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Best In Architecture In 2019: Notre Dame Saved, Wright Honored, Old Post Office Revived

It was a year of stark contrasts in architecture: The burning and near-destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral versus the revival of once-decrepit buildings like Chicago’s Old Post Office. A group of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings finally achieved global recognition yet the world lost several noted design figures, among them I.M. Pei and Chicago’s Stanley Tigerman.

Building boomed. Quality was hard to find.

Here are the projects and events that stood out in 2019. Plus some notable losses.

Wright buildings take their rightful place: In a step that was long overdue but still welcome, eight buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright were named to the United Nations’ list of the world’s most significant cultural and natural sites.

Located in six states and completed between 1909 and 1959, the buildings placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List include the bold concrete structure of Unity Temple in Oak Park and the Prairie style masterpiece of the Robie House in Chicago.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, a Chicago-based non-profit that seeks to preserve and protect Wright structures, spearheaded the nomination in cooperation with the U.S. Interior Department.

Separately, the Robie House reopened to the public for tours after a meticulous $11 million-plus restoration by Chicago’s Harboe Architects. Credit for that transformation also goes to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, a Chicago-based non-profit that conducts tours of the Robie House and other Wright sites.

Unity Temple in Oak Park in 2017. It was one of eight buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright named to the UNESCO World Heritage List. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Heroic firefighters save Notre Dame: One of the worst days of the year was April 15, when fire ravaged the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, toppling its delicate Gothic Revival spire and destroying its wood-supported roof. But there was a bright spot: The courage of French firefighters, who saved the great medieval monument.

“Some, at the peril of their own lives, went inside the (Cathedral’s) northern tower to protect it from flames at a moment when it could have collapsed at any time,” the New York Times reported. “The decisive moment saved the structure.”

French President Emmanuel Macron gave the firefighters the medal of honor for their courage, a fitting reminder that buildings have many protectors.

*** 2019 News Year in Focus *** PARIS, FRANCE – APRIL 15: Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. (Photo by Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images) ** OUTS – ELSENT, FPG, CM – OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD ** (Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images)

New life for Chicago’s Old Post Office: After sitting empty for more than 20 years — an eyesore that straddled the Eisenhower Expressway — the Chicago’s Old Post Office welcomed its first tenants after an $800 million-plus redevelopment.

Headed by Chicago office of the global firm Gensler, a team of designers turned the hulking structure, built in 1921 and the early 1930s, into hip office space without sacrificing its historic character. They restored the building’s once-crumbling art moderne facade and its elegant main lobby. They even retained corkscrewing mail chutes.

It remains to be seen how well the giant building works as an office space, but kudos are nonetheless in order for the designers and the developer, New York-based 601W Cos.

Skylights span the multi-level atrium at the Keller Center at the University of Chicago. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

At the U. Of C., an architectural oddball is revived: In another successful transformation, the Chicago firm of Farr Associates remade an exotic 1962 building by Edward Durell Stone at the University of Chicago. Now the vibrant headquarters of the U. Of C.’s Harris School of Public Policy, it’s been renamed the Keller Center.

The $80 million project buffed up the once-decaying exterior of the temple-like structure and rendered it more welcoming. Inside, the architects tore out floor slabs and inserted skylights to make once-constricted spaces into expansive spots to study and exchange ideas. Farr Associates worked on the project with Chicago’s Woodhouse Tinucci Architects.

A happy marriage of public housing and a public library: In Chicago, public housing has rarely been associated with good design. But there was a notable exception in 2019: three new structures that combined affordable housing and Chicago Public Library branches.

The best of them, in the Irving Park neighborhood, was designed by Chicago architect John Ronan and developed by Evergreen Real Estate Group. Brightly colored and crisply geometric, it proved the value of the concept called “co-location,” which joins a library with another type of building to lower construction costs and boost library attendance. (The other co-location projects were designed by Chicago’s Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Perkins+Will.)

Independence Library on Elston Avenue is part of a building with both a Chicago Public Library and public housing. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

A moving memorial to victims of gun violence: One of the highlights of the third Chicago Architecture Biennial was a memorial to victims of gun violence around the U.S. Designed by the Boston office of the MASS Design Group, the memorial consisted of four house-like structures that displayed in the biennial’s Beaux-Arts headquarters, the Chicago Cultural Center.

The design was a crystalline beauty, its glass walls covering wood honeycombs in which mementos of gunshot victims were displayed. The project poignantly made the point that the victims should be remembered as people, not anonymous statistics. The architects hope that the design, a prototype, will evolve into a permanent display. It remains on display as the biennial continues through Jan. 5.

A new look for old lobbies: Among the many remakes of ground-floor lobbies in downtown Chicago, some of which are hideous, one stands out: The redo of the south-facing lobby at the twin-towered CME Center office building, 30 and 10 S. Wacker Drive.

Shaped by Chicago’s Krueck + Sexton Architects for the building’s New York-based owners, Tishman Speyer, the project transformed a mausoleum-like 1980s lobby into a socially vibrant gateway. Distinguishing features include undulating perimeter glass walls and petal-inspired ceiling. An expansion of the project is due to be complete next year.

The new beach house at Gillson Park in Wilmette is a small building with a big impact. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

Small is beautiful: Another modestly-scaled project, a public beach house in Wilmette, showed why Chicago’s Woodhouse Tinucci Architects has been able to make a specialty of little lakefront buildings.

