The Gowanus Canal has been in the news a lot lately, with its superfund designation and sunken schooner. The canal and surrounding neighborhood have long fascinated architects and urbanists, and has been the subject of numerous architecture school design studios. A new ideas competition looks to develop that fascination into a series of proposals for the site, which would improve connectivity across and around the polluted waterway and take better advantage of the area's unique history, character, and economic potential. Sponsored by Gowanus By Design, Connections: The Gowanus Lowline competition site area covers the length of the canal from the flushing station at Butler Street to the Nineth Street Bridge and may include the uplands on either side. Entrants may also choose to focus narrowly on the canal corridor. Greg Pasquerelli, David Lewis, Julie Bargmann, Richard Plunz, Andrew Simon, and Joel Towers will serve as jurors. The April 1 registration deadline is approaching, and entries are due on April 17.
Posts tagged with "Competitions":
Chicago may boast one of the country's largest urban solar installations, but it's also home to two polluting coal-fired power plants, the Fisk Generating Station in Pilsen and the Crawford Generating Station in Little Village both operated by Midwest Generation. The two plants emit toxins and advocates say they contribute to elevated asthma rates in those neighborhoods. A new competition ask designers propose solutions to the problem, which could be anything from educational campaigns to remediation strategies. Sponsored by Design Makes Change, the ideas competition calls for "hyperlocal" strategies and asks designers to select specific sites within the neighborhoods, such as an individual school or a healthcare facility. The winner will receive $2000 of seed money toward implementing their proposal. For more listings, head over to our competitions page.
The Berkeley, California and Boston-based team of Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architecture has won a competition for the potential redevelopment 5.5 miles of the Minneapolis Riverfront. Their proposal, called RiverFIRST bested those by rivals Ken Smith, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, and Turenscape, and includes constructed wetlands for stormwater management, manmade islands for habitat, new districts for green industry among other features. While no specific segment of the plan has yet been identified for development, the team will be given a commission by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.
Two new competitions of note explore possible futures for Chicago's public realm. The 2011 Burnham Prize ideas competition sponsored by AIA Chicago and the Chicago Architectural Club calls for new visions for the McCormick Place East building, the 1971 modernist covention center on the lakefront designed by Gene Summers of C.F. Murphy Associates. The massive, Miesian building has a powerful presence on the lakefront, and a vast column-free interior, but parks advocates have long contended it should be removed. Meanwhile, the building's owner, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, says it needs $150 million in repairs and is functionally obsolete. The competition aims to inspire new dialogue around the future of the building and site. The Street Furniture 2011 competition sponsored by Architecture for Humanity's Chicago chapter aims for something more universal, new street furniture that could be deployed to activate almost any vacant site. With a $1000 budget in mind, the competition calls for a piece or pieces of street furniture that could activate an open lot for a year in anticipation of future development as a garden. The furniture could then also be moved to a new site. The winning design will be built and installed at an unnamed location.
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?)
For you last-minute types, the deadline to register for AN and SCI-Arc's Clean Tech Corridor Competition is the end of the day tomorrow. The competition asks architects, landscape architects, designers, engineers, urban planners, students and environmental professionals to create an innovative urban vision for Los Angeles' CleanTech Corridor, a several-mile-long development zone on the eastern edge of downtown LA (which includes a green ideas lab and a Clean Tech Manufacturing Center). Entries should look beyond industrial uses; creating an integrated economic, residential, clean energy, and cultural engine for the city through architectural and urban strategies. That could include not only sustainable architecture and planning, but new energy sources, parks that merge with buildings, new transit schemes, and so on. While registration is due tomorrow, entries are due on September 30. So get a move on!! You can download the brief here.
Sure, sports fields are great. But wouldn't it be cool if your school had a great garden? GOOD Magazine and the LA Unified School District think so too. They're looking for architects as well as teachers, students, parents and anyone else to create affordable, scalable, modular school garden designs that any school can use. There's more to it than you might think. Plans can include not only plants and plant beds but pathways, tool storage, irrigation schemes, greenhouses, benches, seating, trellises, plant beds, paths, trees, potting tables, farmstands, and so on.. It's a great idea to unleash creativity and learning in a place that's so often dominated by tests. Winning designers will attend a one-day workshop with landscape architect Mia Lehrer to refine their proposals, and one garden will be installed in a Los Angeles school by October. Submissions are due by June 15, and the winners will be chosen by July 1.
The competition to improve the grounds and urban connectivity at the St. Louis Arch site has attracted attention from some major talents in architecture, landscape, and engineering. The list of competitors has been trimmed to five: the Michael Van Valkenburgh-led team, the Weiss/Manfredi team, SOM Chicago/Hargreaves/BIG, the Behnisch-led team, and PWP/Foster + Partners/Civitas. The winner will be announced in late September.
