Tag Archives: Public space

Michael Vidalis | aSocial Architects

via Academia.edu

Social Spaces by aSocial Architects?
Deciphering the Proliferation of Contemporary Heterotopias

By Michael A Vidalis
Registered Architect, MArch – Athens, Greece
PhD Candidate in Urban Sociology

Kitagata Housing project, SANAA Architects [wikimedia commons - Raphael Azevedo Franca]Kitagata Housing project, SANAA Architects. More at Google Images

We are in a new era, setting forth another perception of urban space: A totally subjective, idiosyncratic view of space.

It is supported that architecture in synergy with sociology could produce “better” architecture. Architecture that is socially functional will have an added value. Thus, a new level of meaning can be added to architecture, enhancing the quality of reading of the urban space. Additionally, a holistic and continuous dialectic juxtaposition of all perspectives (absolute, relative and relational space), produces meaning in regards to the space and its transformations.

Vasilis Avdikos (2010) notes that “The view that space has also a relational dimension, fills that void, establishing the human is, as an equal part of a relation. A dialectical relation between the structures/infrastructures and superstructures of a society, between its signifier and the signified. The relational view of space cannot function independently of its absolute and relative view. Only a holistic and continuous dialectic juxtaposition of all these perspectives, produces meaning in regards to the space and its transformations”.[1] Defining superstructures as the meanings, ideology, logic, culture, feelings, consciousnesses, values, traditions and memories, that arise as a result of the operation and use of the structures (market, laws, justice, political parties, school, etc.) and infrastructures (the “built” or man-made environment: buildings, squares, streets, technology and the like). In short, as Avdikos observes, the superstructures operate like a mirror image or reflection of the absolute and relative space, within which specific spatial frames are formed.[2]

In 1999 I was invited to present a paper in a conference; In “Towards a Social Architecture”, I supported the view that we must comprehend and address the social aspects and priorities of architecture. A short time thereafter, a journalist visited my office, surprised for the ideas presented. I replied laconically that it is surreal to think otherwise, regardless if the architectural community in the western world had abandoned the idea of a socially responsible architecture a few decades ago.[3]

It is reminded that the new architecture of the Modern Movement promised to promote or foster social change, in order to alleviate the misery of the working class in the industrial city; or, to at least ameliorate the quality of their lives. Initially the Modernists had the best of intentions for a socially responsible architecture, although they failed as their plans often contravened reality.

Nathan Glazer observed that architects did a 180 degree turn and renounced the social ideals of the Modern Movement, disillusioned with the failure of the Pruitt-Igoe housing project and similar projects. Realizing that they were incapable of addressing social problems, they abandoned the initial enthusiasm of a social agenda and decided to focus on what they undoubtedly knew best: Design. To be specific, design as a solely artistic form.

The demolition of Pruitt-Igoe (1976) would essentially mark the beginning of a new era, setting forth a different perception of space for architects: A totally subjective, idiosyncratic view of space. Sociologist Robert Gutman often noted that humans and their needs are not within the main interests of architects. In short, architects no longer concern themselves with what sociologists or social scientists have to say.

As a result, today’s spaces designed by starchitects, imbued with elements of sensationalism, surprise or disorientation, with an emphasis on escaping reality through heterotopias (Michel Foucault, 1967), etc., should come of no surprise. For architectural space produced today has as its point of departure the aforementioned negation of the social agenda; in this light, today’s architecture appears entirely logical as faithful to the new creed. Space, especially urban space, where most of humanity now resides and communicates, has become idiosyncratic, becoming a monument to its designer.

To prevent any misunderstandings, this is not to negate the entirety of contemporary architecture or imply an inferiority of the new aesthetics; but to suggest that architecture in synergy with sociology could produce better architecture. Architecture that is socially functional will have an added value. Thus, a new level of meaning can be added to architecture, enhancing the quality of reading of the urban space. For the social dimension will not limit or harm the architectural aesthetics, as some practitioners may fear. On the contrary, a holistic perspective will redefine space and its associated aesthetics, as the absolute, relative and relational readings will coexist.

