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Green Space: The Latest Architecture and News

Interview with Charu Kokate of Safdie Architects: Designing for Community

Safdie Architects has officially opened the new campus headquarters for Surbana Jurong, Singapore’s leading architecture, urban design, and infrastructure firm. The project expands Safdie Architects’ vision of 'for everyone a garden' into the workplace with a design that draws on the tranquility of the site’s previously undeveloped natural setting to foster shared moments of engagement and creativity. Achieving Green Mark (Super Low Energy) certification, the campus is the flagship development of the emerging Jurong Innovation District, envisioned as the first business park set in a tropical rainforest.

The development marks Safdie Architects' sixth project in Singapore and enhances the firm's prominent built portfolio in the city-state, which already includes Marina Bay Sands, Sky Habitat, and the Jewel at Changi Airport. On the occasion of the opening, ArchDaily spoke to Charu Kokate, Partner at Safdie Architects, who leads efforts in the Singapore region, about the firm's unique development footprint and building philosophy.

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The Barcelona Model: Public Space as a Synonym for Urban Adaptation

CityMakers, The Global Community of Architects Who Learn from Exemplary Cities and Their Makers, is working with Archdaily to publish a series of articles about Barcelona, Medellin, and Rotterdam. The authors are the architects, urban planners, and/or strategists behind the projects that have transformed these three cities and are studied in the "Schools of Cities" and "Documentary Courses" made by CityMakers. On this occasion, Jaume Barnada, coordinator of the award-winning Climate Shelters project in Barcelona schools and speaker at the "Schools of Cities", presents his article "Barcelona, the public place as a synonym for the adaptation of the built city."

Cities are dense, built spaces in which pavements have been efficiently imposed on the natural soil. Cities like Barcelona have almost 75% of the land paved and waterproof. Without a doubt, it is an excess to reverse at a time of climate emergency, where we must reconnect with nature. Oriol Bohigas [1] told us that good urbanization had paved the squares of Mediterranean cities and that no one wanted to live in a mudhole. I'm sure he was right. Also, he taught us that the green and, consequently, the natural soil had to have dimension and especially an urban position. Squares are squares and parks are parks, and each space has a type of project. Today, concepts are too frequently confused when urbanizing public places and consequently, we find projects that blur the model.

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Athens Plans to Grow Its Metro Infrastructure by a Third to Reduce Automobile Traffic

The project for implementing a fourth metro line in the Greek capital began in 2021, with the purpose of reducing the need for automobiles in the crowded city. As the 15-station new line is estimated to transport 340,000 passengers a day, up to 53,000 cars could be taken off the roads each day. While the opening of the line may be five years away, work has now begun to refurbish seven urban squares which will become stations. Despite public support for the initiative, the project has also led to some controversy, with residents fearing gentrification.

BIG Designs Cantilevered Towers Surrounding the Freedom Plaza on Manhattan’s Waterfront

Located along Manhattan’s East River waterfront, the Freedom Plaza sets out to create a new civic and cultural hub, introducing a new open and green space in the crowded area, with plans to add an in-park Museum of Freedom and Democracy. Additionally, the scheme designed by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group includes affordable housing units, two hotels, retail, and restaurants. Developed by Soloviev Group and Mohegan, the Freedom Plaza development reimagines one of the largest undeveloped plots in Manhattan, measuring 6.7 acres located south of the United Nations headquarters in the Midtown East neighborhood.

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Designing Spaces That Are Good for Women and Everybody Else

"We are focused on creating a just public realm," said Chelina Odbert, Hon. ASLA, CEO and founding principal of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. And by just, "we mean free, inclusive, accessible, unbiased, and equitable". A "just public realm is open to everyone.” There is unlimited access to streets and public spaces so people can travel to school and work and be full members of their communities.

Unfortunately, the public realm is instead often “intimidating, exclusionary, inaccessible, unjust, and inequitable” for many women, LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, and people of color. Landscape architects, planners, and others need to understand who feels safe and comfortable in public spaces or there is a risk of perpetuating inequalities, Odbert argued.

WXCA Revitalizes Former FSO Factory, Aims to Design "Green District of the Future"

Last week, WXCA Architects unveiled the design for a new “green district of the future,” to be developed on a former FSO car factory site in Warsaw. Covering over 60 hectares, the project aims to accommodate more than 17,000 residents and provide employment for approximately 13,000 individuals by 2050. The Polish automotive FSO factory will be transformed, outlined in a master plan envisioning a multi-functional and environmentally conscious district.

