The second machine age, gender-based violence, global south, developing cities, poor infrastructure, influx, digitization, sustainability, Afro-futurism? We keep hearing the buzzwords over and over again but what does it all mean? How do these notions intersect spatially in response to the needs of future city developments? Cities are like ecosystems, collectively dependent on the surrounding environment. The larger and more complex they become, the greater the pressures and repercussions, namely: population growth, urban expansion, and physical resource scarcity.
Masterplan: The Latest Architecture and News
GLV Gossamer has released images of their design for a 19 kilometer stretch of waterfront along the Jing River in Xi’an, China. The proposal, a finalist in an international design competition, celebrates the site’s history at the origin of the Silk Road through strategies that tap into ancient and enduring histories of traditional architecture, merchant trade, and agricultural innovation. These enduring histories are woven with contemporary influences such as responses to major climatic and environmental challenges.
Snøhetta, WCIT, and AECOM have released details of their proposed Neal S. Blaisdell Center Master Plan for Honolulu, Hawaii. Located in the urban heart of O’ahu, the existing 1964 center is home to the state’s premier arts and cultural venues. The aging structure is now set to be transformed by a 22-acre complex for future generations, featuring a performance hall, exhibition hall, sports pavilion, parking structure, and reconceived public space.
Topotek 1 and Labics have won a competition to design the UCBM Masterplan for the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. The 90-hectare project encompasses urban design, landscape, and architecture, founded on the goals of addressing connectivity, openness, and accessibility, while also acknowledging and integrating elements from the surrounding context.
OMA has won a masterplanning competition for the redevelopment of the Scalo Farini and San Cristoforo sites, two disused railway yards north and south of the periphery of Milan. Led by OMA’s Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli and Reinier de Graaf, and co-designed with Laboratorio Permanente, the “Agenti Climatici” scheme revolves around concepts of ecological filters and adaptable development. The OMA scheme triumphed over finalists including Baukuh, Arup, Grimshaw, and Kengo Kuma.
Sasaki has released details of their redevelopment proposal for the Yangtze Riverfront Park in Wuhan, China. Developed in collaboration with OMA and Gensler, Sasaki has drawn on the centuries-old symbiosis between the city and river, leveraging the river’s dynamic flooding to nurture a rich regional ecology and create dynamic recreational experiences.
The endeavor in landscape urbanism seeks to celebrate the river’s spontaneity, and incorporate flooding as an essential element. Stitching together then OMA and Gensler “urban balconies,” a series of microenvironments will host a wide variety of distinct wetland ecosystems, the characters of which evolve throughout the seasons.
Australian practices NAAU and Enlocus have designed a plan to transform the mining town of Jabiru in Kakadu National Park into a tourism destination. The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation will receive $446 million in funding to support the project, setting out a vision for the future of the town following the scheduled closure of the nearby Ranger uranium mine in 2021. The plan includes new accommodation, education and health services, and a World Heritage Interpretation Center.
Rotterdam and Athens-based practice Anagram Architecture & Urbanism has designed an "Urban Theater" for the Ioannina Cultural Park National Competition in Greece. The proposal suggests an open and accessible public space that creates a new identity and captures the imaginary of the city. Connecting the city with the lake of Ioannina, the new public space presents a unified and flexible space for both everyday leisure time and large scale events to take place.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman is reported to be in discussion with U.S auction house Sotheby’s regarding the creation of a major cultural center, to be situated in the country’s archaeologically-rich region of Al-Ula. As reported by Bloomberg, the center would sit in close proximity to the ancient UNESCO World Heritage city of Mada’in Salih, among elaborate 2000-year-old sandstone buildings.
The link with Sotheby’s centers on the company’s co-chairman Allan Schwartzman, who also sits on the advisory board of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula which aids the region’s development. Schwartzman is also the leader of Art Agency Partners, Sotheby’s art advisory firm, which has submitted its vision for the major arts and cultural complex.
MAD Architects have revealed new photographs of their Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center, as work nears completion in China. The mixed-use development, totaling over 560,000 square meters of building area, will host commercial, hotel, office, and residential functions. The development “seeks to restore the spiritual harmony between humanity and nature” through integrating contemplative spaces that merge nature with the demands of modern living.
A series of low-rise buildings and footbridges allow the scheme to unfold onto the city, with curving, ascending corridors and elevated pathways weaving through commercial buildings. The routes are activated by public gardens and social spaces, to “create a spiritual and poetic retreat in the middle of the city.
Danish practice Henning Larsen has created a new masterplan to reimagine the suburbs and town of Täby, Sweden. Hoping to address the desire for vibrant city life in suburbia, the 292,000 sq meter masterplan emphasizes sports, education, nature, culture and entrepreneurship. Transforming Täby from a suburb into a city, the project will focus on the town's cohesive sense of local identity, as well as its strong emphasis on education and the environment.
Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has broken ground on its first U.S. project, a mixed-use tower and associated masterplan in Detroit, Michigan. “Monroe Blocks” will stitch together the heart of one of America’s most storied cities with a mix of modern office space, residential units, restaurants, retail, and outdoor public areas.
The 12,500-square-meter site in Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, vacant for a generation, will be activated by 4,800 square meters of outdoor space, with the design team drawing on historical influences for the form and materiality of the new masterplan.
The New York firm WXY and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation have proposed vertical manufacturing buildings in a new Navy Yard masterplan. A series of renderings show plans for the next phase of development, including high-rise structures with 5.1 million square feet of urban industrial space. The $2.5 billion masterplan was first announced in January 2018, and as Curbed NY reports, the master plan and rezoning calls for new manufacturing buildings, increased public access, and more educational programming.
Oppenheim Architecture has released an update of their proposed Star Metals development in Atlanta, Georgia. Spread over two schemes, the project seeks to “shift the paradigm of what’s possible for new urban environments” through a 1.36 million-square-foot masterplan.
The Oppenheim scheme consists of a 14-story “Star Metals Offices” building, accommodating offices, terraces, parking, and retail, and a nine-story “Star Metals Residences” building with over 400 residential units.
Project Design Group has released details of their KentPlus YALOVA Wellness SPA Resort in Armutlu, Turkey. Situated in an idyllic, hilly region with sweeping sea views, the masterplan seeks to “enable residents to re-establish contact with nature” through buildings “partially lost” in the landscape.
Combining residential, hotel, and social facilities, the 330,000-square-meter scheme contains 14 different apartment block typologies, with a total of 163 blocks and 1001 apartments.
3XN has been commissioned to design a new arena and masterplan for central Bergen, Norway. Responding to the city’s ambition to revitalize the core of its UNESCO World Heritage Site, the scheme will act as an anchor for the development of an entirely new neighborhood connecting the inner city with the waterfront.
The scheme is intended as an “urban arena” serving as a destination for concerts, sports, and cultural events in an underutilized central part of the city. The design of the arena will also incorporate a vibrant public district “offering places to live, play, rest, and work.”