Soccer star David Beckham is planning a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium on nine acres in Miami. The one thing it won't have? Parking. In a city famous for its parking structures, this apparent omission may seem like a big deal. Representatives from Beckham's company, though, were eager to explain their thinking at a community meeting earlier this month. “We’re going to be encouraging the use of Metromover, Metrorail, water taxis, ride-sharing,” Spencer Crowley, a lobbyist and lawyer for Miami Beckham United, told the Miami Herald. “We view this as a paradigm shift for the county as to how people get to large events.” In the spirit of soccer's arrival traditions, fans on foot would march from the nearest Metrorail station to the stadium, in Miami's Overtown neighborhood. For the drivers, Miami Beckham United would reserve 2,000 spots in the city's parking garages, hiring shuttle buses to bring spectators to the stadium. Another idea: A dinner cruise boat (yes) could also dock along the Miami River and fans would walk a few blocks to see the game. When the group showed preliminary renderings of the stadium to residents a year and a half ago, many complained that the volume appeared too bulky. New renderings, by Populous, show an airier design than the first, with a thinner canopy and more apertures to capture the Florida breeze. The stadium would open in 2021, with approvals for zoning changes expected to take a year. This is only the latest chapter in the quest to bring an MLS team to Miami. Last year, Beckham wasn't able to find an investor for the $300 million expansion franchise's home, but now, L.A. Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly has signed on to the stadium, and the team could play in a temporary location during construction. Before it can move forward with MLS, though, Beckham's group needs an agreement to purchase the county-owned site for $9 million. The terms of the deal with Miami-Dade County let Beckham delay the purchase of the land until the City of Miami approves his group's stadium proposal. At a public meeting on May 17, area residents came out to voice their thoughts on the new proposal. Residents of the wealthy Spring Garden neighborhood expressed concern that their neighborhood would be overrun with people looking for a place to park.
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Boston-area drivers spend too much time stuck in traffic. To combat congestion in the city center, Boston city officials may follow San Francisco's move to improve traffic flow by charging more for parking at peak times. Donald Shoup, former professor of planning at UCLA, is famous for arguing that, at any given time, about one-third of drivers on city streets are looking for parking. His disciples at the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority created SFpark, a congestion control model that puts Shoup's ideas into practice in the form of surge pricing for on-street parking (see the full report here). Shoupistas in Boston may follow suit. Inexpensive parking makes it easier for drivers to leave their cars parked for longer periods of time. Other drivers hunting for parking cause gridlock and delays. Following SFpark, Boston will introduce parking prices tied to peak traffic in select downtown locations. Mayor Walsh commented that, in addition to applying market logic to parking, the move may spur more drivers to opt instead for mass transit. Currently, $0.25 buys you 12 minutes of parking at most meters in Boston, regardless of the day or time. Officials haven't decided on how high the meters will go, but in San Francisco, peak parking costs up to $7.00 per hour. To prepare for a pilot program, Boston officials will study the proposal's impact on Fenway, Back Bay, and other downtown neighborhoods. The peak pricing initiative is part of an overall effort to modernize parking infrastructure and reduce gridlock downtown. Approximately 8,000 older meters are being replaced with new meters that accept credit cards and can be programmed to accommodate surge pricing. In turn, the city can create "parking zones" where certain blocks in high demand zones are priced higher than less desirable blocks. To fight gridlock, Mayor Walsh pointed to surveillance at intersections that will identify motorists who "block the box," as well as those who double park. When reprogramming traffic, it is often a challenge to balance the needs of motorists with the needs of everyone else. In addition to Boston, Cleveland, DC, and Denver are working on innovate ways to alleviate congestion to make healthier streets for all.
