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Public Spaces: The Latest Architecture and News

Carlo Ratti Associati Reveals New Vision Plan for Lugano’s Waterfront

Designed by CRA- Carlo Ratti Associati and MIC-Mobility in Chain, the proposed plan for the Swiss city Lugano creates a network of public spaces, that connects the town to the lake. The project puts in place a floating garden and a reconfigurable waterfront.

Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati Courtesy of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati + 10

New York City Grants Approval for Snøhetta's 550 Madison Garden

The New York City Planning Commission approved unanimously the design for 550 Madison Garden created by Snøhetta. The project that re-imagines the privately-owned public space will move forward, after also having received, earlier on, the approval from Manhattan Community Board.

BIG and WXY Propose Plans for Greener and Safer Downtown Brooklyn

Bjarke Ingels Group and WXY architecture + urban design, in collaboration with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, imagined a new future for Downtown Brooklyn. The proposal introduces a greener, safer approach for a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.

Courtesy of BIG and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Courtesy of BIG and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Courtesy of BIG and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Courtesy of BIG and Downtown Brooklyn Partnership + 16

UN-Habitat Promotes Inclusive Planning and Gender Equitable Cities Using Technology

The Un-habitat or the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development, whose primary focus is to deal with the challenges of rapid urbanization, has been developing innovative approaches in the urban design field, in order to encourage the active participation especially of children, women and underprivileged individuals.

BIG + Field Operations Design Master Plan for River Street Waterfront

Two Trees Management Company, a New York-based real estate development firm, has presented a master plan for the Northern Brooklyn waterfront, a new approach to urban resiliency. Designed by BIG and Field Operations, the project puts in place a mixed-use development and a resilient park.

© James Corner Field Operations and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, courtesy of Two Trees Management © James Corner Field Operations and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, courtesy of Two Trees Management © James Corner Field Operations and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, courtesy of Two Trees Management © James Corner Field Operations and BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, courtesy of Two Trees Management + 12

Not All Parks Should be Green: 10 Tips to Design Landscape Infrastructure

Does it make sense to design green parks in desert cities such as Casablanca, Dubai, or Lima? Ostensibly it does, because they contribute freshness and greenness to the urban environment. In exchange, however, they disrupt native local ecosystems, incur high maintenance bills, and begin a constant struggle to ensure water availability.

Kaukari Urban Park, designed in the desert city of Copiapó (Chile) by the Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos office. Image © Rodrigo Opazo Landscape Shanghai Minsheng, designed by Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects. Image © FangFang Tian Dania Park in the Oresund Strait between Sweden and Denmark, designed by Sweco Architects + Thorbjörn Andersson. Image © Sweco Architects + Thorbjörn Andersson Parque Urbano Kaukari, diseñado en la desértica ciudad de Copiapó (Chile) por la oficina Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos. Image Cortesía de Teodoro Fernández Arquitectos + 10

Public Spaces: ArchDaily's Best Articles on the Topic

Public Spaces are an issue all over the world — approaches to designing them differentiate across countries, while successful examples always involve heavy research and working closely with communities. At ArchDaily, we always try to explore different opinions on common issues, hoping that our input will add to the clarity of architecture debates. Read on for our best articles on the topic.

Sharon Zukin on Privately Managed Public Spaces, Gentrification and Urban Authenticity

The Midnight Charette is an explicit podcast about design, architecture, and the everyday. Hosted by architectural designers David Lee and Marina Bourderonnet, it features a variety of creative professionals in unscripted and long-format conversations that allow for thoughtful takes and more personal discussions. Honesty and humor are used to cover a wide array of subjects: some episodes provide useful tips for designers, while others are project reviews, interviews, or simply explorations of everyday life and design. The Midnight Charette is available for free on iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and all other podcast directories.

On this episode of The Midnight Charette Podcast, Sharon Zukin discusses the economic and social impact the technology industry has had on cities around the world, the relationship between gentrification and the commodification of modern life, building improvement districts and the increasing securitization of public spaces, and the desire to live in authentic neighborhoods.

What We Can Learn About Public Space From Cuba

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "What Landscape Architects and Urban Designers Can Learn About Public Space From Cuba."

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.

The Trends that Will Influence Architecture in 2019

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 to Transform Prague's Victory Square

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.”

© Pavel Hnilicka Architekti © Pavel Hnilicka Architekti © Pavel Hnilicka Architekti © Pavel Hnilicka Architekti + 10

What New York's Central Park Could Have Looked Like

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.

Courtesy of NeoMam Studios for Budget Direct Courtesy of NeoMam Studios for Budget Direct Courtesy of NeoMam Studios for Budget Direct Courtesy of NeoMam Studios for Budget Direct + 6

How Acoustic Shells Work (And How to Design Them Effectively)

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.

Call for Ideas: Unbox 2017 Architecture Competition

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.

Paris Opens Its First-Ever Public Swimming Pools

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."

Community, History and Art Collide in Illuminating Michigan Pavilion

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.

Courtesy of Mohamed Elgendy Courtesy of Mohamed Elgendy Courtesy of Mohamed Elgendy Courtesy of Mohamed Elgendy + 9

Public Pools or Private Houses - How Should Stockholm Use its Cliffs?

Courtesy of UMA / Manofactory. Image Infinity Pool vs Nestinbox
Courtesy of UMA / Manofactory. Image Infinity Pool vs Nestinbox

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.

Courtesy of UMA Courtesy of UMA Courtesy of UMA Courtesy of UMA + 13

Sweco's Kulturkorgen Offers Gothenburg a Basket of Culture

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.

A generous public square contains seating, stages, and play areas. Image Courtesy of Sweco Interior functions are organised around a central atrium. Image Courtesy of Sweco The facade is a rich blend of timber, colour and pattern. Image Courtesy of Sweco The Kulturkorgen emerges as an outcrop from the hills of Gothenburg. Image Courtesy of Sweco + 13