Today’s News - Tuesday, May 26, 2020
● Design historian Bess Williamson on "the state of accessible architecture": "Hunters Point Library stands as one of the more notable architectural blunders in several decades of them - access is rarely more than an afterthought," but perhaps 3 much less familiar projects "will shape new practices that center disability rather than treat it as a sideline."
● Kamin x 2: He gets a sneak-peek of Chicago's once-threatened Cook County Hospital - "a triumph of historic preservation" by SOM and KOO that gives "new life to an ornate, more-is-more work of architecture" - and much, much more.
● He reports that SOM's "plan for two skyline-altering residential skyscrapers" to replace the gaping hole - all that remains of the Calatrava-designed Chicago Spire site - "moves a step closer to groundbreaking" (but also faces "the financial hurdle of a sharp, pandemic-induced economic downturn").
● Immen on how "interest in Indigenous design" in Toronto "has been growing as a response to globalization and a search for architectural styles that convey a sense of place," but "because there are only 16 Indigenous architects in Canada," such "features work within contemporary buildings - co-designed with non-Indigenous architects."
● Eyefuls of SPARK Architects' master plan for the 12.9+ million-square-foot Guangzhou Shipyard that aims "to create a people friendly world class waterfront founded on the pragmatic principles of good connectivity, density, and quality public spaces."
● Fairs reports on Adam Nathaniel Furman's colorful "New London Fabulous" design movement: "Design education 'brainwashes' students into rejecting color, pattern, and ornament," but "a group of London designers is finally overcoming bias against their use" and "overturning entrenched bias in the design establishment."
● Kenney reports on how National Geographic is going to defend its "disputed plan to remove" Zimmerman's 1984 "Marabar" to D.C.'s preservation review board this Thursday: It doesn't "qualify as a historic landmark. Nor is it 'a feature of the Washington built landscape that draws attention' - the existing redesign concept for its campus will fulfill a public good."
● Deadline extended to June 1! Call for entries: 2020 North American Copper in Architecture Awards (projects must be located in the U.S. or Canada).
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Katie Faulkner: The wickedly funny Michael Sorkin, known to many as Comrade, was a social justice warrior. He maintained perpetual outrage in the course of writing 20 books and hundreds of articles, honing his invectives for gentrification, Disneyfication, waste, and conspicuous consumption.
COVID-19 news continues:
● A do-over (we had wrong URL on Thursday - and this is a great read!): Alissa Walker's (impressive!) takedown of some urbanists who "are using the coronavirus" to perpetuate "the delusion that all cities need are denser neighborhoods, more parks, and open streets to magically become 'fairer.'"
● King at his best: "What lies ahead for post-shutdown cities? Depending on which supposedly omniscient source you prefer, the specter of a lethal virus signals the end to dense cities once and for all - or a chance to return to the creative, inclusive urban ideal - much of what we are hearing will turn out to be irrelevant or wrong."
● Kate Wagner's (serious with a dose of humor) takedown of the "design phenomenon" she calls "Coronagrifting - cheap mockups of COVID-related design 'solutions'" by "tone-deaf art world creeps - filling the endlessly scrollable feeds of PR-beholden design websites" that "should frankly know better" ("PR-chitecture" at its worst).
● Moore considers: "Will Covid-19 show us how to design better cities? It would require creative use of the planning system. A virus can't change city planning all by itself, but it can be used as a chance to push changes whose time has come."
● Emma Grey Ellis looks at "how smart city planning could slow future pandemics - it's time to start thinking proactively, and long-term. If the cost of inaction is another pandemic, prevention is worth the price."
● Frank McDonald dreams of a Dublin that "could be heaven - we need to dream about a different world: cracking down on the Airbnb plague; promoting more affordable housing rather than office blocks we may no longer need; shopping locally instead of enriching Amazon…"
● Norfleet reports on how LEED, RELi and WELL building certification systems are looking "to adjust to the COVID-19 era - piloting tweaks to respond to the spread" of the virus - and "asking for ideas on how they can continue to evolve."
● Bernstein talks to some of the best re: "How architects are already planning the future of offices. Will some large office buildings become white elephants? Not necessarily."
● Juliette Kayyem, formerly with the Department of Homeland Security, considers how the coronavirus "killed corporate culture. Get used to working from home. It has accelerated trends that were already under way."
