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Today’s News - Wednesday, August 3, 2011

•   Big and tall makes for news: Needham queries Adrian Smith about designing the world's tallest building in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (and why the helipad will be a sky terrace instead) - pix included.

•   Gruber offers theories about why - not how - America is destroying its cities, identifying certain "suspects": it "would help understand what needs to be done to revive cities if we understand better the causes of their destruction."

•   K. Jacobs visits a "beleaguered Connecticut city" that is "showing signs of real life," and explains why it's a poster child for many of America's "woebegone" cities "crying out not just for civic pride but civic passion."

•   NYC's High Line is the poster child for a number of cities looking to turn abandoned rail lines into public spaces; James Corner's caveat: "It's not just, 'Build a cool park and they will come.' It's, 'Build a cool park and connect it to a framework.'"

•   King cheers San Francisco's "most ambitious effort yet to improve the large, urban landscape in small, fluid ways": Parkmobiles! (portable landscapes in red steel bins).

•   ASLA's federal affairs guru explains why it's so important for Congress to pass a transportation bill - for all users (with some very convincing stats!), and what may happen if it doesn't.

•   Design innovation and politics have a lot in common: they both "demand creativity and a strong desire to make a difference, challenge the status quo, and make things better for ordinary people."

•   This week, Aucklanders will celebrate the opening of its new waterfront Wynyard Quarter; hopes are high, but it faces some stiff competition from other waterfront venues underway.

•   An Auckland architect warns that Wynyard Quarter "is just another reclaimed swamp, ideal for public open space," but a proposal to build a five-star hotel ignores lessons from the from the Christchurch earthquakes: "architectural sketches may be forgiving but nature is not."

•   A new school in Beijing is "a study in landscape architecture as much as in architecture."

•   An eyeful of the BMW Guggenheim Lab in NYC's East Village (nary a rat in sight!).

•   LEED 2012 opens second public comment period, reflecting some major changes, especially in materials.

•   A good reason to head to Croatia this weekend (besides the beach): PROTO/E/CO/LOGICS: Speculative Materialism in Architecture symposium (a rather obtuse title, but an impressive line-up!).

•   Eyefuls of winners of the 2011 Parramatta City Ideas on Edge competition (one team from Arkansas!).

•   Architect Barbie gets her dream house; the winning team "hopes to encourage more young female architects to flex their design muscles and just to have fun with architecture."

•   Call for entries/ RFP: DesCours 2011, AIA New Orleans's 5th annual (very cool) 10-day architecture and art fete.

•   We couldn't resist: Unbeige uncovers one of the strangest design lawsuits - having to do with toilet paper (we kid you not): "reading the ruling is honestly a bit fun, given a subject that will make those more juvenile among us a bit giggly, and how bizarre and detailed the whole thing is."


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