Posts tagged with "urbanism":

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How Salt Lake City might add buildings in the medians of its extra-wide streets

Over the course of four years, the Granary District of Salt Lake City has been trialling "median development" whereby pop-up shows, stands, and other forms of temporary architecture exist literally in the middle of the street. Now, James Alfandre, director of the Kentlands Initiative, proposes something more concrete. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSXH_EEz144 To say Salt Lake City's roads are incredibly wide is an understatement. Initially, this width was derived from former Mormon Governor of the Utah territory who stipulated that a team of oxen and their cart should be able to turn around in the street. In fact, this phenomena is particularly prevalent in many Mormon cities in the United States. However, what was relevant and functional in centuries past is not so today. The width of the roads in a modern city is now an inefficient use of space and in Alfandre's eyes, an opportunity for entrepreneurship. https://vimeo.com/139990231 Building on the success of the trials that saw the streets be transformed into vibrant areas of social interaction, with the space being used for performances and predominantly as a gathering location, Alfandre now proposes a more long term solution. Median development in this respect would shrink the size of the street, dividing space between pedestrians and vehicles as outlined in the diagram above. In the trials, median development gave rise to shipping containers to form "Granary Row" (seen in the video's above). Using this template, the Kentland's Initiative is working with the city to lease the median for 99 years, allowing them to build permanent structures and even housing. Crucially, the median is already under city ownership, meaning that residential space be procured essentially for free. This can then either be sold as a profit or used for low income housing. Alfondre says, "In essence you’d be taking land that was once allocated to cars—or oxen and carts, if you will—and giving it back to the people."
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Norman Foster: The quality of infrastructure determines the quality of our lives

This month, the London School of Economics (LSE) hosted its 10th annual UrbanCities debates, a forum where world leaders in the field of urbanism come together to discuss their views on the subject and its relative disciplines (mainly architecture). This year AN caught up with Design Museum curator Deyan Sujic, Norman Foster, and Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena, among others for the debate. "Eighty percent of a country's total GDP is generated from urban areas," Joan Clos, executive director of Un-Habitat, said at the conference. With this, he argued that "transaction costs can be reduced by the availability of labor," supposing the labor supply is within the vicinity of the production area. For this to happen, though, urban planners must focus on the "human scale," focusing their attention on streets, not roads. "Thirty to 35 percent of urban environments are made up of streets, " Clos added. Streets, density, and pedestrianisation would be dominant themes for the debates. Norman Foster continued that theme, clearly setting a hierarchy in the built environment. "Beyond architecture, infrastructure is more important," he said. In his talk, Foster seemed to be both acknowledging his role as an architectural figurehead, but also at how his work may be seemingly powerless to solve the urban problems faced today. "The quality of infrastructure determines the quality of our lives," he added, and "infrastructure is inseparable from economic prosperity." "I have no power as an architect, none whatsoever," lamented Foster in a recent interview with the Guardian. He noted that government policy has a much bigger impact on the shape of the built environment than being an architect does. Citing the population density of the South London suburb of Southwark, Foster said how in 80 years, the density has in fact decreased from 20,550 people/km2 in 1901 to 2,232 people/km2 in 1981. Foster, building on Clos's remarks, emphasized the importance of density, with its connection to energy consumption. Using Atlanta as a tragic example of failure in this respect, he compared the sprawling U.S. city to its opposite extreme, Hong Kong, in how much the two cities differ in almost every aspect. As demonstrated in Atlanta, high density and energy consumption are negatively correlated. Needless energy is wasted in simply moving around, such as getting to work, bringing the previous conversation about proximity—or lack thereof—of the labor supply full circle. Foster clarified this need for density with a call for better public space to offset potential overcrowding. He cited the classic example from New York, saying that "Central Park [is] probably the only park built for the social good." Foster contrasted Olmsted's green space to London's parks that are just old royal hunting grounds, not actual spaces constructed on behalf of the public. Aravena was also complimentary of New York, claiming that "Manhattan is the most productive piece of of urbanism in the world." LSE Professor Ricky Burdett pointed to the flexibility of New York's built environment. "Places in NYC designed for one thing are now used for another," he said, illustrating how diverse and adaptive the city's architecture and infrastructure had become. Manhattan, bound by its physical geography, had to change over time to stay relevant. Aravena added how restraints in design can be beneficial to the process, particularly with urbanism, citing how Philadelphia was literally planned overnight by William Penn. "Time, for urbanisation, is a good restraint," Aravena said, adding that the influx of migrants into European cities could be "windows of opportunity," opening up scenarios similar to when Penn had to plan a city in very little time. Going back to Atlanta, Foster again tackled the infrastructure problem, touting High Speed Rail as an urban palliative that can take on functional and aesthetic roles as well as be used as a tourist destination. Concluding the talk, Joan Clos lamented how a "loss of identity, down to unrestricted development," where developers have too much space and so many material construction methods that have come at the cost of indigenous ones. In doing so, he posed the question: Does globalization mean the demise of the vernacular? The answer continues to play out across the globe.
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OMA selected to design The Factory, a major arts complex in Manchester, England

