Posts tagged with "Protests":

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Politics and protest in 15 years of The Architect’s Newspaper

To celebrate our 15th anniversary, we looked back through the archives for our favorite moments since we started. We found stories that aged well (and some that didn’t), as well as a wide range of interviews, editorials, and other articles that we feel contributed to the broader conversation. We also took a closer look at the most memorable tributes to those we lost, and heard from editors past and present about their time here. Here, we rounded up some of the most significant political shifts and statements that have run through our pages. 2003 Protest: Michael Sorkin on Ground Zero "Stop the demeaning arrogance of business-as-usual and the construction of an architectural zoo on this hallowed ground." 2005 Ethnic Cleansing, GOP-style "Tens of thousands of blue-collar white, Asian, and Latino residents of afflicted Gulf communities also face de facto expulsion from the region, but only the removal of African-Americans is actually being advocated as policy." 2007 Delirious Newark "As Mayor Cory A. Booker swept into office in 2006 on a platform of radical reform, he vowed to make Newark a 'national standard for urban transformation.'” 2008 Little has changed since deadly accident at Trump Soho "Despite complaints for months of an errant crane and other unsafe work conditions at the Trump Soho construction site; despite biweekly inspections by the city’s Department of Buildings; despite a previous tragedy on another of the general contractor’s worksites; despite all these warnings and precautions, it was not until the death of Yuriy Vanchytskyy, a construction worker from Greenpoint who fell 40 stories when a portion of the 42nd floor collapsed on January 12, that Bovis Lend Lease’s crane fell silent on the 46-story project." 2010 Mayor Daley’s Chicago Legacy "After 21 years as mayor, Richard M. Daley has left an indelible mark on Chicago’s built environment. The Architect’s Newspaper asked 11 Chicago architects to reflect on Daley’s impact on the city’s architecture, planning, and landscape, and to ponder the challenges facing the next mayor." 2013 Beyond Zuccotti Park "AN Editor-in-Chief William Menking convened a diverse group of thinkers to discuss the recent book Beyond Zuccotti Park, Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Spaces, an anthology on the Occupy Movement and the role of urban design and public space in contemporary democracy. Activist and curator Aaron Levy, planner Laura Wolf Powers, and architect Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss participated." 2016 How institutionalized racism and housing policy segregated our cities "In Baltimore in 1910, a black Yale law school graduate purchased a home in a previously all-white neighborhood. The Baltimore city government reacted by adopting a residential segregation ordinance, restricting African Americans to designated blocks. Explaining the policy, Baltimore’s mayor proclaimed, 'Blacks should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidence of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.'" AIA pledges to work with Donald Trump, membership recoils "When an institution assumes control of all its members’ opinions without inviting debate, when it commits itself to as-yet-unspecified agendas, and ignores the human and environmental costs of its pledged actions, that institution is not neutral – it is complicit with the forces which seek to limit public life. We must remind ourselves that totalitarian regimes look to architects to build their image of strength and legacy without questioning the costs, and that to collaborate is to normalize those systems.” 2017 Milwaukee 50 years later, where the fight for fair housing continues "The lines dividing African Americans from whites have shifted, but are still staggeringly apparent. While the larger conversation about housing today is focused on affordability and sustainability, it is worth remembering that the simple act of wanting to live where you want is a battle that has been going on for decades." 2018 How the “Shitty Architecture Men” list can address abuse in architecture "Thanks to the #MeToo movement and the Shitty Architecture Men list, many survivors of harassment and assault in the architecture industry will, for the first time, experience the sense that they are believed and validated. They can recognize that the abuse of power follows recognizable patterns, and is neither unique nor deserved." EPA is now allowing asbestos back into manufacturing "As The Post covered, Trump has long been vocal about his skepticism about the harmful effects of asbestos, claiming in his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, that anti-asbestos efforts were 'led by the mob.'" Check out a selection of our favorite bits of gossip hereour best interviews here, and a fuller timeline of our articles here.
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Designers, here’s your chance to shape public space in Charlottesville, Virginia

