The northern end of Central Park is slated to get a major upgrade by 2024. Today the Central Park Conservancy and the New York City Parks Department unveiled its plans for a $150 million restoration of the long-damaged landscape surrounding the Harlem Meer. Envisioned by the conservancy’s design office, led by chief landscape architect Christopher J. Nolan, in collaboration with Susan T. Rodriguez Architecture | Design and Mitchell Giurgola, the project aims to repair the land, restore the local ecology, and revamp access to a new recreational facility that will replace the 53-year-old Lasker Rink and Pool. Built like a concrete box, the building has blocked views of the Harlem Meer towards the south and diminished the size of the 11-acre landscape since it opened in 1966. The project is the final piece of the puzzle that is the conservancy’s 40-year renewal plan to update Central Park. In 2016, the group completed restored the Ravine landscape next door to the Lasker Rink, and the Loch watercourse in the North Woods. Pedestrian circulation was improved, infrastructure was updated, and the deteriorating rustic bridges and stone steps that populated the landscape were rebuilt. The design team wants to build upon that project by further enhancing access to all the recreational activities available at this end of the park. By removing the rink building, they will build a new, sustainable, light-filled facility that shows off the surrounding landscape rather than obstructing it. The building will be embedded into the topography of the site along its eastern slope and feature a green roof that doubles as a pathway and gathering place. It will boast views of the park, pool, and rink below, which will be lowered slightly than its existing location and reshaped into an elongated oval to maximize its impact on the site. All of these design moves, big and small, will allow for water from the Ravine to flow more easily into the Meer. Visitors will be able to observe this transition as they walk around a curvilinear boardwalk that extends over the freshwater marsh and across a series of small islands. Other upgrades to the project will include a new pool deck, bathrooms, locker rooms, and concessions area. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2021.
Search results for "east"
Now in its third iteration, the Chicago Architecture Biennial will open to the general public on Thursday, September 19. The show's main venue, the Chicago Cultural Center, has once again been filled with large installations, multimedia displays, and extensive texts. What you will not see, diverging from the last two installments, are the extensive architectural models, renderings, and full-scale mock-ups. This year's show, curated by Yesomi Umolu, Sepake Angiama, and Paulo Tavares has a distinctly different feel than most architectural shows. Entitled "...and Other Such Stories," the curatorial team opted for research-heavy content focusing on social justice, equality, and civic activism. Most of the 80+ contributors come from urban studies and activism fields, with only a handful calling themselves architects. The exhibition will be on show from September 19th through January 5th at the Chicago Cultural Center and a number of other sites around the city.
Taking Titles and Stealing Views
Central Park Tower tops out to become the world's tallest residential building
The 1,550-foot-tall Central Park Tower is officially the tallest residential building in the world. After topping out earlier this week, the Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture-designed structure now stands nearly complete at 217 West 57th Street, higher than any of its neighbors on Manhattan's Billionaire’s Row. It’s the second project on that strip of premiere Midtown Manhattan real estate from Extell Development Company, the minds behind Christian de Portzamparc’s One57. The latter project became the first supertall condominium on the street in 2016. Since the original unveiling of that design in 2005, over eight similar projects have popped up and are now either finished or under construction along or near West 57th Street. As the latest to top out, Central Park Tower has broken the height record set by Rafael Viñoly’s 432 Park Avenue, with 131 floors. Though largely residential and boasting 179 luxury condos, Central Park Tower—with its glass-clad facade and stainless-steel, pinstripe-like fins—will feature a seven-story Nordstrom flagship store at its base and three floors of amenities for apartment owners. Spanning a total of 50,000 square feet, these areas include an outdoor terrace with a pool, a wellness center with an indoor pool, and a ballroom and cigar bar on the 100th floor (without a pool, sorry). At 300 feet above the street, the tower cantilevers slightly to the east and then nearly all the way up to the top floor, allowing views of Central Park from the north-facing apartments. Looking up from the park below, the building has the appearance of a series of extremely thin, elongated towers stacked closely to one another. That design move was intentional to maximize those (multi)million-dollar views. Together, the sections created a textured look that gleams during the daylight in different ways. Despite its fancy features, the supertall project might suffer a similar sales fate like the other towers on Billionaire's Row. It’s been widely reported that 40 percent of the seven buildings in the area are unsold simply because they are too expensive and the Midtown market isn't as favored as some Lower Manhattan or even Brooklyn developments. There's one sign, though, that this could be changing: 220 Central Park South by Robert A.M. Stern recently passed $1 billion in sales according to 6sqft, largely thanks to the close on its $238 million penthouse by hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin. Until Central park Tower hits its expected sellout of over $4 billion, 220 Central Park South will remain the most expensive residential building in the United States. In an interview with Justin Davidson published this week in New York Magazine, Gordon Gill said that, apart from being another competitive project on Billionaire's Row, Stern’s building posed another challenge for the architects from the beginning. It sits directly in front of Central Park Tower and boasts closer views of the sprawling landscape below.
