Earlier this month, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, an international design competition that is hoping to attract fresh strategies for reusing the many vacant lots that dot New Orleans. The competition is seeking submissions from landscape designers, architects, planners, public policy wonks, and pretty much anybody in the business of shaping urban environments and is supported by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which owns more than 2,000 vacant lots. There are somewhere around 30,000 empty lots and abandoned structures throughout New Orleans today, most of them left by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. As the 10-year anniversary of the storm approaches, Future Ground is looking to create design and policy strategies capable of adapting to changes in density, demand, climate, and landscape in New Orleans over the next half-century in an effort to turn these abandoned landscapes into lasting resources. NORA is currently working with New Orleans–based landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels to develop land use strategies to reduce maintenance on many of its vacant lots. The firm's principals, Elizabeth Mossop and Wes Michaels—along with Richard Campanella of Tulane University, Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson of the University of New Orleans, and Allison Plyer of The Data Center—are serving on the competition's Futures Team. "Some of this land might not be developed for a long time. It's important that the teams we select are not just looking at solutions for now, but for 10, 20, 50 years from now," said Jerome Chou, director of competitions, Van Alen Institute. "They need to be flexible, accommodate future needs, changes in the climate, and shifting development pressures. That's what the Futures Team is going to help us do. They will be working on potential scenarios of how the city might change over the next half century. It's obviously not set in stone, but thinking through those scenarios can help us tell residents, government officials, and philanthropists 'here's what's possible.'" Winning teams will be selected from an international open RFQ process. Applications are due by September 29, 2014, and will be evaluated by a jury of local design and policy leaders, as well as representatives of other cities with land reuse problems of their own, including Dan Kinkead of Detroit Future City, and Terry Schwartz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Each winning team will be given a $15,000 stipend and will be asked to work closely in a six-month collaborative process with local stakeholders and national leaders. The goal is to bring small, incremental improvements to individual neighborhoods as well as the city as a whole; to develop policy that bolsters beneficial design strategies; and to make these strategies good enough to be sustained into the next generation. The Van Alen Institute will help out the selected teams to make up for the modest figure of the stipend by promoting their work nationally and internationally and developing networks.
Posts tagged with "New Orleans":
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] How the greenway might look as it passes through Expressway Park. As AN reported in our latest Southwest edition, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are gearing up for changes across their respective urban landscapes with two new master plans by landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels. The firm has shared these before and after views of the proposed Baton Rouge Greenway, which provides "a vision for a greenway that connects City-Brooks Park near LSU’s campus on the south side of the city to the State Capitol grounds to the north, while stitching together adjoining neighborhoods and other smaller landscaped areas along the way" Slide back and forth to see existing conditions and SMM's plans for the area and be sure to learn more about the projects in AN's news article. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] How the greenway could enter the park at the terminus of North 7th Street. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Design concept street section through North 7th Street in Spanish Town. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] The design option for the street section through North 7th Street. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] The design option for the street section through North Boulevard. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] A wider, straight path going down the median of North Boulevard. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] How the greenway might look on this part of North 7th Street. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] What the greenway would look like going down the median of East Boulevard. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] A design option for the street section through East Boulevard.
