Today’s News - Thursday, March 25, 2021
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, March 30.
● Brussat pays tribute to "classicism's philanthropist: Richard H. Driehaus - beloved among architects and historic preservationists for his stewardship of old buildings" who founded the founded the $200,000 Driehaus Prize for "a single architect for a lifetime of work in the classical and traditional languages of architecture" (with link to NYT's Sam Roberts obit).
● Steven Bingler lays out the 6 key principles that serve as a "blueprint for authentic public engagement" for a "collaborative and empathic approach to placemaking" (a.k.a. "community co-design).
● Cailin Crowe reports on "new roadblocks" cities may face in their "quest to decarbonize buildings" as the International Code Council "removed the rights of local governments to vote on future energy efficiency building regulations" - giving the construction and gas industries more control over energy codes" (oh joy).
● Jean Nouvel beats 17 star-studded teams in the competition to design the Shenzhen Opera House.
● Welton talks to Daan Roosegaarde re: his "Urban Sun," recently unveiled in Rotterdam - "backed by scientific research, the one-meter sphere, glowing yellow-gold proves a new, specific light can safely clean up to 99.9% of the coronavirus."
● Jack Crager cheers Frick's historic collection in its "new digs" - Breuer's Whitney: "It's a bold, unprecedented experiment in art curation - the masterworks have new room to breathe."
● Shannon Mattern delves into how "many pandemic maps depict the macro-scale forces that produced the 'Great Pause.' What's harder to show are all the under-appreciated actors that are enabling our protected isolation, the pulsing activity powering the pause."
● One we couldn't resist: Stuart Fowkes marks the 1,600th anniversary of Venice today with "Venezia 1600 - the sounds of La Serenissima" that "celebrates the incredible soundscapes of the most unique-sounding city on Earth" created by artists from around the world.
Weekend diversions + Page-turners:
● Wainwright gives thumbs-up to "Aalto," a new feature-length documentary that reveals "the less sympathetic sides" of the Finnish architect as "a domineering philanderer deeply indebted to his talented wives" (fave building description: "a sylvan parliament for Ewoks").
● James S. Russell eloquently parses MoMA's "Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America" that confronts "architecture's complicity with racism - it is not the polite parade standard fare of exhibits on architecture."
● Hugo Lindgren remembers Michael Sorkin on the anniversary of his passing, and revisits his book "Exquisite Corpse": Michael taught me how to look at New York" being "plain brutal on the architecture profession's cravenness" - but cheering on "obstinate geniuses that he offers as the soul of the profession" like Ranalli, Rudolph, Hadid, et.al.
● Kevin Baker cheers Thomas Dyja's "New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation" - "a tour de force, a work of astonishing breadth and depth - quite a high-wire act he pulls off - his reasoning is a joy, an outstanding work."
● Pedersen's great Q&A with Roberta Brades Gratz re: "It's a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York": "When everyone in every city and town is figuring out how to rebuild after Covid, the lessons of New York's rebirth in the 1970s is a useful playbook."
● Cajsa Carlson givers thumbs-up to Denise Scott Brown's life being turned into a manga comic created by the non-profit Vilcek Foundation - it stars "the Zambia-born South African architect as part of the foundation's mission to raise awareness of immigrants' contribution to the US."
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David Brussat: Time takes classicism’s philanthropist: Richard H. Driehaus, 78, R.I.P.: ...beloved among architects and historic preservationists for his stewardship of old buildings, especially the relatively unsung treasures of his native Chicago...founded the Driehaus Prize, which yearly since 2003 awards a single architect for a lifetime of work in the classical and traditional languages of architecture...We had a very brief conversation [in 2013]. He was clearly a gentle and civilized person, even if he was (or maybe because he was) a financier...[He] must certainly rank up near the apex of the hierarchy of those who strive to bring enlightenment, in the form of beauty, to our human race.- Architecture Here and There
Steven Bingler: The Principles of Community CoDesign: A blueprint for authentic public engagement: ...one significant example of community codesign emerged during the Great Depression through the WPA’s Federal Art Project...how could we reconstitute something like this collaborative and empathic approach to placemaking to address the growing complexities of climate change, public health, endemic poverty, social inequities and other challenges of the 21st century? What are some of the underlying principles that can help it succeed? ...a holistic exercise, the 6 key principles are all interconnected and dependent on one another: -- Concordia- Common Edge
Cailin Crowe: Cities face new roadblock in quest to decarbonize buildings: International Code Council (ICC)...this month removed the rights of local governments to vote on future energy efficiency building regulations...new system gives the construction and gas industries more control over energy codes by replacing localities' voting power with a new "standards process"...75% of comments were opposed to the elimination...with the majority of those submitted by local government representatives.- Smart Cities Dive
RSHP misses out to Jean Nouvel in Shenzhen Opera House contest: Ateliers Jean Nouvel has won an international contest..;.beating competition from 17 teams...announcement comes just two months after Zaha Hadid Architects won an international competition to create a new skyscraper in Shenzhen. -- Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners; BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group; Kengo Kuma and Associates; Santiago Calatrava, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Herzog & de Meuron, Snøhetta, Steven Holl Architects, Renzo Piano Building Workshop; China Architecture Design & Research Group; MVRDV; REX Architecture; UNStudio; etc.- The Architects' Journal (UK)
