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Today’s News - Thursday, December 22, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the last newsletter of 2011 - we're taking a break until Tuesday, January 3 (with undoubtedly lots of catching up to do!). We wish everyone the merriest of Merry Holidays and the happiest of Happy New Years!

•   In the spirit of the season we bring you a thoughtful pro-bono renovation of San Francisco's largest homeless shelter by IIDA NC.

•   Cary calls for eliminating the barriers facing military veterans who need housing, calling out new pilot projects in New York and L.A. that offer "a viable model for other cities...That we live in a country that allows service people to even come close to being homeless is shameful."

•   Brussat, "with all due respect to the undeniably talented Graves," doesn't think he deserves the Driehaus Prize: "Merely rebranding postmodern architecture as classical won't wash...that great sucking sound you hear is modern architecture sniggering into its sleeve."

•   Pogrebin cheers architecture students assigned to design a dance theater at Ground Zero (Gehry's conceptual design "struck many of the students as underdeveloped").

•   An eyeful of 11 new buildings to visit in 2012 (some real surprises!) + 10 of the "world's most spectacular modern churches" (some real stunners!).

•   AIA's November Architecture Billings Index climbs to positive ground (a sign of better things to come?).

•   A remembrance of the many notable figures in the architecture and design profession lost in 2011.

•   Kamin remembers Garofalo who "was consistently ahead of the curve" in designing "some fabulously exuberant buildings" in "a career that ended much too soon."

•   In The House on Chicken Feet, Part 2, Leven Betts reimagines "Jack and the Beanstalk" (Guy Nordenson's fairy tale posts tomorrow - you'll have to check it out on your own).

•   Weekend diversions (and lots of 'em!):

•   Berg queries Terry Riley about why the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale rejected sustainability as a theme.

•   Meanwhile, "Buildings = Energy" at NYC's Center for Architecture "drives home several green points...primarily the fact that buildings consume energy - a lot of it."

•   Stairs takes issue with much of what's put forth in "Design with the Other 90%: Cities": "Stop paying attention to propaganda about the greatness of design...Design is only a behavior pattern leading to an activity, not the master metaphor of existence" (an excellent read).

•   Iovine reports from the V&A's Postmodernism show that "attempts to rescue postmodernism from its bad rap."

•   In "Unbuilt Washington" at the National Building Museum, "the might-have-been monuments and cityscapes on display are beguiling, often strange, and surprisingly varied" (with lots of great images).

•   Hawthorne hails the Schindler House for putting the spotlight on the late critic Esther McCoy who "exposed California modernism to the larger world."

•   An FLW show at the Phoenix Art Museum ponders: "What does an architect born two years after the end of the Civil War have to say to us in the 21st century?" (a lot!)

•   In Prague, "Contemporary Czech Industrial" is "intended as a positive example and encouragement to investors currently considering" new industrial facilities + "Photographing Prague Architecture, 1848-1921" offers a glimpse into the transformation of the city.

•   Kamin offers his picks of architecture and urban design books "for stuffing the stocking and raising the IQ."

•   Eames documentary draws one thumbs-up - and one thumbs-down ("tepid, pedestrian" - ouch!).

•   For your holiday amusement: Rybczynski recalls his boyhood experiments building a crèche + 12 arty parodies of the iconic Christmas tree (on view at Goethe Institute's 25 branches around the world).

•   Our most favorite and not to be missed: Darth Vader conducting a Christmas choir flash mob (in a very cool, new academic building).

•   See you next year!!!


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