Center for Architecture. Image credit: Naked Pictures of Bea Arthur via Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 3.0
Center for Architecture. Image credit: Naked Pictures of Bea Arthur via Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 3.0

New Exhibit Highlights the Work of Black Architects

Center for Architecture. Image credit: Naked Pictures of Bea Arthur via Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 3.0
Center for Architecture. Image credit: Naked Pictures of Bea Arthur via Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 3.0

When asked to name a famous architect, you might mention Frank Gehry, Frank Lloyd Wright, or Zaha Hadid. But things get trickier once you narrow yourself down to black professionals. Even today, only two percent of America’s licensed architects are black. The New York Coalition of Black Architects and New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects are looking to bring visibility to this underrepresented group with their new exhibit “Say It Loud: Distinguished Black Designers of NYCOBA | NOMA.”

As Curbed New York reports, the show is currently running at the Center for Architecture in New York City. Twenty black architects, all members of NYCOBA | NOMA, are represented. Visitors can see the works of designers such as Roberta Washington, Yolande Daniels, and Mark Gardner accompanied by quotes and video interviews from the designers.

Marc Jacobs Aoyama, Tokyo, Japan

Marc Jacobs Tokyo Flagship Building by Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects. Image credit: Ken Lee // embedded via Flickr

A timeline of black designers in New York provides historical context, while projects selected from young architects pivot the exhibit toward the future. Award-winning architecture students and local high school students have their work displayed alongside the established professionals. The show opened on January 26 and will close on April 1. On Monday, February 27, the Center for Architecture is hosting a companion discussion on diversity in the field.

[h/t Curbed New York]

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
This Just In
For $61, You Can Become a Co-Owner of This 13th-Century French Castle
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images
Guillaume Souvant, Getty Images

A cultural heritage restoration site recently invited people to buy a French castle for as little as $61. The only catch? You'll be co-owning it with thousands of other donors. Now thousands of shareholders are responsible for the fate of the Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers in western France, and there's still room for more people to participate.

According to Mashable, the dilapidated structure has a rich history. Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has been invaded by foreign forces, looted, renovated, and devastated by a fire. Friends of Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a small foundation formed in 2016 in an effort to conserve the overgrown property, want to see the castle restored to its former glory.

Thanks to a crowdfunding collaboration with the cultural heritage restoration platform Dartagnans, the group is closer than ever to realizing its mission. More than 9000 web users have contributed €51 ($61) or more to the campaign to “adopt” Mothe-Chandeniers. Now that the original €500,000 goal has been fulfilled, the property’s new owners are responsible for deciding what to do with their purchase.

“We intend to create a dedicated platform that will allow each owner to monitor the progress of works, events, project proposals and build a real collaborative and participatory project,” the campaign page reads. “To make an abandoned ruin a collective work is the best way to protect it over time.”

Even though the initial goal has been met, Dartagnans will continue accepting funds for the project through December 25. Money collected between now and then will be used to pay for various fees related to the purchase of the site, and new donors will be added to the growing list of owners.

The shareholders will be among the first to see the cleared-out site during an initial visit next spring. The rest of the public will have to wait until it’s fully restored to see the final product.

[h/t Mashable]


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