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Today’s News - Tuesday, January 10, 2012

•   A sad note to start the day: tributes pour in for Isi Metzstein, "the conscience of the architectural profession in Scotland."

•   After a long silence, the Helsinki Guggenheim feasibility study goes public, expecting it to go forward (with a competition surely to follow - we'll keep an eye out).

•   Aedas chairman claims western architects (a.k.a. starchitects) who were/are being "badly burnt in Abu Dhabi have only themselves to blame."

•   Saffron on "suburbia's outer ring losing shine": the competition "is no longer between cities and suburbs, but between places that have density and good transit connections and those that don't."

•   Berg examines two studies that are trying to determine why "some neighborhoods get overrun with chain stores, while others don't": the results could mean "cities may be able to detect gaps in services and encourage businesses to fill them.

•   Russell reports on an über-green building in Seattle with "self-imposed high standards" that had its architects and suppliers jumping through some hefty hoops.

•   Developer of MVRDV's Cloud towers in Seoul says it will stick to the design: "Allegations that the design was inspired by the 9/11 attacks are groundless."

•   The prince of Poundbury sets his sight on Port-au-Prince, along with a few U.K. plans as well ("Surfbury" anyone?).

•   Dvir x 2: critics have not been kind to Karmi's renovation of the Habima Theater in Tel Aviv, but the architect could give a hoot: "'nobody talks about my good buildings,' he gripes."

•   He tells a most interesting tale of "one of the most fascinating modern architectural experiments ever attempted in Jerusalem" - with an iffy future.

•   Herron reflects on his home town of Detroit: "This city is never coming back; whatever happens next will be without urban precedent because the context of city no longer applies in this place where history has finally run out" (great pix).

•   Biber on the similarities between London's Commonwealth Institute ("a quirky 1962 white elephant") and Berlin's Palast der Republik: their lives as monuments to lost empires and their future as museums.

•   Bey x 2: the sad fate of a once-stunning, now derelict former 1913 synagogue in Chicago moving closer to the wrecker's ball + a brief history and fate of a number of modernist gas stations from the '60s and '70s that "were clever, efficient little buildings" (great pix for both).

•   Houston implodes a tower that had been a part of the city's urban landscape for 60 years (it would have cost more to renovate than to demolish - or so they say).

•   It's not particularly an architectural story, but a fascinating analysis of how OWS and Tahrir Square expose the limits of the Town Square Test: "we can learn a lot about any country by what people are, and are not, allowed to say and do in public spaces" (who knew there was even such a thing?!!?).

•   Berger hands out his Heritage Turkeys Awards: "Who did most to raze, wreck, uproot, neglect, and generally trash our historic treasures in 2011?" (they're not all in Seattle, either).

•   Call for entries: Open ideas competition for the urban-architectural conceptual design for Block Badel in Zagreb, Croatia.


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