Daily digest: The first multistory skatepark, the fraught history of the Babyn Yar memorial, and more

In Long Remembrance

Daily digest: The first multistory skatepark, the fraught history of the Babyn Yar memorial, and more

A rendering of a portion of the planned memorial at Babyn Yar. (Courtesy Baby Yar Holocaust Memorial Center)

Good afternoon and welcome back to another news roundup. Here’s what you need to know as we near the end of the workweek:

The first multistory skatepark building will open in England

A three-story skatepark in Kent, England, is set to open on April 4, and when it does, it will become the first structure of its kind in the world. Dubbed F51, the inverted bowl-shaped structure will contain both flat, street-emulating skate sections as well as a timber “flow floor” and a deep bowl section sprayed with concrete that mixes in wood finishes. The tiered layout of the building will allow skaters to take to different courses depending on their skill level, and for those seeking alternatives, F51 will also contain a boxing gym and rock climbing walls.

H/t to Archinect

Charting the troubled history of the $100 million Holocaust memorial at Babyn Yar

The bombing of Babyn Yar in Ukraine by invading Russian forces on March 1 damaged the 140-acre site and killed five, further scarring a ravine where more than 33,000 Jews were systematically executed over a two-day period by Nazis in 1941. To commemorate the site of one of the worst massacres of the Holocaust, a $100 million memorial has been planned at Babyn Yar since 2016, but undergone waves of backlash in the years since—over its private Russian funders with links to the Kremlin, plans to sort visitors into guard and prisoner roles according to face scans (later dropped), and the departure of key staff in 2019 over a clash of whether the memorial should be respectful or a flashy tourist attraction.

Now, in the works since before the invasion of Ukraine and the damaging of a museum building that was going to become part of the memorial, Jewish Currents has published a definitive take on how the ravine went from the site of a tragedy to public park and residential development, the subsequent boom in memorialization after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the history of failed tributes at the site.

H/t to Jewish Currents

A new biography details the life of Julia Morgan, the first woman licensed to practice architecture in California

A new biography, Julia Morgan: An Intimate Biography of the Trailblazing Architect by Victoria Kastner, is hoping to shine a light on the largely forgotten life of its subject, the first woman to become a licensed architect in California. Born in 1872 in San Francisco, Morgan was the first woman admitted to the architecture program at Paris’s l’École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and would design more than 700 buildings across California while championing the use of concrete for its aesthetic and seismic resilience properties.

H/t to Hyperallergic

This startup wants to deliver packages from orbit

Forget about Amazon dropping off your packages via autonomous drone—is the next delivery frontier even higher up? Inversion Space, a new California startup, is trying to capitalize on the ever-cheapening cost of sending rockets into orbit by pitching deliveries-from-space, imagining a world where your online shopping orders will be fulfilled by cargo satellites parachuting packages all over the world. (Putting aside that a weaponized version of this system has existed in science fiction for decades; if a parachute fails, those boxes could be deadly for those underneath thanks to the potential kinetic energy behind them.)

Of course, some critics are adamant that Inversion Space’s plans are pie-in-the-sky and won’t come to pass, for both cost and feasibility reasons.

H/t to the New York Times

Here are Preservation Chicago’s seven most endangered sites of 2022

Nonprofit preservation advocacy group Preservation Chicago has released its annual roundup of the seven most endangered sites in the city, an attempt to draw attention to Chicago’s threatened heritage that has been ongoing every year since 2003. This year’s list covers churches to a selection of historic public housing sites around the city (ranging from midcentury modern to classic brick examples) and even the entire Peterson Avenue Midcentury Modern District, which spans two miles.

Entire Australian towns are left submerged after flooding

Historic rains and accompanying floods that have been ongoing since February have wracked Australia, causing a national emergency and leaving entire towns underwater in the eastern states of Queensland and New South Wales. Tens of thousands of residents have been evacuated, 22 people have died thus far, and cultural institutions across the two states have been washed away, including the Lismore Regional Gallery in New South Wales.

H/t to Gizmodo