The Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago announced the winners of its “Active Union Station” competition, which is meant to enliven the railroad hub's underused public spaces. Although it’s the nation’s third busiest train station and gets more daily traffic than Midway Airport, Chicago's Union Station remains basically a waypoint on a longer trip. Two winners and a runner-up hope to change that. “Blah Blah Blob!” will take over the Plaza of Fifth Third Center, and “trainYARD” will sprout in the Great Hall. “I Searched High and Low for You” is the runner-up. The visual inspiration for Latent Design & Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative’s “Blah Blah Blob!” is, in part, the rip-stop nylon canvas elementary school teachers used to inflate around giddy students during recess. “Remember how much fun this was?” asks the entry’s visual plan. “Yeah, you do.” Astroturf completes the experience inside the brightly colored blob, which will move around the plaza throughout the exhibit’s duration. “trainYARD” brings the park lawn indoors, “putting it right in the middle of their daily routine.” The design by SPACETIME includes recycled-grass areas for tetherball, croquet and bocce, as well as picnic tables and lawn chairs. Runner-up “I Searched High and Low for You,” by Ann Lui and Craig Reschke, envisions a slew of red hammocks along Union Station’s Canal Street arcade, slung over a row of what appear to be floating orbs high overhead. Their appearance would be striking, acting as a “beacon for the city,” and a gallery of hammocks — not to mention their almost sculptural accent to the arcade’s parade of columns — would bring some activity to a lonely corridor. View the full list of entries here. The winners will receive $5,000 to implement their ideas between Aug. 24 and Sept. 2. Fifth Third Bank sponsored the competition, which served as the Metropolitan Planning Council’s fifth annual Placemaking Contest.
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Non-profit ArtPlace America has awarded creative placemaking grants to 54 recipients who were selected from more than 1,200 applicants. Totaling $15.2 million, the grants will support art projects in 44 neighborhoods across the United States, as well as a statewide project in Connecticut. Grant amounts range from $33,000 to $750,000, with the average grant at approximately $280,000. The idea behind the grants is to assist in turning urban communities into more welcoming and prosperous places for present and future residents through art and design projects. ArtPlace America is a partnership of national and regional foundations, as well as banks and federal agencies dedicated to encouraging creative placemaking. The partnership believes that art can be an essential part of revitalizing neighborhoods. Integrating art and design in public spaces, the theory goes, can help communities imagine new futures, hopefully ones that lead to redevelopment and the strengthening of businesses and the economy. Peruse the complete list and images of ArtPlace America 2013/2014 grants online. Office of Neighborhood Development: $250,000 Performing Arts Center Trust Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL From ArtPlace America: Building on momentum from its publicly-embraced master plan and the burst of public and private investment in its once-dormant neighborhood, the Adrienne Arsht Center will become one of the first major performing arts centers in the country to create its own Office of Neighborhood Development dedicated to accelerating and sustaining the creative evolution of its rapidly-changing, downtown Miami surroundings. Broad Avenue Water Tower Depot: $350,000 Binghampton Development Corp/Historic Broad Business Association, Memphis, TN From ArtPlace America: Binghampton Development Corporation and Historic Broad Business Association will transform an active warehouse loading dock on Historic Broad Avenue into an outdoor arts venue, convert a 140 foot tall water tower into an iconic public art beacon and activate The Water Tower Depot with eight weekends of community dance, followed by eight months of community-based programming. Old Town Artists Residency: $150,000 Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer, AK From ArtPlace America: Old Town Artists Residency program will galvanize the community around Homer’s Old Town neighborhood through the creation and presentation of new work by artists in residence that activates the arts center’s space and surrounding outdoor sites including the Old Town People’s Garden Greenway. 12th Avenue Arts: $150,000 Capitol Hill Housing Foundation, Seattle, WA From ArtPlace America: Capitol Hill Housing will develop the new 12th Avenue Arts building, transforming a 29,000 sq ft surface parking lot on Seattle’s Capitol Hill into a vibrant mixed-use development combining arts, housing, retail and public safety uses. The Great Chicago Fire Festival: $250,000 Redmoon Theater, Chicago, IL From ArtPlace America: Redmoon will conceptulize, plan, implement, and produce the inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival, a city-wide ephemeral placemaking event developed in partnership with the City of Chicago. Pittsburgh Central Northside Artway Connector: $300,000 City of Asylum Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA From ArtPlace America: Through permanent and temporary public artworks, community-based residencies for international artists, and free multi-lingual literary and jazz performances, City of Asylum/Pittsburgh will bring vacant