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Today’s News - Monday, June 8, 2015

•   Just when we thought there couldn't be anything more to say about Piano's new Whitney, Panero weighs in: outside, it's an "aggressive, purpose-built pastiche of blight"; inside, it's "a giddy, irrational space for spectacle - a case of form following social function and punk disregard."

•   Davidson hopes preservationists in NYC "will take a good hard look at the puny battles they are fighting [Frick, Four Seasons] - these are causes unworthy of the passions they have aroused," and they should "redirect their ardor to defending a city that sometimes needs to be rescued from its own energy and greed."

•   Greenberg and Arredondo pen a paean to a Classical revival in America: "While the contagion of 'global architecture' is turning cities into bland collections of interchangeable buildings, we now have voices offering a fresh choice: classical architecture."

•   Brussat couldn't be happier with that sentiment: "The classical revival emphasizes grassroots opposition to politicians who allow developers to hire modernist architects. What's that great sucking sound? It's modernism sucking the character out of our built environment."

•   Burg cheers Detroit's "architectural revival - with the rebirth of some of its most historic structures" (even small ones).

•   Dittmar totally disagrees with some notable names, penning essays in "Designing Democracy: How designers are changing democratic spaces and processes," suggesting that the British seat of government should move into new, modern, transparent digs (we're with Hank on this one).

•   Boxer pens an eloquent eulogy to Tokyo's Okura hotel (with "Oedipal insult to injury" thrown in): "almost surreal in its beauty," it seems (sadly) that "protesters' battle cry is almost inaudible" because "there are more important and interesting battles out there" (i.e. Hadid's Olympic stadium).

•   Paul parses Modernism's "struggle for respect" in Kansas City: "the local landscape has lost several notable modern structures," but the question that needs to be asked is "whether buildings can be made better with modern alterations" (he dubs it "evolutionary modernism").

•   Lange lines up 7 big-name architects who "defend the world's most hated buildings" - but will they change anyone's mind? (great read!).

•   Campbell considers what makes a good tower - "the urban equivalent of a punk's spiky haircut" - as Boston "is about to sprout a lot of tall - very tall - new towers"; the two basic types he calls "the Diva and the Dagwood."

•   Misra digs deep into the dilemma of the "mushrooming highrises" in Mumbai: "In the scramble to grow, builders have cut corners with respect to ethics, safety, legality, and transparency - harming residents and the future of the city."

•   Li on the skyscraper of the future: "There's something inherently absurd about skyscrapers Why do they have to be so tall? Because cities need more space - and plenty of bragging rights" - but the next ones "may not look like skyscrapers at all."

•   Wilson explains how Gensler is redesigning Mecca to accommodate an estimated 5 million pilgrims by 2020; a major challenge: "many of the architects would need to design a solution without ever setting foot on the Muslim-only holy grounds" (fascinating read + great pix!).

•   Litt has high hopes for the replacement of two "tired-looking 1950s shopping centers with what amounts to a new downtown" in Shaker Heights, Ohio: "What's missing is the lovability, authenticity and specialness to be expected of a new town center designed for one of America's best-planned early 20th-century residential suburbs."

•   Hatherley ponders "what happened to the social conscience of architecture," and cheers Assemble for showing "how architects can go beyond 'serving the rich' and help wider society" by working with "a group of activists, rather than with developers."

•   Nicholas feels much the same way: "Assemble's Turner Prize nomination is recognition of the role public art and storytelling are increasingly playing in placemaking."

•   Bernstein offers a most interesting take on buildings "serving as inspiration for logos, as architecture and marketing merge. Sometimes, even a little-known building can give way to a handsome doodad" (and some really miss the mark).

•   Louisville sells a 23-acre stretch of abandoned riverfront land for $1 in hopes that a new botanical garden will grow - "a low-cost purchase for an expensive project" (it'll take "luck and a lot of fundraising" to make it happen, though).

•   As the debate over what will replace the much-maligned term "intern," Sisson takes a look at how some earlier (and most notable!) interns and mentors "have shaped the field."


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