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.
Mercer, a consulting leader that helps other organizations around the world advance the health, wealth and performance of their employees, releases a survey annually that helps multinational companies and other organizations compensate employees when placing them on international assignments. Their survey for the year 2012 evaluates over 221 cities around the world on their quality of living with New York City as the base city and highlights several trends that can add onto what we as designers and urban planners believe makes a city successful and livable.
Read on for the 2012 results.
There’s no denying that London’s airport capacity is insufficient (to put it mildly) – not just for its current needs, but, most worryingly, for the future. Nor are architects ignorant to the situation; in the last few years we’ve published proposals from the likes of Foster+Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, Beckett Ravine, and Grimshaw Architects, offering their own unique perspectives on what could be done.
However, for all the proposals (some emphasizing new off-shore airports, others on bulking up infrastructure or existing facilities), it’s hard to untangle what’s actually being done towards making these ideas reality. To clarify the situation, and lay our doubts at rest, we spoke with Ricky Burdett, one of the commissioners of the newly created Independent Airports Commission.
In the video above, Burdett, a renowned architect and professor of Urban Studies at the LSE (who has previously served as architecural advisor for both the 2012 London Olympics and the Mayor of London, 2001-2006), explains the political situation in the UK that has been preventing action, and describes how the Independent Airports Commission has been assembled in order to help the government through this process.
More info on this controversial commission, after the break…
As a city, Hong Kong doesn’t have it easy; impossibly dense and smothered by unsympathetic hilly terrain, the gymnastics that it performs to survive has lead to the growth of unique urban spaces. Cities Without Ground deconstructs the unfathomable spaghetti of pedestrian bridges, tunnels and walkways, which make up pedestrian Hong Kong. The book, created by motley trio of architects and academics: Jonathan Solomon, Clara Wong and Adam Frampton, graphically dissects this labyrinth in a series of snappy axonometric drawings of 32 various routes through the city.
Read more about the story of Hong Kong’s pedestrian maze after the break…
Saturday in Marseille, France, pedestrians and city officials joined Foster + Partners to celebrate the completion of the Vieux Port Pavilion at the mouth of Marseille’s World Heritage-listed harbor. Minimal, yet effective, this “discreet” intervention provides a new sheltered events space on the eastern edge of the port. With six slender pillars supporting its razor-thin profile, the polished 46 by 22 meter stainless steel canopy amplifies and reflects the surrounding movement of the harbor, creating a spectacle that encourages pedestrians to linger.
More on Foster’s Vieux Port Pavilion after the break…
As pressure mounts to solve the UK’s aviation crisis, the Mayor of London has appointed Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) alongside a world-class team of aviation experts to develop plans for a new major airport in southeast England. The team is expected to resolve the debate on how and where the capital’s next multi-runway airport hub should be constructed, a decision that will play a critical role in the future of the British economy.
Zaha Hadid said: “This work is essential to deliver the most integrated transport solutions for London and the UK. It will enable London to maintain its position as one of the world’s most important economic, commercial and cultural centers; outlining the city’s future growth and development which has always been founded on global connectivity.”
See who made the list after the break…
In an effort to maximize Istanbul’s potential of becoming a bustling regional hub, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim has released a request for proposals to construct and operate what could potentially be one of the world’s largest airports. With the Ataturk airport – Turkey’s largest airport which handled nearly 45 million passengers last year – steadily reaching capacity and limited by land restrictions, the new $9 billion dollar, six-runway airport promises to expand the country’s aviation capacity with the potential of handling 150 million yearly passengers.
“The new airport project will be bigger than any other in Turkey and will be part of our plan to build a new city on the Black Sea coast,” Yildirim said, according to Bloomberg.
More after the break.
It was with much enthusiasm that Denver International Airport officials announced Santiago Calatrava as the architect for the new $650 million expansion that included a hotel, public plaza, and commuter-rail station. However, Calatrava is now withdrawing himself from the project only a year later. Numerous concerns have been cited as the reason for his departure including “financial constraints, unnecessary time delays, and deep divisions” between his design team, DIA, and Parsons International Group as quoted by his wife and business manager Robertina in a letter to DIA manager Kim Day.