properties and public spaces to life in a joyful walkway that celebrates the liberating power of creative expression and draws residents and tourists to the community’s soon-to-be redeveloped Federal-North business district. CoSign: $200,000 American Sign Museum, Cincinnati, OH and Covington, KY From ArtPlace America: The American Sign Museum will expand its innovative CoSign initiative that pairs artists, small businesses, and sign fabricators to design and install a critical mass of unique handcrafted signage in neighborhood business districts by refining its process and materials and testing implementation in two additional neighborhoods. It will also create a toolkit to help communities replicate CoSign locally and nationally. The Idea Foundry in Franklinton: $350,000 Franklinton Development Association, Columbus, OH From ArtPlace America: The dynamic and acclaimed “makerspace,” the Columbus Idea Foundry will become a partner and anchor tenant in a completely renovated neighborhood warehouse. With neighbors consisting of the Center of Science and Industry museum and a burgeoning arts collective, The Idea Foundry will complete an innovation triangle in Franklinton that blends the arts, the sciences and enterprise. OhHeckYeah: $200,000 Brian Corrigan, Denver, CO From ArtPlace America: OhHeckYeah transforms public space into a temporary street arcade that leverages the power of play to promote Denver’s cultural offerings while amplifying the community’s creative talent. Silent Lights: $33,000 Artist Build Collaborative, Brooklyn, NY From ArtPlace America: Working in partnership with NYCDOT, Artist Build Collaborative will install Silent Lights, a series of six gates that light up sequentially based on the intensity of sound and vibrations from oncoming traffic, to a safer, inviting experience for pedestrian commuters as they traverse a loud, poorly lit and busy underpass linking Red Hook, Brooklyn to its closest subway stop. The Walter Soboleff Center: $475,000 Sealaska Heritage Institute, Juneau, AK From ArtPlace America: The Walter Soboleff Center, a 29,000 square foot cultural arts center, will stand in the center of downtown Juneau, adjacent to the historic district, one block from the waterfront, and in close proximity to the State Capitol and the shops and restaurants frequented by residents, the legislature, and hundreds of thousands of tourists whose cruise ships dock at the wharf each summer. Through its design and programming the Center will establish Juneau as the primary destination for authentic Alaskan Native art experiences.
The Denver Architectural League asked architects and designers from across the world to reimagine the micro-apartment on a riverfront site by designing an eight-unit structure that diverges from the uninspired design of multi-family housing elsewhere in the community. Their Micro Housing Ideas Competition generated over 100 entries and a jury selected ten proposals for special distinction. The competition was inspired by a concern regarding a shortage of innovation present in Denver’s multi-family housing market. Members of the design community were given the opportunity to rework and establish the future of this specific sector. The first place award of $3,000 was presented to Studio de Arquitectura y Ciudad based in Querétaro, Mexico for a project titled “Micro Urban.” Tadeja Vidoni, Lea Ritonja & Inez Goessens of Alicante, Spain received second place for a projected called “Micro Units.” "Microhousing/Macropossibilities" by A43 Arquitectura from Vila Niva de Gaia, Portugal and a proposal by Ahmed Hamdi Architects from Cairo, Egypt earned Honorable Mention for their submissions. All of the entries are available for viewing online. An exhibition of all the submissions opened on May 10 in Denver at the Temenos Gallery inside the design studio of Roth Sheppard Architect and will remain open for viewing through June 21, 2013.
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has announced five finalists for the Urban Open Space Award, a competition identifying exceptional examples of flourishing public open spaces that have encouraged economic and social rejuvenation within their neighborhoods. To qualify for the competition, projects must have been open to the public for a minimum of one year and a maximum of fifteen years. The open spaces must also be situated predominately outside, offer ample and diverse seating, sun and shade, and plantings, among other specific requirements. Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pictured at top) New York, New York Project Owner: Brooklyn Bridge Park Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates From ULI: More than 32 acres have been built, including Pier 1, Pier 5, Pier 6, Squibb Park and Bridge, and Jane’s Carousel. New elements include Pier 5, the park’s first active recreation pier, and Squibb Park Bridge, which provides a vital circulation link to the surrounding community and public transit. The park’s greenway serves as a major connective thread through the park and along Brooklyn’s East River waterfront. Cumberland Park Nashville, Tennessee Project Owner: Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation Department Lead Design Consultant: Hargreaves Associates From ULI: Cumberland Park demonstrates Nashville’s commitment both to its children and to sustainability through brownfield remediation, floodplain preservation, stormwater harvesting, improved biodiversity, and interpretation of cultural and natural resources. It is a park that showcases its distinctive site qualities