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Thinking Small

Chicago introduces highly anticipated ADU ordinance
Following months of anticipation and a well-publicized push from the Chicago arm of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her administration have introduced an ordinance that would reverse the ban on, and streamline the permitting of, coach houses and other types of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) that already exist or could be built on vacant residential lots or as additions to existing buildings. Prevalent across older Chicago residential properties, coach houses are small and often garage-less rear outbuildings also known as laneway houses, rear houses, granny flats, or carriage houses. Currently, coach houses (also a Chicagoan catchall term for any additional freestanding structure on a property, modern or not, that could be used for habitation) cannot be used as primary standalone residential units without cumbersome and expensive zoning changes. The ordinance, which has been formally introduced to the City Council and will be reviewed by the zoning and housing committees, would strike the ban on ADUs as a means of boosting density and generating affordable housing in the city. As the Chicago Sun-Times explained earlier this month, ADUs have effectively been outlawed in the city since a 1957 overhaul of the city’s zoning codes. Coach houses, however, continued to pop up across the following the ban while existing structures—and there are many, roughly 2,400 per data shared by the Chicago Cityscape blog—were grandfathered in. “The need for safe and affordable housing is likely to increase as more households in the Chicago region face unemployment and rising economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote the ULI in a report, “Unlocking Accessory Dwelling Units in Chicago,” published earlier this month. “Accessory Dwelling Units provide an innovative way for Chicago to address the growing housing challenge by adding to its inventory of affordable housing, providing financial stability for homeowners and by energizing neighborhoods.” Per Steven Vance of Chicago Cityscape, who broke the news of the ordinance’s arrival, the law, if adopted, would take effect on August 1, 2020, a date that coincides with the mandatory implementation of the 2019 Chicago Building Code for all renovation and new construction projects. Chicago Cityscape notes that the ordinance categories ADUs into two categories: Coach houses and conversion units, the latter of which entail renovations and/or additions to existing buildings over 20 years old. “Only units built according to this code would be considered conversion units; units that exist on or before July 31, 2020, that seem like conversion units are not considered conversion units,” elaborated Vance. Furthermore, the ordinance states that coach houses cannot be built on a lot with a conversion unit, although property owners in the appropriate residential zoning districts can potentially build or add more than one coach house or conversion unit on a single lot, just not both. There are, however, some stipulations depending on the size and age of the existing “front” residential building on the lot. There are also rules that dictate the affordable nature of coach houses and conversions when multiple units are involved. Chicago Cityscape gets into the nitty-gritty of special rules that apply—or don’t apply—to specific residential zoning districts. What’s more, existing coach houses can be modified and potentially expanded, while newly built coach houses will be limited to a maximum of 700 square feet or 60 percent of the required rear setback. There are no direct limits on the size of conversion units. The ordinance also stipulates that ADUs and conversion units cannot be used as Airbnb properties and do not require additional parking. Much like the ULI, the Lightfoot administration sees the rehabilitation of existing coach houses as well as the construction of new ADUs and conversion units as a necessary way to boost much-needed affordable housing in the city. These new living spaces, as the administration points out, are pandemic-friendly, to boot. “The administration’s proposed ADU ordinance is not only a way to increase available housing throughout Chicago, it is also a safety and stimulus effort, designed to allow for very gentle density within existing neighborhood character,” the Department of Housing explained to the Sun-Times in a statement. “In fact, if ever the need arises again, ADUs will create a type of density that could allow for multi-generational households to remain close, but also create options for social distancing in a basement unit or coach house on the same property.” This all being said, although the ordinance, which has been in the works for well over a year, has now been introduced to City Council, it’s not entirely clear when it will be taken up considering the unprecedented circumstances.
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Off With Its ... Plants!

Greenery-clad office tower gets go-ahead in London despite fears over protected views
A proposed 36-story London office tower with “extensive vertical urban greening” has been given a full blessing to proceed by the City of London Corporation’s Planning and Transportation Committee. Like other major projects in London, planning approval for the Eric Parry Architects-designed skyscraper at 50 Fenchurch Street has not been without controversy. In recent months, a number of heritage activists, joined by British charity Historic Royal Palaces, have voiced strong objections to the nearly 500-foot-tall high-rise over the fact that it could obstruct protected views of the nearby Tower of London. Along with five other sites, Historic Royal Palaces manages the Tower of London, an 11th-century castle with a rather dark history situated along the Thames. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988 and has long been one of the city’s most popular tourist draws. Although criticism around 50 Fenchurch’s view-blocking properties is not without merit, the building is a remarkable one that, per city officials, will be the first structure in London “to incorporate greening on such a large scale.” The planning office explained that “bespoke metal planters” supporting climbing plants on south, north and east elevations will help the building, which will also include a lush roof terrace on its 10th floor, to “mitigate air and noise pollution, combat the heat island effect, improve biodiversity, and help rainwater run-off management.” The vegetated facade will render the surrounding area “healthier and more attractive for workers, residents and visitors,” added city planners. What’s more, the city concluded that 50 Fenchurch would not, despite claims of the opposite, block views of the Tower of London. As reported by the Architects’ Journal, officials noted that the project doesn’t risk disrupting the Tower of London’s “skyline or erode the visual separation between the upper parts of the White Tower and the emerging cluster of tall buildings in the background.” Officials, however, acknowledged that the proposed skyscraper would diminish views and reduce sunlight at the rooftop garden belonging to 120 Fenchurch, a neighboring development also designed by Eric Parry Architects. When complete, 50 Fenchurch will entail over 645,000 square feet of office space, 8,600 square feet of retail on its ground level, publicly accessible public gardens, and a large number of bicycle parking spaces. It will also be the new home to the Clothworkers Company, a nearly 500-year-old London livery company whose headquarters and ornate, 1950s-era meeting hall is currently located at the site. Two historic buildings, a church tower and accompanying crypt, will also see “improvements” as part of the development. “The design journey of this urban proposition has been one of the most remarkable alignments between commerce, culture and the public realm that I have experienced,” said Parry in a statement. “The proposal will unite more than 800 years of the City of London’s history with its future in a development that will dramatically improve the experience of the city for all.” Other reactions to 50 Fenchurch, however, have been less celebratory in tone. Historic Palaces of London, which also rallied against Parry’s much-taller 1 Undershaft—or “Trellis Tower”—project for the same reasons during a three-year planning battle that concluded with approval in November 2019, referred to the architect’s newest addition to the London skyline as “highly intrusive.” “This proposal is one more indication of the way things are going and it's alarming that the views enjoyed by generations of Londoners will be destroyed,” architectural historian and TV host Dan Cruickshank lamented to The Times. Building Design also quoted architect and longtime skyline activist Barbara Weiss as saying: “It is very depressing that, more and more, London’s unique World Heritage Sites are being encroached upon by large buildings that are completely foreign to these settings.” London’s increasingly vertical orientation has caused alarm among many skyline-focused heritage activists who are attempting to protect the city’s increasingly vulnerable protected sight-lines from being tarnished by lanky, view-diminishing new construction. As the Daily Mail detailed, there are 13 protected views in London, all of them listed as part of a skyline heritage program established in 1938. A bulk of these protected views are of St. Paul’s Cathedral and have been largely left unblemished—save for the Shard, which planning officials gave a pass—due to the fact that “the symbol of the cathedral was so important during the Second World War.”
