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It's Showtime!

Here are AN’s picks for architecture-themed movies and shows to enjoy while housebound
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, and that certainly applies to readily available entertainment—movies, documentaries, television shows, and more—to watch while social distancing/self-quarantining/expanding one’s cinematic horizons during a global pandemic. Below, the AN editorial team has compiled a pointedly eclectic list of screen-based diversions to settle down with. The overarching emphasis here is obviously on architecture, design, and urbanism. However, we’ve applied that focus broadly and opted to include everything from French New Wave classics to sordid 1980s thrillers to dystopian neo-noir epics to trashy (but oh-so-enjoyable) reality TV and more. And for good measure, we’ve thrown in a few serious architecture documentaries, too. All are currently available to stream on various platforms. Sit back, relax, stay safe, and enjoy.

Alphaville (1965)

“Alphaville is easily my favorite Jean-Luc Godard film. Filmed on the streets of Paris in 1964, the story begins when a secret agent Lemmy Caution traverses the distant corners of the galaxy on a secret mission to a futuristic dystopian city, Alphaville. There, he seeks out an omnipresent scientist named Von Braun, the maker of Alpha 60, a mind-controlling computer that rules over citizens.”Gabrielle Golenda, products editor. Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime and others. 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

“If you can stomach languishing in a futuristic dystopia somehow worse than our own, Denis Villeneuve's 2017 sequel to the cult classic Blade Runner is certainly worth escaping into for three hours. The libertarian future of 2049 is populated by towering brutalist forms, mega-monoliths to greed, space-age pyramids, and a main villain's lair inspired by Spanish architects Barozzi / Veiga looks so good you'll forget that the world is dying outside of it. Consider it the anti-Wakanda.”Jonathan Hilburg, web editor. Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and others.

Body Double (1984)

“There's nothing like a sleazy, ultra-stylish erotic thriller from Brian De Palma to take one's mind off the troubles of the world. Highly controversial on its release, Body Double, now a cult favorite, serves as both an homage to Alfred Hitchcock and a tribute to the architectural weirdness of Los Angeles. While numerous L.A. landmarks serve as backdrops including Tail O' the Pup, the Farmers Market, and the Hollywood Tower Apartments, the real star of the film is John Lautner's Chemosphere House (1960), a space-ship-y octagonal lair mounted on a concrete pedestal high in the Hollywood Hills. Reached only by funicular, the home, declared a Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument in 2004, is currently owned by publisher Benedikt Taschen.”Matt Hickman, associate editor. Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more.

Columbus (2017)

“Korean-born, Nashville-based supercut maestro Kogonada's feature directorial debut is a melancholy, but never despairing, romantic drama about love, loss, obligation, and modernist architecture. Filmed on location in the small Indiana city known as "the Athens of the Prairie," this tender, haunting film stars John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson alongside works by Eliel and Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Robert A.M. Stern, Deborah Berke, and others. (Sorry Venturi fans but Fire Station Number 4 doesn't make a cameo appearance.) Added non-architectural bonus: Parker Posey in a small but memorable supporting role.”Matt Hickman, associate editor. ”Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more. 

Grand Designs

“Grand Designs is a long-running British TV series. Each episode tracks the progress of some of the U.K.’s most ambitious and experimental self-built home projects. Host Kevin McCloud, a noted architectural journalist and architect in his own right, offers a succinct narration as he checks into each project at different stages. His advice and helping hand is often followed by bitting albeit constructive criticism.”–Adrian Madlener, interiors editor. Seasons 10 and 15 available on Netflix.

The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) (2013)

“La Grande Bellezza is an Academy Award-winning film by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino. While the movie follows a one hit wonder author and affluent playboy as he goes through the pangs of a late life crisis, its art direction casts Rome in a rhapsodic mise en scene. The capital city’s ancient and contemporary architecture is presented in an almost nostalgic way, devoid of its regular tourist hordes. The protagonist's self-reflection is emulated in this dramatic backdrop.”Adrian Madlener, interiors editor. Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more.

Love Island UK, Season 6:

“The sixth season of British dating reality television show Love Island UK wrapped filming just as coronavirus was roaring onto the global stage, but watching it will transport you to a simpler world where a bevy of single twenty-somethings loll their days away while looking for love without leaving the confines of a South African villa. The house the contestants are kept in is a typical reality TV monstrosity (vapid slogans scrawled on the walls, 360-degree lighting, a riot of wall colors), but maybe this is where design is heading now that so many peoples’ houses have become backdrops for screen-mediated interactions. Or maybe the show is just a nice escape from the relentless news cycle. Either way, it’s worth a watch.”–Jack Morley Balderrama, managing editor. Available on Hulu.

Playtime (1967)

“This French comedy follows director Jacques Tati’s character as he bumbles his way through the modern spaces of 1960’s Paris. It’s almost more of a dance than drama performance, with the spaces playing a significant role in each scene.”Ian Thomas, art director. Available on Amazon Prime and iTunes.

