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Today’s News - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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●  We are soooo saddened by the news that we've lost a personal hero: Mildred Schmertz. Stephens pens a tribute to "Architectural Record's first female editor - a pioneering architect and journalist"; sayeth Record's McGuigan: "She was a sharp observer of our world, with an even sharper wit."

●  Finch recalls a Twentieth Century Society study tour to Chicago in the 1990s with Gavin Stamp: He "stopped short of dancing on Mies's grave but he drew the line at a visit to Farnsworth House," and "had to acknowledge that some of his pet hates (commercial development, tall buildings, America) might have to be reconsidered" (late-night cocktails included).

●  Demolition has begun in Johnson & Burgee's AT&T Building lobby, with the Landmarks Preservation Commission's blessings: the development team "promised extensive community outreach on the project, but no public community meetings have been scheduled so far."

●  Alessi calls out Büchel's "lazy sleight of hand" in his attempt to get Trump's border wall prototypes protected status: "No, Donald Trump is not a conceptual artist. And border walls are not 'land art'" - the effort "turns trauma into a punch line."

●  Cramer parses a "lengthy passage defining the government position on climate change vis-à-vis the military" in Trump's $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act for 2018 that runs counter to the "administration's irresponsible actions on the issue to date. Is it possible that cooler heads have prevailed?" (alas, no).

●  Lieven takes a deep, deep (and fascinating!) dive into climate change and why "the U.S. Army is the only institution that can break the partisan deadlock on the worst threat the nation faces - the U.S. military has an institutional and patriotic duty to instruct Americans concerning this threat."

●  Conniff, on a (slightly) brighter note, considers what is being done to make room for wildlife on the "margins of human development - city residents have rallied to their wildlife, sometimes in extraordinary fashion."

●  Bliss tackles Sidewalk Labs' plans for Google's "smart city" on Toronto's waterfront. It might "stir the heart of any utopia-builder," but "privacy questions and fears have come. So have issues like inclusion and access. Until more planning takes place, we may need to reserve judgment."

●  Davidge of OpenHAUS minces no words about what she thinks about giving a piece of Melbourne's "heart and soul" to Apple with a site on Federation Square: "the price is too high. So what is Apple offering back, culturally and civically? Free daily lessons on how to use Apple products, apparently. We have truly reached the point of peak cynicism."

●  Bates, on the other hand (and whose firm Lab Architecture Studio designed Federation Square), explains his reasons for supporting an Apple store: "I knew that my decision would be controversial. That I would be pilloried and abused. I may have made the wrong decision in this instance. But I don't think so."

●  Meanwhile, in the heart of Bangkok, there are big plans to transform Siam Square into the Siam Innovation District to "help to develop innovation in the ageing society, inclusive community and smart city, sustainable development, and the digital economy and robotics."

●  From Chicagoland: "University of Chicago faculty tells Obama to move his "socially regressive" library - it "will not provide the 'promised development or economic benefits' to surrounding neighborhoods."

●  Dunmall, on a brighter note, notes a "flurry" of new construction in the Windy City: "Though many of these projects are functional as opposed to outstanding, Chicago still punches head and shoulders above many of the rest in terms of architectural literacy, innovation and sheer feats of structural and design ingenuity."

●  Litt cheers MetroHealth's promise to "be sensitive to the hazards of gentrification" in its plan to turn nearly half of its 52-acre campus in Cleveland into open green space - a "hospital in a park" (site plans only for now - no architect(s) named or designs released - yet).

●  Grabar cheers a proposed California bill that would allow unrestricted housing by transit: "It's just about the most radical attack on California's affordability crisis you could imagine. It also makes intuitive sense," but "will likely be crushed. Still, it represents a reassuring trend..."

●  Levy explains that, while the $1.6-billion Moynihan Station "will be a bright, spacious improvement on Penn Station's depressing environs - there are reasons for skepticism. Most of the project's budget prioritizes the station's form while not addressing the problems with its function."

●  Perkins+Will uses the "deliciously 1950s" aura of the old (and long unused) Atlanta Dairies plant to transform it into a 10-acre home to offices and cultural destination in Downtown Atlanta.

●  Dash Nelson tells the amazing tale Rexford Guy Tugwell, NYC's first planning commissioner who "lost a bigger battle against Robert Moses than the fight Jane Jacobs won" (compared to Tugwell, Moses was practically Jacobsian!).


  


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