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Today’s News - Friday, February 26, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Apologies for late arrival of today's news - we've been suffering power outages all morning (something to do with the 15 inches of white stuff we see outside our window!).

•   Saffron wonders how the modern glass cube of KieranTimberlake's U.S. Embassy will go over with the U.K.'s "traditionalist camp"; in environmental terms, "the embassy will be everything America aspires to but rarely achieves."

•   The embassy will change a swathe of land in Nine Elms area - designed by British architects.

•   Farrelly remains skeptical that "old guys can change their spots" and actually make Barangaroo a "from-scratch creation of a genuine, pulsing city precinct" (especially "beneath this daisy chain of pocket-pissers").

•   Woodman on H&deM's VitraHaus: "Flash and voguish it may be" (or "freakish landmark"?), it is still "a building that responds with real intelligence" to its setting and brief.

•   Meanwhile, their Met Opera sets range "from a forest picnic of sorts to post-apocalyptic-looking ruins (hopefully not the remnants of some failed project)" - with pix to prove it.

•   LMN wins big in Cleveland.

•   Rothstein re: new African Burial Ground Visitor Center in Manhattan: it "makes the past seem like an excision, a resurrection of an alien time and place, a reminder of what lies deep underfoot."

•   Walker is wowed by 21 billboards in L.A. given over to art (great pix).

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Filler offers an insightful (and thoroughly amusing) review of "Koolhaas Houselife."

•   Ivy cheers "Sacred Spaces: the Architecture of Fay Jones," a new DVD that is "a cogent appreciation of the man's life and work, all neatly combined in one presentation."

•   Yale serves up Saarinen: Lacayo says this first full career retrospective "tells you something about Saarinen's tricky place in the architectural canon" - It "showcases what made him both beloved and criticized." - And the gems from Yale's archive not included in previous venues.

•   Don't leave Yale yet: the unusual "Compass and Rule" show includes a jolt: "the idea that architecture didn't exist before the 16th century" (and "there will be math").

•   In NYC, Snohetta's ascendance is on full display; its work "supports the notion that more of the egalitarian and global architectural competitions...could allow architecture to transcend" the many challenges that "so often undermine its potential to uplift cities."

•   Q&A with Candido at Cooper Union re: his "The Great White Whale is Black" retrospective, his "fascination with spatial relationships and the relationship between cities and their surroundings."

•   "Lewis's Fifth Floor: A Department Story" captures the faded beauty of the "eerily evocative time-warp" still on display in London's long-closed department store (great pix).

•   Grimshaw's sketchbooks are a big draw at the Edinburgh College of Art.

•   In Pittsburgh, "Imagining Home: Selections from the Heinz Architectural Center" reveals ways in which the home has been envisioned over the last 200 years.

•   Landscape architecture students create "METROmorphosis - Transforming the Urban World" at the Philadelphia International Flower Show to "show simple, tangible ways of bringing living ecosystems into our day-to-day urban living."

•   Bruegmann gives (mostly) thumbs-up to Duany and Speck's "The Smart Growth Manual": "proponents and critics will find much to engage them in its pages."

•   Schindhelm's "Dubai Speed" is "a unique insider's memoir of the grandiose attempt to use state power to reinvent a culture...he's wise to warn against gloating over the end of the city's glitzy heyday."

•   Three books look at NYC "from wartime grit to modern soullessness."


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