The serpentine beach house offered a case study in how a small building can achieve a distinctive presence yet disturb as little precious land as possible. The resolutely modern design was highlighted by a peaked trellis of Siberian larch that sweeps over five small concrete structures. The beach house and new landscaping dramatically enhanced the suburb’s Lake Michigan shoreline.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery at 646 N. Michigan Ave. In November in Chicago. (Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune)

The cathedral of caffeine: The world’s largest Starbucks, which opened in the old Crate & Barrel store on North Michigan Avenue, didn’t just appeal to Chicago’s appetite for being the biggest and the tallest. It delivered a shot of retail theater that made it one of the finest flagship stores on the Mag Mile.

Designed by an in-house team led by Starbucks Chief Design Officer Liz Muller and Vice President Jill Enomoto, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Chicago, as this emporium is known, respected the modernist Crate & Barrel store by Solomon Cordwell Buenz yet gave it a fresh identity. Here, the playful industrial spirit of “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” met the sophisticated Scandinavian modernism championed by Crate & Barrrel’s founders, Gordon and Carole Segal.

At 896 feet, with 76 occupied floors and 800 apartments, NEMA Chicago (center) is the city’s tallest rental tower and a major new skyline presence. (Armando L. Sanchez / Chicago Tribune)

A bold addition to the skyline: Chicago’s high-rise building boom has yielded more architectural quantity than quality. A notable exception is the new NEMA Chicago tower, which, at 896 feet, isn’t just Chicago’s tallest rental skyscraper but also gives the Near South Side a new landmark. New York architect Rafael Viñoly’s design creatively reinterprets the muscular setback style of Willis Tower while clean-lined interiors by New York’s David Rockwell draw inspiration from Chicago’s street grid and the building itself.

Finally, too many goodbyes: The design community lost an unusual number of major figures in 2019. In Chicago, notable deaths included Stanley Tigerman, a leader of the “Chicago Seven” architects who challenged modernist orthodoxy and opened the way for a more inclusive view of Chicago architecture. We also bid farewell to Lois Wille, the trailblazing reporter, editorial writer and author who wrote the influential book, “Forever Open, Clear, and Free: The Struggle for Chicago’s Lakefront.” And we lost Franz Schulze, the prolific art critic and author who wrote biographies of architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson.

Other notable architects who died were New York’s I.M. Pei, the globe-trotting modernist who brought new life to the Louvre with a giant glass pyramid; Cesar Pelli of New Haven, Conn., who designed the Malaysian twin towers that took the world’s tallest building crown from Sears (now Willis) Tower; and Kevin Roche of Hamden, Conn., whose credits include New York’s Ford Foundation headquarters and Chicago’s Leo Burnett Building. Pei and Roche were winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the field’s highest honor.

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The Best Mattress We’ve Ever Tested Is On Sale Early For Black Friday

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. However, our picks and opinions are independent from USA Today’s newsroom and any business incentives.

Feeling cranky and groggy even though you swear you got in a full eight hours worth of sleep last night? Got a constant nagging ache in your side that just won’t go away and unsure where it came from? These could be signs that it’s time to replace your mattress, and lucky for you, this deal on the best mattress we’ve ever tested is here to help—and save you some cash.

Right now you can get a $100 discount on any Nectar mattress, plus get two premium memory foam pillows with your order (a $150 value). You can also get $100 off select Nectar mattress sizes on Amazon right now. As far as early Black Friday deals go, this is definitely one of the best, especially since in our testing, we found Nectar mattresses to be the most lightweight and comfortable ones by far.

More: Black Friday deals have already begun—here are the best sales

Part of what makes Nectar so stellar is its construction: Each mattress features plush foam and a four-layer design (including a memory foam layer infused with medical-grade cooling), which is especially good for hot sleepers. Since the foam is soft yet also firm, it helps distribute weight evenly—so evenly, in fact, that when our reviewer did the “wine glass test” to examine how the mattress managed motion transfer, the glass barely wobbled and didn’t tip over. If you’re partnered up with a restless sleeper, this mattress will be a game-changer for actually falling asleep.

There are other reasons to appreciate Nectar beyond just their great mattress sales. The company has a reputation for stellar customer service and offers a 365-day home trial if you’d like to test out one of their mattresses first. Each mattress is also covered under the Forever Warranty, which covers the mattress in case of manufacturing or material defects for 10 years. If there’s an issue, they’ll replace your old mattress with a new one free of charge. 

Sick of waking up uncomfortable and knowing that your mattress is to blame? This sale, which lasts until Sunday, December 1, is a great opportunity to upgrade your mattress and save money in the process, so don’t snooze on it if you can avoid it.

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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Major Dubai property developer Damac pulls dividend payments amid slump, admits it doesn’t have the cash

A view of Damac logo in Dubai city center. February 10, 2018, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Artur Widak | NurPhoto via Getty Images

DUBAI — Dubai property developer Damac has cancelled its dividend payments, conceding slumping profitability and a weak market are crippling its operations.

“Kindly be advised that Damac confirms the news shared on the media in respect of non-distribution of dividends in light of the low profitability and the weak market,” the company said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market on Wednesday.

