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Today’s News - Thursday, February 12, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow is this week's "floating" no-newsletter day - we'll be back Monday, February 16.

•   Weinstein cheers Rogers Partners' "Learning Through Practice": "A new monograph highlights transformative designs by a firm strikingly dedicated to re-enchanting public space."

•   Simpson delves deep into projects hoping for the Bilbao Effect in far-flung places: "Frank Gehry has much to answer for - some of the latest arty icons to open have been so 'out where the buses don't run' you wonder how anyone gave them the green light. But there are also notable successes."

•   Woodman wanders Mons, the 2015 European Capital of Culture, and finds "the usual disappointment, delays, overspends, and Calatrava boondoggle," and Libeskind's new conference center that "remains stranded on what is emphatically the wrong side of the tracks" - and lots more (or less).

•   Birnbaum pens an open letter to Obama with a plea to not approve the taking of Chicago public parkland for a Presidential Library: yesterday, the Chicago Park District Board "voted to approve this giveaway. What is becoming apparent is that the University of Chicago intends to locate the library within public parkland so that they can develop the 11 acres they own for commercial purposes."

•   Canadian Architect magazine's editor Lam lays out why Ottawa's planned Memorial to the Victims of Communism "is both misguided and misplaced."

•   London's mayor uses Boston's Big Dig as the place to announce he "wants to move major streets underground to make a pedestrian-friendly city. The 'Big Dig' is a tenuous paradigm" as a megaproject that took 20 years to complete and was plagued with problems.

•   Google sends AHMM back to the drawing board to re-do the "boring" plans for its London HQ; the team's new marching orders: "come up with a new, more 'Googly' building, whose exterior lived up to its zany interior."

•   Waite says word is that some AHMM "frustrated" staffers "who spent years working on the plans for Google's £1billion flagship office" have left.

•   Wainwright cheers MUMA's makeover of Manchester's Whitworth Art Gallery that "has breathed new air and light into the venerable institution" (with just a few minor quibbles).

•   Kris Yao | ARTECH wins the competition for the new Taipei City Museum of Art with a design that intends to "fuse local landscape with cultural imagery."

•   A fascinating slide show essay about "Germany's most famous family of architects: The Böhms."

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Kolson Hurley visits BIG's "Hot to Cold" at the National Building Museum: "What really stands out is the simplicity and clarity of Ingels' concepts. This is why he's so good at a-ha moments. He gets us to say yes."

•   Wainwright and Bevan each have nothing but good things to say about "Mackintosh Architecture" at RIBA London: it's "a brilliant show that ditches the doilies and the tearoom tat, and exposes the raw talent of Mackintosh the architect." + "His career ended in tatters. What might he have achieved if the cards had fallen another way?"

•   Atak says "Ways to Modernism: Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, and Their Impact" at the MAK in Vienna "brings forth a fresh history of an important moment in the history of modernism," and "puts forward important questions."

•   "Prague Functionalism: Tradition and Contemporary Echoes" makes its U.S. premiere at NYC's Center for Architecture.

•   Dvir and Rauchwerger's "Icons of Knowledge: Architecture and Symbolism in National Libraries" at Harvard GSD "looks beyond a library's collection of books to explore the building's cultural significance."

•   Olcayto x 2: "The Price of Desire" is a new movie that explores "the complex, unconventional life of Eileen Gray, who "saw her role in the development of Modernism brushed aside by chauvinist historians."

•   He highly recommends "Architecture an Inspiration": Ivor Smith "has put together a rather special tome" that "tells a straight story beautifully, with charm and eloquence" (it's good enough to get beyond the fact that it "looks awful").

•   "Beyond the Wall: Art and Artifacts from the GDR" is a 904-page "labor of love" that "exhaustively examines life and design in East Germany" (great pix!).

•   A great excerpt from Rockefeller Foundation's Rodin's "The Resilience Dividend" that looks at "how earthquake-torn Christchurch rebuilt itself" with "transitional" projects that, "until something more long-term moves in," promote and encourage social cohesion.


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