Ten Roads Whose Time Has Come: Congress for the New Urbanism Releases List of Freeways Ripe for Removal
The Congress for the New Urbanism has released their annual list of Freeways Without Futures. The organization selected the top 10 urban American (and one Canadian) highways most in need of removal. The final list was culled from nominations from more than 50 cities. Criteria for inclusion included age of the freeway, the potential that removal would have to positively effect the areas where the roadways are currently situated, and the amount of momentum to realize such removals. Additionally the CNU highlighted campaigns in Dallas, the Bronx, Pasadena, Buffalo, and Niagra Falls, that are taking significant steps towards removing freeways (some of which have been included in past lists) as illustrations of broader institutional and political shifts on urban infrastructural thinking. I-10/Claiborne Overpass - New Orleans The already aging Interstate 10 was heavily damaged in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. The Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) suggested that the removal of the elevated portion of the highway would allow for the reclamation of 35 to 40 city blocks and 20 to 25 blocks of open space. With the help of public engagement Livable Claiborne Communities outlined a plan for a similar removal that would improve living conditions in the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity of the expressway. I-81 - Syracuse This road, including an elevated portion that runs through downtown Syracuse, was built in the 60's. Advocates for the transformation of the most urban portion of the freeway could be replaced by a boulevard that would connect neighborhoods, inject economic activity into the area, and be cheaper to maintain. Numerous local politicians have spoken in favor of such a plan and the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) co-led the I-81 Challenge to examine traffic patterns and alternatives to the current state of the highway. Gardiner Expressway - Toronto Unpopular with local citizens, the overworked Expressway requires more than $10 million annually in repairs. Recently, the City of Toronto and WATERFRONToronto finished work on the Gardiner Expressway & Lake Shore Boulevard Reconfiguration Environmental Assessment & Urban Design Study which will dictate the future of the portion of the Gardiner overlooking Lake Ontario. Route 5/Skyway - Buffalo The Skyway Bridge and Route 5 mar public views of the Buffalo River, diminish land values, and create a web of confusing traffic patterns predicated on inefficient one-way streets. The Department of Transportation rates the Skyway bridge as "fracture critical" while the Federal Highway Administration classifies the bridge as "functionally obsolete." It is likely to cost more than $50 million to maintain over the next two decades. Inner Loop - Rochester The Loop was built for the city Rochester once was, rather than the shrunken metropolis that stands today. For this reason much of the beltway carries traffic that could easily be carried by a urban avenue. Furthermore it constricts the downtown area, inhibiting development and isolating adjacent neighborhoods. In 2012 the city was awarded a USDOT TIGER grant to replace the eastern portion of the Loop with a two lane boulevard flanked by street parking. I-70 - St. Louis I-70 separates the city from the waterfront of the Mississippi River and Saarinen's iconic arch. Calls for bridging this divide by converting the expressway into an urban boulevard have been long simmering. Park Over The Highway is a $380 million project for a park and pedestrian and bike path that leaps I-70 in connecting the city to the area abutting the river. I-280 - San Francisco Meant to be part of a larger web of freeways that was ultimately halted by mid-century protests, the removal of this highway stub would increase the land values of the area by $80 million according to a report by Fourth and King Street Railyards. Replacing the strip with a urban boulevard would open the area for further redevelopment and allow for greater fluidity between neighborhoods. The city's Center for Architecture + Design has hosted a design competition for such a project. I-375 - Detroit This 1.06 mile strip served to divide portions of the city and contributed to the isolation and subsequent decay of once thriving black neighborhoods. Detroit's drop in population has lead to a 13% decrease in usage since 2009. In December of 2013, Detroit's Downtown Development Authority moved forward with alternative plans for the highway, with particular focus on converting the road into a more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare. Terminal Island Freeway - Long Beach As it stands the freeway currently serves a mere 14,000 vehicles a day, numbers that could drop further if plans to expand the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility come to fruition, a development that would redirect significant freight traffic in the area. Local nonprofit urban design studio City Fabrick have spear-headed a movement to convert the road into a greenbelt that would act as a buffer between residential districts and industrial port infrastructure. In 2013 the plan was awarded a Caltrans grant. Aetna Viaduct - Hartford This 3/4 mile stretch of elevated expressway was completed in 1965. In running directly through downtown Hartford the Viaduct destroyed historic architecture, public spaces, and severed inter-community links once easily traversed by foot. Initially set for costly re-surfacing that would increase its lifespan by 20 years, new plans are being considered for the heavily-trafficked road. Hartford officials and Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) are currently considering plans to re-align nearby rail tracks that would open 15-20 acres of nearby land for redevelopment.
The houses built by Brad Pitt's charitable organization, Make it Right, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina are already in need of refurbishing. The foundation is part of an effort to restore New Orleans' 9th Ward through the construction of 150 architect-designed homes featuring modern design, but the timber used on the exteriors of many of the homes is proving no match for the area's moisture and is beginning to rot. The charity has said it will work with their provider TimberSIL to solve the problems with the rapidly decaying wood. Pitt founded Make it Right to offer green sustainable architectural contributions to New Orlean's recovery efforts. The actor called upon prominent figures within the Los Angeles architectural scene—Frank Gehry, Hitoshi Abe, Thom Mayne, and Lawrence Scarpa among others—to create affordable houses to be installed in the neighborhood of the city hardest-hit by the storm. Shigeru Ban and David Adjaye have also contributed designs to the foundation. In 2009 he met with President Obama and Nancy Pelosi to discuss his efforts in New Orleans and sustainable housing policy. The charity is another step in the actor's ongoing and well-publicized flirtation with architecture. It is also not the first time one of his ambitious undertakings in the field has hit a bit of a stumbling block. Developed with affordability in mind, it seems unlikely that any of the Make it Right homes will feature pieces from the actor's 2012 furniture collection "priced at the highest end of the custom-furnishing scale."
