Five new apps put urban planning at your fingertips

oppspace

(Courtesy OpportunitySpace)

In the age of apps, we have seen basic human activities like eating, dating, shopping, and exercising be condensed into simple swipes and clicks. It’s a brave new world and one that has folded-in the complex process of financing, developing, and designing new projects. And in recent years, there has been a batch of new apps designed to help planners, architects, cities, and the general public create more livable cities. Here are a few of those apps that caught AN’s attention. Read More

Video> Drone footage shows construction progress at Norman Foster’s Apple Campus

Architecture, In Construction, Newsletter, West
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
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apple-video2apple-video1

 

Perhaps the most hyped corporate campus in history, Apple’s Norman Foster–designed campus in Cupertino, is starting to come out of the ground. YouTube user jmcminn recently uploaded a video of a (loud) drone flying over the top secret construction site, where work began a few months ago and should continue through 2016. The circular foundations appear to be over a quarter complete.

Watch the video after the jump.

HGA Updates a Minneapolis Landmark

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HGA's Nelson Cultural Center, clad in slate shingles and art glass, complements the historic Turnblad Mansion. (Paul Crosby Photography)

HGA’s Nelson Cultural Center, clad in slate shingles and art glass, complements the historic Turnblad Mansion. (Paul Crosby Photography)

Slate-clad addition to the American Swedish Institute evokes contemporary Scandinavian design.

Minneapolis-based architecture, engineering, and planning firm HGA faced a tall order when the American Swedish Institute asked them to design an addition to the building known locally as “The Castle.” The turreted Turnblad Mansion, constructed in Minneapolis’ Phillips West neighborhood in 1908 and home of ASI since 1929, lacked the kinds of multi-purpose spaces required by ASI’s cultural and educational programming—and was suffering wear and tear from a steady stream of visitors. “The project was about creating a front door that was more welcoming and inviting than the existing building, that can help protect the mansion and allow it to be used as a house museum,” said project architect Andy Weyenberg. At the same time,  “the mansion remained the focal point,” he explained. “It will always be the identity of ASI. Everything we did, we wanted to respect the mansion and keep it as a centerpiece.” HGA’s intervention honors the primacy of the Turnblad Mansion while updating ASI’s image with a contemporary facade inspired by Swedish building methods and materials.

Read More

Video> How Sasaki is transforming the Chicago Riverwalk

cove

The Chicago Riverwalk. (Courtesy Sasaki)

As construction crews continue to pull the Chicago Riverwalk farther into the city’s iconic waterway, Sasaki Associates has released a short documentary about the $100 million transformation. And it’s worth a watch because what’s happening in Chicago is more than your typical “reclaiming public space” type of story.

Read More

Eavesdrop> Muckraking Architecture Critics!

Zaha Hadid. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid has sued the New York Review of Books. The complaint, filed last month in Manhattan Supreme Court, takes issue with a piece by architecture critic Martin Filler that allegedly mischaracterized her comments on the deaths of hundreds of migrant construction workers in Qatar, where she has designed a soccer stadium for the 2022 World Cup.

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Sitting on the Dock

East, Letter to the Editor
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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seaport-01

(Courtesy SHoP)

[ Editor's Note: The following letter was left in the comments section of archpaper.com in response to Alan G. Brake’s editorial “The Seaport Adrift” (AN 09_07.23.2014), which argued for more programming at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, such as housing. 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]

How would adding housing help connect the building to its surroundings? The seaport is inherently a destination for most of the people who use it. The pop-up food market was perhaps the best-suited program for the site.

Read More

Product> Clean Lines: Six Sleek Bathroom Fixtures and Fittings

Design, National, Product
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
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BIG-kohler-tub

(Courtesy Kohler)

In the residential bathroom, “transitional” style—an admittedly ambiguous label, but one that has nonetheless persisted in the industry—has lately and happily edged closer to contemporary. The shift is certainly attributable to design trends found in the hip hospitality sector. Here’s a selection of items that are new to the market.

Sunstruck Tub
Kohler

With a 17-inch bathing well, wide deck, and integrated lumbar support, this oval soaking tub offers comfort and easy access. The center-drain, 66-by-36-inch acrylic fixture is available with straight or fluted shroud.

Read More

Grimshaw’s transit-oriented public plaza breaks ground in the Bronx

Fordham Plaza. (Courtesy NYC Department of Transportation)

Fordham Plaza. (Courtesy NYC Department of Transportation)

The New York City Department of Transportation recently broke ground on the second phase of Fordham Plaza’s reconstruction in the Bronx. The revamped space will have all the standard-issue pieces of a New York City pedestrian plaza—the planters, benches, seating, trees, lights, and kiosks—but, ultimately, the plaza represents a significant investment in existing transportation infrastructure.

Read More

Look inside Alvar Aalto’s celebrated works with Google Street View

Alvar Aalto Museum. (Flickr / pntphoto)

Alvar Aalto Museum. (Flickr / pntphoto)

Google Street View has been snooping way beyond the curb. The see-all service has spread into museums, inside businesses, onto hiking trails, and even leads curated street art tours in cities around the world. Now, the service has expanded into architecture. The newest feature allows curious internet explorers to step inside some of Alvar Aalto’s most celebrated buildings without booking a flight or even looking away from the ever-present glow of their computer screen.

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Video> NIKE opens a motion-tracking, LED basketball court in China

The House of Mamba. (Courtesy NIKE)

The House of Mamba. (Courtesy NIKE)

Nike has covered a basketball court in Shanghai with LED sensors and the result looks like a live-action video game. The court is called the “House of Mamba”—not to be confused with the new “House of Vans” in London—and it’s topped with reactive sensors that track players’ every move.

Read More

Could Olmsted & Bartholomew’s 100-year-old parks plan finally happen in Los Angeles?

Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan (The Conservation Fund)

Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan (The Conservation Fund)

One of the highlights of this author’s recent exhibition, Never Built Los Angeles, was a comprehensive, and interconnected, parks plan for Los Angeles assembled by the landscape firm Olmsted and Bartholomew in 1930. That old plan is seeing some new life in the Los Angeles community. If the proposed Emerald Necklace Expanded Vision Plan is realized, that idea would come to life almost a century after it was proposed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> How the Bayonne Bridge’s roadway will be lifted 64 feet

East, Transportation, Urbanism
Thursday, August 28, 2014
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The Bayonne Bridge. (Flickr / wallyg)

The Bayonne Bridge. (Flickr / wallyg)

The 82-year-old Bayonne Bridge is getting some work done. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has begun the $1.3 billion process to raise the bridge’s roadway by 64 feet. Why, exactly? Well, to keep up with the times of course.

Read More

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