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Today’s News - Friday, May 8, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just as we were about to post, good news came in about two good friends: the NYC Dept. of Design + Construction announced that Margaret Castillo has been named DDC Chief Architect, and Rick Bell named Executive Director of Design & Construction Excellence. What a great way to end the week!

•   Rosenbaum roams the new Whitney and likes what she sees on the walls, "but the design isn't perfect - four floors of sweeping, open-plan galleries bear an unfortunate resemblance to art-fair architecture."

•   Stone offers a (sometimes amusing) take on plans for the BIG/Heatherwick Googleplex: "The vision is mind-boggling - a titanic human terrarium," with one pundit chiming in: the "results could be spectacular. Or it could be a train wreck" (also amusingly parsed: Apple and Facebook's new HQs).

•   But not so fast: the powers-that-be just gave a "David vs. Goliath victory" to LinkedIn over Google in their Silicon Valley HQ plans ("modesty was part of the pitch" that won).

•   Dittmar reports on his U.S. travels and cheers the "grass-roots, small developer revival" in smaller cities, and ponders whether this "organic approach to urban revival could take hold in Britain."

•   Fallows follows Fresno's plan to revive its downtown by ripping up its landmark pedestrian mall and returning it to traffic - could this be a model for other struggling downtowns?

•   Reports of Times Square having to remove its billboards are nowhere near the reality (though there is some governmental absurdity about the National Highway System adding hundreds of thousands of miles of roads, now "eligible for federal dollars, but without raising the actual dollars."

•   Russell digs deep into the eternal question of whether bigger is always better when it comes to mergers and acquisitions: "Is the megafirm the future of architecture? No, it turns out" - especially with so many large firms led by non-designers who really only care about shareholder value.

•   SANAA's Grace Farms in Connecticut will open in October with site-specific work by Eliasson and others.

•   Spain's Barozzi/Veiga takes home the €60,000 2015 Mies van der Rohe Award for its Szczecin Philharmonic Hall in Poland (not mentioned, so we will here: the Catalan studio ARQUITECTURA-G won the Emerging Architect Prize).

•   Eyefuls of the 5 finalists who will pitch their Pitching the City 2015 entries as part of the New Museum's IDEAS CITY Festival at the end of May.

•   The NEA awards over $74 million in grants to nonprofit arts organizations - 55 in the Design category.

•   Weekend diversions:

•   Lange finds much to like in MoMA's "Latin America in Construction," though the "exhaustive survey leaves plenty of questions unanswered. For a sense of what's missing," check out "a small but exquisite" show at the Americas Society on Park Ave.

•   Hanley cheers "Lina Bo Bardi: Together" at the Graham Foundation in Chicago: "An idiosyncratic show that evokes a designer's inclusive architecture," and "revises one of the great oversights of 20th-century design history."

•   Christiansen cheers the Design Museum's "Designs of the Year 2015": "this year's selection of inventions is a tonic and a delight - as well as welcome respite from all the talk and no trousers peddled by our wretched politicians."

•   "Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarksy and the Architectural Association" at RISD is flush with drawings by still-starry-eyed architects (now starchitects) of imagined "buildings of the future, laying down a challenge that still resonates."

•   Jacob takes in "Mackintosh Architecture" at RIBA: it looks "at his work as distinct from biography, to understand him as a significant and serious architect."

•   "Archiving Seasons of Light" at the University of Sydney's Tin Sheds Gallery presents New York-based architectural photographer Attali's exhibition of projects by Kuma.

•   Short essays by some of our faves from Green's "Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World."

•   A fascinating (image-filled) essay by Will Self from "The Future of the Skyscraper," edited by Philip Nobel.


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