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KPF's Tower 36: Approval for Miami's High-Rise Building

KPF’s “Tower 36,” has received unanimous approval in Miami, Florida. The building features an office space, set to become the tallest in the region at 193 meters. Emphasizing occupant well-being, the tower is designed by integrating the surrounding landscape and increasing access to outdoor areas.

The tower serves as the northern entryway to Miami’s high-rise zone, at the intersection of Biscayne Boulevard and 36th Street. Acting as a gateway to the neighborhood, the scheme connects Miami Beach with the mainland of Miami. To complement the office floors, the building’s podium boasts ground-floor retail, bicycle, car parking, and a restaurant on the landscaped roof.

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MVRDV Wins Competition to Design Two Buildings in Tianfu Software Park, China

MVRDV has won the competition to design two structures within the Tianfu Software Park in Chengdu, China. One of the structures is a 150-meter-tall tower that acts as a centerpiece to the entire campus. The other is a four-story cultural center featuring an art museum, conference hall, library, and exhibition space. Boasting a faceted sloping design, the scheme invites visitors to explore its interior.

Socially Just Public Spaces Are Crucial to Flourishing Societies

One of the most radical instances of public space transformation happened recently. During the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, public space transformed into “a medical resource, a distribution hub, an overflow space, a center of protest and resistance, a gym, a senior center, a community center, a daycare center, a schoolyard, a night club, a transportation corridor, an outdoor restaurant, a shopping mall, a children’s playground, an outdoor theater, a music venue, a nature center, and a place of belonging and ‘being at home.’”

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Heatherwick Studio Designs Inaugural District in Tokyo, Japan

Heatherwick Studio’s new district in the heart of Tokyo has been opened to the public by the Prime Minister of Japan. Named Azabudai Hills, the project is the culmination of a thirty-year revitalization initiative. The neighborhood spans across 2.4 hectares of accessible green space, and features various mixed-use activities, integrating the urban into nature.

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OMA / Chris van Duijn Wins Bid to Design Hongik University's New Campus in Seoul

OMA / Chris van Duijn won the competition to design a new campus for Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea. The proposal introduces a cluster of low-rise buildings interconnected by a network of public spaces molded on the existing topography of the site. The design aims to reemphasize the university’s connection to the city and its neighboring areas and to introduce greenery and various open spaces creating a seamless connection between roof terraces, outdoor courtyards, and sunken plazas. The winning proposal was chosen from the entries from established international practices, including SANAA, Herzog & de Meuron, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and David Chipperfield Architects.

Urban Parks Should Be a Greater Part of the Healthcare System

Each year, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) issues its ParkScore, which ranks the park systems of the 100 most populated cities in the U.S. This year, the organization also explored the positive health outcomes of top-scoring cities, looking at more than 800 innovative programs and practices that integrate park and healthcare systems.

Alan Ward's Photographic Interpretation of American Designed Landscapes

The photographic archive of landscape photographer and architect Alan Ward has been recently gifted to the Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF). The collection features 110 Portfolios composed of approximately 2,500 images of parks, estates, memorials, gardens, university campuses, cemeteries, museums, and botanical gardens, taken in 12 different countries, and captured by Alan Ward, a principal at the Boston-based firm Sasaki and a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

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On the Hottest Month on Record and How Cities Are Mitigating the Effects of Rising Temperatures

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York has just announced that the month of July 2023 was hotter than any other month ever recorded in terms of global temperature. Spiking to 1.12 degrees Celsius above the 20th-century July average, this month was warmer than any month since 1850 when the NOAA database began. The climate crisis at large has made heat waves more prevalent, putting millions of people in danger. These growing effects of the climate crisis also severely affect cities worldwide, posing a threat to urban inhabitants globally.

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First Nations-Led AKIN Team Wins Competition to Transform Sydney’s Waterfront

AKIN has been announced as the winning team in the Barangaroo Harbour Park Design Competition, a project that will transform a central location along the waterfront of Sydney, Australia. The winning team is a First Nations-led and Sydney-based ground composed of Yerrabingin, Architectus, Flying Fish Blue, Jacob Nash Design, and Studio Chris Fox, with Arup as engineering consultants. Through its designers, the group integrates Indigenous knowledge systems along with landscape architecture, regenerative design, public art, and place-making.