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6 Low-Cost Techniques to Activate Underused Urban Space

09:30 - 23 February, 2017

“Public space is the new backyard,” says Hamish Dounan, Associate Director of CONTEXT Landscape architects. “Great landscape architecture projects can actually get people out of their apartments and going for walks. It can get them engaging in a social way,” adds Shahana Mackenzie, CEO of the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA). Trends to activate public spaces are increasing in popularity around the world; urban parks and gardens, vibrant street places, wider pedestrian walkways, cafes with outdoor seating. So during the 2016 International Festival of Landscape Architecture held in Canberra during October 2016, Street Furniture Australia launched a pop-up park in the underused urban space of Garema Place, in collaboration with AILA, the ACT Government and In The City Canberra. The aim of the pop-up park was to create a small social experiment, “to test the theory that the fastest and most cost-effective way to attract people is to provide more places to sit.” In addition to moveable furniture, the design by CONTEXT Landscape architects included bright colors, additional lighting, a lawn, free Wi-Fi and bookshelves as techniques to make Garema Place more inviting.

The process and results of the pop-up park were documented in a report by Street Furniture Australia, with some impressive results: before the #BackyardExperiment, 97% of people were observed to just pass through Garema Place without stopping, and 98% of the people who did stop in the space were adults. During the 8 days of the experiment, the number of passersby increased by 190% as people chose to walk through Garema Place instead of taking other routes. In addition to this, 247% more people stayed at the place to sit and enjoy the pop-up park and surrounding area. There was an incredible 631% increase in children at the park, double the number of groups of friends, close to a 400% increase in the number of couples and almost 5 times the amount of families. With the numbers as evidence for the success of the #BackyardExperiment, here is a summary of the elements used to evoke such a positive response. Simple, cost-effective and relatively easy to implement, these interventions are an attractive “cocktail” for any underused urban space.

Exhibition Examining Cesare Leonardi To Open in Genoa

08:30 - 16 February, 2017
Exhibition Examining Cesare Leonardi To Open in Genoa, Cesare Leonardi, Franca Stagi, "11.3.1 Carpinus Betulus," 1978–1982
Cesare Leonardi, Franca Stagi, "11.3.1 Carpinus Betulus," 1978–1982

The Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first monographic exhibition on the work of Cesare Leonardi (Italian, b. 1935). In the course of a career spanning more than four decades Leonardi, an architect and photographer, has continuously challenged the boundary between design and artistic practice. In spite of the recognition gained by his early furniture design, most of Leonardi’s oeuvre has remained little known, even within Italy. Cesare Leonardi: Strutture, organised in close cooperation with Leonardi’s archive, sheds light on an intimate yet multifaceted body of work.

Call for Entry: Ground Water Research Project - International School Khalifa Heritage and Environment Park

19:30 - 7 February, 2017
Call for Entry: Ground Water Research Project - International School Khalifa Heritage and Environment Park

The International School seeks interdisciplinary-minded students and young professionals to work collaboratively to develop innovative design solutions for a proposed Heritage and Environment Park. The park will occupy a critically important site at the southern gateway to Khalifa neighborhood and overlooking the 13th-century al-Ashraf Khalil and Fatima Khatun Domes, monuments of great heritage significance.

Design proposals will address goals of enhancing public open space, empowering community, fostering environmental awareness, celebrating heritage, stimulating economic activity, and improving accessibility and climate. Teams will examine techniques for converting groundwater present on the site from a liability to an asset that will provide functional and aesthetic benefits to the park and neighborhood.

Open Call: LA+ IMAGINATION Design Ideas Competition

19:00 - 3 February, 2017
Open Call: LA+ IMAGINATION Design Ideas Competition, LA+ IMAGINATION (Design by A. Koll + P. Pottapu)
LA+ IMAGINATION (Design by A. Koll + P. Pottapu)

Paradisiacal, utopian, dystopian, heterotopian – islands hold an especially enigmatic and beguiling place in our geographical imagination. Existing in juxtaposition to what’s around them, islands are figures of otherness and difference. Differentiated from their contexts and as much myth as reality, islands have their own rules, their own stories, their own characters, their own ecologies, their own functions, and their own forms.

The LA+ IMAGINATION design ideas competition asks you to design a new island. You can locate it anywhere in the world, program it any way you want, and give it any form and purpose you can imagine.

Public Park Promotes Native Biodiversity in Hong Kong

16:00 - 29 January, 2017
Public Park Promotes Native Biodiversity in Hong Kong, © Gustafson Porter + Bowman
© Gustafson Porter + Bowman

Gustafson Porter + Bowman has unveiled plans for Taikoo Place, a new public space for Hong Kong that will include lush native vegetation and sculptural water features. Encompassing 69,000 square feet, the landscape project will feature a variety of spaces, from small, intimate areas for conversation, to larger open areas suitable for special events like concerts and outdoor markets.

