Daily digest: European energy crisis cuts short the Eiffel Tower’s nightly light show, SAY IT LOUD tours Nebraska, and more

Mid-Month Melange

Daily digest: European energy crisis cuts short the Eiffel Tower’s nightly light show, SAY IT LOUD tours Nebraska, and more

(Paul Gaudriault/ Unsplash)

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to this midweek (and mid-month) edition of AN’s regular roundup of noteworthy news items. It’s been another busy week, so let’s get right to it …

As energy crisis grips Europe, the Eiffel Tower will go dark earlier in the evening

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced earlier this week that the City of Light’s superlative crowd-drawing illuminated landmark, the Eiffel Tower, will start going dark just a touch earlier in the evening—at  11:45 p.m. in lieu of the normal 1 a.m.—beginning on September 21. Exterior lighting of the city’s municipal buildings and monuments will also be switched off at 10:00 p.m. although public lighting will stay on throughout the night as normal.

The so-called “sobriety” measures are being enacted as Europe, just now emerging from the hottest summer on record, stares down a mounting energy crisis prompted by Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine. As detailed by ABC News, planned conservation efforts in Paris also include turning on heat in public buildings a month later than normal and lowering the temperature in those buildings by 1 degrees to roughly 64 degrees Fahrenheit during their respective operational hours.

Hidalgo did not indicate how long the measures, which aim to slash wintertime energy consumption in the French capital city by 10 percent, will last.

H/t to ABC News

INTERSECTIONS: Where Diversity, Equity and Design Meet launches this week at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

A slate of in-person and virtual talks, workshops, and a concluding roundtable conversation presented as part of the National Building Museum’s Equity in the Built Environment series is set to kick off on September 16. Entitled INTERSECTIONS: Where Diversity, Equity and Design Meet, the program features Black architects, designers, and artists who, per the museum, will “engage program participants in conversations centered on actions to promote social justice in the built environment. These participatory experiences are designed to provoke new thinking, spark conversation, enlighten and empower.” Featured speakers include, among others, Mabel O. Wilson, Germane Barnes, Amanda Williams, Cory Henry, and series kickoff speaker Demar Williams of OffTop Design.

“Equity is an institutional Pillar of the Museum. We believe that design and construction are powerful tools that connect people to opportunity and empower communities to thrive,” said Aileen Fuchs, president and executive director of the National Building Museum, in a statement. “INTERSECTIONS provides a forum for engagement–great speakers, facilitated conversations and fun social experiences that motivate participants to become informed community advocates in the D.C. metro region and beyond.”

More info on INTERSECTIONS, including registration details, can be found here.

SAY IT LOUD tours Nebraska in a retrofitted shipping container

Roving pop-up exhibition SAY IT LOUD, an initiative of architect and activist Pascale Sablan’s Beyond the Built Environment, has hit the Cornhusker State. Presented by Sablan in partnership with Omaha-based RDG Planning & Design and McCarthy Building Companies, the traveling exhibition showcases the contributions of architects, landscape architects, planners, engineers, interior designers, and other AEC professionals who are based in Nebraska and identify as a woman and/or Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color. The exhibition, which follows a virtual edition of SAY IT LOUD – Nebraska held in fall 2020, is staged in a repurposed 20-foot shipping container that’s been transformed into a “Diverse Designer’s Library” highlighting 45 diverse Nebraskan designers; the exhibition began its journey outside of RDG’s office earlier this month and is traveling to the Highlander Accelerator in North Omaha beginning tomorrow, September 15, for a week-long stint before heading to South Omaha, followed by the campus of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and then back to RDG’s offices where it will remain through next spring.

“In collaborating with Pascale and Beyond the Built Environment, we affirm our commitment to elevating the work of historically underrepresented individuals in our industry. Encouraging more diversity only serves to positively influence the future of our collective experience and surroundings,” Benjamin Kroll, partner and architect with RDG. “We all have the power to positively impact the world around us. By creating a platform to celebrate the work of women and BIPOC designers, Sablan is helping enact transformational change, and we’re honored to help bring SAY IT LOUD to Nebraska.”

More information about SAY IT LOUD – Nebraska’s forthcoming locations and corresponding dates, all subject to change, can be found here.

a pop-up design exhibition in a shipping container
The shipping container-based SAY IT LOUD – Nebraska pictured in Omaha. (Courtesy RDG Planning and Design)

The Vermont Marble Museum is saved (by industrial hemp)

A long-running museum billing itself as the “world’s largest marble exhibit” can stay put in its home within a building on the former factory campus of the now-defunct Vermont Marble Company in Proctor, a small town in Rutland County that served as a marble quarrying hotspot from the 19th century through the late 20th century. The Vermont Marble Museum has been closed for the past two years, save for special events.

The old factory building that houses the museum was acquired by the Preservation Trust of Vermont in 2012 in an effort to safeguard it from redevelopment. Finding a new buyer, one committed to preserving the building, has taken the better part of a decade. But as reported VTDigger, an appropriate buyer has emerged in the form of ZION Growers, a hemp company that plans to use much of the historic structure at 52 Main Street to process local hemp into fiber for paper, textiles, and building materials. Meanwhile, the museum and its collections, which are owned by the Preservation Trust, will stay put. “Combining the history of the site with new industry is a win-win for Proctor,” said Proctor Town Manager Michael Ramsey of the sale.

H/t to VTDigger

The Hezikiah Haskell House in Austin’s Clarksville opens to the public as new museum

Austin’s Hezikiah Haskell House, a dwelling built during the mid- to late-1870s by freed slave Peter Tucker is now open for the first time to visitors as a historic house museum. The Cumberland-style residence at 1705 Waterston Avenue is the oldest documented residence in Clarksville, a National Register Historic District first established in 1871 by Charles Clark as a Texas Freedom Colony. Located just west of downtown Austin, Clarksville is believed to be the oldest surviving freedman’s town west of the Mississippi River; it was established in an area that was once home to the slave quarters at Woodlawn, the planation of former Texas Governor Elisha Pease.

While Tucker, who prior to settling in Clarksville was enslaved by Pease, built the residence and briefly lived in its with his wife, its name comes from Hezikiah “Kye” Haskell, a Union solider (and later Buffalo Soldier) who boarded with Mary and Edwin Smith, who purchased the home from the Tucker family circa 1880. Per Sightlines, Haskell married Catherine Smith, daughter of Mary and Edwin, in 1881 and the couple eventually raised their own family in the home. The descendants of Kye Haskell and Catherine Smith later deeded the property to the City of Austin in the late-1970s. The Clarksville Community Development Corporation (CCDC) owns and operates the historic property and has rehabilitated the roughly 150-year-old structure to ensure its longtime survival as an enduring Clarksville landmark.

Admission to the Haskell House, which will feature an exhibit of photos documenting historic Clarksville throughout the decades, is free; appointment-based guided tours will also be available for a small fee.  The CCDC will also permit the new museum to be used for small gatherings. More details can be found here.

H/t to Sightlines