While most cities around the world seek to implement more sustainable and environmentally friendly modes of transportation, encouraging new urban mobility habits in their residents, the use of automobiles still persists, occupying significant parking spaces in urban centers. Finding a way to integrate these uses, provide new spaces for their citizens, and leverage their facilities for ecological, productive, and other purposes is the challenge faced by many professionals in architecture and urban planning.
Public Spaces: The Latest Architecture and News
Copenhagen is a living testament to its architectural legacy, innovative urban development, and commitment to sustainability and liveability. The city inspires the whole world with its quality of urban life, made up of efficient and intelligent mobility systems, along with vibrant and interesting public and private spaces. It is in this context that the city has been awarded the title of World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO for 2023, and hosted the World Congress of the International Union of Architects. These milestones represent unique opportunities to highlight the crucial role of architecture and urban planning in building a sustainable future, establishing the city as a prominent international forum for discussing crucial issues related to the urban environment and the ongoing search for innovative solutions.
Visit Copenhagen has developed a series of four videos to explore the city's architectural wonders, guided by local architects. In the first one, which you can watch below, Danish architect Dan Stubbergaard –founder of Cobe– takes us on a captivating tour of Copenhagen, sharing his insights into what makes the city truly exceptional for its inhabitants.
Ever since the birth of our cities, we’ve made sure to protect the green spaces within them. Civilizations as far back as the Romans built expansive parks in the heart of the city with ‘Rus in Urbe’ – translating as ‘Country in the City’ – still referenced today. In order to control the urbanization boom of the mid-20th century, meanwhile, greenbelt policies across many European cities literally ring-fenced the natural environments surrounding them, making air quality and easier access to nature a part of city life.
The post-pandemic city, however, is a new breed of conurbation, and these city parks and greenbelts are no longer enough. As we migrate away in search of greener, healthier climes, the cities we’re leaving are evolving, proving they can be green too by exchanging lesser-used black surfaces of roads and structures for natural grass- and parkland. These four projects from across Europe transform unused city spaces back into the natural and regenerative green environments they once were.
OMA / Reinier de Graaf Presents Elevated Plaza and Trapezoidal Headquarters Concept for UniCredit in Munich, Germany
OMA’s competition design for UniCredit’s new Headquarters in Munich, Germany, proposes a plaza lifted off the ground to increase public spaces and urban connectivity and to activate an otherwise overlooked area. The scheme aims to “retroactively attribute character to an area which may never have had one.” The site is located by one of the city’s main arteries, the S-Bahn, a strictly functional area lacking in public spaces or amenities. The building proposed by OMA is lifted off the ground, with its limited footprint allowing for more public space to be integrated while preserving the site’s natural features.
How can we create inclusive, equitable and dignified public spaces that are adaptable and responsive to the local environment? World Urban Parks seeks to identify innovative and creative proposals to this question through the Parkitecture international design contest, inviting visionary architects, landscape designers, and urban planners to reimagine urban parks for a sustainable future.
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.
Ghisellini Architects, in collaboration with Lucrezia Alemanno and Paolo Beniamino De Vizzi has unveiled the redevelopment and complete redesign project for the new Piazza Francesca Cabrini in Livraga, Italy. Located about 45 kilometers southeast of Milan, the municipality of Livraga set out to transform the currently degraded public space and transform it into an attractive gathering place with site-specific environmental and landscaping features. Construction is expected to begin in August 2023 and is scheduled for competition in 2024.
The Unfolding Pavilion is a recurring exhibition and editorial project by Daniel Tudor Munteanu and Davide Tommaso Ferrando that aims to highlight previously inaccessible but architecturally significant spaces. Now in its fourth edition, the exhibition is dedicated to the Giardini della Biennale, the Venetian garden that became the main location for one of the most important architecture exhibitions worldwide, the Venice Biennale. Through a series of site-specific interventions and photographs by Laurian Ghinițoiu, the Unfolding Pavilion #OPENGIARDINI set out to explore the paradoxical state of this public space that is not publicly accessible.
Space as a gender adjacency and sexuality's spatial dimension are recent themes in architecture. The case of the bathroom as a gender-regulating device is a constantly discussed topic at the intersections of queer theory in architecture. The discussion is even broader within LGBTQIA+ guidelines.
A Central Square in Greece and a Giant Clock in Germany: 8 Unbuilt Public Spaces Submitted by the ArchDaily Community
Public spaces are the beating heart of our cities. They act as the hubs of social and cultural activity where people congregate, interact, and escape the clamor of the city. These areas are crucial in determining a city's identity, character, and citizens' well-being and standard of living. Public spaces can define our communities and significantly impact how we live, work, and interact with one another through their architectural designs, facilities, and activities. Furthermore, they provide leisure, exercise, and recreation opportunities, allowing individuals to escape the confines of their daily routines and connect with nature.
This week's curated selection of Best Unbuilt Architecture highlights projects submitted by the ArchDaily community showcasing different proposals made to enhance public space. Ranging from reimagining central squares to placing massive land art in the urban epicenter, these public spaces enhance the quality of life for the city's locals. In Germany, the redesign of the entire Memorium Nürnberger Trials reimagines this as a place to come together, grounded in its history, while in Havana, the new Cuban Square reimagines the metaphor of unity in the city center. The design and accessibility of public spaces significantly impact our well-being and quality of life. Thoughtfully planned and inclusive spaces with seating, greenery, and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure can promote physical activity, mental health, and community engagement in a city.
How did we end up building an environment where the private car is often treated better than many of our fellow human beings? In the U.S., the center of car culture, parking is expected to be convenient, available, and free, writes Henry Grabar in his engaging and entertaining new book, Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World (Penguin Press). Parking consumes vast amounts of land; in Los Angeles County, for example, it totals about 200 square miles. In New York City alone, there are 3 million curb parking spaces (not counting parking garages), which account for 6% of the city’s area—the equivalent of 13 Central Parks! Grabar asks: What better use could we make of this space? A 2021 study revealed that if New York reclaimed just a quarter of the street space allotted to cars, the following could be created: 500 miles of bus lanes; 40 miles of busways; 38 million square feet of community space; 1,000 miles of open streets; 3 million square feet of new pedestrian space; and 5.4 million additional square feet for restaurants, businesses, and cultural institutions.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro Wins International Competition to Design the New Pina Bausch Center in Wuppertal, Germany
Diller Scofidio + Renfro has won an international competition to design the new Pina Bausch Zentrum in Wuppertal, Germany. Pina Bausch’s legacy as a dancer and choreographer will be celebrated in the design and revitalization of the Tanztheater Wuppertal, as well as in the creation of a new production center. The building will emerge out of the ethos of Pina Bausch, setting an example for a new generation of leadership in the world of choreography.
Apart from the production stage centers, the design includes an archive of Pina Bausch's enormous artistic legacy, comprising a library, study, and research areas, and a public platform to promote community involvement with many creative and academic disciplines. Various contrasting and flexible spaces that encourage and foster conversation across the project's numerous program components are found throughout the proposed design.