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

Midwest
Monday, June 10, 2013
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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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Five Approaches to Reviving Chicago’s Navy Pier

Midwest, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
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AECOM/BIG (all images courtesy respective firms)

Five proposals to rethink the public spaces at Navy Pier have gone on view at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The finalist teams–AECOM/BIG, Aedas/Davis Brody Bond/Martha Schwartz Partners, James Corner Field Operations, !melk/HOK/UrbanLab, and Xavier Vendrell Studio/Grimshaw Architects–use variety of approaches to revitalize the historic pier, which has long been a favored destination for tourists. Organizers hope revitalizing the pier’s public spaces will make it a world-class destination for residents as well as visitors, much like Millennium Park and the rest of the lakefront. AECOM/BIG’s proposal calls for a series of undulating ramp/bleachers that form a new landscape over much of the pier’s midsection, culminating in a new park at the tip.

View all the proposals after the jump.

Pedestrians First at Grand Army Plaza

East
Monday, November 14, 2011
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A crowd gathers to celebrate Grand Army Plaza. (Branden Klayko)

A crowd gathers to celebrate Grand Army Plaza. (Branden Klayko)

Brooklyn’s grandest public space at the top of Prospect Park has always been a work in progress. Grand Army Plaza, an oval-shaped public space composed of monuments ringed by an inner and an outer roadway, was built as the main entrance to the park in 1866, serving as a buffer between nature and city and happened to be the confluence of some of Brooklyn’s busiest avenues. Over the years, a monumental archway was added, fountains came and went, and eventually the roads were widened until the lush plaza was effectively cut off from the surrounding Prospect Heights and Park Slope neighborhoods. Last week, however, after months of construction to tame the out-of-control roadways, a group of civic leaders and officials gathered in what was once a busy street to celebrate the newly reclaimed plaza.

Continue reading after the jump.

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