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San Francisco Feat

David Baker Architects receives the 2020 AIA California Firm Award
David Baker Architects (DBA), a San Francisco architecture firm whose solution-oriented work zeroes in on some of contemporary society’s most pressing issues, has received the 2020 California Firm Award. The award, which will join the firm’s already crowded trophy chest, is among the highest annual recognitions bestowed by the American Institute of Architects, California (AIA CA). With recent recipients including Johnson Fain (2018) and HOK (2019), the award recognizes firms 10 years or older which have consistently produced work that has helped better the lives of Californians and those beyond via the built environment. Founded in 1982 by David Baker, a Michigan native who received his masters in architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, the firm is a trailblazer in the realm of affordable housing projects and designing around the values of equity, inclusion, and sustainability. A majority of DBA’s projects foster community, boost density, and champion vibrant, walkable urban streetscapes. As the firm writes: “We have a passion for and deep understanding of the power of humane and respectful environments to transform neighborhoods and elevate the lives of individuals and families.” In lockstep with the ongoing affordable housing crisis, DBA has expanded significantly in recent years, opening satellite practices in Oakland and Birmingham, Alabama, as well as launching an interiors studio and fabrication workshop as well as DBA_lab, a self-described “flexible research and experimentation studio” dedicated to small-scale and pro bono projects that “engage urban space and user imagination.” “There is real quality here, and one can tell David Baker design is impact-driven which equals work that lends itself to a higher cause,” said one award juror. Among the firm’s most lauded and recognizable work is 222 Taylor, a striking, brick-clad apartment house dedicated to low-income housing in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district; Five88, a mixed-use affordable housing complex in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood that was one of the largest buildings of its type completed in over a decade when it opened to residents in 2018; the Lakeside Senior Apartments, a wellness-centered facility for low-income and special needs residents; and Potrero 1010, a two-building residential infill project in San Francisco anchored around expansive public green space that was once a brownfield site. DBA’s diverse portfolio also includes micro-unit condo buildings, adaptive reuse loft projects, private residences, retail spaces, modular apartment complexes, green live-work spaces, community master plans, and a small handful of luxury boutique hotel properties, including the LEED Gold-certified Harmon Guest House in Sonoma County. As the AIA CA points out in a press release, the firm is known to “prioritize people over parking and to welcome all with materiality, space and a great front door—none of which are easy feats in the urban sprawl of the Bay Area.”
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Movies to Mammoths

Hancock Park may become Los Angeles’s first true urban microcosm
“Tip the world over on its side,” Frank Lloyd Wright once quipped, “and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.” As a fresh L.A. transplant in the early 1920s, Wright clearly had trouble finding his bearings, yet nearly a century on, his testimony remains remarkably apt: To the uninitiated, the “fabric” of Los Angeles’s cityscape can feel improvisatory, a game board consisting of extravagantly mismatched pieces. The very same observation can easily be applied to Hancock Park, which counts geological excavations, fiberglass mammoths, contemporary art, and, soon, Hollywood cinema among its many oddities and enticements. No fewer than three cultural institutions are currently situated on the park’s 34 acres, but they are an atomized bunch, existing together in relative isolation. However, plans are afoot that promise to join together these disparate pieces into a museological collection unparalleled in the western United States. The prime mover is unquestionably the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which became Hancock Park’s first cultural institution when it opened in 1965. William Pereira’s palatial yet restrained campus—originally a composition of three buildings (the Ahmanson Building, the Bing Center, and the Lytton Gallery) surrounded by reflecting pools—attempted to cast Los Angeles in the role of art-world magnet even as critics placed it at the margins. As the city expanded its influence in this arena, so, too, did LACMA expand within Hancock Park, with the museum adding buildings by Bruce Goff, Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates, and Renzo Piano. More recently, outdoor artworks by Chris Burden, Michael Heizer, and Robert Irwin have signposted the institution’s desire for outward growth at the expense of a defined center. The La Brea Tar Pits, a group of asphalt lakes from which paleontologists have exhumed the fossilized remains of Ice Age-era Mammalia for more than a century, occupy 13 acres of the park’s eastern half. In 1967, the sculptor Howard Ball created a fiberglass family of woolly mammoths along Lake Pit, the largest tar pit on the property, that dramatically raised the unusual site’s profile. A decade later, the George C. Page Museum, a quietly monumental museum and paleontological research facility designed by Willis Fagan and Frank Thornton to study and display the fossils, took up residence at the northeastern corner of the pits—as far from the LACMA campus as physically possible. For nearly half a century, LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits seemed entirely indifferent to one another, even as they remained cheek by jowl. Both offer as many outdoor attractions as they do interior exhibitions, which has the potential to blur user groups, if not visitor experiences. But the parkland stretching between the two campuses has never done much to smooth the jarring transition from art to paleontology. This strained dynamic was brought into question in 2014, when construction began on the 300,000-square-foot Academy Museum of Motion Pictures at Hancock Park’s southwestern corner. Operated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the museum plans to split its programming between two buildings: the former May Company Building, a department store designed in a streamlined moderne style by Albert C. Martin in 1939 (and once briefly owned by LACMA), and the Sphere, a striking high-tech belvedere designed by Renzo Piano and featuring a 1,000-seat theater. When it opens this December, the complex will be America’s largest dedicated to the art and science of filmmaking, a craft that turned the orange groves of Los Angeles into a city of global recognition. With this third player in the mix, LACMA and the La Brea Tar Pits independently saw opportunities to reinvent themselves and, perhaps, finally unify Hancock Park and its aggregate cultural and recreational offerings. In August 2019, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC), which manages the La Brea Tar Pits, announced it had selected three firms to develop master plans that would take stock of