“It’s like being at the theater; if everyone’s in rows trying to see the stage, nobody can see anything at all,” said Gill. “The solution is to stagger the seats. When we moved the tower off-center to get better retail spaces, we discovered an opportunity to capture incredible direct and oblique views. That’s why the building is stepped and staggered in every direction — north, south, east, and west — walking all the way up to 1,550 feet. If you look at this building from a distance, it has a strong ethos and a sense of stability. On the other hand, there’s a lot of movement. The trick was managing all that activity without getting overly effusive.”
ft. Big Chief Demond Melancon
Here's what to catch at this year's London Design Festival
It's September, which in the U.K. means it's time for the London Design Festival (LDF). Now in its 17th year, there is once again a feast of shows, talks, walks, exhibitions, and installations to gorge upon. The Architect's Newspaper has surveyed what's on view firsthand and rounded up what to catch this year. Sea Things, Sam Jacob Studio As always, the LDF is heavily connected to the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A). At the museum's entrance, visitors can find a 13-foot-on-each-side glass cube hanging from the ceiling. Stand underneath it and look up, and you will find pieces of plastic floating by as if being carried by a current through space. It's only a film, but the mirrored edges of the cube create the impression of it being limitless through a simple, yet effective, trick. Titled Sea Things, the work from Sam Jacob Studio aims to raise awareness of plastic in our oceans. "The V&A is full of things and our relationship to things," Jacob told AN, who cited a hand-drawn pattern of sea creatures by the Eames's (in the V&A collection) as part of his inspiration. That pattern was drawn at a time when there was tangible hope of saving our oceans from pollution. Jacob's installation omits such optimism: by 2050, if current pollution levels remain on track, the world's oceans will be 50 percent plastic and 50 percent marine life, the end of his studio's film predicts. Black Masking Culture, Big Chief Demond Melancon with Assemble A surprise hit at the V&A comes from the New Orleans-based artist and educator, Big Chief Demond Melancon of the Young Seminole Hunters. Working with London studio Assemble, two of Melancon's giant, full-body Mardi Gras Indian suits (I can't imagine how hot they must get) have been installed. The suits have been hand-sewn; fitting then, that they have been placed in the V&A's Tapestries Gallery. They are truly a sight to behold: joyously flamboyant, bursting with life, ornate and infinitely intricate, they are works of art in their own right. A fascinating film tracing the making of the suits in the run-up to Mardi Gras accompanies the suits and it's well worth a watch. More LDF at the V&A Many other installations part of LDF can be found at the V&A too. Hans Ulrich Obrist has designed a wooden postbox, for example, and Korean artist Do Ho Suh has had his forensic video survey of Robin Hood Gardens displayed via a 100-foot-wide projection. For Smithson buffs, the model of the ill-fated housing estate made for the 1970 film, The Smithsons on Housing, is also on display. Paddington Pyramid, Adam Nathaniel Furman Beyond the V&A more color abounds, as LDF has always featured in recent years. Welcome returners to the fray Adam Nathaniel Furman and Camille Walala have once again done a marvelous job sprucing up the vicinities they've occupied. In Paddington, Furman has erected a fluttering pyramid next to where he was born, drawing on the towering, ephemeral structures that populate fairs and festivals. Walala Lound, Camille Walala Furman's 2017 project, Gateways, was supposedly the most photographed LDF installation ever, however, this year, Camille Walala appears to be giving him a run for his money. Wander down South Molton Street just a stone's throw away and you'll find a host of street furniture: planters, benches, and bunting all emphatically stamped with Walala's hallmark, vibrant geometric style, all being snapped and papped by hashtag-happy passersby. Please Be Seated, Paul Cocksedge There are more moments to sit at this year's LDF, too. London designer Paul Cocksedge has designed an undulating trio of concentric timber circles in Broadgate, East London. Aptly named Please Be Seated, the work reuses scaffolding planks to create a sculpture that acts as both a pedestrian thoroughfare and place of rest. "There's a motorway of people [around