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Thursday, December 13, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days - we'll be back Tuesday, December 18.

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Kamin delves into how Chicago architects, who "have long been viewed as more high-minded than developers," are making "timely donations" to "aldermen that "begs the question of whether they are complying with the AIA's ethics code," and "part of an overall pattern of giving that is widely accepted among the city's tight-knit architecture community and is little-known to the public." -- A look at how New York won Amazon HQ2 - with link to official proposal - complete with re-do of "I Love NY" logo (Amazon smile instead of a heart - read Milton Glaser's response in "Yesterday's News"). -- A look at "how NYC and Arlington, VA, are prepping communities for Amazon HQ2: NYC has formed a Community Advisory Committee, "designed to share information and solicit community engagement." Arlington has "taken to Facebook for a 'community engagement strategy' - showing officials are trying to do things differently and more strategically than residents may have originally thought." -- The tale of Kenya's struggle "to give life to futuristic 'Silicon Savannah' city: Grandiose plans, red tape and a lack of funding have left the $14.5 billion Konza Technopolis way behind schedule. Some critics say it was ill-conceived from the start." -- Henaul takes a deep dive into Perkins+Will's revamp of an Erickson classic, the Bank of Canada HQ in Ottawa that includes a "vibrant" public plaza and "dynamic - one could even say joyous - workspaces. P+W and its collaborators must be commended for their tremendous - and humble - efforts in adapting the complex to contemporary realities while respecting the original design." -- Davidson x 2: He cheers Gensler and Raymond Jungles' "sensitive, even self-indulgently gorgeous renovation" of the Ford Foundation in NYC: "The premises were quiet on the day I visited," which "allowed me to linger over the building's inherent genius, and note the care and the fault lines in the restoration. Astonishingly, the feel of the original emerged largely intact." -- His take on Snøhetta's original "sheer negligee of glass," and revised design for the AT&T Building (a.k.a. 550 Madison Avenue): "Craig Dykers expressed a profound ambivalence toward Johnson's design. He got over it, I guess. Having overreached, he and his firm doubled back, this time seeing how little they could intervene." -- In Tbilisi, where "a building boom is underway," residents are reinventing their public spaces - "it is not how most cities do public spaces," but they "have come up with innovative ways for locals to congregate in their ancient and fast-changing city." -- DLANDstudio's Drake talks to the Trust for Public Land's Strickland about how the TPL is transforming "low-performing asphalt 'play yards' into multi-benefit play spaces" for both the schools and the local community (last of 3-part series - link to Q&A's with NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, and Deborah Marton of the New York Restoration Project). -- Davidson offers "a solution for fixing the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway: Get rid of it - we keep clinging to outdated infrastructure because doing anything else would be too burdensome even to think about. The BQE is an anthology of coulda-shoulda-wouldas." -- Nielsen & Bourne offer a "case study in complexity" in a post-Superstorm Sandy world, and designing a waterfront park on Manhattan's East River: "As landscape architects, we realized we would need to weave education - our own and the community's - into our design process. 'What does safe mean?' Do we mean resilient...Or do we mean protection" (link to PDF for great images). -- A fascinating look at what the London Eye did right that the New York Wheel on Staten Island did wrong: "The answer is 'political will'" - never mind it's all about location, location, location. -- One we couldn't resist: Scraps from ill-fated New York Wheel, the "would-be world's tallest Ferris wheel," go up for auction next month (36 capsules for $23 million - possible emergency housing pods?). -- Lam considers her new motherhood: "Having a kid changes everything. I didn't expect that to include my view of architecture - my interaction with the built environment has been shifting as I learn to navigate the world with a tiny human. It's helpful to have mother-architects and father-architects to get that detail right." -- For the kid in all of us: Brussat brings us "House Fancy," an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants: "The Encyclopedia SpongeBobia, whose very existence is a comment on our culture," summarizes a wrecked house as "a work of abstract art.' And of course that's a comment on our culture as well."

Weekend diversions:
-- Newman finds Chicago's Joffrey Ballet presentation of "The Nutcracker" to be possibly "the most graceful urban planning history lesson ever" (Drosselmeyer, the magician, is replaced by a new character based on Daniel Burnham. -- House of Today/HoT Biennale 2018 in Beirut, themed "Elevate, the Quest for Heightened Senses," is a showcase of contemporary Lebanese design, and includes the "first ever retrospective celebrating Khalil Khoury's furniture work." -- "Syria Matters" at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha puts the spotlight on historic sites destroyed by years of civil war. -- Eliasson's "Ice Watch," a collection of ice boulders outside the Tate Modern and Bloomberg HQ, "aims to make the impact of climate change a more immediate, physical experience - jarringly sad, evoking a very real sense of loss" (through Dec. 21 - if they last that long).

Page-turners:
-- Lewyn cheers Speck's "Walkable City Rules," which "not only makes the case for narrow, walkable streets, but also provides more detailed guidance for specialists," and is "worth reading even for those of us who will never set foot in a planner's office." -- Phaidon's "Atlas of Brutalist Architecture" is "the most comprehensive survey to date," and "marks the latest output in a recent explosion of interest in this iconic yet often scorned typology - contemporary examples are a testament to the enduring appeal of this iconic style." -- Moore picks his must-reads of 2018, which include "a visual celebration" of Burle Marx, "Hassan Fathy: Earth and Utopia"; Thomas's "Drawing Architecture"; Rattenbury's "The Wessex Project"; and Boughton's "Municipal Dreams." -- Welton' picks: Locktov's "Dream of Venice in Black and White"; Thomas's "Drawing Architecture"; Suckle & Singer's "Cocktails and Conversations"; Hess & Stern's "Modern Hollywood" (and his own "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand"). -- ICYMI: Weinstein at his eloquent best with his pick of the 10 Best Architecture and Design Books of 2018, which he describes as "invaluable and impeccably designed"; "quirkily inclusive"; "charmingly loopy"; "enthralling"; "produced with panache" (and then some!). -- ICYMI: ANN feature: rise Up: Sponsors are cheering on their student/architect teams working to find low-cost, sustainable housing solutions in the rise in the city 2018 design competition - but there are still teams that need sponsorship. Join those who are already reaping the rewards of the partnerships!

  

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