Can the latest plan to salvage LaGuardia take flight? New York Governor Cuomo unveils ambitious $4 billion airport redesign scheme

(Courtesy Office of the Governor)

(Courtesy Office of the Governor)

For New Yorkers and visitors alike, LaGuardia Airport is a confusing maze of disconnected terminals. Beset with delays, chaotic transfers, poorly designed wayfinding, and congestion for both passengers and planes, the airport was recently, not undeservingly, characterized by Vice President Biden as feeling like a “third-world country.” Now the facility is slated to get a much-needed, and long overdue redesign. Governor Cuomo presented a far-reaching plan to overhaul the tired facility, which would cost roughly $4 billion, and be completed over a 5-year period.

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Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel floats ordinance to fast-track transit-oriented development, reduce parking minimums

Currently under construction, 2211 N. Milwaukee Ave. is one of several TOD projects planned near Chicago transit stations. (Brininstool + Lynch)

Currently under construction, 2211 N. Milwaukee Ave. is one of several TOD projects planned near Chicago transit stations. (Brininstool + Lynch)

This week Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will push a plan to expand transit-oriented development (TOD) by easing zoning restrictions and releasing certain projects from parking requirements altogether.

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Milan hops on the car-banning bandwagon with its own proposal to create zones of “pedestrian privilege”

Milan_tram_at_Scala_theatre_(232522732)

(Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Milan is the latest city to join the ranks of Paris, Madrid, Brussels, and Dublin in expelling cars from its smoggy, often gridlocked city center. Unlike its more zealous counterparts, the city has opted for an incremental approach, with no proposed timeline and a gradual, virtually street by street implementation.

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Gruen Associates Clad Utility Plant in Flowing Steel

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Gruen Associates wrapped the new LAX Central Utility Plant in a sleek envelope of stainless steel and corrugated aluminum. (Courtesy Gruen Associates)

Gruen Associates wrapped the new LAX Central Utility Plant in a sleek envelope of stainless steel and corrugated aluminum. (Courtesy Gruen Associates)

Curved metal facade embodies spirit of mobility at LAX.

The commission to design a new Central Utility Plant (CUP) for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) came with a major caveat: the original 1960s-era CUP would remain online throughout construction, providing heating and cooling to adjacent passenger terminals until the new plant was ready to take over. Read More

Snøhetta brings a touch of modern design to the old cable car with this winning gondola in the Italian Alps

Bolzano Cable Car by Snohetta. (Courtesy Snohetta.

Bolzano Cable Car by Snohetta. (Courtesy Snohetta)

Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta has been selected as the winner of a competition to design a cable car that will take visitors to the top of Virgolo Mountain, near Bolzano, Italy, for the first time in 40 years. The mountain has been practically inaccessible since the city closed its historic cable railway in 1976. The new cable car transit system will take visitors to the top in just one minute.

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NYC DOT’s “Great Streets” vision for Atlantic Avenue lacks any bicycle infrastructure

New medians proposed for Atlantic Avenue. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

New medians proposed for Atlantic Avenue. (Courtesy NYC DOT)

As part of Mayor de Blasio’s mission to eliminate traffic deaths in New York City, his administration has committed $250 million toward its “Great Streets” initiative to redesign four of the city’s most dangerous arterial roadways: 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn and Queens, Queens Boulevard, and  Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

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Rotterdam considers piloting environmentally-friendly roads made from recycled plastic bottles

(Courtesy VolkerWessels)

(Courtesy VolkerWessels)

Always an early adopter of innovative sustainability methods, the city of Rotterdam is considering piloting roads fabricated from recycled plastic. The creators of PlasticRoad wooed the city council with their proposal of an all-plastic road that is quicker to lay and requires less maintenance than asphalt.

Continue reading after the jump.

After letter-writing campaign, Senate committee backs down on massive change to TIGER program

Light rail in Minneapolis. (MARK DANIELSON / FLICKR)

Light rail in Minneapolis. (MARK DANIELSON / FLICKR)

Since 2009, the United States Department of Transportation’s TIGER program has helped realize some of the country’s most innovative and overdue urban design and transportation initiatives. Launched as part of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, TIGER grants have since provided funding for projects like the Brooklyn Greenway, Kansas City streetcar, and new light rail in the Twin Cities.

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Traffic-plagued Dublin institutes a ban on cars in downtown area to reduce city-center congestion

(Courtesy Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority)

(Courtesy Dublin City Council and the National Transport Authority)

In another radical pushback on the congestion-creating, carbon-emitting automobile, the Dublin City Council and National Transport Authority have proposed to ban private cars from entire sections of the city’s downtown core. The capital city of Ireland and prime economic hub ranks tenth globally in terms of traffic congestion, according to a study led by GPS maker TomTom.

Continue reading after the jump.

Plan unveiled to transform the South Bronx with public space and waterfront access

(Courtesy Civitas and NYRP)

(Courtesy Civitas and NYRP)

The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit founded by Bette Midler in 1995 to support public space, has unveiled its vision for a greener, cleaner, artsier, bike-friendlier, and overall healthier South Bronx. The master plan, known as the Haven Project, was created with a range of stakeholders including community groups, designers, and health professionals “to promote physical activity, improve pedestrian safety, and increase social interaction in neighborhoods saddled with some of the city’s heaviest industrial uses and suffering from high rates of poverty, diabetes, asthma and obesity.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Bike path in pieces: Skeptics dismiss Dutch solar bike path SolaRoad as inefficient “cash grab”

(Courtesy SolaRoad)

(Courtesy SolaRoad)

Naysayers have rained criticism on Dutch Solaroad solar bike path system. In the first six months of operation, it reportedly overshot energy production expectations to the collective glee of engineers. However, self-described “scientists” are taking it down with numerical rhetoric, namely the cost and inferior production capacity relative to rooftop solar panels. Last year’s pilot test ate up $3.2 million in investor funding for a 230-foot stretch of concrete, and SolaRoad remains tightlipped on the cost per square foot.

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New robot technology by Dutch designer can 3D-print a steel bridge in mid-air over a canal

(Courtesy MX3D)

(Courtesy MX3D)

New to the list of job functions up for replacement by technology: bridge construction. Dutch designer Joris Laarman has founded MX3D, a research and development company currently tinkering with a never-before-seen 3D printer that can weld steel objects in mid-air.

Continue reading after the jump.

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