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The Driverless Future Challenge's Winning Entry Uses Plug-and-Play System to Reclaim Public Space for Pedestrians

12:00 - 22 July, 2017

Of the four finalists selected for Blank Space’s “Driverless Future Challenge”, which was announced last month, “Public Square” has emerged as the winning entry, with a plug-and-play scheme to transform New York’s public realm for its streets and pedestrians. Designed by FXFOWLE and Sam Schwartz Engineering, the proposal was selected by a panel of New York City commissioners, for its response to the competition brief with a flexible system that accommodates a variety of public space typologies, while creating a harmonious coexistence between pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.

Courtesy of Blank Space Courtesy of Blank Space Courtesy of Blank Space Courtesy of Blank Space +17

These Enormous Concrete Acoustic Mirrors Pepper the British Coastline

10:15 - 17 July, 2017
These Enormous Concrete Acoustic Mirrors Pepper the British Coastline, Denge (Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, Great Britain). Image Courtesy of Tom Lee (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
Denge (Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, Great Britain). Image Courtesy of Tom Lee (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

These vast concrete dishes, which can be found along the northern and easterly British coastline, are sound mirrors. Originally designed to capture the sounds of incoming enemy aircraft as they approached the United Kingdom from across the English Channel and the North Sea (although one was also built at Baħar iċ-Ċagħaq in Malta), these military listening devices acted as a rudimentary early warning system in the decades before Radar was developed and deployed.

Denge (Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, Great Britain). Image Courtesy of Flickr User "Bodacea" (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0) Denge (Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, Great Britain). Image Courtesy of Paul Russon (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0) Courtesy of Mark Duncan (licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0) Denge (Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, Great Britain). Image Courtesy of Hywel Williams (licensed under CC) +7

ReSITE 2017’s “The In/Visible City” Conference Unveils the Infrastructural Heart of Urbanism

09:30 - 15 July, 2017
ReSITE 2017’s “The In/Visible City” Conference Unveils the Infrastructural Heart of Urbanism, © PLANE—SITE
© PLANE—SITE

Now in its sixth year in its home city of Prague, reSITE is a conference that has consistently taken a broad view of urban issues, bringing together the largest concentration of the world’s top architects, urbanists, urban planners, landscape architects, and economists under umbrella topics such as Cities in Migration (2016), The Sharing City (2015), and Cities and Landscapes of the New Economy (2014). However, when it comes to events like this, such broad-ranging ambition can be a double-edged sword, flattening and obscuring the nitty gritty details of complex issues. Perhaps reflecting a concern that cities and the challenges they face be seen in full, reSITE 2017’s chosen theme was In/Visible City.

That particular lens reflects a shift in recent years for events such as this to bring into focus that which has typically remained firmly out of view: infrastructure. An allusion to the technical was manifest in the conference’s visual identity: a human heart, with pipe-like arteries and vegetation growing in between the cracks. The heart is to the body like infrastructure is to the city – but just as the body is much more than its circulatory system, the infrastructure cities depend upon is not limited to the obvious, billion-dollar construction projects that make headlines. Urban infrastructure spans all scales and numerous disciplines, ranging from design details to the small print in city policy. In/visible City brought forth the invisible features that give shape to the visible city demonstrating that cultural vitality, social fabric and citizen participation are infrastructural as well.

World's First "Smart Street" in London Turns Footsteps into Energy

16:15 - 12 July, 2017
World's First "Smart Street" in London Turns Footsteps into Energy, via Pavegen
via Pavegen

Technology company Pavegen has unveiled the world’s first “Smart Street” in London’s West End that utilizes the company’s unique kinetic paving slabs to generate energy from pedestrians’ footsteps. But unlike earlier Pavegen installations deployed in cities like Washington DC and Rio de Janeiro (which uses the panels as the foundation for a soccer field), the London Smart Street comes with its very own app – giving visitors precise information about the power they are generating, and encouraging use by offering up store vouchers in return for steps.

via Pavegen via Pavegen via Pavegen via Pavegen +5

Norman Foster Stresses the Importance of Interdisciplinary Architecture in Creating Future Cities

16:00 - 8 July, 2017

Architecture, as both a profession and the built environment, currently finds itself at a crossroads in trying to adapt to a world in constant flux. Cities and its people face continuous socio-economic, political and environmental change on a daily basis, prompting a necessary rethink in the evolution of sustainable urbanization. With a focus on housing, society and cultural heritage, RIBA’s International Conference, Change in the City, aims to offer insight into the “New Urban Agenda” and how architects can play an interdisciplinary role in future urban development.