As architecture is undisputedly considered an art form, the definition of art surfaces, reminding us of the feelings evoked upon reading or viewing a subjective creative work. When the social parameter is absent or suppressed, as is often the case today, the feelings produced will most likely be negative or indifferent at best. Therefore, it should be of no surprise that society often perceives architects as non-practical people, relative to the use of space by humans, i.e., in reference to the social dimension.

As a consequence of the above limited standpoint, we are often hearing architects talk amongst themselves, getting the impression that they view their profession solely as the practice of whimsical art that earns them monies; regardless of the rhetoric. A rather cynical view, by a profession that designs human space, because this is what architecture essentially does…

I don’t think that architecture is about solving human problems at all. Psychologists solve human problems, sociologists solve human problems, economists solve human problems. We’re none of those things. We do culturally necessary projects to me, which have a value for the culture in general. What should the architect do in society? I don’t think the architect should do anything, frankly. Peter Eisenman [4]

FOOTNOTES
[1] Vasilis Avdikos, “Space as relation: Methodological approaches and research framework”, Geographies, v. 17, 2010, p45 (Hellenic journal).
[2] Ibid. p42.
[3] Interview to Aris Karer. The paper was published in its entirety in Express, April 1999, Health section, p17. The title given was “Residences for … humans” (Hellenic economic newspaper).
[4] David Basulto – ArchDaily. Interview in 2011 in: http://www.greekarchitects.gr/tv.php?category=291&video=475#first_division (January 9, 2015).

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Frampton, Kenneth. Modern Architecture: A Critical History. London: Thames & Hudson, 1992.
Hayden, Dolores. The Power of Place. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The M.I.T. Press, 1998.
Harvey, David. Social justice and the city. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1973.
Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd., 1991.
Massey, Doreen. Space, Place, and Gender. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
Sassen, Saskia. The global city: New York, London, Tokyo. 3rd ed. Princeton: Princeton: University Press, 2001.
Soja, Edward. Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory. London: Verso, 1989.

SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) is a multiple award-winning architectural firm based in Tokyo, Japan. It was founded in 1995 by two Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima (妹島 和世 1956-) and Ryue Nishizawa (西沢立衛 1966-). In 2010, Sejima and Nishizawa were awarded the Pritzker Prize. Examples of their work include the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio; the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, NY; the Rolex Learning Center at EPFL in Lausanne; the Serpentine Pavilion in London; the Christian Dior Building in Omotesando in Tokyo; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa; and the Louvre-Lens Museum in France. Read more

Kitagata Housing project, SANAA Architects
The apartment building is part of a large scale public housing reconstruction project located about 15 minutes from Gifu City by car. Four women architects were selected under the coordination of Japanese architect Arata Isozaki to execute the projects. This L-shaped Wing designed by architect Kazuyo Sejima sits on the south-east part of the site where the idea for the overall layout of the development was to run the buildings around the perimeter. Sejima: “Given that this building is made up of rental apartments, it could be assumed that various types of families would live in those units. In other words, we imagined that forms of co-habitation would not be restricted to the existing standard family, but that different types of groupings of people should be considered…”
In the project master plan, the courtyard lies between the four separate housing blocks designed by Akiko Takahashi, Kazuyo Sejima, Christine Hawley, and Elizabeth Diller. Because of the diversity of architectural design found within the project, strong site imagery and geometry have been created for the courtyard to unify the distinct parts of the project and to give the project a memorable identity. See more at http://gifuprefecture.blogspot.co.nz/

Gifu City - Japan. Kitigata Housing project - Terrace1 (1)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: Kitagata Housing project, Gifu City, Japan – (top) Wikimedia Commons: Raphael Azevedo Franca; (bottom) via gifuprefecture.blogspot.co.nz

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Singapore National Stadium: No fuss ‘Olympian’ $1 billion plug-in

Singapore National Stadium - Sports-Hub-Day-View [via expatliving.sg]Singapore National Stadium [via blog.bouygues-construction.com]Singapore Sports Hub site plan [via xcite.fun.net] 2

█ More views at Google Images
[search Singapore Sports Hub or Singapore National Stadium]

Singapore Sports Hub under construction [via tinypic.com]

Singapore National Stadium - interior [via dragages.com]

Icon 137 Sport | November 2014 pp 068-075
International Design, Architecture & Culture

Open goal: Singapore National Stadium
By Owen Pritchard

Singapore’s new National Stadium has the world’s largest single-span dome. And by leaving it open at one end, its designers have given the multi-purpose pitch one of the most beautiful backdrops in sport.

