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Architecture Preview

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Big Buildings
Size counts at the Skyscraper Museum, where an exhibition called "Big Buildings" opens October 1. The show features 70 buildings of "exceptional" dimensions, including many that were, at one time, the world's tallest, and an assortment of "jumbos" and "super jumbos." Two lecture series will focus on "The History of Size" and "Tall Towers." (16 Wall Street; call 212-766-1324 for more information.)

The Far West Side
Projects by the five finalists of the Canadian Centre for Architecture's competition to give Manhattan's far West Side a high-concept makeover will be on display October 5 through October 20 in Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall. Architect Peter Eisenman's winning proposal will be shown on a 40-foot-tall virtual-reality screen. Scheduled speakers at a daylong colloquium about the competition (October 8, Cooper Union's Great Hall) will be all the finalists and jurors, including Frank Gehry, Elizabeth Diller, Joe Rose, and Charles Gargano. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan is also scheduled to speak. Beginning November 16, "Other Urbanisms: Proposals for the Future Development of Hell's Kitchen South," a completely different, more egalitarian set of plans and proposals for exactly the same slice of Manhattan, will be on view at the Storefront for Art and Architecture (97 Kenmare Street; 212-431-5795).

Manhole Covers
More competitions: Submissions to Con Edison's contest to redesign New York's manhole covers will be on display at the Municipal Art Society (457 Madison Avenue at 51st Street), October 27 to December 3. Entrants in Architecture for Humanity's competition to design simple, inexpensive transitional housing for refugees returning to Kosovo will be on the walls at the Van Alen Institute November 11 to December 3. (30 West 22nd Street; 212-924-7000.)

The Police Museum
Other architectural curiosities include a late-fall reopening of the New York City Police Museum, made over by architects Smith-Miller + Hawkinson, normally purveyors of a pared-down, machine-inspired aesthetic. Not here. "It's not an art museum. It shouldn't be stark," says executive director Tom Gambino. Exhibits include an old-time station house and an "actual crime scene." (25 Broadway, near Morris Street; 212-301-4441.)

Recent MacArthur award recipients Diller + Scofidio, whose designs generally feature light materials and heavy theory, have reworked that old midtown standby the Brasserie (100 East 53rd Street), due to reopen sometime in November. And the Regent Wall Street (55 Wall) opens in late 1999, making its insanely large McKim, Mead & White-designed banquet room, a kissing cousin to the former Penn Station's great hall, accessible to the public.


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