Poltergeist III (1988)

“The third and final installment of the Poltergeist franchise moves the action from an evil spirit-infested tract house in the Southern California ’burbs—“The house looks just like the one next to it … and the one next to that … and the one next to that”—to an ultra-modern Chicago high-rise. (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s John Hancock Center plays the role of sinister supertall well). Taking place almost entirely within the confines of said high-rise, this distinctly urban horror film, despite being critically lambasted, managed to render subterranean parking garages, mirrored hallways, elevators, window-cleaning platforms, and skyscrapers in general completely terrifying to an entire generation of children.”–Matt Hickman, associate editor. Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more

Other selections include:

Citizen Architect: Samuel Mockbee and the Spirit of the Rural Studio (Sam Wainwright Douglas, 2010). Available on Amazon Prime. Eames: The Architect and the Painter (2011, Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey). Available on Google Play, iTunes, and more. Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future (Peter Rosen, 2016). Available on YouTube. Helevetica (Gary Hustwit, 2007). Available on Amazon Prime and iTunes. Director Hustwit is streaming all of his documentary films, which also include Urbanized, Objectified, and Rams, for free during the COVID-19 crisis. Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story (Royal Kennedy Rodgers and Kathy McCampbell Vance, 2020). Available streaming on PBS. How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? (Carlos Carcas, Norberto López Amado, 2010). Available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and more. I Am Love (Luca Guadagnino, 2009). Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927). Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more. The Pruit-Igoe Myth (Chad Freidrichs, 2011). Available on iTunes. A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009). Available on Netflix. Sketches of Frank Gehry (Sydney, Pollack, 2005). Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more. Unfinished Spaces (Alysa Nahmias and Benjamin Murray, 2011). Available on Google Play, Amazon Prime, and more.
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Coronavirus Column

What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for architects?
For the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, AN will use this column to keep our readers up to date on how the pandemic is affecting architecture and related industries. This weekly article is meant to digest the latest major developments in the crisis and synthesize broader patterns and what they could mean for architecture in the United States. It’s now been over one week since the first state in the U.S., California, enforced a shelter in place order, disrupting the working lives of millions of Americans. The pandemic’s impact on architecture still isn’t totally clear; some construction sites are closed, financial markets are fluctuating, and designers are working from home, but whether or not the country is headed toward a long-term recession or whether it will bounce back once the acute period of the crisis passes is an open question. I spoke with Jonathan Moody, CEO of Ohio-based Moody Nolan, about how the pandemic is affecting his business and the industry more broadly. “We’re hoping for the best but planning for the worst,” Moody said. Lessons from 2008’s Great Recession are coming in handy, he said, particularly lessons about the value of diversifying project types and being aware that different sectors of the industry will fare differently. Education projects may be hampered by schools suddenly without students (the pandemic has spurred the San Francisco Art Institute to close permanently), while multifamily housing may see boosts from slashed interest rates. He also suggested that because construction timelines on large institutional projects are so long, a few weeks of interruption would pass relatively quickly and wouldn’t require firms to cut staffing.  The past few weeks have brought a jarring amount of change. Multiple architecture events have been postponed or canceled. The AIA has indefinitely postponed its annual conference, originally scheduled for mid-May in Los Angeles; Milan’s Salone del Mobile moved from April to June, before being canceled and moved to 2021; New York Design Week events have been pushed to October from May; and the Venice Architecture Biennale, also originally planned for May, will now open in August. Cultural institutions have started to feel the squeeze as they close or attendance plummets. Of course, there is also the human toll of the pandemic, visible in the death of Italian architect, planner, editor, and curator Vittorio Gregotti, who died of complications related to COVID-19 infection at the age of 92, and the death of theorist and the director emeritus of Graduate Urban Design Program of the City College of New York, Michael Sorkin. The profession’s day-to-day operations, for the most part, continue to go on, albeit in modified forms. Shelter in place orders mean that in architecture offices in hubs like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, employees are working from home and teleconferencing their way through the day (although WeWork refuses to close), but those same restrictions haven’t affected construction sites in the same way. Tradespeople continue to show up to sites across most of the country, even in places where office workers are staying home, although that is slowly changing. Construction Dive published an interactive map to keep track of construction-site closures across the country, which began in Boston and have slowly spread elsewhere. Some manufacturers have had to temporarily close factories because of shelter in place rules—Michigan’s many furniture producers had to pause work after that state’s social distancing order took effect on Tuesday—and some products from China and Italy are now less readily available Moody said that, so far, material and product supply chain delays had caused only a few minor hiccups to schedule, but had encouraged the company to think more about the necessity of items coming from halfway around the world. “Some of these products look really nice, but are they essential?” he said. Given that occupancy permits may be delayed because of a missing lightbulb from China, shipments of which may be delayed because of the pandemic, “we have to be a little more thoughtful about where [products] are coming from.” Memories of these supply chain disruptions may drive designers to source products and materials more locally even after the pandemic recedes. The crisis may also spur changes in how the broader public thinks about land use. Outdoor spaces are getting new attention. Inga Saffron wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer about how parks have become overcrowded refuges for cooped-up urbanites, and New York City is starting to close a couple of major streets in all of its boroughs to open up more space for exercise and recreation as vehicle traffic plummets. Shelter in place orders are also shining a light on the fact that many city dwellers don’t have a safe shelter to go to, and protesters in Southern California have occupied vacant homes to find housing that the government has not been able to provide. The explosion of cases is forcing cities to get nimble: New York is scrambling to convert spaces like the Javits Center to temporary treatment centers as the city runs out of hospital beds. Curbed wrote about how, like in past pandemics that have shaped the design of cities like New York, COVID-19 may be an inflection point in how urbanists plan our metropolises. The crisis could also spur changes to construction technology, encouraging contractors to adopt tools that could decrease the number of people on-site, like site-monitoring drones or robotic delivery. Moody said that his firm’s move toward state-of-the-art teleconferencing techniques a few months ago now seems prescient and is helping the company weather the crisis. Similar forward-thinking about construction sites might be what gets the industry through this or coming crises. While it’s easy to feel bogged down by the daily onslaught of news, Moody stressed the importance of looking ahead.We do know that this won’t last forever,” he said, “and the things that we’ve been working on will need to continue when ready.” In the meantime, he is seeing some upsides to the interruptions to normal work routines. “[The disruptions are] forcing us to really question what is essential and teaching us what is important. We’ve seen our staff and clients be more decisive and thoughtful about how to best leverage expertise, maximize value, and treat people the right way. We’re seeing our humanity on display, and we’re not ashamed to show that we care for one another.” And while you are stuck inside, there are some virtual ways to get out of the house and explore. Google has compiled over 500 virtual tours of museums from around the world; staff at the Museum of Modern Art have put together a list of movies and video art to stream; filmmaker Gary Hustwit’s design movies, like Helvetica and Urbanized, are available for free streaming; and schools including the University of Southern California are streaming their spring events online. I also recommend this history of the N95 mask if you’re looking for a good long read. Finally, if you’re able to help and are looking for opportunities, check out Invisible Hands, an organization pairing people who can’t leave their homes with others who can deliver their groceries or run errands.  Be well!
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Empty Galleries, Empty Wallets

