The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 23 April 2016

City breaks

Here at the Monocle Minute we like cities with grit as well as gloss and we aren’t too fussy about them being all that quiet either (we’re not big on shushing). That said, publisher Francis Lincoln’s quiet-cities series is a refreshing romp through the less clamorous corners of many of our favourite places, including London, Paris and New York. Now it’s Los Angeles’s turn for the silent treatment: that most brash, rowdy and raucous of stopovers is transformed in Quiet Los Angeles over 144 pages into a procession of parks, libraries, lakes, galleries and cafés in which to collect your thoughts. While we’re not quite ready to shun the excitement of urban life altogether we admire writer Rebecca Razo and photographer Mark Mendez’s thoughtful assembly of places to catch your breath and contemplate a while.

Image: Dario Cantatore

Ford Foundation afresh

The Ford Foundation is one of New York’s most iconic office buildings and this week the 1968 gem received approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for a major structural overhaul. The building design is considered the first major success of architect Kevin Roche and his engineering partner John Dinkeloo after the pair launched their own practice in the 1960s. Beyond bringing the building up to date, architectural firm Gensler will lead the way in opening more collaborative workspaces as well as an art gallery and an event space. Thankfully the building’s most recognisable feature, a 53-metre atrium and internal garden, will remain.

Image: Norbert Tukaj

Warm welcome

Open House, an annual celebration of architecture that crops up in more than 30 cities around the world, takes place in the capital of Lithuania this weekend. During Open House Vilnius 40 private buildings and homes will open their doors to curious visitors. “This is an important event for our city as people will be able to have a dialogue with the place where they live,” says organiser Sandra Slepikaite. Architects and historians will lead tours around baroque and renaissance gems, Soviet-era modernist buildings and glass-covered high-rises. “We want people to express their opinion about their built environment and learn about the changing face of Vilnius.”

Image: Addy Cameron Huff

Clean and green

The Don Valley, which traces the Don River on the western edge of Toronto into Lake Ontario, has been a casualty of the city’s industrialisation. For most of the 20th century, factories have been pumping their toxic waste into the river. “The ravines in the Don Valley are literally in the recesses of the city and therefore the recesses of our mind,” says Sarah Heynen, chief development officer at Evergreen Brick Works, the environmental non-profit that proposed a new vision for the 200 hectares of forgotten green space on Thursday. Evergreen is partnering with the city to improve accessibility with more bicycle and pedestrian pathways by 2019; the long-term goal is to revitalise the waterfront and build a bridge-park to connect the green spaces on either side of the river. If it comes to fruition the project will replace polluted dumping sites with parkland. “It will create a habitat for all sorts of species and remove all sorts of pollution,” says Alex Bozikovic, architecture and urbanism critic for The Globe and Mail.

From Monocle 24

‘Louder Than Bombs’

Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert star in Louder Than Bombs, a deeply affecting look at a renowned war photographer’s struggle after arriving home. We talk to the film’s director and co-writer Joachim Trier. Plus: Kevin Spacey in the White House, Miguel Gomes’s epic take on Portuguese culture by way of Arabian Nights and live coverage of Tribeca Film Festival.

From Monocle Films

Retail special: chocolate shops

Monocle Films travels far and wide in search of the perfect bar of chocolate. In Cape Town, Tokyo and Chicago we sample sugar and spice and all things nice.

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