Adjaye Associates Revamps an Old Factory Into a Stunning School, and Other News

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Dream Charter School revamped by Adjaye Associates. Photography by James Wang

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In Harlem, an Old Factory Gets Revamped Into a Stunning Public School

After sitting abandoned for 40 years except for a family of goats that took over the ground floor, a 120-year-old brick building on the Harlem River has been rejuvenated into a striking public school by Adjaye Associates. The building, a former ice factory known as 20 Bruckner, has become the latest location of Dream Charter School, a 30-year-old nonprofit with seven facilities focused on educating youth communities in East Harlem and the South Bronx. 

Most public schools in New York can feel prison-like, so the firm opened up two large wells through the building’s upper portions to light up the core. Other interior features include high barrel-vaulted ceilings and exposed brick and steel beams, which immediately caught architect David Adjaye’s attention. “The height allowed for a cathedral-like space,” he tells Fast Company, “which fits the idea of a school as a temple of knowledge, freedom of thought, and the uncapped potential of the students.” Although the redesign came with the high price tag of $50 million, Dream sees it as a necessary expense to push forward on its mission to upend public education—and rewrite the design book for schools in underserved areas. —Ryan Waddoups

Rendering of the Neom megaproject in Saudi Arabia

The UN condemns the planned executions of Saudi citizens who spoke out against Neom.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has condemned the planned executions of three individuals who were sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for reportedly opposing the Neom mega project. The group of independent experts urged Saudi Arabia’s authorities to stop the process and criticized the country’s sentencing of the men, along with three others, for contravening international law. The experts also asked companies working on the project to ensure they are not “linked to serious human rights abuses,” while the Neom project has faced criticism for its sustainability claims and alleged human rights violations.

Matthew Barney will debut an installation about “violence and spectacle” in football.

Matthew Barney, the renowned artist known for his epic film cycles that feature ritualistic ceremonies and abject body horror, will premiere a video installation called Secondary on May 12 at his studio in Long Island City. The installation combines two elements: one explores the violence and spectacle inherent in American football and culture, paying homage to Barney’s experience as an athlete and a 1978 incident that left Darryl Stingley paralyzed, while the other involves a material-based choreography using materials often found in his sculptures. Perhaps most intriguing is a trench set in the studio’s floor that floods with river water as the tide rises, tying in with the evolution of the narrative’s characters.

The Smithsonian’s storied carousel, which hails from Baltimore, is being restored.

In 1967, despite critics fearing that the Smithsonian Institution would become an “ivy-covered Disneyland,” S. Dillon Ripley installed a 1922 carousel on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. with a Wurlitzer band organ that played classic tunes. The carousel was an immediate hit with Smithsonian visitors and city dwellers, who paid 25 cents each to ride it. The original carousel was replaced in the early 1980s with a larger, 1947 vintage model that had operated at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park outside Baltimore and was the focus for desegregation activists during the civil rights movement. Sharon Langley, the first Black child to ride on the carousel, has written a children’s book about her experience, and the new vintage model is currently undergoing major conservation and restoration.

The artist Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS. Photography by Diane Bondareff/AP for Tishman Speyer

KAWS wins a major lawsuit against Singaporean counterfeiters of his toys and art.

KAWS, the artist also known as Brian Donnelly, has won a major legal battle against counterfeiters who were making replicas of his famous Companion figure and other artworks. Dylan Joy An Leong Yi Zhi and two associated Singaporean companies, The Penthouse Theory and The Penthouse Collective, were ordered to stop production and pay KAWS $900,000 in damages. The court ruling was intended to punish Leong for knowingly selling counterfeit goods and to account for the damage caused to the market for KAWS products, including dilution of the products’ distinctiveness.

L.A. picks the design team for the memorial to victims of the 1971 Chinese Massacre.

A new monument will honor the 18 Chinese men who were lynched by a mob in Los Angeles in 1871. The winning design, by artist Sze Tsung Nicolás Leong and writer Judy Chui-Hua Chung, is a grove of petrified trees, stumps, and benches that evoke the banyan trees guarding Chinese villages. The monument will be located in various sites, including Los Angeles Street, Broadway, 7th Street, and Union Station, and aims to educate the public about the city’s painful history of anti-Asian violence.

Thousands of unionized screenwriters go on strike, decrying AI-generated content.

More than 11,500 unionized writers went on strike on May 2 after contract negotiations with Hollywood studios failed. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is not only demanding better pay and protections for writers working on streaming services, but also regulations on the use of generative AI bots in creative projects. The WGA strikers protested outside Netflix’s Manhattan headquarters the following day, chanting and carrying picket signs, and demanding that their credits and compensation be protected from AI-generated content.

An original Baskerville punch. Image courtesy of Cambridge University Library

Today’s attractive distractions:

Jony Ive speaks about LoveFrom Serif, a modernization of Baskerville.

Here’s how a sculpture shown at LACMA became a DJ’s sound studio.

One writer sees how ChatGPT fares as a Clueless-style closet computer.

A four-decade hunt for missing Jeopardy tapes reveals a strange mystery.

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