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Smiley N. Pool
Let’s celebrate some of the highlights and lament the misfires.

Here’s a look at big moments in architecture as we celebrate the highs, lows and uh-ohs of the departing decade in Dallas culture, 2010-2019.

Growing pains in the Arts District

It’s easy to take the Arts District for granted — easy, because even after a decade of building it still has a tendency to feel, well, kind of dead. It’s not for a shortage of big-name architects. Additions to the district over the last 10 years have included Norman Foster’s AT&T Performing Arts Center, OMA’s Wyly Theatre, SOM’s Moody Performance Hall, and Allied Works’ expansion of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. A bevy of less-impressive towers are filling in around these signature projects, with the ill-conceived Museum Tower being the most notorious. While all this building has gone on, a master plan for the district has sat on a shelf, waiting for implementation. Most cities, one should note, make the urban plan, and then allow for the building. Here, we do it in reverse and pay the price, which is empty streets. Still, we have some really nice buildings, and with the new development, there is potential for new life.

The decade’s best new buildings in Dallas

Rather than a single champion, we spread the accolades among a group of projects that collectively make Dallas a better place: Test Pavilion at the Dallas Arboretum (Buchanan Architecture), the St. Michael and All Angels Columbarium (Max Levy), the Temple Emanu-El expansion (Cunningham Architects), College Park Pavilion (Snøhetta), the Cottages at Hickory Crossing (BC Workshop), Webb Chapel Park Pavilion (Cooper Joseph Studio), the Wyly Theatre (OMA), the Booker T. Washington expansion (Allied Works), the Warehouse (Droese Raney), Pacific Plaza Pavilion (HKS), the Marshall Family Performing Arts Center at the Greenhill School (Weiss/Manfredi), the Science Building at the Lamplighter School (Marlon Blackwell), Bullion Restaurant (Gensler), 1217 Main St. (5G Studio), Rolex Building (Kengo Kuma), and Fire Station 27 (Perkins & Will).

Signature spans

In a fit of skyline-altering extravagance that we will probably never see again, Dallas managed to open not one but two bridges designed by Spanish shape-wizard Santiago Calatrava, each named for a beloved matriarch named Margaret. Like most everything built by Calatrava, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge and the Margaret McDermott Bridge were massively expensive, dogged by construction problems, needlessly grandiose, uniformly white and — arguably — beautiful. At least, with the former, there was a purpose in the ostentation: the creation of a signal gateway to West Dallas, which has rapidly gentrified since the bridge’s inauguration. Of course, despite the big price tag, the bridge made no accommodation for pedestrians or cyclists, a fact only partially ameliorated by the transformation of the erstwhile Continental Avenue Bridge into a car-free elevated park. Call that a victory.

The fall of sprawl’s thrall?

Yes, the cookie-cutter developments continued to sprout in the hinterlands, but the younger set returned to the city, and even those who remained out in the burbs clamored for reform. In Plano, in McKinney, in Frisco, and points beyond, suburban centers began emphasizing walkability and rail connection to the city, even as they remained principally automotive in nature. (They also became a lot more diverse.) Even Jerry Jones, always with a keen eye for opportunity, noticed the trend, the result being his own mini-city devoted to football: the Star, an antiseptic paradise for Cowboys fans.

The eternal quest for a Fair Park plan

Did you have a plan to save Fair Park? It seemed like everyone did during the 2010s. There were plans, and then more plans, and more plans after that. Every year, we heard lamentations about the state of affairs at the city’s crown jewel — too much concrete, no connection with the neighbors, underuse, decaying landmarks, flooding — and every year there was another plan to save the place that went exactly nowhere. It looked like we might just get through the entire decade with zero progress until, late in 2018, the city finally — finally — signed a 20-year deal with a private management firm with a solid history of running parks. Will this be the answer? The problems are still real, but there’s hope. And a $15 million
Kim Westerman
Today marks a historic moment for The Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, as the Presidio Tunnel Tops project was formally launched this morning with a “groundmaking” ceremony to kick off the construction phase of this highly anticipated phase of the development of The Presidio.

Set to open in 2021, the ambitious Tunnel Tops project, designed by James Corner Field Operations (the firm behind New York’s High Line), will create an entirely new 14-acre park atop two freeway tunnels just east of Crissy Field. The new multi-use public park will have unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and, more importantly, it will re-connect the San Francisco waterfront to the Presidio Main Post, a passage that was broken some 80 years ago when Doyle Drive was built to create access to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Corner says, “This has been an extraordinary experience to create a new green centerpiece for the Presidio in the context of the larger Bay Area and the world-class city of San Francisco. The iconic setting is perfect for transforming highway infrastructure into a vibrant new public space.” The final design was informed by the input of more than 10,000 community members to ensure that residents would be happy about the ways in which their neighborhood would be transformed.

Funding efforts have been led by campaign co-chairs Lynne Benioff, Mark Buell, and Randi Fisher, along with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

When Tunnel Tops opens in 2021, it will include gardens with native vegetation, walking pathways, scenic overlooks, a campfire circle, picnic areas, and a three-acre interactive play area designed to connect urban kids with nature. The hope is that this “Youth Campus” will encourage environmental stewardship among the city’s youth population, setting in motion education and awareness about the state of our immediate environment and our planet, in general.

Younger kids will have access to “The Outpost,” a multi-sensory, inquiry-driven space for place-based learning and adventure. Geared toward toddlers up to age 13, The Outpost will also offer activities for teens involved in the youth mentorship programs run by the Crissy Field Center.

The Presidio is one of San Francisco’s most exciting neighborhoods right now. It has always been rich in history and a compelling area for hiking and other outdoor activities, but now it’s a full-blown destination for both day-trippers and visitors from afar, with excellent restaurants, museums, a new visitor center, a free shuttle, a brand-new theatre, and some of the most exciting programming in any U.S. city. Tunnel Tops will also be an impressive green space in the heart of urban San Francisco.

The park has 12 trails for hiking and biking, from wooded paths to coastal cliffside walks, each offering a different ambiance, length, and level of difficulty.

Two hotels — The Inn at the Presidio and The Lodge at the Presidio — are affordable and comfortable, a rarity in San Francisco these days.

To learn more about Tunnel Tops or to contribute during its construction phase, visit the project’s website.

Laurian Ghinitoiu
BIG has arranged the classrooms of this white-brick and glass school in Arlington, Virginia in a fan-shape to allow for a "cascading terraces".

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) designed The Heights public school on a tight plot in the Virginia city, about 30 minutes outside Washington DC, which is surrounded by three roads and the edge of the city's Rosslyn Highlands Park.

"The density of the urban Arlington neighbourhood became the inspiration for the school – we fanned the classrooms to allow each and every floor to be connected to the roof garden on top of the classrooms below," said BIG founder Bjarke Ingels.

Five classroom volumes are stacked and pivoted on top of a larger base level, and detailed to look as if they overlap one another.

A swooping staircase alternates between inside and outside to provide access to each of the floors and the rooftop gardens above.

"The resultant cascading terraces are connected by a curving stair that weaves through all levels – inside as well as outside – making all students, from both programmes and all ages, visually and physically connected to each other," Ingels added.

"Each terrace is landscaped to lend itself not just to the social life of the students but also as informal outdoor spaces for learning."

Glazed white bricks clad the exterior of the 180,000-square-foot (16,700-square-metre) building. Large expanses of glazing are placed on the inner side of the fan to offer views to the surroundings.

BIG worked with executive architect Leo A Daly, Arlington Public Schools (APS), West Rosslyn Area Plan and the local community on The Heights, which was first unveiled in 2016.

The projects was initiated to combine two existing school systems in Arlington: H-B Woodlawn school for grades six to 12, and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Program that offers special education for students ages 11 to 22.

The two lower floors are intended for the latter and include an occupational physical therapy room and a space to aid sensory processing.

In total, The Heights spans 180,000 square feet (16,700 square metres) and accommodates over 775 students. A sports field is set on one side and enclosed with a fence, and an existing convenience store is at another corner.

To complement the recreational field, BIG also created two sunken courtyards, an entry garden and a new public park on the corner of Wilson and Quinn Street. The first roof terrace is also accessible to the pubic when school is not in session.

As a contrast to the white brick exterior, each classroom level inside the building is decorated with a unique colour, including blue, purple, pink, yellow and orange. There is also an indoor basketball court that has green walls.

A large amount of glazing inside echoes the windows on the exterior and creates views to other spaces inside the building.

"Glass walls open up views between the different activities, making it a three-dimensional composition of all aspects of learning and living in the school," said Ingels.

Obama Foundation
Today, the Obama Foundation released new renderings of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC), planned for Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. Designed by New York–based architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the refined design is intended "to be more organic in form and to appear more elegant and inviting as visitors approach from all directions," according to a statement by the foundation.

In order to make the building less opaque and foreboding—a criticism that the second iteration of the design also tried to address—the design team has introduced an 88-foot expanse of glazing at the mezzanine level of the 235-foot-tall tower, and incisions on the southeast and southwest corners aim to reduce the building's profile. Faceted stone cladding will reflect the changing daylight, and textured stone wrapping the middle southeast corner will simplify the finish of an area previously planned to display carved text. And within the landscape, which Brooklyn, New York–based Michael Van Valkenburgh designed, a 1-acre wetland area will capture and treat stormwater and will include a "Wetland Walk" area with seating and a place for children to play.

Projected to cost at least $500 million, the project likely won't break ground until 2020, after a federal review evaluates the OPC's expected impact on Jackson Park. But that deliberate pace suits the architects: "We're slow designers," Williams told the Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin. "We design from the inside out."
Westfalia Technologies
This is the first “palletless” system that Westfalia Technologies has installed.

500 Walnut is a 26-story luxury condo building with 35 residences whose selling prices average $5 million, the highest in Philadelphia to date, according to the building’s developer Scannapieco Development Corporation (SDC).

The tower—designed by Cecil Baker + Partners and built by Intech Construction—includes all of the high-end amenities one might expect, such as a heated pool, fitness center, dog grooming, massage room and sauna, and “outdoor retreat.” And then there’s something entirely different: an automated palletless parking system with 86 parking slots, far more than this building could have accommodated had it gone instead with a more conventional alternative.

