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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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ArcSpace brings us lots and lots of eye candy with the International Photography Awards winners in the architecture categories; a Swiss artist who has turned to photography (amazing!); and Kiser's take on the Barbican's "Constructing Worlds." -- A (mostly) good-news day for bunches of starchitects and stellar critics: It's (mostly) Oui, Oui! for Gehry's grandes aventures in Bois de Boulogne and at the Pompidou Center, as Wainwright, Moore, Merrick, Giovannini, and Hawthorne weigh in with some very pithy (and priceless) observations (at least read the headlines below). -- Kamin finds One World Trade Center to be "a bold but flawed giant. It says 'we're back' but not with the artistry it could have. It's solid, occasionally scintillating, yet it's no masterpiece" (some great pix, too) -- Gardner talks to Calatrava for two hours "before I realized how appropriate the placement is of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which will overlook the 9/11 Memorial - how different the experience will be from the voids of the reflecting pools" (with lost of new pix!). -- Betsky is quite taken with Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue and the "three things make it work. It is a refreshing alternative to the mediocrity of the buildings around it," and makes it "clear that it is still possible to make a beautiful skyscraper." -- Graves returns to Portland to make the case for saving his now-threatened Portland Building: he is pained by its "shortcomings and controversial reception - his mix of openness (to changing the design) and defiance (about the building's aesthetics), made a strong statement." -- An engaging Q&A with Graves re: why he "loves open-air hotels, hates cheap trophies - and why his next commission might be a tree house." -- Hume hails the "urban migration" to Toronto's downtown South Core: "The guiding principles here are connectivity, compactness and closeness. Mixed use is the mantra. The Gardiner has been crossed, but other obstacles remain." -- But there's some serious trouble brewing for Toronto's towering housing boom: many buildings are so poorly constructed that some fear the money-spinners of today could become the slums of the future" (buy today, sell by tomorrow!). -- Baranes makes an eloquent case for rewriting Washington, DC's height ordinances to "give architects the freedom to build, burnish and bequeath a skyline that elegantly complements" the city's heritage, and would offer upward glances more than "only 21st-century advances to air-conditioning equipment." -- Rinaldi offers a rather dark take on the seemingly bright success of Denver's "urban playground" at Union Station: it "isn't drawing people of color and it may be the building's fault. A dangerous discussion? Yes. But this project has defined us narrowly, darkly, negligently. There is danger in that, too" (snarly, gnarly comments follow). -- On a brighter note, the Guardian invited four award-winning American architects to "sketch and describe their unofficial visions" for the Obama Presidential Library: "hopefully these bold ideas will change the way you think about a politician's legacy" (nary a fuddy-duddy gesture anywhere). -- We cheer Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin receiving the 2014 ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. -- Call for entries: 2015 AIA Housing Awards + Winter Stations international design competition to re-imagine Toronto's winter waterfront.

  

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