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Today’s News - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

•   Capps comments on King's earlier column about San Francisco voting for a Waterfront Height Limit law: it's "the kind of urban-planning tool that makes resilient design so difficult" and "one of the NIMBYist measures in recent the long-run, it works against the interests of homeowners."

•   Ijeh calls London's Shell Centre approval a sign of "three terrible things: an irrevocably broken planning system; a catastrophic collapse of design skill among large swathes of the architectural profession; and a city whose unique urban and architectural character is now teetering on the verge of oblivion" - sadly, it won't be architects who "come to the rescue and harness design integrity to protect and enhance what is left of our assaulted urban environment."

•   Heathcote x 2: "The reintegration of the Thames into the city is an opportunity that has been utterly and painfully wasted" by the rows of lifeless luxury towers rising along its banks - "a grim indictment of a city that seems entirely to lack a vision of what it wants to be" (with the new, moated U.S. Embassy as a perfect metaphor).

•   He finds stainless steel spikes embedded in front of an apartment building to keep the homeless away "an ugly, hostile gesture" in an "architecture of deterrence" where the "permeability between public and private space is being lost. This is both a political and a design problem."

•   Andreou, who was once homeless himself, calls the spikes "'defensive architecture' that helps us to pretend real poverty doesn't exist" and "treats the dispossessed like a pigeon infestation" (an enlightening read).

•   P+W decries "grossly inaccurate" cost estimates and a "disrespectful" design process in Edmonton's decision to scale back the firm's competition- and award-winning (and oh-so-green) redevelopment plans for former airport land (the mayor calls it "the pragmatic course").

•   Architecture Canada | RAIC Alberta calls for Edmonton "not to dilute the sustainability objective" of P+W's Blatchford plan, fearing "the City is reaching for the middle (mediocre) with a compromised design."

•   A new report explains how/why Africa's population boom strains cities and creates opportunities: "leaders can manage the influx through inclusiveness, eco-friendly development, and economic opportunity."

•   An interesting take on the "future of sustainable retail design in Africa" that goes beyond building green and offering eco-friendly products: "We're talking about the mindset behind retail. Surely Africa doesn't need to go the way America has, with gargantuan shopping malls lined up from coast to coast."

•   Valentine offers a most thoughtful take on how Boston can heal its "urban wound": "the spontaneous memorializing" after the Marathon bombing "illustrates how the healing of a city mirrors the healing of a bodily wound"; what is needed now is a permanent memorial "to restore dignity to the act of remembrance."

•   Betsky's first take on Koolhaas's Biennale (there will be more): "I interpreted his proclamations to mean that architecture, as the making of buildings, is dead - he has banned anybody even approaching Michelangelo from the premises."

•   Hecht talks to Safdie about his new archaeology campus being built on a Jerusalem hillside that is "a metaphor for an archaeological excavation" (great pix).

•   Marble Fairbanks' LEED Gold Glen Oaks branch library in Queens, NY, incorporates a stunning "supergraphic made with daylight" (very cool).

•   Four firms reinvent the bookshop: "We were expecting some arresting design and clever innovation, but got a lot more than that."

•   Floating entertainment centers could be sailing towards Chicago's Navy Pier and NYC's Hudson River.

•   Researchers at MIT Media Lab "create an algorithm that determines how safe a street looks to the human eye - information that could be used to guide important urban design decisions."

•   An experimental new design school backed by some "design superpowers of the world" will be "a cross between a traditional school and a startup incubator."

•   Call for entries (and one of our faves): Arch Record's annual Cocktail Napkin Sketch Contest.


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