Today’s News - Thursday, April 15, 2021
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We hope to back Tuesday, April 20; if not, then Wednesday and/or Thursday...
● Timothy A. Schuler introduces us to architecture and design students' "concepts for more permeable urban futures in the wake of the pressures of the pandemic and a crisis of social cohesion. They may not use the word, but the future they imagine is nothing less than revolutionary" + Link to Future 100: more groundbreaking student work.
● Betsky gives (mostly) thumbs-up to "how Los Angeles is confronting its housing crisis: a new city program that offers pre-approved designs for accessory dwelling units (ADUs)" - whatever his issues are, it "is an improvement on the status quo."
● D'Angelo parses two micro-home developments in Texas that aim to combat homelessness with communities for 560 residents - they may have "many of the hallmarks of your average suburban development, but there's nothing conventional" about them.
● John King is pleased that "stocky modular buildings popping up" in San Francisco's East Bay "look surprisingly good" (though one is "a cautionary tale"). "What's promising is that pre-fab," which "could spawn a landscape of overbearing boxes at multistory scale - hasn't been the case so far - newcomers aren't great architecture. But they're good urbanism, and that counts too."
● On an even grander scale in San Fran, the $2.5B Mission Rock mixed-use development, with the help of firms like Henning Larsen, MVRDV, Studio Gang, and WORKac, "shows that factory-built structures can meet lofty design standards. Using prefab on such high-profile projects should help debunk the misperception that prefab elements are always utilitarian."
● Brussat offers a translation of an op-ed in Le Figaro by Mary Campbell Gallagher, "a leader in the crusade to save Paris from skyscrapers": "Lovers of Paris the World Over Are Alarmed as it Descends into Ugliness."
● Bridget Cogley reports that Safdie Architects is returning to Bentonville, Arkansas, with the design for the expansion of his 2011 Crystal Bridges Museum that "will increase in size both inside and out."
● William Morgan parses Brown University's new Wellness Center and Residence Hall: William Rawn Associates probably gave "its best effort - given the demands of the program and sustainability issues. Yet, we expect such a prominent architectural statement to be more visually aspirational than something that could pass for a suburban office block" (and who knew Stonewood is "the scrapple of wall cladding"?).
● Ravenscroft, meanwhile, gives thumbs-up to 4a Architekten's revamp of Stuttgart's oldest mineral baths, "originally established in 1856 but largely built in the 1950s. 'It was up to us to find the right balance between preservation, renovation and addition,'" sayeth 4a's Matthias Burkart.
● Aric Chen is named general and artistic director of the Het Nieuwe Instituut, a cultural center focusing on architecture, design, and digital culture in Rotterdam (he'll be heading back to our side of the planet - yay!).
● AIA releases two new guides to help K-12 school students and school counselors and educators explore careers in the architecture profession.
● Call for entries: the Society of Architectural Historians puts out its Call for Papers for its 2022 Annual International Conference opening next April.
● The U.S. Department of Energy hosts a "Virtual Village" for the 2020 Solar Decathlon showcasing nine zero-energy homes designed and constructed as permanent structures by collegiate teams from around the world (looks like "local builds" will continue through the 2023 competition and beyond).
● In "Border Wall-Landscape-Architecture-Human Crisis," a virtual exhibition at the University of Colorado, Denver, College of Architecture and Planning, Laurie Smith pairs her "evocative" black and white photographs with digital projections of architectural renderings by Rael San Fratello's Ronald Rael that showcase alternative notions to the border wall.
● Saffron cheers Michael J. Lewis's "Philadelphia Builds": He "is a natural-born storyteller who treats buildings as characters in the ongoing drama of Philadelphia - from the establishment of the street grid in 1682 to Robert A.M. Stern's Museum of the American Revolution in 2017," and "how the choices we made early on as a city still inform our behavior today."
● Despina Stratigakos "considered 'bro' culture to be mainly a postwar phenomenon" - until she "turned up a disturbing precedent - three obscure travelogues by architects who worked for Albert Speer - when we recognize bro culture thriving in a context that reeks of evil, the sense of familiarity lands with a sickening thud" (let's have no more "just 'bros being bros'" culture!).
