SHoP and Ken Smith Unveil Another Piece of the East River Esplanade

City Terrain, East
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
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(Courtesy SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Workshop)

(Courtesy SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Workshop)

Connecting two existing waterfronts—Battery Park and East River Park—the rehabilitation of the East River Esplanade has been a catalyst of renewal along Manhattan’s East River. The latest phase of the plan—by SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Workshop—extends the current three-block-long Esplanade north, adding recreational amenities and addresses the challenges of building a new landscape beneath an elevated highway between Catherine Slip and Pike Slip in Lower Manhattan..

Continue reading after the jump.

A Beach Island for Downtown Detroit Aims to Activate the Campus Martius

Midwest
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
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(Screen view from video / Free Press)

(Screen view from video / Free Press)

For Detroit citizens escaping to the beach just became as easy as taking a trip downtown. The city’s urban beach opened at the end of June in Campus Martius, transforming one Detroit’s downtown traffic islands on Woodward Avenue into actual island oasis complete with 150 tons of sand.

Downtown Detroit Partnership was motivated to bring a temporary beach to the  neighborhood by France’s Paris Plages plan that creates temporary sandy strips along the Seine river. For Detroit the sandy retreat is integrated into the city’s greater revitalization efforts to create economic development and bring active and accessible public spaces into everyday life. And while there are no rolling waves crashing in on Detroit’s sand island it still offers a place to lunch, socialize, or just kick back. So if you’re in Detroit this summer throw on your flip-flops and head for the shores of Woodward Avenue.

Watch a video after the jump.

Make Way For People! Chicago Opens First “People Plaza” on State Street

State Street's new People Spot, dubbed The Gateway. (Chris Bentley)

State Street’s new People Spot, dubbed The Gateway. (Chris Bentley / AN)

The median of a downtown stretch of State Street is now home to the latest of Chicago’s People Spots, a series of parklets sprinkled throughout the city as part of its “Make Way for People” program.

Dubbed “The Gateway,” the portion of State Street between Lake Street and Wacker Drive features shaded tables and chairs in what the city is calling its first “People Plaza.” Flowerboxes, banners, and bright red and blue colors lighten up the otherwise utilitarian median. While the spot’s central location is probably its greatest asset in attracting visitors, satisfying views of downtown’s architectural gems impart some elegance to the straightforward design.

Continue reading after the jump.

ULI Announces Finalists in Urban Open Space Award Competition

National
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
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Brooklyn Bridge Park (Flickr - Urban Land Institute)

Brooklyn Bridge Park (Flickr – Urban Land Institute)

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced five finalists for the Urban Open Space Award, a competition identifying exceptional examples of flourishing public open spaces that have encouraged economic and social rejuvenation within their neighborhoods. To qualify for the competition, projects must have been open to the public for a minimum of one year and a maximum of fifteen years. The open spaces must also be situated predominately outside, offer ample and diverse seating, sun and shade, and plantings, among other specific requirements.

View all the finalists after the jump.

Protesters Clash with Police over Public Space in Istanbul

International
Friday, May 31, 2013
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Chaos in Istanbul's Taksim Square following protests. (Courtesy Hurriyet Daily News)

Chaos in Istanbul’s Taksim Square following protests. (Courtesy Hurriyet Daily News)

In increasingly violent episodes, protesters clashed with police this week in a park located in one of Istanbul’s busiest commercial hubs. A crowd began to occupy the Taksim Gezi Park on Monday in an attempt to protect the public space and its trees from bulldozers that had begun to clear the site for construction of a shopping mall. On Thursday morning, police used tear gas on the crowd and set afire their tents. But crowds only increased during the next 24 hours, and an early morning teargas raid on Friday resulted in over 100 injuries, some serious, according to the Istanbul Medical Chamber.

Continue reading after the jump.

New Plaza Brings Needed Public Space to Holland Tunnel Entrance

City Terrain, East
Friday, May 17, 2013
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Freeman Plaza West (Courtesy of Ryan Muir/Hudson Square Connection)

Freeman Plaza West (Courtesy of Ryan Muir/Hudson Square Connection)

The entrance to the Holland Tunnel, a maze of traffic and complicated pedestrian crossings, finally has some much-needed open space.  Thursday, the Hudson Square Connection, the Business Improvement District (BID) for the area, along with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, announced the opening of Freeman Plaza West, a new public space outfitted with bistro-style tables and chairs, umbrellas, and greenery, including four trees planted in honor of four members of Port Authority Police Department’s Holland Tunnel Command who lost their lives in the line of duty on September 11th 2001.

