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Today’s News - Tuesday, April 10, 2018

●  Betsky is pleased that more and more architecture awards are going to projects that make a difference ("It's not enough to be pretty any more"), and cheers the four finalists vying for the MCHAP.emerge prize who "represent directions that architecture should be exploring - producing the kind of results of which we can only dream" (look to South and Central America).

●  Kimmelman visits Forensic Architecture in London, which "acts more or less like a detective agency - its investigations [Grenfell Tower fire most recently] are whodunits" resulting in reports that have "annoyed, "frustrated," and "infuriated" politicians and officials around the world (all explored in "Counter Investigations" at the Institute of Contemporary Arts).

●  Kamin says "its time to fly the 'W' - not for 'Win,' but for 'Warning,'" as a $3 billion "high-stakes urban design drama plays out" around Wrigley Field: TODs "may sound good in theory," but can be used "as an pretext for bulked-up buildings that are oversized eyesores" that can erase the quirky, human-scaled charm" of neighborhoods.

●  Saffron doesn't have high hopes for Philly's preservation reform effort as the task force seems to have "lost its way - unable to agree on the problem that they are supposed to fix" (and a "recent 'white paper' is as weak and colorless as the name suggests").

●  K. Jacobs channels Don Quixote with a "crazy" idea for saving SOM's Union Carbide/270 Park Avenue: "Instead of agitating to prevent the destruction of one building, we should be fighting" to save that entire stretch of Park Ave.

●  Meanwhile, Halprin's 1983 "urban, indoor Garden of Eden" at the SOM-designed Wells Fargo Center in L.A., demolished last year "without announcement," will "now give way for a new kind of 'amenity-rich' Eden" with a $60 million "amenity plaza" - designed by SOM.

●  Puay-peng makes the case for saving Hong Kong's post-war buildings: "the lack of protection points to a gap in our conservation efforts that should be plugged before it's too late - an increasing number are facing a cull."

●  O'Connor says "move over Gaudí" - and takes in Bofill's must-see's in "architecture-drenched" Barcelona: While "La Fabrica has the breathtaking charm of that perfect village church, Walden 7 knocks the wind out of you like a Gothic cathedral" (and other projects that encompass "ego and baroque planning" to a "deft and playful mind").

●  McNearney considers whether prejudice killed Hadid's 1994 Cardiff Opera House: "Maybe her radical vision was a little daunting for the Welsh. But, really, the only explanation left for her horrendous treatment was prejudice. Many have noted her ethnicity and gender as playing a part in debacle that ensued - the rejection only added to her resolve."

●  Tom Jacobs (of Krueck + Sexton), co-founder of Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change, explains the group's new Catalytic Action Platform to "make it easy for both citizen architects and firms to act. The stakes couldn't be higher because we are on the shore of the climate Rubicon."

●  A (great) look at "how floating architecture could help save cities from rising seas - rather than simply building higher seawalls to hold back floodwaters," many architects and urban planners "are turning to floating and amphibious architecture."

●  Garfield takes a deep dive into BIG/ONE/Sherwood's plan for the San Francisco Bay Area that includes floating villages - and so much more - to help withstand flooding and rising sea levels.

●  Q&A with Yan Chu of Adamson Associates re: how architects can design façades for the age of climate change, which "presents new challenges to building envelopes."

●  Zacks spent some serious time in Moscow to report on the "harrowing, sometimes heroic process" of getting Zaryadye Park and other public spaces built where the term "free public space had almost no precedent in the language before a series of convergences brought" them "into being" (great read!).

●  Gallagher reports on the team picked for Detroit's 22-acre West Riverfront Park: MVVA, Adjaye, et al. "aim to create a park that appeals to a diverse population, not just a lucky few - the goal is to create 'beauty without the tyranny of elitism.'"

●  Even though the winner was named this morning, Mortice's parsing of the four finalists' plans for Detroit's West Riverfront Park is well worth checking out.

●  A look at Sydney Park: "From a brickworks site and then a dump yard to the wetlands wonder it is today, its transformation is a case study worthy of emulation."

●  McNearney brings us the fascinating tale of Franklin Webster Smith's "grandiose" (and "crazy") plan to redesign D.C.'s National Mall, a 62-acre National Gallery of History and Art: He staked his considerable fortune on it, "it would ultimately be his downfall. He died in 1911, 'living in poverty and obscurity in rural New Hampshire.'"


  


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