Tag Archives: Urbanism

Dezeen: W57 —West 57th Residential Building by BIG

Durst Fetner Residential commissioned Copenhagen based BIG in the spring of 2010 to introduce a new residential typology to Manhattan.

sltube7 Uploaded on Feb 10, 2011
Jacob Slevin Bjarke Ingels Is BIG in New York City with W57
(by Designer Pages)

GlessnerGroup Uploaded on Feb 15, 2011
W57 – West 57th Residential Building [no audio]
W57 is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan high-rise, West 57th has a unique shape which combines the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building providing density, a sense of intimacy and security, with the airiness and the expansive views of a skyscraper.
©Glessner Group, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Construction is due for completion in 2016.

█ Architect: Bjarke Ingels Group

### dezeen.com Tue, 8 Feb 2011 at 12:41 pm
West 57th by BIG
By Catherine Warmann
Durst Fetner Residential (DFR) today announced the design of West 57, a 600-unit 80/20 residential building on West 57th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. The building is designed by renowned Danish Architect firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and is their inaugural North American project. The building’s program consists of over 600 residential units of different scales situated on a podium with a cultural and commercial program. The building will strive for LEED Gold Certification.

“It’s extraordinarily exciting to build a building whose architecture will attract visitors from around the globe,” said Hal Fetner, CEO of Durst Fetner Residential. “BIG’s design is innovative, evocative and unique and the building’s beauty is matched only by its efficient and functional design that preserves existing view corridors while maximizing the new building’s access to natural light and views of the Hudson River. West 57th will establish a new standard for architectural excellence and its creative design, sustainable-construction and operations, breathtaking views and distinctive amenities will make it New York’s most sought after residential address.”

dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-22dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-23

“New York is rapidly becoming an increasingly green and livable city. The transformation of the Hudson River waterfront and the Highline into green parks, the ongoing effort to plant a million trees, the pedestrianisation of Broadway and the creation of more miles of bicycle lanes than the entire city of my native Copenhagen are all evidence of urban oases appearing all over the city. With West 57th we attempt to continue this transformation into the heart of the city fabric – into the centre of a city block,” Bjarke Ingels, Founder, BIG.

“The building is conceived as a cross breed between the Copenhagen courtyard and the New York skyscraper. The communal intimacy of the central urban oasis meets the efficiency, density and panoramic views of the tall tower in a new hybrid typology. The courtyard is to architecture what Central Park is to urbanism: a giant green garden surrounded by a dense wall of spaces for living.”
Read more + Images

[view full screen]

BIG from DRKHRSE (posted 4 months ago)
An aerial view of Bjarke Ingel’s newest building in NYC, at W57

█ Drone Photography: Darkhorse

### dezeen.com Wed, 16 Sept 2015 at 11:10 am
Drone video shows progress on New York “courtscraper” by BIG
By Jenna McKnight
Communications firm Darkhorse has used a camera mounted to a drone to capture footage of Via 57 West, the residential building by Bjarke Ingels Group that is now rising in New York. Construction is underway on the tetrahedron-shaped building, which is located on West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The design is pulled up at one corner, to create a 467-foot-tall (142-metre) structure. It topped out several months ago, with the addition of the final structural beam, and work is now continuing on the building’s facades. The unofficial movie by Darkhorse shows images of Via’s sloped exterior, which is punctuated with south-facing terraces that look toward the Hudson River.

dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-36BIG-West-57-project-New-York-City_dezeen_sq

Encompassing 861,00 square feet (80,000 square metres), the building will contain 709 residential units and a large central courtyard. The project also calls for retail space totalling 45,000 square feet (4,180 square metres).

“We call it a courtscraper,” Ingels told Dezeen in an interview last year. “It’s a combination of a skyscraper and a courtyard building. One side is the height of a handrail and the other side is the height of a high-rise.”

The project is being constructed in an area with a mix of building types. W57 is sandwiched between a power plant, a sanitation garage and a highway. The building’s amenities will include a pool, fitness centre, basketball court, golf simulator, library and screening room. Residents will also be able to reserve “living rooms” for entertaining that feature fireplaces, chef’s kitchens, dining rooms and large terraces.
Read more + Images

dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-401dzn_West-57th-by-BIG-38

█ Other residential projects now underway in New York include 152 Elizabeth Street by Tadao Ando in the Nolita neighbourhood, 520 West 28th Street by Zaha Hadid near the High Line, and a luxury condo building by Alvaro Siza that is slated to rise near BIG’s Via 57 West.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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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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Reykjavik, Iceland: The strongest mirror [speculative apartments]

I missed it – the Otago Polytechnic press release of Thursday 21 March.

