Posts tagged with "Parks":

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Proponents Lose Battle to Build Park Across Los Angeles River

A proposal to turn the old Riverside-Figueroa Bridge into a High Line–style park appears to be dead after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order to demolition crews. Introduced by RAC Design Build and EnrichLA last fall, the Figueroa Landbridge would have preserved part of the 1939 bridge for use by pedestrians and cyclists while the replacement span for vehicular traffic was built upstream. RAC Design Build’s Kevin Mulcahy blamed the collapse of the Landbridge scheme on the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, who he said exaggerated the extent to which the plan would impact the replacement project. When they first introduced the Landbridge, he said, the designers were optimistic. The city had new leadership, many of whom had championed the revitalization of the LA River during their campaigns. “But what we learned is that those promises are not easily embraced,” said Mulcahy. “The politics eroded in an immediate way a very sincere opportunity. The Bureau of Engineering read the political tea leaves and said, ‘We’re not supporting this.’” At the June 2 hearing, lawyers for RAC Design Build and EnrichLA argued that the city is obligated to conduct further environmental review before removing the bridge in light of its status as an historical monument. (The bridge was declared an historic monument seven years ago, one year after the initial decision to demolish it.) The city attorney, meanwhile, claimed that delaying the demolition of the old bridge would stop all work on the new span, to the tune of $18,000 a day. Judge James Chalfant decided in favor of the city, on the grounds that the Landbridge’s proponents should have made their case in 2011. That’s when the Bureau of Engineering decided to build the new bridge upstream of, rather than in the same location as, the 1939 structure. “The judge made his ruling on a failed assumption,” said Mulcahy. “We weren’t here in 2011 because the [Bureau of Engineering] changed the work and they never daylighted that fact. We’re not late because the public has failed here, we’re late as a result of the failure of the Bureau of Engineering to act timely and appropriately.” Mulcahy isn’t sure what happens next. “We’re trying to decide what to do,” he said. “The only way to get [the story] out is to follow through with a lawsuit, and that’s not why we’re in this. We don’t exactly know where we’re going to go with this.” In the meantime, he was heartened by the public’s response to the Landbridge proposal. One Angeleno even organized a “wake” on the old bridge following the hearing. “Here we were on a Sunday with kids running around, just free play with no traffic,” said Mulcahy. “It was a day of a park spanning the Los Angeles River, an absolute proof of concept.” Whether or not the Landbridge is built, Mulcahy still sees value in the lessons learned over the past nine months. “We set out to just ask questions,” he said. “What we discovered were gaping holes in the process, and that’s both unfortunate and—I’m a little bit of an eternal optimist—we can turn that on its head. When we see these kinds of failures, these are opportunities to actually improve things. We’ll see where this goes, but it may bring about change that can actually help the next project.”
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Chicago Plan Commission Approves New Skate Park for Grant Park

This month, Chicago’s Plan Commission approved plans for a new skatepark at the south end of Grant Park. Plans were released last fall, showing curvy paved pathways and sculptural landscape features courtesy of the Chicago Park District and North Center urban design studio Altamanu. Using the address 300 East 11th Street, the new skate park would be the city’s fifth and would draw on the neighborhood’s local population of 60,000 students. Originally the project featured a grassy amphitheater, but that was whittled out of the new plan. In all, the skate park and associated "passive areas" will total three acres, said Chicago Park District spokesman Peter Strazzabosco. Bob O’Neil of the Grant Park Conservancy told Chicago Architecture Blog:

We were able to get input and design from all kinds of skaters and BMXers so it was crowd-sourced before crowd sourcing was cool.  We organized skaters back in 2006. The final design is innovative and allows it to be used by the entire public not just skaters and other ”wheelers”.  It will be a place for all types of people and park users to gather.

