Good morning and welcome back to another roundup of the day’s art, design, architecture, and transportation news as we slouch towards the weekend (guaranteed to be another scorcher, sadly).
Here’s what you need to know today:
Thomas Heatherwick rebukes rumors, says he isn’t designing the U.K.’s COVID memorial
Days after it came to light that Thomas Heatherwick had been corresponding with UK government officials about potentially designing a national COVID memorial, he’s shot down the rumors. The English artist and designer told Dezeen that his eponymous studio had only been approached in an advisory capacity to the UK Commission on Covid Commemoration to help generate ideas. The prospective memorial would commemorate the lives lost to COVID-19 across the U.K. and may one day rise, but as Heatherwick made clear, he wouldn’t be the one designing it.
H/t to Dezeen
Sarah Feinberg steps back from leading the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Less than two months after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo indicated that he was nominating the interim Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) head, Sarah Feinberg, to lead the agency permanently, Feinberg has reportedly stepped down effective July 30. Feinberg had been serving as president of the NYC Transit for 17 months in the wake of Andy Byford’s departure, seeing the subway and bus system through the tumultuous pandemic. She now claims that she is stepping down because of the toll the job has taken on her personal life. Feinberg expressed willingness to step back into the role of president if chairperson of the 21-strong MTA board and CEO were split into separate jobs as they were from 2006 through 2009, saying the dual position is currently too much for one person.
H/t to the New York Post
The AIA’s construction spending outlook rises even higher
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released its most recent Consensus Construction Forecast, and spending predictions are looking rosy. Following months of upward ABI movement, it appears construction spending is likely to follow in 2022. According to the AIA, pent-up demand from the pandemic is likely to drive spending on construction up across the board next year; by 4.6 percent across the entire aggregated nonresidential sector, with dips only projected for the office market (falling by 0.1 percent) and religious projects (falling 0.9 percent).
“Even while momentum is developing behind most of the nonresidential building sectors, there are several potential potholes on the road to a construction recovery,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, in a press release. “Inflation is back on the radar screen given the surge in consumer spending, as well as the growing federal debt levels. Also, the global supply chain continues to face serious challenges that persist even well after initial pandemic related disruptions have largely subsided.”
Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing platform park delays groundbreaking by two years
One year after the New York City-based Durst Organization was chosen to build a 12-acre park deck to cap a waterfront section of Philadelphia’s Interstate 95, the ambitious Penn’s Landing redevelopment has hit a snag. Although the $225 million park project had been slated to break ground this year, last week the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation confirmed that COVID had pushed that date back to 2023. Little work has been done at the site thus far on account of a pandemic-induced construction slowdown, and the deck park’s projected opening has been pushed from 2024 to 2026.
H/t to WHYY
Why is it so hard to install bus shelters in L.A.?
Sixty percent of bus stops in Los Angeles are totally uncovered from the elements; why is it so hard to build more shelters? Narrow sidewalks and a lack of trees are one factor (though Curbed’s Alissa Walker digs into potential design solutions), but the real culprit may lie in the city’s burdensome approvals process and apathy towards funding public transit upgrades.
H/t to Curbed
Roberto Burle Marx’s former home named a UNESCO World Heritage Site
The former home of late Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx is officially a World Heritage Site; UNESCO made the determination during its ongoing meeting in China. The Rio de Janeiro home, where Marx lived until 1985 before donating it to the Brazilian government, is a living laboratory for landscape design and features over 3,500 types of plants.
“The garden features the key characteristics that came to define Burle Marx’s landscape gardens and influenced the development of modern gardens internationally,” UNESCO said in its announcement. “The garden is characterized by sinuous forms, exuberant mass planting, architectural plant arrangements, dramatic colour contrasts, use of tropical plants, and the incorporation of elements of traditional folk culture.”
H/t to ABC News