Posts tagged with "UNESCO":

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Detroit Design 139 showcases how Detroiters are reshaping their neighborhoods

Detroit has always been a design-forward city, a fact made official back in 2015 when they were designated a UNESCO City of Design, the only in the United States. A center of architectural innovation, futuristic automotive design, boulevards meant to rival the Champs-Élysées, and one of the U.S.’s foremost collections of art, the city in recent years has gotten more attention for its bankruptcy, corruption, and mass foreclosures and vacancy.  But, as Olga Stella, executive director of Design Core Detroit, a partner organization which “champions design-driven businesses and their role in strengthening Detroit’s economy,” points out, “Detroit is not and never has been just one thing.” Throughout its expansive 139 square miles, many are working to create neighborhoods and a city that works for them. Design doesn’t just happen at the rarefied scale of a Beaux Arts museum, it happens in and by communities who work to create a city they want to live in. These projects are being celebrated at the second iteration of Detroit Design 139 (DD139), a serial exhibition co-organized by the City of Detroit, Design Core Detroit, and developer Bedrock. Members from each organization, as well as nine others, served on the advisory board. The projects were selected by a jury of design notables, both from Detroit and other cities, including New York City Public Design Commission executive director Justin Garrett Moore and Detroit-based equitable development strategist Lauren Hood. With the main showcase at street level in downtown Detroit in a Bedrock-owned building, as well as at three partner locations throughout the city, celebrates 70 projects under five thematic headings that, according to the organizers and jurors, embody DD139’s 2019 theme of "Inclusive Futures".  “All of us working on design problems and projects should be holding ourselves to higher standards,” said Melissa Dittmer, Bedrock’s chief design officer, of the ethos of inclusion ostensibly showcased in the exhibition, which features projects built in the last two years or to be built in the next three. The projects were laid out rather blandly like a well-executed science fair or a real-life PDF, with posters along temporary slatted walls and the occasional model or video. Stella said that, historically, “In a city that doesn’t have a lot of capital [the question of] ‘how are we going to pay for it?’ was guiding decisions, not design solutions,” noting that it was a developer-driven process, with Maurice Cox, Detroit’s outgoing planning and development director. (Cox was also on the advisory committee of DD139.) Dittmer says there was a need for new building to begin “prioritizing the process as much as the outcomes,” something many of the projects exhibited; for example a cafe-laundromat combo, The Commons, designed by the local firm LAAVU in a process which founder and chief design officer Kaija E. Wuollet explains, began by collectively creating a strategic plan to inform the design, building, and operations. The choice in amenities was guided by neighbor requests and they act as not only a space in their own right, but a revenue stream for the non-profit MACC Development, which provides literacy programs, coworking space, artistic opportunities, and other community resources right within the building. This was a recurring theme: neighborhood-focused and neighborhood-led design solutions are a strength of Detroit now and could be what shapes the city's future. But, another recurring theme that the MACC project implies is that due to a dearth of government support, many private organizations have had to pick up the slack. That said, some public programs were featured in the exhibition, perhaps among the most noteworthy for designers, the Michigan ArcPrep program, a public school architecture initiative led by the University of Michigan's Taubman College. Even restaurants were in the exhibition. In community engagement workshops, residents in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood expressed a desire for more places to eat and more Black-owned businesses. With the help of a Motor City Match grant, Norma G’s was opened by Lester Gouvia. Kaitlynn Hill, one of the project’s architects from Hamilton Anderson Associates, said she saw this as “a community-based project,” as much as a commercial enterprise. Other Detroit mainstays made the cut for the exhibition. The legendary Pewabic Pottery, whose distinctive glazed tiles that adorn high-rise facades and fireplaces alike are still made in small batches in Detroit, had recently undergone an expansion with the help of inFORM Studio. While the expansion added more workspace, it also helped Pewabic—which is organized as a non-profit—further advance their public mission. Like the original 1903 structure, this new building is close to the residential street. In addition to a shop, museum, and classroom space, there is also an open courtyard with a large mural that hosts events or allows passersby to come in and chill for a bit. In addition, Pewabic goes into communities with portable kilns, keeping design heritage alive and inviting others to participate in it. Many cultural projects were featured, including a skatepark-slash-sculpture park and public mural initiatives. One particularly intriguing project highlighted was the Detroit Historical Society’s Detroit 67, which investigated the legacy of Detroit’s 1967 rebellion in a “community engagement” project by collecting oral histories, producing an exhibition, and providing grants to “placemaking” projects. Some of the projects include an LGBT-focused community garden, an outdoor theater space focused on the Black, Latinx, and Arab communities of Detroit, and a memorial to those who lost their lives around the time of the uprising. There were a number of environmentally-focused projects, both grassroots and large scale, a balance and comparison that was interesting to see. Some included academic research on stormwater management interventions, the Zero Net Energy Center, rain gardens, and an upcycled windmill Projects with international design