A residential development in downtown Minneapolis is set to give the city its first woonerf, a road type developed in the Netherlands that integrates vehicle traffic and parking with pedestrians, bicyclists and public amenities. The BKV Architects–designed Mill City Quarter housing breaks ground later this year, starting with a six-story building that will include up to 150 rental housing units priced to be affordable for those making 60 percent of the metropolitan median income or less. Later phases will add more units, say developers Wall Cos. and Lupe Development Partners, including 45 units for those with memory problems and 105 for assisted and independent living. Taking up the block at the northwest corner of 2nd Street and 3rd Avenue, the development hopes to connects the Mill District—home to the popular riverside Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, and soon a massive mixed-use development in the shadow of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium—with the rehabbed warehouses and thriving cultural scene of the North Loop neighborhood. Bisecting that block is a former rail corridor leading toward Mississippi River trails and a riverside visitor center that Minneapolis' Park Board has proposed for just downstream of the 3rd Avenue Bridge. Mill City Quarter's developers have agreed to make that side street into a woonerf with 80 diagonal parking spaces flanking colored pavement demarcating reduced-speed vehicle traffic, green space, bike lanes and pedestrian zones. Minneapolis' Park Board approved plans for the “amenity-rich plaza street,” through the $73.8 million development, but expressed concerns over developer and former City Council member Steve Minn's plans to install a gate at the park end of the woonerf, which he said he'd keep closed during park off-hours, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. By exempting the development from a new parks law that would require them to donate land to public space, the Park Board gave their agreement some teeth—if the developers restrict public access to the land they could be on the hook for $61,400.
Folded aluminum panels deliver the illusion of movement to passersby.During their recent expansion, Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis approached Urbana Studio with an unusual request. The hospital wanted the Los Angeles-based art and architecture firm to design an interactive facade for a recently completed parking structure. "With Indianapolis' really extreme weather patterns, we gave a lot of thought to: how can we make something that's interactive but won't be broken in a year?" said Urbana principal Rob Ley. "Unfortunately, the history of kinetic facades teaches us that that they can become a maintenance nightmare." Urbana's solution was to turn the relationship between movement and the object on its head. Though the aluminum facade, titled May September, is itself static, it appears to morph and change color as the viewer walks or drives by. May September—a semi-transparent rectangular wall comprising 7,000 angled aluminum panels—was inspired in part by Ley's interest in camouflage, and specifically active camouflage. "I wanted to take that on more in a passive way than an active way," he said. The designers set out to create something like a lenticular image, which seems to shift or jump into three dimensions as the angle of view changes. "Could we make something where the pieces themselves don't move, but we recognize that the people in front of it will be moving?" asked Ley. Urbana Studio dedicated six months to the design before sending it to fabrication. The first half of the work was digital, primarily using Rhino and Grasshopper as well as software the designers wrote themselves in Processing. The team spent a lot of time on color. "The idea was to find two colors that would have a good contrast, and that maybe don't exist at all in Indianapolis," said Ley. The final scheme, which pairs deep blue with golden yellow, drew on the work of local landscape artist T.C. Steele. After building renderings and animations on the computer, the firm constructed mockups to check their assumptions. The unique site conditions influenced both the choice of material—aluminum—and the placement of the panels. "It had to be very lightweight, because it was going on a structure that wasn't engineered to have anything like this on it," said Ley. The designers also had to contend with the natural movement of the garage, and wind gusts up to 90 miles per hour. "It doesn't seem that interesting, but when the entire project is basically making sails, the wind issue is counterintuitive to what you're doing," said Ley. Indianapolis Fabrications fabricated and installed the facade. "We'd worked to pare the design down to be very modular, so there would be no waste materials," said Ley. "We also worked out a system that would look like there's an infinite number of variations of angles, but in the end there are only three. We're faking a lot of variability with a system that doesn't have that many possibilities." Urbana Studio also designed a custom aluminum extrusion so that the bolts—three per panel, or 21,000 in total—could slide into the facade's vertical structural elements without the use of a drill. "It allowed us to have this very erratic placement of elements without having thousands of holes to verify," explained Ley. Indianapolis Fabrications assembled the facade off site in 10 by 26 foot sections. The size of the pieces was dictated by factors including the width of the street, the overhang on the existing structure, and the wind resistance each component would face as it was lifted into place. Ley was pleasantly surprised by the interest May September generated among other would-be garage designers. "There are a lot of parking garages out there," he said. "Usually they're very much an appliance. As an archetype, the parking structure is not very interesting, but everyone's anticipating that they're not going away." As for his own firm, Ley would welcome another commission for a parking structure—particularly one that allowed him to work from the ground up. "I enjoyed dealing with a window treatment," he said. "But it would be nice to be involved earlier on, to be able to pursue it in a more holistic way."
Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience? This week ArchDaily looked at what might become of "Detroit's most remarkable ruin" in an article that was also published on The Huffington Post. Last month, wrote Kate Abbey-Lambertz, the building was pulled from public auction and was purchased by developers Boydell Group for an undisclosed amount. Though its infamous use as a parking garage has grabbed headlines (and its crumbling beauty served as a backdrop in Eminem’s 8 Mile), the building still hosts events. Just this weekend a skateboarding competition and concert took over the space. (One band's bassist knocked an event photographer's drone down with a beer can.) But what would it take to turn the Michigan Theatre into something more permanent than a makeshift rock club? Wondered ArchDaily:
Will it ever again look like it did in 1926? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have a vibrant future. “Creative destruction is very much a part of our history,” [Preservation Detroit’s executive director Claire] Nowak-Boyd said, “and is perhaps more central to our story than that of any other American city… This site encapsulates that.”Another symbol of Detroit’s bygone glory days recently got a second look from designers. A "Reanimate the Ruins" competition envisioned a brighter future for the massive Packard Plant site.
MAD Architects, the Chinese designers known for their organically curving buildings from Inner Mongolia to Canada, will work with two local firms—including Studio Gang Architects—to bring filmmaker George Lucas’ new Chicago museum to life. MAD will design the building, while Studio Gang Architects will provide landscape work—an integral part of the lakefront site—and VOA Associates will be the architect of record, said officials for the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art Monday. The Chicago Tribune first reported the story, with Blair Kamin calling "the star-studded team … a surprise given Lucas' penchant for traditional designs." Many also called Lucas' choice of Chicago for the museum, over other West Coast options, surprising. The Star Wars creator’s museum is currently targeting a lakefront site between Soldier Field and the McCormick Place convention center. It would take the place of two surface parking lots, replacing those spots and then some with parking below grade. But that proposal is currently facing a challenge from lakefront advocates, who point to a city ordinance forbidding private development east of Lake Shore Drive. Their qualm may carry legal weight if Lucas doesn’t hand over the museum, in which he is expected to pour $700 million of his money, to the city’s park district upon completion. At any rate, the involvement of MAD’s Ma Yansong and Studio Gang's Jeanne Gang is likely to produce memorable architecture for the new museum, which will house movie memorabilia and selections from Lucas’ extensive art collection. Yansong’s work includes the Ordos Museum, an otherworldly blob in the deserts of Inner Mongolia, and Ontario’s Absolute Towers—sculptural, round apartment towers that have been dubbed the "Marilyn Monroe Towers" after the curvaceous actress. That style seems in keeping with Gang’s own tastes, which tend toward organic forms and eye-grabbing designs. VOA has designed offices for Ariel Investments, a company led by Lucas’ wife Mellody Hobson. Lucas has also pledged to help fund an $18 million pedestrian bridge at 35th Street to improve access to the site. The museum is expected to open in 2018.