“This is the view of the management for the time being and the same shall be refined as we approach the time of distributing the dividends,” it added.

Damac Properties shares fell around 2% in Wednesday trade, adding to a 2.6% decline on Tuesday. The stock has slumped more than 40% this year.

The latest decision to conserve cash comes after Damac reported another disappointing quarterly earnings report, posting an 87% plunge in second quarter profits to $13.7 million with revenues falling 46% to $264 million.

Dubai’s real estate market, a key component of its economy, has been slowing for several years. Housing oversupply has driven prices down at least a quarter since 2014.

DAMAC Properties chairman Hussain Sajwani, a veteran of Dubai’s business and property scene who founded Damac in the heydays of 2002 and built the business into a high profile regional developer, said builders should halt launching new residential projects for “at least a year” in order to start a recovery.

“Let the market stabilize,” Sajwani told Reuters.

DAMAC has launched one project so far this year, he said, compared to two in 2018 and the roughly five or six it had launched annually in prior years.

“We’re going very conservative,” he added.

Sajwani told Reuters that a large, rival company had been “dumping in the market” with new launches over the past 18 months. “It’s bad for the country, for the market, and it’s going to be bad for them,” he added. He stopped short of naming chief rival, Emaar, which built key national landmarks such as the Dubai Mall and the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

Emaar Chairman Mohammad Alabbar was quick to hit back at the criticism.

“Really? Maybe if your Q2 profits were down by nearly 90 percent, it’s difficult to focus,” Alabbar told local news publication “Arabian Business.”

“I know what I am focused on, which is delivering the results Emaar customers and shareholders expect,” he added.

About 30,000 new homes will be built this year, twice the demand in the UAE, according to broker JLL. Sajwani said the market could start to recover in two years’ time if there were no new launches, but warned if no action were taken, the situation could worsen.

“Everybody will be a loser – the customer, the developer and the city,” he said.

Dubai’s government has announced in September it would establish a real estate planning commission to regulate the sector.

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The L.A. architects who design buildings that make you say, ‘Huh?,’ then ‘Wow!’

Los Angeles architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee are often described as what they are not.

They are not creators of ebullient structures like Frank Gehry. They do not design aggressively seismic forms like Thom Mayne. They are not Eric Owen Moss. They are not Zaha Hadid. They are not the boxy Modernists of midcentury.

The buildings designed by Johnston Marklee & Assoc., their eponymous firm, are broadly united by a more-than-meets-the-eye experiential quality. Yet their work is difficult to drop into some tidy architectural taxonomy.

“Previous generations had a signature style, and it’s easier to label,” says Lee, seated before a wall of printed renderings in his firm’s cluttered West L.A. studio. “Our generation wants to escape that.”

On first view, their buildings may seem subdued. Walk inside, however, and you’ll find structures that unfold like origami — an approach to space that has put the burgeoning L.A. firm in increasing demand among cultural institutions in the United States.

Honor Fraser gallery in Culver City, designed by Johnston Marklee & Assoc.

Johnston Marklee’s interior redesign for Honor Fraser gallery transformed the space into a sequence of art galleries framed by a dramatic entrance.

(Eric Staudenmaier)

In Southern California, they have become a go-to architectural studio for galleries seeking thoughtful redesigns of their spaces, including Roberts Projects (formerly Roberts & Tilton) and Honor Fraser in Culver City.

Their 2014 reworking of Various Small Fires, located in an old Hollywood film production office on Highland Avenue, delivers the experience of arriving in a series of small bites. The architects sealed off the structure’s front entrance and muted the faux Art Deco facade by painting everything white.

They then routed visitors along a narrow alley to the north that leads to a sculpture court in the rear, where the entrance is also located. There, a vaulted entry alcove, painted in a deep shade of gray, serves as portal and shelter, allowing visitors to shift visual gears before being delivered to the pair of gleaming white boxes within.

An exterior view of Various Small Fires by Johnston Marklee

A view of the muted facade designed by Johnston Marklee for Various Small Fires in Hollywood.

(Lee Thompson)

In Houston, their critically acclaimed Menil Drawing Institute, which opened late last year, looks from a distance like pair of textbook-Modern horizontal lines crowned by a white steel plate roof.

Move toward the entrance of the small museum — at 30,200 square feet, it’s less than a third the size of the Hauser & Wirth gallery in downtown Los Angeles — and you’ll find something else. A series of diagonal lines slowly reveal themselves: the portico’s sloped roof, which is echoed by the lobby’s pitched rafters, followed by a procession through the spine of the building that takes you under a sequence of elegant triangular folds on the ceiling and along three tree-lined atria — each of which bears a distinct look.

“It’s a beautiful building with all sorts of vistas,” says Menil Director Rebecca Rabinow.

An exterior view of the Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee

The western elevation of the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston, by Johnston Marklee & Assoc.

(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)

The entrance to the Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee & Assoc.

The Menil Drawing Institute may look flat from a distance, but the vaulted rafters at the entrance give the building a graceful dynamism.

(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)

An interior view of the Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee & Assoc.

The principal passageway of the Menil Drawing Institute features a series of elegant triangular forms.

(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)

Johnston Marklee’s most recent project, UCLA’s Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios in Culver City’s industrial Hayden Tract, opened to incoming students last month. The project, a renovation and expansion (which took the square footage from 21,200 to 48,000), transformed a frayed old wallpaper factory into a state-of-the-art studio facility.

