A new petition on Change.org is calling for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to reconsider its unanimous vote to certify the final environmental impact report (FEIR) to raze and build over much of the historic Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) complex. Started by a group called the LACMA Lovers League, the appeal urges those against the county’s decision to sign in support of halting the FEIR and encourage leadership to engage in a more open discussion with the community. Since the release of the report in March, the Peter Zumthor–designed plan for the site has garnered even more widespread criticism because, in order to achieve it, the existing 54-year-old complex by modernist architect William L. Pereira, would need to be demolished. It would also effectively diminish the space reserved for the museum’s permanent collection and take away room for libraries and conservation facilities. Overall, the $650 million proposal, which was updated with new renderings in late April, is “not a suitable replacement,” AN’s West Coast editor wrote in an earlier review. Originally, Zumthor’s vision referenced a splash of oil—it was an amorphous black canopy that spanned Wilshire Boulevard. Now, it’s lighter, more airy, and shorter in height. Still, critics have been skeptical—as AN's editor put it, it’s “just plain bad.” Despite a massive outcry from both the public and leaders in the fields of art and architecture, the decision to approve the environmental report was made on April 9 in a 5-0 vote. In moving forward with the redevelopment project, supervisors also granted $117.5 million in public funding. According to the petition, this outright approval was inconsiderate both to the historic integrity of L.A.’s cultural heritage, but also to the many voices that expressed serious and immediate concern: “In doing so,” reads the petitions, “[the L.A. County Board of Supervisors] ignored recent criticism published by the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Curbed LA, Architectural Record, The Art Newspaper and The Architect’s Newspaper, and hundreds of public comments running 83% against the project.” At the time of publication, the petition had gathered 11 signatures.
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Speaking of controversy, Zaha Hadid can’t catch a break! Since her stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was unveiled, complaints have arisen about the scale and height of the project. Then two of Japan’s biggest architects—Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki—signed on to a petition calling for a revised design. As of press time more than 26,500 people have signed on to protest the design. Is someone’s star beginning to dim?
Los Angeles architect Arshia Mahmoodi, founder of the firm VOID, has launched an online petition to try to help save the troubled exhibition, A New Sculpturalism: Contemporary Architecture in Southern California at MOCA. The show, scheduled for a June 2nd opening, is currently in a holding pattern, and its curator Christopher Mount told AN he feared it would be cancelled. Mount blames mismanagement at MOCA, while several news reports have pointed to general apprehension about the show, and the recent withdrawal of Frank Gehry. Mahmoodi released the petition—directed to MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch—yesterday. "The cultural and educational significance of this exhibition certainly outweighs any hindrance surrounding it," wrote Mahmoodi in the petition, which has been circulating in the local architecture community. Mahmoodi told AN she was inspired by Mount's call, documented in the LA Times, for a "community uprising" to keep the exhibition alive. She added that she doesn't want the petition to be "antagonistic or condemning in any form," since there is still so much haziness around the situation. "The show," she wrote, "is quite possibly the most important exhibition among the many curated under the Pacific Standard Time umbrella, as it is to provide a front for the emergent architecture in Southern California rather than the familiar historical or subjective curatorial discourse." The last pitch to Deitch: "We respectfully urge you to champion this mission to its resolution and ensure you that the support of the undersigned for this exhibition is unwavering." As of this posting the petition had 42 supporters. "It could act as a referendum of sorts to show the decision makers who and how many care about this," Mahmoodi told AN.
As the chorus of criticism swells against MoMA's plan to demolish the former home of the American Folk Art Museum, designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, a pair of petitions have been posted urging the Modern to reconsider its demolition plans. Also, a crowd-sourced tumblr, #FolkMoMA, is soliciting ideas for reuse of Williams and Tsien's building. With all the action online, will anyone be taking to the streets for some old fashioned picketing? Will anyone chain themselves to the bronze facade? Has all this worry actually left the bubble of the architecture community?
Stefano Boeri—the talented architect, politician, and former editor of Domus—was summarily dismissed this week from his position as Councillor for Culture, Fashion, and Design for the city of Milan. Boeri, who for several years has tried to bring architecture and design into official decision making process, has apparently butted heads with Milan's Mayor Giuliano Pisapia and has been pushed out the door. He has, according to one observer of Italian politics, clashed with the mayor "over how much he spent on an exhibition," who may be using the country's budget woes as an excuse to sack a potential political opponent. Boeri was coordinating the upcoming Milan Year of Culture and is not gong without a fight. A petition signed by host of major architects, artists, and cultural workers is being distributed to the press to put pressure on the mayor to bring Boeri back into government.
