Portland, Oregon to Portland Place, London: Job Done! Architects Complete Cycling Tour Across America

International
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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P2P riders and welcoming group ride up The Mall. (Richard Hanmer)

P2P riders and welcoming group ride up The Mall. (Richard Hanmer)

[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]

We had a fantastic welcome in London on Saturday, a fitting and rewarding end to our great adventure.

There were over a hundred riders who set off with us from Savill Gardens in Windsor Great Park. The weather was fair and The Crown Estate kindly provided coffees and bacon butties for everyone, served from the elegant gridshell of the Savill Building designed by Glenn Howells. I had selected this as our starting point for the ride into London because, not only did it provide a good meeting point at a reasonable distance from Portland Place, but back in 2005 I organised the design competition for the building—and was pleased to see it maturing so beautifully, the green oak sourced from the Royal Park now sporting a rich grey patina with the warping slats adding to its rustic air.

Continue reading after the jump.

Seattle, San Francisco, Hoboken Reveal New Bike Share Details

East, West
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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Alta Bike Share on display in New York (nycstreets/Flickr)

Alta Bike Share on display in New York (nycstreets/Flickr)

With summer just around the corner, bicyclists are getting excited to try out the new bike-share systems being installed in many cities across the nation. After initial delays, New York City’s bike-share program is set to open by the end of the month, and San Francisco, Seattle, and Hoboken have similar plans of their own on the horizon.

San Francisco: SPUR reports that the Bay Area Air Quality Management District signed a contract with Alta Bike Share to spin the wheels on a bike-sharing program for San Francisco. Alta Bike Share runs similar bike programs in Washington, D.C. and Boston and will be the operator of new programs in New York and Chicago this year. San Francisco plans a two-year pilot program consisting of 700 bikes in 70 locations that will launch this summer throughout the San Jose to San Francisco region. Last year the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition set a goal of 20 percent of trips in the city on bike by 2020 and now, after several delays, the plan will be the first regional program in the country.

Continue reading after the jump.

Main Street USA: An Update From Architects & Urbanists Biking Across the Country

National
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
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psp_update_01

[ Editor's Note: Peter Murray, of the New London Architecture center, together with a dozen architects and planners, is biking from Portland, Oregon to Portland Place in London, studying how cities are responding to the demand for better cycling infrastructure. He reports from the start of his ride. The Architect’s Newspaper is USA media sponsor of the trip and will post periodic updates of these architects on bicycles. ]

Cycling through the small towns of Idaho and Montana provides useful lessons for the English visitor about the growth of settlements in the US and allows interesting comparisons with the development of urban structure in Britain.

While we in the UK have high streets, they are a very different sort of place to main streets. English settlements often developed around market squares, their structure defined by the relationship between the church and the ‘big house’ occupied by the feudal landlord as well as topographical features and land ownership.

Continue reading after the jump.

Another Announcement at Brooklyn Bridge Park: Rock Climbing Wall Could Rise Under the Manhattan Bridge

East
Thursday, January 17, 2013
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Manhattan Bridge. (Courtesy of Dock Drumming/Flickr)

Manhattan Bridge. (Courtesy of Dock Drumming/Flickr)

It seems as if a day can’t go by without a new announcement from Brooklyn Bridge Park. The Brooklyn Paper reported Tuesday that park planners are pushing for a free bouldering wall to be built beneath the Manhattan Bridge. The proposal calls for a ten to 12-foot-tall climbing wall at Plymouth and Washington streets. This fits within a larger vision to develop the park area by Main Street by expanding lawn space, designing a new entry plaza, and relocating the dog run.

This news comes right after philanthropist Joshua Rechnitz announced he was abandoning plans to build a velodrome, a complex for cyclists, in the park. As planners delved into the project, they found that the mounting costs of construction exceeded Rechnitz’s $50 million budget and growing concerns about flooding as a result of Hurricane Sandy added another layer of complexity to the design. Rechnitz, however, is still on the hunt for the right location for his velodrome in New York.

