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II International Ideas Competition Chair CIMC

08:30 - 23 May, 2017
II International Ideas Competition Chair CIMC

The Chair of Innovative Construction Materials (CIMC) with the Higher School of Architecture of Málaga and Financiera y Minera S.A. announce the II International Ideas Competition for architects and students of architecture in their graduation project.

London to Follow in New York’s Footsteps With Camden High Line

06:00 - 23 May, 2017
London to Follow in New York’s Footsteps With Camden High Line, via Camden Town Unlimited
via Camden Town Unlimited

The New York High Line is set to receive a new British sibling, in the form the Camden High Line – a conversion of the defunct railway line connecting Camden Town and King’s Cross, into an elevated public space and commuting route. The invited competition for the project was won by London-based practices Studio Weave and Architecture 00, whose proposal is one of three international designs that have followed the success of the High Line in New York, with the other two situated in Bangkok and Mexico City.

“We think the re-use of this railway line for the Camden High Line outweighs the benefits and costs of leaving it vacant,” said Simon Pitkeathley, Chief Executive at Camden Town Unlimited. “This new transport link can reduce overcrowding and journey times on the existing, cycling and pedestrian routes nearby like Regent’s Canal.” 

via Camden Town Unlimited via Camden Town Unlimited via Camden Town Unlimited via Camden Town Unlimited +6

DELVA Landscape Architects to Revive The Hague’s Historic Centre With Interconnected Urban Greens

14:00 - 21 May, 2017
DELVA Landscape Architects to Revive The Hague’s Historic Centre With Interconnected Urban Greens , via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism
via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism

Serving as a new gateway to the city through the connection of various green spaces and public programs, The Green Entrance is DELVA Landscape Architects’ masterplan for a historic district of The Hague. Given The Hague’s future inner-city densification, which involves the creation of 50,000 new houses, the Dutch firm’s aim is to aid these developments through sustainable and green urban strategies, manifested “through an integral approach between landscape design, cultural heritage, mobility, programming and technology.”

Commenting on the project’s primary function, the architects state: “’The Green Entrance’ connects areas that have been isolated over the years. It starts in the spacious and open ‘City Hall' that connects to the train station and continues to the ‘Koningin Julianaplein’. No narrow doors or gates, but a wide view over the green and lively surrounding public space.”

via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism +18

James Corner Field Operations’ To Lead Much Needed Revitalisation of Hong Kong’s Waterfront

16:00 - 14 May, 2017
James Corner Field Operations’ To Lead Much Needed Revitalisation of Hong Kong’s Waterfront , Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations
Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations

With decaying infrastructure and a lack of viable public amenities, Hong Kong’s popular yet problematic waterfront is the focus of the latest undertaking by James Corner Field Operations, aiming to transform the site into an attractive tourist and local destination. Home to Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars (the equivalent of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame), the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) waterfront is in need of severe revitalization, with areas requiring demolition if not reinforced within the decade.

The landscape architecture firm’s vision incorporates new seating, shading and green space to reinvigorate the promenade while offering panoramic views of the city’s skyline as it guides visitors towards the harbor, allowing visitors to get closer to the harbor than ever before. Trellises will provide 800 times more shade than what is currently offered, while seating will increase 325-fold to encourage public engagement and interaction with each other and the space.

TOPOTEK 1’s Martin Rein-Cano On Superkilen’s Translation of Cultural Objects

14:00 - 14 May, 2017

Founded in 1996 by Buenos Aires-born Martin Rein-Cano, TOPOTEK 1 has quickly developed a reputation as a multidisciplinary landscape architecture firm, focussing on the re-contextualization of objects and spaces and the interdisciplinary approaches to design, framed within contemporary cultural and societal discourse.

The award-winning Berlin-based firm has completed a range of public spaces, from sports complexes and gardens to public squares and international installations. Significant projects include the green rooftop Railway Cover in Munich, Zurich’s hybrid Heerenschürli Sports Complex and the German Embassy in Warsaw. The firm has also recently completed the Schöningen Spears Research and Recreation Centre near Hannover, working with contrasting typologies of the open meadow and the dense forest on a historic site. 

Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings

08:00 - 7 May, 2017
Industrialized Ceramic Elements That Create a Variety of Urban Furnishings, © Javier de Paz García
© Javier de Paz García

In 1855 the German machinery manufacturer Carl Schlickeysen issued the patent he had recently created, the "Universal Patent Brickmaking machine", the first machine created to manufacture bricks by extrusión as an industrial process. 

SCHLICKEYSEN is a modular furniture system based on two types of modular metal supports and standard-sized ceramic curved vaults. All kinds of settings can be configured from the combination of these three elements; picnic tables, continuous benches, grandstands, topographies, and many more typologies can be achieved by just stacking the metal supports and using the ceramic vaults as a horizontal supporting surface. 

© Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García © Javier de Paz García +22

Watch Construction Begin on Heatherwick's Vessel at Hudson Yards

12:00 - 24 April, 2017

Construction has officially begun on Vessel, the 15-story tall staircase sculpture designed by Heatherwick Studio that will serve as the centerpiece of New York’s massive new Hudson Yards development. To build the structure, 75 individual units are being prefabricated by Cimolai S.p.A. in their Monfalcone, Italy facility, then shipped to New York where they will be assembled on site. These first 10 of these pieces have now completed their 15-day overseas journey, with the remaining pieces scheduled to arrive on-site and put into place over the coming year.

Outdoor assembly at Cimolai's Monfalcone facility. Image © Related-Oxford The first piece in transit. Image © Related-Oxford Stephen Ross and Thomas Heatherwick on the 3rd Level of the Vessel in Monfalcone, Italy. Image © Related-Oxford Assembly at the Monfalcone Workshop. Image © Related-Oxford +16

Topio7’s Revitalisation of Former Cemetery Merges Urban Park and City in Athens

12:00 - 22 April, 2017
Topio7’s Revitalisation of Former Cemetery Merges Urban Park and City in Athens, Courtesy of Topio7 Architects
Courtesy of Topio7 Architects

A competition for the transformation of a former cemetery in Nikea, just west of central Athens, has been won by Greek firm Topio7, with a proposal that creates a revitalized public park as a result of “a mutual osmosis between the park and the city”. A number of green buffer zones – “the elastic limit” – are utilized to frame a procession-like journey from the bustle of the city to the calm of the park’s landscape.

Highlighting the importance of the site’s previous use, the architects explain that the “main objective of the project is the creation of an open, accessible public space, a contemporary urban park with ecological-bioclimatic character, with special emphasis on the social dimension and the site’s memory.”

Courtesy of Topio7 Architects Courtesy of Topio7 Architects Courtesy of Topio7 Architects Courtesy of Topio7 Architects +14

Call for Entries: Future Public Space, Malmö

03:00 - 17 April, 2017
Call for Entries: Future Public Space, Malmö

The way we spend time and the things we spend time doing are constantly changing. New technologies enable us to interact in different ways. They also tend to replace older forms of social interaction for better or worse. How can future public spaces facilitate new forms of social interactions?

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, Cheonggyecheon Park in Seoul, South Korea © longzijun, via Flickr
Cheonggyecheon Park in Seoul, South Korea © longzijun, via 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.