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Today’s News - Tuesday, March 2, 2010

•   A tale of two earthquakes: Chile's rigorous building codes vs. Haiti's "incorrigible corruption and carelessness" - but an encouraging "dose of optimism" (a very worthwhile read).

•   A professor of architecture in Santiago cheers "stringent building codes and responsible building practices," but bemoans "a degree of relaxation of the proud building standards" that explains why some new construction "built by private companies with government concessions" is now rubble.

•   Eminent domain challenge to ever-contentious Atlantic Yards project is tossed out of court; groundbreaking scheduled for next week (but promised housing will have to wait).

•   A province in Spain takes an anti-Bilbao-effect approach: "instead of putting all its cultural eggs in one high-priced basket," it's "betting on a decentralized plan to spread cultural riches."

•   In Burnie, Australia, "stylish architecture and cranes in the sky" inject "a sense of energy into a town that would otherwise be like so many industrial graveyards that smell of decay and long-gone days of prosperity" - Hobart taps Gehl, hoping for the same.

•   Washington, DC, suburbs are finding what it takes to build a winning town center: it'll take more than giving developers incentives, but if done right, they can be "the template for what comes next."

•   An urban planner offers a strategy for downsizing Detroit: inform and engage the public (what a concept!) - and dump the "failed rhetoric of recovering the past."

•   Calgary and Edmonton to wrap inner-city development around two restored hotels.

•   Kamin cheers Helmut Jahn's proposal for a high-speed rail station in Chicago: it's not perfect, "but it gets the civic debate on the right track": will the city "let a golden opportunity pass?"

•   King cheers big ideas for Oakland Bay Bridge park in place of "a smear of maintenance yards and parking, stray buildings and scrub": if a "genuinely compelling vision emerges, the funding will follow."

•   Redesign of a downtown Omaha run-down street hits a buzz saw, so it's back to the drawing board: "We don't want to be part of another mistake."

•   Why Hadid's MAXXI works: her "shrewd solution has been a combination of flamboyant experimentation with implicit respect for the past."

•   Two firms eyed for new Silicon Valley Conference Center (now, fingers crossed, funding can be found).

•   Hollis deconstructs Eisenman's lecture at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (a most amusing read).

•   Q&A with Sou Fujimoto during his visit to Hungary's KÉK: "Japanese architects like to work on more experimental things - and sometimes these are too experimental."

•   Excellent news for FLW's Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa (boutique hotel included).

•   Move over Angel of the North and ye giant white horse: Wales has mega-dragon-sized plans (great pix, but oddly no mention of architect, landscape architect, or sculptor).

•   Hosey on the "Bloom Box" fuel cell, the "Holy Grail of clean energy": "Ladies and gentleman, iPower has arrived."

•   Call for entries: CTBUH 2010 Best Tall Building Awards.


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