Let's take a look at some of the world's latest news in architecture and design.

Genoa bridge collapse could have been prevented

architectureImage: Getty Images

At least 39 people have been killed and many left injured after the collapse of Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy this week. The bridge collapsed during a severe rain storm, with cars sent plunging into the riverbed, railway and two warehouses below. Built in 1967, the bridge had become well-known for its structural issues in recent years.

The exact cause of the bridge’s collapse is not known at this stage, but it is believed that the company in charge of the bridge’s maintenance, Autostrade, failed to conduct routine maintenance checks and repair work. This is allegedly coupled with the use of poor construction materials and techniques not suited to modern transport demands. According to Italian transport minister Danilo Toninelli, this is the case for many of the bridges and viaducts constructed in Italy during the 1960s. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has declared a state of emergency, and has ordered a review of all outdated bridges in Italy.  

Asbestos made legal in the US


Asbestos has been allowed back into US manufacturing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A series of loopholes in the EPA’s regulations have made this possible, including the recent introduction of a Significant New Use Rule that allows the distribution of products containing asbestos on a case-by-case basis.

The EPA recently released a report detailing its new framework for evaluating the risk of its top prioritised substances. In this report the agency states it will “no longer consider the effect or presence of substances in the air, ground or water in its risk assessments”, according to Fast Company.

US environmental advocacy group Healthy Building Network (HBN)’s board president Bill Walsh says almost all asbestos in the US is used in the industrial process to make chlorine. This includes PVC and vinyl plastics, which are often found in pipes, tiles, flooring, adhesives, paints and roofing products. Walsh says it will be up to architects to pressure the market.

Sandy Hook memorial design chosen

Image: SWA Group

The final design has been chosen for the Sandy Hook memorial in Newtown, Connecticut. The Clearing by Ben Waldo and Daniel Affleck from SWA Group was chosen out of three concepts unveiled in May. The memorial will honour the 26 victims and survivors of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

The landscape design features lakes, trails and winding pathways around a reflecting pool and young sycamore tree planted in “sacred soil” containing incinerated remains of flowers, letters, cards and other mementos brought to the town after the shooting. The names of the victims will be carved into the fountain’s stone edge.

According to SWA, the design encourages people to walk around and reflect, which can help clear the mind and aid the healing process.