ArchDaily | Broadcasting Architecture Worldwidethe world's most visited architecture website
i

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

i

Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

i

Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »

h

Nominate now the Building of the Year 2017 »

All
Projects
Products
Events
Competitions

Three Key Elements Needed to Revitalize Public Spaces and Promote Urban Life

08:00 - 24 March, 2017
Three Key Elements Needed to Revitalize Public Spaces and Promote Urban Life, Parque Cheonggyecheon en Seúl, Corea del Sur. © longzijun, vía Flickr
Parque Cheonggyecheon en Seúl, Corea del Sur. © longzijun, vía Flickr

The importance of public spaces in urban life is an issue that has been apparent since ancient Greece and is still with us today. Opportunities to meet and exchange ideas in these spaces are able to influence how the inhabitants participate in the development of their city, and occur in greater instances when public spaces are accessible to everyone.

However, in modern societies, the strategic role of these spaces has been limited. According to The City Fix, a blog on sustainable urban planning, one of the main reasons for this is the overabundance of automobiles. In fact, according to one study by the Brazilian Institute for Energy and the Environment, 70% of public spaces in urban centers are taken up by roadways and other spaces for cars, while car owners make up only around 20 to 40 percent of the city’s population.

How can public spaces be recovered to promote urban life? We discuss three important factors below.

4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars

09:30 - 17 March, 2017
4 Important Things to Consider When Designing Streets For People, Not Just Cars, Perkins+Will's proposed plan for Mission Rock in San Francisco. Image © Steelblue/Perkins+Will/San Francisco Giants
Perkins+Will's proposed plan for Mission Rock in San Francisco. Image © Steelblue/Perkins+Will/San Francisco Giants

Go to any medieval European city and you will see what streets looked like before the advent of the car: lovely, small narrow lanes, intimate, and undisputedly human-scale. We have very few cities in the US where you can find streets like this. For the most part what you see is streets that have been designed with the car in mind—at a large scale for a fast speed. In my native San Francisco, we are making the streets safer for walking and biking by widening sidewalks, turning car lanes into bike lanes, and slowing down the cars. We are working with the streets we have; a typical San Francisco street is anywhere from 60 to 80 feet (18 to 24 meters) wide, as compared with a medieval, pre-car street which is more like 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) wide.

As an urban designer, I work on lots of projects where we take large parcels of land and subdivide them into blocks by introducing new streets. These new streets are a rare opportunity to take a fresh look at the kinds of car-oriented roads that we are used to, and instead try to design streets that prioritize the safety and comfort of pedestrians. These projects give us a chance to design streets that are just for people. Imagine that we made these people-only streets into narrow, medieval-style lanes that are intimate and human-scaled. But even as we try to design streets that might not ever see a single car, we find that the modern street design has become so much more than just places for walking or driving. There are therefore a number of things for socially-minded designers to consider, beyond the commonly talked about pedestrian-car dichotomy.

3 Success Stories Show How to Apply Road Safety Through Public Health Plans

06:00 - 1 March, 2017
3 Success Stories Show How to Apply Road Safety Through Public Health Plans, © Flickr User: NYCDOT. Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
© Flickr User: NYCDOT. Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Vision Zero is an initiative that started in Sweden in 1997 when the country began implementing a series of road safety measures to reach their goal of zero deaths from traffic accidents. As a result, the country managed to reduce the number of deaths to 3 people per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Since then the plan has been adopted by different cities and has inspired the creation of various organizations that are looking to make our streets a safer places. One of them being the Vision Zero Network that brings together traffic engineers, health professionals, local leaders, and policy makers.

6 Low-Cost Techniques to Activate Underused Urban Space

10:30 - 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.

Watch How JAJA Co-Founders of Park ‘n’ Play are Redefining Public Space

06:00 - 10 February, 2017

“Who would’ve thought a parking garage could be so interesting?”

In this video aired by the Louisiana Channel, Kathrin Susanna Gimmel and Jan Yoshiyuki Tanaka, both co-founders of Copenhagen-based firm JAJA Architects, explain the ideology behind the “Park ‘n’ Play” parking garage. Bright red, atop the 24-meter high car park, sits a playground which, in combination with a rooftop garden, provides a unique public setting offering sought after views of the Copenhagen harbor. Watch the video for more insight into JAJA’s design methodology and how the playground helps redefine roles of public space and usage while integrating into a historical urban identity. 

Competition Winning Stadium Design Promotes Inclusivity in Dunkirk, France

12:00 - 4 February, 2017
Competition Winning Stadium Design Promotes Inclusivity in Dunkirk, France, The stadium is located in the heart of Dunkirk. Image Courtesy of Viktor Fretyán
The stadium is located in the heart of Dunkirk. Image Courtesy of Viktor Fretyán

The SOCKEEL + OLGGA consortium have won a competition to design the new Tribut Stadium in Dunkirk, France. The historic stadium, in a prominent location on a canal bank in central Dunkirk, will be transformed into a 5,000 seat stadium seeking to maximize inclusiveness and accessibility.

