Posts tagged with "public space":

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Under budget pressures, WXY reveals new ideas for long shuttered Brooklyn War Memorial

The band Barenaked Ladies famously speculated on what a million dollars could buy: a little tiny fridge filled with pre-wrapped sausages, K-cars, a woman's eternal, undying love, or fancy ketchups.  Well, this isn't the nineties anymore, and, as community leaders in Brooklyn are learning, seven figures will not be nearly enough to renovate and preserve the Brooklyn War Memorial. New York's WXY, lead consultants on the 2014's Brooklyn Strand and 2013's Brooklyn Tech Triangle master plan, led the design team and facilitated community visioning sessions for the memorial. The memorial renovation is a component of the "Brooklyn Strand," a project to unify the patchwork of parks, plazas, and green spaces between Brooklyn Bridge Park and Borough Hall. This month, the Mayor's Office released The Brooklyn War Memorial Feasibility Study to delineate proposed changes to the area. Spearheaded by the Cadman Park Conservancy, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and the Borough President Eric Adams, community leaders are looking to raise $11.8 million by 2019 for the renovation. Adams has allocated $1 million to the project, but other politicians, businesses, and foundations will need to come forward with the difference. Though the memorial, in Cadman Plaza Park, sits near eight subway lines, is proximate to a year-round farmer's market, and is often surrounded by lunching office workers, its prime location has not helped with fundraising. So far, the conservancy has received a paltry $4,060 through a May crowdfunding campaign. WXY facilitated workshops with residents and community groups to generate ideas for the memorial and surrounding park space. Designed by New York's Eggers and Higgins and dedicated in 1951, the memorial honors the 300,000 Brooklynites who served in World War II. Due to lack of maintenance funds, the site has been closed to the public for the past quarter century. Currently, the memorial building contains offices and storage on the lower level, while the primary attraction, a Wall of Honor that displays the names of more than 11,500 borough residents killed in battle, occupies the main floor. The renovation of the 33,660-square-foot space would add a visitor's center, exhibition hall, and cafe to the lower level, and a rooftop terrace that can be rented out for events. Gentle slopes will flank the entrance, inviting Strand strollers to linger around the memorial. An ADA compliant entrance ramp at the main level and elevator are planned, as well.
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Philadelphia’s Bergmann Associates reveal plans for Grays Ferry Triangle pedestrian plaza on South Street

Philadelphia's South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) Grays Ferry Avenue Triangles Committee is making moves on a new plaza at 23rd Street at South Street. This plaza follows the well-trod path of its predecessors, touting amenities like seating and trees, as well as building South Philly's neighborhood identity and civic pride. The Grays Ferry Triangle Project, presented at DesignPhiladelphia this month, will convert the area into a pedestrian plaza with cafe seating, a bike docking station, and benches made of local Wissahickon schist. Concentric cobblestone circles will help manage stormwater runoff. Philadelphia's Bergman Associates drafted the plaza design. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPWJRNk1SRA A major feature of this plaza is a seven-foot-wide drinking fountain. Erected by the Women’s Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1901, the fountain provided free drinking water for horses on the top tier and dogs on the lower level. Grays Ferry Avenue Triangles Committee stipulated that in the design there be enough room to sit "campfire style" around the fountain. SOSNA will use the design to solicit funding to implement the project. Consequently, there is no construction timeline in place at this time.
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Pentagram and WXY team up for supersized aerial signage at Rockaway Beach’s new boardwalk

The architecture studio WXY, engineering firm C2HM, and Pentagram have partnered to rebuild the boardwalk on Rockaway Beach. When it's complete in 2017, the new boardwalk will be a five and a half mile long segmented cement walkway featuring graphic signage that can only be read from the air. The approximately 50-foot-by-100-foot letters span the length of the boardwalk to spell out "Rockaway Beach" in dyed blue concrete. The blue reflects the walkway's proximity to the ocean while remaining clear against the surrounding pale concrete. Paula Scher at Pentagram is leading the design team. The boardwalk is part of a $140 million Rockaway Beach coastal resiliency plan that includes dune restoration, geotextile sandbags to protect buildings near the beach, and concrete retaining walls to keep sand in place during severe storms. The first mile, from Beach 86 Street to Beach 97 Street, opened just in time for beach season this year.
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Navy Pier’s new “Wave Wall” by nArchitects lays a modern Spanish Steps at the foot of a Ferris wheel

Navy Pier is three years into a $278 million overhaul, and the new face of Illinois' most visited tourist attraction is beginning to emerge—most recently a grand staircase titled “Wave Wall" washed over the foot of the pier's famous ferris wheel. The peninsular mall and mixed-use amusement park has many major changes still in store, courtesy of a design team led by James Corner Field Operations. But photos available on the website of designers nARCHITECTS reveal a completed portion of the project collectively called “Pierscape” that creates an outdoor amphitheater from a simple stairway. (The full design team includes dozens of consultants.) The form of the new public space, which faces south into Chicago Harbor, resembles a sweeping wave or a wending draft of wind. Treads made of composite materials domesticate the snarling steel risers. Glass beneath the steps allow passersby indoors at the Pier to glimpse activity on the steps outside. From the bottom of the stairs, the project unspools into an audience seating area for public performances, and also frames the historic Navy Pier Ferris wheel—a 196-foot tall wheel will soon replace the current one, itself a stand-in for the 264-foot icon first transported to the spot from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. The designers say “Wave Wall” was inspired by the Spanish Steps in Rome.
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A pair of Chicago architects planted this electric pink porch in downtown Vancouver