Speaking in an interview ahead of the conference, Norman Foster is a strong advocate for a careful consideration of what aspects of urban life need to be prioritized when designing cities of the future. For an increasingly global society, Foster stresses the need for architecture to surpass buildings and tackle its greatest obstacle – global warming, honing in on its roots and factors involved to create viable urban solutions.

Eco Bridge Design Winner Creates an Undulating Mountainside Infrastructure in Seoul

06:00 - 30 June, 2017
Eco Bridge Design Winner Creates an Undulating Mountainside Infrastructure in Seoul, Courtesy of KILD
Courtesy of KILD

In response to the Yangjaegogae Eco Bridge Design Competition commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, SLOPEWALK is a mountain-inspired bridge designed by a Lithuanian team, KILD, proposing a structure evoking the “pictorial passage through the southern slopes of the two discontinued mountain peaks of Mt. Umyeon and Maljukgeori Parks.” Seeing a current infrastructural void, the project aims to unite the two neighboring mountain parks over the Gyeongbu Expressway, as a continuation of the sloped landscape.

Courtesy of KILD Courtesy of KILD Courtesy of KILD Courtesy of KILD +12

4 Teams Selected to Envision the Future of Autonomous Transit in NYC

17:05 - 29 June, 2017
4 Teams Selected to Envision the Future of Autonomous Transit in NYC, via Blank Space
via Blank Space

Four teams have been selected as finalists in the “Driverless Future Challenge.” Organized by Blank Space with the City of New York and NY Tech Meetup, the competition asked teams to envision future strategies for implementation of autonomous transit in New York City. 

Participants were tasked with evaluating the future of autonomous transportation through the four principles outlined by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC initiative:

  • Growth - Improve city infrastructure, modulate traffic, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, eliminate traffic lights, autonomous deliveries.
  • Equity - Making sure all citizens benefit from autonomous technology, focusing on accessibility, focusing on transit deserts, creating new jobs.
  • Sustainability - Reduce need for parking, curbing emissions, increase carpooling, introducing micro-transit, new green spaces and bike lanes, renewable energy sources.
  • Resilience - A more durable and safer transit system, reducing drunk driving, “Vision Zero,” pedestrian-first, faster emergency services.

Entries were received from more than 25 countries, proposing ideas for everything from driverless food carts and a fully-autonomous MTA transit system, to enhanced use of NYC’s 311 system as a driverless dispatching center, to Link NYC Wifi stations that become stops for autonomous micro-buses. The four finalist teams were selected by a multidisciplinary jury featuring top architects including Jeffrey Inaba (Inaba Williams), Odile Decq (Studio Odile Decq) and Jürgen Mayer H. (J. MAYER H.).

The four finalists include:

Foster + Partners Reveal Updated Designs for Intermodal Transportation Hub in Spain

12:15 - 20 June, 2017
Foster + Partners Reveal Updated Designs for Intermodal Transportation Hub in Spain, © Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners and Juan Cabanelas have unveiled updated designs for the refurbishment and extension of the Ourense FFCC Station in Galicia, Spain. The firm was originally selected as the winners of an international competition for the design in 2011 with an expansive new structure spanning the tracks. The new scheme will instead utilize the existing station building, expanding with a series of columned canopies arranged to create a new urban square and easily-accessible multi-modal hub.

New Renderings of Penn Station's $1.6 Billion Renovation Released as Project Gets Greenlight

16:20 - 19 June, 2017
New Renderings of Penn Station's $1.6 Billion Renovation Released as Project Gets Greenlight, © SOM
© SOM

New York City’s fast-tracked Penn Station transformation project is moving forward, as Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the closing of the $1.6 billion deal to redevelop a large section of the James A. Farley Post Office into the new “Moynihan Train Hall.”

The project will consist of a new 255,000-square-foot terminal for the Long Island Railroad and Amtrak, increasing Penn Station’s total concourse floor space by more than 50 percent, while an additional 700,000 square feet will be developed for commercial, retail and dining spaces to create a new mixed-use civic space for West Manhattan. 

© SOM © SOM © SOM © SOM +17

Cityförster to Lead Design of New Beijing Government District

12:00 - 12 June, 2017
Cityförster to Lead Design of New Beijing Government District, Courtesy of Cityförster
Courtesy of Cityförster

The multi-disciplinary team 'Wasser Hannover', Cityförster and the Chinese Academy for Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD) have been selected as the first prize winners in one of three initial competitions to design the new seat of government for the Chinese capital of Beijing. Part of a planned merging of Beijing with the surrounding cities of Tianjin and Hebei, the new government district will be located in Tongzhou, an existing district southeast of the city center.