Museums and other vital cultural institutions feel the coronavirus squeeze
Esteemed museums and cultural institutions across Asia including Shanghai’s Power Station of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, and South Korea’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art are in the process of gradually reopening their doors following an aggressive lockdown period meant to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The reopening of museums in particularly hard-hit countries is a sign that there’s a light at the end of an unknowingly long, dark tunnel. In the United States, however, it’s not yet clear when some of the country’s most beloved and highly trafficked museums will reopen, if at all. Some have optimistically posted reopening dates but these, of course, are tentative as not even leading health experts are certain what the coming days and weeks will bring. Already, some museums are indicating that when they do eventually reopen, operations might be permanently impacted. It’s not yet clear how this might take shape, although limited operating hours, altered admission charges, reduced programming, and hiring freezes are all likely for institutions big and small. And if the SOS signals being sent out by New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, a formidable institution with seemingly vast financial resources, are any indication, America’s cultural landscape will forever be altered in the post-coronavirus era. “This is an extraordinarily challenging time for us all,” wrote Daniel H. Weiss, president and chief executive of the Met, and Max Hollein, the museum’s director in a letter recent letter. “As staff members of The Met we all have a profound responsibility to protect and preserve the treasured institution we inherited.” As recently reported by The Art Newspaper, the Met, which will remain shuttered until at least July 1, is anticipating a $100 million shortfall as a direct result of the pandemic. In 2018-2019, the Met, facing a mounting deficit problem, enjoyed a healthy surge of revenue from a new ticketing scheme that abandoned an across-the-board “pay what you wish” donation model in favor of charging non-New Yorkers $25 a head for admission. While controversial, the Met experienced record attendance during the 2018 fiscal year with the new admissions policy in place, bringing in $8 to $11 million in additional revenue. The museum’s fiscal budget for 2018 was $320 million with 16 percent, or $48 million, coming from ticket sales. The following fiscal year was even stronger with upped admissions ($55 million in revenue), a dramatic bump in endowment support, and increased retail sales. Even if it lasts just a few months, the coronavirus shutdown could undo more than two years of financial progress made by the immensely well-funded Met. And this, as the New York Times, points out, is a troubling sign for other cultural institutions in New York and beyond:
The Met is an important canary in the coal mine for arts institutions all over the country; when the museum announced on March 12 that it was closing, others followed close behind. If even a behemoth like the Met—with an operating budget of $320 million and an endowment of $3.6 billion—is anticipating such a steep financial hit, smaller institutions may not be able to survive at all.
It’s worth noting that the Met doesn't plan to dip into its sizable endowment­—which has since shrunk as the stock market declines—as a resource and that a hefty portion of the loss incurred during and after the closure won’t come from ticket sales but from the normally deep wallets of wealthy donors becoming a bit more constrained. The Met has not yet parted ways with any employees but furloughs, layoffs, and voluntarily retirements will be evaluated at the beginning of April. And provided it reopens as planned in July, it will do so “with a reduced program and lower cost structure that anticipates lower attendance for at least the next year due to reduced global and domestic tourism and spending,” reads the letter from Weiss and Hollein. Laura Lott, president and chief executive of the nonprofit American Alliance of Museums, relayed to the Times that museums and other cultural institutions that aren’t the Met may never reopen at all. She noted that three-quarters of museums in the U.S. are now temporarily shuttered and that one-third of them will never reopen once the pandemic eventually passes. “This situation is by far more dire than anything I have experienced in my 25 years of being an arts finance professional,” said Lott. A recent national survey released by Americans for the Arts estimated financial losses in the nonprofit arts sector to be roughly $3.2 billion in total to date, a sum that includes both income from admissions and non-admissions revenue sources like gift shop sales, sponsorships, and the like. As COVID-19 bears down on the U.S., Americans for the Arts and other organizations have lobbied Congress for much-needed help in the form of $4 billion in aid that would be part of the $2 trillion economic stimulus package meant to jump-start the flailing American economy and help families and workers. As of now, that package includes $25 million earmarked for the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and $75 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, a vital federal program already made vulnerable by the Trump administration.
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Uncut Rems

