Today’s News - Tuesday, February 9, 2021
● Betsky offers lessons from January 6 at the U.S. Capitol: "What was supposed to be the embodiment of our civic culture was not so much attacked by Trump's mob - as it was ignored. Classicism finds itself in a state of trivial misuse. Civic architecture should be an open and continually contested arena of daily life - we might find the source of a new kind of civic space."
● Camille Squires parses a new report and toolkit from SPUR and Gehl re: how to design more equitable parks to make them "feel safe and accommodating for housed and unhoused residents alike."
● In Australia, Mathew Abbott & Steven Chang mince no words about why "the Victorian 'Green New Deal' is really an exercise in greenwashing - the plan is market-driven and won't come close to achieving the kind of large-scale public transformation that we need to avert disaster."
● On a brighter green note, Kenyan materials engineer Nzambi Matee has designed her own machines that recycle plastic waste into bricks stronger than concrete.
● Nate Berg delves into Weyerhaeuser, "the world's most beautiful corporate campus" about 25 miles south of Seattle, probably hosting "1.5 million square feet of warehouses, serviced by upwards of 800 trucks a day" - despite "opposition from some of the biggest names in landscape architecture" (the first "has received environmental and land use approvals").
● Brussat makes a plea to save Chapelle Saint-Joseph (1880-1886) in Lille, France, from demolition - "to be smothered by an architectural elephantiasis - a mammoth and culturally insensitive university complex."
● Jaliya Fonseka makes an eloquent case to make "injustices inherent in architectural education and practice visible" by listening to the "voices of the unheard. If we - as architects, educators, and students - are not invested in fostering an education that puts diversity, equity and inclusion at its core, how can we possibly design spaces that do the same?"
● Amrita Raja's great Q&A with (a very frank) Lesley Lokko re: "race, academia, and starting an architecture school in Accra, Ghana": "After the last year, everybody is paying lip service to diversity and inclusion. When it comes down to changing curricula and changing canon, it's amazing how quickly people fall off the wagon."
● Bozikovic talks to Gehry re: "the biggest and the tallest buildings of his career" - taking shape on Toronto's King Street West. Is he happy with the results? Mostly - it looks as though he will pull it off."
● Eva Hagberg parses Hudson Yards in impassioned, personal terms: It "was revealing me to myself - my realization that architecture can be a mirror, that you can see emotion in it, can weave a personal narrative out of built structure. It's too intense. It's almost nothing. It's too much. It's barely visible. It's unmanageable. It's everything I've ever wanted."
● Only 7 days left to put in your bid(s) in Modernism Week's online auction that "features rare architectural experiences and items not typically available to the public" - to benefit the non-profit (very cool stuff!).
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Aaron Betsky: What We've Learned About Classicism and Civic Space: ...lessons from our nation's capital: What was supposed to be the embodiment of our civic culture was not so much attacked by Trump's mob...as it was ignored...mainly they treated it as their lounge and toilet. They did not seem to care much for the symbolism that many current exponents of the style thought held such power...Classicism finds itself in a state of trivial misuse...exacerbated by the Trump administration...the National Civic Arts Society, and by the pandemic...Civic architecture should be...an open and continually contested arena of daily life. We need to find ways to design towards that goal...we might find the source of a new kind of civic space.- Architect Magazine
Camille Squires: For more equitable parks, design them to be inclusive of homelessness: Cities can make parks feel safe and accommodating for housed and unhoused residents alike. A new toolkit shows what that looks like: This effort is at the centre of a new report from Spur, a California Bay Area public policy non-profit, and Gehl...lays out a road map...determining how inviting or unwelcoming a park can be towards all types of users...several city parks departments...introduce design changes...with...handwashing stations, public restrooms and bulk trash cans...Urban Alchemy...hiring formerly unhoused or incarcerated people...as place stewards...Philadelphia’s Sharing Spaces...improved access to food, showers and other homelessness services...Spur and Gehl have organised their findings into a “coexistence toolkit”...- City Monitor
Mathew Abbott & Steven Chang: The Victorian “Green New Deal” Is Really an Exercise in Greenwashing: At the end of 2020, Victoria’s parliament passed a motion calling for a [GND]. But the plan...is market-driven and won’t come close to achieving the kind of large-scale public transformation that we need to avert disaster...Rather than build public utilities, the government will hold reverse auctions in which private firms underbid each other for publicly funded contracts...a form of greenwashing designed to use public money to socialize private risk for initial investments...the only solution is rational, democratic planning - but this will cut into corporate profit...We are not all on the same side, and we never were.- Jacobin magazine
