We all know what architecture critic Banksy thinks about 1 World Trade Center. He infamously called it a “shyscraper” in an op-ed piece the New York Times declined to publish. But that hasn’t stopped the article from circulating and pissing New Yorker’s off. In true Banksy form you can find it on his website, mocked up to appear like a front page headline.
In it, he writes, “It reminds you of a really tall kid at a party, awkwardly shifting his shoulders trying not to stand out from the crowd. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a shy skyscraper.” Of course, this didn’t stop the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) from recently celebrating it as the tallest building in this here United States of America. Yippee ki-yay!
But- who cares? New York has many other things going on urbanistically and architecturally that render tallness less significant than it used to be, if not outright pointless. Infrastructural interventions of the more horizontal sort, a la the High Line for example, seem far more significant. In the face of real urban complexity and uneven development, grasping for tallness is a simplistic go-to, while the real problems remain down on the street, unrelated to air rights, view corridors, sunlight access angles, and blocked horizons.
And yet cities of the world continue to privilege tall towers as icons of economic and political might.
Kees Kaan, Vincent Panhuysen, Dikkie Scipio Allard Assies, Luca Baialardo, Timo Cardol, Sebastian van Damme, Luuk Dietz, Paolo Faleschini, Raluca Firicel, Michael Geensen, Renata Gilio, Walter Hoogerwerf, Michiel van der Horst, Giuseppe Mazzaglia, Eric van Noord, Hannes Ochmann, Antonia Reif, Shy Shavit, Koen van Tienen, Aldo Trim, Noëmi Vos
To represent a "speculative proposal for the radical reuse and re-colonization of the bridge infrastructure," California-based Future Cities Labhas developed the “Hydraspan Bridge Colony installation: a 40-foot long, quarter-scale model that foresees a dense and agriculturally rich community suspended below the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge.
If the discussions recently held at the Battle of Ideas are any indication, it seems that we in the architecture community are living a certain crisis of confidence.
Not one new utopian vision has been presented in the past 30 years, lamented Theodore Dounas; all these pop-ups popping up are just evidence, said Pedro Bismarck and Alastair Donald, of architecture's fearful reluctance to tackle complex problems or act as a legitimate agent for change at all; and then there’s the problem, voiced by Rory Olcayto, of architects being bullied by their clients into executing questionable agendas.
The Arquine International Architecture Competition has been held since 1998 and aims to explore issues of significance and relevance for society as a whole, foster new platforms for dialogue and promote the involvement of architects in responding to specific problems, while encouraging local and international competition and participation.
Over time it has become one of the design competitions in the field of architecture with the broadest scope and reach. Last year over 420 teams from 22 countries around the world sent proposals.
On this occasion Arquine addresses an issue of timeless importance that will open up new possibilities of discussion, with an open, international call for entries for the design of the threshold between Tijuana and San Ysidro: the transit point that responds to the programmatic needs of those who cross the border here. At the same time it should be viewed as a point of reference of a monumental nature for the busiest border in the world.
According to the May 2013 report by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), every year 13,672,329 automobiles cross the border at the Tijuana - San Ysidro border crossing—double the number of cars on the streets of Sao Paulo and four times the number in Mexico City—while the total number of passengers they convey amounts to 34,180,000—almost equal to the population of Canada. On average they take 45 minutes to cross, according to a study by the Business Advisory Board of Tijuana. Meanwhile, the number of border crossings made on foot totals 9 million individuals. As a result the zone is constantly bustling with activity, occupied by different kinds of people—those who cross, those who wish to cross and those who have failed to cross—an accumulation of people who occupy the space on a practically permanent basis, in a perennial state of indefinite waiting. Meanwhile, the State appears unable to solve the lack of clarity in migration issues, or provide the minimum conditions of security and protection the location demands.
A mysterious construction project in the San Francisco Bay has been making waves for the past couple of weeks. Moored off Treasure Island, locals apparently refer to it as 'the secret project' - and, until now, that's about as much as was known about it.
Despite months of rumors and complete radio silence from Google, spokespeople have finally released a statement on the project, stating: "Google Barge … A floating data center? A wild party boat? A barge housing the last remaining dinosaur? Sadly, none of the above. Although it’s still early days and things may change, we’re exploring using the barge as an interactive space where people can learn about new technology."
While it's a shame about the dinosaur, Google's expansion into technology retail is possibly even more intriguing, as it's entirely new turf for the company: retail design.
More info and an artist's rendering of what the barge could look like, after the break...
OMA’s comprehensive strategy to rebuild the New Jersey city of Hoboken, after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, has been selected as one of ten initiatives moving forward in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Rebuild by Design competition. The proposal, Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge, focuses on establishing resiliency through the integration of key infrastructural elements that not only protects coastal neighborhoods, but also the entire city of Hoboken.
UPDATE: The video detailing Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal for Moscow's Zaryadye Park has just been released. In it the three partners discuss the central idea behind the proposal - "Wild Urbanism" - in which plants and people are of equal importance and "nature and architecture are merged into a seamless whole." They explain how each of Russia's varied landscapes - its tundra, steppe, forest, and wetland - will be imported to the park and overlapped into "enfolded nodes" that will house sustainable, artificial micro-climates that will allow for year-round use of the park.
The consortium led by the New York-based firm, beat out an impressive shortlist. Russian-led TPO “Reserve” came second and MVRDV third.
Zaryadye Park, 13 acres of land just a minute’s walk from the Kremlin and the Red Square, is hoped to “project a new image of Moscow and Russia to the world.” See the renderings from Diller Scofidio + Renfro's winning proposal for Moscow's new and most important public space, after the break...
Cities are diverse places, home to a rich spectrum of people and lifestyles. Chris Downey, however, believes that there are only two types of people, "those with disabilities and those that haven't quite found theirs yet." Downey, a distinguished architect of over twenty years, lost his eyesight four years ago and found a new way of seeing the world. "If you design for the blind in mind, you get a city that is robust, accessible, well-connected...a more inclusive, more equitable city for all." Hear his story, contrasting his daily life before and after this newly found "outsight."
http://www.archdaily.com/449481/chris-downey-design-with-the-blind-in-mindJose Luis Gabriel Cruz