“This amenity adds a level of convenience that no other building can,” says Tom Scannapieco, SDC’s owner.

The system, installed by Westfalia Technologies of Charleston, S.C., works like this: The resident drives into the building through a street-level bay door that he or she opens electronically via a transponder attached to the car’s grill or bumper. The driver enters a covered auto court—a kind of lobby, says Scannapieco—and then places the car into a transfer “cabin.” Drivers and passengers get out, and proceed to a kiosk into which the resident scans a key fob to answer a few safety questions on a touch screen—are the car doors shut, is the parking brake engaged, is the engine turned off, etc.—that the parking control system evaluates prior to storage.

A lift within the cabin lowers the car to the basement level, where the vehicle is then positioned onto a palletless transfer platform, which Westfalia’s Satellite technology adjusts for the length of the car’s wheelbase. That platform rotates the vehicle 180 degrees so it can be easily driven out when retrieved, and then moves the car into the nearest parking slot.

When drivers need their vehicles, they can scan their fob either in the building’s elevator or at the kiosk, and the system automatically brings the car back to the transfer cabin. (The lobby kiosk notes the car’s position and expected retrieval time.)

500 Walnut has two transfer areas and two transfer platforms. Residents have 24/7 access to this system. There’s negligible risk of vehicle damage, theft, or break-in because there’s no reason for humans to be in the actual parking area.

How much does all this cost? Scannapieco and Ian Todd, Westfalia’s director of Automated Parking Systems, didn’t answer that question directly. On a per-sf basis, 500 Walnut’s 50,840-sf garage with state-of-the-art technology and mechanicals cost double a conventional parking garage, Scannapieco estimates.

But he’s quick to note that on a per-car basis, “there’s no premium,” basing that assessment on the fact that a conventional parking ramp system, with fire protection and ventilation included, would have been impossible to pull off within a building this size, to say nothing of the number of parking slots that Westfalia’s solution provided.

“By having this technology, we’re doubling our parking yield,” says Scannapieco. Todd adds that the developer saved money on excavation, and increased the value of its residential units by enhancing the user’s experience. (Scannapieco says the parking garage has become the most popular amenity in the building.)

500 Walnut opened in early 2018. Westfalia is currently installing its second palletless parking system, with 160 parking slots, in another building about a mile from 500 Walnut. That building is scheduled to open next year. Westfalia also installs palleted systems, but Todd is convinced that the newer technology will catch on as more developers and prospective owners become aware of it.

He adds, parenthetically, that while an automated palletless parking system could be installed in an existing building, there are far greater efficiencies when that system is part of a building’s original design.
Laboratory for Vision Architecture (LAVA) and Australian design practice Aspect Studios have won an international competition to design the new Central Park for Ho Chi Minh City. Located on the site where southeast Asia’s first train station was located, the 16-hectare linear park will pay homage to its industrial heritage with walkways overlaid atop 19th-century railway tracks. In addition to historical references, the visionary public space will also integrate sustainable and futuristic “tree” structures engineered to provide shelter, harvest water and generate solar energy.

Located in District 1, the central urban district of Ho Chi Minh City, the proposed Central Park will replace and expand the existing September 23 Park. The new design will retain its predecessor’s lush appearance while adding greater functionality to include sculpture gardens, outdoor art galleries, water features, music and theater performance pavilions, a skate park, sport zones and playgrounds.

”The site has always been about transportation,” said Chris Bosse, director of LAVA. “It was the first train station in southeast Asia, it’s currently a bus terminal and in the near future it will be Vietnam’s first metro station. Our design references this history and future mobility. Known locally as ‘September 23 Park’, it also hosts the important annual spring festival.”

The designers plan to link the redesigned park to the new Ben Thanh Metro Station and memorialize the transport history with a dramatic twisting steel sculpture at one end of the park.

To improve the energy efficiency of Central Park, three types of eco-friendly structures will be installed, and each one will be created in the image of “artificial plants” and “trees.” The “water purification trees” will collect rainwater for reuse for irrigation, drinking fountains and fire hydrants. “Ventilation trees” will reduce the urban heat island effect and generate fresh air, and the “solar trees” feature angled solar panels to generate renewable energy used for powering the charging docks, information screens and the park’s Wi-Fi system. Construction on Central Park is slated to begin in 2020.

Italian architect Stefano Boeri has designed three cube-shaped vertical forest apartments blocks for Egypt's New Administrative Capital, which is being built to the east of Cairo.

Boeri collaborated with Egyptian designer Shimaa Shalash and Italian landscape architect Laura Gatti on the three seven-storey apartment buildings.

The New Administrative Capital is being built in the desert 30 miles from Cairo at the request of Egypt's president Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who took power in 2013. It is planned to be the administrative capital of the country and will contain the main government departments and foreign embassies.

Boeri has unveiled designs for three buildings covered in planted terraces, which will be the first time his practice – Stefano Boeri Architetti – has bought its vertical forest concept to the African continent.

The three apartment blocks have been designed for Egyptian property developer MISR Italia Properties.

Each cube-shaped building will be 30 metres tall and 30 metres wide. Stefano Boeri Architetti estimates that between them the three buildings will hold 3Every apartment will have its own balcony planted with species appropriate to the local climate, planted to ensure a variety of heights and blooming seasons so they are interesting to look at all year round.

Plants at every level will provide natural shading and improve the surrounding air quality. The studio estimates that the plants will absorb seven tons of carbon dioxide and produce eight tons of oxygen per year.

Construction on the Egyptian vertical forests is due to begin in 2020 and complete by 2022. The New Administrative Capital is a joint venture between Egypt's military and its housing department that seeks to boost the country's economy and alleviate Cairo's housing crisis, where 70 per cent of the population live in informal dwellings.

Stefano Boeri Architetti has designed vertical forest buildings in Albania, the Netherlands, and even conceptual vertical forests for the planet Mars.50 trees and 14,000 shrubs of over 100 species.

West 8
The Rotterdam, Netherlands–based firm will revitalize 11 miles of the city's shoreline.

Rotterdam, Netherlands–based urban design firm West 8 has been named the winner of the Middle Branch Waterfront Revitalization Competition, which called for submissions to restore the area's wetlands and connect the surrounding neighborhoods with recreational parks and trails. The firm's winning proposal will bring new life to an 11-mile stretch of Baltimore's Patapsco River shoreline, "recreat[ing] and redefin[ing] the blue green heart of Baltimore," according to a press release from the firm.

In the winning design, West 8 proposed reusing dredges from Baltimore's port to control the water and sediment flow along the waterfront's bay. With the expectation that this will create new marshlands overtime, the team also proposed an 11-mile ring of multiuse piers, boardwalks, and structures to create a more community-focused environment.

"A future phase of the design reimagines the iconic Hanover Street Bridge as a park which completes parkland ring and connects people from all walks of life to each other and to the Middle Branch," said West 8 design director Adriaan Geuze in the same release.

The three finalists for the competition, which included the New York-based firms James Corner Field Operations and Hargreaves Jones, were revealed in April. After the announcement, residents were invited to visit an exhibition where they could learn more about the shortlisted designs and add their own comments. A five person jury then ranked the teams on elements such as technical merit, feasibility of the ideas, ability to integrate community feedback, originality of design vision, and responsiveness to the competition's objectives.

Matteo Carrasale
Étretat, France

In the early 20th century, the actress known as Madame Thébault built a villa on an idyllic plot of rolling landscape in Étretat, France, atop the rocky cliffs of Normandy’s Alabaster Coast. The grounds, which she made into a garden for her orchids, became a favorite painting spot for her friend Claude Monet, who produced many artworks depicting the Porte d’Aval, a natural stone arch in the distance. In 2016, Russian landscape designer Alexandre Grivko transformed Thébault’s former estate into Les Jardins d’Étretat—a public garden that hosts both permanent and temporary displays of sculpture by international artists.

With its meandering pathways, pristine array of topiary, and unusual artworks, Grivko’s garden recalls a scene from a storybook; the designer cites the grounds at Versailles and the imaginary landscape of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as inspirations for his fantastical display of over 150,000 plants. Referencing Étretat’s natural splendor, the voluminous formations of flora evoke cliffs, waves, and whirlpools. “Just as the wind, rain, and ocean have carved out a landscape of staggering beauty, I thought of how human hands could mimic nature to create something similarly exquisite,” Grivko says. Using plants to occasion a kaleidoscopic panorama of hues and textures, he has designed a sensory-rich experience for visitors—and a dynamic backdrop for sculpture—that evolves throughout the seasons. Says Grivko, “The garden is a perpetual artistic experiment.”
Los Angeles Clippers/AECOM
The Los Angeles Clippers have released initial renderings of their brand new 18,500-seat arena expected to open in 2024. Team owner Steve Ballmer and the city of Inglewood are moving forward with the $1 billion, 900,000-square-foot NBA arena over neighborhood concerns and lawsuits over the project,

Designed by local architecture and engineering firm AECOM, the metal-clad, oval-shaped arena is said to be inspired by the “swoosh” of a basketball net. Ballmer told ESPN, “I want it to be a noisy building… I really want that kind of energy.”

The grand vision includes a basketball arena, corporate office building, sports medicine clinic, retail, community and youth-oriented spaces, parking garages, a solar-panel-clad roof, indoor-outdoor “sky gardens,” and an outdoor game-viewing area with massive digital screens.

Ballmer’s goal is to create, “the best home in all of sports,” he said in a statement accompanying the release of the renderings. “What that means to me is an unparalleled environment for players, for fans, for sponsors and for the community of Inglewood. Our goal is to build a facility that resets fans’ expectations while having a transformative impact on the city we will call home.” Ballmer, one of the richest people in the world, will privately finance the mixed-use development.

The project must overcome several legal challenges that cloud its potential success. First, from the Uplight Inglewood Coalition, an organization looking to strengthen Inglewood residents’ political power, is suing the city on allegations that the city’s deal to sell the land for the arena violated California state law. The California Surplus Land Act requires that public land be prioritized for affordable housing development before any other uses. Housing costs in the area had soared since 2016, when the NFL agreed to let the Rams and Chargers relocate to Inglewood.

