Unmonumental: The scaffolding that has supported the Washington Monument for the better part of the year will start to come down today. It will take three months to bring the scaffolding down entirely. While it's a good thing that the Monument's observation decks will be open once again this spring, it's a loss for the scaffolding—a structure in its own right—to disappear into storage once again.
The first time the Monument became the Monumech was in 1998. Target donated $3.5 million and raised another $5.4 million (in 2013 dollars) toward the National Park Service's renovation of the Washington Monument. Target also hired Michael Graves, FAIA, to design the scaffolding system—the same scaffolding that is coming down today. (Target had begun selling housewares designed by Graves in 1999, a partnership that only ended last year.)
The enscaffolded Washington Monument earned its share of admirers during its recent run ( this writer included). The same thing happened back in 2000: When the scaffolding came down, Target offered to raise another $6.8 million to build a half-scale Monument-under-scaffolding-sans-Monument in Minneapolis, the corporate retailer's headquarters city. NIMBYs objected to the scheme, and it fizzled that year.
Surely, more than a decade later, there's a chance that opinions have softened? Somebody should give Washburn Fair Oaks Park the obelisk that its designer (Frederick Law Olmsted!) meant for the park to have from the very start. [ WJLA]
Three firms are vying for the building to replace Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, currently undergoing demolition—Goettsch Partners, Perkins+Will, and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. [ Chicago Tribune]
The owners of the Golden State Warriors are slimming down the size of the new Embarcadero arena designed by Snøhetta and AECOM in anticipation of a fight over its fight. By nipping and tucking the roofline, increasing the overall open space, and lowering the public plazas "to create a gradual slope of greenery," the owners hope to appease opponents with "Design 3.0." [ San Francisco Chronicle]
The Shockoe plan—a $200 million development for Richmond, Va., that includes a grocery store, hotel, and 750 residential units—will also include a memorial to the victims of slavery. The site for the development was once one of the largest chattel slavery markets in the nation. [ Richmond Times-Dispatch]
"Intrinsic to the idea of prefab housing is serial production. But computerised customisation has made it possible to design and manufacture non-identical objects, to reconcile mass production with an individual artistic spirit." [ Financial Times]
Francis Golding, former Secretary of the U.K.'s Royal Fine Art Commission and chief executive of its successor organization, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, was killed in a cycling accident in London. [ London Evening Standard]
Fetch a signed copy of Paul Rand: American Modernist by Jessica Helfand for just $7.50. [ Design Observer]
Minneapolis construction projects total over $1 billion for the second consecutive year. The past two years were the first to reach the billion-dollar mark since 2000. [ Minneapolis Star Tribune]
A home designed by Edward Dart was razed last month to make way for a home not designed by Edward Dart. [ Chicago Tribune]
Docomomo US is accepting submissions until Jan. 15 for their first Modernism in America Awards, which features James Polshek as jury chairman. [ The New York Times]