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Today’s News - Thursday, January 9, 2014

EDITOR'S NOTE: MoMA rings in the New Year with a death knell for Williams & Tsien's Folk Art Museum. A sad news day, indeed. Obituaries abound. All eloquent. All depressing. Could Graves's Portland Building be facing the same fate? Never mind the "sellout" Sydney's Barangaroo has become. At least the sun is out and our thermometer has risen to 32 degrees...

•   Goldberger: MoMA is "making a fatal mistake: A large cultural institution that cannot find a suitable use for such a building is an institution with a flawed architectural imagination."

•   Davidson: "the new design does contain several persuasive virtues," but "feels less like an optimistic hosanna than a mournful chorus of compromises."

•   Saltz (who has called the AFAM a "terrible building"): during an "excruciatingly verbose three-hour closed-door briefing I felt my eyes tear up and my stomach turn."

•   McGuigan/Raskin: "many architects and architecture fans will mourn the loss of the slender, elegantly-crafted gem."

•   Lamster: "an implicit admission that MoMA's 2004 redesign by Yukio Taniguchi, which cost more than $800 million, has been a failure...seems a sad gesture, one lacking in architectural imagination."

•   Pogrebin: the "sweeping redesign doesn't spare a notable neighbor."

•   Rosenbaum: "the next phase of MegaMoMA looks like an imposing, intimidating headquarters for Art, Inc."

•   Hill: despite "specious words about integrity," there is a "need to be creative about how buildings are reused. In this case the creativity is nowhere to be seen."

•   Byrnes offers a round-up of reports on the possible fate of Graves's 1982 Portland Building that "almost no one likes" facing a $95 million renovation or demolition: "Determining the cultural value of postmodern structures is a new frontier in the world of historic preservation."

•   A New South Wales MP outlines the "anatomy of a sellout" when it comes to Sydney's Barangaroo: "Even if we accept the dreadful least we can work out a scheme to get a decent return"; but given its history, "I'm not holding my breath."

•   Gruen & Grimshaw win the competition to master plan L.A.'s Union Station, but critics question the scope of the changes and "the logic of tearing down the existing TOD Mosaic Apartments and the relatively new, taxpayer-funded Patsaouras Plaza bus terminal."

•   Jacobs parses NYC's new mayor's agenda, and finds herself "pining, unexpectedly, for the old one": "the case needs to be made right now, loudly, that design isn't a luxury."

•   And now some brighter news notes: Alfonso Architects is tapped to design the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg, Florida (we know of a great building on West 53rd Street, though moving costs might be prohibitive).

•   How is Starbucks making its "brand a little less brand-y? The answer: good design" (some "stunning" new stores!).

•   Eyefuls of the T+L Design Awards 2014 winners that are making travel better (we can be packed and ready to go to any in 5 minutes!).

•   Call for entries: Rebirth of the Bath House in Liepaja, Latvia.

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