New York firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA) has unveiled plans for an expansion to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The $115 million project will see a variety of new spaces added to the center, including a Welcome Center (60,000 square feet), Covenant Learning Center (20,000 square feet), and two sculpture gardens. “For last two years 750,000 people each year have come out to visit Meijer Gardens. When the current entryway was built, we were getting 200,000 people coming in, so we need to grow,” said President and CEO of the park David Hooker speaking to local news station, WoodTV. "The new facilities will be an amazing expression of our mission never before imagined," he added, speaking in a press release. "We strongly believe the growth of Meijer Gardens will continue and that the organization will thrive for generations to come." Meijer Gardens opened in 1995 and since then has been a success, providing educational programs, housing art, and offering peaceful garden areas to the public. TWBTA's design will allow Meijer Gardens to expand annual horticulture exhibitions, include for galleries for sculptures, and incorporate more event spaces. In addition to this, circulatory space and parking capacity will be increased. Along with the aforementioned spaces, a new Peter C. and Emajean Cook Transportation Center; an expanded and upgraded Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater; a "Scenic Corridor"; outdoor picnic pavilion; and new Padnos Families Rooftop Sculpture Garden will be included in the scheme. “We are deeply honored to be have been selected by Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for this special project,” said Tod Williams of TWBTA in a press release. “From our very first visit, we were struck by the incredible quality of the sculpture collection and its sensitive installation throughout the grounds, as well as by their magnificent Japanese Garden. We saw that the place and the people here are unique.” Ground is expected to break on the project in fall this year with completion due for 2021. So far $102 million of the proposal's projected costs have been raised through donations. A campaign is underway to raise the remaining $13 million in capital.
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The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence has announced its 2015 gold and silver medalists. For the past 27 years, the biennial competition has honored “transformative places distinguished by physical design and contributions to the economic, environmental and social vitality of America’s cities.” This year’s gold medal—and $50,000—goes to Baltimore’s “Miller Court,” an abandoned industrial facility that was transformed into a mixed-use building with housing, and a focus on fostering teachers and education-focused non-profits. The transformation was spearheaded by the Seawall Development Company, Enterprise Community Investment, and Marks, Thomas Architects. The project was completed in 2009. “Aware of the challenges facing the Baltimore school system and professionals entering the field through programs like Teach for America, Seawall sought to build a safe, welcoming community for teachers and a home for allied nonprofits that would strengthen the neighborhood and city,” the Bruner Foundation said in a press release. “Attracting national attention as a model, the project has generated additional investment in Remington and has been replicated in Philadelphia.” Below are the four silver medalists, each of which received $10,000. Falls Park on the Reedy Greenville, South Carolina
From the Bruner Foundation: "The renaissance of a 26-acre river corridor running through the heart of Greenville, restoring public access to the falls and greenspace and catalyzing adjacent downtown development. (Submitted by the City of Greenville)"Grand Rapids Downtown Market Grand Rapids, Michigan
From the Bruner Foundation: "A new downtown public space promoting local food producers and community events, entrepreneurship, and education about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. (Submitted by Grand Rapids Downtown Market)"Quixote Village Olympia, Washington
From the Bruner Foundation: "A two-acre community of 30 tiny houses and a common building that provides permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless adults. (Submitted by Panza)"Uptown District Cleveland, Ohio
From the Bruner Foundation: "The redevelopment of a corridor linking art, educational and health care institutions with surrounding neighborhoods, creating outdoor gathering spaces, retail shops and restaurants, student and market-rate housing, and public transit connections. (Submitted by Case Western Reserve University)"
The Rudy Bruner Awards for Urban Excellence have announced the five finalists for 2015. Founded in 1987, the accolade recognizes urban design, architecture and urban planning projects which address economic and social concerns within their environment. Sponsoring the award is the Bruner Foundation, founded by Massachusetts architect Simeon Bruner who named the award after his late father, Rudy Bruner. Aiming to emphasize the role of architecture in the urban environment, the award identifies and honors places rather than people to advance discourse about how to improve cities. First to receive the award was Pike Place Market in Seattle. Seventy-three places in 25 states have been awarded since. The finalists for the 2015 Rudy Bruner Awards for Urban Excellence are as follows: Falls Park on the Reedy Greenville, SC The renaissance of a 26-acre river corridor running through the heart of Greenville, restoring public access to the falls and green space and catalyzing adjacent downtown development. (Submitted by the City of Greenville.) Grand Rapids Downtown Market Grand Rapids, MI A new downtown public space promoting local food producers and community events, entrepreneurship, and education about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. (Submitted by Grand Rapids Downtown Market.) Miller’s Court Baltimore, MD The redevelopment of a vacant manufacturing building into an affordable and supportive living and working environment for public school teachers and education-focused nonprofits. (Submitted by Enterprise Community Investment.) Quixote Village Olympia, WA A two-acre community of 30 tiny houses and a common building that provides permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless adults. (Submitted by Panza.) Uptown District Cleveland, OH The vibrant redevelopment of a corridor linking art, educational and healthcare institutions with surrounding neighborhoods, creating lively outdoor gathering spaces, retail shops, and restaurants, student and market-rate housing, and public transit connections. (Submitted by Case Western Reserve University.) The finalists and ensuing Gold and Silver Medalists are selected by a nationwide committee of urban experts, including a mayor. The 2015 selection committee includes:
- Rebecca Flora, Sustainable Communities Practice Leader, Ecology & Environment, Chestertown, MD
- Larry Kearns, Principal, Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, IL
- India Pierce Lee, Program Director, Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland, OH
- Mia Lehrer, President, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles, CA
- James Stockard, Lecturer in Housing, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
- Mark Stodola, Mayor, Little Rock, AR