In typical Johnston Marklee style, it was done with grace: The building retains its low-slung, light-industrial proportions, in keeping with the neighborhood. But a new facade of pillowed concrete, along with arched skylights in the workshop areas, add touches of refinement to what is essentially a space to make artistic messes.

“It fits into this post-industrial landscape in a really interesting way,” says Brett Steele, dean of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture.

A view of the graduate art studios at UCLA in May.

UCLA’s graduate art studios, housed in an old wallpaper factory in Culver City, before expansion and renovation.

(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

UCLA’s Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios as renovated and expanded by Johnston Marklee

UCLA’s Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios, after an expansion and renovation by Johnston Marklee.

(Louis Heilbronn / UCLA)

Next on Johnston Marklee’s to-do list: a building for the Philadelphia Contemporary, an experimental, nonprofit arts institution that has staged exhibitions around the city yet has never had a permanent home.

All of this is the work of an architectural studio that is less preoccupied with planting Instagrammable icons than in creating structures that react to local context in deliberate ways.

“Our generation, globally, a little older or younger, we are more interested in the fabric of cities,” says Johnston. “Not just the monuments and icons. It’s about understanding how we relate to the things around us. Not just ourselves.”

“A good building is like a good friend,” adds Lee. “If you want to be left alone, they will leave you alone. They will let you be quiet. But if you engage, they can tell you a lot.”

So how to pin words to the type of work that Johnston Marklee does? That’s the tricky part.

Former Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne described the firm as being part of a generation of architects he dubbed the “New Euclideans.”

“Its forms are basic, totemic,” he wrote in 2017. “Euclidean shapes dredged from the long memory of the field. It sometimes relies on modules or grids. It’s often monochromatic. It’s post-digital, which means it rejects the compulsion to push form-making to its absolute limits.”

Lee describes their work as “relational” — creating buildings that relate “to the life of other buildings and to the city.”

A staircase redesigned by Johnston Marklee at the MCA Chicago

In 2017, Johnston Marklee completed master planning and renovation on the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, originally designed by Josef Paul Kleihues.

(Kendall McCaugherty / Hall + Merrick, MCA Chicago)

It is an ethos partly rooted in the cultural landscape of Los Angeles. The architects are inspired by the legacies of Modern and contemporary art and, more specifically, by the California Light and Space movement, which uses architecture, light and color to create psychologically charged spaces.

They also draw heavily from L.A.’s architectural history — both avant-garde and vernacular.

“That sensibility, that intimacy, that notion of the domestic,” says Johnston. “Even as our projects shift in scale, our sense of engagement comes from that — from comfort. And that’s why we like to continue to do domestic projects.”

“It’s a very human scale — it maintains that,” adds Lee. “There’s a very banal aspect to Los Angeles that I’m very attracted to: [Ed] Ruscha’s books, [John] Baldessari’s paintings.”

“The ensemble,” says Johnston. “There’s poetry in that.”

Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee in their West L.A. studio.

Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee in their West L.A. studio.

(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Like the buildings they design, Johnston, 54, and Lee, 52, have an air of easy grace. The pair, who are also a couple, arrived at the same architectural point through different paths.

Lee was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to the Claremont area in 1983. He was drawn to the field as a child. “Growing up in Hong Kong,” he says, “buildings have a presence.”

As a USC undergraduate in the late 1980s, he pursued architecture.

Johnston, who grew up in Malibu, came to architecture as an adult. She attended Stanford, where she played volleyball and majored in history (with a focus on the Italian Renaissance) and became interested in architecture on a trip to Europe.

“I traveled and went to Italy and France and I started looking at beautiful buildings,” she says. Stanford didn’t have an architectural program, so she took classes at UC Berkeley.

The two met as students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (where Lee currently serves as chair of the architecture department) and ultimately ended up back in Los Angeles, where they established their firm in 1998.

Like many L.A. architects, some of their first notable projects were houses: the Sale House, where they added a new dwelling area to a studio and garage in Venice that was originally designed in 1978 by Mayne’s firm, Morphosis; and the Vault House in Oxnard, a crisp, arched design that is composed of a balletic combination of arches within.

The arched Vault House in Oxnard by Johnston Marklee & Assoc.

Johnston Marklee & Assoc.’s “Vault House” in Oxnard, completed in 2013.

(Eric Staudenmaier)

They quickly drew the attention of a variety of clients, renovating and designing spaces for art galleries, a design book shop (they did the interiors of Arcana Books in Culver City) and a fashion designer (they have done boutique interiors and a house for Chan Luu).

But their work on the Menil Drawing Institute, combined with their role as curators of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial — an exhibition that The Times’ Hawthorne described as “elegant and densely layered” — has brought them broad national recognition.

Rabinow says Johnston Marklee’s design for the Menil, the first ground-up drawings museum of its kind in the United States, revealed the ways in which the architects were able to smartly navigate multiple issues: the low-slung domestic scale of the neighborhood, the lighting needs of fragile drawings, the architectural legacy of the Menil Collection campus, which includes an early museum building by Renzo Piano. (The dark wood exteriors of Johnston Marklee’s structure, for example, echo the floors of Piano’s central building.)

