Today’s News - Tuesday, January 19, 2021
A win and a few losses in the preservation and adaptive reuse world:
● James Russell: "The new Moynihan Train Hall is a light-drenched effort to recapture the glory of a lost architectural masterpiece. It doesn't fully succeed - but it's a good start."
● Ian Volner: "New York's new train hall has arrived, more than 20 years behind schedule but somehow right on time. It's a place, and it's ours - and its opening, despite all the challenges of the pandemic, is fairly stunning" ("perhaps most distressingly, portions are being leased [to] Facebook").
● David Brussat: On the Moynihan Train Hall: "Entering the Farley Post Office Building, designed by McKim Mead & White, is as god-like an experience as one could wish" - though it "does not in the least do away with the need for the proposal to rebuild Penn Station using the original design."
● On the other side of the Big Pond: Wainwright minces no words about plans to demolish Coventry's town center - a "radical" post-war "urban vision" - and replace it with a shopping mall topped with 1,300 apartments (none affordable). "It shows such a lack of imagination."
● Rowan Moore has a similar take re: Coventry: "No true 'city of culture' should dishonor the bold ideals of its postwar rebirth" and "its pioneering mid-century reconstruction - the proposed redevelopment is generic, could-be-anywhere stuff."
● Paul Rudolph's 1972 Burroughs Wellcome building in North Carolina's Research Triangle Park is being "pulled apart" with pieces being hauled away "by the truckload" - United Therapeutics promises a "Paul Rudolph Foyer" in whatever building replaces it (aren't we lucky).
In other news:
● Classical architect Christine Huckins Franck explains why she opposes the "Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again" executive order, and resigned from the board of the NCAS: "It will backfire spectacularly and only reinforces the incorrect notion that classical architecture is authoritarian. I wish I could have done more to stop this unforced error from happening."
● Duo Dickinson parses "the end of the 20th century in architecture - we have been alone in our rooms in 2020. Rather than the 20th Century juggernaut of a design elite judging from the top-down, more designers, architects, and most importantly, clients, are basing their aesthetic on their values, rather than what is 'Correct.'"
● Laura Lee looks at how the "Black Lives Matter movement has forced us to take a hard and honest look" at the landscape architecture industry, and how the black landscape architect's network, BlackLAN, along with ASLA, the NALP, Landscape Institute and others "are making inclusivity and diversity a priority."
● Jennifer Hahn cheers the Design Museum's Beazley Designs of the Year 2020, led by Rael San Fratello's Teeter-Totter Wall - the pink seesaws that straddled US-Mexico border - winners and finalists on view in the Design Museum's (cool!) virtual exhibition.
● One we couldn't resist: Grace Farms Foundation and Herman Miller launch limited-edition face masks to "support eradicating slavery in the built environment - with sales supporting Design for Freedom, a multifaceted initiative formally launched by Grace Farms last October."
● ICYMI: ANN feature: Dave Hora: Nature of Order #3: Nos. 9-15 of Christopher Alexander's 15 Fundamental Properties of Wholeness: In contrast with the first eight, something feels more primal and elemental in these properties.
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Laura Bliss: ‘Slow Streets’ Disrupted City Planning. What Comes Next? In many cities, the swift rollout of car-restricted streets at the start of the pandemic faced fierce community resistance. Now planners are changing their playbook: ...initiatives have also drawn...comparisons with racist urban planning practices of earlier decades...slow streets became a flashpoint in the planning sphere’s broader reckoning over systemic racism...also became a turning point in urbanist discourse...cities should invest in people who understand the communities they serve. -- Just Cities; Destiny Thomas- Bloomberg CityLab
James S. Russell: Penn Station’s Revival Gets a $1.6 Billion Down Payment: The new Moynihan Train Hall is a light-drenched effort to recapture the glory of a lost architectural masterpiece. It doesn’t fully succeed - but it’s a good start: It’s a beautiful new space...a bracing restorative vision, at a time when rail travel needs all the help it can get...compromises are evident...a Penn Station truly equal to the legacy of its predecessor remains an extraordinarily heavy lift.-- McKim, Mead & White; Charles Luckman; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Vishaan Chakrabarti- Bloomberg CityLab
Ian Volner: The Moynihan Train Hall’s Glorious Arrival: ...New York’s new train hall has arrived, more than 20 years behind schedule but somehow right on time...It’s not traditional or modern but both...the concourse is...the great civic stage...And it’s here, unfortunately, that reality starts to set in...[it] is a stage all right, but the show is a bit of a farce...Perhaps most distressingly, portions...are being leased [to] Facebook...It’s a place, and it’s ours - and its opening, despite all the challenges of the pandemic, is fairly stunning... -- McKim, Mead & White; Charles Luckman; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Rockwell Group; FXCollaborative; Paul Goldberger- The New Yorker
