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When They Go High, We Go Low
Manhattan’s subterranean Lowline park flatlines
The Pisa of Texas
Change.org petition seeks to save half-imploded Dallas office tower
Now Dallasonians—tongues firmly planted in cheeks—are rallying to save the half-demolished building now known as the “Leaning Tower of Dallas.” A “dank meme"-seeking Dallas resident has even launched a Change.org petition calling for the inclined tower to be bestowed with Texas Historic Landmark status as well as UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. Reads the petition:
The "Leaning Tower of Dallas" has attracted lots of gawkers since a failed implosion left part of a building still standing on North Haskell Avenue Sunday. The fixture has everyone talking — and taking pictures. Have you taken any photos with it? Show us in the comments! pic.twitter.com/stWZPnyS1k— WFAA (@wfaa) February 19, 2020
Over the past few days, The Leaning Tower of Dallas has become the city's largest cultural icon. After making national headlines, we are finally famous for something other than the JFK Assassination. Unfortunately, the demolition will be completed soon to make way for even more hideous shops and condos for the bourgeois residents of Uptown Dallas.As of this writing, over 900 people have signed the petition, which is directed toward Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Historical Commission executive director Mark Wolfe, and noted reprieve-giver President Donald Trump, among others.
In all fairness, there is some cultural significance to the Affiliated Computer Services tower. Although owned by Xerox in its final years, the building was once home to the Southland Corporation, the parent company behind one of Dallas’s greatest contributions to modern society: 7-Eleven. While obviously unserious in its intent, the petition does serve as a sort of battle cry against The Central, a dense and upscale project that will ultimately span 30 acres. As reported by The Dallas Morning News, the first phase of development will include a 17-story office tower, two hotels, two large apartment complexes, a 3.5-acre park, and 110,000 square feet of retail, entertainment, and restaurant space. Dallas architecture firms GFF and BOKA Powell are both involved in the project, as is New York-based Perkins Eastman.
Me and my nearly 90 year old mom enjoying the leaning tower of Dallas pic.twitter.com/l40hczrLN2— railroadlady1 (@railroadlady1) February 18, 2020
Project developer De La Vega Development plans to break ground during the third quarter of this year—that is, provided that the remaining portion of the tower fully comes down when a crane and wrecking ball finish the job at some point this week.
I Can't Thrive 55
Herzog & de Meuron reveal Switzerland’s first roadside chapel
"The idea for the chapel in Andeer had to emerge from the site alone, from the location, from the road. And we did not want to work with explicit religious signs or symbols, even less with Christian symbols such as a cross or representations of Christ. We were looking for architecture that would sharpen the perception of visitors — of the location, the natural environs, and even of the way they see themselves."The Autobahnkirche will be comprised of four individual spaces, all of them functioning as distinct sanctuaries. One doubles as a sheltered overlook of sorts where visitors can take in sweeping views of the pastoral countryside through a massive ovoid window. The structure’s main entrance is through an airy aboveground sanctuary enclosed by walls that “just lean against each other; they lean and support at the same time,” as the architects put it in a press statement. “One of them stands upright. Almost like the wall of a choir. A simple gesture that emerged almost in play.” After descending down a staircase from the aboveground space, visitors will enter into the hushed subterranean heart of the chapel, a tunnel-like sequence of three cavernous chambers that will each serve an individual purpose while flowing seamlessly into each other. The first room will be a circular refuge for “readers” in which natural light pours in from above. Moving deeper into the underground area, visitors will find a more somber room with a reflecting wall that’s illuminated only by candle and a single skylight. “This is the most personal place for visitors; here they are confronted with themselves,” explained Herzog & de Meuron. Beyond this space is the magnificent viewing room, where the dramatic alpine beauty that envelopes the Autobahnkirche is on full display. “The deeper you go, the weaker the sounds from the motorway and the stronger the sound of your own footsteps,” writes Herzog and de Meuron. “Finally, when you reach the last room, strong daylight streams into the heart of the chapel and you see a panoramic view of the landscape, the village, and the lush green meadows and woods. Perception of the vegetation is heightened by the complementary red of a room-height pane of tinted glass. The sun, setting in the evening, shines through the red glass into this last portion of the chapel, which leads directly to the landscape outside.” Autobahnkirche is the first building with spiritual affiliations designed by Herzog & de Meuron, although the Basel-headquartered firm did participate in a 1989 design competition for Zurich’s Greek Orthodox Church. No timeline has been made public for the chapel’s construction, or the project’s estimated cost.
Did Somebody Say Timbah
A net-zero, cross-laminated timber apartment complex will rise in Boston
A Bit Off the Top, Please
Court ruling against Upper West Side tower could take down 20 floors
“This ruling is a shocking loss for New York City and its residents. It defies more than 40 years of precedent in the city’s zoning laws. It also ignores the thoughtful decision of the DOB to grant the permit which was upheld by the BSA following exhaustive document review and testimony over a two-year period. Both of those decisions recognized that retroactively applying new interpretations of the city’s zoning to previously approved projects undermines the stability of the regulatory environment needed to support the investment that is critical to New York City’s economy, tax base, housing stock and services. We will appeal this decision vigorously in court and are confident that we, and the City, will prevail on the merits.”While the retroactive trimming of a nearly-finished tower is certainly unusual, it is worth noting that New York has seen this situation before—in 1991, a New York developer was forced to tear down the top 12 floors of a 31-story residential tower at 108 East 96th Street five whole years after it was built. This marked the most severe consequence a New York developer had ever faced for zoning violations; the NYT reporting from 1991 claims that developers of the project repeatedly blamed the violations on an “error in a city map.” The immediate future of 200 Amsterdam remains unclear, but the potential of a partial demolition presents a unique set of challenges, especially with some of the most profitable units located on the upper floors.
Conflicts of Interest
Cooper Hewitt director and six trustees resign over wedding controversy
Baumann reportedly stepped back from her directorial role over the claims, despite opposition from the museum’s board of trustees. In the aftermath, six of its 27 members resigned over the weekend from their posts, including architect David Rockwell. NYT reported that artist Judy Francis Zankel, the board secretary, wrote in her resignation letter that the way Baumann was treated “violates every principle of decency.” “I feel that remaining on the board tacitly condones this behavior,” she continued. Zankel went on to question whether there was a “touch of misogyny” in Baumann’s forced ousting. “Can you imagine all this brouhaha about a dress and a wedding directed toward a man in the same position?” The specifics of these accusations are especially confusing given Baumann’s success within the institution since she started working there in 2001. After being appointed director in 2013, Baumann supervised the museum’s rebranding by Pentagram and oversaw the $91 million renovation of its Carnegie Mansion home by Gluckman Mayner Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle. Diller Scofidio + Renfro completed its internal exhibition design in 2014 and the following year, the museum’s Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden reopened to the public. The massive project resulted in widespread praise for the 123-year-old institution. Over email, the museum confirmed Baumann’s departure and announced Dr. John Davis, Smithsonian Provost, as Cooper Hewitt’s interim director: “Baumann has been a passionate voice for design, and much was accomplished during her tenure."
The dress designer who allegedly undercharged Caroline Baumann said the investigators seemed biased:"...one of the agents told Ms. Sleeper that he had heard that Ms. Baumann was 'a Devil Wears Prada type' and that she 'was a bitch.'" https://t.co/TF7vKGHHjg — Karrie Jacobs (@KarrieUrbanist) February 14, 2020