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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.

SOM's Inclusive Riverfront Set to Revitalise Detroit

14:00 - 5 March, 2017
SOM's Inclusive Riverfront Set to Revitalise Detroit, The Historic Stone Soap Building will be upgraded to a mixed-use development, increasing density and activity along the riverfront. Image Courtesy of City of Detroit
The Historic Stone Soap Building will be upgraded to a mixed-use development, increasing density and activity along the riverfront. Image Courtesy of City of Detroit

Chicago-based SOM’s plans for the redevelopment of the East Riverfront in Detroit, Michigan have been unveiled. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and City of Detroit Planning and Development Department will work together to deliver SOM’s plan to revitalize the former blighted industrial area. The framework plan involves improving community access to the riverfront, the design of a new riverfront parkland, and the conversion of a historic riverfront structure into a mixed-use development.

An upgrade of the urban landscape along the Detroit River will begin in 2017. Image Courtesy of City of Detroit The Historic Stone Soap Building will be upgraded to a mixed-use development, increasing density and activity along the riverfront. Image Courtesy of City of Detroit Nearly eight acres of land will be devoted to open green space. Image Courtesy of City of Detroit Protected cycle paths will link the riverfront with neighbourhoods to the north. Image Courtesy of City of Detroit +5

Benoy Unveils Newest Hainan Island Plans

16:00 - 4 March, 2017
Benoy Unveils Newest Hainan Island Plans, Courtesy of Benoy
Courtesy of Benoy

Benoy has released its latest designs for the China International Travel Service (CITS) Sanya Enot development scheme, which will be located on the reclaimed Hexin Island in Hainan, and is the second phase of a large-scale plan. Connected to the first phase of development by a pedestrian bridge, the project will be surrounded by the area’s luxury international hotels and natural attractions.

The 32,000-square-meter mixed-use, retail-led space features a “porous and multi-layered environment,” with clusters of small-scale buildings that will create a series of indoor and outdoor spaces for entertainment and retail programming. Buildings will be connected by a succession of elevated walkways and bridges.

Courtesy of Benoy Courtesy of Benoy Courtesy of Benoy Courtesy of Benoy +10

RAIC Honors Roger du Toit with Posthumous 2017 Gold Medal

12:00 - 4 March, 2017
RAIC Honors Roger du Toit with Posthumous 2017 Gold Medal, WaveDecks, Toronto. Image Courtesy of Waterfront Toronto
WaveDecks, Toronto. Image Courtesy of Waterfront Toronto

Canadian architect, landscape architect and urban designer Roger du Toit has been posthumously awarded the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s 2017 Gold Medal. The influential designer, who passed away in 2015, amassed a rich, diverse portfolio throughout his 45-year career, including Toronto’s CN Tower, Regina’s Wascana Centre, and 45 projects across 25 Canadian university campuses.

His RAIC Gold Medal, recognizing a significant and lasting contribution to Canadian Architecture, will be accepted by his widow Sheila du Toit and two sons at the RAIC/OAA Festival of Architecture in Ottawa in May.

Wascana Centre. Image Courtesy of Wascana Centre Authority Roger du Toit. Image Courtesy of Sandy Nicholson Aerial View of the CN Tower, Toronto. Image Courtesy of City of Toronto Water's Edge Promenade. Image Courtesy of DTAH +11

Lemay Wins Casablanca Coast Redesign Bid

08:00 - 4 March, 2017
Lemay Wins Casablanca Coast Redesign Bid, Courtesy of v2com. © Lemay
Courtesy of v2com. © Lemay

Quebec-based practice Lemay has won the global bid to redesign Morocco’s Casablanca Coast, which will include the new seaside promenade of the Hassan II Mosque and the Ain Diab corniche.

With modernity, sustainability, and innovation in mind, the urban and landscape design will promote mobility along the length of the corniche (a coastal, cliffside road) and aims to reinforce the appeal of the coast.

