Phoenix, Arizona is best known for its cacti and asphalt, not its tree canopy, but one city employee is trying to change that. Richard Adkins, a forestry supervisor for the city, is on a mission to bring tree coverage to one-quarter of the city by 2030. Right now, the tree coverage is less than half of Adkins target number. Why bring lush tree cover to a city mostly known for its desert plants? With a new emphasis on walkable neighborhoods over sprawling subdivisions, and the looming threat of climate change that will raise the mercury further, Phoenix needs to create refuges from the burning heat. Some (mostly older) districts have a reasonable tree cover of 17 percent shade, while others have a paltry seven or eight percent. Natives species like palo brea and mesquite will be planted in conjunction with varieties like the Chinese pistache, a deciduous tree with a dense crown and deep root system that won't buckle sidewalks. As an aesthetic bonus, the pistache turns blood-red in the fall before dropping its leaves. Palms, a ubiquitous site along medians, will be avoided as they do not provide much shade. One model for Adkins's initiative is three-acre Civic Space Park. Completed in 2009, the downtown park boasts a variety of native and non-native trees, pervious pavers, a solar canopy, and a coffee shop. When the trees mature in five to six years, the park should have 70 percent shade cover. And yet, Adkins told the Los Angeles Times, “there’s a lot of pushback – ‘You plant more trees, well, we’re going to have to use more water. That’s where it gets into species choice and water management. Even today, most people over-water everything. But is water a consideration? Of course? Do I feel we have ways of watering and harvesting rainfall with green infrastructure to help provide for our street trees? Absolutely. Do I think we need to give up trees for water? No.” The trees don't need to be natural to be functional, though. Steel trees and canopies can provide cover from the sun on densely developed downtown corridors. In addition creating an online inventory of Phoenix's 92,000 trees, Adkins has tagged trees across town with labels to explain their environmental value using a metric developed by the U.S. Forest Service to determine a tree's carbon storage capacity, how much electricity it could save surrounding buildings, and how much runoff it reduces. Beyond the cost savings they afford, trees have an extra economic value: People tend to gather in shady spots, so if a commercial corridor has many trees, it's likely to get more business, Adkins reasons.
Posts tagged with "Phoenix":
The White Shirt According to Me. Gianfranco Ferré Phoenix Art Museum, Steele Gallery 1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ Through March 6, 2016 Gianfranco Ferré, the “architect of fashion,” probably loved white as much as Le Corbusier did, but thankfully that’s where the comparisons between the Italian fashion designer and modernist pioneer end. The White Shirt According to Me. Gianfranco Ferré exhibits 27 white shirts that defined Ferré’s career spanning from 1982–2006. After obsessing over the medium throughout his life, and considering it as the ultimate expression of form, communication ideologies, beauty, and emotion, Ferré’s deviations on the subject are well chronicled. That’s not to say there will just be fabric on display. In fact, a multiplicity of media has been used to illustrate the seemingly never-ending iterative processes Ferré employed to discover new forms of the white shirt. Sketches, technical drawings, photography, and film convey these techniques and ideas that have been used to create his well-established “hallmark of style.”
Kitchen systems offer the best of both worlds: unlimited customization and efficient, modular-based installation. For multi-unit projects or single-family structures, open floor plans or enclosed rooms, these versatile cabinets are a designer's dream. P'7350 Poggenpohl The mitered vertical joints of the P'7350 are a striking visual departure from the horizontal lines of conventional kitchens. Designed by Porsche Design Studio. XTEND Leicht Louvered panels rise and lower via remote control, eliminating concerns about door-swing clearance in tight spaces. Henrybuilt Custom designed and fabricated in the United States, these contemporary kitchens feature hand-crafted carpentry and one-of-a-kind detailing. B3 Bulthaup A multi-function wall is at the core of this kitchen system, concealing utility lines and giving the cabinets a floating appearance. Phoenix Varenna A serviceable mix of open and closed storage and a palette of natural materials characterize this forward-looking kitchen. Designed by CR&S Varenna. New Logica System: Artematica Vitrum Arte Valcucine Featuring glass-fronted drawers and base cabinets, this kitchen poses unique recycling potential. Full-height pantry units offer extensive storage capacity. Designed by Gabriele Centazzo.