the site’s invaluable contents while updating its outdated visitor experience. A few months later, after staging a public exhibit of the projects, NHMLAC elected to push ahead with multidisciplinary firm WEISS/MANFREDI’s master plan. The design calls for the preservation of the site’s most locally beloved elements, including Lake Pit and the original Page Museum, and ties them together with a 3,200-foot-long looping pedestrian path. Calling the Page “introverted,” architect Michael Manfredi summarized the scheme’s intention to pull back the curtain on the museum’s ongoing paleontological research: “Because Hancock Park is a public space, and not a nine-to-five destination, our master plan hopes to stretch the hours of engagement by revealing the hidden life of the museum to the public without [visitors] ever stepping inside; to make the science more visible, and make [the displays] a more active element of the park rather than mere inert objects.” Manfredi conceded that the scheme is still in development, and his team expects to incorporate more public input in the next design rounds; so far, the joint effort has collected more than 2,100 survey responses from the local community. Meanwhile, LACMA’s own redevelopment plan has been met repeatedly with public and critical scorn. Since assuming the museum’s directorship in 2006, Michael Govan has been emphatic about his desire to make his mark with a grand new building. In 2013, he unveiled plans to replace Pereira’s midcentury pavilions and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer’s mid-1980s Art of the Americas building with a tabletop design spanning Wilshire Boulevard by the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor. Only Piano’s 2008 Broad Contemporary Art Museum and 2010 Resnick Pavilion—a campus in themselves—would be spared. Though there have been a handful of public meetings following each successive plan (the project has undergone drastic revisions since first being unveiled), local groups contend they have been purposefully left out of the decision-making process by the parties in charge—namely LACMA, Zumthor’s office, and the county’s Board of Supervisors. Among the most prominent of these is the nonprofit Save LACMA, whose mission statement touts the “enormous pool of goodwill, sentiment and investment” it has accrued in its drive to protect the museum’s beleaguered buildings. Like its ally the Citizens’ Brigade to Save LACMA, Save LACMA has decried recent cost estimates putting Govan and Zumthor’s project at $750 million, with $125 million coming from the County of Los Angeles. Rubbing salt in the wound, another report alleged that the new LACMA would contain 10,000 square feet less exhibition space than did its predecessor. Summing up the brouhaha in the Los Angeles Times, art critic Christopher Knight (who just won a Pulitzer for his take on the LACMA controversy) needled the expansion and dubbed it the “Incredible Shrinking Museum.” LACMA fanned the critical flames when, in early April, after stay-at-home orders had been issued to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, it began dismantling the Bing Center. Later that month, as if capitalizing on the controversy, the Citizens’ Brigade unveiled alternative proposals to the Zumthor design, which varied in tone (though nearly all were wistful) and feasibility (with more than one barely-there provocation). None were as audacious as Zumthor’s parti, which is nonetheless poised to improve on LACMA’s current campus. As grand as the Pereira buildings may have been in their day, they formed a visual barrier across Hancock Park’s southern perimeter and created an inelegant walking path along the campus’s expanding east-west axis. From the west, visitors had to scale the Ahmanson Building’s pompously wide stairs before stumbling onto the main plaza, later blocked from Wilshire with the addition of the Arts of the Americas building. Zumthor’s decision to lift all the exhibition spaces and other museum functions into the air (and over Wilshire) grants visitors unfettered access to the central axis of the park. At LACMA in February, Govan quipped that visitors to the future Hancock Park will be able to go from “movies to mammoths” without paying an admission fee. It’s striking that this consequence of Zumthor’s planning has survived all the project’s alterations; clearly, critic Christopher Hawthorne was correct in saying, all the way back in 2013, that the design was less aloof than his peers made it out to be. A composite site plan of all three ongoing projects reveals a Hancock Park that bears little resemblance to its present self: A flock of Piano-designed structures congregates in its western half, absorbed in their own symmetries; Zumthor’s spaceshiplike LACMA retreats from the park’s center and straddles Wilshire Boulevard to the south, touching down on a one-acre park (currently a parking lot owned by the museum); and, while still subject to change, the pedestrian loop winding through WEISS/MANFREDI’s La Brea Tar Pits master plan echoes LACMA’s curves, as if the two entities were at last ready to tango after decades of bumping elbows. This gradual movement toward greater cohesion tracks with two other L.A. projects currently in the works. The first is the addition of seven new stations to the Metro’s D Line along Wilshire Boulevard, representing a major improvement to the city’s underdeveloped public transportation infrastructure. The Wilshire/Fairfax station, sited directly across the street from Hancock Park, is slated to be completed in 2023, three years after the Academy Museum and one year before LACMA (though a construction timeline for the La Brea Tar Pits master plan is still in the works, one may expect that it will attempt to align with its neighboring developments). According to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, LACMA has indicated it would finance a second station entrance on its campus, which would connect the block to the city at large more seamlessly than ever before. Yet even Metro has felt the pressure to accelerate its construction timeline in response to a second, even larger citywide goal: the 2028 Summer Olympics, the third time in the event’s modern history that the games will be held in Los Angeles. As if impelled to replicate the success of the previous iteration in 1984—considered the only profitable games in modern Olympic history—Los Angeles is currently abuzz with construction on large-scale developments, including the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (see page 30), SoFi Stadium, and the renovation of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Against this backdrop, the transformation of Hancock Park into a single, coherent block of art, film, and prehistory in time for the Olympics would be a major boon for the city’s title as a cultural capital. (Such a consolidation might even compel Angelenos to finally call the park by its official name, which it shares with a well-heeled residential cluster to its east.) At the time of this writing, Hancock Park is not much to look at. Some elements are dulled by years of neglect, others too shiny for lack of occupation, and others still scarred by the recent violence of demolition. Yet a little patience will likely yield an outsize reward: a true microcosm of a city possibly too large in size and cultural importance to take in by any other means.