Launched in December, the project will feature an urban park and corniche along the El Hank embankment that will include rest areas, walkways, outdoor sports, and more. As an extension of the Hassan II Mosque, the promenade is expected to become a new Moroccan landmark.

Courtesy of v2com. © Lemay Courtesy of v2com. © Lemay Courtesy of v2com. © Lemay Courtesy of v2com. © Lemay +13

Woods Bagot Mixed-Use Project Named One of Shenzhen's Most Important of 2016

16:00 - 25 February, 2017
Woods Bagot Mixed-Use Project Named One of Shenzhen's Most Important of 2016, Courtesy of Woods Bagot
Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Woods Bagot’s Shenzhen Hazens Longgang Longteng Mixed-Use project has been rated by the Shenzhen Government as one of the city’s most important projects of 2016. Located in Shenzhen’s Longgang District, the 393,000 square meter site will feature 1,500,000 square meters of gross floor area subdivided into office space, retail space, a shopping mall, residential communities and facilities, and over 90,000 square meters of green and public space.

As a part of the design, the development will rejuvenate a river park area running through the existing site, with the northern bank becoming a commercial and leisure focal point, and the southern bank featuring a community of residential towers connected by retail podiums and green spaces.

Courtesy of Woods Bagot Courtesy of Woods Bagot Courtesy of Woods Bagot Courtesy of Woods Bagot +6

The Fossilized Soviet Architecture of Belarus, in Photos

09:30 - 21 February, 2017
The Fossilized Soviet Architecture of Belarus, in Photos, The Mound of Glory. A monument to the soldiers who fought for the liberation of Belarus during World War II. By architect O. Stakhovich and sculptor A. Bembel, 1967-1969. Image © Stefano Perego
The Mound of Glory. A monument to the soldiers who fought for the liberation of Belarus during World War II. By architect O. Stakhovich and sculptor A. Bembel, 1967-1969. Image © Stefano Perego

The history of what is now the Republic of Belarus is a turbulent one. It has been part of the Russian Empire, occupied by the Germans during both World Wars, divided between Poland and the Soviet Union, and finally declared its independence in 1991. Although Belarus is now an independent nation, it is also an isolated dictatorship that has in some ways remained unchanged since the 1990s, and is largely seen both culturally and architecturally as a sort of time warp, Europe's most vivid window into life in the Soviet Union.

Photographer Stefano Perego recently documented the postwar Soviet legacy of Belarus' architecture from the 1960s-80s, and has shared the photos from his 2016 cross-country drive with ArchDaily.

Cinema Oktyabr, by architect Valentin Malyshev, 1975. Minsk, Belarus. Image © Stefano Perego Housing complex "Kukuruza" (Corn), by architect Vladimir Pushkin, 1982. Minsk, Belarus. Image © Stefano Perego Pavilion of International Exhibitions "Belexpo", by architect Leonard Moskalevich, 1988. Minsk, Belarus. Image © Stefano Perego Palace of Arts, by architect Boris Semyonovich Popov, 1989. Bobruisk, Belarus. Image © Stefano Perego +21

MVRDV + Austin-Smith:Lord Selected to Reinvigorate Downtown Glasgow

12:15 - 20 February, 2017
MVRDV + Austin-Smith:Lord Selected to Reinvigorate Downtown Glasgow, (Y)our City Center Map. Image Courtesy of MVRDV
(Y)our City Center Map. Image Courtesy of MVRDV

The Glasgow City Council has selected a multidisciplinary team lead by MVRDV and Glasgow-based Austin-Smith:Lord to transform downtown Glasgow into a “more livable, attractive, competitive and sustainable center.” Titled (Y)our City Center, the strategy calls for a regeneration of the 400 hectare city center that would reorganize circulation and infrastructure while providing new residential options to support Scotland’s economic center.

