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Today’s News - Monday, December 21, 2015

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today's news is filled with probably the most "must-reads" we've posted in a single newsletter in recent memory - if you don't have time, bookmark it and check it out over the holidays. You won't be sorry... Happy Winter Solstice!

•   Impressive shortlists are a nice way to start the holiday week: Kamin reports on the 7 "stellar" firms shortlisted for the Obama Library in Chicago (no real surprises here - but impressive!).

•   Zeiger reports on the 4 stellar teams now vying to bring L.A.'s Perhsing Square back to life.

•   With any luck, it will be less creepy to walk by construction sites in NYC if any of the 4 finalists' designs in the Construction Shed Design Competition move forward.

•   Saltz leads a list of must-reads with a scathing take-down of the growing trend of "ersatz, privatized public spaces," starting with the High Line as the "harbinger of a bad pathogen now transforming public space" (Hudson Yards' Culture Shed really takes a beating: "I don't think I've ever seen a design I loath more" - ouch!).

•   Judith Miller (yes, that Miller) poses the intriguing question, "What would Jane say" re: Atlantic Yards and Hudson Yards: Her "ideas have become mainstream" and "'corrupted,' with developers citing her to justify massive building projects that she would almost certainly have opposed" (though Hudson Yards perhaps not so much).

•   Giovannini dives deep (and eloquently) into the past, present, and future of the "Los Angeles River and a Robert Moses with the soul of a Jane Jacobs (he means Gehry) - "this is LA's moment to seize its day."

•   Wainwright sits through a grilling of London's mayor re: the Garden Bridge: "In the huffing, puffing, insult-throwing court of Boris, the real reason for the garden bridge became clearer than ever."

•   Watts is totally wow'd by Calatrava's Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro: it's "a little trippy, a little hippy, very worthy," and "must already rank as one of the world's most extraordinary buildings" and, possibly, "one of the planet's most powerful arguments for sustainability."

•   Gardiner is less wow'd by KPF's One Vanderbilt in Manhattan, but "even if a design is not entirely prepossessing in and of itself, the quality of the tower may very well attain its own kind of beauty."

•   Moore parses the fate of some of the U.K.'s "PoMo palaces" and whether they're really worth saving: "it's decision time," and "the listing campaigns are hotting up."

•   Timberlake takes a different tack, pondering the "ethical decisions about unsustainable Modernist architecture": are they "worth retrofitting, or do we tear them down and start over?"

•   Hay queries 10 architects re: the legacy and current popularity of Modern architecture: some feel threatened by it, some reject it, and others embrace it.

•   Budds queries Harboe re: the challenges of restoring FLW's Taliesin West, and how it is "an exercise in detective work."

•   Shirk does some serious detective work to find out where Robert Moses carried out his most ambitious plans: "a squat, Art Deco limestone complex in the marshy, undeveloped expanse of Randall's Island" (some great history, too).

•   Jakarta gets the National Geographic treatment with an in-depth (and absolutely fascinating) report on the city's plans to build a 25-mile-long, 80-foot-high seawall shaped like "a mythical bird-like creature" - with lots of new land for developers: "it could cause some environmental harm, but they don't see a better way to save the city" from rising tides.

•   The AIA gives its newly-established Commission on Equity in Architecture "one year to research and develop recommendations for generating equitable practices in the profession."

•   Perkovic parses "5 events that marked architecture and design in 2015" - and why they're important.

•   Call for entries: European Prize for Urban Public Space 2016 + BUR/Berlin University Residences international architectural competition for students and young architects.

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