According to a recent article on azcentral.com, Phoenix’s Warehouse District is in the midst of a renaissance. Or is it? The man behind several adaptive reuse projects in the neighborhood says not so fast. “It’s like every five years someone gets excited about it and writes the same article,” said developer Michael Levine. While he admits there’s been an uptick in interest in the mid-century industrial buildings, he doubts his fellow landowners’ motives. “If you give them enough money...they’d have the [buildings] demolished,” he said. Levine grew up in Brooklyn and attended Parsons, where he considered becoming an architectural designer before a retrospective on the work of Gordon Matta Clark convinced him to switch to art. “I wanted to get my hands dirty,” said Levine. After college, Levine moved to Phoenix, doing all kinds of work, from residential contracting to building visual displays and starting an art gallery. When he began manufacturing for multinational companies, he needed a larger workspace, and moved into his first warehouse. “Basically the buildings are like big three-dimensional sculptures,” said Levine. Eventually, the buildings themselves became Levine’s subjects. He renovated his first warehouse in 1992, his second in 1999. Phoenix, it turns out, is a particularly difficult place to be a champion for adaptive reuse. For one thing, the city didn’t have that many warehouses to begin with. “The best warehouse in Phoenix would be the worst in Detroit,” observed Levine. In addition, said Levine, the city’s reluctance to embrace the International Building Code combined with its early adoption of ADA standards to make it “almost impossible to save a building.” Even a recent preservation program hasn’t done as much as advocates might have hoped for the Warehouse District. In 2006, the city, aware that its pre–World War II building stock was rapidly dwindling, launched a special category of grants (funded through the city’s bond program) specifically for preserving warehouses. “It hasn’t been quite as successful as we’d hoped, but it hasn’t been a complete failure,” said Kevin Weight of the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. The office had hoped there might be another bond issue, but then the recession hit. “We really don’t have the incentives to offer that we did before, so that’s part of why it’s not moving as quickly as we’d like,” said Weight. According to Levine, the problem is that would-be renovators have to compete with new construction. “The real story of the Warehouse District is it’s the cheapest land in town,” he said. Preservationists have scored a few big wins, as in 2007, when a lawsuit spared the Sun Mercantile Building (an E.W. Bacon-designed warehouse built in 1929) from a condo project. But the trend still seems to favor new over old. “They demolish 10, 13 buildings, then save one building,” said Levine. “It’s been like tokenism.” There are a few bright spots in the Warehouse District’s recent history, including several of Levine’s projects: 605 E. Grant Street (1917), originally owned by the Southwest Cotton Company; The Duce (525 S. Central Ave, 1928), built for Anchor Manufacturing Company; and Bentley Projects (215 E. Grant Street, 1918), first occupied by Bell Laundry. Then there’s 22 E. Jackson Street, the 1930 Arizona Hardware Supply Company building renovated by Dudley Ventures. A number of additional warehouse buildings have been listed on the city’s register of historic buildings. Levine cites the recent relocation of several of Arizona State University School of Art graduate student buildings to his 605 E. Grant Street. “The fine artists get it...ASU has finally gotten it,” said Levine, though he went on to express dismay at an ASU urban planning professor’s embrace of a nearby luxury-apartments project. That said, the Warehouse District renaissance doesn’t yet seem to have reached the tipping point. The city’s out of money to assist preservationists, at least for now. And Levine thinks that some of the recent interest in the neighborhood may be a passing craze. “However much they love it, unfortunately it’s a fashion thing to these people,” said Levine. “It’s really cool to be in a brick building...For me, I really want these buildings to be around for another 100 years.”
