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News Highlights of the Week: January 12 – January 18, 2008

January 18, 2008

By James Murdock

Frank Gehry will design the ninth annual summertime pavilion at the Serpentine Gallery in London this year. It will be Gehry’s first built structure in England and that’s exactly the idea—the gallery selects architects and artists “who, at the time of the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation, have not completed a building in England,” the U.K.’s Building magazine reported on January 17. No word yet on what Gehry’s design will look like, but his pavilion will include a café that doubles as an event venue. Previous efforts by Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and Daniel Libeskind have attracted as many as 250,000 visitors during their three-month runs in London’s Kensington Gardens. Last spring, as RECORD reported, Snøhetta’s Kjetil Thorsen and artist Olafur Eliasson stepped in and designed the pavilion after the Serpentine determined that an initial scheme by German architect Frei Otto could not be realized in time.

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A buyer has been found for H.H. Richardson’s house in Brookline, Massachusetts, sparing it from possible demolition. Richardson lived there from 1874 until his death in 1886 and was able to watch the construction of his masterpiece, Trinity Church in Boston, from his upstairs bedroom, according to a January 12 article in The Boston Globe. Although current next door neighbors Fred and Caroline Hoppin purchased the house “some years ago” to save it from demolition, concern among preservationists mounted as the Hoppins were unable to find another suitable owner—prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation to add the residence to its list of the nation’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places last year. The new buyer, who paid $2 million and is described as a “Washington real estate developer and investor,” will be required to restore it. Richardson was only a renter and did not design the 1805-vintage structure, but as the Globe wrote: “He died in the second-floor bedroom, one of the rooms the deed restriction requires the new owner to restore. Among its features are two metal rings, bolted into the wall, which the architect gripped to pull his enormous bulk out of bed in his last years, when he was plagued by Bright’s disease.”complete this summer.

Cincinnati Art Museum director Aaron Betsky was tapped to curate the 11th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The theme of the exhibition, which will run from September 14 to November 23, is “Out There: Architecture Beyond Building.” As Cincinnati’s Enquirer wrote on January 16, “it reflects Betsky’s vision that buildings are not enough to make people feel at home these days. So think landscape design, interior design, art, projected media, and more.” Betsky already has extensive experience with the Biennale. He curated the Dutch pavilion in 2002, 2004, and 2006; his 2002 effort was recognized with a “Golden Lion” award for best foreign pavilion. Before joining the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2006, Betsky was the director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute.

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