Today’s News - Tuesday, May 19, 2020
● A sad way to start the day: We've lost Robert T. Coles, 90, a pioneering architect who became the first African American chancellor of the AIA's College of Fellows, was a founding member the National Association of Minority Architects, and "promoted minorities and women in an architectural field that was slow to open its doors to them."
● The Mayors' Institute on City Design pays tribute to one of its co-founders, Jaque Robertson, a co-founder of the Mayors' Institute on City Design: "Without him, the MICD would never have been created," sayeth former Charleston, SC, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.
● Elsa Lam bids "farewell" to Sidewalk Labs' Sidewalk Toronto: "The news has been greeted by a mixed reaction: from frustration at a missed opportunity at urban greatness - to relief at dodging a data surveillance experiment. Hopefully, the most promising elements will be part of future waterfront developments."
● Novakovic explains why "the terminally flawed terms of Waterfront Toronto's RFP" for Sidewalk Toronto "jeopardized the project from the beginning. For all the controversy, it still looked like utopia - what if the well-warranted skepticism was not a symptom of small-mindedness but of robust civic engagement?"
● The L.A. City Planning Commission tells a developer "to redesign its massive" 1.51-million-square-foot Times Mirror project, saying it was "'troubled' with the lack of affordable housing" and "disappointed by the 'uninspired' design - a big rectangle in the sky."
● Pelli's 1973 former bank building in downtown San Jose, California, is in the way of a proposed 3.79 million-square-foot "mega-campus," considered by preservationists to be "the city's best example of Brutalist architecture" and an "architectural gem" - the original developer "supports its demolition," alleging "it was actually an intern of Pelli who drew up sketches."
● NYC's MoMA steps into the fray to save the concrete Picasso murals on and in Viksjø's 1969 brutalist Y-Block in Oslo, which, before a 2011 terrorist attack, was "about to be granted protection."
● Kamin considers the "uncharted waters" the Chicago Architecture Biennial finds itself in, now the Venice Biennale has postponed its "big architecture show" to 2022: "If the Chicago biennial doesn't alter its plans, the two exhibitions will partly overlap and could wind up competing for both media attention and exhibitors."
● Expo 2020 Dubai will now open in October 2021 - but "its name will not change" (will confusion ensue?).
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Jeffrey Paine & Turan Duda consider: What now, in designing for wellness: "Designers must be at the forefront of ensuring that the spaces of the future embrace the lessons of 2020 without sacrificing beauty, comfort, and our shared need to come together safely and to foster human wellbeing.
Names in the news:
● Woods Bagot names Vivian Lee, former principal of Richard Meier & Partners, as its New York studio executive director, and Matt Ducharme, former Populous design director, as design leader, West Coast, and associate principal.
● Omar Khan to lead the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, following seven years as chair of the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York.
● Robert Alexander González to depart Texas Tech University to become dean of the University of New Mexico's School of Architecture and Planning, filling "the position held on an interim basis by Mark Childs."
COVID-19 news continues:
● The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation launches a free online STEAM program "designed to help students (K-12) use the iconic architect's life and work as a jumping off point for learning" (like "Turn Two Circles into a Square").
● Grabar warns that post-pandemic cities "may get the gridlocked '50s and the bankrupt '70s" by "sacrificing the wellbeing of those who don't leave the city to cater to those who might - or already did. One of the pandemic's frightening effects is to expose a distressing lack of imagination about how to reinvent the places we live" (he offers some solutions).
● Kamin pens an open letter to Chicago's "tough but fair, firm but flexible" mayor: "Time to rethink your lakefront shutdown - and substitute a more nimble one that would let Chicagoans prove they can act responsibly. If too many people act like knuckleheads, you can always do another shutdown."
● Justin Hollander, of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University, considers how COVID-19 will affect public spaces, and argues that parks could provide a way to reduce communicable diseases and address other societal ills.
● Riggs reports that the ULI, National Recreation and Park Association, and the Trust for Public Land are partnering in the 10 Minute Walk campaign, "dedicated to improving access to safe, high-quality parks and green spaces" (free webinar - part of ULI's Building Healthy Places Initiative).
● The USGBC releases "Healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy" that outlines "a series of actions and priorities that will support the global recovery effort and leverage the power of our community to shape a healthier future for all."
● A large swath of London could be made "repurposed for people as it emerges from coronavirus restrictions" - it would be "one of the biggest car-free initiatives of any city in the world" (the "transformation will not be smooth," sayeth Mayor Sadiq Khan).