Since 1965, the building that has the largest single-span dome in the world has always been a sports stadium. This year the National Stadium of Singapore claims that title, with a diameter of 312m and a height of 80m. The stadium is at the heart of the new Singapore Sports Hub, a 35ha redevelopment of a former airfield that will serve professional sportspeople and the general public alike. The development comprises the national stadium, Kenzo Tange’s 1989 Singapore Indoor Stadium (SIS), two sports arenas, an aquatics centre, a watersports centre, 41,000sq m of retail and waterfront, a visitor centre, sports library, museum and a rail station.

With an investment of over 1 billion US dollars from the Singapore government and the client who will run the facility, the development is an Olympian achievement without the fuss of having to host a sporting mega-event.

The arena offers a remarkable number of configurations in the seating arrangements, as well as cooling and the ability to open and close the roof, all of which make it suitable for a number of occasions – be it a football tournament, cricket match or national parade. “We were given the most amazing site you could be given on the waterfront in Singapore and an ambitious and visionary brief from the client,” says Clive Lewis, an associate at Arup Associates who led the design of the stadium and worked on the construction with Aecom and local firm DP Architects.

The Sports Hub was proposed in 2000, when the old Kallang stadium was declared unfit for purpose. The competition for the complex was launched in 2006. “The government wanted to know what the right thing for Singapore was,” says Lewis. “Did it want to spread out its sports facilities? Or put them all in one location?”

Singapore National Stadium [via straitstimes.com] 1

It is the dome that anchors the Sports Hub to its site. It has a powerful presence, particularly looking towards the end that opens out to the city when each side of the ETFE roof is clasped shut. “The location next to Tange’s indoor stadium was a key decision,” Lewis says. “We were creating a landmark building, it had to have a presence from the city, but respect the Tange building. I think that the inverted peak of the SIS and the dome sit perfectly together.” Lewis and his team have certainly taken the stadium’s neighbour into account: both buildings draw from a material palette that includes concrete, aluminium and tiered greenery around the plinth. But where Tange’s building is solid and mute, a passive and imposing presence on the skyline, the new stadium is inviting – from the tiered canvas canopies that cover the concourse to the vast opening that frames the city and the massive LED lighting system across the surface of the dome that lights up the sweltering skies at night. Covering some 20,000sq m, it is the largest addressable LED screen in the world. “We never set out to design such a massive dome,” reflects Lewis. “Once we had made the decision to do so, a lot of things began to make sense. We could really make the project work.”

Singapore National Stadium - entry portico detail [via 2.bp.blogspot.com]Singapore National Stadium - exterior detail [via archdaily.net][click to enlarge]

Inside the stadium, the structure that supports the external skin and the ETFE pillows that open and close to the heavens dominates. This structure is symmetrical and loops and crosses itself in a manner that conveys how the substantial loads are transferred to the two-storey plinth on which the stadium rests. “The delay in this project meant that we could refine the structure to make it as efficient as possible,” Lewis says. “We worked with about a 40 per cent penalty, so if you added ten kilos to the weight of the shell, you would have to increase the weight of the structure by 4 kilos. This led to the decision to use the pillows on the roof— not only would they filter the natural light, but they’re light and flexible, which helped optimise the structure of the trusses.” There are 20,000 steel members in the roof, and each truss that arks over the pitch tapers from 5m deep at its zenith to 2m at the point of contact with the plinth. “The opportunity with a dome this size is that it adds an intensity to the structure,” Lewis says. “It is a part of the event.”

The brief stipulated that the bowl within the stadium had to be movable and allow football, rugby and athletics to be played on the pitch. “We decided to add cricket into the mix,” Lewis says. “There are so many cricket-crazy nations within a four-hour flight we thought that it would provide an extra opportunity.”