Spandex and Cash to Flood Brooklyn Bridge Park

East
Friday, April 20, 2012
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Site of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Fieldhouse. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation)

Site of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Fieldhouse. (Courtesy Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation)

An avid cyclist plans to bring his passion for bike racing to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Joshua Rechnitz announced Thursday that his nonprofit, the New York City Fieldhouse, will build a $40 million multi-purpose recreation center on the inland edge of the park bordering the BQE. Now occupied by a deteriorating industrial building used for storage by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the new facility designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners will include a modern velodrome along with space for a variety of other recreational activities.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Pedal-Theatre, Reading Rem, Wall Street Logos, Ranking Creativity

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
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Cycle-In Cinema, organized by Magnificent Revolution (Courtesy Inhabitat)

Cinema Pedal-iso. In London, you now have an alternative to the typical energy-consuming movie theater. The Cycle-In Cinema (led by a non-profit education project called Magnificent Revolution) allows you to to plug your bike into a generator, hop on, and start pedaling away for an entirely human-powered movie experience. More at Inhabitat.

Reading Rem. Rem has a new book written with curator Hans Ulrich Obrist all about Japanese modernism. To be released this November, Project Japan: Metabolism Talks… documents “the first non-Western avantgarde movement in architecture” from post-war Tokyo in the 1960s and includes rare images from Manchuria to Tokyo, snapshots of the Metabolists at work and play, and architectural models. An advance preview and signing is coming up soon at the TASCHEN book store.

Branding a Protest. The NY Times‘ Seymour Chwast draws attention to Occupy Wall Street’s lack of a logo. As the demonstrations gain momentum, Chwast said now is a perfect time to consider branding, suggesting a 19th-century, cigar-smoking baron.

Creativity Worldcup. Has the Gross National Product outlived its usefulness in determining the success of nations? Over at The Atlantic Cities, Richard Florida has compiled a list of top cities using his Global Creativity Index ranking global economic competitiveness and prosperity. According to the GCI, which evaluates and ranks 82 nations on the three “T’s” (Technology, Talent, and Tolerance), the U.S. ranks second only to Sweden, the world-champion of creativity.

Quick Clicks> Thinkin’ Lincoln, Green Critic, Exhausted Cyclists

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
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IBM's THINK Exhibit "Data Wall"

Thinkin’ Lincoln. IBM is taking over the Lincoln Center through October 23rd with one of the biggest interactive technology exhibits in the city: IBM Think Exhibit. Highlights include the 123-feet long “data wall” and a forest of 40 seven-foot media panels. More at Inhabitat.

Bronx Beauty. The New York Times‘ new archi-critic, Michael Kimmelman, has penned his first review, shying away from the iconic, gleaming projects of his predecessor, instead beginning with Via Verde affordable housing in the South Bronx, which may help him demonstrate that quality trumps quantity, especially in moral debates of architecture.

Biking Sacrifice. Atlantic Cities reported that cyclists in urban environments might want to be wary of cars for more than just accident risks: harmful automobile emissions create a hazard for cyclists as well. According to new research, bikers inhale more than twice the amount of black carbon particles as pedestrians do in the same trip.

Touring LA Architecture By… Bike?

Newsletter, West
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Bikers visiting Pierre Koenig's Case Study House 22

Los Angeles is a great city for architecture. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to breeze past landmarks inside our cars with barely a moment’s notice. A group of young designers and cyclists in LA are looking to slow you down and up your appreciation level by setting up regular free bicycle tours to some of the city’s most iconic architectural sights.

Continue reading after the jump.

Quick Clicks> Green, Trolley, Bike, and Soane Booms

Daily Clicks
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
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New York by Gehry nee 8 Spruce nee Beekman Tower (Courtesy dbox)

New York by Gehry neé 8 Spruce neé Beekman Tower (Courtesy dbox)

Green Boom. Blair Kamin takes a look at the sustainability of two billowing icons in Chicago and New York. Studio Gang’s Aqua Tower is going for LEED certification while Frank Gehry’s New York tower will not seek the USGBC’s approval but claims to be green nonetheless. Kamin notes the importance of such moves, saying of Gehry: “What he, in particular, does–or doesn’t do–can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers.”

Trolley Boom. NPR has a piece on the explosion of streetcars across the country with planned or completed systems in over a dozen cities.

Bike Boom. Cycling advocate Elly Blue discusses a new study on Grist stating that bikes deserve their own infrastructure independent from autos. And not just a striped bike lane, Blue notes, but separated lanes called “cycle tracks” like one installed along Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West.

Soane Boom. The Independent reports on a planned renovation to the Sir John Soane Museum in London, that architect’s treasure trove of antiquities and architectural memorabilia from across the world. Plans include opening up a new floor that hasn’t been open to the public since Soane died in 1837.

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