A new four-acre park opened this past weekend in downtown Newark providing public access to the Passaic River for the very first time. Flanked by the bay and river, the city is home to one of the nation’s largest containers shipping terminals, yet residents have long been cut off from the waterfront. This new stretch of parkland occupies the former site of the Balbach Smelting and Refining Worksone and is now part of the Riverfront Park that neighbors the 12-acre Essex County Riverfront Park. Designed by Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture and the Newark Planning Office, the park features an orange boardwalk made of recycled plastic, a floating boat dock, sports fields, walking and biking paths, and an area for performances.
Non-profit ArtPlace America has awarded creative placemaking grants to 54 recipients who were selected from more than 1,200 applicants. Totaling $15.2 million, the grants will support art projects in 44 neighborhoods across the United States, as well as a statewide project in Connecticut. Grant amounts range from $33,000 to $750,000, with the average grant at approximately $280,000. The idea behind the grants is to assist in turning urban communities into more welcoming and prosperous places for present and future residents through art and design projects.
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In 2011, a major expansion to Edmonton, Alberta’s Quesnell Bridge generated an ongoing effort to enliven the landscape surrounding the overpass, which connects the northwest and southwest portions of Canada’s fifth largest city. A resultant public art commission from the Edmonton Arts Council for Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary design-build fabricators Ball-Nogues Studio called for an engaging installation along the south side of the North Saskatchewan River, which sees a live load of 120,000 vehicles each day.
While brainstorming the project, it was apparent to the firm’s principal and designer in charge Benjamin Ball that the areas immediately surrounding the bridge were not carefully considered by passengers. “It was a sort of no-man’s-land between the transportation infrastructure and the landscape,” he recently told AN. Drawing inspiration from the mundane—sand piles, gravel, and detritus from the trucking industry—and the majestic—talus and scree formations enveloping the base of surrounding cliffs—Ball and the studio’s cofounder Nogues applied their knowledge of sphere packing to echo the angle of repose of natural and man-made mounds. Read More
Writer Anne Taylor Fleming recently interviewed Frank Gehry for Los Angeles Magazine, getting a glimpse into what the architect thinks about Los Angeles and the meaning of his work there. Gehry tells Fleming about some of the missed planning and architectural opportunities that continue to challenge the city, including the push to make a bona fide downtown, which he believes stems from clinging to old ideas about what a city should be.
Barry Bergdoll is stepping down as Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, a position he has held since 2007. He will return to teaching at Columbia University and will take up an endowed chair in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. He will stay on part-time at MoMA to continue working on a major exhibition on Latin American architecture currently scheduled for 2015. He will also advise on the use and development of the Frank Lloyd Wright archive, which is jointly owned by Columbia and MoMA.
While at the Modern, Bergdoll has curated a wide variety of shows, addressing topics ranging from prefabricated housing to the Bauhaus to rising sea levels. His recent exhibitions have included a widely praised show on the french architect Henri LaBrouste, and Le Courbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes (co-curated with Jean-Louis Cohen), which is currently on view.
Bergdoll’s tenure as chair has been marked both by a deepening of the historical and scholarly quality of the exhibitions and programming as well as greater engagement with social issues, such as affordable housing and climate change. In an email to AN, Bergdoll wrote, “I look forward to…continuing to be associated not only with the world’s oldest curatorial department of architecture and design, but I think its most vibrant and finest.”
MoMA will begin a search for his successor at the end of August.
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department recently hosted a competition (ended July 12) to attract concepts for the adaptive reuse of the Seaholm Intake Facility, the pump house of the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant (the turbine hall of which is undergoing another adaptive reuse project). The Seaholm complex is located prominently on Lady Bird Lake in downtown, not far from Waller Creek, whose landscape is being redesigned by Michael Van Valkenburgh, and adjacent to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.
Some of its buildings, including the intake, are solid examples of the heroic period of American cast-in-place concrete Art-Deco municipal architecture and stand as civic icons in Austin. Competition entrants were asked to envision a new use for the structure and the surrounding land that would engage park users, the trail, and the water.
Austin Parks received 76 proposals and is displaying its favorite 10 entries at Austin City Hall from now until August 2. The top three will be announced on August 9. The ideas from the top three proposals will “help inspire subsequent design phases of the project,” according to Austin Parks’ website. Following this competition, Austin Parks will release a request for proposals for public-private partnerships with ideas of how to reuse the facility.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, architects have been called to arms to both engage in the immediate recovery efforts and to come up with design solutions that will make New York City’s buildings more resilient and sustainable in the long-term. The latest in a flood of new Sandy-inspired design initiatives was launched yesterday by New York Restoration Project (NYRP), dubbed “EDGE/ucation Pavillion Design Competition,” asking a group of hand-picked, up-and-coming architecture firms to create a storm-resistant pavilion in Sherman Creek Park right on the Harlem River.
Frank Gehry’s design for the four-acre Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington D.C. has sparked controversy for its departure from traditional memorial design around the National Mall from the president’s family and others, prompting a third-party design competition and calls for redesign from Congress. Now the beleaguered memorial is one step closer to reality as the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) voted 3-to-1 this month to approve an updated design with additional changes to proposed woven-metal tapestries that have generated most of the public outcry.