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Bess Williamson: Why Are There So Few Great Accessible Buildings? Design historian Williamson assesses the state of accessible architecture in 2020...30th anniversary of the ADA: Hunters Point library stands as one of the more notable architectural blunders in several decades of them...when we hear the term “ADA compliant,” we hardly think of great architecture...access is rarely more than an afterthought...some of the best examples of accessible architecture...reflect a more positive outcome of the post-ADA era...Access Living, the Ed Roberts Campus, and the LightHouse remain less familiar to many students and designers...but perhaps they will shape new practices that center disability rather than treat it as a sideline. -- Karen L. Braitmayer/Studio Pacifica; Olson Kundig; Steven Holl Architects; Jack Catlin/LCM Architects; Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects; Mark Cavagnero; Chris Downey- Metropolis Magazine
Blair Kamin: An exclusive look at the reborn Cook County Hospital: Once facing the wrecking ball...about to reemerge, beautifully remade: ...a triumph of historic preservation, one that should resonate far beyond the walls of the beloved  Beaux-Arts landmark on Chicago’s Near West Side...Not only does it give new life to an ornate, more-is-more work of architecture...It preserves a powerful symbol of compassionate care for the poor...the anchor of a much-needed, multiphase $1 billion redevelopment that promises to enliven Chicago’s vast but dull Illinois Medical District with new housing, offices and restaurants...real revelations come inside...we can see firsthand that the building’s beauty is more than skin deep. -- Paul Gerhardt; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); KOO- Chicago Tribune
Blair Kamin: Two-tower plan for former Chicago Spire site moves a step closer to groundbreaking: ...plan for two skyline-altering residential skyscrapers...cleared a key political hurdle...But to avoid the fate of the unbuilt Spire, a proposed 2,000-foot [Santiago Calatrava-designed] tower that captured the imagination of Chicago, the project will have to overcome the financial hurdle of a sharp, pandemic-induced economic downturn...Related Midwest intends to start construction next year...committed to contribute $10 million to the future construction of DuSable Park..also has committed to complete the last leg of a riverwalk -- David Childs/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- Chicago Tribune
Wallace Immen: Indigenous designs take centre stage: Interest in Indigenous design has been growing as a response to globalization and a search for architectural styles that convey a sense of place...In many cases, though, Indigenous architectural features work within otherwise contemporary buildings...Because there are only 16 Indigenous architects in Canada...projects are generally co-designed with non-Indigenous architects. -- David Fortin/Laurentian University McEwen School of Architecture; Douglas Cardinal; Matthew P. J. Hickey/Two Row Architect; Stantec; Quadrangle architects; ERA Architects; Andrew Frontini/Perkins and Will; Bruce Mau Design; Joseph Sagaj- Globe and Mail (Canada)
SPARK completes Guangzhou Shipyard master plan: ...1.2 million square metres [12.9+ million square feet] including residential, culture, offices, retail, recreation, education and healthcare facilities...with the ambition to create a people friendly world class waterfront...plan is founded on the pragmatic principles of good connectivity, density and quality public spaces supported by a rich palette of activities.- A As Architecture
Marcus Fairs: Colourful "New London Fabulous" design movement is challenging minimalism, says Adam Nathaniel Furman: Design education "brainwashes" students into rejecting colour, pattern and ornament...[he] said a group of London designers is finally overcoming bias against their use...cited Yinka Ilori, Camille Walala and Morag Mysercough as other key figures in the movement, which he said was overturning entrenched bias in the design establishment...use bold colour and pattern in their work...Furman now co-runs the AA's Saturated Space research cluster, a forum for "the sharing, exploration, and celebration of colour in architecture."- Dezeen
Nancy Kenney: National Geographic Society defends disputed plan to remove sculptural installation: Organisation argues that Elyn Zimmerman’s site-specific 1984 work does not deserve protection: ...argues that "Marabar," dating from 1984, should not be protected because it does not qualify as a historic landmark or contribute to the historic district in which it partly lies. Nor is it “a feature of the Washington built landscape that draws attention”...society argues that the existing redesign concept for its campus will fulfill a public good. -- Charles A. Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF); David Childs/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- The Art Newspaper (UK)
Call for entries: 2020 North American Copper in Architecture Awards for outstanding application of architectural copper alloys; projects must be located in the U.S. or Canada; deadline: June 1- Copper Development Association/Canadian Copper & Brass Development Association
Alissa Walker: Coronavirus is not fuel for urbanist fantasies: This moment should be about reassessing our broken cities: ...many urbanists are using the coronavirus as an opportunity to accelerate their pre-pandemic agendas...As the density discourse eventually devolved into a debate about whether [NYC] was safer than San Francisco, one critical component seems to have been missed...[SF]...purged most of the people who were most at risk from dying from COVID-19...long before the pandemic arrived...cities cannot be fixed if we do not insist on dismantling the racial, economic, and environmental inequities...many prominent urbanists have simply tweaked the language from their January 2020 tweets...to crank out COVID-tagged content, perpetuating the delusion that all cities need are denser neighborhoods, more parks, and open streets to magically become “fairer.”- Curbed
John King: What lies ahead for post-shutdown cities? It depends on whom you ask: Depending on which supposedly omniscient source you prefer, the specter of a lethal virus...signals the end to dense cities once and for all...or a chance to return to the creative, inclusive urban ideal. It proves the value of the private automobile, or the essential importance of public transit...much of what we are hearing will turn out to be irrelevant or wrong...Past acceptance of social inequities should be a priority...hints of a more flexible civic landscape - a willingness to alter our expectations - already have emerged.- San Francisco Chronicle