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Timothy A. Schuler: Future100: Design Students Rethink the Commons: In the wake of the pressures of the pandemic and a crisis of social cohesion, architecture and design students draw up concepts for more permeable urban futures...the work presented here interrogates and subverts the notion of the “threshold,” the permeable barrier that separates indoors from outside, public from private, and that has taken on new meaning...They may not use the word, but the future they imagine is nothing less than revolutionary. + Link to Future 100: more groundbreaking student work.- Metropolis Magazine
Aaron Betsky: How Los Angeles is Confronting its Housing Crisis: a new city program that offers pre-approved designs for accessory dwelling units [ADUs]: ...program will at least create the possibility of densifying the city in a reasonable and somewhat affordable manner, with designs that do a decent job providing light- and air-filled spaces...proposals...are as eclectic as the city’s vernacular...the issue with most...They are almost all studio apartments...renderings show few beds and no other signs of family life...if builders...find ways to strip the designs down so that few original qualities remain, what will have been gained? ...there is no doubt that the building department’s program is an improvement on the status quo. -- Christopher Hawthorne; Joe Day/Deegan-Day Design; Welcome Projects; Taalman Architecture; Jennifer Bonner/MALL; WHY Architects; Fung + Blatt; Design, Bitches; SO - IL- Architect Magazine
Madeleine D'Angelo: Small Houses, Big Impact: Two microhome developments in Texas combat homelessness with community: Community First! Village has many of the hallmarks of your average suburban development...But there’s nothing conventional about the community, which provides affordable housing for over 200 former chronically homeless individuals...[it] was so successful...building another, 24-acre community next to the first...two developments will offer a total of 545 units [for] 560 residents...architects in the second phase...made a concerted effort to respond to the input of residents. -- Sarah Satterlee/Community First!; Alan Graham/Mobile Loaves & Fishes; Cody Gatlin; Chioco Design; Jobe Corral Architects; McKinney York; Michael Hsu Office of Architecture; Thoughtbarn; Sixthriver Architects; Hatch+Ulland Owen Architects- Architect Magazine
John King: Stocky modular buildings are popping up in East Bay. They look surprisingly good: ...a stylish demonstration of the design potential of a much-ballyhooed building method. It’s also a cautionary tale...the Logan...with 204 apartments that were assembled on-site from 572 prefabricated modules...The cautionary aspect? ...by time [it] opened late in 2020, the development firm had closed its factory and put all future projects on hold...Sometimes the savings meet expectations; often, they don’t. What’s promising is that one danger of the approach - that it could spawn a landscape of overbearing boxes at multistory scale - hasn’t been the case so far...newcomers aren’t great architecture. But they’re good urbanism, and that counts too. -- RAD Urban; Lowney Architecture; David Baker; Habitat Horticulture- San Francisco Chronicle
$2.5B Mission Rock in San Francisco gets style, efficiency from prefab construction: The high-profile project, designed with the help of several well-known architecture firms, shows that factory-built structures can meet lofty design standards: ...28-acre mixed-use development...worked with design firms like Henning Larsen, MVRDV, Studio Gang and WORKac to come up with a prefabrication solution that would also achieve the aesthetic of the project...will offer up to 2.8 million square feet and include: 1,200 residential units, 40% of which will be affordable...Resiliency against a 66-inch sea level rise...8 acres of new parks and open space...Using prefab on such high-profile projects...should help debunk the misperception that prefab elements are always utilitarian.- Construction Dive
David Brussat: Mary Campbell Gallagher: Saving Paris: ...a leader in the crusade to save Paris from skyscrapers, had an oped in Le Figaro...“Lovers of Paris the World Over Are Alarmed as it Descends into Ugliness"...a new collection of 49 essays, "Paris Without Skyscrapers" (Paris sans gratte-ciel) will be published by the International Coalition for the Preservation of Paris toward the end of May..."As Olivier de Monicault, head of SOS Paris, has said, the beauty of Paris is not a 'renewable resource.' But City Hall is on the verge of destroying the beauty...for the sake of global financial interests...If the world allows Paris to descend into ugliness, how can we defend beauty anywhere?"- Architecture Here and There
Bridget Cogley: Safdie Architects Unveils Expansion for Crystal Bridges Museum: The Bentonville, Arkansas art museum, first built by the firm in 2011, will increase in size both inside and out: ...situated in the middle of a 120-acre forested site that is also home to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House and James Turrell's Skyspace...Around 100,000 square feet will be added to the current 200,000-square-foot facilities, as well as more courtyards, promenades and gardens. -- Moshe Safdie- Architectural Record