A stand-alone porch with a psychedelic paint job opened earlier this month on Vancouver's Robson Street, beckoning passersby to inhabit the lighthearted public space for the fifth round of the city's Robson Redux design-build competition. Porch Parade, by Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer—together, Design With Company or Dw/Co—is a temporary shelter from the summer sun that will be recycled after its residency on the 800 block of Robson Street with the help of a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity. The young Chicago architects schemed up the space in collaboration with Jana Yeboah. “The design features a collection of porches that appear abstract at first, but when full of visitors, becomes a lively and familiar atmosphere for downtown Vancouver,” according to the project description by Viva Vancouver, the public art entity that stages Robson Redux. "Porch Parade" (Design with Company) Hicks and Newmeyer were also featured in the eclectic Graham Foundation show Treatise: Why Write Alone?, put on earlier this year by Jimenez Lai. Their whimsical installation Shaw Town opened last month for visitors to The Ragdale Foundation's annual Ragdale Ring pavilion. The design played off original Ragdale architect Howard Van Doren Shaw's arts-and-crafts forms with a collection of architectural pillows stored in a giant toy box. Their winning entry for Viva Vancouver was selected by a jury of “prominent Vancouver urban thinkers,” said spacing magazine, from more than 80 entries exhibited at the Museum of Vancouver in March. "Porch Parade" (Design with Company) Honorable mentions went to: #icu by Jeanie Lim, Jason Pielak, Grace Chang, Christine Chung, and Samuel McFaul; Robson Reclaimed by Haeccity Studio Architecture – Travis Hanks and Shirley Shen; Basic Re-Purpose Design – Theunis Snyman; and Jorge Roman; and Greenest Block by D’Arcy Jones Architecture – D’Arcy Jones, Matthew Ketis-Bendena, Craig Bissell, Dea Knight, and Caralyn Jeffs.
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nARCHITECTS reveals Café Pavilion for Cleveland’s revamped Public Square

New renderings for one of the largest public space projects in the Midwest have been revealed, showing a new 2,500-square-foot “Café Pavilion” in Cleveland's Public Square. Brooklyn's nARCHITECTS designed the structure, which appears in renderings via project lead James Corner Field Operations. It will be the only structure on the 10-acre square, besides the existing Soldiers and Sailors' Civil War monument. Cleveland's Public Square is the subject of a major overhaul led by designers and engineers at at James Corner Field Operations, Cleveland's own LAND Studio and Westlake Reed Leskosky, as well as transportation consulting firm Nelson/Nygaard. The project aims to remake the splintered downtown park into a pedestrian-friendly destination that will catalyze development in the area. The cafe structure will serve as a billboard for that transformation. A curated “art wall” faces out, beckoning pedestrians passing by Terminal Tower and acting as the primary entrance to Public Square. Stainless steel panels and tall glass windows broadcast modernity on the building's other faces. “As a building with no back, each side of the Café Pavilion is meant to be a unique ‘front’ façade that offers a different experience,” reads the project description. The cafe, currently under construction, is expected to open in 2016.
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This urban intervention in Chicago would let citizens control colorful lights under the “El” with their smartphones

Chicago is best known for Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower (yes, the Sears Tower), but one of its most prominent urban features is the elevated train tracks that form the “Loop,” or the downtown area bound by this snaking steel goliath. However poetic the idea of the “El” might be, it brute steel structure could, like most raised infrastructures, use some improvements. To draw attention to improving the El, the Chicago Loop Alliance has even outlined a plan called Transforming Wabash, which focuses on one heavily trafficked throughway underneath train tracks. The Wabash Lights is a site-specific installation that would convert a stretch of the tracks into a programmable light show with over 5,000 LED tubes. Urban instigators Jack C. Newell and Seth Unger need your help to Kickstart a pilot of the project, and, at the time of publication, they have less than a week to raise $13,000 to complete their crowdfunding campaign. The underside of the elevated train tracks above Wabash Avenue will be their test site for the lights, which the pair says embrace and celebrate the existing, rather than destroying the character of what is there. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jackcnewell/the-wabash-lights-the-beta-test From the Kickstarter campaign:

For most people visiting or living in Chicago, Wabash Avenue in the Loop is a dark, noisy, sometimes scary place to either avoid or walk quickly through. Positioned between the history of State Street and the futuristic playground of Millennium Park, Wabash Avenue is an underutilized resource in the city for art, culture, and business.

