New York architect Markus Dochantschi, principal of StudioMDA, has a plum project. His firm is working pro bono with a Malawian architect to design the Raising Malawi School for Girls. The boarding school is a project of Raising Malawi, a charity founded in 2006 by the unlikely duo of pop icon Madonna and rabbi and kabbalist Michael Berg to help the two million orphaned children of the impoverished southeast African country. We hear that the school will have no religious affiliation, but instead will be based on the British system, such as those that Madge’s offspring, Lourdes and Rocco, attend.
Mint Julep With That Pink Slip?
It’s not all death rattles and pink slips, just mostly. We were sad to learn that Gensler is closing its Wall Street office and moving survivors to Midtown. This isn’t firm-wide shrinkage, though. By all accounts, San Francisco and Dallas, to name only two of Gensler’s 31 offices, are in good shape. Speaking of Dallas, the town seems recession-proof, at least compared to the east and west coasts. HKS, architect for the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, is thriving. Elsewhere, New Orleans–based Perez, APC, is said to be in good shape, and ditto for Brown Chambless Architects in Montgomery, AL. Anyway, some firms seem to be booming, possibly because so much misery is concentrated in New York. Can it be true that the New York office of global biggie BBG/BBGM has defenestrated 75 percent of its employees from the 25th floor of the Empire State Building and is down to two projects, leaving it too poor to buy a vowel? Is it also true that CetraRuddy is staying alive doing small lobby renovations and storage spaces? We hope everyone will rebound soon, but for now the Big Apple has been rebranded as The City With No Pity.
The Knock-Off Artists
What Manhattan architecture firm thinks it’s all right to ask a local manufacturer to spend months designing and detailing a custom curtain wall, then rolls up the drawings, specifications, and shop drawings and sends them to China for a cheaper, second-rate copy? We can’t wait to see how the inferior knockoff holds up in the unfriendly New York elements. Hint: The building is under construction in the Way West Village, and that’s all we’re saying at the moment. In future posts, we’ll refer to this firm as the Willful Infringers.
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