Today’s News - Wednesday, September 9, 2020
● Rowan Moore talks to Gehry about his Eisenhower Memorial: He stressed "that he respected at least some of the criticism," but holds contempt for the "'arbitrary bullsh*t' that 'it should be classical architecture, period'" (per Moore, it "doesn't look like the soulless monster that its opponents described").
● Shawn Micallef: "Toronto has embraced the outdoors this summer," but "with fall and winter on the horizon, a dire feeling is settling in - maybe we can finally figure out how to accept winter and end the seasonal grief" (tho' homeless encampments are "an ominous sight").
● Ed Pilkington: "Is New York dead?" is "the wrong question. Look instead at the structural problems that were festering long before Covid-19 came along - the pandemic has laid bare uncomfortable truths" about "the New Yorkers who are excluded from the bubble in which [millionaires] Seinfeld and Altucher bicker."
● Liz Ohanesian parses architecture firm Omgivning's "vision for a more equitable post-pandemic L.A. that goes beyond social distancing," and its "Reimagining Spaces: A Post-Pandemic Design Report" (available online) that could change the face of Los Angeles.
● Alissa Walker cheers that Gensler's makeover of L.A.'s Hollywood & Highland mall includes removing "a full-scale replica of a portion of the set from D.W. Griffith's 1916 film 'Intolerance' - one of the most notoriously racist films ever made" (some preservationists "question the removal").
● Jen St. Denis x 2: "Hundreds of new homes announced for Vancouver to counter rising homelessness - but the units aren't specifically intended for residents of the Strathcona Park encampment" - considered Canada's largest tent city.
● She parses how "tiny homes for the homeless flourish elsewhere," but "they're a hard-sell in Vancouver," despite having "shown to be warmer and safer than tent cities, and 'a bridge' to stable living."
● William Morgan cheers Friedrich St. Florian being on board for new housing in a historic Providence neighborhood: "This is where having an experienced and sensitive architect pays real dividends - a master of both classical and modern can be trusted to integrate a new residence into an older neighborhood - and create history for the future."
● Julia Gamolina's great QA with Neri Oxman re: "growing up with architecture, forming her own field, and the forces that have influenced her work": What is your core mission? "To radically change the design landscape. To question the very nature of how we make things, and how we can make them in different and better ways."
● Sean Joyner's conversation with Trey Trahan, "architecture's business-centric polymath": "Expanding the definition of beauty beyond mere physicality is extremely important to me. Beauty is much more - it is about ethics, humility, justice, kindness, and faith."
● Jeff Wood's great Q&A with UPenn McHarg Center's Billy Fleming re: "the legacy of a wall-breaking landscape designer Ian McHarg, the Green New Deal, and how the Center seeks to find where design fits into the larger discussion of human life and policy."
● Q&A with George Ranalli and Anne Valentino re: "their interdisciplinary practice - modeling a kind of future we were never capable of imagining a few months ago" - by understanding and respecting history, they are "empowered to address extraordinary challenges of our not so distant future."
● Kamin talks to Lynn Osmond about she's steering the Chicago Architecture Center "through turbulent waters - the center's CEO has been improvising. She and her staff had to rethink nearly every aspect of the center" - they "solve one problem and 'then it's on to the next crisis.'"
● ICYMI: ANN feature: RKTB's Carmi Bee parses the firm's Infill Housing Prototype that offers a model for developing affordable urban housing on a neighborhood scale, and that also addresses health and safety measures.
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Rowan Moore: Frank Gehry on his Eisenhower Memorial: On the eve of the opening...in Washington DC, he talks about creating a monument worthy of its quietly heroic subject: From Justin Shubow’s point of view its greatest crime was its refusal to follow the classical style of past presidential memorials...Gehry [stresses] that he respected at least some of these criticism...His contempt is reserved for the “arbitrary bullshit” that “it should be classical architecture, period, and there’s no room for any invention or new expression"...memorial doesn’t...look like the soulless monster that its opponents described. It appears to combine dignity with intimacy...where you can choose whether to eat a sandwich or think about world war, or both. -- Sergey Eylanbekov; National Civic Art Society- Observer (UK)
Shawn Micallef: Toronto has embraced the outdoors this summer. Can we learn to love the winter? ...people...have largely got the hang of the new pandemic reality...Physical distancing and all that goes with it is like learning a new language...That it was difficult to do is perhaps a testament to how much we need close contact with each other...An ominous sight that grew...small encampments that have appeared in parks and slivers of vacant land across the city...Torontonians have mostly been empathetic to their presence...with fall and winter on the horizon, a dire feeling is settling in...maybe we can finally figure out how to accept, even embrace, winter and end the seasonal grief...the sun is never as bright as when it’s shining and reflecting on snow.- Waterloo Chronicle (Canada)
Ed Pilkington: New York's not dead, but pandemic has laid bare deep-seated problems: Jerry Seinfeld got into a spat about the Big Apple with a fellow millionaire, but for others, racial and class inequalities give debate about the city’s health a very different look: “Is New York dead?” is posing the wrong question. Look instead at the structural problems that were festering...long before Covid-19 came along...in the Bronx you don’t have to scratch the surface very far to expose the raw, bloody wounds of racial inequality...the pandemic has laid bare uncomfortable truths...unemployed...are the New Yorkers who are excluded from the bubble in which Seinfeld and Altucher bicker. In the Bronx, you don’t have time to sit around pontificating about whether New York is dead because you’re too busy trying to keep yourself and your family alive.- Guardian (UK)