Singapore National Stadium - interior trusses [via e-architect.co.uk][click to enlarge]

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The Singapore Sports Hub is the next piece of the “plug in” approach to development in Singapore. Since the Jackson plan, conceived in 1822 when Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, returned to the settlement and found himself displeased with the way the colony was developing, Singapore has tried to form a coherent urban strategy to manage growth. Currently the country has a population of just over 5 million, but wants grow to over 6 million. This 20 per cent swell will assure its economic position as the Switzerland of South-east Asia, but it is being managed to ensure the growth of other activities besides commerce. The development of Singapore has been more measured than, say, that of Dubai or Qatar; there is a quality to the developments that are being realised – including noticeably eye-catching contributions, such as Moshe Safdie’s Marina Bay Sands resort, OMA’s Interlace housing complex or Wilkinson Eyre’s park, Gardens by the Bay. The Singapore Sports Hub and the national stadium are an extension of this controlled, but still ostentatious, masterplan.

At the last Olympics, Singapore competed nine events, picking up two bronze medals for table tennis. The national football team is ranked 155th in the world, the rugby team 58th. So why build a state-of-the-art stadium in a country not known for its sporting prowess? The purpose, Lewis argues, is wider than that. “We have created the largest covered civic space in Singapore,” he says. The Sports Hub is intended to be a new piece of the city where the people can take part in sport themselves. Around the exterior of the bowl, still under the canopy of the dome, is a running track that will be open to the public, and the pools and courts will be available throughout the year, except when they are being used for competition. And that’s not to say that Singapore does not excel at hosting sporting events – the Formula 1 street race is one of the most popular meets on the calendar, and the nation has successfully held the Youth Olympics and will host the South-east Asian Games in 2015.

In his commentary for Hubert Aquin’s film Le sport et les hommes (1961), Roland Barthes said, “It must be remembered that everything happening to the player also happens to the spectator. But whereas in theatre the spectator is only a voyeur, in sport he is a participant, an actor.” Sport, for many, is an opportunity to indulge in a fanatical desire for victory fuelled by nonsensical, almost primal, allegiances. Stadiums are the ultimate container for outpourings of emotion, tempered (just) by the rules of the game being played in the centre of the bowl. The best national stadiums are steeped in history: they are the backdrops to events that embed the location in a collective consciousness. Events such as the Olympics and the football World Cup provide an opportunity for such moments, but Singapore is still waiting to host a mega-event of its own. For now, Arup Associate’s accomplished new stadium will have to wait.

██ Read full article at iconeye.com

Singapore National Stadium 3 [Icon 137 Nov 2014 p071][click to enlarge]

Websites seriously worth a look….

█ Arup Associates http://www.arupassociates.com/en/
Our world-leading architects and engineers work together in one studio, collaborating as genuine equals on every project. This fusion of ideas helps us create architecture that challenges conventions, setting new standards that shape the future of buildings. Arup Associates prioritise research as a driver of design. Arup (officially Arup Group Limited) is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, UK which provides engineering, design, planning, project management and consulting services for all aspects of the built environment. The firm is present in Africa, the Americas, Australasia, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East, and has over 11,000 staff based in 92 offices across 42 countries.

█ Aecom http://www.aecom.com/
What sets us apart is our collaborative way of working globally and delivering locally. A trusted partner to our clients, we draw together teams of engineers, planners, architects, landscape architects, environmental specialists, economists, scientists, consultants, as well as cost construction, project and program managers dedicated to finding the most innovative and appropriate solutions to create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments. From transportation, energy and water systems to enhancing environments and creating new buildings and communities, our vision remains constant — to make the world a better place. Listed on the Fortune 500 as one of America’s largest companies, Aecom’s employees now serve clients in more than 150 countries around the world.

