All Architects Today Are Covid-19 Architects
Joel Solkoff’s Column Vol. VI, Number 4
US COVID-19 Deaths Redux
DATELINE Sunday, August 9, 2020. Williamsport Pennsylvania, a town of 28,000 people and a treasure trove of architecture so beautiful …….so beautiful that this week I am hopeful of moving to the Peter Herdic Park Hotel completed 1865. Williamsport’s best architect, Anthony Visco, Jr took my amanuensis Frankie Resole, Jr. and me on tour of the hotel which was an alluring rural attraction to post Civil War (1861 to 1865) New Yorkers, In the good old days, New Yorkers could ride in style by train from NYC the
So alluring was this mansion in the foothills of the Appalachians that the president of the railroad caused a train station to appear ( now a railroad museum) a short walk away from the hotel entrance. In the 19th Century, Williamsport had more architects per capital than any place in the world. Here is Tony taking us a tour. When Tony learned he is older than I (albeit five days older) he insisted I call him Mr. Visco. Fortunately, I am now permitted to evoke his first name.
The Williamsport-Sun Gazette writes: “It was built during the Civil War as a grand railroad hotel capable of housing 700 guests in its four stories and was part of lumber baron Peter Herdic’s scheme to stimulate growth in a section of the city that was still developing and where he had considerable land holdings.”
“The Herdic Hotel, today known as Park Place, at the time was considered one of the finest hotels on the East Coast, with the Pennsylavania Railroad Depot on one side and a park with six deer on the other.
“Park Place at 800 W. Fourth St. is situated on five acres of land in the heart of the city’s historic district. No longer a hotel, it has been called the “flagship of the historic district” and continues to attract people for events there, from wedding receptions and anniversary celebrations to cultural events and exhibitions.“ — https://www.sungazette.com/news/top-news/2017/09/the-herdic-hotel-and-its-many-reincarnations/
All architects today in our era of a massive pandemic which killed over 1,000 or our US residents a day for several days in a row–are Covid-19 architects. This is a global pandemic that will last for at least five years. If you are an architect and you are not focusing on how to protect your clients from the microscopic danger, you are out of business. Sell used cars instead.
Today’s New York Times: “America stands alone”
|“Nearly every country has struggled to contain the coronavirus. But only one affluent nation has suffered a severe, sustained outbreak for more than four months: the United States.|
“Our colleague David Leonhardt — the usual writer of this newsletter — and a team of other Times journalists around the world interviewed scientists and public health experts to reconstruct America’s unique failure. Their reporting points to two central themes.
“First, the United States has a tradition of prioritizing individualism over government restrictions. That aversion to collective action helped lead to inadequate state lockdowns and inconsistent adherence to mask wearing based on partisanship instead of public health….
“Second, many experts agree, America’s poor results stem in substantial measure from the performance of the Trump administration. ‘If you had to summarize our approach, it’s really poor federal leadership — disorganization and denial,’ said Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare and Medicaid from 2015 to 2017.'”
Last month, e-architect sponsored an Architects for Change Webinar entitled, “Wellness Inside and Out.” Chris Lapine  Director at Zaha Hadid presented on modular housing in Mexico which makes for an excellent model for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Chris Lapine has been a friend of this column for years.