Search results for "James Corner Field Operations"

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Solid Landing

A new must-read book explores the divides within landscape architecture and urban design

Questions of environment, ecology, and climate have never more intensely occupied the cultural zeitgeist. According to editors Christophe Girot and Dora Imhof of the ETH Zurich, as scarcity, ruin, and a siege mentality drove the functionalism that dominated architecture of the post-war period, the profession of landscape architecture is still in the midst of responding to a decades-long environmental crisis, and has produced similarly functionalist design. They suggest (as Elizabeth Meyer has for years in her Sustaining Beauty writings) that recent landscape architectural production is too highly conditioned by analytics, abstracted from site, and producing works that don’t rise above functionalist responses to an environment in peril. 

Thinking the Contemporary Landscape, a 17-essay collection, attempts to set up a discourse between opposing ideologies, such as science and memory, power and territory, fact and myth, in order to present an all-encompassing theory of contemporary landscape practice. While this endeavor ultimately frays, revealing the unlikelihood (or frankly, undesirability) of such unification, the book itself is a must-read for landscape architects and urbanists. The editors wittingly construct a discourse about a schism in modes of practice, a reaction perhaps to the dominance in recent years of landscape urbanism and its hybrids. Despite the foregrounding of an environment in peril, they react to scientific positivism by advocating for a return to aesthetics, poetics, myth, and meaning. The current volume suggests other new identities. If we are to believe Charles Waldheim, landscape architect equals urbanist. Waldheim and James Corner in particular are intent on fomenting this shift in perception; beseeching practitioners to take control of urban design territory (presumably, before the architects and urban planners beat them to it).

Girot’s essay laments the modes of visualization epitomized by the “layer-cake” approach of Ian McHarg, author of the 1969 Design with Nature. He suggests that years of design with 2-D maps and collage have effectively broken down landscape thinking into abstract, and ultimately, meaningless, layers. Girot argues that the results of this diagrammatic thinking have stripped design of character, of local connections, and ultimately, of meaning. 

As a counterpoint, Corner argues for the preeminence of the plan, composite layers, and collage, suggesting they have the capacity to become “engendering machines” of “rich and unpredictable interactions,” a method that comes from ecology itself. Corner plays both ends of the spectrum, at once advocating for performance and form. In a mediated (and ultimately modest) position, Corner’s conception of “format” is hardly memorable. In the context of design reviews as long as six years ago, Corner declared that the University of Pennsylvania was about form and aesthetics, and Harvard was about performance. This dissonance of Corner’s recent commentary with his earlier writings manifests as some subconscious and uncoordinated id-war, a shift away from the working landscape and toward the “pictorial impulse” he earlier reviled (in New Operations and the Eidetic Landscape).

Recalling David Gissen’s Subnatures, Vittoria Di Palma’s intriguing discussion of aesthetics engages the wasteland as site of primal disgust and ultimately, subversive aesthetics. She revisits the picturesque and its power to give “a new prominence to aversive landscape,” (a topic explored by Robert Smithson in 1973’s Frederick Law Olmsted and the Dialectical Landscape), an apt aesthetic history to sample when theorizing the entropy, asymmetry, and gnarliness of the Anthropocene.

Other contributors reject the editors’ prompt of aesthetics altogether. Notably, Kongjian Yu, a practitioner of ecological design in China, argues powerfully for landschaft or the working landscape, suggesting that “the quality and beauty of the landscape has been detached from the notion of a holistic land system for living and survival, and has now become high art landscape design exclusively for the pleasure of the urban elite.” In a similar vein, Saskia Sassen’s critique eviscerates the blunt hand of capitalism that is currently playing out in the form of global land acquisition.

Rather than a clear way forward, the diversity of this volume evidences a fraught world in need of urban design leadership, solutions for the anxious environment of climate change, and rethinking the future of landscape’s territory and meaning in the 21st century.

