After several years of planning and 15 months of renovation, Cleveland Public Square reopened to the public last Thursday. The dramatic $50 million restoration of the 6-acre park offers a variety of opportunities for public programming and activities; it has even helped prompt a series of residential and commercial construction projects in the city’s center. James Corner Field Operations has completely transformed the park: Ontario Street is now permanently closed between South Roadway and Rockwell Avenue; Superior Avenue is used exclusively for transit; corners of intersections and formerly paved areas have been converted to green lawn. The design also includes a fountain in the park’s center which will serve as an ice rink in the winter, a wide range of vegetation, and extensive walkways. LANDStudio and the Group Plan Commission, two civic groups, oversaw the project’s financing and construction. The extensive restoration consisted of the reconstruction of water, electrical, and communication infrastructure below ground and above ground construction that converted the roadways into a pedestrian corridor. The opening comes just before the Republican National Convention to be held in Cleveland.
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A new installation at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. gives visitors an icy antidote to the city’s hot summer temperatures, which are expected to surge up to 100 degrees. Dubbed ICEBERGS, the exhibit lets visitors explore an underwater world of snow and ice. The exhibit, designed by the landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations, consists of “icebergs” made from reusable construction materials and a 50-foot “water line” topped by an airy outpost above. The total space of the exhibition is over 12,000 square feet. In addition to exploring icebergs and caves, guests can try a Japanese shaved ice snack called kakigori courtesy of Daikaya restaurant. Last summer the National Building Museum exhibited the Snarkitecture-designed THE BEACH, which featured a massive ball pit that encouraged visitors young and old to go play. THE BEACH also had a 50-foot “shoreline” with umbrellas and beach chairs, and a mirrored wall that made the sea of close to 1 million translucent plastic balls seem to go on forever. This glacial, underwater world contrasts with the hot, sticky Washington DC summer, but it’s also a reminder of climate change. “Such a world is both beautiful and ominous,” said James Corner Field Operations’ founder and director James Corner, “given our current epoch of climate change, ice-melt, and rising seas.” Learn more about the exhibit here.
Nonprofit Cleveland-based LAND Studio has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation to install temporary outdoor art over the course of three years. The installations have been designed by Italian art collective Cracking Art Group. Art will be displayed in the city's Public Square, currently in the final stages of a $50 million overhaul by New York Firm James Corner Field Operations. The Mall and balconies and garden of the main Cleveland Public Library will also be used as locations. Based in Milan, Cracking Art Group are well known for interspersing brightly-colored oversized animals across the city. Clevelanders can expect huge yellow snails or mobs of pink meerkats to invade the ten-acre civic space, adding a vibrant dash of color to the scene. Other animal additions include groups of swallows, wolves, frogs, and a red elephant, are set to be the showpiece focal point of the installation. Rising to some eight feet high, the elephant, the symbol of the GOP, will welcome Donald Trump and co. to the area for the Republican National Convention this year on July 18. Being made from plastic, the colorful animals will not be fixed to the ground, allowing for children to interact with them though LAND Studio acknowledge that this means some could be stolen. Others, meanwhile, will be weighed down with sand to keep them in place. "The choice of recyclable plastic for its aesthetic appeal shows acceptance of the inevitability that our world is becoming increasingly artificial," say Cracking Art Group on their wesbite. "The artworks are designed to inspire a community-wide conversation about the importance and the environmental impact of recycling, while leaving a potent artistic trace." Before the installation can go up, however, the the city's Landmarks Commission has to award approval to the finalized proposals, though it was reported that "stakeholders, including the city, have already weighed in." Even when the animals leave the area however, LAND Studio, who are working alongside fellow stakeholders Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, James Corner Field Operations and Nelson Nygaard hope that their colorful impact will remain with Public Square that they will essentially inaugurate. "Public Square will be transformed from four individual quadrants into a singular public park that can be used throughout the year for a wide range of programs and events," they say. "Landscape and design will create a soft colorful space that invites people in and encourages them to stay. The Square will include pedestrian pathways, green spaces for concerts and events, areas to sit and lounge, a water feature, a café and restrooms. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument will remain, but will be integrated into the overall park and become more accessible." The display by Cracking Art will feature 376 of the group's standard creatures, plus a bright red elephant, standing more than, which begins July 18.
