When transparent facade elements deliberately evolve from the course of the sun, we can explore a fascinating slow movement in stark contrast to the hectic urban street life on the ground. Especially the French designer Pierre Brault has responded to the accelerated rhythm of our society with facade installations that combine the principle of the sundial with colorful pop design. His three-dimensional works made of recycled colored plexiglass mesmerize through simple but dramatic movements of colored shadows. In the interview, Brault explains his inspiration, the experimental approach and his interest in working responsibly with material.
Urban Design: The Latest Architecture and News
Sunlight Shadows for Slow but Colorful Façade Movements with Pierre Brault
Contemporary Public Spaces: 11 Projects That Inspire New Ideas
Besides reflecting the aspirations of a society, public spaces also configure the scenarios in which new ideas of coexistence and the collective can emerge from their qualities. Thinking about the streets, squares, parks, and even nature is a way of dealing with common ideals and ensuring the social dynamics in the relationship between bodies and the environment.
Exploring the History and Future of Parking Garage Designs
For every car that drives on the road, we need to find a place to put it- but are parking garages the answer? Parking garages are often seen as the antithesis of people-friendly urban planning. Large gray boxes are used solely to store cars that make temporary visits and seem like a poor use of space, especially in cities where land comes at a premium. Because of these garages, urban cores have quickly been transformed into parking districts, where vehicle storage dominates the aesthetic of a business district. Building codes only contribute to the problem, where the number of spaces is passed down as a mandate, even spreading out into suburban areas. Parking garages are everywhere- flanking shopping malls, connecting to residential towers, and surrounding sporting venues.
The Story Behind Measuring Systems
Animals measure distances and weight for their survival. On the other hand, stemming from their need to communicate to live in society, humans created languages and, later, established the standards of measuring. Whether for moving around, portioning food, making tools, or calculating the weight of objects and animals, measurement standards arise from this need that was already present in human activities in the age of chipped stone and has been with us ever since. Nowadays, most of the world's population uses meters and centimeters to measure distances. These standards come from the need to establish comparisons that allow trade between peoples and also from political and social disputes.
The 15-Minute City, Deconstructed
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
What is the 15-Minute City? It’s every city ever built by humans on this planet until a century ago, but with a catchy new name. If a city’s old parts haven’t been destroyed in the past century, it’s the areas that attract the most tourists. And people will travel across continents and oceans to experience the best of them.
Forty years ago, a few pioneers decided to start building 15-Minute Cities again. Actually, they built 5-minute cities because they didn’t think people would walk for 15 minutes—and, in the early 1980s, they were right, because people were so conditioned to driving everywhere back then. Seaside, Florida, is where it all began. Time magazine called it “the little town that changed the world.” For the first time in the modern history of sprawl, people could toss their car keys in a drawer or hang them on the wall and leave them there for days. When people returned from Seaside vacations, they came back asking, “Why can’t we build this way at home?” And soon, the New Urbanism was born.
UNStudio, HKS, and Gehl Selected to Lead a Major Expansion of the Public Transit System in Austin, Texas
The Austin Transit Partnership has selected UNStudio, HKS, and Gehl to lead the architecture and urban design of Project Connect, a major expansion of the public transportation system in Austin, Texas, in the United States. The project is set to become a transformative investment, including and integrating the light rail system, expanded bus routes, and connectivity with more services across the city. The initiative is also voter-approved. In November 2020, Austin citizens approved Project Connect, leading to the creation of the independent entity Austin Transit Partnership charged with implementing the project. The citizens of Austin are invited to continue to get involved and provide feedback.
Heatherwick Studio Launches New Health Street Initiative
With many high streets hollowing out and the National Health Services Association pushed to its limits, Heatherwick Studio is calling for a new kind of health space in metropolitan cities. The Health Street initiative is placed right at the heart of urban communities, reimagining the way we look at well-being and the holistic health of complete localities. Moreover, this radical approach to health creation is based on integrating community-led facilities into the local high streets.
The Complex Culture of Nightrise in Jabal ‘Amil, Lebanon
As farmers water crops by moonlight, undocumented children head to school and villagers scan the sky for surveillance airplanes—these are glimpses of a complex culture that emerges in south Lebanon after dark. In collecting some of these nightly practices, Mohamad Nahleh—lecturer in architecture and urbanism at MIT—journeyed across the landscapes of Jabal ‘Amil hoping to build a new alliance between architecture and the night. His "Path of Nightrise" research has turned into a construction to revive a forgotten river path and was published by Places Journal. The interview with Nahleh argues for a new nocturnal imagination in design and reveals, not only how the night has changed in Lebanon over time, but also how he has changed alongside it.
