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Today’s News - Thursday, April 10, 2014

•   It's a towering kind of news day: Davies counters criticism that apartment towers are ruining city centers, but "that's not to say there aren't the inevitable downsides."

•   Goldberger digs deep into the "tsunami" of super-thin, super-tall towers rising in Manhattan: their "saving grace is in their very slenderness" - they "at least make for a striking skyline, and they cast thinner shadows...The even more troubling shadow these buildings cast, however, is a social and economic one."

•   Davidson is distressed over plans for a "groaner" of a "giant new building" about to overshadow NYC's St. John the Divine, and wishes the city would step in and negotiate - at least there would be "a chance to demand that the architects (different architects, ideally) produce a design worthy of its site next door to one of the New York's finest monuments."

•   Kimmelman minces no words about plans for LG's new HQ on the Hudson's Palisades, which he calls the company's "public shame," while Samsung's new building planned for San Jose, CA, is "thoughtful" and "a boon" to its city.

•   Chinese investors have towering plans (designed by unidentified Chinese architects) for a new city about 30km from Nairobi, Kenya, to "match the splendor of Dubai" (comments section is very interesting).

•   The U.S. "may yet boast the world's tallest skyscraper made from dead trees" with the launch of a USDA competition "to demonstrate the viability of a new generation of wooden 'plyscrapers.'"

•   Byrnes examines the redevelopment plans for Cabrini-Green, "Chicago's most infamous public housing project" ("affordable" may be relative).

•   A Seattle developer "is testing the conventional wisdom" that "affordable housing isn't profitable" by building three Mithun-designed projects.

•   Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games chiefs are taking a second look at the "contentious plan" to flatten the Red Road flats as part the opening ceremony, leaving "the door open for a climb-down."

•   Heathcote [hearts] the transformation of Madrid's former meat market into an arts center by "thoughtfully reviving a fine existing place through the work of young, under-employed but hugely talented architects using cheap industrial materials and infinite care" (London's Smithfield developers should pay heed).

•   Hatherley reports from Kiev and the "square that sparked Ukraine's insurrection - an extremely Soviet set piece built to glorify revolution. The great irony, of course, is that this sort of planning originated as a way of deterring revolution."

•   Campanella says there's much to learn by studying how Bourbon Street has thrived "without the benefit of a corporate structure, a team of experts, a board of directors or a marketing branch."

•   NYC's once-grand, Depression-era bathhouses "may return to glory under ambitious revitalization plans."

•   Weizman defends RIBA's decision to call on the UIA to suspend the Israel Association of United Architects.

•   Meier condemns RIBA's Israel motion.

•   Donoff explains why it's high time for a Pritzker-like prize for lighting design: "Is lighting doomed to always be the bridesmaid to architecture's bride? I say: No."

•   Russia fires "a respected architecture critic" as commissioner of the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale Russian pavilion, perhaps because of "his vocal criticism of Russia's annexation of Crimea"; his replacement is "one of many museum directors and cultural figures who signed a letter in support of Putin's policy on Ukraine."

•   It's down to three finalists in the competition to develop the master plan for the IFC/International Financial Center in "New Moscow."

•   One we couldn't resist: eyefuls of Babina's portraits of 33 architects "in which the faces and the expressions are made of their architecture."

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