Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago
Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 South Michigan Avenue
Through October 2012
While construction is set to begin on the Jeffrey Boulevard Corridor this summer, the plans for the rest of Chicago’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system are far from decided. The Chicago Architecture Foundation hopes to spur public interest and debate with its new exhibition Bus Rapid Transit: Next Stop, Chicago. Bus Rapid Transit emulates the qualities of a rail system while operating on mostly existing infrastructure. The system would bring dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal prioritization, pre-board payment, and arrival information displays to a few select routes connecting to Metra and CTA L stops in addition to other BRT lines.
Thanks to state of the art green building technologies and a proactive clean construction plan, Columbia University’s 17-acre Manhattanville campus in West Harlem is set to become New York City’s first LEED-Platinum certified neighborhood plan. Columbia is successfully mitigating the environmental effects of the 6.8 million square feet of new construction that is currently underway on the former industrial site between 129th and 133rd Streets, Broadway and 12th Avenue, just north of the main Morningside Heights campus, by teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund and carefully limiting the noise, dust, and soot that emanates from the site. The university has also released new renderings, showing the landscape and public spaces designed by James Corner Field Operations. Read More
The Future is always a draw, especially if it comes with fresh croissants and coffee. And so some hundred or more AEC industry types showed up this morning for a smartly-packaged and wide-ranging keynote and panel called “A View from the Future,” organized by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. The opening talk was by Edie Weiner, president of futurist trend consultants, Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.
The reviews are in and now it’s time to book a ticket and check out the new Barnes Foundation museum in Philadelphia designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. I took a road trip over the weekend and was struck by the amount of texture and richness of the materials used throughout. The carved limestone, deep wood tones, and burlap seem to take cues from Barnes’ superb African mask collection. Regardless of where one comes down on the controversial move to the Ben Franklin Parkway, there is no denying the level of detail and workmanship that went into the project.
On the night of June 3rd, 2012, Tom Fruin’s newest sculptural artwork, Watertower, was installed on a rooftop near the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO. The colorfully constructed Watertower features approximately a thousand pieces of foraged plexiglass mounted on a steel skeleton. The monumental patchwork of colored glass also includes an interior and exterior ladder and an operable roof hatch. The great amount of plexiglass used for the piece, which measures 25 feet in height and 10 feet in diameter, was collected all throughout New York City. The use of recycled materials is not new to Tom Fruin Studio, as Watertower is the fourth scavenged artwork of the “Icon” series dedicated to creating tributes to the world’s architectural and sculptural icons using reclaimed materials. Read More
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A 34,000-square-foot kinetic media facade represents the themes of Korea’s international exhibition
Opened last month in the coastal city of Yeosu, South Korea, the 2012 International Exhibition’s theme, “The Living Ocean and Coast,” is a way for attendees to examine challenges and solutions to development on oceans and coastlines. As the architect of the expo’s thematic pavilion, Vienna-based Soma Architecture designed a kinetic media facade to act as a counterpart to the show’s location by the water and to its multimedia presentations. Working with Stuttgart- and New York-based structural engineering firm Knippers Helbig as facade consultant, the team developed a constructible solution for building one of the largest adaptive structures in the world.
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An in-progress look at the new transit hub’s massive skylight
After funding cuts and subsequent delays since construction started in 2005, the much-anticipated Fulton Street Transit Center is finally taking shape in Lower Manhattan. The $1.4 billion project will connect eleven subway lines with the PATH train, the World Trade Center, and ferries at the World Financial Center. In collaboration with artist James Carpenter, Grimshaw Architects designed the project’s hallmark—a 60-foot-tall glass oculus that will deliver daylight to the center’s concourse level. The hyperbolic parabaloid cable net skylight supports an inner skin of filigree metal panels that reflect light to the spaces below. AN took a look at the design’s progress with Radius Track, the curved and cold-formed steel framing experts who recently completed installation of the project’s custom steel panels:
One of Jane Jacobs’ most valuable contributions to the understanding of cities was her faith in the wisdom of the urban dweller. She argued that the physical city—and any approach to city planning—could not be separated from the wisdom of each individual inhabitant, “People who know well such animated city streets will know how it is. I am afraid people who do not will always have it a little wrong in their heads, like the old prints of rhinoceroses made from travelers’ descriptions of rhinoceroses.” The complication arising from Jacobs’ argument is simple though difficult to solve; how can we plan a city when planning is one part abstraction and abstraction removes us from Jacobs’ precious “real life” mentality?
A step towards solving this contradiction is sfbetterstreets.org, a website launched last week by the City of San Francisco. Developed by the San Francisco Planning Department in conjunction with other city agencies, the website is part of the city’s larger, “Better Streets” initiative. The legislative concept, described in San Francisco’s Better Streets Plan, is to create streets “designed and built to strike a balance between all users regardless of physical abilities or mode of travel… maximizing features for the comfort, usability, and aesthetics of people walking.”
As part of ongoing subtle austerity measures, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced Monday that as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, they will transfer ownership of 12 lighthouses to willing non-federal-government organizations. Eligible state or local governments, non-profit corporations, historic preservation groups, or community development organizations have 60 days to file a letter expressing interest in the properties. If no suitable taker is found, then a public auction will take place. The measure is part of President Obama’s initiative to save $1.5 billion in federal money by reducing overhead costs of maintaining federal real estate, and the GSA claims that they are on track to save $3.5 billion by the end of the year. Read More
Last week at Audi’s HQ in Ingolstadt, Germany, architect Junya Ishigami of Tokyo succinctly summed up the problem the car company aims to tackle: there is “a gap between people’s speed and the city’s speed,” Ishigami said. In other words, people’s habits evolve quickly to suit a 21st-century lifestyle, but the infrastructure of the cities they live in is constantly playing catch up. And Audi, whose primary product is by nature infrastructure-bound, wants get ahead of the curve.
Ishigami was one of six architects presenting research as part of the first phase of Audi’s 2012 Urban Future Award, a bi-annual program first started in 2010. The 2012 firms were selected for their track records of researching the urban environment and their relationships to one of six metropolitan areas: CRIT (Mumbai); Höweler + Yoon Architecture (the Boston-Washington corridor); NODE Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta); Superpool (Istanbul) and Urban Think Tank (São Paulo); and Junya Ishigami + Associates (Tokyo). The brief: to “create visions for individual mobility in the future.” Audi defined the future as ca. 2030, when it’s predicted that 70 percent of the world population will live in cities with eight million or more inhabitants.
Hadrian’s Villa—the real one, the 2nd century site of pilgrimages by architects, classicists, and any human interested in the origins of culture—has been selected as the site of a new garbage dump by a Berlusconi-appointed sanitation minister. That stinks!