Posts tagged with "New Orleans":

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Cesar Pelli To Overhaul New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport

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."
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Using Unused TV Channels for Connectivity in New Orleans

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.
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Product> Well Clad: Glass & Metal Facade Systems for All Seasons

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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Npsag’s Grass-To-Grid Installation

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A wayfinding beacon for New Orleans’ electronic music festival

With 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.
  • Fabricator Npsag
  • Architect Npsag
  • Location New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Status Temporary installation
  • Materials Vinyl, lumber, fasteners
  • Process Digital design, fabrication by hand
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.”
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Quick Clicks> Skatecycle, Reiner and Lautner, French Quarter Pedicabs, 72 Hour LIC Action

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 AngelesChicago 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.
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Video> A Cry for Modernism in NOLA

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.
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Notes from the AIA: Product News

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.
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Notes From the AIA: New Orleans Master Plan

While our recent feature on New Orleans highlights some of the more high-profile architectural and development projects in the city, yesterday we were introduced to the other half of the rebuilding equation: the New Orleans Master Plan, which is being developed by Boston firm Goody Clancy and New Orleans-based Manning Architects. At an afternoon panel, Goody Clancy principal David Dixon and Manning principal W. Raymond Manning shared their experiences creating a document that sets a new course for the city, from land use and transportation planning to environmental protection. "I haven't had a single boring day here," said Dixon, who dove head first into the city's labyrinth of bureaucracy, inefficiency, and even racial divisions to create the gargantuan still-evolving document. The plan includes creative elements like landscaped open canals and urban wetlands; practical ideas like making the building code more rehab-friendly,  promoting adaptive reuse and focusing on new creative districts; and tried-and-true principles such as promoting walkable, urban neighborhoods, planning for innovative new industries  and improving infrastructure. While some inside and outside New Orleans have  called for abandoning certain badly hit and vulnerable neighborhoods, the plan wholeheartedly endorses "accelerating the resettlement of under-populated neighborhoods." In some cases, said Dixon, that could mean major federal investments, which "could be repaid by most neighborhoods." Outside of implementing an overall planning culture in the city (which, for instance, had lacked a transportation planner until this year, Dixon said), perhaps the biggest issue that the plan addresses is the lack of communication between various rebuilding players. Dixon bemoaned one state-funded project that "removes the neighborhood" with a giant blank wall along the street. "It takes a real dialogue to get great urban renewal," said Dixon. "The plan is more about turning the switch across all types of government."
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Quick Clicks> Demolition Roundup and a Fortress, Too

Land's Literal End. A sprawling 25-room colonial mansion called Land's End on Long Island's North Shore has been torn down. Gothamist and Curbed link to a CBS video of the destruction of the house said to have inspired the decadence of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Fortress in Disguise. Shortlist found a house that can transform itself from a windowless cube of a fortress into a modern luxury mansion with the press of a button. The appropriately named Safe House was designed by KWK Promes architecture Treme Teardown. Preservationists in New Orleans are pushing to save the 1950s-era Phillis Wheatley elementary school designed by Charles Colbert from the wrecking ball. The Times Picayune reports that Tulane architects and a Treme actress are leading the call. The Urban 30. We're tickled to be named in OCU's list of 30 Best Blogs for Urban Planning Students! Renewal 2.0. The NY Times ran a recent story about the proposed rebuilding of Quincy, Mass. The public-private partnership would tear town most of the city's urban core and start over again with a massive roughly $1.5 billion project to create a new downtown. While the article doesn't articulate what would be lost, it does speculate on the size of the real estate gamble if the project falls through.
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7 Cities Consider Removing Major Urban Highways

In a shift from America’s traditional 20th century landscape, more and more cities are now considering removing major highways in favor of housing, parks and economic development. The chief motivation seems to be money, according to a recent NPR report highlighting the growing movement and the removal of Cleveland’s West Shoreway. As highways age, keeping them around doesn’t justify the high cost of maintenance. But tearing these highways down also means new opportunities for developing valuable real estate and rehabilitating blighted land. The federal government awarded $16 million to replace a New Haven highway with pedestrian boulevards last fall, and other TIGER II funds to explore highway removal in the Bronx and New Orleans have also been issued. New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. remarked, "We think this is a big f---ing deal." Decades after urban renewal programs first put up highways, most city planners now realize that highways drain vitality from healthy neighborhoods and lower property values. San Francisco’s Embarcadero Freeway and Central Freeway are two poster children for how highway removal can rejuvenate neighborhoods. The collapse of the Miller Highway in New York also made way for what’s now West Street and Hudson River Park.
BALTIMORE: Demolition of Baltimore’s infamous "Highway to Nowhere," a one mile stretch that ends in a grassy slope, began last fall. In 1974, construction sliced through a vibrant working class area of west Baltimore, demolishing 700 homes and displacing 2,000 residents, mostly African American. The area is now characterized by vacant homes and high poverty rates. President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act awarded $2.8 million for the highway’s removal, which will make room for transit-oriented development.

