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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.'"



  


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