Good afternoon and welcome back to another recap of what’s going on today, from the eclectic to the important.
Here’s what you need to know:
A nationwide candy cane shortage threatens gingerbread house construction
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be taking its toll on a critical segment of the building industry this time of year: gingerbread house construction.
The New York Post reported that retailers are experiencing a shortage of a key ingredient needed to make gingerbread houses: candy canes. A weak peppermint harvest and COVID-related supply chain issues have contributed to what the publication is calling The Great Candy Cane Crisis of 2021. “We only received half of our candy cane order for the holiday season and sold out almost immediately. We currently have zero in stock,” Mitchell Cohen, the owner of Economy Candy on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, told the Post. “Raw material and ingredient shortages globally have had quite an impact.”
“We can’t really do a gingerbread house without a candy cane tree, a candy cane door, or candy cane anything,” Cohen added. The shortage isn’t solely related to the pandemic. According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, peppermint production in the United States has declined nearly 25 percent over the past decade, from 6.57 million pounds in 2011 to 4.98 million pounds in 2020.
H/t to New York Post
PAU and schlaich bergermann partner unveil a new bridge for Indianapolis’s 16 Tech district
A year after AN broke the news that schlaich bergermann partner (sbp) and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) would co-lead the design of a new bridge to link the 16 Tech Innovation District in Indianapolis with the city’s existing medical and educational research corridor, new renderings of the span have been unveiled. The 16 Tech Community Corporation pulled back the curtain on the bridge on December 15, revealing a 342-foot-long pedestrian bridge bounded by undulating steel ribbons meant to evoke tree trunks and canopies. On the eastern edge, the bridge will swerve to create a cantilevering observation platform over the river.
“PAU was thrilled to collaborate with 16 Tech, sbp, and our other team members to deliver a bridge design inspired by both the needs of the richly diverse surrounding community and the beauty of our site in the verdant heart of Indianapolis,” said PAU founder and creative director Vishaan Chakrabarti in the announcement. “By echoing the surrounding trees with the structure of the bridge, and by providing places of pedestrian repose, this bridge will create both destination and connection during a time our society is in need of both.”
The Pittsburgh Glass Center plans a major expansion
Fueled by a rise in demand and media attention after Netflix’s glass-blowing competition show Blown Away took off, the Pittsburgh Glass Center is undertaking a major expansion (with an appropriately glassy facade). The center has tapped local firm Indovina Architects to expand its current headquarters at 5472 Penn Avenue, to approximately 8,000 to 9,000 square feet. The biggest addition will, from renderings, be a boxy new section for classes with a pleated glass curtain wall.
H/t to Next Pittsburgh
The Department of Homeland Security is beefing up the Southern border wall despite the stop-work order
Although construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border was halted by President Biden on his first day in office, the Department of Homeland Security is still moving to repair sections endangered by flooding. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reportedly handed off responsibilities for the border wall sections to the DHS after Biden’s executive order in January, but drainage remediation, gap closures, erosion control, and other upgrades are still ongoing—nowhere did the administration stipulate the removal of any southern border wall sections.
H/t to Construction Dive
A modular bridge fills in for a Louisiana span destroyed during Hurricane Ida
The Gulf Coast is still cleaning up after Hurricane Ida tore through the region at the end of August, and for the towns of Jean Lafitte and Barataria in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, the storm also severed the connection between the island Barataria sits on, stranding its residents. Now, prefabricated and modular steel bridge company Acrow has delivered a temporary bridge to link the two bayou communities made up of two 100-foot-steel spans, which will remain in place until a permanent bridge to replace the storm-destroyed Kerner Swing Bridge is built.
H/t to Archinect
McDonald’s opens the U.K.’s first net-zero restaurant (not counting the food)
Fast food giant McDonald’s is leaning in hard on its sustainable bona-fides with its continuing string of net-zero carbon emission restaurants, this time in the English town of Market Drayton. Powered by wind turbines and rooftop solar panels and built with recycled materials, the Scurr Architects-designed building is the first net-zero restaurant in the United Kingdom. Previously McDonald’s had turned to Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects as its go-to net-zero architect; the firm most recently completed a net-zero location for the chain’s Walt Disney World Resort flagship in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando.
Of course, the net-zero status of the new outpost doesn’t take into account the enormous amount of carbon dioxide and methane (not to mention the deforestation) that comes from producing cheap beef.
H/t to Dezeen