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Today’s News - Friday, February 12, 2010

•   We love good news (to us, anyway): NYC to make pedestrian mall experiment on Broadway permanent (though a few bah-humbugs remain).

•   Is it OK to run architectural competitions for Haiti? Browning says yes: "it's an architect's duty to respond to humanitarian disasters; Sinclair says no: "response to human suffering is a mandate, not a career advancement."

•   A "battle royal" brewing over planned tower next to San Francisco's iconic Transamerica Pyramid: is it "a creative approach to sustainable development," or "an audacious move" that sets "a dangerous precedent"?

•   Saffron minces no words about Philly's new Family Court: the "design threatens to be a mean and unwelcoming presence" with "public spaces as clinical as a morgue" (even city boosters are "having trouble mustering nice words" about it).

•   The Vancouver Olympics begin: stop griping about the Canada Pavilion: it's "sensible, modest and ... Canadian" - "nobody seems to have heard of it until it turned out not to have been designed by Frank Gehry."

•   The Winter Olympics may not be the "design extravaganza that London 2012 will be" - but there's mucho millions of dollars in design on display (and who knew the medals are made of reclaimed from discarded computer motherboards?!!?).

•   Mincing no words about the "short-sighted budget slashes" being made to National Trust for Historic Preservation programs (we concur).

•   Meanwhile, the Trust for Public Land launches "Save the Peak" campaign to protect land around the Hollywood sign from development.

•   Walker cheers the effort, but finds the Hollywood sign campaign off-message: "a preservationist and typographic disaster."

•   Maki's first building in Canada is "a deceivingly complex cultural building of a quality rarely seen in this country."

•   Q&A with Ban: Why do you take on so many humanitarian projects? "Sometimes working for the privileged makes me tired because they are very demanding."

•   An eyeful of the Cleveland Design Competition: Lakefront Station winners (all from Europe).

•   I.M. Pei got his RIBA Gold Medal yesterday (yay!); not so cheery: 1979 review of his National Gallery of Art: his "new wing is a clumsy giant" (that's one of the nicer things said).

•   Weekend diversions (and lots of 'em):

•   Beginning today, "design freaks" from around the world are descending on Palm Springs for Modernism Week.

•   In Auburn, AL, "After You Left, They Took It Apart" details the downfall of three modern houses by Paul Rudolph.

•   "Contemplating the Void" at the Guggenheim "may sound like a grim invitation to stare mortality in the face," but a lot of the big-name contributors "approached the exercise with nothing short of glee" (great pix!).

•   "Mind Your Behaviour - Close Up: 3XN" at the Danish Architecture Centre explores how architecture can shape - you guessed it - our behavior.

•   Oubrerie, Corbu's last living protégé, takes the spotlight in NYC.

•   Pardo on view in Dublin: "the best examples of his cross-over into architecture are when he makes or remakes buildings."

•   All things green in the Pioneer Valley on view at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

•   Page turners: Glancey on Muschamp's "Hearts of the City": "boy-oh-boy, are there some rattling good rows in this book...opinionated, occasionally self-indulgent yet warm, brave, and fully alive."

•   Goldberger's "Why Architecture Matters" is "by parts a useful, inspiring, frustrating guide" to the "debate about the emotions buildings provoke in us."

•   "New Topographics" spotlights William Jenkins's 1975 exhibition: "an austerely beautiful book" still "troubling in its matter-of-factness."

•   "Unbuilt Masterworks of the 21st Century" offers "bumptious confidence" bouncing off every page: "Building them would ruin them."


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