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Today’s News - Friday, January 6, 2012

•   Florida offers up lots of charts, facts, and figures re: why some cities are healthier than others: the U.S. "will not solve its health problems - or reduce its skyrocketing health care costs - until it comes to grips with the worsening class divides that plague it."

•   Kimmelman calls for architects and planners to start taking parking lots (and spaces) seriously - and finds a few who do: lots "don't need to be dead zones" (great slide show).

•   Two RMI experts push for and offer tips for energy-efficient retrofitting: "the task is daunting," and "huge barriers stand in the way...But we're not starting from scratch" (and a little bling can go a long way).

•   Glancey x 2: the week in review includes Helsinki's Chapel of Silence, designer shelters for NYC cats, and a proposed inverted pyramid for Tahrir Square + His picks of what he's looking forward to in 2012.

•   Russell finds the "default to blandness" of the new Gates Foundation in Seattle "is a lost opportunity," but at the Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin, the "joy of giving and the connection to people served is palpable" and "has a cheerful energy utterly invisible at the posh, sober Gates."

•   King pays tribute to Legorreta, whose "emphatic and boldly colored buildings are found throughout the Bay Area," but his "largest impact on the region could lie ahead."

•   Baillieu minces no words about the RMJM/YRM deal: "YRM's mistake was to believe it could trade on an illustrious past. RMJM's mistake could be in giving the remnants of this once great firm a desk" (then there's the staff left unpaid and in the lurch).

•   On a lighter note, a profile of the architect behind Lego's Architecture Series + Lego is looking for suggestions for the next addition to the series.

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Riley taps the talents of rising architects to devise futuristic façades for the Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture (great pix).

•   Kimmelman visits MCNY's "The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011" and finds the grid "gives physical form to a certain democratic, melting-pot idea" - it is "the ego to our id."

•   Schambelan visits the V&A's Postmodernism show and finds it more than "just a survey of Memphis and its fellow travelers" (she's also struck by teapots that "appear with bewildering frequency").

•   Brothers discovers what radical architecture was "before it was chic" at London's Royal Academy: "it is worth remembering what revolutionary architecture meant when it was more than an attitude."

•   Hawthorne's final Reading L.A. tackles three tomes that take on a contested public space and nature's place in the city.

•   A peek into "No Nails, No Lumber: The Bubble Houses of Wallace Neff" by Jeffrey Head (amazing slide show, too).

•   Mays hails "Unbuilt Toronto 2" that will "make the reader weep or cheer" - and hopefully think "anew about the Toronto we didn't get, the city we did, and the one we want."

•   Two icy offerings we couldn't resist: amazing eyefuls from the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in China and a Bavarian snow church (finally completed).


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