J. Michael Welton: In Rotterdam, Studio Roosegaarde’s ‘Urban Sun’: ...inspired by the light of the sun and backed by scientific research that proves a new, specific light can safely clean up to 99.9% of the coronavirus, Roosegaarde demonstrated the power of its “Urban Sun”...the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers can actually sanitize viruses safely...shone a large circle of this far-UVC light into a public space, cleansing it of the coronavirus...one-meter sphere, glowing yellow-gold, that can run on solar power...sanitized about 100 square meters of space. “It’s not harmful for people or animals"...launch took place alongside...the Erasmus Bridge. The project also is now debuting as a movie première at Studio Roosegaarde.net, with the potential for future exhibits.- Architects + Artisans
Jack Crager: The Frick’s New Digs: A Historic Collection Meets Breuer’s Whitney: It’s a bold, unprecedented experiment in art curation: The Breuer building - with its spacious rooms, choppy angles and gray walls - is a venue where art exists on its own merits. In this unlikely, minimalist setting, the Frick’s masterworks have new room to breathe...Frick Madison is almost devoid of barriers and partitions...If the relocated Frick was a permanent move, historians would weep and preservationists would howl. But it’s not. And the curators have taken it as a chance to try unprecedented things.- Common Edge
Shannon Mattern: How to Map Nothing: Many pandemic maps depict the macro-scale forces that produced the “Great Pause.” What’s harder to show are all the under-appreciated actors that are enabling our protected isolation, the pulsing activity powering the pause: ...maps and other forms of indexical spatial data are registering the ambiguities, contradictions, and inequalities inherent in this geography of suspension - an ostensible pause that instead merely extends, and in many ways exacerbates, the injustices of our society and the inadequacies of our ways of conceptualizing and modeling city life...It’s all too easy to overlook the rush of activity that enables privileged retreat; the Othered precarity that ensures our security...for nothings of both the domestic and cosmic variety, we have to acknowledge all the countless somethings that make that nothing imaginable.- Places Journal
Stuart Fowkes: Venezia 1600 - the sounds of La Serenissima: "Just as it looks like no other city, it sounds like no other city." As Venice marks its 1,600th anniversary on 25 March 2021...our project celebrates the incredible soundscapes of the most unique-sounding city on Earth. Explore the real and reimagined sounds of Venice by artists from all over the world...- Cities and Memory
Oliver Wainwright: 'I have picked people up on the street': the secret life of architect Alvar Aalto: He built wild, magical buildings and furniture that is still thrilling today. But "Aalto" suggests the celebrated Finn was also a domineering philanderer deeply indebted to his talented wives: ...new feature-length documentary...featuring home cine films spliced with dreamy drone footage of his buildings, but not without revealing his less sympathetic sides...female director Virpi Suutari does a good job of emphasising the vital contribution of Aalto’s wives - Aino [and] Elissa- Guardian (UK)
James S. Russell: Confronting Architecture’s Complicity with Racism: In “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America” at the Museum of Modern Art, African-American designers and artists envision an architecture of Blackness that grapples with the field’s troubled history: ...[it] is not the polite...standard fare of exhibits on architecture...“Architecture” and “Blackness” have historically rarely found themselves in the same sentence...participants took up the curators’ invitation to “re-imagine the built environment, to take the past and ask, what if?” -- Mario Gooden; Mabel Wilson; Sean Anderson; Amanda Williams; J. Yolande Daniels; Emanuel Admassu; Sekou Cooke; Germane Barnes; Olalekan Jeyifous; V. Mitch McEwen; Walter Hood- Bloomberg CityLab
Hugo Lindgren: Michael Sorkin Taught Me How to Look at New York: Remembering the critic and architect - who died a year ago this week - and revisiting his book "Exquisite Corpse": What an emotional experience that book was; it left me feeling both elated and panicked...Reading it through again now...I see just how deftly Sorkin used architecture to illuminate New York’s identity crisis in the 1980s...[book] is plain brutal on the architecture profession’s cravenness. -- Philip Johnson; George Ranalli; Paul Rudolph; Zaha Hadid; Lebbeus Woods; Alan Buchsbaum- Curbed / New York Magazine
Kevin Baker: How New York City Pulled Itself Out of the Lower Depths: Thomas Dyja’s “New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation” describes the city’s revival in recent years, and the problems it will face in the future: You will have a hard time getting through [book] mostly because there is an idea on every page, if not in every paragraph - and usually attached to a perfect line from the host of sources he has collected for this history of NYC over its last four rollicking decades...a tour de force, a work of astonishing breadth and depth...quite a high-wire act [he] pulls off...his reasoning is a joy...outstanding work...- New York Times
Martin C. Pedersen: Joan Davidson and the Fight for New York: A talk with Roberta Brades Gratz, author of "It’s a Helluva Town: Joan K. Davidson, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, and the Fight for a Better New York": ..."when everyone in every city and town is figuring out how to rebuild after Covid, the lessons of New York’s rebirth in the 1970s is a useful playbook"...“activist philanthropy...critical to helping grow the historic preservation movement...willing to support important lawsuits against egregious developers...stood strong on the side of civil rights and liberties, early support of gay rights..remind us all what really works, instead of what the so-called experts tell us will work."- Common Edge
Cajsa Carlson: Denise Scott Brown's life turned into manga comic: The non-profit Vilcek Foundation has created a manga comic starring Zambia-born South African architect as part of its mission to raise awareness of immigrants' contribution to the US...first in a series of manga comics that will be made about the lives of the non-profit organisation's Vilcek Prize winners...artist and illustrator Hiroki Otsuka, who had created short biographies before but said it is always a challenge. "Real life is not a comic book!" ...shows some of Scott Brown's most famous work, created together with her husband Robert Venturi as Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates.- Dezeen
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