The Menil Drawing Institute by Johnston Marklee

Johnston Marklee’s Menil Drawing Institute is part of a long lineage of important architecture on the Menil Collection campus.

(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)

“They nod to things from the different buildings,” says Rabinow. “It’s like a beautiful symphony where you start to hear chords throughout. But their building is still very different. They’re not trying to work on the same thing.”

In the process, Johnston and Lee have become part of a tradition of important architects who have been given a boost by the Menil at a key moment in their careers. In addition to hiring Piano for his first solo museum structure, the Menil Collection’s founders, the late John and Dominique de Menil, hired a young Philip Johnson to design their home in the late 1940s.

“With John and Dominique, it was a mantra of collecting artists before they reach a certain plateau — and they continue that ethos,” says Lee. “They picked Piano. They picked us. They could have gone with a more well-known architect. But this shows they have a certain confidence.”

“They treated us like artists,” adds Johnston. “There was such an elevated way that we talked about the challenges of the building, and they gave us space to experiment and test. And in this age — the developer age — there is a need for a great architect to have a great client. Everybody needs to show up and take those risks.”

One of the three tree-lined atria of the Menil Drawing Institute

One of the three tree-lined atria at the Menil Drawing Institute. The design puts a lot of thought into spaces used by the staff.

(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)

A study area inside the Menil Drawing Institute.

A study area inside the Menil Drawing Institute. The building is the first ground-up drawings museum and conservation lab in the U.S.

(Richard Barnes / Menil Collection)

In turn, the architects take great care with the environments they create.

At the Menil, whose functions go beyond that of museum (the institute also houses an archive and a conservation lab), staff areas show as much attention to detail as the gallery spaces. Curatorial offices face a tree-lined atrium; the conservation lab looks out on an earthwork by Michael Heizer.

Rabinow says some of the most remarkable spaces are the incidental ones.

“When you are walking out of the staff kitchen toward the loading dock, and you look up towards the sky, and for a split second, it’s like a [a work by James] Turrell,” she says. “That always stops me in my in tracks.”

In the studios they designed for UCLA, the curved lines that give the skylights their panache also appear in parts of the building that most occupants will never lay eyes on — such as a facilities roof studded with ventilation equipment. It too is a space worthy of thoughtful design.

“The path of their career is that they have the capacity to do different kinds of projects, but with the certainty that you will get Johnston Marklee quality,” says UCLA’s Steele. “It’s a tricky thing for architects. It takes a degree of confidence.”

A view of a workshop area at the UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios

Architects Johnston Marklee & Assoc. added 26,800 square feet of space to a 21,200-square-foot warehouse to create UCLA’s graduate art studios. Workshop areas occupy the new spaces, many of which are open air.

(Louis Heilbronn / UCLA)

“They not only know the art world, they love the art world,” says Harry Philbrick, founding director of Philadelphia Contemporary, who has been working with Johnston Marklee on an initial design concept for his institution. “They are extremely knowledgeable. That distinguished them. … We are not looking to create a traditional art museum. They understood that.”

Johnston describes what they do in simple terms: “We think of our buildings as infrastructure. It’s a framework for all of these things to happen.”

But the reactions they hope to elicit are complex.

“Ed Ruscha says that when people look at his paintings, he likes to solicit a ‘Huh?’ and then ‘Wow.’” says Lee.

A double take. Johnston Marklee’s work generates plenty of those.

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What to expect at AFI Fashion Week

Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings Pty Ltd Dr_Precious Moloi-Motsepe seated front row with designer Gavin Rajah and Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes during AFI Fashion Week Cape Town. Supplied picture.

More than established and up-and-coming designers from across Africa will showcase their Spring Summer collections at the African Fashion International AFI Fashion Week next week. The three day fashion experience will be held from Thursday to Saturday October – , at the Sandton Convention Centre.

One of this season’s highlights is a showcase by seasoned and renowned designer David Tlale who will showcase his latest collection titled “JOYCE”, a tribute to his late mother who passed away recently. The local designer line-up also includes AFI regulars such as Rich Factory, Orapeleng Modutle Style Avenue, BeachCult, LSE by Paledi Segapo and La Art Neviole Emporium Invited designers include Mozambican designer Taibo Bacar, Nigeria’s Ituen Basi and Kreyann from Cameroon.

Provided by African Technology and Media Holdings Pty Ltd Actress Nomzamo Mbatha wearing Rich Factory at AFI Fashion Week. Supplied picture.

Since its first runway shows years ago, AFI has been instrumental in creating and propelling many designers to legendary heights through this global platform which showcases the best that African fashion has to offer. AFI Fashion Week also takes luxury African fashion to the world through AFI’s Designer Boutique, leveraging off the global network that the organization has built over the years. Keeping to it’s #IAMAFRICA theme, AFI Fashion Week is a celebration of African talent and a sure path to commercial success for the talented designers.

African Fashion International will open its Fashion Week experience on the th of October with the highly billed African Fashion Unites show. The show will be a tantalizing fusion of African cuisine and music which will accompany a Pan African fashion showcase with designers; Christie Brown Ghana, Maxhosa SA, Gavin Rajah SA, Eric Raisina Madagascar, Mai Atafo Nigeria, Kahindo Mateena DRCUSA, Laurence Airline Ivory Coast, KLûK CGDT SA, Moshions Rwanda and Neo Serati SA.

