Daily digest: Houston’s Orange Show Monument bolstered by preservation grant, Taller Capital wins 2022 MCHAP.emerge Award, and more

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Daily digest: Houston’s Orange Show Monument bolstered by preservation grant, Taller Capital wins 2022 MCHAP.emerge Award, and more

The Orange Show Monument in Houston. (Courtesy the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art)

With fall now officially upon us (and delightfully brisk temps to show for it in the Northeast), it’s been an active week in the world of architecture and design as major announcements, project reveals, and more rolls in at a rapid clip. News regarding professional honors, grants/project funding, and design prizes has been particularly substantial, so we’ve rounded up a few noteworthy items that you may have missed.

And because it’s been a busy larger news week of state funerals and the usual embarrassing distractions, we wanted to call attention to the situation in Puerto Rico as it rebounds from another devastating, deadly storm. It has been five days after Hurricane Fiona tore through the island, dumping an astonishing 30 inches of rain in some areas, causing agricultural havoc, and disrupting an already-fragile electric grid. Nearly a million people are still without power and, as of today, roughly a quarter of Puerto Rican households lack water service. Here’s a primer on how you can help our friends and neighbors on the island.

Orange Show Center for Visionary Art awarded with $500,000 Save America’s Treasures grant

Houston’s Orange Show Center of Visionary Art (OSCV) announced this week that it has been awarded with a half-million dollar Save America’s Treasures Grant, bestowed by the National Park Service in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. The $500,000 in grant money provides the nonprofit with half of the funding needed for its $1 million campaign to restore the Orange Show Monument, a labyrinthine 3,000-square-foot folk-art environment built in Houston’s East End by Georgia-born postal worker Jefferson Davis McKissack from 1956 through 1979. The Orange Show Monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Established in 1980 following McKissack’s death by Marilyn Oshman, the OSCV is dedicated to preserving the singular Bayou City site for future generations; last November, the arts nonprofit announced an 8-acre expansion of its existing campus led by Rogers Partners, with plants to transform the site “into a world class art center with year-round interdisciplinary programs and exhibitions of leading self-taught and outsider art.” In addition to the Orange Show Monument, the OSCV is also steward of three other Houston-based visionary art environments: the Beer Can House, Smither Park, and Smokesax.

As a “living, breathing work of art that has hosted thousands of experimental performances by artists, musicians, playwrights, dancers, the monument is a place of activation that challenges the notion of how traditional art spaces can engage with the community,” said OSCV executive director Tommy Ralph Pace. “Constantly exposed to the Gulf Coast’s harsh climate, the monument has survived only because of the efforts of countless staff members, community artists, and volunteers spread across the generations. We are honored to receive this extraordinary grant, which further legitimizes our now forty-year role as a leader in the field of visionary art.”

Jeanne Gang wins 2022 ULI Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development

Jeanne Gang, founding principal and partner of Chicago-headquartered architecture and urban design practice Studio Gang, has been named as the recipient of the Urban Land Institute (ULI)’s 2022 Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Past laureates of the prestigious $100,000 prize—now in its 23rd year—include a fellow Chicagoan, the artist and urban planner Theaster Gates, along with Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, former Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams, Zipcar cofounder and chief executive Robin Chase, and 2021 recipient, the New York City–based real estate developer Jonathan Rose. Deemed the highest honor in the real estate, land use, and development community, the annual award recognizes an individual who has “made distinguished contributions to community building globally, who has established visionary standards of excellence in the land use and development field, and whose commitment to creating the highest-quality built environment has led to the betterment of society.”

ULI Prize jury chair Randy Rowe noted that Gang more than fits the bill: “Through research, publications, and exhibitions, she has educated urban designers and architects about how they can make meaningful change with their own projects. This could not be more in line with ULI’s mission, and it’s clear her efforts continue to have a lasting, positive impact on communities worldwide.”

Set to debut this winter is Studio Gang’s Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which AN published an in-depth construction profile of in May. The following month, construction work kicked off on an apartment tower designed by the firm at Mission Rock, a sprawling mixed-use district emerging on the San Francisco waterfront.

“I am honored to be recognized by ULI, whose efforts to foster collaboration across real estate and land use disciplines are critical for shaping more resilient and equitable futures for our cities,” said Gang. “This award will inspire even more developers, architects, planners, and policy makers to come together to realize places that can both uplift communities and support our planet’s greater network of living things.”

aerial view of a dam in mexico
The 2022 MCHAP.emerge Award–winning Colosio Embankment Dam in Mexico. (© Rafael Gamo)

Taller Capital’s Containing the Flood: Colosio Embankment Dam wins 2022 MCHAP.emerge Award

José Pablo Ambrosi and Loreta Castro Reguera, cofounders of research-driven design practice Taller Capital, have been named as winners of the 2022 MCHAP.emerge Award for their Colosio Embankment Dam, a major infrastructural and public space project in Nogales, Mexico. Based in Mexico City, Taller Capital was profiled by AN in 2021 after its naming as one of that year’s Emerging Voices awardees by The Architectural League of New York.

Conceived by the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in 2013, the MCHAP.emerge Award is sister prize to the biennial Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP); this year, the prized recognized the work by emerging firms completed in the Americas between January 2018 and December 2021. Past MCHAP.emerge laureates include Pezo von Ellrichshausen (2014), PRODUCTORA (2016), and Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura (2018). (The award program skipped a cycle due to the pandemic.)