“In the midst of booming development—which has caused skyrocketing rents and the loss of affordable housing—it simply does not make any sense to prioritize an NBA arena over the needs of Inglewood residents without investing in the needs of residents,” Uplift Inglewood member D’artagnan Scorza said in a recent press release, “Public land should be used for the public good, and access to housing is central to building strong communities.”

Second, James Dolan, owner and CEO of Madison Square Garden, owner of the New York Knicks and the nearby Forum has also sued the city, accusing leaders of secretly negotiating with the Clippers to build on land that it once leased. The 26-acre complex will house all team operations, from corporate headquarters to the team’s training facility. The Clippers currently practice in Playa Vista, have a business office in downtown Los Angeles, and play at the Staples Center (shared with rival Lakers and NHL’s Kings since 1999). Their lease ends in 2024, putting pressure on team ownership to finish construction on time for the next season.
Lauren Werner
Tucked away in the remote town of Terlingua, the new Willow House uses thoughtfully conceived architecture to underscore the area’s breathtaking natural beauty

The alluring beauty of the Chisos Mountains is nearly indescribable—its rugged arcs giving way to miles of desert terrain. There’s a certain kind of freedom that exists in far West Texas amid the ombré boulders and ocotillo, one that placates a sense of wanderlust. Terlingua, a self-governing, unincorporated town of approximately 300 full-time residents, is like something out of a sci-fi novel or perhaps a spaghetti Western film, with its menagerie of art galleries, motels, and trailer parks amid rolling, bentonite clay–mottled roads. A few miles from Big Bend National Park, it borders the Rio Grande River, with the mountains acting as the only separation between the U.S. and Mexico, yet this old mining town is often seen as the last of the Wild West, a place to run, a place to disconnect, and a place to marvel at the endless landscape.

Late this spring, a new boutique hotel popped up in Terlingua: Willow House. Set on 287 acres at the basin of Big Bend National Park and opposite Willow Mountain, it consists of 12 casitas, all with unobstructed views, refined furnishings, and curated art. For its proprietor, Lauren Werner, the pull of the Chisos Mountains and love for the land is as fervent as her fiery red hair, something that is apparent in the care and effort she has put into every detail on the property.

The California native came to Texas five years ago by way of Dallas’s Southern Methodist University and quickly became inspired by the magic of Big Bend National Park. She fell in love and immediately began looking for land on which to build. “Terlingua is the closest access point to the national park, but there wasn’t anywhere cool to stay that took the landscape into account,” she recalls.

She ended up finding the perfect location, 200-plus acres of an old Terlinguan ranch with flat, buildable land with breathtaking views of the mountains. “I knew when I stepped on that ranch that I wanted every casita to have a view of the mountain range, and every bedroom and patio to perfectly frame that view,” she says, citing Georgia O'Keeffe as an influence when designing the property.

During the initial building stages, it was truly her respect for the land which drove all construction and design decisions. She chose natural concrete as “light-colored buildings pop to the eye,” in an effort to preserve the view for her neighbors. She also “re-homed” the ocotillo and rocks moved during construction.

Another important element for Werner was the weather. West Texas summers are notoriously brutal and often surpass 100 degrees with intense UV exposure, while at other times 70 or 80 mile-per-hour winds and sweeping desert storms are the norm. Thus, the darkly colored concrete casitas have been dutifully insulated and feature slits on the covered patios to allow for comfortable airflow. There are also built-in exterior benches so guests can enjoy a cocktail with friends or head off to sleep under the stars.
Kate Joyce
From embassy grounds in London to a neighborhood park in Detroit, these projects highlight how landscape projects are now tackling myriad social and spatial challenges.

Though often on the tip of architects’ tongues, landscape often remains snubbed or misunderstood within design. But it’s hard to ignore the rising profile of landscape architecture, which is increasingly called upon to address a range of urban spatial and social issues. Here, to kick off the summer, we survey four new projects that give something back to city dwellers. The landscapes differ in context and approach, but like a lot of good architecture, they engage and deepen urban connectivity.

In Detroit, Empty Lots Become Parks, Helping to Rebuild Lost Social Equity
An ongoing plan by landscape architects Spackman Mossop Michaels (SMM) is tying together the neighborhood of Fitzgerald, which has been atomized by vacancy and foreclosure.

A Public Park in Montreal Aims to Right the Wrongs of Past Development Schemes
The city and local firm Groupe Rousseau Lefebvre turned a 1960s expressway into "a prestigious, functional, and user-friendly gateway to downtown."

How the U.S. Embassy in London Uses Landscape as an Ambassador
The project, which includes design by KieranTimberlake and OLIN, features public spaces that plug into the surrounding neighborhood as well as plantings that evoke American landscapes.

At the Chicago Botanic Garden, a New Space Helps Kids Deeply Engage With Nature
The Regenstein Learning Campus encourages children’s sensory discovery of the natural world—minus the gaudiness of plastic playgrounds or an overprescription of experiences.
Ross Barney Architects
Gadzooks: Ross Barney Architects has unleashed a new pavilion with a visitor center at Chicago‘s Lincoln Park Zoo. In plan, the structure resembles two ‘Js’ knit together by a steel canopy of cantilevered frames that hang together to provide structural support and shade the ground with a leafy pattern. Officially, the 9,500-square-foot building is known as the Searle Visitor Center and it opened to the public on November 15, 2018.

Between the Js, zoo-goers may enjoy a bouldered courtyard designed by hometown landscape architects Jacobs/Ryan Associates. Offices encircle the space; elsewhere, the program includes a membership lounge and an information center. The info center’s patterned walls retract to open the zoo up to the crowds in the visitor center. At the entrance, the gate’s patterning was designed specifically to keep out rogue humans who might try to enter the zoo when the animals throw parties at night it’s closed.

Besides the architecture, the best part about the Searle Visitor Center (and the rest of the zoo) is that it’s free to visit.

Zoos and cool buildings aren’t necessarily a natural association, but they should be. In Detroit, Albert Kahn Associates in 2016 completed a penguin house that’s shaped like a glacier, while at the Bronx Zoo, Morris Ketchum, Jr. & Associates’ modernist World of Darkness (built 1969, but now shuttered) offered a windowless circular cast concrete enclosure to observe nocturnal creatures. In London, the ramped up Penguin Pool is a modern icon but a less than ideal environment for its inhabitants, and may be torn down sooner rather than later.
dixon jones
scottish artist david mach has unveiled designs for his first ever building – a new arts, events and conference venue made out of more than 30 shipping containers arranged in a sculptural form. the unique multi-purpose building named ‘mach 1’, will act as the marketing suite for the 43 acre edinburgh park development masterplanned by stirling prize-nominated architects dixon jones.

resembling a collapsed jenga set, the building’s dramatic shape will be 50ft tall at its highest point and was intended to make a statement that would to draw attention to the new quarter. the venue includes a large double height gallery space, which will exhibit a full site model, detailed building models, illustrations and information boards as well as audio-visual displays of edinburgh park itself.

edinburgh park is planned to be a 43-acre urban quarter west of the city of edinburgh, the largest single-site development currently underway in the city. it is currently in the planning stages, with mach 1 itself having recently been submitted for planning. the building, which will have around 3500 sq ft of floor space, could open by the spring of next year if planning permission is secured for a vacant site next to the edinburgh park central tram stop.

‘there is quite a dramatic shape to the building. it will be something that you really notice. it is a building that really makes a statement about itself. it will be painted one colour, possibly with a reference to that great forth bridge red,’ said david mach in an interview with the architects journal.

‘it is a building with a promise of a life in other ways – as a festival fringe venue, a great place for comedy, for music, for talks. the look of the building is the important thing to me as a sculptor and now as an accidental architect.’
Arion Doerr via TRI-LOX
A giant NEST has landed on the roof of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) — and it’s not for the birds. Brooklyn-based design and fabrication practice TRI-LOX created NEST, the museum’s new interactive playscape built out of reclaimed timber from the city’s rooftop water towers. Designed with parametric tools, the sustainable installation takes inspiration from the unique nests of the baya weaver birds — their nests are featured in the museum’s educational collection — and comprises an organic woven landscape with 1,800 square feet of space for open and creative play.

Opened just in time for summer, the NEST playscape at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum (BCM) in Crown Heights caters to children ages 2 to 8. The woven wooden landscape is set on artificial turf and includes a climbable exterior and a series of ribbed tunnels and rooms that make up a permeable interior with entrances marked by bright blue paint. The reclaimed cedar slats not only make the structure easy to climb, but also partially obscure views for added playfulness. The top of the structure is crowned with a circular hammock area that directs views up toward the sky.

“In exploring the museum’s educational collection, we came upon a series of incredible bird nests and let them inspire our design,” said ​Alexander Bender​, co-founder and managing partner of TRI-LOX, which was commissioned by BCM through a request for proposals in mid-2017. “One nest in particular, made by the baya weaver bird, offers an intricately woven form with rooms, tunnels and multiple entries. This concept was then transformed into a climbable playscape that retains the natural materiality of the nest and tells a story of an iconic design within our vertical urban habitat — the NYC rooftop wood water tower. We quite literally brought the water tower back to the rooftop with this project … it just had to be turned into a giant nest first.”

NEST playscape is the newest focal point for the BCM, which consists of a series of architecturally significant designs befitting its title as the world’s first children’s museum. Rafael Viñoly designed the museum’s eye-catching yellow building in 2008. Seven years later, Toshiko Mori added a pavilion on the 20,000-square-foot rooftop that was complemented with lush planting plan and a boardwalk by Future Green Studio in 2017.

Alexander C. Kafka/Flickr via Creative Commons license
Aaron Betsky on how our Western treasures can inspire us to be better architects.

It is the season to see things bigger than buildings. Summertime is when Americans, despite their ability to go anywhere at any time virtually, hit the road to get some real experiences: mountains, forests, lakes, deserts, and wetlands beckon us away from the grid and the boxes where we live, work, and play, to see structures and spaces at the very edge of human imagination, in both senses of the word.

