The Staples Center rebrands to, the U.K. has a new chief architect, and more


Good afternoon and welcome back to another midweek inflection point.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Los Angeles’s Staples Center will be renamed the Arena

Downtown L.A.’s Staples Center, home turf of the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, the WNBA’s Sparks, and the NHL’s Kings, will officially get a new name come December 25. Singaporean cryptocurrency platform has purchased naming rights for the 20,000-seat arena for the next 20 years for a cool (reported) $700 million, and the building will thereafter be known as the Arena. The complex has been known as the Staples Center since it first opened in 1999 after American office retail giant (at the time, anyways) similarly purchased the naming rights for 20 years. Although the news is being mocked on social media, is the shift from being named after an office supply store really that strange?

H/t to the Los Angeles Times

Sarah Allan is named the U.K.’s new chief architect

Sarah Allan has joined the U.K.’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities as the Head of Architecture, replacing Andy von Bradsky. After nine years as the managing director at Solidspace, a real estate developer focused on building out small sites, Allan will bring architecture, development, and urban planning to the role, which she will serve under the department head Michael Gove.

H/t to the Architects’ Journal

Bill Ackman wants to build a glassy penthouse on a landmarked tower and causes an uproar

Billionaire Bill Ackman, hedge fund manager and husband of designer Neri Oxman, is embroiled in a battle with his Upper West Side condo building board over plans to top the landmarked tower with a glassy penthouse. Designed by Foster + Partners, the two-story topper for 6-16 West 77th Street would replace an existing rooftop unit, set back from the 16th roofline, with a pavilion supposedly inspired by Philip Johnson’s Glass House, according to the firm’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) presentation yesterday. Although the plan passed a Manhattan Community Board 7 vote on November 3 despite vociferous opposition from local residents, the project was reportedly met more warmly at the LPC meeting, with Paul Goldberger reportedly testifying in favor of the pagoda.

Ultimately the commission asked Ackman and Fosters + Partners to go back to the drawing board and return with a more horizontal proposal.

H/t to The Guardian

The Pacific Northwest is caught in a self-perpetuating disaster cycle

The atmospheric river currently dumping record amounts of rain on the West Coast is causing catastrophic landslides and flooding in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia after a scorching summer of wildfires left the landscape barren. The residue left behind by wildfires can also form a waxy substance on the surface of soil that renders it water-resistant, destroying its ability to sequester water. Fourteen counties in Washington State have been placed in a state of emergency and evacuations ordered, while to the north, entire houses have been swept away by flooding, and towns are being evacuated in their entirety.

H/t to Gizmodo

The Harvard Graduate School of Design opens 2022 Wheelwright Prize applications

The 2022 Wheelwright Prize cycle has begun its spin-up, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design opened applications on November 15. Early-career applicants have until January 30, 2022, (visit here for more info) to submit proposals for research projects that show “potential to make a significant impact on architectural discourse,” with the winner receiving $100,000 to fund it. Last year’s winner, Germane Barnes, was handed the prize for his proposal Anatomical Transformations in Classical Architecture, a look at the evolution of the porch, how the African diaspora has transformed Roman and Italian contributions to architecture, and the new possibilities opened by the investigations of Blackness.

The University of Houston honors 75 years of architecture with a site-specific inflatable

To honor the 75th birthday of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design at the University of Houston, an inflatable installation is now changing shape inside of the Philip Johnson and John Burgee-designed building that houses the college. AIRSCAPES #1 is currently shifting, shimmering, and billowing in the atrium of the 1986 postmodernist building. The 380,000-cubic-foot, multistory sculpture responds to the heat and air turbulence produced by the viewers, dynamically adapting to the environment—quite a metaphor for the state of the profession in 2021.


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