Daily digest: The AIA comes out against federal design mandates, Heatherwick Studio’s Lantern House is complete, and more

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Daily digest: The AIA comes out against federal design mandates, Heatherwick Studio’s Lantern House is complete, and more

The U.S. Capitol complex (MIKE STOLL/Unsplash)

Greetings and welcome back to another Friday news roundup. There is still plenty to catch up on even as we roll into the weekend, so here are the current happenings on art, architecture, and design from around the world:

The AIA backs legislation against future federal design mandates

Today, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) threw its backing behind the Democracy in Design Act, a bill that would preempt future attempts to impose official styles on the General Services Administration (GSA). Co-sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), the bill would both strengthen the Design Excellence Program by increasing the required amount of public feedback on any proposed changes to the program and prohibit the implementation of a national architectural style by the federal government. This comes after the Trump administration, through the Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture executive order, tried to mandate that all new federal buildings be constructed in the neoclassical style—a move President Biden overturned back in February.

Heatherwick Studio’s High Line–straddling Lantern House is now complete

The double brick towers of Lantern House, Heatherwick Studio and architect of record SLCE’s bulbous complex that stretches across (and under, thanks to a walkway) Manhattan’s High Line, has completed construction three years after its initial unveiling. The 277,000-square-foot project’s name comes from the bulging, barrel-like bay windows that feature on the 10-story western tower and 22-story eastern tower. The luxury residential complex is Heatherwick’s first in North America, and the 181 units are reportedly 55 percent sold already.

Tech startup Pacaso is flipping homes into timeshares and not everyone is happy

Silicon Valley tech startup Pacaso has only been on the scene for a year but has already reached the mythical “unicorn” status, i.e. a valuation of $1 billion or greater. The company has been snapping up real estate, turning the properties into limited liability corporations (LLCs) and selling eight shares of each, effectively converting single-family homes into timeshares. This Airbnb-ification of neighborhoods zoned only for residential use isn’t sitting well with residents in the cities Pacaso has touched down in; they claim the company is worsening the ongoing housing crisis by outbidding families and making it harder for the working class to own homes.

H/t to Vice

Brazilian modernism gets the star treatment at MoMA

The first museum exhibition of postwar modernism in Brazil is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). All of the 60 photographs that make up Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946-1964 were taken by the amateur photographers of São Paulo’s Foto-Cine Clube Bandeirante. Documenting a period of rapid modernization across Brazil, the images take on new poignancy in light of the current government’s approach to historic preservation.

Fotoclubismo: Brazilian Modernist Photography, 1946-1964 is on view through September 26.

H/t to Hyperallergic

Artist Pedro Reyes won’t design Mexico City’s monument to Indigenous women after backlash

Plans to replace a Christopher Columbus statue in Mexico City with one celebrating Indigenous women have gone slightly off the rails, as the government has come under fire for selecting artist Pedro Reyes to design the sculpture. Artists and activists protested against the decision, claiming a male sculptor would be a poor fit for the project, and on September 15, Claudia Sheinbaum, head of Mexico City’s government, announced that Reyes would be removed and that a new group of artists, scholars, and city and museum members would pick a replacement.

H/t to Artnet News