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Today’s News - Wednesday, August 28, 2013

•   China's "skyward aspirations have inspired incredulity tinged with hostility," with the planned 202-story Sky City (to be built using prefab modules) becoming "the lightning rod for criticism of the trend."

•   Ransford issues a rallying call for Vancouver "to launch the mother-of-all collaborative planning processes" for a city-wide master plan for the future.

•   Meanwhile, Vancouver's Acton Ostry Architects pays heed to both NIMBYs and YIMBYs to design "a more nuanced and richly textured approach to high density that reflects a neighborhood's character."

•   Across the Big Pond, the British government considers scrapping the Code for Sustainable Homes; needless to say, the UKGBC has "accused the government of lacking a vision for sustainable homes and throwing away years of hard work."

•   Hawthorne gives (mostly) thumbs-up to Corner's pair of parks in Santa Monica: though he may have played it "a bit too safe," they are still "unquestionably a rare example of farsighted urban planning - which may in the end be its most important legacy."

•   St. Petersburg, FL, voters sink Maltzan's competition-winning Lens pier project; they didn't buy the argument that it "would be an icon that would help brand the city internationally."

•   Saffron gives thumbs-up to the "elegant redesign" of Philly's Franklin Court complex: the "dire warnings of architectural Armageddon" didn't pan out as "both Franklin's memory and Venturi's iconic design were well-treated."

•   A young New York firm gives a Beirut department store a face lift: "pretty is as pretty does - the real test of the building's success was whether the investment would pay off on the sales floor. So far, so good" (great pix).

•   A battle is brewing over a proposed façadectomy for "one of Scotland's best post-war buildings" on Edinburgh's St. Andrew Square.

•   A fascinating look at how architectural renderings are used as "weapons" in real estate wars: their "most important mission is to gin up enthusiasm for a project, or to incite resistance."

•   For powerful proof, check out a sampling of some of the renderings by starchitects on the shortlist to design the World Expo 2017 exhibition in Astana, Kazakhstan.

•   Bernstein parses the U.S. State Department's request for proposals for the U.S. pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan: the RFP is not a design competition, so renderings not required, but must include plans for raising $25 to $45 million to build, run, then raze the pavilion - September 15 is "a seemingly impossible deadline for any firm without deep pockets and expo experience."

•   Litt reports on "renegade bicycle enthusiasts" bringing the "illegal practice of 'guerrilla striping'" to Cleveland; while "the city will investigate the striping and 'take appropriate action,'" a "steady stream of bicyclists used the lanes - and motorists generally respected the stripes."

•   Nigeria and India look to take steps to stem the tide of architectural "quacks."

•   A good reason to be in Amsterdam next week: inamsterdam World Interiors Event 2013 "will highlight the historic, cultural, artistic, and economic importance of interior architecture and design."

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