The opening show will see performances from renowned artists such as Cassper Nyovest, Femi Kuti and the highly popular Ndlovu Youth Choir, with a special Pan African menu designed by Chef Coco of Epicure Restaurant.

The Motsepe Foundation in a call for Africans to unite, will support the African Fashion Unites show. The Foundation, which focuses on programs in tertiary education, Women’s empowerment, support of small-scale farmers and SMEs, has in the past promoted initiatives that promote social cohesion viz Global Citizens Concert amongst others. 

“Africa belongs to Africans” declares Executive Chairman of AFI, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe. “The continent needs to unite in its diversity.” With six of the fastest growing economies in the world hailing from Africa and the youth population estimated to reach million by , the economic growth and development of the African continent through local production and consumption could see a self-sufficient continent, with substantial reduction in poverty levels. Add technology and innovation in this picture and the future looks promising for Africa.

Provided by Independent Media -Laartneviole Emporium showing his great designs at the AFI fashion week .Photograph :Phando JikeloAfrican News AgencyANA

“AFI believes in the promise of Africa. With the recently concluded continent wide AfCFTA African Continental Free Trade Area, the continent has a large enough market to increase intra African trade” Says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

The creative industries, including the fashion and clothing sector which is estimated at $.Trillion globally and $Billion in Sub- Saharan Africa, will seize major market share as local consumers forgo highly taxed imports and embrace locally produced, good quality, unique and competitively priced clothing.

“The creative sector can create jobs along its value chain, with collaboration between countries and using the expertise and local knowledge that exist on the continent. This will go a long way to reducing current high unemployment levels especially amongst women and youth” says Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe.

For more information and full program visit .africanfashioninternationalm

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Five communities involved in 3-alarm Fitchburg fire response

Firefighters from multiple communities on Sunday evening were battling a -alarm fire at a condominium complex at the corner of Salem and Beekman streets in Fitchburg, according to Fitchburg Fire Department officials.

According to Deputy Chief Anthony Marrama, firefighters responded to a fire at Beekman St. shortly before p.m. on Sunday.

As of roughly : p.m., the fire was still active, according to Marrama. He said the fire was a “special call,” meaning additional resources beyond those deployed for a normal -alarm fire were involved in the response.

Marrama said that five different communities are participating in the response to the fire, and that there had been no injuries.

Fire Chief Kevin Roy said that rescues had taken place, but did not specify how many or elaborate any further.

A full-floor apartment at a tony Upper East Side building hit the market Tuesday with a $. million price tag.

Located directly across Fifth Avenue from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the -story apartment building, which was reportedly once lived in by actress— and later Princess of Monaco—Grace Kelly, was designed by leading architect J.E.R. Carpenter in . 

“The holy grail of New York City architecture are the grand scale pre-war buildings,” the premier buildings being those designed by Carpenter and his predecessor Rosario Candela, said listing agent Dan Kessler, who listed the property along with Byron Anderson of Compass.

“Only two of Carpenter’s buildings have been converted into condos and only one of those buildings is on Fifth Avenue,” Kessler said. Condo ownership presents more flexibility than owning a co-op or an apartment, he added. Condos boards are also more open to foreign buyers.

The wedding cake-style building has multiple distinct tiers decreasing in square footage as the floors increase. This penthouse sits on the penultimate floor of the first tier. “It’s the highest you can be with the largest floor plan,” Kessler said.

More: Newly Renovated House in Bristol Lists for £. Million

The four-bedroom apartment—one of just units in the building—is being sold by a former Morgan Stanley executive who purchased the home in for $. million, property records show.

Spanning , square feet, and entered through a marble-clad private elevator landing, the home has a living room with a wood-burning fireplace and windows looking out over the museum and across Central Park, according to the listing.

There is also a French-polished mahogany library, a formal dining room, a kitchen with an adjacent breakfast room, and separate staff quarters.

From Penta: Art by Women Remains Underrepresented

The Fifth Avenue building has been “home to prominent New Yorkers from the beginning,” the listing said.

Along with Kelly—who reportedly lived there prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco—it was also home to Sylvia Green Wilks, the daughter of Wall Street scion Hetty Green, according to the listing. Green Wilks reportedly lived across two floors of the building, using one for her home and the other to store her surplus furniture. 

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Did International Alliance Financial Leasing

It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. The flip side of that is that there are more than a few examples of insiders dumping stock prior to a period of weak performance. So before you buy or sell International Alliance Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. (HKG:1563), you may well want to know whether insiders have been buying or selling.What Is Insider Selling?

It is perfectly legal for company insiders, including board members, to buy and sell stock in a company. However, most countries require that the company discloses such transactions to the market.

Insider transactions are not the most important thing when it comes to long-term investing. But equally, we would consider it foolish to ignore insider transactions altogether. As Peter Lynch said, ‘insiders might sell their shares for any number of reasons, but they buy them for only one: they think the price will rise.’

See our latest analysis for International Alliance Financial LeasingInternational Alliance Financial Leasing Insider Transactions Over The Last Year

Over the last year, we can see that the biggest insider purchase was by CEO & Executive Director Luqiang Li for HK$501k worth of shares, at about HK$1.00 per share. Even though the purchase was made at a significantly lower price than the recent price (HK$1.30), we still think insider buying is a positive. Because it occurred at a lower valuation, it doesn’t tell us much about whether insiders might find today’s price attractive.