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Obituary: Robert Traynham Coles, 90, pioneering architect: ...often told the story of how a [high school] teacher...dissuaded him from studying architecture because there weren't black architects. He ignored the advice...went on to a long and distinguished career...became, in 1994, the first African American chancellor of the College of Fellows at the American Institute of Architects (AIA)...was also a founding member and the first secretary of the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA)...promoted minorities and women in an architectural field that was slow to open its doors to them. -- Michael Wright/University at Buffalo (UB); Ed Watts/Watts Architecture; Clinton Brown- Buffalo News
A Tribute to Jaquelin Taylor Robertson, 1933-2020: ...a lifelong public servant dedicated to architecture, planning, and the public good...a co-founder of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design...initially proposed in 1985 by former Charleston, SC Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. in a letter to Robertson, then Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia..."Without [him], the [MICD] would never have been created...He told me many times that of all the buildings he designed and all of his professional engagements, the Mayors’ Institute was his most important accomplishment.”- Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD)
Elsa Lam: Editorial: Farewell, Sidewalk Toronto: Google-affiliate Sidewalk Labs announced that it was canceling its pursuit to build Quayside, a smart city on Toronto’s waterfront...The news has been greeted by a decidedly mixed reaction: from frustration at a missed opportunity at urban greatness...to relief at dodging a data surveillance experiment...we’ve tangled with some seductive ideas for urban development. Hopefully, the most promising elements of the Sidewalk scheme...will be part of future waterfront developments...Whatever comes next for Toronto’s waterfront, we’ll be prepared. -- Dan Doctoroff- Canadian Architect magazine
Stefan Novakovic: Goodbye to All That: Toronto After Sidewalk Labs: As the tech giant packs its bags, Toronto reckons with the complicated aftermath of an abandoned utopia: The problems with Quayside started well before Sidewalk’s involvement. The optics of Google as a sort of digital Robert Moses sat uncomfortably, but the terminally flawed terms of Waterfront Toronto’s RFP also jeopardized the project from the beginning...effectively offloaded the creation of public policy to a for-profit tech giant...For all the controversy, it still looked like utopia...what if the well-warranted skepticism that greeted Sidewalk Toronto was not a symptom of small-mindedness but of robust civic engagement? ...a city is shaped by saying “no” as much as “yes.” -- Thomas Heatherwick; Snøhetta- Azure magazine (Canada)
Los Angeles City Planning Commission Tells Onni to Redesign its Massive Times Mirror Project: "I’m concerned that...time will kill this project," Onni Group exec responds: ...massive 1.51-million-square-foot project in the heart of downtown...commissioners lambasted the design, and said they were “troubled” with the lack of affordable housing and the plans for city allocation fees...There are no requirements for affordable housing...but commissioners expressed concern about no onsite affordable units...disappointed by the “uninspired” design...AC Martin...is behind many good projects...but “this is not one of them...they could do anything other than a big rectangle in the sky..."- Commercial Observer
Historic downtown San Jose building could pose issues for Jay Paul’s proposed mega campus: Historians say its the the [César Pelli-designed] building is the city’s best example of Brutalist architecture: For developer...former Bank of California site...is just one building standing in the way of plans to construct a mega campus of gleaming glass office towers...But for preservationists...[it] is a historical architectural gem...they are on a mission to save it...Completed in 1973...developer who constructed the building...now supports its demolition...alleges that it was actually an intern of Pelli who drew up sketches...massive CityView Plaza redevelopment would total 3.79 million square feet... -- Gensler- Mercury News (California)
Gareth Harris: Battle to save concrete Picasso murals in Oslo intensifies after MoMA steps in: The Museum of Modern Art in New York has reportedly become caught up in the controversy over plans to demolish a government building...brutalist Y-Block, which was designed by...Erling Viksjø in 1969, features two murals...sandblasted onto its concrete walls...executed by the Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar...petition...garnered more than 47,000 signatures. “Just before the [terrorist] attack in 2011, both buildings were about to be granted protection..." -- Martino Stierli; Ann Temkin- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Blair Kamin: Venice postpones big architecture show, putting Chicago in a bind: Does the Chicago Architecture Biennial delay to 2022 because the Venice show has postponed due to COVID-19? If the Chicago biennial doesn’t alter its plans, the two exhibitions will partly overlap and could wind up competing for both media attention and exhibitors. The rescheduling of the Venice event puts its Chicago counterpart in “unchartered water"...-- Paul Andersen; Paul Preissner; Hashim Sarkis- Chicago Tribune
