Good morning, architects. And welcome back from the Thanksgiving break. It appears as though David Brussat, architecture critic for the Providence Journal, had a productive holiday: He has penned a letter to Paris telling the city what he thinks that it should do about skyscrapers. No doubt Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe breathes easier today knowing that Brussat, 3,500 miles away, took the time out on Black Friday to tell Paris what building types it does and doesn't need. Brussat's argument is exactly what you would expect from a one-note critic: Modern architecture sucks, and a city such as Paris, informed by classical architecture as it is, should not countenance tall buildings if it means accepting contemporary design. Needless to say, his argument makes no mention of the economic realities faced by the residents who actually live in Paris, where the height limit places artificial constraints on density and jack up rents. Le loyer est trop élevé damnés, Brussat, and that's why Paris wants skyscrapers. I'm willing to bet that Parisians would accept your threat to never visit again in exchange for economic (and aesthetic) self-determinism.
MIDTOWN ON THE RISE. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will build a new office building near Grand Central Terminal that will be one of the largest new Midtown towers built in years. The Wall Street Journal's Eliot Brown reports that the ubiquitous Vishaan Chakrabarti, a partner at SHoP Architects and former city planner, is one of a number of consultants working on the project.
THE HEROIC STYLE. In The Boston Globe, Robert Campbell has a rare treat: a feel-good story about Brutalism. Boston architecture firm Design Lab is renovating the Claire T. Carney Library (pictured), designed by Paul Rudolph more than 40 years ago for the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Campbell describes the many liberties that Design Lab has taken in giving the Brutalist building a "good hard shake."
CHINA LURVES ZAHA. Melinda Liu interviews Zaha Hadid, Hon. FAIA, for Newsweek, and discusses the "subliminally 'Chinese'" forms of the Guangzhou Opera House and Galaxy Soho. Hadid says that her first trip to China changed her disposition toward plant life: "[F]or many years, I hated nature. As a student I refused to put a plant anywhere—a living plant, that is. Dead plants were OK."
THE SANDY STORY. One of the post-Sandy stories that everyone ran—ARCHITECT mag included—was a look back on the Museum of Modern Art's 2010 exhibit, "Rising Currents." The Associated Press has a post-post-Sandy feature on political obstacles that are likely to prevent many of these ideas from being implemented.
...AND REMAINDERS. Elevated gondolas for Austin? Wired likes the idea... Dezeen looks back—way back—on the Venice Architecture Biennale... The Daily Beast catches up with Cameron Sinclair in Sandy-struck New York... Laser-scanning Philadelphia's Frank Lloyd Wright synagogue... Iva Hladis draws Los Angeles architecture through a Czech lens.