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Charm City Transformation

Demolition work kicks off at Baltimore’s Lexington Market
Following an official groundbreaking ceremony in February, exterior demolition kicked off last week at Baltimore’s Lexington Market, a quintessential Charm City institution that’s been around since 1782—a feat that makes it the oldest continuously operating public market in the United States. The razing of the early 1980s-era arcade to make way for a “walkable, urban plaza perfect for farmers’ markets and public gathering” marked the first major visible step in the $40 million Transform Lexington redevelopment scheme headed by Seawall Development. There’s hope that the project, slated for completion in the second half of 2021, will revive the pulse of this 238-year-old mainstay on Baltimore’s downtown west side where, to quote the Baltimore Business Journal, “faded signage, dirty white subway tile walls, shuttered vendor booths, and burned-out neon” serve as evidence of a steady decline. Or, as the Baltimore Sun put it more diplomatically, Lexington Market, once heralded as the “gastronomic capital of the world” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, is “showing its age.” In addition to replacing the Arcade with a public plaza, a new 61,000-square-foot South Market building, which will be home to a mix of 50- to-60 new and existing vendors, will be built on an adjacent surface parking lot. Built in 1952, the East Market building is now home to all current vendors, including longtime market fixtures such as the famed, family-owned jumbo lump crab cake and raccoon purveyor Faidley Seafood, an anchor business that’s been in operation since 1886 when Lexington Market was an open-air establishment. The East Market, which will be redeveloped as part of a second phase once the South Market building is complete, was to remain open to the public during construction but has since been closed due to coronavirus-related shutdowns. Compared to the labyrinthine, brick-faced East Market building, the new South Market structure will be a spacious two-story affair with massive windows, skylights, and a metallic pitched roof that, as Baltimore Fishbowl has noted, harkens back to the sheds of yore that once housed vendors. In addition to vendor stalls, the new building will have ample room for public gatherings, events, and, of course, sitting down to scarf local delicacies like lake trout and Berger Cookies. Funding for the project comes from a mix of bank loans, city and state grants, New Markets Tax Credit incentives, and the market itself. Along with the vendor application process being delayed, the deadline for redevelopment proposals for the East Market building has been pushed back due to the pandemic. The fate of a second, largely vacant existing structure, the West Market building, also remains up in the air. Despite these uncertainties, construction work at Lexington Market, which is the flagship operation of the city-owned nonprofit Baltimore Public Markets Corp., will continue as planned during the coronavirus crisis with additional safeguards in place per the Sun. “The redevelopment construction schedule hasn’t changed at this point,” elaborated Jon Constable, a principal at Seawall Development who previously referred to the project as “the ultimate positive opportunity for Baltimore.” Such opportunities, of course, come equipped with sunny hopes that the redevelopment will spur further investment in the surrounding area. This has raised concerns about gentrification, and if a new and shiny Lexington Market will serve as the catalyst for that. Some, however, are skeptical that the desired investment in the area is even possible. “I’m not optimistic about this project producing a turnaround,” Stephen J.K Walters of the Maryland Public Policy Institute told the Sun, noting that concerns about public safety serve as a formidable hurdle. “If it doesn’t make sense to invest, proximity to a subsidized project doesn’t change that fundamental and unfortunate fact.” As for the market itself, Seawall Development undertook an extensive public engagement process including town halls and listening tours in order to glean input from the community on how the new market should look and feel, and most important, what types of vendors should be greeting customers on opening day (Faidley’s is one vendor that will be enthusiastically returning). Seawall, which has said that priority will be given to new vendors accepting SNAP benefits, also stressed that Lexington Market is not at risk of emerging from construction as a trendy food hall similar to R. House, a venue in the north Baltimore neighborhood of Remington that was also developed by the company:
“Lexington Market has always been a public market that meets the needs of any and all Baltimorean, and it will remain that way even after the transformation project is complete. The Market is publicly owned and will continue to prioritize accessible food and retail options that can meet the needs of all types of customer. When selecting any new vendors for the market, implementing community programming, and designing gathering spaces within the market, every effort will be made to seek the input and advice of Market customers who will help ensure it remains a welcoming place for all.”
Whatever the impact of the new Lexington Market on surrounding real estate might be and whatever toll the coronavirus could take on vendors, that market’s status as an enduring and distinctly Baltimorean institution will—unlike the product behind the city’s famous clock tower—never fizzle away.
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A South L.A. Homecoming

Destination Crenshaw celebrates the culture of South Los Angeles as it parades down the community’s main drag
A long drive through Los Angeles, a city famed for both its car culture and the superlative diversity of its residents, will take you through a generous number of officially designated ethnic and cultural enclaves: Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Little Ethiopia, Persian Square, Historic Filipinotown, Olvera Street, Little Armenia and neighboring Thai Town, and Koreatown, a district so large and so dense that it comprises an entire major neighborhood and surrounds a separate ethnic enclave in the form of Little Bangladesh. But as pointed out by Marqueece Harris-Dawson, a Los Angeles City Council member who represents District 8 in the western section of South Los Angeles, this sprawling patchwork of city-christened cultural districts omits one of L.A.’s largest, oldest, and most established communities: that of Black Angelenos. “There’s nothing in L.A. that officially designates [a cultural district] for the group that’s been here the longest outside of Native Americans,” Harris-Dawson told The Architect’s Newspaper. “Black people founded the city of L.A.” (Harris-Dawson is referring to the Pobladores, the group of 44 settlers, half of whom were of at least partial African descent, who established the city in 1781.) That’s all set to change, however, with Destination Crenshaw, a project spearheaded by Harris-Dawson that broke ground along Crenshaw Boulevard in the South L.A. neighborhood of Hyde Park this past February. Spanning 1.3 miles—or 2.6 miles, if you're counting both sides of the street—along an over-12-block stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard’s historic commercial core, Destination Crenshaw will entail infrastructural and lighting improvements, facade rehabilitation, landscaping, community gathering spaces, “unapologetically Black” public art, and more. It’s easiest thought of as an open-air linear art and history museum celebrating South L.A.’s African American community. Slated to feature over 100 permanent and rotating street-side artworks from established and emerging Black L.A.