Here’s the first look at the four final designs by Agence Ter and team, James Corner Field Operations with Fredrick Fischer and Partners, SWA and Morphosis, and wHY and Civitas for LA’s Pershing Square. Angelenos are being invited to comment on the finalists’ proposals over the next few weeks as Pershing Square Renew, a collection of designers, business leaders, and officials civic leaders, seeks to redevelop the centrally-located, five-acre square at the heart of Downtown LA. The teams of finalists hail from an original pool of ten groups that presented work to the nonprofit in October of 2015. That grouping was reduced to four teams in December, with those finalists' final submissions are now vying for the final selection, to be announced in May. The proposals are shown below and will be formally presented to the public at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles on April 28th at a sold out event. See Pershing Square Renew’s website for updates on further public viewings.
Residential towers are rising on the banks of the East River in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. It's easy to forget that, in the middle of the river, development at Cornell University's New York City campus on Roosevelt Island is speeding ahead. The Bridge at Cornell Tech, designed by Weiss/Manfredi, topped off Monday. That building will have a partial green roof and a photovoltaic array to produce energy for campus. Stepped lawns leading up to the entrance encourage the building's program of spontaneous social interaction to spill out onto the street. https://youtu.be/PFRIKri9Y_c Along with Cornell Tech phase one buildings, the Bridge is set to open summer 2017. When complete, the 12-acre campus on Roosevelt Island will be the home of hundreds of Cornell faculty and staff, and around 2,000 students. The master plan, executed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) with James Corner Field Operations, calls for a "river-to-river" campus with 2.5 acres of public space and ten buildings that perform to a high environmental standard. The video above gives a sense of scale and layout of the development. Phase one buildings include the Bloomberg Center, an open-plan academic facility designed by Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects. The Center, which aims to be one of the largest net-zero energy buildings in the U.S., takes its design cues from the collaborative workspaces of Silicon Valley. Handel Architects designed a student, faculty, and staff residence with an ambition to become the world's first residential Passive House high-rise.
Minneapolis’ James Corner–designed Nicollet Mall redevelopment project has hit a speedbump as an initial construction bid has come in at over $24 million over the $35 million construction budget. The Nicollet Mall is a 50-year-old pedestrian and transit street in the heart of Minneapolis. Historically the commercial center of the city, the mall was given over to pedestrians, buses, and taxis in 1965 in an attempt to bring shoppers back from the suburbs, and the growing popularity of enclosed malls. Edina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis, is home to the first enclosed modern mall in the U.S., designed by Victor Gruen in 1956. The Nicollet Mall was given a makeover in the 1980s as well, but it has been nearly 30 years since the Mall has seen any major improvements. The new plan, based on a competition winning design by James Corner Field Operations, incorporates a series of event spaces along the street to engage the public. A two-block mirrored canopy walkway, a “reading room,” improved transit stations, and a theater in the round will activate the 12-block stretch of the downtown public space. Each end of the Mall will also include a “Wood” where more intensive green spaces will include larger native trees. The overall planned budget for the two year project is $50, but with only one construction company submitting a bid for $59 million for the construction alone, the projects organizers are having to rethink parts of their plan. The first step that may be taken is rethinking material choices for the project. One of the main sticking points in the budget is the plan for eight acres of the Mall to be paved in custom concrete tile pavers. Officials say that the main design elements for the project will not be sacrificed though in the new plan, and more bids will be solicited in February based on an altered design. To entice a more varied size of contractors, instead of one single bid, it is also likely that the project will be broken down in to smaller, more manageable segments. Major construction is still expected to begin in spring of 2016, with the completion date set for summer 2017.
Following in the stead of Snarkitecture and Bjarke Ingels, New York's James Corner Field Operations will create the National Building Museum's summer 2016 installation. The landscape architecture firm is best known for its outdoor projects such as the High Line, Santa Monica’s Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square, Race Street Pier in Philadelphia, and Seattle’s Central Waterfront. Field Operations will likely bring a fresh perspective inside the building's four-story Grand Hall. The National Building Museum opened in 1985 in the Pension Bureau building, originally built in 1887 and designed by Montgomery C. Meigs, the U.S. Army quartermaster general during the Civil War. Notably, the Italian Renaissance–style building features 75-foot-tall Corinthian columns in the Grand Hall and a 28-panel frieze by American sculptor Caspar Buberl. A design will be revealed in the spring and the exhibition will run in tandem with the museum's summer block party series. “We are very excited about this opportunity to once again transform the Great Hall for summer spectacle and pleasure,” said James Corner, founder of James Corner Field Operations, in a press release. “It will be a great challenge to surpass the genius of previous installations, but also an opportunity to explore something new and unexpected.” Snarkitecture opted for a giant, monochromatic ball pit (Click to see AN's report on this installation) in 2015 and the year before, Bjarke Ingels took advantage of the hall's height to craft a giant maze (Read more about the maze here). Stay tuned to learn what Field Operations creates for the space. To learn more about Field Operations and its projects, check out the Miami Underline and Great Falls State Park.
