way for a flashy new building - as long as crews follow safety measures" to prevent the spread of the coronavirus + "some images of the fated buildings as we'll remember them."
● Call for entries (deadline - next Wednesday!): Pop-Up Architecture Competition: More Not Less: LACMA not LackMA, sponsored by The Citizens' Brigade to Save LACMA, with $10,000 in prize money.
● Call for entries: Dezeen x Samsung Out of the Box Competition (no fee!): design innovative new objects for the home by repurposing cardboard packaging; prizes total $20,000.
Weekend diversions (yes, they still exist!) + Page-turners:
● Kimmelman and Berke stroll NYC's East River waterfront promenade that "dazzles," and where ropes dangling from the "nondescript" 90th Street ferry landing are part of the Billion Oyster Project - reminding "everybody that the oysters are returning, gurgle, gurgle, doing their job. The city is at work."
● A round-up of 10 "upcoming art fairs, festivals, and exhibitions available for virtual viewing - an intentionally diverse mix that reflects these weird and challenging times."
● Camilo José Vergara's "Documenting Crossroads: The Coronavirus in Poor, Minority Communities" is the National Building Museum's online-only exhibition of his "photographs and observations of the urban spaces and people most likely to be affected by COVID-19."
● Heilmeyer cheers Vitra Design Museum's "Home Stories: 100 Years, 20 Visionary Interiors" that "creates some important, original, and fun connections between ideas and places" - much of it viewable online + fab slideshow!
● Every Thursday, you can take a virtual tour of a number Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings: "The hope is that even though the tours are free, digital visitors might still feel inclined to demonstrate a bit of largesse."
● Bozikovic considers Dougherty's tome "Golden Gates" that "examines the housing crisis and how housing and inequality are connected" in the Bay Area and "other prosperous cities. It's a dark picture, and it's hard to imagine how it will grow brighter after the virus" (is the "the traditional cry of NIMBY going to ring out louder"?).
● Betsky says: "In these uncertain and gloomy times, it is nice to have voices in architecture that are both forward-looking and filled with humor. If you are looking for such an entertaining (and somewhat acerbic) distraction, I recommend Garcia and Frankowski's "Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto."
● Sisam cheers Miller's "comprehensive and very fine" book, "Toronto's Inclusive Modernity: The Architecture of Jerome Markson," and Norsworthy's images that "reaffirm Christopher Hume's observation that Markson is 'the rare architect who creates cities while designing buildings.'"
COVID-19 news continues (last item is for kids, but it's how we plan to spend the weekend!):
● Arieff looks at how "social distancing gives us a rare chance to fix cities" - it is "glaringly apparent how poorly existing systems (and places) have been working for most. Time and tragedy create opportunity to make them work for all" (a great read!!!).
● Karrie Jacobs's fab Q&A with Manaugh and Twilley - when they started researching the forthcoming "'The Coming Quarantine" that explores the "connections between quarantine and architecture, they never imagined that they'd be finishing it during a global pandemic."
● FXCollaborative's Geier: "The resilient nature of the city itself and its residents allows us to come back stronger than ever - it's uplifting to think of how applying that can-do attitude to other crises could result in a better world for cities and beyond."
● On a lighter - but serious - note: "10 magazine covers that offer creative takes on the coronavirus crisis - from somber to defiant ("F*ck off Covid-19" smiley).
● One we couldn't resist (and our weekend diversion!): The James Dyson Foundation has come up with "44 engineering challenges for children during lockdown - using common household items."
