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Public Place: The Latest Architecture and News

Carlo Ratti's Prototype for Sidewalk Labs Shows How the Design of Streets Could Change in Real Time

13:00 - 18 July, 2018
Carlo Ratti's Prototype for Sidewalk Labs Shows How the Design of Streets Could Change in Real Time, Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati
Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati

Carlo Ratti Associati, working in collaboration with Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, has unveiled their design for a modular paving system named “The Dynamic Street.” Intended to make streets “reconfigurable, safer, and more accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, and tomorrow’s self-driving vehicles,” the project will be on display at Sidewalk Lab’s office and experimentation space in Toronto throughout the summer of 2018.

Manifesting as a series of hexagonal modular pavers, the project explores the various patterns which can be created by reconfiguring modules, with a potential future “allowing a street to create an extra car lane during rush hour before then turning it into a pedestrian-only plaza in the evening.”

Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati © David Pike © David Pike + 13

Awareness of the Importance of Public Spaces is Increasing—Here's How We Can Capitalize On It

09:30 - 21 March, 2018
Awareness of the Importance of Public Spaces is Increasing—Here's How We Can Capitalize On It, Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/liakadaweb/38621551301/'>Flickr user liakadaweb</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy. Image © Flickr user liakadaweb licensed under CC BY 2.0

This article was originally published by Common Edge as "How Public Space Can Build Community and Rescue Democracy."

Public spaces are having a moment. People from outside the field of urban planning are beginning to notice the vital contributions that they make to our quality of life: inserting nature and cultural memory into the everyday, reminding us of our collective responsibilities, supporting democratic expression. People are also beginning to notice the subtle ways in which those contributions are being eroded by threats of privatization, corporate appropriation, and apathy.

Most acutely, this moment is brought to us by Apple, which has begun an aggressive retail rebranding effort to re-conceptualize its stores as “town squares,” and wrought a wave of well-founded concern. Technology continues to beckon us away from the need to leave our homes or interact face-to-face with other humans. If for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, it would follow that opportunities for such interpersonal interaction become a luxury we begin to seek, a call to remember our origin as social beings.

TOPOTEK 1’s Martin Rein-Cano On Superkilen’s Translation of Cultural Objects

13:00 - 14 May, 2017

Founded in 1996 by Buenos Aires-born Martin Rein-Cano, TOPOTEK 1 has quickly developed a reputation as a multidisciplinary landscape architecture firm, focussing on the re-contextualization of objects and spaces and the interdisciplinary approaches to design, framed within contemporary cultural and societal discourse.

The award-winning Berlin-based firm has completed a range of public spaces, from sports complexes and gardens to public squares and international installations. Significant projects include the green rooftop Railway Cover in Munich, Zurich’s hybrid Heerenschürli Sports Complex and the German Embassy in Warsaw. The firm has also recently completed the Schöningen Spears Research and Recreation Centre near Hannover, working with contrasting typologies of the open meadow and the dense forest on a historic site.

Innovation Center at Merck / HENN

08:00 - 29 October, 2015
Innovation Center at Merck / HENN, © HENN
© HENN

HENN has broken ground on the Innovation Center at pharmaceutical company Merck's corporate headquarters and factory in Darmstadt, Germany.

The new Center follows the site’s pre-established master plan, also designed by HENN, placing the new building complex between two existing company buildings and at the end of what is to become a spacious public square.

© HENN © HENN © HENN © HENN + 16

Why Landscape Designers Will Be Key to the Future of Our Cities

08:30 - 29 July, 2015
Why Landscape Designers Will Be Key to the Future of Our Cities, The High Line's third section in New York. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014
The High Line's third section in New York. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014

For most people, spending time outdoors in well-designed public spaces is one of the highlights to city life. Why, then, do we spend comparatively little time and money on designing them? In this article, originally posted on Metropolis magazine as "Designing Outdoor Public Spaces is Vital to the Future of our Cities" Kirt Martin, the vice-president of design and marketing at outdoor furniture designer Landscape Forms, makes the case that landscape architects and industrial designers working in the public realm are key for our cities' health and happiness.

All of us treasure our time in outdoor spaces. So why do we devote so little of our attention to their design?

As a designer in the site-furniture industry, I am always curious about the value people place on the outdoors. I like to ask people I meet to describe a great city like New York, Chicago, or Paris and what they most remember about being there. Or I ask them, if they won $25,000 to spend on a dream vacation, where they would go and what they would do. Their fond memories of a celebrated city or an escape into the wild often have little in common, except for one thing: Their most memorable and meaningful experiences almost always revolve around the outdoors.