Search results for "Civitas"

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Citizen 7

Details announced for U.S. Pavilion at 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale
More details were announced Monday about the upcoming U.S. Pavilion at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale. The exhibition will be titled Dimensions of Citizenship and curated by Niall Atkinson, associate professor of architectural history at the University of Chicago; Ann Lui, assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC); Mimi Zeiger, an independent critic, editor, curator, and educator; and associate curator Iker Gil, lecturer at SAIC. Dimensions of Citizenship will feature the work of seven architecture practices to “explore how citizenship may be defined, constructed, enacted, contested, or expressed in the built environment at seven different spatial scales. Expanding from the body and city to the network and the heavens, the seven installations raise questions about issues including belonging, sovereignty, and ecology,” according to the curatorial statement. The seven spatial scales are used as an organizing principle to examine the ways citizenship affects and is affected by the built environment. Each studio is assigned a scale as the prompt. Scale: Citizen / Amanda Williams + Andres L. Hernandez, in collaboration with Shani Crowe From the project description: “Dimensions of Citizenship begins at the scale of the citizen with the project Thrival Geographies (In My Mind I See a Line), which will consider how race shapes notions of identity, shelter, and public space in historically African-American communities. For their installation in the courtyard of the U.S. Pavilion, Williams (a recently named 2018 USA Ford Fellow) and Hernandez, who is an associate professor of art education at SAIC, will partner with Chicago-based artist Shani Crowe, whose intricate braided hair sculptures have been worn by celebrities such as Solange. While the specter of slavery and continued racial injustice will be at the core of the installation, the piece will ultimately strive for a possible architecture of freedom that might allow all citizens to thrive and participate in the democratic ideal. Scale: Civitas / Studio Gang From the project description: “Led by 2011 MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang uses design as a medium to help strengthen communities. Stone Stories builds on the Studio’s ongoing work in Memphis, Tennessee, to investigate how redesigning cities’ public space can be an exercise of citizenship and empowerment. Inspired by Memphis’s recent removal of two Confederate statues, Stone Storiesoffers an inclusive urban vision for Cobblestone Landing, an overlooked yet historically important site along the Mississippi River. Hundreds of Memphis cobblestones will be shipped to Venice and used as a platform to share the stories of Memphians past and present, offering visitors a visceral and material interaction with a distant public space and the citizens who are actively building its shared urban future.” Scale: Region / SCAPE From the project description: “SCAPE, under the leadership of 2017 MacArthur Fellow Kate Orff, will demonstrate that landscape architecture can be a critical tool for re-envisioning the response of citizens to climate change. SCAPE’s project, Ecological Citizens, understands the region as an area defined by the shifting relationships of ecology, infrastructure, and climate. It takes the Venetian Lagoon as a globally significant case study of a tidal region under ecological threat. Partnering with Università di Bologna and the Italian Institute of Marine Sciences, SCAPE will present possible solutions or interventions to aid the environmentally sensitive La Certosa island in the lagoon. Scale: Nation / Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman From the project description: “Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman challenges the way we think about national boundaries. Their project, MEXUS: A Geography of Interdependence, reveals a transnational zone comprised of eight watershed systems shared by Mexico and the United States. MEXUS provokes us to rethink citizenship beyond the limits of the nation, mobilizing a more inclusive, interdependent idea based on co-existence, shared assets, and cooperative opportunities between divided communities. Cruz is the winner of the 2018 Vilcek Prize in Architecture, which is presented to immigrants who are champions of the arts and sciences. Scale: Globe / Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, Robert Gerard Pietrusko with Columbia Center for Spatial Research From the project description: “When we zoom out to the scale of the globe, the primacy of the individual, the city, and even the nation drops away and is replaced by data: electricity, trade routes, migratory shifts, and the flow of capital, goods, and people. In Plain Sight—a collaboration among Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Laura Kurgan, and Robert Gerard Pietrusko with Columbia Center for Spatial Research—uses data drawn from images created by the Soumi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite to visualize where people live on earth. Two contrasting NASA images of the Earth taken at 1:30 pm and 1:30 amshow us the gaps in the network: the places with many people and no lights, and those with bright lights and no people. This information maps out a political geography of belonging and exclusion. Scale: Network / Keller Easterling with MANY From the project description: “Keller Easterling’s writings and projects regularly investigate the emergent territory where the state meets the digital network. With MANY, an online platform designed to facilitate migration through an exchange of needs, Easterling and team propose that we use the network to rethink possibly outdated notions of citizenship. With a nod to the pervasive and familiar share economies that define online life, MANY envisions a global form of matchmaking between the sidelined talents of migrating populations and the multitude of opportunities around the world. Favoring cosmopolitan mobility over national identity, MANY looks to short-term visas as a tool to foster an exchange of needs. Scale: Cosmos / Design Earth From the project description: “The space above Earth, as a site of existing human occupation and potential belonging, has become a territory that both captures the imagination and serves as a theater for existing conflicts or conditions. In looking to the cosmos, Design Earth’s speculative designs suggest possible off-world architectural responses. Design Earth’s El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn (recipient of the 2017 Boghossian Foundation Prize) present three “geo-stories,” which speculate on the legal geography of citizenship when extended to “the province of all mankind.” Together the stories in Cosmorama—Mining the Sky, Planetary Ark, and Pacific Cemetery—ask how we should reckon with the epic and frontier narratives that have fueled space exploration, at a time when prospects of instability and extinction have become normal on Earth.
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Preferred Palette

