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.
By 2019, two new Staten Island Ferry vessels should be crisscrossing the New York Harbor. Outside of the Whitehall Ferry Terminal this morning, United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced that New York City had been awarded a $191 million grant to design and construct these vessels that will be more agile and storm-resilient than what’s in the ferry’s current fleet. These funds will also allow the city to invest in resiliency measures at the ferry’s terminals and at surrounding public transit systems. This federal grant was just one component of the U.S. DOT’s latest round of Sandy-related funding, which provides over $3 billion for resiliency measures for the East Coast’s public transit systems. Roughly 90 percent of this money is allocated for projects in New York State and New Jersey.
Architectural competitions with substantial cash prizes tend to focus on monuments, museums, and other high-brow concerns. Such is not the case for Breaking New Ground: Designing Affordable Housing for the Coachella Valley Workforce. Sponsored by The California Endowment, a Los Angeles–based private health organization, Breaking New Ground targets the gap between the people who come to the Eastern Coachella Valley to play and those who keep its $4 billion agriculture and tourism industries running.
Bridges. They can be grand and majestic, awe-inspiring symbols of engineering ingenuity, city-defining pieces of infrastructure, and, as you may have heard by now, at serious risk of collapsing. To stop that from happening, engineers basically have two options: repair or replace. Both of those strategies are currently pursued in the New York City region.
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Illuminated steel pavilions mimic Chinese peaks.
The hillside site of Fengming Mountain Park, in Chongqing, China, presented Martha Schwartz Partners with both a practical challenge and a source of inspiration. Asked by Chinese developer Vanke to design a park adjacent to the sales office for a new housing development, the landscape architecture and urban planning firm quickly gravitated toward the metaphor of a mountain journey. “That’s why in the plans you see a zig zag pattern” to the path leading down to the sales center from the car park, said associate Ignacio López Busón. Steel pavilions scattered along the walkway pick up on the theme, taking the form of abstracted mountain peaks. “That’s something the client really liked,” said López Busón. “Once the idea was clear, it was all about developing the shape of them, and trying to make them look special.”
After refining their master plan over the last several months, Metro, Grimshaw, and Gruen are ready, as Metro Deputy Executive Officer for Countywide Planning Jenna Hornstock put it, to “put the pedal to the metal.” They’re asking the Metro Planning and Programming Committee to approve several recommendations (PDF) to begin the implementation of their Union Station Master Plan, including the development of a Program Environmental Impact Report. Yesterday they presented to the committee, and a vote is expected at the next gathering on October 15.
The world of design trade shows seems to be ever expanding, with established and new shows sending out satellites coast-to-coast. A mini version of Dwell on Design is coming to New York, opening on October 9. Meanwhile, New York’s biggest design show, ICFF, is heading west, during the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. And New York Design Week is expanding still further with yet another show, tentatively titled Disruptive Design. We can already feel the hangover coming on!
Water has been called the oil of the 21st century. Whether too much (Exhibit A: Hurricane Sandy) or too little (Exhibit B: California, Texas, and the Southwest), conserving, cleaning, and controlling it has never been a higher priority for architects and their clients. From rooftops to underground, these innovative systems and products work to make the most of every drop.
Bicycling magazine may have named New York City the nation’s best city for cycling—surprising many from calmer towns—but even more stunning is their selection of the worst place to pedal: nearby Suffolk county. Don’t worry Suf-folks, it’s not strictly personal. You’re way of life is symbolic of our national transportation imbalance. “Really, right now, the worst city is in the suburbs,” said Bicycling’s editor in chief Bill Strickland. “We picked Suffolk to be emblematic of that.” And urbanists wonder why they get tagged as elitists.