Daily digest: Why Notre Dame can’t be rebuilt with Assassin’s Creed models, a new artistic director at Storm King, and more

Forged In Fire

Daily digest: Why Notre Dame can’t be rebuilt with Assassin’s Creed models, a new artistic director at Storm King, and more

Notre Dame Cathedral and it's iconic (younger) spire pictured prior to the 2019 fire. (Sebastien/Unsplash)

Good afternoon and welcome back to the start of a new week—and if you’re an American reader, one that’s likely truncated by Thanksgiving and a long holiday weekend. AN’s will be on break this Thursday and Friday, but you should still check back as dedicated readers won’t leave empty-handed.

Here’s what’s going on today:

Ubisoft’s high-resolution scans of Notre Dame Cathedral can’t be used for the reconstruction

When Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames in Paris on April 15, 2019, preservationists and Francophiles were aghast and billions in donations poured in for the reconstruction. One source of hope, though, was the highly detailed recreation of the cathedral produced by Ubisoft for the 2014 game Assassin’s Creed Unity; the reconstruction was ordered to be historically accurate and ready by the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, so why not use the existing assets to speed up the process?

Well, as Polygon’s Simone de Rochefort breaks down in a new video, that model isn’t exactly 100 percent accurate. Everything from gameplay considerations to copyright issues to technical limitations prevents the video game version from being an actual digital twin.

Nora Lawrence is named Storm King’s new artistic director and chief curator

Nora Lawrence has been named the first-ever artistic director for Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York, and will lead the outdoor art museum’s curatorial program. Effective January 2022, Lawrence will work with the Storm King board and staff to direct acquisitions, exhibitions, site-specific work, publications, and archives.

Meet the world’s master maze maker in a sprawling tell-all profile

If you want to raise an enormous hedge maze enviable enough to be placed on British currency, for the last 40 years there’s only been one man to turn to: British designer Adrian Fisher. In a sprawling profile, The New Yorker speaks with Fisher at his home in England and documents some of his best-known works (a tall feat as he’s completed more than 700 mazes across six continents in his long career). More than just layouts, Fisher is known for his use of game theory in his mazes; thinking moves ahead of how visitors might traverse the trails and attempting to confuse and cut them off.

H/t to The New Yorker

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library reopens

Although Dutch firm Mecanoo and Washington, D.C.-based OTJ Architects completed their renovation of the Mies-designed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in the nation’s capital last October, the official opening of the revitalized book hub was delayed a year due to rising COVID cases. Now the library is officially open, and the public can enjoy the revitalized 1968 institution and its new additions, like a theater, workshop, and rooftop garden.

Chasing the Jewish immigrants who shaped Brazilian modernism

Brazil became a safe haven for Jewish immigrants fleeing an increasingly anti-Semitic Europe in the 1930s and ’40s, and as persecuted architects jumped to South America, so did modernism honed at the Bauhaus. Nowhere is that more evident than São Paulo, where, amid rapid modernization, modernism and photography of those buildings flourished. Modernism was utilized for its utopian ideals, standing in intentional contrast with the organic curves of the natural world. For Hyperallergic, Ela Bittencourt connects the designers’ hope for the future with their built work, and how much more fighting there is to reach that perfect world.

H/t to Hyperallergic

Toronto moves to strike parking minimums at new developments

Toronto is making big moves to cut down on traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions—on November 25, the city’s Planning and Housing Committee will vote on a proposed zoning measure to remove minimum parking requirements from new developments. If passed, the measure will move to the City Council on December 15. While, as the consideration notes, the measure would not retroactively remove or reduce already built parking spots, it would help cut down on overparking. Increased minimums for bicycle parking is also included in the proposal.

“Updating the City’s parking standards,” reads the statement, “to better manage auto dependency and achieve a better balance between building too much or too little parking ultimately contributes to building more sustainable and healthy communities. The City is facing several major challenges including a climate emergency; decreasing housing affordability; and increasing demand for mobility. While not sufficient on its own to overcome these challenges, more strategic, thoughtful management of the parking supply will contribute to addressing all of these challenges.”