AN’s Top 50 Interior Architects’ favorite building materials and products
AN Interior’s inaugural top 50 interior architect list featured emerging and established firms across the U.S. The editors surveyed the Top 50 highlighted in the March issue and asked them to reveal their favorite building materials and products. The list below entails what made the cut. To honor them, the editors of The Architect’s Newspaper and AN Interior will celebrate 2018's leading design minds in New York's A&D Building. You can meet the acclaimed architects and AN’s editors inside over 20 participating showrooms, this Thursday, March 8. Architects and designers alike can register to attend here.
Toshiko Mori Principal, Toshiko Mori Architect “By designing sheet lights instead of bulbs, Kaneka OLED creates products that emit light evenly, softly, and with excellent color rendition—close to natural light. The LUCE Rotatable Floor Light’s ability to move allows for the creation of different atmospheres. The ambient glow is also bright enough for reading.”
Leonidas Trampoukis and Eleni Petaloti  Founders, LOT
“We needed a lightweight product to renovate an existing facade on a townhouse in Brooklyn that could be more than just paint, but also an extension of the interior materiality. We were amazed by the texture, availability, duration, fast installation, and clarity of Equitone fiber cement panels.”
(Courtesy Hank Mardukas Photography) Stephanie Wexler Interior Designer, archimania
“One of our favorite building materials is Richlite, a composite panel material made from post-consumer recycled paper. We recently used it as a wall and door material for renovations to the attic of the Tobias Residence, a home on the historic register. We envisioned a modern material that amplified the contrast between old and new construction, as well as something structurally sound that offered color all the way through and had finished edges. Once the product was coated with a sealer, the material produced an enhanced tactile quality that reflected natural light throughout the day.”
Benjamin Aranda  Principal, Aranda\Lasch “Technically sophisticated and visually shocking, the ALPI Lignum Wood Laminate by Ettore Sottsass is still, years later, so much fun to use.”
Andre Herrero Principal, Charlap Hyman Herrero “Sisal is a stiff fiber made from an agave plant of the same name, most commonly used to make rope or twine, but also found in fabrics, rugs, and wall coverings. For us, sisal is a subtle yet compelling material in interiors, lending a natural, summery feel to a given space. In a booth for Patrick Parrish Gallery at the Salon Art + Design fair, we covered both the floors and the walls with it for complete effect. Sisal has a way of visually situating the works of art and furniture; it supports them and gives them a warm backdrop.” Andrew Holder Co-Principal, LADG “Plywood is a beautiful product because it embodies so many contradictions. It can appear to be very refined and highbrow, but at the same time it is a ubiquitous component used in the roughest kind of ad hoc construction. The exterior surface is monolithic and continuous, but the cross section at the edge is exactly the opposite—clearly made of many trees in thin slices all oriented in different directions. It has the appearance of being effortless and low-cost, but is in fact a very difficult material with finicky tolerances, especially as you approach the limits of bending or machining it at a small scale. The big stacks of sheets at the lumberyard look like they are already buildings.”
Bryan Young Principal, Young Projects “We have worked with encaustic cement tiles in multiple scenarios, but recently have found success making custom colors and patterns through a partnership with a fabricator in the Dominican Republic. Locally, these tiles are very common and therefore are an economical selection for a custom finish. On our Playa Grande Retreat project, we created a custom pattern and color palettes for the bathroom floors throughout the building. More interestingly, we applied a different selection of tiles to clad the exterior facades of the Glitch House. The tiles create a shifting graphic pattern that visually reverberates with the physical geometry of the pixelated concrete block walls to create some really interesting optical effects.”
David Darling Founder, Aidlin Darling Design
“In the Bay Area, we are fortunate to have a handful of incredible ornamental metal fabricators that coax life out of seemingly innocuous metals. A favorite of ours is cold-rolled steel plate with a blackened patina. A great metal finisher can bring a subtlety and warmth out of this traditionally utilitarian material, affording us the ability to use it in more intimate, as well as communal spaces.”
Clive Wilkinson President, Clive Wilkinson Architects
“We often use rubber flooring on our projects for circulation and amenity spaces due to its excellent durability and sustainability. It’s also very comfortable and quiet underfoot. For the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, we worked with nora systems’ rubber to develop custom colors, which are much more saturated than the company’s standard offering. The bright, bold colors bring an incredible amount of energy into the labs and really encourage the patients to get up and move.”
Brian Johnsen Principal, Johnsen Schmaling Architects “Much of our interior work exploits the tactility and inherent textures of wood, concrete, and stone. We often use sheets of back-painted glass as an aesthetic counterpoint, one that contrasts the haptic qualities of these materials with a perfectly smooth, highly reflective finish. To avoid the green tint of regular float glass, we usually specify low-iron glass, which allows us to achieve the exact chromatic hue to complement the overall interior palette. Large sheets eliminate visible joints, further enhancing the appearance of immaterial perfection.”
Rafael de Cárdenas Founder, Architecture at Large “When working with hard surfaces, anodized aluminum is our preferred treatment for adding a saturated color. It has the ability to create a sense of refinement and contemporaneity, here, on the ceiling of Au Pont Rouge department store, it enhances other unusual materials and colors in the space.”
Ezequiel Farca and Cristina Grappin Founder and partner, Ezequiel Farca + Cristina Grappin
“Recinto stone is a volcanic stone of great hardness, different types of porosity, and a special tradition in the colonial architecture of Mexico. We use recinto stone because it adapts to the chromatic and textural palette used in the studio. The material has allowed us to apply it in floors and walls, and consolidate objects of our own design. It achieves interesting finishes depending on its use, from honed surface for terraces and outdoor furniture to polished gloss for design objects, or natural finish in innovative pieces that celebrate the aesthetics of the raw element.”
Mark and Amy Leveno Principals, OFFICIAL “We like Filzfelt because of its quality and well-curated colors. For the Civitas Capital Group headquarters in Dallas, we used the Filzfelt ARO Plank system in the conference room niches both for sound absorption and as a backrest for the integrated bench. The deep grooves of the plank system added texture to assist in visually breaking up a large space.”
Aaron Schiller Principal, Schiller Projects
“In the Chilmark project, I collaborated with the principals of Gray Organschi Architecture. We were very interested in utilizing the structural walls of the house and the retaining walls of the property to express the nature of the rural ecology, slicing into the landscape itself. To that end, we went to Pennsylvania and bought a huge amount of throwaway wood used in large-scale farming. The wood appears extremely weathered due to the nature of the enzymes that leak into the boards during the farming processes. We upcycled this stock, milled it into usable formwork. I was on-site assisting in the carpentry and overseeing the proper layouts for weeks at a time. When the lining finally came off the wood, it revealed this deeply embedded graining and wood patterning on the face of the concrete. It was as if we were able to freeze the exposed landscape and use it as part of our building process.”
Alex Mustonen Partner and cofounder, Snarkitecture “We’re interested in the idea of a sphere as an architectural material to infill a space. The glass marble sphere is inherently playful and can be unpredictable in its movement.”  
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Honors and Merits

