Today’s News - Thursday, April 30, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, May 5. In the meantime, we could have filled Today's News with nothing but COVID-19 news - but the weekend is coming, so we decided some diversions would be in order. 'Til then, stay well. Stay safe. Stay in!

●  ANN feature: Weinstein cheers Impelluso & Fusaro's "Villas and Gardens of the Renaissance": What better escapist yet relevant book could an architect desire? The splendors of Italian Renaissance architecture illuminate our Dark Age and transform eye candy into brain food.

●  On Monday, May 4, 6:30pm EST, Diana Darling and Pratt are hosting an online memorial Bill Menking, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Architect's Newspaper and Pratt professor, with remarks by: Bergdoll, Darling, Hanrahan, Harriss, Iovine, Ivy, Weisz, Wines, and many, many more.

●  Belogolovsky's Q&A with Beijing-based Li Hua of TAO (Trace Architecture Office): "I try to find my own path, to establish my own history. It is all about questioning and testing - there will always be new questions and new alternatives."

●  A cautionary tale: Zaha Hadid Architects' servers attacked by hackers, who demanded a ransom, but the firm had everything backed up - ZHA "warns other companies that such breaches may become more common with staffs working from home."

●  Kimmelman's next 3 virtual tours with exquisite photos by Vincent Tullo (out from behind a paywall!): He tours the sleek "Mad Men"-era buildings of Park Avenue with Annabelle Selldorf: "The Landmarks Preservation Commission can only protect so many buildings, which means some children are left behind, and Union Carbide is one of them. But it's a loss."

●  He tours the "Art Deco marvel" that is Rockefeller Center with the historian Daniel Okrent, who wrote a book about it - a floor piped for nitrous oxide, a.k.a. laughing gas "to entice dentists," and how the Rockefellers were "no match for a speakeasy business" included.

●  He learns about the "hidden feats that built New York's towering skyscrapers" because of "the ingenuity of structural engineers" from Guy Nordenson, himself one of the best (plan to spend time with all 3 tours!).

Weekend diversions - films, free online + Page-turners:

●  Bradshaw parses Moore and Gibbs' "Planet of the Humans" that "takes a pop at green, liberal A-listers" like Al Gore & Bill McKibben as "a pompous and complacent high-priest caste of the environmental movement, who are shilling for a fossil fuel industry that has sneakily taken them over" ("but doesn't dare criticize Greta Thunberg").

●  Stokes, who focuses on energy, climate and environmental politics, calls "Planet of the Humans" a "gift to Big Oil - it's a nihilistic take, riddled with errors" and "peddles falsehoods. I will lay out the case for why this film should have stayed on the cutting room floor."

●  Milman reports on the climate experts who are consider "Planet of the Humans" to be "dangerous" and "full of misinformation" that "trades in debunked fossil fuel industry talking points" - and want it taken offline (the filmmakers consider it a "full-frontal assault on our sacred cows").

●  "A Machine To Live In" is "an impressionistic portrait" of Brasilia that "boasts a wealth of gorgeous visuals" of Niemeyer's "awe-inspiring buildings" and "startlingly conveys the beauty and coldness of these structures, depicting a city both ahead of its time and in disarray."

●  Ciampaglia considers "Building Notre Dame" on PBS to be "a welcome distraction in these pandemic times" that "will leave you with a new appreciation for this marvel of engineering, design, and ingenuity," and "inspires hope that this fragile icon will be rebuilt and restored to stand for another 800 years" (with link to full episode).

●  The best 22 minutes we've spent in a long time: Buster Keaton in "One Week" (1920) - h/t to Esto's Erica Stoller: "All architects should see this early silent film about a pre-fab house project gone awry - the end is the best part."

●  Medina parses Sarkis, Salgueiro Barrio & Kozlowski's tome "The World as an Architectural Project" that "dives into 50 planet-scale proposals from some of the most interesting architectural thinkers of the 20th century. Not content with despoiling cities and landscapes alone, architects would claim the entirety of the planet as their sandbox!"

●  Wainwright cheers "Eileen Gray, Designer and Architect," a book about "the design genius who scared the pants off Corbusier," and "reveals how her sensuous, surreal and sometimes mystical work defied categorization and convention."

●  Welton's Q&A with Stoppard, who "offers the promise of sunshine and youth" in "Pools": "What could be more appealing in a time of pandemic than a leisurely tour of the world of summer and swimming pools?" (luscious images!).

●  Mortice reports on "The Landscape Architect's Guidelines for Construction Contract Administration Services" - the "long-planned guide" is "the result of input from many landscape architects."

COVID-19 news continues

●  Yale's Phil Bernstein: "It's too early to be making nuanced arguments about the future. So, here are 10 first thoughts about how our profession may be impacted, and potentially transformed."

●  Lubell parses how "past pandemics changed the design of cities," and offers "6 ways COVID-19 could do the same. Let's learn from this tragedy. Let's find the silver lining" (and he does).

●  Adele Peters gets Mike Lydon's take on "how cities are reshaping streets to prepare for life after lockdown," from Milan, Berlin, and Paris, to Brussels, Budapest, and Oakland, California.

●  Russell on MASS Design Group's project to adapt NYC's Mount Sinai Hospital "on the fly - to protect health workers as rooms and suites were drastically transformed" - and now "an online case study, available for free - architects are beginning to assemble a roadmap to the future as health care runs as fast as it can into uncharted territory."


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