-based artists, Destination Crenshaw will be an experience that has some of the narrative-driven qualities of a museum but is ultimately rawer, more dynamic, and liberated from the constraints of four walls. The project was born from urgency as a direct response to community uproar surrounding the expansion of the Los Angeles Metro Rail system. The Crenshaw/LAX Line, an under-construction $2.1 billion light-rail line that will run at grade along this stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard, has long been a source of apprehension for residents and community leaders, particularly with regard to the impact that a major transit project could have on local small businesses, homeowners, and the fabric of the community. Transit-spurred gentrification was and still is a major concern. Yet some, including Harris-Dawson, have come to view the arrival of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, which includes two new Metro stations bookending Destination Crenshaw, as an opportunity to create something new. And that something has ultimately taken the form of a streetscape unlike anything that’s been attempted before. “When you simplify it, we’re just building a platform to showcase and grow the things that already come out of the Black community,” said Harris-Dawson. “What we’re doing isn’t rocket science—except for the amount of art, because that’s quite unprecedented.” In addition to implementing long-sought infrastructural improvements, including bike racks, additional parking, and new, “culturally stamped” sidewalks, Destination Crenshaw will, in the words of Harris-Dawson, use public art and design to illustrate “the story, culture, and roots of this neighborhood in a way that you can hear, see, touch, and feel so that it actually reflects where you are.” Funding for the $100 million project has come from a range of sources, including private backers, the City of Los Angeles, the State of California, and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which contributed $15 million earmarked for a large, Metro station–adjacent park at its northern end. To aid in envisioning a dynamic solution that would protect and support Black-owned businesses along Crenshaw Boulevard while also introducing new elements spotlighting South L.A.’s profound global cultural influence, Council District 8 turned to the Durham, North Carolina–based branch of Perkins and Will. Leading the Destination Crenshaw design team is Zena Howard, a protégée and colleague of the late Phil Freelon. Most notably, Howard served as senior project manager for Freelon Group on its work alongside Adjaye Associates at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. (Perkins and Will acquired Freelon Group in 2014, five years before Freelon’s passing.) “Our practice focuses on using the built environment to bring to light and support communities and their untold stories,” said Howard, who is currently managing director of Perkins and Will’s North Carolina office. “And oftentimes these are communities that have been disenfranchised or otherwise marginalized or divided.” “There really isn’t a true precedent for this,” Howard added. “There are some projects that are in the same ilk—people cite the High Line and other things—but there are none that tell a consistent story that had not really been put forth, and that are community-driven and inspired in the way that this is.” The opportunity for extensive community engagement and collaboration with a vast and diverse number of partners was immensely appealing to Perkins and Will. “It excited us…[as] a way to have architecture partner with so many different aspects of our community, culture, and society to help bring this story to light,” Howard explained. “We were up for doing something that had never been done before.” Crucial to the engagement process was working alongside Destination Crenshaw to form a diverse, multigenerational design advisory council or, as Howard referred to it, an “‘A’ team of thought leaders, artists, and people who have lived in the community for decades.” Among the 20-person-strong community partner team is gardener, artist, and community activist Ron Finley; Amanda Hunt, director of education and senior curator of programs at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Felicia Filer, public art division director for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; filmmaker and activist Ben Caldwell; and street artist ArcherOne. Rapper, activist, and Crenshaw native Nipsey Hussle was also intimately involved in the planning and advisory stages of the project before his death in March 2019. These are “people on the front lines of Black L.A. art culture,” Harris-Dawson said. “Some of them are artists, some are curators, historians, community organizers, and urban planners. But they all have some tie together…and they’re real community stakeholders.” “We chose them because you have to have real authoritative pushback when people design something that does not reflect you,” Harris-Dawson added. The unifying design narrative that emerged from the monthslong charrette process was “Grow Where You Are Planted.” Praising and encouraging endurance against all odds, the design uses African star grass as a central motif. Moving south to north along Crenshaw Boulevard, Destination Crenshaw is divided into four distinct thematic nodes, or “lenses,” that together tell the story of Black Los Angeles’s past, present, and future. Each node features small parks, interactive installations, and, of course, an abundance of public art. Commencing at the planned Hyde Park station, at Slauson Avenue and Crenshaw, is the “Improvisation” node, which was inspired by Hussle and celebrates the spirit of creativity and ingenuity in the face of limited resources. Beginning at 54th Street is the “Firsts” section of Destination Crenshaw, which uses the story of Biddy Mason, one of L.A.’s first female Black landowners, to spotlight numerous other trailblazing individuals and events that came from or took place in South L.A. At 50th Street is the start of the “Dreams” node, which was inspired by the life and career of pioneering African American architect Paul R. Williams, and includes the Crenshaw Wall, a mural-clad 800-foot wall/canvas that dates back to the 1970s. Around the planned Leimert Park station, on Vernon Avenue, Destination Crenshaw concludes in the spirit of “Togetherness,” which, as Howard explained, is “about the ability of this community to come together to celebrate, to resist, and to mourn in times of happiness and protest.” This northernmost section of the project will include its centerpiece, Sankofa Park, a large, open public space straddled by an overlook structure whose form takes its inspiration from the symbol of the mythical Sankofa bird, which flies forward while also looking backward. In addition to Sankofa Park and a multitude of pocket parks punctuating Destination Crenshaw, landscape design firm Studio-MLA is overseeing a major tree planting effort. Nearly all the trees along this stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard were removed by the city in 2012 to make way for the space shuttle Endeavour as it was hauled 12 miles through the streets of L.A. to the California Science Center. Although trees were replanted in other areas of the city that the shuttle traveled through, Crenshaw Boulevard has remained woefully barren. “This is also an environmental equity project,” said Howard, referencing the landscape design. “We are also reforesting, bringing back 822 trees to beautify this boulevard and to make it a humane place to be.” As Kenneth Luker, the project’s lead design principal with Perkins and Will, explained, one of the main challenges in conceiving Destination Crenshaw revolved largely around scale. “How to create a unified experience across such a large urban landscape was challenging when we consider how many other components of the urban context need to coexist with this project, such as the Metro, Crenshaw Boulevard, and many private landowners,” Luker said. “The ‘connective tissue’ of our concept was designed specifically to unite this urban landscape of multiple pocket parks, art installations, and exhibits.” Beyond the interventions by Perkins and Will, Destination Crenshaw is also investing in a facade improvement program for existing small businesses along the corridor, starting with soul food restaurant Dulan’s On Crenshaw. This is important, Harris-Dawson pointed out, because “we want these businesses not only to survive with the new train coming but to thrive.” With an estimated completion date in early 2021, Destination Crenshaw is scheduled to greet riders of the Crenshaw/LAX Line when that project wraps up around the same time. And while concerns linger over how the new presence of mass transit will play out in this pocket of South Los Angeles in the near future, Destination Crenshaw will have at least already made a bold and beautiful mark in a community whose cultural influence—in visual art, music, and film—spans the world but has never been officially saluted in its own backyard. “While this project can’t resolve all of that,” said Howard, referring to the potential for transit-oriented development and real estate turnover resulting from the new Metro line, “we can mark this area culturally with icons, art, architecture, and landscape design that speaks to and memorializes this community and their contributions regardless of any change that may happen later.”
