40 Buildings That Represent Black American History Receive Preservation Grants
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a nonprofit that works to save the United States's historic sites, announced its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund—a program dedicated to preserving African American heritage sites—will provide $3.8 million in grants to support the preservation of 40 buildings across the U.S. that represent African American history. “The history embodied in these places is emblematic of generational aspirations for freedom, the pursuit of education, a need for beauty and architecture, and joys of social life and community bonds,” Brent Leggs, senior vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a press release on the organization’s website. “That’s why the Action Fund believes all Americans must see themselves and our shared history in this year’s grantee list if we are to create a culturally conscious nation.”
Pictured above is one of this year’s grantees, Talladega College—the first historically Black liberal arts college in Alabama. It will undergo a campus-wide preservation project to honor and celebrate the college’s rich architectural lexicon and historical legacy. [National Trust for Historic Preservation]
Architects are Using AI to Design Office Spaces
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered working habits, leaving workers teetering between hybrid, fullyremote, and in-office work modalities. Architects and designers have had to find new ways to craft offices that cater to this new workplace order. A recent New York Times article reports that architects are turning to artificial intelligence to help them design these new spaces. London-based firm Zaha Hadid Architects, for example, has a five-person unit that harnesses the power of AI. The team, Zaha Hadid Analytics + Insights, has a computing tool that can produce 100,000 designs for an office building interior in 27 hours. According to the article, AI can provide architects with a plethora of design options that would give workers more personalization, mobility, and intrigue in their office spaces—and ultimately help boost productivity and morale.
The firm has also used AI in real-world applications such as the Infinitus Plaza, an office complex it designed in Guangzhou, China, that opened in 2021. The tool helped the architects decide where to position the building’s interior staircases, elevator shafts, and pipes. [New York Times]
Art Basel's Swiss Edition Welcomes Worldwide Artists
Last week, Art Basel—an international art fair that connects and celebrates artists from around the world—took place in Basel, Switzerland with more than 280 galleries and 4,000 artists in attendance from 36 countries. ARTnews writer Sarah Belmont compiled a list of the best booths and exhibitions at the annual event.
Pictured above is Egyptian artist Hend Samir’s triptych-like mural that fills the Gypsum Gallery booth in the Art Basel Statements area of the fair. Samir’s new series of canvas paintings captures the exuberance and chaos of family gatherings through illustrations of a motley crew of adolescents and their parents in a fluid setting that morphs from a domestic interior to an exterior space. [ARTnews]
Architects Turn to Medieval Techniques to Rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral Roof
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the world’s treasured architectural landmarks, was severely damaged in a 2019 fire. What remained in the aftermath was a gaping hole where the roof once stood. Four years later, the charpente—the framework that will support the new roof—is being rebuilt so the famous church can reopen by 2024’s end.
Ateliers Perrault, a 250-year-old French carpentry company based in Mauges-sur-Loire, is helping restore the roof using medieval techniques similar to ones used to build the original structure. "A cathedral is a structural ensemble that's very complex, and as soon as you change one little thing, one parameter, it impacts everywhere else in the cathedral," Rémi Fromont, lead architect on the roof restoration project, told NPR. "So reconstructing it exactly the same way is also a precaution. It worked very well for 800 years. So we know if we build it back the same way we won't risk damaging the cathedral by trying something new." [NPR]
United Nations Working to Cut Plastic Production by 80%
According to an article published by The Guardian, global plastic production has increased about 30-fold since the material became mainstream in the 1960s. Currently, more than 430 million tons of plastic are produced annually, with roughly two-thirds of this figure attributed to temporary products that pollute the planet’s oceans and find their way into foods as microplastics.
Earlier this month, 169 world governments agreed to draft a treaty aimed at curbing plastic production. According to a United Nations Environment Programme report, if governments and companies make serious changes, plastic production could be reduced by 80% by 2040. However, without drastic action, plastic consumption could almost double by 2050. [The Guardian]
ARCHITECT's Top 10 Summer Exhibitions to Visit
ARCHITECT contributor Alene Bouranova has rounded up 10 of this summer's must-see art, design, and architecture exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Open to the public starting now, the shows include CAMPUS AULA: Educational Architecture in Latin America, an exhibition spotlighting nine higher education projects throughout Latin America, at the Center for Architecture in New York; Brick City, a viewing of miniature LEGO-brick recreations of some of the world's most iconic buildings, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.; The Culture: Hip Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century, an exhibition designed by SmithGroup that explores hip-hop's impact from 2000 to present, at the Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore; and more. [ARCHITECT]
Paris Limits Height of New Buildings
This month, the city of Paris passed its Plan Local d’Urbanisme, which will limit the height of new buildings to 12 stories, or about 37 meters, tall. According to euronews, the ban is part of the city's Local Bioclimatic Urban Plan aimed at reducing Paris's carbon emissions and promoting eco-friendly construction practices. The city's mayor Anne Hidalgo says the plan will help keep Paris "attractive and pleasant in coming years despite the acceleration in the temperature," she said in the article. [euronews]
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