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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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HQ2 Day 2:
-- Kimmelman takes a deep dive into how Amazon HQ2 "will benefit from New York City. But what does New York get?" (Google and Facebook already have NYC HQs - without state subsidies) - the tech industry's "notions about progress, land use have never easily meshed with the slow, open-society, regulatory-heavy, greater-good mission that defines city living. It's not how tech tends to work. But it's how this city works." -- Davidson uses a dash of wry humor in his expectations for Long Island City when HQ2 arrives: LIC "will be awash with tech types who are insufferably young and highly paid. Also with dogs - adding to the quotient of dog poop, crowded subway platforms, and silly beverage trends." -- Budds talks to experts about "what Amazon's HQ2 will mean for a city's brand - the bidding process has led to nervousness, distrust, and anger in some, and optimism, opportunism, and excitement others. With branding, cities have a chance to ensure their image conveys their reality." -- Grabar minces no words about why "cities should never, ever agree to an HQ2 contest again": It "will only worsen corporate shakedowns for public subsidies. This race to the bottom has not served state and local governments well - there's no reason to be optimistic." -- The HQ2 "news may come as a big disappointment" to some of the remaining 18 cities on Amazon's shortlist, but others "were rejoicing - pointing out the various downfalls the sprawling headquarters could have brought to their city" ("skyrocketing rents, prolonged construction, gentrification," etc.).

In other news:
-- Cousins & Nimmo of the Australian Institute of Architects "jointly argue that the use of the Sydney Opera House as an advertising platform 'highlights the complete lack of respect' government has for public architecture. Places like the Sydney Opera House are not their playthings to profit from." -- On a (hopefully) brighter note: Harris reports that eight Sydney modernist buildings and a 1950s "playground sculpture" are being "put forward for heritage protection" following a heritage study by Tanner Kibble Denton Architects that "looked at more than 110 examples of modernist architecture and art." -- Seward cheers Johnston Marklee's new Menil Drawing Institute in Houston: "the building is a crisp and studious addition" that "gives the Menil something that it desperately needed: more of itself - one can easily get lost in visions of what might come next." -- Budds parses this year's TCLF "Landslide" watch list of 10 significant landscapes at risk called "Grounds for Democracy," which spotlights sites that "are significant to labor rights, democracy, civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ rights." -- Lindeman uncovers "the unconventional beauty of Montreal's new Bonaventure Expressway - built for Expo 67, it was an eyesore and contributed to Griffintown's isolation and blight." The plan "to kill it and rebuild an urban boulevard in its place actually worked." -- The AIA Architecture Billings Index indicates that "hurricanes and wildfires slow design business in October": "These natural disasters have clouded the health of design and construction activity, making it difficult to separate a temporary setback from a general slowdown in design activity," sayeth Kermit Baker. -- The World Green Building Trends 2018 SmartMarket Report forecasts a "steep rise in green projects," and "that the biggest challenge to increased green building - the perception that it costs more than traditional construction - declined dramatically."

Housing, housing, everywhere:
-- Kafka spends some quality time with Peter Barber, who "is reinventing London's housing" by being "resolutely committed to housing and a Jane Jacobs view of urban life - blending the vernacular and the adventurous; the social and the sturdy" (and subject a London Design Museum show). -- Budds Q&A with Karen Kubey, who "explains how architects around the world are responding to social equity and justice issues through housing" - and the "architects working on the bleeding edge of housing" highlighted in Architectural Design's "Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity." -- Stinson spotlights LOT-EK's "striking apartment building made up of 140 shipping containers" designed "to revitalize Johannesburg's downtown."

Winners all:
-- Speaking of housing: McManus cheers the Hive 50 Innovators and their "efforts, initiatives, game-changers, and audacious investments and commitments" in housing. "We need people, and companies, and fiendishly brilliant new models that don't take 'no' or 'we can't' as the final answer." -- Reiach and Hall takes home the RIAS 2018 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award (and £25,000 prize) for its nuclear archive building (fittingly called "Nucleus") in Wick. -- A shout-out to the AJ Architecture Awards 2018 finalists in Small Project, Civic, and Education categories. -- Deanna Van Buren wins the 2018 Berkeley-Rupp Prize: she's the co-founder of the non-profit architecture and real estate development firm Designing Justice + Designing Spaces working to "develop the infrastructure to end mass incarceration through the support of diversion and reentry." -- Welton cheers the student team from North Carolina State's College of Design, which won the European Cultural Centre's "ECC Architecture University Project Award 2018" presented at the 2018 Venice Biennale: "With the award - we can count on excellent airport architecture for decades to come."

  

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