The Dubai-based firm, X-Architects, have found inspiration in the cultural and architectural heritage of Islam for their new design. The Revelation Mosque, a +2500 square meter project, aims to create a new "heart of the neighborhood" in Abu Dhabi, UAE. In creating a generous urban void among a towering context, the proposal offers an immersive escape from everyday life, where the public (regardless of religion) can gather, communicate, and interact with one another.
Public Space: The Latest Architecture and News
C.F. Møller Architects, Kristin Jarmund Architects and Rodeo Architects Propose Urban Realm in the Center of Oslo
C.F. Møller Architects have collaborated with Kristin Jarmund Architects and Rodeo Architects in the design of a new urban realm at Oslo Central Station in Norway, comprising a square, hotel, and high-rise building. The scheme seeks to create an attractive recreational area around the transport hub, connecting different areas and terrain differences in an organized, efficient flow.
Adjaye Associates has unveiled images of its proposed reconceptualization of the protective façade of an electrical switching station into an engaging “Art Wall” in Newark, New Jersey. The 30-foot-high walls of the Fairmount Heights switching station will be transformed into a canvas for original works of 14 local and international artists, exploring themes of youth, education, and community, while a canopied passageway will house a market, art installations, and gathering space.
Danish firm Henning Larsen has released images of their competition-winning Key West urban development, seeking to revitalize a socio-economically challenged area of the Belgian capital Brussels. Developed in collaboration with A2RC Architects, the masterplan aims to balance urban and recreational life along the Brussels Canal Zone through a combination of housing, schools, urban farming, and a market hall.
Like many European cities, Brussels is moving towards a post-industrial economy, giving new opportunities to old industrial areas such as the Canal Zone. The Henning Larsen redevelopment seeks to remodel the area as an urban center, tying the urban areas west of the canal to central Brussels.
ODA New York has released images of its proposed “Dragon Gate” pavilion for New York’s Chinatown, seeking to act as a symbolic gateway to the famous Manhattan neighborhood. Using modern materials and forms to invoke symbols of traditional Chinese culture, the scheme seeks to capture Chinatown’s remarkable duality: a community of tradition resistant to change, yet one regarded as a uniquely contemporary phenomenon showcasing New York’s inclusive diversity.
Situated on a triangular traffic island at the intersection of Canal, Baxter, and Walker Streets, ODA’s scheme seeks to activate a currently-underused pedestrian space. The Dragon Gate consists of a triangular form adhering to a three-dimensional, gridded structure formed from interwoven, tubular, bronze steel inspired by bamboo scaffolding. As the structure densifies, selected pieces will be painted red to create the illusion of a dragon in mid-flight.
HASSELL has won a competition for the design of the Qianhai Mawan Mile, a business district for the Chinese “gateway city" of Shenzhen. Stretching over one mile (1.6 kilometers), the masterplan seeks to combine “lush parklands, new cultural buildings, and a meandering skydeck” in a vision centered on human-wellbeing.
Aimed particularly at attracting young, mobile residents in a rapidly-changing urban environment, the Mawan masterplan consists of integrated public spaces, neighborhood zones, pavilion buildings, and a mile-long (1.6-kilometer-long) skydeck weaving throughout the development.
The development company Fisher Brothers' "Beyond the Centerline" competition was launched in October 2017 as an open call to "enliven and activate the medians for a new generation of New Yorkers." The competition addresses the Park Avenue commercial district, which sits between 46th and 57th Streets.
Out of nearly 150 submissions, an eight-person jury narrowed the field down to 17 finalists, details of which can be found here. Two designs have since been selected as winners, with "Park Park" by Maison winning the jury selection, and "Park River" by Local Architects winning the popular vote.
Danish firm COBE has released images of their proposed aquatic center in Copenhagen Harbor, a scheme entered for a design competition which was won by Kengo Kuma. The proposal, designed in collaboration with Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG), formed part of COBE’s competition-winning masterplan for Paper Island, which was chosen for development in 2016.
A team comprising noAarchitecten, EM2N, and Sergison Bates has won a design competition for the transformation of a former Citroën factory in Brussels into a cultural hub, merging a Museum of Contemporary Art, architecture center, and public amenities under the name “KANAL – Centre Pompidou.” The architects’ vision was for a scheme which reflects on the role of the twenty-first-century museum in society, one which opens out towards the city to entice the general public.
