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Today’s News - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

•   ArcSpace brings us eyefuls of Library at the Dock, "a warm and welcome addition to Melbourne's Docklands precinct - it brings some much needed civic life and vitality to this new part of the city" (and it's timber).

•   Menking minces no words about the Venice Biennale's U.S. Pavilion that allows "freeform architectural fantasy to predominate" in (most of) the projects for Detroit: "is their 'Americaness' so specific to our corporate society and culture as to be of little interest or importance" to others?

•   Till tallies up the Biennale: is it really about good intentions, or "just part of a cycle of architectural jamborees" where "we suffer all this worthiness for a bit," and then we "get on with what we all really enjoy and want to do, all the irresponsible fun and high testosterone stuff of Real Architecture?"

•   Saunders explains how "Arrival City," his book on immigration, "became the voice of Germany at the Venice Biennale. They needed new ideas about migration and cities, and they needed them fast."

•   Hatherley doesn't [heart] the Serpentine Pavilion initiative: it "represents everything that's wrong with 'high' architecture today - invariably over-engineered, superficial and aloof" (though BIG's "effort is a good one, it has just one fatal flaw").

•   Kamin x 2: he explains why all but one of the Chicago Architecture Biennial lakefront kiosks have been delayed: "While the holdup is a disappointment, it is not unexpected. Bold new designs often bust budgets or arouse opposition."

•   He bemoans Chicago's Block 37. which has ended up with "ordinary architecture on an extraordinary site" - dreamy visions have been "devoured like a fire-breathing medieval monster. It's astonishing - and depressing - that it took so long (and so much public money) to deliver so little."

•   Meanwhile, there's "a new twist" in the ongoing Lucas Museum vs. Friends of the Parks saga that "supports rumors" that there's at least interest in negotiating.

•   Ma Yansong, meanwhile, "bemoans 'conservative' opponents" to his design for the Lucas Museum (it's just about his design - he hasn't followed the saga, it seems).

•   King, on a brighter note, sees "hints of lyricism" emerging in San Francisco's Transbay transit hub: despite some "value-engineering along the way - the architectural ambition has shaken off the politics and budgetary problems that still could pull it down."

•   Moore marvels at Tate Modern's Switch House: "there's some danger that the architecture might steal the show," but if it "could be accused of having too much architecture, it is architecture that, once found, you wouldn't want to lose."

•   Hawthorne parses the "quiet, low-key rollout" of Gehry's L.A. River plan that some consider "a kind of high-design architectural cover for rampant real-estate speculation"; meanwhile, "the race to reimagine it is growing more crowded."

•   Wainwright is won over by Allies & Morrison's plan for "a cheap, cheerful and wholly supportable alternative" to the pricey Garden Bridge that "could be a truly public space."

•   The winner of Van Alen's challenge to handle New York's L-train shutdown is like a very NYC take on Venice's vaporetto system (we'll let you decide which finalist must be there just to be click bait - grrrrr).

•   Pedersen has an engaging Q&A with Duany re: the "unique challenges of working in Cuba" now that he is "actively engaged in helping planners in Havana rezone the harbor."

•   Virginia's only Breuer building gets a "temporary stay of demolition": county planners took another look at the "Brutalist gem" and "admitted to 'a major screw up.'"

•   Instead of facing the wrecking ball (though it might), Breuer's only Australian building, designed with Seidler, is up for sale.

•   Betsky, Lange, Lambert, and Freeman take a dim view of the upcoming Four Seasons restaurant auction: it's "a sort of interior façadism, and a perversion of the idea of a landmark interior."

•   Why architects aren't front-and-center at the decision-making table is "because of the perception of what we do. We need to reinvisage what architecture means."

•   Five Canadian architects "look beyond lowest fee bidding practices" and offer 7 best practices that take architecture beyond "a lowest-price-wins commodity."

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