You can see the insider transactions (by individuals) over the last year depicted in the chart below. If you want to know exactly who sold, for how much, and when, simply click on the graph below!

SEHK:1563 Recent Insider Trading, September 13th 2019More

International Alliance Financial Leasing is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.Insider Ownership of International Alliance Financial Leasing

For a common shareholder, it is worth checking how many shares are held by company insiders. Usually, the higher the insider ownership, the more likely it is that insiders will be incentivised to build the company for the long term. International Alliance Financial Leasing insiders own about HK$1.0b worth of shares (which is 53% of the company). Most shareholders would be happy to see this sort of insider ownership, since it suggests that management incentives are well aligned with other shareholders.What Might The Insider Transactions At International Alliance Financial Leasing Tell Us?

The recent insider purchase is heartening. And an analysis of the transactions over the last year also gives us confidence. Along with the high insider ownership, this analysis suggests that insiders are quite bullish about International Alliance Financial Leasing. Looks promising! Along with insider transactions, I recommend checking if International Alliance Financial Leasing is growing revenue. This free chart of historic revenue and earnings should make that easy.

But note: International Alliance Financial Leasing may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with high ROE and low debt.

For the purposes of this article, insiders are those individuals who report their transactions to the relevant regulatory body. We currently account for open market transactions and private dispositions, but not derivative transactions.

Story continues

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.

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JP Morgan has created an index to track the effect of Trump’s tweets on financial markets: ‘Volfefe index’

President Donald Trump speaks as he receives a status report on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, September , .

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

Donald Trump is tweeting more and it s affecting the bond market.

In fact, the president s market-moving tweets ballooned in August as he hammered China on trade and went after the Federal Reserve on interest rates.

In an attempt to quantify the impact of Trump s tweets on the bond market, J.P. Morgan devised a Volfefe Index to analyze how the president s tweets are influencing volatility in U.S. interest rates.

J.P. Morgan found that the index, named after Trump s infamous and still mysterious covfefe tweet, explains a measurable fraction of the moves in implied rate volatility for -year and -year Treasurys.

This makes rough sense as much of the president s tweets have been focused on the Federal Reserve, and as trade tensions are broadly seen as, first and foremost, impactful on near-term economic performance and, likewise, the Fed s reaction to such developments, wrote the authors of the J.P. Morgan report.

Trump s market-moving messages most often address trade and monetary policy, with key words including China, billion and products. These tweets are increasingly less likely to receive favorable responses, such as likes or retweets, from the president s followers.

Since his election in , Trump has averaged more than tweets a day to his nearly million followers —roughly , total over that period associated with his personal account, of which more than , occurred after the inauguration.

Out of about , non-retweets occurring during market hours from to the present, only moved the market.

Most of Trump s tweets come around noon to : pm, with a : pm tweet roughly three times as likely to arrive at any other hour of the afternoon or evening, according to J.P. Morgan s report.

Trump s : am tweets are also more common than : pm tweets, which can be a nuisance for U.S. rates markets, since overnight market depth tends to be thin.Trump is presumably asleep from : am to : am, according to the report, since there s a lull in tweeting activity during that time.

Days when Trump tweets a lot are also associated with negative stock market returns, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

While Trump s activity can disrupt markets with sudden attacks on China trade or the Federal Reserve, he has still been good for the stock market overall. The Dow is up % since the presidential election and % since his inauguration.

Trade talk, political campaigning and tweets have contributed to volatility, from China to Fed policy to tax policy, wrote the brokerage s chief equity strategist Savita Subramanian.

And new tariffs announced in August indicate downside risk to our EPS growth forecasts of +%+%, where indirect impacts from hits to corporate or consumer confidence could be significant.

WATCH: How JP Morgan Chase became the largest bank in the US

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Old Westbury president addresses mold problem in residence halls

The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III used his annual convocation speech at SUNY Old Westbury on Wednesday to touch on an unusual topic: mold.

The college’s president said students had raised concerns that the mold problem in residence halls, dating to at least last year, remained unresolved. But SUNY Old Westbury is taking steps to eliminate it, he said. 

“Let me state clearly that I hear and understand your concerns,” Butts told several hundred students and faculty members gathered in the university’s athletic center. “I can’t stress enough how much we’d like to see this remedied as much as you.”

Some student activists said the problem persisted and had even resulted in the hospitalization of several undergraduates.

“It’s been really serious,” said Noa Caines, , a junior from Manhattan who set up a page about the issue. “We are trying to get the message out there in the most peaceful way possible.”

College officials said they knew of one student who went to the hospital for treatment for possible mold-related problems in August, and two last year. Butts said college officials had received four confirmed reports of mold issues from students during the summer and since students moved into dorms for the fall semester around Aug. .

“In all of these cases, we responded within hours and remedied the concerns immediately,” Butts told the crowd.

In an interview, he also said the college had been in touch with the New York State Department of Health and SUNY system state officials.

“They seem to feel that we have taken the proper measures and the condition has been remedied,” Butts said.

He and college spokesman Michael Kinane said steps taken include deep cleaning of the dorms with anti-mold materials, installation of commercial dehumidifiers, and cleaning of AC and heating units.

Caines was not convinced.