What draws us above all else is spectacle, and that—no offense to you East Coasters—you’ll find mainly in the West. The canyons, from the Grand one to Bryce, the ranges and valleys around the Tetons, Rockies, and the Coastals are where we can feel most removed from the human scale or our usual sense of purpose. To get to the best views, to feel truly overwhelmed, you have to leave much of your technology behind and hike beyond the crowds. It is a reminder of the limits of both the beauty and the blight that normally surrounds us in our (sub)urban settings, and its very difference should inspire our work as architects.

This last month, I had the pleasure of spending a day in Zion National Park. It was not nearly enough, and I never did get away from those crowds, but still the experience of feeling so small in the face of such grandeur was exhilarating. It was a much needed antidote to my obsession with both architecture and politics.

I will not try to describe the peaks that rise out of the gorge that the Virgin River has cut through the rocks of southern Utah. I took no selfies. I just let the grandeur of it all whisk me away. In truth, I was just as much taken by the sheer violence of the place. Which makes sense: When Edward Burke first defined the notion of the sublime to describe a passage he took through the Alps in the 1750s, his fear of falling off a cliff or being overwhelmed by a storm made him feel just as removed from himself as the beauty of the peaks themselves.

That sense of ecstasy, or standing outside yourself, is what we seek in nature. It is a sensibility that we try to replicate through art or, these days, through chemical or virtual means. Yet there is another sense in which the sublime operates: as something that reminds you not only of your own fragility, but also of the instability of the supposed bedrock of our country. The Virgin River carved its way through something solid over the millennia and, as you survey what the water laid bare, you can see the opposing lines of rocks that were long before lifted up or thrust down in cataclysms of a scale few humans in recorded history have ever experienced.

That movement of plates, those eruptions of volcanoes, those floes of icebergs as tall as skyscrapers, and the floods that must have inspired the tales of global inundation so many cultures tell, have shaped our continent, and give us the America we know today. Our history is violent and profound. That “deep” history, taking place in “geological time,” as the writer John McPhee referred to it in his 1981 book Basin and Range, is usually only visible in less geologically dramatic areas to trained eyes. What makes national parks such as Zion so amazing is that we are confronted with a history of the places that we think we have shaped to our wants and needs, but that reach far beyond us in scale and time.

We should not just build, as Antoine Predock, FAIA, used to be fond of pointing out, on the thin layer of human detritus and loam, but on and with all the layers of our earth.

It should inspire us to rethink our role as architects. Good architects try to respond to a project’s context, shaping their buildings to accept and shed rain and snow, water and heat. They might use materials found on site, transforming them from rough rocks into sheets of veneer or from mud into bricks. But do we ever respond to what lies below and before us, to our larger context? We should not just build, as Antoine Predock, FAIA, used to be fond of pointing out, on the thin layer of human detritus and loam, but on and with all the layers of our Earth. Is there some way to express the instability of the land, its depths, its deep materiality?

The pilgrimages we take to national parks are part of what has made us a community; our family trips to these preserves and the moments of great beauty we have experienced there together have united us. On my hikes, I saw people of all ages and all colors, and I felt I was part of that commu
Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Research on the connections between green space and criminal activity finds that park design and programming determines their impact on crime and safety.

The relationship between parks and crime remains the subject of debate.

Some scholars say parks and other urban green spaces prevent violence. When vacant lots and deteriorating urban spaces are transformed into more appealing and useful places for residents, violence and crime typically decline in the immediate vicinity.

In a study of public housing developments in Chicago, researchers found 52 percent fewer crimes reported near buildings surrounded by trees and other vegetation. In New York City, neighborhoods with higher investment in public green space see an average of 213 fewer felonies per year.

Similar relationships between green space and crime have been observed in Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Portland, as well as in cities outside the U.S.

In many cities, however, people see parks as dangerous—magnets for illicit activities like drug dealing and places for criminals to access potential victims who, while engaged in recreation, may be less vigilant about their belongings and personal safety.

Research supports this idea, too. One 2015 study of multiple U.S. cities found that property crime rates are two to four times higher in neighborhoods near parks. Violent crimes rates were up to 11 times worse.

So do parks make cities safer or more dangerous? The short answer is: It depends on the park.

Green space leads to lower crime

One reason that evidence on the relationship between parks and crime is so mixed is that most studies on this subject have focused on a single city or location.

In an effort to identify nationwide trends, our team of researchers at Clemson and North Carolina State universities in 2017 began gathering information on crime, green space and parks in the 300 largest cities in the United States.

Unlike many studies that use the terms “parks” and “green space” interchangeably, our analysis distinguished between these two urban environments.

Green space was measured by the amount of grass, plants, tree canopy cover, and other greenery on the landscape. We defined urban parks as designated open spaces managed by a public agency —a subset of green space.

To distinguish the impact of green spaces from social factors typically linked to crime—population density, income, education, diversity, and social disadvantage—we controlled for those factors when evaluating crime data.

We learned that more green space was associated with lower risk of crime across neighborhoods in all 300 cities we studied.

Burglaries, larceny, auto theft, and other property crimes occur less often in greener neighborhoods in every city in our sample. Violent crimes like murder, assault, and armed robbery were also less common in greener neighborhoods in nearly all the cities we studied.

Only three cities in our sample did not benefit from green space. In Chicago, Detroit, and Newark—all places with notoriously high and stubborn crime rates—more green space was associated with higher levels of violent crime.

Scholars have identified several reasons why the presence of green space may lead to lower crime.

Contact with nature reduces precursors to crime like stress and aggression, making people feel happier, and less inclined to engage in criminal acts. By giving people a place to participate in outdoor activities together, parks also promote positive social interactions and neighborly connections within diverse urban communities.

And when people gather in parks and other green spaces, it puts more “eyes on the streets,” exposing criminals to constant community surveillance.

Finally, there’s some evidence that more green space makes nearby areas safer simply by pushing crime into nearby neighborhoods—not outright eliminating it.
Edmund Sumner
Why Aaron Betsky loves the new Hong Kong West Kowloon Station by Andrew Bromberg at Aedas.

Sometimes a good building that I nevertheless probably shouldn’t like for all kinds of reasons just bowls me over. That’s the case with the new Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, designed by Andrew Bromberg, FAIA, a global design principal at Aedas. It is not modest; it is not critical architecture. It swoops, it soars, it arches, rises, and spreads. Rarely in recent years have I seen a project with more expressive power than this multi-billion-dollar terminus to a line that is—for better or worse—tying Hong Kong closer to the Chinese mainland. It evokes the excitement of travel and the anticipation that comes with arriving or leaving a city.

For several years I have watched the station's design and construction, which has been hampered by delays, by ever increasing security concerns, by mediocre construction, and by worse station management. So it was a pleasure to finally see the building completed when I was in Hong Kong this spring. Visiting it on a rainy day I missed the full effect of the skylights and clerestories in the station’s main hall, and I was left to scamper around the wet pavement outside, but it was still a delight. Towards the north, the building’s arches flip up above a jagged glass façade, which opens up to a view of Hong Kong Island—a feature that has already drawn comparisons to a dragon. Even in the rain, the building seemed to be continually in motion.

The building is essentially a low-lying arch. A series of giant, stretched trusses, bundled together for strength and braced by branching columns that slot in between the tracks and the spread out, give lateral support to the main roof. But Bromberg also conceived of a simple yet clever twist. Rather than having the arches run at right angles over the main station area to the end of the tracks, the tradition in train termini ever since Euston Station in 1837, he ran them in the same directions as the trains. The result is a visual representation of this superfast mode of transport. It also leaves large openings to the east and the west, the directions in which most people entering or leaving the station will pass.

The various levels of the station undulate both up and down and forward and back to accommodate the different modes of arrival and departure (car, taxi, or bus drop off, and the subway and pedestrian paths to the nearby mega-developments). The terminal serves about 1.5 million travelers a month, who can now travel to Shanghai in a few hours and to Beijing in a day.

As an added bonus, the layers of arches also create an elevated park on top of the station; you can walk up and, more than 80 feet above the ground, enjoy a panoramic view across the harbor of Hong Kong Island. Already, the park has become a site for joggers and selfie takers; the hope is that further development in the area, including the Herzog & de Meuron-designed M+ Museum, will make the public space even more vibrant.

On the inside, Bromberg had originally designed the hall to start at the tracks themselves, so travelers could glimpse the bottom of the arches as soon as they arrived. The cost of a transparent fire barrier made that impossible, creating the same problem that plagues many airports and other transportation nodes: passengers get the best view when leaving or before going through security. After clearing customs, you can still see the some of the spectacle above while waiting for your train, but you have to remember to look up. Travelers who head directly into the subway, meanwhile, will never even enter the hall.

Soon, the station will be surrounded by apartment and office towers that will help pay for the cost of its construction. I believe that Bromberg had hoped to design these as well, but they will be put out for tender separately, so there's not much chance that he can create a large version of the fully integrated transportation hub that Ben van Berkel designed for the station in Arnhem, the Netherlands.

There is a more serious question about the West Kowloon Station that does give me pause. It successfully represents the achievements of a state that is using this very infrastructure to further suppress Hong Kong’s freedom and quasi-independence. Much in the way of Rem Koolhaas, Hon. FAIA’s convoluted design for the Chinese state’s central propaganda machine, CCTV, in Beijing, one has to ask if the project helps perpetuate social and economic injustices.

Ronny Soh
Confounding complexity, turf tension, head scratching and horse-trading. Inspiration, compromise, exhilaration and, ultimately, enchantment.

The team that shaped a mall to end all malls—Singapore’s all-but-complete Jewel Changi Airport—quashed myriad conflicts during the job. The architecture of the 135,700-sq-meter land-side mall, camouflaged by a vast atrium garden with a record-tall waterfall, divided, united and energized its creators.

“It’s devilishly complex and it’s amazing,” says Meredith Davey, a director of the garden’s London-based indoor-environment consultant, Atelier Ten.

The project, masterminded by design architect Moshe Safdie, would have been difficult enough, considering the busy airport, limited site access and a congested location, with an active elevated train slicing through the center. But the usual constraints of airport expansions don’t hold a candle to Jewel, which is no ordinary mall—airport or not. Its retail levels are hidden by a five-level forest under glass, complete with canyons, a valley and a 40-m-tall waterfall.