Pershing Square Renew just announced the four finalists of the Pershing Square design competition: SWA with Morphosis, James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners, Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects, and wHY with Civitas. These teams will now develop fully fleshed out proposals for the five-acre park in Downtown Los Angeles. The finalist concept boards offer clues as to what to expect from the final proposals: SWA and Morphosis identified four strategies for their reorganized park: ecology (native trees and a drought-friendly water feature), mobility (a road diet along Olive Street and better Metro connections), programing (a market and a day/night event venue), and sustainable business (reworked parked concession, food vendor, and retail spaces.) James Corner Field Operations with Frederick Fisher & Partners held off at hinting at a design. Their concept boards show increased porosity between the park and the both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the cultural life of all of downtown and the Arts District. Expect the design to engage both in the park and along the adjacent streets and sidewalks. Agence TER with SALT Landscape Architects’ boards depict a boldy understated proposal. They envision Pershing Square as a giant lawn with several atmospheric gardens: a foggy garden, a scent garden, a dry garden, a wind garden, and an edible garden. Services are discretely tucked under a large shade canopy. wHY with Civitas landscape architecture group’s concept boards was also slim on design details. Although the proposal echoed some ideas seen in other team proposals, such as connections to the surrounding neighborhood, an emphasis on natural ecology, and food/market vendors, it uniquely suggested that the park offer education programming as well as something that could be digital connectivity entitled “Syncing Urban Hardware and Software.” The four finalists will develop their proposals over the first quarter of 2016, leading to another round of jury interviews and a public presentation in March. It’s unclear how and when the design will be built, since at moment the only funding for the project seems to be the $2 million pledged to by the Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners, who each chipped in one million. The Pershing Square Renew jury is: Janet Marie Smith (Jury Chair) SVP, Planning and Development, Los Angeles Dodgers José Huizar, Councilmember, 14th District, City of Los Angeles Donna Bojarsky, Founder and President, Future of Cities: Leading in LA Simon Ha, Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council and Downtown LA Resident Mary McCue, Founder, MJM Management Group Rick Poulos, Principal, NBBJ Janet Rosenberg, Founding Principal, Janet Rosenberg & Studio Michael Shull, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Michael Woo, Dean, Cal Poly Pomona, School of Environmental Design
In October, Pershing Square Renew selected 10 teams as semi-finalists for the redesign of Downtown Los Angeles’ oft-maligned urban space. The international design competition drew hundreds of entries and the two-handfuls selected represent both local and global practices. Reviewing the initial presentation boards, there’s common interest in opening up Pershing Square to the surrounding urban blocks, a porosity currently lacking in Legoretta’s scheme. The teams’ approaches are split between active and passive landscapes with some concepts showing large lawns and water features meant for calm reflection and light recreation, others packed the square with programming: dog parks, cafes, yoga zones, performance venues, etc. Pershing Square Renew posed the concept boards on their website and are now asking the Los Angeles community to weigh in with comments for the jury. Soon, the organization will select four top teams out of the field of semi-finalists and have them each develop a more comprehensive final design. Until then, have a gander at the boards below.
A shortlist was announced for the Pershing Square Renew competition. Ten teams were selected to have a chance at a crack at redoing Ricardo Legorreta's scheme. The five-acre park is seen as the centerpiece of a revitalized Downtown Los Angeles and the competition, a public-private partnership backed by councilmember José Huizar, is a critical step toward that effort. The ten semi-finalists are global, national, and local—and often in combination. They include: Paris-based Agence Ter with SALT Landscape Architects, Snohetta, James Corner Field Operations and Frederick Fisher and Partners, New York-based W Architecture, San Francisco-based PWP Landscape Architecture with Allied Works Architecture, Mia Lehrer Associates with NYC’s !Melk, Peterson Studio + BNIM, Rios Clementi Hale with OMA, SWA with Morphosis, and wHY Architecture These teams will continue to develop designs, which will be reviewed later this fall and a group of four finalists will be announced in December. Pershing Square Renew will select a winner in February 2016. On bets as to who might emerge from the pack, it seems that the organization is looking for details over gesture. “Their challenge isn’t to win awards; it’s to win over hearts,” said executive director Eduardo Santana. “More than anything else, these groups need to focus on the experiences their design will inspire and the memories the Square will create.”
