The construction of Hudson Yards, the biggest private real estate development in the history of the United States and currently the largest development in New York City since the Rockefeller Center, is gaining momentum. The vast infrastructural project in the heart of the city is set to enclose an active rail yard with an expansive platform, paving the way for 28 acres (and 17 million square feet) of commercial and residential space. Housing over 100 commercial units, 5000 residences, 14 acres of open public space, an enormous school and luxury hotel all on top of a working train depot, the project will directly connect to a new subway station and meet with the High Line.
First-Place Winner of Santiago Landmark Competition: Smiljan Radic + Gabriela Medrano + Ricardo Serpell
Smiljan Radic, Gabriela Medrano, and Ricardo Serpell have won a competition to design a new landmark for Santiago, Chile: an antenna tower to be placed on the summit of San Cristobal Hill, in the heart of the city. The “Santiago Antenna Tower,” a unique telecommunications tower with panoramic views, should be completed in 2017, in time for the centenary of the Metropolitan Park of Santiago.
Further detail and the architect’s description of the project, after the break.
We architects know full well the power of renderings to capture the imagination. Apparently – so too do politicians. Capitalizing on the popularity of adaptive reuse projects around the world (a trend instigated by the success of New York’s High Line), French politician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has made converting Paris’ unused “ghost stations” a major part of her platform, promising that these projects will come to pass should she be elected mayor.
The renderings, by Manal Rachdi OXO Architects and Nicolas Laisné Associés, show the Arsenal station (unused since 1939) alternately as a swimming pool, a green park, restaurant, disco, or theater. As there are in fact 16 disused metro stations in Paris, the idea behind these renderings is to instigate debate among practitioners as to how these spaces could best serve the city. See all the renderings, after the break.
Writing for Future Cape Town, this article by Julia Thayne – originally titled The Skycycle: A Plan for the People? - explores the proposal by Foster + Partners to build an elevated cycle highway above London’s, explaining why it is little more than an optimistic pipe-dream.
Headlines in London this November were grim. Six cyclist deaths in less than a fortnight. All but one cyclist killed in accidents involving trucks, buses, or coaches. People were understandably concerned. From 3,000 miles away, my mother sent me a fluorescent coat and another set of bike lights, and as a cyclist commuter, I avoided roundabouts that I had previously sailed through, noting that cars seemed to be driving more slowly and other cyclists thinking twice before flouting traffic laws.
In response to the deaths, the public and public sector alike launched a “cycling state of emergency.” Officers patrolled the streets to ticket both vehicles driving unsafely and cyclists disobeying road rules. A thousand citizens gathered for a candlelight vigil at the roundabout where three cyclists’ lives had been claimed. Another thousand staged a “die-in” outside of Transport for London’s headquarters, in which protesters lay down in the streets, using their bicycles to block traffic. Newspaper columns, magazine articles, and blog spots examined and re-examined the safety of cycling routes around London. Mayor Boris Johnson’s Cycle Superhighways (four blue-painted, supposedly safety-enhanced cycling routes around London) became a particularly contentious topic of discussion, as three of the six cyclist deaths during those two weeks (and of the 14 deaths thus far in 2013) had occurred on or near one of these routes.
From the conversation about cycling and safety, the Skycycle has emerged.
Read on for the problems with the Skycycle project
The AIA has given the 25 year award - for architectural projects which have stood the test of time – to the Washington DC Metro System. Designed by Harry Weese and opened in 1976, the metro system has been praised for its application of a sense of civic dignity to the function of transportation, as well as the consistency of the design across its 86 stations. You can read an accompanying article about the design of the Metro System here.
Located in Doha, Sharq Crossing is a set of three interconnected bridges spanning almost ten kilometres in the Doha Bay. Designed by the famed architect Santiago Calatrava, the bridge will connect the city’s cultural district in the north to Hamad International Airport and the central business district in West Bay. The bridges, which are designed to accomodate as many as 2,000 vehicles an hour per lane, are also flanked by a series of subsea tunnels to manage and direct the flow of traffic across the bay.
OMA has won an international competition to design Pont Jean-Jacques Bosc, a bridge across the river Garonne in Bordeaux, France, that will link the municipalities of Bègles and Floriac. The 44m by 545m bridge, which will act as “a generous new public space” and “an urban planning intervention” for the city, giving priority to pedestrian traffic, is the first to be realized by OMA. It is scheduled for completion in 2018.
According to Clément Blanchet, director of OMA France, the bridge ”is not the ‘event’ in the city, but a platform that can accommodate events of the city [...it] may be the least technical, least lyrical, but [it is] the most concise and effective structural solution.”
The architect’s description of the project, after the break…
According to John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit may soon be removing one of its downtown freeways, the I-375, and converting the trench-like road into a more pedestrian friendly surface level street. The change could be a boon to residents of nearby areas such as Lafayette Park and Eastern Market, which were cut off when the road was built in 1964, and follows a wider trend of cities removing freeways in order to regenerate downtown areas. The city government is currently working with major stakeholders to investigate the potential effects of the change, with a proposal due for summer 2014. You can read the full article here.
Crossrail, “the largest infrastructure project in Europe, costing more, for example, than the London Olympics“, has been slowly winding it’s way beneath London for years. Getting access to the labyrinthine collection of underground tunnels and volumes, Rowan Moore of The Observer says that – despite the superficial furore surrounding it – this £5 billion undertaking will eventually be worth it: alongside the tunnels and tracks will be three million square feet (“or about six Gherkins“) of commercial development, and one million square feet of ‘public realm’.
