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Today’s News - Monday, December 21, 2009

•   We lose the visionary master planner behind Reston, VA, and Battery Park City who "had all the fire of a creative person without the appalling ego that some of them have."

•   Sparks begin to fly around Barangaroo's grand plan in Sydney and a "tradition in English-speaking countries of wrecking competitions": mincing no words, Thalis is ticked off that he won the competition, but Rogers gets the nod.

•   An eye-opening look at why the Barangaroo bungle has many branding a former prime minister "Australia's Prince Charles for his swiping of the profession."

•   Hume takes issue with a Canadian politician's attitude "to hire an architect and get on with it, not to waste time and money on design competitions for what are essentially utilitarian buildings."

•   Berlin debates the revitalization of its own "bleak" city center (and some ideas from a handful of notable architects).

•   Cincinnati has its own high hopes that a new downtown casino will be a good neighbor and an economic boon (developer promises to listen to the people - what a concept!).

•   Appelbaum has an "uninhibited" (and sometimes amusing) discussion with Duany and Speck re: "The Smart Growth Manual."

•   Dery delves into the future of dead malls: "the post-mall, post-sprawl suburbs could be exuberantly heterogeneous Places That Do Not Suck" (or can they?).

•   Hawthorne offers a powerful (if somewhat depressing) review the decade: "the notion that architects had suddenly acquired more power than ever before, as opposed to more visibility, opportunity or cachet, turned out to be hollow."

•   His "Top 10 architecture moments of 2009" is not all about buildings (and is much more positive).

•   Ouroussoff reviews '09 and finds "a few triumphs" that are not only "splendid" pieces of architecture, but that infuse "drab, lifeless" neighborhoods with "a sense of joy."

•   Davidson reviews NYC's "most effervescent period of architectural ferment in decades" - his Building of the Decade is the new TKTS booth, "a work of exuberant uselessness and brilliant urbanism."

•   Moore cheers Piano's raiding the paint box for a new London building "vibrant as a row of casseroles in a Conran shop" (the architect wanted to "to make a building that smiles" - looks like he did).

•   Hume on Canada's two most important buildings: KPMB's Manitoba Hydro HQ "heralds a new design era and might even heal our eco-black eye" and "is also an exquisite piece of architecture"; and Predock's Human Rights museum is "iconic...if human rights ever needed a beacon, this is it."

•   Greensburg, Kansas, progresses with plans for Big Well Museum that will encompass the EF-5 Tornado and building the Green Model City.

•   Shuttleworth comes up with an "octopus" office block to do double-duty as an eye-catching gateway to London.

•   An in-depth look at what's going into restoring Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel after the 11/26/08 attack: "the process has not been easy" (but it sounds like it will have been worth it).

•   Richard Moe rallies behind saving the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium in Honolulu.


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