Highway interchanges have evolved from important infrastructures that help distribute traffic to unique landmarks that define cities. As multiple road networks embrace and form distinctive sculptures, these road intersections range from singular bridge connections and roundabouts to numerous, layered and multi-layered interchanges. They twist, turn, loop, and wrap around sparse land, vegetation, or existing structures in a bid to transfer travelers from one roadway to another. However, they also create a moment of enclosure, forming partially bounded areas and a sense of space. These spaces could be viewed as liminal and transitional, with no fixed typology able to be hosted. But that blurring character calls for ideas of urban intervention to disrupt the notion of what these spaces can be. They can be readapted from car-dominant sculptures into more human-friendly places and re-integrated as extended schemes of the city's architecture.
urban intervention: The Latest Architecture and News
As part of a new initiative of the multidisciplinary laboratory based in Mexico, dérive LAB presents "Shared Streets", a project with a focus on urban design that seeks to spatially transform the street so that it is governed by human relations, rather than using traffic control devices; this suggests that the street is not only a space for transportation and mobility but one in which many other social, economic and cultural activities take place.
The International Placemaking Week, presented by Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is an inspiring and engaging event designed as a global gathering of placemakers from different sectors to discuss thoughts and share strategies in order to push forward the concept of placemaking in the host city and on an international level. Previous editions took place in Vancouver in 2016, Amsterdam in 2017, and Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2019.
PPS, the nonprofit organization behind Placemaking Week, helps people create and sustain public spaces that build strong communities. In 1999, they elaborated “How to turn a place around”, a book that defined the placemaking movement, creating a guideline of 11 principles to follow in order to create vibrant community spaces.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) and the Danish Arts Foundation (DAF) have selected Soil Lab as the winning project of a DAF Open Call for a major new commission in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. Responding to the biennial’s 2021 edition theme The Available City, led by Artistic Director David Brown, the proposal, chosen to represent Denmark at the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial, was imagined by an international design team that includes Eibhlín Ní Chathasaigh (Dublin), James Albert Martin (Dublin), Anne Dorthe Vester (Copenhagen), Maria Bruun (Copenhagen) and Chicago residents.
Local Collective has designed a seating made of clay for the London Festival of Architecture and Network Rail. Unveiled at London Bridge Station, the urban furniture is a result of a “competition organized by the LFA and Network Rail to create public installations that celebrate London’s shared spaces and connect people with playful encounters”.
The field of architecture has the potential to influence human relations in countless ways through the built space. In small-scale projects, in particular, the challenges of tackling the dialogue between the space and the individual are combined with the task of conveying ideas to inspire people to explore the use of these minimal spaces.
"Les Jumeaux" or The Twins is a new large-scale public urban intervention by French artist and designer Camille Walala in White City, West London. The project encompasses two pedestrian crossings and seven striking murals, created with geometric patterns and primary colors, Walala’s signature style. Moreover, Camille Walala also unveiled this month her East London intervention, a giant work of art aiming to breathe new life into the street and boost the local economy, entitled "Walala Parade".
Due to population growth and an increase in urban density and real estate prices, architects and urban planners have been pursuing alternatives for new spatial configurations for settling and housing in the cities. The multiplication of shared housing and workspaces is an example of how the field of architecture is adapting to new ways of living in society.
When urban spaces become the medium for expression, protest, criticism, and defiance, the audience is limitless. Pedestrians and bystanders of all ages and ideologies become spectators of demonstrations that walk the line between art and activism and transform the city's streets, walls, and sidewalks into canvases for diffusing ideas on a massive scale. Banksy once said that "a wall is a very big weapon. It's one of the nastiest things you can hit someone with." This call to arms has rung true for many as they take to the streets in a bid to make themselves heard.
BIG unveiled its latest intervention, the Toyota Woven City, the company's first venture in Japan. Nestled at the foothills of Mt. Fuji, the project, in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation, is the world’s first urban incubator pushing forward the development and progress of mobility.
The City of Sydney has chosen Adjaye Associates and contemporary Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd to design a new public square, plaza building, and public artwork. The project attempts to uncover the lost history of the site, reconcile cultures and define identities.
Delhi-based firm Morphogenesis has recently unveiled a proposal for a project that will rehabilitate and develop the ghats (a flight of steps leading down to a river) and crematoriums along a 210-kilometer stretch of the Ganges, India’s longest river. The project, titled “A River in Need,” is part of the larger National Mission of Clean Ganga (NMCG), an undertaking of the Indian Government’s Ministry of Water Resources which was formed in 2011 with twin objectives: to ensure effective abatement of the river’s pollution and to conserve and rejuvenate it.