Public plaza and entrance concourse. Image Courtesy of Viktor Fretyán Interior perspective with concourse in background. Image Courtesy of Viktor Fretyán Exploded axonometric . Image Courtesy of Viktor Fretyán Movement through the transparent lattice animates the streetfront. Image Courtesy of Viktor Fretyán +11

Understanding the "Public Interior," From the Palace to the Garden

04:00 - 2 February, 2017
Understanding the "Public Interior," From the Palace to the Garden, Courtesy of Jap Sam Books
Courtesy of Jap Sam Books

In this article, which originally appeared on BD, Nicholas de Klerk (a London-based Associate Architect at Aukett Swanke) reviews The Public Interior as Idea and Project – a new publication by the Netherlands-based Canadian artist, architectural historian and educator Mark Pimlott.

Mark Pimlott's new book, The Public Interior as Idea and Project (2016), expands on prior publications, notably Without and Within (2007). In this earlier book, Pimlott explored the concept of a ‘continuous interior’—examining repetitive spaces which share characteristics—for example, shopping malls and airports, and which, collectively, set about the urbanisation of the American territory.

The Winter Palace. Image © Marius Grootveld The Winter Palace. Image © Marius Grootveld The Winter Palace. Image © Marius Grootveld Palazzo Ducale Urbino IV. Image © Marius Grootveld +6

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

6 Cities That Have Transformed Their Highways Into Urban Parks

08:00 - 1 December, 2016
6 Cities That Have Transformed Their Highways Into Urban Parks, Courtesy of Unknown
Courtesy of Unknown

Building a highway in a city is often thought of as a solution to traffic congestion. However, the induced demand theory has shown that when drivers have more routes, they choose to continue using this medium instead of using public transport or a bicycle, and as a result, congestion doesn’t decrease.

As a result, some cities have chosen to remove spaces designated for cars and turn what was once a highway into urban parks and less congested streets. 

Here we have six examples, some have already been completed, while a few are still under construction. To the surprise of some, most of the projects are in the US, which reflects that American designers are looking into further studying European transport policies. 

Gentrification's Image Problem and How It Has Been Villified

08:00 - 21 November, 2016
Gentrification's Image Problem and How It Has Been Villified, Revitalização da High Line, linha férrea desativada de Nova York, elevou os preços dos imóveis da região. Image © Steven Severinghaus, via Flickr. CC
Revitalização da High Line, linha férrea desativada de Nova York, elevou os preços dos imóveis da região. Image © Steven Severinghaus, via Flickr. CC

The idea of revitalizing a public space by bringing improvement that brings people together should not generate suspicion or fear. However, specific examples of places that have seen the cost of living greatly increase after their revitalization have been creating paradoxes. After all, does this "new villain" called gentrification have any relation to placemaking?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Although it's not a direct relation of cause and effect, it is impossible to deny the tenuous line between the two concepts. By definition, gentrification, or "ennoblement," refers to the social, cultural, and economic improvement of a neighborhood or, on a larger scale, of an entire region. Placemaking is the process of planning quality public spaces that contribute to the well-being of the local community. The concepts may be similar, but the methods and consequences of the two are very different.

The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors. Are Architects Prepared?

09:30 - 10 November, 2016
The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors. Are Architects Prepared?, Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta. Image © Snøhetta
Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta. Image © Snøhetta

This article by Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, the cofounder of Snøhetta, was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Opinion: The Next Great Public Spaces Will Be Indoors."

Maybe with the sole exception of railway stations, public space is generally understood as outdoor space. Whether in the United States or in Europe, especially now with heightened concerns around security, there seems to be this determined way of privatizing everything that is indoors, even as we are increasingly aiming to improve access to public space outdoors. But in the layered systems of our cities of the future, we will need to focus on the public spaces that are found inside buildings—and make them accessible.

Studio Gang Creates 7 Strategies to Reimagine Civic Spaces As Vibrant Urban Hubs

09:30 - 27 September, 2016
© Studio Gang
© Studio Gang

The Nolli Map made history when it was created in 1748, largely because of its focus on public spaces. With it, Giambattista Nolli highlighted the fact that public places don’t exclusively exist in the forms of streets and parks, but also in enclosed spaces. Yet the importance of our communal areas is constantly being undermined. Our public areas exist to promote inclusion and equal opportunities, but despite that they are being forgotten and abandoned, debilitating their ability to bind communities together.

