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Parks: The Latest Architecture and News

A Russian Parks Program Creates Over 350 Public Spaces and Nurtures Local Design Talent

Costing less than glitzier parks in Moscow, the Tatarstan initiative is revivifying the local design and manufacturing bases with a "teach a man to fish" approach.

In places without an established design force, there have historically been two opposing approaches at play: hire experts from abroad or nurture a local design community, a la “give a man a fish or teach him how to fish.” In the Russian republic of Tatarstan, located at the intersection between Europe and Asia, a recent Public Spaces Development Program has created over 350 parks in five years—by choosing the latter approach.

Children's play structure in Gorkinsko-Ometevsky forest, near Kazan. Image Courtesy of Foundation Institute for Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan Kaban Lake embankment. Image Courtesy of Foundation Institute for Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan An embankment on Kaban Lake in Kazan, Tatarstan’s capital city. Kaban consists of three lakes stretching north to south, with connected ducts. These are the largest in area in Tatarstan. The concept of this project was based on the creation of a single Kaban Lakes Water Park, uniting the three lakes’ embankments.. Image Courtesy of Foundation Institute for Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan City Lake beach in Almetyevsk, a city of 156,000 about four hours southeast of Kazan. The city had lacked a comfortable outdoor area, prompting its inner-city lake to be cleaned and its shoreline redeveloped. A wooden path lines the water and strings together facilities like a fitness pavilion, open-air pool, sauna, playground, boat house, and more.. Image Courtesy of Foundation Institute for Urban Development of the Republic of Tatarstan + 12

Not All Parks Should be Green: 10 Tips to Design Landscape Infrastructure

Does it make sense to design green parks in desert cities such as Casablanca, Dubai, or Lima? Ostensibly it does, because they contribute freshness and greenness to the urban environment. In exchange, however, they disrupt native local ecosystems, incur high maintenance bills, and begin a constant struggle to ensure water availability.

Kaukari Urban Park, designed in the desert city of Copiapó (Chile) by the Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos office. Image © Rodrigo Opazo Landscape Shanghai Minsheng, designed by Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects. Image © FangFang Tian Dania Park in the Oresund Strait between Sweden and Denmark, designed by Sweco Architects + Thorbjörn Andersson. Image © Sweco Architects + Thorbjörn Andersson Parque Urbano Kaukari, diseñado en la desértica ciudad de Copiapó (Chile) por la oficina Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos. Image Cortesía de Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos + 10

SURGE Combines High Aesthetics with Environmentally Oriented Technology

Chinese architect Mingfei Sun has designed an environmentally oriented urban hub for Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. Titled SURGE, its natural aesthetics and technological forwardness are intended to communicate a J.M.W. Turner-esque awe for the power of nature, making it an oasis of high aesthetic and ecological value.

By the People, For the People: What is Public Architecture, According to our Readers

Aarhus Harbor Bath / BIG. Image: © Rasmus Hjortshøj
Aarhus Harbor Bath / BIG. Image: © Rasmus Hjortshøj

Last week, we asked our social media followers, "What does public architecture mean to you?" These thoughts are intrinsic to the architectural debate and come into play in various types of projects, especially in those related to the planning of common-use spaces in cities.

Sasaki Revitalizes Vacant Rail Yard to Create Florida's New Central Park

With the aim to create the self-proclaimed “Central Park of Lakeland,” global design firm Sasaki is converting Bonnet Springs Park in Central Florida from a former CSX railyards property to an ecological hub. Initially, a vacant brownfield, the site is currently undergoing environmental remediation to tackle the years of industrial damage, with plans to be open to the public by 2020.

Courtesy of Sasaki Courtesy of Sasaki Courtesy of Sasaki Courtesy of Sasaki + 8

2019 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence: Call for Entries Open

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) celebrates transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded. 

How the Parc de la Villette Kickstarted a New Era for Urban Design

 © <a href='https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6f/Do_pedalar_e_da_ciência.jpg'> Creative Commons User Alix Ferreira</a> licensed under <a href=’https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/'>CC BY-SA 4.0</a>  © <a href='https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Parc_de_La_Villette_%40_Paris_%2828926264776%29.jpg'> Creative Commons User Guilhem Vellut</a> licensed under <a href=’https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>  © <a href='https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Folie_N8_%40_La_Villette_%40_Paris_%2833893431256%29.jpg'> Creative Commons User Guilhem Vellut</a> licensed under <a href=’https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>  © <a href='https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Canal_%40_La_Villette_%40_Paris_%2833091237904%29.jpg'> Creative Commons User Guilhem Vellut</a> licensed under <a href=’https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a> + 11

What does the Parisian park look like? For many, the answer to that question comes in the form of a painting: Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, in which the well-dressed bourgeoisie leisurely enjoy a natural oasis on a verdant island within their industrializing city.

Meditate In This Mobile Nature-Inspired Pinecone Gazebo

Designed by Czech designers Atelier SAD and distributed by mmcité1, this mobile, nature-inspired gazebo is a playground must-have for children and adults alike. 109 waterproof, plywood scales are treated with resistant glaze and connected by galvanized joints to create a self-supporting, sustainable structure.

Courtesy of mmcité1 Courtesy of mmcité1 Courtesy of mmcité1 Courtesy of mmcité1 + 45

Landscape Representation: The Role of Architectural Plans in Parks and Public Spaces

Frequently imperceptible to the inhabitant, the architectural plans of landscape designs are unquestionably the best tool for understanding certain relationships between elements and the strategic organization of the work. They are therefore an essential part of any good architecture project.

