Daily digest: NYC wants landscape architects to help revitalize city parks, Michael Hsu’s nonprofit partnership, and more

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Daily digest: NYC wants landscape architects to help revitalize city parks, Michael Hsu’s nonprofit partnership, and more

Washington Square Park in Manhattan (Pixabay/Via Pexels)

Good afternoon and welcome back to yet another news roundup. As we slowly inch towards April, there’s plenty of news from the architecture, planning, and design sphere to catch up on.

Here’s what you need to know:

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is seeking landscape architecture firms for park improvements

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has put out a request for proposals (RFP) in search of at least ten landscape architecture firms to help with park improvement projects across the entire city. Aside from the design aspect, the firms ultimately chosen to consult will help make sure that the capital projects maximize long-term returns for both the city and visitors to each park.

“We are seeking experienced design firms to advance projects that improve parkland across the five boroughs with a focus on equity, sustainability, and access,” said NYC Parks Deputy Commissioner for Capital Projects Therese Braddick. “The landscape architecture firms selected through this RFP will have the chance to make a lasting impact on New York City’s park system by reimagining greenspaces for the communities they serve.”

Interested parties have until April 12 to respond via the department’s Procurement and Sourcing Solutions Portal.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture launches its first Design For All Partnership

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (MHOA) has announced the launch of a program to provide up to $20,000 in pro-bono design services to a nonprofit partner in Austin or Houston. On March 21, MHOA launched an RFP for the new Design For All Partnership (currently accepting applications through May 20) and will provide consultation, master planning, architecture and interior design consultation, and a variety of other potential services to the organization that is ultimately chosen. The recipient will be announced on June 17.

Will towns that boomed during the pandemic go bust?

Will so-called “Zoom towns,” inexpensive cities that drew in telecommuting workers from places like New York during the pandemic, have a future after the return to the office becomes widespread? As Smart Cities Dive pointed out, it’s likely; about 4.9 million people relocated to rural locales during the pandemic, and short-term growth has exploded on average. While it’s likely long-term growth rates will return to normal eventually, it appears the only ones facing risk are developers who are building for the current rate of growth.

H/t to Smart Cities Dive

Trahan Architects will design a new performing arts center for the Asian American Resource Center in Austin

On March 18, the New Orleans and New York-based Trahan Architects announced that it had been selected by the City of Austin design a new performing arts center for the Asian American Resource Center (AARC) in the city. The new AARC space will hold space for exhibitions, health and wellness programs, education opportunities, and rental space.

“Trahan Architects feels privileged to be working on such an important cultural project which will enrich the lives of the Asian American community members in Austin and its surrounding areas, said Trahan’s managing principal, Kevin Thomas. The firm is well-positioned to do this meaningful work by approaching the design to ensure diverse communities are supported and connected with a project that will be accessible and inclusive to all.”

AN will follow up this news once the project’s design becomes public.

RIBA will match architects and students from Ukraine with opportunities in the U.K.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has revealed plans to match architects and architectural students fleeing Ukraine with accommodations and work opportunities in the United Kingdom, as well as six months of free lodging. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues and practitioners and students are forced to suspend their lives, education, and work, RIBA has also lobbied for architects in the U.K. to open unused rooms in their homes to accommodate refugees.

H/t to Building Design Online

Construction grinds to a halt in China as COVID cases surge

The Omicron variant of COVID is tearing through China at a record pace, restrictions, including mass lockdowns across major cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, have slowed construction to a halt. Aside from the indefinite pauses to major architectural projects, everything from furniture manufacturing to Apple’s Foxconn plants have shut down and it’s uncertain when the government will allow businesses to reopen… or when COVID cases will recede.

H/t to Dezeen