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Sydney Franklin: Innovation in Arkansas shouldn’t be overlooked: A powerful combination of natural resources and local initiative is pushing one southern state to the forefront of architectural innovation in...a place that’s far from the profession’s traditional epicenters...big things are happening...The Walton Family Foundation has made it its mission to develop high-design public buildings and community gathering space...The ripple effects of Walmart’s investment are already being felt around the state. -- Wheeler Kearns Architects; Studio Gang; SCAPE Landscape Architecture; Grafton Architect; Leers Weinzapfel Associates; Ross Barney Architects; de Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop; Architecture Research Office/ARO; Deborah Berke Partners; MASS Design Group; Trahan Architects; Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates; LTL Architects; Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects; Lissa So/Jonathan Marvel/Marvel Architects; Chris Baribeau. Baribeau/modus studio; Marlon Blackwell; Peter MacKeith/Fay Jones School- The Architect's Newspaper
Addie Broyles: Out of a Former Kraft Cheese Factory, The Momentary Fuels a Modernist Turn in Bentonville, Arkansas: Crystal Bridges’ new contemporary art space, courtesy of Wheeler Kearns, is the latest example of Northwest Arkansas’ cultural renaissance: The architects left ample vestiges of the structure’s industrial past, such as the raw ceilings and quarry tiling along the floors...new elements [include] a glass-ceilinged entry...and a glass-encased shipping container-sized gallery that juts off one corner of the now–retro futuristic building. But the most striking new addition is a 70-foot-tall tower, topped with a bar... -- Calli Verkamp; Alice Walton/Walmart- Metropolis Magazine
Scholar and Critic Marc Treib Weighs In on Potential Destruction of MARABAR: ...[he] wrote the following letter to the District of Columbia’s [Washington, DC's] Historic Preservation Review Board asking that body to reconsider its approval of plans that would demolish the sculpture MARABAR at the National Geographic headquarters. Completed in 1984 [by] Elyn Zimmerman: "It is a key representative of American site-specific art, elegant in its form, impressive in its use of stone, and engaging in its effects.- The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF)
Hart Howerton 2020 Travel Fellow Announced: Sarah Zamler, a Master of Architecture candidate at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, will study the history and role of “The Company Town” and its role in today’s corporate and community relationship.- Hart Howerton
Fairy Tales 2020 Winners Announced: Top entries that offer tales of warning and hope during uncertain times: With submissions from over 65 countries, the award-winning entries explore current events and the creative process through wonderfully crafted short stories and artwork. -- Tamás Fischer & Carlotta Cominetti; Aleksandr Cebotariov & Laura Kurvietyte; Albert Orozco & Edward Rivero- Blank Space
Bianca Barragan: LACMA is being torn down right now: Demolition is clearing the way for a flashy new building: Demolition of the Leo S. Bing Center is underway now. The remaining three edifices...will also be razed over the next several months...construction has been allowed...as long as crews follow safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus...Video...showed those construction workers pulling chunks of the unlucky buildings down + some images of the fated buildings as we’ll remember them. -- Peter Zumthor; William Pereira and Associates; Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates- Curbed Los Angeles
Call for entries: Pop-Up Architecture Competition (international): More Not Less: LACMA not LackMA for an encyclopedic museum; $10,000 in prize money to winners: deadline: April 15- The Citizens' Brigade to Save LACMA
Call for entries: Dezeen x Samsung Out of the Box Competition (international): design innovative new objects for the home that can be made by repurposing cardboard packaging; no fee; prizes total $20,000; deadline: May 29- Dezeen
Michael Kimmelman: The East River Waterfront Dazzles. Take a Virtual Tour: With views of the water, skyline, bridges and piers, the promenade encapsulates New York’s history. A walk with the architect Deborah Berke: "90th Street pier is nondescript. But what’s interesting about it is how people use it differently...A simple piece of infrastructure serves many public functions...all the blue-green ropes that hang from the pier as part of the Billion Oyster Project...The ropes remind everybody that the oysters are returning, gurgle, gurgle, doing their job. The city is at work."- New York Times
Art shows in age of pandemics: 10 virtual festivals and fairs to check out...upcoming art fairs, festivals, and exhibitions available for virtual viewing. It’s an intentionally diverse mix that includes small art fairs that support local artists, regional festivals, major international art happenings, and special online-only exhibitions that reflect these weird and challenging times. Columbus College of Art & Design Spring Art Show; Frieze New York; Fusebox Festival; Open! (Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2020); Singapore Biennale; Sydney Biennale; etc.- The Architect's Newspaper
National Building Museum presents "Documenting Crossroads: The Coronavirus in Poor, Minority Communities": Online-only exhibition presents Camilo José Vergara’s photographs and observations of the urban spaces and people most likely to be affected by COVID-19: His commitment to documenting poor, urban neighborhoods and populations has never been stronger...“Now, more than ever, the public needs to see and understand...what’s happening- and will be happening...in cities all across the country.”- National Building Museum (Washington, DC)
Florian Heilmeyer: "Home Stories: 100 Years, 20 Visionary Interiors" Summons Up a History of 20th-Century Interior Design, Vitra Design Museum, Germany: ...revives 20 iconic interiors. It's an ambitious task, but one that's ultimately successful: After a visit to the exhibition, your head will spin...[show] creates some important, original, and fun connections between ideas and places...300-plus-page catalog...richly documents all 20 interiors...with contributions by Alice Rawsthorne, Jasper Morrison, and Joseph Grima...- Metropolis Magazine
