A World-Class Music Archive Seeks a New Home, and Other News

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The ARChive of Contemporary Music. Image courtesy of Sacks & Co

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A World-Class Music Archive Seeks a New Home

Launched in a downtown Manhattan loft in 1985 by B. George and David Wheeler, the ARChive of Contemporary Music nonprofit music library and research center is perhaps the largest of its kind in the world, with more than three million recordings and millions more bits of ephemera in its holdings. It was likely the first institution to build a hip-hop collection, and holds major collections of blues, Haitian, punk and new wave, Cuban, and French records, along with Nile Rogers and Jellybean Benitez’s archive of dance music 12”s. 

The ARChive had to leave its longtime Tribeca home three years ago; its priceless holdings have sat in André Balazs’s Hudson Valley storage since then. In order to ensure these crucial documents of audio culture don’t disappear, the nonprofit recently announced its transition into The Center for Popular Music, a public institution with a capital campaign to fund a new, permanent home. Head to their website for more information and to join the work to ensure physical media will remain accessible in the age of streaming. —Jesse Dorris

Images of houses in Cambridge, with red representing a region contributing to “hard-to-decarbonize” identification. Photography by Ronita Bardhan

Cambridge researchers develop an AI model to help retrofit and decarbonize housing.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have unveiled an AI model designed to assist policymakers in identifying and prioritizing homes for retrofitting and decarbonization efforts. This deep learning model, created by the Department of Architecture, offers a faster and cost-effective approach to pinpoint high-priority properties in need of green improvements. The research focuses on “hard-to-decarbonize” houses, responsible for a significant portion of housing emissions but often overlooked. Trained on open-source data, including Energy Performance Certificates and images, the AI model achieved a 90 percent precision rate in classifying HtD houses, offering policymakers insights to streamline decarbonization efforts.

Austin is the latest city to eliminate mandatory parking requirements for new buildings.

On Thursday, Austin became the largest city in the country to eliminate mandatory parking requirements for new developments, aiming to address climate change and boost housing construction during its affordability crisis. The change affects various property types, including single-family homes, apartment buildings, offices, and shopping malls. Advocates argue that such requirements increase housing costs and promote car dependency, a major source of carbon emissions. Critics express concerns about parking overflow onto streets and traffic congestion. The move aligns with Austin’s goal to become a less car-dependent city while still ensuring accessible parking for people with disabilities. Removing parking minimums is part of a broader effort to ease rules hindering housing growth in Austin.

Dior’s new “Baby Dior” range. Photography by Olivier Rose for Dior/Parfums Christian Dior

Dior introduces skincare and fragrance for infants by the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian.

Dior has introduced a fragrance and skincare line for infants under the Baby Dior label, curated by renowned perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. The fragrance, called Bonne Étoile, is a gentle eau de senteur featuring pear, cotton, and petal notes, while the skincare range includes cleanser and moisturizer options. The new introductions are meant to cater to both luxury gift-givers and skincare-savvy parents. The Bonne Étoile scent is priced at $230 while the skincare range starts at $95.

Just Stop Oil activists target a Diego Velázquez painting at London’s National Gallery.

Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece, The Toilet of Venus or The Rokeby Venus, housed in London’s National Gallery, was targeted by two members of the climate activist group Just Stop Oil. The group shared a video of the attack on X (formerly Twitter) to protest against new oil and gas licenses in the UK. Famously attacked by suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914, causing seven deep gashes, the painting has been removed for examination by conservators after the recent incident. Two individuals were arrested following the attack.

Design giant Ideo sheds a third of its staff as the era of design thinking starts to wane.

Derek Robson, CEO of Ideo, announced a series of layoffs, office closures, and a restructuring of the renowned design firm during a global all-hands meeting. The layoffs, which began in 2020 and continued into 2023, will result in a reduction of 32 percent of the company’s headcount this year, impacting employees at all levels. Ideo will close offices in Munich and Tokyo and scale down its presence in three U.S. locations, London, and Shanghai. These changes are prompted by a drop in revenue, attributed to factors such as the pandemic and reduced demand for the firm’s services in design thinking. Ideo is also shifting its focus to “emerging tech” and the “Global South” to find new avenues of growth.

Today’s attractive distractions:

A new film follows Ohio environmentalists making paint from toxic mining runoff.

Have you noticed how the word “citizen” is everywhere in the world of branding? 

These ass-naked visitors toured Barcelona’s Archaeology Museum of Catalonia.

A new seven-room hotel in Indonesia occupies a site that’s only nine feet wide.

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