Given that the main goal of Studio Gang’s newly released, free, downloadable booklet, Reimagining The Civic Commons has been to “help communities everywhere activate their civic commons,” then, it is unsurprising that the booklet includes graphic maps reminiscent of Nolli’s visual aim. The booklet, which arose from work funded by the Kresge Foundation and Knight Foundation, focuses on the advancement of 7 types of “existing assets”: libraries, parks, recreation centers, police stations, schools, streets and transit. Since the start of Studio Gang's research, a larger, $40 million initiative has begun—funded by the JPB Foundation, The Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation along with a multitude of local donors—with plans taking shape in Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Memphis and Akron. The graphic guide is designed to offer adaptable, cost-effective and flexible approaches to these spaces, so that it can be implemented over time and in a variety of different communities. Read on for our summary of the report’s 7 strategies for improvement.

How Bjarke Ingels Is Making a Power Plant One of Denmark's Most Exciting Public Spaces

08:00 - 27 September, 2016

During the IV International Congress in Pamplona, organized by the Architecture and Society Foundation, we had the opportunity to speak with Bjarke Ingels about his approach to theme "Architecture: Climate Change." The founder of BIG told us about the importance of clean technology and how these technologies must be integrated into architecture. He asserts that new industrial projects must also break from traditional paradigms and question established concepts in order to be reintegrated into communities as clean, attractive and multi-use spaces. Ingels suggests that clean technologies holds exciting possibilities for public spaces.

Open Call: 2017 Tallinn Architecture Biennale Installation Programme

05:00 - 27 September, 2016
Open Call: 2017 Tallinn Architecture Biennale Installation Programme, TAB 2015 installation Body Building by Sille Pihlak and Siim Tuksam. Image by Tõnu Tunnel
TAB 2015 installation Body Building by Sille Pihlak and Siim Tuksam. Image by Tõnu Tunnel

Tallinn Architecture Biennale 2017 is announcing TAB 2017 Urban Installation Programme Open Call, offering emerging architectural talent the opportunity to design and build an experimental wooden folly in the heart of Tallinn. The international open two-stage competition is challenging participants to develop creative designs for a temporary outdoor installation, making innovative use of the fabrication capacities with the Estonian wooden house manufacturers.

promote synergy between emerging designers and industry.

Curators of the TAB 2017

Heatherwick Studio's "Vessel" Will Take the Form of an Endless Stairway at New York's Hudson Yards

12:30 - 15 September, 2016
Heatherwick Studio's "Vessel" Will Take the Form of an Endless Stairway at New York's Hudson Yards, Interior View of the Vessel. Image Courtesy of Forbes Massie-Heatherwick Studio
Interior View of the Vessel. Image Courtesy of Forbes Massie-Heatherwick Studio

UPDATE: We've added a video of Thomas Heatherwick explaining the design of "Vessel," after the break!

Thomas Heatherwick is bringing a new public monument to New York City. Today, Heatherwick Studio revealed the first renderings of “Vessel,” a 15-story tall occupiable sculpture comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs that will serve as the centerpiece of the new Hudson Yards development in west Manhattan.

View of the Special Events Plaza. Image Courtesy of VisualHouse-NelsonByrdWoltz Upper Level View Through the Vessel. Image Courtesy of Forbes Massie-Heatherwick Studio View of the Public Square and Gardens Looking South from 33rd St.. Image Courtesy of Forbes Massie-Heatherwick Studio View of the Pavilion Grove. Image Courtesy of VisualHouse-NelsonByrdWoltz +5

nArchitects Wins Shanghai Competition with Home-Inspired Library

08:00 - 16 August, 2016
nArchitects Wins Shanghai Competition with Home-Inspired Library, Courtesy of nArchitects
Courtesy of nArchitects

nArchitects’ Library as Home has won first place in the 2016 International Young Architects Design Competition for the 110,000 square meter Shanghai Library East Hall in China. Hosted by the Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government, the competition sought out designs that enhance Shanghai’s distinct cultural influence and promote community life. 

Library as Home reflects these goals in its design as “a large house for all, with a rich variety of environments that Shanghai’s citizens could appropriate as their own.”

Mecanoo Reveals Plans for Massive Green Train Station in Taiwan

06:00 - 5 July, 2016
Mecanoo Reveals Plans for Massive Green Train Station in Taiwan, Courtesy of Mecanoo
Courtesy of Mecanoo

Netherlands-based Mecanoo Architecten has unveiled its plans for the new Kaohsiung Station, the centerpiece of the massive Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area Underground Railway Project in Taiwan.

The project, which will occupy an 8.5-hectare site, will act as a green connector unifying different modes of transportation and represent Kaohsiung’s vision for its future as a sustainable city.

Open Call: Design Competition for a Gate to Jarfalla Public Park

08:00 - 18 April, 2016
Open Call: Design Competition for a Gate to Jarfalla Public Park

This is a competition to design an entrance gate for Järfälla’s Public Park. The competition is aimed at young designers from the fields of architecture, design and social media.