to attract families for imaginative play, events, and interaction with Nashville’s rich riverfront history. Cumberland Park and the neighboring redeveloped Bridge Building are the first constructed phases of a master plan prioritized to draw residents and visitors back to the river and downtown. The Village on False Creek Vancouver, British Columbia Project Owner: City of Vancouver Designer: PWL Partnership Landscape Architects From ULI: Located on a previously industrialized 80-acre waterfront site, The Village on False Creek, Vancouver’s premier sustainable neighborhood, exemplifies a new green-infrastructure-based approach to the public realm through the introduction of restored natural environments into a highly urban community. The public realm is composed of Hinge Park, Habitat Island, a waterfront park, and neighborhood streets. Together they provide multiple and varied recreational opportunities while acting as kidneys for the neighborhood, cleansing stormwater runoff before it reaches the ocean. The Yards Park Washington D.C. Project Owner: District of Columbia Designer: M. Paul Friedberg & Partners; Developer: Forest City From ULI: The goals of Yards Park are to bring Washingtonians to the Anacostia River, provide a transformative and vibrant public space, and generate social, economic, and ecological value. Yards Park offers an eclectic blend of human-scale experiences; active and passive spaces; custom furniture, shade structures, and plantings; and differentiated elements such as a sculptural bridge, public art by Jamie Carpenter, and various circulation paths and water features. In 5.7 acres, Yards Park eschews monumental scale for a series of outdoor rooms that rotate around central organizing elements of water and topographic change. Its programming strategy includes both large-scale festivals and smaller gatherings. Yards Park serves as cultural anchor to the Yards and the greater Capitol Riverfront area, reconnecting the city’s grid to the water. Wilmington Waterfront Park Wilmington, California Project Owner: Port of Los Angeles Designer: Sasaki Associates From ULI: Wilmington Waterfront Park, comprising nearly 30 acres, mediates the relationship between the residential neighborhood of Wilmington and the intensely active Port of Los Angeles. Reclaiming derelict, industrial brownfield land as new public open space, the park serves as a new recreational amenity while mitigating the threat of hazardous environmental waste, air and noise pollution, and dangerous industrial traffic from neighborhood streets. The park provides a safe, accessible new public realm; celebrates the vibrant community culture; interprets the site’s past; and creates a new memorable destination within a previously underserved neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts announced the recipients of their 2013 Grants to Individuals Friday. Half of the 60 international grantees were present for the awards ceremony in Chicago May 29, and were congratulated by Stanley Tigerman, a former recipient himself. Chosen from more than 600 submissions, the winning entries were nothing if not diverse. Click through for a full list of grantees, but a brief report of a few who were in attendance: Anthony Titus’ “Twisted Siblings” explores the relationship between modern architecture and painting, tying Daniel Libeskind to Juan Gris, Rem Koolhaas to László Moholy-Nagy and Zaha Hadid to El Lissitzky, among others. Edwin Chan & Piero Golia designed The Chalet, a gritty Hollywood warehouse turned postmodern alpine lodge and art gallery. White oak timber blocks arranged in different patterns act as benches, blocking or amphitheater seats. Deborah Stratman explores her fascination with sinkholes — a philosophical meditation applicable to everything from the foreclosure crisis to “metaphysical terror” itself. When something you trust, or take for granted, suddenly gives way to an interminable pit, you have one of Stratman’s “Subsurface Voids.”
Tonight, Gowanus by Design (GbD), a community-based urban advocacy group, will launch a new exhibition showing award winners and other selected entries of its Water Works Competition at The Old American Can Factory Gallery in Brooklyn. The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on May 22 from 6:30 to 9:00p.m. The intent of GbD's competition was to design a new community resource to replace the site of the old Douglas Degraw pool with a Combined Sewer Overflow retention facility. After considering over 250 entries submitted from more than 20 countries, the jury, in search of entries that successfully dealt with matters of architectural design, community programming, and urban ecology, determined that no particular entry entirely addressed the numerous and complex challenges presented by the competition brief. Therefore, the jurors announced three winners in three categories: Urban Ecology, Architectural Design, and Community Programming. With an increased likelihood that the Douglass and Degraw Street pool will be demolished to suitably remediate the heavily contaminated soil underneath, the group jumped at a chance to contemplate a new urban typology. The competition jury included Richard Plunz, David J. Lewis, Robert M. Rogers, Andrew Simons and Joel Towers. The competition emphasized community advancement within a toxic waterway context: “Can a new community center and remediation facility on a heavily contaminated State Superfund site be designed to strengthen the urban infrastructure and educate the community about environmental challenges facing the area?”
