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Today’s News - Friday, December 13, 2013

•   A grumpy start to the day (but it gets brighter - Happy Friday the 13th!): Russell explains NYU's decades-long "architectural war on Greenwich Village" and why it's "hard to trust NYU's intentions because of its poor stewardship of the neighborhood."

•   Even as work begins on Sydney's contentious Darling Harbour convention center, "the development has a new foe."

•   We expect some sparks will fly as folks get a gander of the (humongous!) Foster/Heatherwick-designed Bund Finance Centre in Shanghai (flare-ups in the comments section already).

•   Saffron would love to see Philly's LOVE Park renovated, but the current public-private partnership proposal (lots of restaurants and kiosks) is "a textbook example of how not to leverage a public asset."

•   Bozikovic offers one of the most thoughtful analyses of the Gehry/Mirvish tall-towers plan for Toronto: "The proposal is best understood as a bold opening bid, which leaves a lot of room for a negotiation toward a more modest and generous building."

•   Moving on to brighter news, Iovine is quite taken by H&deM's Pérez Museum in Miami: it "might have been conceived by Robinson Crusoe channeling Mies van der Rohe" that "doesn't promote a look so much as a sense of place" ("built for people" - what a concept!).

•   Gordon's impression of this year's Miami Art Basel is our absolute fave: it was "part Utopia, part Dystopia, but swelling with dozens of riotous new projects, all screaming for attention. Every brand-name architect in the world came to town" (along with "members of the diminishing architectural press").

•   Brake gives (mostly) thumbs-up to the Kimbell's Piano Pavilion: "While it building doesn't match the beauty of Kahn's temple of culture, it is one of RPBW's best museum expansions" that "deftly balances accessibility with rarity."

•   A bitter-sweet win for Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, receiving the AIA 2014 Architecture Firm Award only days after the death of founding partner Allen Eskew.

•   A different kind of bitter-sweet win for women architects as Julia Morgan (who died in 1957) becomes the first woman ever to be awarded the AIA Gold Medal (let's hope the next woman doesn't have to be dead for 56 years).

•   Speaking of women architects, a fascinating (and disturbing?) survey of "the top five countries in the world to be a female architect - and the countries you'd want to avoid" (some real surprises/disappointments - to us, anyway).

•   The "era for female architects is now. The discussion is far from over"; the documentary "'Making Space/5 Women Changing the Face of Architecture' will only fuel it."

•   It looks like plans to build an unbuilt FLW near Bristol, U.K., might not happen: the planning committee "unanimously rejected the scheme": "Outside of the USA and Japan there is not one Wright-designed house. He can't be that influential if the rest of the world doesn't want them" (and who wants a low-slung, almost invisible house in a greenbelt anyway).

•   A 1937 FLW desk and chair from S.C. Johnson HQ is the plum of a Sotheby's 20th-century design auction next week - or maybe not: S.C. Johnson is suing, claiming they "are stolen goods" (spend some time drooling over the online catalog!).

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Seidler "is again the flavor of the month" as the subject of two new books and an exhibition.

•   In Dublin, an Irish engineer who "brought collaborative spirit and human scale to the projects he pioneered" gets his due in "Traces of Peter Rice."

•   Wolfe parses "Utopia Ltd." at London's GRAD gallery: "There's an unmistakable irony that a show devoted to the Soviet avant-garde would adopt a term from the world of British business and finance for its title."

•   Jaffe has a lively Q&A with Montgomery re: "Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design," an "ambitious" attempt "to document whether urban policy and design can really influence well-being" and, well, "urban happiness."

•   Moore offers his list of best books of the year: "In an age of austerity and dwindling resources, there's no shortage of big, beautiful books about buildings."

•   Pedersen's Q&A with Gorlin re: "Kabbalah in Art and Architecture" is enlightening (and the book is "a visual feast").

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