New Research Shares How to Build Safe Cities for Birds
The Law, Ethics, and Animals Program at Yale Law School in Connecticut and the American Bird Conservancy, a Virginia-based nonprofit dedicated to tackling bird-related issues, published a new report, Building Safer Cities for Birds: How Cities Are Leading the Way on Bird-Friendly Building Policy, that shares data and insights on how improved building design codes and standards can help protect birds from fatal collisions with buildings. “New rules and innovative strategies for mitigating existing building stocks are urgently needed, especially at high-collision buildings,” Meredith Barges—coauthor of the study, policy researcher, and co-chair of Connecticut-based nonprofit Lights Out Connecticut—said in a press release. “The types of building renovations that trigger most laws will not happen fast enough to save many threatened birds in the decades ahead.” [Yale Law School]
Published earlier this month, ARCHITECT’s July/Aug. issue presents a case for rewilding in architecture, an approach to conservation that champions repairing and restoring natural ecosystems in the built environment. For example, the issue includes product coverage that highlights architectural avian-friendly bird glass; a feature on how architects can design for humans, flora, and fauna; and a Q&A with a rewilding expert on how the movement can help improve human well-being, business productivity, and natural environments. [ARCHITECT]
A Texas Community Becomes the World's Largest 3D-printed Housing Development
Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, American residential construction company Lennar, and Texas-based construction-technology startup ICON have teamed up to create the world’s largest 3D-printed housing development, located in Georgetown, Texas. The first wave of the project, part of a larger development called Wolf Ranch, features 100 single-family homes built with Lavacrete—a proprietary concrete material produced by 46-foot-wide Vulcan 3D printers. These homes represent “significant steps towards reducing waste in the construction process, as well as towards making our homes more resilient, sustainable, and energy self-sufficient,” Martin Voelkle, partner at Bjarke Ingels Group in New York, said in a description on the firm’s website. 3D printing methods can help reduce carbon emissions compared to common material shipping practices used for construction projects, according to research published in the National Library of Medicine. [CNN]
A Writer and Gardener Argues for New Design of the National Mall Due to Climate Change
The New York Times published an opinion essay about rewilding, the subject of this month’s issue of ARCHITECT. In the piece, Washington, D.C.-based writer and gardener Alexander Nazaryan, shared his thoughts on transforming the National Mall, a park and U.S. landmark in Washington D.C., from a canal surrounded by grass into a field of native wildflowers. “Replacing the Mall with a riotous wildflower meadow stretching from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol would not only beautify what is surely our dullest national park but also signal to millions of visitors that the lawn culture it symbolizes is no longer feasible in a 21st century dominated by extreme weather, species loss, and forever chemicals,” Nazaryan wrote. “Across the country, the millions of small, suburban versions of the Mall directly contribute to that corrosion.” [New York Times]
Salvaged Building Materials Tell the History of St. Louis In a New Exhibition
From Sep. 8 to Feb. 4, 2024, a new exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis entitled Urban Archaeology: Lost Buildings of St. Louis will be open to the public. Materials salvaged from architectural landmarks in St. Louis between 1840 and 1950 will be on display, illustrating the histories of building material technology and innovation, labor practices, and city dwellers in the built environment. “Urban Archaeology is intended to spark discussions about St. Louis’s past and future,” Cara Starke, Pulitzer executive director, said in a press release. “The museum has explored the way we inhabit the urban landscape in prior exhibitions, and we continue to examine the topic from different perspectives to expand our understanding of history so that we might better envision the future of our city. We are especially gratified by this collaboration as National Building Arts Center’s vast collection is a unique repository that offers fascinating new vantage points from which to view urban change and transformation.” [Pulitzer Arts Foundation]
Wildfires in Hawaii are Decimating Historical Landmarks
Wildfires in Maui, Hawaii, continue to claim lives, homes, and historical landmarks. Upward of 270 structures in Lahaina—a town in Maui County and the former capital of pre-colonization Hawaii—including a 90-year-old Buddhist temple, a 150-year-old banyan tree, a 200-year-old church, and the Pioneer Inn, a 122-year-old U.S. landmark, have been destroyed. According to CNN, the fires have also ravaged the oldest house in Maui and former missionary compound, the Baldwin Home, also in Lahaina. [Hyperallergic]
Architect Barbie Co-Creators Discuss the Doll's Continued Symbolic Relevance
In a recent University of Buffalo news article, the co-creators of Architect Barbie share how the doll came to fruition, its continued cultural relevance, and their excitement seeing their 2011 creation in the recently released Barbie movie.
“The Architect Barbie project was a catalyst for a conversation on the status of women and inspired panel discussions throughout the country on the status of women in the profession,” Kelly Hayes McAlonie, an architect and the director of campus planning at UB and Architect Barbie co-creator, said in the piece. “This led to important initiatives to increase gender equity in architecture.” In March 2023, Hayes McAlonie published her biography on Louise Blanchard Bethune, FAIA, America’s first professional architect, with State University of New York Press.
Despina Stratigakos, a professor of architecture at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, also had a hand in producing the toy and serves as an advocate for women in the field. In 2016 , she authored Where Are the Women Architects?, a book published by Princeton University Press that examines the disproportionate number of women to men in architecture. “I see Barbie as a useful disrupter,” Stratigakos said. “Her Barbie-ness can act like a powerful pink bomb, especially where masculine norms are so layered and dense that it is hard to create any space for conversations about change.” [University of Buffalo]
An Inclusive Pop-Up Museum Will Return for Burning Man's 2023 Edition
The Museum of No Spectators, a temporary museum and exhibition that will be built for Burning Man 2023—a fantastical festival in Nevada’s Black Rock City Desert that will host around 80,000 visitors—will feature pieces from Hank Willis Thomas, Deborah Willis, Madelon Vriesendorp, and other artists and makers. “MoNS is a place where everyone is an artist,” John Marx, architect and co-founder of the MoNS, said in a press release. “We want people to come and share their creativity, regardless of their skill level or experience.”
“The Museum of No Spectators asks a question—what would a museum be like on the playa within Burning Man culture?” a description on the organization’s website states. “What would you do there? What role would art play, what role would people play, what role would you play? It picks up the debate of the participatory nature of Burning Man culture in contrast to the Default World museum experience. MoNS turns the concept around and creates a fully participatory container by encouraging people to participate playfully with the idea of what museums and participatory art means in terms of creating and nurturing culture.”
The museum will be open during Burning Man from Aug. 27 to Sep. 4. [Museum of No Spectators]
Looking for more tech and culture news? We've got you covered.