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Peo­ple and projects in the news

And the win­ners are...

A jury that in­cludes Sir David Chip­per­field, Alice Raw­sthorn and Oliver Wain­wright has se­lected Denise Scott Brown as the win­ner of the 2018 Soane Medal. The Amer­i­can ar­chi­tect was fa­mously snubbed by the Pritzker in 1991 when the award – which had yet to go to a woman – was given solely to her part­ner and hus­band, Robert Ven­turi. Chip­per­field says Scott Brown was unan­i­mously cho­sen, not­ing that her “con­tri­bu­tion across ar­chi­tec­ture, ur­ban­ism, the­ory and ed­u­ca­tion over the last 50 years has been pro­found and far-reach­ing. Her ex­am­ple has been an in­spi­ra­tion to many.”

The Royal In­sti­tute of Bri­tish Ar­chi­tects has hon­oured Chilean ar­chi­tect Ale­jan­dro Aravena with this year’s Charles Jencks Award. The founder of San­ti­ago firm El­e­men­tal has re­ceived nu­mer­ous ac­co­lades since his highly ac­claimed turn as cu­ra­tor of the 2016 Venice Bi­en­nale; he won the Pritzker that same year. One of the projects cur­rently in the works at his firm is a ma­jor cul­tural cen­tre, set to be among the largest in Qatar. New Brunswick firm Acre Ar­chi­tects has re­ceived the 2018 Pro­fes­sional Prix de Rome in Ar­chi­tec­ture from the Canada Coun­cil for the Arts. Founded by Mon­ica Adair and Stephen Kopp in 2010, the firm is known for con­tex­tu­ally driven work that is en­hanc­ing the pres­ence of con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture in At­lantic Canada. More info on the prize is avail­able at canada­coun­cil.ca

Movers and shak­ers

In late Septem­ber, San Fran­cisco’s Trans­bay Tran­sit Cen­ter was sud­denly forced to close, just months af­ter open­ing. The Us$2.2-bil­lion trans­porta­tion hub, de­signed by Pelli Clarke Pelli, was deemed po­ten­tially un­safe fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of fis­sures in two steel beams. It has been spec­u­lated that con­struc­tion of the hub – which be­gan in 2013 – has caused the ad­ja­cent Mil­len­nium Tower to sink. In the same week the hub closed, a lo­cal judge or­dered that the Trans­bay Joint Pow­ers Au­thor­ity pay for the le­gal bills Mil­len­nium’s de­vel­op­ers have ac­crued de­fend­ing mil­lions in law­suits re­lated to con­struc­tion is­sues. Nova Sco­tia ar­chi­tects Mackay-lyons Swee­t­ap­ple have ex­panded into the U.S., open­ing an of­fice in Den­ver in late sum­mer. The Colorado out­post will help sup­port the firm’s on­go­ing work in the Hori­zon com­mu­nity, which is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion on nearby Sum­mit Pow­der Moun­tain, Utah.

In the wake of the col­lapse of the Mo­randi mo­tor­way bridge in Genoa, Italy, lo­cal star­chi­tect Renzo Piano has vol­un­teered to do­nate the de­sign of a re­place­ment struc­ture. The ar­chi­tect’s of­fer has re­port­edly been ac­cepted by Lig­uria gov­er­nor Gio­vanni Toti. The col­lapse, which claimed 43 lives, was a tragedy that could have been avoided, Piano says, as the bridge’s struc­tural in­tegrity was re­cently un­der ma­jor scru­tiny, with con­stant main­te­nance un­der­way since 2011.

In memo­riam

Renowned ar­chi­tect and au­thor Robert Ven­turi has died at the age of 93. Along with Denise Scott Brown, his wife, he led cel­e­brated Philadel­phia firm Ven­turi Scott Brown. Known for its hu­man­ist de­sign ap­proach, the firm’s port­fo­lio in­cludes such in­flu­en­tial build­ings as Philadel­phia’s Guild House, the Seat­tle Art Mu­seum and the Sains­bury Wing at Lon­don’s Na­tional Gallery. An in­no­va­tor in the post­mod­ern scene, Ven­turi re­jected the Mies-in­flu­enced min­i­mal­ism of the era and is cred­ited with coin­ing the phrase “Less is a bore.”

One of Latin Amer­ica’s most sig­nif­i­cant in­sti­tu­tions, the Na­tional Mu­seum of Brazil, was de­stroyed by fire in Septem­ber. Home to over 20 mil­lion items re­lated to the his­tory of the Amer­i­cas, the mu­seum was founded in 1818 and had marked its bi­cen­ten­nial in June. Though the cause of the fire has not yet been de­ter­mined, fire­fight­ers were re­port­edly thwarted by empty fire hy­drants in the area. The In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects of Brazil is­sued an open let­ter just days af­ter the blaze, call­ing the loss “a re­sult of the sig­nif­i­cant de­cline in in­vest­ments in cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion and science…a bud­get of less than 14,000 BRL a month for the main­te­nance of equip­ment is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the lack of un­der­stand­ing of its im­por­tance for Brazil­ian his­tory, cul­ture and sci­ences.”

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