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Today’s News - Friday, November 21, 2014

EDITOR'S NOTE: With the Thanksgiving Day holiday coming up next Thursday and Friday, and many heading into a 2 ½-day work week, we've decided to take a much needed break...we'll be back Monday, December 1. Happy Turkey Day!

•   Bernstein is none too happy about supertalls edging ever closer to NYC's GPS: the Empire State Building (perhaps a "no supertall zone" is in order?).

•   Capps x 2: Why New Yorkers shouldn't fear the skyscraper boom (unless you're afraid of heights).

•   He parses the spate of plans for the Garden Bridge over London's Thames River, Pier 55 on NYC's Hudson River, and the 11th Street Bridge Park over DC's Anacostia River: "are these parks a flashy design fad or a real urban solution?"

•   Davidson says Heatherwick's Pier 55 proposal "would add something genuinely public, astonishing, and useful to the public realm," but has concerns as "a private citizen sets the agenda."

•   As long as we're talking Manhattan, the South Street Seaport development plan has been revised to address its critics: the tower is shorter, and there will be some affordable housing, but it is "likely to undergo more revisions given the initial negative reaction."

•   Urist offers a most thoughtful take on how "architects are branching out beyond the realm of planning and design and entering national discussions about school safety" - and community healing - in light of Columbine and Sandy Hook (posted shortly before the shooting at Florida State University yesterday).

•   Moonan, on a brighter note, finds the newly reopened Musée Picasso in Paris to be "a quiet triumph of a project - a minimalist, glowing modern interior inside a stunning historic shell - is ravishingly beautiful," designed by Bodin, "probably the most talented architect you have never heard of."

•   Russell, on the other hand, finds Piano's makeover of the Harvard Art Museums to be "variously elusive, alluring, and insistent - the difficulties of the project are most evident on the museum's disjunctive exterior," but inside, it extends "a long-overdue welcome to the public."

•   Meanwhile, Piano wins big in Des Moines, beating out a stellar shortlist to design convenience store chain Kum & Go's HQ (no design - yet).

•   Godsell's MPavilion in Melbourne "has been called a treasure box, a flower and a butterfly. Yet at first glance it looks like a small sheep-shearing shed. The pavilion's beauty lies in its movement."

•   Eyefuls of the designs by 10 firms from the U.K. and Czech Republic who won the €400 million The Oaks Prague development competition.

•   McGuigan makes the case that "if architects are seeking a bigger role on the world stage, the profession needs to better reflect the world - and diversity should begin in the schools."

•   3XN's Nielsen, on a team "advising the Danish government on how it can improve design education, draws parallels with the situation in the UK."

•   "Does motherhood + architecture = no career?" (the "proverbial elephant in the room").

•   Now the site is in a new developer's hands, it looks like Calatrava won't be seeing the $11.3 million he's owed for design work on the Chicago Spire.

•   A good reason to head to the Sunshine State: Design Miami/ 2014, where Marino will receive the inaugural Design Visionary Award, and Muecke is creating the annual pavilion.

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Davidson finds disappointment in MoMA's "Uneven Growth": "pragmatic micro­remedies, utopian ambitions, and razzle-dazzle renderings tinge the project with condescension rather than optimism. If this is the best a research institution can come up with, then the future of cities is dark."

•   Paletta cheers CCNY's "Sagrada Família - Gaudí's Unfinished Masterpiece" that offers "the best argument for continued work" - it may not "settle the debate" or "convince you of its argument, but it's well worth a look."

•   Dixon, Brown, and Gillham's "Urban Design for an Urban Century" offers much that is "worth mulling over."

•   Davies' novel of the year for urbanists: Campbell's "The Planner" is a "witty and insightful" tome "overflows with insight and acute observation about cities, urban economics, bureaucracy and, the pretensions and travails of town planning. Urbanists will love this book."

•   A (luscious!) excerpt from Locktov and Christopher's "Dream of Venice" (short of being there, we can't wait to thumb through the pages...).


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