As cities across the country struggle to bring new life to aging athenaeums and cash-strapped local libraries, the AIA has honored six outstanding examples of library design in this year’s AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. In the past we have seen a Walmart transformed into a library, a controversial starchitect renovation in New York, and an interactive, LED light-show—now take a look at these honored projects. From democratic design in the nation’s capital to a stunning Beaux-Arts restoration in St. Louis and high-tech solutions in North Carolina, this year's winning projects present a range of answers to the challenges facing our fading repositories. The jury for the biannual award included Jeanne M. Jackson, FAIA, Chair, VCBO Architecture; John R. Dale, FAIA, Harley Ellis Devereaux; Charles Forrest, Emory University Libraries; Kathleen Imhoff, Library Consultant; J. Stuart Pettitt, AIA, Straub Pettitt Yaste and John F. Szabo, Los Angeles Public Library. Anacostia Neighborhood Library Washington, D.C. The Freelon Group From the AIA: The small-scale residential context provided the inspiration for the design of this new branch library, located in a low-income, underserved neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The project not only fulfilled programmatic needs but also provided a stimulus for community pride and economic development. The residential scale is reflected in the library design as a series of pavilions for program areas that require enclosure: the children’s program room, the young adults’ area, support spaces, and public meeting rooms. The remainder of the level one plan is high, open space for the main reading room, stacks, computers, and public seating areas. A large green roof structure provides shelter over all program areas. Central Library Renovation St. Louis Cannon Design From the AIA: Cass Gilbert’s grand Beaux-Arts library, now 100 years old and a St. Louis cultural landmark, was in need of a transformative restoration that would increase public access and modernize it for the 21st century. On the interior, the centrally located Great Hall is surrounded by five wings, four dedicated to public reading rooms and the fifth, the north wing, to a multistory book depository closed to the public. The transformation of the north wing truly rejuvenated the library and brought it into the next century. Old book stacks were removed, and a new “building within a building” was inserted. Now, a multistory public atrium provides an accessible and welcoming entry. The new “floating platforms” surround the atrium without touching existing interior walls. Glass-enclosed upper levels house the collection with compact high-density bookshelves. The windows of the north wall, now clear glass, bounce natural light deep into the interior and provide striking views. New York Public Library, Hamilton Grange Teen Center New York City Rice + Libpka Architects From the AIA: The center, located on the previously empty third-floor space of Harlem’s Hamilton Grange branch library, designed by McKim, Mead and White, is NYPL’s first full-floor space dedicated to teens. In an effort to attract and engage neighborhood youth, the 4,400-square-foot space challenges the norms of library design. The light-filled floor is divided into specific zones that foster small-group interaction and socialization. Visibility is maintained across the entire floor. Two programmatic elements—a 20-foot-diameter Media Vitrine and a bamboo bleacher—occupy the center of the space and work to define the seven zones between and around them. The vitrine’s open-top glass enclosure upends the notion that multimedia spaces must be dark, hyperisolated rooms. The bleacher allows views out to the street from the existing high south-facing windows and provides a sunny hang-out for a range of group sizes. Custom L-shaped lounge benches bracket this space and can be rolled away to allow for other uses and activities. James B. Hunt Library Raleigh, North Carolina Snøhetta and Pear Brinkley Cease + Lee From the AIA: An $11 million reduction in the budget for this library during the schematic design phase prompted the design, construction, and client teams to formulate a range of new ideas to maintain functionality and quality. The building would need to be highly programmed and reasonably versatile as well as comfortable and stimulating to visitors. One innovation was the introduction of an automated book delivery system (ABDS), which effectively reduced the total area of the building by 200,000 gross square feet and allowed more space for collaboration and technology. The ABDS is supported by user-friendly browsing software that matches and even enhances the traditional pleasure of browsing a collection. Oak Forest Neighborhood Library Houston NAAA + AWI + JRA From the AIA: This 7,600-square-foot modern brick and glass structure opened in 1961. Fifty years later, there was still great nostalgia for the library’s mid-century modern design, but the building no longer met the standards of the Houston Public Library system or the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. The 2011 renovations and additions respect the character of the existing library and enhance its accessibility and functionality. The original building’s restored signature green tile mosaic still graces the parking entry area on the north, but now the neighborhood is welcomed by a tree-shaded second entry and outdoor reading room framed by new dedicated adult and teen areas on the west. The original tile mosaic and globe light canopy of the old circulation desk were restored to create a toddler-sized reading nook. Each age group—from toddlers through teens and adults—now has appropriate facilities, furnishings, and technology. A new lobby and circulation space, lit by a continuous shaded clerestory, occupies the seam between old and new and unites the two entries. South Mountain Community Library Phoenix richärd+brauer From the AIA: The building integrates the varied uses of a contemporary public library with the needs of a state-of-the-art central campus library, allowing each to function both independently and collaboratively. The design is modeled after that of an integrated circuit, providing insulation between disparate functions and promoting interaction and connection between like functions and spaces. The simple massing of the building is attenuated to focus views on the surrounding mountains and provide shade and transparency. The site was once home to fertile agricultural valleys and citrus groves, and the building consciously merges interior and exterior spaces to connect to the area’s rich history. A series of rooftop monitors and light shafts flood natural light into the first-level core. The rain screen, formed of bent planks of copper, calls to mind the pattern of an abstracted bar code. Variegated cedar strips reinforce the digital aesthetic of the building. Further echoing the design of a circuit board, building systems are organized and expressed within an internally lit independent distribution soffit.
