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Today’s News - Wednesday, February 24, 2010

•   Not too many pundits left to weight in on KieranTimberlake's U.S. Embassy in London win (sorry Mayne, Meier, and Pei):

•   Hawthorne says it "takes diplomatic architecture into fresh territory" by making "a noticeable effort not to turn away from urban life."

•   Kennicott agrees: it's exactly what the State Department wanted: "a modern, open and secure" building "sensitive to London's architectural context."

•   Pearman was skeptical that the competition would "yield much of merit" given the constraints, but "it is brave and imaginative of the winning practice to make a virtue out of this."

•   Glancey calls it "cool, remote and far from subtle" that "may well prove to be a sound, if unexciting, choice."

•   Merrick calls it a "David and Goliath moment," considering "the behemoths KieranTimberlake was competing against" (but it still "epitomizes the post-9/11 bunker-mentality").

•   Ouroussoff is a bit more disdainful: it "is not inelegant," but "has all the glamour of a corporate office block" (what if there had been more visions from a generation of languishing talents to choose from?).

•   Jurors Rogers and Palumbo "fought to the death" to block a winning design for being "not world class" and "unfit to represent the US in Britain" (and because Mayne's design was "touched by genius").

•   Meanwhile, starchitecture lives! An eyeful of Hadid house of culture and arts in Amman, Jordan (check out the flythrough!).

•   Amman's master plan has a slogan: "A livable city is an organized city, with a soul" - "a subtle way of describing what Amman does not want to be, which is Dubai" (cue landscaped sidewalks and benches).

•   In Cairo, a 14th-century mosque in Cairo is restored for - and by - locals, thanks to AKDN prioritizing "the city's human assets over its enduring monuments."

•   How much longer can shopping malls survive? "The most lucrative 'will be the last ones to die.'" (a most excellent read).

•   An eyeful of the "fascinating and bizarre works of MVRDV," and its "progressive ideal for our urban future...the rest of the world is finally catching up to its way of thinking."

•   Profiles of three emerging firms who "are gutsy and creative enough to reassure us that American architecture will continue to thrive post-downturn."

•   A decrepit brick powerhouse in a tough Chicago neighborhood is transformed into an oh-so-green (and much-needed) charter high school.

•   An Australian group has a plan for 100% renewable energy by 2020 using technologies that are available now (but lots of hurdles to overcome).

•   If you couldn't make Yale's four-day (starchitect-studded) Architecture after Las Vegas symposium, "Learning from 'Learning-from'" is definitely worth checking out.

•   WWCOT and DLR join in merger mania: "maybe there will be one giant firm running all of architecture the next time we check?"

•   What's next for the National Trust for Historic Preservation now that Moe is stepping down? (if it stays on course of "decolonizing the movement" - all things good).

•   Libeskind to chair Belfast's Andersonstown barracks competition, with high hopes "his involvement will attract world-class architecture and design teams."


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