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.
The AIA has issued a “comprehensive look yet at the built environment’s role in economic recovery, highlighting six specific policy steps that will generate jobs and help grow the American economy.” Coming on the eve of President Obama’s major jobs initiative, the report cites George Mason University economist Stephen J. Miller in arguing that every $1 million in new construction spending supports “28.5 full-time, year-round-equivalent jobs.”
Miller and the AIA blame tight credit markets blocking potential progress in this area. The publication, “The Built Environment’s Role in the Recovery,” is issued with this problem in mind. “We’re putting these recommendations forward now because it’s time for the Administration and Congress to get real about creating an environment in which people are willing to lend and borrow,” said AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, quoted in a recent AIA press release. “When credit flows to worthy projects, it unleashes the job creation potential of the American economy.”