Daily digest: Mapping Jewish Los Angeles, David Adjaye receives RIBA Gold Medal, and more

Calling In Congrats

Daily digest: Mapping Jewish Los Angeles, David Adjaye receives RIBA Gold Medal, and more

Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye with the RIBA 2021 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture (Courtesy RIBA/Francis Kokoroko, 2021)

Welcome back to another Thursday, and another roundup of news you can use. Not caught up? With the long Memorial Day weekend approaching, it might be the perfect time to dig into your backlog if the weather isn’t beach conducive.

Here’s what you need to know:

David Adjaye receives his 2021 RIBA Gold Medal in a star-studded ceremony

Last night, Sir David Adjaye formally received his 2021 Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in a virtual ceremony that reportedly included some big-name guests like former President Barack Obama and U2 frontman Bono. Calling in from Ghana for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) ceremony, Adjaye received his award from Iain Walker, British High Commissioner to Ghana, on behalf of the Queen herself.

“It’s incredibly humbling and a great honour to have my peers recognise the work I have developed with my team and its contribution to the field over the past 25 years,” said Adjaye in a press statement before the event. “Architecture, for me, has always been about the creation of beauty to edify all peoples around the world equally and to contribute to the evolution of the craft. The social impact of this discipline has been and will continue to be the guiding force in the experimentation that informs my practice. A heartfelt and sincere moment of gratitude and thanks to all the people who supported the journey to get to this moment.”

The AIA will participate in a roundtable on beefing up U.S. Capitol security

Although there is currently an acrimonious debate going on in the halls of power whether or not to formally investigate the attempted insurrection that took place on January 6 of this year, what everyone seems to agree on (whether rightfully or wrongly) is the need for more security at the U.S. Capitol complex. To that end, a representative from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has been invited to participate on a virtual roundtable discussion on June 1, at 7:00 p.m. EST, on improving security at the Capitol and other D.C. landmarks. According to a press release put out by the AIA, the talk will include:

“[Architect Thomas Vonier, on behalf of the AIA], Major General Errol R. Schwartz, landscape architect Faye Harwell, FASLA, and President and CEO of the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP), Dede Neal Petri. The discussion will explore ways buildings can be fortified while reducing the need for fencing and other barriers that may limit the public’s accessibility.”

The Biden administration defends a massive Alaska oil project despite climate pledges

Despite the Biden administration’s move to rejoin the Paris Accords and its support of offshore wind farms, it seems that old habits died hard. Yesterday, the administration reportedly filed a brief to continue Trump-era plans to tap the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska under the Willow Project. Environmentalists are concerned that neither administration has considered the impact the megaproject would have on local wildlife or its contributions to climate change; ironically, if ConocoPhillips wants to tap this oil field, it will have to install “chillers” in the ground to keep the rapidly warming permafrost stable while it drills.

H/t to the New York Times

A new sculpture garden is coming to Queens for dislodged playground animals

There was a furor in March of this year after the New York City Parks Department revealed it was removing some of the concrete animals dotting New York City’s many playgrounds. In place for decades, the concrete camels, owls, turtles, and myriad other animals are beloved, but often in rough shape. Now, the Parks Department has revealed that the five sculptures removed during renovations across the city will be relocated to the new “NYC Parks Home for Retired Playground Animals” in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens. Sadly, it will be a more contemplative experience than a play space; these ersatz animals are being out to pasture complete with “do not touch” signs.

H/t to Curbed

Amazon shut down its Connecticut construction site again after another noose was discovered

The Amazon construction site in Windsor, Connecticut, previously shuttered after the discovery of seven nooses on-site, shut down once again this week after an eighth was found. Last week, the 3.6-million-square-foot fulfillment site project closed until this Monday, May 24, but upon reopening, workers discovered yet another noose yesterday. Amazon stated that it is working with local law enforcement and the FBI to catch whoever is placing the ropes.

H/t to Construction Dive

UCLA is preserving Los Angeles’s Jewish history in a new exhibition

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is putting the diverse history of L.A.’s Boyle Heights on display in a new digital exhibition. In Jewish Histories in Multiethnic Boyle Heights, viewers can learn more about the L.A. neighborhood that at one time was home to about 10,000 Jewish households, or one-third of the city’s Jewish population. Using archival material, personal stories from residents, and original artifacts, the team has digitized (and visualized) what life was like in Boyle Heights during the first half of the 20th century before the demographic shifted to a Mexican American majority post-World War II.

Los Angeles County is looking to develop its own ADU program

Although the widely-lauded Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standard Plan Program offers Los Angeles homeowners 20 pre-designed options for dropping ADUs into their backyards, no such program exists on a county level. That could all change, as the Department of Regional Planning will reportedly look into expanding ADU production in L.A. County’s unincorporated communities, waiving fees for lower-income residents, and offering standardized ADU plans for free.

H/t to Urbanize Los Angles