A few days before this issue went to press, a devastating cyclone hit the Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar (Burma). The initial death toll was estimated to be about 22,000, and some observers believed the final number could exceed 100,000. Aid groups—including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (ifrc.org), Oxfam (oxfam.org), and Care (care.org)—have been providing food, water, money, and volunteers. In addition to the loss of life, whole communities were wiped out, innumerable structures were destroyed or damaged beyond repair, and more than 1 million people were left homeless. To assist with temporary and long-term housing and other rebuilding issues, Architecture for Humanity (architectureforhumanity.org) has been soliciting donations to provide design services.
At the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Gerald M. McCue Professor of Architecture Preston Scott Cohen has been appointed as chair of the Department of Architecture, effective July 1. The three-time P/A Award winner, who maintains a practice in Cambridge, Mass., has also held faculty positions at Princeton, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Ohio State University.
Perkins+Will has been selected to redesign the interior exhibit space of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, housed within the USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier that is currently undergoing a major refurbishment. The design team will be led by Eva Maddox, winner of the AIA's 2007 Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture. Chief curator John Zukowsky, who previously served as the architecture curator for the Art Institute of Chicago, said in a press release that he expects Perkins+Will's design to “reinforce our museum's reputation as one of New York's most important cultural institutions.”
The University of Southern California has launched the American Academy in China, based in Shanghai and run by Qingyun Ma, dean of the architecture school. Several times every year, the academy will host students from USC's graduate and undergraduate programs in architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, and planning for classes in art, design, and the humanities, as well as explorations of Shanghai and three other cities. It will also offer a base for visiting scholars studying Chinese culture.
The Los Angeles City Council has unanimously approved the construction of a wetland park on an old Metropolitan Transportation Authority maintenance yard. The urban park will cost $19 million and include a lake, marshes populated with native plants, walking paths, and a community center. The nine-acre site runs from Avalon Boulevard to San Pedro Street.
Moves and appointments at Ellerbe Becket: Gregory Chang, a principal and director of planning in the firm's Washington, D.C., office, has been named national director of healthcare. He replaces principal Jon Buggy, who will now focus full time on managing the Minneapolis office. Adrian Hagerty, a 20-year Ellerbe Becket veteran, has been tapped to be the D.C. office's managing principal.
The New Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, and 11 other buildings have been awarded the 2008 Governor General's Medal in Architecture, given by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Learn more at raic.org.
Architect Clifford Curry and his wife, H. Delight Stone, have endowed the University of Kentucky College of Design with more than $5.5 million to fund a new chair of contemporary design and create the Curry Stone Design Prize, which will award $100,000 each year to a designer working in architecture, urban design, graphic design, or product design. The first award will be presented this September at the 2008 IdeaFestival.
The AIA Intern Development Program Advisory Committee has named Carrier Johnson Architects and JG Johnson Architects as the 2008 IDP Outstanding Firms.
In May, after a stormy two-year tenure, Lurita Alexis Doan was pressured to resign from her post as chief of the General Services Administration, the federal government's main contracting agency.