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Today’s News - Monday, February 14, 2011

•   ArcSpace brings us eyefuls of BIG's big Greenland gallery, and Grimshaw's train station in Wales.

•   Meanwhile, BIG's Bjarke meets Manhattan's Community Board 4 re: his proposed W57 tower: so, "what can you offer the community besides iconic architecture that could be plopped down in Milwaukee or Santa Fe?" (a home for the International Center for Photography, perhaps?).

•   Kaufman thinks the Whitney's Breuer building would be a perfect home for the ICP, as opposed to Stern's idea of turning it into an architecture museum: "It's a lovely idea, but there are practical and fundamental problems" (like having a collection - and an audience).

•   Campbell ponders Boston's ponderous problems when developers want to build bigger than zoning laws allow: to get the deal, they "can't help stripping quality from the building. It gets bigger and the architecture gets dumber...It's one of the reasons we don't build a better world."

•   Rogers Stirk Harbour's Barangaroo in Sydney is shrinking: "developers have slashed back the original plans" including building heights and pier length (to the cheers of many).

•   More on the possible demise of the already-under-construction, €100m LVMH "cloud" museum in Paris: Nouvel said Gehry "was outraged by the selfishness, lack of civic pride and ignorance' of a wealthy Parisian residents' group."

•   Meanwhile, Russell riffs on Gehry's rippling Manhattan tower: instead of "the dumb, boxy towers clad in murky glass that have defaced New York City's skyline, he has produced a gawky beauty that captures the open-ended energy of the city. It fascinates rather than ravishes."

•   Merrick marvels at Sir John Soane's Museum, "one of the world's most sumptuous architectural treats...a solidified architectural pipe-dream" - and cheers the team assigned to its restoration.

•   Mays takes on Rybczynski (see ANN, Jan. 13): while he agrees that "times and the fortunes of architecture have changed," he doesn't see it as change for the better - "the new post-crash sobriety - or timidity - among the clients...could set back design 20 years or more."

•   Schwarz and Elffers take on Thackara and his disdain for the word "sustainism" (see ANN, Feb. 11): it "deserves more than a discussion about what we (dis)like about nomenclature."

•   MacCash on rebuilt public housing in New Orleans: there's a "meteoric metamorphosis" in architectural vocabulary "as the drawing-board idealism of an earlier era is erased and revised"; some cheer, others find it a "new faux-historical aesthetic" of "disconcerting 'Disney-scale' miniaturization" (with slide show, so you decide).

•   On a brighter note, Gould offers a Q&A with Grove and Maimon about the goals, lessons, and promise of Make It Right's "living laboratory growing in a once ravaged New Orleans neighborhood"

•   Big plans for San Francisco's largest public affordable housing site should augur well for local talent.

•   There are some very disgruntled residents and preservationists as London's 1970s Heygate housing estate makes way for £1.5bn regeneration scheme (sparks fly in the comment section!).

•   Hatherley sees Heygate's demise as "a classic example of state-sponsored, de-greening gentrification... marked by the infantile, jolly aesthetic that so often accompanies acts of class-cleansing today."

•   What can Australia's Building the Education Revolution program teach the U.K. about template-based school design? "The role of the architect in all of this is absolutely minimal" (isn't that just the cheeriest).

•   We couldn't resist Walker's take on a "wacky, $250m old folks' community for gays" (and other "creative boomers") in Palm Springs being designed by 10 hot firms from NYC to Slovenia.

•   Call for entries: Experimental Crowd-derived Combat-support Vehicle Design Challenge (not an offensive fighting vehicle - intriguing? does DARPA sound like mysterious project on "Lost"?).

•   Happy Valentine's Day!!!


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