Today’s News - Thursday, February 18, 2021
EDITOR'S NOTE: Happy 19th ANNiversary! ArchNewsNow.com launched this day - in 2002! We are taking a brief break - the newsletter will return Thursday, February 25.
● ANN feature: Tom Marshall, AIA, LEED AP: Resurrection: Architecture Rebuilds Community Connections in Memphis: The site of a dying mall is reinvented with new public buildings and activities designed to create a critical mass of vibrancy and social cohesion.
● Cathleen McGuigan's eloquent tribute to Leslie Robertson: "Revered and beloved by the architects with whom he collaborated" - perhaps best known for engineering the WTC's Twin Towers - "9/11 left him grief-stricken" - he was "unfailingly charming, in a self-effacing way - a force field of ingenuity, invention, and inspiration. He was a national treasure" (we couldn't agree more).
● Betsky on "the merits of the 'look-ma-no-hands' approach to design - twisting forms do produce exciting shapes and spaces - we seem to have gotten stuck in a 'box versus blob debate" (though he's "actually eager to see some of them realized").
● Michael Huston is nowhere near as optimistic in his take-down of "artificial complexity - buildings that contort, pop up and down, are split in the middle have very little - and, often, nothing - to do with the function, economy, or beauty."
● Mark Alan Hewitt takes on "three astounding, world-shattering shifts" that have "beset our old and esteemed profession and wreaked havoc on architects. It is now our duty to recognize our predicament and address the challenges in order to create a humane, sustainable, and healthy environment."
Moving on to brighter news notes:
● Feargus O'Sullivan reports on Mad Arkitekter's new timber tower in Berlin that "comes with lofty ambitions - to be an emphatically community-focused, affordable development - a charismatic architectural showpiece in an up-and-coming neighborhood without exclusion or displacement."
● Linda Poon reports on organizations "finding a second life" for plywood from boarded-up stores as tiny houses, public art, voter registration booths, BVN's street furniture for outdoor dining, and more. "This riot wood was once put up in fear and anxiety, and now it's being reused to build a hopeful future."
● Jason Pugh, NOMA's new president, explains why he "remains optimistic during these challenging times - a few shimmering rays of daylight have pierced through the clouds, signaling that change is near" - including "the increased dialogue on discriminatory practices. NOMA is facing challenges, but good ones."
● Q&A with Eera Babtiwale of HMC Architects re: "her introduction to Architecture and Sustainability, her process for approaching each project, and her advice for women entering the field": "This industry needs you. It needs your capacity to craft a plan that addresses multiple concerns. It needs your ability to uplift and empower others."
● Pamela Puchalski is named Executive Director of Open House New York to lead the organization in "catalyzing new models for inclusion and equity" and "bring community, philanthropic, and business leaders together to tackle head-on a myriad of challenges confronting the city."
● A great presentation of the Architectural League Emerging Voices 2021 Award winners and their "distinct design voices that have the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design."
● Looming deadline reminder: Call for entries: 2021 ASLA Professional Awards honoring the best in landscape architecture from around the globe; registration deadline: this Monday, February 22!
● Jeffrey A. Kroessler cheers Roberta Brandes Gratz's "It's a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York" that "reveals how actual people generated the ideas that returned the city to prominence. However powerful the impersonal forces of history destroying New York may have been, they had a formidable opponent" in the Kaplan Fund.
● Designers & Books has launched its Kickstarter campaign for "The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn" - an "exact copy of the architect's long-unavailable 60-year-old book accompanied by a new, illustrated Reader's Guide" (great pix and excerpts!).
● Lizzie Crook talks to Sam Lubell re: "Life Meets Art" that "offers a glimpse inside homes of leading creatives from across six different centuries and more than 30 countries + Her pick of 10 designer homes from the book.
● Welton talks to Samuel G. White re: "Stanford White in Detail" that "zeroes in on the finer points" of his great-grandfather's work - the ornament and interiors that he dispatched with unmatched elegance" - a "sumptuous - and to some degree astonishing" book.
● ANN Reprise: Excerpt: "Stanford White in Detail" by Samuel G. White: A rich presentation of the sensual and scenographic effects created by the legendary architect. For White, every surface was an opportunity.
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ANN feature: Tom Marshall, AIA, LEED AP: Resurrection: Architecture Rebuilds Community Connections in Memphis: The site of a dying mall is reinvented with an assembly of public buildings and activities designed to create a critical mass of vibrancy and social cohesion.- ArchNewsNow.com
Cathleen McGuigan: Obituary: Leslie Robertson, 92: ...structural engineer known for his innovative work on skyscrapers around the globe...Revered and beloved by the architects with whom he collaborated, he may remain best known for engineering the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center...the horrific attack on 9/11...left him grief-stricken. Many experts noted that because of how long each tower stood before falling, thousands of people were able to escape...Active in Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility [ADPSR], he was a pacifist...Friends and colleagues found him unfailingly charming, in a self-effacing way...a force field of ingenuity, invention, and inspiration. He was a national treasure. -- Minoru Yamasaki; I.M. Pei; William Pedersen/KPF; SawTeen See/See Robertson Engineers/LERA; Guy Nordenson- Architectural Record
Aaron Betsky: Is Architecture Having Another Expressive Moment? the merits of the "look-ma-no-hands" approach to design: Rowan Moore...calling the structures “urban click bait,” “one-liner architecture"...What is wrong with these buildings? Their twisting forms do produce exciting shapes and spaces...we seem to have gotten stuck in a “box versus blob” debate...Will some...be the beloved monuments of tomorrow, or...warnings about the power of designing anything imaginable, at any scale, anywhere in the world? They will continue to use up natural resources...They will also bring some excitement and pizzazz to their sites...I am actually eager to see some of them realized. -- Charles Dilworth; Heatherwick Studio; Zaha Hadid; David Chipperfield; Paul Rudolph; Luigi Snozzi- Architect Magazine
Michael Huston: Architecture and the Environmental Impact of Artificial Complexity: Needless intricacies in building designs waste natural resources: ...architects and designers add excessive and inessential complexity to their buildings and landscapes when none is warranted...Buildings that contort, pop up and down, are split in the middle...have very little - and, often, nothing - to do with the function, economy, or beauty of the building...a creative and ego-driven self-expression...Cheap fossil fuel, notions about the role of the architect as artist and hero...and an appeal to our innate desire for novelty, all amplified the preponderance of artificial complexity. -- Civic Plan Studio; Leon Krier; Nikos Salingaros; Christopher Alexander; John Silber- Common Edge
Mark Alan Hewitt: Three Giant Leaps for Mankind, Three Grave Threats to Architecture: What looked like progress now appears as something else starkly different: Global over Local. Cyberspace over Personal Space. Wealth over Culture. The three astounding, world-shattering shifts that have made much of what I care about cease to matter...not only for me but for almost every architect I know. The smartest people I worked with...were barely aware of how destructive these forces were, only now recognizing that a crisis has beset our old and esteemed profession...three huge shifts...have wreaked havoc on architects and their fellow stewards of the public realm. We have been the losers in this equation...It is now our duty to recognize our predicament and address the challenges...in order to create a humane, sustainable, and healthy environment...Admitting our powerlessness will be the first step.- Common Edge
Feargus O'Sullivan: Berlin’s New Timber Tower Comes With Lofty Ambitions: A skyscraper that would be Europe’s tallest wooden building promises a “social and ecological paradigm shift” in a gentrifying neighborhood - and a test for the city’s affordable housing model: Called WoHo and designed by Norway’s Mad Arkitekter...eco-friendly engineering is attracting attention...other qualities that may be even more interesting...tower, and the connected lower-rise buildings that will surround it, aspire to be an emphatically community-focused, affordable development...could serve as a template for how to build a charismatic architectural showpiece in an up-and-coming neighborhood without exclusion or displacement. -- cross-laminated timber/CLT- Bloomberg CityLab
Linda Poon: The Creative Repurposing of Plywood From Boarded-up Stores: ...finding a second life in projects from tiny houses to public art: In Los Angeles, the California Wildlife Center is collecting boards to build enclosures for its animals. In New York City and San Francisco, the architecture firm BVN is repurposing boards into street furniture for outdoor dining. Chicago turned plywood into voter registration booths covered in art...“This riot wood was once put up in fear and anxiety, and now it’s being repurposed and reused to build a hopeful future.”- Bloomberg CityLab
Jason Pugh: New Hopes for the New Year: Why the 2021-2022 president of the National Organization of Minority Architects remains optimistic during these challenging times: I am reflecting on the challenges we have faced. I am shifting my focus to what makes me hopeful and what message I can share...It is hard to be hopeful while others are in pain [and] no immediate relief is in sight. Nonetheless, a few shimmering rays of daylight have pierced through the clouds, signaling that change is near...The growing unity among all genders and races across the Black Lives Matter demonstrations has left me hopeful...The increased dialogue on discriminatory practices...also makes me hopeful...NOMA is facing challenges, but good ones. -- Gensler- Architect Magazine
Women Who Inspire: Meet Eera Babtiwale/HMC Architects: ...has co-lead sustainable efforts firm-wide...for over 30 projects. Q&A re: her introduction to Architecture and Sustainability, her process for approaching each project...and her advice for women entering the field: What has been the most challenging part of your career so far? "Chiseling away at the misconception that sustainability has to cost more." What is one piece of advice you have for women entering the field? "This industry needs you. It needs your skill, wisdom, empathy, open mindedness, hindsight and foresight. It needs your capacity to...craft a plan that addresses multiple concerns. It needs your ability to uplift and empower others."- ArchNative
Pamela Puchalski Appointed Executive Director of Open House New York: Organization providing unparalleled public access to New York’s built environment commits to catalyzing new models for inclusion and equity: She brings 20 years of leadership experience working to promote resilient, inclusive, and equitable urban environments in the U.S. and internationally...Under her direction, OHNY will bring community, philanthropic, and business leaders together to tackle head-on a myriad of challenges confronting the city. -- Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities; The American Assembly at Columbia University; Brookings Institution; LSE Cities; AIANY Center for Architecture- Open House New York (OHNY)
Architectural League Emerging Voices 2021 Award: ...spotlights North American individuals and firms with distinct design voices that have the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. -- Pascale Sablan/Adjaye Associates/NOMA/SAY IT LOUD; Cúre & Penabad; Lori A. Brown/ArchiteXX; Ryan Bollom/DK Osseo-Asare/Low Design Office; Kounkuey Design Initiative; Craig Borum/Jen Maigret/PLY+; Studio Zewde; Taller Capital- Architectural League of New York
Deadline reminder: Call for entries: 2021 ASLA Professional Awards honoring the best in landscape architecture from around the globe; registration deadline: Monday, February 22 (submissions due March 12)- American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)
Jeffrey A. Kroessler: Roberta Brandes Gratz's "It’s a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York": Historians have wrestled mightily with...New York City’s decline in the latter 20th century, and identified any number of explanations...Each...essentially leans upon great impersonal forces. This volume reveals how actual people generated the ideas that returned the city to prominence, and those who funded the often small-scale and fine-grained efforts. No one was more involved than Davidson, who epitomizes...“activist philanthropy"...However powerful the impersonal forces of history destroying New York may have been, they had a formidable opponent in the Kaplan Foundation.- The Gotham Center
Designers & Books' "The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn": A Facsimile: Kickstarter campaign launched yesterday for an exact copy of the architect's long-unavailable 60-year-old book accompanied by a new, illustrated Reader’s Guide: ...was the brainchild and passion project of...Richard Saul Wurman [who] asked to select all the drawings and texts for the book...Kahn agreed...New writings from Wurman; Kahn’s three children - Nathaniel Kahn, Sue Ann Kahn, and Alexandra Tyng; Jonathan Salk...Paul Goldberger, among others. Tributes from winners of the Louis I. Kahn Award: Adjaye, Ando, Chipperfield, Eisenman, Flato, Foster; Gang, Gehry, Grimshaw, Holl, Libeskind, Mayne, Safdie, Scott Brown, Stern, Tsien & Williams, Viñoly- Designers & Books
Lizzie Crook: "Life Meets Art" by Sam Lubell offers glimpse inside homes of leading creatives: The homes of both notable and lesser-known architects, designers, musicians, poets and artists from across six different centuries and more than thirty countries are also shown - many for the first time...Read on for Dezeen's pick of 10 designer homes in the book. -- Norman Foster; Faye Toogood; Jim Olson/Olson Kundig; Finn Juhl; Charles Moore; Eileen Gray; Karim Rashid; Richard Neutra- Dezeen
J. Michael Welton: From Monacelli Press, "Stanford White in Detail": After publishing three books on masterworks by his great-grandfather, Samuel G. White is zeroing in on the finer points of his work...focuses on ornament and interiors that the partner in McKim, Mead & White dispatched with unmatched elegance...206-page book is composed mostly of full-page color plates and a minimum of prose to introduce its seven sections. Lavish photography by Jonathan Wallen...Sumptuous - and to some degree astonishing,,,- Architects + Artisans
Reprise: Excerpt: "Stanford White in Detail" by Samuel G. White; photographs by Jonathan Wallen: A rich presentation of the sensual and scenographic effects created by the legendary architect. For White, every surface was an opportuny.- ArchNewsNow.com
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