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Today’s News - Wednesday, May 23, 2012

•   A new report "explores the detrimental effects the constant use of the term 'icon'" in the UAE where "an 'icon greenwash' of sorts" is common practice.

•   Hockenberry is most eloquent about the new icons in the Middle East and the "region's centuries-old struggle between its cultural identity and its utopian dreams...the harder question of why these facilities are being built has been ignored."

•   The redevelopment of the Christina River waterfront in Wilmington, Delaware, has both cheerleaders and naysayers: "It's very easy for the same project to be viewed as both a terrific success and an appalling waste of money."

•   Byles cheers Brunzema's IBA Hudson Valley project "to transform gravel pits to green growth in Upstate New York. America is desperate for just this type of urban innovation."

•   Goodyear gathers all the snippets we've been following to try to unravel rather reports about plans by Chinese investors to build a 300-acre housing development in rural Michigan designed specifically for Chinese immigrants: they "may not have done their homework terribly well."

•   An architect and a transportation planner make their cases for why Auckland should give a green light to a waterfront theater for the Auckland Theatre Company and a pedestrian/cyclist SkyPath on the city's "much loved but rather drab icon" of a harbor bridge that would go a long way towards making Auckland "the world's most livable city by 2040."

•   Moore x 2: Olympic Park is "an urban effort of a scale and ambition that this country has not managed for a long time" that "shows good technique and fantastic delivery" - but perhaps all that effort (and money) should/could have been "applied more directly to places where people actually live."

•   He cheers the Photographers' Gallery extension as "a fine work of post-crash architecture" with the "potential for joining the inner life of the galleries with the city around it."

•   Rosenbaum's Round 2 re: the new Barnes (nowhere near as polite as her first go - see Monday's newletter): Williams and Tsien "got the chance to design impressive, well-crafted facilities" (like eateries and a gift shop), but "the central task was one that would make many, if not most, contemporary architects cringe" - then there's the "handsome" - but hands-off - exterior.

•   Q&A with Williams and Tsien re: the creative process and "the idea of service" (via Arch Digest, so very polite).

•   Iovine makes the case for MoMA to add Williams and Tsien's American Folk Art Museum to its collection "if only to prove that contemporary architecture is not instantly disposable."

•   Chan makes the case for why Johansen's "crumbling concrete theaters should be saved": to "accuse their hollowed concrete forms of inflicting urban blight is to uphold a very specific and unyielding vision of a healthy city," and to demolish them would "certainly take away something that is invaluable."

•   In the new Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, "composed of three buildings fused into one" (including an old Shell station), the "sculptural lines, voluptuous volumes and tranquil pockets of white emptiness are all the composition that the senses need."

•   Foster + Partners teams with Adrien Gardere to win commission to design a new museum for Roman antiquities in Narbonne, France.

•   Berg reports on the Trust for Public Land's new ParkScore ranking system that "will help show cities ways their parks systems can improve, and help residents to take more action to get parks where their needed."

•   Call for entries: Floating Cinema 2013 "Extra-Ordinary" international two-stage competition.


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