Although it hasn’t yet broken ground, Kansas City plans to revive a long-dormant streetcar network. Voters approved a ballot measure in 2012 to fund a 2-mile starter route from Union Station to the River Market, nearly 55 years after the city halted its original streetcar service in 1957.
Now Kansas City residents are likely to vote again to help pay for streetcar construction, this time to approve taxes that would help fund a new streetcar taxing district. The measure goes to City Council on Jan. 23. Read More
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer started 2014 off with a call to citizens: Help the city come up with creative ideas to redevelop vacant land. Local and far-flung designers are invited to re-imagine the land in a new competition. The winners of the Lots of Possibility competition will be awarded a total of $38,000 to put their vision into action.
University of California, Berkeley has released a new set of interactive maps illustrating national energy usage. The visually striking if troubling images reveal a stark urban/suburban divide regarding carbon footprint, with the latter contributing far more in emissions than their city-dwelling counterparts.
London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames. The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water‘s controversial plan to revamp the city’s Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects.
Speaking of hotels, 21C Museum Hotels continue to rake in the accolades. We noticed every dang travel magazine has rated the new Cincinnati and Bentonville (aka, Walmart-town) outposts as Super Number One Hotel In America. We jest, but seriously, the point we previously made about good design in Chicago has been successfully executed multiple times now by Deborah Berke Partners in lesser cities, creating destinations for locals and travelers alike.
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A timber-backed glass facade provides transparency, acoustical isolation, and resiliency for a historic theater complex in the nation’s capital.
When the Mead Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. hired Vancouver-based Bing Thom Architects to double the institution’s square footage without disturbing two historic theaters designed by treasured architect Harry Weese, it was clear to firm principal Michael Heeney that standard solutions would not suffice. For one, the theater facilities were insufficient and outdated. More troublesome, however, was the fact that passenger jet liners taking off and landing at Regan National Airport across the Potomac River were so loud they were interrupting performances. The architects had to find a solution to mitigate this cacophony both for the existing structures as well as for the expansion—a new theater called Arena Stage.
“We had to achieve acoustical separation and isolation from exterior noise in a way that was respectful and maintained the integrity of the original structures,” Heeney told AN. Building off an approach that originated from a project in Surrey, British Columbia, the design team decided to wrap the triangular-shaped complex in glass with timber column supports, topped off with a 500-foot cantilevered roof. With the help of structural engineers at Fast + Epp and facade consultancy Heintges, the team extrapolated the Surrey solution to provide even greater transparency for the existing Weese theaters, Arena Stage, and a variety of mixed use spaces totaling 200,000 square feet. Read More
Lord Norman Foster’s pickle-shaped 30 St. Mary Axe building in London, widely known as “the gherkin,” has been featured in an advertisement for a UK chemist that sells erectile dysfunction pills at £6 a pop. The print ad for Lloyds Pharmacy features the interrogative headline “Lost the perk-in your gherkin,” illustrated with a photo-shopped image of a drooping 30 St Mary Axe. The ad goes on to exhort readers not to “let a hard day stop a hard night.”
Speaking of zombies, two of Downtown LA’s most long-stalled projects appear to be rising from the dead. The mixed-use project revolving around Julia Morgan’s beautiful Herald Examiner Building on Broadway is apparently finally getting underway, now developed by Forest City, and no longer designed by Morphosis. The designer has yet to be revealed.