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Infrastructure

See New York's Old Kosciuszko Bridge Implode in This 360 Video

16:00 - 2 October, 2017

In the latest in their Daily360 series, the New York Times takes a look at this past weekend's demolition of the old Kosciusko Bridge on Newton Creek between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Built in 1939, the steel truss bridge had become a major bottleneck for traffic over the past 8 decades, prompting the state government to invest in a new cable-stayed design. The first span of that bridge opened in April, with a second span to be built over the path of the former bridge.

 “This is an area that was polluted from the industrial manufacturing economy,” said New York State Governor Cuomo. “We’re cleaning it up, but I think the crown jewel is going to be that new Kosciuszko bridge.”

The Astonishing (Vanishing) Stepwells of India

08:00 - 8 September, 2017

Thirty years ago, on my first visit to India, I glanced over an ordinary wall. The ground fell away and was replaced by an elaborate, man-made chasm the length and depth of which I couldn’t fathom. It was disorienting and even transgressive; we are, after all, conditioned to look up at architecture, not down into it, and I had no clue as to what I was looking at. Descending into the subterranean space only augmented the disorientation, with telescoping views and ornate, towering columns that paraded five stories into the earth. At the bottom, above-ground noises became hushed, harsh light had dimmed, and the intense mid-day heat cooled considerably. It was like stepping into another world.

Ujala Baoli: Mandu, Madhya Pradesh. Image © Victoria Lautman Navghan Kuvo Vav: Junagadh, Gujarat. Image © Victoria Lautman Batris Kotha Vav: Kapadvanj, Gujarat. Image © Victoria Lautman Indaravali Baoli: Fatehpur Sikri, Rajasthan. Image © Victoria Lautman + 15

Los Angeles Icon Angel's Flight Reopens After Renovations

15:01 - 1 September, 2017

Los Angeles’ beloved downtown icon Angel’s Flight has reopened for the first time in four years after undergoing extensive renovations to improve the safety and longevity of the attraction. Sometimes referred to as the “world’s shortest railroad,” the hillside structure is actually a funicular system – both cars share a single cable and are propelled forward in part with the potential energy afforded from the counterweight of the opposing car.

New York's $4 Billion Tappan Zee Bridge Project Set to Open to the Public

16:40 - 24 August, 2017
New York's $4 Billion Tappan Zee Bridge Project Set to Open to the Public, The bridge today (Aug 24). Image Courtesy of New York Governor's Office
The bridge today (Aug 24). Image Courtesy of New York Governor's Office

The long-awaited replacement for New York City’s longest bridge, the Tappan Zee, is set to open to the public on Friday, announced Governor Andrew Cuomo. After four years of construction, the first of the $4 billion dollar project’s twin two-span cable-stayed structures will welcome automobile as well as pedestrian and bicycle traffic for the first time.

The bridge today (Aug 24). Image Courtesy of New York Governor's Office The bridge today (Aug 24). Image Courtesy of New York Governor's Office Conceptual renderings of the bridge. Image Courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority Conceptual renderings of the bridge. Image Courtesy of New York State Thruway Authority + 11

Construction Begins on Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall Transformation

14:20 - 18 August, 2017
Construction Begins on Penn Station's Moynihan Train Hall Transformation, Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office
Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office

Construction has begun on Penn Station’s fast-tracked Moynihan Train Hall project has begun, announced New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo in a press conference.

Located within the existing James A. Farley Building (across from the existing Penn Station entrance), the new 255,000-square-foot Train Hall will serve as a new concourse for Amtrak and Long Island Railroad passengers, while an additional 700,000-square-feet will be dedicated to commercial, retail and dining spaces.

Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office Courtesy of New York State Governor's Office + 11

Behind India's Ambitious Plan to Create the World's Longest River

09:30 - 16 August, 2017
Behind India's Ambitious Plan to Create the World's Longest River, The town of Orchha on the banks of the Betwa River, India. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/azwegers/6309463151'>Flickr user Arian Zwegers</a> licensed under <a href=' https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'> CC BY 2.0</a>
The town of Orchha on the banks of the Betwa River, India. Image © Flickr user Arian Zwegers licensed under CC BY 2.0

Against the backdrop of an ever-increasing number of its farmers committing suicides, and its cities crumbling under intensifying pressure on their water resources—owing to their rapidly growing populations—India has revived its incredibly ambitious Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) project which aims to create a nation-wide water-grid twice the length of the Nile. The $168 billion project, first envisioned almost four decades ago, entails the linkage of thirty-seven of the country’s rivers through the construction of thirty canals and three-thousand water reservoirs. The chief objective is to address India’s regional inequity in water availability174 billion cubic meters of water is proposed to be transported across river basins, from potentially water-surplus to water-deficit areas.

The project is presented by the Indian government as the only realistic means to increase the country’s irrigation potential and per-capita water storage capacity. However, it raises ecological concerns of gargantuan proportions: 104,000 hectares of forest land will be affected, leading to the desecration of natural ecosystems. Experts in hydrology also question the scientific basis of treating rivers as “mere conduits of water.” Furthermore, the fear of large-scale involuntary human displacement—an estimated 1.5 million people—likely to be caused by the formation of water reservoirs is starting to materialize into a popular uprising.

Call for Entries: A|N Best of Design Awards 2017

17:43 - 8 August, 2017
Call for Entries: A|N Best of Design Awards 2017

Be seen by 1,000,000 A|N readers and Members of the A/E/C Design Community! Our Fifth Annual Best Of Design Awards is a unique project-based awards program that showcases great buildings and building elements.

World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Opens in the Swiss Alps

16:00 - 1 August, 2017
World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Opens in the Swiss Alps, © Europaweg
© Europaweg

The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge has opened to the public in Switzerland, offering adrenaline seekers unprecedented views of Europe’s most famous mountain, the Matterhorn. Spanning 494 meters (1620 feet), the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge cuts the 2-day travel distance between the towns of Zermatt and Grächen by nearly 3 hours. The bridge spans the country’s “deepest cut valley,” reaching a height of 85 meters (279 feet) above the ground at its highest point.

5 Online Resources That Explore The Intersection Between Landscape, Architecture and Culture

08:00 - 29 July, 2017
5 Online Resources That Explore The Intersection Between Landscape, Architecture and Culture

At times, Landscape design lacks proper consideration or its overlooked within architecture, as a result of current but preconceived notions within architectural practice and education that privilege building over site, or the constructed over the existing. While at face value, landscape is treated as an abject and constant entity of sorts, the reality is that it possesses a layered complexity of patterns and ecosystems, much of which is increasingly impacted by our own actions, more significantly than what meets the eye.

At the same time, the definition of landscape is constantly evolving to encompass a greater number of influences and factors. We have cultural, built and ecological landscapes, which influence one another and come about as a result of the intersection between the architecture and the environment that we are presented with. As a result, it is important to view terrain in a more holistic light, acknowledging its ecological underpinnings and well as the anthropological effects it is subject to, both physically and theoretically. Here is a list of five online resources, which investigate the interdisciplinary nature of landscape design and its relation to architecture and culture.

New Video Takes You Through the Floating Concourse Envisioned for LA's Union Station

16:30 - 24 July, 2017

Major changes are on the way for Los AngelesUnion Station that will improve connectivity between the stations various train, metro and bus lines. In a new video released by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, one possible future – a ring-shaped passenger concourse floating over the train platforms below – is visualized for the first time.

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.