Search results for " bike lanes"

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Aaron Paley Reinvents LA Streets
Robert Pacheco

Los Angeles embraced its first “CicLAvia” last October when an estimated 100,000 bicyclists, walkers, skateboarders and roller-bladers took over a 7.5 mile no-auto route from East Hollywood to Boyle Heights. The concept of closing city streets to car traffic for a non-racing event on Sundays was adopted from Bogotá, Colombia where the event is called Ciclovia, Spanish for "bike lane." I'ts Los Angeles success was good news for Aaron Paley, the event’s producer and one of its founders.

The president of the organization Community Arts Resources, Paley is now preparing the expansion of CicLAvia to three Sundays in 2011, starting with this Sunday, April 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and then July 10 and Oct. 9. It is an expensive and complicated affair, involving money and cooperation from the city bureaucracy, local businesses, charitable corporations and foundations.  Paley, 53 and a Los Feliz area resident, says he hopes to schedule the event six times in 2012 and monthly by 2013. At his office in the art deco landmark Pellissier Building on Wilshire Boulevard, Paley recently discussed CicLAvia with writer L. J. Gordon.

The Architect's Newspaper: Do you think Los Angeles is more or less receptive to something like this than more pedestrian-oriented cities like San Francisco or New York?

Aaron Paley: More receptive. And the reason I say more receptive is because it’s different. I mean we don’t have parades on Fifth Avenue every weekend. We don’t have these regular things that move throughout our streets and engage people in this way. I think LA is actually hungry for this.

Why not make this every Sunday? Or are there too many obstacles to that?

There are huge obstacles. Once a month is already daunting. I believe it’s definitely doable, but this project is only sustainable if it’s a public-private partnership, something along the lines of the Olympics in 1984. There also are some cultural issues with liability, which are very different than in South America. There, if your driveway is blocked, you can call a volunteer from the organizing company (to guide the vehicle out of the event). It is no big deal. But that is absolutely taboo here. We cannot have vehicles in the road once we declare it open for CicLAvia. And doing it every week here is too much to ask of the people along the route, that every Sunday they would have the same inconvenience.

A video of CicLAvia from 2010.
Courtesy StreetFilms

I see the route is the same for April 10 as it was last year. What about extending it?

We are hoping by October that we will be able to add an additional spur. Either we will be able to go south to the Exposition Park area or further into Boyle Heights. And we are looking to go through Chinatown to the LA River.

Are you doing anything different this time?

One of the major things is to get the message across that it is more than just a bike event. So we are encouraging people to come out on foot, in wheelchairs, on skateboards, and roller skates or just to hang out and realize you don’t have to be on a bike.

Another different thing is that we are looking at how we can encourage more opportunities for businesses along the way. In Little Tokyo, we are hoping to have a bike valet and coupon program. So you park your bike, and it would be free to park if you go to a local restaurant or store and get validated, and you could get a coupon that also will give you a discount.

And we are asking the community to bring their creativity out and do things on the route. Last time we had yoga classes, dodge ball games, and a marching band. About 50 things were happening. That’s what I want to expand. I want the creativity of the city to be on display. This is kind of like the Burning Man idea. Come out and do it yourself.

CicLAvia route map 2011

Map of CicLAvia's 2011 route.
Courtesy CicLAvia [Click to enlarge.]

Last year seemed overwhelmingly dominated by bikes and seemed almost dangerous for walkers. Have you considered separate lanes for pedestrians?

We don’t want to do that. In these other cities, it works (without separate lanes). And we’re just starting here. We came out with our first event and the bike community really got the message to come, bless their souls. We want them to come again. We also want everyone else to come. And what we need to get across to everyone on bike is to respect the pedestrian as well. It could be better. We are working on the rules of the road and trying to get that message out.

How do you want people to interact with the city?  

We look at this as molding and shaping public space through this temporary intervention. We’re hoping this is the kind of thing that reshapes the way people perceive their city, which will change the way they use their city and change their expectations for the city. We think this can have as big an impact as building a park. We are adding this whole element of new public space, which can be done efficiently and sustainably and cheaply without actually building something.

