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Today’s News - Friday, April 17, 2009

•   The National Mall: ASLA panel finds its current condition an "international embarrassment" and calls for a more defined vision (suggestions included).

•   Kennicott on Gehry taking on Eisenhower Memorial on the Mall: "he must not only reinvent the paradigm for memorialization, he must also reinvent himself...He deserves the freedom to try."

•   Tigerman's Illinois Holocaust Museum is the "most important building I've ever done" (it opens in Skokie, IL, this weekend; reviews will surely follow).

•   Glancey cheers refurbishment of Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum as a perfect example of how not to dumb down cultural wonders - elsewhere, a sad trend "as if we were wholly dim."

•   Depressing study results: World Trade Center project won't be finished until 36 years after 9/11 (granted, it's the "gloomiest of several studies").

•   How to reverse-engineer the collapsed development bubble: convert luxury apartments to affordable housing (good idea, but expect "a lot of wrangling").

•   Designing for disaster: an eyeful of how some architects are "noodling on ways to meet the challenge."

•   Hospitals beginning to turn to design-build to save money; critics contend "focus on controlling costs can lead to cutting corners on design and construction."

•   Russell sits down with Safdie, who "fears more austere times will return us to enervating, expedient architecture."

•   Weekend diversions: Campbell says "Ecological Urbanism" at Harvard GSD is "as good a look into the future as you'll find today."

•   Kamin has two words for Fuller's "striking, very groovy" Fly's Eye Dome at Chicago's Merchandise Mart: "See it" (it's free).

•   Breuer, Bauhaus, and Brutalism on view at RISD: "Should he be celebrated for his early work as a pioneering designer-architect...Or should he be blamed for spawning one of the least popular architectural styles in history?"

•   This weekend, "Elastic Plastic Sponge" by Ball-Nogues Studio and SCI-Arc will leave L.A. all misty.

•   Page turners: Hume finds "The Shape of the Suburbs" a "fascinating, if damning, tale."

•   Hawthorne admits his hopes for "Conversations With Frank Gehry" were not especially high, but finds it "surprisingly rich and even, at times, revelatory."

•   Gorlin finds "The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern" tends to "confirm Johnson as a shallow stylist who used great wealth and charm&hellip"

•   "Sir John Soane's Museum, London": the "architectural language of death and loss is never far beneath the surface of his very individual creation."

•   "City and Structure" by architectural photographer HG Esch "promises more than it delivers."

•   "European design since 1985 " is not only "a superior coffee table book," it is "an ambitious attempt to impose a sense of structure on this complex and evolving story."


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