Continue reading after the jump.

Spontaneous Interventions To Spruce Up Chicago’s Millennium Park This Summer

International, Midwest
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
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(Courtesy MAS Studio)

(Courtesy MAS Studio)

Starting Memorial Day, Chicago’s Millennium Park will host the U.S. debut of a bright array of public design projects, many of which appeared at the 2012 Venice Biennale. Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good will feature 84 works, including more than a dozen for Chicago and several that also appeared in Venice.

Continue reading after the jump.

Ernesto Neto’s Lacy Pavilion Offers A New Take On Islamic Architecture

International
Friday, March 15, 2013
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(Curtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery)

Neto’s pavilion, While culture moves us apart, nature brings us together. (Curtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery)

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto has been exhibiting his work for almost 25 years. With his latest work, Neto crocheted a netted pavilion shaped almost like a spider that is currently on view at the Sharjah Biennial 11 in the United Arab Emirates. The Biennial, titled Re:emerge, Towards a New Cultural Cartography and curated by Yuko Hasegawa, investigates the overlapping public and private life found in the historic Islamic architecture of the Sharjah courtyards.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Dara Friedman’s New Film Dances Through City Streets, Now Showing in Los Angeles

West
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
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(Courtesy Hammer Museum)

(Courtesy Hammer Museum)

Hammer Projects: Dara Friedman
Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles
Through April 14

Miami-based artist Dara Friedman is known for her black and white films of dancers dancing through city streets. For her film Dancer (2011) she used a 16mm camera to examine urban space and individuals within these spaces, filming improvisational dancers in a variety of styles, from flamenco, to ballet, to belly and break dancing, and more. In her work, Friedman also investigates accepted concepts of performance-based art. Her grainy films sometimes capture the sounds of street traffic, and she sometimes dubs music that is not always in rhythm with the dancers’ movements. For her first exhibition in Los Angeles, Friedman has prepared an 8mm film that is a follow-up to Dancer.

Bjarke Ingels Designs a Park as a Museum, Curated by the People

International, Newsletter
Monday, November 5, 2012
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The Red Square, The Black Square – Superkilen, Copenhagen. (Torbin Eskerod, Courtesy Superfex)

An inventive new park in Copenhagen’s Norrebro district, “Superkilen,” designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Superflex, and Topotek 1 serves as a sort of cultural collage of artifacts sourced from 60+ nationalities. Superkilen slices its way through the center of the city, soaking up and flaunting its inhabitants’ diverse cultural backgrounds along the way. The kilometer-long wedge of urban space, completed this summer, is divided according to use into three distinct color-coded zones and sports bike paths linking directly to Copenhagen’s cycling highways.

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The Doors Project: Projecting Gateways onto Obstacles

International
Friday, September 28, 2012
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The Doors Project. (Courtesy The Doors Project)

The Doors Project. (Courtesy The Doors Project)

In an ongoing endeavor to blend public art, architecture, and urbanism by artists Siyuan and Hwee Chong, The Doors Project subversively projects a series of doors onto public spaces in Singapore, reflecting the struggles of the urban poor and underprivileged. But while commenting on despair, the real message is one of faith, hope and empowerment. “We wanted to make a statement about life, and jolt people to think,” the artists said in an interview at Yolo. “Instead of following the light at the end of the tunnel, why not carry our own lights, and create our own doors! It’s really about rolling up our sleeves, and creating the opportunities we want for ourselves.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Casting Bogardus Plaza in an Architectural Light

East
Monday, May 14, 2012
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Bogardus Plaza. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Bogardus Plaza. (Branden Klayko / AN)

It’s not every day that architects get a public space named after one of their own, but tucked away in Lower Manhattan is a small pedestrian plaza named after one of the most important 19th-century architects around. Bogardus Plaza occupies one block of Hudson Street on the corner of Chambers Street and West Broadway only a few blocks from AN headquarters and is named from James Bogardus (1800-1874), the inventor of the cast-iron building, and last week the plaza received a fresh coat of gravel-epoxy paint.

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