“A project solving infrastructure problems with the delicacy and sensitiveness of a thoughtful architectural intervention where people are at the core of all considerations,” said MCHAP 2022 Jury Chair Sandra Barclay of Taller Capital’s winning project. “It is an example on how a vulnerable neighborhood can be socially and physically transformed by going beyond a resolution of a technical problem to offer the habitants public space to use, a linear walking promenade and a shade as a place to meet.”

Shortlisted 2022 MCHAP.emerge Award projects included: Common Unity, Rozana Montiel Estudio de Arquitectura; Children Village, Aleph Zero + Rosenbaum; Embodied Computation Lab, The Living / David Benjamin; and María Montessori School, EPArquitectos + Estudio Macías Peredo. The MCHAP main prize winner will be announced in April 2023.

Airport and contemporary art museum among winners of the 2022 Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Selected from nearly 500 nominations, the six winning projects of the 2020–2022 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (AKAA) have been announced by parent organization the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. The firms behind projects in Lebanon, Senegal, Iran, Indonesia, and Bangladesh will split $1 million in prize money as part of the prestigious triennial award program established in 1977 by billionaire Muslim spiritual leader Aga Khan IV. Spanning housing, infrastructure, landscape design, community development, historic preservation, environmental conservation, and beyond, the AKAA seeks to “identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies across the world, in which Muslims have a significant presence.” The winners of the 15th AKAA cycle are:

  • Urban River Spaces | Jhenaidah, Bangladesh) | Co.Creation Architects
  • Community Spaces in Rohingya Refugee Response | Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh | Rizvi Hassan, Khwaja Fatmi, and Saad Ben Mostafa
  • Banyuwangi International Airport | Blimbingsari, East Java, Indonesia | andramatin
  • Argo Contemporary Art Museum and Cultural Centre | Tehran, Iran | ASA North / Ahmadreza Schricker Design
  • Renovation of Niemeyer Guest House | Tripoli, Lebanon | East Architecture Studio/Nicolas Fayad and Charles Kettaneh,
  • Kamanar Secondary School | Thionck Essyl, Senegal | Dawoffice / David Garcia, Aina Tugores

The nine-person independent Award Master Jury included Amale Andraos, Nader Tehrani, and recent Pritzker laureates Anne Lacaton and  Francis Kére, the latter of whom won a 2004  AKAA prize for his first project.

a concrete pagoda in a park
The concrete Peace Pagoda at Japantown Peace Plaza in San Francisco. (Franco Folini/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Renovation project at Peace Plaza in San Francisco’s Japantown receives additional funding

The planned revitalization of Peace Plaza, a beloved public space in San Francisco’s Japantown district anchored by a five-tiered concrete pagoda designed by modernist architect Yoshiro Taniguchi, has been awarded with $6 million in state funding that follows an initial funding round of $25 million from the city’s 2020 Health and Recovery Bond. The funds, per local news outlet KTVU, will help to “keep construction plans on track.” Planned work at the plaza, which has undergone redesigns in the past, includes waterproofing and paving along with new plantings, lighting, and seating. Work is slated to kick off by 2024 and is excepted to take about a year to complete.

“We must see this project through to completion,” said San Francisco Assembly member Phil Ting in a statement. “This isn’t just about modernizing a public space. It’s also about making amends to Japanese Americans who were forced out of Japantown not once, but twice. The state should be a partner in these efforts to make things right, and I was determined to fight for this funding.”

The first time residents were expelled from the neighborhood, which is the oldest Japantown in the United States, was during World War II when Japanese Americans were forced into internment camps; not long after, Japantown residents, many of whom resettled in the neighborhood following the war, were forced out again through eminent domain as large-scale urban renewal projects, some of the largest in the nation at the time, swept through the area. Peace Plaza was presented to San Francisco by sister city Osaka in 1968.

H/t to KTVU

The Getty Foundation and the National Trust for Historic Preservation launch Conserving Black Modernism grant program

The Getty Foundation and National Trust for Historic Preservation’s African American Cultural Action Fund recently announced a two-year, $3.1 million grant program benefitting the protection and preservation of historic modern buildings designed by Black architects. The first round of Conserving Black Modernism grantees will be announced in summer 2023 with the grant application process, which will be managed by the National Trust, opening this November.

“With Getty, the Action Fund will further demonstrate the power of historic preservation as a tool for increased recognition, interpretation, and protection of the physical sites representing Black achievement,” said Brent Leggs, executive director of the Action Fund and senior vice president of the National Trust, in a launch announcement.

As an extension of the Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern initiative, Conserving Black Modernism serves as the Getty-funded portion of the Action Fund’s national grant program (it’s the 17th grant bestowed by Getty to the Trust to date). Since it was first established in 2017, the Action Fund has supported 160 Black historic sites, representing a total investment of $12.4 million. As detailed in the announcement of Conserving Black Modernism, the Action Fund is the “largest U.S. resource dedicated to the preservation of African American historic places” with $80 million in funding. (You can view the most recent round of grantees here.) Meanwhile, Keeping It Modern has awarded 77 grants totaling $11.8 million between 2014 and 2020 in support of conservation planning and research for modern architecture across the globe. None of those sites, however, included the work of Black architects or designers. Conserving Black Modernism will “address this omission and add support for approximately 16 buildings,” the announcement explained.

“We’ve heard the increasing calls in recent years to rethink and expand the story of modern architecture in the United States and do a better job of recognizing Black architects and designers,” said Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty Foundation. “Conserving Black Modernism offers a strategic opportunity to meet this moment in partnership with the National Trust and build on nearly five years of success with their existing Action Fund.”