pedigree also appeared: David Adjaye and New York’s Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates have designed a pavilion and other structures for the Ralph C. Wilson Centennial Park, which, when it’s open, will be part of a network of riverside parks and greenways in an area that was once home to abandoned manufacturing plants. The park is currently overseen by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy However, on a tour through the Dequindre Cut, a rail-trail connected to the riverfront, on a Sunday when it was clearly being enjoyed by many, it was mentioned by an employee of the Conservancy that many houseless people formerly lived on the trail. In fact, this was mentioned many places, but inquiries made into where those people went and whether these “inclusive” projects accounted for housing access for those they were displacing remained mostly unanswered. While houselessness is declining in Detroit and new projects like the short-term housing Pope Francis Center (not exhibited) are on their way to reality, police have also been known to sweep away the belongings of the houseless, even in the dead of winter. If this park is for everyone, what about those who called it home?  In this second iteration of DD139, the choice was made to include projects from other UNESCO Cities of Design, like Saint-Étienne, France, and Montreal, which are using design to address many of the same challenges faced in Detroit. The organizers hope that this can help create a dialogue and show the fact that Detroit, though a unique situation, is not alone, and that everything from new elder caregiving studies in Singapore to canal projects in Mexico City could help Detroit think through its own unique challenges. However, how every project fit in seemed unclear. A project, the Ruth Ellis Clairmount Center, to help give homes and resources such as jobs and healthcare to houseless youth and those at risk of houselessness, especially LGBTQ+ kids who make up as much as 40% of this country’s houseless population, are undeniably necessary, ameliorative projects. However, on the poster for a banal mixed-use and mixed-income housing development the description of why the project is inclusive reads: “The project has gone through extensive design iterations, city vetting, and community engagement processes to ensure it captures neighborhood feedback. Meetings around the community were offered in both English and Spanish, with translators and/or translation equipment at every meeting, making it as accessible as possible for community members.” Is this not the bare minimum we should expect? Pair that with the bare minimum in architectural quick-build tastelessness by the Philadelphia firm SITIO and one has to wonder what sort of definition of “design” is at play here.  Some projects are more design-y than others. Pewabic Pottery, the Symbiotic Landscape watershed restoration, a digital mapping project that proposes using architectural and urban interventions to fight Detroit’s “digital divide”—these all make design part-and-parcel of their mission, and they're realizing that mission. An entrepreneurship incubator or a bakery in a mixed-use development, Core City, which some Detroiters I spoke with expressed distrust of, might be interesting, or at least tasty, but is it necessarily a “design” solution? Is a building in and of itself using design to address these so-called civic challenges, let alone being inclusive by and through design? This vagueness of mission and indeterminate take on the role of design in some projects points out a bigger issue. The project’s main sponsor and proponent, one of the three partner organizers, Bedrock, has undeniably reshaped downtown Detroit, perhaps in ways, some residents might see as for the better. From the design-forward Shinola Hotel to the forthcoming first foray by the fast-fashion retailer H&M to the revamp of the 475-foot-tall Book Tower, a magnificent and delirious example of early 20th-century architecture that has sat unoccupied for a decade, downtown Detroit is increasingly lively (and increasingly expensive). And, fitting with the exhibition's theme, “Creating unique, inclusive experiences through real estate is Bedrock’s mission,” claims a Bedrock press release. Yet, as the Detroit Free Press has recently revealed, Bedrock has gotten huge swaths of downtown property at little cost, with many incentives and tax breaks, and with an unheard of lack of financial oversight. Also, Bedrock has leveraged their power to strong-arm Michigan’s OSHA into looking away from their safety violations while “lecturing” inspectors on how to do their jobs. Is creating buildings without protecting working people inclusive? In addition, while Bedrock has been touting their successful bid to redevelop the site of the so-called “fail jail,” turning this long-vacant lot into usable space, this deal was negotiated with Wayne County by allowing Rock Ventures, another Dan Gilbert organization and Bedrock’s parent company, to construct that county’s jail, presumably without sullying Bedrock’s name. How can one claim to not only celebrate inclusive design but create "inclusive experiences," while supporting the creation of one of the United States’ most powerful and inarguably racist tools of social and mortal death?  Perhaps the theme, "Inclusive Futures", says it all: a virtuous-sounding word like “inclusive” can itself often be so inclusive as to be virtually meaningless, a rhetorical throwaway. Because what is “inclusion”—and what “inclusive futures” are possible—without equity, without reparations, without an effort to shift the balance of political and economic power? While many grassroots projects and even larger scale ones featured in DD139 are compelling, worthy, and deserve the spotlight, with the ongoing efforts of the exhibition’s primary sponsor Bedrock to stymy state oversight, build jails, and get land cheaply, you wind up not only with misplaced good intentions—you get design washing. DD139 is on view in Detroit through September 30th. You can read more about the projects here.
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Eight Frank Lloyd Wright buildings are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites

A collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of The 20th Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, a 382-page nomination document. The eight major works span fifty years of Wright’s career and represent the first modern architecture designation in the country on the prestigious list. The designation was announced during the World Heritage Committee meeting on July 7 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The property consists of eight buildings, including Unity Temple (1909, Oak Park, IL), the Frederick C. Robie House (1910, Chicago, IL), Taliesin (1911, Spring Green, Wisconsin), the Hollyhock House (1921, Los Angeles, CA), the Herbert and Katherine Jacobs House (1937, Madison, Wisconsin), Taliesin West (1938, Scottsdale, Arizona), Fallingwater (1939, Mill Run, Pennsylvania), and the Guggenheim Museum (1959, New York). UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) recognizes landmarks or sites for having cultural, historical, or scientific relevance throughout the world. The international importance of a potential World Heritage Site celebrates places of “outstanding universal value.” The process to be added is strict, with locations needing to meet certain criteria, such as being an example of human creative genius. Wright is widely considered to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century. In its nomination, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy stressed Wright’s architecture as a response to functional and emotional needs, the evolving American lifestyle, and rooted in nature’s forms and principles. The Wright nomination has been in development for more than 15 years. Spearheaded by the Chicago-based Conservancy, the nonprofit organization facilitates the preservation and stewardship of the remaining structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. "Each of these buildings offers innovative solutions to the needs for housing, worship, work or leisure," wrote members of the World Heritage Committee in a press release announcing the designation. "Wright's work from this period had a strong impact on the development of modern architecture in Europe." Wright’s buildings will be the 24th American site on the World Heritage List, which includes over 1,000 sites around the world. The U.S. Department of State’s press office released a statement expressing pleasure about the decision, though in 2018 the Trump administration withdrew from UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias. A majority of American sites on the list are national parks, as well as Thomas Jefferson’s neoclassical Monticello and the University of Virginia.
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Reports claim fire has left Notre Dame structurally unsound, needs reinforcing

More woes have surfaced for Notre Dame. Architect and former UNESCO official Francesco Bandarin reported in The Art Newspaper that the cathedral is structurally unsound following the fire that destroyed its roof and spire this April. The architecture's complex structural system, comprising an array of flying buttresses, columns, and counterweights, was designed to function as a cohesive whole, but after this spring’s tragic blaze, which led to a partial collapse of the vaults, the building is “not stable and urgently needs reinforcing." Bandarin wrote that a model, developed by engineer Paolo Vannucci at the University of Versailles, showed that Notre Dame’s walls could collapse if confronted with wind speeds over 55 mph. For reference, the cathedral could previously handle winds exceeding 130 mph. While much focus has been given to the lost Viollet-le-Duc–designed spire (itself a 19th century reconstruction), Bandarin said Notre Dame's most urgent need is reinforcing both the walls and rib vaults in order to support the new roof, which the French Senate just ordered to be rebuilt as close to the original as possible.
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Detroit Design 139: Inclusive Futures

CALL FOR ENTRIES

The 2019 Detroit Design 139 exhibition is asking all Interested participants to submit up to three (3) projects, policies or concepts that represent inclusive design in housing, economy, neighborhoods, public spaces or city systems located in Detroit’s 139 square miles or in another UNESCO city of design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. To submit work or for more information click HERE

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 30th, 11:59 pm

EXHIBITION: September 9th - 30th

INCLUSIVE FUTURES

As the nation’s only UNESCO City of Design, Detroit has a unique opportunity to utilize inclusive design in order to create a more equitable and sustainable future for both our city and those around the world. By prioritizing diverse experiences, accessible opportunities, and collaborative relationships, Detroit will show how inclusive design develops goods, systems, services, buildings, communities, and urban spaces that work for everyone.

