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Seamus Heaney to be commemorated with new arts centre

Plus: Historic England calls on communities secretary to halt north London skyscraper plans | Renzo Piano to help with earthquake reconstruction efforts in Italy | and Spanish museum requests return of Nazi-era gifts from German and Austrian museums

30 August 2016

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Arts centre dedicated to Seamus Heaney to open near Derry | A former RUC police station in the village of Bellaghy, County Derry, is to become a new arts centre devoted to the life and work of Seamus Heaney, reports the Guardian. The £4.25 million Seamus Heaney HomePlace will open on 30 September, and will serve as both a tourist attraction and a community centre. Though HomePlace will play host to a diverse cultural programme, the venue’s central attraction will be a permanent exhibition documenting Heaney’s life. Heaney, who lived in Bellaghy as a child, died exactly three years ago today. Revisit the New York Times’s obituary here.

Historic England calls on communities secretary to halt north London skyscraper plans | Historic England has called for communities secretary Sajid Javid to intervene with plans for a 25-storey residential tower in Camden, north London, which it says will ‘fundamentally harm’ historic streets in the surrounding area. According to the Times, (£) the tower will obscure views of the capital from nearby Regent’s Park and overshadow the Grade-I listed Chester Terrace, built by John Nash and Decimus Burton. Last week, an Ipsos Mori survey found that 6 out of 10 Londoners would be in favour of capping the height of new buildings in the city.

Renzo Piano to help with earthquake reconstruction efforts in Italy | Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has asked architect Renzo Piano to play a leading role in reconstruction and future planning efforts in the wake of the earthquake that shook the country last week. Piano is expected to commit himself to the long-term reconstruction project in the affected area, which straddles the regions of Umbria, Lazio, Marche and Abruzzo. Piano has called for tighter regulation on planning in Italy, and warned that it may take as long as two generations to bring Italy’s buildings up to optimum safety standards.

Spain requests return of Nazi-era gifts from German and Austrian museums | Medieval antiquities specialists at Madrid’s Museo Arqueológico Nacional are trying to repatriate a collection of artefacts that Spain presented to Nazi Germany in 1940, reports the El Pais (Spanish language article). In 1940, Heinrich Himmler visited Spain and reportedly returned to Germany with a gift of artefacts from a Visigoth cemetery near Segovia. They were subsequently distributed to museums in Germany and Austria. Officials at the MAN believe that the gift was only meant to be temporary (indeed, a few were given back to Spain in 1973), and are seeking restitution (£).

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