Daily digest: California’s Flintstone House settles its legal woes, Surfside condo tower collapse updates, and more

Yabba Dabba Do, After All

Daily digest: California’s Flintstone House settles its legal woes, Surfside condo tower collapse updates, and more

The Flintstone House before the additions that landed Florence Fang in hot water. (Judy Meuschke)

Welcome back to another Tuesday roundup. The heat dome over the Pacific Northwest has broken somewhat, leaving Seattle and Portland alone, but eastern Washington State and other areas are still sweltering under 100-plus-degree temperatures. All of that is to say that the blacktop is still buckling, so stay safe and cool if you happen to be a reader in a dangerous location.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The legal battle over the “Flintstone House” in Hillsborough, California, comes to an end

Two years ago, the town of Hillsborough took Florence Fang, a retired newspaper magnate, to court over unauthorized additions to her home; namely 15-foot-tall dinosaurs, mushrooms, a life-sized Fred Flintstone statue, and multicolored letters spelling out “Yabba Dabba Doo” by the driveway. Even those additions wouldn’t typically make national news, but Fang’s bulbous house, originally built in 1976 by architect William Nicholson via spraying shotcrete over inflated balloons, bears more than a passing resemblance to the one in The Flintstones.

Now, Fang and the town have finally settled. Fang will reportedly receive $125,000 to cover her legal expenses (after countersuing) and in exchange, she will need to apply for permits for any future additions to the home’s exterior.

H/t to Hyperallergic

Nonstandard McDonald’s launches a Kickstarter to find quirky restaurants in Florida

Twitter account Nonstandard McDonald’s, which has been digging up examples of esoteric eateries for the last year (including, but not limited to, a McDonald’s in Rome that integrated ancient ruins), is hitting the road. Yesterday, Nonstandard McDonald’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new documentary that would see the crew (and special guests) on a road trip up and down the Sunshine State in search of 12 of the wildest McDonald’s restaurants. At the time of writing, the campaign has hit $8,400 out of its $45,000 goal in only the first day—the odds look pretty good for this one.

Stefano Boeri Architetti completes a new entrance to Nero’s Domus Aurea

Photo of new metal pathways snaking inside an ancient palace
The new pathways intentionally contrast with the ancient stonework (Lorenzo Masotto)

Stefano Boeri Architetti has completed a new entrance passage to the Domus Aurea in Rome, a landscaped palace built by Emperor Nero that originally opened in 68 AD. The new path, illuminated by strips of LED lighting at floor level, forks into three branches: One leads to a vestibule containing the ticket office and book store, another leads to the gallery, and the last leads to the Octagonal Room, the grandest part of the original palace.

Deferred maintenance and cracking foundations plagued Surfside condo tower prior to collapse

As rescuers continue to search for survivors of the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, on June 24, new information on why exactly the tower fell is slowly coming to light. In 2018, the president of the building’s condo association reportedly warned that $15 million was needed to repair the major structural damage discovered by engineers. That was after years of deferred maintenance and worsening problems.

Champlain Towers South, built in 1981, was in the middle of its 40 year recertification inspection, and now Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami are reportedly ramping up scrutiny of similar buildings—especially those built by the same developer and/or the same contractor as Champlain Towers South during the same time period. At the time of writing, 11 people have been definitively declared dead and 150 are missing.

Architect and designer Umberto Riva passes away at 93

Designer and architect Umberto Riva has reportedly passed away at the age of 93 at his home in Palermo, Italy. Riva was a student of Carlo Scarpa who drew both critical and commercial acclaim specifically for his lamps, which used innovative forms both in the body and glasswork, creating products considered quintessentially Italian.

H/t to Domus

Quilian Riano joins the Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture as assistant dean

Architect and urban designer Quilian Riano is returning to his former home of New York City with a brand-new title: Assistant Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture. Riano comes to Pratt from Kent State University, where he served as director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC). He’s also the founder and lead designer of DSGN AGNC, a design and research studio dedicated to experimenting with new forms of space creation through political engagement. In addition to his work with DSGN AGNC and recent helming of the CUDC, Riano has led graduate and undergraduate studios in architecture, urban design, and transdisciplinary design at Columbia University, Carleton University, Parsons The New School of Design, Syracuse University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, the City College of New York, Pratt, and his alma mater of Harvard University, where he received his Masters of Architecture from the Graduate School of Design. Riano is also a lead initiator and core member of Dark Matter University, a wholly collaborative and BIPOC-led digital education platform that recently received a Special Citation from AIA New York.

“I am excited to join the Pratt Institute’s renowned School of Architecture as its Assistant Dean,” Riano told AN. “The challenges the built environment faces require collaborative design methodologies and each program within the school has a long history of impact in their disciplines. I look forward to working with the Dean, faculty and students to continue that excellence and to also embark on new projects and initiatives designed to strengthen connections between programs and students.”