here]," Cocksedge told AN. "I looked at where people were going to and from, the arches are oriented in the general direction of that flow, so it works for everyone." So far, Please Be Seated has been an instant success, with LDF-ers and bankers working nearby making the most of it. "It's nice to see people using something in the way that it's meant to," added Cocksedge. Life Labyrinth, PATTERNITY Sticking to the same theme, Life Labyrinth, riffs on Daniel Buren's Les Deux Plateaux (The Two Levels) in Paris. London studio PATTERNITY's black-and white seating arrangement, mini-maze, and garden is a welcome addition to the entrance of Westminster Cathedral where visitors can rest and children can play with the garden bells and labyrinth itself. Buren's work has been a hit since 1986 and, while being somewhat paired down, Life Labyrinth looks to emulate that success, if only for a week. Day of Design 22 September, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. To mark the end of LDF 2019 there will be a "Day of Design" along Exhibition Road. Closed off to cars for the day, the V&A, alongside the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Imperial College, and the Royal College of Art will fill the street with installations and events centered around solutions to climate change. Don't miss out on the Plastic Pavilion from London designer Seyi Adelekun. The parametric structure is comprised of string, steel mesh and 1,600 plastic bottles—some of which, according to Adelekun, were collected by "raiding neighbors bins." Adelekun told AN she hopes to raise awareness about single-use plastics and how to use them in construction.
No Cars On Campus
Snøhetta unveils new master plan for Ford research campus in Dearborn
Ford Motor Company released initial renderings today for a major remodel and upgrade of its innovation facilities in Dearborn, Michigan. Over the last two years, the Oslo- and New York-based Snøhetta has been working with the automotive giant to develop a new master plan for its 350-acre site, the longtime home of Ford’s Research & Engineering (R&E) Center. According to the design team, the new master plan will consolidate employees in Southeast Michigan into a centralized, walkable campus where interaction, knowledge sharing, and ideation can occur across teams. This is a huge structural change for the automaker’s global headquarters, where open workspaces and access to outdoor gardens and plazas will be available where it wasn’t before. Since the R&E Center was established under a 1946 master plan by Henry Ford II, off-site structures were acquired afterward across the region as the company grew, ultimately dispersing what was once a core group of workers. Today, that lack of focused community is cost-prohibitive and it's proven difficult for creativity to flourish when thousands of people that work together aren’t physically in the same place. Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett brought in Snøhetta to change that by designing what they call a “productive architecture and landscape,” 71 percent of which will be open space, the preservation of existing structures, and new, health-focused facilities. A previously announced 10-year plan to overhaul the site served as the inspiration to build upon the company's many real estate projects and garner new talent through design. “The master plan at its core is a renewed commitment to Ford’s employees,” the architecture firm said in a press release, “creating a people-first workplace that will also prepare the company for another century of innovation as it leads the global automotive industry into a new era of disruption.” When the plan is fully realized, the campus will be able to accommodate over 20,000 employees and boost efficiency. Currently, the campus can hold about 11,000 people and is characterized by car-ridden streets, low-ceiling offices, and unwelcoming iron gates that keep the public from seeing what’s inside. To make space for twice as many workers and create transparency within the Dearborn community, Snøhetta has designed a series of four campus "neighborhoods" and shared, pedestrian-friendly streets that open up the site along its main borders: Oakwood Boulevard, Rotunda Drive, and W. Emdale Street. The focal point of the campus will be “The Hub,” a figure-eight shaped structure coming in 2025 that will house the R&E Center and replace the existing product development center on the northwestern corner of campus. The building will be naturally-lit with open floor plans and feature terraces, roof decks, and courtyards. Amplifying the