Street level view of Xiqu Center in relation to piazza.
Credit: Courtesy West Kowloon Cultural District Authority
Good morning, architects. The Xiqu Center by Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners is a birthday present for architect Bing Thom, AIA, who turned 72 just before it was announced that he won the commission—his first ever in his native home of Hong Kong. James Adams devotes some column inches in The Globe and Mail to Thom's Chinese moongate–inspired design for the Xiqu Center, the inaugural cultural project for Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District. Bing Thom Architects beat out four other shortlisted finalists for the job, including Foster + Partners and Safdie Architects. The Xiqu Center satisfies one of Thom's lifelong ambitions: to design an opera house in China.
SPEAKING OF HONG KONG. M+, a contemporary art museum planned for the same West Kowloon Cultural District, will be a 62,000-square-foot building on par with the Museum of Modern Art. Six teams have been invited to submit designs for the building. The shortlisted teams are Herzog & de Meuron and TFP Farrells; SANAA; Renzo Piano Building Workshop Shigeru Ban Architects and Thomas Chow Architects; Snøhetta; and Toyo Ito & Associates and Architects + Benoy.
IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE. Sarah Williams Goldhagen one-ups the Foreign Policy piece questioning Oscar Niemeyer's dedication to his buildings with an unappreciation for The New Republic questioning whether Niemeyer should get much of any of the credit he's receives for his work. "[T]he young Brazilian was toddling still in Le Corbusier’s shadow while many other architects, from many other countries, already had forged or already were in the process of forging multiple non-technologically-obsessed, vibrantly lyrical strains of modernism," she writes. Second-guessing is a natural process of the public grieving process, but it can be insular and navel gazing. Goldhagen does better, though, by not merely objecting to Niemeyer tributes (which she does). She also identifies the work she considers valid: Niemeyer became Niemeyer, she writes, when he began collaborating with landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
GOOD FOR CHARLOTTE. For the Charlotte Observer, Kerry Singe reports that the New York–based firm Bergmann Associates has acquired Gantt Huberman Architects, which was co-founded by former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt. Mergers and acquisitions can be unsettling succession strategies for staffers, but the report says that all the Charlotte employees will stay on.
...AND REMAINDERS. A meeting of the minds between Brussels and Washington, D.C., at the District Architecture Center... The 1848 Church of the Assumption, which is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, to be torn down... Christchurch earthquake collapses caused by faulty building design... David Brussat speaks the truth about the University of California's terrible new logo... Owen Hatherley doesn't care for architecture websites... An architect publishes her memoir, focusing on working as a woman in the field.