© Gustafson Porter + Bowman © Gustafson Porter + Bowman © Gustafson Porter + Bowman © Kathryn Gustafson for Gustafson Porter + Bowman +8

Brooks + Scarpa Reveal Alternate Proposal for New $12 Million Park in Downtown Los Angeles

14:00 - 29 January, 2017
Brooks + Scarpa Reveal Alternate Proposal for New $12 Million Park in Downtown Los Angeles, © Brooks + Scarpa
© Brooks + Scarpa

Los Angeles-based practice Brooks + Scarpa has revealed their proposed design for the FAB Park competition, which sought schemes for a new $12 million public park situated at First and Broadway in Downtown LA. 

The FAB (First and Broadway) Civic Center Park aims to capitalize on the city’s diverse character and encourages strong communal activity among members of the public, through the inclusion of unique spaces for food, art and socializing.

© Brooks + Scarpa © Brooks + Scarpa © Brooks + Scarpa © Brooks + Scarpa +28

Call for Submissions: LA+ TIME

18:00 - 16 January, 2017
Call for Submissions: LA+ TIME, LA+ TIME Call for Submissions (design by A.Koll)
LA+ TIME Call for Submissions (design by A.Koll)

Time is ticking. That’s what it does. Or at least that’s how we represent what we don’t understand. For physics, time is a byproduct of so called space-time, elastic goo created at the very moment that something came from nothing; the moment eternity stopped and the universe began. For geology, time is 4.5 billion years of compression and catastrophe. For biology time is 3.5 billion years of diversification and now the urgency of the sixth extinction. For anthropology time is 150 thousand years since mitochondrial Eve walked out of the rift valley in Ethiopia.

Mecanoo Unveils Design for Experimental Garden and Palace Restoration in The Netherlands

14:00 - 10 January, 2017
Mecanoo Unveils Design for Experimental Garden and Palace Restoration in The Netherlands, © Omega Render
© Omega Render

Mecanoo has unveiled its design to transform The Soestdijk Estate into Eden Soestdijk, “an experimental garden for a sustainable society and a paradise destination for all” in The Netherlands. In an effort to become an educational tool for environmental awareness, the project aims to make a significant contribution to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“The world is facing pressure from increasingly larger and more complex problems when it comes to water, food, climate and energy,” said Anton Valk, chairman of the Eden Soestdijk foundation. “Eden Soestdijk wants to tackle these problems and contribute to a more sustainable society by stimulating and inspiring visitors to change their behaviour in a positive way.”

An architectural greenhouse behind the palace gardens will be the centerpiece of the project, and will house an interactive exhibition focusing on topics like circularity, ecological balance, and social aspects of sustainability.

© Rijksvastgoedbedrijf © Mecanoo architecten © Mecanoo architecten © Mecanoo architecten +9

The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin

17:50 - 27 December, 2016
The Landscape Architecture of Lawrence Halprin, Portland Open Space Sequence, Ira Keller Fountain, Portland, OR, 2016. - Photograph © Jeremy Bittermann, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Portland Open Space Sequence, Ira Keller Fountain, Portland, OR, 2016. - Photograph © Jeremy Bittermann, courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

A traveling photographic exhibition about the life and work of influential Modernist landscape architect Lawrence Halprin (1916-2009). Organized on the 100th anniversary of the year of his birth, the exhibition, organized and curated by The Cultural Landscape Foundation in collaboration with the National Building Museum, is accompanied by a comprehensive website and full color, 92-page gallery guide.

Call for submissions: House of Youth Heidelberg - Open International Competition for Architect with Landscape Architects

10:15 - 1 November, 2016
Call for submissions: House of Youth Heidelberg - Open International Competition for Architect with Landscape Architects, Haus der Jugend - House of Youth
Haus der Jugend - House of Youth

Open International Competition (in German) – House of Youth, Heidelberg, Germany

Since the 1960s, the City of Heidelberg has run the very successful "Haus der Jugend“ (House of Youth), which now has to be remodeled to house its new program adequately. All age groups and educational backgrounds gather here and call it home. With its new building the "Haus der Jugend“ is set to continue and renew its citywide attractiveness and reputation concerning open youth work with children and teenagers. New and multifunctional interior and exterior spaces are needed to continue its success story.

Urban Ecosystem Design Named Winner of Lion Mountain Park Competition

14:00 - 8 October, 2016

Berkeley-based TLS Landscape Architecture has won the Lion Mountain Park Design competition in Suzhou, China, corresponding to the Chinese government's new Urban Work Guidelines. The guidelines prioritize ecological and urban development, as well as rejuvenation of local character in public spaces. Lion Mountain Park will be the first large-scale public project to be constructed according to these values, envisioned as the core of a new urban ecosystem complex.