OMA’s completed Galleria department store in South Korea certainly stands out
Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has completed the newest outpost for upscale South Korean department store chain Galleria, in the fast-growing planned city of Gwanggyo. The Gwanggyo location, just south of Seoul, is the sixth and largest store overall for the venerable, nearly 50-year-old luxury retailer, and its first new location in a decade. Although other Galleria stores are distinctive from a design standpoint, this one takes the proverbial cake. Set against a backdrop of residential high-rises, the building takes the form of a monolithic slab of granite with a pixilated mosaic facade that’s meant to “evoke the nature of” the neighboring Suwon Gwanggyo Lake Park, per OMA. Protruding prism-like from the hulking structure is a meandering, multifaceted glass passageway, complete with a “series of cascading terraces,” that wraps itself around the entirety of the eight-story building twice. Beginning on the ground floor and concluding at an outdoor rooftop garden, the circuitous corridor serves as a public route where well-heeled shoppers—and also the general public—can pause and take in arts- and leisure-minded activities including exhibitions and live performances. “With a public loop deliberately designed for cultural offerings, Galleria in Gwanggyo is a place where visitors engage with architecture and culture as they shop,” said OMA partner Chris van Duijn in a statement. “They leave with a unique retail experience blended with pleasant surprises after each visit.” At first glance, this wildly idiosyncratic department store resembles a glistening, Paul Bunyan-sized mineral stone. Some critics, however, are reminded of other things: In total, the rubberneck-inducing department store, which OMA envisioned as a “a natural point of gravity for public life in Gwanggyo,” encompasses roughly 1.6 million square feet including a sizable, multi-level subterranean space complete with a market hall. The building’s upper floors are home to a movie theater, lounges, restaurants, and other amenities. According to the English-language daily The Korea Times, the Gwanggyo branch of Galleria was slated to open to the public in late February but was delayed to concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Galleria, which is akin to Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom but perhaps a touch ritzier at some locations, is owned by South Korean mega-conglomerate Hanwha.
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San Fran Shutdown

The San Francisco Art Institute expected to close permanently
The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)—one of the oldest art schools in the country and the alma mater of greats including Catherine Opie, Kehinde Wiley, and Annie Leibovitz—announced this week in an email that it will close permanently at the end of the spring semester unless it can establish a strategic partnership with a larger institution within the next few months. While virtual education classes for currently-enrolled students will continue unabated until the spring, at which point graduating students will receive their degrees, the San Francisco-based school is no longer accepting students in the fall, and faculty and staff were told to anticipate mass layoffs. The email, cosigned by the school president Gordon Knox and board of trustees chair Pam Rorke Levy, cited the spread of the novel coronavirus as the principal factor in the school’s decision to shutter its doors after its 149-year run. “Given our current financial situation, and what we expect to be a precipitous decline in enrollment due to the pandemic,” the email reads, “we are now considering the suspension of our regular courses and degree programs starting immediately after graduation in May of this year.” Yet the pandemic is only the latest element in a string of financial setbacks the school has recently faced. In 2017, while enrollment had been on a steady decline with few signs of improving, the school purchased a historic U.S. Army warehouse at Fort Mason and commissioned local firm Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects to adaptively reuse it into its new campus. This and other recent investments, according to the New York Times, have left the school with an estimated debt of $19 million that would only increase if the school attempted to continue operations. The hardships the school has recently faced are similarly felt by art institutions across the country. Notwithstanding the parallels between SFAI and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin (SoAT), which announced its own closed enrollment only weeks prior to the spread of the coronavirus to the United States, museums large and small have been equally susceptible to the coronavirus. According to Artnet, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which is expected to receive a budget shortfall of around $100 million alone due to its recent closure, has recently launched a campaign that requests $4 billion from the US government to support nonprofit art institutions.
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On the Ruhr

The Sauerland Museum expansion staggers upward with travertine
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Arnsberg is a small German city located northeast of the Cologne metropolitan region. The city is centered on the Ruhr and is surrounded by protected forested land, and largely survived the damage inflicted on other German cities during World War 2. Arising from this historical context is the Sauerland Museum expansion, one of the citys most significant projects in years, constructed of self-supporting travertine cladding and designed by Bez + Kock Architekten. The project is an extension of the preexisting Sauerland Museum, which is housed in the Landsberger Hof, a former palace constructed in 1605. Typical for the era and regional vernacular, the palace is composed of lime-washed masonry arranged according to classical symmetry and topped with a steeply pitched gable.
  • Facade Manufacturer Lauster Schueco
  • Architect Bez + Kock Architekten
  • Facade Installer Fuellbier GmbH
  • Structural Engineer wh-p GmbH
  • Location Arnsberg, Germany
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Self-supporting masonry rainscreen
  • Products Gauinger Travertine
Bez + Kock’s extension is located at the bottom of a steeply pitched slope leading up to the palace—a challenging location in terms of urban planning and construction. The original concept of the extension called for constructing over the contours of the site, but was ultimately adapted at the request of the client into its finalized form of stepped massing which rises approximately 50 feet into a slender bridge linking the two structures. The facade is sheer and, due to the narrow mortar joints and select window openings, appears monolithic. Window openings, bar that on axis with the connect bridge, are canted from the rectilinear form to diffuse sunlight from the interior curatorial spaces. For the original concept of the museum, the design team intended to use locally sourced Grauwacke sandstone, which is known for its dark heterogeneous coloring—a color palette that would have seamlessly blended with the adjacent retaining wall. However, this dark cast was found unsuitable for the standalone stature of the reoriented extension. In response, Bez + Kock opted for Gauinger travertine produced in the Swabian Alps. While the project’s massing is distinctly contemporary and its facade is stripped of ornament, the masonry components are in part traditional in that they are self-supporting. “The pattern was developed in accordance with the technical requirements of all windows, doors and technical elements in the facade, and the lengths of the individual stones are random, which was a cost-saving decision,” said the design team.  “To enhance the horizontality of the surfaces and tie together the individual elements, we specified that the vertical joints would be flush, while the horizontal joints are mortared.”
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Design Will Still Exist by Then