[beforeafter][/beforeafter] On September 9th, New Orleans unveiled an innovative proposal for flood management: the New Orleans Greater Water Plan. Designed by Dutch engineers and led by chief architect and planner David Waggonner of locally-based firm Waggonner & Ball Architects, the plan seeks to mitigate the damages caused during heavy rainfalls. The concept is simple: keeping water in pumps and canals instead of draining and pumping it out. The idea is to retain the water in order to increase the city’s groundwater, thereby slowing down the subsidence of soft land as it dries and shrinks. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] New Orleans is built on swampland and suffers ravaging damages when floods occur, as sea levels rise quickly and the community becomes quickly submerged. The current floodwater management system uses a forced drainage mechanism that dries lands quickly. This heavy reliance on drainage practices leads to damaged lands, severe soil imbalances, and subsidence. As the ground sinks, the city’s infrastructure weakens. Not only does this increase residents' exposure to risk when faced by a natural disaster, but it also diminishes the value of the area’s waterways as public assets. Under the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, floodwaters are retained rather than drained. During rainfall, water is slowed down through water retention and corralled into areas used as parks during dry seasons. The retained water is then channeled into canals and ponds that will help sustain wildlife, improve soil quality, and increase safety levels in case of flooding. Water will flow year round, ultimately maintaining the stability of soils and the general health of the city’s eco-system. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Nowadays, water-management is a particularly important issue as the world is looking for ways to appease and manage the impacts of climate change and increased human activity. Louisiana is currently experiencing the highest rates of sea-level rise, making the ‘Big Easy’ highly vulnerable to damages caused by intense downpours. The $6.2 billion plan would help mitigate flooding during heavy rainfalls, and repair soils that have been dried up by the previous flood management system, hence preventing further sinking of the ground under sea level. Refurbishing centuries’ old infrastructures will be challenging and it still remains unclear how the plan will be funded. The project’s estimated competition date is 2050. City officials believe that it would be effective in mitigating the risks induced by floods and will bolster the appeal of acquiring local real estate.The Urban Water Plan re-envisions New Orleans as a vibrant metropolis of ponds and canals. The core idea is to efficiently manage water, instead of trying to get rid of it. If successful, the plan will transform the city into an urban landscape filled with rain gardens and bioswales, create appealing waterfront properties, and promote home values. New Orleans is on the right track to becoming a potential leader in water management and a potential model for other cities around the world. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] [beforeafter][/beforeafter] [beforeafter][/beforeafter]
With terminals at Washington D.C.'s Ronald Reagan International Airport and the Tokyo Haneda Airport under his belt (among several other transportation hubs), Cesar Pelli is no stranger to the challenges of designing airports. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that the Argentinian-born architect, who assisted Earo Saarinen on the iconic TWA terminal early in his career, will now collaborate with two New Orleans–based firms, Manning Architects and Hewitt Washington Architects, to redesign the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to coincide with the city's 300th anniversary in 2018. The roughly $650 million project will involve demolishing old parts of the current terminal and adding a three-concourse, thirty-gate terminal on a 42-acre sit on the north side of the airport. In addition, the proposal calls for a $17 million hotel, new power station, highway ramp, and 3,000-space parking garage. Pelli explained his approach to designing airports in an interview with the Washington Post in 1997: "I like airport terminals that have lots of natural light, that are spacious, that make you feel comfortable, where being there is a pleasant thing," he said. "It is also important that directions be easy to follow. Unfortunately, most airports have been designed primarily for the convenience of the airlines. People are just an inconvenience."
