NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's twelve years in office will leave an undeniable impression on the physical landscape of the city for future generations. The new and revised policies of this administration have encouraged unprecedented growth of New York City and its outer boroughs in the years following 9/11. According to a new series called The Bloomberg Years by WNYC and this article by Matthew Schuerman, Bloomberg's three consecutive terms have made New York City's skyline taller, have made the city more attractive and in turn, more expensive.
For the last fifty years Richard Wurman - architect, graphic designer and founder of the TED Conferences - has been dedicated to creating a platform that compares cities. In Wurman's early studies, he quickly learned that comparing global cities was no easy task. Cities use very different languages to describe their assets, from planning principles to land use types to social statistics. "They don’t collect their information the same way. They don’t describe themselves with the same legend," he tells Nate Berg of Next City.
Thanks to sophisticated mapping tools, delving into the statistical data of numerous cities has become far more manageable than in 1962, when Wurman produced his first comparative analysis using clay models of 50 different cities. Wurman's analog-driven statistical analysis has turned into the Urban Observatory, a website that allows users to choose from 15 variables and easily compare the public data of up to 16 cities around the world in real time.
The 101-year old historic building that houses the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio has gone off grid, reports Candace Pearson of Architectural Record. Through a series of upgrades that began in the early ‘90s, including covering 60% of the roof with solar panels, the Toledo Museum has gone from purchasing 700,000 kW of electricity a month to returning energy back to the grid - making it an exemplar of adaptability and sustainability in century-old public buildings. Find out how they did it at Architectural Record.
The FAR ROC Competition, released shortly after Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard, called for a thoughtfully considered proposal for an 80-acre, 11-mile long peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean in the Rockaways (Queens, NY). The RFP expressed the need to explore a comprehensive solution to developing Averne East, a FEMA designated Hazard Area Zone that experienced extensive storm surge damage and continues to be a vulnerable site for future natural disasters. While the competition focused on this particular site, the full intention is to develop strategies that could be appropriated to low-lying and vulnerable regions all over the world.
The first phase of the competition was completed earlier this month: four finalists and six honorable mentions were announced. The four finalists - Ennead Architects of NYC, USA; Lateral Office of Toronto, Canada; Seeding Office of London, UK; and White Arkitekter of Stockholm, Sweden - will continue on to Phase Two with a $30,000 stipend, due in early October.
Join us after the break for more details on the finalists and honorable mentions.
In the early 20th century rooming houses and residential hotels with small bedrooms and shared bathrooms were the norm of city life: they provided cheap, day-to-day housing near downtown areas (where affordable food and entertainment was abundant). However, a tide of well-intentioned health and safety regulations in the 50s and 60s led cities to essentially ban this type of housing across the United States.
In an article for the Slate, the director of the Sightline Institute, Alan Durning, suggests that this was one of the most misguided legislations ever implemented in American cities: instead of enforcing higher quality housing for cities’ lower earning peoples, it has instead left them stranded, with fewer and fewer affordable housing options.
Gentrification has been a running theme in the social and economic fluctuations that occur in cities. Between housing booms and busts, the revitalization of small manufacturing and the shifting populations cities grow and change organically, subject to a variety of trends. In an article in Business Insider, Tali Arbel traces urban revival by following the successes of craft breweries that have sprung up in desolate and blighted neighborhoods. Brewers have found a home in cities full of abandoned warehouses and factory buildings where real estate is available and affordable. As these neighborhoods become more affluent, rising in trendiness and popularity, they are beginning to price out these same businesses that helped establish them. Where are these businesses to go and how can gentrifying neighborhoods protect social and economic diversity?
On July 9th, The Building Centre will debut "We Made 2012", an exhibition that looks back at the venues, landscape and legacy that made up the London 2012 Olympic Games and the individuals and organizations that made it possible. The exhibition celebrates the UK construction industry composed of architects, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers, and contractors. This exhibition was made possible partially because the on January 27, 2013 the British Olympic Association launched the ‘Suppliers Recognition Scheme' which allowed members of the construction industry to apply for a free license, which, once issued, allowed participants to talk freely about their contributions.
San Francisco's Planning Department is working with California's sustainability guidelines to structure growth within the city in accordance with the state's requirements and the city's goals through the department's Sustainability Development Program. The program aims to reduce water consumption, reduce waste and enhance community-scale energy resources. To aid in the fulfillment of these goals, the program is implementing a tool called Eco-Districts - a community of property owners, businesses and residents within a neighborhood that collaborate to develop and initiate sustainable development projects in their area. Using a set of performance metrics, neighborhoods can shape their projects with custom strategies for their community.
The Eco-District is fundamentally a community-driven development that has the potential to achieve the smart growth of sustainable ideas but also build local urban identity and enforce a sense of place among its residents. The Eco-District movement has already taken shape in Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Seattle, WA; Washington, DC; and Portland, OR is various degrees of development. San Francisco's adoption of this tool will help drive the successes of the Sustainability Development Program with a focus on holistic approaches of neighborhood development and support with environmentally conscious improvements.
Read on for more about the types of Eco-Districts that have been developed in San Francisco.
