Today’s News - Wednesday, January 3, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE #1: Happy New Year, everyone! We're back - with lots of catching up to do (which is why we're a bit late today)!

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●  A sad way to start the New Year: Hawthorne's take on John Portman's legacy: "his hotels became glittering symbols of urban renewal - emblematic of an approach to planning that argued that the most crowded sections of American downtowns had to be destroyed before they could be saved" (Muschamp: "architecture at happy hour"; Trillin: "boffo lobby design as entertainment").

●  Gallagher offers a most thoughtful take on the "troubled legacy" Portman's 1970s Renaissance Center left on Detroit's skyline and streetscape: it "created as many problems as it solved," but thanks to an SOM 1990s makeover, it "is a much better building. But it remains a cautionary tale."

●  Moore tackles plans to make-over of Johnson's AT&T building on Madison Avenue (designed by "a terrible man and a mostly terrible architect") and why it should be landmarked: "Cities are made of stuff like this - provocation and ambition...redeemed by the passage of time, come to reveal unexpected nobility. Or at least distinctiveness."

●  Wainwright is rather taken by the Dubai Frame, a "surreal landmark" framed in controversy: the architect of the 50-story portal "wants to add another title to the stats: for him, it is the biggest stolen building of all time."

●  Hawthorne visits the Trump border wall prototypes (one, "a Zumthor façade after a trip through the federal bureaucracy"; others "pragmatism à la HGTV"): "The slabs in front of me seemed at once the most and least architectural objects I'd ever seen - banal and startling, full and empty of meaning" (a great read; no Trump tweet response - yet; comments are somewhat disturbing;).

●  Kamin puts the brouhaha surrounding the "dangling icicles" at Foster's Chicago Apple store in perspective: it is "not the company's worst problem": "If your flagship store is a marvel of transparency, it makes a statement about your brand. But if the reality of action fails to match the rhetoric of architecture, your company looks deceptive and its buildings should be regarded as a sham" (ouch!)

●  Archer, on a brighter note, explains why Rotterdam "is like Disneyland for architecture geeks - the architectural test kitchen of Europe," and "the most architecturally serious, intense, playful, jubilant city in the world."

●  The massive Queens Wharf Brisbane casino resort gets the green light, despite being "heavily criticized by peak built environment groups."

●  A look inside Australia's "eye-catching" 99-domed mosque in a Sydney suburb that is "attracting attention for its bold, brutalist design" that "challenges preconceptions about how a mosque should look" (like Murcutt's new mosque in Melbourne).

●  Vinsel offers a deadly serious (and seriously amusing!) take-down of Design Thinking, "a tool for hucksterism, turf-grabbing, and bullshit-peddling" (STEM/STEAM doesn't fare all that well, either).

●  Wouters explains how "digital media are changing the face of buildings, and urban policy needs to change with them. We should prevent media architecture that results in decorated sheds or mere window dressing."

●  Wachs & Lubell parse plans that "could threaten one of Manhattan's finest postmodern parks" in Battery Park in the name of coastal resilience ("It's very banal," said original architect Rodolfo Machado).

●  Heathcote sits down with Holl at his new Maggie's Centre in London that "cleverly straddles the 12th and the 21st centuries": "he is an architect known for his mega-structures. It's easy, then, to forget that his beginnings were in much more delicate, intimate buildings - this is, by Holl's standards, a quiet building" (if behind paywall, try googling the headline).

●  Kéré's Serpentine Pavilion finds a new home in Malaysia (and where some other pavilions ended up).

●  King calls out 11 designs ("baroque boho decadence" included) that present "a common theme to San Francisco architecture in 2017 - don't look at what follows as a best-of list. It's not."

●  Metropolis Magazine does offer a (fab) "best-of" list of Top 10 of 2017 in everything, from buildings to interiors to "lightning rods and controversies."

●  Nine architects "share their dream projects to improve (or save) New York City" ranging from "from whimsical to apocalyptic" ("ewok village" or "parasite parks," anyone?).

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