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Today’s News - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

•   Linn explains how Leers Weinzapfel Associates uses thoughtful analysis and ingenuity to create a unique exercise in urban design to "make something of beauty" - out of chiller plants.

•   Kamin pays tribute to Jacques Brownson, the architect behind the vertical courthouse that "ranks as one of Chicago's top postwar buildings."

•   We're personally saddened to learn of the passing of Yoshiko Sato, a rising star lost much too soon: her "commitment was to repairing the world through design."

•   Vale delves deep into the housing dilemma epitomized by Chicago's Cabrini-Green that "underscores the central question facing all developers who choose to work at the margins of empathy: How do you protect the property - financially, socially, physically - without excluding the low-income tenants who are the intended constituency?"

•   Meanwhile, remaining Cabrini-Green residents face "yet another broken promise" as they're told to leave.

•   Russell on the Smithsonian's African American Museum design: it's a bit "too polite," but he can "feel an exuberant Africanness struggling to escape the civic blandness imposed by fundraising, watchdog groups and design review that are part of building on America's most sacred ground."

•   Whelan gives thumbs-up to the upper reaches of de Portzamparc's One57 in Manhattan, but at street level, "like a spoiled kid, it wants to be the center of everything" and "will override the rhythm of the block."

•   Pitt's Make It Right Foundation heads to Kansas City with a project that "may show the path forward to reusing dozens of empty schools."

•   Dvir x 2: hopeful signs of a new life for a rundown Tel Aviv cinema that "could even mark a turning point in the urban renewal of the neighborhood."

•   He has a long conversation with Italian architect Cucinella about the challenges he's facing in trying to build 20 eco-friendly schools in Gaza: he's "aware of the deep swamp he is entering, but hopes politics will not hold up his project."

•   Brit architect Pawlyn's "Biomimicry in Architecture" answers some of the issues that naysayers raise.

•   Then there's the open-source WikiHouse initiative launched by a London-based "self-consciously experimental group of architects and creatives" that may seem "cheeky, experimental, or small-scale" - but architecture "is a field ripe for this kind of mass collaborative innovation."

•   Gray thinks it's great that Houston is "getting its groovy back" by finally recognizing it holds a valuable stock of mid-century modern architecture: "In the '50s, '60s and '70s, nobody - nobody - out-moderned Houston," so "eat your heart out, Los Angeles."

•   Kamin offers an intriguing tale of a Prairie Style house and cottage linked to Wright and Schindler - and up for sale: "preservationists fear that the homes will be tear-down victims" (or the developer may rethink plans).

•   One we couldn't resist: a long-lost FLW design for a dog house finds new life, only to find "the smallest structure Wright ever designed has something in common" with his many grand masterpieces: "It leaks" (Eddie the dog didn't like it, either).

•   Eyefuls of the "26 audacious designs" that won the 2011/12 Spark Concept Awards (full disclosure: yours truly was a juror - and totally impressed!).


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