Letter to the Editor> Bosques of Boston’s Past

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

A plan for Boston City Hall Plaza by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners from 1961. (Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed & Partners)

[ Editor's Note: The following is a reader-submitted response to a recent article, "Softening Boston’s City Hall." It appeared as a letter to the editor in a recent print edition, AN03_03.05.2014. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

With regard to the proposed landscape interventions in Boston’s City Hall Plaza: This welcome news brings to mind the Illustrative Site Plan prepared by our firm in 1961 (above) to accompany the Government Center Urban Renewal Plan. As our drawing shows, we envisioned the space between Tremont Street and the new City Hall not as a paved plaza but as a quiet lawn crossed by footpaths and populated by deciduous trees, in the tradition of a New England town green.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tenants Drop Lawsuit Over New York City’s Controversial Plan for Private Towers on Public Housing Land

Development, East, Urbanism
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
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New York City Housing Authority buildings. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

New York City Housing Authority buildings. (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Tenants have officially withdrawn a lawsuit over a Bloomberg-era plan to allow developers to build residential towers on New York City public housing land. The Land-Lease Plan, as it is known, would have allowed the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to essentially infill open land at their housing developments with new market-rate and low-income apartments.

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5-OH Rising Out of Park Fifth’s Ashes in Los Angeles

Newsletter, West
Monday, March 17, 2014
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5-OH IS THE NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT SLATED FOR THE FORMER SITE OF PARK FIFTH (HARLEY ELLIS DEVEREAUX)

5-OH IS THE NEW RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT SLATED FOR THE FORMER SITE OF PARK FIFTH (HARLEY ELLIS DEVEREAUX)

At long last, the recession-doomed site of the high-rise condo complex known as Park Fifth is seeing some action. This particular patch of ground, across the street from Pershing Square near downtown Los Angeles, has been the subject of a tug-of-war between would-be investors and market forces for at least seven years. Park Fifth, a pair of 76- and 41-story towers designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, went down with the real estate bubble in 2008. Even the current project, dubbed 5-OH, has seen a lot of uncertainty during its relatively short life. “We went through a lot of studies and a lot of different client groups,” said Harley Ellis Devereaux’s Daniel Gehman. “[There were] a lot of shifting sands.” Read More

Irish Arts Center Unveils New Hell’s Kitchen Home by Ireland’s Office of Public Works

The new Irish Arts Center. (Courtesy of the Office of Public Works, Ireland)

The new Irish Arts Center. (Courtesy of the Office of Public Works, Ireland)

The Irish Arts Center is celebrating St. Patrick’s with fresh renderings of their new building in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The new center—which was designed by Ireland’s Office of Public Works and Davis Brody Bond—will include a 199-seat theater, a live music venue, a café, dance studios, classrooms, and a community garden.

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An Impossible Stair by NEXT Architects

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Sander Meisner_03

The steel staircase is based on a Möbius strip. (Sander Meisner)

A folly in a Rotterdam suburb draws on residents’ complex relationship with the city.

The residents of Carnisselande, a garden suburb in Barendrecht, the Netherlands, have a curious relationship with Rotterdam. Many of them work in the city, or are otherwise mentally and emotionally connected to it, yet they go home at night to a place that is physically and visually separate. When NEXT architects was tapped to build a folly on a hill in the new town, they seized on this apparent contradiction. “This suburb is completely hidden behind sound barriers, highways, totally disconnected from Rotterdam,” said NEXT director Marijn Schenk. “We discovered when you’re on top of the hill and jump, you can see Rotterdam. We said, ‘Can we make the jump into an art piece?’” Read More

Is expanding Chicago’s soldier field a hail mary pass?

Midwest
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Chicago's Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (--Mike-- / Flickr)

Chicago’s Soldier Field (left) against the South Loop skyline. (–Mike– / Flickr)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reportedly considering a plan to boost capacity at Soldier Field, the city’s football stadium, in a bid to host the Super Bowl.

But as the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin laid out in a story Sunday, the play is a Hail Mary. Read More

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic wins 2014 Serpentine Pavilion

Radic's 2014 Pavilion. (Courtesy Serpentine Galleries)

Radic’s 2014 Pavilion. (Courtesy Serpentine Galleries)

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic has been selected to design the 2014 Serpentine Pavilion in Kensington Gardens, England. Radic is one of the youngest and least-known architects to receive this prestigious honor since it was first awarded 14 years ago. Plans for his pavilion show an expressive, cloud-like structure that will glow at night. The space will also include a cafe, and on some summer nights it will become a stage for art, poetry, music, and film.

According to Serpentine Galleries, the structure’s translucent shell will “house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating. At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths.” The pavilion will be open from June 26t to October 19th.

Forum for Urban Design and the Institute for Urban Design Join Forces

East, Media, Urbanism
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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The Forum and Institute Have Joined Forces

The Forum and Institute Have Joined Forces.

The Forum for Urban Design and the Institute for Urban Design—two New York City organizations that promote, well, urban design—announced that they have merged, effective immediately. The new “Forum and Institute for Urban Design” will be led by co-presidents Michael Sorkin and Alexander Garvin and consist of 400 fellows. The organization will regularly be hosting roundtables, symposia, and debates about urban planning and development in cities around the world. The first program, on April 16, will be focused on the future of subsidized housing.

“I am delighted at the long overdue union of the Institute and the Forum,” Sorkin said in a statement. “Joining forces will yield a stronger voice on behalf of a progressive vision of urban design for New York, as well as cities around the world.”

New Installation at JFK’s Terminal 4 Floats Weightlessly in Air

Art, East
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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"Outside Time" at JFK. (Courtesy Dimitar Lukanov Studio)

Outside Time at JFK. (Courtesy Dimitar Lukanov Studio)

An impressive new installation at JFK’s Terminal 4 should make air travel slightly less frustrating, or at least more interesting, for passengers. In late February, Bulgarian-born artist Dimitar Lukanov unveiled Outside Time, a soaring sculpture made of steel and aluminum tubes. Despite weighing-in at 4,600 pounds, the piece manages to appear weightless as it elegantly drifts upwards like a densely-packed school of fish.

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Five teams in the running for London’s Natural History Museum Civic Realm competition

NHM-shortlist-IMG_0090

The current grounds of the Natural History Museum in London. (courtesy of the Natural History Museum Realm Competition)

Deeming them to be not “appropriate to a world-class institution nor effective in accommodating day-to-day use,” trustees of London’s Museum of Natural History put out a call for redesigns to the grounds surrounding the building. The competition has now reached its second stage, with five firms selected as finalists for the project, though who is responsible for which proposal has yet to be revealed. The winning selection will have to ease access for the museum’s growing number of visitors and create a new civic ground for the city of London.

The entries after the jump.

Facebook Likes Gehry and the East Village

East, Interiors
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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(Courtesy Facebook)

(Courtesy Facebook)

Facebook’s New York engineering team now has some sweet new digs, courtesy of Frank Gehry. As the engineers settle into their 100,000-square-foot space in Manhattan, construction crews are building Facebook’s new campus in Menlo Park, also designed by Gehry.

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Eiffel Tower’s New “First Floor” Almost Complete

Architecture, International
Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Work is almost finished on a revamped viewing platform and event space at the Eiffel Tower. While it’s called the First Floor, it’s nearly 200 feet above ground and will offer panoramic views of Paris. And for the braver visitors, it will offer views straight down as the new space has a glass-floor viewing platform. Moatti-Rivière Architects is heading up the renovation, which will include shops, restaurants, conference rooms and event spaces. The new floor will also be better suited to those with disabilities and incorporate green technologies including solar panels and the rainwater collection.

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