This past week, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue from a downtown park. As multiple news sources reported, the rally's violence culminated in chilling brutality when protestor James Fields rammed his car through a crowd of counter-demonstrators on a nearby pedestrian mall, injuring 19 and killing one. It's beyond question that the far right gathered on Saturday to spread hate in a public space. It just so happens, too, that this latest domestic terrorist attack coincides with the city's in-motion plans to redesign two main public parks—including the one with the Lee statue—around justice and equity. Back in June, the city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop a master plan that enhances the connection between Justice Park and Emancipation Park, as well as the parks themselves. Located two blocks away from each other, the two parks, formerly named for Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Lee,* respectively, were sites of this weekend's protests. Among other changes, the city would like to develop better gathering spaces in both parks and memorialize former slaves in Justice Park. To prepare a design, the document asks participating firms to get acquainted with MASS Design Group's Memorial to Peace and Justice, a project in Montgomery, Alabama to honor victims of lynching. The RFP grew out of a report released in August of last year by the Blue Ribbon Commission, a group city officials convened to address race and representation in the city's public spaces. With statues of Confederate generals and a slave auction block in parks, as well as the preserved Reconstruction-era Freedmen’s Bureau, the commission's final report "[acknowledged] that far too often Charlottesville’s public spaces and histories have ignored, silenced or suppressed African American history, as well as the legacy of white supremacy and the unimaginable harms done under that cause." The chosen designer is expected to engage with the community extensively. In Charlottesville, city officials imagine that public history for the 21st century may be illuminated with new art, placemaking initiatives, and wayfinding. Interested? The deadline is approaching fast: Submissions are due this Thursday, August 17. *The park's renaming is in process, pending a court decision later this month.
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Yale students design for political protest as part of seminar

As part of a four-month-long seminar organized by New York architect and Assistant Dean of the Yale School of Architecture Mark Foster Gage, students investigated new forms of political activism through the design of objects.

The course synopsis began with this quote from Leonardo Da Vinci:

It had long since to come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

By way of some background, in 2014, the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London produced an exhibition titled Disobedient Objects, curated by Catherine Flood. Here, the constraint of urgency amplified the political power of designers' work. Examples included a mask (made from a plastic water bottle) that protects protesters from tear gas and an arrangement of poles that people can climb and avoid being removed from an area by police.

Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), Gage discussed how the October symposium he organized at Yale, titled Aesthetic Activism, explored how architecture’s critical-theory basis for socially engaged design is increasingly ineffectual, as it "merely calls for the revealing of a given social inequality or problem—not a requirement to act to remedy it." "Seeing a problem rarely actually prompts action to solve it," reads the synopsis of his class—an idea that echoes the work of philosopher Jacques Rancière, on whose work the seminar was significantly based.

After guiding students through works by philosophers such as Rancière (who explores the politicization of aesthetics), Elaine Scarry (who wrote Thinking in an Emergency), and Graham Harman and Timothy Morton (significant philosophers in the burgeoning Object Oriented Ontology movement), as well as the more household names from aesthetics including Kant, Fiedler, Burke and Hickey, Gage saw his students produce a series of increasingly politicized design projects that emerged, increasingly, in reaction to the recent election and presidency of Donald Trump.

These included:

  • A 3-D printed monument of Donald Trump (an ostentatious and vulgar creation laden with authoritarian imagery) and model depicting Rancière's "Distribution of the Sensible" philosophical framework (whereby political perceptions are altered; note Trump's back is turned); both by Robert Smith Waters.
  • A ballot box in which only one shape can be placed inside (note the shape of a heart does not fit).
  • A protective face mask that offers guidance on what do if arrested on one side and an eye-less smiley face on the other, by Casey Furman.
  • Roller-blades that can only go in perpendicular directions, by Claire Haugh.
  • A hammock to aid those who climb corporate towers as an act of protest, by Steven McNamara (see AN's coverage of the man who climbed Trump Tower in New York last year).