The Expansion of Pedal Power: Bike Shares Are on the Rise
Over the last few years, bike share systems experienced a renaissance as the pandemic forced a hard decline in other forms of public transportation like trains and commercial flights where people wanted to avoid close contact with strangers. While ridership is now on a slow decline, since much of the “normal life” aspects have returned, many people continue to see bike shares as a viable means of transportation, lured by the ease and affordability of getting from place to place.
Rome’s ’Possible City’ and the Gentrification Battle in San Lorenzo
This article was originally published on Common Edge.
In 2018, the Roman neighborhood of San Lorenzo hit the headlines when a young girl was found dead in a derelict building. The media focused on the area’s decline, ignoring its long political and cultural history. Known as a “red” territory, San Lorenzo was one of the few districts to resist Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome. Built in the late 19th century to house a working-class population of artisans as well as rail and factory workers, there’s a gritty feel to the neighborhood, defined by remnants of its industrial past and buildings that still bear the scars of Allied bombing in World War II. This small, centrally located neighborhood is wedged between Termini, the main train station, Verano, the monumental cemetery opened in 1812, and the Città Universitaria La Sapienza (La Sapienza University).
Regulations on Airbnbs Could Be Coming to A City Near You
Airbnb has long been a reliable way to find a homestay. Since its inception in 2008, the site has hosted more than 7 million homes around the world where travelers can stay in a room, or rent an entire house out for themselves. Recently, many cities have been cracking down on short-term stays, citing safety issues, false listings, and rising property prices which push people out of their homes when housing becomes used just for Airbnb rentals. What are cities doing about these issues? What is Airbnb doing to help remediate them? And will Airbnb be viable for much longer?
Saudi Arabia Unveils Design for the Mukaab, a Large-Scale Cube-Shaped Skyscraper in Riyadh
The Saudi Arabian government has revealed the design for the Mukaab, a cube-shaped supertall skyscraper that will become the center of the New Murabba district in downtown Riyadh. The Mukaab aims to become the largest built structure in the world, measuring 400 meters in height, width, and length. The building will be situated in the North West of Riyadh, in a 19 square kilometers area that will become one of the largest downtown developments in the world. The Mukaab skyscraper and the Murabba district were announced by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prime Minister and Chairman of the New Murabba Development Company (NMDC).
How Can AI and Data-Driven Tools Help Architects Design Compact, Healthy Cities?
The United Nations estimates that the world population will reach 10.4 billion by 2100. Already by 2050, 2 out of 3 people will call cities home, coming in search of the opportunities, services and amenities on offer. That puts even more pressure on urban areas given all these people will need access to water, food, public space, good infrastructure and, above all, housing. In fact, estimates suggest more than two billion homes will need to be built by the end of the 21st century to accommodate this population explosion. As cities grow, so does urban sprawl, which brings its own set of environmental and social challenges. In the face of climate change, sustainable urban development must ensure that future housing solutions –new and renovated– are built to support healthy communities, prioritizing both human and environmental well-being. In turn, cities will need to be built denser and faster, but not without meeting a long list of stringent criteria. Only this way can we avoid the negative, often overlooked, effects of uncontrolled hyper densification that give urban development a bad name.
From the Streets to the Internet: The History of Commerce and Its Relationship With the Territory
Commerce is a human activity practiced by societies since the beginning of evolution. Exchanges were made between products negotiated by entire communities at first. They began to be based on a common currency and practiced individually over time, from family to family. In one way or another, this activity is a characteristic of civilization and even influences our territorial organization. Historically practiced in outdoor spaces, commercial activity defined many spatial configurations.
Learning From Europe: Beyond Symbolic Dark Landmarks to Save Energy at Night
When capital cities like Paris and Berlin resolved to switch off lighting for public buildings and landmarks in July 2022 in order to save energy in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the cities created a ripple effect throughout central Europe. Images of dark iconic landmarks swept through the media and allowed politicians a momentary act of environmental demonstration. However, designers have started to question the sustainability of this ad hoc step. Seen from a broader perspective the impression arises that this alleged radical action has been part of a rather media-savvy campaign with small effect in cities at night. Further steps are necessary to reassess urban lighting that may have a major impact on energy saving and sustainability.