The winning scheme follows a 'landscape-planning-based' concept that is organized through a holistic water and open-space system, responding to the ecological and technical needs of the government.

Courtesy of Cityförster Courtesy of Cityförster Courtesy of Cityförster Courtesy of Cityförster +5

World's First Bicycle Architecture Biennale to Debut in Amsterdam

14:00 - 9 June, 2017
World's First Bicycle Architecture Biennale to Debut in Amsterdam, Chongming Bicycle Park / JDS Architects. Image Courtesy of CycleSpace
Chongming Bicycle Park / JDS Architects. Image Courtesy of CycleSpace

The world’s first international Bicycle Architecture Biënnale - a showcase of outstanding built environment solutions around cycling - will take place this month in Amsterdam.

The event - organized by leading cycling innovation agency CycleSpace - takes place on Wednesday 14 June and will celebrate the cutting edge and high profile building designs that are facilitating bicycle travel, storage and safety around the world.

Helsinki Airport to Be Transformed with Undulating Roof and Public Landscape

12:15 - 6 June, 2017
Helsinki Airport to Be Transformed with Undulating Roof and Public Landscape, Rendering by VIZarch. Coutesy of ALA Architects
Rendering by VIZarch. Coutesy of ALA Architects

The team consisting of ALA Architects, HKP Architects and Ramboll Finland has won an invited competition for the renovation and expansion of Helsinki Airport’s Terminal 2 with their entry titled “City Hall.” Organized by Finnish airport operator Finavia, the competition asked four international firms to create a new airport plan centered around a reenvisioned terminal that will allow the airport to efficiently serve up to 20 million passengers per year. 

Rendering by VIZarch. Coutesy of ALA Architects Rendering by VIZarch. Coutesy of ALA Architects Rendering by VIZarch. Coutesy of ALA Architects Rendering by VIZarch. Coutesy of ALA Architects +8

James Corner Field Operations To Lead Much Needed Revitalization of Hong Kong’s Waterfront

16:00 - 14 May, 2017
James Corner Field Operations To Lead Much Needed Revitalization of Hong Kong’s Waterfront , Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations
Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations

With decaying infrastructure and a lack of viable public amenities, Hong Kong’s popular yet problematic waterfront is the focus of the latest undertaking by James Corner Field Operations, aiming to transform the site into an attractive tourist and local destination. Home to Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars (the equivalent of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame), the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) waterfront is in need of severe revitalization, with areas requiring demolition if not reinforced within the decade.

Part of a larger project known as Victoria Dockside, the landscape architecture firm’s vision incorporates new seating, shading and green space to reinvigorate the promenade while offering panoramic views of the city’s skyline as it guides visitors towards the harbor, allowing visitors to get closer to the harbor than ever before. Trellises will provide 800 times more shade than what is currently offered, while seating will increase 325-fold to encourage public engagement and interaction with each other and the space.

Independent, Community Lead Initiative Looks at "Leftunder" Infrastructure Land in Melbourne

16:00 - 29 April, 2017
Independent, Community Lead Initiative Looks at "Leftunder" Infrastructure Land in Melbourne, Courtesy of LEFT UNDER
Courtesy of LEFT UNDER

With Melbourne’s contentious elevated rail project starting construction, an independent group has taken the opportunity to critique the way that this key piece of infrastructure is engaging with the public. The project, leftunder, is a platform for alternate, community driven proposals for the public space being made available adjacent to this new infrastructure, that which might normally be overlooked and undermaintained. Run by not-for-profit OFFICE, the project has recently culminated in an exhibition at The National Gallery of Victoria's Design Week

As Roads Become High-Tech, Historic Toll Booths Might Need to Be Saved

09:30 - 20 April, 2017
As Roads Become High-Tech, Historic Toll Booths Might Need to Be Saved, Tollbooth in New Harmony, Indiana. Image via <a href='http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/highsm.04189/'>Library of Congress/LC-DIG-HIGHSM-04189</a>
Tollbooth in New Harmony, Indiana. Image via Library of Congress/LC-DIG-HIGHSM-04189

This article was originally published on Atlas Obscura as "The Case for Preserving the 20th Century Tollbooth."

Massachusetts is destroying its toll plazas. By the end of this year, every single one on the Massachusetts Turnpike will have been demolished. Drivers will still pay to use the road—they will zoom through the metal arches of electronic tolling infrastructure—but the routine of slowing down, stopping to grab a ticket, and waiting for the barrier to rise will be gone.