 

Throughout history, cities have been shaped by significant design decisions made by a few, for the many. These design solutions were meant to solve issues relevant to a city’s specific time period and were often made by experts without meaningful input from the people impacted by these plans. As a result, urban design solutions have often resulted in unintended consequences for subsequent generations. This repetitive cycle of top-down design outcomes – divisive highway infrastructure, failed public housing, anti-pedestrian streetscapes and under-utilized public parks – can be found in cities around the world. In response to the vision laid out in Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design Action Plan, Detroit Design 139 proposes that through inclusive design, Detroiters (designers and non-designers alike) can prioritize the importance of both PROCESSES and OUTCOMES for all future projects throughout Detroit’s 139 square miles. Through exhibitions, events, and shared conversations, we will explore inclusive design strategies that break this repetitive cycle of creating future problems by acknowledging all aspects of our shared history in order to solve long-standing urban issues. With this approach, we will focus on creating multigenerational design solutions that result in INCLUSIVE FUTURES for everyone.

 

FOCUS AREAS

In September 2019, Detroit Design 139 will showcase inclusive design projects, policies and concepts throughout the built and natural environments of Detroit and other UNESCO Cities of Design. The program will be structured around five focus areas that emphasize learning from the past in order to inform a successful approach to the inclusive design process. Each focus area will consider the entire spectrum of human diversity and individual experiences – in the past, present and future – but with dramatically different outcomes.

    • ECONOMY - What is the role of design in a more inclusive economic future? Where should these economic centers be located to provide the most opportunity for all? What are the new design models for economic development? These projects will spark discourse on the current and future design trends for economy-based space. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, light industrial development, future work environments, adaptive re-use demonstrations, comprehensive retail masterplans, shared office models, etc.
    • CITY SYSTEMS - How do we develop inclusive systems, services and infrastructure for our future city? How do we make the most of our shared urban assets while planning for a more sustainable future? How do we make it easier for people to move freely, safely and efficiently throughout our city? These projects will look at the visible (and invisible) inclusive infrastructure projects that will bring people, neighborhoods, industries, places and things closer together in a cohesive future urban environment. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: sustainability strategies, wholistic infrastructure, stormwater management, alternative mobility systems, shared digital technology networks, vacant land ecosystems, future streetscapes, etc.
    • HOUSING - How do we design inclusive housing? How do we make it affordable and sustainable? These projects will consider the future of housing, changing lifestyles and inclusionary growth. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: mixed-use developments, affordable and market rate housing typologies, alternative housing models, etc.
    • PUBLIC SPACE - How do we design inclusive public space, regardless of scale? What does inclusive and accessible public space look like? What activities are offered in those spaces? These projects will demonstrate the importance of public space as an inclusionary network within and throughout the city. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: vacant land re-use strategies, community gardens, neighborhood land networks, parks, plazas, waterfronts, etc.
    • NEIGHBORHOODS - What does a more inclusive future offer our communities? Is it possible to live, eat, shop, work, learn and relax within the same neighborhood? How can we design new residential developments without displacing current residents? These projects will explore strategies for inclusive neighborhoods that integrate diverse living options, neighborhood retail opportunities, walkable streets and welcoming public spaces. Project submissions may include, but are not limited to: community masterplans, large-scale neighborhood developments, form-based code, community-oriented adaptive re-use, shared community assets, future streetscapes, neighborhood retail, commercial corridor revitalization strategies, etc.

FORMAT

Submissions for each of the above five focus areas should provide at least two of the items listed below:

    • VISUALS. What best illustrates your project, policy, or concept? Potential content could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, model images, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.
    • NARRATIVES. What is your project’s inclusive design story? To help us illustrate your narrative, potential content could include publications, short films, video, radio, photography, diagrams, illustrations, poetry, or other means of storytelling about an individual project or a focus area topic.
    • PROCESSES. For this exhibition, the inclusive design process is just as important as the outcome. Potential content may include drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations or other digital media about a project’s inclusive design process or a focus area topic.
    • HISTORICAL ANALYSIS. To support each focus area, we also will be accepting comprehensive urban, architecture, or planning analysis of historic Detroit design projects. The projects must illustrate grand design decisions that solved historic problems while creating future problems for the next generation. Potential historic analysis could include photographs, drawings, renderings, animations, diagrams, illustrations, written research, or other digital media about an individual project or a focus area topic.

