In the LA neighborhood of Echo Park, Bestor Architecture is bringing a new type of community-friendly, pedestrian-friendly development to the United States. The Blackbirds project is described by Barbara Bestor as introducing "stealth density" to the Echo Park neighborhood, imitating the size and roofline of the surrounding houses but incorporating multiple homes under one roof.
The design looks to the Dutch concept of the 'Woonerf', or living street, to propose a space which favors pedestrians and cyclists over cars, and features landscape design by Mia Lehrer + Associates, creating a communal space around which a 'micro-community' can thrive.
In recent years, crowdfunding websites have taken the world by storm. Sites like Kickstarter have been used to fund books, films, products, and even been used to fund architecture projects, with success for projects like +Pool in New York and the Luchtsingel in Rotterdam. However, one drawback which prevents such 'kickstarter urbanism' from taking off more is the way the platform constrains the design of the projects: in both instances, construction elements are offered as rewards for the backers, who get to mark their contribution by having their name inscribed on the project itself. In response to this, other crowdfunding sites specifically tailored for designers have used different models for raising money. Spacehive works by leveraging the interest of local people in an urban project, doing away with the rewards system in favor of the implicit reward of improved public space.
But now, a new site called "Make Architecture Happen" is attempting to bridge the gap, providing a way to draw funds from a worldwide audience without compromising on design freedom. Read more about the site, and see some of our favorite projects from its launch, after the break.
Rumor has it that Constructivist architect Konstantin Melnikov’s Bakhmetevsky bus garage may soon be transformed into Moscow’s prime modern art gallery. An “equivalent to London’s Tate Modern,” as the Calvert Journal describes, the historic 1927 structure has been said to be the most likely location for the new museum, dubbed “Pushkin Modern.”
Apertures reflect a current architectural discourse of digital ecologies, emphasizing the relationship between the natural world and advances in digital technology, which leads to a new type of interactive, organic buildings. The installation focuses on a symbiotic relationship between nature, building morphologies, and material expression.
A New York City icon that once rivaled structures such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, colloquially known as the Twin Towers, was one of the most recognized structures in history. Designed by Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, it held the title of Tallest Building in the World from 1972–1974. Up until its unfortunate demise, the WTC site was a major destination, accommodating 500,000 working people and 80,000 visitors on a typical weekday.
In response to New York City’s rapidly expanding population, NBRS + Partners has proposed a 40 story tall skyscraper that could help the city embrace its rapidly shifting demographics and size. Entitled “VIVO on High Line,” the adaptable steel-frame tower is essentially the vertical extension of the city’s beloved High Line park.
“The podium screen engulfs the High Line folding it in and extending the lifeblood into the building base, like capillary action drawing it vertically,” described the team.
Five young design graduates based in Britain have recently won a competition to design an artist’s residency in the south-western region of the United Kingdom. Titled "The Observatories," these residences are split into two separate volumes: a study and a workshop. Artists will be able to live in the private back section of the study, which has a fold-out bed and necessary amenities. The workshop will be more open, allowing artists to teach and engage with the public. Both volumes are capable of rotating 360 degrees, giving residents a fresh frame of view, and facilitating interaction between these residents and passerby.
A new private house designed by an exceptional Japanese architect, Terunobu Fujimori, has opened. The new building is located in a small provincial town near to Tokyo. Neighbored by typical one-family residences, the newcomer comes to the fore. Different, shiny and apparently softmetallic façade catches the visitor’s eye.
Yet the scaleof the building is much smaller than one might expect. Every height, width and depth are accurately measured and left from a certain point of view spatially stingy: no waste is admissible here.
Six teams have been invited to form interdisciplinary teams in Washington D.C.’s 11th Street Bridge Park competition. Envisioned as a “21st century play space,” the project intends to unify two disconnected parts of the city with a single, multi-use parkscape that will span the width of the Anacostia River. If approved, the Bridge Park will host array of programs, from an education center and performance space, to a cafe and water sport activity areas. Review the complete list of shortlisted teams, after the break...
In 2009, the Brazilian government launched the social housing program “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (“My House, My Life”), which aims to build 3.4 million housing units by the end of 2014. Minha Casa—Nossa Cidade (Ruby Press, 2014), produced by the MAS Urban Design program at the ETH Zurich, examines the project at a critical time and presents ways to improve its design and implementation. Divided into three chapters, the book reviews the history, guidelines, and construction of the “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” program (MCMV) through long-form essays, opinion pieces, interviews, diagrams, and photographic image material. The following excerpt, written by Sandra Becker, proposes an answer to the question of why the program - despite its aims to meet the huge demand for housing for low-income families - has thus far failed to provide the Brazilian people the “quality cities [they] desire.”
From the Publisher. In June 2013, Brazil saw a wave of protests unprecedented in the country's history. Millions of people filled the streets demanding better education, public transportation, and healthcare. While the rage driving the protests was directed at politicians, it is unlikely that the problem can be reduced to the failure of the political system. Instead, shouldn't the protests point out the inequalities caused by the neoliberal policies that dominate the global economy?
In the first quarter of 2009, responding to the global financial crisis that had begun the previous year, the Brazilian government launched an ambitious social housing program to encourage the economy's construction sector. The program, “Minha Casa, Minha Vida,” was initially developed to build one million houses. In September 2011, the program launched its second phase with a goal of providing another 2.4 million housing units. The program aims to confront a historical deficiency in housing, a shortage of approximately 5.8 million dwellings.
From the publisher. JA93 Spring 2014 issue features 55 works by Kazuo Shinohara, one of the most influential architects in the generation after the Metabolists. The issue consists of photographs and drawings which appeared in the original issues of Shinkenchiku and original descriptive texts by the architect.