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Public Spaces: The Latest Architecture and News

Torino Stratosferica Transforms Abandoned Tramway into Vibrant Urban Park

Ever since the tramline’s closure, the 800-meter-long strip in the center of Corso Gabetti and Ponte Regina Margherita in Turin, has been abandoned. To make use of the dead area and give residents an extra space outdoors following Italy's severe pandemic repercussions, non-profit cultural association Torino Stratosferica has transformed the tree-lined strip into Precollinear Park, a temporary public space fit for socially-distanced leisure.

Courtesy of Torino StratosfericaCourtesy of Torino StratosfericaCourtesy of Torino StratosfericaCourtesy of Torino Stratosferica+ 14

Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP, Carlo Ratti, Arup and OUTCOMIST Win Competition to Regenerate the Porta Romana Railway Area in Milan

Led by OUTCOMIST, an international design team including Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati, and Arup won the competition to revitalize the Porta Romana Railway Area, transforming the industrial site into a diverse green neighborhood in Milan. Rehabilitating a disused railway yard into a connective tissue that links the southeast area of the city to the center, the development will generate a rich biodiverse public space, including a large urban park.

Courtesy of OUTCOMIST, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and ArupCourtesy of OUTCOMIST, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and ArupCourtesy of OUTCOMIST, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and ArupCourtesy of OUTCOMIST, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, PLP Architecture, CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and Arup+ 8

SMAR Architecture Studio Wins International Competition to Design Silicon Valley Landmark

SMAR Architecture Studio has won the Urban Confluence competition to envision a new landmark for Silicon Valley. The Breeze of Innovation project is a forest of kinetic rods swaying in the wind creating a mesmerizing visual effect.

Courtesy of SMAR Architecture StudioCourtesy of SMAR Architecture StudioCourtesy of SMAR Architecture StudioCourtesy of SMAR Architecture Studio+ 7

A New Layer of Public Space: The Case for Activating Urban Rooftops

In increasingly denser urban environments, there is a new-found interest in underused spaces as opportunities for further development. Representing up to 25% of cities' land area, rooftops are among the most exciting spatial resources. From sustainable infrastructure and urban farming to social spaces and cultural venues, the article looks into the potential of creating a multi-layered city through the activation of urban rooftops.

CopenHill by BIG. Image © Hufton+CrowGreen Cloud by ZHUBO-AAO. Image © John SiuRodeph Sholom School Playdecks by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects. Image © Francis DzikowskiYOU+International Youth Community Shenzhen by officePROJECT. Image © Chao Zhang+ 10

Estonian Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2021 Explores the Role of Urban Space in the Future of Small Towns

The Estonian Centre for Architecture is presenting the exhibition “Square! Positively shrinking” curated by Jiří Tintěra, Garri Raagmaa, Kalle Vellevoog, Martin Pedanik, and Paulina Pähn, in the Pavilion of Estonia at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Hosted in the Arsenale complex, the project will “explore the role of high-quality urban space in enhancing the future development of small towns that are in jeopardy of depopulation, […] sparking a debate on the lesser-known facet of urbanization”.

Põlva central square ©Tõnu Tunnel. Image Courtesy of The Estonian Centre for ArchitectureKuressaare central square ©Tiit Veermäe. Image Courtesy of The Estonian Centre for ArchitectureRapla central square ©Siim Solman. Image Courtesy of The Estonian Centre for ArchitectureRakvere central square ©Tõnu Tunnel. Image Courtesy of The Estonian Centre for Architecture+ 21

The British Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale Explores How to Make Public Space More Inclusive

Curated by Manijeh Verghese and Madeleine Kessler, co-founders of multi-scalar design practice Unscene Architecture, the British Pavilion exhibition entitled The Garden of Privatised Delights, at the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, will be open to the public from the 22nd of May until the 21st of November 2021. Commissioned by the British Council, the exhibition “reimagines how to make public space more inclusive, countering the rapid rise of privately-owned public space with an inspiring, alternative vision that urges both sectors to work together to create better-designed spaces for all”.

Brazilian Projects Celebrating Democratic Spaces

In recent years, several movements in Brazil and around the world have contributed significantly to society by emphasizing the need to occupy public spaces in the cities to claim quality and freedom of use for the community. The Ocupe Estelita movement in Recife, Brazil, for example, confronted the growing real estate speculation in the region and challenged the aggressive commercial urban planning on the banks of the Capibaribe River. Based on cases like this one, professor, critic, and curator Guilherme Wisnik, in an interview with Fora, addressed the issue of public space as a place of conflict.

Praça das Artes. © Nelson KonSesc Pompeia. © Pedro KokImage Cortesia de USINA CTAH. ImageVista do Mutirão Paulo FreireSesc 24 de Maio. © Flagrante / Romullo Fontenelle+ 13

Landscaping on an Urban Scale: 12 Linear Park Projects

Linear parks exist in many different contexts - along riversides, coastal areas, or inserted in the urban fabric - and represent a very particular type of public space that evokes the idea of a vector and, consequently, the sense of movement. However, they can provide more than just activities and programs associated with mobility, proving to be an appealing solution to the lack of spaces for leisure, contemplation, and relaxation in the most varied urban situations.

Below, we have gathered 12 examples of linear parks built in different parts of the world, illustrated by photographs and floor plans.

White Flowers Boulevard / Project Group 8 + PARK. Courtesy of AquabrandRequalification of the banks of the Avelames River / Luís Rebelo de Andrade. © Fernando Guerra | FG+SGSchelokovsky Hutor Forest Park / OGOROD. © Dima ChetyreWaterfront Park of Aiyi River / BLVD International. © Fang Jian+ 26

Sacred Spaces: What Can Cemeteries Teach Us About Our History and Society?

Cemetery in Guangzhou, China. Photograph by @nk7, found on @fromwhereidroneCimetière parisien de Pantin, Paris, France. Created by @dailyoverview, source imagery: @geomnimapprosCementerio de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena, Madrid, Spain. Created by @overview Source imagery: @maxartechnologies Panteón Civil San Nicolás Tolentino, Mexico City. Drone by @dronerobert + 7

Memento mori is an ancient Latin expression that means "remember that you are mortal." The Roman people used it not to represent a fatalistic approach to death but rather as a way of valuing life.

A few centuries later, as we arrive at our current context and the world reaches the terrifying figure of 2 million deaths as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, memento mori is more relevant than ever.

Sou Fujimoto Unveils Images of Public Pavilion for Haikou's Waterfront in China

After MAD’s Wormhole Library, the city of Haikou revealed a pavilion by Sou Fujimoto Architects. Scheduled for the end of spring, the ribbon-like white pavilion with an accessible roof will be one of the first public waterfront interventions to be completed in the spring of 2021. Shaping the future of Haikou city and Hainan Free Trade Port, the master plan of 16 permanent destinations re-imagines the future of coastal living.

Sou Fujimoto. Image Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto ArchitectsSou Fujimoto. Image Courtesy of Sou Fujimoto ArchitectsMAD- Wormhole Library. Image © SANMAD- Wormhole Library. Image © SAN+ 12

Has the Pandemic Changed the Experience of Encountering Art in Public?

Public art is an innate cultural privilege for New Yorkers. Top-notch art can be found across the city’s boroughs everywhere from parks, squares, alleys, and rooftops—sometimes to the jaded disdain of passerby. While permanent staples, such as Robert Indiana’s Love on 6th Avenue or George Segal’s Gay Liberation at the Stonewall National Monument are ingrained in the urban texture, others are more ephemeral. Public art has the power to swiftly take over Instagram feeds but also has a history of sparking polarizing interpretations at town hall hearings.