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Today’s News - Tuesday, August 23, 2011

•   ArcSpace brings us eyefuls of Ai Weiwei's (pretty amazing) "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads" at LACMA in Los Angeles.

•   Peirce pierce's through some possibly incorrect numbers when it comes to keeping public infrastructure in shape: ASCE's "figures may be exaggerated, but the bottom line need isn't."

•   Zandberg minces no words when it comes to a new law in Israel that "is meant to help real estate and not social causes and will lead to the elimination of open spaces...without resolving the housing crisis."

•   Kotkin considers why Los Angeles has "lost its mojo" - if not careful, the city is "going to end up like a better-looking Detroit."

•   An in-depth look at how NYC's public-private model for creating public spaces "is a godsend" (and a model for urban centers everywhere).

•   Moore gives (mostly) thumbs-up to the renovation of a 1961 housing estate in Sheffield: "The question is whether whatever is important will remain after its doing-up, which is both drastic and pernickety...mostly, it's refreshing."

•   Saffron is only somewhat sanguine about Curtis Institute's Lenfest Hall in Philly: it "exhibits all the familiar tropes" of a building by Venturi and Scott Brown, but as designed by two young partners, it is "a distillation of the firm's signature tics, and unfortunately reads more like a pastiche than a birth announcement."

•   Ronan's new Poetry Foundation in Chicago is a "little gem of a building" that will "quietly, over the course of time, say good and useful things."

•   Crosbie cheers a new addition to FLW's famed First Unitarian Society Meeting House in Madison, Wisconsin, that "looks as though it was always meant to be there, showing deference to Wright's opus yet asserting its own quiet identity."

•   A Billings, Montana, architect found himself "in the middle of history" in designing the Interpretive Learning Center at the WWII Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming.

•   The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial takes its place on the National Mall, adding "another chapter in the long-running debate over how many monuments should be permitted in the expanse known as America's Front Yard."

•   An amusing conversation with de Botton re: Living Architecture's vacation homes: "he probably has most fun choosing soap"; the reason "more status-conscious intellectuals" tend to ridicule him? "Perhaps they simply don't want to accept the fact that this pale man is more interesting company than they are."

•   St. Petersburg, FLA, whittles the shortlist for a new $50 million pier down to three very familiar names (causing a bit of upset that none are local).

•   Glancey's review of (last) week includes Belfast's Titanic visitor center: "the building is as unforgettable as the story of the Titanic itself. It broods..."; plans to replace a bridge over Venice's Grand Canal are met with anger; Ron Arad reinvents the wheel; a Titanic fate for Foster's Harmon tower in Las Vegas?

•   A bit more detail on glass, steel and stone design that would replace Ponte del Accademia (shades of Calatrava's not-so-happy Venetian bridge adventure?).

•   Troppo Architects' partner (and survivor) pays tribute to three talents: "If there is an emerging architecture of reconciliation, we may have just lost some of its brightest proponents."

•   Alsop and Lawrie have a name for their post-RMJM adventure: ALL Design (it will be interesting to see how that fares in a Google search).

•   We couldn't resist: bunches of images and "staggering" statistics of Apple's planned Foster-designed "spaceship" HQ + Eyefuls of a remarkable new hotel in Berlin that "offers all the charms of outdoor camping inside a former vacuum-cleaner factory" (we're game!).


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