Tactical Urbanism takes time: Architecture students build downtown Portland’s first parklet despite regulatory permitting hurdles

City Terrain, Urbanism, West
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
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Portland's newest parklet designed and built by PSU architecture students. (Michael Coon)

Portland’s newest parklet designed and built by PSU architecture students. (Michael Coon)

Word is out that downtown Portland, Oregon, has its first parklet. Designed by a team of Portland State University architecture students and led by assistant architecture professor B. D. Wortham-Galvin, the 41-foot-long public park covers two parking spaces and opened in June on Southwest 4th Avenue.

Continue reading after the jump.

Gensler opens parKIT, Washington, D.C.’s first-ever seasonal parklet

(Flickr/ aueagle2006)

(Flickr/ aueagle2006)

A new parklet has popped up in Washington D.C., and unlike the short-lived public spaces that appear in parking spaces for PARK(ing) Day, this one is sticking around until mid-October. The seasonal space, dubbed parKIT, opened on July 14 and takes over two parking spots.

More after the jump.

On View> Mexico City installation puts architecture on the sidewalk

Jardineira at LIGA by TACOA Arquitetos, Mexico City (Luis Gallardo, LGM Studio).

Jardineira at LIGA by TACOA Arquitetos, Mexico City
(Luis Gallardo, LGM Studio).

Leave it to a pair of Brazilian architects to use reinforced concrete to reinvent small-scale urbanism. While North American designers turn to plywood and recycled palettes to create curbside seating, architects Fernando Falcón and Rodrigo Cerviño of the São Paulo–based practice TACOA Arquitetos shopped for rebar.

Continue reading after the jump.

Urban culture ‘consulates’, Miami ‘science barge’ among winners of first Knight cities challenge

The Knight Foundation awarded, among many others, an idea for a network of new “consulates” initially located in Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans that will offer an entrée into local culture. (Claire Nelson)

The Knight Foundation awarded, among many others, an idea for a network of new “consulates” initially located in Detroit, Philadelphia and New Orleans that will offer an entrée into local culture. (Claire Nelson)

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced Tuesday the winners of the first Knight Cities Challenge, awarding a total of $5 million to 32 projects that include “consulates” for local culture in Detroit, Philadelphia, and New Orleans, and “a social kitchen” in downtown Gary, Indiana.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake

Architecture, On View, West
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
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(Hiroyasu Yamauchi)

(Hiroyasu Yamauchi)

Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake
MAK Center
835 North Kings Road
West Hollywood, California
Through January 4, 2015

The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 devastated the island nation, setting off a tsunami that destroyed over 300 miles of coastline, causing the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and leaving more than 20,000 people dead and 470,000 without homes. The severe damage from the catastrophe propelled architects to take action, swiftly and creatively, as illustrated in a new exhibit, Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture in Response to the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> MoMA tackles tactical urbanism with “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities”

(Courtesy MoMA)

(Courtesy MoMA)

Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities
MoMA
11 West 53rd Street, New York, New York
November 22–May 10, 2015

The population of the planet is growing quickly and an increasing number of people are living in urban areas. The resultant demographic changes, including an increase in urban poverty, pose challenges and opportunities for architects and planners in the decades ahead. How to address such a complex and global change is a question explored in the MoMA exhibition Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities.

Continue reading after the jump.

“Unsitely” explores how design can improve construction barricades

(Courtesy Unsitely)

(Courtesy Unsitely)

An upcoming Montreal colloquium, Unsitely: Leveraging Design to Improve Urban Construction Sites, will take on a seemingly small urban problem that, in fact, has a profound effect on the daily life of the city: the temporary barriers surrounding construction sites. The event will explore existing innovative design solutions and how these can revitalize streets, districts, or entire neighborhoods.

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Video> “Oh Heck Yeah” turns downtown Denver into a communal video arcade

City Terrain, Southwest, Urbanism
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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A series of custom, family friendly video games occupied three blocks of downtown Denver this summer. (Courtesy Oh Heck Yeah)

A series of custom, family friendly video games occupied three blocks of downtown Denver this summer. (Courtesy Oh Heck Yeah)

Whatever you may think of video games (new media art form, societal ill, lame waste of time) there was no avoiding them in downtown Denver this summer. From June 7 to July 26, three blocks of Champa Street between 14th Street and the 16th Street Mall were transformed into one big video arcade. Known as Oh Heck Yeah, the project assembled local and national arts groups and businesses to activate this stretch of turf with a variety of programming centered around a series of custom designed, family friendly video games. Designed by Denver-based creative teams Legwork Studio and Mode Set, the games were played on the Theatre District’s giant LED screens.

Continue reading after the jump.

Urbanism Giants, Gehl and Rebar, Join Forces To Create Gehl Studio

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York's streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Gehl created a roadmap for rethinking New York’s streetscapes, like Times Square. (NYDOT)

Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn’t purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

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Friday> Freecell & Pulitzer Foundation turn a vacant lot in St. Louis into a parade of public programs

Conceptual rendering of Lots at the PXSTL site  Image. (Freecell Architecture via Pulitzer Foundation)

Conceptual rendering of Lots at the PXSTL site. (Freecell Architecture via Pulitzer Foundation)

Last year, a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis became the site of a design competition for a temporary built-environment installation. New York’s Freecell Architecture won PXSTL’s $50,000 project budget and $10,000 honorarium for a proposal to erect an adjustable canopy for performances and gatherings—an idea Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer Foundation, called “both monumental and ephemeral at the same time.”

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.

Two Cheap and Efficient Ways to Improve Public Transit

Efficient Passenger Project Sign in Brooklyn. (twitter.com/eppnyc)

Efficient Passenger Project Sign in Brooklyn. (twitter.com/eppnyc)

Ah, the joy of New York City’s rush-hour subway commute. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you know the thrill in stepping off one crowded, dirty subway car into a wall of people to push your way onto the next crowded subway car. You turn up your music, or that riveting Podcast with that guy from that thing, and you power through it.

While you might be accustomed to it, the daily commute has plenty of room for improvement. Two new approaches to ease crowding on public transit systems show how some easy adjustments could make big-city commutes considerably less hellish.

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