Dallas developer Shawn Todd is proposing a $100 million parking-garage-and-park combo for a downtown parking lot that Dallas has been trying to get underway for years now. And while stories about parking garages aren’t exactly a dime a dozen, Todd’s plans are making a particularly idiosyncratic splash. Besides a massive media screen, a Trader Joe's grocery store, and adding a plethora of parking spots to downtown Dallas, the garage and park won’t cost the city a penny. Todd plans to pay for it all by himself. Pacific Plaza is a 3-acre lot in downtown Dallas that the city has been pouring money into for years now. But the city can’t foot the $10 million dollar bill required to get the park underway. The lack of funds has left the stretch of asphalt and broken concrete as, well, a stretch of broken asphalt and concrete. Todd wishes to build an eight-level parking structure that would arch over Pacific Plaza with a deck park atop the garage. Nearby Aston Park—which Todd hopes to buy out from the city—provides the footprint for more park space. Digital ticker tape similar to the one in Times Square gives the parking garage a revolutionary nod to modernity. Razing nearby Corrigan Tower and including residential opportunities is a part of Todd’s bold bag of tricks. Although the city would not have to pay for the rebuilding or maintenance of Aston Park, they are weary of selling the land to a private investor. However, nearby Klyde Warren Park employed a similar business model and was unquestionably successful, so negotiations are a definite possibility. Todd’s ambitious blueprints require some major red tape to cross before groundbreaking. Success, however, would be a big foot up in Dallas’ attempts to amp up their downtown area with commercial and economic viability.
It’s been nearly 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the world’s fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, was held in San Diego. In preparation for the centennial, AIA San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art recently held an ideas competition for improvements to Balboa Park, the site of the fair. The 1,200-acre park is home to a number of museums and other cultural facilities, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art, plus cultivated gardens and family-friendly amusements. The Balboa Park Centennial Gateway Competition received 44 entries from both professional and non-professional designers. The jury met December 7th to award five merit prizes and two top-place awards. “Overall, the jury was impressed by the quality of the presentations and the renderings and grateful for the time and effort expended on their preparation,” an AIA San Diego press release stated. The five entries earning special recognition from the jury included two transit-oriented designs. A submission from San Diego Historic Streetcars showcased that organization’s ongoing efforts to bring streetcars back to the city, while a team from Place Architecture proposed an elevated tramway connecting Balboa Park to the waterfront and Petco Park. The three other merit-award winners were “P.R.A.D.O,” from Di Donato Associates; “Balboa Park Experience,” from NewSchool of Architecture + Design, and “Soaring Above,” from a team led by Jonathan Chau. In a modern take on City Beautiful logic, “P.R.A.D.O.” features a series of architectural monuments placed throughout the park, with a covered pedestrian walkway along its eastern edge framing views of the city beyond. “Balboa Park Experience,” which the press release called a “surprising green solution,” threads a linear park under and around the freeway entrance to the south end of the park. “Soaring Above” envisions a network of towers orienting visitors within the park, and offering elevated viewpoints in and around the green space. The People’s Choice Award, selected by visitors to theSan Diego Museum of Art, was “Reflections” by Jeffrey Taitano, a student of NewSchool of Architecture + Design. Taitano proposed the installation of a large abstracted gate at the park’s entrance, with other park elements—including event boards and bus stops—built to match the main structure’s minimalist aesthetic. The Balboa Park Centennial Gateway Competition jury awarded the second-place prize to “Hillcrest Fruit Farm,” from an undergraduate team at NewSchool of Architecture + Design. The submission imagines the creation of a fruit orchard along the northern boundary of Balboa Park, paying homage to horticulturist Kate Sessions as well as landscape architect Samuel Parson’s vision for the park as the city’s food producer. Finally, the jury split the first-place award three ways, recognizing elements of submissions from De Bartolo + Rimanic Design Studio (“Gateway of Connectivity”), domusstudio architecture (“Park the Dump/Dump the Cars”), and N. Looney Architecture (“Park Boulevard is not an Edge”). “While the Jury felt that each had individual flaws,” the press release explained, “collectively they captured important goals for the Park.” “Park the Dump/Dump the Cars” and “Park Boulevard is not an Edge” both addressed the disposition of the former landfill within Balboa Park, as well as the reabsorption of land currently used for parking. All three winners emphasized the need for to better connect the park and neighboring communities.