ASLA-NY announces its 2017 Design Awards winners
This year the American Society of Landscape Architects, New York (ASLA-NY) has bestowed five Honor awards and ten Merit awards to New York–based firms for their landscape architecture projects located across the U.S. The winners were selected by a multidisciplinary jury featuring members from ASLA chapters in North and South Carolina, as well as Georgia. "From projects that examine a site’s historic and cultural influences to those that explore innovative design approaches, this year’s winning award submissions showcase the full range of the landscape architectural profession," the ASLA-NY said in a statement. "There is a clear theme of resiliency and sustainability with the award winners that show appreciation for the long-term value of landscapes—again embracing changing conditions of climate and urbanization in the urban projects to appreciation of seasonal characteristics of plants, light and weather in the residential projects." Below is a list of the Honor and Merit awards; the awards themselves will be given to the firms at the ASLA-NY Design Awards Ceremony and Reception (Thursday, April 6, at the Center for Architecture in New York City). These projects will also be on display at the Center through April. Honor Awards Battery Perimeter, Bikeway, Oval and Woodland, Quennell Rothschild & Partners / Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners Governors Island Phase 2: The Hills, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture P.C. / Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Abstract Morphology, Hollander Design Landscape Architects Navy Pier South Dock and Polk Bros. Plaza, James Corner Field Operations - Hudson Highland Cottage, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Merit Awards Olana Strategic Landscape Design Plan, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Naval Cemetery, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects Southwest Brooklyn, AECOM St. Patrick’s Island, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture / Civitas, Inc. Resiliency Rocks Garden, Local Office Landscape and Urban Design Croton Water Filtration Plant, Ken Smith Landscape Architect Compass Resiliency, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners Garden Rising Green Infrastructure Feasibility Study, WE Design / eDesign Dynamics Times Square Reconstruction, Snøhetta The Spiral, BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group
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Go Go Gowanus

A team of landscape architects, geneticists, and bioinformaticians are trawling the Gowanus Canal for science

Thinking of a quick dip in the Gowanus? Perhaps not. After 150 years of industrial pollution, combined with sewage overflows and stormwater run-off, the canal is generally seen to be an undesirable place. However, one team comprising of three New York practices—Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, community bio-laboratory GenSpace, and the Gowanus Canal Conservancy—views it in a different light.