Thinking The Contemporary Landscape Christophe Girot, Dora Imhof, Princeton Architectural Press, $45

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11th Construction Worker Death of 2016

Construction worker falls and dies at former Domino Sugar Factory site
At 8 a.m. this morning, a construction worker fell two stories from scaffolding on the Domino Sugar factory site, 335 Kent Avenue, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, near the Williamsburg Bridge. The former factory is currently being converted into affordable housing backed by New York City and designed by SHoP Architects with developer Two Trees Management. "We are overwhelmed with grief by this tragic accident and extend our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and colleagues," a representative of Two Trees said in a statement. "All work has stopped on the site and we are working closely with the city to determine the cause of the accident." The Domino Sugar factory site is an open worksite, although union workers have performed specialty tasks onsite. This is the 11th construction worker death in the city this year according to the Department of Building. The majority of the construction worker deaths that took place last year were also on non-union worksites. The City Council is currently working on new legislation that would make worksites safer and the process of reporting injuries and fatalities more accurate. Now, a special session regarding this legislation has been called before the year’s end. Slated to open in 2018, the Domino Sugar Factory building will have a total of 500 apartments, 105 of which will be affordable units. The redevelopment will be a total of 600,000 square feet and will also include office space, ground-floor retail, terraces, and an open plaza, as well as access to the waterfront, a new five plus acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations, and a new ferry landing. The former factory is an exterior landmark, so the 19th-century redbrick facade will remain unchanged. However, new “industrial luxury” amenities will be used throughout such as exposed brick, ceiling beams, will define the interior spaces.
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AN Exclusive