And what about people just observing or going into areas where they’ve never been before?

The thing that people said to us was: "Oh my God, I didn’t realize how small LA is. I didn’t realize I could get from here to Boyle Heights in ten minutes." The feeling was that LA is much more intimate, and who knew how beautiful it is? That is the right to be able to look at your city and own your city when people are not in their cars.

Was there an area on the route that was most surprising or attractive to you last year?

Of course, being able to ride over the Fourth Street bridge is spectacular. But actually I think the New Hampshire Avenue part between Melrose and Third Street was an eye-opener for me and a lot of other people. It was so beautiful in that neighborhood. The urban fabric is intact, with the pattern of the buildings, the setbacks for the duplexes and triplex, and all the palm trees. It is so stately and graceful.

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Tracking High Speed Rail on the West Coast
Courtesy California High Speed Rail Authority

In February Vice President Biden announced an additional $53 billion federal investment in National High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail funding in the next six years, helping bring the total amount of funds for California’s High Speed Rail project up to well over $3 billion, with possibly more coming as a result of the $2 billion rejected by states like Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Money may be pouring in, but little else about the project is well known.

First, some overall numbers: There will be 800 miles of track and up to 24 stations, running from San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento. According to the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego will take one hour and 18 minutes, and a trip to San Francisco will take an astonishing two hours and 38 minutes.

Consultants, led by major engineering firms like Parsons-Brinkerhoff, Arup, and HNTB, are moving the projects toward construction with preliminary studies, with the scope of their work divided into nine sections across the state, and proceeding independently. A total of nine regional contracts were awarded in 2007, most of them lasting five years.

The first 120-mile segment of the project is scheduled to begin construction in 2012, linking Fresno to Bakersfield, a strategic decision allowing the Authority to build the 220 mile per hour high-speed section first and then move both northward and southward simultaneously.


The move from planning into design began with the February 8th publication of an RFEI (Request for Expressions of Interest) in the Design and Construction of the Fresno to Bakersfield section, and the future “design, construction, funding, operations, and maintenance” of any part of High Speed Rail’s Phase 1 program, planned for completion by 2020. Due March 16, this is not a formal Request for Proposals but, according to the Authority, a way for it to refine what it’s looking for, and an opportunity for the professional community to provide input.

“Anything we can gain from the RFEI is important to us,” CHSRA CEO, Roelof van Ark told an industry group in early March in LA. The formal Request for Proposals will be released by the end of this year, he said, and the first construction contracts should be awarded in the second half of 2012.

The authority has suggested that it will pursue design/build project delivery, which, considering the scale of the project, suggests the use of the same multi-national engineering firms currently working on alignment and environmental studies. Still, van Ark has affirmed that the CHSRA is making a special effort to include small businesses and will encourage its large contractors to do the same. “We want to deal fairly with our small business partners,” said van Ark.

In general, station design, according to recently drafted authority guidelines, will support local development standards and goals, privileging transit-oriented development, sustainable infill, and some additional amenities (parks, bike lanes, etc.) around station sites. The first two stations to be unveiled—HOK’s glassy Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center and Pelli Clarke Pelli’s swooping Transbay Transit Center—have been designed as intermodal centers supporting both local and regional rail.

In early March, the authority announced the development of Visual Design Guidelines, in partnership with the City of San Jose, for the San Jose-Merced project section, governing both “functional and iconic design” in the city. In addition, “Citizen Working Groups” will be part of the Visual Design Guideline process, signaling a transparent methodology for the CHSRA in urban areas.

Meanwhile on March 3 the authority moved forward with an “alternatives analysis,” further studying station designs, track alignments, and community concerns. So far the CHSRA has conducted over 800 community meetings.