indoor-outdoor experience for employees will be a defining design move of the entire campus. Another neighborhood, “Exchange,” will sit to the right of The Hub as the more public-facing portion on campus. Snøhetta sees it being used for product display, demonstration, and events. “The Hamlet” will feature workspaces surrounded by nature and ecologies native to Southeast Michigan. It could include edible gardens, playscape or discovery gardens, and more. Lastly, “The Retreat” will provide stand-alone pavilions embedded into a larger landscape that can be used as conference rooms for client meetings as well as actual retreats. Early renderings revealed that Snøhetta will utilize different massing techniques to communicate the type of work being done in the new structures. The design team will also preserve existing buildings on campus wherever they can to integrate them into the new project. Hacket is aiming to complete the overhaul as quickly as possible and to keep the project in line with the previous 2016 plan to wrap construction up by 2026. Meanwhile, Ford will continue its work redeveloping Detroit’s Michigan Central Station in Corktown for 5,000 employees, a project also designed by Snøhetta.
Moving on from #MeToo
Bernhard Karpf, managing principal of Richard Meier's office, has left firm
Bernhard Karpf, the short-lived top executive of Richard Meier & Partners Architects, has officially (and quietly) left the firm, according to The Real Deal (TRD). After nine months of leading the company post-Meier’s groundbreaking #MeToo moment, Karpf is no longer working there. It’s unclear whether this move means Meier is back in the office again leading more work or if other the principals Vivian Lee, Reynolds Logan, or Dukho Yeon will take over operations of the practice. It is extremely odd, however, that, as TRD noted, the spot where Karpf’s photo on the firm’s website has been replaced with Meier’s. A 31-year-career working at the practice resulted in his stepping away with no major recognition for his work or little-to-no immediate reports in the design media. The updated listing of the firm’s Partners page was all that indicated the abrupt change. The firm declined to comment on his decision to leave the firm and instead said: "We thank Bernhardt Karpf for his many years of dedicated service and his wide-ranging work that was part of what made Richard Meier & Partners the world-renown design firm that it is today.” The sequence of events that have occurred—or at least those that have been made public surrounding Meier’s stepping back—is what’s most opaque about the transition of leadership at the firm. Last October, AN reported the 84-year-old celebrity architect would “take a step back from day-to-day activities” after being accused of alleged sexual harassment and assault by his employees. The story broke in The New York Times in March of last year after which Meier, who founded the firm over 50 years ago, took a six-month leave of absence. After half a year passed, Karpf became managing principal, while Lee, Logan, and Yeon were promoted to their current positions. Design partner Michael Palladino continued leading the firm’s Los Angeles office and the other three executives, partner James R. Crawford, and associate partners Mark Sparrowhawk and Alex Wuo, remained in their roles. Despite the upward movement and enhanced leadership of the above, it’s common knowledge that Meier has still had some influence on projects over the last year and has been continuing to build and maintain his network of clients around the world. When asked about Meier’s whereabouts earlier this year by Bloomberg, Karpf said he is still around. “We talk, he’s available,” he admitted, although he's also admitted before that Meier comes into the Midtown Manhattan office twice a week. In February, Karpf told TRD that he was keen to stay at the firm despite the recent controversy for the sake of his clients and all his history there. That same month in the interview with Bloomberg, he said that Meier hadn’t been part of regular operations at the firm for years and that it’s largely the architects in charge and all the employees who deserve the credit for keeping his legacy as a leading designer alive. But Meier's accusers disagree, saying Karpf didn't do enough to stand up for them and that he was in self-preservation mode. At one point, Karpf said the entire story was "last year's news." In spite of Karpf's previous intentions not to leave, six months after these statements he was gone. The firm has yet to publically name a managing principal to replace him.