New Dates for Expo 2020 Dubai Announced: Although Expo 2020 will be held in 2021, its name will not change. It will welcome 192 countries, plus businesses, multilateral organizations, and educational establishments from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.- ArchDaily
Vivian Lee and Matt Ducharme Take Leadership Roles at Woods Bagot: The international firm has named Lee as its New York studio executive director and Ducharme as design leader, West Coast and associate principal: Lee’s new position follows...her departure earlier this year from Richard Meier & Partners, where she had worked since 2005... -- SHoP Architects; Populous- Architect Magazine
Omar Khan Appointed Head of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture: ,,,effective August 1, 2020. He joins CMU from the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo (UB), State University of New York...served as UB department chair for seven years...research and creative activities span architecture, installation/performance art, and digital design and fabrication.- Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Robert Alexander González named dean of University of New Mexico's School of Architecture and Planning: ...comes to UNM from Texas Tech University (TTU), fills the position held on an interim basis by Mark Childs since July 2019 following the departure of former dean Geraldine Forbes Isais.- University of New Mexico / UNM News
Free STEAM Lessons Offered Online For Aspiring Architecture And Design Students: They can participate in a virtual classroom inspired by none other than architecture icon [FLW]. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has launched a free online program designed to help students (K-12) use the iconic architect’s life and work as a jumping off point for learning...Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Classroom is a six-week series of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math)-focused lessons...activities include “Turn Two Circles into a Square” and “The Impact of Color.”- CBS Los Angeles
Henry Grabar: Planning the Post-Pandemic City: During crises when residents flee to cars and suburbs, metropolises have panicked. This time can be different: Today, it’s the 1950s, when a sudden shift from transit to car traffic threatened to make cities unusable...We’ve been down this road before...Metropolises may get the gridlocked ’50s and the bankrupt ’70s all in six months...There’s a pattern here: Sacrificing the wellbeing of those who don’t leave the city to cater to those who might - or...already did...One of the pandemic’s frightening effects is to expose a distressing lack of imagination about how to reinvent the places we live.- Slate
Blair Kamin: An open letter to Mayor Lightfoot: Time to rethink your lakefront shutdown: ...and substitute a more nimble one that would let Chicagoans prove they can act responsibly...If too many people act like knuckleheads, you can always do another shutdown...public health must continue to take priority over public space. But the two aren’t necessarily at odds...transportation activists and architects are calling for Chicago to follow the lead of other U.S. cities that have closed streets to vehicular traffic...Parkgoers would have a powerful incentive to enforce good behavior, knowing that their auntie - tough but fair, firm but flexible - won’t hesitate to shut down the lakefront again.- Chicago Tribune
“Lessons from a Pandemic”: How Will COVID-19 Affect Public Spaces? Cities adapted in the past to pandemics, and one place to start is in parks, says a Tufts urban planning professor Justin Hollander [video]- Tufts Now (Tufts University)
Trish Riggs: Confronting COVID-19: Maintaining and Managing Parks and Open Space under Quarantine: Parks and open space have provided a much-needed respite from the quarantine necessary in many cities...ULI/Urban Land Institute/ULI, National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and the Trust for Public Land are partners in the 10 Minute Walk campaign, dedicated to improving access to safe, high-quality parks and green spaces in cities throughout the United States. [Free webinar is part of a series organized by ULI’s Building Healthy Places Initiative.]- Urban Land Magazine (Urban Land Institute/ULI)
Healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy: USGBC is outlining a series of actions and priorities that will support the global recovery effort and leverage the power of our community to shape a healthier future for all: We don’t have to choose between public health and a healthy economy...going forward, we will prioritize our efforts to build people’s trust that their spaces are healthy and have a positive impact not only on them, but the economy at large.- U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
Matthew Taylor: Large areas of London to be made car-free as lockdown eased: Mayor Sadiq Khan says city needs to be repurposed for people as it emerges from coronavirus restrictions: ...one of the biggest car-free initiatives of any city in the world...“It will mean a fundamental reimagining how we live our lives in this city. And this transformation will not be smooth."- Guardian (UK)
ANN feature: Jeffrey Paine, FAIA & Turan Duda, FAIA: INSIGHT: Design for Wellness: What Now? Designers must be at the forefront of ensuring that the spaces of the future embrace the lessons of 2020 without sacrificing beauty, comfort, and our shared need to come together safely and to foster human wellbeing.- ArchNewsNow.com
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