Kenyan recycles plastic waste into bricks stronger than concrete: Nzambi Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials...sold at varying prices, depending on thickness and colour...common grey bricks cost...$7.70 per square metre...Matee, a materials engineer who designed her own machines...plans to add another, bigger, production line that could triple capacity...- Reuters
Nate Berg: The world’s most beautiful corporate campus is about to be turned into warehouses: The Weyerhaeuser campus paved the way for environmentally conscious corporate buildings. Now it’s under threat: ...could be joined by 1.5 million square feet of warehouses, serviced by upwards of 800 trucks a day...[has] spurred a campaign of opposition from some of the biggest names in landscape architecture, including the original designer...Completed in 1972, the 425-acre campus...was the first large scale ecologically driven campus design...project may be going forward nonetheless. The first warehouse has received environmental and land use approvals...-- Charles Birnbaum/The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF); Peter Walker/Sasaki, Walker and Associates/SWA; Edward Charles Basset/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)- Fast Company
David Brussat: Save Chapelle Saint-Joseph in Lille, France! The chapel has been abandoned by the city government. The French ministry of culture has refused to classify it as a monument worthy of preservation. Its demolition and replacement by a mammoth and culturally insensitive university complex is set to begin in earnest late in February.The preservation organization Urgences Patrimoine [seeks]...to delay the demolition...built in 1880-1886 near the already protected Palais Rameau...to be smothered by an architectural elephantiasis... -- Auguste Marcou; Saison Menu Architectes- Architecture Here and There
Jaliya Fonseka: Voices of the Unheard: Making injustices inherent in architectural education and practice visible: ...changes are starting to happen...all important steps...but in the frenzy of activity, there is a question that continues to stay with me: how can a profession which has for so long failed to address these issues so quickly shift its perspective to embody and enact meaningful change? If we - as architects, educators and students - are not invested in fostering an education that puts diversity, equity and inclusion at its core, how can we possibly design spaces that do the same? ...we...are also activists...The complexity of this undertaking is enormous, but every act of working together to build equity, diversity and inclusion is also an act of building trust, and in turn, building community...- Canadian Architect magazine
Amrita Raja: Founding the Future: Lesley Lokko talks about race, academia, and starting an architecture school in Ghana: She has been busy since stepping down from her position as dean of the Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY: Q&A with visiting professor at the University of Virginia and the Cooper Union re: the African Futures Institute...in Accra, Ghana, and what she’s learned about race and identity during her decades-long career in architectural academia": "After the last year, everybody is paying lip service to diversity and inclusion. When it comes down to changing curricula and changing canon, it’s amazing how quickly people fall off the wagon."- The Architect's Newspaper
Alex Bozikovic: Frank Gehry project taking shape on Toronto’s King Street West: ...two towers...the biggest and the tallest buildings of his career...Is he happy with the results? Mostly...will be about two million square feet...it looks as though he will pull it off...the architectural expression has changed...form and textures have been simplified and refined...The bases have also been shifted to widen the sidewalks. The result is a more generous public realm, and that is the most important element of any urban building...If built to this current design, [they] will be subtle...will emphasize the play of light over textured surfaces. They speak in rich harmonies... -- David Nam/Meaghan Lloyd/Gehry Partners- Globe and Mail (Canada)
Eva Hagberg: Love and Death in Hudson Yards: ...the hope in the site's architectural heartbreak: ...Hudson Yards...was revealing me to myself...my realization that architecture can be a mirror, that you can see emotion in it, can weave a personal narrative out of built structure...The first time...I’d seen heartbreak in the hope. This time, I saw hope in the heartbreak...The first time...what I perceived was longing, but all I could see was failure. The next time...10 months into the pandemic...all I could see was the same longing...but this time there was a hopefulness to it...a microcosm of life, and maybe that’s why I couldn’t stand it before and now I can. It’s too intense. It’s almost nothing. It’s too much. It’s barely visible. It’s unmanageable. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted.- Architect Magazine
Modernism Week's online auction (closes February 15!) features rare architectural experiences and items not typically available to the public, including a sunset, catered cocktail event for 6 at at Frey II; an overnight stay at the Frank Lloyd Wright Ablin House in Bakersfield, CA; 2 nights at the Lautner Hotel in Desert Hot Springs; 8 signed, certified Julius Shulman photographs; and more! (Modernism Week is a 501(C)3 organization)- Modernism Week (Palm Springs, California)
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