The annual Cleveland Design Competition, organized by architects Micahel Christoff and Bradley Fink, called on designers to imagine a revitalized Detroit-Superior Bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River. The jury unanimously awarded first prize to two submissions that highlighted the bridge as a catalyst for urban reinvigoration. “Transforming The Bridge” asked competitors to redesign the abandoned lower deck of the bridge, also known as Veterans Memorial Bridge, which connects downtown Cleveland with its industrial Flats neighborhood and west side. “Bridgewalk” from New York’s Archilier Architecture (represented by Kai Sheng, Donghwan Moon, Changoso Park and Tinxing Tao) divided the bridge, which they called “vital connective tissue,” into three strata—skywalk, bridgewalk, and riverwalk—and five zones linked to the planned Cuyahoga Towpath Trail. From the project description:
“A continuous pedestrian pathway, beginning at the river’s edge, climbs through the bridge structure emerging at the crest of the arch to enjoy spectacular views of downtown Cleveland and Lake Superior [sic].”Austin’s Ashley Craig, Edna Ledesma and Jessica Zarowitz celebrated the public space another way. “SuperiorPoint-scape” would reinvent the bridge as a destination for education and physical activity. Their interventions are intentionally minimal, according to the submission description, but emphasize water systems from the Cuyahoga River below to added elements along the bridge’s lower deck itself.
Last week AN revealed Neil Denari's winning scheme for the $140 million Keelung Harbor Service Project, a plan to redevelop the Taiwan city's underexploited waterfront for arts, office, recreation, and industrial uses. Above and below is one of the impressive runners up, the scheme by P-A-R (Platform for Architecture + Research) and Sériès et Sériès along with local architect Ricky Liu Associates. The project consisted of a cargo building, a 20-story office complex, and a three-story cruise ship terminal, all connected via a sloping, faceted landscape. The shimmering glass office, which tapered sharply at points like a gem, was designed to reflect and frame the area. Its large opening would create a new public plaza and frame the axis between the land and the water. A large cantilever would provide views of the harbor and of the mountains beyond. The terminal, meant to provide open space for travelers and for the general public, would be topped and sided with a lush garden and punctured by three large atria. Its folded volumes would not only initiate a dialogue with passing ships but provide maximum exposure to daylight. The other short-listed teams for the project were Asymptote (which lost by half a percentage point, according to one source), ACDF, from Canada; and Mecanoo Architecten, from the Netherlands. Click on a thumbnail below to launch the slideshow.
Starchitect Daniel Libeskind will help judge this year’s Detroit by Design competition to design public spaces along the Detroit River. AIA’s Detroit Chapter is a sponsor of the competition, which will focus on the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center, and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. The site includes an entrance to the tunnel to Canada, the Port Authority Building, and Hart Plaza—a 14-acre space at the heart of downtown. Submissions are open through November 30. If Libeskind and the other jurors like your design, you could win $5,000 and a trip to the Motor City.
We learn from our friends at Curbed that Los Angeles' Sixth Street Viaduct Competition, replacing one of the most famous—and fragile—landmarks in LA, has a shortlist. The 3,500-foot-long, art deco span was recently deemed beyond repair, and the winner will build a $401 million, cable-stayed bridge in its place. The teams, all present at an LA Bureau of Engineering meeting last night, are AECOM, ARUP, HNTB, Parsons, Parsons Brinckerhoff, and SOM. Three of those teams will present their plans in September, with a winner chosen in October.
LA radio station KCRW is challenging designers to put together a portable sound booth to collect stories for its program Sonic Trace, which explores questions about community and immigration. Producers will be toting the booth all over LA's diverse communities (ideally on the roof of their VW Wagoneer), from Koreatown to South Central, so it's got to be lightweight and hearty. Hurry because submissions are due on June 8!
If a whole flock of ghostly animals starts appearing in downtown New York this fall, don't panic. It’ll just mean that the public picked Chris Shelley’s design “…of special concern” as a winner in the Buildings and Cultural Affairs Departments' urbancanvas competition, which solicited ideas for decorating the construction fences, sidewalk sheds, scaffolding and cocoons that act as eyesores on seemingly every New York City street. From today through October 1, you can vote for your favorite of the eight finalist designs, whittled down by a professional jury from a starting pool of over 700 entries, with the most popular four selected to appear around the city later this fall. The range of design strategies is broad, with Jen Magathan’s trompe-l'oeuil sky in “My Urban Sky" making buildings disappear, and Mauricio Lopez and Jesse T. Ross’s kaleidoscopic "Color Mesh" making them jump out from the streetscape. Shelley’s design adds an unusual interactive component, pairing the silhouettes of five local endangered species with a bar-code panel on the corner of the screen. When a visitor scans the bar code with her iPhone, it will take her to a website with the full endangered species list. After voting closes, property owners, contractors and businesses will be allowed to select a design from the four winners and print it on any temporary protective structures installed on City-owned property. (They also have the option of printing their construction screens with an image of the project being built, but where’s the fun in that?)