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Today’s News - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

•   We are so, so saddened to learn of the passing of Jordan Gruzen: I will miss his friendship, graciousness, eloquence - and infectious smile - kr.

•   Bernstein tackles nationalism and contextualism, using the controversy swirling around Hadid's Tokyo stadium as a starting point: while critics "have not suggested that the job go to a Japanese architect," what would happen if it did "for reasons of contextualism, or national pride, or both" - could it kick off "a kind of architectural trade war?"

•   Hansen enters the Betsky/Bingler/Pedersen style-war debate: "People need shelter and better designed places. But buildings as art, and avant garde design? Not so much. We need architects to do their best for the rest of us."

•   St. Hill pens a (practically poetic) ode to 20 years of Maggie's Centres that started out as a "pile of hope" to "a diverse family of architectural delights" that are "iconic as experiments in healthcare design" (a great reaed)

•   Heathcote is happy with English Heritage listing 14 postwar office buildings that "might not instantly set hearts racing. Yet perhaps that is why they need protection - preservation is important because it indicates where we have come from, why we are here and, occasionally, how little we have progressed since then."

•   Gehry "was hesitant to say he was actually happy" with his "crumpled paper bag" building for the University of Technology Sydney - when students arrive "is when we'll see whether his bold vision works in reality."

•   He took on "the dual role of architect and master builder to control costs" - and came in on time and on budget: "What if I hadn't? I would have had to cough up the remainder."

•   The master builder says "he won't build anything quite like" his UTS building again (we're trying to find out who called it "a masterpiece to rival Sydney Opera House in distinctiveness").

•   Moore marvels at MUMA's makeover of the Whitworth Art Gallery with a "clever but subtle redesign" that "tears up the red tape and lets the light, and surrounding park, flood in."

•   Betsky gives a thumbs-up (and down) to the Cooper Hewitt makeover: "The good news is that it has done a remarkable job rethinking its exhibitions and programs to live up to its mission. Ironically, however, architecture keeps defeating it. Yet the curators and designers have done a remarkable job" (and maybe "some day it can escape from its gilded cage").

•   Hume hails a new aquaponic farm sprouting in a suburban industrial park: "This is the 21st-century version of Jane Jacobs' argument that new ideas need old buildings."

•   Hosey has issues with Americans' obsession with their lawns that are "extraordinarily expensive, wasteful, and bad for the environment" - and offers some alternatives.

•   A great Q&A with Halsband re: how she got her start in Woodstock (yes, that Woodstock), and the challenges of "working as an architect when few women were in the profession."

•   A new RIBA survey offers some chilling findings re: how badly architectural education is failing students.

•   Urban Realm crowns Aberdeen with the 2015 Plook-on-the-Plinth award for being "Scotland's most dismal town" with "a solid if dour demeanor"; Edinburgh follows with both the Pock Mark and Zit Awards (ouch!).

•   Four reasons why Aberdeen won the Plook on the Plinth. "But it's not all bad" (debunking claims it's "where architecture goes to die").

•   The 2015 Alvar Aalto Medal goes to Spanish firm Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos "for their profound understanding of the local cultures where they work" (there's that "contextualism" again).

•   The Society of Architectural Historians names an architectural historian as winner of the 2014 H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship.

•   The Library of Congress names the winner of 2014 Holland Prize for Drawings of Historic Buildings, Structures and Landscapes.

•   Call for entries: MASH Pad Unit (Mobile Architectures for Strategic Healing) international competition to house patients infected with Ebola.


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