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Today's News - July 23, 2002

If we seem to be a bit top-heavy lately on news and opinions about the development plans for Ground Zero, it is because we consider the process of resolving the issue as important (if not more so) as what is finally decided for the site. The commentaries (and tirades) raise questions - and challenges - that apply to communities, large and small, everywhere in the world.

Susan S. Szenasy, editor in chief of Metropolis magazine and a co-founder of R.Dot (Rebuild Downtown Our Town), eloquently asserts the need for an "architectural masterpiece." NY Newsday calls the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. "as toothless as a newborn babe," and says, "If the Port Authority gets its way, the public will pay a terrible price." On the other hand, the NY Post claims that "Altering the rebuilding project as the critics want would have long-lasting negative repercussions." And John King from the San Francisco Chronicle must have been sitting next to Paul Goldberger from the New Yorker at Saturday's "Listening to the City" town hall - and taken copious notes.

Elsewhere: Forbes List of the World's Ugliest Buildings is amusing (if you're not on the list): "Critics have a soft spot for Yale's [Paul Rudolph-designed] Art and Architecture Building (probably because so many of them went there)…" John Pawson's "commission of a lifetime" is the Novy Dvur Monestary in Czech Republic. It looks like Sydney is setting itself up for cookie-cutter condos. Sir Norman Foster's "erotic gherkin" is called a "kinder, gentler office building" (maybe the LMDC should read this one!?). The final approval for Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed 42-story Heron Tower indicates a possible go-ahead for Renzo Piano's 66-story London Bridge Tower (dubbed The Shard). China launches a multi-billion dollar airport program…and much more.

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Op-Ed: Back to the Drawing Board: Have we reached a moment when we are capable of designing only bland office parks and lightly nostalgic shopping malls? By Susan S. Szenasy- New York Times

Editorial: Listening to the City: New Yorkers...want an "inspired vision." ...the real test...is whether the authorities were actually listening.- New York Times

Opinion: Maybe Democracy Can Help WTC Site Plans: It's a fiction to think a democratic assemblage in the Javits center can somehow redesign a downtown. But democracy - used as a blunt and terrifying weapon - can do wonderful things.- NY Newsday

Editorial: The Hole-in-the-Ground Gang: all running for political cover, following the resounding thumbs-down at the Javits Center Saturday...- NY Post

Trade Center plans panned: 5,000 New Yorkers in town hall meeting tell developers: 'Be bold' By John King- San Francisco Chronicle

Even Critics Say Some Designs for Downtown Aren't So Bad: ...certain design elements appear to have captured the imagination of a diverse public audience. - Beyer Blinder Belle- New York Times

Builder Could Get Boot: Changing priorities for rebuilding Ground Zero could lead to canceling the property lease held by Larry Silverstein- NY Post

The World's Ugliest Buildings [images]- Forbes

Building anticipation: ...new $250 million arts complex in Dallas..."No other city will be able to boast that many great architects in a four-block area." - Rem Koolhaas; Foster and Partners; I.M. Pei; David Schwarz; Edward Larrabee Barnes; Renzo Piano- Dallas/Fort Worth Star-Telegram

The path to enlightenment: When Bohemia's Trappist monks wanted a new monastery, they turned to a Calvin Klein store. By Jonathan Glancey - John Pawson [links to images]- The Guardian (UK)

Get the look or you don't get a look-in: A pattern book dictates the designs for Sydney apartment buildings - and that's a recipe for dull architecture, writes Elizabeth Farrelly.- Sydney Morning Herald

An erotic gherkin looms over London: ...will be a kinder, gentler office building on the City of London skyline. Norman Foster- Globe and Mail (Canada)

Prescott backs 42-storey Heron Tower - Kohn Pederson Fox [images]- The Architects' Journal (UK)

Kohn Pedersen Fox makes a start on Beirut tower [image]- The Architects' Journal (UK)

Planners Praise 'Green' Buildings: Portland and New York, along with Austin, Texas, have become the national leaders of the ``green building'' movement (AP)- Northern Light

China plans slew of world-class airports by 2005: That is the promise of an ambitious 110-billion-yuan (S$23.4 billion) five-year programme- The Straits Times (Singapore)

Bold mold stance: Congress urged to charge the National Academy of Engineering with examining building practices and developing guidelines...to better understand how design and material selection can help prevent excessive moisture build up.- Inman News


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