Coronavirus cancellations hit New York Design Week
NYCxDESIGN, the weeklong annual celebration of design that encompasses 400-plus events from product launches, installations, exhibitions, talks, open studios, and more across all five boroughs, has been postponed due to precautions meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Originally slated to kick off in May 12, NYCxDESIGN will now take place in October and coincide with a slew of previously scheduled citywide architecture and design events including the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum’s National Design Week, the Architecture and Design Film Festival, Open House New York Weekend, and the AIANY Center for Architecture’s Archtober—or Architecture and Design Month—programming. While the suspension of NYCxDESIGN is an unfortunate but necessary one, it appears that October will be an action-packed month for design professionals and enthusiasts in New York City. One element of NYCxDESIGN that will be moving forward in May as planned is the NYCxDESIGN Awards program, which will take place via a digital ceremony with another live event occurring in October. Additional details regarding rescheduled events will be announced in the coming months. “NYCxDESIGN was conceived to bring New York together in celebration of the incredible talent in the city, and the tremendous examples of international design that are shown here, said Edward Hogikyan, vice president and executive director of NYCxDESIGN, in a statement. “Gathering our community around design is so central to the work we do that, given the concerns around COVID-19, we are shifting from our annual Festival in May to a reconceived fall program to ensure the safety and well-being of all who participate in and visit NYCxDESIGN.” The largest and most widely attended of all design happenings scheduled for May, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), still, as of this writing, plans to run from May 17 through May 20 at the Javits Center in Manhattan per the ICFF website. Two other major design events coinciding with ICFF and NYCxDesign, WantedDesign Manhattan (May 17 to 20) and WantedDesign Brooklyn (May 14 to 18), have also not been suspended as of this writing. For the first time in its history, WantedDesign Manhattan plans to co-locate at the Javits Center with ICFF instead of at its normal venue, the Terminal Stores building.* Brooklyn Designs has also not announced if it continue as planned May 10-12 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Relatedly, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and numerous other cultural institutions in New York City have also extended their closures until May 15. Now in its eighth year, NYCxDESIGN was previously operated by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Starting this year, media company SANDOW has taken over that role. *ICFF and WantedDesign both canceled several hours after this article was first published. The next editions of both events will take place in 2021.
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Reopening Unclear, Try Again

Met, MoMA, and more go dark over coronavirus concerns
As New York City and other major cultural hubs around the world slowly shut down to head off the spread of COVID-19, museums and other art and design institutions are also closing their doors. Besides Broadway, which went dark last night, here’s what not to visit if you’re working from home, as they won’t be open. And if you’re thinking of catching a movie, be aware that Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have imposed 50 percent operating capacity at venues with under 500 seats. Venues with over 500 seats? Those have been closed as a result of a state of emergency. The Brooklyn Museum The Brooklyn Museum will close later today and reopen at an as-of-yet undetermined later date while the museum undergoes cleaning. Programs and classes through April 29 have also been called off, as has their spring gallery program. The Cooper Hewitt Beginning March 14, all Smithsonian institutions, including the National Zoo and Cooper Hewitt, will be closed for an indeterminate amount of time. The Guggenheim Bad news for Rem Koolhaas fans hoping to catch a glimpse of Countryside; the Guggenheim is closed until further notice, and all events have been canceled until after April 30. Thankfully for those cooped up inside, Taschen has produced a booklet containing all of the exhibition’s accompanying research. The High Line Although a park, the High Line’s narrow stairways, elevators, and bottlenecking in certain areas makes social distancing difficult. In order to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s warning against gatherings of 50 or more, the linear elevated outdoor space has shut down for the time being. No potential reopening date has been given. The Metropolitan Museum of Art All three branches of the Met (including the Breuer and the Cloisters) will be closed as of today, March 13. All three locations will undergo a deep clean, and it’s uncertain when they’ll reopen. This is an unfortunate blow for the Breuer outpost, as the museum is scheduled to move their collection back to the Fifth Avenue location later this year as the Frick tentatively takes over the Marcel Breuer-designed building. In a double whammy, the museum was also gearing up to celebrate its 150th anniversary. The Museum of Modern Art The MoMA and MoMA PS1 have shut down until March 30. The museum’s associated design stores are also closed, and the institution will evaluate the situation after the 30th before deciding to reopen. The Shed Hudson Yards’ semi-mobile art museum is also closed until March 30, according to a press release sent to AN. Unfortunately, that also means the early closure of the Agnes Denes retrospective Absolutes and Intermediates—the blockbuster show was supposed to conclude March 22 but is now finished. Performances through March 30 have also been canceled and refunds are available for those who purchased tickets in advance. The Whitney Museum of American Art The Whitney, come 5:00 p.m. tonight, will also shut down for an undetermined amount of time, and all of their associated events have been canceled for the foreseeable future.
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Jura Winner