NYC Public Design Commission announces Excellence in Design award winners
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Public Design Commission (PDC) announced this year's winners of the commission's annual Awards for Excellence in Design. “These thoughtful and innovative designs support the de Blasio administration’s commitment to providing quality, equitable, and resilient public spaces to all New Yorkers. By utilizing good design principles, these projects will provide the public with increased access to the waterfront, open spaces and parks; improved places for play and community gatherings; and inspiring artworks,” said PDC president Signe Nielsen, co-founding principal of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, in a statement. Justin Garrett Moore, adjunct associate professor of architecture at Columbia University and the commission's executive director, added: "Part of what makes our city great is the quality of our public realm and the creativity and ingenuity found in our design community and city agencies. These award-winning projects range from new technologies to improved neighborhood parks and public artwork. They show that design excellence is an important part of New York's leadership in promoting innovation, sustainability, and equity in cities." For the past 34 years, the PDC, New York's review board for public architecture and design, honors well-designed projects at all scales across the city. This year, honorees include James Corner Field Operations' and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's (DS+R) High Line spur, which will connect the celebrated park to Hudson Yards, as well as Bjarke Ingels Group's (BIG) police station in the Bronx, which The Architect's Newspaper (AN), revealed earlier this year. On the smaller side, the commission honored LinkNYC, the public information kiosks that until recently helped New Yorkers watch porn, and the FDNY's anti-idling ambulance pedals, devices that help reduce emissions from emergency vehicles out on call. See the ten winning projects (and two specially recognized) below. All quotes courtesy the NYC Mayor's Office: 2016 WINNERS: 40th Police Precinct BIG and Starr Whitehouse East 149th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue, Bronx Agencies: the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), and the New York City Police Department See AN's exclusive coverage of the 40th Precinct here. Waterfront Nature Walk by George Trakas George Trakas and Quennell Rothschild & Partners Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, 329 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn Agencies: Department of Cultural Affairs’ (DCA) Percent for Art Program, DDC, and the Department of Environmental Protection "The Waterfront Nature Walk revives a long-inaccessible industrial shoreline for public use as a waterfront promenade and kayak launch. This project expands the artist’s conceptual focus from the local histories to ruminations on a broader history of ecology and human existence." Van Name Van Pelt Plaza/Richmond Terrace Wetlands Department of Parks & Recreation (NYC Parks) (in-house design) Richmond Terrace between Van Pelt Street and Van Name Street, Staten Island Agencies: NYC Parks and the Department of Transportation (DOT) "The Van Name Van Pelt Plaza/Richmond Terrace Wetlands a gathering space that can be programmed for educational use and features engraved maps that describe the evolution of the island in relation to the waterway. Woody understory and herbaceous planting in the wetland park increase shoreline resilience. The design prioritizes public access to the waterfront while preserving the wetlands and enhancing avian habitat." Luminescence by Nobuho Nagasawa Nobuho Nagasawa, Thomas Balsley Associates, Weiss/Manfredi Architects The Peninsula, Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, 54th Avenue, Center Boulevard, 55th Avenue, and the East River, Queens Agencies: New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and NYC Parks "Luminescence consists of seven sculptures, all of which are both beautiful and educational. A phosphorescent material integrated into the surface of each domed shape absorbs sunlight during the day and illuminates the phases of the moon at night with a soft blue glow. Additionally, the concrete and aggregate sculptures are etched with the moon’s pattern of craters, mountains, and valleys." Dock 72 S9 Architecture and MPFP Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Agencies and firms: Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Boston Properties, Rudin Development, and WeWork See AN's coverage of Dock 72 here. The High Line Park Passage and Spur JCFO, DS+R, and Piet Oudolf West 30th Street between 10th Avenue and 11th Avenue, Manhattan Agencies and nonprofits: NYC Parks, NYCEDC, and Friends of the High Line "The Spur is envisioned as a piazza with amphitheater-like seating steps that surround a central plinth for a rotating art program. The Passage and Spur will offer expansive views, dense woodland plantings, ample public seating, and a large open space for public programming, as well as public bathrooms for High Line visitors." Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall Addition Studio Joseph and SCAPE/Landscape Architecture 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island Agencies and nonprofits: DDC, NYC Parks, DCA, and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center "Outside the public entrance of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall Addition, a landscaped courtyard and lawn provides flexible space for the Music Hall and Snug Harbor campus. This project will reinvigorate the historic theater, enhancing programmatic opportunities and operational efficiency that enable this cultural gem to put on its distinctive performances." SoHo Square Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Sixth Avenue between Spring Street and Broome Street, Manhattan Agencies and BID: DOT, NYC Parks, and the Hudson Square Connection Business Improvement District "The renovation of SoHo Square, an under-utilized open space, will establish a distinct gateway to the thriving hub of Hudson Square. A central focal point at the mid-block crossing will be anchored by the relocated statue of General José Artigas (1987) by José Luis Zorrilla de San Martín, which will be conserved as part of the project." Anti-idling Ambulance Pedestals Ignacio Ciocchini and MOVE Systems Citywide Agency: Fire Department of the City of New York "The anti-idling ambulance pedestals will reduce ambulance vehicle emissions without disrupting the Fire Department’s critical emergency operations. By plugging into these curbside pedestals, EMTs can safely shut off their engines while keeping their communication systems live and temperature-sensitive medicines refrigerated. This smart industrial design improves neighborhood air quality and ensures that the City’s ambulances are ready to respond to emergencies at a moment’s notice." LinkNYC CityBridge (Antenna Design, Intersection, Qualcomm, and CIVIQ Smartscapes) Citywide Agency: Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications See AN's coverage of LinkNYC here. SPECIAL RECOGNITION FOR COMPLETED PROJECTS: Parks Without Borders NYC Parks (in-house) Citywide Agency: NYC Parks See AN's coverage of Parks Without Borders here and here. Community Parks Initiative NYC Parks (in-house); dlandstudio; Hargreaves Associates; Mathews Nielsen; MKW Landscape Architecture; Nancy Owens Studio; Prospect Park Alliance; Quennell Rothschild & Partners; Sage and Coombe Architects Citywide Agency: NYC Parks See AN's coverage of the Community Parks Initiative here.
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In ship shape

