Some assembly required for this vision of future urban living. Known for simple, well-designed, flat-pack furniture, IKEA is proposing expanding their DIY-model to a much larger scale: entire city centers. Democratic Design Days is an annual event where IKEA introduces its upcoming brands and collaborations, this year featuring The Urban Village Project, a collaboration between SPACE10 and EFFEKT Architects. After two years of research, SPACE10 (IKEA’s global research and design lab) is releasing their vision to the public for a new way to design, build, and share our homes, neighborhoods, and cities.
Urban Design: The Latest Architecture and News
If skylines around the world are looking too much the same, is this because the new and important buildings are done by the big names (designers) from far away and not by the locals or the opposite is true? Not only skyscrapers but, museums, civic center, concert halls, bridges, libraries, opera houses all give cities part of their identity.
In 2017, the Portland Society for Architecture (PSA) asked citizens and visitors to provide their vision of Portland on blank maps of the city. PSA distributed these maps as a tool to encourage civic engagement in defining Portland. The completed maps offer unique perspectives and insight into how the city might grow and flourish.
Innovation and technology are often presented as inextricably linked ideas. Yet, when it comes to solving today’s urban problems, technology does not always represent the best way forward.
Innovation instead should come from a thorough understanding of the city’s functions and processes, including its municipal government and other local organizations. Technology can help, yes, but cannot be used as a panacea.
Urban design is a branch of design intimately related to urban planning and landscape architecture; it focuses broadly on interpreting the form and public space with physical-aesthetic-functional criteria. Different experts in the field such as Jane Jacobs, Denise Scott Brown, Robert Venturi, Jaime Lerner, Jan Gehl, Kevin Lynch have devoted themselves to studying the needs of urban societies within the common spaces to give adequate responses to different contexts. These questions are renewed with new generations and the public space is transformed according to technological advances but what always remains is the sense of belonging of these sites that are only successful when users adopt them as own.
Dvorulitsa Project by Meganom Proposes Reinvesting in Cities' Peripheries to Improve Urban Environments
Amidst efforts to revitalize and improve urban centers, the peripheral areas of cities are often ignored or forgotten. The intense focus on the downtown core means, in terms of land use, that only a relatively small area receives the majority of designers’ attention. "Dvorulitsa" (literally "Yardstreet" in Russian) is an urban development strategy proposed by Russian architecture firm Meganom, aiming to shift that focus. Taking the idea of the “superpark” from the 2013 study, "Archaeology of the Periphery," the yardstreet project presents an alternative method of viewing the periphery of a post-soviet city.
How do designers think? How do they visually communicate complex ideas? What strategies do they employ to make a positive impact on the built environment? How does design change the way people see and experience the world?
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Game Changers: Architect Zena Howard is Using Design as Urban Healing." Metropolis' annual Game Changers series highlights those in design who are pushing the field forward.
Transforming urban centers can be slow going when the process is rooted in community engagement. But within the next five to ten years, historically African-American neighborhoods in Charlotte and Greenville, North Carolina; Miami; Vancouver; and Los Angeles will experience major change, thanks to architect Zena Howard, who leads Perkins+Will’s cultural practice in North Carolina.
Over the timespan of just one generation the planet’s pace of urbanization has dramatically increased. Through these dynamics and its resulting environmental threats, new challenges have emerged that deeply question the validity of the post-war planning paradigms. Dominant ideologies have been replaced by a problem-solving attitude, increased economic pressure and an urgent quest for evidence. What impact does this have on the work of the urban designer and planner, and how can the profession prepare for the future?
Designing Change tries to answer these and many other questions through in-depth conversations with 12 leading practitioners in the field. Conceived as an
Design practice White Arkitekter has created a 65 meter-long ‘sofa’ for Forumtorget Square in Uppsala, Sweden. Designed to provide space for rest and social interaction, the linear outdoor seating is the centerpiece of wider improvements to the large square. The project aims to attract more visitors to Forumtorget and its surrounding shopping area by building on the area’s character as a gathering place.
Months Before Opening Day, the Promised - and Sold - High-Tech Utopia of Hudson Yards is Still Just a Dream
This article was originally published on Metropolis Magazine as "Hudson Yards Promised a High-Tech Neighborhood — It was a Greater Challenge Than Expected."
There’s something striking about the command center of America’s largest private real estate development, Hudson Yards, in that it’s actually pretty boring. The room—technically known as the Energy Control Center, or ECC for short—contains two long desks crammed with desktop computers, a few TV monitors plastered to the wall, and a corkboard lined with employee badges. The ceiling is paneled; the lighting, fluorescent. However, New York’s Hudson Yards was once billed as the country’s first “quantified community”: A network of sensors would collect data on air quality, noise levels, temperature, and pedestrian traffic. This would create a feedback loop for the developers, helping them monitor and improve quality of life. So where is the NASA-like mission control? Data collection and advanced infrastructure will still drive parts of Hudson Yards’ operations, but not (yet) as first advertised.
LocationParis balloon, Rue Montagne de la Fage, 75015 Paris, France
Design TeamGilles Clément, Patrick Berger, Jean-François Jodry, and Jean-Paul Viguier.
Douglas and King Architects master plan to reinvigorate Shoreditch takes on a complex dual challenge. Broadly, there is the challenge at the core of any masterplanning project: creating a set of elements that flow together seamlessly with one another and their overall context. But more specifically, the project grapples with a tight triangular site and an already-lively urban context.
Artistic expression is often undisciplined. Sometimes, the riot of colors and explosion of lines and forms help unleash a 2D illustration out of its medium, which is precisely what Drawing Architecture Studio (DAS) managed to create in Ucommune’s new branch in Dajiang Hutong, Beijing.
In late 2018, Li Han, co-founder of Drawing Architecture Studio, won the 2018 Drawing Prize for her digital drawing of The Samsara of Building No.42 on Dirty Street, which also illustrates a visual narrative of the city of Beijing and its residential chronology throughout the 21st century. This year, DAS took Qianmen area, co-working brand Ucommune’s location as a subject, transforming its road network, architecture, and urban composition into a dynamic, meticulously detailed panorama titled Under the Zhengyangmen.
Architecture is powerful, and like nuclear energy, it all depends on how it is used. While it can create uninhabitable municipalities, it can also create safer cities that improve quality of life.
In various examples, urban design has provided a response to deteriorated or abandoned public spaces. It has shown that distribution and lighting are essential, but that it is also necessary to consider who will be using the space and how to make it an environment that generates community.
Ground Up, the journal of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at UC Berkeley, Issue 08 seeks entries that address the idea of HOME.
The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) celebrates transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to our nation’s cities. Winners offer creative placemaking solutions that transcend the boundaries between architecture, urban design and planning and showcase innovative thinking about American cities. One Gold Medal of $50,000 and four Silver Medals of $10,000 will be awarded.
This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Will Detroit ever Fully Recover from John Portman's Renaissance Center?"
Last week I wrote about the anti-urban legacy of architect and developer John Portman. I think it’s worth going into a bit more detail about these projects, since we seem to have learned so little from their failures.
Let’s start with Detroit. The Renaissance Center was one of his largest and most celebrated projects. But this sprawling complex of seven-interconnected skyscrapers poses some difficult questions for urban planners today: can downtown Detroit ever fully recover from this mammoth and ill considered development? And, more importantly, why haven’t other cities learned from its clear and stark lessons?