In an article for the New York Times, Alexandra Lange discusses a number of US projects which are “transforming, but not disrupting,” their respective communities. In this vein, she cites Mecanoo and Sasaki Associates’ new Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, Boston, as a prime example of a new kind of architecture which “comes from understanding of past civic hopes, redesigning them to meet the future.” Examining some of the key concepts that make for successfully integrated community buildings, such as the creation of spaces that actively forge personal connections, Lange concludes that perhaps it is now “time for strategic architecture.”
The idea that urban planning could build upon citizen action, rather than consisting of imposed boulevards or housing blocks (as with the urban renewal that originally gutted Roxbury) is gaining traction.
Read the article in full here.
This summer, ArchitectureBoston gives readers a reason to linger in their hammocks a little longer and drift away into the world of architecture and design. The new issue contains extensive and insightful suggestions for book lovers looking to build a personal library of new and important titles. Read on for more information.
Available today, the spring 2014 issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, Blueprint for a New Mayor, investigates the critical design challenges facing Boston’s first new leader in two decades. The issue focuses on the city’s challenges surrounding housing, transportation, public space, and regionalization, plus offers recommendations for designing a Boston that is more open, safe, beautiful, and fair. Visit architectureboston.com to read the latest issue.
The challenges of sea-level rise cross boundaries of all sorts: geographic, political, social, economic. Proposed mitigation strategies will also necessarily shift and overlap. Here, we present five case studies from across the globe that offer intriguing ways—some operational, some philosophical—to address the threats associated with climate change. Drawing on a research initiative focused on vulnerabilities in Boston, a team at Sasaki Associates developed these additional design-strategy icons to illustrate the layered approaches. They are adaptable, the better to meet the unique demands of each coastal community.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism has produced a new report examining urban health in eight of the USA’s largest cities, which has been translated into a collection of meaningful findings for architects, designers, and urban planners. With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas – a statistic which is projected to grow to 70% by 2050 – the report hinges around the theory that “massive urbanization can negatively affect human and environmental health in unique ways” and that, in many cases, these affects can be addressed by architects and designers by the way we create within and build upon our cities.
The new issue of ArchitectureBoston magazine, Coast, focuses on the thin border of continental crust that is home to 45 percent of the world’s population. The issue examines how architects and urban planners can mitigate or accommodate sea-level rise and storm surges associated with climate change. Coast promotes debate and offers answers and opportunities surrounding a problem that will inevitably affect most of the world’s urban residents in years to come.
Francine Houben of Mecanoo will present Dutch Mountains: People, Place, Purpose, a lecture on the design of the new Dudley Square Municipal Office Facility, as part of the Fall 2013 Student Lecture Series on September 25, 2013 in Cascieri Hall.
Francine Houben directs her Mecanoo team with the ambition to design buildings with a strong respect for context; physical, historical and environmental. In her lecture Dutch Mountains: People, place, purpose, she presents her vision and philosophy as well as the participatory planning and design process that is fundamental to her work. Houben guides you through Mecanoo’s increasingly international portfolio, which features the recently opened Library of Birmingham integrated with the REP Theatre in the UK, as well as the Wei-Wu-Ying Centre for the Arts in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and the Dudley Municipal Offices in Boston – both currently under construction.
All three projects serve as catalysts for their respective cities and neighborhoods; however, Boston’s Dudley Square Municipal Center serves as a unique North American example of the reinvigoration of a community. With a long history of participatory planning and community engagement, Francine worked with Sasaki Associates, Boston’s Property & Construction Management, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, along with neighborhood efforts, to produce a building that binds this community together. This lecture will present key moments in the process which lead to design solutions.
More on the lecture, including a short documentary on the project after the break.
Boston Society of Architects Housing Committee and Emerging Professionals Network Presents reGEN Boston: Energizing Urban Housing, an international ideas competition with presenting sponsor First Republic Bank.
In the 21st Century, more people than ever will be living in Cities. Generations are drawn together through the lifestyles a city can provide. In response to growing density in Urban areas, cities will renovate and re-purpose existing areas, and new urban centers are ripe to erupt. What new housing typologies will support this love for urban living? If Boston, and other cities, want to retain their diverse demographic, and lasting appeal, there needs to be an enticing solution for housing or, the cities risks losing their greatest asset, residents.
ReGEN Boston seeks innovative housing typologies to responds to Boston’s need to house the continuing life-cycles of its residents. The City needs a new round of planning, charged with harnessing growth and extending it to the many neighborhoods, many of which have been overlooked or under valued.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital just broke ground last week on the Brigham Building for the Future, a 620,000 square-foot translational research and clinical facility designed by NBBJ. Located on the hospital’s Longwood campus, the 11-story project will house eight floors of research laboratories, three floors of clinics, a state-of-the-art imaging facility, social spaces, and a 400-car garage, along with associated site improvements. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Curated by Charles Waldheim, Ruettgers Consulting Curator of Landscape, the ‘Composite Landscapes: Photomontage and Landscape Architecture‘ exhibition opens this Thursday, June 27th, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Examining the montage view, one of landscape architecture’s most recognizable representational forms, the exhibit gathers work from a select group of influential contemporary artists and a dozen of the world’s leading landscape architects. These composite views reveal practices of photomontage depicting the conceptual, experiential, and temporal dimensions of landscape. The exhibit runs until September 2nd. For more information, please visit here.
Opening tomorrow, June 25th through September 29th at BSA Space, the ‘Reprogramming the City: Opportunities for Urban Infrastructure‘ exhibition celebrates more than 40 examples of imaginative reuse, repurposing and reimagining of urban infrastructure, from physical objects to the city’s most functional systems and surfaces. Curated by Scott Burnham, the new exhibition presents a global overview to serve alternate and expanded functions for urban dwellers and visitors. Featured exhibits will include numerous videos, photos, media stations, renderings, and models. For more information, please visit here. More images after the break.
Last Sunday James S. Russell, architecture critic for Bloomberg News and a former editor for Architectural Record, mused on his personal blog about the possible influence Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist University of Massachusetts campus in Dartmouth may have had on Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the younger of the two Boston Marathon bombers who was also a student there.
Mr. Russell describes the campus as “a gigantic eerie, dozen-building concoction of grim ribbed-concrete hubris….” This is the sort of description that drives right to the heart of urban alienation. It’s Edvard Munch’s The Scream. This ability to sum up and drive the nail home is one reason he is the architecture critic for Bloomberg News. No side-stepping here.
Enthusiasm for water and energy data collection for commercial and residential buildings has been growing strong across the U.S. in major cities such as Austin, New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. It’s no surprise to learn that Earth-friendly Seattle is ahead of the game when it comes to tracking its buildings; reports show that the city is receiving data for a whopping 87% of its commercial and multi-residential buildings over 50,000 square feet, which totals to 1,160 individual properties covering over 200 million square feet of the city.
But that’s not all. New cities are hopping on the data collection bandwagon, most recently Minneapolis – the first city in the Midwest to adopt rules for energy benchmarking and disclosure. Other cities who already have a green reputation, such as Boston, are upping their game to adopt this beneficial practice in an effort to create even healthier and more prosperous urban conditions. With the President himself expressing support for cutting energy use by constructing more energy efficient buildings at last week’s State of the Union address, water and energy data collection is finally receiving the attention and consideration it deserves.
More on tracking building energy use after the break…