A Norwegian town hall nestles into its surroundings with Jura limestone
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Constructed in the heart of Bodø, Norway, a new town hall designed by Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde (ALL) delivers a contemporary interpretation of masonry to weave together an integrated civic center. ALL was awarded the 130,000-square-foot project following an international competition in 2013 and opened the renewed town hall in 2019. The result is a compelling gesture of shifting mass according to the architectural era; a forceful intervention softened by deftly planned facade planes and details. Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Bodø is the largest metropolitan center in Nordland county, a sparsely populated region geographically defined by numerous fjords and fjells. The bulk of the town’s architectural stock dates from after the Second World War—its status as an Allied harbor led to significant destruction by the Luftwaffe. However, the preexisting town hall and adjacent bank building, built in the austere style of Nordic Classicism, survived the war and served at the primary point of reference for ALL’s intervention.
  • Facade Manufacturer Franken-Schotter Glassolutions
  • Architect Atelier Lorentzen Langkilde
  • Facade Installer HS Hansen A/S Gunvald Johnson
  • Facade Consultant BuroHappold Engineering
  • Location Bodø, Norway
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom masonry rainscreen
  • Products Jura limestone Cool-Lite® SKN 176
The project rises to six stories and reduces any potential omnipresence of its massing with a planar facade corresponding to the sloping rooflines of surrounding buildings. ALL’s intent to embed the town hall within the context is furthered through their use of limestone cladding—the rectangular panels largely measure approximately eight by thirteen feet and are divided by a rectilinear grid and diagonal seams. Franken-Schotter, a German manufacturer, supplied the stone from their quarry in the Jura region; one of the oldest limestone-producing regions in Europe known for its high-density blocks with a breadth of colors and fossilization. According to ALL founding partner Kasper Lorentzen, “the Jura Gelb polished natural stone has a beautiful light brown color with rich ornamentation linking the appearances of the old city hall and bank into one coherent ensemble of new and old buildings.” Following the selection of stone, ALL developed extensive drawn and 3D models of the facade, and collaborated closely with fabricators HS Hansen and Skandek A/S to layout the angle of cuts and the rain screen system. Each panel is hung from the above concrete floor slab with adjustable horizontal and vertical brackets to allow for adjustments and precise mounting on-site. The planar character of the massing is translated as a stylistic motif across the facade in the form of angular and deep-set window openings. Through their ridged character of concavities and convexities, the window openings display an alluring play of light and shadow—and, in their lengthy and slender casements, are a lighthearted historicist reference to Medieval battlements. All three buildings are tied together at the center of the urban block; the primary shared circulation area is a multi-storied atrium with Piranesian staggered walkways and elevated walkways clad in light ash wood.  
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In Better News ...

Wuhan shutters all temporary hospitals as COVID-19 risk dissipates
Some good news out of Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei province and epicenter for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that's now intensifying elsewhere across the globe. Authorities have suspended operations at all 16 of the city’s temporary hospitals—most erected and put into operation with remarkable speed and efficiency—as the infection rate across the greater Wuhan region continues to plummet following an aggressive, nearly two-month-long quarantine period. The temporary facilities were established with the express purpose of treating patients suffering from symptoms of coronavirus. The first of these makeshift hospitals discharged its last group of recovered patients on March 1. The news of the hospitals’ closure comes at roughly the same time as Chinese state media declared that the spread of the virus has been constrained in Hubei and beyond, with only new 19 new cases being reported as of March 9, all of them in Wuhan, a significant drop from just the day before. In total, Chinese officials have reported 80,754 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began in late December. There have been 3,136 resulting deaths in China, with the first being reported on January 11. To mark the encouraging milestone, President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan for the first time since the outbreak began, where he relayed, per the BBC, that the virus had been “basically curbed” in the region. “Initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan,” said Xi. President Xi’s visit to Wuhan included a stopover at the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital, where he “visited” on-their-way-out patients and medical staff via video. Encompassing 645,000 square feet, Huoshenshan (“Mount Fire God”) Hospital was one of two field hospitals built-from-scratch on the outskirts of Wuhan, China’s 9th most populous city, in under 10 days using modular construction methods. This approach, taking a direct page from a prefab hospital erected in Beijing during the 2003 SARS outbreak, was in lieu of repurposing large existing structures such as convention centers and stadiums as was the case with most of the city’s other temporary medical facilities. Construction of Huoshenshan Hospital kicked off on January 23 was completed on February 2, with its first patients being admitted the next morning. A sister facility erected from prefabricated modules, Leishenshan (“Mount Thunder God”) Hospital, opened on February 8 in a massive disused parking lot in the neighboring Jiangxia district. “China has a record of getting things done fast, even for monumental projects like this,” Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the BBC when work on Huoshenshan Hospital was first underway. “Engineering work is what China is good at. They have records of building skyscrapers at speed. This is very hard for Westerners to imagine. It can be done.” With ample room to accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 patients and a 1,260-person-strong medical staff, the largest of Wuhan’s now-closed coronavirus treatment centers, dubbed the Wuhan Living Room Temporary Hospital, took over a major exhibition center. While transforming an expo center into a massive emergency medical center practically overnight was obviously quite a feat of planning and logistics, the hospital didn’t receive as grandiose a name as its swiftly realized modular counterparts. Dr. Zhang Junjian, a neurologist at Wuhan University and the director of the Wuhan Living Room hospital, told the Associated Press at the end of February that he expected operations to end in “maybe in mid-March or during the last ten days of March because fewer patients are being admitted and the number of patients being discharged is gradually increasing now.” “If nothing special happens, I expect the operation of our makeshift hospital, the biggest one in Wuhan, could complete its historical mission by the end of March,” he added. Based on the news coming out of China, that much-anticipated day came even earlier than expected. As China basks in these encouraging developments and its president takes a very public victory lap, the spread of the virus shows no signs of slowing elsewhere including in heavily ravaged Italy, which recently enacted an unprecedented nationwide shut-down for all 60 million of its residents following a regional quarantine that was limited to the country's northern regions. This week, Italy also recorded the highest single-day fatality rate—168 people killed by the virus in 24 hours—since the outbreak began. The United States, particularly the Seattle metro area and suburban New York City, has also experienced an alarming uptick in confirmed cases over the last several days.
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The shorter version

