The Architect Newswire is an aggregation of news from media outlets around the world, intended to keep you abreast of all of the industry’s important developments. The stories we feature are not reported, edited, or fact-checked by Architect’s staff.

MLIVE.COM
Aloft hotel for Detroit remodeling
The renovation of the historic 19-story, Daniel Burnham–designed David Whitney Building in Detroit will include a boutique Aloft hotel. Jonathan Oosting reports that the LEED certified project will include 136 “loft-like” rooms on the lower floors of the tower. “Aloft is particularly well-suited for adaptive reuse because of its urban aesthetic,” says Starwood Hotels & Resorts senior vice president Brian McGuinnes. “Preserving this integral part of Detroit’s history is a priority for us as well, and it’s exciting to meld Aloft’s design sensibility with this spectacular original structure.” The upper floors of the building are planned to have 108 residential units.

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LOS ANGELES TIMES
Red Roof Inn’s redesign
Hotel chain Red Roof Inn has launched a $90 million project to renovate almost 350 facilities across the country. Hugo Martín reports that the upgrades are in direct response to email surveys from hotel guests in Texas, Georgia, and Ohio. “When someone is traveling, they want to feel at home, or better,” says Red Roof president Andrew Alexander. The changes will include at least four extra electrical outlets in each room, flat-screen televisions, wood-like flooring in lieu of carpet, and more powerful showerheads.

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VOICE OF AMERICA
Rethinking density
Economist Edward Glaeser is a proponent of density—particularly through taller buildings. “If you look across the world, the countries where more than half of the people live in urban areas are more than four times richer, on average, than the countries where less than half of the people live in urban areas,” he says. Faiza Elmasry reports that Glaeser’s focus on high density as a universal good isn’t shared by all urban thinkers. “What we really should be doing is thinking about a continuum of different areas of density, more efficient areas clustered around transit oriented development, and frankly, different types of environments for different stages of life and different opportunities,” says architect and urban designer Michael Mehaffy. “Not everybody kind of wants to live in a super high-density city.”

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TIMES OF TRENTON (NJ)
Planning the waterfront
Trenton, N.J., Mayor Tony Mack hopes to have Gensler refresh a master plan for the city’s Delaware River frontage. “It is our hope to attract along the waterfront area large-scale banks, their corporate offices, and bring them here,” Mack says. “There’s some other aspects that have to take place before we can present it as a real plan, but the design, the concept and virtually every aspect of it is done.” Matt Fair reports that Mack needs to get investors on board and get a contract for Gensler to complete the plan. “We are trying to find a way to engage them in some kind of form of contract, but we haven’t gotten to that stage yet,” Mack says.

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BRATTLEBORO REFORMER (VT)
Rockingham Meeting House restored
The 1787 Rockingham Meeting House, one of the oldest public buildings in Vermont, has recently received $47,090 worth of plaster repairs to extend its lifespan. Carter Vanderhoof reports that funding was provided in equal parts by the town and the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation. “The repairs that we did were to about 1,800 square feet of the ceiling,” says certified local government coordinator Malin Deon. “The plaster there was the original plaster from the late 18th century when the Meeting House was built.” The repairs were completed by preservation plaster professional Rory Brennan of Brattleboro.

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MINUTEMAN NEWS CENTER (FAIRFIELD, CT)
Debating roof estimates
The Fairfield, Conn., Town Facilities Commission is trying to figure out how much it will cost to repair the roofs on five school buildings. Meg Learson Grosso reports that the board of education has estimated the price at $900,000 while Hamden, Conn.–based Hoffman Architects estimated $450,000. “That difference is two different people estimating and that difference is going to be ironed out in the next 17 days.” Board of Selectman member Kathryn Braun says. That’s when the Representative Town Meeting will be held to choose whether to proceed with repairs.

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MINNPOST (MINNEAPOLIS)
Are streetcars the answer?
University of British Columbia professor and urban planner Patrick Condon recently advocated the return of streetcars at a talk at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis. Steven Dornfeld reports that Condon claims a low-floor tram manufactured by Siemens offers the lowest greenhouse emissions per passenger mile that can be achieved by any form of transportation. “You could marry transit to land use in a way where you don't have to subsidize it at all,” Condon says—although the target density of 10 to 40 residential unites per acre is higher than the Twin Cities’ norm.

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THE WASHINGTON POST
Affordable housing cuts
Congress’s cuts in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME program budget are affecting communities like Charlotte, N.C., where the demand for affordable housing is outstripping the supply. Debbie Cenziper reports that six HOME-funded projects in recent years put 348 units into the housing supply, but that four recent projects meant to produce 202 units fell 83 houses short, despite a $3.5 million investment from HUD. “In my mind, it’s been reactive from HUD when pressure is coming,” says Charlotte housing director Pamela Wideman. “It should not be in this reactive or crisis mode.”

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Chicago Union Station’s newest master plan
The Chicago Department of Transportation and Amtrak are unveiling the draft of a new master plan to increase capacity and relieve congestion at Chicago’s Union Station. Jon Hilkevitch reports that it’s just the latest in a series of plans for the overtaxed Daniel Burnham–designed facility—but one that has a better chance of succeeding. “There have been a lot of grandiose plans of what the vision could be for Union Station,'' says Chicago Department of Transportation project manager Jeffrey Sriver. “Meanwhile, the station today is operating at or near capacity for key parts of the day. What nobody has done to this stage is to look at maximizing the physical assets we have now, then go to more grandiose plans in the future.”

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CURBED NY
SLCE conquers Brooklyn
Sara Polsky reports that Brooklyn, N.Y., will soon have a new tallest tower. Both 388 Bridge Street—at 590 feet tall—and Avalon Willoughby West—at 596 feet in height—are scheduled for 2012 groundbreakings. Both are residential buildings, with the Bridge Street project combining 234 rental and 144 condo units while Avalon Willoughby West will have 861 rental units. Both buildings were designed by SLCE, the future kings of Kings County.

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