New School teachers on strike and more news

Happy Wednesday and Happy Thanksgiving! All of us here at A are grateful to our readers, event attendees and sponsors. While waiting for the latest news, weI’m going to take it easy over this holiday weekend and “fully restart the presses” (!) on Monday, November 28, when we’re back online with more architecture news. In the meantime, here are some stories you may have missed in the past week. Read on for excellent archi-fodder thatis sure to stimulate conversation around the dining table.

Airbnb co-founder unveils Samaras Backyard, a range of customizable and prefabricated ADUs

As the housing market continues to boil and ADUs provide temporary reliefthere is a new offer for prefabricated housing: Meet backyard, the first offering from Samara, a startup launched by Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia with Mike McNamara. Trained as a designer at RISD, Gebbia is also the financial manager punch behind the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity, which recently acquired William Stout Architectural Books in San Francisco.

billed as “the little house designed for the next chapter of your life,” Backyard offers prefab homes in the shape of rectangular boxes with a pitched roof. They come in two sizes: studio (430 square feet, from $289,000) and one bedroom (550 square feet, from $329,000). Each unit is customizable, so buyers can configure their base color, roof color, entry location (side or front), deck, windows, solar capabilities, guard finish -dress, blinds, etc.

According to a press release, Backyard’s units are “precision-built using highly durable and environmentally friendly materials not readily available to most builders,” and come complete with appliances and storage. . Each unit is structured with a light gauge steel frame, wrapped with insulated 2” thick steel clad panels and topped with a 5:12 standing seam metal roof clad in Galvalume. Its HVAC system also purifies the air, “which helps reduce airborne contaminants like wildfire smoke.” The product is fully electric and includes solar panels on its metal roof. Samara offers an impressive list of end-to-end services including surveying, permitting, unit fabrication, foundations and installation.

Samara’s Backyard offering will help accelerate densification and help homeowners transform “their yard into a useful and productive asset that can help them improve their quality of life and achieve greater financial independence.” The current wait time for a Backyard unit is about seven months, and the company estimates that its product saves four to six months compared to traditional on-site construction. At this time, Backyard is only available in Northern and Southern California.

Mayor Michelle Wu attends the City Hall Plaza reopening event. (Mayor’s office photo by John Wilcox)

Boston City Hall Plaza reopens to the public after major renovations

Last week, for the first time, Boston residents were able to enjoy the newly reopened City Hall Plaza, a reimagined interstitial urban space activated with benches, playgrounds and public art. The renovation project, part of a 30-year master plan for the civic site first proposed by former mayor Marty Walsh in 2015, was led by an architectural firm Sasaki. He focused on the accessibility and sustainability of Bean Town’s “front yard”.

In addition to playgrounds and a robust landscaping plan, improvements around the site include a new stormwater management system, 250 new trees, updated lighting and recycled brick and granite pavers. .

“We are proud of the bold vision the city has taken to make Boston City Hall Plaza an inviting and accessible outdoor public space,” Sasaki principal and architect Fiske Crowell said in a statement. statement. “A strong community engagement process helped us transform the Plaza from a harsh outdoor environment into a new green space where all are welcome.”

The redeveloped square nestled between Congress Street and Cambridge Street, is adjacent to the imposing, brutalist City hall buildingdesigned by British-American architect Noel Michael McKinnell, which opened in 1969.

“City Hall Plaza is a space to bring people together and build community,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. accessible for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. »

Teachers at The New School continue strike for higher salaries

The New School part-time teachers’ strike has entered its seventh day after an eight-year contract expired. The New School, home to the Parsons School of Design, has long been criticized for underpaying adjunct faculty and blatantly paying top administrators. (87 percent of the New School faculty are adjunct professors.)

Represented by United Auto Workers (UAW) – who also represent the 48,000 workers currently on strike at the University of California system and adjunct faculty members who were on strike at New York University last month-Faculty organized through ACT-UAW Local 7902 said the 3.5% salary increase presented by the university was insufficient, exacerbated by recent inflation.

