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Today’s News - Friday, March 11, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan - and elsewhere - dealing with today's devastating earthquake and tsunami.

•   Hume cheers Safdie's return to Toronto with a waterfront project - and the architect's grilling by the Toronto Waterfront Design Review Panel: "a welcome reminder that Torontonians are still engaged in their future."

•   Hatherley cautions cheering too soon for U.K.'s housing minister's call for architectural localism as an "answer to identikit housing": demanding "the new look as much like the old as possible" could be "as sweepingly 'totalitarian' as any Le Corbusier could want to be."

•   Saffron on the sad state - and potentially sadder fate - of hundreds of historic Philadelphia churches: the "battle for the soul of the city's religious buildings promises to be a long and difficult one. There will certainly be casualties."

•   It's history vs. height as a battle brews between developers and preservationists over the future of Seattle's Pioneer Square.

•   Presentation of Holl's controversial Glasgow School of Art proposal before the Glasgow City Council is delayed (some tweaking in store, perhaps?).

•   A long conversation with almost all of the 2011 Architectural League Emerging Voices uncovers miles of distance (along with years) between these firms and the New York 5: "you only need to look at their names" - and attitudes: "young architects want to be a bit like rock bands, too."

•   An eyeful of London's Bankside BikeShed competition finalists (definitely worth a look!).

•   Weekend diversions:

•   In viewing the Brit Insurance Design Awards finalists, "one realizes just how widely design infiltrates contemporary life" (and solutions are trumping aesthetics).

•   The architect/curator of "The Collaborative Legacy of Merce Cunningham" exhibition in Tucson explains how collaborations between choreographers and architects constitute nothing less than "a real if not always recognized architectural 'type'."

•   Dunlop cheers "The Architecture of Drawing" on view in Miami: it "shows us - quite definitively - what we are missing in a culture, a time, a world that has abandoned the sketchbook."

•   In Melbourne, the world is turned upside down in "Leak" by Rosemary Laing, who built, then photographed an upside-down house in a "countryside that is doomed to become suburban sprawl", creating "a powerful symbol of environmental abuse."

•   Rybczynski has a few quibbles with Glaeser's "Triumph of the City": dying cities "don't need light rail, downtown stadiums, or flashy new museums. They need smart people."

•   Moore takes issue with "Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next" that doesn't answer the really interesting question: why is the true aerotropolis taking so long to get off the ground (the book also tries "too hard to be a smarty-pants bestseller").

•   Gruber says if you "can get beyond the emphasis on New Urbanist projects," you'll find Thadani's "The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary" is "a pleasure to read" and a valuable resource written by a New Urbanist who does not "categorically condemn Modernism."

•   Poynor finds "Edgelands" a "startlingly fresh and perceptive read" about "transitional zones" that "can be found anywhere that urban development meets open land."

•   Calys cheers "Port City: The History and Transformation of the Port of San Francisco" for being "copiously illustrated and painstakingly researched...a large 'coffee table' format, it is anything but another glossy book."

•   A great slide show essay of "The London Bus Story" by John Christopher.

•   Pentagram's new Designers & Books website clues us into what's sitting on notable designers' nightstands.



  


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