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Today’s News - Friday, May 14, 2010

•   Saffron has no beef with the architecture of two new Philly towers, but developers' deals to include public pocket parks "turn the words 'public open space' into a mockery."

•   The SABER project proposes giving green buildings a smarter skin, using what "nature perfected long ago" (the ultimate in biomimicry?).

•   A sneak-peek at what the Triennale di Milan's new New York home will look like (in the Museum of Arts and Design old space across from MoMA and the American Folk Art Museum, no less) - it's "a smart move."

•   University at Albany sets its sights on a new (and very green) School of Business with a design that draws inspiration from the existing Edward Durell Stone campus.

•   SOM's "self-effacing, trim, and unrumpled" Craig Hartman "has reinvented himself as an environmental warrior."

•   Call for entries: Urban SOS Transformations open student ideas competition for a site redevelopment plan in one of seven cities; and 2010 Western Red Cedar Architectural Design Awards.

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Take a bow x 2 in NYC: Oren Safdie's "The Bilbao Effect" is a "shrewd, clear-eyed up-to-the-minute exegesis on the hubris of a profession" (we saw it - that's putting it mildly!).

•   June Finfer's "The Glass House" has a "penetrating dramatic plot that entwines the epic conflict between artist and patron" (but not without a few light moments, as we recall).

•   Still in the Big Apple: Rothstein says "America's Mayor" offers "a sense of John V. Lindsay's ambitions"; it's "astonishing" to see just how much he attempted (with mixed results).

•   Davidson finds the Arch League's "The City We Imagined/The City We Made: New New York 2001-2010" chronicles "that period of convulsive construction" when "architecture mattered and the city's soul always seemed to be hanging in the balance."

•   "Why Design Now?" at the Cooper-Hewitt "doesn't hesitate to slight comely form in favor of worthy function."

•   Walker on shows in NYC and L.A. that "feature community-built structures made with the trendy superwood" (a.k.a. bamboo).

•   Lange finds "Marcel Wanders: Daydreams" in Philly "is like a tacky product launch" that makes her "question both its commercial motives and Wanders' talent" (ouch!).

•   Architecture students play "what if" in Winnipeg's Exchange District with a show that "combines a giddy sense of possibility with an earnest faith in the power of architecture to engage and inform."

•   San Francisco Airport Museum presents 10 projects at the center of the dramatic transformation of Shanghai's skyline over the past 20 years.

•   Page turners: New tomes by Sorkin and Zukin claim to be "about contemporary New York City - but that's putting things far too broadly" ("sentimental progressives" that they are, could use "a bracing dose of Marx").

•   Belmont Freeman reviews a number of recent books on Havana architecture and urbanism and finds "nostalgia is a dangerous business."

•   Owen's "Green Metropolis" will "at once stir the pot and leave it boiling" with a tone that "is often categorical, even harsh" (and a few "narrow-thinking swipes" at a few iconic places and people).

•   Makower recommends three reports and guidebooks on "making green pitches and come-ons" that should come in handy.


Faith & Form/IFRAA International Awards Program for Religious Art & Architecture

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