The Yale School of Architecture has a history of political protests dating back to the 1960’s. This year, numerous large banners of "We won't build your wall" covered the Paul Rudolph–designed structure. Previously, a large banner had read: "United Against Hate." Students also issued a statement in wake of the AIA's initial stance on Trump, saying: “Our profession been plagued by a history of racial and gender inequity. The AIA’s immediate and unquestioning pandering to the Trump administration threatens a continuation of our troubled past and demonstrates a willingness to pursue financial gain at the expense of our values.”

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New York City’s building trades unions rally at City Hall for higher wages, better working conditions

Today, members of New York's building trades unions marched on City Hall for wages that correspond to the rising cost of living, safer working conditions, more diversity, and strong unions to advocate on behalf of all workers. Middle Class Strong, a grassroots coalition administered through the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, organized the march and rally. https://twitter.com/LiUNALocal55/status/675041988228620289 Richard Jacobs Jr., business development specialist at D.C. 9 1974 (International Union of Painters & Allied Trades), noted that unions oppose "contractors and businesses that skirt paying a fair wage." The unions, moreover, provide for worker's economic security by ensuring that its members have another job lined up when their current job wraps up. Many protesters held "Middle Class Strong" signs. Middle Class Strong protects the rights of union and nonunion laborers. Coffins in front of the speaker's podium represent lives lost on the job. https://twitter.com/AffordabilityNY/status/675016785406595073 Real Affordability for All (RAFA), a coalition of affordable housing organizations in New York, pledged solidarity with workers protesting for fair wages. RAFA's advocacy underscores the connection between a living wage and housing access. The group's ongoing projects include proposing alternatives to the rezoning of East New York and other low-income neighborhoods. https://twitter.com/ALIGNny/status/675032433448873984 Public Advocate Letitia James, New York State Assembly Representative Francisco Moya, City Council majority leader Jimmy Van Bramer, and others spoke at the rally in support of the union's objectives. Developers, architects, and other builders, what do you think? Are the unions' demands fair? https://twitter.com/RoryLancman/status/675028656146751488 https://twitter.com/TishJames/status/675048530688503809
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Following lawsuit, Clemson University backs down on plans for a new architecture center in Charleston

For the second time in a decade, Clemson University has scrapped plans for a modern architecture center in Charleston’s historic district. Confronted with a lawsuit by neighborhoods and preservation groups, who objected to the addition of the glitzy, $10 million metal-and-glass building on George and Meeting streets, the university is seeking to lease temporary space in downtown Charleston. The approval process for the architecture center has seesawed since 2012, when residents decried the building as aesthetically unfit to rub shoulders with the stately George Street headquarters of Spoleto Festival USA. Arguably, the historic district is already a hodgepodge of stylistic eras—from Georgian to Federal to Greek Revival to Victorian The architecture center's leased location has yet to be determined, but it will house the university’s locally-based architecture and historic preservation programs. Clemson’s Board of Trustees recently approved the plans for a temporary home to “better meet existing needs, anticipate planned growth and ensure that students in Charleston work in labs, studios and workshops that reflect contemporary standards of professional practice, a larger, more functional facility is required,” Clemson said. Currently, the historic preservation master’s degree program, which Clemson administers with the College of Charleston, and the Clemson Architecture Center are spread over three locations. According to the university, the interim leased space will be large enough to accommodate growth from a proposed new master’s degree program and the expansion of the specialized healthcare design track. The initially proposed architecture center (to be named the Spaulding Paolozzi Center) by nationally known architect Brad Cloepfil of Oregon-based Allied Works Architecture garnered some supporters at the 2012 Board of Architectural Review Meeting–including the director of preservation and museums at the Historic Charleston Foundation. But local residents showed the most antipathy during the public comments section of the meeting. Sculptor John Michel, offered perhaps the most outspoken take: “Why in the world do a bunch of Martians want to invade this city and put up a trap that looks like something that Walmart would build?”
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Thursday> The Architecture Lobby brings its manifesto to New York City