After fending off  Rafael Viñoly, Zaha Hadid, Nicholas Grimshaw, Haworth Tompkins Limited and compatriots Mecanoo, OMA's design for "The Factory" will become Manchester's new art house. Lead by Rem Koolhaas, The Factory will be in the British city's center and is touted to cost $166 million with a further $13.5 million-a-year to run. Funding will not be an issue for Koolhaas' building as U.K. Chancellor George Osborne has pledged $117.5 million to the project with the view that The Factory will become the "Northern Powerhouse" showpiece. The project's name supposedly comes from the home-grown Factory Records, an indie record label launched in 1978 that produced notable bands such as Joy Division and Happy Mondays. Koolhaas has designed what essentially is an art-box that will host a wide range of artistic events in Manchester, with an aim for the facility to become the cultural focal point of the region. The venue is dedicated to theatre, music, dance, technology, film, TV, and scientific advancements and will have a combined capacity of 7,200—2,200 seated and 5,000 standing. This will be OMA's first major public development on British soil, aside from a few minor forays into London, Glasgow, and the south coast. “The importance of the Factory cannot be overstated," Manchester council leader, Sir Richard Leese, told the Guardian. "It will be of international significance, the cultural anchor for the next phase of economic and cultural regeneration in Manchester, Greater Manchester and beyond. It will help power Manchester and the wider region towards becoming a genuine cultural and economic counterbalance to London, as well as being a place where inspirational art is created.” Koolhaas' project in Manchester is set to break ground next year with the aim to finish by 2019. According to the Guardian, "Those behind the project have predicted that within a decade it will help create the equivalent of 2,500 jobs adding nearly $211 million to the local economy."
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Enough Buildings: the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture

“City-ness” is at the heart of the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture, which kicked off last Friday in Shenzhen, China. Titled Re-Living the City and curated by Aaron Betsky, Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, and Doreen Heng Liu the event brought together architects, designers, urbanists, and makers on the site of the former Dacheng Flour Factory not far from Shekou Port.

Opening night culminated with giant animated graphics projected on the factory’s abandoned concrete silos, a dramatic light show that reflected the organizers and curators ambitious attempt to rethink how China, and especially still-booming Shenzhen, approaches continued urbanization. The industrial port area is primed for redevelopment and the biennial activities and adaptive reuse of the main five-story concrete building and adjacent structures seem poised to remake this part of the city into a hub a cultural activity based on tactical and informal urbanisms.

The curators divided the biennale into subthemes: Collage City 3D, PRD 2.0, Radical Urbanism, Social City, and Maker Maker, which are distributed across the site. The third floor of the former flour factory is dedicated to thematic and national pavilions. (It’s here that I co-curated with Tim Durfee an exhibition on behalf of Art Center’s Media Design Practices Program entitled Now, There: Scenes from the Post-Geographic City.)

While each thematic category manifests through distinctly different projects—Collage City for example featured Hood Design’s Symbiotic Village installation of hanging fish bowls, while Radical Urbanism presented a mural-like illustration from Interboro Partners’ Arsenal of Exclusion and Inclusion: The Battle for the Beach—there’s a shared emphasis on bottom-up urbanism, hands-on techniques, and citizen agency.