Union members are ask a 10% salary increase, with annual increases of 5%, as opposed to the 2% currently offered by the university during negotiations. Members are also negotiating for expanded access to health care for part-time faculty, contribution to curriculum, increased protection against discrimination and better job security. During the ongoing emergency agreement between the union and the university, members have not received any raises or pension contributions.

H/t at The New York Times

rendering of buildings in centennial courtyard
(Courtesy of TVS)

Construction begins on Atlanta’s Centennial Yards development

Centenary course opened last week in Atlanta. The $5 billion, 50-acre development is expected to reshape the downtown southwest area, an area that is now a series of surface parking lots adjacent to Mercedes Benz Stadium and State Farm Arena. Foster + Partners and the Atlanta studio of Perkins&Will established its overall plan of the site. When fully constructed, the project is expected to include 4 million square feet of new residential buildings and 4 million square feet of new commercial buildings, including new offices, retail, restaurants and hotels.

In a neighborhood known as The Gulch, a “literal hole in the heart of the city,” according to press materials, the project will connect historic neighborhoods long isolated due to industrial infrastructure. Centennial Yards is also confident that it will be built and inhabited by Atlanta residents. It is supposed to provide 20% affordable housing for 99 years. Construction strives to achieve a 38% target for minority and women-owned business participation, including design, development and property management; and 25 percent of entry-level construction jobs at Centennial Yards — and 10 percent of all construction jobs — are for workers in downtown Atlanta.

The first phase includes two new high-rise buildings, both designed by Atlanta-based architectural firms Goode Van Slyke Architects (GVSA) and TVS Architecture + Design: one is an 18-story boutique hotel and the The other is an 18-story residential tower. These two towers are expected to be completed in 2025. (One Centennial Yards, a tower designed by SOM with GVSAwas already announced earlier this year.) Beyond the buildings, which are financed in part by a $2 billion tax incentive packagethe development, adjacent to two MARTA train stops, aims to “bring increased 24/7 connectivity, walking and living to the heart of Atlanta”.

Time is running out, as Atlanta is one of the cities in the United States that will host World Cup matches in 2026 when FIFA stages its competition in sixteen venues across the continent. Although full scope may take a decade, in previous coverage Brian McGowan, President of Centennial Yards Company, said his team aims to “to have much of the planned mini-city erected in today’s Gulch in time for World Cup fanatics to celebrate before, during and after games.”

In coordination with the grand opening, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens noted, “With the development of Centennial Yards, we have the opportunity to further revitalize downtown while bridging the gap between east and west of our town. He added that “this project is unique to Atlanta – bringing together the public, private and nonprofit sectors to dream big and execute a plan in a thoughtful and deliberate way.”

Cornell University reappoints architect J. Meejin Yoon as dean of its College of Architecture

Architect and educator J. Meejin Yoon was renewed as Dean Gale and Ira Drukier of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP). Effective January 2, 2024, Yoon’s term extension follows nearly three years of leadership as Dean throughout the pandemic, during which she oversaw an expansion of the school’s academic programs.

Yoon, a Cornell undergraduate, is known for her work as the co-founder of Boston-based architecture firm Höweler + Yoon. Since 2004, the company’s work has included the Memorial to Slave Laborers at the University of Virginia, the Moongate Bridge in Shanghai and the Newly opened MIT museum. The office has undergone Ait is last studio visit.

To date, during her tenure as Dean, she has helped establish a number of programs, including the Paul Rubacha Real Estate Department (in collaboration with Cornell SC Johnson College of Business), the Cornell Mui Ho Center for Citiesan Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and the staffing of the Gensler Family AAP NYC Center. Recognizing her contributions to culture at large, Yoon was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2021 and a recipient of the Leonardo da Vinci World Prize 2022.

Comments are closed.