Earlier this year, urban design advocacy group Gowanus by Design launched the competition, “Axis Civitas,” which asked participants to map conditions relevant to the Gowanus area and use that as a basis to design a publicly accessible Urban Field Station.

The BK BioReactor—a collaboration including core team members Ellen Jorgensen of GenSpace and Ian Quate of Nelson Byrd Woltz, as well as Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff of Weill Cornell Medical College and Matthew Seibert of Landscape Metrics—claimed first prize. Since then, the team has been getting to work and can be found kayaking along the canal’s surface and even wading through its filth, cataloging and mapping the Gowanus’s microbial communities. An interactive microbiological map has been produced (available online), locating all the different microorganisms; the vast majority of which are bacteria. “Many of the species identified in preliminary samplings are also found in the human gut (a result of raw sewage), while other species reveal influence of the canal’s proximity to the ocean,” the group states on its website.

Executive director of Gowanus by Design David Briggs stressed they had no time to lose. Now designated as a Superfund by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the canal will be dredged and then have its waterways sub-aquatically capped over the course of the next decade. This process will involve isolating the canal’s waste by coating it with a layer of soil or similar substance to prevent further contamination of the canal.

Briggs, an architect himself, spoke of the “dearth of community resources” in the Gowanus neighborhood. “If we could help with that and also work with the EPA, then we would really achieve something,” he said. Such a proposal isn’t out of the question either.

Hénaff spoke highly of the study so far: “There are only positives to conclude,” she said. “Nature does fix itself, despite what we inflict on it, and our job now is to see how we can coax this currently optimal bioremediation solution to perform faster.” She outlined two directions that could be taken: Tweaking the bacteria themselves and accelerating the rate of metabolism or “modifying the built environment through choices in materials and structures to provide an environment with which to select for the bioremediating functions in the extant microbiome.”

Turning up the heat on the microbial melting pot that is the Gowanus is no easy task. As a landscape architect, Seibert believes that through “a data-driven understanding of place (via DNA sequencing of sediment samples and responsive environmental sensor installation), community engagement, and bioreactor cultivation prototyping,” the team can begin to “offer site-specific proposals” for how this could be done.

Seibert explained how this would help traditional landscape architects “design and specify an optimized environment for a preferred planting palette (i.e. soil structure, amendments, irrigation, etc.).” Meanwhile a “microbiologically-leaning landscape architect might do the same for a microbiome privileging the populations of bioremediating microbes.”

“I think the canal is a landscape rich in lessons in how we conceive of landscape, particularly landscape within an urban context,” Seibert continued. “For one, it speaks to the dangers of divorcing the built and natural environments. In fact, I think there is sort of a novel bioethic that emerges from this that can encourage a new kind of stewardship. As toxic and ugly and ultimately embarrassing as the Gowanus Canal is to its community, it also provides this layered landscape to catalyze us into re-conceiving nature and our role intimately within and of it.”

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Riverfront Renewed

Tampa’s $35 million Riverfront Park redevelopment is underway
Tampa, Florida Mayor Bob Buckhorn took the helm of a track hoe last week to break ground on the redevelopment of Riverfront Park. The ceremony marked the beginning of a major construction project in a neighborhood that, according to the mayor in a speech at the event, has been "underserved for decades." Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park was originally constructed in 1977 on the banks of the Hillsborough River. Since then the park has fallen into disrepair and disuse, and was overdue for a renovation. It's set for a major one in the coming year, with a total investment of $35 million into revitalizing the community space. This project has been in the works since 2014, when designers Civitas and W Architecture and Landscape Architecture began a community outreach process to determine the public's needs. According to Civitas Project Manager Robin Rooney Norcross in a press release,“The public meetings were very well attended and influential through all design decisions... It became clear early on that the residents wanted their park back" Among the considerations the project managers took were safety, accessibility, and access to the river. They are also revamping the most used features of the old park, including the basketball and tennis courts and the splash pad. The river itself is a key focus of the design, which will slope forward for ideal views of the waterfront. It will also include picnic areas, and a great lawn for activities. River access will be available through Tampa's first city-run boathouse, with kayaks, paddle boards, and dragon boats among the watercraft available for rental. The boathouse, a centerpiece of the design, will double as a community center with classrooms and a catering kitchen on its top floor. The new Riverfront Park will also provide pedestrian and bike access to both the greenway trail in development on the west bank of the river, and the existing Riverwalk on the east. The city expects the renovation to be completed by summer 2017. In addition to Civitas and W, the team includes City Architect James Jackson Jr., City Project Architect Kevin Henika, Parks and Recreation Director Greg Bayor, Parks and Recreation Superintendent Brad Suder and Parks and Recreation Landscape Architect Project Manager Karla Price Stantec, Moffatt & Nichol, Volt Air Consulting Engineers, Silman Structural Engineers, Arehna Engineering and Evans Engineering with Weller Pools.
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Pershing Square-Off

