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Today’s News - Monday, May 7, 2012

•   ArcSpace brings us Holl's Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University.

•   Saffron x 2 - weighing in on the new Barnes: it's a "ravishing building" with "many moments of breathtaking refinement - but "sadly - no, tragically," it's "a case where the star of the show has been sabotaged by the supporting cast, that unruly gang of vehicular amenities."

•   She chronicles Williams and Tsien's "herculean assignment fraught with character-testing obstacles." (both part of a special Barnes section)

•   Doig delves into the "the Whole Foods Effect" that "can give a neighborhood the escape velocity it needs to break free of its doldrums" (fingers are crossed in Detroit!).

•   Hume doesn't dispute developers who say mixed use is the way to go in Toronto; he just wonders "why do so many of them do it so badly?"

•   A Zambian architect calls for less focus on the concept of a "house" and building techniques, and more attention to assessing social-cultural needs (sometimes, it does take a village).

•   With Malaysia ramping up a large mass-transit project, "a lot of importance is being placed on how it looks": the design "will not be confused with Dubai or Hong Kong."

•   Heathcote cheers London's Olympic Park as "an eco-friendly triumph," but something still "niggles" him: "I yearned for something to remind me that this was a place of work."

•   As the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower nears completion, a very interesting (and amusing) in-depth look at how Kapoor and Balmond "managed to stay sane and see this strange project through": "It was just an attempt to answer the question: how do you go up if not in straight lines?" says one; "Don't you think it's just amazing that they actually let us build this?" says the other.

•   Davidson gives two green thumbs-ups to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's new visitor center: "the city's most extreme and subtlest fusion of building and bower" that should serve as a model for "a tight new bond between urban landscape and concrete jungle that can make the city a more civilized place."

•   King reports on a stellar line-up of local and international architects who have been invited to vie for the job to make over "one of San Francisco's prime stretches of waterfront."

•   Farrell comes up with a £25 million proposal for the Battersea Power Station (it would involve some demolition, but is less than the "£150m refurbishment cost of Rafael Viñoly's £5bn scheme."

•   Kamin on Chicago preservationists' "victory" in landmarks law challenge - but it could be only temporary.

•   NYC's Landmarks Preservation Commission is facing its own preservation vs. development battle.

•   We don't cover a lot of residential work, but this is an amazing eyeful of stunning new homes that "will define the design of tomorrow."

•   One we couldn't resist: six women architects "responsible for some of the world's most innovative designs" do a fashion shoot to show off their personal style.

•   Call for entries: 9th Annual Light & Architecture/AL Design Awards honoring architectural lighting design.


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