billevent The Architecture Lobby is a new organization that advocates for the value of architecture in the general public but also to raise awareness inside the profession of working conditions for the majority of its practitioners. It also focuses on working conditions for young designers as they leave school and enter the profession—most with little awareness of the actual conditions of their labor and pay. The lobby has just staged two actions where it publicly read its manifesto of architectural labor-first at the Venice Architecture Biennale and recently at the AIA's national convention in Chicago. In Chicago, the lobby was thrown off the convention floor by testy AIA officials who don't want to think about the meaning of the Lobby's protest. billevent2 Now the Lobby will stage it's first public action in New York but it in a much more supportive environment—The Ronald Feldman Gallery which is currently staging an exhibition called Labor Intensive. The exhibit, curated by Elaine Angelopoulos and Scott Vincent Campbell, highlights art work that focuses on issues of labor that expand the defined role it plays in our individual lives and society. The exhibit features artists Eleanor Antin, Conrad Atkinson, Joseph Beuys, Heather Cassils, Nancy Chunn, Christine Hill, Simone Jones, Komar & Melamid, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Hannah Wilke. All the work in the show approaches labor from different viewpoints, but the curators also highlight the beauty and dignity in the work and its potential to be powerful forces for change. The Architecture Lobby event will take place this Thursday, July 17 from 6:00–8:00 p.m. at the gallery (31 Mercer Street, between Grand and Canal streets). The gallery will graciously provide wine and appetizers. Come and meet the members of the Lobby and hear about its labor manifesto and future planned actions.
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Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid the Subject of Controversy for Middle East Projects

Nearly 50 activists recently took over the Guggenheim’s spiraling balconies to protest the museum’s planned branch in Abu Dhabi. The protesters, who are affiliated with Gulf Labor and Occupy Museums, dropped pamphlets, rolled out banners, and hung a manifesto to criticize Abu Dhabi’s poor record on workers’ rights. Gothamist reported that the activists chanted, “The Guggenheim should not be built on the backs of abused workers. The Guggenheim should listen to the voices of migrant workers. Is this the future of art?” The Frank Gehry–designed museum will rise off the coast of Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, near new works by Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, and Norman Foster. In response to the protest, Guggenheim Director Richard Armstrong said in a statement, “The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is engaged in ongoing, serious discussions with our most senior colleagues in Abu Dhabi regarding the issues of workers’ rights. As global citizens, we share the concerns about human rights and fair labor practices and continue to be committed to making progress on these issues.” Zaha Hadid kicked up further criticism for her insensitive-seeming remarks in the Guardian, where she dismissed responsibility for worker safety on a stadium construction site in Qatar: "I have nothing to do with the workers. I think that's an issue the government—if there's a problem—should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved." She previously sparked criticism for her comments on building under dictators in Syria.
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Sugar Smacks: Group Protests at Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Factory During Benefit Party

Creative Time’s annual spring benefit at the defunct Domino Sugar factory in Brooklyn received lots of press coverage for its glittering guests, including honoree Julian Schnabel. But GalleristNY was one of the few to flag the fly on the soup: Across the street from the entrance, protestors in hazmat suits handed out “invitations” blasting the controversial company hired by Two Treesthe developer with big plans for Domino—to oversee asbestos abatement. So…that wasn’t powdered sugar on the chocolate soufflé?
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Controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Opens

On May 2, the ever-controversial Malibu Lagoon Restoration Project—designed to restore the lagoon to its natural shape after years of disruptions and enhance the visitor experience—had its official ribbon cutting ceremony. Or, in this case, kelp cutting ceremony. The newly revamped lagoon glinted in the sun as egrets skittered along the water’s surface. Inappropriately-dressed (dark suits and ties) state officials and project leaders posed for photographs, congratulated team members, and handed out certificates while protesters (some shirtless and in shorts), brandishing hand-made signs saying “Paradise Lost” and “Lagoonicide," booed and shouted at every opportunity. It was another beautiful day at the beach. Clark Stevens, architect and executive officer for the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains, said in a statement that for him this represents “reversing the trend that has led to the loss of 90 percent of our tidal wetlands on the California coast” and that he is “proud to have played a role in moving the needle back in the other direction.” Stevens was responsible for all the public interpretive features that dot the path through the lagoon to make it an interactive teaching environment. The protestors worry that the new project will damage the lagoon and its many ecosystems. As Suzanne Goode, the project’s senior environmental scientist said, “Things like this don’t happen overnight.” It will take close to two years for the embankments and berms to become verdant like the renderings show. Right now the only things swaying in the onshore breeze are the hundreds of little colored flags indicating where seedlings have been planted. But give it time. Though the protestors may never like it, the egrets seem happy.
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Toronto Bikers Revolt Against Mayor’s Attempts to Remove Bike Lanes