█ DP Architects http://www.dpa.com.sg/
DP Architects, formed shortly after Singapore’s national independence in 1965, has designed many of the country’s most important public projects. Each of these has played a critical role in shaping Singapore’s civic urban landscape and downtown core, by linking spaces of the city in the formation of a continuous urban fabric. These sites serve as social and cultural anchors for Singapore and as public nodes of human density that have contributed greatly to the city’s success. As a practice evolving contiguously with Singapore as a global city, DPA’s local role is as a practice ingrained with a special understanding of regional progress and needs. DPA applies this regional knowledge – from aspects of climate to social and economic factors that contribute to a city’s long-term health – to its projects throughout Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The firm’s recent architectural works are some of the largest of their type in the world: The Dubai Mall at 550,000 square metres is a ‘city within a city’ hosting programmes of shopping, entertainment and leisure, and was in 2013 the world’s most visited leisure destination with 75 million visitors.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images (from top): Singapore National Stadium via
expatliving.sg | blog.bouygues-construction.com | xcite.fun.net
Sports Hub under construction via tinypic.com
Stadium interior via dragages.com
Stadium photograph via straitstimes.com
Covered concourse detail via cavinteo.blogspot.com
Exterior detail via archdaily.net
Interior trusses via e-architect.co.uk
Interior scanned from Icon 137 Nov 2014 p 071
Map – Kallang Basin, Singapore via newlaunchonline.com

Singapore - Kallang Basin Location Map [via newlaunchonline.com.sg][click to enlarge]

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World War I memorial project

North East Valley war memorial [flickriver.com] 1North East Valley war memorial [flickriver.com]

### ODT Online Sun, 4 Aug 2013
Monumental research surprising
By Brenda Harwood – The Star
A labour of love for Dunedin woman Heather Bray is to become part of the official commemorations of the 100th anniversary of World War 1 in 2014.
For the past five years, Mrs Bray and her mother Laurel Corbishley have been transcribing names from all the war memorials and rolls of honour they can find in Otago and Southland. These have ranged from large, official war memorials in the region’s cemeteries and public spaces to lists of names tucked away in businesses and schools, and even stained glass windows in churches.

”We are focusing on Otago and Southland because there is such a strong link between the two regions.” –Heather Bray

Along with listing the names, the project involves finding out as much as possible about the soldiers, from where they went to school to where they were killed. ”With a bit of careful work, it is amazing how much you can find out about them as individuals,” Mrs Bray said.
The ultimate goal of the Dunedin Family History Group president was to print a register of the 3000-plus soldiers named on the Invercargill Cenotaph, cross-referenced to other war memorials around New Zealand. The printing of the register, planned for April 2014, is part of the Government’s official World War 1 centenary programme.
”The unique thing about the project is that we are creating an overall genealogical and social history to go with all those names,” Mrs Bray said.
Read more

Anyone who knows of an obscure war memorial or roll of honour, or who has photographs or transcripts from a memorial is asked to contact Heather Bray and the Dunedin Family History Group. Email: dfhg at xtra.co.nz

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Art in public places: The Fourth Plinth

Rooster-AAP 1‘Hahn/Cock’ surveys London’s Trafalgar Square [AAP]

### 3news.co.nz Fri, 26 Jul 2013 2:53p.m.
Giant blue rooster ruffles London feathers
By Jill Lawless
This might ruffle a few feathers. A giant blue rooster has been unveiled next to the sombre military monuments in London’s Trafalgar Square. German artist Katharina Fritsch’s 4.7 metre ultramarine bird, titled ‘Hahn/Cock’, is intended as a playful counterpoint to the statues of martial heroes in the square. Both ultramarine blue and the rooster are symbols of France, whose defeat by Britain at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 gave the square its name.
“It’s a nice humorous side-effect to have something French in a place that celebrates victory over Napoleon,” Fritsch told The Guardian newspaper. Fritsch also said she hoped the double meaning in the work’s name would appeal to the British sense of humour. “I know they like to play games with language,” she said.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said it would be a “talking point for Londoners and tourists alike.” It is the latest in a series of artworks to adorn the square’s vacant “Fourth Plinth”.
One of London’s main tourist attractions, the square was named for Horatio Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish fleets. A statue of the one-armed admiral stands atop Nelson’s Column at the centre of the square, and statues of other 19th-century military leaders are nearby.
The fourth plinth was erected in 1841 for an equestrian statue that was never completed. It remained empty for a century and a half, and since 1999 has been occupied by artworks erected for 18 months at a time. Previous works have included a giant ship in a bottle and 2,400 members of the public who stood atop the plinth for an hour at a time. AP
3News Link

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3.1.12 Art in public places #Dunedin

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New Zealand Urban Design Awards

“The importance of upfront investment in the public domain, whether by a public authority or private developer.”