Related unveils plan for truncated towers at Chicago Spire site
One of Chicago’s most notorious—and notoriously well-located—construction pits may soon at long-last be the site of renewed activity as plans to build two lanky, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)-designed residential towers at 400 N. Lake Shore Drive attempt, once again, to move forward in the approval process. As the Chicago Tribune reports, there’s been some substantial tweaks to the design at the Related Midwest-developed site. The towers, which will have a combined 1,1000 residential units, have both been scaled back in height, one reduced from 1,100 feet to 875 feet and the other from 850 feet to 765 feet. A hotel planned for the taller of the two towers has also been axed due to traffic and security concerns, among other changes to the towers’ design. The much-anticipated development of what never materialized beyond a large, gaping circular hole on a primo parcel of land on the Chicago River waterfront has been a hot topic in the Chicago real estate world for more than a decade. The coveted Streeterville site was originally slated to be graced with Santiago Calatrava’s 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire condominium tower, a project that was halted after 30 percent of its units were sold and a 76-foot-deep foundation was dug during the 2008 economic crisis. Calatrava’s curvy, cloud-brushing tower would have been the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at the time, if it had ever been realized. “When the design was first shown in 2005, I wrote it could be the city’s first metrosexual skyscraper, although I predicted it would never get built,” wrote Chicago Sun-Times business reporter David Roeder of Calatrava's design. “Yeah, I was right, but true foresight would have had me not covering real estate and instead shorting everything in the market ahead of the crash of 2008.” Related Midwest took control of the site in 2014 and revealed its initial plans—designed by SOM’s David Childs—for the twin residential high-rises in 2018. The plan, however, was later rejected by 42nd Ward alderman Brendan Reilly, who echoed numerous concerns voiced by local residents and business owners including the project’s height. Related, in turn, was forced to go back to the drawing board. In 2019, the developer received an extension to commence construction on the delayed project without having to revisit the zoning approval process according to the Tribune. It’s now back in the hands of Reilly to give his blessing to the shorter, altered version of SOM’s original design before the project can progress and go before the City Council for approval, then eventually kick-off construction. Reilly has scheduled a public meeting to review Related’s revamped plans for the site.
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MALL of America