Icelandic Activist To Speak At Dunedin School Of Art
Iceland democracy activist and artist Hordur Torfason will be speaking at Otago Polytechnic’s Dunedin School of Art on Wednesday the 27th of March, as part of a series of nationwide talks on modern democracy. cont.

By chance, at morning coffee a friend mentioned the speaking event and offered a ride there. Well. Not one speaker, but two —good fortune doubled. All Dunedin residents should have downed tools, pots and pans to attend.

The two men from Iceland, Hordur Torfason and life partner Massimo Santanicchia, each delivered a session, with Santanicchia up first. They shared intriguing, calm, sensible statements about their lives and work, about the quality and countenance of human social interaction, within a gripping exposé of the capitalist drain and the peaceful revolution that occurred in their financially devastated homeland — with thoughts to urbanism, greed, discrimination, corruption, property speculation, sick governance, economic collapse, human rights, the lobby power of silence, noise and internet, and the Icelandic people’s hard-won solidarity for change.

A compelling two-hour glimpse at a nation losing and finding itself.

Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik, is the strongest of mirrors held to Dunedin’s glaring errors of recent and pending ‘big’ construction, economic blunders, and forces of business and political corruption – in turn, Dunedin reflects our nation’s wider political and economic struggles.

[Dunedin, we’re not crippled yet… but New Zealand? Blind rhetoric.]

ODT 21-12-12 screenshotProposed hotel and apartment building, Dunedin (ODT Online, 21 Dec 2012)

Derelict Reykjavik Highrises (Donncha O Caoimh 9-3-12 inphotos.org)Derelict Reykjavik highrises

While on our photowalk today we passed these buildings on the sea front. I thought they were just another apartment building until I noticed that the balconies were fenced in by planks of wood held together loosely!
Donncha O Caoimh (9 March 2012)

Originally from Perugia, Italy, Massimo Santannichia graduated from the School of Architecture in Venice in 2000 and holds an MA from the Architectural Association, School of Architecture in London, and an MSc in Urban Studies from the London School of Economics. He has been working as an architect and urban designer in Italy, the UK and Iceland. Over the last decade he has come to know Reykjavik intimately. Essentially an outsider in the tightly knit Icelandic society he has survived the downturn by moving from the firm Arkitektur to a plethora of internationally connected activity – delivering courses at the Iceland Academy of Arts since 2004 and coordinating projects and workshops with organisations such as the International Peace and Cooperation Centre and the Architectural Association.

Santanicchia’s research interests include relations between the ecological, physical, social and economical aspects of cities. He has lectured extensively on the subject of sustainable cities and small scale urbanism in Zurich, Athens, Oslo, London, Venice, Riga and Reykjavik.

Massimo Santanicchia (AA Summer School promo for July 2013)Santanicchia, second from right (AA Summer School promo for July 2013)

The Production of Space: The lesson from Reykjavik

According to Santanicchia, small cities (less than 500,000 inhabitants) host fifty-two per cent of the world’s urban population, yet they are profoundly neglected in the urban studies field. His presentation at the School of Art focused on the small city of Reykjavik (118,326 inhabitants), investigating how the planning system is trying to build a new urban strategy away from the world city model which was adopted until the banking collapse of 2008.

Reykjavik, Iceland - houses (trekearth.com) 2Reykjavik, Iceland – vernacular housing (trekearth.com)

Commodifying the view…
In particular, Santanicchia noted Reykjavik’s receipt of its first ‘tall buildings’, a crop of extraordinarily bleak apartment developments set against the vernacular lowrise, 3-4 storeyed townscape, blocking existing residential views of the coastline – through to (now dead) speculative drive-to malls and commercial buildings [‘build it and they will come’] further problematised by the profound lack of public transport and infrastructural support to the (then) ‘new phase’ of development.

Throughout the commentary, the physical and moral contradictions were purposefully illustrated by well-selected slides, quotations, and use of statistics. Santanicchia’s creative and socio-political approach to what ails, and demonstrations of how to foster community investment in sustainable environment, is the busy-work of a contemporary intellectual with a warm humanity, grounded in the discipline of practical economics working for the public good.

He and students have won grants to set ‘in place’ temporal urban interventions that sample ways forward for the local community, utilising vacant and degraded public places; demonstrating creative re-design / re-forming of the opportunities lost to the blanket of capitalist-grey asphalt – making places that create “trust” between institutions and among people.

Massimo Santanicchia, Reykjavik (project work)Reykjavik’s dislocated waterfront (‘reconnection’ project work)
[This work is very similar to that of Gapfiller in post-quake Christchurch.]

Copy of Santanicchia’s presentation slides and readings will be made available through Professor Leonie Schmidt (Head, Dunedin School of Art).

A few points he made along the way, from my notes:

● When “priority is given to economic development” …. the city becomes all about ‘building envelope’, ‘the city as a series of volumes’ (bulk and location) | “Management of the economy is not a city, is not urban planning.”