With nearly $10 billion committed so far by the State of California and at least $3.3 billion coming from the federal government, the CHSRA continues to advocate for private sector funding as well. How that will fall into place is still unknown, but the RFEI is meant to help the authority figure that out. In the meantime, preparations for construction continue, in the hope that funding will be in place as it is needed.

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Quick Clicks> Cabrini Lights Up, Earth Powers Down, Calming Queens, and Starchitect Houses
Cabrini Green Kablooey. This Wednesday, the last high rise tower at Chicago's Cabrini Green site will be demolished, marking the end of the famous housing project. Polis reminds us that artist Jan Tichy and social worker Efrat Appel plan to mark the occasion with an art installation. Project Cabrini Green translates 134 poems into light and will begin display at 7:00pm tonight. (Also catch a live internet feed here.) Earth Hour. This past weekend, people, companies, and cities all over the globe celebrated Earth Hour by switching off the lights to spotlight issues of energy consumption. The Boston Globe's Big Picture is running a photo essay of some dramatic skylines with and without lights. Calming Queens. StreetsBlog brings news of New York's latest traffic calming measure proposed for 48th Avenue and 44th Drive in Queens. The block shown above in Long Island City would initially be painted for affordability and eventually transformed into a greenway. Cribs. Inspired by Philip Johnson's Glass House, Curbed goes in search of the homes of famous architects. Represented in the list are Alvar Aalto, Frank Gehry, Norman Foster, and Robert A.M. Stern.
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Prospect Park West Bike Lane Target of Lawsuit
That thin ribbon of green paint along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West sure is a touchy subject for residents of the Park Slope neighborhood, and beyond--they're even talking about it in London. Many love the new separated bike lane installed in June 2010--the "pro-laners"--but a vocal group packing some political power would rather see the lane removed--the "anti-laners." We're not kidding when we say the anti-laners are up in arms, either. According to a Gothamist report, one resident wielding a bullhorn shouted to bystanders that the new bike path "mutilated" the broad boulevard. After threatening legal action for a month, two area organizations, Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes and Seniors for Safety, have now filed a lawsuit requesting the lane's removal, which should make CB6's public hearing on Thursday night more lively than usual. StreetsBlog summarizes the complaint:
It argues that DOT acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner, with conclusions made irrationally or in bad faith. It argues that the bike lane did not properly go through the necessary processes given the landmarked status of the Park Slope neighborhood and Prospect Park. And finally, it argues that an environmental review was necessary to assess the impact of the lane on the historic character of the area.
Among the anti-laners are Iris Weinshall, a former NYC DOT commissioner who just happens to be married to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, and former Sanitation Commissioner Norman Steisel. Anti-laners have also argued that the Prospect Park bike lane has remade crossing the street as a pedestrian into an urban adventure. Local resident and Huffington Post blogger Paul LaRosa wrote that Prospect Park West "now resembles that old video game Frogger where you need to keep looking and back and forth to avoid getting splattered by a car or a bike." Opposing the lawsuit, Councilman Brad Lander, who represents Park Slope, said a survey of the neighborhood shows the majority of residents support for the bike lane. The Park Slope Civic Association also falls in the pro-laner camp. Association president Michael Cairl told Transportation Nation, "Prospect Park West before the reconfiguration had been a speedway. It was unsafe to cross, it was unsafe to cycle on, it wasn’t all that safe to drive on." The anti-laners submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the DOT's raw data, finding flaws with the results. Their sentiments are echoed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz who also questioned the validity of the DOT data. He suggested that the original study to determine the feasibility of the bike lane should have been done by an outside agency to make it more impartial. As different parts of the city create new bike-car combinations, it's inevitable that there will be some clashes. We'll keep an eye out for the implications for our built environment as cases like these plays out in court and on the street.
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Bjarke′s Bite
I assumed he would be articulate as all OMA graduates are, and I’d heard he was as intellectually entertaining as only those TED Talk types can be, but I was surprised that Bjarke Ingels, the Danish architect recently taking the city in a storm of media, could also simply converse. And he did so with ease last night in a Q&A with The Architect's Newspaper as part of a Design Trust for Public Space council member drive at the oh-so-private Core Club. The theme was "New York After Bloomberg," which frankly scares some people, especially architects, as the mayor has been a practically unprecedented supporter of the building arts and enlightened zoning throughout his three-term tenure. Not that Ingels was prepared to address that scary subject per se. But the audience was far from disappointed with his slide show of current work backing up his theory of “hedonistic sustainability.” Who would disagree with the importance of doing