Curator, art dealer, and writer Henry Urbach has died at the age of 56. The former head of architecture and design at SFMOMA and director of Phillip Johnson's The Glass House passed away after struggling with Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder on Saturday at his home in Tel Aviv, Israel. A native of New Jersey, Urbach received his bachelor’s in the history and theory of architecture from Princeton University and completed two master’s degrees, one in architecture at Columbia University and the other at his alma mater in the former field of study. He opened his own experimental design gallery, Henry Urbach Architecture, in 1997, which quickly expanded his influence and connections within the realm of contemporary art and architecture. There he hosted over 55 exhibitions before closing up shop in New York.
Urbach joined SFMOMA in 2006 as the Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, a position he served in for five years. Among his most famous exhibitions was How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now, a collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro put on during the last few months of his tenure. He also accumulated hundreds of works for SFMOMA’s permanent collection including the inflatable building by Alex Schweder from the 2009 showcase, Sensate: Bodies and Design. From San Francisco, Urbach relocated to the East Coast to oversee The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut, in 2012. AN’s editor in chief Bill Menking spoke with him in 2017 about his career and his recent transition to Tel Aviv for a sabbatical period during which he taught at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and worked on various writing projects. During his near-three decades in the profession, Urbach penned articles for various journals and co-authored books on architectural history, theory, and criticism. He was a contributing editor for Interior Design magazine and wrote for outlets such as The Architect’s Newspaper, Metropolis, Artforum, and more. Urbach is survived by his parents, siblings, his husband and partner of 35 years, Stephen Hartman, and partner of two years, Ronen Amira. Family and friends are asking for donations to be made in his honor to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Thinking of my friend and colleague Henry Urbach who we lost this week. He was an extraordinary person who contributed so much to our field as a leader and thinker. He will be deeply missed and always remembered.— Beatrice Galilee (@_Beatrice) September 16, 2019
Tensions stoked by the increasing wealth inequality of San Francisco have become the subject of a heated (and well documented online) legal debate over the last several months. After it was announced this April that opponents to the city’s largest homeless shelter, the Embarcadero Navigation Center, were determined to undermine the project through a lawsuit they had crowdfunded for, the overseeing San Francisco Superior Court judge decided not to issue a halt to its construction. The project in question, a 200-bed homeless shelter, is already underway on 2.3 acres in The Embarcadero, the strip of land along the city’s eastern shoreline facing Berkeley, and it is projected that it will be finished by the end of this year. The center's construction first caught the attention of the non-profit group Safe Embarcadero For All (SEFA), which argued that the construction of homeless housing in that location would cause “irreparable harm” to the residents of nearby condominiums (one SEFA attorney cited an act of assault against a Watermark resident on August 11th of this year to prove their claim). They then filed a lawsuit against the San Francisco Planning Commission, the state of California, and the city’s Homelessness and Supportive Housing division. Despite their efforts, Judge Ethan P. Schulman claimed that their charges were unfounded and dismissed their case last Monday. The judge found that the construction and operation of the building would not cause harm to the wealthier residents of the neighborhood, as SEFA’s attorneys claimed it would, but instead would provide the homeless community with a safe environment to call their own. In response to several other issues SEFA have taken against the project, Deputy City Attorney James Emery stated that “the project is temporary” and “should the courts ultimately determine the project is unlawful, the site can be restored to its prior use.” Though the future of the homeless shelter remains unclear, the judge’s recent decision makes its completion much more likely than it has been in several months. However, with the sixth-highest income inequality of any U.S. city, tensions between housing shortages and increasing homelessness rates in San Francisco will likely inspire similar litigation as other homeless shelters are considered in its future. Additionally, SEFA may still get there day in court; although the motion to stop construction on the center was denied, the judge has scheduled a follow-up hearing for September 23.
