London fire, architecture criticism and Bjarke in weekly round up

Fire in London was biggest news this week related to buildings, but there were also some happy events.

  • The Guardian shared some readers letters about potential issues of over-cladding old buildings. Reader’s experience from Germany about recent change of regulation in building materials: “overnight millions of properties that were thought to be environmentally friendly have become “toxic””. Surely, this recent tragedy in London will change some building codes, however while focussing on formal safety it is unclear if any attention will be paid to the quality of life. This just could end up making everything even worse than it is now.
  • Continuing this topic about public safety and quality of spaces, Martin Filler of The New York Review of Books shared his praise for Snøhetta’s recent redesign of the Times Square calling it “quietly brilliant”. His review ended with a story of a drugged driver crashing in to a crowd of people in May. Now Snøhetta has a new task again, to improve safety of the Times Square even more.

This is a challenge that confronts urbanists worldwide now that even the most life-affirming re-imaginings of city life must take into account dark forces, both individual and institutional, that see such accessible and inclusive gathering spots as nothing more than inviting soft targets.

  • Wired just destroyed new Apple campus. So this is where we are with architectural criticism. A technology news website is now writing critical articles while biggest architectural websites just repost them. Congrats WIRED and sad face for others (you know who you are).
  • The Paris Review shared a project which converts Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “White Nights” to a building. This short story becomes not a simple structure, but a below 45 degrees inclined skyscraper hovering over the city at the same time being invisible in the plan. Interesting experiment.
  • Finally something good! Big week for Bjarke Ingels! And no, we are not talking about his interview to Dezeen defending gender equality in his practise. Bjarke got engaged and is moving back to Denmark at the end of the year. Congrats!

Happiest view of my life

A post shared by Bjarke ingels (@bjarkeingels) on

Next round up – in seven days!

Cover image is “London Evening Standard” Wednesday June 14 2017 issue cover.

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