Massachusetts is being more aggressive than most places about sweeping away its old tolling infrastructure, but all across the country, from New York to FloridaTexas to California, road authorities are switching to all-electronic tolling. While it’s too soon to declare the tollbooth dead, it’s easy to imagine a future in which roads are unencumbered by boxy plazas and simple gates.

reSITE 2017: In/visible City

21:55 - 12 April, 2017
reSITE 2017: In/visible City, reSITE 2017: Iv/isible City. Design © Studio Najbrt
reSITE 2017: Iv/isible City. Design © Studio Najbrt

reSITE brings the 6th annual architecture and urbanism event, reSITE 2017: In/visible City, back to Prague at the Ricardo Bofill-designed Forum Karlin.

How does invisible infrastructure shape the visible aspects of a city?

40 international thought leaders will discuss the intersections of design and infrastructure and the presence of these vital systems in the architecture and landscape of cities.

Copenhagen's Latest Piece of Cycle Infrastructure Is a "Stupid, Stupid Bridge"

09:30 - 11 April, 2017
Copenhagen's Latest Piece of Cycle Infrastructure Is a "Stupid, Stupid Bridge", © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/newsoresund/30488229724/'>Flickr user newsoresund</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
© Flickr user newsoresund licensed under CC BY 2.0

This article was originally published on the blog of Copenhagenize Design Co, titled "Copenhagen's Fantastic & Stupid Bicycle Bridge Inderhavnsbro."

It's no secret that Copenhagen continues to invest massively in bicycle infrastructure like no other city on the planet. The network is already comprehensive and effective but the City continues to add important links, especially over the harbor and the canals. One of the more recent additions is the Inner Harbor Bridge—Inderhavnsbroen in Danish—that spans Copenhagen Harbor at a key, strategic and iconic point. It links the city center at the end of the postcard picture perfect Nyhavn with the Christianshavn neighborhood and the southern neighborhoods beyond. It is one of a series of 17 new bridges or underpasses for bicycle traffic that have been added to the City's transport network in the past few years.

The Inner Harbour Bridge was riddled with problems and was extremely delayed, as you can read here. Now, however, it's been open since July 2016. Let me be clear: I'm thrilled that we have a new, modern link over the harbor to accommodate bicycle traffic and pedestrians. I am over the moon that the number of cyclists crossing daily exceeds all projected numbers. The City estimated that between 3,000–7,000 cyclists would use the bridge but the latest numbers are 16,000. It's a massive success. But sometimes you can see the forest for the trees. I'm sorry, but Inderhavnsbro is a stupid, stupid bridge.

Snøhetta Unveils Plans for World's First Ship Tunnel in Norway

12:15 - 28 March, 2017
Snøhetta Unveils Plans for World's First Ship Tunnel in Norway, Examinations of the bedrock in Kjødepollen shows that there is more sediment than first expected. That means that the portal must be built on a larger area than previously planned. For practical and safety reasons, the entrance is proposed built as terraces. The terrace surfaces can be established by known principles for withdrawal of loads, with a combination of construction methods such as wire-cutting and blasting.. Image © Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta
Examinations of the bedrock in Kjødepollen shows that there is more sediment than first expected. That means that the portal must be built on a larger area than previously planned. For practical and safety reasons, the entrance is proposed built as terraces. The terrace surfaces can be established by known principles for withdrawal of loads, with a combination of construction methods such as wire-cutting and blasting.. Image © Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta

The Norwegian Coastal Administration has revealed visualizations of the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel that would link two fjords on either side of the Stad Peninsula in Norway, allowing ships to bypass the “most exposed, most dangerous” waters on the Norwegian coast. With the project now in the feasibility stage, architecture studio Snøhetta has produced a series of rendered design concepts to help the project gain traction within the Norwegian government.

Above the tunnel entrance at the Moldefjorden side, it is proposed to establish a new overhead bridge. The fly bridge cross the portal will also be available to the public. From the sidewalk the public can watch the ships entering and coming out of the ship tunnel.. Image © Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta Moldefjorden: Bridge, with access for the public. Image © Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta Given the scope, a multi-functional facilitation is an important part of the planning. There is a need for a longitudinal guiding structure through the tunnel and on both sides of the tunnel. These will protect the vessel against impact, but can also be used as escape routes during evacuation, and access road for inspection and maintenance of the facility.. Image © Norwegian Coastal Administration/Snøhetta The illustration shows a cross section of the ship tunnel as planned with the relevant measurements.. Image © Norwegian Coastal Administration/Appex +8