“The whole building is a new-scale experience,” says Safdie, founder of the 85-person Safdie Architects, Boston. “When that water comes down, it’s powerful,” says the architect, best known recently for Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands complex, with its surfboard-shaped rooftop park that spans and joins three towers.

Obsession with Gardens
For the more than $1.25-billion Jewel, Safdie, who turns 81 on July 14, combined his lifelong obsession with gardens, water features and human habitat. The 5.6-acre Gardens at Jewel, sited before airport security yet linked to three of the four terminals, not only draws travelers, but is a magnet for the community.

“It’s a new typology,” says Jaron Lubin, Safdie’s principal-in-charge.

“There was a lot of horse-trading” to work out equipment locations, says WET’s Freitas. “Eventually, we came to a mutually unsatisfactory agreement,” he adds. The goal was for “everyone to be equally unhappy,” he says, only half joking.

The group functioned like a bridging design-build team, taking documents through design development and then handing them to the design-build contractor, the Woh Hup-Obayashi Joint Venture. RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd. is both executive architect and structural engineer. Mott MacDonald is the mechanical-electrical-plumbing engineer.

Though not the architect of record, Safdie insisted, as always, on staying involved through construction. “We worked very closely with the contractor,” says Charu Kokate, the Safdie principal who led four other architects on site. “It was hard to tell who was the architect and who was the contractor,” she says.
Adam Mørk / International Olympic Committee
Copenhagen studio 3XN has completed Olympic House, a new headquarters for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

3XN collaborated with Swiss architecture office IttenBrechbühl to create the building, which has been designed around the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) principles.

"We designed the building around five key objectives that translate the Olympic movement's core values into built form: movement, transparency, flexibility, sustainability, and collaboration," Kim Herforth Nielsen, co-founder of 3XN, told Dezeen.

Built within a public park on the shore of Lake Geneva, Olympic House stands next to 18th-century castle Château de Vidy. Created as offices for the organisation's 500 staff, many of the building's elements reference the Olympics.

"Every part of the building has a meaning," said Jan Ammundsen, head of design at 3XN.

"From the dynamic glass facade that mimics the high-powered athleticism of an Olympic athlete, to the central staircase that references the iconic Olympic rings and the spirit of international collaboration that they represent."

The five-storey building is wrapped in a glass facade, which was created using parametric design – a digital process that allows you to test various design iterations.

Appearing differently from all angles, it is intended to represent the energy of an athlete. It also allows visitors to the park to see inside the building and observe the workings of the Olympic organisation.

"The visual transparency of the building is a metaphor for the new direction of the IOC as they strive towards a greater organisational transparency, reflected in the overall structural changes initiated by the Olympic Agenda 2020," explained Nielsen.

"The glass facade allows the daily work of the building’s inhabitants to be visible from the outside, and aThe headquarters is arranged around a central atrium, with all five storeys connected by the Unity Staircase.

lso celebrates its particular location by providing stunning views of the lake beyond."

This oak staircase, which has been designed to references the five rings on the Olympic flag, is surrounded by a meeting rooms and exhibition spaces, with a cafeteria on the ground floor.

"The staircase is designed to be visual expression of unity and collaboration within the organisation and the Olympic Games," added Nielsen.

Around the central atrium the offices have been designed to follow the Olympic core values of collaboration, flexibility and movement.

"At 3XN we believe that architecture shapes behaviour – thus, we have designed the interior with as few structural constraints as possible, in order to facilitate interaction and communication among the staff," added Ammundsen.

"The offices can be easily moved though the open spaces, and workspaces can be modified to suite the ever-changing needs of the organisation."
White Arkitekter
Scandinavian firm White Arkitekter has won an architectural competition for a landmark 12-meter-tall observation tower, hosted by the municipality of Varberg, Sweden. The winning proposal will form part of the development of the region’s new ecological recreation area at the Getterön nature reserve.

The brief called for an iconic structure with a viewing platform that would generate a stimulating and experiential environment. The White scheme is constructed entirely of wood, with 140 wooden ribs forming a three-dimensional woven structure. The design process was led by the hyperboloid construction principle, consisting of a lattice of straight beams which creates the illusion of a curve.

The clear, hourglass form is visible from the city’s northern areas, including nearby transport nodes. Located on a flat landscape where land meets the sea, the tower will be free to access and offer uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape.

We are of course very pleased that Varberg recognized that our proposal has all the qualities needed to be the future symbol of the Getterön nature reserve. Given the ecological challenges that our society is facing, we are particularly proud to contribute to the development of a sustainable place as well as with a construction that puts people in direct contact with nature in an inspiring way.
-Ulla Antonsson & Mattias Lind, White Arkitekter

Construction of the scheme is expected to begin in 2021.
Parking garages are often the most uninspiring structures in an urban landscape. Not so for the Novel Stonewall Station in Charlotte, North Carolina, host to the state’s largest public artwork. Created by Marc Fornes/TheVeryMany, Wanderwall’s psychedelic swirls of blue and green instantly catch the eye, even amidst the rapidly expanding, ultramodern downtown skyline.

The facade was assembled on-site from nearly 6,000 individual aluminum pieces—each one painted a different shade of a nine-color gradient—creating a continuous pattern that spans nearly 300 feet across the south and east elevations without gaps or seams. There’s no substructure either, since the super-thin, 1/8-inch installation hangs like a gently pleated curtain on the eight-story building. It’s what Fornes calls “a structural nappe,” a geological term describing a sheet of rock draped like cloth over a fault.

The hypnotic work has different effects when viewed from different angles and distances. Seen from a passing car on adjoining highway I-277, the pattern is kinetic, a gleaming beacon in the sun; viewed from a neighboring sidewalk, the pleats become more noticeable, the individual motifs that make up the pattern more pronounced. And inside the garage, sunlight casts dynamic shadows as it filters through the skin. “It’s abstract continuity,” Fornes says. Whatever it is, it’s certainly fun.

Laurian Ghinitoiu
It’s been a busy May for Shohei Shigematsu and OMA New York. Earlier in the month, the OMA-designed renovation of Sotheby's New York headquarters opened to the public. Just last week, the firm’s exhibition design for Dior: From Paris to the World, opened at the Dallas Museum of Art, and OMA was named the winner of the competition for the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for the Arts. Today, OMA’s first ground-up project in New York City—a residential complex in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood—is officially complete.

The new development, 121 East 22nd Street, comprises two towers, the taller of which marks its presence at the intersection of East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue with its facade of charcoal-colored precast concrete panels and a glazed, faceted corner that reflects passersby, traffic, and the surrounding buildings at multiple angles.

The residence’s main entrance—at the smaller, south tower— is tucked into a melange of historic residential buildings along the quieter East 22nd street, which includes an early twentieth-century C.B.J. Snyder-designed school. Shigematsu took inspiration from the surrounding structures for the fenestration: at the north tower, the inset windows are arranged in a gradient, reflecting the narrow apertures of adjacent buildings at the ends and getting wider as they approach the corner; the south tower’s refracted window grid has a more subtle expression.

The 18-story and 13-story towers are connected on the L-shaped site via a shared courtyard, which is wrapped with amenities, including a pool, gym, and automated parking (whose moving cars are visible from the courtyard through translucent glass panels). Rather than have terraces face the busy streets, Shigematsu arranged them to open out to this quiet outdoor space—what he refers to as the “valley”; each of the balconies takes a different angular form, echoing the north tower’s dynamic corner condition.

Located at the crossroads of busy city streets and the private residential area anchored by Gramercy Park, the new development “reflects a split-personality,” says Shigematsu, managing to respect the surrounding context while creating a unique and contemporary identity.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro
The first phase of an elevated green walkway in London designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro will open this summer

To be named The Tide, the 5km-long ‘linear park’ near the O2 Arena in Greenwich reprises the practice’s much-loved High Line in New York.

The US practice is collaborating with London-based designers Neiheiser Argyros and landscape architect Gross.Max and a raft of artists on the first phase of the scheme.

Forming part of developer Knight Dragon’s Greenwich Peninsula neighbourhood, the first 1km section is set to open in July. This will consist of a walkway 9m above the ground, winding through trees and past giant sculptures by Damien Hirst and Allen Jones. Other features will include sunken gardens, a jetty garden surrounded by the river and a 27m-long picnic table on the Thames designed by Studio Morison.

Like the High Line – designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in conjunction with James Corner Field Operations and Piet Oudolf, and opened in 2009 – The Tide will be free to use.

Greenwich Peninsula director Kerri Sibson said: ‘The Tide brings to London an unrivalled outdoor experience in the city. This bold 3D landscape opens up the river, brings people together, gives us art to absorb, nature to enjoy and space to escape. Most importantly, it’s a place for everyone.’

Diller Scofidio + Renfro partner-in-charge Benjamin Gilmartin added: ‘The design of The Tide seeks to embed a new public realm into the daily rhythms of Greenwich Peninsula by layering together its currents of activity into a thickened landscape.

‘Visitors will experience the park from varying vantage points, from street level up to 9m-high elevated paths that weave through the site to plug into the existing network of leisure, art, and social life across neighbourhoods.

‘Diverse programming along the way will act as islands that welcome the surges of commuters, visitors, cyclists and runners while providing intimate places of pause for contemplation, conversation and people watching.’

The final 5km route will adapt to each new Peninsula neighbourhood as it is built, weaving among buildings. The developer said its ‘distinctive black and white stripe pattern creates a bold visual experience and sense of pace’.
Gustavson, Portman and Bowman
The most famous space in the city is set to get a pedestrian-friendly redesign that will create the city’s largest garden by 2024.

One of the world’s most recognizable urban spaces is slated to get a dramatic makeover. On Tuesday, Paris City Hall announced that the London-based landscape architects Gustafson, Porter and Bowman had been selected from 43 applicants to lead a major redesign of the space around the Eiffel Tower. According to the plan, the currently car-filled bridge connecting the Eiffel Tower with the Métro subway system will be turned into a pedestrianized garden, stringing together a set of two new public squares and restored parkland that will create an unbroken spine of greenery a mile long across the city.