Bjarke Ingel’s first office building completed in Philadelphia
You'd be forgiven for thinking that something named "1200 Intrepid" is a ship (or at least a boat), especially when it's located at the Navy Yard Corporate Center. In fact, that is the name of Bjarke Ingels Group's (BIG) first building in Philly and first-ever office building. Spanning 92,000 square feet, 1200 Intrepid takes on ship-like qualities through more than just its name: its warped facade emulates the hull of warships docked nearby. The four-story building will occupy land between James Corner Field Operations' Central Green Park and the Navy Yard's basin. It's hull-esque facade also curves in sync with the circular layout of the adjacent park. Fenestration on this side is arranged with alternating pre-cast concrete panels that express the building's height and visually exaggerate the angle of inclination. These gradually loom over the tree-lined path that traces the edge and provides shelter of sorts for the walkway. The building's other facades offer more traditional, orthogonal elevations while maintaining the paneling facade system. “The ‘shock wave’ of the public space spreads like rings in the water, invading the footprint of the building to create a generous urban canopy at the entrance," said Ingels in a press release. "The resultant double-curved facade echoes the complex yet rational geometries of maritime architecture. Inside, the elevator lobby forms an actual periscope, allowing people to admire the mothballed ships at the adjacent docks.” Inside 1200 Intrepid, generous ceiling heights mean office spaces are bathed in sufficient amounts of daylight. A central atrium creates a dialogue between the floors: though rectangular, its twist incrementally references the building's signature facade. "In many cases, architects design big, boxy buildings that could be placed anywhere and don’t connect directly to the site," said Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner at BIG. "You would really be hard-pressed to place 1200 Intrepid anywhere else, due to how it connects with its surroundings. Our commission involved creating a speculative office building, for which no tenants were committed. The key challenge here was to create a reason for tenants to be here with the constraint of a stringent budget.”
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Coming into Port

Chicago and Philadelphia–based PORT Urbanism wants to redesign your city

PORT Urbanism is positioning itself to fill a very particular niche in the world of city making. The office is neither a landscape firm nor an architecture firm alone: It approaches projects with a vision that ranges from grand scheme master plans down to design at a human scale. With the recent addition of a new partner, it now has the pedigree and experience to engage in the high-stakes projects that are so often handed to firms many times its size. More and more often those projects involve the waterfronts of postindustrial cities across the country, and with a name like PORT, the firm is not surprisingly ready for the challenge.

PORT’s new partner, Megan Born, comes to the firm from James Corner Field Operations (JCFO), where she spent eight years as a designer and project manager. While at JCFO, she was lead designer on the much-anticipated Waterfront Seattle Program master plan, as well as project designer on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Hong Kong. Her expertise will complement that of PORT partner Christopher Marcinkoski, who was a senior associate at JCFO before cofounding PORT. Marcinkoski, a licensed architect and a Rome Prize Fellow, also contributed expertise in waterfront design, as he was project lead on the Qianhai Water City district of Shenzhen, China, while at JCFO. Both work at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia—Born as a lecturer and Marcinkoski as an associate professor of landscape architecture and urban design.

Currently working with the ambitious young R2 developers in Chicago, PORT is in the process of envisioning the future of Goose Island. An industrial island in the middle of the Chicago River’s North Branch, Goose Island is poised to become one of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods. Currently, it is completely zoned for industry, but as the surrounding neighborhoods quickly develop, the smart bet is on it becoming more programmatically diverse. PORT’s master plan takes into account the uncertainty of the island’s future while proposing improvements that will benefit whatever eventually happens there.

The island was formed by a canal that was dug to straighten out the river, a common occurrence in 19th-century Chicago. Now, however, that canal is no longer navigable. PORT imagines that this wet, and currently polluted, stretch of water can become an integral and unique part of the river’s rehabilitation into a recreational corridor. It is clear that it is only a matter of time before this prime location, just minutes outside of the downtown, will be more than a sleepy maze of shuttered warehouses and factories. PORT and R2 plan to be there to guide the way.

“Some of the largest attributes of water and waterfronts are their scale and connectivity,” explained Andrew Moddrell, partner and cofounder of PORT. “You always have this edge that you can’t completely occupy: the water. If you can connect the parcels along this edge, you’ll be able to set up the means of an accessibility that is uninterrupted and that unlocks new territories of the city. Previously all of these places were productive industrially by maximizing this connectivity. Now they are ripe again to be reconnected.”

Though PORT may be making a name for itself with waterscape projects, what defines the practice is its particular approach. Whether a waterfront, and urban park, or a former industrial district, PORT is not interested in simply drawing large arrows on maps and saying how great it would be to have a bike share program in the area. Instead, it does the math, talks to the stakeholders, and designs a way to achieve their vision, down to the individual’s experience. This separates them from other landscape firms that might only focus on the space around the buildings, as well as from the urban planner who so often provides bullet point guidance without a true design component. Add in the fact that two of the partners are licensed architects, and the firm’s thorough approach begins to make sense. There are few firms that are able, or willing, to take on the complex types of projects that PORT has made its bread and butter.

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Big Nature, Big City

Seattle’s waterfront transformation by James Corner Field Operations prepares to break ground this year

Seattle, Washington’s waterfront redevelopment, an endeavor James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) has been working on diligently for nearly a decade, is steadily moving closer to being implemented, as the $700 million project heads toward beginning construction this year. 

The development cleared a major hurdle in August when supporters of the project garnered over 80 percent of the cast ballots needed to reject an initiative that would have derailed the JCFO scheme. JCFO’s vision for the two-mile-long promenade would stitch together city’s burgeoning downtown with its isolated, post-industrial waterfront, converting the space currently occupied by the Alaskan Way Viaduct into a broad pedestrian-oriented waterfront park and roadway. The Alaskan Way Viaduct, built in 1953, is currently in the process of being replaced by a partially completed underground highway tunnel that would free up the city’s coastline for public recreational activities. The redevelopment will be funded via a new tax levied on downtown businesses and will continue a nationwide trend of replacing or repurposing aging infrastructure with a mix of public amenities and new development.

Andrew tenBrink, a designer at JCFO who has been working on the project since it started in 2010, said the firm had been “struck by the ‘big nature’ of the area,” as it developed a project for a city sitting “on the cusp of the wilderness, between the bay and mountains.”

Aside from creating a new recreational spine for the city’s downtown, the new route will also string together existing cultural destinations along the waterfront like the famed Pike Place Market to the south, the Bassetti Architects–designed Seattle Aquarium at its center, and the Weiss/Manfredi Architects–designed Olympic Sculpture Park to the north. Charles Anderson Landscape Architecture was a landscape architecture consultant for the project. 

The aquarium, built in 1977 on the waterfront’s Pier 59, can currently only be reached via a disruptive landscape of viaduct overpasses and parking lots. In the new plan, it will be located at the end of a broad public plaza accessible by a scenic lookout designed in concert with the waterfront scheme, reconnecting it to the city center.

JCFO’s redevelopment plan would also connect to the iconic Olympic Sculpture Park located at the northern edge of the development, connecting the city’s network of bicycle and walking trails, currently divided between north and south, together along the waterfront. TenBrink described the history of the waterfront as something that has “constantly evolved” over its transition from native habitat to industrial area and transportation corridor. In the near future, Seattle’s waterfront will transform once again to become a line between the “pristine nature of Pacific Northwest and a very manufactured (urban) landscape,” said tenBrink.

Another major and partially completed component of the project entails rebuilding an existing seawall used to mitigate Puget Sound’s constantly fluctuating tides. Between epic “king tides,” monthly lunar tides, and other seasonally variable waves, the water’s height can vary by as much as 12 feet, so the design team has deployed specially-designed panels, some codesigned with local artists, to create spots for tidal wildlife to live and grow. The wall also marks the area’s mean, low, and high tides and contains walkway areas with embedded glass blocks that allow for daylight to permeate the water, as to not disrupt sensitive spawning grounds.

The remaining areas that feed into the promenade and roadway will also receive improvements to their streetscapes in order to facilitate the pedestrianization of surrounding areas while also inserting key landscape components.

This article was part of our Oct. 12 issue which focused on how water is shaping today’s landscape architecture and urbanism. Communities face deluges and droughts—for some, the stakes can be survival itself, but others see opportunities for decadence. To explore these stories from around the U.S. and the world, click here.

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Relational Water Landscapes

From drought to deluge, survival to decadence, water is shaping our cities and landscapes

For landscape architects today, urbanism and water go hand in hand. Whether dealing with issues of sea level rise, groundwater retention, or just plain old water supply infrastructure, landscape architects are working with scientists, engineers, and policy makers on increasingly bigger projects that encompass more external factors and larger networks of physical, biological, environmental, and political networks. We examine some of these water landscapes and how they relate to each other in the broader context of how resources and climate-related changes are being managed.