### idealog.co.nz Fri, 9 Nov 2011 @ 9:24am
Auckland tops at brand new Urban Design Awards
By Design Daily team
Wynyard Quarter’s Jellicoe Precinct and the Auckland City Centre Masterplan have taken the top awards in the first-ever New Zealand Urban Design Awards, a new biennial programme that acknowledges the importance of high quality urban environments.

Jellicoe Precinct, Wynyard Quarter – Winner, Built Projects category

Wellington waterfront – Highly Commended, Built Projects category

[Images via Idealog]

Jury convenor, former New South Wales government architect Peter Mould, said they looked for projects “which established or reinforced urban initiatives and executed them with demonstrable design excellence”. “Urban design is concerned not so much with individual buildings, but with the building of a city. It’s about place making, and it’s also about the public realm.”

Mould said that if a trend emerged from the first Urban Design Awards, “it was the importance of upfront investment in the public domain, whether by a public authority or private developer. Such investment sets the agenda for excellence in the future”.

Waterfront Auckland’s Jellicoe Precinct, stage one of the development of Wynyard Quarter, was an exemplary case of agenda-setting urban design for which consultants Architectus and Taylor Cullity Leathlean and Wraight + Associates deserved congratulation as winner of the Built Projects category.

The New Zealand Urban Design Awards are supported by the New Zealand Institute of Architects, the Urban Design Forum, the New Zealand Planning Institute, the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects and the Property Council of New Zealand.

Joining Mould on the jury were planning consultant David Mead, landscape architect Sally Peake, deputy head of the University of Auckland’s School of Architecture and Planning, Lee Beattie, and property developer Patrick Fontein.
Read more + Images

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You are here: Mapping Auckland — Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Maps capture fleeting moments in history. They reveal the knowledge, perspectives and plans of particular groups of people at specific moments in time.

You Are Here shows Auckland as a city that has been planned, designed and drawn many times over. See maps from the rich, vast collection in Auckland Museum’s library.

What did Auckland look like on paper 70 or even 170 years ago? How did early Aucklanders depict the space around them? And what stories do these maps have to tell?

Created by Auckland Museum, The University of Auckland and Unitec.

Now open | Auckland Museum
Pictorial Gallery (2nd floor)
Open daily, 10am – 5pm
FREE entry


Maps have real impact on the shape of the land. This short film plays in Auckland Museum’s You Are Here exhibition and shows how they reconfigured Auckland City’s waterfront — most dramatically at Freemans Bay. Film made by Lakshman Anandanayagam (www.linechecker.tv)
Concept researched by Solomon Mortimer.

http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/1632/*you-are-here—mapping-auckland

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Foster on Christchurch rebuild – typical architect, didn’t mention the housing #eqnz

Emergency and permanent new housing is typically remote from the mind of star architects in their initial statements – would you trust them with your most pressing needs for accommodation, security and safety – if their minds are elsewhere . . .

The importance of a city is less about its individual buildings – it’s much more about its public spaces, its routes, its main street, how you move from one place to another, the infrastructure. The buildings are secondary. But if there’s a loved building, why not reconstruct it?

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 13/03/2011
Sunday Star Times – Voices from abroad
LORD FOSTER: Superstar British architect
Norman Foster, whose iconic projects include the London’s soaring “gherkin” skyscraper, Hong Kong’s international airport and the 1999 restoration of Berlin’s Reichstag, told the Sunday Star-Times that although he doesn’t know Christchurch well, there are some fundamental principles to bear in mind when rebuilding a shattered city. What happens now is going to affect future generations for hundreds of years to come so it has to be blessed with wisdom. You have three commodities: time, money and creative energy, and creative energy is the most important resource of all. It’s not how much money you have; it’s not how much time you have; it’s how wisely you use it.
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Major developments at Perth, WA

### au.news.yahoo.com January 20, 2011, 6:10 am
Splendid metropolis ahead for Perth
By Beatrice Thomas – The West Australian
Perth in 2020 should be an incredibly different place. The recent boom has given rise to projects that are beginning or under way with expectations that continued resources wealth will fuel the next round. Despite years in the wilderness, Perth is showing signs of becoming an international city, from designer fashion labels to up-market retail centres such as Enex100 and Wesley Quarter, to small bars, laneways and more restaurants. On a bigger scale, State Government projects such as the waterfront, Riverside and Perth City Link will reshape the city and transform the way people use public amenities and open spaces in central Perth. The three projects alone will generate 507,000sqm of commercial space and 6600 dwellings in the central business district, boosting the city’s population, safety and vitality.
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South Dunedin main street