The design calls for 520 light tubes that are programmable every 1.2 inches, and Chicago residents can control the lights using a smartphone or computer. The project was initially entangled in a bit of a bureaucratic red tape, but it now has gained all of the approvals needed to move forward with a pilot outside of the Palmer House Hilton on Wabash Avenue. The duo has been working closely with the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the city government. To contribute to the project and see Chicago’s streets come to life, head on over to their Kickstarter page.
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DDG is set to begin construction on this razor-edged, triangular building in Tribeca

Two very narrow parking lots in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood will soon be filled in with a pair of very narrow condo buildings designed and developed by DDG. The firm's plan for 100 Franklin Street was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in early 2014, but only recently made it through the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) which had to grant a zoning variance for the site. Crain's reported that given the tricky nature of the site, the BSA decided to wave a requirement for setbacks on upper floors. The two buildings, one six stories and the other eight, comprise 10 apartments that are set above ground-floor retail that faces 6th Avenue. DDG's non-profit arm has also agreed to convert a narrow pedestrian island across the street into a permanent park. The two buildings both have a red brick facade that appears partially pixellated as DDG has removed individual bricks here and there. At the street level, the building has arched masonry frames and a ribbon of plantings that runs the length of the building, just above the glassy storefront spaces. Taking a cue from the angled site, 100 Franklin forms a point at its northern edge. Construction is slated to start this fall and wrap up in 2017.
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After planning commission okay, Cleveland is set to install its first pop-up parklet

Parklets are coming to Cleveland. The urban planning tool remaking urban streetscapes from Los Angeles to Chicago got a nod from Cleveland's Planning Commission last week, clearing the way for an outdoor living room to replace a parking space in front of the popular Noodlecat restaurant at 234 Euclid Avenue. Pending permits, the pedestrian area and space for street theater should pop up in less than one month, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Steven Litt. The nonprofit Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corp. worked with David Jurca of Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative and architect Jason Rohal of Vocon to design the space, gathering about half the of the necessary $7,000 from the co-op Cleveland Collectivo. Cleveland's first miniature, plug-in public space will take the form of a wooden deck, outfitted with moveable furniture and stools. If it's popular, it could be the first of many.
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This roadway in New York City’s Washington Heights is being replaced by a pedestrian plaza with playfully meandering paving

New York City recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot public plaza in Washington Heights with a very wavy paving design. The Plaza de Las Americas  is intended to reference town squares found in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It was designed for the city by the RBA Group, a landscape architecture and engineering consulting firm. The plaza's design does feel reminiscent of the monochromatic wavy designs of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx like the 1970 Copacabana Promenade, itself influenced by the Portuguese paving patterns of the 1930s. In more modern times, the design also reminds us of Bjarke Ingels' Superkilen park in Copenhagen. Plaza de Las Americas will replace a block of roadway between a grocery store and an old theatre. The city says the plaza is designed to enhance the local markets that currently operate on the site by offering water and electrical system to vendors' booths. The plaza will also include new trees, benches, "pedestrian scale lighting," cafe seating, an information kiosk, and an artsy fountain by Ester Partegás. When completed early next year, the space will host public events including concerts, dance shows, art and craft fairs, performances, and poetry readings. [Correction: An earlier version of this story did not give proper credit to the RBA Group which designed the plaza. We regret the error.]
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Video> Shanghai Talks: Ole Scheeren on human-scale skyscrapers

This Fall, I served as special media correspondent for The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's September symposium in Shanghai. The topic was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism,” and among the many architects, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Ole Scheeren—founder Büro Ole Scheeren and former director at OMA. In light of Scheeren's recent work on The Interlace in Singapore and Bangkok's MahaNakhon, we talked about exploring the power of public space and shared experiences in tall buildings. “The city is about sharing,” said Scheeren. “The city is not about individuality per se but it's about how individuals come together and the spaces they share. And in a way the adventure of that space.”
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Gritty site underneath Boston’s I-93 to become public space…and parking lot

[beforeafter]01_Infra_Space_BeforeThe possible future of "Infra Space 1". (Courtesy MassDOT) [/beforeafter]   The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wants to transform a gritty site underneath Interstate 93 in Boston into a public space that people actually want to visit—or at least park their car. BostInno reported that the $6 million project, called “Infra-Space 1”, is part of MassDot’s wider initiative to give new life (and lighting) to vacant lots underneath the city’s elevated infrastructure. [beforeafter]boston-highways-01boston-highways-02[/beforeafter]   Curbed Boston noted that the initiative has already 235 “well-lighted” parking spots. “Infra-Space 1” will upgrade an eight-acre, notoriously-dangerous site in Boston’s South End neighborhood. Now, obviously, a planned 175-car parking lot doesn’t necessarily scream urban renewal, but there are aspects of this project that could actually activate the space. The plan is essentially to first clean up the site and then prep it for possible programmatic elements. Alongside the parking lot, which has 24/7 security, the DOT wants to install  “innovative” lighting systems and create an environment for art installations and performances. As BostInno noted, MassDot is fairly bullish on what else is possible at the site. The completion of the project would also include a plaza, green space, a sports facility, dog park, and a connection to an eventual section of the Boston Harborwalk. 08_Dog_Amenity_After