To put these projects in perspective, we have positioned them on a grid: The x-axis runs from “not enough” to “too much” water and the y-axis posits these projects as either being rooted in necessity or decadence. Within this grid, we found a surprising variety of combinations.

Here we've posted all our water-related articles from this issue. Enjoy!

Feature Stories

Alaska's Relocation — One remote Alaska city is seeking $200 million to flee the rising sea

Lexington's Groundwater — SCAPE turns Lexington, Kentucky’s long-buried water into an asset

L.A.'s River — L.A. River revitalization takes center stage in public eye (and real estate development)

Istanbul's New Islands — A coterie of artificial islands and high-rises planned to rise near Istanbul

Miami's Flooding — Miami battles rising floodwaters even as development booms

Chicago's Runoff — Chicago digs deep to fight flooding, but the city’s geology may provide another solution

Waco's Water Grid — Texas planners envision a county-wide “grid” to provide clean water during droughts

China's Archipelago — This master plan calls for a brand new city to alleviate China’s water issues

UrbanLab is combining water infrastructure with architecture to reimagine how cities work

L.A.'s Reservoir — What will Angelenos do with a decommissioned, 45-foot-deep reservoir?

Milwaukee's Harbor — Studio Gang’s research-based approach to ecological design rethinks the shape of urban waterfronts

Massachusett's Ports — The plan to combine fishing, tourism, and the waterfront to invigorate a New England city

Wisconsin's Lake Straw — A controversial decision will allow a Wisconsin city to draw water out of Lake Michigan

Water-Related News (also from the October issue)

A new proposal would turn a stagnant abandoned Chicago waterway into a community amenity

Seattle’s waterfront transformation by James Corner Field Operations prepares to break ground this year

Chicago and Philadelphia–based PORT Urbanism wants to redesign your city

"Landscape as Necessity" conference aims to broaden the role of landscape architects

Has "resiliency" been hijacked to justify and promote development?

This landscape architecture firm is bringing Dutch water expertise to the U.S.

Detroit engages with its community to solve its raw sewage and storm water problem

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

One landscape architect's plan to fuse Dallas–Fort Worth’s waterways with urban growth

Landscape architects face crossroads to address shrinking ecological resources

A grassroots organization starts an environmental movement in Iowa City

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Peer the Pier

First look: photographs of Chicago’s redeveloped Navy Pier
Phase 1 of the James Corner Field Operations-masterplanned Navy Pier is complete, and Iwan Baan and Sahar Coston-Hardy have captured a first look of the refurbished pleasure pier. James Corner Field Operations is also acting as lead designer on the multi-year project. James Corner Field Operations is also acting as lead designer on the multi-year project, with other collaborators including nArchitects, Gensler, Thornton Tomasetti, Fluidity Design Consultants, Buro Happold, and graphic designers Pentagram. The architecture of the kiosks, pavilions, and “Wave Wall” was designed by New York-based nARCHITECTS. Often cited as the most popular tourist destination in Chicago, Navy Pier is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The 3,300-foot-long pier is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Originally part of Danial Burnham’s Plan of Chicago, the pier has served many purposes over the last century, including as a campus for the University of Illinois (UIC). Before UIC’s School of Architecture moved to its current Walter Netsch-designed building, the school was located near the end of the pier. AIA Chicago’s Design Night awards ceremony, along with many other major art and design events, including EXPO Chicago, are now held in the pier multiple exhibition spaces. James Corner Field Operations’s designs include extensive renovation of the exterior public promenade of the pier. An undulating Wave Wall, inspired by Rome’s Spanish Steps, features a louvered facade that transforms into a grand stair. Near the entry to the pier a glass- and chrome-clad Info Tower acts as a beacon orienting visitors while reflecting the city and the lake. Replacing a hodgepodge of mismatched kiosks along the length of the pier, new Lake Pavilions will act as boat ticket kiosks and shaded rest areas. The polished stainless steel canopies reflect the lake’s rippling water onto the surface of the pier. Other freestanding kiosks provide for the remaining promenade guest services. Other features completed as part of Phase 1 include the new Polk Bros. Park and Fountain Plaza near the base of the pier. As the interface with the city, new traffic and pedestrian patterns were worked out to increase safety in the heavily trafficked area. The new fountain, engineered and programmed by Fluidity Design Consultants, shoots complex geometric jets of water and transforms into an ice rink in the winter. Early designs for Phase 2 of the project indicate the pier will have a new hotel designed by Chicago-based Koo Associates, and a sweeping viewing platform and pool at the pier's end. The project is also the first SITES v2 Gold-Certified project in the world, a new comprehensive international sustainability matrix managed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
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Block Party