Architecture firm, penda design house, led by Chris Precht and in collaboration with Alex Daxböck, submitted designs of a pedestrian bridge for the RIBA-sponsored Salford Meadows Bridge Competition in England.
The “O” is an elegantly simple concept, manifesting itself as a striking reinterpretation of a traditional pedestrian bridge. The multifaceted bridge offers unique and evolving perspectives to approaching pedestrians, culminating in a mesmerizing ellipse that engulfs those crossing the Irwell River. “Creating an inviting gesture for the Salford meadows was a main goal,” says Precht, we envisioned “a transition space, where the structure almost hugs you.”
In this article, which originally appeared on AIArchitect, Sara Fernández Cendón discusses the opportunities and challenges for US architects who are taking advantage of Brazil’s infrastructure development boom, particularly in the wake of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Until Brazil was selected to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, only three countries had hosted both events back-to-back. Successful bids for either event are usually equal parts proof that the country already has what it takes and a promise that it will do whatever else necessary to make things run smoothly.
In Brazil’s case, the “promise” part has generated a handful of projects for architectural firms around the world; Populous is responsible for conceptual design a stadium in the city of Natal, for example. And some observers believe that World Cup building delays could generate a rush of last-minute opportunities for foreign construction professionals. But even if these two headline-grabbing events haven’t been fully planned and designed by foreigners new to Brazil, the country is evolving into an emerging market for American architects, built on its intense thirst for upgraded commercial and transit infrastructure.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, design charettes involving the Gulf coast community led to many proposals, ranging from the large-scale (establishing Gulfport as a major harbor city) to the more personal (bike paths). Eight years after the fact, many of these projects are still in progress, or have yet to begin – but the outlook remains bright. The Sun-Herald‘s Michael Newsom explores the background behind these efforts, and explains the hurdles they’ve faced along the way. Read the full piece here.
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) cuts through myriad neighborhoods on its route between Queens and Brooklyn. Sometimes it takes the form of an elevated six-lane highway with nothing but dark parking lots below; sometimes as a deep trench that segregates neighborhood pockets. The Cross Bronx Expressway in the South Bronx similarly creates boundaries, isolating neighborhoods from each other.
Projects such as these, built under the heavy handed politics of Robert Moses in the mid-20th century, show little regard for community development. The effects of these projects can be seen today; the spaces below the highway overpasses of New York City tend to be dark, dingy places that we avoid or rush past. They’re perceived as “lost space” within the city, yet they have an innate potential to be much more.
The Design Trust for Public Space, a non-profit dedicated to promoting public space, sees that potential. With their new project, Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities, they hope to take these “lost” spaces and turn them into safe and exciting venues that will, at long last, reconnect long-separated communities.
More on this exciting program, after the break.
Phase 1 of the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, the largest public works project in the history of Los Angeles, has been completed. The new airport, designed by Fentress Architects to be a LEED-certified landmark for the city, will feature a flowing, ocean-inspired roofline, a three-story,150,000-square-foot Great Hall, and one of the most advanced multimedia Integrated Environmental Media Systems (IEMS) in the world. The $1.5 billion project has been funded solely from LAX’s operating revenues, without public funds.
Japan, inventor of the world’s first bullet train, recently unveiled plans for an even faster and more radical train model: a floating train, powered by magnets, that will travel 100 mph faster than current bullet trains (about 300 mph). The maglev train, standing for “magnetic levitation,” will run between Tokyo and Osaka, an estimated distance of 315 miles, cost $64 billion, and be completed by 2045.
High-speed rail has already revolutionized national and international transportation in many parts of the world - for example, China has a maglev that already goes 270mph – and now high-speed is transitioning into hyper-speed. Last year, we reported that Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and co-founder of both PayPal and Tesla Motors, shared with the public his desire to patent a new mode of transportation – the “Hyperloop” that would get passengers from San Francisco to LA in only 30 minutes.
So what might the future hold for train travel? And, more importantly, how will it affect our cities and the people who live in them?
For more on the maglev train and the future of rail, read on.
In the early years of the New York City subway system, natural light played a dominant role in the illumination of subterranean spaces. The architecture emphasized a connection to the sky, often through skylights planted in the median of city avenues above — lenses in the concrete sidewalks.
However, it proved extremely difficult to keep the skylights clean, and light eventually stopped passing through. Subway authorities moved toward an almost exclusive reliance on electric lighting. While this allowed for greater flexibility in station design, permitting construction at any location and depth, it also created a sense of disorientation and alienation for some passengers.
Read more about this “enlightening” subway station, after the break…
The architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava has once again made the headlines of Spanish papers – and, once again, for less than favorable reasons.
Calatrava’s latest controversy is a lawsuit filed against him by the famous Bodegas Domecq winery, property of the Ysios Laguardia in Rioja, Spain. Both the Valencian architect as well as those involved in the winery’s construction are being asked to pay two million euros to the winery, a sum that should help cover a renovation as well as the costs the winery has incurred over the last two years fixing the structure’s leaky roof. The owner claims that the leaks have been creating a damp atmosphere (in a building where moisture control is critical for the quality of the wine) and thus damaging his business.