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It’s Only a Matter of Time Before Mark Lamster’s Head Is Too Big for Him To Navigate the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

First we named him the best critic in the city. Then the Observer named him the best architecture critic in the city. Now comes this fawning story from The Atlantic’s CityLab. You know who I feel sorry for? Lamster’s wife. He must be impossible around the house. (All kidding aside, you should read the CityLab story. It puts into perspective the great work he has done in his short time here, and it should make you realize how fortunate Dallas is to have him.)

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Headington Companies Pursue Odd PR Strategy While Tearing Down Buildings

Tim Headington — oilman, movie financier, real estate mogul — is a very private man. He doesn’t do press — at all. Here and there, he has been written about. But to my knowledge, he has never given an interview for a magazine or newspaper profile (please correct me if I’m wrong). We’ve asked for time with him. In fact, a couple years back, we killed an innocuous story about a very small part of his empire after his people told us that the timing was bad (it was) and that a look at the bigger picture would serve Dallas better (they were right). We were told that it would be possible to get time with Headington to tell the larger story. That never happened.

His penchant for secrecy is well and fine, when it comes to most of his operations. Check out the website for Headington Companies, for example. In how little it reveals about the organization, it feels like a repudiation of our selfie society. It is brilliant. But this secrecy fails him when it comes to demolishing old buildings.

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1611 Main Street, R.I.P.

Sunday afternoon, while the Cowboys were losing to the Rams, I heard a loud bang and went to investigate. It was the sound of a wrecking ball hitting the 129-year-old building next door to ours. I walked out to Main Street and saw people standing in front of Neiman’s, their phones pointed toward 1611 Main Street. I had missed the first few swings of the crane, but I got there just in time to see the top portion of the building crumble to the ground.

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The Difficulties of Explaining McKinney Avenue to 3 Guys From Miami

Saturday night, after dropping a friend at her swanky Main Street pad, I decided to head over to Highland Park Village for a bit of merry-making. This would require cash. Luckily, a strip shopping center with plenty of free parking (and, most importantly, an ATM) was right on the way, located at the corner of Pearl and McKinney.

As I whipped in to the parking space in front of the bank, I observed three bewildered-looking, well-dressed middle-aged men standing in front. A rough transcript of our conversation follows.

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Jim Schutze Changes His Name to Charles Schultz and Decides He Likes Mark Lamster After All

Don’t know about you, but one of my regular stops every day is the blog for the Architect’s Newspaper. Yesterday they posted an item about how Mark Lamster is winning hearts and minds in Dallas. They wrote:

Since arriving in North Texas to take up the job of Dallas Morning News architecture critic, Mark Lamster has been under a trial by fire, suffering scrutiny and criticism for everything from his Yankee origin to his unsympathetic take on the city’s built environment. Well, local opinions seem to be warming a bit to the sharp-tongued scribe. In a recent piece in the Dallas Observer, Charles Schultz went so far as to praise how quickly Lamster has come to understand Big D’s development landscape and the insider track around its so-called zoning regulations. Schultz even showed a little contrition for a previous quip: “I apologize for calling him ‘Mark Lamster, New York Pinhead’ when he first showed up.”

Two things about that. 1) Guests who join us tonight at the Rustic for our Best of Big D party will get an early look at our August issue, in which we name Lamster the city’s best critic. So the editors at the Architect’s Newspaper are quite right. And 2) please, everyone, let us forevermore refer to the Observer’s bearded, laconic gadfly as Charles Schultz.

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Richard Tettamant Likely Out as Director of Police and Fire Fund

I’ve heard a high-grade rumor that Richard Tettamant is stepping down from his directorship of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. I stress: rumor. I can, however, confirm that next week’s pension board meeting will feature an executive session to discuss a personnel matter. I’m not sure what this possible move might signal about the fund’s finances. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe the fund’s unorthodox, real-estate-heavy portfolio is in good shape. Maybe Tettamant just decided — suddenly — that it was time to retire. But I think I do know what his possible departure means for the Nasher: good news.

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Santiago Calatrava Ordered to Pay €3 Million For Faulty Design, Continues Run of Being Awesome

Calatrava covered the opera house with thousands of tiny mosaic tiles, using a technique made famous over a century earlier by Antoni Gaudí in Barcelona. But the Valencia authorities threatened to sue Mr. Calatrava last month after chunks fell off in high winds.

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Too Late to Find Another Architect For the Margaret McDermott Bridge?

We’re probably too far along in the process of the creation of the new Interstate 30 bridge over the Trinity River (aka Large Marge‘s little sister, the McBridge) to back out of this deal now. Especially since parts of it are already being manufactured in Tampa. So the bridge, slated to open in 2016, is pretty much a sunk cost at this point.

But the bad news about architect Santiago Calatrava keeps coming.

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The SAGA Pod 4.1: Jim Schutze on DISD, and ‘NY pinhead’ Mark Lamster on tearing out a downtown highway

This week, the SAGA Pod gets some new artwork (although when iTunes will switch it, who knows?), a new microphone (which I’m still getting used to; you can tell when I look away to check the Internet while talking), and the same ol’ stammering host you know and love. First, Jim Schutze talks about his […]

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Leading Off (10/28/13)

Wendy Davis Bringing Out the Big Guns. It looks like the Democratic Senator from Fort Worth isn’t messing around. She’s hired Karin Johanson to manage her gubernatorial campaign. That’s the same Johanson who helped Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin defeat a rather beloved (in Wisconsin) former Gov. Tommy Thompson in 2012’s Senate race. Baldwin became the first […]

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Will Architects Charged With Rethinking the Downtown-Trinity River Connection Continue to Ignore the Controversial Trinity Toll Roll?

Over the summer, the Nasher Sculpture Center hosted The Connected City Design Symposium, a conversation about the CityDesign Studio-, The Trinity Trust Foundation-, Downtown Dallas Inc.-, and the Real Estate Council Federation-backed architectural competition that seeks new and creative ways to connect downtown Dallas to the Trinity River. It’s a competition open to both architects and amateurs alike, […]

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The New York Times Catalogs the Many Critics of Architect Santiago Calatrava

The man responsible for Large Marge doesn’t seem too popular these days in Valencia, Spain. As the New York Times reports, architect Santiago Calatrava was commissioned to create a complex of buildings there, including a performance hall, a bridge, a planetarium, an opera house, a science museum, a covered walkway and reflecting pools. The project, […]

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Museum Tower Architect Responds to Mark Lamster’s Review of His Building

Earlier this month, the Morning News’ architecture critic, Mark Lamster, said some less than flattering things about Museum Tower. (“It’s hard to imagine a less-urban urban building. Pushed back from the street grid, Museum Tower stands at a remove behind stone walls, generic landscaping and a barren, circular driveway. Think of it as an outpost […]

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