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Today’s News - Monday, September 9, 2013

•   ArcSpace brings us Hybel's review of the Mariinsky II: that the architects "managed to work around the leftovers from another architect's half-finished project and still make a building with distinct qualities is in itself an admirable feat" (great pix) + UNStudio uses research and material innovation to achieve "remarkable results."

•   A great presentation of the five 2013 Aga Khan Award for Architecture winners.

•   A fascinating look beyond China's "ghost cities": forget the quantity of residential buildings, it's the quality of construction that should be of great concern when four-year-old buildings already look 40 years old (and pix to prove it).

•   Lamster minces no words about Dallas's Museum Tower: beyond the scorching of the Nasher, it's basically "a gated vertical community sequestered from the neighborhood. It's hard to imagine a less-urban urban building."

•   Speaking of scorching, Heathcote has his say about London's "Fry Scraper": it is "a selfish building amid many other second-rate structures that have turned the London skyline into a crowded, incoherent mess."

•   Betsky is even more brutal: the Walkie Talkie "was a bad building before it fried a Jaguar. Putting louvers on the façade might help, but that's applying lipstick to a very large pig" (with comment about the "snarkiness" of readers' comments as "a crowdsourced testament to the hatred" the "public harbors against architects and their products").

•   CTBUH comes up with a new measurement for tall buildings: "vanity height" - and confirms "the UAE has the world's vainest buildings."

•   Moore takes on the "queen of the curve": "it is hard to escape the feeling that Hadid has become a prisoner of her grandeur" (a great read).

•   Malmquist tackles the dilemma of what to do with government buildings in Oslo (that include murals by Picasso) badly damaged in the 2011 terrorist attacks, sparking a debate about historical preservation in Norway.

•   Is it "growth and profit at any cost" or "changing aesthetics" - or "shame" - that is "seeing valuable threads" of Australia's colonial history "left to crumble into ruin"?

•   An amazing look at the "afterlife" of Berlin's now-demolished Palast der Republik: "Bits and bobs" of it are turning up in skate parks, skyscrapers, and cars, "living on: metamorphosed."

•   Chicago's landmarks officials warn a hotel: "Don't mess with Mies" when it asks permission to install a sculpture on the former IBM Building's plaza - it would "sully" the master's minimalist design.

•   Meanwhile, another Mies-designed plaza in Chicago will turn "green and cozy": its design problems are "not going to be solved by praying at the altar of Mies."

•   Three firms are tapped to come up with designs for a new skate park for London's Southbank Centre (not all are pleased).

•   Two firms come up with alternative (but unsolicited) visions for a public plaza in Portland, Maine, with the hope that they "will compel the public and city officials to consider more options for the plaza."

•   U.S. State Department shortens the shortlist of six to three now in the running to design the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon.

•   Sinclair and Stohr have new plans for themselves and Architecture for Humanity (all good, we hope!).

•   A good reason to be in Lisbon later this week: the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale spotlighting "emerging practitioners and protagonists whose work and interests are far from a traditional client-architect model."

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