Lights, Camera, Action!
The concrete towers of the New York State Pavilion are ready for restoration
The iconic trio of Observation Towers in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in eastern Queens is getting a long-overdue upgrade. Restoration work on the monolith structures at the New York State Pavilion has reportedly begun according to Untapped Cities. Built for the 1964 World’s Fair, it’s no secret that the Philip Johnson- and Richard Foster-designed project has suffered from serious neglect over the last several decades, but the push to restore it to its original glory is well underway. The Pavilion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 2009, and two years ago, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced its plans to fully restore the small site, making it a safe, walkable and event-centric destination for New Yorkers and tourists once again. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz first dedicated $14.5 million towards the project in 2014, and then the New York City Council and the mayor put aside more funds, bringing the total to $24.1 million. While several smaller albeit major renovation efforts on other parts of the Pavilion have occurred since 2015, including repainting the old steel framework on the Tent of Tomorrow, the project to rehabilitate the three Observation Towers has been five years in the making and physical indicators are finally starting to show. Set to take place over the next one-and-a-half years, work will include repairing all the deteriorating concrete found on the three, semi-stacked structures, as well as transitioning the finish on the plaza level floor from its current terrazzo-style linoleum to a methacrylate coating that will last longer. The external stairway on Tower 3—the tallest at 226 feet—and the internal stairs on all three stacked structures will be reconstructed. In addition, the waning suspension cables on each tower will be replaced and the electrical and drainage infrastructure in the basement of the site will be replaced and revamped respectively. One of the most visible changes set to come to the New York State Pavilion includes the restoration of the architectural lighting both on the towers and on the circular Tent next door. Bright lights will shine down from the bottoms of the observation platforms and columns of all four structures, ensuring the Pavilion’s presence on the night skyline of Queens for years to come. Construction is expected to wrap up in March 2021.
Something Something Radiohead
wHY Architects' new youth center in East Palo Alto will center the community
The work of Los Angeles based firm wHY Architects is known for its simplicity, attention to detail and ethical sourcing of building materials. As the renderings indicate, these sensibilities were all employed in the design of the nearly-completed East Palo Alto Youth Arts & Music Center (YAMC), also known as the EPACENTER. The building will bring much-needed public programs to East Palo Alto, California, which has recently started to shed its notorious public-safety profile. The project was first made possible thanks to the San Francisco-based John & Marcia Goldman Foundation, which purchased the post-industrial marshland site for $3.5 million, with the intention of developing a facility for underserved members of the community. The site is across the street from the recently-built Ravenswood Family Health Center and down the street from College Track, a nonprofit which offers programs to grade school students in the community. wHY Architects was invited to design a multiprogram building on the site in Summer 2015, under the condition that they engage with the area’s youth demographic during an initial eight-month collaborative design process. According to the firm, these engagements were carried out to “build trust and establish expectations for the YAMC, and more importantly, to effectively identify and harness the creative discussions and engagements into the final design.” Additionally, wHY Architects developed the design for the 24,000-square-foot building in collaboration with Hood Design Studio, a social art and design practice founded in Oakland, California. Like many of wHY Architect’s public projects, EPACENTER is altruistic in nature: its programming will address the issue of gentrification by offering spaces for the preexisting community to foster creative production, while many of its building materials are upcycled industrial elements found around the city. As Palo Alto Online expressed during the early phase of its construction, “The center will be an enormous boon for the community, not only as a safe and peaceful space in a city known for its high crime rates, but one where residents struggling against a rising tide of external forces—gentrification, climbing rents, new office buildings—can celebrate and maintain their city's culture as it is today.” The exterior of the building will have a bold presence, including a thick wooden roof structure and boldly colored tilework, while its interior will be airy and light-filled, complete with inviting built-in seating and shaded outdoor spaces. The project is scheduled to wrap up in 2020.
