News Highlights of the Week: March 24 – March 30, 2007

March 30, 2007

Compiled by James Murdock

If you think that Richard Rogers winning the 2007 Pritzker Prize is akin to his receiving a lifetime achievement award, the 73-year-old architect contends that his finest work is yet to come. “One’s best building, one hopes, will be the next building. The next mountain range is very exciting,” he told the U.K.’s Independent on March 30. And though the Pritzker was the only remaining architecture prize he hadn’t already won after a much lauded career, Rogers modestly claims that he wasn’t expecting it. “It was a wonderful surprise,” he told the Financial Times on March 29.

Santiago Calatrava unveiled his final design for the 2,000-foot-tall Chicago Spire at two public hearings earlier this week. Some people wonder, though, how Shelbourne Development will afford the skyscraper's price tag, which the Chicago Sun-Times reported on March 27 could rise to $2 billion.

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The death knell could be sounding for Marcel Breuer’s Cleveland Trust Tower, which its current owner, Cuyahoga County, wants to demolish so that it can construct a new project by Kohn Pederson Fox and Robert P. Madison International. The 29-story Brutalist building, completed in 1971, is riddled with asbestos. But at a public hearing yesterday, preservationists were expected to make a last ditch effort to champion a rehab scheme by Davis Brody Bond, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported on March 29. Cleveland’s planning commission meets today to consider demolition permits.

Finally, another cautionary tale about how quickly landmarks can decay or fall victim to abuse. Someone has spray-painted graffiti and punched holes into the walls of architect José Oubrerie’s Miller House in Lexington, Kentucky. Completed in 1992, the residence “is arguably one of the top 10 houses in America,” Carol Buhrmann, associate professor of architecture at the California College of the Arts, told the Lexington Herald-Leader on March 28. But vandals have repeatedly targeted the vacant landmark since it was sold to a development company in January 2006.

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