Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ken Shuttleworth's Crescent, the CSO's St. Bernard, and Lifestyle Malls go Willoughby

Some compelling reading for this weekend:

Crescents and Bleached Galleries. The Financial Times has two interesting pieces in its current weekend edition, In the first, architect Ken Shuttleworth, who split from Foster and Partners to open his own firm, Make, talks about his incredibly handsome Crescent House. In the other, architecture critic Edwin Heathcote talks about some antidotes, including the Great Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern, and London's Whitechapel Gallery, to the generic white cubes that are the anti-climatic reveal to the often spectacular exteriors of the current rash of new museums.

St. Bernard? In this Sunday's edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, critic-at-large Andrew Patner offers up an engaging profile of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's new principal conductor Bernard Haitink, who will be in town this week to conduct highly anticipated performances of the Mahler 3rd symphony. As modest and self-effacing as he is preternaturally talented, Haitink, 77, is at the stage of his long, distinguished career where he's in danger of being canonized. CSO patrons are already indebted to him for agreeing to step in to help fill a leadership vacuum left by the sudden departure of former music director Daniel Barenboim at the end of last season. Haitink shares responsiblities with principal guest conductor emeritus Pierre Boulez. Amazingly, until last year, the two had never met - "not even in an airport queue!" Haitink tells Patner. When they finally got together at Boulez's Lucerne home in September, the Dutch conductor was overwhelmed by the depth of Boulez's knowledge of the CSO. "He knows nearly every member by name! There was also real electricity as we started talking about ideas and programs. My only concern with this partnership is that we have together almost 160 years of age!"

Willoughby Redux? And finally, catching up on my reading, here's a great article from the September 25th Advertising Age (registration required) on Yaromir Steiner, who's working overtime creating those new open-air "lifestyle" type malls like the 90-acre Easton Town Center, outside of Columbus, Ohio, that are positioning themselves as the inevitable successors to traditional enclosed shopping centers with their department store anchors, and the big box retailers floating in a sea of parking. Steiner is planning for these lifestyle malls to eventually incorporate the original, but unrealized vision of the inventor of the modern mall, architect Victor Gruen, which included a substantial residential component. Steiner's is planning space for up to 10,000 residents in his proposed "Glorypark" development in Arlington, Texas, sandwiched between the Texas Rangers Ameriquest Field and the new, under construction stadium for the Dallas Cowboys. The trend ties into the goals of the New Urbanism, but with what, at least in its infancy, with the most empty kind of patische architecture imaginable.

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