(Y)our Vibrant Broomielaw. Image Courtesy of MVRDV (Y)our River Park Projects. Image Courtesy of MVRDV (Y)our Great Streets and Spaces. Image Courtesy of MVRDV (Y)our Great Buildings. Image Courtesy of MVRDV +7

Fumihiko Maki Criticizes Indian State Government After Amaravati City Contest

06:00 - 27 January, 2017
Maki and Associates' Competition-Winning Design. Via Amavarati.gov.in
Maki and Associates' Competition-Winning Design. Via Amavarati.gov.in

Last week, it was reported that Foster + Partners had been selected to design the capitol complex of Amaravati, a new capital city for the state of Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India. The commission, however, has not come without controversy. As revealed by Indian news company The Wire, the project had earlier been awarded through invited competition to Japanese firm Maki and Associates, who were later removed from the project under uncertain circumstances.

In a letter sent a few weeks ago to India’s Council of Architecture, principal Fumihiko Maki has questioned the motivations of the Andhra Pradesh government committee, alleging unfair practice, lack of transparency and his firm’s ‘fraudulent’ removal from the project.

Maki and Associates' Competition-Winning Design. Via Amavarati.gov.in Maki and Associates' Competition-Winning Design. Via Amavarati.gov.in Maki and Associates' Competition-Winning Design. Via Amavarati.gov.in Maki and Associates' Competition-Winning Design. Via Amavarati.gov.in +10

Budapest's Largest Urban Development in 30 Years Begins Construction

06:00 - 25 January, 2017
Budapest's Largest Urban Development in 30 Years Begins Construction, Waterfront. Image Courtesy of ADEPT Architects
Waterfront. Image Courtesy of ADEPT Architects

ADEPT Architects has won the commission to design a new masterplan for the Budapart neighborhood of Budapest, a project that will become the largest singular urban development in the city for nearly 30 years. Based on a distorted grid structure, the design will reference both historic and modern parts of the city, and will encompass 54 hectares of mixed-use space.

Located on the [‘Buda’] bank of the Danube River, the Budapart masterplan aims to create a green and human scaled neighborhood rather than just another new modern development. The fantastic location on the waterfront, the existing characteristic landscape qualities and the close vicinity to the central city are the main attractions that each generate huge potential to make the new neighborhood an epicenter of its own, described the architects in a recent press release. 

The Distorted Grid. Image Courtesy of ADEPT Architects Shifting Streets. Image Courtesy of ADEPT Architects Overview. Image Courtesy of ADEPT Architects Central Buda Park. Image Courtesy of ADEPT Architects +12

Vincent Callebaut Architectures' Plans for Eco-Neighbourhood in Brussels

12:00 - 21 January, 2017
Vincent Callebaut Architectures' Plans for Eco-Neighbourhood in Brussels, Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures
Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures

Vincent Callebaut Architectures has released plans for the development of a radical eco-neighborhood at Tour & Taxis, Brussels, Belgium. Covering an area of 135,000 square meters, the proposal will see the redevelopment of the early twentieth-century Gare Maritime, and the construction of three residential “vertical forests” reaching 100 meters in height. The architect’s ultimate vision is a neighborhood which embraces technological progress, sustainable building principles, and renewal of the built heritage.

Situated northwest of Brussels city center, and constructed in 1907, the industrial park at Tour & Taxis originally operated as a shipping and customs complex. Whilst the lifting of European customs borders has rendered its original function obsolete, the Gare Maritime (Marine Terminal) still embodies the architecture of the industrial era.

Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures Courtesy of Vincent Callebaut Architectures +28

Foster + Partners to Masterplan New Indian State Capital

16:10 - 18 January, 2017
Foster + Partners to Masterplan New Indian State Capital, The site of the future Amavarati. Image
The site of the future Amavarati. Image

Foster + Partners has been selected as the winners of an international competition to design a new £500 million capital for the state of Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India. The brief calls for a new 365 hectare masterplan that will serve as a new municipal capital for India’s eighth largest state, which lost its previous capital, Hyderabad, when state lines were redrawn two years ago.

