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West 8: The Latest Architecture and News

Houston's First Botanic Garden Opens as a Museum of Plants

Dutch landscape architecture and design firm West 8 has unveiled the first phase of Houston's first ever Botanic Garden in Texas. Designed to be a "museum of plants", the project features evolving collections to inform scientists, tourists and horticulturalists alike. Conceived over twenty years ago by locals, the project has been developed on an island in the city’s expansive Bayou system.

Courtesy of West 8, Barrett DohertyCourtesy of West 8, Barrett DohertyCourtesy of West 8, Barrett DohertyCourtesy of West 8, Barrett Doherty+ 8

Studio 44 and WEST 8 Win the Tuchkov Buyan Park Competition in Saint Petersburg, Russia

The results of the International Competition for the Architectural Landscape Design Concept for the Tuchkov Buyan Park were just revealed. The proposal by Studio 44 in consortium with WEST 8 won the first place, JV Vogt in consortium with Herzog & de Meuron won the second place while AB CHVOYA in consortium with KARAVAN landskapsarkitekter took the third position.

Courtesy of Studio 44 and West 8Courtesy of JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron© Michel Desvigne Paysagiste and Meganom© Khvoya and KARAVAN landskapsarkitekter+ 40

Renzo Piano Unveils Images of First Completed Residential Building in Miami

Just completed, Eighty Seven Park in Miami is Renzo Piano’s first residential commission in the United States. The Pritzker Prize winner, known for his cultural interventions around the globe, imagined an architecture that creates the illusion of a floating building above the ocean and park.

© The Boundary© Douglas Friedman© Douglas Friedman© The Boundary+ 11

West 8 Wins Middle Branch Competition to Revitalize Baltimore's Waterfront

West 8 has won the competition to revitalize the Middle Branch Waterfront in Baltimore, Maryland. The design competition managed and developed by the Parks & People Foundation on behalf of the City of Baltimore and facilitated in coordination with community-based organizations. Working with local partners Mahan Rykiel and Moffatt & Nichol, the team aims to recreate and redefine the blue green heart of Baltimore.

Courtesy of West 8Courtesy of West 8Courtesy of West 8Courtesy of West 8+ 8

SO-IL and West 8 Design Artpark for New York's Niagara Gorge

Design practices SO-IL and West 8 have won a competition to redesign a 37-acre cultural hub along New York's Niagara Gorge. The project will include a renovated main stage and an outdoor ampitheatre, as well as a series of pathways, galleries and viewing stations integrated into the canyon. The teams are tasked with the development of a strategy to revitalize the Artpark grounds, while improving connectivity, facilities and programs.

Courtesy of SO-IL & West 8Courtesy of SO-IL & West 8Courtesy of SO-IL & West 8Courtesy of SO-IL & West 8+ 5

Seeing Red: 4 Times the Color Has Enhanced Architecture and Why

© Helene Binet
© Helene Binet

Red is everywhere. From stop signs to bricks and lipstick to wine, our constant use of the color in everyday objects has slowly taken over our subconscious. Red is a color that always blends with the context, telling us how to feel or what to think, but why are we attracted to it? Why did cavemen choose ochre-based paint to draw on their walls? Why do revolutions always seem to use red to stir support? Why do we parade celebrities down red carpets, when green or blue would surely do the same job? While the answers to these questions may be vague and indefinite, red’s use in architecture is almost always meticulously calculated.

Courtesy of West 8© Helene Binetlicensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a>. Image © nenamaz© Filip Dujardin+ 11

MADE BY HOLLAND to Transform Dutch Royal Palace into Forum for Innovation

The team known as MADE BY HOLLAND has been selected to transform the palace and gardens of Soestdijk, a 17th century country estate and former residence of the Dutch royal family, into a forum for innovation and entrepreneurship, where large-scale exhibitions and events can be held for a wide range of audiences.

