Fordham Plaza, one of New York’s busiest transit hubs, is now one of the city’s most pedestrian-friendly

(Courtesy NYC DOT)

(Courtesy NYC DOT)

The NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) recently unveiled the redesigned, ultra pedestrian-friendly Fordham Plaza. Vision Zero‘s mandate to reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities guided the $34 million renovation of the north Bronx transit hub. Read More

In the Bronx, delays seem interminable for long-anticipated Roberto Clemete Plaza

(Courtesy Garrison Architects)

(Courtesy Garrison Architects)

“The Hub,” in the Bronx neighborhood of Mott Haven, couldn’t be better named: it’s the center of commercial activity in the South Bronx, and one of the busiest intersections in the city. As its dense avenues are packed with shoppers and commuters, the city moved to expand and improve Roberto Clemente Plaza, a public space that’s a respite from the hectic nearby streets. Read More

Norwegian Invasion: Norsk design and architecture is having a moment

Architecture, Design, International
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
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Touchwood Chairs by Lars Beller Fjetland. (Courtesy Lars Beller Fjetland)

Touchwood Chairs by Lars Beller Fjetland. (Courtesy Lars Beller Fjetland)

When the words “Scandinavian Design” come up, most people quickly think about Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. But Norway is no slouch, either. Recently, the nation’s designers have been drumming up noise in the worlds of furniture, product design, and architecture. A string of exhibitions, a master plan for New York’s Times Square, and a robust program of roadside pavilions and viewing platforms highlight this Norsk moment.

Continue reading after the jump.

After redesigning Times Square, Snøhetta takes on crowded blocks around Penn Station

33rd Street outside Penn Station. (Flickr / Elvert Barnes)

33rd Street outside Penn Station. (Flickr / Elvert Barnes)

The frustratingly congested, obnoxiously loud, and aggressively dirty area around Penn Station is easily the worst part of Manhattan. It is the reason why tourists qualify their vacation stories about New York with “but I could never live there.” Turning the dreadful area around the station (let’s leave the hated station out of it for now) into a pleasant place where people want to spend time and not just push and shove their way through is a Herculean task, but one that Snøhetta has agreed to take on.

Continue reading after the jump.

Thomas Balsley’s geometric pedestrian plaza reclaims roadway for neighbors in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

The new Putnam Triangle Plaza. (Courtesy Thomas Balsley Associates via Fulton Area Businesses)

The new Putnam Triangle Plaza. (Courtesy Thomas Balsley Associates via Fulton Area Businesses)

After years of planning and workshops, Brooklyn‘s Community Board 2 recently approved a redesign of Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill. The $3.75 million project, led by Thomas Balsley Associates, will significantly upgrade and expand the existing plaza that opened in 2011.

Continue reading after the jump.

Comment> The Met Plaza redesign undermines the institution’s civic grandeur

The old Met plaza. (Courtesy Paul Gunther)

The old Met plaza. (Courtesy Paul Gunther)

In February of the year 2012, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art first announced the redesign of the City-owned Fifth Avenue-fronted plaza along its grand McKim, Mead & White Beaux-Arts facade, there was little opposition from preservationists. A $65 million underwriting pledge from museum trustee, David H. Koch, catalyzed the selected competitive plan from Philadelphia-based OLIN. It proceeded through the approval process with relative dispatch.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles transformed this alley in North Hollywood into a polka dotted pedestrian plaza

NoHo Plaza, the day of its ribbon cutting. (LADOT)

NoHo Plaza, the day of its ribbon cutting. (LADOT)

The first project in LADOT’s People Street program has opened in a former alley near corner of Magnolia and Lankershim Boulevards in North Hollywood. The project, called NoHo Plaza, has been repurposed with cafe tables, chairs, umbrellas, a colorful surface treatment (which looks almost exactly like the dotted green and gold surface of Silverlake’s Sunset Triangle Plaza), and perimeter planters.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Shanghai Talks: Toronto city planner James Parakh talks skyscraper design, sustainable urbanism

Last September the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for its Shanghai symposium, entitled “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.”

I conducted video interviews with dozens of architects, developers, building managers, and others on topics relevant to tall building design and sustainable urbanism. Among the many designers, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Toronto City Planner James Parakh.

Watch the video interview after the jump.

Iowa City picks Cecil Balmond for downtown art project

Art, City Terrain, Midwest, News, Urbanism
Thursday, February 12, 2015
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(Iowa City)

(Genus Landscape Architects / Iowa City)

Iowa City this week picked engineer-turned-artist Cecil Balmond to anchor an overhaul of the city’s downtown pedestrian plaza. His sculpture will be the focal point of Iowa City’s Black Hawk Mini Park Art Project, the first phase of an $11 million streetscape redevelopment project that officials hope to start next year. Read More

Boston mayor wants ideas to overhaul the city’s windswept City Hall Plaza

Boston City Hall, built in the 1960s to resemble the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Boston City Hall, built in the 1960s to resemble the Piazza del Campo in Sienna, Italy. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

If Boston City Hall were a celebrity, it might be a fixture on tabloid “Worst Dressed” lists. The Brutalist building elicits strong sentiments from architectural observers and everyday citizens alike, but most agree the City Hall Plaza could use some sprucing up. In his inaugural State of the City address Mayor Marty Walsh called on residents to help him reimagine the barren, 11-acre brick expanse.

Read More

Bjarke Ingels joins Foster and Gehry for Battersea Power Station redevelopment

Malaysia Square. (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group via Battersea Power Station)

Malaysia Square. (Courtesy Bjarke Ingels Group via Battersea Power Station)

Bjarke Ingels is slated to join elder architectural statesmen Norman Foster and Frank Gehry at the Battersea Power Station in London. The multi-billion dollar, mixed-use redevelopment was originally master planned by, yes, another starchitect, Rafael Viñoly. Ingels’ firm, BIG, joins the bunch after winning a competition to design a public space for the project called Malaysia Square. Why is it called Malaysia Square? Because, lest the Brits forget, the project is backed by a Malaysian development consortium.

Continue reading after the jump.

Archtober Building of the Day #28> Snøhetta’s Times Square Reconstruction

Architecture, East
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
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(Courtesy Center for Architecture)

Archtober Building of the Day #28
Times Square Reconstruction
Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets)
Snøhetta

“Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children.

Continue reading after the jump.

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