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
.

(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.

Robson Redux Competition Brings a New Summer Plaza to Vancouver

robsonredux1_archpaper

2014 Entry into Robson Redux (Courtesy VIVA Vancouver)

For the fourth year running, Robson Street in downtown Vancouver will play host to a public art project designed to enhance people’s connection to one another and people’s connection to the space. The brief for “Robson Redux “entails transforming a street that acts largely as a pedestrian thoroughfare into something more akin to a plaza or city square for the coming summer months. On today, April 15th, a jury will select one of the 79 entries to build and install in time for Canada Day (July 1st for those not in the know).

Past winners after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Bosques of Boston’s Past

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

[ Editor’s Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent article, “Softening Boston’s City Hall.” It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

With regard to the proposed landscape interventions in Boston’s City Hall Plaza: This welcome news brings to mind the Illustrative Site Plan prepared by our firm in 1961 (above) to accompany the Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. As our drawing shows, we envisioned the space between Tremont Street and the new City Hall not as a paved plaza but as a quiet lawn crossed by footpaths and populated by deciduous trees, in the tradition of a New England town green.

Continue reading after the jump.

Civic group calls on Chicago to expand car-free zones

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago's Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

Harry and Guenter Kempf Plaza in Chicago’s Lincoln Square. (Google Maps)

The jostle of potholes notwithstanding, motorists might find nothing unbalanced about Chicago’s public streets. But the Active Transportation Alliance points out while nearly a quarter of the city is in the public right-of-way, cars dominate practically all of it.

Citing the city’s Make Way for People initiative, which turns over underused street space to pedestrians, the group released 20 proposals Wednesday, calling on City Hall to create car-free spaces from Wrigley Field to Hyde Park. Read More

New York Expands Public Plaza Program to Create and Maintain Affordable Spaces

City Terrain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
.
(Courtesy Mathews Nielsen)

Rendering of possible Bogardus Plaza update in Tribeca. (Courtesy Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects)

For the past five years under the leadership of Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has re-appropriated underused street space as public plazas for pedestrians. The Bloomberg Administration–initiated projects have been well received in neighborhoods like Herald Square and Tribeca; however, some of the less affluent neighborhoods who would like to have a plaza have been hindered by the cost. Each plaza is sponsored by local businesses and fundraising for construction and regular maintenance can seem a daunting task. Until now.

Continue Reading After the Jump.

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