SHoP's Essex Street Market brings food hall glory to the LES
88 Essex Street New York Architect: SHoP Architects 917-881-7096 While food halls are “The Thing” developers build nowadays to lure Instagram-hungry foodies, an O.G. grocery and snack palace quietly thrived for almost 80 years on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The city-owned Essex Street Market, home to dozens of vendors, was a delightful institution where you could buy whole branzini, munch on empanadas, and get a haircut without leaving the building. While vendors thrived, economic pressures compelled the city to move the market from its old location. As of May 2019, the relocated food palace has a shorter name and bigger digs. Designed by New York’s SHoP Architects, the newly christened Essex Market’s slanted, scalloped ceilings echo vaulted subway stations and shed warm light on shoppers who wander between the 37 stalls or hunker down to eat in the mezzanine. SHoP collaborated with Hi-Lume Corp., which packed GFRG into textured molds to form the ceiling’s 3-D patterning. On the floor, ShoP worked with AGL Industries, Inc., a Queens-based steel company, on simple metal frames that vendors tailor to their concepts. Essex Market is part of Essex Crossing, a 20-acre development, with nine buildings and a master plan executed by SHoP. In October, the market will link to The Market Line, a subterranean corridor of food purveyors. Get ready to eat up.
Boris Johnson calls for feasibility study of bridge from Northern Ireland to Scotland
Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has requested a feasibility report to determine if a bridge could be built between Northern Ireland and Scotland. Great Britain’s Channel 4 News reportedly caught wind of Johnson’s request to the Treasury and Department for Transport asking officials to look into building the link over the Irish Sea, an idea he first began seriously touting last year. The idea was initially circulated in early 2018 by architect Alan Dunlop, a well-known Glasgow-based academic-practitioner, historian, and author, when Johnson was first talking about building a 22-mile-long bridge across the English Channel to France. That discussion with French president Emmanuel Macron began as a way to potentially relieve post-Brexit transportation problems. Dunlop studied the possible connection and unveiled an image to go along with his findings at an architecture conference in Scotland last September. Based on his studies, Dunlop believes it’s definitely possible to create a roadway and rail link from the island to Scotland, even though past attempts have never gone anywhere. Dunlop estimates such a project—nicknamed the Celtic Crossing—would cost about $13.2 billion if it spanned the North Irish Sea from the Mull of Kintyre in Campbeltown, Scotland to Torr Head in Northern Ireland, the closest points between the neighboring islands. Right now it takes almost nine hours to get from the northeastern tip in Northern Ireland to the southern tip of the U.K.’s Kintyre Peninsula by car and drivers have to take a ferry. The space between the sites is actually only 12 miles apart. Dunlop has also vocalized the notion that a bridge from Larne, Northern Ireland, to Portpatrick, Scotland, could be an even better location, though it would cost a few billion dollars more and be substantially longer at 21 miles. Johnson has long been known as a supporter of large-scale infrastructure upgrades around the U.K. As mayor of London, he was particularly excited about the now-abandoned scheme designed by Heatherwick Studio to build a Garden Bridge across the Thames river. The proposal quickly became defunct because it proved to be too expensive, and the city’s current Mayor Sadiq Khan cut the program after being elected following Johnson’s exit. A spokesperson told Channel 4 News that it’s no secret that the PM is interested in projects like these that “increase connectivity for people” and “strengthen the union.” At one point during his mayorship, Johnson wanted to build an estuary airport as well. Johnson’s call to conduct a feasibility study for a new Celtic Crossing includes finding out how much it might cost and what risks might be associated with building there—it’s been reported that World War 2 munitions still exist in the Irish Sea. As for Dunlop, he’s fully behind the idea, telling the News Letter that it’s time this project gets a deeper exploration by the U.K. government, but doesn’t want to get too involved with the politics of it all. “There are naysayers who, for whatever reason, don’t like Boris Johnson or they think it would cost too much money,” he admitted to the paper. “The comments are aimed at Boris Johnson and what is happening with Brexit. They don’t have anything to do with the possibility of connecting Scotland and Ireland... I’m trying my very best to stay clear of the politics and look at it from a straightforward architectural and engineering possibility.”