Agence Ter selected to redesign L.A.’s Pershing Square
Agence Ter was selected this morning as the winners of the competition aimed at redesigning Downtown Los Angeles’s central, 5-acre park, Pershing Square. The firm’s proposal for the city’s most historic open space aims to “get rid of trendy design approaches” that have plagued the park’s prior redesigns and to provide, as Agence Ter partner Henri Bava declared at the announcement ceremony, a “timeless design able to change with the neighborhood.” The French landscape firm’s approach is notable for the “town square” approach taken to the site, where a large canopy located at the western edge of the park will house cafés and other amenities that open onto a grassy knoll at the center of the park. Agence Ter’s proposal beat out entries by James Corner Field Operations with Fredrick Fischer and Partners, SWA and Morphosis, and wHY and Civitas. Bava announced that the agency would open a Los Angeles office to oversee the design and construction of the park. Downtown Los Angeles councilperson Jose Huizar, surrounded by a cohort of joyful politicos and city boosters, announced the winning entry in a heavily-attended morning ceremony in the downtrodden park. Councilperson Huizar told the crowd, “Of all the designs presented, [Agence Ter’s proposal] won us over, and more importantly, won over the public. We are very confident in the selection and final decision.” The four finalists were selected in December 2015 from an original pool of ten groups that presented work to Pershing Square Renew, a nonprofit partnership between Huizar and business leaders, residents, and activists administering the redesign. Those four teams presented final schemes to the public in late April. In the three weeks since, politicians, business people, and residents have provided input via public and online forums made available for comment. Agence Ter’s proposal was selected at the conclusion of this semi-public vetting process. The city’s oldest park, Pershing Square has lived through many iterations and names throughout its 150 plus year history. The winning proposal will be the third such iteration for the square in the last 100 years. The most recent version of the park was designed in 1994 Mexican Modernist architect Ricardo Legorreta. Laurie Olin was the landscape architect while Barbara McCarren designed the site’s hardscaping. A disciple of Luis Barragán, Legorreta’s scheme for the park takes a coy approach to the plaza mayor concept by using brightly-painted platonic stucco masses to frame and divide the area programmatically. These spaces include a purple campanile, small café area, seating integrated with expanses of lawn, and a large fountain surrounded by sculptural orbs. The park sits above a city-owned, five-story parking complex and has been generally unloved by the public because of it’s lack of porosity and the physical impediments resulting from the garage’s many access ramps. The rapid fire progress seen on the redevelopment of the park, a process that began only in 2013, has mirrored the transformation of the area from run-down business district to affluent enclave. A Ralphs supermarket opened in the area in 2007, the first in over 50 years. That market catalyzed a residential boom in the area and since then, Ace and Standard hotel locations have come on line, bringing with them a slew of high-end culinary and retail establishments, including a 42,000 square foot Whole Foods location that opened in November of 2015. The winning scheme, if built and ultimately successful, would cement Downtown L.A.’s status as one of the city’s distinct and vital neighborhoods. As of this morning’s announcement, however, no budget for the redevelopment has been released and a timeline for the construction of the project is still to be decided. Councilperson Huizar expressed hope that the park would be open by 2019, he and other City officials and residents are joined in their hope that this version of the park will be the one that finally sticks. Hopefully Agence Ter’s scheme won’t be wiped away twenty years from now like Legorreta’s.
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Pershing Square-Off