The skate park will be part of a 1.9-acre addition to the 325-acre downtown park’s southwest corner, between South Michigan Avenue and the Metra Electric District railroad tracks. The city will sell the land to the Park District for one dollar, assuming that sale is approved as expected at a City Council meeting on Wednesday.
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Brooklyn Bridge Parks Opens New Pier and Beach

The opening of a new pier and beach at Michael Van Valkenburgh's Brooklyn Bridge Park this week marks the halfway point in the transformation of the celebrated 85-acre site. Local elected officials and community leaders—including Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver—appeared on the new Pier 2 to mark the occasion. They used words like “amazing” and “unbelievable" to describe the new six acres of space, but didn’t need much help selling the project. As they spoke on the overcast afternoon, their voices were drowned out by people playing basketball and bocce, and children running around a new playground. "We love all the boroughs," said Silver during his turn at the mic. "But, let me say, Brooklyn is really cool." This “active recreation”  space came out of a community-driven planning process, and also includes handball courts, a field, a roller rink, and food vendors all under a protective shed. A few steps from all the action at Pier 2 is the new Pier 4 beach,  a small waterfront space that will soon look out onto a natural habitat called Bird Island.
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Dallas Developer Wants to Adopt Abandoned Parking Lot, Turn it Towards Economic Viability

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.
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Millennium Park Turns Ten! Here Are Ten Amazing Photos of Chicago’s Jewel Through the Years

Happy birthday, Millennium Park! Yes, the Chicago park named for the chronological milestone now 14 years in the rearview mirror is turning 10—it went famously over-schedule and over-budget but we love it nonetheless. Last year 4.75 million people visited Chicago’s front yard, taking in free concerts and events, and probably taking at least as many selfies with Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate and the flowing titanium locks of Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion in the background. In honor of the anniversary, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is kicking off a series of shows and exhibitions that includes new work from Crown Fountain designer Jaume Plensa. Hey, Jaume! Email us if you need another face for your 40-foot LED projection! Here at AN, we're celebrating with ten of our favorite photographs of the park taken over the past decade and more. Take a look below.
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Slideshow> Michael Van Valkenburgh’s Design for Tulsa Park

[beforeafter]05b-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper 05a-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper[/beforeafter] As AN reported in our recent Southwest edition, Michael Van Valkenburgh is hard at work on plans for a massive park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  According to the article, "The community expressed a strong need for the park to accommodate not just children, but the whole family unit. Having a variety of activities for a wide age range became a primary factor in the development of the design." The $300 million waterfront plan is expected to be complete by 2017. MVVA shared this set of renderings with AN to keep us excited in the meantime. [beforeafter]02b-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper 02a-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper[/beforeafter] [beforeafter]12b-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper 12a-tulsa-oklahoma-park-mvva-archpaper[/beforeafter]
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Letter to the Editor> Let There Be Light

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted comments in response to the article “Born Again” (AN 02_02.19.2014_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ] This reminds me quite a bit of the never-built proposal, Bombed Churches as War Memorials (1945), published in London after WWII, which presented various designs for bombed-out churches to be preserved in ruined form with the addition of garden plantings and a few amenities. In the event, there were a few bombed churches that were preserved, but not many, and the sites were not developed as visitor spaces. This is all described in the excellent book In Ruins by Christopher Woodward, which is a good read if you’re interested in the paradox of ruins and why they cause both pleasure and pain. Anne Boyd Philadelphia, PA This sounds incredible! I did a project on these two lots during my Master’s at WashU. I have a timeline of the church and old photos I found in archives, as well as hand drawings of the church. If anyone wants to take a look you can see it here. David Adkin St. Louis, MO
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“SuralArk” Selected as Best Folly for Summer Installation at Socrates Sculpture Park

Socrates Sculpture Park and the Architectural League have selected Jason Austin and Aleksandr Mergold as the winners of their Folly 2014 competition. Commenced in earlier this year and launched in 2012, the contest's name and theme derive from the 18th and 19th century Romantic practice of architectural follies, or structures with little discernible function that are typically sited within a garden or landscape. Austin and Mergold's SuralArk was deemed the most deserving contemporary interpretation of the tradition, and will be erected within the park's Long Island City confines by early May. SONY DSC The winning submission takes equal parts inspiration from an upturned ship hull and a suburban home to arrive at its final form. Measuring 50 feet long and 16 feet tall, the design and its context are meant to speak to the increasingly ambiguous distinctions between city, suburban environments, and rural living. In a nod to its greater surroundings, the structure will be coated in the same vinyl sidings frequently found coating the walls of Queens residences. Such paneling will allow light to filter through the building's exterior, an effect that becomes more dramatic with night fall. The resonance of the ark form grows when one considers the East River's uninvited entry to and eventual submergence of the Park during 2012's Hurricane Sandy. SONY DSC A jury of Chris Doyle, ArtistJohn Hatfield, Socrates Sculpture ParkEnrique Norten, TEN Arquitectos; Lisa Switkin, James Corner Field Operations; and Ada Tolla, LOT-EK judged 171 entries from 17 countries before choosing the Austin and Mergold design. The pair currently work at a Philadelphia-based architecture and landscape firm that bears their name. They will be granted unfettered access to the Sculpture Park's studios and facilities throughout April in order to oversee the execution of SuralArk which should be open to the public on May 11th and remain on the grounds through August 3rd.
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Philadelphia Green Lights New Riverside Park, Bartram’s Mile