Courtesy of TLS Landscape Architecture Courtesy of TLS Landscape Architecture Courtesy of TLS Landscape Architecture Courtesy of TLS Landscape Architecture +17

Call for Entries: Lamborghini Road Monument

05:30 - 26 September, 2016
Call for Entries: Lamborghini Road Monument

  • Cash prizes: 20. 000 € + CONSTRUCTION
  • Subject: open architectural competition
  • Target: Designers, Architects, Students, Professionals
  • Location: Sant’Agata Bolognese (Bologna, Italy)
  • Website: www.youngarchitectscompetitions.com

Open Call: Winter Stations Design Competition 2017

18:00 - 21 September, 2016
Open Call: Winter Stations Design Competition 2017

Winter Stations is now embarking on its third-year, opening an international design competition to bring temporary public art installations to The Beaches, exhibited to celebrate Toronto's winter waterfront landscape. This year we are expecting to include up to six lifeguard stands, including an addition three by invited universities, across Balmy, Kew and Ashbridges Bay beaches located in the heart of the Beach community, south of Queen Street East, between Woodbine and Victoria Park Avenues. These utilitarian structures are to be used as the armature for temporary installations, which will need to be able to withstand the rigours of Toronto winter weather.  This is a single-stage open international competition, welcoming artists, designers, architects and landscape architects to submit concept proposals for Winter Stations' temporary artwork installations.

9th International Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona

16:40 - 24 August, 2016
9th International Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona

The International Biennial of Landscape Architecture is an international event, that takes place every two years in Barcelona, gathering architects, professionals, students and professors from all over the world.

The Architect’s Newspaper Annual Best of Design Awards

11:27 - 21 August, 2016
The Architect’s Newspaper Annual Best of Design Awards

The Best Of Design Awards is a unique project-based awards program that showcases great buildings and building elements. Entrants are invited to submit completed works in 26 categories.

The BoD jury will judge entries based on several criteria—strength of the presentation, evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, and, most importantly, good design. The Best Of Design Awards is open to U.S. and international architects, but projects submitted must be located within the United States.

Winners and Honorable Mentions will be published in a new booklet and will also be featured on our website, where they will reach national and

Roberto Burle Marx: A Master of Much More than Just Modernist Landscape

10:20 - 3 August, 2016
Roberto Burle Marx: A Master of Much More than Just Modernist Landscape, © Cesar Barreto (left); Burle Marx & Cia. Ltda., Rio de Janeiro. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved (right)
© Cesar Barreto (left); Burle Marx & Cia. Ltda., Rio de Janeiro. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved (right)

This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Green Thumb."

At any given moment when walking through Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist at the Jewish Museum in New York, one may hear a soft rushing of waves, mixed with the murmur of an open-air crowd. A narration in Portuguese, both spoken and sung, will drift breezily in and out. This is the soundscape of Plages, a 2001 video by artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. Shot from an aerial perspective above Copacabana Beach, the film shows the popular Rio de Janeiro waterfront not in its usual sunlit splendor but in the artificially lit nocturne of New Year’s Eve 2000. Celebrators teem in the space between city and ocean, in the moment between one year and the next, moving in dynamic patterns amid the immense designs laid out by Roberto Burle Marx.

Burle Marx’s design for a rooftop garden at the Ministry of Education and Health (1938). Image © Burle Marx & Cia. Ltda., Rio de Janeiro. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved An untitled work in collage, made in 1967, illustrates Burle Marx’s diverse artistic pursuits. Image Courtesy of Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, Rio de Janeiro A cover design for a 1953 issue of Rio magazine. Burle Marx experimented with new forms in different formats, including works of sculpture, which he often integrated into his landscape designs. Image Courtesy of Sítio Roberto Burle Marx, Rio de Janeiro A model of a sculptural landmark for the unrealized Praça Sérgio Pacheco, City Hall, Uberlândia project (1974). Image © Burle Marx & Cia. Ltda., Rio de Janeiro. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved +11

NYC Lowline Receives First Official City Approval

08:00 - 21 July, 2016
NYC Lowline Receives First Official City Approval, Courtesy of NYCEDC
Courtesy of NYCEDC

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer have announced New York City’s first official approval of the Lowline project in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As the first major step in making the project a reality, the approval will help to create the world’s first underground park, a community-oriented public and cultural space that will become both a local resource and an attraction for worldwide visitors.

Although the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) did express interest in the space last fall, the Lowline team was awarded conditional use due its high community potential.

Courtesy of NYCEDC Courtesy of NYCEDC Courtesy of NYCEDC Courtesy of NYCEDC +15

Spatial Transformation Workshop - Back To Life

12:53 - 18 July, 2016
Spatial Transformation Workshop - Back To Life, Workshop BACK TO LIFE Spain 5-15th September
Workshop BACK TO LIFE Spain 5-15th September

Blanca, a small town huddling at the foot of Peña Negra, a volcanic black rock, is reinventing parts of its structure, helped by impulses from artists’ platform AADK Spain. Part of this process is the rediscovery of the actual potentials of a shrunk city. The workshop Back To Life will be an integral step in further developing these impulses.