Here’s a First Look at the Finalists Vying to Redesign Downtown LA’s Pershing Square
Here’s the first look at the four final designs by Agence Ter and team, James Corner Field Operations with Fredrick Fischer and Partners, SWA and Morphosis, and wHY and Civitas for LA’s Pershing Square. Angelenos are being invited to comment on the finalists’ proposals over the next few weeks as Pershing Square Renew, a collection of designers, business leaders, and officials civic leaders, seeks to redevelop the centrally-located, five-acre square at the heart of Downtown LA. The teams of finalists hail from an original pool of ten groups that presented work to the nonprofit in October of 2015. That grouping was reduced to four teams in December, with those finalists' final submissions are now vying for the final selection, to be announced in May. The proposals are shown below and will be formally presented to the public at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles on April 28th at a sold out event. See Pershing Square Renew’s website for updates on further public viewings.
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Moshe Safdie working on his first hospital, first project in South America
The community is called Serena del Mar, which means Serenity of the Ocean in Spanish. In addition to the hospital, called Centro Hospitalario Serena del Mar, the project will include oceanfront residences, a hotel resort village, a business and commercial district, a golf resort, and an “equestrian village.” Twelve kilometers from the Old City historic district of Cartagena, the planned community is expected to absorb much of the area’s expansion and help the region compete for national and international tourists.     Serena del Mar will be organized around a major canal, similar in scale to the Grand Canal in Venice. The centerpiece is a 400-bed hospital, the first designed by Safdie. The main boulevard is modeled after Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, although cars mostly will be banned to the perimeter of the property. The developer is Novus Civitas, headed by one of the wealthiest families in South America. Safdie’s firm, Safdie Architects, is the architect for the hospital and master planner for the ‘Gran Canal’ civic and institutional district within the larger community, according to principal in charge Sean Scensor. EDSA of Florida is the master planner for the rest of Serena del Mar and landscape architect for the hospital and surrounding area, Scensor said. Robert Trent Jones II is the golf course designer. Other architects that have worked on the hospital include Tsoi/Kobus & Associates of Cambridge, Mass., and a local firm in Colombia, Condiseño Arquitectos. Design and planning experts from Johns Hopkins Medicine International in Baltimore consulted with the development team on the design of the hospital, which will be operated by the Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá. Construction began last year on the hospital’s first phase. When complete, the building will have a series of fingers extending toward a lagoon, with outdoor “healing gardens’ in between. The rest of Serena del Mar will follow in phases, and the canal is the “big move” that organizes it, Scensor said. In a promotional video for the community, Safdie, 77, indicated that he drew inspiration from the natural setting and the area’s rich architectural traditions. He said he tried to “capture the experience of the Old City of Cartagena” in the context of modern development. “Somehow I feel that my role is to create an architecture that belongs,” he said. “An architecture that belongs is one which makes those who live there, who are part of the place, feel like this is ours."
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Four finalists selected to redesign Pershing Square in Los Angeles
Pershing Square Renew just announced the four finalists of the Pershing Square design competition: SWA with Morphosis, James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners, Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects, and wHY with Civitas. These teams will now develop fully fleshed out proposals for the five-acre park in Downtown Los Angeles. The finalist concept boards offer clues as to what to expect from the final proposals: SWA and Morphosis identified four strategies for their reorganized park: ecology (native trees and a drought-friendly water feature), mobility (a road diet along Olive Street and better Metro connections), programing (a market and a day/night event venue), and sustainable business (reworked parked concession, food vendor, and retail spaces.) James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners held off at hinting at a design. Their concept boards show increased porosity between the park and the both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the cultural life of all of downtown and the Arts District. Expect the design to engage both in the park and along the adjacent streets and sidewalks. Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects’ boards depict a boldy understated proposal. They envision Pershing Square as a giant lawn with several atmospheric gardens: a foggy garden, a scent garden, a dry garden, a wind garden, and an edible garden. Services are discretely tucked under a large shade canopy. wHY with Civitas landscape architecture group’s concept boards was also slim on design details. Although the proposal echoed some ideas seen in other team proposals, such as connections to the surrounding neighborhood, an emphasis on natural ecology, and food/market vendors, it uniquely suggested that the park offer education programming as well as something that could be digital connectivity entitled “Syncing Urban Hardware and Software.” The four finalists will develop their proposals over the first quarter of 2016, leading to another round of jury interviews and a public presentation in March. It’s unclear how and when the design will be built, since at moment the only funding for the project seems to be the $2 million pledged to by the Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners, who each chipped in one million. The Pershing Square Renew jury is: Janet Marie Smith (Jury Chair) SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers José Huizar, Councilmember, 14th District, City of Los Angeles Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA Simon Ha, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Downtown LA Resident Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio Michael Shull, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design
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Pershing Square Renew wants your input on Semi-Finalist Concept Boards
In October, Pershing Square Renew selected 10 teams as semi-finalists for the redesign of Downtown Los Angeles’ oft-maligned urban space. The international design competition drew hundreds of entries and the two-handfuls selected represent both local and global practices. Reviewing the initial presentation boards, there’s common interest in opening up Pershing Square to the surrounding urban blocks, a porosity currently lacking in Legoretta’s scheme. The teams’ approaches are split between active and passive landscapes with some concepts showing large lawns and water features meant for calm reflection and light recreation, others packed the square with programming: dog parks, cafes, yoga zones, performance venues, etc. Pershing Square Renew posed the concept boards on their website and are now asking the Los Angeles community to weigh in with comments for the jury. Soon, the organization will select four top teams out of the field of semi-finalists and have them each develop a more comprehensive final design. Until then, have a gander at the boards below.
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Plan unveiled to transform the South Bronx with public space and waterfront access
The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit founded by Bette Midler in 1995 to support public space, has unveiled its vision for a greener, cleaner, artsier, bike-friendlier, and overall healthier South Bronx. The master plan, known as the Haven Project, was created with a range of stakeholders including community groups, designers, and health professionals “to promote physical activity, improve pedestrian safety, and increase social interaction in neighborhoods saddled with some of the city’s heaviest industrial uses and suffering from high rates of poverty, diabetes, asthma and obesity.” The master plan would see the creation of a new waterfront park along 134th street, and bike and pedestrian paths that feed into the upcoming Randall’s Island Connector, which will run between the Bronx and the open spaces of Randall’s Island. A pier on the river would be also redeveloped to “protect the neighborhood and industries from storm surge and foster waterfront recreation.” Conceptual renderings of the new public spaces in the Bronx were drawn up by the Denver-based landscape architecture firm Civitas and include a series of public art installations. The master plan also calls for the implementation of green infrastructure and landscaping throughout the South Bronx, starting with the planting of 800 trees in Mott Haven this year. An NYRP official told Capital that the nonprofit hopes to break ground on the pier redevelopment in 2017. But, as the publication noted, for that to happen, the NYRP will have to navigate through a series of land use and landmark issues, as ownership at the site is unclear and includes two landmarked gantries. But, importantly, the plan has support from local community leaders and a host of city, state, and federal officials. Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story said the NYRP was founded in 1955, it was founded in 1955. 
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Darker, Safer
Julienne Schaer