Or, as Betsky is quoted as saying in the catalog: “enough buildings, enough objects, enough images.”

His statement is certainly a provocation given Shenzhen’s skyline—at night the architectural products of the last 20 years are ablaze with LED light shows, screens, and advertisements. The curators ground their explorations in the here and now, emphasizing how the present offers future lessons for a “re-lived” urbanism. But given the recent Chinese edict “No more weird buildings,” one has to wonder if “enough” is enough to carry the next decades. Will the absence of formal agenda lead to a vacuum filled with banal buildings or instead offer space for these types of urbanisms to authentically emerge on their own?

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Oslo plans to make its city center free from cars in four years

Norway currently boasts three World Rally Championship drivers (second only to France), all of considerable pedigree, yet its capital city of Oslo is planning to remove cars for good. Along with the proposal to ban cars is the plan to build 37 miles worth of bike lanes by 2019 and a new system for handicap bus services and delivery vehicles. In a bid to reduce pollution, Reuters reported, politicians in Oslo said they want to be the first European capital to implement a comprehensive permanent ban on cars. With a population just under 650,000, Oslo has around 350,000 cars with most owners living outside the center but inside the city's boundaries. Emulating Paris' one day-a-year car ban, Oslo is bucking a trend many fellow European cities are following. Currently Brussels is trialling an eight month traffic circulation program involving the pedestrianization of its boulevards meanwhile the old cities of both Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia are completely car free. Shop owners in Oslo, though, fear the plans will hurt business, though it is worthwhile noting that the city is not banning all vehicles, so delivery trucks and the like will be allowed. Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo has said "We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone." The plan also outlines the need for significant investment in infrastructure, most notably in public transportation that will have to support the growing number of users. Trials will be run after authorities investigate precedents in other european cities where plans have so far been a success. Aside from a marked reduction in pollution, the change will also make the city a much more appealing place for pedestrians and cyclists, something which the authorities are not alone in trying. According to Gemini, researchers from Scandinavian group SINTEF claim that much needs to be done about Norway's noise problem which is responsible for 150 deaths a year.
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Are floating houses the answer to London’s housing crisis? 100 ideas for affordable housing to be showcased

Affordable housing is a hot-topic in Europe and across the world right now. To look for solutions, New London Architecture (NLA) launched a competition prompting architects, planners and citizens to submit ideas for the current housing crisis in London—and the entries are in. The competition attracted over 200 submissions from over 16 countries and NLA has released a list of 100 of the submitted schemes which include radical concepts from NBBJ, Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners, and Grimshaw Architects, among others. Seattle-based NBBJ has proposed taking up 9,000 miles of London road to make way for residential housing whereas London practice dRMM advocate the implementation of floating houses. Infact dRMM weren't the only firm to take advantage of London's waterways. Baca Architects and the appropriately named, Floating Homes Ltd. suggested installing 7,500 prefab floating homes along the canal routes of London, something they say could be done in under a year. Floating architecture, it appears, is a powerful force in captivating the imaginations of architects. The competition hasn't just attracted architects however, property consultants GL Hearn propose constructing a megacity by the M25 highway that travels London to improve housing, retail, workspaces, and infrastructure links by 2050.
Building firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff says 630,000 new homes would be created by building housing on top of government institutions such as hospitals, schools, and libraries.
The list of 100 will be whittled down by the NLA to a select group of 10 which will be considered in further depth before an eventual winner is chosen. The 100 projects will go on display in London on Saturday 17th October.
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Call for proposals: Detroit is an urban laboratory for the 2016 U.S. Venice Biennale Pavilion

The curators of the 2016 US Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale have announced an open call for proposals for the exhibition The Architectural Imagination. They are looking for speculative projects that use Detroit as a testing ground for new modes of urbanism that could have application around the world. Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon will commission twelve visionary U.S. architectural practices to produce new work that addresses 21st century urbanism. They are looking for “design excellence, innovative speculative thinking, and architectural expertise in built and/or unbuilt work.” For more information on how to submit, click here.
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Cincinnati decided this waterfront skyscraper just wasn’t complete without an old-timey hat and handlebar mustache

