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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