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Today’s News - Monday, March 2, 2015

•   Blackson makes the case for why it's time to "stop talking about density and start talking about place," and to start using "place-based codes" or "form-based codes" to replace outdated zoning codes.

•   Buchanan minces no words about starchitecture's demise: "The flaws in all this stuff, and its utter irrelevance to the urgent problems of our times, are so obvious future generations will be aghast it was ever taken seriously, let alone mistaken for heralds of the future."

•   Meanwhile, Harper and Jackson parse the problems with the "tainted brand" of "young architecture" that is "perilously close to becoming shorthand for a privileged clique purveying minor and pop-up buildings."

•   King offers a thoughtful - and amusing - take on architectural renderings, past and present, that "have always set out to seduce us"; the problem today is that "every adult who matters looks as if he or she arrived on a Google bus," no one wears a tie, and bicycle helmets are not required.

•  Heathcote, speaking of Google, offers his take on its BIG/ Heatherwick-designed HQ in CA: "In spite of the rhetoric of openness, innovation and nature, these are enclosed environments in a curiously sterile landscape that evokes a paradise as seen through the lens of an ultimately dystopian science fiction" (crabots included).

•   Wainwright x 2: he weighs in, too: "A Silicon Valley Truman Show entirely calibrated and controlled by Google's optimization analytics. What could possibly go wrong?" (ya gotta watch the video!).

•   He cheers "a fascinating attempt to chronicle the forgotten masterpieces of African modernism" and its "astonishingly avant-garde architecture" (great pix!).

•   Perhaps a vintage piece of starchitecture might be of interest: the University of St. Thomas is putting Gehry's 1987 Winton Guest House on the auction block (you'll have to move it, but, hey, it's been done before).

•   Kamin gives (mostly) thumbs-up to the new Loew's Chicago tower: "while hardly original," it is a "carefully composed, city-enhancing high-rise" (though sometimes the interior decor "descends to the level of ghastly parody").

•   The Milwaukee Bucks announces the design team for a new downtown arena that "bodes well for a very exciting building."

•   Schumacher isn't quite so sure, fearing a "disaster" of "postmodern schlock that visually riffs on our 19th-century beer halls. We don't want banal homages to great originals."

•   Saffron swings into playground designs that promote "loose play" instead of "factory-made, cookie-cutter climbing frames" that reflect "our culture's fear of risk as worse than the occasional scraped knee or broken bone" (great pix - we wanna go play!).

•   Szenasy queries SCAD President Wallace re: "how historic contexts and local cultures enrich modern design education."

•   Woodman wends his way through Mackintosh's "extraordinary story."

•   A great round-up of reports from the just-concluded Design Indaba 2015 conference and expo in Cape Town.

•   Call for entries: 2015 Spark Product Design Awards (earlybird registration deadline looms!) + Bauhaus Museum Dessau open international competition + U.K.'s Preston Bus Station open international competition.


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