Surfside Condo Architect Once Faced a Major Suspension, and Other News

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William Friedman, architect of the Surfside condo, faced suspension for faulty structures.

A public records request has revealed that William Friedman, the architect who designed the collapsed Surfside condo that killed 97 people, faced a six-month suspension by Florida’s board of architecture for designing structures that had toppled during Hurricane Betsy. The 1965 storm had toppled sign pylons that were “an integral part of the structure” of a Miami commercial building and were additionally described by the report as “insufficient and grossly inadequate” to withstand the pressure of hurricane-force winds. The five-member board found Friedman not only in violation of Florida law, but guilty of gross incompetence in that he negligently, improperly, and carelessly” designed the pylons. His suspension came more than a decade before Friedman unveiled the Champlain Towers South, which officially opened in 1981.

The British Museum will restore glass vases that were damaged in the Beirut explosion.

As Beirut forwards its healing process following the August 2020 blast, the American University of Beirut’s Archaeological Museum is restoring fragments of its cultural heritage by reviving eight glass vases that were shattered in the explosion. Although only 15 vessels destroyed in the blast were deemed salvageable, the remaining eight have been safely dispatched to London to be pieced together at the conservation labs of the British Museum with funds from The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF). As noted by TEFAF chairperson Hidde van Seggelen, “these objects hold immense historical, artistic and cultural significance. Their return to their rightful form is a powerful symbol of healing and resilience after the disaster.” 

Revel will release a fleet of Tesla taxis after trumping negotiations with city officials. 

The enterprising mobility company Revel is launching a squad of Tesla taxis next week in Manhattan after heated negotiations with New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission. As New York caps its army of taxis in an effort to shift to an electric vehicular network, Revel announced its plans for its sustainable taxis in April under an exemption that licensed its new mobility scheme. The events of June, however, recorded the TLC terminating the previous exception, forcing Revel CEO Frank Reig to re-enter negotiations. Acting as an ethical and eco-friendly counterpart to Uber and Lyft, Revel is expected to offset the mobility monopoly with its roster of full-time drivers and 50 electric taxis scheduled to hit the streets in mid-August. 

Homeless New Yorkers are being transitioned from pandemic hotels back to shelters. 

New York’s temporary initiative to provide asylum for the homeless at leading hotels is being superseded by a mandate to shelter amidst a spike in Covid-19 cases. Despite judicial intervention calling for greater public health consideration and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s view of group shelters as an endangerment to the city, school buses have begun to usher the homeless from pandemic hotels to crowded group shelters. Those qualifying for reasonable accommodation due to disabilities and exhaustive medical conditions were also ambushed with the policy, with many of their requests logged as pending. Regardless of health commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi’s note that the Department of Homeless Services had “labored over several months to ensure that vaccination is readily accessible,” the amount of vaccinated people in these shelters remains unknown.

Thomas Heatherwick is allegedly in talks with U.K. officials for a Covid-19 memorial.

Thomas Heatherwick is speculated to be speaking with the British government to develop a Covid-19 memorial. Although there’s currently no information about the schedule, concept, or existence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has voiced his support for one at St. Paul’s Cathedral, where fundraising efforts for the memorial recently launched. The rumors of Heatherwick negotiating within the shadows and Johnson publicly articulating that “I was deeply moved when I visited the Covid Memorial Wall opposite Parliament, and I wholeheartedly support the plan for a memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral,” makes for a promising start.

The internet roasts Ralph Lauren for Team USA’s overly preppy Olympic uniforms.

If you think that Team USA’s Olympic uniforms make them look preppy, that’s because Ralph Lauren has been contracted to design their uniforms since 2008. Best known for prim polo shirts and sports jackets, the 54-year-old brand was roasted on Twitter for making the team look like “they’re on vacation in Newport,” students of an “East Coast boarding school,” or, even more bluntly, “Team Karen.” It’s likely because Ralph Lauren’s preppy aesthetic has long been associated with white elite exclusionary spaces, and even the brand’s mascot—the polo player—nods to a sport that’s overwhelmingly played by rich white people. It’s unclear how much longer the brand will design for Team USA, and if it ever were to change hands, only a major brand could feasibly handle the multimillion-dollar investment of designing uniforms for the country’s more than 1,100 athletes. 

Plans for the largest solar farm in the U.S. get scrapped after backlash from locals.

Spanning more than 9,000 acres, the California-based solar company Arevia Power withdrew its $1 billion Battle Born Solar Project in Overton, Nevada, to preserve the host environment and economy. The project’s proposed site would interrupt the viewing of Michael Heizer’s groundbreaking Double Negative earthwork and disrupt other archaeological sites and endangered ecosystems. The adverse effects on tourism and the Mormon Mesa sparked local protests led by Lisa Childs, the founder of a local program called “Save Our Mesa,” who notes that Arevia Power “spent millions to overcome issues around their application, including our opposition, but were not able to come up with resolutions.” A spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Land Management adds that Arevia Power rescinded their plans as it was forecasted to be “detrimental to the local environment and the economy.”

Today’s attractive distractions:

Thanks to market oversaturation, the hard seltzer craze is coming to an end.

Who would’ve guessed that beekeeping is New York’s current hobby du jour?

Swimply, described as an “Airbnb for pools,” is making a splash this summer.

Dubai is creating artificial rain in order to cope with 122-degree temperatures.

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