Today’s News - Thursday, April 26, 2018

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tomorrow and Monday will be no-newsletter days. We'll be back Tuesday, May 1 (is it Spring yet?!!?).

●  Litman has some serious issues with Demographia's International Housing Affordability Survey that argues "housing unaffordability can be solved by allowing more urban sprawl - it's is propaganda, intended to support a political agenda rather than provide objective guidance - anyone using IHAS data: be warned, the analysis is sloppy, the recommendations unjustified and the authors lack credibility" (ouch!).

●  The "Kool Aid effect" surrounding housing economics and "alternative facts" when it comes to the Reserve Bank of Australia's report The Effect of Zoning on Housing - "it was more than a bit disappointing to see the highly regarded RBA wading into such a complex area and getting it wrong."

●  Brockhoff, of the Planning Institute of Australia, explains why, without good planning, more housing won't fix "Australia's affordability crisis. Good planning is part of the solution to improving affordability of housing - it improves a communities' capacity to embrace growth and change."

●  At the other end of the economic scale, France and Saudi Arabia have a $20-billion development deal "to turn Mada'in Saleh and the Al-Ula region into a cultural tourism destination - a 'new Petra'" (a massive, "world class museum" to be included, of course).

●  Saffron isn't feeling much love for Philly's LOVE Park makeover that is now "a featureless plateau" - a park "designed by committee and it shows. How sad that something that was once so special could be reduced to something so ordinary."

●  Barry Diller talks to the Hollywood Reporter(!) about his 5-year (very expensive) battle for NYC's Pier 55 Park by Heatherwick and Mathews Nielsen, and the travails "that almost derailed the Hudson River greenspace, aka 'Diller Island,' now under construction": "We want to build it right...We have the resources and we're gonna do it."

●  Allen, formerly with the Addison Gallery and the Clark Art Institute, cheers the Frick's "sensitive, elegant" expansion plan by Selldorf that "achieves its goals with a sure, light touch" - though its "expensive acrobatics" to keep Russell Page's "nice, postage stamp of a garden might buy the quiescence of its privileged neighbors."

●  TCLF's Birnbaum, not surprisingly, takes issue with Allen's take on the Frick's Page-designed garden: "it was unfortunate to read 'It's a nice, postage stamp of a garden.' This is exactly the sort of dismissiveness and condescension that a) got the Frick in trouble in the first place and b) treats landscape architecture as 'parsley around the roast.'"

●  Lange's thoughtful (and amusing) chronicle of her visit to Adjaye's Spyscape museum in NYC with her 10-year-old son, "one of the most thoroughly designed experiences I have encountered. What I didn't expect was that I, personally, would have fun" (it's "more Breuer than Barnum" - fun photos, too!).

●  Van Houten Maldonado's round-up of museums that "that make us think. Their architectural forms help tell their stories."

●  A good reason to head to Pretoria, South Africa, next week: Architecture ZA 2018 (#AZA18): "WeTheCity: Memory & Resilience" - "some of architecture's key thinkers and practitioners will engage around the often contentious topics of Heritage and Memory."

Weekend diversions:

●  Kimmelman "never thought much about smelling Einstein" before visiting the Cooper Hewitt's "The Senses: Design Beyond Vision": "Sure, bring the kids. They will bliss out. But fun and games aside, there's a serious, timely and big idea here - we have taken leave of our non-visual senses - and need to get back in touch, literally."

●  Capps tells us how the National Building Museum's "Evicted" became an exhibit, spending $586 on particleboard at Home Depot: the show "makes elegant points with simple strokes. What we know about evictions in America is terrifying, but what we don't know is even worse."

●  With "50 Years After Whitney Young Jr." opening at the Octagon Museum in Washington, DC, today, it's well worth taking the time to read his landmark 1968 AIA Convention speech that "came at a time of unprecedented turmoil. He had an important message for a profession he believed had the potential to make a positive difference - if its architects chose to do so."

●  Doskow's photos in "Lost Utopias" at NYC's Front Room Gallery "capture the architecture that remains of the world's fairs across North American and Europe": "I have always been interested in architecture that had outlived its original purpose" (show heads to Asheville, NC, on June 1).

●  Hatherley ponders "Superstructures: The New Architecture 1960-1990" at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich, UK: High-tech is the only "important architectural ideology of the last few decades has never returned. It never went away - the buildings feel neither retro nor nostalgic" (and "the most thrilling and enduring high-tech buildings are not tasteful").

●  Meyer parses "Kengo Kuma: a LAB for materials" on view in Tokyo that "reveals the goals and failures of contemporary Japanese avant-garde architecture. Some of his bigger projects seem to contradict the very virtues that the smaller ones aim for," and "not all solutions presented are workable or even beautiful," but Kuma "is certainly a great asset for contemporary Japanese architecture."

●  Hopkins, of Sir John Soane's Museum, uses Langlands & Bell's "Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe," on view in Birmingham, UK, to thoughtfully consider the impact of tech giants' buildings: "We won't know for several decades if these buildings represent new global citadels of power, or will soon become like the ruined monuments of antiquity."

●  Eyefuls of Langlands & Bell's "Internet Giants: Masters of the Universe": "Either they engage timeless and universal typologies -or they are futuristic anecdotes with a kind of extra-terrestrial Sci-fi approach."


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