It is safe to say that architects and planners have always been among those striving for utopian ideals through physical space. Just look at the 20th century, when designers converged around the idea of creating new cities for lives that embraced new technologies. We had the Futurists who were obsessed with automobiles, speed and factory cities. We had CIAM and Team 10 who collectively and individually developed the modernist ideals for housing and urban planning. We had Archigram that developed conceptual creations for cities that walked, were inflatable, and could be packed and unpacked in locations all over the world. We had Superstudio, an architecture firm that developed renowned conceptual works of the "total urbanization" of architecture.
As impractical and experimental as some of these proposals were, they initiated a conversation, not only about the physical space that they presented, but the social implications of their designs. The latest issue of MAS CONTEXT, Improbable,tackles these "unlikely futures envisioned in the past that never became present" and explores how, to various degrees, these impossible and improbable agendas projects came to fruition. Join as after the break for a closer look at the new issue.
The Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) cuts through myriad neighborhoods on its route between Queens and Brooklyn. Sometimes it takes the form of an elevated six-lane highway with nothing but dark parking lots below; sometimes as a deep trench that segregates neighborhood pockets. The Cross Bronx Expressway in the South Bronx similarly creates boundaries, isolating neighborhoods from each other.
Projects such as these, built under the heavy handed politics of Robert Moses in the mid-20th century, show little regard for community development. The effects of these projects can be seen today; the spaces below the highway overpasses of New York City tend to be dark, dingy places that we avoid or rush past. They’re perceived as "lost space" within the city, yet they have an innate potential to be much more.
The Design Trust for Public Space, a non-profit dedicated to promoting public space, sees that potential. With their new project, Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities, they hope to take these “lost” spaces and turn them into safe and exciting venues that will, at long last, reconnect long-separated communities.
In order to illustrate the ingeniuity and innovation of contemporaray architecture, the British Council and curated by the Arts Catalyst, Ice Lab: New Architecture and Science in Antarctica has declared an open call for an international touring exhibition that will feature architecture of Antarctica. With one of the most extreme and desolate environments on the planet, the facilities must be laboratories and residences for scientists working in this distant terrain. The exhibition will feature five designs for Antarctica research stations: British Antarctic Survey's Halley VI by Hugh Broughton Architects; Princess Elisabeth Antarctic by International Polar Foundation; Bharati Research Station by bof Architekten / IMS; Jang Bogo Korea by Space Group; and the Iceberg Living Station by MAP Architects.
Architects and city planners are becoming more and more familiar with the health effects of our built environment. This to-the-point infographic designed by Chris Yoon cites a few ways in which mid-20th century city planning trends have contributed to a growing obesity problem in the United States. This data has alarmed scientists, planners and city officials into stressing the importance of redesigning the physical spaces so as to encourage physical activity and healthy choices.
Immediately after Hurricane Sandy hit the North American Eastern seaboard last October, NYC embarked on a debate on the ways in which the city could be protected from future storms that climate scientists predict will escalate in frequency. Engineers, architects, scientists from myriad disciplines came up with proposals, inspired by international solutions, to apply to this particular application. We were presented ideas of sea walls, floating barrier islands, reefs and wetlands. Diverse in scope, the ideas have gone through the ringer of feasibility. Should we build to defend or build to adapt?
On Tuesday, NYC Mayor Bloomberg announced a plan that includes $20 billion worth of both: a proposal of removable flood walls, levees, gates and other defenses that would be implemented with adaptive measures such as marshes and extensive flood-proofing of homes and hospitals. We have learned over the years that resilience must come with a measure of adaptability if we are to acknowledge that climatic and environmental conditions will continue to challenge the way in which our cities are currently being developed.
What does this plan entail and what can we imagine for the future of NYC? Find out after the break.
Finnish elevator manufacturer KONE has unveiled a new hoisting technology that will enable elevators to travel twice the distance currently in use. The new development implies that the Burj Khalifa will not remain the tallest building for very long. The Burj, towering at 828 meters, has the longest elevator travel distance at 504 meters. KONE promises to double that.
In response to the mounting criticism of Qatar's ability to host the 2022 World Cup, the "tiny Gulf Arab state" is considering developing floating hotels, luxury villas and a water park off the coast of Doha called Oryx Island to house the influx of visitors that will need accommodation during the games. The island would be developed by Barwa Real Estate Co, a firm partly owned by the government, at a cost of $5.5 million. Finish architecture firm, Sigge Architects is partnering with Global Accommodation Management (GAM) to design the various facilities which includes projects for a hotel and luxury villas that could house up to 25,000 people.
"Space, lines, light and sound" are the essential components of the experience of architecture and the most profound buildings have captured these moments through thoughtfully orchestrated design. Recently, architects that have designed churches with these primary elements in mind have come under criticism by the Vatican for diverting from the traditional form and iconography of churches. According to a recent article in The Telegraph, Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas' design for a church in Foligno, Italy has been labeled as problematic by the parish and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican's Pontificial Council for Culture for its resemblance to a museum instead of a place of worship - based on traditional Catholic values placed on the altar and imagery. Regardless of the Vatican's criticism of the aesthetic approach of architects that break with tradition, this seems more of an issue of miscommunication between the architects and the congregations that have commissioned the projects that are being criticized.