Parking is Hell (But Designers Can Help)

Most parking is free - but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a high cost. A recent podcast from Freakonomics Radio examined parking in US cities, investigating the “cost of parking not paid for by drivers” - a cost paid not just by the government, but by the environment - due to congestion and pollution caused by people searching for kerbside parking. For example, in a 15 block area of Los Angeles the distance traveled by drivers looking for parking is equivalent to one trip across the USA per day.

One potential solution which they discuss is a San Francisco project called SF Park, which makes use of sensor technology to measure the demand for parking in certain areas of the city and adjust price according to demand. In theory, this would create a small number of empty spaces on each block and dramatically reduce the time that many drivers spend cruising for parking spaces.

Though the idea is certainly an intelligent approach to the problem of kerbside parking, unsurprisingly all this talk of supply, demand and pricing sounds very much like an economist's answer to a problem. But what can designers do to help the situation?

Perhaps, from the designer’s point of view, the real problem with kerbside parking and surface lots is that they are always seen as a provision “coupled with” a building or area of the city. There have been a number of attempts by architects – some successful and some tragically flawed – to make parking spaces less of a rupture in a city's fabric and more of a destination in themselves. Could these point to another way?

Read about 3 examples of parking’s past, and one of its potential future, after the break...

Infographic: Life Inside The Kowloon Walled City

It has been twenty years since the demolition of the Kowloon Walled City. To mark this, the South China Morning Post has created an info-graphic that details the facts and figures of what life was like inside this architectural oddity.

Read more about the madness that was KWC after the break...

Motion Picture Academy Unveils Designs for Renzo Piano-Designed Museum

It's surprising to think that Los Angeles - the home of the U.S film industry - doesn't have a museum solely dedicated to its homegrown artform. However, all that is about to change should the Academy of Motion Pictures have their way.

Last Thursday, plans were unveiled for the long-touted Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, a new museum designed by Renzo Piano and native Los Angeleno architect Zoltan Pali, which will be located in the streamline-moderne Wiltshire May Company building at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue, on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Although the designs are at an early stage, the released drawings propose to convert the historic building into a museum, while marrying it with a 140-foot-diameter glass dome.

Read more about the project after the break...

A Brief, Interesting History of the Otis Elevator Company

What do the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, the Kremlin, and the Burj Khalifa have in common? 

Elevators from the Otis Elevator Company. The company, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary today, has an interesting history: it was founded in 1853, the year Elisha Otis invented the elevator safety brake. Before Otis' invention, buildings rarely reached seven stories (elevators were considered just too dangerous to implement).

But it was Otis' elevator that would allow for the creation, and proliferation of, the skyscraper - an explosion that would for ever alter the 20th and 21st century skylines. 

Read more about the Otis Elevators influence on skyscraper design (and how Otis performed a death-defying feat to increase the invention's popularity), after the break...

Cathedral Announces Competition to Design Tomb for King Richard III

Since the remains of Richard III were discovered beneath a car-park near Leicester Cathedral last year, the local church has been left with a perplexing question: what to do with him now? The King's remains are an important part of English history, and an important tourist attraction, but how should they mark his final resting place?

In response to this issue, Cathedral authorities have launched a design competition asking selected architects to submit ideas for a new tomb for King Richard that will be located in the Gothic Cathedral. The brief is an unusually delicate one; the architects submissions will have to consider appropriate symbolism and practicality in their design, not to mention the challenge of designing, in a modern age, the grave of someone who lived centuries ago. They also need to be mindful of the controversy surrounding the King, as the brief states: "Richard demonstrated both the honorable and dishonorable characteristics of human beings." Some consider him a great English King, while others, a bloodthirsty tyrant.

Read more about the brief and see an early submission after break...

Businessman Offers to Save Brutalist Landmark From Demolition

Divisive concrete behemoth Preston Bus Station may yet be saved from its planned demolition. On the heels of a well co-ordinated campaign to save the brutalist monument, local businessman Simon Rigby has stepped in and offered to relieve the council of the building planning refurbish and operate the bus station himself.

Read more about the controversy and Rigby's plan after the break...

AD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling

AD Classics: Florey Building / James StirlingAD Classics: Florey Building / James StirlingAD Classics: Florey Building / James StirlingAD Classics: Florey Building / James Stirling+ 10

The Queen's College Florey building is the third and last building of  “The Red Trilogy” (the Leicester Engineering Faculty building and the Cambridge History Faculty building being the first two) designed by James Stirling, solidifying him as an irreplaceable facet in modern Architecture.

AD Classics: AD Classics: Vincent van Gogh Museum / Gerrit Rietveld

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AD Classics: Whitney Museum / Marcel Breuer

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AD Classics: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University / I.M. Pei

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  • Architects: I.M. Pei
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  1973

AD Classics: Kafka Castle / Ricardo Bofill

© wikimedia commonsCourtesy of Ricardo BofillCourtesy of Ricardo BofillCourtesy of Ricardo Bofill+ 8

Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain

AD Classics: AD Classics: Gropius House / Walter Gropius

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AD Classics: Boston City Hall / Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles

AD Classics: Boston City Hall / Kallmann, McKinnell, & KnowlesAD Classics: Boston City Hall / Kallmann, McKinnell, & KnowlesAD Classics: Boston City Hall / Kallmann, McKinnell, & KnowlesAD Classics: Boston City Hall / Kallmann, McKinnell, & Knowles+ 15

AD Classics: MIT Chapel / Eero Saarinen

© Flickr User: kathia shiehAD Classics: MIT Chapel / Eero Saarinen© Flickr User: j.czliao© Flickr User: kathia shieh+ 11

Eero Saarinen is one of the most respected architects of the 20th Century, often regarded as a master of his craft.  Known for his dynamic and fluid forms, his design for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s chapel takes on a different typology than his previous works.  Completed in 1955, the MIT Chapel is a simple cylindrical volume that has a complex and mystical quality within.  Saarinen’s simple design is overshadowed by the interior form and light that were meant to awaken spirituality in the visitor.

AD Classics: Yoyogi National Gymnasium / Kenzo Tange

AD Classics: Yoyogi National Gymnasium / Kenzo Tange© Flickr User: Jamie Barras© Flickr User: Jamie Barras© wikiarquitectura+ 13

Tokyo, Japan
  • Architects: Kenzo Tange
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  1964

AD Classics: Flatiron Building / Daniel Burnham

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AD Classics: Church at Firminy / Le Corbusier

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Firminy, France

AD Classics: Petronas Towers / Cesar Pelli

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Architects: Cesar Pelli
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  1998
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: Gretsch­-Unitas