The distribution and type of vegetation, topography levels, the relationships between the preexisting urban or natural context, the possible routes and incorporated activities, and the materiality and the dimensional precision required for its construction are some of the considerations that are usually reiterated in this type of representation.

The result permits the communication of intentions in an organized way, while clearly exposing the concerns of the authors; for this reason, we invite you to review a series of different examples of architectural plans of public spaces that enables a comprehensive approach to the role of each project.

DELVA Landscape Architects to Revive The Hague’s Historic Centre With Interconnected Urban Greens

Serving as a new gateway to the city through the connection of various green spaces and public programs, The Green Entrance is DELVA Landscape Architects’ masterplan for a historic district of The Hague. Given The Hague’s future inner-city densification, which involves the creation of 50,000 new houses, the Dutch firm’s aim is to aid these developments through sustainable and green urban strategies, manifested “through an integral approach between landscape design, cultural heritage, mobility, programming and technology.”

Commenting on the project’s primary function, the architects state: “’The Green Entrance’ connects areas that have been isolated over the years. It starts in the spacious and open ‘City Hall' that connects to the train station and continues to the ‘Koningin Julianaplein’. No narrow doors or gates, but a wide view over the green and lively surrounding public space.”

via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism via DELVA Landscape Architects / Urbanism + 18

Topio7’s Revitalisation of Former Cemetery Merges Urban Park and City in Athens

A competition for the transformation of a former cemetery in Nikea, just west of central Athens, has been won by Greek firm Topio7, with a proposal that creates a revitalized public park as a result of “a mutual osmosis between the park and the city”. A number of green buffer zones – “the elastic limit” – are utilized to frame a procession-like journey from the bustle of the city to the calm of the park’s landscape.

Highlighting the importance of the site’s previous use, the architects explain that the “main objective of the project is the creation of an open, accessible public space, a contemporary urban park with ecological-bioclimatic character, with special emphasis on the social dimension and the site’s memory.”

Courtesy of Topio7 Architects Courtesy of Topio7 Architects Courtesy of Topio7 Architects Courtesy of Topio7 Architects + 14

DROR's Parkorman Park in Istanbul Will Let Visitors Trampoline through the Treetops

In Istanbul, a city with few existing green spaces, studio DROR is proposing something radical – a park filled with innovative interventions as a way to encourage collective experience and gathering. Envisioned as “a love story between people and nature,” the Parkorman forest park will give people a chance to swing through the forest, play in giant ball pits, relax by reflecting pools, and even bounce several stories above the ground on canopy-level trampolines.

© DROR © DROR © DROR © DROR + 11

Utopia Arkitekter Proposes Public Park in Stockholm Shrouded in Glass

Utopia Arkitekter wants to start a discussion in Stockholm: how do we manage and develop our public spaces? The definition of the word public, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is something “open to or shared by all the people of an area or country.” However, as commercialism continues to rise, Utopia Arkitekter has a problem with our new applications of indoor “public” spaces. As architecture critic Rowan Moore writes in Why We Build, “Identity, desire and stimulation become things you have to buy, as clothes, restaurant meals of calculated diversity, and rides on the ski slope or up the Burj Khalifa.” The problem is that as our inner cities adopt more commercial indoor

The problem is that as our inner cities adopt more commercial indoor public spaces such as shopping malls, cafés or restaurants, the “public” is no longer represented by “all the people of an area,” simply due to economic restrictions. In a city like Stockholm, where darkness and temperatures below 10 degrees celsius prevail for 6 months of the year, the economic boundaries set up around indoor public spaces mean reduced opportunities for people to socialize outside of the home. Utopia Arkitekter’s proposal in response to this conundrum? An indoor park.

Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter Courtesy of Utopia Arkitekter + 14

James Corner Field Operations Selected to Transform Historic Canal Park in DC Neighborhood of Georgetown

James Corner Field Operations, the urban design and landscape architecture firm behind the High Line in New York City, has been selected by Georgetown Heritage to complete a similar transformation of a historic canal in the Washington D.C. neighborhood of Georgetown. Working with the National Park Service and the D.C. Office of Planning, the team will design a comprehensive master plan for a one-mile section of the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park (C&O Canal NHP) to update the site from a historic location into a community asset.

6 Cities That Have Transformed Their Highways Into Urban Parks

Building a highway in a city is often thought of as a solution to traffic congestion. However, the induced demand theory has shown that when drivers have more routes, they choose to continue using this medium instead of using public transport or a bicycle, and as a result, congestion doesn’t decrease.

As a result, some cities have chosen to remove spaces designated for cars and turn what was once a highway into urban parks and less congested streets. 

Here we have six examples, some have already been completed, while a few are still under construction. To the surprise of some, most of the projects are in the US, which reflects that American designers are looking into further studying European transport policies. 

2017 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence: Call for Entries

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) celebrates transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded. 

Call for Entries: 2017 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence celebrates urban places that are distinguished by quality design and their social and economic contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities.

One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded. Projects must be a real place, not just a plan or a program, and be located in the 48 contiguous United States.

Student Survey: The Future of Parks

Husqvarna invites you to take their survey, The Future of Parks, and share your insights into how parks will look and function in the year 2030. The UN has set a goal to make cities more sustainable in the coming decades, and parks will play an integral role in making that happen. Together with students from around the world, you will help to co-create a vision of what is to come!