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Back-ish to Business

Italian design manufacturers ease back into production
As Italy begins to ease out of a seven-week coronavirus lockdown period with utmost caution, a key action will be awakening the country’s multitude of factories and production plants from an extended, economical painful slumber without sparking new infections. As originally reported by The Guardian, May 4—one day after Europe’s longest-running lockdown is officially lifted—will be the big day when factories and construction sites are permitted to slowly swing back into action with, of course, the requisite safeguards in place. Factories that produce goods for export, which includes many if not most major design manufacturers, have already been giving the green light, as have public construction projects. Museums, galleries, libraries, and retailers will follow shortly thereafter in mid-May, while bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen their doors beyond take-out and delivery in early June along with parks and public gardens. Most gatherings exceeding 15 people, however, will remain verboten (including funerals) and travel between different Italian regions will stay heavily restricted. Face masks and social distancing will remain de rigueur. “We expect a very complex challenge,” said Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte earlier this week addressing “phase two” of the crisis. “We will live with the virus and we will have to adopt every precaution possible.” “The reopening is allowed on condition that all companies involved strictly respect security protocols in the workplace,” Conte added. While something resembling “normal” is still a long way off for Europe’s third-largest economy, the reopening of Italy’s factories, particularly manufacturing facilities within the country’s storied furniture and home design sector, is welcome news. For weeks, industry leaders have been urging the government to allow production to resume, even if at a modified pace, warning of the dire economic—and cultural—consequences of allowing a production shut-down to continue for much longer. As AN reported last week, nine design industry leaders banded together to publish a so-called Design Manifesto that outlined their collective concerns and objectives moving forward. Among other things, the manifesto's signatories stressed the advantage that a drawn-out pause on production would give to competitive European markets in the design manufacturing space, namely Germany and Scandinavian countries, and the inherently pandemic-safe nature of Italy’s furniture production facilities, which would become even safer after production resumed. With that much-anticipated moment—the return of production activities­—now close on the horizon or already here, some venerable Italian manufacturers—B&B Italia, Moroso, and Boffi along them—are formally going public with statements announcing their triumphant—but vigilant—return. As Gilberto Negrini, CEO of Lombardy-based B&B Italia, detailed in an April 27 news release:
After the operational resumption of shipments, which has restarted supplies and processed orders, production will therefore be finally active from tomorrow. Of course, all the safety protocols have been put in place: sanitizing procedures for the rooms, supply of disinfectants at each location and spacing will ensure our employees a safe return starting from the entrance procedures where, after taking the temperature through thermo-scanner, masks and gloves will be supplied daily.
Messaging from Italy’s fabled design heavyweights during the crisis has been grounded in pragmatism yet fully optimistic about navigating the potentially difficult road ahead. Negrini’s announcement was no different. “A sign that makes us look to the future with more hope and positivity, confident that the quality of Made in Italy, our ability to innovate, to merge industry and manual skills, to find beauty in form, combined with the extraordinary work of our men and women, who are the real strength of our companies and our brands, will be able to cope with this enormous global crisis,” he wrote. “The unique history of B&B Italia, and what it has been able to create since 1966 to bring Italian design into the world, speaks for us, and together we will make it.” Per Reuters, the number of fatalities resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, an early and severe hotspot, remains the highest in Europe with over 26,000 lives lost. In recent days, however, the number of new cases reported, and the number of Italian residents being admitted to intensive care facilities, has fallen. This past Sunday, the country reported it’s third consecutive daily drop in reported fatalities with 260 deaths—a horrific number but also the lowest since mid-March.
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Word on the Street

Open Streets Initiative will aid cities in optimizing coronavirus street closures
Oakland is doing it. Philadelphia is doing it. Minneapolis is doing it. Denver is doing it. Milan is doing it. Boston and neighboring cities are doing it. And now—after one aborted attempt and a whole lot of handwringing from City Hall—New York City is doing it, too. With summer just around the corner and cooped-up residents expected to flock outdoors in greater numbers, numerous cities have already—or plan to—enact temporary street closures that would more safely accommodate pedestrian and bike traffic while coronavirus restrictions are in place. A number of these streets, as is with the case of New York’s just-announced 40-mile-minimum street closure scheme, are or will be near or directly adjacent to popular parks. In addition to providing city-dwellers with more room to partake in social distancing-observant outdoor recreation, cities are also temporarily closing streets to vehicular traffic due to an uptick in walking and cycling, which, per the World Health Organization, are preferable to public transit when traveling around town. To assist cities in this unprecedented effort, data-powered mobility management platform Populus has launched the Open Streets Initiative. Per a press statement released by the three-year-old company, the initiative will “help public officials create and communicate new street policies, such as street closures and ‘slow streets’ that prioritize pedestrians and cyclists.” Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, a majority of street closures revolved around one-off special events such as street fairs, parades, and block parties as well as construction projects. As Regina Clewlow, CEO and cofounder of Populus, explained to Smart Cities Dive, these types of closures pass through a series of formal bureaucratic hoops and are typically planned months or longer in advance and communicated to the public with ample warning. Street closures and reconfigurations prompted by the pandemic, however, need to be conceived and executed in a tighter timeframe of just days and weeks. To join the Open Streets Initiative and subsequently access Populus’s new, complementary Street Manager platform, cities and public agencies must apply by May 15. In June, a “number of select cities” will be chosen to partner with Populus to “design and implement new street policies” in 2020. Various sized cities across the world, not just in the United States, are invited to apply. “How people move in cities is rapidly changing day by day,” said Clewlow in a statement. “With our platform, we empower city planners with digital solutions that help them manage the future of mobility in a dynamic way.” Cities partnering with Populus on mobility management projects during the non-COVID-19 era included Dallas, Orlando, Florida, Cleveland, and Tallahassee, as well as the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Largely focused on the micr0-mobility space, the San Francisco-headquartered company describes itself as helping “cities and private mobility operators deliver safe, equitable, and efficient streets through better data and analytics.” Beyond temporary street closures that make way for more foot and bike traffic, some cities are instituting other changes as to how people get around town during and after lockdown. Paris, for example, isn’t necessarily shuttering streets to vehicles but is instead modifying them to make way for over 400 miles of emergency bike paths, including pop so-called pop-up “corona cycleways,” that will be ready by the time France lifts its shelter-in-place restrictions on May 11, according to Forbes. Berlin is also taking a similar approach by doing away with street-side parking spots in favor of temporary cycling lanes (to the chagrin of some motorists, naturally). And New Zealand, which recently and enviably declared the coronavirus as being all but eliminated, is the first country to provide emergency-level federal funding for “tactical urbanism” efforts in cities that involve widening sidewalks and creating pop-up bike lanes at a swifter-than-normal speed. “To stop the spread of COVID-19, more people are taking to quiet streets to walk and cycle again,” New Zealand Transport Minister Julie Ann Genter told Forbes. “When we move out of the shutdown, and people start to travel a little more, we can’t expect them to go back to crowded buses and trains at the same rate, and people in city centers will need more space to distance themselves from others physically.”