● In 2008, Iceland’s economy shrank 90%. The economy devalued by more than 100% in one week. 1000 people emigrated which kept unemployment low.

● “Big-fix” solutions don’t work in a small city.

● The DANGER of “one idea” …. “it is NOT a plurality”.

● “The WORST is what was built.” Flats and parking lots. No public transport. No sharing. 7000 apartments at Reykjavik are redundant. 2200 properties have been acquired by the banks.

● “The WORST neighbourhoods were created in the richest years.”

● The government didn’t protect the weakest. “The architecture failed because it placed itself at the service of political and economic interests with very little regard for social interests.”

● (Jane Jacobs, 1984): “The economic model doesn’t provide niches for people’s differing skills, interests and imaginations, it is not efficient.”

● (Aldo Rossi): “Building a city is a collective effort.” [empower the people]

● Post-crash, Iceland’s birthrate has increased and children are happier.

● “Trust is about participation.” Better institutions, social justice, equity and public/private relationships.

Zurich: They used 4 hot air balloons to indicate the height and bulk of a proposed tower development, prior to public submissions being received on the proposal.

[In evidence, at Dunedin, applicant Betterways Advisory said it couldn’t afford to provide a height indicator at 41 Wharf St – all the cranes were in Christchurch (wrong), and where do you get balloons from anyway, it asked…. Mr Rodgers (Betterways), we know, took his mother-in-law ballooning in Germany recently. Perhaps he could’ve made a stopover in the Mackenzie Country on his way home.]

### architecturenow.co.nz 25 Mar 2013
Massimo Santanicchia visits New Zealand
By Stephen Olsen
Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter has won high praise from Reykjavik-based architect Massimo Santanicchia for the “observable scaffolding” it is providing for an area in transition.
Santannichia knows a thing or two about making waterfront spaces more accessible from sparking a design revival at the harbour’s edge of the world’s northernmost capital last year, within the context of an award-winning programme known as the Meanwhile projects.
Santanicchia has also been drawing audiences to hear his views on the ways in which Iceland’s largest city is embracing a more human scale of urbanism in the wake of the financial crash.
Read more

Hordur Torfason followed with a punchy impassioned delivery, spoken with a run of crowd scenes and peaceful protest images repeating behind him. Describing post-crash Reykjavik as a scene of ferment and healing, Torfason took us through specific mechanisms for the peaceful revolution that has worldwide and local application – hear that, Dunedin.

Shortly, Torfason will head to workshops in Cypress. The following interview (2011) covers the gist of his lecture.

A multi-talented individual, he told his story from the age of 21 (1966), of how he grew the personal confidence and expertise (“proving talent”) to lead the people of a city and a nation to overturn the Icelandic Government and jail the bankers. He said Parliament has almost lost ‘all respect amongst all Icelanders’. Nevertheless, there’s a bill in passage to make Iceland a Safe Haven for journalists, whistleblowers, international media – protected by law.

● He maintains the role of the artist is to criticise, that criticism is a form of love: “We have to use reason, cultural roots, feelings and the precious gifts of life – our creativity”, to ensure human rights aren’t undermined by economic growth and politics.

“It’s about learning every week, every day, new sides of corruption,” he said. “Inequality is a tool for extortion, a way to maintain The System.”

● Inequality won’t be removed by conventional systems: “If you want to move a graveyard, don’t expect the inhabitants to help you.”

● “The internet has to be protected to dislodge the monster.”

● “One big party owns one big newspaper for Iceland.” According to that paper there was no crash.

The key word is AWARENESS. The silence of government was upsetting to the people; it meant the people used silence as a mirror to the government and politicians, to protest their rights. The cohesiveness and cleverness of the protest, the silent revolution, achieved 100% success. “They the media won’t tell you [the rest of the world] about it.”

● “Stick together and use the internet.” Make Plan A, B, C, D, E. Protest by peaceful revolution v Arrogance.

● Just 25 people from around the world are responsible for the crash, and one of them was the leader of Iceland’s national bank.

Hordur Torfason - blogs.publico.es (juan carlos monedero June 2011)Hordur Torfason by Juan Carlos Monedero (June 2011)

### grapevine.is August 4, 2011
You Cannot Put Rules On Love
An Interview With Hordur Torfason by Paul Fontaine

“I tell people, ‘I’m not demonstrating. I’m fighting for a better life.’ I think aloud, ask questions, seek answers. I knew there was corruption in this country. But I never thought in my wildest dreams that the banks would crash. We have been told lie after lie after lie, and people just accept them. They say ‘þetta reddast’ [‘it’ll all work out’], until it affects them personally, and then they come screaming.”