David Brussat: On the Moynihan Train Hall: ...entering from the street beneath the colonnade of the Farley Post Office Building, designed by McKim Mead & White...is as god-like an experience as one could wish...as an aesthetic experience the train hall beats the rabbit - oops, the rat warren of Penn Station. That is a very low bar. To call the Moynihan Train Hall a step in the right direction is to damn it by faint praise, which is precisely my intention. The fact that it is now open does not in the least do away with the need for the proposal...to rebuild Penn Station using the original design... -- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM); Richard Cameron/National Civic Art Society- Architecture Here and There
Oliver Wainwright: Coventry vs. the wrecking ball: 'We need gentle repair - not wholesale demolition': From the rubble of war, Coventry rebuilt a town centre hailed as a radical urban vision. Yet, even as it salutes this heritage as UK city of culture, planners are plotting its destruction: A gargantuan planning application has been submitted to demolish half of the town centre and replace it with a shopping mall with flats on top...condemned as a violent assault on the city’s modernist heritage, just when it should be being celebrated..."It shows such a lack of imagination"... -- Chapman Taylor; Arthur Ling (1955); Terence Gregory (1963); Jeremy Gould; Otto Saumarez Smith- Guardian (UK)
Rowan Moore: No true ‘city of culture’ should dishonour the bold ideals of its postwar rebirth: Plans for the centre of Coventry claim to offer a sense of place, but ignore its pioneering mid-century reconstruction: ...the pre-eminent example of reconstruction after wartime bombing. Among the most devastated cities, [it] was also one of the most determined and thoughtful in its reconstruction...proposed redevelopment...would obliterate much of this legacy...it is generic, could-be-anywhere stuff...Coventry can be renewed... All it takes is a bit of intelligent and sensitive design. -- Chapman Taylor architects- Observer (UK)
As a landmark building comes down in Research Triangle Park, its owner says it won’t be forgotten: ...dismantling of The Elion-Hitchings Building [a.k.a. Burroughs Wellcome]...United Therapeutics...studied how it might reuse the building but concluded it is “unsafe, not environmentally sound, and functionally obsolete"...plans to memorialize...Rudolph in whatever new building goes on the site...there will be a Paul Rudolph Foyer inside...recycling and salvaging what it can from the building...George Smart/NC Modernist said he believes United Therapeutics tried everything it could to save it.- The Herald-Sun (Durham, North Carolina)
Christine Huckins Franck: Why This Classical Architect Opposes Trump’s Executive Order: It will backfire spectacularly and only reinforces the incorrect notion that classical architecture is authoritarian: ...I resigned from the board of the National Civic Art Society (NCAS) in opposition to its strategically flawed and poorly conceived effort to reform federal architecture through the blunt force mechanism...“Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again"...while it contains noble and just aims...the style-based criteria is antithetical to both the classical tradition and architectural quality...I wish I could have done more to stop this unforced error from happening.- Common Edge
Duo Dickinson: 2020: The End of the 20th Century in Architecture: The oxymoron of design being an essential luxury found reason in the 20th Century when it was seen as the cutting edge of a cultural move to a bright, clean, Modern future. But we have been alone in our rooms in 2020...The outcome of a common “cool” found in the architectural canon of the 20th century may be less meaningful now...Rather than the 20th Century juggernaut of a design elite judging from the top-down, more designers, architects, and most importantly, clients, are basing their aesthetic on their values, rather than what is “Correct.”- ArchDaily
Laura Lee: Changing the Landscape: The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has forced us to take a hard and honest look at our communities, our industry and ourselves: According to Glenn LaRue Smith of the black landscape architect’s network, BlackLAN, the black population in landscape architecture in the US remains less than 1%...Lack of diversity and inclusion means lack of perspective...BlackLAN, ASLA, the NALP, Landscape Institute and others are making inclusivity and diversity a priority... -- Simone Heath/Atlanta City Studio; Torey Carter-Conneen- Pro Landscaper USA
Jennifer Hahn: Pink seesaws that straddled US-Mexico border named Beazley Designs of the Year 2020: Teeter-Totter Wall...devised by architects Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael [Rael San Fratello] were named both the transport category winner as well as the overall winner...awards...organised by London's Design Museum...architecture winner was ModSkool, a modular school for squatters in India. [Design Museum virtual exhibition thru March 28] -- Colectivo LASTESIS; Dan Higgins & Alissa Eckert; Social Design Collaborative- Dezeen
Grace Farms and Herman Miller launch face masks to support eradicating slavery in the built environment: Coinciding with the launch of National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Grace Farms Foundation and [HM]...launch of a limited-edition face mask with sales supporting Design for Freedom, a multifaceted initiative formally launched by Grace Farms last October... -- Shohei Yoshida/shohei yoshida + associates / sy+a ( formerly of SANAA); Peter Miller/Palette Architecture (formerly of Handel Architects)- The Architect's Newspaper
ANN feature: Dave Hora: Nature of Order #3: Nos. 9-15 of Christopher Alexander's 15 Fundamental Properties of Wholeness: In contrast with the first eight, something feels more primal and elemental in these properties.- ArchNewsNow.com
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