UPDATED

### ODT Online Wed, 24 Nov 2010
Plans for discussion
By Chris Morris
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull hopes upgrading King Edward St will help restore the lost vibrancy of South Dunedin’s main shopping street. Concept designs for the project to upgrade the street are nearing completion, and would be presented to the public at an open day at the Dunedin Gasworks Museum on November 30.
Read more

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Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Public Open Day to View South Dunedin Concept Designs

With concept designs for the King Edward Street area nearing completion, the DCC is inviting the public to a second open day, to be held at the Gasworks Museum.
Jane Orbell, chair of the South Dunedin Business Association, says the Association has been meeting regularly with the DCC staff working on this strategy and the development plans and she urges everyone to have their say.
“People need to take this opportunity to let the DCC know how they want to their community look and feel. People may have great ideas that haven’t made it into the plan yet… let the designers know on the 30th!”
At the open day on 30 November, from 4pm – 7pm, attendees will have the opportunity to look at the concept designs, and talk to DCC staff over a cup of tea and a sandwich.
While this is an informal drop-in session, the public will also be encouraged to offer their feedback on the designs. Emma O’Neill, Urban Design Special Projects Manager says the feedback received so far has been invaluable in the development of the concept designs. “We have had great input from the community so far on the project, and now we want people to tell us what they think about the options we have come up with,” she says.
For those who are unable to attend the open day, the designs will also be available at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/southdunedin from 30 November until 17 December with an online comment form. The project team anticipate selecting a preferred option in the new year.
Contact Steve Miles on 474 3459.

Last reviewed: 19 Nov 2010 12:26pm

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29.7.10 Dunedin social housing
26.5.10 D Scene – South Dunedin library, Hillside, RWC 2011

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Vancouver – how to bankroll ‘civic responsibility’ in the built environment

### thetyee.ca 25 June 2010
Vancouver’s Architectural Revival
Behind the shiny surfaces there is a public logic guided by City Hall policies.
By Adele Weder, TheTyee.ca

[Editor’s note: This is excerpted from A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Vancouver, just published by Douglas and McIntyre. A second excerpt on Vancouver as ‘supermodel,’ by Matthew Soules, runs next week.]

On Aug. 7, 1971, officers on horseback charged into a crowd in Gastown, the original downtown core of Vancouver, and swung their batons at the thousand people who had gathered or wandered there to protest marijuana laws and the nefarious police tactics used to enforce them. At the intersection of Abbott and Cordova, marchers and onlookers were beaten or hauled into paddywagons and the public gathering soon transformed into what became known as the Gastown Riot, one of the most notorious brawls in the city’s history. In the years that followed, the neighbourhood withered, its zoning geared towards the tawdry tourist outlets that would long dominate it, its days as a gathering site all but over.

Making architecture is, at its core, a political action. Implicit in the design approach is the decision to encourage or thwart public gatherings, nurture or displace the poor, ignite or asphyxiate street life, rabble-rouse or calm the streets for paying visitors. At first glance, the shiny newness of central Vancouver suggests a manifesto of clarity and order, a divergence from the fiery social consciousness of decades past. (To sample that sensation, comb through the photo essay of buildings accompanying this essay.)

Underlying these images of finesse and resolve, however, are backstories of complex negotiations between public and private interests whose endgame is the greater public good. With increased density allowance as the currency, the resulting deals have spawned an unprecedented array of community centres, daycares, parks, public art and social housing.

Gastown’s current robust and widely inclusive revival owes much to City Hall — the very institution that had sanctioned the police bullying and subsequent neighbourhood stagnation in the first place.
Read more + Images + Blog Comments

Adele Weder is a Vancouver-based architectural writer and curator, and co-author of the Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Vancouver.