The 2008 economic collapse of Iceland would send Hordur’s life path in a whole new direction—one that would take him beyond the bounds of even his own country.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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restorm: Will Wiles attempts to deconstruct the legacy of “Saint Jane” Jacobs

Thanks to Storm Cunningham, Washington DC @restorm for the link.

Some crusty issues from this one commentator, Will Wiles, bursting and engaging with levels, biases, contradictions, established takes, whatever, in the considered effort to wake us up.

Apart from the fact that cities (as opposed to country towns like Dunedin?) are ‘live wild animals’, it does no harm to consider the urban environment as a dense web or series of interconnected (metaphorical) ‘rooms’, forming the diverse aggregation of human activity.

Various posts at What if? tangle with diversity, infrastructure, mixed use and spatial ideas, fully knowing the machine that drives formation of a spatial plan at DCC will be very far – frighteningly distant – from approaching contemporary urban theory and practice, including the practical weighty mass of real commerce and ethics.

The non application or watering down of ‘local’ discussion and full-blooded, full-bodied debate will be the risk to Dunedin and the region’s future, premised on a GIS mapping exercise that most probably will work like a parking diagram.

And we know what happened to city parking recently… Political decisions made at Council without adequate understanding of interconnectedness, at the business end of people dynamics. Just wait until this non thinking applies to the city as a whole. It’s coming. Start building your stealth bombers.

****

### urbanophile.com 1 March 2011
Saint Jane by Will Wiles

Jacobs appealed to me because it chimed with what I saw in cities and what I liked about them – and the Nurbanists have no idea what this quality is. Their agenda for “neighbourhoods”, “contextuality”, “walkability”, is fundamentally anti-urban. These qualities aren’t necessarily bad in themselves – but combined in pursuit of the singular Nurbanist vision, they mean the vivisection of the city into un-urban cells.

The Pelican edition of Death and Life, with cover by Germano Facetti:

Wiles begins…
A spectre is haunting urbanism – the spectre of Jane Jacobs. The American-Canadian writer and activist died in 2006, but she continues to exert influence over the urban debate, primarily via that dreary federacy of messianic dovecote enthusiasts, the “New Urbanists”, who have taken her up as a kind of guiding prophet. Outside the ranks of the Kunstlers and Kriers, there is a great swath of architects, thinkers and writers on the city who have read Jacobs and hold her in high regard. With a touch of embarrassment, I should include myself in this latter category. Not being an architect, I was an auto-didact in urban theory. When I came across a Pelican edition of Jacobs’ best-known book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, in a second-hand bookshop almost a decade ago, I had never heard of her. But I loved the Germano Facetti cover design, the back sounded interesting enough, and the price was right, so I took it home.

At that point, my reading on urban theory had been scattershot, based entirely in what I found in 2nd-hand bookshops: Corbu, Lewis Mumford, Thomas Sharp, Steen Eiler Rasmussen, an odd band who had given me all sorts of interesting ideas and imagery, but nothing very coherent. What they had in common, more or less, was that I didn’t really enjoy reading them all that much, and had mostly got through to the end in a spirit of patient self-improvement. I picked up Jacobs, expecting more of the same, and instead ploughed through it in a matter of days. If nothing else, she taught me that book-length urban theory could be hugely entertaining.
Read more

-Will Wiles is a writer and Deputy Editor of Icon, a monthly architecture and design magazine.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Landscape urbanism + ‘larger infrastructure of the territory of our cities and towns’

“Landscape is doing some serious environmental heavy lifting.”
–Adriaan Geuze, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

### architectmagazine.com October 6, 2010
Source: ARCHITECT October 2010
Urban Design
Systems, Not Icons: The unstoppable rise of landscape urbanism
By John Gendall
Not long ago, landscape architects were often dismissed as the consultants who put finishing touches on a building site—the broccoli around a steak. But with landscape architects increasingly taking lead positions on large-scale projects, winning urban design competitions around the world, and expanding the design market share, broccoli, clearly, is a thing of the past.
In many ways, the bellwether for these changes was James Corner’s career arc. As a young designer in Richard Rogers’ office, he grew frustrated by a lack of collaboration between disciplines on the postindustrial London Docklands project. Setting out on his own, he founded Field Operations, which has transformed itself from a boutique landscape practice turning out small projects and academic essays into a significant urban design firm with high-profile projects around the world. The critical step in that transition was when Corner won the competition to turn Freshkills, a huge former landfill in New York City, into a public park.
Underscoring this trend, the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) is in the midst of expanding its landscape faculty by six professorships over two years, and its landscape student body by 50 percent. And landscape architecture’s academic expansion holds up with the most tried-and-true indicator: It’s following the money. Large corporate architecture firms are ramping up their urban design and landscape divisions, as AECOM notably did in 2005 when it acquired EDAW, then among the world’s largest landscape firms.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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