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Today’s News - Friday, July 9, 2010

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just a reminder that we're three hours behind home base for the next two weeks, so newsletter will be arriving a bit later than usual.

•   Elbasani, the architect known for plans and buildings that revitalized American cities passed away last week at 69; a recent conversation with the gruff optimist and realistic urbanist about his history, inspirations, and aspirations.

•   Kimmelman on the sad state of Rome's crumbling heritage: "The problems are not going to be solved by a few big stars designing buildings but by a larger effort to rethink a city."

•   Astana, Kazakhstan, "one of the most astounding cityscapes between Beijing and Moscow" (a bit self-serving, but eye-popping video).

•   Iceland's (hopeful) symbol of a rebound lies in the "artistic peacocking" of Eliasson/Henning Larsen's Harpa concert and conference center: "it's been the 'little building that could,' minus the 'little' bit."

•   Albert Speer, Jr. thinks plans to turn Nazi rally grounds in Nuremberg into a UNESCO site is "a weird idea."

•   A blow to conservationists as Robert Adam's (super) ambitious plan wins appeal to redevelop London's second-biggest private home after Buckingham Palace (talk about over the top!).

•   King cheers the rebirth of the long-empty hospital on the edge of San Francisco's Presidio: "architectural make-believe never felt so right."

•   Dunham-Jones on the next 50 years' big sustainable design project: retrofitting suburbia.

•   A Kansas county has big plans to take the suburbs seriously with a National Museum of Suburban History (we'll keep an eye out for a call for proposals!).

•   Pearman and Glancey see red - and like what they see - in Nouvel's Serpentine Pavilion (but neither has anything very nice to say about One Change Place, his first permanent London project).

•   Hosey on Vanity Fair's list of greatest buildings of the last 30 years (see ANN, June 30): "what's missing says as much as what's on it."

•   Sejima on designing the Louvre-Lens and curating the Venice Biennale (forget technology, new forms or politics - the focus will be "on architecture as a mere container for events, people and society").

•   Hawthorne on Pitch:Africa, a prototype to combine soccer fields, a water-storage system and community centers - its "design is straightforward - a marriage of pragmatism and idealism."

•   Deadline extended for Architect mag's 2010 Annual Design Review competition.

•   Weekend diversions:

•   A "smack down" in Chicago: Is Eye the next Bean? (one "is big and shiny"; the other "is big and &hellip scary").

•   Heathcote cheers Hadid-designed "Zaha Hadid and Suprematism" in Zurich: "The transformation of this little gallery is spectacular and it is down to the architect."

•   An architect thinks big in small pieces in "LEGO Architecture: Towering Ambition" at the National Building Museum.

•   In Shanghai, "Creative Nature" showcases 10 proposals for public gardens designed by 10 universities from around the world (and they will be built!).

•   We couldn't resist: "slow is the new fast" is the mantra behind plans for giant floating hotels (great pix!) - all they have to do now is create a new building material that will support them.


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