“It is really difficult because the school’s entire slogan is ‘Own Your Future,’ but it’s like how can you own your future if you are spending more time in the hospital than you are getting your education and getting your degree,” she said.

Butts praised Caine and others for speaking out. “For those students voicing their opinion today I applaud you for expressing yourselves,” the longtime civil rights leader said, noting, “I too come out of a season of protest.”

“Advocating for yourselves and for a change you think is needed are part of the spirit of this place we call SUNY Old Westbury.”

But Butts added, “If you are asking me to make mold not grow, well that is not within my power. What is in my authority is to try to make the conditions in our residence halls at least as not conducive as they can be to the mold. And I believe we have done and are doing that.”

Bart Jones covers religion at Newsday, where he has worked since , and is a former foreign correspondent for The in Venezuela.

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After outrage, judge orders suspect in attack of woman caught on video to wear ankle monitor

A judge under fire for releasing a man who allegedly attacked a woman outside her Embarcadero condo ruled Friday that the suspect must wear an ankle monitor.

The hearing Friday came after Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Matt Haney and others slammed San Francisco Superior Court Judge Christine Van Aken for releasing -year-old Austin James Vincent. He is suspected of attacking -year-old Paneez Kosarian as she entered her Beale Street condominium building Sunday.

The outrage from officials and the public came in the wake of a widely shared building surveillance video showing the attack. But Van Aken said Friday that the video hadn’t been submitted in court and she had not seen it when she ruled in the case. She saw it Wednesday on a TV in a restaurant.

“When I saw the video, I was frankly alarmed at the level of violence,” she said at Friday’s hearing. “It altered my assessment of the public-safety risk of this case. I take public safety very seriously.”

Videos are not typically played at arraignments, said Max Szabo, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, adding that the algorithm used to assess whether a person might re-offend recommended Vincent stay in custody.

On Monday, Vincent pleaded not guilty to charges of false imprisonment, two counts of battery and attempted robbery. Van Aken ordered him into a pretrial diversion program that provides mental health services rather than keeping him in jail while awaiting his next court appearance.

Deputy District Attorney Edward Chang said his office didn’t provide the video as evidence at Vincent’s arraignment because they relied on the police report, which they felt was sufficient. Van Aken ordered the district attorney’s office to submit the video into evidence no later than Monday at noon.

While the video may have prompted Van Aken to re-evaluate Vincent’s case, she stressed that incarceration is not a tenable solution for treating the mentally ill. She added that she was “really glad” to hear that Vincent was responding well to treatment.

The ruling to release Vincent was over the wishes of the district attorney and Kosarian, who said that before the attack Vincent had talked about killing robots that wanted to take over the world.

Politicians were also upset about the decision to release Vincent.

“I think the court’s decision to release him while he awaits trial was clearly wrong,” Breed said in a statement Thursday. “This man needs to be receiving mental health services under observation, not back out on the street.”

Van Aken ordered Vincent to wear an ankle monitor at Friday’s hearing. She scheduled another hearing for Monday with the attorneys to make sure the monitor is added, and excused Vincent from appearing in court on Friday and Monday.

Vincent’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Saleem Belbahri, objected to Van Aken’s decision to add the ankle monitor as a condition of his release, saying Vincent was “in a mental health crisis” at the time of the incident and that the judge shouldn’t be swayed by the “public pressure” the case has drawn.

The controversy over the attack and Van Aken’s original decision was seized on by opponents of the city’s under-construction homeless shelter on the Embarcadero. They have used the attack as fuel to continue to argue the Navigation Center should be stopped. The group, Safe Embarcadero for All, sued to halt the shelter and is awaiting the lawsuit’s resolution.

“Our streets are not safe, our homes are not safe,” said Wallace Lee, a member of the group, in a statement Friday. “The City wants more shelters when it cannot deal with the ones it has currently. Judges allow dangerous, most likely mentally ill and drug addicted homeless attackers back on to San Francisco’s streets.”

The district attorney’s office clarified Friday that Vincent was never released directly back on the streets, as many initially believed. It’s not clear if Vincent is homeless, but police said he has no known local address.

Szabo said Vincent had stayed one night at the Salvation Army and is now at the NoVA housing program, where he can come and go as he pleases. He has to check in three times a week in person with his case manager, Van Aken said. The program Vincent is participating in requires regular check-ins with a caseworker tasked with ensuring that he does not present a threat to public safety and that he makes his court dates.

“The pretrial diversion program has been watching him like a hawk,” said Szabo.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera criticized the district attorney’s decision to not present the video as evidence during Vincent’s arraignment.

“We now know from today’s court proceeding that the district attorney’s office … did not provide that key piece of evidence to the judge. That is information that should’ve been before the judge so she could weigh all of the facts in this case.”

Herrera also denounced what he called the public’s “rush to judgment” in condemning Van Aken’s decision to release Vincent.

Prior to becoming a judge last year, Van Aken was a prominent and accomplished litigator in Herrera’s office.

Van Aken also defended her original decision Friday. She said that because Vincent had only one conviction for petty theft in , she didn’t previously deem him a public-safety threat.

“Because of what I saw in the video, I do have some public-safety concerns now,” she added.

Dominic Fracassa is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Emily Fancher is an assistant metro editor. dfracassasfchroniclem, emily.fanchersfchroniclem

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