San Francisco Is Sinking Under Its Own Weight, and Other News

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Millennium Tower in San Francisco

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Thanks to buildings like the Millennium Tower, the Bay Area is sinking under its own weight.

San Francisco is quite literally sinking. According to a new study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, the entire Bay Area is slowly plunging downward under the 3.5-trillion-pound weight of its own architecture and sprawl. While the downward pressure exerted by big buildings is a well-documented phenomenon, the levels seen in San Francisco are unprecedented: Some parts of downtown are sinking as much as three-quarters of an inch per year, and the Millennium Tower, a 645-foot-tall residential building, has sunk around 16 inches over the past decade. These elevation changes caused by buildings will be particularly problematic for coastal areas threatened by rising sea levels. “Sea level rise is an enormous threat to the Bay Area,” David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay, tells the San Francisco Chronicle. “The effects are already being seen in king tides and extreme storms.”

More details emerge about the revitalization of New York’s Penn Station and Midtown West.  

A plan announced by New York governor Andrew Cuomo will bring 10 mixed-use towers to the area around Penn Station, furthering the redevelopment of the transit hub and surrounding Midtown West. Dubbed the Empire Station Complex, the proposal paves the way for new commercial office, retail, hotel, and possibly residential space as part of the transformation of eight sites—nearly doubling the amount of existing square footage to 20 million. The plan includes the expansion of Penn Station into the blocks south of the existing station, as well as transportation upgrades such as new entrances, improved pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular circulation. 

“New York has repeatedly proven that the government can still successfully deliver transformational infrastructure projects that are not only on-time and on-budget, but withstand the test of time,” Cuomo said in a press release. “The Empire Station Complex project represents the next great investment in our efforts to rebuild and expand this crucial piece of our state’s infrastructure and will support economic growth in New York City and across the entire state.” 

Hauser & Wirth Menorca

Hauser & Wirth announces a July opening date for its long-awaited Menorca satellite. 

Hauser & Wirth Menorca has officially announced an opening date. The global mega-gallery’s latest arts center, located in Isla del Rey, Spain, will open on July 17 with an exhibition by Mark Bradford that will showcase new paintings and sculptures. The Paris-based, Argentine architect Luis Laplace oversaw the two-year conservation project of historic hospital buildings, while the renowned landscape designer Piet Oudolf created the gardens filled with native plant species. Highlights include a sculpture trail with works by Louise Bourgeois, Eduardo Chillida, Franz West, and others, and a seasonal restaurant run by Menorca vineyard Binifadet. 

The Calder Foundation shares an expansive platform that digitizes the artist’s archive.

A small team of archivists have been working to digitize thousands of artworks, photographs, archival documents, and publications related to Alexander Calder’s life and career. Last week, the Calder Foundation revealed its new digital platform that includes extensive databases as well as editorial content that allows the artist’s work and history to be “accessible to thousands of people instead of dozens of people,” according to Alexander S.C. Rower, president of the Calder Foundation and the artist’s grandson. Until now, access to Calder’s archive has been restricted to scholars and curators. “Now, anyone—from someone who knows Calder’s name but not much about him, to college students to curators or scholars writing a book or planning an exhibition—can make connections that would have been impossible before,” said a spokeswoman. The project, which will be updated on an ongoing basis, leads up to the exhibition “Alexander Calder: Modern from the Start,” which opens March 14 at the Museum of Modern Art. 

Dolly Parton asks Tennessee to not put her statue at the Capitol in Nashville. 

The beloved country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton is politely asking Tennessee lawmakers to withdraw a bill that would erect a statue of her near Nashville’s capitol. Last month, Tennessee State Representative John Mark Windle introduced the bill to honor Parton “for all that she has contributed to the state.” Considering all of the pressing issues that have plagued that world in the past year, Parton said, “I don’t think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time.”

London Centre of Music by Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s twisting proposal for London’s Centre for Music gets canceled.

After failing to secure $400 million in private funding, Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s (DS+R) ambitious proposal for the London Centre for Music has been shelved. Instead, the city will focus on upgrading the nearby Barbican Centre and launch an international design competition this year. The Centre, which was first announced in 2017, originally intended to sit at the edge of the Barbican Estate and replace the Brutalist Museum of London. Initial visuals of a stacked tower arrangement with timber finishes were then unveiled two years later. “While we’re disappointed that the Centre for Music will not go forward, we understand the shifting priorities that led to this decision,” Elizabeth Diller, partner at DS+R, said in a statement. “We take comfort in knowing that new funding commitments will allow the Barbican to upgrade its existing facilities and we remain hopeful that the public space initiatives driving many aspects of our design can be preserved in future plans.” 

Weiss/Manfredi and Reed Hilderbrand announce a sweeping redesign of Longwood Gardens.

Longwood Gardens, the celebrated botanical destination spanning 1,000 acres of the Brandywine Creek Valley just outside of Philadelphia, has announced that New York–based firm Weiss/Manfredi will lead a herculean redesign and revitalization of the gardens’ 17-acre core conservatory area. The firm will work closely with Massachusetts-based landscape architecture practice Reed Hilderbrand on the $250 million makeover, called Longwood Reimagined: A New Garden Experience. The new conservatory features a 32,000-square-foot  glass house with a series of rising and falling asymmetrical gables, and will include a bonsai courtyard, restaurant, private events space, education and administration building, revitalization of the Waterlily Court, and preservation of six historic Lord & Burnham glass houses from the early 20th century. The project is slated for completion in 2024.

Untitled (First Abstract Watercolor) by Wassily Kandinsky

Today’s attractive distractions:

Google lets you experience Kandinsky’s art through simulated synesthesia.

This Japanese website maps areas with gossiping adults and noisy children.

Sleep scientists have achieved real-time communication with lucid dreamers. 

The pandemic has popularized traveling virtually through Google Street View.

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