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Thursday, May 28, 2020

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, June 2. 'Til then: Stay well. Stay safe. Stay in!

Click here to see Today's News. Feature stories below the news note.
ANN feature: FXCollaborative's Dan Kaplan offers a most eloquent "quarantine-induced assessment of downtown Manhattan - lingering on the rich detail, walking down streets that we neglected in busier times. Hopefully we'll emerge from our collective timeout recommitted to creating a more equitable and resilient city." -- Safi talks to an impressive range of pundits re: "what legacy Covid-19 will leave on urban life. Some of the changes already taking shape may make cities more pleasurable. That's the good news. The bad is that the pandemic is a catastrophe for many of the things that make cities worth living in." -- Hickman reports that 5 more cities have joined the Reimagining the Civic Commons initiative "to boost social, economic, goals through philanthropy-assisted investments in public spaces. As urban areas look toward a post-COVID-19 future, the need to provide residents with and fund safe, equitable, and accessible public spaces has become even more vital" (our only COVID-19 stories for the day!). -- Kiel Moe makes the "case for a more literal architecture," which, today, "seems to persist - even thrive - through its abstractions" leading to "many of architecture's current ecological, social, and political blind spots - very real places and people are too often marginalized, degraded, and damaged." -- The U.K. is contemplating reducing the maximum height of wood-framed buildings because of Grenfell fire-like fears - the timber trade claims "the government is over-reacting" - mass timber buildings "can be safe in a fire." -- Hickman: "U.S. architects add a chorus of new voices to Architects Declare movement - the diverse list of signatories" already numbers nearly 100. -- King paints an amusingly black picture of his "close encounters of the strolling kind. I can now state emphatically, without reservation, that the black house craze has gone too far. It's enough to make one long for sheepish beige" - though it "has led to bemused conversations with other socially distanced passers-by." -- Rita Lobo takes us on a fab tour of Brasília at 60: "Today, it looks as otherworldly as it did 60 years ago - heaving with symbolic value. It remains a reflection of the country - beautiful and aspirational, but ultimately dysfunctional and raging with inequality." -- Landscape architect Robert Wright selected as interim dean of Toronto's Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. -- ICYMI: ANN feature: Katie Faulkner: The wickedly funny Michael Sorkin, known to many as Comrade, was a social justice warrior. He maintained perpetual outrage in the course of writing 20 books and hundreds of articles, honing his invectives for gentrification, Disneyfication, waste, and conspicuous consumption.

Deadlines + Winners all:
-- Call for entries: Applications for the 2020 Arcus/Places Journal Prize "to support innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality, and the built environment." -- Call for entries: Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize 2020 and Working Drawing Award (art, architecture, design) - open to international submissions for the first time. -- Great presentation of the 2020 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge winners in 6 categories and, for the first time, two Grand Winners.

Weekend diversions + Page-turners
-- Philip Johnson's Glass House is offering virtual tours, and 100 videos from its archive that include conversations with Snøhetta's Dykers, Paul Goldberger, Alastair Gordon, and many more + a coloring project for kids! -- Now "we literally have time to stop and smell the flowers": Premiering Monday on PBS: "Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes" follows Lynden B. Miller "as she sets off to explore the remarkable life and career of America's first female landscape architect." -- Keats cheers Sarkis, Salgueiro Barrio, and Kozlowski's "The World as an Architectural Project" featuring 50 of "the most provocative architectural visions from the 1880s to the present" - an "essential handbook" and "cognitive toolkit we all need for planning a post-pandemic civilization." -- Wainwright cheers "Soviet Signs and Street Relics," which French photographer Jason Guilbeau gleaned from Google Street View, resulting in "a haunting mix of forlorn military symbols, creaking monuments to agricultural prowess, and plenty of space-age swooshes, swirls, stars, and arrows pointing towards a bold utopian future that never quite arrived." -- Brussat makes peace with Steve Bass's "Beauty Memory Unity: A Theory of Proportion in Architecture" once he "decided to skip the challenging mathematical portions and read only the textual matter" that turned out "to be quite riveting - as hazy as proportion seems from my perspective, it definitely has a role in making architecture beautiful." -- Webb finds Bass's "Beauty Memory Unity" to be "a symbolic quest in search of beauty, an elevation of individual consciousness, a return to unity through remembrance. He challenges that the anxiety, chaos, and grim ugliness of architecture are not inevitable." -- An excerpt from "Studio Gang: Architecture": "We want to live in a world where humans actively support one another as part of our planet's greater network of living things. This calls on us to practice an architecture that fosters interaction and connection" - this "takes a relentless kind of optimism, determination, and even courage."


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