Daily digest: New renderings drop for D.C.’s reimagined Union Station, Philadelphia’s Shofuso House ransacked by vandals, and more

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Daily digest: New renderings drop for D.C.’s reimagined Union Station, Philadelphia’s Shofuso House ransacked by vandals, and more

As proposed in a massive redevelopment plan, Washington D.C.'s historic Union Station will get a soaring new train hall. (Federal Railroad Administration / U.S. Commission of Fine Arts)

Happy Friday (and almost official start of summer.) It’s been a busy week, which can only mean that AN’s editors have compiled just a few notable news items worth perusing before the weekend hits. Stay cool and we’ll see you on Monday.

New renderings and details revealed for a transformed Union Station in Washington, D.C.

Residents of Washington, D.C. and the countless commuters that pass through historic Union Station have been provided with a first glimpse of what the neoclassical landmark that serves as the capital’s primary rail hub (and headquarters for Amtrak) might look like after a planned multibillion-dollar revamp. The Daniel Burnham-designed Union Station first opened to passengers in 1907, and is currently the second-busiest station in the Amtrak network. (New York’s Penn Station sees the most annual passengers and is also undergoing a major renovation.)

As depicted in renderings presented by the Federal Railroad Administration to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts earlier this week, Union Station’s magnificent main hall will be left untouched and be joined by widened rail platforms, revamped passenger concourses, and an entirely new modern train hall that the Washington Post described as a “spacious, light-filled atrium with large skylights and soaring ceilings.” The just-shared redevelopment scheme follows a series of substantial tweaks to the initial design proposal; revisions included the elimination of a six-story parking structure in favor of a smaller, subterranean parking facility. In place of the above-ground parking garage, there are now plans for public plazas and a small park.

“The new modern, vitalized facility will allow for the transformation of Union Station — the Nation’s Station — into a world-class destination for both domestic and international travelers as well as an economic hub for the city,” Anthony Williams, former D.C. mayor and current chief executive of the Federal City Council, said in a statement shared by the Post.

Grimshaw Architects is leading the design of the Union Station refresh, a project involving multiple agencies and anticipated to cost upwards of $10 billion. A sprawling mixed-use development is also planned for the Massachusetts Avenue Northeast-fronting site although that is contingent on the redevelopment of the station.

H/t to The Washington Post

Kateryna Chuyeva, Ukraine Deputy Minister for Culture and Information Policy, is the 2022 recipient of the World Monuments Fund’s Watch Award

World Monuments Fund (WMF) held its first annual Summer Soirée earlier this week at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library and, not surprisingly, the event—described as an evening that “celebrated hope, resilience, and advocacy for cultural heritage”—placed special focus on the New York-headquartered international nonprofit’s ongoing efforts in Ukraine.

During the festivities, Kateryna Chuyeva, Ukraine Deputy Minister for Culture and Information Policy, was announced as the recipient of WMF’s 2022 Watch Award for her unwavering dedication to the protection and preservation of the embattled European nation’s wealth of cultural heritage. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began earlier this year, at least 139 Ukrainian cultural sites have sustained damage per UNESCO estimates.

“… She has worked tirelessly to share information with national and international actors, highlighting the importance of efficient cooperation with the international community to document and protect damaged heritage sites and support local professionals on their mission to safeguard cultural heritage in Ukraine,” said WMF president and CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur of Chuyeva. “She has demonstrated leadership and commitment in the face of danger and destruction. We are in awe of her dedication and thank her for her heroism.”

You can read more about WMF’s Ukrainian Heritage Response Fund, launched in April 2022, here.

Austin Angels receives $20,000 design services grant from Michael Hsu Office of Architecture for community center project

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (MHOA), an integrated architecture and interior design practice with offices in Austin and Houston, has announced that the nonprofit Austin Angels is the recipient of a $20,000 in pro-bono design and consultation services awarded through the firm’s seed program, dubbed the Design For All Partnership. Alongside Austin Angels, described as an organization “committed to wrapping community around children, youth and families experiencing foster care by offering consistent support through intentional giving, relationship building and mentorship,” 23 other community organizations applied to MHOA’s Design For All Partnership.

“Our team is thrilled to work with Austin Angels in our inaugural Design for All Partnership, providing design for their new community center,” said Michael Hsu, principal of MHOA, in a statement. “We believe our background in hospitality design, paired with Austin Angels’ deep understanding of the needs of the foster community, will result in a dynamic facility where they can successfully implement their many programs.”

Through Design For All, MHOA will, as mentioned by Hsu, help Austin Angels to design a new community center at a 2.5-acre site, formerly home to a church, in the fast-growing Austin suburb of Buda. As detailed in a press release, the community center project will yield “efficient office working space for the team, which will continue serving children, youth and families experiencing foster care through free programming, events, workshops and more.” Additionally, the center will “serve as place for families to receive respite and support, a training facility for volunteers for their national network and a hub for their community to gather for various trainings, celebrations and more.” In addition to its work with Austin Angels, MHOA is also offering pre-design services to Delivering Unto You for a future birthing center that will be the first Black-led and -operated facility of its kind in Austin.

FBI contacted after noose is discovered at construction site at Y‑12 National Security Complex in Tennessee

The troubling trend of symbols of racist intimidation being discovered at construction sites continues, this time at the $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility, a major federal project located within the Department of Energy’s  Y‑12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As reported by Construction Dive, the noose was removed from the job site immediately after it was found and contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC (CNS), has launched an internal investigation, pledging “severe action” against whomever left it. The FBI is also reportedly investigating the incident.

“A noose blatantly violates our policies and work rules and will not be tolerated. We are conducting an extensive internal investigation, have increased inspections of work areas and have notified the appropriate authorities,” CNS spokesperson Jason Bohne relayed to Construction Dive in an email. “We will take immediate and severe action toward any employee or subcontractor who is determined to have been involved in the incident.”

H/t to Construction Dive

Philadelphia’s Shofusu House vandalized

In other distressing news, the Shofusu House, a beloved staple of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park owned and operated by Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, suffered extensive damage late Wednesday night when vandals broke into the historic structure. Nothing is believed to have been stolen from Shofusu House, which was designed by Junzo Yoshimura and serves as a 17th century-styled showcase of traditional Japanese architecture and building methods; however, a wall panel featuring a large mural by artist Hiroshi Senju worth $2 million was marred during the break-in.

Rob Buscher, associate director of organization culture with the Japan America Society, told local public radio affiliate WHYY  on Thursday that the response from Philadelphia police “has been slow” and that there is no direct evidence that the act of vandalism was hate-related. Yet as he explained, “as the only physical site in Philadelphia that is identifiably Japanese, we cannot rule out the intentionality of this vandalism amid ongoing anti-Asian hate.” While the historic attraction was initial closed following the incident, it is now back open to the public according to the Japan America website. Shofusu House was initially constructed in 1953 in the city of Nagoya, and was later relocated and reconstructed in Philly in 1957-58. The stunning landscape that flanks the home ranks among the top Japanese gardens in the United States, and the site was listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places in 2013.

H/t to WHYY