the right thing, an embraceable position whether developers, architects or citizens? And so he showed hilarious slides of visitors to his Shanghai Expo bike ramp underpinned by the lesson that cars and bikes must find a way to co-exist, and provoked wows with his mountain of trash at a waste disposal plant turned urban ski slope, complete with a smoke stack that puffs educational smoke rings. (Dads can tell their children, he said, that ten puffs are equal to an astonishing ten tons of carbon dioxide.) He smoothly explicated his 57th Street project for the Durst Organization, showing how its unconventional deconstructed pyramid shape responded with perfect rationality to an assortment of empirical needs. It was impressive and it was impossible to know how his sunny can-do approach is going to fly in the molten Mordor-like power-field that is New York’s built environment. And so I asked him how his first community board meeting went; he parried that he’d been through worse in Copenhagen when presenting a proposal for a mosque. No one quite believed him. And when asked if he could handle the demands for affordable housing, he was at the ready describing how his most famous built work to date, 8 House in Copenhagen, is based on an offset stacking of pre-fab units, a kind of Habitat for the 21st century. He seemed a little behind times in noting how wonderfully New York had embraced new bike lanes. But much appreciated was his reference to working for Rem Koolhaas and OMA as his “tour of Nam,” while he has clearly modeled his international staffing on Rem’s approach to diverse hires. BIG has recently moved to the Starrett-Lehigh in Chelsea and is preparing for projects that “will be made public throughout the year,” as BIG’s director of business development, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, told the Real Estate Weekly. But for us, it was also appealing that Ingels did not only come to these shores out of blind ambition, but to follow a girl. It is clearly going to be interesting in the next five years to see what Ingels does to New York, and what New York does to Ingels, whether or not it’s post-Bloomberg.
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Gimme Shelter: Bike Stations for Fresh Kills
Despite all the controversy surrounding bike lanes and cyclists elsewhere in the city, Fresh Kills South has adopted a rather pro bike stance (though who'd expect there to be much disagreement when the only other traffic to contend with is that of joggers, pedestrians, and bird watchers). New bike maintenance stations designed by James Corner Field Operations will eventually dot the landscape of the of the entire park, and their design nods equally to both the biker and the walker. The stations include vending machines selling bike repair products, like Allen wrenches and spare parts, on one side, and benches for weary bikers or pedestrians on the other. The benches made of torrefied (baked) wood are attached to a dividing wall made of galvanized steel two by fours spaced about six inches apart. These bike stations, along with new "comfort stations" (a.k.a. restrooms), will be off the grid, so solar panels atop the structures will provide the energy needed to power lights and equipment. Both structures feature lively lime green accents making them hard to miss in the landscape. The comfort stations sit on top of a concrete box that holds equipment for sorting sewage materials destined for composting. The structure also contains closets for maintenance equipment. The bathrooms themselves are simply prefab structures dropped into the envelope. While the new structures were designed with the new southern end of the park in mind, soon they will become the park standard.
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Quick Clicks>Trucking, Biking, Leaking, Exploring
Iron skillet meets iron fist. Some of the most striking visuals to come out of this year's TED conference weren't made for the stage but for the street: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution truck, an 18-wheeled kitchen classroom designed pro bono by Rockwell Group, launched last week and represents just one of the outcomes of Oliver's 2010 TED Prize wish to make kids healthier. The wish of this year's TED Prize winner, the artist currently known as "JR," is that people will participate in his global art project INSIDE/OUT and help paper streets with gigantic portraits of themselves. Step 1: set up photo booths that print poster size pics of conference participants--quite a surreal experience, writes Guy Horton for Good. Get over it. So says the New Republic to New Yorkers who complain that New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has stepped on some toes in her quest to make streets slimmer, bike lanes fatter, and pedestrians safer. The griping was highlighted in a March 4 profile of the commissioner in the New York Times. Leaky legend. The Economist reports that Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is banking on this year's 100th anniversary of the site to raise money for much-needed restoration work: the roof is leaking, the wood beams are sagging, and families of bats keep trying to settle down in the rafters. Urban archaeology, armchair edition. Yurbanism rounds up new apps that are sure to appeal to urbanists, like "Abandoned," which uses GPS to identify abandoned buildings near your location, complete with links to pics: “Explore modern day ruins from empty mental asylums to shipwrecks under the Great Lakes. Discover the history and location of dead amusement parks, overgrown hospitals, forgotten hotels and creepy ghost towns.”
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Chicago's Lawrence Avenue to Get a Trim
Lawrence Avenue east of Western Avenue will include curb extensions with bioswales and pedestrian refuges.
Courtesy CDOT

