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Frank Gehry "Quietly" Helps Redevelop the Los Angeles River

Frank Gehry is said to be "quietly" working on a masterplan for the Los Angeles River in California. Prematurely announced by the Los Angeles Times, the City's mayor Eric Garcetti has confirmed the news, saying Gehry is producing "a master plan, in the truest sense of the word,” pro bono.  

“To have the [Frederick Law] Olmsted of our time focusing on this, I think, is extraordinary,” Garcetti said, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

'The Future Will Just Have to Wait': London's 10,000 Year Masterplan

Alice Theodorou, a graduating masters student from London's Royal College of Art, has developed a project which attempts to combat the challenges that London is set to face over the next 10,000 years. Her scheme factors in projections for population growth and then decline, rising sea levels, stricter energy targets, material depletion, future space exploration and, most interestingly, language obsolescence.

The Depletion of World Lead Resources, 2049. Image © Alice Theodorou  The Depletion of World Sand Resources, 2200. Image © Alice Theodorou © Alice Theodorou World Surface Temperature Rises by 4 Degrees, 3000. Image © Alice Theodorou

Foster + Partners Win Planning for Yuexiu International Financial City in Wuhan

© Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has won planning permission to realize the new Yuexiu International Financial City in Wuhan. Sited near Jingwu Road, once famous for its street vendors, the 147,000 square-meter masterplan aims regenerate the city's core by becoming a "walkable, highly permeable" new district that is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding context. 

“Our aim has been to create a new urban model for Wuhan – a unique and exciting new destination, with a sustainable mixture of commercial and residential uses, but which feels familiar and of its place. Rather than create an enclosed ‘city within a city’, we have stitched this new quarter into the surrounding streets. It will have a distinctive new identity, but one that is inspired by local architecture, history and culture,” says Luke Fox, Senior Executive Partner, Studio Head of Foster + Partners. 

SHoP and West 8 Propose New "Innovation District" for Miami

© SHoP Architects
© SHoP Architects

SHoP Architects and West 8 have teamed up with developer Michael Simkins to propose a new 10-acre "Innovation District" in Miami's Park West neighborhood. If approved, the four-block area would foster the "growth of creative technology industries" within the city and provide "world-class urban amenities" to the surrounding communities. 

"True innovation today requires the very thing that cities, at their best, have always provided: creative proximity. Even as it continues its rapid development, the city of Miami does not currently offer significant urban environments that meet the necessary criteria," said SHoP in a press release.  

X-Architects Win Competition to Design New Masterplan for Mecca

X-Architects has won a competition to re-masterplan Mecca. As designMENA reports, the UAE-based practice has proposed a number of safe and streamlined pedestrian routes to "enhance the movement during the 'Nafrah,' the ritual of moving from Mina to Haram and vice versa" during the religious Hajj. The plan also includes a proposed mixed-use development adjacent to Hima Al Masheir (the holy ritual territories) that would provide service and facilities to those taking part in the pilgrimage. 

Dubai Design District Taps Foster + Partners To Design Its Second Phase

The Dubai Design District (d3) has tapped Foster + Partners to design its masterplan's second phase. Spanning one million-square-feet, the new development will be a "Creative Community" that will serve as a "thriving cultural epicenter" within d3, and an "incubator" for emerging designers an artists. 

“This is an exciting initiative, which supports young creatives, and allows Dubai’s design scene to flourish from within," says Gerard Evenden, Studio Head at Foster + Partners. 

Open Call: PINGDI 1.1 Alternatives for Low Carbon Architecture

In order to effectively guide and improve the development and construction of the low-carbon pilot zone and to strength its international influence, Shenzhen Public Art Center, under the request from the Planning and Construction Management Office of Shenzhen International Low-carbon City and Shenzhen SEZ Construction and Development Co., Ltd., has organized an international competition for the PINGDI Pilot Zone – the urban design for the zone’s one square kilometer and the architectural design for its 0.1 square kilometer. The number in PINGDI 1.1 is the numerical sum of one and 0.1 square kilometers, and also represents the improvement and exploration of the low-carbon development method.

Grimshaw to Masterplan Washington DC's Union Station

Grimshaw Architects has been asked to collaborate with New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle on a $10 billion masterplan that will modernize Washington DC's 1913 Beaux Arts Union Station. Along with the potential to triple passenger capacity, the plan aims to make the station more accessible and efficient, while integrate a new three-million-square-foot, mixed-use development by Amtrak and Akridge over its rail tracks. 

"Washington DC deserves a station that serves the region on a practical level whilst celebrating the gateway to the nation’s capital," said Grimshaw partner Vincent Chang.

Foster + Partners Chosen to Design New Transport System for Jeddah

© Foster + Partners
© Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has been appointed through an international competition to develop the “architectural vision” for Jeddah’s city-wide public transport plan. The commission, made official today by the Makkah Province governor, seeks to establish a “long-term, sustainable” city network plan that will foster flexible growth and achieve efficiency through the integration of all modes of transportation, including metro, ferry, bus and cycle.

“The comprehensive plan extends from the design of the stations to the trains and branding,” said Foster + Partners. “In addition, the development of the metro system will create a new urban amenity for the city of Jeddah at key locations below the elevated track.” The masterplan will also allocate space for public squares and various nodes of development.

SOM Masterplans Egypt's New Capital City

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has released a conceptual masterplan for Egypt's new capital city following its unveiling at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference. The 700-square-kilometer "Capital Cairo" hopes stimulate Egypt's ailing economy and alleviate Cairo's rising population density, while adhering to the cultural and climatic conditions of its site.