Matt Hickman: Enjoy virtual tours of different Frank Lloyd Wright buildings every Thursday: ...#WrightVirtualVisits campaign showcases an assortment ofFLWt-designed buildings every Thursday at 12:00 p.m. Central Time for six weeks (and maybe more)...The hope is that even though the virtual tours are free, digital visitors might still feel inclined to demonstrate a bit of largesse... -- Unity Temple; Hollyhock House; Emil Bach House; Taliesin West; Graycliff; Samara; Gordon House; Fallingwater- The Architect's Newspaper
Alex Bozikovic: How will cities come back, and will neighbours keep saying ‘not in my backyard'? ...even before the coronavirus hit, the politics of housing development included plenty of fearfulness, tribalism and bad information..."Golden Gates" by Conor Dougherty examines the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay area [and] how housing and inequality are connected - not just there, but in other prosperous cities...It’s a dark picture, and it’s hard to imagine how it will grow brighter after the virus, as people become more fearful of being close to others...Density...is at the heart of the story...And now? Dougherty guesses that the traditional cry of [NIMBY] is going to ring out louder.- Globe and Mail (Canada)
Aaron Betsky: In Pursuit of an Honest Architecture: A Manifesto: Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski deconstruct Modernism in "Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto": In these uncertain and gloomy times, it is nice to have voices in architecture that are both forward-looking and filled with humor. If you are looking for such an entertaining (and somewhat acerbic) distraction, I recommend [it]...Leavened with Photoshop drawings that combine the romance of mythological landscape painters...with the reality-bending visions of the Modernist masters...[it] professes to be a manifesto, but one that does not take itself so seriously...although their Marxist-tinged language reveals a more trenchant critique.- Architect Magazine
David Sisam: Markson’s Mark: ...comprehensive and very fine..."Toronto’s Inclusive Modernity: The Architecture of Jerome Markson" by Laura Miller...focuses on the human quality of his work [and] on his long relationship - he is 90 years old - to Toronto...Indeed, the book is as much about Toronto as it is about Markson...Scott Norsworthy's images reaffirm Christopher Hume’s observation that Markson is “the rare architect who creates cities while designing buildings"...wisdom extends to a larger view of life as an architect... -- Klein and Sears Architects; Webb Zerafa Menkes; Montgomery Sisam Architects- Canadian Architect
Allison Arieff: The Magic of Empty Streets: Social distancing gives us a rare chance to fix cities: ...efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus have also offered us a rare experiment...we’re already seeing the impact...On Monday...Los Angeles had the cleanest air of any major city in the world...it’s heartening to see how many people are adapting, turning the city into a pedestrian paradise...Everything about Covid-19 is depressing and tragic. But it’s worth highlighting some clever MacGyvering that has been going on...The 2009 recession gave birth to “tactical urbanism"...Covid-19 presents a wholly different challenge...[we] need to figure out how the world gets put back together...glaringly apparent how poorly existing systems (and places) have been working for most. Time and tragedy create opportunity...to make them work for all.- New York Times
Karrie Jacobs: The Architecture of Quarantine Is No Longer a Thing of the Past: Q&A with Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley about the timely book they're now writing: A decade ago, when [they] first started researching what would become..."The Coming Quarantine," they never imagined that they’d be finishing it during a global pandemic...Are there clear connections between quarantine and architecture..."'You can’t build an entire separate infrastructure to sit there empty in case of a pandemic, but you can build a shadow pandemic architecture into your existing architecture..." -- BLDGBLOG.com- Architect Magazine
Guy Geier/FXCollaborative: Cities will survive the pandemic: Density may make it easier for the virus to spread, but let’s not forget that cities are in many ways the heart of society, and a springboard of big ideas, inventions, art, and culture: ...we find ourselves wondering if the things we love about living in cities are going to be completely upended...working from home has been a fairly seamless transition for many of us...it’s the abrupt physical distance from our colleagues, friends, and even family members that is more disruptive...The resilient nature of the city itself and its residents...allows us to come back stronger than ever...it’s uplifting to think of how applying that can-do attitude to other crises, such as climate change or homelessness, could result in a better world for cities and beyond.- Building Design & Construction (BD+C)
10 magazine covers that offer creative takes on the coronavirus crisis: Covers range from sombre imagery, such as the biweekly cultural publication New York Magazine's lonely double bass player, to defiant statements like men's fashion and style magazine GQ Portugal's "F*ck off Covid-19"-smiley.- Dezeen
Natashah Hitti: Dyson devises 44 engineering challenges for children during lockdown: ...from making a balloon-powered car to building a bridge from spaghetti....designers from the James Dyson Foundation have come up with...22 science tasks and 22 engineering activities, the Challenge Cards can be completed by children using common household items such as eggs, string and balloons...Foundation has also created some video tutorials...The British technology company also designed a ventilator in just 10 days...and plans to produce 15,000 units in the coming weeks.- Dezeen
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