When Mies van der Rohe set out to remake the world in the image of a crystal-clear tower with steel columns behind walls of glass, he probably wasn’t thinking about dressing up those buildings with old-timey hats and handlebar mustaches. However, a century later that's exactly what's happening in Cincinnati. The Queen City's 468-foot-tall Scripps Center, a 1990 office tower resembles any Midwestern skyscraper with a curved wall of glass keeping watch over the Ohio River. But thanks to red, white, and black colored panels applied to the top of the tower, the building now looks a little like the Cincinnati Reds’ mascot, Mr. Redlegs. Mies would probably loathe this decorative approach to giving buildings character, but it's not 1921 anymore, Ludwig. The Reds gave the building a pillbox hat and mustache in celebration of the 2015 All-Star Game, which will be played in July at the city's Great American Ballpark. The panels are made of the same material that is sometimes used to put advertisements on buses. In anticipation of the game and its parallel festivities such as the Home Run Derby, the city is pulling out all the stops, including shutting down part of a freeway and projecting images on the nearby Carew Tower, one of the city’s most iconic structures. And all throughout the city, 850-pound sculptures of mustaches are being decorated in baseball-themed art. https://twitter.com/robinburke/status/608787417626234882 https://twitter.com/JSchachleiter/status/610235652332982272 https://twitter.com/FOX19Joe/status/606891545112027139
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Creative Time’s Anne Pasternak appointed director of the Brooklyn Museum

Former president and artistic director of Creative Time, Anne Pasternak, has been appointed the director of the Brooklyn Museum, replacing outgoing director Arnold L. Lehman, who has served the museum since 1997. Pasternak, who built Creative Time into one of the world’s leading art organizations, will continue Lehman’s publicly-engaged mission going forward, bringing her own take on public art and programming and the “other ways that artists want to contribute to public ideas,” as she put it in a 2013 interview with Paper Magazine. Pasternak joined Creative Time as their only employee in 1994, when the fledgling organization had a budget of $375,000. She saw the budget increase to over $3 million, and, over the course of 21 years, she shed light on many rising artists, including Iranian video artist Shirin Neshat and Brazilian artist and photographer Vik Muniz. Much of her latest work has been engaged with ideas about cities such as urban development, gentrification, and placemaking. She has taken positions and organized events that tackle big ideas, taking public art beyond the realm of the spectacular and into a more engaged, civic-minded discourse about the issues in the world today. This has included everything from the Tribute in Light at Ground Zero by John Bennett, Gustavo Bonevardi, Julian LaVerdiere, Paul Marantz, Paul Myoda, and Richard Nash Gould, in memory of 9/11, to the annual Creative Time Summit, which has become the standard for art conferences, and the largest art and social justice gathering in the world.
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HUD Secretary Julian Castro to headline IDEAS CITY 2015 in New York City

Julian Castro, the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has been announced as the keynote speaker for the third annual IDEAS CITY festival in New York.  IDEAS CITY is a biennial street fair that “explores the future of cities with culture as a driving force.” It will launch its third annual rendition on May 28th–30th on the Bowery. Castro will address this year’s theme of “The Invisible City,” highlighting the parts of the city that go unseen, or the forces that are driving change that are not always easy to map. Castro was appointed Secretary of HUD in July, after gaining notoriety as not only an up-and-coming Democratic mayor of San Antonio, who has been mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential candidate in the 2016 race, but also as a strong advocate and innovator in urban policy with a design slant. From the IDEAS CITY website:

As three-term mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro was known for innovative governance. His “Decade of Downtown” program campaigned for new investments in San Antonio’s city center and older communities and brought in $350 million of private sector money, generating more than 2,400 housing units. In 2010, Castro was enrolled in the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders and named by Time magazine as one of its “40 under 40” list of notable leaders in American politics. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, he became the first Latino to deliver a keynote. Castro took office as the sixteenth Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28, 2014.

