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Today’s News - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: Apologies for being absent without explanation for the last two days. We will be absent for the next two days as well (sorry, but family matters trump the newsletter). We'll be back Monday, November 2 with lots of catching up to do!

•   Russell considers SANAA's Grace Farms to be "one of the most exquisite works of recent architecture" where "no expense has been spared to achieve maximal minimalism."

•   Morgan cheers ARO's Applied Math building for Brown University for being "a handsome, modest, contemporary addition" until one steps inside: "One wonders if Brown seeks out talented architects and then hobbles them, through penury or a lack of visual erudition, stifling the very creative juices that led to their being hired in the first place."

•   Frantzman has a change of heart about the Palestinian city of Rawabi: "It's a real success story, one that should be built on and replicated - we see a symbol of wealth and success that combines an entrepreneur's chutzpah with a little bit of a Kevin Costner 'If you build it, they will come' attitude."

•   Saffron is not at all sanguine about two new (large!) projects in Philly "that might have been airlifted in from a distant suburban township. Urban design is essentially a form of inclusion"; these offer not much more than "the design of exclusion."

•   Jacobs explores "the true significance of the new hotel and transit center at Denver's airport - the plan is a major step in undoing the urban planning mistakes of previous generations."

•   King cheers two "emphatically different visions" to reshape the San Francisco Bay Area in the face of rising sea levels: "One is futuristic design, the other resets the clock" - and both will be needed for the region "to endure and thrive."

•   Bey is back (yay!) with a Q&A re: Landmarks Illinois' efforts to seek a reprieve for Jahn's Thompson Center death sentence.

•   Q&A with Rural Urban Framework principals re: their 2015 Curry Stone Design Prize win, and their work with charities and NGOs.

•   Kolson Hurley explains why there aren't more energy-efficient buildings: "The problem is that many buildings aren't energy-modeled at all, while others are modeled too late in the design process - simply to show compliance with building codes or get a green certificate" (early-stage modeling is the way to go).

•   Amelar ambles around the Stevens Institute of Technology's "unprecedented" Solar Decathlon-winning Sure House that "responds not only to the contest's rigorous energy challenges, but also to the perils of rising seawaters."

•   A new report explains "how Australian meat ants build their colonies could provide urban planners with an efficient means of building new neighborhoods."

•   Poon reports how "origami engineering" is reshaping structural engineering: "'zipper tubes' will especially come in handy during disasters."

•   Hosey has issues with Brownlee calling the golden ratio "total nonsense," "an urban legend, a myth, a design unicorn": it "can help designers understand better why people treasure some things and not others - the mechanics of attraction can help us create images, objects and places that resonate with more people."

•   Heathcote gives (mostly) thumbs-up to LACMA's Gehry retrospective that presents a "rich haul of 'typically counter-intuitive' work" that "exudes a restlessness, a search for the one thing architecture cannot do: movement."

•   Fox Weber finds Goldberger's "fascinating" Gehry biography presents "an architect who is ambitious, cocky and clever - an informative, startling journey into the inner sanctums of modern architecture's power structure."

•   Szenasy pens an eloquent ode to Olga Gueft, "one of the most significant foremothers in modern design journalism and advocacy, yet she is barely a blip in our vast digital knowledge base."

•   Something to warm your Halloween heart (we couldn't resist!): the Stanley Hotel, famed for its star appearance in "The Shining," will soon sport a horror-themed museum, with backing from some of the biggest names in Hollywood horror.

•   The NLA puts New Ideas for Housing International Ideas Competition winners and the shortlisted on view.

•   Eyefuls of the Blueprint Awards 2015 winners (an impressive lot!).

•   Shortlist announced in the V&A Members' Room competition.

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