Palace Renovation. Image © TomPostma DesignPalace Renovation. Image © TomPostma DesignPalace Renovation. Image © TomPostma DesignPalace Renovation. Image © TomPostma Design+ 20

Watch Adriaan Geuze of West 8 Explain the Design Behind New York's Largest Private Outdoor Gardens

In this video, West 8 co-founder Adriaan Geuze discusses the design process behind New York City’s largest private outdoor gardens, which will be located at One Manhattan Square in the Lower East Side. Currently under construction, the 800-foot-tall glass residential tower will feature more than an acre of exterior garden space designed by West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture.

© wordsearch© West 8© wordsearch© West 8+ 24

OMA to Regenerate Historic Columbia Circle in Shanghai

OMA, in collaboration with local architects ECADI and landscape architects West 8, has developed a new mixed-use masterplan for Columbia Circle in the center of Shanghai. Layered with rich history, the site contains preserved colonial monuments, former industrial buildings and 1920’s country club buildings by architect Elliott Hazzard – these elements will be renewed and transformed by the master plan to return Columbia Circle into one of Shanghai’s most prominent public spaces.

Photograph by Frans Parthesius, Courtesy of OMAPhotograph by Frans Parthesius, Courtesy of OMA© OMA© OMA+ 12

New Renderings Revealed of SHoP and West 8's $3.5 Billion Schuylkill Yards Project

New renderings and information have been revealed for SHoP and West 8’s Schuylkill Yards masterplan envisioned for University City in Philadelphia. Announced last March, the project comprises 14 new buildings on a 14-acre site off the Schuylkill River and around 30th Street Station, the country’s third busiest Amtrak station.

© SHoP Architects / West8. Courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust© SHoP Architects / West8. Courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust© SHoP Architects / West8. Courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust© SHoP Architects / West8. Courtesy Brandywine Realty Trust+ 10

8 Projects that Exemplify Moscow's Urban Movement

When it comes to urbanism these days, people’s attention is increasingly turning to Moscow. The city clearly intends to become one of the world’s leading megacities in the near future and is employing all necessary means to achieve its goal, with the city government showing itself to be very willing to invest in important urban developments (though not without some criticism).

A key player in this plan has been the Moscow Urban Forum. Although the forum’s stated goal is to find adequate designs for future megacities, a major positive side-effect is that it enables the city to organize the best competitions, select the best designers, and build the best urban spaces to promote the city of Moscow. The Forum also publishes research and academic documents to inform Moscow’s future endeavors; for example, Archaeology of the Periphery, a publication inspired by the 2013 forum and released in 2014, notably influenced the urban development on the outskirts of Moscow, but also highlighted the importance of combining urban development with the existing landscape.

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art / OMA. Image © Yuri PalminMoscow Riverfront / Project Meganom. Image Courtesy of Project MeganomNovoperedelkino Subway Station / U-R-A. Image Courtesy of U-R-A | United Riga ArchitectsLuzhniki Stadium. Image © Flickr user bbmexplorer licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0+ 43

"The Hills" by West 8 Set to Open on Governors Island

The latest stage of the Governors Island Park project, “The Hills,” is set to officially open to the public on this Tuesday July 19th – nearly a year ahead of schedule. Designed by internationally acclaimed urban design and landscape firm West 8, the park will feature ten acres of sloping landscapes that will provide residents and visitors with slides, art and unparalleled views of the New York Harbor.

Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin on Discovery Hill. Image © Tim SchenckLiberty Moment at sunset. Image © Tim SchenckLiberty Moment, from the top of Slide Hill . Image © Tim SchenckView from the top of the scramble on Outlook Hill, looking north over the park on Governors Island. Image © Tim Schenck+ 23

West 8 Reveal Plans for Sculpture Park at Duke University

Urban design and landscape firm West 8 has released images of a newly designed sculpture park for Duke University. To be known as Three Valleys Sculpture Park, the 140 acre design will be set within the sprawling Duke Forest, alongside the Olmsted Brothers’ designed Campus Drive, and will help to strengthen the link between Duke’s east and west campuses.

