Nowadays bicycles are not only used for sports or as a recreational activity, as more and more people are choosing bicycles as their main means of transportation.
Architecture plays a fundamental role in promoting the use of bicycles, as a properly equipped city with safe bicycle lanes, plentiful bicycle parking spots, and open areas to ride freely will encourage people to use their cars much less.
The key to successfully designing or recovering public spaces is to achieve a series of ingredients that enhance their use as meeting places. Regardless of their scale, some important tips are designing for people's needs, the human scale, a mix of uses, multifunctionality and flexibility, comfort and safety, and integration to the urban fabric.
To give you some ideas on how to design urban furniture, bus stops, lookouts, bridges, playgrounds, squares, sports spaces, small parks, and urban parks, check out these 100 notable public spaces.
Accessibility is one of the most important considerations in architecture, ensuring that the built environment caters to people of all abilities. However, popular conceptions of what disability and accessibility look like remain limited, and often encompass only physically disabled people such as wheelchair users. Among architectural designers especially, it is common to visualize accessibility as adding ramps, wide corridors, and elevators. However, disability can take many different forms, some less visible than others; accordingly, accessibility in architecture means much more than accommodating just wheelchair users. For the visually impaired, incorporating specific tactile elements in architecture and urban design can vastly improve the navigability of a foreign space. In this article, we talk about tactile paving specifically, including its different forms, its history, and its means of implementation.
There has been increasing awareness in recent years of the importance of infrastructure for pedestrians. These additions to the urban environment improve the quality of cities by connecting spaces and shortening travel distances, and their introduction can be beneficial not only to pedestrians but also to cyclists seeking a more environmentally friendly method of transport.
In order to encourage the use of pedestrian infrastructure, here we present footbridges, alongside their construction details, to showcase innovative solutions in terms of materials, forms, and structures.
Density has long been an essential consideration for architects and urban planners, yet its importance has only increased as the world’s urban population skyrockets and cities become denser and denser. For much of the history of urban planning, this term has been plagued with negative associations: overcrowding, poverty, lack of safety, and so-called ‘slums.’ The garden city movement, initiated by Ebenezer Howard in 1898, sought to remedy these ills by advocating for greenbelts and anti-density planning. Le Corbusier’s Radiant City is one of the most well-known urban plans building from these ideals. Yet in the 1960’s, sociologist Jane Jacobs famously overturned these long influential urban planning concepts: she pointed out that density of buildings was not identical to overcrowding of people; suggested that some highly dense urban areas, like her neighborhood in Greenwich Village, were safer and more attractive than nearby garden city projects; and highlighted how America’s conception of ‘slums’ were often rooted in anti-immigrant and anti-Black ideologies. Density is not inherently bad, she suggested, but it has to be done well. Today, we continue to grapple with the question of how to design for our increasingly dense cities – how do we keep them open, but simultaneously private? Free, but controlled when necessary? In particular, how do we keep them safe – both from crime and, in the age of COVID-19, disease?
Urban connections define modern cities. From public transportation to walking and cycling paths, mobility has the potential to enrich urban life. In Europe, planners and designers have a long history of working through city connections to integrate with existing historic fabrics and make room for contemporary transport solutions.
Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Its origins lie in the 12th century, when fishermen living along the banks of the River Amstel built a bridge across the waterway near the IJ, then a large saltwater inlet. Most of the city’s territory is below sea level and therefore it lies on land that has been reclaimed from the water.
Amsterdam is all about practical urban planning, amazing cycling infrastructure, tulip-lined canal bridges and old merchant houses that tilt at impossible angles. I visited Amsterdam again last year and discovered some new places.
Just as the colors of an abstract painting or photograph can produce a certain mood, so can the colors of a building or room profoundly influence how the people using it feel. Physiologically, study after study has shown that blue light slows the production of melatonin, keeping people more alert or awake even at night. Psychologically, people associate certain colors with certain feelings due to cultural symbols and lived experiences – for example, they might perceive the color red as menacing or frightening because of its connection to blood.
Altogether, the way a room is colored can have complex effects on how its users feel, while a façade can be perceived in dramatically different ways depending on how it is colored. Below, we summarize the emotional associations of every color, assessing their differing effects as each is used in architectural space.
For the most part, rubber isn’t considered a conventional building material – at least not to the same extent that materials like wood, concrete, or glass are. But rubber is commonly used in interiors for flooring of extraordinary color or brightness, and even more unexpectedly for exterior facades with unique aspects or upholstery effects. This functionality is motivated by unique advantages such as smoothness, elasticity, durability, and color consistency.
Dutch firm Benthem Crouwel Architects have transformed an office building in Amsterdam into the most sustainable renovated property in the Netherlands. Now the new head office for the Dutch Charity Lotteries, the building received BREEAM Outstanding rating for its sustainable design. The adaptive reuse features a series of slender, tree-shaped columns that support an iconic roof with nearly 7,000 polished aluminum leaves.