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Today’s News - Monday, February 8, 2010

•   ArcSpace brings us Morphosis's Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pasadena.

•   Rebuilding in Haiti: replacing tents with simple structures - but will they be "garden sheds" or shanties?

•   A Floridian offers up "Little Haiti House Project"; others offer fiberglass domes, plastic water containers made into bricks, and shipping containers turned into houses.

•   U.S. 2011 budget shows signs of "a greater understanding of the need to integrate what different agencies do to create great places to live and work...a welcome commitment to choosing what's effective for places over what's easy."

•   After 50 years of housing policy "about as ugly as HUD headquarters," it has new regional planning grants that "reflects radical changes in how federal urban policy gets made."

•   New Urbanists' "SmartCode" zoning manual for guaranteeing the integrity of newly-built neighborhoods is all well and good, but the challenge is making density more profitable (and/or some enlightened developer-type souls).

•   Urban planner O'Toole warns Wichita its downtown revitalization plan is not all that likely to work: it's too "car-hostile" with a focus on publicly subsidized high-density housing and "walkability" that has failed almost everywhere else.

•   Heathcote cheers Miami's reinvention as a design capital (including Hadid's "sticky, stretched chewing gum intervention") rising from "a swamp of sprawl."

•   The paradox of public parks relying on private money: it amounts to "giving away some public good in order to realize some other public good" (and takes a lot longer).

•   King sees optimism (with a slight sense of potential dread) re: "San Francisco's biggest gamble in high-stakes urbanism."

•   Some Canadian architects "are appalled" by Canada's Olympic pavilion: "it's embarrassing"; "it's sad."

•   Kamin and Bey cheer Gang's Columbia College Chicago new media production center: it's "a serious work of architecture, but it is also playful, even joyful; it "doesn't visually scream across the intersection, yet it will hardly be ignored."

•   Sudjic cheers Ron Arad's Design Museum Holon: it manages to be "both rational and a bravura piece of architecture...too carefully controlled a piece of architecture to be reduced to the banal status of an icon."

•   It "will be interesting to see whether Design Museum Holon will have the wisdom to acknowledge" that "most Israelis are still far from consuming designer products that were not bought at IKEA."

•   Calys reports SFMOMA is evaluating an international list of architects for expansion; the winner "will need to be part therapist, part evangelist, and part magician, too."

•   Thumbs-up and thumbs-down for University of Limerick president's new home: it's either "progressive" and an "inspiration to young architects studying there" or too "lavish" and "extravagant" and "should be sold and funds reinvested in education."

•   Docomomo stops demolition of Paris's Cité des Poètes ghetto, and the residents are none to happy: "If the architects had to live here, they might change their minds."

•   Lubetkin's daughter issues appeal to save the1937 Finsbury Health Centre; others claim it is too expensive to refurbish.

•   On a happier note, a whimsical 1962 Polynesian-themed condominium complex in Palm Springs is designated a historic district.

•   We couldn't resist: campaign on to pick Barbie's next job: an architect! (so she can make sure buildings are "safe, study, and cool-looking" - vote now, vote often!)


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