Daily digest: A museum in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, SOM proposes an “Urban Sequoia” tower at COP26, and more

Green Gleen

Daily digest: A museum in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, SOM proposes an “Urban Sequoia” tower at COP26, and more

The Urban Sequoia, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s proposal for the skyscraper of the future that would purify the air of pollution and carbon dioxide. (© SOM | Miysis)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another recap of the day’s goings-on. There’s a lot to tackle, so here’s what you need to know today:

At COP26, SOM pulls back the curtain on its Urban Sequoia tower proposal

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland ends tomorrow, but there’s still enough time to debut one or two more novel architectural solutions for combating climate change. Today, SOM unveiled its Urban Sequoia proposal, a prototypical high-rise design for a tower that both uses low-carbon materials and actively sequesters as much as 1,000 tons of carbon from the air each year. Lined with algae bioreactors and outdoor landscaping, air is forced up from the bottom of the tower through the algae tanks, purifying it of carbon dioxide and common urban pollutants and out through the top as oxygen.

A diagram of a tower line with trees sucking in air and then pushing it out the top
(© SOM | Miysis)

“We are quickly evolving beyond the idea of being carbon neutral,” said Chris Cooper, an SOM Partner. “The time has passed to talk about neutrality. Our proposal for Urban Sequoia—and ultimately entire ‘forests’ of Sequoias— makes buildings, and therefore our cities, part of the solution by designing them to sequester carbon, effectively changing the course of climate change.”

A new art museum is opening in the Korean Demilitarized Zone

The heavily guarded and patrolled border between South and North Korea along the 38th parallel is getting a new art museum dedicated to peaceful demilitarization—or, rather, one that will be reopening its doors. The Unimaru was originally built in 2003 as a temporary Korean Demilitarized Zone customs office but has been empty since 2007 when a larger, more permanent office opened. Now the building (only 15 percent of which actually sits inside of the DMZ) has been converted into an art gallery that will soon open with its first exhibition, 2021 DMZ Art and Peace Platform. Work by 32 artists will be on display, and visitors will require both a bulletproof vest and military escort to see the show.

H/t to Artnet News

A new memorial marking an African and Native American burial ground opens in Flushing, Queens

In Flushing, Queens, the New York City Parks Department has cut the ribbon on a new memorial and plaza intended to honor the African Americans and Native Americans buried in the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground more than 150 years ago. In the 1800s, victims of vicious cholera and smallpox outbreaks were buried in a separate graveyard over fears their bodies might spread the diseases; by 1880, the graveyard was exclusively segregated for burying Black and Native American corpses. In 1936, a park was built over the burial ground as a Works Progress Administration project, and construction workers looted the site for valuables and disturbed the bones below. Now, the plaza and memorial honoring those buried there, first announced in 2018, is complete, along with new footpaths.

H/t to 6sqft

A crinkly residential tower is proposed for Downtown L.A.’s Bank of America Plaza

Developer Brookfield has proposed a 34-story residential tower for Bank of America Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles, a, for lack of a better term, “crinkly” cylinder designed by the L.A.-based LARGE architecture. Ringed with 360-degrees by balconies, the 420-foot-tall Residences at 333 South Hope Street, if approved by the city, would bring 366 apartments to the plaza. Brookfield has already submitted plans and expects the tower to open in 2026.

H/t to Urbanize Los Angeles

Page & Turnbull unveils a stained-glass memorial at the Presidio Chapel for Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day in the United States, and Jay Turnbull of historic architecture and preservation firm Page & Turnbull has helped mount an appropriately somber tribute show at San Francisco’s interfaith Presidio Chapel. Viewable by invitation at the chapel, the tribute features four pieces from the McDonald Peace Windows,  a collection of sculptures made from stained-glass recovered from bombed religious institutions. The show is a precursor to a larger exhibition planned for next year intended to promote interfaith peace. Page & Turnball is also leading an effort to restore and stabilize the Spanish Colonial Revival-style chapel built in the 1930s.

The Royal British Columbia Museum closes its Indigenous galleries for decolonization

In Victoria, British Columbia, the Royal British Columbia Museum has shuttered its 3rd-floor galleries for a “long overdue” overhaul of its First Nations collection. Responding to criticism that the gallery unfairly centered the narratives of European colonizers over Indigenous Canadians, the museum is now working to remove objects acquired by force and hurtful depictions of Natives. As part of the effort, the museum will update and modernize the entire floor.

H/t to The Art Newspaper