Daily digest: Probing the Surfside condo tower collapse, floating climate sculptures for Miami Art Week, and more

Float On

Daily digest: Probing the Surfside condo tower collapse, floating climate sculptures for Miami Art Week, and more

Leandro Erlich's Traffic Light, 2021, and Carlos Betancourt’s What Lies Beneath: Tipping Point, 2021, with kayakers from the South Florida Paddlers and the Castaways Against Cancer. (Courtesy Cycy Sanders and The ReefLine)

Good morning and welcome back to another news roundup as we push toward the week’s end.

Here’s what’s going on today:

A new lawsuit alleges construction next door damaged the Champlain Towers in Surfside

Did construction on a neighboring condo tower play a role in the June collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, that killed 98 people? While a definitive answer on the cause of the collapse hasn’t been established yet, a new class action lawsuit on behalf of former residents and their families alleges that construction at the nearby Eighty Seven Park condo tower, designed by Renzo Piano and located at 8701 Collins Avenue, dangerously exacerbated conditions at Champlain Towers.

The plaintiffs allege that unsafe excavation and pile driving produced in-ground vibrations well over the allowable limits, decreasing structural stability of Champlain Towers. This is reportedly the first lawsuit targeted at the neighboring development thus far as a result of the collapse.

Lawyers for developer 8701 Collins Development LLC vehemently denied the claims to Construction Dive, saying that work on the project was completed two years before the collapse, and that all foundation work was finished five years ago.

H/t to Construction Dive

The ReefLine launches a floating sculpture “parade” to raise climate awareness in Miami

Miami will bear (and already currently has been) an enormous brunt of climate change’s worst effects, from frequent flooding to saltwater infiltration that can render the ground beneath buildings and roads a soupy mess. So, with Miami Art Week in full swing, what better place to draw attention to climate change? The ReefLine, a forthcoming underwater sculpture park and artificial reef off the coast of Miami Beach, has erected a series of inflatable buoys intended to do just that. For the first annual The ReefLine Buoy Parade, a 16-foot-tall inflatable Traffic Light, designed by artist Leandro Erlich, was floated alongside What Lies Beneath: Tipping Point by Carlos Betancort, a 30-foot- and 4-foot-tall pair of inflatable icebergs modeled after the real thing.

Phase one of The ReefLine is scheduled to open in June 2022.

Virgil Abloh’s last runway show turned into an impromptu memorial service

On to even more Miami news: On November 30, Louis Vuitton debuted its Spring/Summer 2022 Menswear show, and the focus was decidedly on the late designer and artistic director Virgil Abloh, who passed away on Sunday. Titling the show Virgil Was Here, Louis Vuitton also erected a 30-foot-tall statue of Abloh, turning the affair into a memorial service that was attended by celebrities, friends, and former collaborators alike (with significant overlap between all three groups).

H/t to Artnet News

Quinnipiac University shutters its Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum open, but where will the artifacts go?

Like so many other cultural and academic institutions, Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, has seen its finances take a hit during the pandemic, and will now close its Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum. Opened in 2012 as an initiative of former university president John L. Lahey to raise awareness of the famine (and Britain’s role in exacerbating and prolonging the crisis) that killed at least a million in Ireland and drove massive amounts of migration in the mid-19th century, the museum had seen only a handful of daily visitors even before the pandemic. The university, for its part, has maintained it has no plans to sell off its collection of paintings, sculptures, and other ephemera from the Potato Famine, and is actively looking for another institution to put the works on display.

H/t to the New York Times

A plan for housing the homeless in Sacramento is drawing blowback

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is riling up homeless advocates, surprisingly, with the November 16 introduction of a “right to housing” proposal that, if passed, would go into effect on January 1, 2023. The issue, of course, isn’t that the mayor is proposing housing is a human right—it’s the provision that if an unhoused person doesn’t accept housing when offered, the city would have the legal right to sweep their camp away.

According to the proposal:

“The definition of “housing” would include permanent dwellings, such as a house, apartment, or hotel room as well as temporary shelters, including tents, RVs, trailers or tiny homes in Cityapproved locations. Temporary housing would qualify only if the placement includes a plan for each person to attain permanent housing.

The ordinance would not impose criminal or civil penalties for those who refuse, but simply allow the city to enforce a prohibition on camping.”

While Mayor Steinberg has been lauded for the proposal’s ambitious timeline of building housing for all 11,000 unhoused residents by 2023, activists called into the meeting on the 16th to speak out against the camping provision.

H/t to the Los Angeles Times