Kate Wagner: Coronagrifting: A Design Phenomenon: ...the spread a new kind of virust: cheap mockups of COVID-related design “solutions” filling the endlessly scrollable feeds of PR-beholden design websites...From Paper Architecture to PR-chitecture: ...content that has been dreamed up...to look good on instagram feeds...It is only within this substance-less, critically lapsed media landscape that Coronagrifting can prosper...most of the prototypes and the articles [are] insipid...Consider the barrage of asinine PR fluff...“A Designer Has Done Something Cute to Capitalize on Information Meant to Save Lives"...these tone-deaf art world creeps are using such a crisis for shameless self promotion...What’s most astounding to me...is that it is taken completely seriously by design establishments that...should frankly know better.establishments that...should frankly know better.- McMansionHell
Rowan Moore: Will Covid-19 show us how to design better cities? Around the world, cities are cleaner and quieter. Can we reinvent them - and ensure that the changes forced upon them...are not squandered? It has made everyone more conscious of the ways they occupy space...the best response might not be a rush away from everything urban, but a less violent redistribution from one kind of city to another... .. reflate the many towns and cities that often have good housing stock, handsome if neglected high streets, a legacy of past investment in public amenities...It would require creative use of the planning system...encouraging initiatives that work out new futures for whole streets at a time...A virus can’t change city planning all by itself, but it can be used as a chance to push changes whose time has come.- Observer (UK)
Emma Grey Ellis: How Smart City Planning Could Slow Future Pandemics: The Covid-19 crisis is an opportunity to rethink how cities are designed - and make them better equipped to stop disease from spreading: ...stopgap, reactive steps are important...but they will do little to slow or stave off this pandemic or help prevent the next one...it’s time to start thinking proactively, and long-term...The inequality - and resulting unhealthiness - of cities is a nuanced, layered, snarl of a problem...[place] cities’ highest budget, best designed, most beautiful new projects in the poorest, most neglected areas...It will take money, and political will...Cities have already been rolling out policies that would have seemed radical at any other time...If the cost of inaction is another pandemic, prevention is worth the price.- Wired
Dublin could be heaven: Frank McDonald reimagines the capital: Will the profound changes in retail, tourism, and work caused by the pandemic allow us to create a better city for everyone to love and work in? ...we surely need to dream about a different world: cracking down on the Airbnb plague to restore city living; promoting more affordable housing rather than office blocks we may no longer need; shopping locally instead of enriching Amazon; making space available for artists and culture...facilitating walking and cycling rather than endless traffic; and cherishing Dublin’s human scale by resisting random eruptions of high-rise buildings. -- deBlacam and Meagher Architects; Newenham Mulligan Architects- The Irish Times
Nicole Norfleet: LEED, RELi and WELL building certification systems, look to adjust to COVID-19 era: ...piloting tweaks to respond to the spread: ...in the process of being re-evaluated for short-term as well as long-term changes...LEED has launched new pilot credits that focus on social distancing, nontoxic surface cleaning, air quality and infection monitoring...USGBC is also asking for ideas on how LEED can continue to evolve...RELi is working on pilot credits...[and] gathering ideas for how to enhance its standards...WELL Building Institute is forming a task force...that will inform new enhancements... -- Doug Pierce/Perkins and Will; U.S. Green Building Council- Minneapolis Star Tribune
Fred A. Bernstein: How Architects Are Already Planning the Future of Offices: For urban skyscrapers and the blue-chip architects who design them, the pandemic “is going to skew perceptions of the value of space” - and maybe that’s not such a bad thing: After 9/11, I worried about the future of the Empire State Building. Would anyone want to work in what had suddenly become the city’s tallest building...I’m worried about [it] again...whether anyone will want to work in a building with narrow lobbies and compact elevators...Then again, [it] offers something that might be considered advantageous...enclosed offices [and] windows that open...Will some large office buildings become white elephants? Not necessarily...architects are being forced to think about more than the client’s bottom line. There’s a new focus...on what’s good for the larger community. -- Mies van der Rohe; Marion Weiss/Michael Manfredi/Weiss/Manfredi; Kai-Uwe Bergmann/BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group; Chris Hellstern/Miller Hull Partnership; Claire Weisz/WXY- Wall Street Journal
Juliette Kayyem: Never Go Back to the Office: The coronavirus killed corporate culture. Get used to working from home: ...the quiet part of this dilemma needs to be said out loud now: When should you go back to the office? You shouldn’t...Until a vaccine becomes available, corporate culture is over...office planners can certainly envision a new workplace...Employers are looking to invest in their own testing system...corporate America is desperately clamoring for protection against liability...But they don’t have it yet...The coronavirus has accelerated trends that were already under way. Companies were looking for ways to cut their spending on office space; many workers were eager to telecommute more often. -- Joseph G. Allen; John D. Macomber- The Atlantic
ANN feature: Katie Faulkner, FAIA: Remembering Michael Sorkin, Critic and Activist: The wickedly funny Sorkin, known to many as Comrade, was a social justice warrior. He maintained perpetual outrage in the course of writing 20 books and hundreds of articles, honing his invectives for gentrification, Disneyfication, waste, and conspicuous consumption.- ArchNewsNow.com
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