Liz Ohanesian: Will the Pandemic Change the Face of Los Angeles Architecture Forever? A downtown architecture firm is shaping a vision for a more equitable post-pandemic L.A. that goes beyond social distancing: In only a decade...Omgivning...has put its stamp on about 400 L.A.-area buildings...The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the inequity that exists...[firm] has responded...with “Reimagining Spaces: A Post-Pandemic Design Report"...details design solutions for the workplace; “urban reprogramming"...new uses for commercial and industrial properties; and multi-family housing...ideas include converting empty strip malls into housing. -- Karin Liljegren- Los Angeles Magazine
Alissa Walker: It’s About Time Hollywood’s D.W. Griffith Monument Came Down: Hollywood & Highland’s whitest white elephants are an homage to L.A.’s most openly racist filmmaker: ...a full-scale replica of a portion of the set from D.W. Griffith’s 1916 film "Intolerance"...one of the most notoriously racist films ever made. This well-intentioned architectural folly is literally the elephant in the room, and it won’t be there much longer...the complex will be receiving a makeover, which will include the removal of the replicas of ancient Babylon...the plan for Ovation Hollywood - or “OH!”...is to turn the mall into something it never was: a place for locals. Without elephants. -- Daveed Kapoor; David Glover/Gensler- Curbed
Jen St. Denis: Hundreds of New Homes Announced for Vancouver to Counter Rising Homelessness: BC’s housing minister says COVID-19 measures caused homeless numbers to rise as cities grapple with growing tent cities: a 98-unit modular housing building...is located just blocks away from what’s estimated to be the biggest tent city in Canada....but the units aren’t specifically intended for residents of the Strathcona Park encampment.- The Tyee (Vancouver)
Jen St. Denis: As Tiny Homes for Homeless Flourish Elsewhere, They’re a Hard Sell in Vancouver: City staff dismiss the model, shown to be warmer and safer than tent cities, and ‘a bridge’ to stable living: ...Strathcona Park continues to host what’s estimated to be Canada’s largest tent city...Vancouver has continuously had a tent city in one location or another since 2016. The idea of formalizing one or more sites for legal camping, or adding small structures, is a no-go for the city. The city’s current plan involves attempts to house people in supportive housing buildings or shelters. It’s an approach that has so far failed to eliminate large encampments of unhoused people.- The Tyee (Vancouver)
William Morgan: Rhode Island's Celebrated Architect Friedrich St. Florian Breaking the Code in Fox Point: The process of securing permission to build new housing in the densely filled historic neighborhood...demonstrates how discussion and cooperation can lead to a design with integrity...Whether or not one admires St Florian's work, choosing [him] was a brilliant move...Because of concern over the details of the cottage, less attention has been paid to the design of the two townhouses that will be erected...This is where having an experienced and sensitive architect pays real dividends...a master of both classical and modern can be trusted to integrate a new residence into an older neighborhood...and create history for the future.- GoLocalProv.com (Providence, Rhode Island)
Julia Gamolina: Intimate Links: Neri Oxman on Designing Systems, Radical Change, and Architecture as Destiny: An architect, scientist, engineer, and inventor...she talks about growing up with architecture, forming her own field, and the forces that have influenced her work, advising those just starting their careers in design to consider themselves drafted by Mother Nature: "To engage with the built environment is no longer only about designing buildings and cities"...What is your core mission? "To radically change the design landscape from the ground up. To question the very nature of how we make things, and how we can make them in different and better ways..."- Madame Architect
Sean Joyner: A Conversation with Trey Trahan, FAIA, Architecture’s Business-centric Polymath: Business is a craft...something to be mastered and thoughtfully practiced. There is a holistic approach to life, with service to people and the community as the focus...Q&A re: leadership, creative philosophy, art, the recent pandemic, and architecture’s more profound implications in the broader community: "Expanding the definition of beauty beyond mere physicality is extremely important to me. Beauty is much more - it is about ethics, humility, justice, kindness, and faith...we should also invest more in ethics and how ethics and humility are important to any collaborative effort."- Archinect
Jeff Wood: Talking Headways Podcast: Ian McHarg and "Design with Nature Now": Talking to Billy Fleming about the legacy of a wall-breaking landscape designer - and the Green New Deal: Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s McHarg Center re: McHarg’s influence and legacy since the original "Design with Nature," the influence of his work on GIS and the environmental movement, and how the Center seeks to find where design fits into the larger discussion of human life and policy...- Streetsblog.org
Virginia Cucchi: All Good Vibes (podcast): George Ranalli and Anne Valentino: Q&A re: their interdisciplinary practice - modeling a kind of future we were never capable of imagining a few months ago; an intimate symbiosis of the disciplines of Architecture and Psychology, and through the understanding of, and respect for history, empowered to address extraordinary challenges of our not so distant future.- Floornature
Blair Kamin: Lynn Osmond steers the Chicago Architecture Center through turbulent waters: With its popular and profitable boat tours reduced and the CAC closed for months, the center's CEO has been improvising: She and her staff had to rethink nearly every aspect of the center, from its Open House Chicago architecture festival to its business model...To stave off additional cuts and carry on its mission of public education, the center is moving aggressively to win grants from philanthropies...She and her staff solve one problem and “then it’s on to the next crisis.”- Chicago Tribune
ANN feature: Carmi Bee, FAIA: Health and Safety in Urban Housing: RKTB’s Infill Housing Prototype offers a model for developing affordable urban housing on a neighborhood scale, and that also addresses health and safety measures.- ArchNewsNow.com
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