New York–based conceptual artist Mary Ellen Carroll will debut her newest project, PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0, at New Orleans' contemporary art biennial, Prospect.3 in Fall 2014. In it, she identifies communities across New Orleans that remain choked for resources since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city in 2005. Responding foremost to the lack of connectivity in these areas, Carroll is utilizing unoccupied TV channels, cultural motifs, and an innovative wireless technology developed at Rice University in Houston, Texas, to create infrastructure that will become a permanent characteristic of The Crescent City. PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0 will consist of two broadband Internet broadcast towers built in sections of the city that will then connect to hubs. The locations of the hubs will be distributed throughout greater New Orleans based on crowd sourcing. By using Internet broadcast towers, Carroll hopes to reimagine traditional city planning by prioritizing what she calls “the elevation plan and broadcast spectrum.” In doing so, physical location will have little correlation with lack of connectivity of under-resourced communities. A key motivator of PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0 is its potential impact on a national policy debate about the scheduled auction of airwaves for wireless broadband in 2014 by the Federal Communications Commission. Carroll compares the government selling the unused television spectrum to selling public land. The technology that empowers PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0 is in the developmental stages in Rice University’s Wireless Network Group, led by professor Edward Knightly. The group is experimenting with launching residential broadband Internet service through “TV white space” or TVWS. The service will function like a WiFi hotspot, though it differs in that TVWS emits “lower-frequency TV signals [that] penetrate walls and propagate over distances, meaning it can serve a larger population. The latest TVWS technology released by Knightly’s team earlier this week is estimated to reach a range of about 1 1/4 miles. Carroll hopes PUBLIC UTILITY 2.0 will reach beyond New Orleans to become a template that other U.S. cities can utilize. She envisions the broadcast towers becoming cultural symbols similar to Moscow’s Shukhov Tower, LA’s Watts Tower, or the RKO transmitter. “The towers would be the visible presence in the city, and the connections they provide would create a cultural, economic, and social platform for greater New Orleans,” she said.
You've got to have one. A facade, that is. So AN rounded up five leading glass and metal facade systems whose value is more than skin deep. For instance, Kalzip's FC Rainscreen, used on New Orleans' Superdome. These aluminum panels form a non-penetrative facade system that can be installed in two directions, from top to bottom or from the bottom up. Individual sheets can be removed and installed independently of the rest of the assembly. The system's quick, cost-effective installation procedure won it the job of renovating the Superdome in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. STILLA JOEL BERMAN GLASS STUDIO These three-dimensional kiln-cast glass panels are available in a low-iron version, which virtually eliminates the green cast inherent in clear float glass. They can also be tempered for safety and impact resistance for exterior applications. The panels can be installed with the studio's newly expanded line of hardware, which has been designed specifically for this glass product. OMBRA PULP STUDIO A wire mesh core surrounded by tempered glass obscures angled light, yet appears transparent when viewed head-on, allowing more daylight to enter a building in the morning and late afternoon when the sun is low on the horizon. It can filter up to 50 percent of transmitted light without tinting or special coating, and also acts as a moisture-resistant sound barrier with an STC rating of up to 49. REYNBOND ACM ALCOA REYNOBOND This lightweight Aluminum Composite Material (ACM) is as durable as it is pliable. It comes in interlocking panels that can be folded or curved while still retaining its shape, making it an ideal choice for challenging facades. Designers can choose among a variety of colors and also have the option of selecting a fire-retardant mineral core. YES 45 TU YKK This expansion to YKK's popular storefront system allows it to handle front-set glass applications, improving thermal performance and allowing for either interior or exterior glazing. The patented Thermabond Plus process creates a thermally broken system that reduces heat flow through the frame, saving energy and providing architects and designers with greater flexibility.
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A wayfinding beacon for New Orleans’ electronic music festivalWith a successful debut last month at Mardi Gras World in New Orleans last, the electronic music festival Buku Music and Art Project could become a mainstay of city’s lineup destination events. Envisioning what a success the event would be, Tulane architecture professors Nathan Petty and Sheena A. Garcia jumped at the opportunity to create a temporary installation for the event site at the edge of the Mississippi River. Petty and Garcia founded their design office, Npsag, in 2008 to work with radical architectural forms and emerging technology. While much of their work is speculative, the Buku installation had the practical purpose of being a wayfinding device at the event’s main entrance. The team calls their piece Grass-To-Grid. It is meant to operate as an arrow, pointing the way to a concert’s VIP areas and main event spaces. "Our client was interested in the re-use of materials from the industrial landscape," said Petty. "However, the name comes from our idea to translate the grassy field of the traditional concert site to the industrial edge of the the Mississippi River. This manifested itself as a completely new digital artifact inspired by digitally composed electronic music. The name itself represents music's evolution from an analog source to a digital one while incorporating this re-thinking of the site" The piece is designed as a series of peaks that can be reconfigured depending on desired crowd interaction. On the first day of the Buku festival, the piece was assembled as a continuous surface, with a small opening for attendees to walk into the center of the piece. “We wanted people to be able to go inside of it to create an immersive experience,” said Petty. On the second day, the installation was divided into two parts, allowing concertgoers to walk through its roughly 4 ½-foot-tall landscape. Npsag designed the installation as an unfolded surface, designing in Rhinoceros, 3D Studio Max, and VRay, then translating the pieces into AutoCAD for construction. The 200-square-foot piece has more than 100 special angles created from the designers’ initial kit of parts and cut and assembled by hand. Twenty-two unique surfaces are framed and hinged to create eight peaks. The piece’s vinyl exterior is a nod to the truck tarps and billboard signage that make up the concert site’s industrial landscape. A black-lined graphic on the skin reiterates the overall shape of the piece. “We kept a keen eye on white surface because we wanted to shine black lights on it, to transform it during nighttime,” said Petty. Will the duo create similar event installations in the future? “We’re certainly interested in working again at this 1:1 scale and having a progressive concept to support it like this kind of super event,” said Petty. “We would certainly love to go bigger. On the other hand we want to go higher-definition, which means higher detail and integration.”