Crossing the street in Chicago is about to get a little easier. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) plans to start trimming the excess off four-lane Lawrence Avenue on the North Side. It will be the first busy thoroughfare to be altered as a result of a complete streets policy adopted in 2007, in favor of a more balanced approach to road design that considers pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, as well as drivers.

Placing oversized streets on a so-called “road diet” has already been tested on at least ten of Chicago’s residential streets in recent years, but with the upcoming repaving project on one of the city’s busy corridors, the time is right to take the concept mainstream.

A mile-long stretch of Lawrence Avenue between Western and Ashland avenues with four travel lanes will be cut to three with full bike lanes and wider sidewalks. Janet Attarian, a streetscape project director at CDOT, said a few targeted changes will go a long way toward improving a neighborhood. And providing opportunities for sidewalk dining with new benches, lighting, and 150 new trees should make heavily trafficked Lawrence far more appealing.

Adolfo Hernandez, director of outreach and advocacy at the Active Transportation Alliance, agrees. His organization undertook a walkability study after a string of pedestrian and cyclist injuries, presenting their findings to the city’s aldermen, who requested CDOT take on the project.

Lawrence Avenue West of Western Avenue.

New street trees and a bike lane are included on Lawrence Avenue west of Western Avenue.

“We’re not minimizing the role of the car,” Hernandez said of removing lanes. “We’re balancing multiple modes of transportation.” Still, Attarian says car travel will be effected. “We’re not going to deny it has an impact on traffic, but it brings a better pedestrian environment.”

Increased walkability is expected to be an economic boon, as well. According to Hernandez, businesses along walkable streets tend to do better and see higher foot traffic than roads geared solely to the car. “Moves like this can push a place to the tipping point.”

Lawrence Avenue’s current layout presents undeniable challenges. “Whenever you have a fast-moving, wide road, it’s going to act as a barrier,” Attarian said. She hopes the improvements will also help connect the corridor with recent streetscape improvements on nearby Lincoln Avenue.

Instead of flash swamps at the corner, curb extensions with bioswales to capture rainwater runoff will narrow the street at crosswalks, along with pedestrian refuges in the central turning lane, that should further increase pedestrian safety.

Including bioswales in the bumpouts actually saves money, Attarian explained. One cost typically overlooked when narrowing a street is relocating catch basins. The swales allow basins to remain in place inside new planters.

East of Ashland, Lawrence currently contains only two travel lanes, but will still undergo a similar slimming treatment. Sidewalks will be extended to accommodate 100 new shade trees and allow for al fresco dining.

The city is now completing the streetscape design for Lawrence Avenue, and the road diet will be realized in two phases over the next several years. Funds are being sought, and the final project is expected to cost between $14 and $20 million.

