Today’s News - Tuesday, October 13, 2020
EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to technical issues beyond our control, we were unable to post last Thursday's newsletter. Sorry 'bout that. Stuff happens…
● Neighborhoods Now, a new - free! - online design toolkit for COVID-19 recovery efforts, offers more than "40 design-driven strategies, guidelines, prototypes, and other resources" developed by the Van Alen Institute, the Urban Design Forum, and NYC neighborhood working groups that "can be applied to any neighborhood in any city."
● Paola Antonelli's great Q&A with MASS Design Group's Michael Murphy re: how the firm's experience designing healthcare systems in vulnerable countries during past pandemics has produced "Covid-19 design response strategies" ("design hacks") that it is sharing "with fellow designers and healthcare providers."
● Diana Lind talks to a number of (impressive) experts re: the "crises with coronavirus and social inequity - this is the time to reimagine urban living. Cities have been, and always will be, civilization's finest creation. If we don't radically reinvent them now, when will we?"
● WATG offers the "Green Block" as a solution to the Urban Design Forum's inquiry "City Life After Coronavirus" that would make NYC streets "greener while helping small businesses recover in the process" - and also working to make the same thing happen in London.
● Wainwright brings us a depressing report re: "architecture firms' masochistic habits amplified by the lockdown" - and "distraught" employees speaking out re: "furlough fraud, endless hours, home-surveillance [really creepy!], fear of reprisals" (sigh).
● CCNY Spitzer architecture students respond to Dean Lesley Lokko's resignation: "We had not been made aware of her negative experience [and] give her our full support. However, we are disappointed that she chose to abandon" her vision that "was ultimately undermined (at least in part) by her inability to acknowledge the concerns and dreams of her very own students."
● Nate Berg x 2: He brings us "the strange" (and fascinating) story of Trilith, a 235-acre town that "Hollywood insiders are building from scratch within a 900-acre film and TV production facility just outside of Atlanta - an industry town that's as much about the town as it is about the industry" (Seaside v. 2.0).
● He delves into prefab, which "was supposed to fix the construction industry's biggest problems. Why isn't it everywhere?" The challenges facing one Canadian company "highlight the difficulty of disrupting the entrenched construction industry."
● MacCash reports on the continuing saga of Brad Pitt's post-Katrina Make It Right houses in New Orleans - the next to have "a date with the bulldozer" was designed by Adjaye. "When new, it was an audacious-looking home."
● King, on an optimistic note, re: the post-pandemic future of San Francisco's mixed-use Transbay District, with residential towers by Studio Gang and OMA: Though things are not so rosy at the moment, "what may help it succeed long-term is the diversity baked into the plan."
● Kamin re: the new Bank of America tower on the Chicago River - it may be the "city's tallest office building in 30 years" - but it's a mix of "drama and banality - its contribution to the public realm is defined more by its memorable bottom than its forgettable top" (the value of an outdoor plaza and new riverwalk "cannot be overstated").
● Eyefuls of Viñoly's renderings of National Medal of Honor Museum's 5-acre complex in Arlington, Texas, that "depict a squat, slab-like volume fabricated from steel that appears to levitate over the site."
● Moore minces no words re: what he thinks of what seems to be a competition between memorials to the Holocaust and slavery in London: "It would be invidious to set up a rivalry between them, so why are their monuments being treated so differently?"
● Parks in Brooklyn, New York, and Wellston, Missouri, win the 2020 ULI Urban Open Space Awards - with links to great presentations!
● The 4th Annual City of Tomorrow (virtual) Summit: Building a Better Future is already underway and continues through tomorrow - with a most impressive line-up of participants - registration is free!
● Palm Spring's Modernism Week Fall Preview Online Experience kicks off Thursday (thru October 31), and includes "Live from the Zoom Zoom Room," the happiest (virtual) hour of the year!