Walk much? Personal urban transportation devices has found a new friend in the Skatecycle. This hubless, self-propelled riding machine may require some serious agility, balance, and style to master but its sleek body and lightweight components has earned it the Core77 2011 Design Award in the transportation category. What's next, wheels in our shoes? Reiner & Lautner. Designer, manufacturer, and lover of modernist architecture, Kenneth Reiner, died recently in Long Beach, CA. Reiner will be forever remembered for his decade-long collaboration on Silvertop, one of John Lautner's modernist masterpiece homes in Los Angeles. Chicago Tribune tells the story. By bike or by mule. The arrival of the new pedicab transportation system in New Orleans has been met with fanfare and reluctance. Mule-drawn carriage drivers are concerned that this cheaper mode of transit will deter from the experience and authenticity of motor-less travel in the French Quarter. However, Forbes reported that they are not about to throw in the reigns. 3 days in LIC. 72 Hour Urban Action, a culturally aware, civic minded architectural design outfit is set to bring their festival to Long Island City in 2012. They have a year to prepare and coordinate for a 3 day building process. Inhabitat has more.
Filmmaker Evan Mather, one of the country's few architectural filmmakers, makes a viral appeal for Charles R. Colbert's Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in New Orleans, which is set for demolition this summer. Appropriately titled A Plea for Modernism, the 12 minute short makes the case that buildings like Phillis Wheatley are disappearing throughout the Crescent City (watch the video after the jump). The school–owned by the Recovery School District and located in the historic neighborhood of Tremé–is one 30 schools in the city from the postwar Modernist Movement of the 1950s and 60s (only four of those schools still stand). New Orleans is also home to Moisant Airport, the Greater New Orleans Bridge, and other works by the likes of Goldstein, Parham & Labouisse, Modjeski & Masters, and Curtis & Davis. A Plea For Modernism from Evan Mather on Vimeo. According to Francine Stock, President of Dococomo Louisiana and Visual Resources Curator at the Tulane School of Architecture, demolition is not only imminent, but definite. “Usually when an owner wants to demolish, there's nothing we can do,” said Stock. “They're determined to demolish.” The demolition date is unknown as the demolition contract is unassigned. However, Stock hopes the short will rally support for other modernist buildings on the chopping block: “We're doing what we can do.” Mather's other films include A Necessary Ruin: The Story of Buckminster Fuller's Union Tank Car Dome, which documents the demolition of another Louisiana Modernist masterpiece.
For those of you who missed the AIA Convention or spent most of your time in seminars (or eating gumbo in the French Quarter), here's a look at news from the exhibition floor: (Above) TOTO offered architects a mini-CEU in which they could wear a suit designed to simulate the effects of aging. Promoting universal design is part of the company's strategic partnership with the AIA. A new mesh cladding product called Texo created quite a buzz at the convention. The pre-stressed fabric paneling is a patented system designed by Milan-based Tensoforma and can be used as a secondary facade on new structures or on existing buildings with poor solar performance (panels can even be made with photovoltaic textiles). The company just launched in the U.S., so we're excited to see its first projects here. 3form's Advanced Technology Group presented its collaboration with ITAC, a building technology integration research group at the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning. The group designed a facade called CRATE made by using 3form Koda XT as a latticework to create various solar shading profiles. Duo-Gard unveiled plans for its new solar-powered car charging stations. The company's turnkey service includes in-house design, engineering, fabrication and installation services, plus field support on photovoltaics, inverters, and metering required to connect to the grid. (If building owners want to recoup the cost, credit card machines can also be installed.) Elevator manufacturer Schindler demonstrated its new "machine room-less" low-rise elevator design, which can fit into the footprint of a hydraulic elevator design but operates with energy efficient traction technology.