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Today’s News - Thursday, May 29, 2014

•   ArcSpace brings us a fab travel guide to Barcelona, and a Q&A with architectural photographer Thomas Mayer (with great pix).

•   Kimmelman offers a thoughtful (though not so kindly) appraisal of the WTC memorial grounds: "It feels like a swath of the National Mall plunked in downtown Manhattan...built to awe, something for tourists...the site has been given over to overly literal symbolism."

•   Jeffrey offers an eloquent tribute to the fire-ravaged Glasgow School of Art: "Glasgow has lost its beating heart - the building represents an almost unattainable dream of a historic structure that still feels experimental, that meets its purpose and is fiercely loved."

•   Meier remembers Vignelli + video of the two "reflecting on their respective crafts, city life and enduring friendship."

•   Rosenblum reflects on Israel's exhibit for the Venice Biennale, which takes a critical look at the country's "banal, identical high-rises and cookie-cutter cities...architects trying to push existing plans aside in an effort to create something new and better actually continue to build the same thing."

•   PBS takes a look at "Survey L.A.," a new initiative "to identify, catalogue and preserve its diverse cultural history in electronic form...a great American city wanting to know itself a little better."

•   King cheers new "signs of architectural energy" (with a touch of brashness) along a San Francisco boulevard "that for too long has been treated with too little respect."

•   From the other side of the Big Pond, Moore bemoans Boris's disappointing response to the London skyline debate: "A major city is being fundamentally redesigned with an amazing absence of real knowledge. Most kitchens are planned with a better overview than this."

•   Wainwright minces no words about what he thinks of the "glassy lumps" of mini-Shards and "Shardettes" (and a "marooned iceberg") on the rise in London: "Piano's building has become a beacon for designers bereft of inspiration - it's hard not to wish it had all remained on the drawing board."

•   Waite reports on further delays in FCBS's Southbank revamp, though much-needed repairs and conservation work is about to begin on the original buildings (thanks to Arts Council England grant).

•   Gibberd and Hill cheer a growing roster of architect/philanthropists creating "beauty from adversity" around the world.

•   Polsky delves into why and how SHoP Architects "became NYC's go-to megaproject architects: it seems to manage the balance between control and compromise to a degree other firms haven't" (a great read).

•   Nobel parses Norten's Rutgers Business School: never mind the building's "big move" - it is "a whip-smart interior study in non-programmed space - the building is alive inside, and the students are taking the architects' cues and running with them."

•   A report on the National Complete Streets Coalition new report that crunches the numbers re: urban traffic fatalities and how safer street design can spare thousands upon thousands of lives.

•   A Parisian planner and transportation engineer compares public spaces in Paris and New York - fascinating!

•   The "poster child of sprawl," a.k.a. Phoenix, AZ, "is pulling off an urban miracle, transforming into a walkable city" (from personal experience, this we'll have to see to believe).

•   Gang raises the bar (again) by venturing into two atypical architectural typologies: marine spatial planning for a dolphin sanctuary: "When I first heard the term a year ago, I said, 'Why aren't architects leading this?'" + A "dynamic, modular" acoustical shell for Chicago's Lyric Opera in the "cavernous" Ardis Krainik Theater.

•   Music for the ear and eye (music, pg. 1; pix, pg. 2): Jack Diamond's "exuberant" pipe organ for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra at Maison Symphonique: "Too many organs simply look like radiators" (not this one! A must-see/hear!).


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