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Italian Import

Hickok Cole retrofits a former YMCA in Washington, D.C., with handcrafted copper shingles
Brought to you with support from
Located in Washington, D.C.'s centrally located and historic DuPont Circle neighborhood, 1701 Rhode Island Avenue serves as a demonstration of the aesthetic and performative impact of retrofit strategies. The project, designed by local architecture and interior design firm Hickok Cole, is an extensive overhaul of a 40-year-old former YMCA facility into a LEED Platinum Class A commercial structure made complementary to the surrounding streetscape with handcrafted copper shingles and thoughtful detailing of the glazing bays. The former YMCA facility was an imposing structure of featureless red-brick and limited glazing, made all the more pronounced by the prominence of the location; a corner site visible from many vantage points. For Hickok Cole, the project presented the challenge and opportunity of repositioning the site in collaboration with the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the Historic Preservation Office. The 104,000-square-foot project rises to seven stories, and includes a rooftop addition setback from the street wall.
  • Facade Manufacturer KME Italy Viracon YKK
  • Architect Hickok Cole
  • Facade Consultant Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger
  • Structural Engineer SK&A Engineers
  • Facade Installer James Myers Company PCC Construction Components Whiting-Turner
  • Location Washington D.C. 
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System YCW 750 SSG
  • Products VNE1-63 TECU Custom Brownishing
If anything, retrofit approaches are an arduous lesson in logistical planning and construction scheduling and this project proved no exception to that rule. As an athletic facility, the YMCA featured a large swimming pool in its basement, which, as it turns out, also functioned as a two-story foundational wall for the building. According to Hickok Cole associate principal Jason Wright, the construction of a new subterranean parking garage necessitated the removal of the foundational wall, a procedure that normally requires the expensive insertion of shoring structures. Instead, after analysis, the design and structural teams discovered that the retention of the original facade during the removal process yielded a significant degree of load, capable of stabilizing the structure throughout excavation. After a year of excavation and the pouring of a new foundation, the facade was demolished and surgically stripped down to its structural skeleton of concrete piers. The structural order of the piers—and the spandrel at every other floor slab—forms the basis of the new facade layout, which is divided by a grid of approximately 20'-by-22' modules with each horizontal and vertical member projecting a foot-and-a-half from the property line. The proportions of each module are roughly in line with the width of a standard D.C. row house. The entire grid is clad with 1,700 copper shingles, which are chamfered at their corners and sequenced from bottom left to top right, thrusting upward 18 inches at each successive layer. Juxtaposed with nearby St. Matthew’s Cathedral and historic structures, the use of copper is a clear nod to traditional detailing. “The facade combines the ancient feeling of copper with a contemporary pattern and layout,” said Hickok Cole senior associate Stefano Sani. “This is supplemented by the fluid geometry of the cladding and it's hand installation.” The copper shingles were manufactured by KME Italy, and the design team made several trips to the facility to inspect their varnish—since no two shingles are the same, an acceptable range of treatment was determined by Hickok Cole. Each shingle was treated with a nano-ceramic coating to slow the process of patination. The fabrication process was also something of a tour across northern Italy; the shingles were cut in Parma, varnished in Verona, coated in Venice, and sent back to Parma. Prior to shipment to the United States, the shingles were randomized within their crates to ensure a range of treatments across the building’s facade following installation. Each bay is outfitted with bands of dark-black metal filigrees, which, according to Sani, is a measure to transition between the solid and void of the copper and glazing.
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How To Handel Density

Handel Architects design high-rise complex surrounding Hollywood’s Capitol Records tower
An apparent contrast between the low-lying buildings of Hollywood’s Golden-era and a slew of recently constructed towers is currently shaping the skyline of central Los Angeles. The largest development to date in the latter group comes in the form of a billion-dollar high-rise complex one block north of the Hollywood and Vine intersection. Developed by MP Los Angeles, Hollywood Center will be built upon 4.5 acres of former surface parking lots that once served the Capitol Records building, the Welton Becket and Associates-designed tower deemed the world’s first circular office building when it was completed in 1956. Designed by local firm Handel Architects, the development complements the iconic Capitol Records building with opposingly curved facades on its two tallest towers—35 and 46 stories tall, respectively, while their siting and oval-shaped plans are intended to preserve views of the Capitol Records building from the 101 freeway and popular tourist sites within Hollywood. Including two 11-story buildings, Hollywood Center has a total of 1,005 residential units, 133 of which will be set aside as affordable housing for seniors to be managed by the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Menorah Housing Foundation (according to Urbanize Los Angeles, the affordable housing component of the project is among the largest in the city’s history). Perhaps inspired by its proximity to the burgeoning L.A. Metro subway system, as well as the recently revealed master plan for the nearby Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Center will provide several public resources in addition to its private residences. The towers will be surrounded by two civic plazas, to be designed by James Corner Field Operations, that will add an acre of open green space to the park-starved neighborhood. The developers hope that the grounds will become a central hub for Hollywood, offering restaurants, cafes, as well as space for concerts and other community events. The most recent Draft Environmental Impact Report estimates that the project will begin in 2022 and will be completed in 2025.
