Links of Note (week 49/20)

Every week I highlight the most interesting items from my media diet.



Once the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, the Arecibo facility has been the site of many key astronomical discoveries over the years, including observations of the spinning stars known as pulsars that led to the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics. Before its collapse, astronomers were using the telescope for a number of scientific studies, including radar assessments of near-Earth asteroids, to measure their threat to the planet.


Norman Fosters and Zaha Hadid Architects formerly withdraw from Architects Declare a network of architectural practices committed to addressing the climate and biodiversity emergency.

My first reaction was that the practices should have stayed in and fought for environmentally friendly buildings no matter what the client or program.

But I think I was wrong. It really is a climate emergency in which we have about ten years to half our emissions. See a good article here about the problematic nature of aviation for global warming.

The other thing is I don’t think these two offices have taken it seriously. Signing up, but not changing your business model or design approach leaves only an empty and cynical PR strategy. Sad really. The AJ has an interesting overview of Architects Declare predating these offices leaving but they imply that while many offices have taken their commitment seriously some didn’t. Their passive aggressive withdrawal letters only underline this reading.

On what I feel is a related note Architects have a thing for strongmen. In Kazakhstan, the big global practices — from Norman Foster to Zaha Hadid — have piled in to help the dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev, build his trophy city.


December 7, 2020