Knight Cities Challenge Names 2017 Finalists

16:30 - 17 January, 2017

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has announced the names of the 144 finalists in the 2017 edition of the Knight Cities Challenge, a nationwide call for innovative ideas aimed at transforming the organizations’ 26 member communities into more vibrant places to live and work. Open to innovators and designers from any field, the challenge requested submissions that responded to a simple prompt: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful?

Winning Proposal for Finland Bay Masterplan Transforms Industry into Innovation

12:00 - 13 January, 2017
Winning Proposal for Finland Bay Masterplan Transforms Industry into Innovation, Courtesy of Schauman & Nordgren Architects + Mandaworks
Courtesy of Schauman & Nordgren Architects + Mandaworks

The City of Tampere, Finland has announced the proposal by Schauman & Nordgren Architects and Mandaworks as the winner of an open international competition for Hiedanranta Bay's new master plan. The design, entitled "Hiedanranta Innovation Bay," responds to the rapid growth of Tampere's central region. Over the next 20 years, the Innovation Bay will see the transformation of the former industrial district into an innovation hub for sustainable economic development, creating 10,000 new jobs, and housing over 25,000 new residents.

Courtesy of Schauman & Nordgren Architects + Mandaworks Courtesy of Schauman & Nordgren Architects + Mandaworks Courtesy of Schauman & Nordgren Architects + Mandaworks Courtesy of Schauman & Nordgren Architects + Mandaworks +15

30-Hectare–Olive Grove Converted to Eco-Friendly Public Housing Development

06:00 - 30 December, 2016
30-Hectare–Olive Grove Converted to Eco-Friendly Public Housing Development, Courtesy of v2com
Courtesy of v2com

Philippe Barrière Collective (PB+Co) has created the urban plan for a new semi-rural/semi-urban development in Manouba, Tunisia. Utilizing an existing olive grove estate, the environmentally driven project includes collective housing pavilions among its ecological design composed of 4,475 salvaged olive trees, newly planted taller trees, and a wild botanical garden that fosters local biodiversity.

Courtesy of v2com Courtesy of v2com Courtesy of v2com Courtesy of v2com +4

Thom Mayne Completes Research on Houston’s Urban Future

14:00 - 18 December, 2016
Thom Mayne Completes Research on Houston’s Urban Future, Courtesy of University of Houston
Courtesy of University of Houston

Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne has completed a three-semester–long study of Houston’s future, given its current sprawling urban conditions and rapid growth. The project, conducted alongside 21 University of Houston students and faculty members Matt Johnson, Peter Zweig, and Jason Logan, focused on ways of addressing the problems that arise from Houston’s historical lack of zoning in conjunction with the largely unregulated growth of industry and capitalism. These approaches include reinventing the current energy infrastructure, changing real estate and density, and leveraging the lack of zoning to generate new ideas.

From Dead Space to Public Place: How Improving Alleys Can Help Make Better Cities

09:30 - 15 December, 2016
From Dead Space to Public Place: How Improving Alleys Can Help Make Better Cities

This article was originally published by Autodesk's Redshift publication as "Reincarnated Architecture: Through Green Alleys, Dead Space Can Live Anew."

M CO Design Unveils Dragon-Inspired Infrastructural Designs for Hong Kong

16:00 - 3 December, 2016
M CO Design Unveils Dragon-Inspired Infrastructural Designs for Hong Kong, Courtesy of M CO Design
Courtesy of M CO Design

M CO Design has released its designs for “Dragon’s Link,” a new dragon-inspired, mixed-use infrastructure on the south side of Hong Kong Island “that will serve a large part of the community and will enhance a local historic monument,” the Tai Tam Dam, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary this coming February. 

Drawing inspiration from local traditions and the natural topography of Hong Kong, the project will create new connections within an existing network of roads and hiking trails in Tai Tam Country Park in “a juxtaposition of old and new,” in order to improve user experience and infrastructure.

Courtesy of Unknown Courtesy of M CO Design Courtesy of M CO Design Courtesy of M CO Design +17