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has proven to be a controversial public figure, whether it's unsafe reading while driving, or now, removing Toronto's recently installed bike lanes on Jarvis Street.  Yesterday, city crews showed up in large scrubbing trucks to scrape away thin dividing lines from the street, only to encounter a small collection of riders who would not stand by idly. Instead the cyclists chose to lie down, sit, and ultimately blockade the street scrubbing vehicles, eventually forcing them to leave for the day. A subtle part of the infrastructure that regulates a city’s traffic, bike lanes on Jarvis Street in Toronto have been voted out by City Council to make room for a reversible fifth lane meant to improve traffic flow for automobiles. The lanes were part of street safety measures enacted by Ford's predecessor David Miller. Cyclists have been unhappy with the decision declaring that removing the lanes puts their safety at risk. A few have chosen to make their thoughts known—including freelance writer Steve Fisher who noted that, prior to the lanes, he was hit twice by passing cars. The small group of protesters sat in the bike lanes as scrubbing machines approached and attempted to go around them, but a game of  leap-frog commenced as protesters again moved themselves down the road ahead of the machines. Removal of the lanes continued again today and currently the dispute remains unresolved. Unable to work at night—due to noise restrictions—the scrubbing crews must complete the removal during the day. Police were on site today in an attempt to usher back protesters and allow the work to continue. One man was reportedly arrested and taken into custody this afternoon as the protest continues. The scene has been carefully observed from coast to coast in the United States as bike advocates worry of potential bike backlashes in local politics. New York has already gone through a lengthy fight over bike lanes installed by Mayor Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan along Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and many observers are closely watching political views as the city prepares to elect a new mayor next year.
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Protesting for Pussy Riot at the Venice Biennale

The Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale has in recent years been a bit of a snore. The space has been filled most recently in 2010 with unconvincing drawings of older Russian cities and earlier (2008) with models of Ordos McMansions. But this year the pavilion's interior was spectacularly reconfigured with walls of glass QR codes in its central space forming a digital dome, but the display's heavy-handedness brought to mind earlier periods of Russian single mindedness and even totalitarianism. It seems those in charge of this year's Venice effort finally realized what kind of pavilion makes an impact in the giardini on harried biennale visitors and journalists and went for the full design monty. But the tensions in contemporary Russian society were also highlighted on Thursday during the Golden Lion awards presentation ceremony when a few hundred feet away a crew of cocktail-dressed and balaclava-wearing young Russian women "occupied" the exterior of the pavilion to make the case for the Pussy Riot band back in Russia recently jailed for hooliganism. A rumor quickly spread that actual members of the band who had escaped Russie were present at the protest. Were these actually Pussy Rioters or sympathizers? No one was sure but it sure beat listening to the Biennale directors and bureaucrats drone on about Common Ground as the press rushed over from the dreadful press conference.
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Slideshow> A New York Year in A New York Minute

Neither blizzards, an earthquake, or Hurricane Irene slowed down work here at 21 Murray Street. Nor did any of these disrupt work down the street at the World Trade Center. The demonstrations at Zuccotti Park did not get in the way, nor the spontaneous turn out following the death of Osama bin Laden. Construction only paused for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Some of the year's biggest stories sat at our doorstep, and quite often, we only had to go downstairs to capture their images. Here are a few photos of the news and news-makers taken downtown, as well as a few from uptown, across town, and over the river...