For examples of work from the 2017 exhibition visit the Detroit Design 139 website.

ELIGIBILITY

All submitted projects, policies and concepts must be completed within the past three years, currently in process, or planned to commence before 2021 and located either within Detroit’s 139 square miles or another recognized UNESCO City of Design. Academic projects completed within the past three years are also eligible for submission. Projects displayed within past DD139 exhibitions are ineligible.

 

DETROIT DESIGN 139 DESIGN PRINCIPLES

In 2015, Detroit was awarded the first UNESCO City of Design in the United States, joining a worldwide network of cities committed to utilizing design as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy. In celebration of that designation, design advocates from across the city came together in 2017 to demand a higher design standard for all future projects within the city’s 139 square miles. In pursuit of that ideal, these advocates curated the inaugural Detroit Design 139 exhibition around ten guiding design principles. The first exhibition, “Detroit Shapes Design” showcased 41 projects that represented a future Detroit populated with thoughtful projects that honored the city’s design legacy, while pushing the city towards becoming a leader in world-class design excellence.

Crafted to benefit all Detroiters, the ten guiding design principles are:

    1. Empower design as a means to improve the quality of life for all people.
    2. Advance a thoughtful design process rooted in meaningful community engagement.
    3. Seek creative solutions to solve longstanding urban issues.
    4. Honor context and history through contemporary design.
    5. Activate the public realm.
    6. Promote community cohesion and aesthetic diversity.
    7. Impress the value of design on all projects and all audiences – emphasizing equity, design excellence and inclusion.
    8. Explore new ways to live, work and play together in the 21st-century city.
    9. Celebrate Detroit’s design legacy, while contributing to the city’s design future.
    10. Balance function and beauty.

To submit your work for years exhibition click HERE

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Rio de Janeiro named first UNESCO World Capital of Architecture for 2020

Rio de Janeiro has officially been named UNESCO’s first World Capital of ArchitectureCreated in partnership with the International Union of Architects (UIA), the designation will take effect in 2020 and will shine a spotlight on the Brazilian city’s local institutions and projects that offer urban solutions to the greatest issues of our time. According to UNESCO, the World Capital of Architecture will serve as an international annual forum to discuss global problems through the lenses of culture, heritage, urban, planning, and architecture. Throughout 2020, Rio de Janeiro will host a series of events organized under the theme: “All the worlds. Just one world.” The UIA will also host its triannual World Congress during the year-long event. Ernesto Ottone R., UNESCO’s assistant director-general of culture, said UNESCO and UIA have combined forces to establish the World Capital of Architecture in an effort to preserve architectural heritage around the world through the urban context. “The aim is to create new synergies between culture and architecture in an increasingly urban world, in which cities are hubs for ideas, trade, culture, science, and social development,” he said. “Through this initiative, our ambition is to ensure that these cities are also perceived as open and creative spaces for exchange, invention, and innovation.”  
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United States withdraws from UNESCO (again)

As of January 1, 2019, the United States has officially withdrawn from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of the world’s best-known global cultural heritage and preservation organizations. The withdrawal was first announced in October 2017 after UNESCO recognized the old city of Hebron in the West Bank as a Palestinian World Heritage Site amid fierce resistance from the United States and Israel. The old city of Hebron is home to, among other relics and cultural sites, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a sacred religious site known as the Cave of Machpelah to Jews and as the Sanctuary of Abraham to Muslims. At the time, the United States and Israel complained that the UN was engaging in “anti-Israeli bias” stemming from the recognition of Palestine as a member state of the UN in 2011. Previously, the UN had criticized Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, according to Al Jazeera. When the UN elevated Palestine to membership status in 2011–during the Obama administration—the United States stopped paying its membership dues to UNESCO in protest. By 2017 the past-due fees had grown to $570 million, The Washington Post reported, and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to initiate the process of formal withdrawal from the organization. As of 2019, the outstanding balance due to UNESCO has risen above $600 million. Following the withdrawal, Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, said, “At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the United States should withdraw from the United Nations leading these issues.” The current episode marks the second time the United States has left UNESCO, following President Ronald Reagan’s withdrawal from the group in 1984 in an effort to thwart the recognition of Soviet historical sites. The United States rejoined the group in 2002 under President George W. Bush following the attacks of 9/11 amid a push to boost international solidarity by the U.S. The United States now hopes it can participate as an “observer state” on “non-politicized issues,” including the protection of World Heritage sites. The body is due to take up this new role for the United States when it next meets in April 2019.
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AN picks out highlights from the Detroit Month of Design lineup

