Daily digest: New York’s worst landlord, a crowdfunded tennis court restoration at Versailles, and more

Buildings on Ice

Daily digest: New York’s worst landlord, a crowdfunded tennis court restoration at Versailles, and more

VIew of Salle du Jeu de Paume at Versailles prior to its restoration. (Oakenchips/WIkimedia Commonsckr/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Good evening and happy Tuesday. If your landlord has ever replied “lol” to your request for an urgent repair, you’ll enjoy today’s news.

Here’s what you need to know:

Let them…play tennis?

Last year, French leaders crowdfunded to restore the Salle du Jeu de Paume (Royal Tennis Court) of Versailles, an indoor court that once harbored members of the French Revolution. The eight-month, $1.8 million euro project is now complete.

Revolutionary members of the “third estate,” common people with no power under French monarchic rule, hid inside the court on 17 June 1789, declaring themselves a National Assembly and went on to write France’s first constitution. 

According to The Art Newspaper, conservation architect Pierre Bortolussi led a renovation based on details from an 1883 rework that transformed the court into a museum of the French Revolution. The redone space is, accordingly, museum-like, so leave your racquets at home.

H/t to The Art Newspaper

Who is New York’s worst landlord?

Today, New York City bestowed the dubious honor of Worst Landlord on one Moshe Piller, a property owner who’s racked up over 1,900 violations across his 15 buildings in the Bronx and Brooklyn. The city is suing Piller to force him to fix the most serious violations which include lead paint hazards, inadequate fire safety infrastructure, mold, illegal electric and gas lines, and rampant bedbug infestations.

“It is time for Moshe Piller to finally see real consequences for harassing tenants and forcing us to live in dangerous conditions. Right now, we have a roof that leaks whenever it rains. He’s endangered peoples’ lives right here in Brooklyn and in the Bronx,” Flatbush Tenant Coalition Tenant Leader Altagrace Aime said in a press release. “For years, Moshe Piller has been targeting tenants, taking us to court for nonpayment, and trying to evict us, all while he ignores repairs and acts like the law doesn’t apply to him. He’s been overcharging us, he’s been harassing us, and now he’s trying to use the pandemic to collect even more money, while we live in decrepit and dangerous conditions. Enough is enough from Moshe Piller.”

Even with his slew of violations, Piller only clocks in at 28 on the New York City Public Advocate’s 2021 Worst Landlord Watchlist, a list of slumlords and their misdeeds that’s updated annually.

Save Britain’s Heritage details post-pandemic “existential crisis” faced by historic department stores

Preservation advocacy group Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE) is sounding the alarm for the country’s endangered High Street department stores. 

The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns supercharged online shopping and dampened the appeal of wandering around a large store among strangers. The group’s report, “Departing Stores: Emporia at risk,” details the threats to department stores across Britain and what can be done to save their buildings. 

SAVE’s executive president Marcus Binney told Building Design about the “[astonishing] speed with which these handsome and dominating buildings, the pride of cities and prosperous towns, have been closing.”

Binney added that the crucial next step is to inventory the structures before they’re demolished or converted to other uses. 

H/t to Building Design

Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture honors five educators with Distinguished Professor Award

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) has bestowed its Distinguished Professor Award on five teaching scholars.

Awardees are recognized for their contributions to academia in the realms of service, scholarship, and teaching. Faculty with 10 or more years of experience who teach at ACSA-affiliated schools were considered for the prize. 

The 2022 award winners are as follows:

LaVerne Wells-Bowie, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Michael J. Crosbie, PhD, University of Hartford, 

Ethel Goodstein-Murphree, PhD, University of Arkansas

David Hinson, Auburn University

Mitra Kanaani, PhD, NewSchool of Architecture and Design

ACSA’s members include all professional accredited degree programs in the United States and Canada, as well as schools across the globe that meet its membership criteria. The organization represents approximately 7,000 faculty in programs that serve 40,000 students. 

H/t to Archinect

What is Arctic modernism?

Writer and historian Melina Bee explains a regional style you probably haven’t heard of in a recent TikTok. Check it out below:


#greenscreen #canada #artic #architecture #building #modernist

♬ Calm LoFi song(882353) – S_R