Multidisciplinary teams are working to rethink the grounds surrounding the Eero Saarinen-designed Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, better known as the St. Louis Arch, to improve its connectivity with the city and the riverfront. An editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is calling on the teams to substantially rework I-70, which creates a barrier along the park's western edge. When the interstate highway system was being designed, many routes were planned along waterfronts that were then falling out of use for industry and shipping. As waterfronts have come back in fashion as urban amenities, many communities are struggling to work around or remove these highways. The Post-Dispatch advocates removing the 1.5 mile stretch all together. Definitely something for the teams to ponder.
cityLAB, an urban think-tank at UCLA's Department of Architecture and Urban Design, has announced the six finalists of its WPA 2.0 competition. The competition, which stands for working public architecture, invited designers of all stripes to submit proposals for rebuilding our cities' infrastructure as a sort of throwback to the Great Depression-era WPA. Juried by Stan Allen, Cecil Balmond, Elizabeth Diller, Walter Hood, Thom Mayne, and Marilyn Jordan Taylor, the top-six picks run the gamut from heading off an impending water crisis to creating a softer, gentler version of our infrastructure. One finalist, Urban Algae: Speculation and Optimization, Mining Existing Infrastructure for Lost Efficiencies, proposes to harvest CO2 emissions through photosynthesis. Submitted by PORT Architecture + Urbanism, the solution could be rolled out nationwide on coal-fired power plants and toll booths, but the designers also outlined a scheme for creating a public park on floating pontoons between Lower Manhattan and Red Hook, which would harvest emissions from the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Read about the other finalists after the jump. Coupling Infrastructure: Water Ecologies/Economics, submitted by Lateral Office/Infranet Lab, focuses on America's impending water crisis, particularly in southwest cities. Using Salton Sea in California as a case study, the proposal imagines combining recreational activities with economic opportunities such as the production of salt and drinking water on floating "island pods" that serve as platforms. Border Wall as Infrastructure, submitted by Rael San Fratello Architects, investigates unplumbed potentials for the Mexico-U.S. border fence. Costing an estimated $1,325 per linear foot, the barrier structure could incorporate many more useful amenities to offset the negative consequences it has wrought, such as disruption of animal habitat and the diversion of water runoff that has flooded towns. The proposal sets forth 30 alternatives to the plain-Jane obstacle that seek to combat things like the energy crisis and death from dehydration. Some of the suggestions, however, are more artistic in nature, such as the Teeter-Totter wall, which makes a comment on U.S.-Mexico labor relations. 1,000,000,000 Global Water Refugees, submitted by UrbanLab, looks into the possibilities created by the Rust Belt's loss of population combined with its abundance of fresh water. The proposal suggests relocating water-starved populations into underused industrial sites in Milwaukee, Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland. Hydro-Genic City 2020, submitted by Darina Zlateva and Takuma Ono, turns LA's waterworks into energy-generating social nodes. With a lot of solar panels and a little design sense, the proposal creates urban beaches, aquatic parking lots, energy-generating water towers, and mist-infused light rail stations. Local Code: Healing the Interstitial Landscape, submitted by UC Berkeley architecture and urban design professor Nicholas de Monchaux and a team of collaborators, sets its sights on San Francisco's abandoned streets: those no longer maintained by the city. The proposal imagines a network of public parks on these neglected sites, of which there are more than 1,600.
Just a reminder that everyone has until Tuesday, September 1, to make their submissions to the Redesign Your Farmers Market competition launched earlier this month by us, GOOD, The Urban & Enviromental Policy Institute at Occidental College, and the LA Good Food Network. They've updated the submission guidelines, so be sure to check 'em out, as well as three proposals that have already gotten the thumbs up.
Judges of Dwell and inhabitat's Reburbia competition split the difference between fantasy and pragmatism in picking winners out of last week's 20 finalists. Grand prize went to "Frog's Dream," Calvin Chiu's fanciful vision of abandoned McMansions converted into wetlands. Judge Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG readily acknowledged the plan was chosen not in spite of its surrealism, but because of it: "It's poetic, not practical - and that's exactly why this project is positive evidence of how we might really rethink suburbia," he said. But the jury's second favorite was one of the only entries, out of 400, that was a policy proposal rather than a design proposal. "Entrepreneurbia: rezoning suburbia for self-sustaining life," submitted by Urban Nature, F&S Design Studio and Silverlion Design, suggested changing zoning laws to allow small businesses to take root in suburbia. Judge Jill Fehrenbacher, founder of inhabitat, called it "clearly the most practical, cost-effective and energy-efficient proposal submitted to us, and therefore the one which has the biggest potential to effect real change." Coming in third was Forrest Fulton's proposal for turning big box store parking lots into farms, and the winner of last week's online "People's Choice" contest -- garnering 2300 votes -- was Galina Tahchieva's "Urban Sprawl Repair Kit," which devised infill strategies for five common suburban building patterns.