In celebration of Detroit’s designation as the first UNESCO City of Design, the Detroit Design Festival will transition from a weeklong event into Detroit Month of Design. From September 1 through 30, over 25 participants will present 41 events and special projects throughout the city in celebration of Motor City design. Detroit became the first and only city in America to receive a UNESCO City of Design designation in 2015, joining a network of over 20 cities using creativity as a driver of long-term equitable development. Perhaps known best for its program to designate World Heritage Sites, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was chartered in Paris in 1946 as a specialized branch of the United Nations pushing for the protection of justice and human rights through the advocacy of cultural heritage, in both tangible form—such as monuments, natural resources, and sites—and intangible, such as folkways, gastronomy, and literature. Detroit has been an active member of the City of Design network, with representatives traveling to other partner cities across the globe to participate in convenings and festivals. Detroit Month of Design is planned and executed completely by Design Core Detroit, an organization established in 2010 to recognize Detroit as the origin point for much of America’s industrial design and a driver of influential creative thought. Here are some Detroit Month of Design highlights: Sukkah x Detroit Sukkah x Detroit celebrates Detroit’s designation as a UNESCO City of Design as well as its 1,300 urban farms. Sukkah x Detroit received 78 applications from 17 countries to design contemporary sukkahs, which are ancient symbolic structures built for the celebration of Sukkot, a holiday commemorating Jewish freedom from slavery. The winning sukkahs will be on display in historic Capital Park, along with complementary programs and events. SHAPE: Defining Furniture in Michigan's Design Legacy Next:Space Detroit is curating an exhibit of contemporary furniture by the likes of Alex Drew and No One, Nina Cho, Colin Tury, and Hunt & Noyer inspired by the design theories and practices of Charles and Ray Eames and Florence Knoll (Knoll was a native Michigander). The furniture will go on display at the Shinola Canfield Flagship Store. Light Up Livernois Now in its fifth year, Light Up Livernois celebrates one of Detroit’s oldest and most significant commercial corridors, known for its connection to Detroit fashion. Vacant storefronts will be activated with art installations and pop-up shops, while existing businesses will be offering special programming and goods, and will be open late into the night. Previous iterations of Light Up Livernois offered musical performances and fashion vignettes. 2018 Junior League of Detroit Designers’ Show House Detroit designers are let loose within the 1922 Charles T. Fisher Mansion, the largest home in the Boston-Edison Historic District. The estate includes 14 bedrooms and 14 bathrooms, and includes a pub, a private chapel, and a prohibition-era liquor vault. From September 15 through October 7, 39 designers will transform over 40 spaces within the 18,000-square-foot home and throughout the gardens. Picnic Curated by Campo Studio (designers Fernando Bales & Elise DeChard), Picnic bills itself as a “spatial feast,” with the project blurring the lines between art and architecture. The piece will bring together a series of mobile furniture armatures, each with an independent presence and use. The project will be assembled and shown in the Simone DeSousa Gallery. Gold Ink + Red Wine at POST POST, a new, open-concept retail store on Detroit’s east side, will open its doors for tours, demos, and workshops all month long, allowing visitors to peruse new work by in-house design and production studios, including Mutual Admiration, Hooray Forever, and Scarlet Crane. The 1940s building that houses POST was a former post office and served for a while as a Baptist church. The store opened in 2017.
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AIA urges Trump Administration not to withdraw from UNESCO

