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Today’s News - Thursday, April 3, 2014

•   Joachim ponders "what if you could redraw NYC's map - and build it from scratch? Some of this city of tomorrow is already taking shape. This next version of New York is dependent on us."

•   Taki, on the other hand, says his NYC "is gone forever" and blames progress that "stinks" and Modernism that "is bleak and sterile - a panacea for the talentless and the phony."

•   Meanwhile, the London skyline debate rages on: Olcayto explains why the AJ/Observer's Skyline campaign "is not anti-skyscrapers," but calls for a "thoughtful plan that ensures high-quality architecture but also gives something back to the townscape."

•   Baillieu posits that the debate is "all out of proportion," with folks' "knickers well and truly twisted over towers"; the real problem is "the fact few Londoners can afford to live in them."

•   Brussat says "it's hard to work up much sympathy for London - if my eyeballs will stop rolling for an instant, let me welcome London to reality, which has not been pretty for decades."

•   Bakewell compares Italy's neglect of its heritage to London's skyline being "diminished by modern tower blocks" - a problem that "infects so many of today's cities. The urge to be the most modern threatens to render every 'downtown' identical. How reckless of us."

•   Despite car bombs, Beirut is "buzzing" with new building - it "seems to be a city that endures when it comes to real estate."

•   Case in point: Holl's Le Yacht Club Beirut, Lebanon's first private club, is "built to look like the wreckage of a mammoth futuristic ship."

•   Rosenblum finds good and questionable design decisions in the new/old Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, where "oriental splendor meets New York grandeur - poor Jerusalem deserves a bit of splendor."

•   The Library of Birmingham has some researchers and academics fuming because "thousands of books can't be reached by librarians": it's "great to gawp at, but it is unfit for purpose" (until the right equipment arrives; delivery date TBD).

•   Q&A with HOK's Monk re: the future of sustainable design: "it's not only about the bottom line."

•   Eyefuls of the winner of Architectural League/Socrates Sculpture Park Folly 2014 competition (and some "notable entries").

•   Call for entries: newly-launched Moriyama RAIC International Prize (with $100,000 purse!) + Call for papers: 7th International Urban Design Conference: "Designing Productive Cities" in South Australia in September.

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