The Conversation: Algorithms are designing better buildings. “At a basic level, algorithms can be a powerful tool for providing exhaustive information for the design, construction and use of a building. Building information modelling uses comprehensive software to standardise and share data from across architecture, engineering and construction that used to be held separately. This means everyone involved in a building’s genesis, from clients to contractors, can work together on the same 3D model seamlessly. More recently, new tools have begun to combine this kind of information with algorithms to automate and optimise aspects of the building process.”
OPB: Portland Takes Database Of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Offline. “Want to find out if you live in a Portland building particularly vulnerable in an earthquake? You won’t be able to do it online any longer. Portland has quietly agreed to take down its online database detailing the approximately 1,600 old brick and stone buildings in the city considered likely to collapse in the next major earthquake.”
The Conservation: Coronavirus: an architect on how the pandemic could change our homes forever. “As an architect and researcher in housing and sustainability, my research examines adaptations ranging from extensions and loft conversions, through to the installation of renewable technologies and retrofits. Many homeowners view their homes in desirable areas as a financial asset they plan later to cash in. For this reason, renewable and energy efficiency measures are often not included in adaptations, due to uncertainties about how these will be valued when they come to sell. But with fewer people now commuting and more people working from home, where people choose to live and how they want their houses to function may change after this prolonged period of lockdown.”
Hindustan Times: Milan’s La Scala opera house ‘re-opens’ via Google virtual tour during coronavirus lockdown. “Milan’s famed La Scala opera house on Thursday unveiled a virtual journey through its ornate premises and rich archives via Google Arts & Culture, with serendipitous timing as theaters throughout Italy and the western world remain closed due to the coronavirus.”
Archinect: AIA publishes COVID-19 database to share best practices in hospital conversion design. “The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is currently assembling a database containing information on the health care facilities, both traditional and temporary, and the design professionals around the world mobilizing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, AIA announced the creation of an internal COVID-19 task force that seeks to provide expert advice on how existing buildings can be rapidly converted for temporary hospital use.”
Hampshire Chronicle: Nine decades of Winchester Cathedral Record goes online. “The Friends of Winchester Cathedral have published The Winchester Cathedral Record annually since 1931. Every edition has now been scanned and placed online in a new open access as part of the Friends’ 90th anniversary celebration next year.”
Rochester Beacon: Preserving the history of cobblestone architecture. “The concept for cobblestone masonry wasn’t new to the world of course, but the bounty of cobblestones in the region south of Lake Ontario offered a great opportunity. As a result of that architectural trend, our region now has the largest collection of cobblestone structures in the nation. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 cobblestone structures have been built in the United States, and approximately 700 of those exist within an hour’s drive of the city of Rochester.”
Historic New England: Historic New England is making the archive of a famous architectural firm accessible to the public for the first time.. “This collection documents the history and work of the Boston-based architectural firm founded in 1925 by Royal Barry Wills, one of America’s most popular architects and master of the Cape Cod-style house. From the 1920s to the 1960s, Wills designed 2,500 single-family residences, authored eight books about architecture, hosted a radio program, lectured widely, received numerous awards, supplied ‘Home Building Plans’ for a number of newspapers, and was the subject of feature articles in Life, The Saturday Evening Post, and Good Housekeeping. In 2013 Wills’ son Richard donated the majority of the company archives to Historic New England.”
Library of Congress: Free to Use and Reuse: Movie Magic. “You can see the Riviera in all its long-lost splendor, and dozens of other unique movie theaters, in this month’s set of Free to Use and Reuse prints and photographs from the Library’s collections of copyright-free material. There’s the neon-lit Tower Theater, a Sacramento landmark. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The Ritz Theatre in Greenville, Alabama, an Art Deco building opened in 1935 and now devoted to the performing arts.”
The New York Academy of Medicine has launched a new collection of hospital postcards. (Thanks for letting me know, Carrie!) “This pilot project represents a small portion of the NYC sub-collection of the Robert Matz Hospital postcards digitized by the New York Academy of Medicine Library. It showcases 118 hospital postcards from New York City. Hospitals from all five boroughs (Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island) are represented, including public, private, not-for-profit, government, and military hospitals.” The entire collection is about 2000 postcards.
Architectural Digest: Inside the Leading Design-Forward Museums Opening This Year. “The top museums opening in 2020 vary in design, but they have one thing in common: Each has been built and reconstructed with the goal of having its spaces first serve the art and artifacts within. From the much-anticipated Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs to London’s beloved Museum of the Home (reopening this spring after a top-down, two-year overhaul), here are the design-forward museums debuting this year that are worth traveling for.” A little outside my wheelhouse, but some beautiful buildings here.
The Harold: Launch of long-awaited Havana Archive Project!!!. “The Hampshire College Library is thrilled to announce the launch of the Havana Archive Project, an Open Access digital photographic archive containing over 8,000 photographs of the 1,055 most significant buildings in the Historic Center of Havana, Cuba (as determined by Dr. Eusabio Leal, Director of the Office of the Historian) at the beginning of the restoration of Havana in the early 1980s.”
Washington State University: WSU to debut online resource for touring state’s most iconic buildings. “The free, public presentation will launch the Washington-based content for ‘SAH Archipedia,’ an online encyclopedia of the U.S. built environment, containing histories, photographs and maps for more than 20,000 structures, buildings and places.”
From last month, but I just found out about it now. From the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission: LPC Releases Story Map Highlighting 50 Years of Designations Associated with NYC’s Abolitionist History. “New York City played an important role in the effort to abolish slavery nationwide, and to assist those seeking to escape it. In observation of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to America, LPC wanted to bring greater awareness to the city’s abolitionist history by telling the story through designated landmarks that embody it. Through narrative text, images, maps, and multimedia content, the public can learn the important history behind these buildings.”
Canadian Architect: World Green Building Council Launches Digital Library of Sustainable Buildings. “The World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) has released a new digital case study library showcasing examples of cutting-edge sustainable buildings. Each case study demonstrates enhanced performance in relation to health benefits or net zero operational carbon achievements. According to the WorldGBC, the studies are verified by established certification schemes, rating tools or other third-party verification.”