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Today’s News - Monday, December 5, 2011

•   ArcSpace brings us an eyeful of Perrault's pretty amazing Arganzuela footbridge in Madrid (bikes welcome).

•   On a more distressing Spanish note, the Niemeyer Center for the arts is slated to close December 15, after opening barely nine months ago; it could be an "omen of what could happen as other big public projects become white elephants littering the landscape"; Niemeyer is "disturbed" by the news (a sad irony: 12/15 is his 104th birthday).

•   On a brighter note, social media is becoming a useful planning tool, "creating a level of public involvement" that exceeds what would be possible through traditional town hall meetings.

•   Community groups are also "leading the charge to transform abandoned rail lines into new city parks" in "a bold new model that bypasses the traditional role of city government in implementing and maintaining public space."

•   Kimmelman and Garvin explore the good, the bad, and the outright ugly public spaces in midtown Manhattan: "We've been so fixated on fancy new buildings that we've lost sight of the spaces they occupy and we share."

•   Among the newest amenities in public spaces: very cool architect-designed benches.

•   Woodman warns that architects designing bold, "innovative show homes ignore mainstream market trends at their peril...most have proved commercially naïve."

•   Meanwhile, zero-energy passive housing may be in its infancy in the U.S., but it's beginning to take baby steps in New York.

•   A Delhi-based "stalwart" of architecture cheers the Nagpur centre of the Indian Institute of Architects for being "a resource base" for the growing city.

•   Glancey x 2: his weekly review is about train stations, a Maggie's Centre, and London's "flashy" new Canada Water library + His picks for best architecture of 2011: "it was very much Zaha Hadid's year" (with Gehry, Architect Barbie, and a few others thrown in).

•   How could we resist an eyeful of Hadid's Miami Beach parking garage: the design "delivers a concrete structure that calls to mind both gyroscopes and pizza dough in mid flight" (indeed!).

•   Moore marvels at Gough's "celebratory" Canada Water library: "From a practical question - how to put a library on a site too small for it - comes the pleasure of the architecture."

•   An eyeful of Kurokawa's Maggie's Centre in Swansea.

•   New England gets serious about preserving its all-too-rapidly disappearing Modern heritage (being demolished to make space for McMansions, what else?).

•   We reported on the leaning church tower in Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, a bit ago; barring a miracle, it looks like it'll be meeting its maker via a wrecking ball soon (great slide show).

•   Jerusalem Design Week is underway, with an interesting conference coming up on Thursday to debate why "current received wisdom about progress and design will no longer hold."

•   Call for entries: NEA posts guidelines for 2012 Our Town grants for creative placemaking projects + 2012 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards.


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