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Today’s News - Thursday, December 10, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow will be a no-newsletter day - we'll beback Monday, December 14.

•   A look at initiatives that aim to help cities "tap into an underutilized resource: citizens with smart ideas."

•   Wainwright asks architects whether RIBA is "a racist, sexist old boys' club": if you review its "equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives, on paper at least, it's trying hard," but someone thinks "the whole thing keeps reinventing itself in another ghastly way over and over again."

•   Hall Kaplan sees "the scramble among a select gaggle of professionals to be anointed as increasing insidious and insistent - no thanks in part to a celebrity obsessed media" (Goldberger's Gehry biography is a case in point - it reads more like Trump's "The Art of the Deal").

•   Woodman and Higgins each offer great takes on Assemble's Turner Prize win: they're "caught in a tug-of-love between two disciplines" + artists aren't happy, but is the collective bothered? "No - they're too busy working out how to change the world over a few pints."

•   Walker weighs in on an architectural style she calls "Wacky Packages" and why the Petersen Automotive Museum "is the ideal place for cars to go to die" ("dudes in Hawaiian shirts gawking at the Batmobile" included).

•   Anderton and Brand discuss the Petersen's makeover: it "seems to be a 'love-it-or-hate it' kind of thing - maybe more at home on the Vegas strip than mid-Wilshire. But it's certainly created a lively conversation about architecture in LA."

•   Miranda, meanwhile, minces no words about L.A.'s need "to rethink its role as a creative city as the real estate boom goes totally nuclear" in the Arts District, becoming unaffordable for actual creative types.

•   There probably won't be a lot of artists moving in when the $2.5 billion Century Plaza redevelopment project in L.A. is completed.

•   Rosenblum x 2: he's quite taken by BIG's "beautifully contemporary plan" for Pittsburgh's Lower Hill, and hopes it will get built," but "we know, based on decades of experience, that this version will stop, at best, somewhere in the middle."

•   He has a few issues with the LEED Platinum PNC Tower: "Running counter to broader sustainable practices, the building privatizes and deactivates the city."

•   Paul reports on the sad saga of BNIM's efforts to stay in Kansas City, but it "has become collateral damage in the new civic battle over taxpayer-supported economic development."

•   An in-depth look at prefab going high-end with tiny houses by big names - is it only "architectural jewelry" that is "mostly a collection of high-end follies, bits of architectural whimsy" for the wealthy, or can it be something more?

•   TEN Arquitectos tapped to design a $250 million mixed-use luxury resort in the Cayman Islands that some say will be the "coolest" and "boldest" hotel design in the Caribbean.

•   Four shortlisted firms now vying for the multi-billion-pound revamp the Palace of Westminster.

•   One we couldn't resist: Eyefuls of a "Vatican light show that illuminates the pope's climate message. Let's just hope that diplomats in Paris will be swayed by his message - and maybe his crazy light show, too."

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Petridis cheers "Radical Disco: Architecture and Nightlife in Italy, 1965-1975" at London's ICA that explores "a bizarre, fascinating phenomenon" that created "a new type of boogie wonderland."

•   Also in London, Lewis Bush's amazing photos in "Metropole" form "an architectural critique on the changing face of London" and how new buildings show a city "facing terminal decline."

•   "Episodic Urbanism: RMIT Urban Spaces Project, 1996-2015" tells "a story about how we might effect dramatic transformation without the dramatic rupture commonly associated with 'renewal.'"

•   Welton is wow'd by Brillhart's "Voyage Le Corbusier: Drawing on the Road" that is "meant to teach young architects how to see what they're looking at - who better to learn from than a young Le Corbusier?"

•   Moore picks the best architecture books of 2015: "A new warmth towards brutalism, handsome volumes on Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier, and George Gilbert Scott's prodigious gothic output."

•   Green picks his Top 10 titles of the year that focus on a range of landscape issues.

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