National Building Museum picks Studio Gang for 2017 summer installation
The National Building Museum has announced Studio Gang Architects as the designers of the 2017 Summer Block Party Installation. This year’s installation, ICEBERGS, was designed by James Corner Field Operations. Previous installations include BIG Maze by Bjarke Ingles Group and The BEACH by Snarkitecture. In 2003 Studio Gang designed another installation for the National Building Museum, a hanging translucent marble curtain that was part of  in the Masonry Variations exhibit. Firm founder Jeanne Gang has also served as an advisor for the National Building Museum’s Intelligent Cities project. “We are delighted to embark on a new collaboration with Studio Gang over the next year,” said Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum, in a press release. “With their creativity and impeccable design credentials, they are poised to reimagine the possibilities of this series.” Details will be announced in early 2017, with a public opening planned for July 4th through Labor Day 2017. “It’s great to return to the National Building Museum, where our Marble Curtain was such an important early project for Studio Gang, one that informed our thinking about material innovation and research,” remarked Jeanne Gang in a press release. “We are looking forward to building on the legacy and energy of the summer series, in the historic space of the Museum’s Great Hall.”
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Pop-Up Pump Up

More images reveal what James Corner’s Underline project will look like

A pop-up preview of James Corner Field Operations’(JCFO) “Brickell Backyard” will be unveiled Tuesday next week. The temporary mini-gym and fitness area has been designed and installed by Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation and will provide a six-month sneak preview of what is to come for the Underline project.

The event will signal the start of the Underline's first stage of development. It's the precursor to the “Brickell Underline Park," a northern section of the Underline located near the Miami River. The park aims to breathe new life into the ten-mile stretch of underused land beneath Miami’s Metrorail, transforming it into a linear park, urban trail and living art destination. Once complete, the area will offer picnic areas, park benches, native vegetation, a nature-inspired playground, a dog park, basketball court, and art installations. In addition to this, further mixed-use parks are planned for other parts of the Underline, all of which come under JCFO’s master plan for the site.

According to the Underline website, the project is "aimed at encouraging Miami-Dade residents to walk, bike or ride transit as an alternative to driving... [it] will serve as an enhanced mobility corridor, designed to better connect communities, improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and promote a healthier lifestyle with accessible green spaces and park amenities for exercise and relaxation."

The Underline is the product of a public/private partnership among Miami-Dade Parks, Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works, and Friends of The Underline. It also fits within the county’s wider scheme of the Masterplan Greenway network that comprises 500 miles of trails and connected public spaces.

As for the Underline’s “Brickell Backyard” fitness area, funding for the pop-up gym equipment—amounting to a total of $47,000—will come from the Community Outlay Reserve Funds (CORF).

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Imaginary Landscapes

From Zaha Hadid’s paintings to Appalachian Trail maps, a new book explores cartography in all its glory
We’ve all been in that moment: kind of lost, staring down a street, searching for our destination, disoriented. Maybe we ask a passerby for directions or land in the right place by sheer luck. Or we might pull out our smartphone and bring up our favorite map app, plug in the destination and boom, no need to think, just follow the directions, turn left, turn right, wait nope, make u-turn. Chances are, when we look at a map, it is for utilitarian, practical reasons, to get from point A to point B to point C. But what if we could step back for a moment and consider the maps that have served us and those before as works of art, design and technical prowess, as well as creative stories about our landscapes in their own right? Jill Desimini and Charles Waldheim, both landscape architecture professors teaching at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, invite us to think on the wide range of aesthetic strategies that cartographers use to corral the 3-D world into 2-D. Desimini and Waldheim trace the connections and overlapping techniques between maps and plans in representing our world. “As design extends its purview and scale, it is time again to look closely at maps and plans, to uncover their logics, to mine their systems of drawing, to immerse ourselves in their beauty, and to embrace their projective qualities,” they wrote. Desimini and Waldheim believe that maps created by design professionals today—with a heavy emphasis on data and abstract information—would benefit from a return to a more detailed, grounded, concrete, approach, better connecting the data tied to our landscapes, cities, and beyond. Desimini and Waldheim make their case through a survey of historical and contemporary maps and plans, grouped by ten cartographic techniques: there is a chapter on maps and plans using contouring, another on hatching, another on figure ground, among others. Such is the wonderland of Cartographic Grounds: Projecting the Landscape Imaginary—a jewel box for mapheads and plan geeks—from James Corner Field Operations plan of the San Juan Botanical Gardens, to the shaded relief in the late Zaha Hadid’s Blue Slabs painting of the Hong Kong Peak Leisure Club project to an Edo-period map of Tokyo with detailed information on ownership and social occupations. Desimini includes her own studies too: One, her figure-ground study of the Barcelona Eixample grid with octagonal city blocks planned by Ildefons Cerdà, takes on an almost deconstructed stained-glass effect. The maps, plans, and drawings are immersive, zoomed-in, and up-close. “There are no drawings of the globe or even a continent in this volume,” Desimini and Waldheim said. But they also elaborated that, “The scale of many equate to the scale of human occupation. It should be acknowledged that this level of detail is a privilege. Accurate surveying and high-resolution data are expensive…products of wealthy nations, either mapping their own territories or those of colonial interest. There is, and always has been, a correlation between power and the availability of geospatial data.” This left me wanting to know more about these social, economic, and political forces that shape these representations—not just what these maps, plans, and drawings choose to show, but also what is left out or minimized. Who benefited? “Maps are too easily mistaken for objective depictions of a geographical condition, and their complexity often obscures the fact that they are, in fact, distortions. Their uses, limitations, and subjectivity must be understood and respected,” Desimini and Charles Waldheim wrote. Their observations—delivered through chapter introductions and image captions—are instructive rather than interpretative. The text is filled with detailed descriptions of a wide range of mapping techniques, but leave much of the meaning up to the reader. For the curious, it can prompt a chase down the rabbit hole looking for further context and information. Desimini and Waldheim’s investigation into key cartographic features that they argue is the foundation of urban design, landscape design, architecture, is compelling. “Often as a foundation to intervention, the map—whether it is of networked relationships or a geographically precise location—precedes the plan.” They look at what lies between the realities of our landscapes, built environment, and the human intervention of ideas. It comes at a time when we look to maps for answers, data, maybe even knowledge. Desimini and Waldheim want us to ask more of our maps, our data visualizations, and our plans. Their book prompts several questions: Are these techniques enough? Do we need better, different ways of approaching the translations between geography and landscape, map and plan? In the end, beyond all of these numbers, figures, lines, and cross-hatchings is a person, the cartographer, mapmaker, designer, and creator.
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Peer Operations

Navy Pier unveils plans for sweeping overlook designed by James Corner Field Operations
Chicago's Navy Pier has released new images of the next phase of its Centennial Vision plan. The new renderings reveal a sweeping elevated walkway over the eastern end of the pier. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the “Lake Overlook” sits over a reflecting pool called “Lake Mirror.”  Along with a new hotel, a rooftop bar, and a redesigned landscape are all part of a multi-year reimagining of the popular tourist attraction. Navy Pier has recently finished much of the first phase of the Centennial Vision, including an updated enlarged Ferris wheel and promenade. The latest improvements to the pier were also designed by James Corner Field Operations. Currently the entry park at the western end of the pier, Polk Brothers Park, is also under construction. The new green space will include a lawn for for gatherings and performances. A 4,000-square-foot entry pavilion will be tucked under the park. A 240-room hotel was announced recently for the pier. The hotel is being designed by Chicago-based KOO Architects. Along with the hotel, a new rooftop bar and restaurant will be constructed on top of one of the pier’s existing structures. The restaurant is expected to be completed in 2017, with a 2018 completion date set for the Hotel. The other improvements, including the “Lake Overlook,” are dependent on funding, which the pier hopes to secure through private sponsors.