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.
Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop has released images of the proposed Taoyuan Museum of Art in Taiwan, having won an international competition for the scheme’s design in 2018. Acting as a symbolic gateway to the heart of the city, the architect’s vision was for a hub where every visit leads to new discoveries and experiences.
Named “The Hill,” the competition-winning scheme is defined by a sloping green roof, hosting artwork, pavilions, trees, and an outdoor theater. Beneath the roof, a structure named “The Cube” contains permanent exhibitions and collections, and establishes a link between the museum and Blue Pond Park beyond.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released images of its bow-shaped National Theatre of Albania, responding to a thriving performance art scene in the nation’s capital. Situated in the cultural heart of downtown Tirana, the scheme seeks to create new urban gathering places for a pedestrian-focused district, while casting the theater as a performer in its own right.
Situated on a cultural axis, adjacent to public landmarks such as Skanderbeg Square, the National Opera, and the National Art Gallery, BIG’s scheme will replace the existing theater while adding three new performance spaces, a rooftop amphitheater, and a covered public space underneath the building.
In the 3rd Arrondissement of the French city of Lyon, construction has begun on Lyon Part-Dieu, an MVRDV-designed scheme seeking to transform the city’s main shopping center. Featuring partly-transparent glass and a public green roof, the MVRDV scheme will revitalize and integrate what was formerly an introverted complex built for an era dominated by the car.
At 166,000 square meters, Lyon Part-Dieu is the largest downtown shopping center in Europe, built in 1975. In order to improve the existing outdated complex, MVRDV worked with co-architects SUD to produce a design that offers a contemporary update to the existing façade and a re-organization of the interior program.
This article was originally published by Redshift as "Architect Sou Fujimoto Has Radical Ideas for Familiar Communal Spaces."
The destruction wrought upon Ishinomaki by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami damaged the city’s civic hall and cultural center beyond repair. To rebuild, Ishinomaki City wanted to create a landmark combining these two facilities into a new complex—one that would be like a city unto itself, serving the community.
In 2016, design proposals were screened in a process that included public presentations, with many locals participating. In the end, Sou Fujimoto, a leader among the next generation of Japan’s architects, was selected for his innovative design.
As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the UAE Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.
The National Pavilion UAE will present “Lifescapes Beyond Bigness,” an exhibition exploring human-scale architectural landscapes, at the 2018 Venice Biennale. The exhibition aims to highlight the role of architecture and urban design in forming the choreography of people’s daily routines. It particularly investigates the role of ‘quotidian’ (every day) landscapes in accommodating, enhancing, and facilitating social activities across different places in the UAE.
LocationNantou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China
NADAAA Design TeamNader Tehrani, Katherine Faulkner, Mitch Mackowiak
Cooper Union Design TeamMargaux Wheelock-Shew, Jeremy Son
In today’s crowded world, the aspect of finding comfortable seating in a public arena is a major part of one’s daily activities. A comfortable seating in public helps one relax and reduce fatigue. This social activity, however, may vary with each individual and the kind of space he/she occupies. Most importantly, the nature of the seat ought to cater to every individual irrespective of their age, size or gender.
The act of seating is an opportunity for many to boost inter-personal communication and encourage social and cultural bonding between individuals.
Over the last few years, public spaces offering avenues to sit, relax and strike a conversation with fellow people have drastically reduced, sparking an urgent need for alternative methods of creating personal seating arrangements. It’s imperative that the seat is ideated with the utmost sense of creativity and innovation. Recreating a seat that goes by every individual’s preference and fits within its spatial limitations poses a challenge to our generation.
Designing public spaces without considering the circulation and parking of bicycles is no longer an option in today's world. Accessibility for the free traffic of cyclists must also be accompanied by adequate security conditions, incorporating these devices in the best possible way to parks, sidewalks, parking lots, and the streetscape as a whole.
Are you designing an urban space, or do the exteriors of your project require a correct link with the circulation of bicycles? Check these support elements that can help you to generate a better city for the urban commuter on wheels.