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Today’s News - Tuesday, August 19, 2014

•   We lose MacMillan, a "post-war architecture great" and the man many credit with putting the Mackintosh School of Architecture on the map, and Hinkin, a rising star of eco-architecture.

•   Russell takes on the "stupid starchitect debate": Celebrity architects don't create "enervating cityscapes. Dull architects" do because "clients won't commit to better, and communities accept the junkscapes they are handed."

•   Betsky says starchitects are "not the real problem," and calls out Deamer for doing "exactly what she claims to want to avoid: make a few architects the problem, rather than focusing on how many bad - by which I mean wasteful, socially, and environmentally isolated and isolating, and just plain ugly - buildings are being constructed."

•   Hancox minces no words in calling out "slum porn" and calling for an end to the "fetishization of poverty architecture" as "fundamentally parasitical, feeding off the toil, risk and enterprise of Torre de David's thousands of slum-dwellers - and devoicing them, to boot."

•   Fraser finds fault with "'bland' Edinburgh designs," and blames "'nitpicking' within the planning department," making architects "more frightened and less ambitious," leading to a "'miserable compromise' that pleases no-one."

•   King comes up with his own "Top 10 travesties" of Bay Area buildings that are "squandered opportunities, out-of-scale abominations, wardrobe malfunctions of the architectural kind."

•   Speaking of star power, Gehry and Selldorf have grand plans for "derelict buildings and rubble strewn delivery yards" in Arles, now "on the brink of a Lazarus-like reincarnation" to put the French city on the cultural map.

•   Eyefuls of Calatrava's Florida Polytechnic University and the "lofty plans for future development."

•   The Aspen Art Museum "displays Ban's gift for blending craftsmanship and architecture," in a city where "even an art museum needs to connect to nature. And that's what the museum does, brilliantly" (lots of pix, too).

•   Kennicott gives thumbs-up - and down - to Foster's "shiny, sleek" CityCenterDC: "All that's missing is CityHeartDC. Its clean lines and shiny surfaces could be anywhere in the world" - but it does have "one feature that is decidedly un-Washington in all the right ways."

•   Kamin cheers new life for the exquisite Art Deco Chicago Motor Club Building, thanks to federal historic preservation tax credits - now under threat by Congress (it figures): the project is "a poster child for retaining the credit."

•   Glancey takes a gander at what's happening to some "disused airports" now that "new terminals are cropping up all over the world at a stratospheric rate" - are the old ones "doomed to be demolished, or can new uses be found for them?"

•   Two German palaces, one leveled by the East Berlin regime in 1950, the other in Hanover demolished in WW II, are rising from the ashes (not without controversy).

•   Hume has never been more humorous re: claims that Toronto's new BMX park is too much of a distraction for "the city's beleaguered drivers. In the name of driver safety, planners should insist that space surrounding new buildings be set aside as designated zones of emptiness, inactivity, blandness."

•   Davies doesn't see a proposed elevated Melbourne Veloway as "a smart way to advance cycling - the objective should be to reduce car use, not accommodate it."

•   Meanwhile, "famously cycle-friendly" Copenhagen "has just outdone itself with a cool elevated roadway" (though it's only 721 feet long).

•   Sitting pretty in NYC's Battery Park City: the finalists in the Take a Seat for Battery Chair Competition are ready for the public to test out at Castle Clinton.

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