The plan would slash car traffic in the immediate vicinity of the Eiffel Tower, making the area altogether more inviting to walkers without notably altering the appearance of what could be the most famous urban ensemble in the world.

That Paris needs this overhaul around the Eiffel Tower is not necessarily common knowledge. The tower itself remains as beautiful as ever—indeed, it is one of those monuments that rarely disappoints people when they see it for the first time in real life. Its immediate surroundings, however, are a little careworn and hectic. Many visitors must access the tower via a loud, traffic-filled, and rather unprepossessing riverside, and limited space for pedestrians creates bottlenecks on the sidewalks. The Champs de Mars gardens from which the tower rises are unquestionably grand, but they also betray their origins as a military parade ground: The site can feel austere, dusty, and under-shaded in high summer.

The new plan, due to be entirely funded by ticket sales to the tower and due for completion in 2024, should help burnish the area’s beauty and make it friendlier to pedestrians. Currently, most visitors emerge from the Métro at Trocadéro into a busy carousel of traffic, with an (admittedly pretty) garden marooned behind surging car lanes. The redesign removes these car lanes and replaces them with a stepped amphitheater of lawn, creating a large garden for lounging with stunning views of the tower. From there, visitors will step through the brackets created by the Palais de Chaillot and down the steps to a completely new pedestrian square, Place de Varsovie, created by routing traffic on the right bank quay into a tunnel.

This area won’t just be calmer, it will also be cooler, thanks to an increase in its current number of fountains.

Visitors will then step onto the Pont D’Iena, the main bridge access to the tower, where traffic will be replaced by a double avenue of trees. Cobbled sidewalks will allow access for emergency vehicles. Tunneling for traffic on the right bank will create another pedestrian square, called Place Branly, while a riverside garden promenade will continue up river to the elevated Bir Hakeim Métro station, the other main access point for the tower.

Under the tower itself, visitors will get more ticket offices and kiosks and even somewhere they can leave bulky baggage before visiting. To prevent cluttering the area and ruining sight lines, however, many of these new facilities will be sunk into the ground, with the surrounding lawns at the sides raised to low humps to cover them. Garden restoration and new tree plantings will thicken out the surrounding space’s greenery and provide much-needed shade.

This is, broadly speaking, a softly-softly approach, at least visually. But the plan’s many modest steps add up to something highly significant. When all the new green spaces are created and threaded together, they will become what co-designer Kathryn Gustavson described in a press release as “Paris’s largest garden,” a unified mile-long green corridor across the city. The new garden bridge also offers Paris an opportunity to succeed where London failed (with good reason) in creating a new cross-river park, realizing the dream of trees throwing shade over the waterway.

The Container Cycle Hub is one solution to what is going to be a very big problem.

We are in the midst of a cycling revolution with the proliferation of electric bikes, which are often far more expensive that the regular bikes people ride in cities. But this creates a problem; nobody I know with a Cevelo road bike leaves it chained to a post in the middle of the city (they keep a junker bike for that), but lots of people have e-bikes now that cost as much.

That's why secure bike parking and storage is really going to be the third leg of the stool that will make the e-bike revolution happen: good bikes, good bike lanes, and a safe, secure place to park.

That's why the Container Cycle Hub from Cyclehoop is such a good idea; in the space of a single car parking space it provides parking for 24 bikes. It's made out of a recycled high cube shipping container.

"A key feature of this product is the high security gate. The original container has been modified to fit space saving secure sliding gates with perforated panels that allow natural light inside while reducing the visibility of the bicycles from the outside for security. The sliding gates are opened using a mechanical code lock, with electronic options available, facilitating keyless access."

They get so many bikes inside by parking them double high, with Cyclehoop's "gas assisted two tier racks." It has bright motion-sensor lights powered by solar panels and enough batteries to keep it going all year.

I do hope that there is enough power to run an alarm and video system as well, just in case someone breaks it open, as often happens in bike storage lockers. You still have to lock your bike, even in this.

As more and more people ride e-bikes instead of cars, more and more of them are going to cost as much as used cars, and security is going to become a very big problem, as critical a part of bike infrastructure as bike lanes.

I am facing this issue all the time now, as I am testing a Gazelle e-bike that is worth as much as a Cevelo road bike and 5 times as much as I got for my beloved Miata. I want to ride it to a lecture tomorrow, but do I dare leave it outside a theatre in the evening in Toronto? In a previous post, What's the best way to lock an e-bike, I quoted an Abus representative who follows a lock-per-hour rule: "If I go to a three-hour movie, I put three locks on the bike." I will be doing that, but I will still be nervous through the entire evening.

I am facing this issue all the time now, as I am testing a Gazelle e-bike that is worth as much as a Cevelo road bike and 5 times as much as I got for my beloved Miata. I want to ride it to a lecture tomorrow, but do I dare leave it outside a theatre in the evening in Toronto? In a previous post, What's the best way to lock an e-bike, I quoted an Abus representative who follows a lock-per-hour rule: "If I go to a three-hour movie, I put three locks on the bike." I will be doing that, but I will still be nervous through the entire evening.

I am facing this issue all the time now, as I am testing a Gazelle e-bike that is worth as much as a Cevelo road bike and 5 times as much as I got for my beloved Miata. I want to ride it to a lecture tomorrow, but do I dare leave it outside a theatre in the evening in Toronto? In a previous post, What's the best way to lock an e-bike, I quoted an Abus representative who follows a lock-per-hour rule: "If I go to a three-hour movie, I put three locks on the bike." I will be doing that, but I will still be nervous through the entire evening.

But cities now provide free or cheap storage for automobiles in public streets. They can get 24 bikes or e-bikes in the same space. If cities are serious about getting people out of cars and on to bikes, they should get serious about bike parking; it is a critical part of bike infrastructure. Dropping Container Cycle Hubs on every block would be a great way to do it.

With people riding $5,000 Terns and Surlys and $2500 Gazelles instead of cars, parking is going to become very, very important.
Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy
Meticulously restored and relocated by the husband-and-wife team behind Polymath Park in Pennsylvania, Mäntylä House opens to tours and overnight stays near Fallingwater.

Tom and Heather Papinchak had their work cut out for them with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lindholm House, or the Mäntylä House. Above painted concrete blocks and tidewater cypress was a red roof of interlocking, Ludowici tiles—some 7,000 in all—and after sitting among the pines of Northern Minnesota since 1952, they’d become dilapidated, all coated in sap.

Yet that did not deter the Papinchaks, who took on the task of painstakingly removing, cataloging, and restoring by hand each and every tile—not to mention, every nut, bolt, and screw—in an effort to authentically preserve the Mäntylä House for its 990-mile trek to its new home in Pennsylvania, 20 miles from Wright’s famed Fallingwater.

This wasn’t their first rodeo at architectural preservation. In 2003, the couple purchased the Balter and Blum Houses designed by Wright apprentice Peter Berndston, along with the 130-acre property known as Polymath Park, with the intention of protecting the land from development. Then, in 2007, the couple relocated a midwestern Wright project, the Duncan House, to the grounds and opened up Polymath Park to lodging and tours.

So in 2016, after owners Julene and Peter McKinney (a Lindholm descendant) failed to find a buyer who would preserve the integrity of the Mäntylä House after years of trying, the Papinchaks’ nonprofit, Usonian Preservation, was granted a tremendous responsibility by the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.

"The hardest part was the first hit of the hammer," says Tom. "There were a lot of emotions, as it was a hard choice for everyone to move the house. We tried everything to keep it at the original location."

At its new site in Polymath Park, Mäntylä House is in good company. Aside from the Duncan House and the Berndtson-designed residences, there are hiking trails and even a restaurant, where Heather cooks in addition to managing the day-to-day operations. "We do it for the purpose for preservation, but also for people to truly enjoy the space and appreciate the history in front of us and his legacy," says Tom. "It’s important for generations to understand that Wright was so ahead of his time. It makes sense in today’s standard of living, which is greener, smaller, and utilizes space efficiently."
Laura Dickinson
Thousands of color-changing fiber optic lights transform a Paso Robles landscape at the long-awaited art display off Highway 46 East.

The Field of Light at Sensorio — a massive illuminated installation that fills 15 acres of oak tree-lined fields — was created by artist Bruce Munro and commissioned by Ken Hunter, co-owner of Hunter Ranch Golf Course.

The solar-powered display, located at 4380 Highway 46 East, was installed as an introduction to Sensorio, a garden and interactive art attraction Hunter has been planning for years.

Hunter recently put the nearby golf course on the market to allow him to further devote his passion to the project. Sensorio will eventually feature a wine center and resort hotel, in addition to the garden and art display.

“This is a dream come true for Bobbi and I,” Hunter said of Sensorio at Wednesday’s media preview. “It’s something that started in my head some 50 years ago.”

Munro has been installing Field of Light displays at locations around the world since the early 2000s.

“Everywhere it goes, it’s different,” he said. “The one constant is it makes people smile.”

Hunter and his wife, Bobbi, first saw Munro’s Field of Light on display in Uluru, Australia, during a vacation and decided to bring the installation to the Central Coast.

The Paso Robles installation is Munro’s biggest to date, with 58,800 glowing “stemmed spheres” that illuminate the hills in a patchwork of ever-changing colors and draw attention to the shadowy outlines of the oak trees scattered around the site.

The display is lit around dusk, but the magic really starts as the landscape transitions into darkness. Walkways built into the landscape guide visitors around the display, giving them multiple angles and heights from which to view the lights.

The installation is perfect for Instagram-worthy photos, but Hunter and Munro both hope visitors will put down their phones and take some time to appreciate the environment screen-free.

“It’s about connecting to the landscape,” Munro said.

Visitors will be able to enjoy the installation while sipping wine or beer, which will be available for purchase on-site. Live music and food trucks will also offer entertainment and refreshments.


The Field of Light will be on display Wednesdays through Sundays until Jan. 5, 2020. It’s open from 7 to 11 p.m. Adult admission is $27 on Wednesday and Thursday and $30 Friday through Sunday.

