Daily digest: Harvard Divinity School’s Swartz Hall expands, an interim GSAPP dean is named, and more

Divine Inspiration

Daily digest: Harvard Divinity School’s Swartz Hall expands, an interim GSAPP dean is named, and more

A modern addition to Harvard Divinity School’s Swartz Hall was replaced by a structure designed by Ann Beha Architects, while the main hall received a modernization. (Chuck Choi)

Good afternoon and welcome to another roundup to get you out of the midweek slump.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Ann Beha Architects renovates and expands Harvard Divinity School’s Swartz Hall

Boston’s Ann Beha Architects (ABA) has completed a thorough restoration and expansion of Swartz Hall (formerly Andover Hall) for Harvard Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Looking at a large stone building
The original 1911 Swartz Hall. (Chuck Choi)

Built in 1911 by Allen & Collens, Architects, Swartz Hall is the the Ivy League university’s only Collegiate Gothic building and serves as the heart of Harvard Divinity School’s academic and administrative operations—and, as the school is the only nonsectarian theological institution in the country, any additions would have to reflect its multicultural heritage. ABA thoroughly updated the main structure to LEED Gold standards, including replacing the roof and windows with modern high-performance equivalents. The HVAC system was also given an upgrade, and damaged stained glass was repaired and replaced throughout in collaboration with local glass experts.

For the addition, ABA “overwrote” an early add-on structure, creating a new two-story, 13,000-square-foot expansion with a lounge, cafe, and dining area that reuses elements of the prior building. On the second floor, ABA has added accessible, modern classrooms and a 200-seat multipurpose space.

Weiping Wu named interim dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation

Amale Andraos announced she was stepping down as dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) in May, and while a permanent replacement hasn’t been found yet, a temporary one has. Today the school announced that Weiping Wu will succeed Andraos as interim dean effective January 1 while GSAPP launches the search for a successor.

Weiping joined Columbia in 2016 and currently serves on the faculty of both the Weatherhead East Asian Institute and the Columbia Population Research Center. Trained as a planner and architect, Weiping’s specialization is migration, global urbanization, housing, and infrastructure in China, writing extensively about the impact of the country’s mass urbanization.

In related news, today Professor Mario Gooden has been named the interim director of Columbia GSAPP’s Master of Architecture Program, and will also start on January 1.

After NYC pledges $200 million in affordable housing repairs, the Gowanus rezoning seems set

Yesterday, New York City reached a deal that will likely set the Gowanus, Brooklyn, rezoning in motion. New York City Councilmembers Stephen Levi and Brad Lander, both representatives for the area and key votes to moving the plan ahead, had been holding out until the city promised funds for repairs at the neighborhood’s Gowanus Houses and Wyckoff Gardens NYCHA projects (an issue Mayor-elect Eric Adams had also hinged his support on). Now, $200 million will go toward much-needed repairs at both complexes, $65 million more than was originally asked for.

The 82-block rezoning is expected to create approximately 8,500 new apartments, 3,000 of them set aside as affordable, and is a major component of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to boost housing in the city. So much so that, as with many of the administration’s other ambitious “legacy” projects facing down opposition, they’re willing to use both the carrots and sticks available to ensure each passes. In the case of the Gowanus rezoning, that also includes allocating an additional $179 million for sewer upgrades and strict new rules for waste and stormwater management for new developments in the area to prevent flooding.

H/t to The Real Deal

The Barnsdall Art Park Foundation launches an exhibition of work made from native olive wood

Los Angeles’s Barnsdall Art Park, a hilly cultural campus and public park that also happens to hold Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, has launched a new exhibition and auction—and everything on display was made from olive wood collected around the park. The Barnsdall Olive Wood Workshop is now on display through December 4 at the Luis De Jesus Los Angeles gallery on 1110 Mateo Street, and the whole effort is part of an initiative to save wood scraps collected on site larger than 2 inches. This year, more than 22 artists, architects, and landscape architects have contributed work.

A Salt Lake City Meta construction site is shut down over hateful graffiti

This year has seen a disturbing rise in hateful imagery at construction sites across America, ranging from nooses to racial slurs. Now work at a Meta datacenter project (Facebook rebranded last month) near Salt Lake City has been halted after construction workers discovered the latter graffitied inside of a port-a-potty on November 8. M.A. Mortenson Company and Meta have suspended operations at the site and are offering a $50,000 reward for information on the culprit.

While the data center project opened this summer, work was ongoing on a 900,000-square-foot addition at the time of the graffiti’s discovery.

H/t to Construction Dive

Georgia roiled by rumors of relocation and demolition of its central art museum in Tbilisi

The Shalva Amiranashvili Museum of Fine Arts in Tbilisi, Georgia, is being rocked by a dual threat; a potential relocation proposed by cultural minister Tea Tsulukiani, and fears of demolition. The 1811 classical former seminary that the museum calls home was slated for a major renovation, but plans keep falling through and there are fears that the 139,000 objects in the collection are at risk of damage if they’re moved.

H/t to The Art Newspaper