Good morning, architects. Here's a holiday card from SOM, which won a 2012 Spark Award for The Ledge at the former Sears Tower and may win the 2012 Holiday Award for the best design-firm holiday card I got. It had an animation and everything!
SPEAKING OF ANIMATION. I very nearly missed this story, but Richard Neutra made an appearance on The Simpsons last week. Curbed has the clip: It's your standard-issue episode on hipsters featuring Carrie Brownstein (of Portlania but more importantly of Wild Flag and Sleater-Kinney) and Fred Arnisen (of Portlandia but more importantly of Saturday Night Live) and there's a name-check of Dwell in it. But this is far from the greatest architecture-related Simpsons episode ever made. That honor belongs to "The Seven-Beer Snitch," which stars Frank Gehry, FAIA, and sees Montgomery Burns turn the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles into a prison. This episode is of small importance to the history of architecture, because it is the origin of the (mistaken) impression that Gehry's model for this building was a crumpled piece of paper. But this episode is important to everyone because it features Snake shouting, "Ha, ha! No Frank Gehry–designed prison can hold me!" Which is fantastic.
END-OF-DAYS ARCHITECTURE. Devotees of China's Church of Almighty God take the Mayan calendar's doomsday predictions seriously enough that they are building specialized architectural projects that they hope will help them weather the storm. A very literal storm, it would appear, from the looks of Lu Zhenhai's houseboat, though Liu Qiyuan's reinforced pods appear prepared to endure anything. The New York Times has the pictures.
AND ON TO 2013. Bill McBride writes on the Calculated Risk blog about an optimistic outlook from Michelle Meyer of Merrill Lynch on the so-called jobless housing recovery. McBride and Meyer's comments precede the release of the November ABI and confirm Stephen Jacob Smith's report that construction jobs are not just on the way, they are probably already here and we simply cannot tell from surveys.
...AND REMAINDERS. Princeton University's Robert Maxwell remembers Alan Colquhoun... Don't forget to read these end-of-the-year notes from Alexandra Lange and Mark Lamster... Jeff Shannon, AIA, reappointed as dean of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture... Architectural animated GIFS, it had to happen eventually... A few more auctioned sketches from Architecture for Humanity, including one by Steven Holl, FAIA... Core 77 looks at some handsome pitched-roof interiors... The Chicago Tribune welcomes the new Gratz Center at the historic Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue by Gensler, but it's stuck behind a paywall, so you'll have to look here to find it.