Tickets for children age 12 and under are $9 on Wednesday, $18 on Thursday and $19 Friday through Sunday. Children under age 2 receive free admission.

For more information, visit sensoriopaso.com or call 805-226-4287.
Modus Studio
Heat-treated pine and steel were used to create this unique treehouse inside the Garvan Woodland Gardens in central Arkansas. The space, a 210-acre nature park with botanical gardens owned by the University of Arkansas, borders the Quachita River. The structure itself resides inside a children’s garden full of native trees such as oak and pine, and serves as an interactive experience for children.

The treatment process to create the “thermalised” southern yellow pine uses heat and steam to ensure longer-lasting durability of the wood. It also makes the wood less susceptible to weather and the elements.

The slatted design provides a strong, safe way for the children to feel more connected with nature. The curves were intentional, influenced by “dendrology,” or the study of trees, exhibited by the way the house changes shape while walking through.

Using six pairs of skinny steel columns, the treehouse is lifted 13 to 25 feet into the air. This ensures that the natural ground below wouldn’t have to be manipulated in order to install the structure— an important consideration for the protected nature park. It’s a win-win situation, as the elevated location allows visitors to feel suspended into the air among the trees without a dangerous climb.

The treehouse is multi-storied and has a raised walkway leading into the entrance in the center. When it comes to the actual structural design, the designers built a centralized spine made of steel that runs along the entire treehouse. Connected to the spine are 113 ribs (10 made of steel and the rest out of pine) that act as a sort-of skeleton, as well as features floor plates and six pairs of columns.
OMA and Laboratorio Permanente
OMA and Milan-based Laboratorio Permanente have won a competition to transform two abandoned railway yards in Milan into eco parks that will act as “ecological filters” for the car-centric city. Titled Agenti Climatici (Climatic Agents), the master plan would use the natural, air-purifying power of plants and the filtering capabilities of water to clean and cool the environment while adding new recreational spaces for the public. The project is part of a larger effort to redevelop disused post-industrial areas around the periphery of the city.

The Agenti Climatici master plan addresses two railway yards: the 468,301-square-meter Scalo Farini on the north side of Milan and the 140,199-square-meter Scalo San Cristoforo on the south side of the city. The designers have designated Scalo Farini as the “green zone” that will consist of a large park capable of cooling the hot winds from the southwest and reducing air pollution. Scalo San Cristoforo has been dubbed the “blue zone” after the designers’ plan to turn the railway yard into a linear waterway that will naturally purify runoff and create cooling microclimates.

“In a moment of dramatic environmental transformation and permanent economic uncertainty, our priorities have changed,” said OMA partner Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli. “The most valuable currency is no longer ‘brick’ — the built — but rather the climatic conditions that cities will be able to provide and ensure for their citizens. The city of the 20th century, with its high energy consumption, must be overcome by reconsidering the principles that have marked urban development since the classical era.”

For adaptability, only the public elements of the Farini park will be fixed — including the waterways, greenery and bridges — while the location of the buildings and their programming will be contingent on the city’s future economic development. The master plan also calls for Milan’s longest expressway bicycle lane alongside a new tram line and metro stations.

Dianna Snape
On the east coast of Tasmania, Liminal Architecture has designed a series of sensitive and masterfully crafted accommodation pods that amplify the experience of the distinctive landscape of Freycinet National Park.

For anyone who has ever visited, or seen photos of, Freycinet National Park on the east coast of Tasmania, the landscape is all-powerful. The crescent arc of the Wineglass Bay beach, from the lookout above, is one of the most recognized landscape images of the state. The coastline here is remarkable, all granite boulders, dusted in orange lichen or submerged in the ocean, hemmed by the changing colours of the cliffs, with Mount Amos rising behind the tree line. The scale of the landscape is heroic and rich, yet full of beautiful, detailed textures.

For a long time, the area has been served by limited accommodation options – camp sites in the national park; Freycinet Lodge, which was built in the early 1990s; and a more recent (but extremely high-end) Saffire complex that is a large and prominent organic steel-clad form in the landscape.

When the client, the Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania, purchased the lodge, it took ownership of a tired resort with a “bush hut” aesthetic, painted in peach tones. The organization tasked Tasmanian tourism developer Brett Torossi with delivering a new premium layer of accommodation. Initially, it was assumed that this venture would require an extension to the lease into the adjacent national park. But public consultation, led by Torossi, delivered a strong message that further expansion would not be supported by the community and she concluded that a more appropriate idea was to create new a ccommodation at the front line of the existing cabins.

Torossi decided that the best team to bring the idea to life was Liminal Studio. This group, comprising a number of different disciplines, works on projects around the world from its Hobart base and prides itself on collaborating with other firms. The practice had previously been lauded for a lot of its work and had produced rich interiors, but had little experience in the hotel domain. The result demonstrates what a fresh mind and approach can bring to a much-photographed genre.

The new work, Freycinet Lodge Coastal Pavilions, takes the form of a series of pods that sit gently in front of the previous offering (now some twenty years old, of the park cabin variety) and are accessed through and between these older buildings. They are almost invisible from the waterline, nestled as they are into the landscape, and exude an individuality that defies their number and the size of the resort.

The approach to the pods is quite masterful in its management of expectations and a gently increasing sense of delight. A simple boardwalk between older cabins leads between the trees to a series of angled timber walls, charred black. Each building has a concealed porch, perfect for finding unfamiliar key fobs in a daypack and for concealing services and guest amenities.

This porch is the first of a dramatic sequence of dark and light experiences. On entering the suite, one is amazed to find only sky above, seen through clear glass, with a pristine water view through a full-length window only a few steps away. It is a completely different experience from entering a normal hotel room, fumbling in the darkest recess of a suite before working forward to eventually find natural light and a view of sorts. This wondrous idea is achieved by bifurcating each pod into two parts. On one side of the entry is a cosy, curved bedroom pod. On the other side, guests squeeze through a timber-lined corridor (with concealed toilet and shower) to a living room suite that opens out toward the water.

The place feels like a crazy, fabulous cubbyhouse from a child’s imagination. There isn’t a straight wall in the place, the water side has extravagant floor- to-ceiling curved glass and the furniture is all clearly customized. An exquisitely playful, custom-designed sofa is made of parts that can be moved around into different organic configurations. A simple table nest – designed in collaboration with pakana Aboriginal elder Vicki West – includes a component of woven basket in an otherwise minimal metal form. These pieces complement the room and allow different ways of experiencing the views. They play perfectly into the joy of being shacked up in a room for a few days – one almost hopes for solid rain, if only to fully enjoy the nuance of the spaces and fittings in these pods.

Nestled between the two embracing arms of the pods is a private deck, with an outdoor bath as well as furniture for outdo
Faulders Studio
Despite rising fears of a diminished role for architecture in new construction, Faulders Studio principal Thom Faulders embraces his role as a building envelope specialist.

As the AEC industry increasingly moves toward specialization and compartmentalization of building design, many fear for architecture’s diminishing role in the built environment. “The multiple foci at the core of specialization have given rise to a world that is advancing while fragmenting,” wrote architects Stephen Kieran, FAIA, and James Timberlake, FAIA, in Refabricating Architecture (McGraw-Hill, 2004). “We applaud the advancement, but deplore a fragmentation that is no longer unavoidable and so needlessly diminishes architecture.”

A common complaint among architects involved in speculative developments, for example, is that their creativity is often relegated to the façade while other stakeholders design the building structure, services, and interiors. This restrained scope contrasts sharply with the responsibilities of the premodern master builder, who directed all aspects of a building’s design and construction. While the sense of loss due to diminished agency is understandable, architects’ apprehension in this case also suggests a disdain for building envelope design as a self-contained practice, or as a purely ornamental form of design.

Thom Faulders, principal of Oakland, Calif.–based Faulders Studio, offers an alternative perspective. Rather than viewing envelope design as a limitation, he sees it as an opportunity. Over the studio’s 22-plus year tenure, Faulders has amassed a notable collection of façade-dominant projects, including the multilayered skin of the Airspace Tokyo multifamily building and the mineral-accreting Geotube Tower proposal in Dubai. “It stands to reason that a higher percentage of an urban population will have some kind of experience or engagement with a building's façade, much greater than the percentage of those occupying a building's spaces contained within,” Faulders notes. “In this framework, I don't see being relegated to working on the outside of a building as being a limiting factor for the architect."

Although Faulders Studio is not a façade consultancy in the traditional sense, the office continues to push the expressive potential of the building envelope, most recently with Wynwood Garage façade in Miami. Designed by local firm Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners Architecture, the 250,000-square-foot, eight-story parking garage includes ground-level retail and a single level of commercial offices at top. Located within Miami’s Wynwood Arts District, a creative destination known for its street art collection, the Wynwood Garage possesses ample surface area for making a dramatic statement in dialogue with its context. Given the commission to design the building’s façade, Faulders created a visually striking urban canvas with perforated aluminum panels. A high-contrast pattern vaguely reminiscent of soap bubbles contained within a box (although more angular and distorted) connects the building’s many floors while obscuring the individual parking levels from the outside. Thin aluminum panels protrude from the seams between the “bubbles,” adding visual depth to the surface.

“Here, surface touches space in all directions, and like the shared membranes of foams and bubbles, the building skin is in direct contact to the proximities of interior and exterior spaces,” Faulders says. The lack of repetition and multiscalar qualities of the pattern distort the viewer’s comprehension of the building program and size. The pattern also adjusts with the height above ground: “Delineated outlines are more expansive higher up, and address visual registration from a distance,” Faulders explains. "At closer proximities the façade’s pattern blends with the urban texture of the neighborhood; and nearer to street level, focused areas of articulation guide the eye downward to pedestrian street activities.” The envelope design intentionally lacks a sense of closure; it is what Faulders describes as “an open-ended condition that is never at rest.”

In a metropolitan setting like Miami, Faulders considers the cladding to be an urban project first and an architectural project second. This approach was promoted in the 1960s by late British architect Cedric Price, who recognized the inherent uncertainty of the built environment—and its relationship to its original programs—over time. “Inbuilt flexibility or its alternative, planned obsolescence, can be satisfactorily achieved only if the time factor is incl
RD Architecture
Melbourne councillors have approved plans to build an urban farm atop a carpark in a rapidly transforming patch of Melbourne’s Docklands.

