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Today’s News - Wednesday, April 7, 2021

EDITOR'S NOTE: Some circumstances are still beyond our control. We hope to post tomorrow, but if not, we'll be back Tuesday, April 13 (or possibly Wednesday, April 14). One of these days, we'll be fully back on track!

●  Elizabeth Pandolfi parses a Knight Foundation study, led by Gehl, that looked at different public spaces to assess their impact during COVID and found "if a public space has a strong community-led component, people use it more, trust it more, and they feel more like it is theirs" - presenting "huge" post-pandemic opportunities.

●  Saffron parses two "notorious projects" in Philly that "help us understand the difference between density that enhances a neighborhood and projects that big-foot their surroundings - one is going about creating density the right way, and the other is doing it all wrong."

●  Odile Hénault offers kudos to Saia Barbarese Topouzanov Architectes for, once again, using "smart urbanism" and a colorful palette in its makeover of a 1970s housing development in Montreal: "The festive mood is indicative of a radical change of attitude towards social housing - it is nothing to be ashamed of."

●  Wainwright takes a deep dive into "the dirty secret of so-called 'fossil-fuel free' buildings. The 'embodied carbon' in the building of glass and steel blocks makes them anything but green" - no matter how many "hanging plants smother" the façades.

●  Elsa Lam parses the perils faced by architects who also take on the as developer role - "caution is needed. Is it worthwhile?" She speaks to some who "have taken the leap, and haven't looked back."

●  Glyn Robbins offers his gloom-and-doom take on "how the pandemic is creating new urban wastelands - turning city centers into ghost towns, full of shiny new buildings that no one needs"; the solution: "new development must be controlled by local communities, not absentee profit-seekers."

●  Emily Pugh parses why the (sort of) rebuilt Humboldt Forum on Berlin's Museum Island "fails to inspire - the building is not an easily likable object" ("the sense of muddled purpose" is not all architect Franco Stella fault).

●  Hickman brings us the convoluted tale of how the demolition Paul Rudolph's 1955 Bigg's House in Delray Beach, Florida, took city officials and two Rudolph foundations by surprise: "Everything was copasetic" - until it wasn't.

●  Cheers to Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe for taking home the 2021 RAIC Gold Medal: "Their work expresses a deep concern for the cultural and spiritual significance of architecture, landscape, and design" (we couldn't agree more!).

●  Book proposals wanted!!! Harvard GSD announces Harvard Design Press, a book-publishing imprint "in pursuit of new, original ideas on the research and practice of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design" + Link to proposal submission guidelines.

●  In honor of April Fool's Day (one of the few years we've missed it!): See the "secret proposal for 'Even Higher Line' on top of New York's High Line" - it would allow developers to double the height of adjacent buildings "in exchange for backing the proposal."

A weekend diversion + Page-turners (in case we miss posting tomorrow):

●  Welton cheers the National Building Museum reopening on Friday (yay!), and talks to Alan Karchmer re: the exhibition of his photos (many of "monumental heroic buildings worldwide") that "reflect his modus operandi. If it sounds like he approaches his subject matter as an architect, that's because he's trained as one - but he never practiced."

●  Maya Orzechowska cheers "Pre-Fab Living" by Avi Friedman that offers "a timely overview of current pre-fabrication as an evolving and experimental set of processes with ample space for imagination, growth and cross-pollination" (but can also lead to "repetition, monotony, and quality reductions").

●  Karrie Jacobs' great Q&A with Donald Friedman re: his "The Structure of Skyscrapers in America 1871-1900: Their History and Preservation" that "offers new insight into the earliest super-talls. It's weird that the history of skyscrapers is a lost history": "The Chicago Loop and Lower Manhattan have been heavily rebuilt. So most of those buildings are gone - people don't know about what buildings they don't know about."

●  Ravenscroft cheers "Sub-Saharan Africa Architectural Guide," an "ambitious" seven-tome collection "covering the history and significant buildings of 49 countries" by nearly 350 authors + Link to Highlights!


  


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