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Today’s News - Monday, May 9, 2016

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow we're heading to New Haven early, early in the morning to preview Knight Architecture's subtle makeover of Louis Kahn's Yale Center for British Art (and can't wait to see it!). The newsletter will return Wednesday, May 11.

•   ArcSpace brings us Breathe Architecture's The Commons in Melbourne, "a raw and captivating piece of architecture," and a prototype that "sits in stark contrast to current housing models, which remain unaffordable and conservative in their ambitions."

•   Mendes da Rocha receives the 2016 Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement "for the timelessness of his designs."

•   King doesn't think SFMOMA's addition is a masterpiece, "but it has real joys" with "sublime smaller touches that show us why Snøhetta won the job" (though it still seems "an architectural marriage of convenience").

•   Betsky goes a bit ballistic in comparing the new Whitney and the SFMOMA expansion to the Met Breuer: "Architects either fake it, trying to make cheaply built structures look slick, or resort to ever more exuberant moves to show their stuff" (that's one of his nicer statements).

•   Brake is almost as brutal re: Calatrava's WTC transit hub: it "may be Instagram-friendly, but it is part of a troubling trend for public spending on spaces that aren't really public at all," with the aim of "converting tourists into consumers."

•   Kamin, on the other hand, strikes a brighter note about the first apartment tower in Chicago's Wolf Point development: it may have "no eye-grabbing forms. But what it lacks in architectural pyrotechnics it makes up for in sound site planning and skillful design."

•   Smallman offers a fascinating look at "the most influential modern British housing style you've almost certainly never heard of" that could prove to be one of the now-former Mayor of London's "most enduring contributions to the city."

•   In Lagos, Nigeria, architects call for more high density high-rise buildings, and for "indigenous architects" to "reengineer their approach to the practice of architecture" (and a revamp of the "bastardized" construction industry).

•   Cathcart-Keays and Warin offer a fascinating history of how Copenhagen "laid the foundations for its contemporary reputation as one of the world's most 'liveable' cities" by rejecting 1960s Modernism's visions of urban utopia (i.e. lots of concrete and urban highways).

•   Sadik-Khan and Solomonow ponder why the question "What would Jane Jacobs do? remains so vital today."

•   McArdle offers a wonderful profile of "Gridlock Sam," and how his "plan to combat the very thing he's nicknamed for is inching closer to reality" in NYC.

•   A fun (and serious) take on "how Miami became a trendsetter in design": "Adios, flamingos! These aren't your father's buildings."

•   Lambert pens a plea for the soon-to-be renamed Four Seasons "to keep in place the furniture designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, and therefore to maintain the authenticity of two of the world's greatest rooms."

•   Gumusyan pens a tribute: "Zaha Hadid opened the doors to structures that will shape the way our cities look for decades, while opening the doors to those traditionally barred from the profession's upper echelons."

•   Plans for The Skyline, an airborne cable car attraction in Chicago, "could become a tourism centerpiece" as the city's own Eiffel Tower or Big Ben (we shudder to think of wind-blown winter rides).

•   NYC's own Eiffel Tower could be Heatherwick's sculpture on Hudson Yards' public plaza, whose design "has been shrouded in secrecy" (we might see the design by September); the cost has gone from $75 million to $200 million (gulp!).

•   Two we couldn't resist: Eyefuls of "spectacular new bridges that break the mold," and "the most anticipated buildings of 2016."

•   Best laugh of the day: Stott updates last year's "150 Weird Words That Only Architects Use" - this time with definitions: "Parametric: A method of designing by computers, so you don't have to."

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