Despite strong opposition from preservationists and architects world-wide, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced his decision to support the demolition of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital. In a op-ed piece released by the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel supported his stance by arguing that Northwestern’s new biomedical research facility would “bring 2,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment” to Chicago. Emanuel believes Goldberg’s “vision is alive in Chicago beyond one building” and allowing Northwestern to build the new medical center is crucial in keeping Chicago at the forefront of scientific innovation.
Politics: The Latest Architecture and News
Well, according to the UK’s Architects Registration Board (ARB) he isn’t.
Last week, BDOnline received an email from the ARB asking them to refrain from calling Renzo Piano and Daniel Libeskind an architect, since “they are not registered with the ARB they are not entitled to be described as such”.
The statement said: “BD referred to two eminent individuals as architects – neither of whom are on the UK register. This is one of a number of peripheral areas, and architects often contact us when they are concerned about the use of the title ‘architect’ in the press although no breach of the legislation in fact occurs.”
As we published yesterday, iconic Chinese artist, designer, and dissident, Ai Weiwei has just had his architecture design firm shutdown by the Chinese government. But this scuffle is only the latest of Weiwei’s many brushes with Chinese law. Seemingly since birth (“I was born radical“), Weiwei has been mixing art and politics to speak out against censorship in his country. Which is why he is the subject of a fascinating new feature-length documentary by Alison Klayman: ”Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.”
As the documentary description explains: “Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media. In response, Chinese authorities have shut down his blog, beat him up, bulldozed his newly built studio, and held him in secret detention.”
While working as a journalist in China, the director, Klayman, gained unprecedented access to Ai while filming. Since being released, the documentary has gained many accolades, including the Sundance 2012 Special Jury Award for Spirit of Defiance.
You can find out more about the documentary, including if it’s playing at a theater near you at its website. And you can keep updated on Weiwei’s struggle at the Never Sorry Facebook page and on Twitter, @AWWNeverSorry
Screenshots from the trailer of “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” after the break…
After 81 days of detention without cause, a year-long travel ban extended for claims of internet “pornography,” and a $2.4 million dollar fine imposed for supposed tax evasion, Ai Weiwei has now been accused by the Chinese government of failing to re-register his architecture design firm, Fake Cultural Development Ltd.
Our friends at Design Observer’s Places Journal have shared with us two fascinating articles, written by architects Jonathan Massey and Brett Snyder, that explore the physical and virtual evolution of Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) as it transformed from the privately owned public space of Zuccotti Park into the bustling micro-city of Liberty Plaza sustained by online media.
To learn how OWS has influenced architecture and urbanism, Massey and Snyder asks the following questions: What’s the layout of this place? What are its rules, and who owns it? How does its design shape possibilities for individual and collective action?
In the context of the ongoing financial crisis, cities and citizens are going through profound and as yet uncharted transformations. Tomorrow in Naples, Italy, UN-Habitat’s World Urban Forum will bring together mayors, international organizations, governments and civil- society organizations to discuss the Urban Future.
This debate aims to blur the boundaries between designers and politicians; researchers and eco- nomists, to highlight new policies and practices which do not require funding from strained public coffers. Can new forms of city development be thought about without the contribution of private enterprise? Can the political and design worlds find “Common ground” in the face of urban decay and austerity? How can policy making and urban planning come together to bring about appropriate norms for improving urbanites’ lives? This will be one of the focus areas for the ANMA Architects’ new foundation ANMA-F.
A Lesson in Dedicated Collaboration: Hunts Point Landing on the South Bronx Greenway / Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
In the past decade New York City’s government, along with numerous organizations and design teams, have taken the initiative to revive the city’s public spaces and reclaim underutilized areas that have long been associated with the city’s manufacturing past. We’re all familiar with the High Line, a project that takes over the elevated rail lines of Chelsea and Meat Packing District that until several years ago stood as a desolate and eroding piece of infrastructure, which was beautiful in its own way but largely underutilized. Then there is the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has become a mecca for designers, fabricators and research companies and has recently acquired a museum to celebrate its history. And of course, there are the city’s waterways, which, since New York City’s early history, have served its manufacturing and trade economy, have become parks along the waterfront as part of the Hudson River Greenway and the FDR Drive. Manufacturing has long been replaced by Wall Street, but there are parts of the city that still retain the industrial past along the historic waterfront and continue to operate some of the most important facilities that allow the city to function. Now it is time to reintroduce a public use among these industrial zones.