James Corner Field Operations unveils initial plans for The Underline, a 10-mile linear park in Miami
It has become common fair to refer to any and all rails-to-trails project as a certain city’s “High Line. ” (Yup, we've been guilty of that too.) The ubiquitous High Line comparison might be flattering, but it's obviously too simplistic. It glosses over site-specific details and rings a bit too New York–centric. With that said, it would be best to mention Miami’s planned 10-mile (non-elevated) park without namechecking the gold standard up north. But the Magic City is really asking for it with this one. First, it is called “The Underline." And second, High Line co-designer James Corner Field Operations has been tapped to oversee it. Field Operations and Friends of the Underline recently unveiled conceptual renderings of the linear park which runs underneath the city's elevated Metrorail. The plan envisions two pathways—one for cyclists and one for pedestrians—that run through a network of small parks, seating areas, and kiosks. In this sense, the Underline is designed to be a transportation corridor, less like the High Line and more like Chicago’s recently opened 606. Curbed Miami reported that "Landscaping, consisting of low-maintenance native species, would be divided into ecosystems reflective of South Florida's natural setting: a pine rocklands, hardwood hammocks, and wet prairies." The exposed concrete supports underneath the Metrorail tracks would also be used as mile markers and, in some sections, canvasses for murals. The Real Deal reported that Friends of the Underline hopes to eventually fund the project with a mix of private and public donations. In the meantime, the project continues to garner interest—and financial support. This week, ArtPlace America—a national non-profit that supports arts initiative—announced that the project had been selected for a $200,000 grant. This money will go into the planning process, and follows a recent $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.
Work is underway on MarketFront, a multi-level extension of Seattle’s Pike Place Market designed by The Miller Hull Partnership. The project broke ground in late June after an extensive community and city process. At stake is the question: How do you create an addition for an icon? The answer: Carefully. “It's a huge responsibility,” noted architect David Miller, a founding partner of The Miller Hull Partnership and lead designer on the project. “We’ve listened to the client and to the people who live and work in the community. Twenty to thirty people would come to every public meeting and ask good questions. The group was strongly opinionated, but also very smart and artistic.” Pike Place Market is more than simply a spot where some ten million tourists come each year to watch fishmongers gracefully toss salmon, it’s a historic site that survived urban renewal and as one of the oldest, continually operated farmer’s markets in the country, it is home to dozens and dozens of local vendors and artisans. It’s critical that Miller and team preserve the character of the market as they weave a new structure into a context of converted warehouse buildings on one side and the soon-to-be-demolished Alaskan Way Viaduct on the other. The design maintains the language of the older buildings through utilitarian materials—wood, steel, and concrete—that echo the industrial architecture. “It is really a utilitarian, no frills structure,” explained Miller. With that simple pallette, The Miller Hull Partnership added 47 new daystalls for farmers and craft artists, new retail space for a brewery and brew pub (including grain silos), and 40 affordable housing units for seniors, some with outdoor space for them to set up their own stalls. The scheme also includes social services—low-income day care, a food bank, and medical services—and parking for cars and bikes. The $73-million dollar project is located along Western Avenue, the street just behind the famous portion of the existing market topped with bright red letters. A two-story structure that is more landscape than building, it occupies the site of the former Municipal Market Building, which was torn down in 1974 after a fire. The new building features an expansive roof deck that offers and preserves views of Elliot Bay and the waterfront. Reached via Pike Place Market’s Desimone Bridge or stairs leading up one story from the street, the deck is part of a 30,000-square-foot public space that terraces down from Western Avenue to the Viaduct—a drop of roughly 85 feet. Once that roadway is removed, the MarketFront will serve as a pedestrian connection to the Seattle waterfront designed by James Corner Field Operations, which will stretch along Elliot Bay from Seattle’s Pioneer Square to Belltown. “The Pacific Northwest has this great environment that allows for connecting to the outdoors,” said Miller. “Even though it is in the middle of the city, it is a blend of landscape and architecture.” The project is scheduled to open prior to the final demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in 2016.