Today’s News - Thursday, March 15, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: Happy Ides of March (assuming no Roman emperors are at risk today)! Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, March 20.

●  Hatherley minces no words re: the "genuinely dystopian" and "grim" development rising around London's Battersea Power Station that "looks increasingly like satire - devoid of planning, intelligence or character - a tangle of superfluous skyscrapers around parodies of public spaces" (ouch!).

●  Schneider delves into why L.A. appointed Hawthorne as the city's "design czar": "Inviting critics to become part of the city-building process is the first step; listening to them and giving them real authority has to come next" (just ask Chicago's Lee Bey).

●  Zaha Hadid Architects beats out an unnamed shortlist to win the competition to design the new Navi Mumbai International Airport, ZHA's first project in India (no renderings - yet; we can't wait to see them!).

●  Lutyens talks to Space Copenhagen, the firm behind the reinvention of the "design masterpiece" that is Arne Jacobsen's 1960 SAS Royal Hotel (now the Radisson Collection Royal Copenhagen): "Over the years, piecemeal alterations have gnawed away at its meticulously coherent design" (great pix!).

●  Getlen profiles "the dynamic duo" Anne Marie Lubrano and Lea Ciavarra, who, "when they're not finishing each other's sentences," are taking on projects like transforming Saarinen's 1962 TWA Terminal into the TWA Hotel" at JFK ("it's the sexiest building on the planet") and "a slew of interesting and varied projects."

●  Controversy bounces from Albania to Miami to Chicago: BIG's big plans for the National Theatre of Albania in Tirana faces a slew of controversy, "with actors storming" the original, "iconic" 1939 building, demanding renovation rather than demolition, and others accusing "the government of only demolishing the existing theater in order to free up land for luxury developments."

●  Another report claims the project "follows the new habit of the government to hand out projects on public property without any form of meaningful public consultation or debate," and giving this prime property to "a private company just in order to build more apartments and another shopping mall" (not part of BIG's theater project).

●  Pending final approval, a new (graceful-looking) Norwegian Cruise Line terminal could "change Miami's skyline": the county would be forking over $100 million, but "it is unclear what NCL will itself contribute to the cost" (never mind the "county would have saved $19 million if the original plans had gone through").

●  In Chicago, a "wildcat, emotionally charged symposium" re: the planned Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park "brought out many opinions but few solutions - a few objected to the event itself" ("East-coasters butt out").

●  Birnbaum was one of those East-coasters; TCLF responds to the "wildcat" report: one "clear message was not to tell people from the east coast to 'butt out,'" but that that South Side residents want a Community Benefits Agreement. "That message was delivered passionately, emphatically and with great clarity."

●  Another report from the Obama Center symposium says: "Some residents want a community benefits agreement, others worry the loud demands will jeopardize the center" ("what happens to [Obama's] legacy if we run this project out of the South Side like Friends of the Parks ran the Lucas Museum out?").

●  Sorkin, who couldn't make it to Chicago because of Nor'easter #3, had someone else present his "11 theses on the Obama Presidential Center": "Jackson Park wouldn't have been my first choice," but it could "engender happy knock-on effects"; as for Olmsted preservationists: "The OPC is the commemoration of America's first black president, itself an exception many of us never thought we would live to see. This seems an exception worth making, a celebration of rarity."

●  A good reason to head to Guangzhou: the 41st China International Furniture Fair, themed "Better Life, Better Work," kicks off on Sunday.

●  A good reason to head to Portland, Oregon: the International Mass Timber Conference kicks off on Tuesday, with 19 countries offering "a primer on CLT and other engineered wood, its safety, and its potential in a world dealing with climate change, forest health, and urbanization."

Weekend diversions:

●  Vo Trong Nghia's "Green Ladder" kicks off the three-year Barangaroo pavilion program in Sydney.

●  "Architect Friedrich Weinwurm: New Path" at the Slovak National Gallery puts the spotlight on "an almost forgotten architect who changed the face of Bratislava."

●  "Research Through Making" at Taubman College in Michigan presents faculty/student collaborations on "architecture research and creative projects that are predicated on making."

Page-turners put the spotlight on "The British Mosque: An Architectural and Social History" by Shahed Saleem:

●  Moore: "For all their visibility and significance, little has been written about [mosques'] origins, who designs them, and what they are trying to achieve. Saleem's book sets out to put this right" in a "measured and informative" tone.

●  Saleem's own words re: "what Britain's beautiful mosques teach us about our shared history": As a researcher, he appreciates that they "are grass-roots, crowd-sourced, community projects," but "as an architect I could also relate to the criticism" that many fail "to engage with [their] contemporary urban and cultural context" (lots of fab photos!).

●  More amazing images from "The British Mosque," which "shows, for the first time, how the mosque as a building type in Britain has emerged and developed" with "an engaging narrative" (and a foreword by Jonathan Glancey!).


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