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Today’s News - Thursday, October 2, 2014

EDITOR'S NOTE: Apologies for missing yesterday's posting - we were without Internet access until yesterday afternoon (oh, those pesky Internet gods!).

•   A fabulous round-up of reports from CityLab 2014, The Atlantic's summit on urban innovation (definitely worth spending some time).

•   Heathcote makes the case that cities "need to design for an ageing population. So who are architects and planners designing for? The whole point of the transgenerational city is that it works for everyone."

•   As L.A. plans to flatten a block holding three respected cultural institutions, Lubell makes the case of the importance of embracing them in urban renewal projects (they'll have "first right of refusal" to return, but will they?).

•   How a beach is making waves in downtown Detroit, an example of "the spirit of Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper" creating a positive ripple effect in the nabe.

•   Ijeh accesses Allies & Morrison's Two Pancras Square, and sees it as "a good moment to assess the practice's master plan" for King's Cross Central: it "is already a huge success" and "a remarkable achievement."

•   A twofer: "Why the best urban objects are mundane: it's a city's dullest objects that define it" + "In praise of boring cities. Are dull cities actually doing something very right?"

•   A shortlist of Russia's most creative cities: too bad they "lack is an ecosystem that nurtures creativity."

•   Sardar pens an eloquent eulogy re: the "destruction of Mecca: The city is an amalgam of Disneyland and Las Vegas, reduced to a mundane exercise in rituals and shopping" (and the "obnoxious" mega-tall Makkah Royal Clock Tower hotel).

•   Placemakers want to have a place at the table with a "unified voice" at Habitat III in 2016, but the challenge is defining terms such as "public space," "public places," and "placemaking" (are they really interchangeable?).

•   Keeton dives deep into whether floating architecture's moment has finally arrived: while "more fully realized, just-might-actually-happen sea-based urban endeavors have emerged, it's political will and ownership issues that are holding development back."

•   Architects cheer L.A. ditching its long-out-date requirement that skyscrapers have flat tops: "the sky's the limit now."

•   Calatrava's Chicago Spire "may be inching back to life."

•   Litt cheers the Cleveland Clinic's new Cancer Institute that "packs a subtle precision and clarity" that may not come across in the renderings: "a reminder that pretty pictures of future buildings can also fail to communicate how good they might actually be."

•   Gunts reports on Johansen's Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore finally biting the dust despite desperate efforts to save it - a "preservationist was able to salvage the original letters from the building, but nothing else" (really sad pix).

•   Hough appreciates good architectural criticism, "but does it have to be all about architecture? Urban design has been hijacked" - and "intelligent landscape-focused criticism remains hard to come by."

•   Lange offers a "guide to making an architectural meme - six points of viral architecture. (Why six? I am told it is more viral than five.)" (ducks included).

•   Deasy says it's time for the Stirling Prize to celebrate "function as well as form: It's madness to honor a building that looks great but performs badly."

•   One we couldn't resist (o.k., so we're into goats): Metcalfe reports on research showing the "landscaping efficacy" of goats as "a miracle for brush-clearing" (and a "good municipal investment").


Archtober - Architecture and Design Month

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