The old canard that more night lighting means safer streets has led to the over-illumination of our cities, washing out the night sky and creating health, environmental, and aesthetic problems. John Gendall investigates new research that is leading many designers to raise the call for less light.

In 1909, just 30 years after Thomas Edison made electric light commercially viable, the Italian writer Filippo Tommaso Marinetti came up with an audacious idea: “let’s murder the moonlight!,” he declared in a manifesto titled by that phrase. Just a little over a century later, his idea, once the stuff of early modernist fantasy, seems truer than he may have expected. The moon’s visibility persists (sorry, Marinetti), but stars are a different story. Unless you’re reading this on a camping trip in a remote part of Montana, go outside at night, look up, and, depending on cloud cover, you’ll very likely see a monochrome canopy of muted light grey to almost-but-not-quite-black, dotted, depending on the size of your city, with a dim handful of stars.

Moving architecture and design to keep the night sky darkened might come off as quaint—something for poets to contemplate—but, as researchers study the effects of nighttime lighting, their findings point to critical public health and safety consequences, along with a bevy of ecological concerns. “It’s a problem with many layers to it, including the aesthetic and poetic problem resulting from the loss of stars,” said Linnaea Tillett, the principal of Tillett Lighting Design, a New York City–based firm. “But it’s not just a matter of poetry. There are very real ecological consequences.”

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, mitigated light pollution by customizing the direction of the park’s lighting.
 

Those very real consequences also include some serious medical conditions—cancer, obesity, diabetes, and depression—linked to light exposure (by way of melatonin, the hormone that light modulates). That is just one layer. Astronomers can’t see stars through the haze of light, migratory patterns have changed, and the cost—environmental and economic—of keeping the night turned on continues to rise.

Over the last 15 years, as glass technologies have improved, the design community has done much to tackle the issue of daytime light exposure. As skylines around the U.S. become ever more clad in glass, the architects and developers producing these curtain walls, and the critics who write about the buildings they enclose, tend to sing the same chorus: interior spaces bathed in natural light. When this sunny thought is not enough on its own, out come studies pointing to higher worker productivity, better achievements on test scores, and happier, more focused brain chemistry. While no one would dispute the merits of exposure to natural light, it seems a good time to ask: what about the natural dark?

“Sleeping in the dark is every bit as important as experiencing light during the day,” cautioned Travis Longcore, an associate professor of research at the University of Southern California, and the author of Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting. “We shouldn’t want the outside at night to look like the day.”

Union Station in Denver, with lighting design by Clanton & Associates, features contrast lighting and downlit facades.
Ryan Dravitz
 

“We are constrained by our evolutionary history,” he explained. “We are used to bright days and dark nights, but now we get dim days and dim nights.” Drawing a parallel between the emerging research about night lighting and the path of medical science in confronting smoking and sun tanning, he said, “one will, in 30 years, look back and think the same thing.”

To avoid a tobacco industry-scale problem, designers are taking a new approach to night lighting. For many projects, this change begins with a basic question: Is light even needed? “Whenever you call for a light, ask if it’s truly needed,” said Longcore. At the Menil Collection, in Houston, where Tillett is overseeing the lighting for a campus designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), she considered each light source. “Wherever we could, we limited light,” she said. “There are no light fixtures we haven’t justified.”

