Daily digest: The Dixie Fire wipes away a California town, thousands of looted artifacts repatriated to Iraq, and more

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Daily digest: The Dixie Fire wipes away a California town, thousands of looted artifacts repatriated to Iraq, and more

The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., was forced to return 12,000 looted artifacts to Iraq (Courtesy SmithGroupJJR Architect)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another Thursday sampling of the ongoing art, architecture, and design news of the week.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The Dixie Fire is tearing through Northern California and wiping away entire towns

The town of Greenville in Northern Carolina has been totally destroyed as the three-week-long Dixie Fire continues to rage. As the fire crept closer to the Gold Rush-era town, all 800 residents were urged to evacuate. The Dixie Fire has charred 435 square miles so far as dry, hot conditions continue, and similar conditions in Southern California are feeding wildfires there as well.

H/t to NPR

17,000 looted archaeological artifacts are seized and returned to Iraq

More than 17,000 looted artifacts have been returned to the Iraqi Culture Ministry for repatriation, from an eclectic range of sources including Hobby Lobby and Cornell University. The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., which opened in 2017 near the National Mall and is funded by Hobby Lobby, was the worst offender, handing over 12,000 ancient Mesopotamian artifacts. Cornell returned over 5,000 clay tablets and various other pieces, having been donated to the university in 2000 but sourced from the looted lost city Garsana. Of particular note is the tablet returned by Hobby Lobby that contained a fragment of the epic of Gilgamesh on it, which the craft store chain purchased from Christie’s for $1.67 million.

H/t to the New York Times

The Detroit Smart Parking Lab will open in September for self-driving car testing

The Detroit Smart Parking Lab, a joint collaboration between Ford, Bedrock and Bosch, will open this September as a proving ground for autonomous vehicles and electric cars. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Office of Future Mobility and Electrification have offered grants to get the project going, and car rental giant Enterprise will run the first set of experiments at the lab. The American Center For Mobility will run the site’s day-to-day operations, which will focus on improving autonomous parking capabilities.

Site of collapsed Surfside condo tower will go up for sale, preps for clearing

The 1.9-acre Champlain Towers South site in Surfside, Florida, is headed for sale. On Wednesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ruled that selling the site would be necessary to meet the $48 million owed in insurance payouts after the collapse that left 98 dead. An offering will be put forward sometime in the next 30 days, as the site’s owner approaches interested brokerages and developers.

H/t to The Real Deal

DIALOG reveals the National accessArts Centre in Calgary

A $12 million redevelopment of a former Scouts Canada building will become the new home for the  National accessArts Centre, which will, once complete, focus on Calgary’s disabled community. The new center, designed by DIALOG, will feature a gratuitous overhang pierced with a central, circular cutout. Construction is slated to begin this year.

H/t to Archinect