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Van Alen Institute and Urban Design Forum launch online design toolkit for COVID-19 recovery efforts: ...features over 40 design-driven strategies, guidelines, prototypes, and other resources meant to support safe and community-focused recovery and reopening efforts...resources were generated by New York City neighborhood-specific working groups as part of the Neighborhoods Now...many of the tools that are now freely available to access at neighborhoodsnow.nyc can be applied to any neighborhood in any city that’s looking for a helping hand as communities attempt to move forward and reopen. -- KPF; Pentagram- The Architect's Newspaper
Paola Antonelli: Michael Murphy on designing healthcare systems: Q&A re: how MASS Design Group developed extensive proficiency in designing healthcare systems in vulnerable countries...and how its experience during past pandemics...places the practice at the forefront of the design response to Covid-19...producing...strategies to share information with fellow designers and healthcare providers. [Wallpaper* Oct. issue guest-edited by Design Emergency co-founders Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn - available to download free]- Wallpaper*
Diana Lind: Reinventing Solutions to Urban Living: Ongoing crises with coronavirus and social inequity indicate this is the time to reimagine life in cities. Various experts speak out: ...a question once unthinkable: do we need cities? Cities have been, and always will be, civilization’s finest creation. If we don’t radically reinvent them now, when will we? -- Dror Poleg; Vishaan Chakrabarti; Justin Moore/NYC Public Design Commission; Harriet Tregoning/New Urban Mobility alliance (NUMO); Hélène Chartier/C40 Cities; Amy Liu/Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program- Architectural Record
This is what a landscaped ‘green block’ would look like in the Flatiron District: As the city is in the midst of reopening, WATG...has proposed a plan to make the streets of New York greener while helping small businesses recover in the process...Led by...John Goldwyn...transforms the intersection in front of the iconic Flatiron Building into a pedestrian-friendly green haven...uses a modular, maintenance-free program, created using 100% recyclable materials...recognized by the Urban Design Forum as a solution to its inquiry “City Life After Coronavirus"...The firm is currently working to get the Green Block deployed in some streets of London.- 6sqft (New York City)
Oliver Wainwright: Furlough fraud, snooping and firings: architects speak out over lockdown exploitation: Endless hours, home-surveillance, fear of reprisals - complaints in this already stressful industry have soared during Covid-19. We speak to distraught workers: ...architecture firms’ masochistic habits amplified by the lockdown...The union...United Voices of the World - Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) - was formed last year and has been inundated with complaints from architects at all levels...- Guardian (UK)
Spitzer Architecture Students Respond to Dean Lesley Lokko's Departure: ...we stand in solidarity...against racism and racial prejudice...We had not been made aware of her negative experience [and] give her our full support...We understand that she faced complications in the implementation of her vision...However, we are disappointed that she chose to abandon that project...[Her] vision of a radical, inclusive, and participatory educational experience was ultimately undermined (at least in part) by her inability to acknowledge the concerns and dreams of her very own students.- Architectural Record
Nate Berg: The strange story of the Southern town that Hollywood insiders are building from scratch: Trilith is a 235-acre town built within a massive [900-acre] film and TV production facility just outside of Atlanta: ...Pinewood Atlanta was a turnkey space for filming...some of its local investors wanted it to be more...So they decided to build a town...Planned with New Urbanist design principles...for an eventual population of 5,000...inspired by Seaside, Florida [designed] to appeal to young creatives...an industry town that’s as much about the town as it is about the industry. -- Lew Oliver- Fast Company / Co.Design
Nate Berg: Prefab was supposed to fix the construction industry’s biggest problems. Why isn’t it everywhere? The Canadian company Bone Structure can produce zero net energy homes months faster than a traditional builder. But its challenges highlight the difficulty of disrupting the entrenched construction industry: ...developing a building system wasn’t the main challenge. The bigger problem they needed to solve was labor...[Bone] A kit of parts, no skilled labor needed...solution begets other problems... -- Brendan Kelly/Kelly + Morgan Architects; Anders Lasater; Caitlin Mueller/MIT; Mathew Aitchison/Building 4.0 CRC- Fast Company / Co.Design