William Morgan: “What Can Brown Do for You?” University’s New Mega Project: As the once liberal arts college transforms itself into an ambitious research university, its seemingly unbridled growth has a major impact on College Hill. Brown's popularity and its image are tied to its unparalleled historic and visually appealing setting. So, the blossoming of the campus is both welcome and concerning - remember the half dozen Victorian houses that occupied this site? Brown University Wellness Center and Residence Hall...Did Rawn give Brown its best effort...Probably, given the demands of the program and sustainability issues...Yet, we expect such a prominent architectural statement from the university to be more visually aspirational than something that could pass for a suburban office block. -- William Rawn Associates- GoLocalProv.com (Providence, Rhode Island)
Tom Ravenscroft: 4a Architekten revamps Stuttgart's oldest mineral baths: ...aimed to create a modern facility while retaining the character of Stuttgart's oldest swimming bath, which was originally established in 1856 but largely built in the 1950s..."it was up to us to find the right balance between preservation, renovation and addition"...aimed to create a calm atmosphere by combining exposed concrete, wooden slatted ceilings and muted colours. -- Matthias Burkart- Dezeen
Cajsa Carlson: Het Nieuwe Instituut appoints Aric Chen as general and artistic director: ...HNI, an institute and museum for architecture, design and digital culture...Chen, who is currently curatorial director of the Design Miami fairs, plans to expand on the institute's tradition of research and critical inquiry...He had previously worked with...the Netherlands Architecture Institute [NAI] and Premsela, which were merged with Virtueel Platform to form Het Nieuwe Instituut in 2013. -- M+ museum; Beijing Design Week.- Dezeen
New AIA resources released to help students explore careers in architecture: Two new guides...that can help K-12 school students and school counselors explore careers in the architecture profession. "Your Guide to Helping Students Consider a Career in Architecture" is a resource designed for school counselors and educators..."Your Guide to a Career in Architecture"...designed for high school students... -- American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS); Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA); National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB); National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB); National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Call for entries: Call for papers: Society of Architectural Historians 2022 Annual International Conference, April 27 - May 1, 2022, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 32 thematic sessions
deadline: June 2- Society of Architectural Historians (SAH)
U.S. Department of Energy Hosts a ‘Virtual Village’ for 2020 Solar Decathlon: ...showcasing high-performance homes built by student teams in their local communities: ...showcase nine zero-energy homes designed and constructed by collegiate teams from around the world...Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was postponed and re-envisioned as a local home building event...as permanent structures. The Solar Decathlon intends to continue this model - all local builds - through the next competition in 2023 and beyond.- Builder magazine
"Border Wall-Landscape-Architecture-Human Crisis": A virtual exhibition at the University of Colorado, Denver, College of Architecture and Planning by Laurie Smith: ...transports her audience to the U.S.-Mexico border through an evocative display of black and white photographs...paired with digital projections of Ronald Rael’s architectural renderings that showcase alternative notions to the border wall. thru April 30 -- Rael San Fratello- University of Colorado, Denver
Inga Saffron: An architecture critic unravels Philadelphia’s untold history through its buildings: A critic for the Wall Street Journal, Michael J. Lewis is a natural-born storyteller who treats buildings as characters in the ongoing drama of Philadelphia: ..."Philadelphia Builds"...His narrative spans from the establishment of the street grid in 1682 to Robert A.M. Stern’s Museum of the American Revolution in 2017...our buildings become characters...telling us as much about ourselves as their creators...Lewis is interested in showing how the choices we made early on as a city still inform our behavior today...Don’t let his politics put you off.- Philadelphia Inquirer
Despina Stratigakos: Nazi Architecture Bros: The Young Men in Albert Speer’s Office: I had considered bro culture to be mainly a postwar phenomenon...Then a research trip turned up a disturbing precedent. Confronting this example is worthwhile because it brings home in a more visceral way the dangers of such behaviors...when we recognize bro culture thriving in a context that reeks of evil, the sense of familiarity lands with a sickening thud...in a private collection in Germany are three obscure books by architects who worked for Albert Speer during the Third Reich...saw themselves as audacious builders of a new world...The cavalier tone...is telling...Removed from its context, the brash entitlement that emerges from these travelogues may strike some readers as relatively harmless - just “bros being bros"...The image of amiable, partying bros...obfuscates abusive behaviors...This example from history can help us understand why all companies today must take seriously the toxicity and impact of bro culture. Discard the flip-flops and add a Nazi uniform, and suddenly nobody is laughing.- Architect Magazine
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