All the details, after the break.

Train Station. Image © SOM Night View. Image © SOM Government District. Image © SOM Innovation District. Image © SOM

Città della Scienza Masterplan Predicts Future of Self-Sustaining Cities

Developed for an international planning and architectural competition, this proposed masterplan for the Città della Scienza by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, coffice - studio di architettura e urbanistica, and Studio d'Architettura Briguglio Morales fuses sustainability with history to propose a self-sufficient urban ecosystem in Italy. Operating on the principle of living facades, the Città della Scienza revitalizes the forgotten military district into a vibrant, continually regenerating living city.

Read on after the break for a closer look at the plan.

Aerial View. Image Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture Residential. Image Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture View toward Hotel. Image Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architecture

See BIG & Heatherwick's Design for Google's California Headquarters

Images have been unveiled of BIG and Heatherwick Studio’s design for Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The plan, submitted to city council today, proposes to redevelop and expand the company’s home office with a series of lightweight canopy-like structures organized within a flexible landscape of bicycle paths and commercial opportunities for local companies. 

"It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working,” says Google. “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas… Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”

A video about the design and a statement from Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, after the break. 

© Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio © Google / BIG / Heatherwick Studio

Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts Reveals Expansion Plans with Buildings by Steven Holl and Lake|Flato

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has released plans for an ambitious $450 million expansion that will transform it into one of the largest art campuses in the US. The 14-acre masterplan will include three new buildings - one by Texas-based Lake|Flato Architects and two others by museum aficionado Steven Holl Architects - connected by a pedestrianized landscape of reflecting pools and gardens. 

The first scheduled to break ground (this year) is the Steven Holl-designed, 80,000-square-foot new home for the Glassell School of Art. The L-shaped, pre-cast concrete structure will, as MFAH describes, pride itself as an extension of the campus landscape, featuring a stepped amphitheater that leads up to a walkable, trellised roof garden.

The Glassell School of Art. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects The Glassell School of Art. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation. Image © Lake|Flato Architects The Nancy and Rich Kinder Building. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Project Meganom Wins Contest to Transform Moscow Riverfront

Russian practice Project Meganom has been announced as the winner in a competition to drastically transform the Moscow riverfront. Their masterplan proposal aims to create a series of linear green spaces, while also incorporating new cultural and education spaces along the waterfront and improving the surrounding public transport. Announced at the IV annual Moscow Urban Forum which opened earlier today, the goal of the competition was to return the Moscow river from a "barrier" into a "link" in the city, restoring its historical status as the city's heart and most important transportation route.

Read on after the break for more details of Project Meganom's masterplan

Parliament Gardens Port © Courtesy of Project Meganom Parliament Gardens © Courtesy of Project Meganom Future ports, birds view © Courtesy of Project Meganom Green Channel birds view © Courtesy of Project Meganom

Foster + Partners Reveals Cardiff Central Square Masterplan

Millennium Walkway. Image Courtesy of Cardiff City Council
Millennium Walkway. Image Courtesy of Cardiff City Council

The City of Cardiff has unveiled plans by Foster + Partners to redesign the city's Central Square, close to the Millennium Stadium, adding over a million square feet of office, retail and residential buildings organized around a new civic square. Explaining that it is "the key gateway to Cardiff" for many visitors, City Council leader Phil Bale said that Central Square's "role in providing a positive image for Cardiff and Wales cannot be underestimated," adding that Foster + Partners' design is "reflective of the City’s ambition to be amongst the most ‘liveable’ cities in the world."

More on the plan after the break

SCAPE Wins 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge with Climate Change Adaptation Plan

"Don't fight forces, use them." - R. Buckminster Fuller

SCAPE’s comprehensive climate change adaptation and community development project, Living Breakwaters has been announced as winner of the 2014 Fuller Challenge, “socially responsible design’s highest award.” Announced by the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI), the proposal was selected over seven shortlisted humanitarian initiatives and will receive a $100,000 prize for their innovative solution to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems. 

"Living Breakwaters is about dissipating and working with natural energy rather than fighting it. It is on the one hand an engineering and infrastructure-related intervention, but it also has a unique biological function as well. The project team understand that you cannot keep back coastal flooding in the context of climate change, but what you can do is ameliorate the force and impact of 100 and 500 year storm surges to diminish the damage through ecological interventions, while simultaneously catalyzing dialog to nurture future stewards of the built environment," said Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, a 2014 senior advisor and jury member.

More on Living Breakwaters, after the break.

Herzog & de Meuron Designs 205-Meter Tower and Research Center for Swiss Pharmaceutical Company

Herzog & de Meuron has unveiled plans for the modernization of the Roche pharmaceutical company’s Basel headquarters. With the first tower already under construction, the overall vision is to consolidate and update all existing facilities, including a historic Otto R. Salvisberg-designed office building, as well as construct a new, four-tower research center and 205-meter tall office tower by 2022. 

"The planned consolidation of the existing industrial site will eliminate the need to build over green zones", emphasizes Jürg Erismann, Head of the Basel/Kaiseraugst Site. "Instead, Roche will be making more efficient use of those parts of the site that have already been developed but cannot be expanded.” 

Rogers Partners and PWP's Constitution Gardens Redesign Approved for National Mall

Rogers Partners (formally known as Rogers Marvel Architects) and PWP Landscape Architecture’s redesign for the National Mall’s neglected Constitution Gardens has received unanimous approval from the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). The 50-acre project, which was originally won through a competition in 2012, will now move forward with its first phase.