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

/via RT @BusbyPW Vancouver”s Architectural Revival @TheTyee http://thetyee.ca/Books/2010/06/25/VancouversArchitecturalRevival/

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China’s largest stadium under construction

Tweet:

@inhabitat Construction has begun on a gigantic flower-shaped stadium that will be the largest in China. http://su.pr/1EejrG

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### worldarchitecturenews.com 27/04/10
Comment by william rogan, shenzhen, china
good reporting on yet another dreadful chinese colossus: airplane architecture par excellence. can you imagine yourself as one of the ants finding your way across this site, a searing griddle?

See editorial at WAN:
Olympic-sized stadium is the largest planned for construction within the next decade

Post by Elizabeth Kerr

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After 2012 Olympics, the legacy is…

### architectsjournal.co.uk 27 January, 2010
Olympics site to become huge parkland post Games
By Merlin Fulcher
The 2012 Olympic site will become a public park when the games finish, according to plans unveiled this week. The scheme by landscape architects Hargreaves Associates will turn 101 ha of former industrial land into the UK’s largest new urban park since the early twentieth century.

Avenues of trees and hedges will be used to provide a ‘welcoming entrance’ to the area, and more than 4,000 semi-mature British-grown trees will be planted across the Olympic Park and Olympic Village.
Read more + Images

Related posts:
12.11.09 Zaha Hadid: ‘Gateway into the Games’ London 2012 Olympics
25.3.09 London 2012 Stadium legacy plan

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Octagon: When no grand plan exists

UPDATED

Some try to be opportunistic, not in a good way.

### ODT Online Thu, 12 Nov 2009
Car-free Octagon plan hits snag
By David Loughrey
Lower Octagon businesses pushing for the area to be closed to traffic during summer have been told to put more work into their idea if they want it to go ahead.
Read more

And these are the businesses that want to bring in a dress code. Ridiculous.

DCC needs to soldier on with an urban design study of public places in the CBD – especially with regard to the Octagon, which doesn’t show off the centre of town to best advantage. The place should be sparkling, edgy and immaculate, and that’s just the landscaping design.

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Businesses in the lower Octagon that promote and sell alcohol in this way won’t be seeing my patronage for a very long time.

### ODT Online Fri, 13 Nov 2009
Spat over bars’ drinks-discount deal
By Debbie Porteous
A spat between the authorities and lower Octagon bar owners has started over a promotion offering patrons a discounted taxi home if they buy six drinks in four hours. The authorities say the promotion, which covers the period between 7pm and 11pm on Thursdays, breaches the Sale of Liquor Act by encouraging patrons to drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
Read more

A reader’s concerns and the bars’ response

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“Transforming a sea of asphalt”

What was that down at Awatea Street. Ever get sick of petrochemical surfaces and glaring urban planning ineptitudes… And yes, DCC urban designers, I agree with you, public streets can be more than traffic corridors – the potential mixes or sequences of use are the opportunity…

Chris Doudney, retired University of Otago Staff Architect sent me this link, saying: “The comments run the full gamut of objection/support – I liked the heartfelt one from the waterfront champion.”

BY DESIGN
Allison Arieff – A New York Times Blog
September 22, 2009, 10:00 pm
Pavement to Parks

Last Friday, cities and towns throughout the world celebrated Park(ing) Day, an event created to bring awareness to the importance of using and enjoying public space. Witnessing all those swaths of pavement transformed into plant-filled community gathering spaces (Streetfilms.org has a short film of San Francisco’s Park(ing) Day) got me thinking about — given the tangential way my brain works — the process of land-banking.

Land banking — the strategic acquisition of land in advance of expanding urban development, and the holding on to it as long as possible to maximize profits — is especially pronounced in once-booming, now-busted city centers like Las Vegas, Baltimore and Phoenix, which by the way now has more vacant land than any other major city in the United States. With the economic downturn things have changed somewhat, but there remain huge numbers of empty lots being “banked” in downtowns nationwide, all waiting for a real estate recovery.
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– Allison Arieff is editor at large for Sunset, and the former editor in chief of Dwell magazine. She is co-author of the books “Prefab” and “Trailer Travel”, and the editor of many books on design and popular culture, including “Airstream: The History of the Land Yacht” and “Cheap Hotels”. Allison Arieff lives in San Francisco.

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