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Today’s News - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

EDITOR'S NOTE: We hope to have the newsletter ready to go tomorrow morning early - before we head to a preview of DS+R/Rockwell Group's The Shed at Hudson Yards, but with those pesky technology gods, one never knows...

●  Kamin is disappointed in Chicago's new Essex on the Park apartment tower: Its "skyline presence is a tall order of metal-and-glass 'meh.' That's not good enough - it comes up short."

●  Viglucci reports on "a new starchitect mega project" in Miami: BIG's "otherworldly plan" to "'float' apartment and office blocks on stilts over the old Allapattah Produce Center warehouses" (for the same developer of H&deM's 1111 Lincoln Road garage).

●  Plitt reports that Adjaye will help reimagine Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn's 50-year-old Restoration Plaza. The changes "are less about transforming the physical space and more about ensuring that area residents have access to the same types of resources found throughout the city."

●  Moore x 2: He minces no words when it comes to a development in south London "where children from affordable housing have been excluded from a playground used by the children of private owner-occupiers - it's plain mean-spirited," but that's what you get when "developers run open spaces."

●  He parses the possible future of the 2017 Stirling Prize-winning Hastings Pier that "seemed like a victory for community goodwill, lottery money and visionary design - until it went bust and was sold" to a gold-plated businessman of questionable repute - the process was "a shambles."

●  Miranda parses how Zumthor's latest "ever-evolving" redesign for LACMA: It's smaller - "and shapeshifts yet again. Where once we had sci-fi, now we have an agreeable cream-colored concrete structure" that "bears the profile of a small-city airport terminal" (references a not-complementary tweet from Justin Davidson - ouch!).

●  Cornwell, on a brighter note, reports that Kuma's Odunpazari Modern Museum in Turkey, set to open in June, will show the collection of architect Erol Tabanca: "With stylistic echoes of his V&A Dundee, the museum's stacked timber design reflects surrounding wooden houses from the Ottoman era."

●  Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan "pledges to revert" the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, which has been a museum since 1935, to a mosque. If that happens, "he is likely to get a lot of backlash from countries around the world" and "could endanger its standing as a UNESCO World Heritage site."

●  Fairs has an interesting conversation with Schumacher re: Zaha Hadid Architects' plans for the future: ZHA "may rebrand itself this year, with a new name that represents its 'overall creative direction and ambition.'"

●  Schumacher weighs in on the debate over the Kiley-designed grove at Milwaukee's Marcus Center: It is "about design, not trees." The Center's "decision to invest in its campus could be an opportunity to correct some of the design misadventures of the past, rather than to further diminish the work of Harry Weese and Kiley."

●  Yesterday brought good news: Milwaukee's Historic Preservation Commission "deemed" the Kiley grove historic - preservationists have won this round - but the battle isn't over - the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts will be appealing the decision.

●  New York City's congestion pricing plan is "a first" for U.S: From 2021, "drivers will likely be charged more than $10 to travel below 60th Street in Manhattan" - good news for public transit (the state budget also "includes a ban on disposable, single-use plastic bags").

●  Rainwater, of the National League of Cities Center for City Solutions, hopes that NYC is "the beginning of a congestion pricing revolution - it could bring in more than $1 billion a year for badly needed public transit upgrades - hopefully other cities will follow."

●  Helmut Jahn pens a hand-written note in magenta ink "attacking the 'premeditated' selection of Studio Gang for O'Hare airport expansion" - and sends it to Kamin (it really is magenta!).

Of Nouvel's adventure in Qatar:

●  Cole: The "breath-taking" National Museum of Qatar "reveals that it has found some answers to what could have been deemed difficult questions at best, and judged serious shortcomings at worst - it also manages to have heart and soul."

●  Noce talks to Nouvel re: his "desert rose" of a museum in Qatar that "blooms against the odds," and his "search for a national landmark and the hurdles that faced the mammoth project."

Hudson Yards reviews continue:

●  K. Jacobs tackles the "antisocial stairway" that is the Vessel: "Although I'd long been hating on the architectural bon bon I think of as the Heatherwick Object, I was determined to visit with an open mind" - but she "felt a profound need to stop moving, to push back against the thing's hamster-wheel momentum - but I couldn't do it."

●  Schwab on "why everyone hates the Vessel" that "has drawn relentless criticism. The descriptions are hilarious, but the derision points to a bigger problem."

●  Lamster offers 21 (often hilarious) takes: The Shed "looks genuinely futuristic whereas everything else looks like what was futuristic in 1980. Or 1920." The Vessel: "climb up to an elevated platform and stand around waiting and nothing happens. It's just like taking the train in Queens" (ouch!).

●  Swanson takes on Hudson Yards - and other topics with Selldorf, Viñoly, SOM's Cooper, and BIG's Sundlin (his own take: "I was strangely emotionally hung over from the opening: I found it, completely, surprisingly alienating").

In honor of April Fool's Day (a day late)

●  "Eight of the best April Fools' Day pranks from architecture and design - including a dog walking drone and Swiss Army sunglasses come with a built-in knife."

●  Our fave: "Norman Foster unveils plans for The Unicorn tower - a supertall cone-shaped skyscraper suspended above Bloomberg HQ," and "clad in iridescent glass that will reflect rainbows of light down on to the street below" - with "a helter-skelter slide that will spiral down the outside" (alas, no images).


  


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