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Today’s News - Wednesday, November 11, 2015

•   On ArcSpace, Kiser revisits de Portzamparc's Cidade das Artes in Rio, which pays "homage to an archetype of Brazilian architecture" (fab photos!).

•   Betsky's Part Deux re: Seoul, where "urban and object design meld into each other with an ease and lack of studied elegance that I have seen in few other cities."

•   Hecht reports on Libeskind's Pyramid in Jerusalem being reduced in height by more than one-third; the architect vows "continue full-speed ahead" with the developer's "vision of creating a 'wow' for the city," but some say "Jerusalem is already a 'wow' and does not need another tourist attraction."

•   Watson explains why the $1 billion Bank of America Tower in Manhattan "has become ground zero in the battle over LEED" and how "a somewhat wonky design standard become such a strong marketing tool - what are the lessons - and warnings - that other sustainability initiatives can learn from its success?"

•   Wainwright minces no words about what he thinks of the U.K.'s £1 billion plan to build a "new generation of bargain-basement holding pens" (a.k.a. "warehouse super-prisons"): "To really 'design out' reoffending, they should look to Scandinavia's open, trusting prisons."

•   Berg delves into "how the arts can drive a city's redevelopment" with the likes of Theaster Gates and Assemble "blurring the line between art and urban intervention."

•   Heathcote talks to Gates about his first public work in the UK built "amid the bombed-out, burnt-out ruins" of a 14th-century church: "What he has done so brilliantly and consistently is to conscript the resources of the art world towards social use."

•   O'Sullivan paints a rather pathetic picture of the trials and tribulations of Heatherwick's beleaguered Garden Bridge over the Thames: "First seen as symbol of a bright new future - it's fast becoming a symbol of frivolous waste, skewed priorities, opaque planning, and alleged backroom deals by the elite. It's no wonder the city has fallen out of love with it."

•   Frommer, on a brighter note, reports on Tokyo's efforts to create its own Champs-Élysées: "The bigger question is whether you can manufacture charm. But it's worth a shot. Bon Courage!"

•   Saffron cheers a revitalized Vernon Park in Philly's Germantown: be it ever so humble, "behind every neighborhood success story, there seems to be a rejuvenated park."

•   Not so cheered are parks advocates awaiting Congressional reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, "which has supported the creation and maintenance of greenways, trails, and other outdoor spaces across the U.S." (considering the current political climate, they have every reason to be concerned).

•   Semuels reports on a Syracuse co-working project that includes micro-units for its residents: "what makes it truly different is its goal of helping revitalize the downtown of a Rust Belt city" (and "a solution for lonely Millennials" - "social engineer" included).

•   Muji taps Konstantin Grcic, Jasper Morrison, and Naoto Fukasawa to design tiny prefab houses ("cue envy"): eyefuls of the three "cozy escapes from the city hustle" that "are modest, outfitted with the basics, and executed elegantly."

•   schmidt hammer lassen teams with James Turrell to expand Denmark's ARoS Aarhus Art Museum "that will merge art and architecture into a new civic experience."

•   Metcalfe muses about Columbus, Ohio's "Bold Booths" venture to make parking lot attendants' job "a little brighter," replacing their cramped boxes with booths along the lines of "a green, airy, biomorphic entity known as 'The Slug'" (a great read/pix).

•   Harvard GSD's $50,000 Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design goes to the four design teams behind Madrid Río, the 120-hectare linear park that's been 10 years in the making.

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