On October 12, the Trump administration announced that the United States would withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for the designation of World Heritage Sites. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has issued a public statement that decries this decision. In the statement, AIA president Thomas Vonier advocated for the World Heritage Sites program, which is important to architects because it "seeks to identify and preserve buildings and places of exceptional importance to humankind." He also noted that UNESCO had recently partnered with the International Union of Architects on a new project to select an annual World Capital of Architecture. This project, he argued, makes UNESCO's mission to support architectural heritage all the more critical. "The AIA urges the Administration to lends its support to this initiative," he concluded. UNESCO–short for the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization–protects over 1,000 sites of architectural, natural, and cultural importance. Once selected, World Heritage Sites are demarcated and protected as landmarks. The United States is home to 23 of these sites, including the Statue of Liberty, the San Antonio Missions, Independence Hall, and Yellowstone National Park. The Trump Administration chose to withdraw from the global initiative citing "the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias" as its reasoning. The bias mentioned is likely in reference to UNESCO's recognition of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site earlier this summer. With Hebron's addition, Palestine now hosts three World Heritage Sites (all of which are considered endangered by UNESCO), as compared to the nine in Israel (none of which are). The United States has not been able to vote in UNESCO procedures since 2013, when the Obama Administration cut funding for the organization. This cut was in direct reaction to UNESCO's recognition of the first World Heritage Sites in Palestine. The U.S. government hasn't entirely separated themselves from the organization. Instead, they plan to adopt the role of a "non-member observer state" in continued engagement with UNESCO. In this capacity, they will remain involved only to offer American perspectives on the organization's undertakings. The withdrawal takes full effect on December 31, 2018.
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Trump pulls U.S. out of UNESCO, citing anti-Israel bias

Today the Trump administration announced the United States will leave UNESCO, the United Nations development agency, over the organization's alleged “anti-Israel bias.”

Leaving UNESCO might seem like typical Trump isolationism, but the U.S.'s beef with the organization goes back to previous administrations. After UNESCO accepted Palestinians as full members in 2011, the New York Times reported that the Obama administration axed its funding. With no funds forthcoming, the U.S. lost its vote in the agency in 2013.

The State Department briefly outlined its reasoning in a press release: "This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO."

The Israel controversy re-ignited this summer after UNESCO named Hebron's city center a Palestinian World Heritage Site. The city, one of the world's oldest, sits in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

UNESCO, officially the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is known mainly for naming and overseeing World Heritage Sites, a list that includes over 1,000 protected natural and built environments of great importance to humanity. In the U.S., listed sites include the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall, as well as national parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Worldwide, UNESCO also promotes education, gender equity initiatives, access to culture and science, and the pursuit of liberal democratic ideals like freedom of expression.

The U.S. will withdraw on December 31, 2018, but will remain active in the group as a nonmember observer.

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Machado Silvetti’s camouflaged desert fort addition

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How can you create an architecture that hides in plain sight? This was the task of architects at Boston-based Machado Silvetti who recently completed an adaptive reuse and addition to a historic fort and grounds within the city of Al Ain, about 100 miles south of Dubai on the border between United Arab Emirates and Oman. The project provides an exhibition facility that will help to preserve, and provide access to, collections relating to Gulf history.
  • Facade Manufacturer Josef Gartner GmbH
  • Architects Machado Silvetti
  • Facade Installer Josef Gartner GmbH
  • Facade Consultants Adams Kara Taylor Facade (facade consultant); Simpson Gumpertz and Heger; Atelier Ten (MEP)
  • Location Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Date of Completion phase 1: 2011; phase 2: ongoing
  • System Structurally glazed double wall
  • Products Somfy Systems (vertical blinds); Luxar (glazing)
The architects said the addition is clad entirely in glass, with a floor plate that hovers slightly above the desert sands to offer unobstructed views of the landscape while lightly bearing on the land. “When you are inside the fort, what you get is a square cut out of the sky,” said Jorge Silvetti, principal at Machado Silvetti in an interview published on the firm’s website. “It has this emptiness which is so moving and beautiful. The idea was that whatever we put there [within the fort] should interfere in the least possible way with this emptiness even as we knew we had to locate a building in some of this open space.” This realization led to a design concept of “camouflaging” new program—through the use of minimal form, materiality, and detailing—to minimize the physical and visual impact. To achieve this effect, Silvetti said careful attention was paid to the detailing of elements like a ramping entry sequence. A thin slab pierced with lighting and bracketed by handrail posts set outboard of the walking surface establishes a visual effect of “floating” over the site. This was also a response, in part, to a requirement that the addition should respect the archaeology of the historic site. “We could not dig beyond about twenty centimeters into the earth, so really, there are almost no foundations!” Glass construction in a harsh desert climate, where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, led to numerous technical challenges for the design team. The architects sited the building along the Fort’s south wall which provided shade for most of the day, with the exception of some morning sun. Working with Atelier Ten, Machado Silvetti studied the building’s responsiveness to the environment through digital modeling and analysis, identifying areas of the facade exposed to a significant amount of solar radiation. These areas were managed with a combination of double-glazing, low-e coatings, and sensored interstitial blinds within the cavity, to filter UV light and infrared radiation. The double-glazed facade is mechanically ventilated through a clever detail that introduces air underneath the floor. The air is passively cooled under the slab prior to circulating throughout the cavity of the double skin wall. Automated blinds, installed within the cavity, provide an additional layer of solar protection. In addition to the double glazed facade, glass is employed nearly everywhere that can be seen—in the guardrails, floors, and ceilings. “Even if it's not physically true, glass gives you the feeling of coolness, of cold; glass is a cold material. It is the opposite of a warm material... the opposite of wood, certainly the opposite of mud,” said Silvetti. “And for once, the coldness of a space was something that could be understood as good—psychologically.”
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Detroit Design Festival announces events schedule