Doug MacCash: Another of Brad Pitt’s Make It Right houses to be demolished: The blighted house at 1826 Reynes St. in the Lower 9th Ward has a date with the bulldozer...[New Orleans] declares that the vacant building is “in imminent danger of collapse and/or threat to life"...109 houses...were unlike any seen in New Orleans before...neighborhood became a tourist destination for avant-garde architecture fans...house designed by David Adjaye...When new, it was an audacious-looking home...posts are now so deteriorated that the roof has partially slumped into the floor below...Make It Right has been a legal battleground. -- Shigeru Ban; Thom Mayne; Frank Gehry; John C. Williams- The Times-Picayune (New Orleans)
John King: The Future of San Francisco's Transbay District: Tech offices are dark and storefronts are empty. But, as residential towers by Studio Gang and OMA show, the future of San Francisco’s new mixed-use district is planned for diversity and affordability: What may help Transbay succeed long-term is the diversity baked into the plan...30% of the 4,400 housing units planned here must be subsidized for lower-income residents...not cheap by national standards. But it means that when you walk through the transit center’s lush rooftop park, you see families who reflect the neighborhood’s economic and racial diversity. -- Pelli Clarke Pelli; Fougeron Architecture- Architectural Record
Blair Kamin: Bank of America: City’s tallest office building in 30 years opens along Chicago River, mixing drama and banality: ...the star of the show is the riverfront facade, where a trio of three-pronged structural elements...help support the massive tower, as if they were a waiter’s fingers balancing a stack of plates...But there’s a difference between creating an attention-getting part of a building and forming a satisfying whole...[it] is unlikely to make it into anybody’s architectural pantheon...new section of riverwalk...is among the strongest contributions...to the public realm...blandness is countered, but only so much...its contribution to the public realm is defined more by its memorable bottom than its forgettable top. -- Goettsch Partners; IA Interior Architects- Chicago Tribune
Rafael Viñoly Architects unveils renderings of National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, Texas: ...will honor the over 3,500 Americans who have been conferred the country’s most prestigious military decoration...$150 million NMOHM...will be integrated into a larger sports and entertainment district...renderings for the five-acre complex depict a squat, slab-like volume fabricated from steel that appears to levitate over the site...in close proximity to AT&T Stadium, Globe Life Park, and Texas Live! -- MPFP; Safdie Architects- The Architect's Newspaper
Rowan Moore: The Holocaust and slavery - both need a fitting memorial: It would be invidious to set up a rivalry between them, so why are their monuments being treated so differently? In 2005, a proposal was put forward to build...a national memorial to the victims of slavery...Memorial 2007...a competition to decide which was the greater and more significant horror. Both must be remembered. But, in their carelessness, Cameron and his successors have made such a rivalry more likely.- Observer (UK)
Parks in Brooklyn, New York, and Wellston, Missouri, Win 2020 ULI Urban Open Space Awards: ...award recognizes outstanding examples of vibrant public open spaces that have been instrumental in promoting healthy, sustainable, and equitable outcomes in communities. Domino Park by James Corner Field Operations, SHoP Architects (with Vishaan Chakrabarti), etc. & Trojan Park by Lamar Johnson Collaborative (formerly Forum Studio), etc.- Urban Land Magazine (Urban Land Institute/ULI)
4th Annual City of Tomorrow (virtual) Summit: Building a Better Future, October 13-14 - free registration! Participants include: Charles Renfro, David Rockwell, Thomas Heatherwick, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Richard Florida, Mitchell J. Silver, MoMa’s Paola Antonelli, Alexandra Lange, Signe Nielsen, Mindy Fullilove, Jim Crispino, Daniel L. Doctoroff, and many, many(!) others.- Delos /92Y / Hundred Stories
Modernism Week Fall Preview Online Experience launches October 15, thru October 31: 7 events, similar to programs that would typically be available in-person events; includes “Live from the Zoom Zoom Room,” the happiest (virtual) hour of the year!- Modernism Week (Palm Springs, California)
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