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News Highlights of the Week: April 21 – April 27, 2007

April 27, 2007

by James Murdock

Editor’s note: You may read the news digest below or listen to it, plus other news headlines from ArchRecord.com, as a podcast below:

Click the play button to begin | Click here to download

Herzon & de Meuron were tapped to design a new football stadium for the coastal city of Portsmouth, England—that’s British football, by the way, known only in the U.S. as soccer. “We’ve taken the ingredients of the city and mixed them up—the docks, the sea, the transport, a city oriented to labor—and we’ve brought football into that,” Jacques Herzog told the U.K.’s Financial Times on April 26. The developer, Sellar Property Group, will seek planning permission later this year for the stadium and a surrounding mixed-use district estimated to cost $1.2 billion.

The Vatican is considering sainthood for the late Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, but that may not be enough to protect his buildings from earthly ruination. The Independent reported on April 24 that concerns are mounting over the stability of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece cathedral in Barcelona. Authorities just approved plans for a bullet-train rail tunnel that will pass within feet of the cathedral’s crypt, The Guardian wrote on April 26.

Boston’s City Hall, a 1960s-era brutalist building, is under consideration for landmark status—even as the city’s mayor, Tom Menino, entertains plans for moving municipal offices elsewhere and selling it. Menino, in fact, wants to bulldoze the Kallmann McKinnell Knowles structure. Although many Bostonians have shared this sentiment almost from the day that City Hall opened, the building does have its admirers. “The arguments for historic and architectural significance overwhelm the subjective dislike for the building,” architect Gary Wolf told The Boston Globe on April 25.

Speaking of unloved buildings, the Curbed LA blog recently judged reader nominations for its “Ugliest Building in Los Angeles” competition. The winner: the Hollywood & Highland shopping center, by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut + Kuhn Architects, which opened in 2001. But there were plenty of runners up—and plenty more suggestions. “Does ‘Anything by Gehry’ count as one entry?” a reader asked, according to a commentary by the blog’s editors in the Los Angeles Times on April 22.

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And, lastly, starchitect Richard Meier is opening his studio annex to the public. Visitors to a Queens, New York, warehouse may view roughly 300 models that span Meier’s four-decade-long career. Highlights include early iterations of his Getty museum in Los Angeles, as well as residences including Smith House and Hoffman House. “To have all this and have no one see it is kind of crazy,” he told The New York Times on April 26. And there’s one visitor who Meier would definitely like to invite. Asked by Time Out New York magazine who he’d pick as his dream intern he said: “Nicole Kidman!”

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