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Today’s News - Wednesday, October 20, 2010

•   Not such good news to start the day: CABE closed down - though "speculation is already rife that the commission could re-emerge in another format" (wasn't it recently reported that it would be saved from massive cuts?).

•   On a brighter note, AIA's ABI reports U.S. architect billings increase for the first time since 2008: "It certainly looks like a sustainable recovery on the commercial and industrial side."

•   Saffron cheers Philly finally starting a "long-overdue conversation" about transforming its vacant riverfront: "the most striking thing about the emerging master plan is the modesty of its ambition...And that is mostly as it should be."

•   Litt cheers Cleveland finally getting serious about a greener, healthier vision for downtown: "The biggest question was whether this round of planning will give downtown the civilizing, touches it has lacked for decades."

•   Bernstein has a most interesting Q&A with the urban planner charged with a "unique - and daunting - job: the reshaping of Detroit."

•   A very interesting report on China's "sparkling new ghost towns"; the challenge for Beijing policy makers: is the "Ordos-style expansion and re-engineering of old cities being driven by smart planning or propelled by speculative madness"? (the answer seems a bit obvious to us - at this point, anyway).

•   An in-depth look at the "last roar" of a fading Celtic Tiger: the man behind Calatrava's Chicago Spire: he really did believe it would be built, and "the prospect of once more being at the cutting edge was alluring for many Chicagoans."

•   Heathcote tools around de Botton's Living Architecture projects and likes most of what he sees, but no matter what, "If it spurs a few visitors not just to refresh but to rethink their lives and their surroundings, he will have succeeded in doing something quite remarkable."

•   Hales tools around Thom's Arena Stage: his "bell jar" approach to Weese's originals may make some preservationists "squirm," but he "believes he acted with respect."

•   Long is left almost breathless by Hadid's Grace Academy: "an inspiring place...that promises something tangible and valuable for young people with hard lives...a special, out-of-the-ordinary environment without hyperventilation" (with just a few clunky moments).

•   Betsky does Bartlesville: FLW's Price Tower is "an example of what American architecture can be at its most optimistic, its most grandiose, and its most beautiful" + Bruce Goff's Bavinger House is an example of "all-American weirdness": it may, in some ways, be "ugly and misshapen. But it is one of those great experiments in finding the basic form of how to occupy this land that makes American architecture great."

•   On restoring Rochester's only FLW house: owning one "is a bit like owning a vintage Alfa Romeo - visionary design, but a challenge to keep in mint condition" (great slide show).

•   Anderton has a lively conversation with a branding consultant and a graphic designer re: logos and when they need - or do not need - a refresh (think The Gap's gaffe).

•   An eyeful of NZIA's 2010 Auckland Architecture Awards.

•   But preservationists are offended by one that's more "façadism" than heritage-award worthy: "It's a joke, even if no one's laughing" (+ great slide show).

•   A good reason to head to Austin, TX, next week: NTHP's National Preservation Conference: "Next American City, Next American Landscape."


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