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Today’s News - Thursday, January 7, 2010

•   CSBE's al-Asad tackles the unrealistic aspirations of cities going for The Bilbao Effect (starchitects included).

•   There's nothing wrong with Dubai's "towering ambition": the Burj Khalifa "stands in glorious contrast to the pessimism of the West...I pity those who lack the imagination to feel excited about it."

•   Brussat (in a rare positive take on something modern) says "most recent skyscrapers look like refugees from a Fisher-Price toy factory," but calls the Burj "the most graceful skyscraper of the modern(ist) era" (both takes are recommended reading for anyone following all the negative brouhaha re: former Burj Dubai).

•   Moore looks to the future: while "glossy works by big-name architects" are still going up, "there is a long pent-up feeling among architects that there is more to life than shiny, glossy, 'iconic' things," and architecture of a very different sort might move to the fore.

•   Russell gives (mostly) thumbs-up to NYC's new Museum of Chinese in America: it's "the perfect spot to consider what it is to be a hyphenated American."

•   A Tunisian architect has designed "the largest hotel palace" in Central Asia.

•   George Orwell's birthplace is finally set for a makeover "after years of dithering and failed attempts" to restore it - and with hopes to lure tourists to one of the most underdeveloped areas of India.

•   Groves on possible good news for a café that used to be the HQ of L.A.'s beatnik scene: it could be designated a city historic-cultural monument (the owner is none too happy).

•   A study shows good news for Michigan's climate plan, but additional steps ("greener building construction, greater use of rail transport, more recycling and urban tree plantings") are recommended as well.

•   Investors see farms as way to grow Detroit with "an ambitious plan that aims to turn the struggling Rust Belt city into a green mecca."

•   Nine European countries band together on a $43 billion plan for a new power grid to "boost green power and combat climate change" (fingers crossed it happens!).

•   Cooper-Hewitt scores two big wins: a $600,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to develop its "Design for the Other 90%" exhibition into an ongoing series; and IDEO's Bill Moggridge tapped as its new director.

•   AIA 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award for design excellence in public and government goes to Curtis Fentress, Les Shepherd, and Ken Greenberg.

•   ASLA's latest online resource guide focuses on low-impact materials in sustainable residential landscape architecture.

•   Call for abstracts/proposals: International Conference on Sustainable Community Development 2010.

•   Two we couldn't resist: a Subway restaurant made of shipping containers is moving up as the Freedom Tower is built: it's "not quite Windows on the World. But workers will have a view that keeps improving."

•   The "35th annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness" ("shovel-ready" included).


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