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.


LOS ANGELES TIMES
Catholic church gets Crystal Cathedral
The Rev. Robert H. Schuller’s Philip Johnson–designed Crystal Cathedral will be sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (Calif.) for its use as a cathedral. Nicole Santa Cruz, Ruben Vives and Mitchell Landsberg report that an Orange County bankruptcy judge ruled in favor of the $57.5 million sale, despite a $59 million offer from Chapman University. Schuller writes in favor of the church, which he says will “take on your calling of proclaiming Christ's message to humanity” and “care for this campus like the treasure it is.” Bishop Tod D. Brown has been attempting to build a cathedral for the diocese for years. Despite his success in picking up an architectural icon, he says, “This is a bittersweet experience. I say this because I have the deepest respect for the Crystal Cathedral ministry.” The campus also includes structures designed by Richard Neutra and Richard Meier, FAIA.

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THE DENVER POST
Preservation challenges await Union Station developers
Denver’s Regional Transportation District is expected to choose a team on Tuesday to redevelop the city’s historic Union Station. Margaret Jackson reports that two schemes are under consideration—a $21.1 million plan by Union Station Neighborhood Co. that would include a market, bar, and retail facilities, and a $48 million proposal by Union Station Alliance to renovate the building into a boutique hotel with ground floor retail. “The best way to preserve a building is to use it for its original purpose,” says Frank Cannon, Union Station Neighborhood’s development director. “We're not modifying that function and that use. We're enhancing it.” Union Station Alliance’s competing plan suggests adding dormers to the structure’s roof. “We are very seasoned at this, and this is something we've accomplished over and over again,” architect David Tryba says. “We're extremely experienced in getting the tax credits, and everybody on the team's business relies on the tax credits to bring these historic buildings to life.”

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THE JACKSON SUN (TN)
Jackson City Walk under construction
Ground has been broken for the 17-acre Jackson City Walk development in downtown Jackson, Tenn. Ned B. Hunter reports that the mixed-use project is intended to provide a catalyst for jobs in the area. It will include a wellness center, about 25 single-family houses, 150 apartments, and 17,000 square-feet of retail.

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GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE (MT)
Construction’s mixed results in Great Falls
Great Falls, Mont.’s construction picture is decidedly mixed. Peter Johnson reports that commercial construction will total $33.2 million in 2011. “We had a good mix of other projects this year, including a dozen of $800,000 or greater,” says Michael Haynes, Planning Department director at Great Falls. Construction at Maelstrom Air Force Base totaled $87 million this year, which was down from $115 million in 2010. Residential construction was also down, from $16.5 million in 2010 to $10.8 million this year. “Residential development continues to struggle, reflecting national trends,” Haynes says.

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KENNEBEC JOURNAL (MAINE)
Southern Maine’s home construction down
Home building in southern Maine is likely to reach its lowest levels in two decades this year. Tux Turkel reports that Construction Data New England tallies 594 permits issued in the area between January and September, lower than 2009’s record low of 703. “The fact that the housing market (nationally) fell off the cliff speeded along the recession,” Maine's state economist Amanda Rector says. “And the fact that it hasn't recovered contributes to the lack of an overall recovery.”

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MAIL TRIBUNE (OR)
Mini boom in Rogue Valley
Medford, Ore., has more than $75 million in commercial construction this year, prompting muted hopes that the recession has turned the corner. “We're seeing contractors and subcontractors moving from survival to recovery mode,” says Mark VonHolle, president of the board at the Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development. “Hopefully, the construction we're seeing now is a preview of coming attractions and will create a ripple effect of confidence.” Greg Stiles reports that there have been more than a dozen projects of $1 million or more this year. “Many contractors now have work on their books well into 2012, something that hasn't necessarily been the case since 2007,” Stiles writes.

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DCIST
Adding floors to Mies?
A panel organized by the Urban Land Institute has suggested adding two floors to Washington, D.C.’s Mies van der Rohe–designed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. Martin Austermuhle reports that the building is currently underutilized and in need of renovations that the library can’t afford. Adding two floors and dividing the building for “shared-use” could produce rental income of between $4.1 million and $5.5 million a year—which would help fund the necessary overhaul of the building. “If adding two floors makes this building viable in the future, I'd say Mies would be out there applauding this,” Richmond, Va.–based architect Mimi Sadler says. “My goal is to have people pay attention to this wonderful building, and to realize what we need to operate a library here,” district chief librarian Ginnie Cooper says. “I hope we've started the conversation, and I'm so excited with the possibilities that they suggest for us.”

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GIZMAG
World’s lightest material
A team of researchers from UC Irvine, Caltech, and HRL Laboratories has developed a micro-lattice that they claim is the world’s lightest solid material. Darren Quick reports that it is made of “interconnected hollow nickel-phosphorous tubes with a wall thickness of 100 nanometers—or 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.” Its ultra-low density and high energy absorbing properties make it a good candidate for use in acoustic, vibration, and shock energy damping.

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