 
 

This does not mean that museum visitors spend their evenings fumbling around in the dark. Physiologists now understand that human sense perception is far more finely tuned to contrast between light and dark than to what had seemed to be the prevailing approach to light: more of it. The trick is to illuminate change—steps, doors, paths—rather than entire landscapes. So, at Menil, Tillett called for path lighting that would render the space easily navigable without blanketing it with light. “We preserved the campus atmosphere, using a play of light and shadow, to enhance wayfinding,” she explained.

To get to this level of specificity, designers are rethinking the fixtures themselves, equipping them to control the direction of light to eliminate trespass beyond property lines or municipal borders. Acorn lamps, for example, were perfectly suitable for a kerosene wick in a 19th century city, but using them with incandescent bulbs now is a stubborn grasp for historicism to the point of irresponsibility. “Oftentimes parks are lit by acorn lights, derived from gas lamps, so the result is a bunch of glary balls of light along a path, but everything else is pitch dark,” said Matthew Urbanski, a principal of MVVA. With its design for Brooklyn Bridge Park, MVVA carefully tailored the directionality of light to cut down on light pollution and to enhance the experience of the park. Tucked beneath Brooklyn Heights, any uplighting in the new park would disturb the neighbors above. “By putting light in the right place—high, distributed, and pointed down—we were able to adequately light a place without causing light pollution,” said Urbanski. “When you’re on the promenade [in Brooklyn Heights, above], you can look down and be unwittingly staring at a light bulb.” For visitors to the park, the firm appreciated the value of looking out onto the water from the shore, so it avoided perimeter lighting that would have interrupted that view, opting, instead, to light from behind with shielded, side-baffled lighting.

 
 

One of the canards that has kept outdoor spaces overly illuminated has been the knee-jerk tendency to equate more light with less crime. For decades, cities and property owners held outdoor lights as tonic to illicit or criminal behavior. A 1921 editorial in Grand Rapid News said it plainly: “Good lighting of streets lessens, and
almost eliminates crime.” Reasoning the city could cut its police budget by shifting public funds to outdoor lighting, it went on to say, “It is easy to prove that the best paying investment the city can make is one in electric lights.”

That argument, it turns out, is less easy to prove than the writer allowed. As Longcore asserted, “there is no universally applicable conclusion that comes out of criminology research that shows that more light means less crime.” Overlighting, in fact, can be worse than dimly lit spaces for several reasons, beginning with the risk of glare. As Longcore put it, “If you have bright lights, the shadows become much darker.”

The Menil Collection in Houston is being master planned by MVVA.
Courtesy Tillett Lighting Design
 

So, in what might seem a counterintuitive twist, improving visibility at night seems to start with turning the lights down. Nancy Clanton, a Boulder, Colorado–based lighting designer and an author of the International Dark-Sky Association’s technical guidelines, has researched this effect in several American cities. “We have studied areas and have gone from full light levels down to 50 percent, then down to 25 percent, and we ask the public to tell the difference, and no one can perceive any change,” she said. “Vision is logarithmic, so in lighting, our linear metric is completely wrong,” she continued, backing up the fact that lighting can be cut to a quarter of current levels without anyone noticing.

In her lighting design for Union Station, in Denver, Clanton applied her research findings, keeping light levels low, emphasizing contrast, and downlighting facades (she has found, people feel safer when they can see a horizontal surface more than they would with a generally illuminated ground plane).

 
Tillett Lighting Design took minimal approaches to fixture usage at St. Patrick's Island in Calgary, Canada, designed by W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Civitas (left). Detail from the Menil Collection (right).
 

Research is also suggesting the light spectrum as something that needs to be carefully considered for nighttime lighting. On this, astronomers, physicians, and ecologists agree: blue light is bad. “The more we introduce blue light in the nighttime environment, the more we send out the signal that it’s daytime,” said Longcore. This applies not only to human physiology—melatonin is suppressed by blue light—but also to ecology and astronomy. “Blue light harms the environment and it’s the worst kind of light for sky glow,” said Clanton. She recommends lights at the low end of the spectrum. “The moon is 4,000 Kelvins, and we really shouldn’t need more than that.”

Try telling that to Marinetti. To the patriarch of Futurism, when the moon gave out its 4,000 Kelvins, he “ran to nearby waterfalls; gigantic wheels were hoisted, and turbines transformed the velocity of the waters into electromagnetic spasms that climbed up wires suspended on high poles, until they reached luminous, humming globes. So it was that three hundred electric moons, with rays of blinding chalky whiteness, canceled the old green queen of love affairs.”

There is much to be said for that old green queen. There is the melatonin, yes, and real public safety implications, true, but there is also the issue of getting a nightly reminder of our place in the universe. The night sky has long been the muse of architects and designers, evidenced by cities across the world and over the millennia that have been laid out in response to constellations. Rather than drawing from the past by screwing light bulbs into acorn lamps, it seems that celestial awareness would be a better lesson, designing spaces that don’t wash out the fact that we are, as Marinetti puts it, “all of us enwrapped in the immense madness of the Milky Way."