Consider it a mile-long step in Philadelphia's ongoing architectural renaissance. Local landscape firm Andropogon recently received approval for the plans to re-work a vacant stretch of land beside the western banks of the tidal Schuylkill River. The goal is to convert the plot located between Grays Ferry Avenue and 58th Street into public green space that provides riverfront access and recreational opportunities for local residents. The site is adjacent to Bartram's Garden, the country's oldest botanical garden founded at the house of 18th century botanist and Philadelphian John Bartram, who is also the source of the Bartram's Mile moniker for the future park. The potential for the area was first highlighted in Green 2015, a 2010 study the city commissioned from PennPraxis gauging the feasibility of adding 500 acres of parkland to Philadelphia over a five-year period. The hope is to complete Bartram's Mile before the 2015 deadline established in that plan. Though some questions linger regarding the specifics of the vision, the Philadelphia Arts Commission gave the project the final go ahead following a presentation by Andropogon's Patty West.
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Loopy Alternative for New York’s Organic Waste

For as long as societies have produced trash, they has sought to jettison said trash into whatever water is most convenient, polluting lakes, creeks, and rivers along the way. PRESENT Architecture wants to harness this impulse in order to construct Green Loop, a series of composting islands along the coasts of Manhattan and the city's other boroughs. Each topped by a public park, the floating facilities would offer a more productive and cost-effective means of processing the city's large quantities of organic waste. The proposal is motivated in part by the great costs New York incurs in transporting the over 14 million tons of trash it produces each year. With organic products accounting for about a third of that amount, PRESENT sees an opportunity to cut into this expenditure by depositing the waste in a more local manner. This approach would also help to reduce the amount of traffic, noise pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions generated by trash's traditional interstate journey. The network proposed by the firm would service each of the five boroughs, composting trash to generate nutrient-rich soil. Each of the ten proposed plants would be to be capped by 12 acres of parkland, populated by green space and public gardens that one would presume would make use of the nutritious dirt produced below.
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Rios Clementi Hale and LPA Win West Hollywood Park Commission

Last month we revealed three shortlisted schemes for the new West Hollywood Park, adjacent to the city's new library off La Cienega Boulevard. Last week the city announced that LPA and Rios Clementi Hale has won, beating out other finalists Frederick Fisher and Partners with CMG and Langdon Wilson. The scheme puts a strong emphasis on the connection between the park itself and its new recreation center and "resort style" rooftop pool (with cabanas and a view terrace). The rec center, clad with vertical green screens, will contain  a park-like podium and a large grand stair leading from to the park. The sprawling public space would be divided into a hard-edged  “public park,” programmed for larger events and athletics, and a sinuous “neighborhood park,” set for passive activities. The $80 million project is set for completion in 2017.
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Indianapolis Moves to Privatize Parks

Indianapolis’ public parks system, Indy Parks, is looking for third parties interested in privatizing some or all of the city’s parks and recreation holdings. The move follows last year’s survey seeking ways to upgrade the city’s 207 parks properties. With a $46 million backlog of needed improvements and just $3.4 million available in the annual budget, Indy Parks could use some help. Deputy Director Jen Pittman told Indianapolis Business Journal the agency’s aware that the request for proposals, issued in November, is broad: “We wanted to cast a wide net to engage the creativity of the community … We’re looking for proposals that will take our parks from good to great.” Any deals larger than $25,000 must be approved by the city-county Council, but the parks board can handle smaller sponsorship agreements itself. Parks board members are appointed by the mayor and members of the City-County Council. One candidate for private operation is the 50-acre World Sports Park, currently under construction. Five multi-use fields at 1313 South Post Road would host cricket and other international sports. Its $6 million price tag is the subject of controversy. Indiana is no stranger to privatization. Indy Parks’ golf courses are already privately operated, as is its Major Taylor Velodrome complex. Nashville, too, has sought private bids to help sponsor its public parks system. Partnership proposals must be in by Jan. 31, 2014.