Melbourne Skyfarm is a project of urban farm specialist Biofilta, nature regeneration group Odonata and The Sustainable Landscape Company.

It will include a working farm, a nursery, a shop, a cafe, an event space for live music and entertainment as well as education facilities.

RD Architecture is responsible for the design of the farm, which will sit adjacent to Fender Katsalidis Architects’ upcoming Seafarers Place project and the Seafarers Rest Park, just across the road from the Melbourne Quarter development.

A concept statement from the proponents outlines how the project fits in with the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Strategy and its five core aims: to adapt the city to climate change, to mitigate urban heat island effect, to create healthier ecosystems, to create a water-sensitive city and to engage and involve the community.

“Melbourne Skyfarm is driven by these ambitions and proposes a hopeful vision for Melbourne’s future through a productive urban rooftop farm integrated with strong social and community ties,” the statement reads.

“With education being a central ambition of the Melbourne Skyfarm project, the site is woven with environmentally conscious learning opportunities, ranging from native food gardens to solar energy, and bee-keeping to biodiversity and composting.”

Skyfarm has been granted $300,000 from the City of Melbourne’s Urban Forest Fund and is supported by the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre.

The proposal has not been without controversy, with council receiving 30 objections during a public exhibition period, and one letter of support. Much of the concern related to potential noise impact, light spill and overshadowing.

Council has approved the project on the condition that the built form be amended to prevent overshadowing of Seafarer’s Rest park, which the proponents agreed to.

The council found the provision of amplified live music and entertainment in the event space only would “not have an unreasonable noise impact on surrounding residential properties.”
Julia Bogdan via oficina de Diseño (odD+)
Concerned by the rampant growth of cities across Latin America and the loss of endemic species, Ecuadorian design studio oficina de Diseño (odD+) has proposed the Sunflower Tower, a conceptual residential building inspired by the seeds and petals of a sunflower. Proposed for Quito, the Sunflower Tower has been envisioned as a “vertical ecosystem” with lush, self-sustaining planters located on every floor of the high-rise. As a result, the building would offer year-round interest and natural air purification as well as food and habitat for local birds and insects.

Currently in the design development phase, the Sunflower Tower was created as a residential high-rise spanning a little over 77,000 square feet. The multifaceted facade is defined by a series of arches backed by floor-to-ceiling glazing for panoramic views of the city. The balconies directly in front of the arches support lush gardens, while the facade’s protruding opaque elements provide protection from the sun.

“Sunflower Tower utilizes its equatorial context to become a depository of plant and animal life in the city,” the architects explained. “With the ability to thrive all year round, incorporating a self-sustaining ecosystem into the built environment reduces the tower’s carbon footprint and creates a constant and direct connection with nature, as every apartment is surrounded by its own mini forest in the midst of a dense urban setting. This creates a unique user experience, and changes the typical urban backdrop by adding a layer of nature to the lens.”

The interiors have been envisioned with a minimalist and contemporary aesthetic where even the private rooms, such as the bedroom and bathroom, look out across views of the gardens and city. The material palette’s muted colors keep the focus on the outdoors. The building is topped with a landscaped terrace and lounge space.

SHoP Architects
New York City has just welcomed yet another gem to its growing number of waterfront parks — Pier 35, the long-awaited East River Waterfront project designed by Manhattan-based firm SHoP Architects in partnership with Ken Smith Workshop. Built to anchor the north side of the East River esplanade, Pier 35 consists of a new eco-park that not only offers a passive recreational space for the local community but also an innovative habitat restoration section, called Mussel Beach, that will encourage the growth of water-filtering mussels. The park also features a massive folded wall of mesh metal that will be covered in climbing vines to create a “green” billboard visible from afar.

Opened this month, the 28,000-square-foot park stretches two miles along the waterfront between the Battery Maritime Building and Montgomery Street in the Lower East Side. Created in collaboration with the local community, Pier 35 revitalizes an often-overlooked section of the East River esplanade with a landscaped lawn and dunes; a raised porch with custom swings overlooking the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges; and an inclined, folded green screen that rises to 35 feet in height and over 300 feet in length and will be overlaid with vines. Built of metal and weathered steel wall panels as a nod to the East River’s industrial history, the screen wall was installed to hide views of the adjacent Sanitation Department shed at Pier 36.

Thanks to a grant from the New York Department of State’s Division of Coastal Resources, Pier 35 also features Mussel Beach, an ecological prototype that mimics the historic East River shoreline and creates an inclined space that not only offers visitors a close look at the daily rising and falling of the tides but also a specially designed habitat for mussels, which naturally filter and clean the water.

“As we work toward finalizing community-led resiliency plans along the East River, I am thrilled to see active open space come online at Pier 35,” said councilwoman Carlina Rivera. “Along with ecological projects, this section of the waterfront is a much-needed amenity what will someday be part of a continuous and protective esplanade along Manhattan’s East Side. We’ll be improving our coastline in the years ahead and much of it will be inaccessible during renovation, so the community needs as much alternative open space as it can get. I thank my colleagues in government that championed this project.”

seoul metropolitan government
located in the south korean capital’s magok, gangseo-gu, the seoul botanic park is the largest greenhouse to be built in the country. the park, which has been designed by architect chan-joong kim, landscape artist ou-gon jon, and master planner zoh kyung-jin, comprises four main spaces: a theme park, an open forest, a lake garden, and a wetland garden. within the themed areas, 12 variations of plants from 12 cities (hanoi, sao paulo, jakarta, bogota, perth, barcelona, san francisco, rome, tashkent, athens, istanbul and cape town) are held, representing their unique botanical cultures and climate of each geographical location.

opening to the public this month, may 2019, the seoul botanic park incorporates a ‘flower-shaped’ or ‘flattened glass dome’, which architect chan-joong kim designed to be ‘lower in the middle and higher along the edge’, contrasting to the traditional design, and hence expanding the user experience. inside the observatory, a skywalk stretches across the upper canopy of the garden to allow the viewing of exotic plants from multiple angles, while down-sized hot air balloons float around. the roof, which extends through the diameter (100 meters) of the structure, utilizes the ETFE glazing material (special glass-like plastic), which allows excellent light transmission, while its light-weight fabric reduces carbon dioxide emissions into the air.

Sergio Pirrone
Unsangdong Architects has designed the Hannae Forest of Wisdom community centre in Seoul with a row of intersecting gabled forms enclosed by glass end walls.

Seoul studio Unsangdong Architects developed the centre in the Hannae neighbourhood as a cultural space for the community that repurposes an abandoned plot near the entrance to a public park.

To find a way to encourage local residents to re-engage as a society, the architecture studio designed the building to accommodate a library, cafe and spaces for after-school education.

Unsangdong Architects described the building as "an artificial forest" that complements the trees of the surrounding park.

The Hannae Forest of Wisdom is also designed as a rebuttal to the built environment of the neighbourhood, where concrete apartment blocks provide high-density housing with little connection to nature.

"It is not a dominant architecture, but the space expands one's imagination," said Unsangdong Architects. "Its shape is a combination of nature and concentric encounters, symbolised as overlapping mountains."

Intersecting gabled volumes symbolise a sense of togetherness, communication and community spirit, as well as creating a unique form that is less dominant than if a single mass was used.

In the elevation facing towards a public plaza, the gable ends are infilled with glazing that allows daylight to pour into the space. Further back, the overlapping forms create additional irregular openings that add to the dynamism of the interior.

The internal layout is based on a repeating shelving unit that forms the walls and becomes a partition between different zones. These wooden dividers designate space, whilst also providing a consistent element that flows throughout the building.

The shelving system extends across the library's ceiling, creating spaces that feel warm and intimate. Light panels are incorporated into the ceiling, which varies in height to give each zone a distinct personality.
Along the waterfront on New York’s north shore, Staten Island Urby sits overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. The millennial-friendly residential space includes 571 units, 35,000 square feet of commercial space and something a little unusual for an apartment complex: a massive urban farm.

When it comes to innovation, the urban farm, also known as Rabbit’s Garden, incorporates bio-dynamic, bio-intensive and agro-ecological methods into its farming techniques. Rabbit’s Garden sells its variety of vegetables, herbs, microgreens and flowers to both CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture”) members and wholesale clients, but that’s not all it does. The urban farm is also a place for Urby residents and the larger Staten Island community to familiarize themselves with agriculture, a rare experience in a big city.

The garden team provides educational workshops on everything from cooking and gardening to art, science and sustainability. Some of the events planned for 2019 include community volunteer days, a workshop on composting, farm dinners and cooking classes. Urby residents have the chance to use the produce in their own personal cooking, and local, on-site restaurants often use the fresh vegetables for seasonal dishes. Urby also sells produce at the weekly farmers market.

The inspiration behind Urby combines the nature of apartment living with the personal touches of boutique hotel hospitality. Plenty of space and natural light with an abundance of communal areas and in-house culture teams that plan neighborly get-togethers further add to the hospitality aspect. The farm is one of these areas, and the cozy Urby kitchen and dining room is another. Along with these spaces, residents of the luxury apartment complex also enjoy amenities such as a fully-equipped gym, a heated saltwater pool, on-site dining options and outdoor spaces aimed at social interaction.

Landscaped spots with Wi-Fi capability ensure that residents stay connected, while outdoor courtyards with fire pits and lounging space inspire social interactions and collective creativity. If residents are feeling a little more reclusive, there are plenty of comfortable spots throughout the property to curl up with a good book or get some work done without interruption as well.

Rabbit’s Garden is run by farmer-in-residence Olivia Gamber, a longtime urban agriculture-enthusiast with a degree in Environmental Studies and years of community garden experience under her belt. Urby was created by real estate developer and hotelier David Barry, known for his contributions to the New York boutique hotel scene as both a developer and operator. Urby also has two other communities located in Jersey City and Harrison, New Jersey, and it plans to continue growing the collection of complexes in the future.