This year’s festival promises to be an energetic follow-up to the previous years under the direction of Joseph Grima, who has been involved in no less than three Biennials in the last year, including Chicago’s Architecture Biennial and Biennale Interieur in Belgium. IDEAS CITY is also a partnership of The New Museum (Founder), The Architectural League of New York, Bowery Poetry Club, The Cooper Union, Storefront for Art & Architecture, The Drawing Center. Some of the other events that stand out are: —IDEAS CITY Street ProgramInstitute for Public Architecture: Total ResetKurt Andersen, Carmen Yulín Cruz, and others: MAYORAL CONVERSATION: Finding The Invisible CityRhizome: AIRBNB Pavilion: Stay With MeKim Stanley Robinson, Bjarke Ingels: Make No Little Plans: A CONVERSATION IN TWO PARTS:Part 1. Toward A Plausible UtopiaMunicipal Art Society, Architizer: Pitching the CityManny Cantor Center, Laura Nova: Moving Stories
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Pittsburgh’s Transformation: The 11 Projects Moving The Steel City Forward

From its streets to its rivers to its skyline, Pittsburgh is a city in transformation. The Steel City is diversifying its economy, improving its streetscape and becoming a new hub for the creative class. Business Insider has even declared Pittsburgh to be “The Next Hipster Haven." But the transformation has meant more than coffee shops, bike-share, and startups—even though that’s certainly playing a part. As the city changes, though, it’s too easy to ask if Pittsburgh is the “Next [Enter City Here].” Because the “Next Pittsburgh” will not be the “Next Austin,” or even the “Next Portland.” It's shaping up to be something entirely it’s own. Simply put, "The Next Pittsburgh" will be just that. 1.  The Tower at PNC Plaza  Pittsburgh’s skyline will change dramatically next year as the new 32-story Tower at PNC Plaza marks its place. The financial services company is calling their new Gensler-designed headquarters “the world’s greenest skyrise.” While that’s a bold claim, the glass tower will have a lot more than the typical green fixings.  It is expected to surpass LEED Platinum status with its massive solar collector on the roof and a double-skin facade that opens and closes according to the temperature. Also, there will be green roofs, because, obviously. 2. Market Square Installation Following a major renovation in 2010, the city’s Market Square recently unveiled a temporary, public art installation called Congregation. The work is described as “an interactive kinetic video and sound installation designed and choreographed for pedestrian performers.” Essentially, the installation turned the public space into a dynamic public stage. And best of all, it was completely free and open to all ages. While Congregation recently closed, it is part of a new three-year initiative to bring art to the city during those cold, winter months. 3. Produce Terminal Significant changes could be in store for Pittsburgh’s old produce terminal in the city’s vibrant Strip District. What those changes will look like, though, isn’t clear just yet. A local developer had planned to renovate two-thirds of the 1,500-foot-long structure and demolish the rest to make way for residential and office space, but the city has put that plan on hold. Mayor Bill Peduto is intent on preserving and reusing the entire building with possible uses including shopping, retail, and arts space. 4. The Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard The Produce Terminal is adjacent to the much larger Riverfront Landing residential and office project, which is part of the much, much larger Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard plan. The latter aims to transform six miles of industrial land into new riverfront parks and mixed-use development. The ambitious proposal was conceived five years ago by the city, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and Riverlife—a public-private partnership that advocates for riverfront parks. While it is still in the planning process, it was envisioned by Sasaki Associates for a study last year. Their proposed master plan includes new development, green space, bike paths, and converting an old railway into a commuter train. 5. Point State Park After a multi-year, multi-million dollar overhaul, Point State Park is once again entirely worthy of its iconic location. Situated right where the Monongahela River meets the Allegheny to form the Ohio River, the refurbished 36-acre park boasts new lawns, landscaping, seating, a café, and improved access to the water. Capping off the renovation, which was led by Marion Pressley Associates, is the park’s revamped fountain—which has been described as its “crown jewel.” The fountain now has a “disappearing edge waterfall feature, new lighting including colors for special events, all new surfaces, pumping equipment, and controls.” Of course, Point State Park is an impressive public space in its own right, but it’s only a portion of the city’s 13-miles of riverfront parks and trails. 6.  Eastside III The city recently broke ground on Eastside III, a transit-oriented, mixed-use development in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. The phased project will consist of three buildings, the first of which is expected to open next spring. The mixed-use project—designed by Design Collective—is being built alongside a revamped multi-modal transit hub by CDM Smith. The hub will be able to accommodate 1,000 daily bus arrivals and departures, and is expected to increase connections between neighborhoods. The new transit plaza includes "a repurposed bus ramp and a new cap over the railroad and busway." 7. Bike Share Later this year, Pittsburgh will join the ranks of cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. when it launches its own bike-share program. While details on the program are limited, the program is slated to roll-out this summer with about 500 bikes at 50 stations. The goal is to ultimately expand the program to 1,000 to 1,500 bikes at 100 to 150 stations. The big question, of course, is what will the system be called. The name is still under wraps, but it will have a corporate sponsor. So, place your bets now people.  8. TalkPGH While Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers are the biggest names in late-night these days, the most unique talk-show in the country was recently driving through the streets of Pittsburgh. Last Spring, Talk PGH—a talk-show that took place inside of a truck, yes inside of a truck—appeared in all of Pittsburgh’s 90 neighborhoods. As part of PLANPGH, the city’s 25-year agenda for growth, the show was a way for the city to interview residents and hear their hopes for Pittsburgh's urban design. 9. Carnegie Mellon's Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall Carnegie Mellon’s already impressive campus will become even more so when the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall—or "Scott Hall" as it's known locally—opens next year. The 100,000-square-foot building, designed by Office 52 and Stantec, will contain laboratories, libraries, office space, and a café. It will also house a cleanroom facility, “which will become the new home for Nano Fabrication, the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.” 10. The Car-Free Road Pittsburgh just one-upped every city priding themselves on their modest, new bike infrastructure. When faced with a dangerous road that put cyclists at risk, the city didn’t just add new protected bike lanes, they shut down part of a roadway from cars entirely. Now, the section of Pocusset Street, which winds through a city park is reserved exclusively for pedestrians and cyclists. According to Bike Pittsburgh, the Department of Public Works “repainted it with bi-directional bike-lanes, designated pedestrian walkways, included LED street lighting, and installed reflective bollards to block traffic from entering at either end.” 11. Ace Hotel And rounding out the list is, of course, a new Ace Hotel. While the Steel City will likely not become “The Next Portland”—an idea raised by both Pacific Standard and The Washington Postthe city will certainly move in Stumptown's direction when the exhaustingly trendy hotel opens in Pittsburgh next year. The 36-room Ace will be housed in a former YMCA building in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood. There are currently no renderings of the project, but one can expect plenty of Edison bulbs, murals, and some inexplicable, giant, vintage letters.
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Unveiled> Renzo Piano’s Stacked Masses Create an Efficient Paris Judicial Complex

