Today’s News - Thursday, July 23, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days - we'll be back Tuesday, July 28. A refreshing change of pace for the second time: no special COVID-19 coverage. Stay well. Stay safe. Stay cool…
● ANN feature: Lesson Plan #10: Peruvian architect Miguel Córdova-Ramírez: Throughout history, ornament has been used to transform the built environment into a friendlier and more empathetic place. Not to teach this higher role means to not value part of our centuries-old cultural history.
● Thomas Fisher tackles "the looming architecture school enrollment crisis - facing a slow-moving demographic disaster. We need to remain committed to the goal of diversifying the profession because it's the right thing to do. But it's also a question of professional survival."
● Gibson reports on RISD President Rosanne Somerson's open letter announcing a series of initiatives to tackle the school's "multiple racist issues."
● Parman delves into the history of architectural licensing, and the calls for long-overdue reform - or elimination - to address issues of equity and diversity - other countries can teach us something (fascinating read!).
● A profile of the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry, one of a number of mentorship programs that "are taking steps to broaden and diversify the pipeline of young people - helping high schoolers of color understand that a profession in architecture, engineering, or construction is attainable."
● L.A. Times' Christopher Knight takes it to LACMA architect Zumthor in an open letter: "You have had no experience with encyclopedic art museums -.and it shows - the museum's building design is ultimately irrelevant, except for the ways it serves the curatorial program. Believing otherwise betrays your inexperience -no architecture can compensate for lost context" (ouch!).
● Kamin thoughtfully considers what Chicago should do with its statue of Columbus, donated by "proud" local Italian Americans in 1933 - the city "is taking a first step toward confronting the issue through deliberate analysis rather than facile groupthink and an ill-considered rush into destruction."
● Dickinson on "the blurred line between the real and the rendered" - software options have resulted in "a plethora of pictures of somewhat mysterious origin, offered up as eye candy - so realistic that the hand of the maker is erased -.is it architecture?"
● Abdel offers eyefuls of such eye candy, comparing renderings of projects by starchitects to the final reality - "examples of how meticulous consideration of visualizations can help achieve inspiring works of architecture."
● Brussat minces no words when it comes to the "Democracy in Design Act" legislation that would block the now-infamous proposed executive order mandating traditional architecture for federal buildings: "The AIA asserted that the legislation 'will ensure the federal government maintains its current neutrality on architectural styles.' What a joke - there is no such neutrality."
● Belogolovsky, on a brighter note, offers a wonderful profile of Geoffrey Bawa on the Sri Lankan architect's 101st birthday (today!): We have to "analyze his achievements without categorizing him. His work is at once pre-modern, modern, and post-modern - his buildings are like plants; they unfold and make everyone within comfortable and joyous."
● To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the New York Times has created a special section on disability available in Braille and audio - with its own style guide: "At the heart of the project is the story of 'the ADA generation.'"
● Hickman reports on Yves Be´har's fuseproject and Fabien Cousteau's "initial conceptual designs" for an underwater research station and habitat - "a cursory glance at the imagery might lead to its dismissal as a sci-fi-inspired offshore folly - a particularly Verne-ian take of PR-chitecture - the idea isn't that entirely quixotic."
● Speaking of futuristic architecture, photographer Stefano Perego has "documented a series of works that exemplify the legacy left behind by the radical architects of the 1970s. Truly acolytes of their time."
● Wainwright is quite taken by "Derek Jarman: My Garden's Boundaries Are the Horizon": "The late director's otherworldly cottage and garden in Kent - one of the strangest, most magical garden scenes in the world" (locals "feared something occult was afoot") - now transplanted to the Garden Museum, one of the first to reopen in London.
● The Museum of Design Atlanta's online offer: "Learning from Nature: The Future of Design," a "survey of biomimicry-influenced design" in "a traversable recreation of the institution's interior, complete with explanatory texts, embedded videos, and high-resolution photos."
● The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona presents (in person) "It All Begins With One Word. Choose your own," a "new structure, both architectural and linguistic" by artist Katarzyna Krakowiak and curator Marcin Szczelina ("Architecture Snob") + link to interview between the artist and the curators.
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ANN feature: Lesson Plan #10: Life in Ornament: Throughout history, ornament has been used to transform the built environment into a friendlier and more empathetic place. Not to teach this higher role means to not value part of our centuries-old cultural history. By Miguel Córdova-Ramírez- ArchNewsNow.com
Thomas Fisher: The Looming Architecture School Enrollment Crisis: International students are on the decline, and not enough graduates of color are achieving licensure. Those numbers need to improve if we want to further diversify the profession: Architecture, much like higher education, is facing a slow-moving demographic disaster...the good news...the gap in the number of male and female architecture students continues to close...pessimists can make a case here as well...We can make another glass-half-full or -half-empty assessment of the diversity data...We need to remain committed to the goal of diversifying the profession because it’s the right thing to do. But it’s also a question of professional survival. -- University of Minnesota- Architect Magazine
Eleanor Gibson: RISD president announces plan to tackle school's "multiple racist issues": Rhode Island School of Design president Rosanne Somerson has announced a series of initiatives...following pressure from students and staff...an open letter highlights four key aims: cultivating an ever-more diverse community; expanding and diversifying curriculum and pedagogy; implementing research on issues of social equity and inclusion in art and design; and embedding anti-racist and anti-discriminatory infrastructures.- Dezeen
John J. Parman: Is Architectural Licensing Necessary? In the efforts toward broader inclusion, reform is long overdue: Issues of equity and diversity...are salient to any discussion of state regulation...In 1920...National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) instituted the first standard licensing exams...[Princeton's] Mónica Ponce de León's call to reform licensing, like [Yale's] Peggy Deamer call to scrap it, aim to shift architecture to a more inclusive and equitable place that’s better suited to contemporary practice and its possible futures...The pandemic has...highlighted inequities that were always there but are now almost embarrassingly front and center. -- The Architecture Lobby; American Institute of Architects (AIA); Parlour- Common Edge
Atlanta Mentorship Program Encourages Diverse Students to Pursue Architecture: Mentorship programs like the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry are taking steps to broaden and diversify the pipeline of young people interested in architecture: Founded in 2004...ACCI offers low-cost, week-long "Summer Academy"...Hosted on the campuses of Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University...programs like these are especially important in helping high schoolers of color understand that a profession in architecture, engineering, or construction is attainable. -- Oscar Harris; Garfield Peart- Architectural Record
Christopher Knight: An open letter to LACMA architect Peter Zumthor: Stop dissing L.A.’s art: ...you gave an interview...to your local newspaper in Zurich...and it made me blanch. Like...Michael Govan, you have had no experience with encyclopedic art museums...and it shows...architecture cannot compensate for lost context. Beautiful light won’t do it...the museum’s building design is ultimately irrelevant, except for the ways it serves the curatorial program. Believing otherwise betrays your inexperience with this museum’s form...the design’s critique of the encyclopedic form is shallow...no architecture can compensate for lost context.- Los Angeles Times
Blair Kamin: hould Columbus be knocked off his Chicago pedestal? Don’t let a mob decide the answer: Dealing with Columbus’ legacy, which reaches from the Chicago flag to the name of the nation’s capital district, will be no easy task...Proud Italian Americans from Chicago donated the piece [in 1933]...a skillfully handled work of art rather than as a generic tribute...Is Columbus still worthy of veneration or are such works racist anachronisms? What is the proper way to handle this vast, but fraught, legacy? Chicago is taking a first step toward confronting the issue through deliberate analysis rather than facile groupthink and an ill-considered rush into destruction.- Chicago Tribune
Duo Dickinson: Is Virtual Architecture Inherently Disingenuous? The blurred line between the real and the rendered: In the first few decades of the 20th century, photography...precise two-dimensional control over the real world and its real-time messiness transformed how architecture was perceived...We’re in an entirely different world...software options can seductively render just about any design...The result is a plethora of pictures of somewhat mysterious origin, offered up as eye candy...so realistic that the hand of the maker is erased...is it architecture? For generations the focus of competitions, architecture school, and much of the profession has been about perfecting presentation skills. But what exactly are we perfecting, now that we can totally erase the line between the rendered and the real?- Common Edge
Hana Abdel: Renders vs. Reality, Projects From Renowned Architects: Before and After: ...a range of examples of how meticulous consideration of visualizations can help achieve inspiring works of architecture. -- BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group + Atelier Brückner + CCHE; Herzog & de Meuron; Heatherwick Studio; SANAA; Diller Scofidio + Renfro; WOHA- ArchDaily
David Brussat: Tradition vs. modernism: Legislation has just been introduced...to block a proposed executive order that would replace a mandate favoring modernist styles for federal buildings with a new and better mandate favoring traditional styles...The AIA asserted that the legislation “will ensure the federal government maintains its current neutrality on architectural styles.” What a joke! ...there is no such neutrality. The [EO]...would mandate styles preferred by the public instead of by the architectural elite...A powerful, eloquent architectural language that speaks for all is what the [EO] would re-establish, and that is what the title of the “Democracy in Design Act” seems to imply. But it is a lie.- Architecture Here and There
Vladimir Belogolovsky: Celebrating Geoffrey Bawa’s delightful buildings and gardens on his 101st birthday: VB discusses Sri Lankan architect’s work and why his name remains to be discovered by practicing architects around the world: [His] name is not mentioned in most of the “official” western textbooks...if we want to define Bawa’s place in the history of contemporary architecture, not simply admit that his work is genuinely likable, we are forced to analyse his achievements in precise terms without categorising him because he simply doesn’t fit in any of the prevailing and convenient categories...His work is at once pre-modern, modern, and post-modern...buildings are like plants; they unfold and make everyone within comfortable and joyous.- STIR (See Think Inspire Reflect)
The New York Times’ special section on disability is available in Braille and audio and has its own style guide: To commemorate the [30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act], the Special Projects desk...planned an extra-accessible special section filled with essays and first-hand stories about disability...At the heart of the project is the story of “the ADA generation"...Editors have also seen the anniversary project as an opportunity to experiment with disability-friendly production and design...- Nieman Lab (Harvard University)
Matt Hickman: Yves Be´har and Fabien Cousteau reveal undersea research station planned for Curacao: ...fuseproject unveiled initial conceptual designs for Cousteau’s Proteus, a research station and habitat touted as an undersea version of the International Space Station...While a cursory glance at the conceptual imagery...might lead to its dismissal as a sci-fi-inspired offshore folly - a particularly Verne-ian take of PR-chitecture - the idea isn’t that entirely quixotic...there’s also the immediate benefits of job creation and tourism attached to such an ambitious project.- The Architect's Newspaper
Futuristic Architecture of the 70s: Photographs of a Modern World with a Twist of Science Fiction: Recently, photographer Stefano Perego documented a series of works that exemplify the legacy left behind by the radical architects of the 1970s. Truly acolytes of their time, these architects sought to bring the future to the present through their designs, giving us iconic works...All of these projects mix organic and geometric forms with materials like plastic, steel, and concrete to bring to life humanity's dreams for the future. -- Matti Suuronen; Jordan Grabuloski + Iskra Grabuloska; Dries Kreijkamp- ArchDaily
Oliver Wainwright: Blooms with a view: Derek Jarman's magical garden gets a transplant: Surrounded by poppies, sea kale and a nuclear power station, the late director’s otherworldly cottage and garden in Kent have been saved for the nation. And now there’s good news for anyone who can’t wait to see inside: ...local fishermen feared something occult was afoot...It’s not hard to see why...It is one of the strangest, most magical garden scenes in the world...a little bit of the magic has now been transposed to the Garden Museum in south London, where a fragment of the...cottage has been recreated...in a beautifully converted 14th-century church..."Derek Jarman: My Garden’s Boundaries Are the Horizon"; thru September 20- Guardian (UK)
Museum of Design Atlanta goes digital with "Learning from Nature: The Future of Design": ...a survey of biomimicry-influenced design, is now viewable online...a traversable recreation of the institution’s interior, complete with explanatory texts, embedded videos, and high-resolution photos...Supplementing the virtual installation are interviews with the creators involved that dive into the design and production process.- The Architect's Newspaper
The artist Katarzyna Krakowiak and curator Marcin Szczelina (Architecture Snob) present “It All Begins With One Word. Choose your own,” a new structure, both architectural and linguistic, on view at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona, thru August 23 + link to interview between the artist and the curators- Mies van der Rohe Foundation / Fundació Mies van der Rohe
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