Posts tagged with "charlotte":

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Charlotte’s light rail extension connects UNC Charlotte to the city center

On March 16, Charlotte launched a major extension of the city’s Lynx Blue Line light rail route. The extension comes just over a decade after the Blue Line’s inaugural run in 2007, and connects UNC Charlotte directly to the city center. The light rail line runs along an exclusive right-of-way and is projected to carry a daily ridership of 24,500 by 2035. Architecture and engineering firm STV was the principal firm behind the project's design. In a bid to provide greater physical and visual amenities to transit users and pedestrians, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) set a $4.9 million budget for public art installations. Additionally, the project includes bike lanes, improved sidewalks and green landscaping. The 9.3-mile extension adds 11 new stations to the Blue Line, bringing its total up to 26 stations on 18.9 miles of trackage. Four park-and-ride stations have been constructed as part of the line extension, providing approximately 3,000 spaces to reduce vehicular congestion of the I-85. Further intermodal opportunities are planned with the integration of the CATS bus services from neighborhoods adjacent to the light rail stations. As reported by the Charlotte Observer, funding for the $1.1 billion project came from the federal government, providing half of the budget, with the city and state splitting the remainder. The LYNX Blue Line is one of two light rail lines operated by the CATS, the other being the 1.5-mile CityLYNX Gold Line. Total daily ridership of CATS is just over 80,000, a figure expected to grow exponentially with an anticipated expansion of the Gold Line, as well as the development of an entirely new light rail line and commuter rail line connecting the city center to Charlotte's northern suburbs. In an press conference reported by WFAE, CATS CEO John Lewis estimated the budget of these three transportation projects to be between $5 to $8 billion. In line with the growing trend of transit-oriented development, Charlotte’s municipal government has rezoned areas surrounding new stations. According to BISNOW, hundreds of acres of mixed-use development, in varying states of completion, have already cropped up around the rail line extension.
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Snøhetta and Clark Nexsen to design new public library in Charlotte

Snøhetta and Clark Nexsen have been selected to design a new main branch for the Charlotte, North Carolina public library system. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the official name for the public library system serving Charlotte and adjacent municipalities, includes 20 locations across Mecklenburg County and serves about one million patrons.  Snøhetta, which is based in Oslo and New York, is the design architect, while Charlotte-based Clark Nexsen is the architect of record. The team also includes brightspot strategy, a consulting firm that will the community engagement effort. The same team previously collaborated on the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University in 2013, pictured below. This is one of four North American libraries Snøhetta is designing right now.  The new structure is intended to be a "public commons" that will inform the library's future programming, partnerships, and overall vision. According to Snøhetta, the Main Library structure–originally constructed in 1903 and replaced by another structure in the 1950s–will be demolished and replaced once more by the new design. No renderings are available at this time. "Libraries are more popular today than they have ever been, serving a wider range of needs than access to books only,” said ays Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta, in a prepared statement. “The architecture of libraries is also changing and Charlotte’s new library will lead the way in showing how a city and its core of knowledge can be open, welcoming and intriguing for decades to come." The library has earmarked $65 million in public funding for the project through the 2019 Mecklenburg County Capital Improvement Program. Private fundraising through the community will occur on an ongoing basis, but as of now, there is no set timeline for demolition or construction.
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Wilmore Resident Wins Grant For Edible Walkway Project

Kris Steele’s “Edible Walkway” proposal to bring an urban orchard to Charlotte, NC was one of two recipients of the Keep Charlotte Beautiful (KCB) neighborhood beautification grants announced in May. Steele’s proposal was approved over 34 other proposals by KCB and received an endowment of $2,500 to get the plan moving. Steele’s project will tear down an old, rusty fence at Kingston Avenue and South Mint Street and replace it with a new fence and a variety of fruit-bearing trees and bushes. The project will be overseen by the Wilmore Neighborhood Association, the Calvary United Methodist Church, and Casteen Lawn and Tree. It has not yet been decided what types of trees and shrubberies will be planted along the walkway but there have been mentions of pear trees, apple trees, and peach trees among others. Planting is scheduled to begin sometime this upcoming autumn, with some trees possibly bearing fruit as soon as next spring. The urban orchard project is part of a growing trend in cities across North America to bring productive agriculture to sites in urban areas. Chicago, Edmonton, and Boston have recently begun projects of their own.
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Perkins + Will folds in Freelon Group Architects, expands North Carolina practice

  Design giant Perkins + Will has swallowed up Freelon Group Architects, one of the country’s most prominent African American–led firms. The firms announced Tuesday that North Carolina–based Phil Freelon will help lead Perkins + Will’s design efforts in the region and globally. The local head of the combined practice will have nearly 80 professionals, creating one of the largest architecture and design practices in North Carolina. Freelon started his firm in 1990, growing it from a single-person practice to 45 employees. P+W will combine 18 staff members at an office in Morrisville, NC with Freelon’s office in Durham, as well as a 15-person staff in Charlotte. Freelon Group is best known for its work on the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, which they designed with David Adjaye, Davis Brody Bond Aedas, and SmithGroup. The museum is targeting a 2015 opening. Freelon’s firm also worked on the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History and Culture in Baltimore, and the Atlanta Center for Civil and Human Rights. “There’s a sense that we’re contributing to society as a whole, and making people’s lives better through our buildings in my firm, and Perkins + Will—there’s a lot of public sector clients there,” Freelon told the Durham Herald-Sun’s Laura Oleniacz. “We feel good about creating design excellence and beauty for everyday people.”
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On View> “Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory” at the Bechtler

Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory Bechtler Museum of Modern Art Charlotte, NC Through July 25, 2014 The architect Mario Botta is known for his postmodern or idiosyncratic country houses, churches, and institutional buildings in the Ticino region of Switzerland and Europe. He actually worked in the studio of Le Corbusier as a young man and his work is clearly indebted to Carlo Scarpa and, like many Italian architects of his generation, Louis Kahn. He has workedthroughout his career in a small regional outpost of Lugano and has stood against the mainstream of modern, commercial and avant-garde ideas and trends and produced buildings that can only be called "Bottan." In 2005, he told Guardian writer Jonathan Glancy that architecture "is a way of resisting the loss of identity, a way of resisting the banalisation, the flattening of culture brought about by the consumerism so typical of modern society. In this sense, architecture is more an ethical than an aesthetic phenomenon." Botta has described his own buildings as "post-antique" in an attempt to step outside of postmodernism. His singular approach and style can be seen in San Francisco where he designed the SFMOMA in 1994, a commission he won in a competition that included Frank Gehry. In 2010, Botta completed a second American project, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Museum has just opened Mario Botta: Architecture and Memory, an exhibition on the Swiss architect's career. There are more than 200 objects on view in the gallery including letters and sketches by architects and others who have influenced Botta. Included in this "Encounters" section are artworks from the Bechtler collection created by artists who have inspired Botta such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Tinguely, Alexander Calder, and Pablo Picasso.
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Charlotte Prepares To Open Romare Bearden Park On Labor Day Weekend

In the business-oriented district of Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina, LandDesign landscape architects and Seattle-based artist, Norie Sato, have collaborated on the design of a new 5.4-acre park inspired by the life and work of native artist, Romare Bearden. The Charlotte Observer reported that the public space located in Third Ward will serve as a venue for concerts and cultural events in effort to revitalize the area’s currently dull after-work scene. Scheduled for a grand three-day opening this upcoming Labor Day weekend, Romare Bearden Park includes open greens, gardens, courtyards, a play area, and water features within its conceptual inspiration. Bounded by MLK Jr. Boulevard, Mint, Church, and Fourth streets, the park stands in an area once home exclusively to industrial offices and gravel lots. However, since the Charlotte City Center Partners began the 2020 Vision Plan for growth and development of the city, it has now taken on a more mixed-use identity. Nearby are the Bank of America Stadium, the Federal Courthouse, and the BB&T Ballpark. Romare Bearden, an internationally-renowned twentieth-century visual artist, lived in the immediate area during his childhood in Charlotte. Although the new park’s design is not meant as a memorial, Sato and LandDesign have incorporated elements within it that evoke his artistic work and life. In a conceptual theme of "Burden and Memory," the designers hope Romare Bearden Park induces visitors to entertain thoughts inspired by Bearden: from the Paris Memory courtyard, prompted by his influential time spent in Paris, to the Memory Walk along Church Street constructed of colorful pavement reminiscent of his artworks. The park was originally set to open mid-June; but the completion was postponed due to weather delays. The three-day roster of events includes concerts, children’s activities, and artistic occasions. Mecklenberg Parks and Recreation Director Jim Garges told the Charlotte Observer that last week, about 90 percent of the landscaping and the paved work had been completed and that construction is on schedule. He was confident in the park’s ability to bolster interest in the area, “People aren’t laughing anymore about uptown. It’s become the place to be.”
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Obama Selects Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx As Next DOT Secretary

White House officials revealed on Sunday that Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx will be named President Barack Obama’s next Secretary of the Department of Transportation, replacing outgoing Secretary Ray LaHood. The Charlotte Observer reported that Foxx rose to prominence last year when his city hosted the Democratic National Convention, and has garnered continued attention for his efforts to tackle Charlotte’s transportation challenges, from expanding the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, to extending the city’s light-rail system, and brining street cars to the city-center. The 42-year old Mayor was first elected in 2009, then re-elected in 2011 with 70 percent of the vote. Earlier this month Foxx announced that he would be leaving office at the end of the year to spend more time with his family, though now it appears those plans have changed. If his nomination is confirmed, Foxx will assume his position July 4th.
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QUICK CLICKS>Palace 4 Sale, College Towns, Barbie House

Big Deals. It's a week of very big deals in NYC as The New York Times reported that Condé Nast signed on the dotted line to move in to One World Trade, and The Wall Street Journal broke the story that The Palace is under contract to be sold to Northwood Investors for $400 million. While across town at The Plaza, the drama continues to unfold with news that landlord Miki Nafti is stepping down and the Oak Room is closing. Grad Towns. With commencements commencing, many would rather forget that college grads are having a pretty hard time finding work. But a recent search for the ten best college towns from Kiplinger made job opportunities in the college towns part of the criteria.  NYC came in first, despite the "sky high rents," Charlotte and Baltimore followed with their relatively low cost and robust growth. Open Call. The AIA has announced that My Architect Barbie needs a house. Through the contest to "design a house that meets her guidelines" architects may find the client surprisingly demanding, "With more than 125 careers, I need a spacious office," says the eight- inch wonder. A big back yard needs to accommodate all her pets, including the giraffe.