Renzo Piano has unveiled renderings for the new Palais de Justice, positioned on the northern edge of central Paris in the urban expansion area of Clichy-Batignolles, which will provide space for and unite numerous judicial services presently scattered throughout the city. The law courts complex appears as a slender, translucent, 525-foot-tall tower comprised of four stacked rectangular masses diminishing in size as they ascend. The structure includes extensive fenestration to blend the division of the interior and exterior, in addition to two exterior glass elevators offering expansive views of the city. Three atria at the 64,600 square foot ground level piazza direct views into the towers overhead that encompass 30 floors grouped into three levels, each containing 10 floors. The structure consists of 90 courtrooms, offices, and meeting rooms for the magistrates, public prosecutor, and presiding judges. The floor plans within the three sections decrease in scale, forming a tiered system with space for terraces, which incorporate roof gardens landscaped with trees. The terraces accommodate solar panels and a rainwater collection system, and the building is on track to set a new standard for energy efficiency in tall buildings. Designed for efficiency and simplicity, the thin proportions of the courthouse are systematically organized so as to guarantee plentiful daylight throughout, and even extending to the tower’s center. The site is situated at a major crossroads between the administrative areas of the city and its suburbs, and is well linked by public transportation, including the northern expanse of the exceedingly successful, recently completed tramway system. The Palais de Justice is expected to open by 2017.