It was certainly what I had come for: I was sitting on broad, cobbled steps, watching people interact in the public realm. It was an August afternoon in Cuba, and I had found temporary respite from the harsh sun beneath a haphazard array of trees. My design work as a landscape architect focuses on urban parks, streetscapes, and academic campuses, and I wanted to see how differently the open spaces of Cuba might function.
Public Spaces: The Latest Architecture and News
It is, once again, the time of year where we look towards the future to define the goals and approaches that we will take for our careers throughout the upcoming year. To help the millions of architects who visit ArchDaily every day from all over the world, we compiled a list of the most popular ideas of 2018, which will continue to be developed and consolidated throughout 2019.
Over 130 million users discovered new references, materials, and tools in 2018 alone, infusing their practice of architecture with the means to improve the quality of life for our cities and built spaces. As users demonstrated certain affinities and/or demonstrated greater interest in particular topics, these emerged as trends.
Pavel Hnilicka Architekti is set to design Prague’s Victory Square, having been announced as winners of an international competition. Led by Pavel Hnilička, Eva Macáková, and Josef Filip, the winning scheme seeks to divert all existing traffic away from the square, transforming the space with a striking central monument.
The scheme sees the removal of tram tracks through the square, which will instead be relocated to the west side and Evropská Street. While traffic will be removed from the square, a new traffic plan will, in fact, accommodate more cars than the existing layout, while the center of the existing roundabout will become a “functioning space for universal use.”
New York’s iconic Central Park was designed in 1858 by F.L Olmsted and C. Vaux, having been chosen in a competition against 32 other entries. The competition called for the design of a park including a parade ground, fountain, watchtower, skating arena, four cross streets, and room for an exhibition hall.
Of the 32 alternative entries, only one survives to this day. The sole survivor was drawn up park engineer John J. Rink. To give an indication as to how Rink’s plan would have aged in the Big Apple, NeoMam Studios and Budget Direct have published a set of visualizations derived from the design. Find out below what one of the world’s most iconic green spaces could have looked like if a 160-year-old decision had been different.
Acoustic shells are iconic elements seen in public spaces around the world. But beyond their curious form, their operation is highly interesting. Inspired by the design of the human ear, the sound waves produced within acoustic shells are organized by their form, becoming stronger and more vivid for the audience in front of the structure.
The world today has become aware of the reckless utilization of natural resources and is now making conscious efforts to move towards a sustainable future. In this endeavor, it has become imperative to rethink our approach towards building materials to ease the pressure on the conventional ones. The Shipping Container is one such potential building material that boasts of good structural quality, can be recycled easily and is universally available.
On July 15, the city of Paris announced the opening of three natural swimming pools that receive their water supply from the Seine River, located in the La Villette Basin in the 19th arrondissement of the city. Spanning a total of 1,600 square meters, the new attraction is divided into a children's area, with depths of up to 40cm; an area of medium depth of 1,2m; and a larger pool, with depths of about two meters.
The swimming pools are part of the "Swimming in Paris" project, presented for the first time by the City Council of The French Capital in June 2015, with the goal of "encouraging the practice of swimming for Parisians and Tourists." According to an official statement from the city government, the project aims to allow, by 2020, the "modernization of water parks and the creation of new swimming pools and areas for bathing."
Cairo-based architect Mohamed Elgendy has won an international competition for the design of a new community pavilion in Roseville, Michigan. The Pavilion at Utica Junction competition, organized by the Roseville DDA, sought to attract proposals for a public pavilion on the site of an old tavern, creating a gathering space for residents and visitors to stage events, socialize, and play. The vision behind Elgendy’s winning scheme was for a dialogue between three elements – a plaza, a ramp, and an indoor pavilion.
One of architecture’s most delightful anomalies is the diversity of solutions generated by any given site. From hypothetical university projects by architecture students to professional international design competition entries, the differing perspectives, stances, and experiences brought to rest on one site by several design teams can wield a bounty of contrasting ideas.
Recently, we reported on Nestinbox, a proposal by Swedish architecture firm Manofactory to attach a series of simple, functional houses to a cliff face in Stockholm, addressing the demands of increased populations and land prices in cities across the world. Now, the cliffs of Stockholm have been the subject of an entirely different, though just as evocative concept by Swedish firm UMA. Rather than private housing, UMA proposes the Stockholm Infinity Pool, a public pool 1km along the Sodermalm cliffs of Sweden’s capital.
Growing like an outcrop amongst the hills of Gothenburg, the Kulturkorgen by Swedish firm Sweco Architects offers the public an opportunity to watch, engage, and perform. The scheme is a result of an architectural competition for a new Culture House in the city, run in collaboration with Architects Sweden. The winning proposal, who’s name translates to ‘Basket of Culture’, acts as both a building and a square – a social arena where flexible interior spaces act in tandem with a generous public green landscape for recreation and gathering.
The inadequate provision of open spaces in urban areas is one of the most recurrent challenges for the Hong Kong government. High-quality open public spaces can significantly increase a city’s attractiveness by encouraging business investment and improving living conditions.
Greek architecture firm topio7 has released image of their competition-winning proposal to create an eco-corridor across former lignite mines in the Western Macedonia region of Greece. Despite its past coal mining activity, the 180,000 Ha region has retained its natural beauty, partly due to the site's inaccessibility and fragmentation. Topio7’s winning proposal, through a measured, sensitive approach, seeks to enhance the area’s natural beauty whilst creating a variety of nodes and eco-corridors to enable public interaction.
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.
On May 28, Beirut-based firm 109 Architectes unveiled Notes on a Tree at the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. The interactive installation is part of the GAA Foundation’s annual “Time – Space – Existence” exhibition and commemorates Lebanon’s lost public spaces.
Notes on a Tree tackles the role of the architect in countries like Lebanon, where developers often dictate urban planning. The firm uses its own projects as examples of successes and disappointments in preserving public space, which is symbolized by specific trees. Some trees were saved and some were lost, but each one represents a community’s history and collective memory.
Genoa Summer School is an international workshop ideated by Vittorio Pizzigoni and Valter Scelsi, and organized within the Department in Science for Architecture, Università degli Studi di Genova. This year the Genoa Summer School 4 is organized in collaboration with Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade de Lisboa, it will take place in Lisboa, Portugal, from July 21st to July 31st, 2016. The topic of the workshop is "Public Spaces." Ten days of intensive program exploring the power of architecture in reshaping the environment. Students are invited to recognize the role of design in producing public spaces, inside the great traditions of the public
Who should design public spaces? Should they even be designed at all? Can public space make a meaningful contribution to solving the world’s environmental problems? How should the success of a public space be measured?
The Bodø Kulturhus and Library will consist of two public buildings; a new city library (5,500m²) and a three-auditorium concert hall (7,350m²), creating a new cultural centre for the Norwegian coastal city.
The results of the competition were announced in Bodø, Norway on 27 February. drdharchitects beat five other practices to win the invited competition, including CF Moller, Medplan, General Architecture, Langdon Reis Zahn and Lundgaard & Tranberg.
On winning the competition, practice director Daniel Rosbottom said, “These are the last two sites left in the urban centre of Bodø, following the WWII bombing which devastated the city. We are, in effect, completing the reconstruction through the building of a new cultural heart. It is a great honour to be given such a responsibility.”