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Today’s News - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: 2015 has been an eventful/inspiring/depressing/surprising year of news - and we've enjoyed sharing it all with you. This is our last newsletter of the year. We'll be back January 4, 2016. We wish everyone Happy Ho-Ho-Holidays and a New Year filled with grand adventures and great expectations fulfilled!!!

•   Kimmelman waxes poetic about a sanitation garage and salt shed that are "two of the best examples of new public architecture" in NYC that are not only an "eye-catching tribute to inventive design," but also a "salutary lesson in urban responsibility."

•   Kuma's "design A" picked for Tokyo's new 2020 Olympic stadium: "It has already been dubbed the 'hamburger.'"

•   Hadid minces no words about her upset re: the Tokyo stadium saga, charging the Japanese government and architects of collusion, and claiming "Kuma's replacement design has 'remarkable similarities' to her own."

•   In (mostly) brighter news for Zaha, she's designing a tower for Melbourne (some tweaking required).

•   Heathcote bemoans Birmingham being "in danger of losing architectural character": "at the end of the 1960s and early 1970s, Birmingham genuinely was a place of urban and architectural experimentation. It did not end well - new buildings have none of the civic and urban ambition of the modernism of the 1960s."

•   Eyefuls of Astrologo's amazing photos of "a wild, eclectic ode to Brutalism that is slowly crumbling away" in Italy: Perugini's Casa Sperimentale is "a striking, Frankenstein-like amalgamation of volumes" (truly amazing!).

•   Calatrava's new museum in Rio "mixes science with an innovative design to focus on sustainable cities" - and only one part of the city's huge new development project.

•   Eyefuls of MAD's Harbin Opera House in China: its "show-stopping design captures a fluid, alien-like appearance, echoing something out of War of the Worlds."

•   Chaban looks at the residential skyscrapers rising in Manhattan: "Whether creating subway overcrowding or shadows on public spaces, these high-rises could have unintended consequences on the cityscape" (and their promotional materials show unobstructed views, and "sometimes omit photos of their stratospheric neighbors").

•   Saffron is relieved that "there's time to get the details right" in the design of the "latest, most audacious" glassy tower in Philly: it "would be the tallest residential building in the city - how it gets along with its neighbors is crucial."

•   Iovine offers a different angle in reviewing 2015: "This year's best buildings proved that architecture doesn't have to be loud to be important - quieter projects that slip onto the scene with less hoopla are equally worthy of notice, especially when they expand on definitions of what architecture can be."

•   Hosey ponders a future when "buildings design themselves": "Artificial creativity isn't science fiction - it could be the future of architecture. The only thing holding it back is architects themselves."

•   Salingaros has issues with architects who dismiss people who complain about built environments that make them feel uncomfortable. "But ordinary people's reactions are in fact correct - the search for innovation through provocation renounces life-enhancing environments."

•   An impressive shortlist of international teams in the running to design Australia's State Library Victoria.

•   A derelict 200-year-old barn is reborn as an outreach and education facility for a conservatory and botanical garden in Ohio.

•   A nice Christmas present for Detroit: it's the first U.S. city picked in the design field in UNESCO's Creative Cities Network.

•   Lord Rogers speaks out about the refugee crisis: "Doctors of the World is on the frontline. French and British government spending goes on fences, sniffer dogs and cameras, rather than food, water and shelter" - and medical care.

•   One we couldn't resist: 9 projects that "could have taken inspiration from the epic 'Star Wars' saga - or vice versa" (very cool!).

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Gannon "finds the Chicago Architecture Biennial unambitious and exhausting. My quarrel with the neo-pomo and 'neo-critical' projects has less to do with the self-indulgent frivolity and self-righteous banality than with the fact that so many talented architects set their sights so low" (ouch!).

•   "Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age" at London's Science Museum is a "showstopper of Russian spacecraft and artifacts - this is a cosmic parade."

•   "Worship: A History of New Zealand Church Design" is a "gorgeous" book "written by an architect, for other architects" (and everyone else).

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