Phoenix-based developer Novawest wanted a new signature project for the city's downtown, an observation tower from which to admire the far-off mountain ranges and dramatic Southwestern sunsets, so Bjarke Ingels proposed to scoop out the spiraled negative-space of New York's Guggenheim Museum rotunda and plant it 420 feet above downtown Phoenix. Ingels' "Pin," a 70,000 square foot observation tower is elegant in its simple form, a ball on a stick, indeed evoking some far away Gulliver on a real-life version of Google maps finding his way to the Sun Belt. In another light, Phoenicians could ostensibly see a larger-than-life Chupa Chup or an upended mascara brush, but that's the beauty of pure form, right? Visitors will be able to ride one of three glass elevators up the reinforced concrete core to the top of the Pin's observation spiral, where flexible exhibition, retail, and recreation spaces will showcase panoramic views of the surrounding region and descend, round and round, to a restaurant in the lower portions of the sphere. "Like the monsoons, the haboobs, and the mountains of the surrounding Arizonian landscape, the Pin becomes a point of reference and a mechanism to set the landscape in motion through the movement of the spectator." Bjarke Ingels, principal at BIG, said in a statement. "Like the Guggenheim Museum of New York offers visitors a unique art experience descending around its central void, the motion at the Pin is turned inside-out allowing visitors to contemplate the surrounding city and landscape of Phoenix. Like a heavenly body hovering above the city, the Pin will allow visitors to descend from pole to pole in a dynamic three dimensional experience seemingly suspended in midair."
After an anonymous buyer stepped in to save a threatened Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, it appears that the future the David & Gladys Wright House is not so sunny after all. AN previously noted that an anonymous buyer was throwing the iconic home a $2.4 million cash life line to save it from demolition, the real estate broker announced this week that the home would be placed back on the market after the purchase agreement fell through. The buyer cited “personal and business” reasons for rescinding the offer, according to The Phoenix Business Journal. After much urging and a petition by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Phoenix City Council will vote on December 4 on whether or not to designate the home as a historic landmark, thus preventing its demolition. The house, built in 1952, is considered by some to be an architectural foreshadowing to the continuous circular movements seen in the spirals of Wright's Guggenheim Museum.
Great news! Frank Lloyd Wright's David & Gladys Wright house in Phoenix won't be reduced to rubble as developers had hoped. The house, designed for FLW's son David in 1952, had been threatened with demolition earlier this year, but an anonymous buyer ponied up nearly $2.4 million to save the house. The previous owner, developer 8081 Meridian, had proposed tearing down the house and building two new houses on the property. The spiral-planned, textile block home is one of Wright's most unusual designs, with an amazing spiral ramp that leads into and lifts the house above the desert. Check out the video walk-through of the home above or a photo slideshow over here. Way to go, anonymous!
Just a couple months ago, a house by Frank Lloyd Wright's son Lloyd—the Moore House—was destroyed in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. AN called its loss the "archi-crime of the year," but now developers in Phoenix, Arizona could one-up the razing with the demolition of an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed for another of his sons, David. The threatened David Wright House is a spiral-planned textile block masterpiece that predates the Guggenheim (the most famous Wright spiral), and an effort is underway to save the property. A petition from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy urges the City of Phoenix to designate the structure as a historic landmark, preventing its destruction. According to the conservancy, no Wright house has been willingly destroyed in nearly 40 years. At press time, just under 800 names are still needed on the petition to reach its goal of 5,000 names. The conservancy has already helped the house receive a temporary stay of demolition while the city desides what to do, but time is running out. You can sign on with your support here. According to the FLLW Building Conservancy, developers hope to demolish the home as soon as possible and build two luxury mansions on the site. You can stay up to date with the preservation process and read more about the conservancy's efforts on their website. [h/t ArchDaily]
According to a story in Governing Magazine, while LA is only dreaming of building its freeway cap parks, several US cities are either planning or have completed their own. Dallas' 5.2-acre park over its Woodall Rodgers Freeway downtown will be done by 2012. Other cities that have completed decked freeway parks include Boston (the Big Dig of course!), Phoenix, Seattle, Trenton, N.J., and Duluth, Minnesota. And besides LA Cincinnati and St. Louis are also proposing deck parks. While quite expensive, the article points out, the parks help knit cities back together, provide valuable civic space, are built on free land, and send adjacent property values skyrocketing. In short: Let's Do This People!! Pix of more parks can be seen here: