Today’s News - Wednesday, March 17, 2021
EDITOR'S NOTE: Happy St. Patrick's Day! And a heads-up that the next newsletter will post Tuesday, March 23…
● It's a Pritzker kind of day! Pogrebin cheers Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal garnering the 2021 Pritzker Prize: They "believe that every structure can be repurposed, reinvented, reinvigorated - the pair prefers 'to work with very simple elements - air, sun - that we don't have to pay for.'"
● Wainwright re: the Pritzker, "a prize once reserved for flamboyant sculptors of icons - Lacaton and Vassal prefer stretching shoestring budgets and using simple, off-the-peg materials with elegant economy."
● Kimmelman has a Zoom gathering with 4 of the 10 members of the Black Reconstruction Collective, formed out of MoMA's "Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America," that aims to "reclaim the larger civic promise of architecture" with "longer-term, more radical goals."
● Brandes Gratz explores how a post-Covid New York "in the hands of the same people responsible for homogenizing a once-vibrant urbanistic city" holds "important implications" for the "rebirth" of smaller cities in the region.
● Alexandra Lange explains why "going to school in a dead mall" is "not such a bad idea: They're building types with a lot in common," i.e. it's "a good use of a building whose era has come to an end - those buildings should be reused."
● Laura Laker looks at how Europe is "doubling down on cycling in post-Covid recovery plans - betting on the bicycle to lead the recovery - a chance to 'build back better.' Now many cities are busy accelerating existing plans to do just that."
● Betsky says there's "a beauty in keeping things simple and mining the economy of means and shape for the subtle emphases on details" that "can make a building come alive. The problem is that it does not always work that way. First - you have to be good at it,"
● Buday has an interesting take on "the long history of political power and architecture - the idea of buildings as propaganda."
● Michael Snyder delves into how, after a devastating earthquake, the town of Jojutla, Mexico, became "home to an array of inventively reimagined public spaces," and "has become a paradigm for rural revitalization" (mixed results included).
● Perkins Eastman and Pfeiffer Partners Architects merge to become Pfeiffer - a Perkins Eastman studio.
● The six winners of the 68th Annual Progressive Architecture Awards "exemplify how architecture in service of the greater good is worth celebrating."
● "Social housing ace" Alice Brownfield of Peter Barber Architects wins the 2021 MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice, part of the AJ/AR's W Awards 2021 (formerly Women in Architecture awards).
● Winners of the 2021 U.S. Wood Design Awards "are an appropriately eclectic bunch showcasing wood design at its most daring."
● Alexander Walter profiles the 11 interdisciplinary student teams from around the world shortlisted for the 2021 Wege Prize Student Design Competition award.
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Robin Pogrebin: Affordable Housing Earns French Couple the Pritzker Prize: After more than 30 years of designing affordable new spaces out of existing structures, Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal have won architecture’s highest honor: [They] have never demolished a building in order to construct a new one...believe that every structure can be repurposed, reinvented, reinvigorated...“Never demolish, never cut a tree, never take out a row of flowers. Take care of the memory of things that were already there, and listen to the people that are living there"...the pair prefers “to work with very simple elements - air, sun - that we don’t have to pay for.” -- Lacaton & Vassal; Frédéric Druot; Christophe Hutin- New York Times
Oliver Wainwright: 'Sometimes the answer is to do nothing': unflashy French duo take architecture's top prize: The Pritzker prize, once reserved for flamboyant creators of icons, has gone to Lacaton & Vassal, whose rallying cry is: ‘Never demolish, never remove - always add, transform and reuse’: In an age of demolishing public housing and replacing it with shiny new carbon-hungry developments...[they] have worked tirelessly to expand and upgrade existing buildings with surgical precision, transforming the lives of thousands of people in the process...They prefer spreadsheets to slick computer-generated images, stretching shoestring budgets and using simple, off-the-peg materials with elegant economy, to “make more and better with less.” -- Jean-Philippe Vassal; Anne Lacaton; Frédéric Druot- Guardian (UK)
Michael Kimmelman: How Can Blackness Construct America? A new collective of Black architects and artists, formed out of a show now at MoMA, aims to “reclaim the larger civic promise of architecture": The collective’s members are the 10 architects, artists and designers in “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America"...includes some mind-bending, beautiful work...But the collective emerged to serve longer-term, more radical goals...Four of the members gathered on Zoom...to talk about the collective’s impetus and goals..."The word inclusion makes my skin crawl, because in a context like this it implies tolerance: tolerating Black people." -- Sean Anderson; Mabel O. Wilson; Amanda Williams, Emanuel Admassu, J. Yolande Daniels and V. Mitch McEwen; Sekou Cooke, Germane Barnes, Felecia Davis, Mario Gooden, Walter Hood, Olalekan Jeyifous- New York Times
Roberta Brandes Gratz: Post-Covid New York and the Rebirth of the Regional City: There are important implications for downtowns across the country. ...people are wondering if New York City can recover. It will - but, sadly, in the hands of the same people...responsible for homogenizing a once-vibrant urbanistic city...a positive development: the enhanced rebirth of smaller cities in the region...where the authentic urban personality is not being dumbed down or erased...a real sense of place, community, and culture, all at an affordable price...NYC just can’t learn the lessons of its own self-imposed diminishment.- Common Edge
Alexandra Lange: Going to School in a Dead Mall? Not Such a Bad Idea: They're building types with a lot in common: a) a thousand kids going back to school during a pandemic in one of the few spaces in the city big enough to accommodate them at safe distances...And (b) a good use of a building whose era has come to an end...The genre may be nearly dead, yet the building remains. And for economic, ecological, and social reasons, those buildings should be reused. -- June Williamson; Ellen Dunham-Jones; "Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia"; Barnes Gromatsky Kosarek Architects; Eliot Noyes; Hardy Holtzman Pfeiffer- Curbed New York
Laura Laker: Europe doubles down on cycling in post-Covid recovery plans: Success of schemes during pandemic has led many cities to plan vastly expanded bike networks: ...betting on the bicycle to lead the recovery...not just the usual suspects in Denmark and the Netherlands taking action, but places with inadequate infrastructure...a chance to “build back better”, as politicians are fond of saying. Now many cities are busy accelerating existing plans to do just that.- Guardian (UK)
Aaron Betsky: Breaking the Box: when a simple and pure design isn't enough: There is a beauty in keeping things simple and mining the economy of means and shape for the subtle emphases on details, light, or material that can make a building come alive...The problem is that it does not always work that way. First...you have to be good at it...Second, trying to cram different uses into a uniform shape is not always easy...we should celebrate complexity where it is warranted and praise simplicity where appropriate, but never assume that there is a single solution to the design of a building. There are no rules that fit all situations, only good or bad architects who are either using the right tactics or giving up on the necessity of doing the right thing. -- Mecanoo; Frank Gehry- Architect Magazine
Richard Buday: Architecture [not equal to] Truth: On the Idea of Buildings as Propaganda: The long history of political power and architecture: ...Biden overturned...Trump’s Executive Order “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture"...a headlong attack on Modernism waged by the National Civic Art Society (NCAS)...an illusion of false enemies...repeal stopped the assault before it could do immediate environmental damage, but that’s not to say no harm was done...decree compelled many architects to take sides...driving a wedge between colleagues and sowing public confusion...This is the nature of propaganda...Successful architecture marries ideas to ideals...Architecture is an unavoidable canvas upon which to paint honest pictures. In caring hands, positive propaganda could debunk myths...- Common Edge
Michael Snyder: The Architects Who, After a Devastating Earthquake, Rebuilt a Town: Jojutla, Mexico, now home to an array of inventively reimagined public spaces, has become a paradigm for rural revitalization: Three years after the 2017 catastrophe...city showed signs of new life...While the government focused reconstruction efforts on housing, Fundación Hogares planned to spend $10 million on public infrastructure that might otherwise have gone ignored...Governments, meanwhile, have continued to retreat from these kinds of public endeavors, allowing starchitects and their benefactors to pick up the slack - with tragically mixed results... -- DAFd;f; Dellekamp/Schleich studio; Camilo Restrepo/Agenda; Tatiana Bilbao; Alejandro Aravena/Elemental; Wang Shu/Lu Wenyu/Amateur Architecture Studio; Oscar Hagerman; Carlos González Lobo; Balkrishna Doshi; Shigeru Ban; Frank Gehry; David Adjaye; Brad Pitt/Make It Right Foundation; Carlos Zedillo; MMX; Alberto Kalach- New York Times Style Magazine
Perkins Eastman and Pfeiffer Partners Architects Merge: The 37-member staff of Pfeiffer [successor of the firm Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates] will become Pfeiffer - a Perkins Eastman studio.- Architect Magazine
The Winners of the 68th Annual Progressive Architecture Awards: This year's jurors selected six projects that exemplify how architecture in service of the greater good is worth celebrating: ...drawn to entries that embrace what recent times have made clear are central to a thriving society: community engagement, environmental stewardship, and equitable access to services. --- LS3P Associates; Ja Architecture Studio; Evoke Studio Architecture; La Dallman; OJT (Office of Jonathan Tate); Gensler- Architect Magazine
Social housing ace wins 2021 MJ Long Prize: Peter Barber Architects associate director Alice Brownfield has been as announced the winner of the MJ Long Prize for Excellence in Practice, part of the AJ/AR’s W Awards 2021 [formerly Women in Architecture awards]: "We believe that architecture has the potential for social action."- The Architects' Journal (UK) / The Architectural Review (UK)
WoodWorks announces the winners of the 2021 U.S. Wood Design Awards: ..19 .winning projects of this year’s U.S. Wood Design Awards, presented by WoodWorks - Wood Products Council, are an appropriately eclectic bunch showcasing wood design at its most daring. -- Engberg Anderson Architects; MGA | Michael Green Architecture; BCV Architecture + Interiors; Skylab Architecture; DIGSAU; Taylor Lombardo Architects/Preservation Architecture; Miller Hull Partnership/Lord Aeck Sargent, a Katerra Company; Centerbrook Architects and Planners; nARCHITECTS; Berners Schober; etc.- The Architect's Newspaper
Alexander Walter: 2021 Wege Prize Student Design Competition: shortlisted student design entries offer sustainable solution...11 interdisciplinary student teams from around the world have been selected to advance to the final phase...organized annually by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University...invites young designers, engineers, and scientists to tackle some of the world's most pressing "wicked" problems and offers a platform for promoting successful solutions...8 teams with participants from African countries...- Archinect
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