More after the break!
Endangered Monuments Update: Preservation Efforts for the 510 Fifth Avenue Manufactures Trust Company Bank Branch
ArchDaily previously ran an article about the Manufacturers Trust Company Bank Branch at 510 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and interior designer Eleanor H. Le Maire, a building designated as protected under the Landmarks Preservation Commission with first the exterior in 1997 and later the interior in early 2011. But as recently as October 2011, the building was already listed under the 2012 World Monuments Fund in the 2012 World Monuments Watch as the current owners, Vornado Realty Trust, began compromising the landmarked conditions of the interior of the building as it was being adapted for reuse. With preservationists in an uproar, support for the protection of the building was enough to bring Vornado Realty Trust to New York State Supreme Court where a settlement was reached.
Read on for more details on the settlement and continuing efforts to protect endangered monuments.
The AIA has issued a “comprehensive look yet at the built environment’s role in economic recovery, highlighting six specific policy steps that will generate jobs and help grow the American economy.” Coming on the eve of President Obama’s major jobs initiative, the report cites George Mason University economist Stephen J. Miller in arguing that every $1 million in new construction spending supports “28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs.”
Miller and the AIA blame tight credit markets blocking potential progress in this area. The publication, “The Built Environment’s Role in the Recovery,” is issued with this problem in mind. “We’re putting these recommendations forward now because it’s time for the Administration and Congress to get real about creating an environment in which people are willing to lend and borrow,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, quoted in a recent AIA press release. “When credit flows to worthy projects, it unleashes the job creation potential of the American economy.”
Sunland Park, N.M– Martin Resendiz, mayor of a small community near Las Cruces, admitted earlier this month to signing contracts with a San Diego–based parking design firm while drunk. The company, Synthesis +, is suing the city for nonpayment. Resendiz claims the contracts were never valid since the City Council did not approve them.
A minor transatlantic controversy erupted last month after UK “architecture minister” aka Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with responsibility for architecture and the built environment John Penrose apparently compared architects with other negatively-stereotyped groups, noting architects are “just one of those groups people love to mock.” The comments were part of a longer blog post about Rowan Atkinson, Dreamland, and VisitEngland’s new Smartphone-based marketing campaign.
Set against a backdrop typically reserved for postcards, the decaying bunkers of the Aleutian Islands Campaign serve to memorialize a little-known chapter of WWII lore. Read more about these distinctive relics after the break.
Venice is commonly regarded as one of the wonders of the world, attracting over 17 million tourists each year. However, the city of Venice faces ongoing problems that threaten its ability to stay above water. The city’s flooding issues are notorious around the world. Every year water surges through its legendary labyrinth of streets wreaking havoc on architectural gems such as the Palazzo San Marco. With its architecture under threat, and dwindling population as many young people flock to the mainland, it is appropriate to think of Venice as a dying relic.
LocationManhattan, New York City, New York, United States
ArchitectWallace K. Harrison
Design TeamN.D. Bassov , Gaston Brunfaut , Ernest Cormier, Le Corbusier , Liang Ssu-cheng , Sven Markelius , Anne-Claus Messager , Oscar Niemeyer , Howard Robertson , G.A. Soilleux , Garrett Gruber , and Julio Villamajo .
Modernist architecture is traditionally understood to be utilitarian, sleek, and most of all without context, such that it can be placed in any context and still stay true to aesthetic principles and its functional requirements. However, Louis Kahn’s National Assembly Building of Bangladesh in Dhaka is an extraordinary example of modern architecture being transcribed as a part of Bangali vernacular architecture. The National Assembly building, completed in 1982, stands as one of Kahn’s most prominent works, but also as a symbolic monument to the government of Bangladesh.
Los Angeles is often portrayed as the example of the car-friendly city. The traditional image of the town is an endless pattern of single family dwellings, interconnected by traffic-clogged freeways, where transit is undeveloped and the air is choked with smog.
However, Los Angeles is changing. The city’s Transport Authority has planned in the last years a series of measures aiming to improve quality of life through improving transit and walking and providing alternative to car commuting.