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Can't Design for the Public Without a Public

New York City halts public design work over budget woes
New York City is still undergoing a novel coronavirus-related freeze on all “non-essential” construction, but the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has extended that suspension to architects working on public design projects as well. In a letter dated March 26 (one day before the AIANY town hall where the issue was broached), the agency mandated that firms currently engaged in public design work “You are directed to immediately halt all services being provided, or to be provided, under your Contract (including any task orders, change orders, amendments) with DDC, including all services provided by subcontractors and/or subconsultants.” In other words, any and all firms working on public projects have been ordered to stop, and they won’t be paid for work conducted after March 26 until the pause order has been lifted by the city. While it might make sense to socially distance construction workers to halt the spread of COVID-19, architects have by-and-large moved to working remotely and are out of harm’s way. So why stop designers from designing in the comfort of their own homes? The city is anticipating a $7.4 billion drop in tax revenue for this fiscal year and next, and just today Mayor de Blasio introduced a new budget with $2 billion in cuts. The DDC oversees projects across approximately 20 city agencies and is responsible for designing everything from salt sheds, to parking garages, to police stations. However, because of budget concerns, the department was ordered by the city to suspend design work even though, as Architectural Record noted, these projects are typically funded through bonds and the money is set aside solely for their completion. This is also the first time the city has put public design work on hold, as they continued to pay architects during the 2008 recession to help bolster small businesses (this move will likely hit small firms the hardest, as they will have to reorient their resources if they want to get paid). This decision wasn’t made by the DDC, but rather came from the mayoral level as part of a wider budget review and other departments were affected as well. However, as Ben Prosky, executive director of AIANY, told AN, halting design work in such tumultuous times hurts not only architects, but engineers, the construction industry, and everyone else involved in such public projects. In a letter sent to Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on April 2, the American Council of Engineering Companies New York, American Institute of Architects New York, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, Building Trades Employers’ Association of New York City, New York Building Congress, and New York City Central Labor Council all argued against the freeze.
“Delays to work that can safely continue from our homes will further hinder our city’s recovery efforts and create challenges for middle-class New York families, including many union construction workers and MWBE architects, engineers, and general contractors. “We strongly recommend that you allow design and construction work to continue to the maximum extent permitted under New York State guidance. Furthermore, we ask that all design and construction that has already occurred be compensated.”
While the letter has yet to receive a response—likely due to the all-hands-on-deck tumult the city is facing—Prosky hopes that Mayor de Blasio will reconsider. According to him, “Design work now during a downtime means construction jobs in the future, and it will take that much longer for everyone involved to start moving things along again.”
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All Hail the Queen

Virginia Savage McAlester, preservationist and best-selling author, dies at 76
Virginia Savage McAlester, author, architectural historian, and doyenne of Dallas preservation, died last week at the age of 76 following a lengthy battle with myelofibrosis, a rare bone marrow cancer. Mark Lamster, architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News, was the first to report the news in a beautifully written tribute. To say that McAlester’s encyclopedic, copiously illustrated A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture, first published in 1984 and significantly expanded and revised for a best-selling 2013 edition that tackles post-1940 house styles (Ranches! “Millennium Mansions!”) as well as neighborhood types, is an essential architecture book would be an understatement. Over the years, the hefty tome—the 2013 edition is 880 pages—has enjoyed a certain ubiquity, becoming a staple on the bookshelves and coffee tables of architecture students, preservationists, erudite real estate agents, and casual everyday house-spotters curious about the built environment around them. Because of the book’s size, it’s safe to assume that many readers forgo taking their copies out into the field with them in the same way a birder might slip an illustrated guide into his or her back pocket when embarking on an ID’ing mission. The Kindle edition, however, has made it easier to match up eyebrow dormers and chamfered porch supports with corresponding house styles. I lament having left my own copy of A Field Guide to American Houses at my home in Brooklyn. Last month, I relocated to suburban Baltimore County to ride out the pandemic and, as part of my socially distant fresh air/quarantine constitutional ritual, I’ve been documenting the homes in the immediate and surrounding neighborhoods of where I'm temporarily living. This past weekend, on a particularly sunny Saturday, I decamped from my ranch-heavy, semi-rural neighborhood to Baltimore’s historic Guilford nabe, which was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. in the early 1900s and features a riot of different revival styles—Tudor, Colonial, Classical, Spanish Colonial, Jacobean, Italian Renaissance, and more—alongside Art Deco, English Arts and Crafts, and others. If there ever were a neighborhood where A Field Guide to American Houses would come in handy, Guilford is it. Born in Dallas to Dorothy and Wallace Savage, an attorney who served as the city’s mayor from 1949 to 1951, McAlester attended Radcliffe College and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she studied architecture. Settling back in Dallas to care for her aging parents, McAlester became active in local preservation efforts beginning in the early 1970s and was integral in the founding of the Historic Dallas Fund, the Dallas Historic Preservation League, later renamed Preservation Dallas, Friends of Fair Park, and other preservation initiatives. She also led the charge to designate Swiss Avenue, the neighborhood she grew up in and later resettled in as an adult, as Dallas’s first historic landmark district. As Lamster noted, fellow architectural historian Stephen Fox once bestowed McAlester with the most-fitting moniker, the “Queen of Dallas Preservation.” As the late historian and author Wiliam Seale told the New York Times of McAlester in a 2013 profile: “When she started broadening her preservation efforts, “few, if any, in Dallas had the slightest interest in historic preservation, thinking their history too new to be worthwhile.” McAlester, who credited her mother for sparking her interest in preservation, co-authored several other books on architectural history and preservation. However, A Field Guide to American Houses, which she co-wrote with her second husband Lee McAlester, a geology professor at Southern Methodist University, remains by far her most widely read. As Lamster wrote, at the time of her death, McAlester was at work on a sequel to the Field Guide that focused on commercial architecture. McAlester spoke openly about her battle with myelofibrosis, with that fight playing heavily into the aforementioned 2013 Times profile. It's worth a read.