For local advocates, Lawrence Avenue is just the beginning. “We’re pretty excited that there seems to be a more balanced approach to road design,” Hernandez said. “Lawrence Avenue is a really nice start.” Cars have been king of the road for too long, he said: “We’re moving in the other direction.”

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Quick Clicks> Green, Trolley, Bike, and Soane Booms
Green Boom. Blair Kamin takes a look at the sustainability of two billowing icons in Chicago and New York. Studio Gang's Aqua Tower is going for LEED certification while Frank Gehry's New York tower will not seek the USGBC's approval but claims to be green nonetheless. Kamin notes the importance of such moves, saying of Gehry: "What he, in particular, does--or doesn't do--can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers." Trolley Boom. NPR has a piece on the explosion of streetcars across the country with planned or completed systems in over a dozen cities. Bike Boom. Cycling advocate Elly Blue discusses a new study on Grist stating that bikes deserve their own infrastructure independent from autos. And not just a striped bike lane, Blue notes, but separated lanes called "cycle tracks" like one installed along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West. Soane Boom. The Independent reports on a planned renovation to the Sir John Soane Museum in London, that architect's treasure trove of antiquities and architectural memorabilia from across the world. Plans include opening up a new floor that hasn't been open to the public since Soane died in 1837.
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Bjarke Ingels Makes No Little Plans
Technology, Education, Knowledge (TEK) Center in Taipei, Taiwan will house activities related to contemporary technology and media.
Courtesy BIG

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, principal of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), has set his sights on the Big Apple. Since September, he has been jet-setting back and forth between his Copenhagen headquarters and his new Manhattan office in preparation for a closely-watched mystery debut.

Already an established member of the young architectural vanguard (with an icon of his own in the shape of a figure-eight-shaped housing complex in Copenhagen), Ingels told AN that he is prepared to take American real-estate development head-on: “Everyone has been warning us that it’s impossible to work with American developers—that they’re too profit-driven,” Ingels said. “But it’s really exactly the same with developers everywhere.”

Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen by BIG   Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen.
At Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen, dense residential living hovers atop a parking garage wrapped in metal panels depicting Mount Everest. [Click to enlarge.]
Jens Lindhe and Jakob Boserup

While some architects balk at the idea of working with big-time developers, Ingels enjoys finding overlapping interests. In fact, Ingels is working on a new book tentatively called Bigamy, detailing this manifesto of inclusivism, much of which he said he sees all around New York. “It’s what America is all about,” the architect said. “Bigamy is a radical embrace of different interests and ideas. To accommodate instead of eliminate. America’s surf-and-turf is the best example of bigamy. Combining two opposite things into a new hybrid is really quite delicious.”

For Ingels, developer and architect can be allies. “People want nice apartments with good views, day light, and good public spaces. That’s also good marketing for a developer. When you increase the quality, you increase the value. We’re designing for overlap.”

8 House   8 House   8 House   8 House
Four views of BIG's 8 House in Copenhagen which incorporates multiple housing types around a landscaped courtyard. [Click to enlarge.]
Ty Stange and Jens Lindhe

After completing a series of large-scale residential blocks in Copenhagen, BIG’s first American commission pushes the boundaries further and appears tailor-made for sustainable-minded Ingels. Last year, the Durst Organization, developer of the ultra-green Bank of America Tower, invited BIG to evaluate a massive site along Manhattan’s West Side for a planned residential project. “Durst is really innovative, especially in terms of the sustainable highrise,” said Ingels.

BIG’s 57th Street project isn’t their first foray into North American architecture, either. Ingels worked on the Seattle Public Library while still at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in the 1990s and is currently working on a high rise in Vancouver, a museum competition on the East Coast, and recently partnered with SOM on a proposal for the St. Louis Gateway Arch design competition (the Michael Van Valkenburg team won).

Ingels’ own big plans are to also go west: “Chicago hasn’t found its form yet, but we’re in talks with [developer] Dan McCaffery about a large, mixed-use New Urban waterfront development,” he explained. The project would be part of the four-billion-dollar, SOM-planned South Works, on the site of an old U.S. Steel plant.