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CLEVELAND: The only way to get from downtown Cleveland to the waterfront is through poorly lit tunnels underneath the West Shoreway freeway. NPR recently highlighted the city's plan to convert the highway into an urban boulevard, in line with efforts to develop the waterfront, but opposition from suburban commuters forced the city to scale back the project. The original proposal would have added crosswalks to the road, parks, offices and housing, while the actual project will just focus on rebuilding the pedestrian tunnels.

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NEW ORLEANS: Decades before Hurricane Katrina and getting its own HBO series, Treme was one of the wealthiest African American communities in New Orleans, and Claiborne Avenue was its teeming commercial center. The construction of the Claiborne Expressway in the 1950s changed all that, displacing families and over 100 businesses. City planners are currently debating removing the highway as part of post-Katrina rebuilding. The plan would reclaim 35-40 city blocks from urban blight and 20-25 blocks of open space.

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SEATTLE: A battle is raging in Seattle over the demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. The highway's coming down after sustaining damage in a 2001 earthquake, but the $4.2 billion tunnel slated to replace it by 2016 remains a political hot potato. The project is entangled in lawsuits, with critics seeking to vote on the project. Mayor McGinn came out against the Seattle’s political establishment in support of a street level replacement. He’s also pushing for removal of the Viaduct next year, citing the damage it would cause in an earthquake.

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NEW HAVEN: The city recently received a $16 million TIGER II grant to convert part of Route 34 into an urban boulevard. Residents envision a re-do with narrow car lanes, wide sidewalks and a bike lane. The plan will add 960 permanent jobs and reclaim 11 acres of land that can be developed and taxed. It will finally unite the city's central business district with the rest of New Haven, ending the highway's stifling effect on economic development. Built in 1959, the highway displaced 600 families and 65 businesses and was never completed.

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BUFFALO: After several multi-million dollar projects failed to slow Buffalo's decline, planners set their sights on removing two of the city's major highways. The Skyway and Route 5 make commutes more difficult, cost millions in annual maintenance and block waterfront development. The state Department of Transportation decided to keep the elevated roadways in 2008, even though local officials and residents wanted a street level boulevard. A coalition of citizens and civic organizations appealed the decision in 2008, and continue to advocate demolition.

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LOUISVILLE: In the opening scenes of Elizabethtown, Kirsten Dunst maps out Interstate 64 in Louisville for Orlando Bloom because "the roads around there are hopelessly and gloriously confusing." He gets lost anyway, banging his hands against his steering wheel and yelling "60B!" The Ohio River Bridges Project, a $4.2 billion plan to expand the highway to 23 lanes of traffic at its widest point, would make things even more challenging. In 2005, two Louisville businessmen launched a grassroots campaign to remove the highway and develop the waterfront with a pedestrian-friendly boulevard. But it looks like the project's continuing with wider elevated lanes of traffic with some cost cut adjustments made in recent days.

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Hypothetical Buildings Coming to New Orleans

Every building tells a story of its past. But sometimes, with a little prompting, a building can also tell the story of its future. At least that's what the Hypothetical Development Organization hopes. The group, created in 2010 by author and New York Times Magazine columnist Rob Walker, examines what the future might hold for some of the hidden, and underused, architectural gems in New Orleans by creating renderings of what the buildings could be, you know, hypothetically. In a city that is still trying to piece itself together after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, this is a creative way to draw attention to buildings that are being overlooked. Walker told the Huffington Post that he sees this project as something of a public service.
"If they're not going to be developed, then let's have fun with them," he said. "It's a pleasure-giving response to this crummy situation with the economy, where development isn't happening. But this is not mean or depressing -- it's joyous.
The Hypothetical Development Organization is planning a gallery show planned at the Du Mois Gallery in April 2011. There will even be a specially designed Hypothetical Development Trip, courtesy of Gowalla, which makes a travel-oriented app for smartphones.
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Five Years After Katrina, How Are the Levees Holding?

We are coming up on the Fifth Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina next week, and while such milestones are as manufactured as they are macabre, at least in this case it provides a helpful moment for reflection. Half-a-decade out, we seemed to have reached a great enough critical distance for a serious appraisal of what has and hasn't worked in terms of reconstructing the Crescent City. Documentarians and journalists are already weighing in, so why not the planners? The Brookings Institution released its 25th New Orleans Index earlier this month, the most comprehensive one yet, looking at everything from a rise in community engagement to a continued lack of medial care. There is an especially good essay, entitled "No More Surprises," about how the storm has actually brought a semblance of critical planning to the city. The Urban Land Institute recently held a conference to explore the progress of its plan and others for the city, where it parachuted in shortly after to begin mapping out a rebuilding process, and the Van Alen Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund are holding a similar round table, Project Eco Delta, next week at the Venice Biennale. We're sure there's bound to be more discussion, and we'd like to start one of our own, so share your tips and experiences in the comments below.