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Today’s News - Monday, December 1, 2014

•   We are so sad, professionally and personally, to start the week with the sad news that we've lost KPF's Paul Katz much, much too soon. Giovannini and Murray pay tribute.

•   Kimmelman sees 1 World Trade Center as "cautionary tale" for NYC and "its upside-down priorities": "something better was possible in Lower Manhattan. Not so bad should never be good enough."

•   Stamp is not much kinder to NYC's new Fulton Center: aside from the "feat of technical virtuosity" that is the oculus, the transit hub has "the placeless feel of a shopping mall - it's a low-maintenance grime-and-graffiti-proof architecture designed to withstand the masses rather than give them something to which they can aspire."

•   Leon minces no words about New York's skyscraper boom and the failure of trickle-down urbanism": this "newfound urban vitality will register proudly in postcards but flatline up close. What these buildings really reflect is the impoverished political imagination of the times."

•   Goldberger talks to Bill Moyers about NYC's changing skyline, and how the "long, dark shadows of plutocracy and global wealth diminishes midtown Manhattan."

•   Callahan cheers the spurt of park-building, but is more than concerned that "a hollowed-out public sector is losing its critical role" as "private wealth is taking the wheel."

•   It looks like Heatherwick's Garden Bridge across the Thames will be approved, but its backers are warned that "it will lose goodwill very quickly if it gives in to 'creeping commercialization.'"

•   Hartman says it's "spurious" to compare the Garden Bridge to the High Line - it's more "a bastard cousin": "its main driver is to create a horticultural visitor attraction, not a connected piece of city."

•   Bentley takes a hike to check on the progress of three Chicago parks projects: they "have raised questions of equity and public investment, but also stirred excitement with inventive designs."

•   Gehry defends MAD's Lucas Museum on Chicago's lakefront: "Please do not dismiss it because it doesn't look like something you've never seen before."

•   Kamin, on the other hand, takes issue with the contradictions between a new riverfront sign law and embracing the Lucas museum: "Why is the riverfront, which city officials often refer to as "the second lakefront," getting more protection than the actual lakefront?"

•   We couldn't resist throwing in a dollop of levity amidst a grouchy news day: it's the Kamin vs. The Donald Twitter duel! "Watching two grown men in a social media hissy fit over a building sign is actually a lot more amusing than one might think" (a "comb-over vulgarian" included).

•   Heathcote has high hopes as Design Miami/ begins - "with new buildings by young, bright architects. The hint of sadness is that in its success, design seems doomed to act as a veneer of cool to attract the big brands that will ultimately displace it."

•   Capps gives us some of the back-story of "the odd-couple pairing of the world's edgiest architect and its largest cultural bureaucracy": BIG's "sketches of the plan are bonkers by Smithsonian standards. The residents of the 2030s and beyond may come to thank the Smithsonian for its courage today."

•   Betsky looks at BIG's Smithsonian master plan as part of the "underground museum movement": it "appears to be effective, dramatic, and very expensive," but that it "brings the idealism of modernism's allegiance with accessibility, openness, and fluidity to bear on our monuments is an added bonus."

•   The five biggest "ah-ha" moments from the world's first Chief Resilience Officer Summit: #2. Cities need to reframe their problems by asking themselves better questions.

•   Melbourne pays heed to its first People's Panel on the city's 10-year financial plan, unanimously accepting its document recommending "bike lanes, more open space, and increasing rates to pay for it all," anticipating it "will see the city retain its high level of livability and stay a leader in sustainability."


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