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) has announced the schedule for the sixth-annual Detroit Design Festival (DDF). Entitled “Designing Detroit’s Future,” this year’s festival will highlight the city’s recent designation as a UNESCO City of Design. One of 22 cities named City of Design, Detroit is the only U.S. city with this designation, bestowed last December. “We are thrilled to host the Detroit Design Festival celebrating our new designation, Detroit City of Design,” said Melinda Anderson, DDF Creative Director. “[the festival] will also incorporate a new Design Summit where local and international leaders will help us further embrace and promote the design strength that resides in Detroit.” The five-day festival, open from September 21 to 25, will span across the city with installations, talks, and interactive events. Before the full festival, though, a UNESCO City of Design event will be held on September 8. This will include a design crawl through some of the city’s many design studios. The full festival will include discussions and lectures at University of Detroit Mercy, University of Michigan, and Lawrence Technological University, as well as nightly performances throughout the city. Daylong workshops and demonstrations will also be happening each day of the festival. Wayne State University and the Museum of Contemporary Art will be hosting events and installations, while corporate sponsors Lear, Chrysler, and Ford will also host events throughout the week. Detroit Creative Corridor Center, the festival's presenting sponsor, is a partnership between Business Leaders for Michigan and College for Creative Studies. The mission of DC3 is to encourage economic development through Detroit’s creative sector. Since its inception, the Detroit Design Festival has hosted more than 500 design events in over 150 venues throughout the city. More than 100,000 attendees have engaged with fashion shows, lectures, installations, and exhibitions. For more on the Detroit Design Festival, visit their website.
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Jill Magid transforms Luis Barragán’s ashes into a two-carat diamond

In her latest multimedia work, American artist Jill Magid has converted the cremated ashes of Pritzker Prize-winning Mexican architect Luis Barragán into a two-carat diamond. The Proposal, as the overall work is known, incorporates Magid’s long-running engagement with public access, institutionalized power, and artistic legacy by orchestrating a trade between the Mexican government, Barragán’s estate, and Federica Zanco, Director of the Barragán Foundation, in order to return a key component of Barragán’s archives back to his native Mexico. Barragán originally divided up his archives into two separate components. One, consisting of his home in Mexico, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Casa Barragán, and personal archives, remains intact in the architect’s home country. The second, a professional archive including rights to his name, works, and all photographs taken of his architecture, were purchased by Chairman and heir of Swiss furniture company Vitra Rolf Fehlbaum in 1995 as an engagement present for Zanco, then his girlfriend, and have been stored out of public view in a vault in Switzerland ever since. Magid’s work pivots on the artist’s ability to strategically cultivate personal relationships with wealth and power in order to subvert the structures of corporate ownership. In a press release for the project, Magid explained the impetus for the work: “What happens to an artist’s legacy when it is owned by a corporation and subject to a country’s laws where none of his architecture exists? Who can access it? Who can’t?” The Proposal was commissioned by San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) and exists as an art exhibition curated by Hesse McGraw, SFAI Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs. Magid’s work is currently on view at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen in St. Gallen, Switzerland until August 21, 2016 after which it will make its American debut at SFAI on September 9, 2016. The Proposal will also be presented at the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016, opening on Sept 8, 2016.