VM House by BIG   Mountain Dwellings by BIG
Brightly colored interior spaces at the VM Houses (left) and Mountain Dwellings (right). [Click to Enlarge.]
Stuart McIntyre and Jens Lindhe

While the physical forms of BIG’s designs can seem radically new, Ingels insists they are the product of continuous evolution rather than revolution. “I believe in the exchange of ideas over time. Revolutions are messy. You lose a lot of stored cultural knowledge by starting from scratch, and end up making the same mistakes anew.”

Ingels sees New York in its own evolutionary period brought about by financial and climate stress. “These crises are allowing for a reconsideration of the parameters that created a city like New York,” he said, pointing to the city’s advances in bike lanes, amenities like the High Line, and an initiative to plant one million trees as evidence of this shift. Already raring to go like a real New Yorker, the architect said, “We’re blurring the boundary between urban and suburban, and merging them into a hybrid that allows us to explore more interesting typologies.”

Ingels is keeping a closed mouth on further details about the anticipated 57th Street project. “All I can say is that 57th Street represents the marriage between the European courtyard building and the American skyscraper. But there’s a lot of room in there. Even if you know what the parents look like, you can’t tell how the child will end up.”

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Quick Clicks: Ruination, Context, Issues, Movement, Resolutions
[ Quick Clicks> A hand-selected tour of links from around the world. ] Ruination. Mayor Bloomberg received an angry letter in the mail last week from Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities. According to the NY Times, Hawass is threatening to take back the circa-1500 B.C. monument if the city doesn't properly care for the inscribed hieroglyphics. Heavily eroded, the obelisk was a gifted to the United States in 1869 to celebrate the completion of the Suez Canal. Out of Context. After last week's unveiling of the Broad Art Foundation in Los Angeles, NY Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff penned a rather scathing critique of of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed museum. Among his jabs was a note that the design was out of context to LA's landscape of freeways and sprawl causing Charles Siegel (Preservation Institute Blog) to wonder whether it's appropriate to build to the context of autopian sprawl. Planning Issues. Planetizen has compiled a list of 2010's "Top Planning Issues." Last year was great for renting, bikes, and China but not so hot for city finances, McMansions, or free parking. Movement. The Sydney Morning Herald weighs in on Frank Gehry's recently unveiled UTS building in Sydney, and architect Elizabeth Farrelly raises her concerns. "It's not a choice between the dull box and the exuberant PR-driven sculpture. There is a third option: architecture. We deserve it." (Via ArchNewsNow.) Resolutions. Chicago is going on a road diet. The Chicago Tribune says the city will undertake the traffic experiment on a mile-long stretch of Lawrence Street. The four-lane road will be trimmed down to three lanes with widened sidewalks, landscaped islands, and, of course, bike lanes. While Chicago has already slimmed down nearly a dozen other neighborhood streets in recent years, this example is the first time it's being done on a major arterial road. Construction will begin next year if funding comes through.
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Pictorial> Gehry Down Under
You better run, you'd better take cover! Frank Gehry's is heading down to Australia with a half twisted-brick, half glass-shard business school for the University of Technology, Sydney. The $150 million project draws its inspiration from a tree house, or as Frank puts it, "a trunk and core of activity and... branches for people to connect and do their private work." The undulating 11-story brick facade is designed to reflect the dignified sandstone of brick historic buildings of Sydney while irregularly angled glass planes refract the new building's surroundings. The university also wants to make the new business school sustainable and is considering incorporating efficient HVAC and lighting that turns off when a room is vacant, interior carbon dioxide monitoring, lighting that automatically adjusts depending on the brightness of daylight, and potentially a rainwater-capturing grey water system. Inside, the building will contain classrooms, research space, a 240-seat auditorium, a café, and car and bike parking. The project has already produced returns for four lucky architecture students at the University of Technology, Sydney who have been offered elusive internships at Gehry Partners' Los Angeles offices. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 with a gran opening planned in 2014.