Nearly 10 years after shining as the “crown jewel” in the Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan, Willoughby Square Park has a clear path to construction. The one-acre park, designed by Hargreaves Associates, will be a passive space offering a moment of calm just half a block from the bustling Fulton Street Mall, but there will be plenty of action beneath the surface, where a robotically controlled parking garage will arrange 700 cars in a very compact space. The fully-automated, underground parking garage replete with plasma screens, cameras, and lasers will be located under the park and will help defray some of the costs of the its development. Automotion Parking Systems' space-saving technology also means that the garage can fit more cars than a traditional garage, cutting down on the cost of excavation. As a result, the Willoughby Operating Company will be able to cover the construction of the park and the garage with $6 million it has raised from city funding, the Economic Development Corporation, and private donors. The company has also promised to cover any additional expenses. That comes as good news, as the costs of relocating tenants, acquiring land, and funding cuts have hampered the park’s progress over the years. A ceremonial groundbreaking is planned next week on August 1 and the park is scheduled to open in 2016.
The architectural climate of Miami has been red hot recently, with dozens of towers being built by some of the world’s leading architects—including all-stars Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, Bjarke Ingels, and Herzog & de Meuron. And with the city's reputation for high-design parking garages, it's no secret that the Magic City has a soft spot for the automobile. Now, a new designer very familiar with the road aims to break into the Miami sky. The Wall Street Journal reported that Porsche Design Group broke ground in April on a 60-story luxury residential tower, which will feature an automobile elevator allowing each tenant to park their luxury vehicle right beside their living room. The 132-unit tower is Porsche’s first venture into residential development, and it seems to be working out, with half the units already reported sold. The building’s kicker, the car elevator, may already be familiar to Manhattanites since architect Annabelle Selldorf introduced the high-end concept to her 200 Eleventh Avenue tower in 2010. Tenants at the 641-foot, ultra-luxury Porsche Design Tower Miami will be able to pull their cars into the building’s central elevator shaft, ride up to their floor, and park in a “sky-garage” directly connected to their unit—without ever leaving their car. But be prepared to pay for that privilege. Units range from 4,200 to 17,000 square feet and will cost between $4.5 million and $25 million. In addition to the lift, the building will contain other lavish features for lovers of luxury and auto-enthusiasts alike, including a plunge pool, ocean-view ballroom, outdoor kitchens, spas, and a “car concierge” given the duty to monitor and maintain residents’ high-end rides. Even the building’s website is exclusive, forcing users to register to catch a glimpse of the renderings.
Downtown Brooklyn has an unusual situation on its hands: it has a surplus of parking spaces. But soon developers may get the green light to put that space to other use. As AN reported this summer, the city’s zoning rules require new residential developments to build large garages, most of which have remained half empty. With a plethora of transit options in the area—including 13 subway lines, seven subway stops, more than a dozen bus routes, and a commuter rail to boot—there is little demand for parking, which is why the Department of City Planning (DCP) and developers are advocating for new zoning. Yesterday the New York City Council considered a proposal from the DCP that suggests reducing the minimum parking requirements from 40 percent to 20 percent of new residential housing units, which would free up those spaces for other uses whether it be mixed-income and affordable housing or public parking. City Council will likely hold a vote on the proposal on December 4th.
Mayor Emanuel’s proposed $2 congestion tax on downtown parking is facing stiff opposition from, you guessed it, the parking lobby. According to the Tribune, the Parking Industry Labor Management Committee is posting placards in member facilities and handing out flyers opposing the tax. The committee argues the tax will not improve traffic flow and could encourage businesses to relocate to the suburbs. Emanuel believes the tax will foster greater transit ridership and raise an estimated $28 million annually for CTA improvements. The $2 tax on parking at garages and lots in the Loop and River North will be added to the existing $3 tax that goes to the city’s general fund.