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Today’s News - Thursday, August 23, 2012

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just a reminder that we're taking Fridays and Mondays off for the rest of August. We'll be back (and not from Venice - sigh) Tuesday, August 28. Happy Weekend!

•   Ouroussoff(!) is back (how could we not lead with this?!!?) with his lengthy take on why Koolhaas is one of our most influential - and controversial - architects: "The attraction lies, in part, in his ability to keep us off balance."

•   Capps talks to Thom about his hopes to "fill the gaps" in Washington, DC's Southwest nabe - resulting in a most interesting history lesson: "The last time DC brought in architects to save the city, we got Southwest" (it was not a good thing).

•   DS+R's "Granite Web" plan for Aberdeen's Union Terrace Gardens bites the dust; funds will be diverted towards other improvements in the city (cheers and jeers ensue).

•   Chan considers Gehry's Biomuseo in Panama and its high hopes to create the Bilbao effect: it "shows no trace of its ecological agenda" and "appears as if it were designed with its future line of gift shop souvenirs in mind" (ouch!).

•   Does "the new wave of exciting, stunning construction taking shape" in Wales indicate "an architectural golden age"?

•   Perhaps, but the chief executive of Design Commission for Wales argues that "despite some high-profile successes that architects are under unprecedented pressure...they reap the smallest proportion of fees, given the value they deliver."

•   A most candid Q&A with the president of the Nigerian Institute of Architects: his members "are saddled with the problem of standards, arising from proliferation of architecture schools" and the "incursion of some foreign architects under a lot of guises."

•   Mecanoo's challenge for a new entrance to a Dutch maritime museum: "to create something on the one hand iconic, but on the other side easily merged into the skyline of this very small village."

•   Good news: a recent court case re: copyright protection sides with architects.

•   Gearing up for Venice Biennale (alas, we won't be there!), some previews: instead of "exhibiting a handful of grandiose, starchitect-designed wonders, the U.S. Pavilion presents "124 projects by self-empowered citizens whom you've likely never heard of."

•   Hadid's installation is "a blooming tribute to an obscure German engineer" (we'd hardly call Frei Otto "obscure," but the animation is cool).

•   Hong Kong offers a "glimpse into population-sustaining urban planning" for large cities (who could resist a theme title with "ghostwriting" in it?)

•   Spain's pavilion tackles "Mediterranean architecture facing major changes."

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Rawsthorn cheers "Tribute to Jean Prouvé" in Nancy, France: it "comes at a time when his ideals are in danger of being obscured by his improbable posthumous role as the darling of the design-art market. Would he have approved? Unlikely."

•   Chicago's MCA "Skyscraper" show is an "intelligent and thought-provoking exhibition."

•   Abrahams has mixed feelings about Cohen's "The Future of Architecture Since 1889": "one would still like to read the book that Cohen clearly wants to write about how architectural ideas are transferred, not just through grand projects, but through a process of evolution and filtering down into everyday delivery."

•   Hamilton has mixed feelings about "The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth," Alexander's "latest diatribe," beginning with "its wooden-sword title on, that seems a little boyish."

•   Sternhell says "Architecture in Palestine during the British Mandate, 1917-1948" is a "detailed study" that "reveals complex ideas about buildings as symbols of nation building and challenges claims about the famous International style that turned Tel Aviv into the 'White City.'"


Architecture for Humanity - Philippines Floods Response

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