MVRDV Unveil Monumental Urban Staircase in the Center of Rotterdam

A little over a month since Rotterdam-based practice MVRDV announced a new temporary urban structure—a 180-step staircase, 29 meters tall and 57 meters long—for the heart of city of Rotterdam, the project has been officially opened. Those who ascend the staircase will find a temporary observation deck looking over Rotterdam Centraal, a rooftop bar, and the temporary reopening of the Kriterion cinema that was last active in the 1960s.

SHoP and West 8 to Masterplan Philadelphia’s “Schuylkill Yards”

Working with Drexel University and master developer Brandywine Realty Trust, SHoP and West 8 will transform 14-acres of existing underutilized land with 6.5-acres of public open space to create a collaborative mixed-use neighborhood in Philadelphia’s University City submarket. Schuylkill Yards will feature a mix of 24/7 entrepreneurial spaces, educational facilities and research laboratories, corporate offices, residential and retail spaces, hospitality and cultural venues, as well as a robust public realm network that connects the existing neighborhoods with the adjacent Amtrak 30th Street Station.

Situated next to the third-busiest passenger rail station in the country, Schuylkill Yards will be connected to Philadelphia’s international airport and major cities along the Northeast corridor, making it a major innovation hub on the East Coast.

Madrid Río Wins Harvard's Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design

Madrid Río, a 120-hectare linear park that transformed the banks of Madrid's Manzanares River, has been awarded the Harvard Graduate School of Design's 12th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design. Designed by Burgos & Garrido, Porras & La Casta, Rubio & Álvarez-Sala, and West 8, the public park completed its final phase this year - 10 years after being announced as winner of project's international competition.

“The decision to award Madrid Río the Green Prize in Urban Design was motivated by the jury’s desire to highlight the potential for thoughtfully planned and carefully executed mobility infrastructures to transform a city and its region,” commented jury chair Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning at Harvard GSD. “The extent to which the project harnesses the deployment of new infrastructures as an opportunity to repair and regenerate the city through carefully articulated design interventions is particularly valuable within the context of contemporary urbanization globally.”

Courtesy of Harvard GSDCourtesy of Harvard GSDCourtesy of Burgos & GarridoCourtesy of Burgos & Garrido+ 20

Video Series: Six Lessons from Six Leading Dutch Designers

There's something special about architecture in The Netherlands. From MVRDV's iconic Markthal in Rotterdam to WAM's whimsically stacked Inntel Hotel in Zaandam, for years Dutch design has questioned accepted architectural norms. The country has long been considered a leader in design, catalyzed in part by The Netherlands' famous architectural trailblazer Rem Koolhaas. Since 1975 Koolhaas' Rotterdam-based firm OMA has realized dozens of unorthodox designs and has been linked with the creation of more than forty major architecture practices worldwide.

In 2000 Bart Lootsma released Superdutch, a bestselling opus on the mythology of Dutch architecture and its thought leaders, which provided a glimpse into the enduring humanist approach to design that has earned global praise for the country's architects. In the book, Lootsma profiled a handful of Dutch firms including UNStudio, West 8 and MVRDV. Fifteen years later, students from Canada's Simon Fraser University formed a collective called Groep Drie to continue the conversation. From Herman Hertzberger to Ben van Berkel, Groep Drie sat down with The Netherlands' most innovative designers to talk urbanism, spiritualism, color, and more.

Read on to find out what The Netherlands' leading architects had to say.

West 8 and Snoeck Win Competition to Redesign Het Zand Square in Bruges

The Bruges City Council has selected West 8 + Snoeck & Partners, in partnership with Atelier Roland-Jéol, as the winners of a competition to design the ‘t Zand, also known as Het Zand Square, in Bruges, Belgium.

The 8,500-square-meter historic square has remained unchanged for the past 30 years, and the Council felt that an update was duly needed. In January, five out of 20 designs were shortlisted, and on June 16, the winner was chosen at a presentation before a jury of City Council representatives and external experts.