MALL builds practice with pop culture
The following interview was conducted as part of “Building Practice,” a professional elective course at Syracuse University School of Architecture taught by Molly Hunker and Kyle Miller, and now an AN interview series. On October 17, 2019, Isabella Calidonio and Tanvi Rao, students at Syracuse University, interviewed Jennifer Bonner, principal of MALL. The following interview was edited by Kyle Miller and AN for clarity.  Isabella Calidonio and Tanvi Rao: Can you tell us how MALL began, and more generally about your path from graduate school at Harvard to today? Jennifer Bonner: I finished at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 2009, almost exactly when the recession started. I had already worked in London for Foster and Partners and David Chipperfield Architects, but I wanted to work for another architect before I started my own practice. Unfortunately, there were no job openings anywhere, so I applied to teach at various schools. Georgia Tech offered me an adjunct position for a semester. The question then became, “How do you start teaching and build a practice at the same time?” I next started wondering what the name of my office should be. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial to first ask myself where I would find clients! I began with Studio Bonner with full intentions of getting licensed and using the word architect in the name of my firm, but that never happened. My work at that time, during the recession, was directly linked to academia and the majority of the projects were speculative ideas installed in galleries or within the institutions where I was teaching. After practicing for five years, I moved to Cambridge to teach at the GSD with an ambition to rethink the identity of my practice. That's when MALL was born. A lot of people use their own name and a lot of people use acronyms… There are two kinds of acronyms: SOM, which is an acronym for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the founding partners, but if you ask your generation, most do not know their names or what it stands for. The second model would be the acronym OMA, or Office for Metropolitan Architecture, which has nothing to do with Rem Koolhaas’s name. I was more interested in the OMA model, and imagining an acronym that is flexible and might even change from project to project. There have been a few different variations, "Mass Architectural Loopty Loops" and "Maximum Angles, Little Lines." Beyond the name, the practice has been running for about ten years now. The first five years were hard work, figuring out my architectural interests by setting up a series of conceptual projects, while the last five have been really enjoyable and productive, and include building those ideas. What is it like to run an office by yourself? During my first three years in practice, I partnered with Christian Stayner, an architect in Los Angeles. It was a very useful time to gain momentum together, especially in the beginning of our careers. Now we are working independently and developing very different types of projects. That partnership and pursuing public art projects was one way of coping with the recession. Today, MALL is what I call a “one-woman band” and I hire various employees on a project-by-project basis. It is liberating to run an office on my own and to define what that looks like. You are a mother, a sole-practitioner, a curator, a writer, an Associate Professor and Director of the M.Arch II program at Harvard. How do you manage to stay afloat, and how do you bring together all of these different identities? In particular, do you reflect often on your identity as a female architect? Last year I won a Progressive Architecture Honorable Mention Award. Apart from one other firm, eight other winners were male, and it got me thinking about the importance of being a female solo-practitioner. I also asked myself “Why aren't there more women winning these awards?” and whether I should be teaching less and practicing more. At the same time, I wondered how I could devote hours to teaching and administrative roles while also making highly creative work? Part of the magic at MALL is the ability to remain small and to be highly selective about what projects that I take on. Most projects begin with a research question, not an inquiry from a client. In the case of the PA Award, the project began four years ago as a body of conceptual work titled “Best Sandwiches”, later, we pitched it to several developers as a midrise tower, “Office Stack”. To answer your question about how I balance all of these roles, after a decade of being in the thick of it all… I couldn’t imagine it any other way.  We know that you're really interested in pop culture, and encourage your students to look outside of the discipline for ideas about representation. Can you talk a bit about your sources of inspiration and how you incorporate them into practice and teaching? I am inspired by popular culture and tendencies found in art. I often wonder if art can push architecture in new directions today. I believe it's possible. For example, when selecting materials for Haus Gables, I was looking at contemporary art practices and traditions found in the American South, not references from the discipline of architecture. From a geographic standpoint, I'm constantly moving… seemingly every three years over the past two decades and so I'm always in a different city, which creates a persistent curiosity that encourages me to carefully observe the world around me. I also believe that Instagram is very useful for this as well, because now I have access to what others are observing in the world even if I’m sitting in a basement studio space in Cambridge. Regarding teaching, I just started a new course at Harvard called “Representation First (!!!), Then Architecture.” We’re not looking at architectural representation. We’re looking at art practice, popular culture, and material found in the every day, as a way to encourage inspiration from places other than within our own discipline. We’re looking at cake decorating techniques from the 18th century which include intricate piping from French masters, but also methods found in America with the use of marzipan in the 1950s. Other things we obsess over in that course… food photography, 1980s bubble letters, or the origins of clipart. Perhaps these cultural eccentricities can offer architectural design and representation something new, or at least unexpected. When you share your work, have you found that these non-architectural influences and modes of representation resonate with a broader audience? Do you alter your presentations relative to your audience? It’s important to know your audience, but I don’t think we have to make such a strong distinction between academic audiences and the general public. I’m interested in using devices that already have a broad appeal—like the image of a gable or the medium of a guidebook—to draw people in, to educate them by making them feel included in a discussion about architecture. For example, in the interior of Haus Gables, I wanted to select a material palette that linked the house to local cultures in Atlanta. The soft white wood used in the primary structure of the house draws associations to Scandinavian architecture. But I was building a house in Atlanta, in Goodie Mob’s “Dirty South”… it couldn’t have been a Scandinavian house. I put pressure on myself to create environments on the interior that resonate with Atlanta’s aesthetic culture. This is where the faux finishing comes in. There is a tradition of faux finishing, where southerners could not afford precious materials such as Italian marble and instead painted it onto domestic surfaces. To answer your question about audience… is it locals who rent the house out for amateur photoshoots with big ambitions to “fake it until you make it”, or the fan base for Atlanta rapper Mulatto who shot her “Longway” video there, or is it architectural academia all along? Perhaps it’s all of them. Beyond incorporating faux finishes in Haus Gables, we see a very playful array of colors, patterns, shapes, and textures on the interior. How did you select these interior finishes? Is it simply a matter of taste or is there some science behind it? It may be bit of playing out taste… you have to start somewhere. But the design of the interior environments was also very intentional and conceptually oriented. There is an idea about combining expensive materials with inexpensive materials, like rubber vinyl you might see in hospitals or fake wood vinyl from Home Depot. The expensive materials elevate the inexpensive ones. So, there is an economic argument to make here, too. Overall, each room took on a unique identity relative to the material selections. To reinforce difference, transitioning between rooms and around corners became important moments. When I received the final architectural photographs of the house, I saw something that I did not anticipate. All of the colors tend to flatten space. It reminds me of a trend in contemporary fashion—color blocking—where bright yellow, pink, and mint green become a color block. In one 55’ long view through the house, you can see similarities to color blocking in fashion as the bedroom, dining room, and kitchen start to look like a Marni sweater. It's interesting that you've thought so much about the color and the overall visual experience of the interior of Haus Gables. Why is the exterior white? The cross-laminated timber that is exposed on the interior is monochromatic. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a soft white wood. And I knew that the finishes should be kind of daring or bold, to create an environment that the soft white wood could not create alone. The idea for the exterior in white was really because of Domestic Hats, a project that served as the conceptual precursor to Haus Gables. I was drawn to the idea that Haus Gables is a full-scale model, almost a replica of one of the massing models I created for Domestic Hats. So white, as a color, links the built house to the white foam architectural massing model. The exterior of the house also has a unique texture. I was inspired by John Chase’s Glitter Stucco & Dumpster Diving. In that book, Chase writes about how ordinary houses in Los Angeles finished with stucco are often additionally finished by the owner with glitter… to make the house sparkle. A kind of upgrade. The glitter in Haus Gables is a reference to this phenomenon in Los Angeles. I was also inspired by Mary Corse, who painted with glass beads. The same glass beads that are used by the Department of Transportation in road striping. Chase’s Glitter Stucco and Corse’s reflective beads become a “dash finish” in the façade of Haus Gables. Maybe it's a house with way too many ideas, but it was my first building at MALL, I couldn’t help myself! We recently learned that Haus Gables had no client. How did this affect the design, and what was it like to design a house without a client? I have a bunch of family members… aunts, uncles, sister, mom, dad, but none of them have asked me to design a house and it’s fair to say that they don't see the value in architecture. And then there's me… I've invested 20 years of my life in architecture. As you may know, many architects receive their first commissions from a family member. This was not going to happen for me. We, meaning me and my husband, decided we had to do it ourselves. We bought a piece of land in Atlanta when we were teaching at Georgia Tech, and applied for a construction loan. On one hand, there's a lot of freedom. Nobody was presenting demands like where to put the bathroom or how many closets to have. But there's still a budget, and there's tremendous stress associated with taking on the financial risk of such an experimental construction project. For example, the CLT panels were from Austria and required payment in full before they started manufacturing the product. That doesn’t totally align with bank financing. Overall, there were many difficulties as a result of moving forward without a client. Still… it was totally worth it! I believe I was able to achieve several of MALL’s architectural ideas faster than if there was a traditional client involved. We just have one more question. What has been the most rewarding moment in your practice thus far? That’s an easy question for me to answer. Completing Haus Gables has been the most rewarding moment. To build something after talking about it for years and years… it was very liberating and very rewarding. Despite the struggle to get it built, I wouldn't change a thing.