Dear Mayor Pisapia, It is with regret and disappointment that we learn that Stefano Boeri was dismissed from his position as Councillor for Culture, Fashion and Design for the city of Milan. Thanks to the energy and commitment of Boeri, and despite the deepening of the gravest crisis to have faced Italy since the postwar years, since 2011 Milan has succeded in projecting an image of renewed cultural vibrancy and dynamism onto the international stage. Thanks to Boeri's many initiatives—citywide events such as Book City and Piano City, or international exhibitions of internationally renowned artists such as the Marina Abramovic, Picasso, Bramantino, Alberto Garutti and Jeff Wall—Milan had finally succeeded in reaffirming itself forcefully on the international stage as an epicentre of art, design, fashion and culture. This unmotivated dismissal deprives Milan of one of its greatest assets—an individual who possesses the intelligence, energy, motivation and global network of relationships needed to make Milan an unrivaled protagonist of the European cultural scene of the 21st century. Stefano Boeri is one of Italy's foremost cultural exponents: he has taught in universities in Italy and abroad, curated exhibitions, designed buildings and written books that have been translated into many languages. As such, this unmotivated dismissal seems to us inexplicable. In this moment of grave crisis, we urge you to put personal differences aside and, for the good of the city, reconsider your decision. Yours sincerely, Marina Abramović - Artist, New York Iwan Baan - Photographer, Amsterdam Tatiana Bilbao - Architect, Tatiana Bilbao Architects, Ciudad de Mexico Daniel Birnbaum – Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm Petra Blaisse - Landscape Architect, Inside Outside, Rotterdam Erica Bolton and Jane Quinn - Directors, Bolton Quinn, London Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec - Designers, Paris Maurizio Cattelan - Artist, Milan Yung Ho Chang, MIT, Head of the Department of Architecture, Cambridge Teddy Cruz - Architect, Teddy Cruz Architects, San Diego Chris Dercon – Director, Tate Modern, London Elizabeth Diller - Architect, New York Jimmie Durham - Artist, Berlin Okwui Enwezor - Curator, Munich Amos Gitai - Film Director, Tel Aviv - Paris Joseph Grima - Editor in chief, Domus, Milan Zaha Hadid - Architect, Zaha Hadid Architects, London Nikolaus Hirsch - Dean, Städelschule Frankfurt Li Hu - Architect, Beijing Bjarke Ingles - Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group Architects, Copenhagen Rem Koolhaas - Architect, Rotterdam Koyo Kouoh - Art Editor, Dakar Armin Linke - Photographer, Berlin Ross Lovegrove - Designer, London Qingyun Ma - Architect, Shanghai Michael Maltzan - Architect, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Los Angeles Giancarlo Mazzanti - Architect, Mazzanti Arquitectos, Bogotà Shelley McNamara & Yvonne Farrell - Architects, Grafton Architects, Dublin Mohsen Mostafavi – Dean, GSD Harvard, Cambridge Alexei Muratov - Journalist, Moscow Jean Nouvel - Architect, Paris Hans Ulrich Obrist - Co-director, Serpentine Gallery, London Julia Peyton Jones - Director Serpentine Gallery, London Bas Princen - Photographer, Amsterdam Edi Rama – Artist and politician, Tirana Anri Sala - Artist, Paris Tomas Saraceno - Artist, Berlin Milica Topalovic - Architect, Zurich
It seems that a proposal to make the New Amsterdam Market a permanent fixture in the South Street Seaport's former Fulton Fish Market building has every food critic and preservationist in New York City revved up, and touting the plan as the next big game-changing development for Lower Manhattan. New York Times opinion and food columnist Mark Bittman went so far as to say that this expansive food market has “wonderful potential that dwarfs even that of the High Line.” Robert LaValva, a former city planner, first launched the market in 2005 after the fish market relocated to the Bronx. He looked around and realized that, unlike a number of cities, New York City didn’t have a large-scale food hall or market. And so he modeled his vision to create a permanent food market in the Tin and New Market buildings after places such as Pikes Market in Seattle, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or Les Halles in Paris. Today the City Council is holding a public hearing to determine the future of the South Street Seaport. The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), the developer that rents Pier 17 next to the Fulton Fish Market, has enlisted SHoP Architects to redesign the struggling 250,000-square-foot mall. The plan calls for new boutiques, restaurants, rooftop shops, a concert venue and museum. But the question remains whether these changes will extend to the Tin and New Market buildings that once housed the old Fulton Fish Market, and is now the temporary weekend home of New Amsterdam Market. Supporters of the food market are concerned that the overhaul of Pier 17 could pave the way for development on the former site of the fish market and have launched an online petition to bolster their cause. HHC, however, hasn’t indicated any plans to raze or rebuild at the site.
Hadrian's Villa—the real one, the 2nd century site of pilgrimages by architects, classicists, and any human interested in the origins of culture—has been selected as the site of a new garbage dump by a Berlusconi-appointed sanitation minister. That stinks! An international effort with a petition already signed by the likes of Richard Meir and Salvatore Settis, former director of the Getty Research Center is fast making the rounds in order to stop the ruling before it gets final approval within a month. Here's the best account in English of the situation prepared by the American Institute of Roman Culture. The potential Corcolle dump serving Rome is less than a mile from the villa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was placed on the 100 Most Endangered Sites 2006 list of the World Monuments Watch because of the rapid deterioration of some of its 30 buildings. The selection of the Corcolle dump was affirmed when an alternative site was deemed too close to an intelligence agency building; five other sites were in the running but apparently rejected because they could not be up and running fast enough. It is unclear why a local archeological society said the land just meters away from one of the richest archeological sites in history could be deemed "archaeologically sterile." The hope is that an international uproar will make Berlusconi's garbage man realize he's holding the wrong bag. Please sign.