Posts tagged "Public Space"
The Architect’s Newspaper: 
"EDITORIAL> CONTESTING THE BLOOMBERG LEGACY
William Menking on the mayor’s efforts to improve Manhattan parks and gentrified areas of Brooklyn and Queens.
Now that Michael Bloomberg’s third and final term is about to end journalists and editors are rolling out scores of articles on his legacy and the future of Gotham. There is little question that during his mayoralty New York changed physically more than it had in many years and architects and designers were more influential than anytime since John Lindsay. The degree to which Bloomberg’s department heads like David Burney, Amanda Burden, and Janette Sadik-Khan made design an important aspect of physical growth and change is probably unprecedented in any American city at least since Robert Moses dominated development in New York. A major narrative in most of these articles is the uneven development that occurred during the period as most of these physical changes and improvements were concentrated in affluent Manhattan and the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts—facing Manhattan. It is clear that most of the achievements of the period—like the High Line, the new parklets created on odd bits of left over streetscape along Broadway, designated bike lanes, and even bike sharing—were heavily weighted towards improving Manhattan and gentrified areas of Brooklyn and Queens. If one looks to areas like Brownsville, Crotona, or the Southeast Bronx, it is hard to find the Bloomberg initiatives having made little or any improvements to the streetscapes.
But not mentioned in these articles is the degree to which this administration marginalized (though this began under Rudolph Giuliani) the City Planning Commission, once a major player in development decisions and ensuring equity in planning. This neglect of official planning during the period may explain some of the more obvious blunders of the period, including the mayor’s half-baked, developer-focused 2030 plan; the ill-fated (but happily defeated) West Side Stadium proposal; and the disappointing high-rise development now taking place along the Brooklyn waterfront.”
Photo: THE OCCUPIERS OF MANHATTAN’S ZUCCOTTI PARK WERE CLOSELY MONITORED AND SLOWLY PUSHED OUT BY THE BLOOMBERG ADMINISTRATION.
MICHELLE LEE/FLICKR

The Architect’s Newspaper: 

"EDITORIAL> CONTESTING THE BLOOMBERG LEGACY

William Menking on the mayor’s efforts to improve Manhattan parks and gentrified areas of Brooklyn and Queens.

Now that Michael Bloomberg’s third and final term is about to end journalists and editors are rolling out scores of articles on his legacy and the future of Gotham. There is little question that during his mayoralty New York changed physically more than it had in many years and architects and designers were more influential than anytime since John Lindsay. The degree to which Bloomberg’s department heads like David Burney, Amanda Burden, and Janette Sadik-Khan made design an important aspect of physical growth and change is probably unprecedented in any American city at least since Robert Moses dominated development in New York. A major narrative in most of these articles is the uneven development that occurred during the period as most of these physical changes and improvements were concentrated in affluent Manhattan and the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts—facing Manhattan. It is clear that most of the achievements of the period—like the High Line, the new parklets created on odd bits of left over streetscape along Broadway, designated bike lanes, and even bike sharing—were heavily weighted towards improving Manhattan and gentrified areas of Brooklyn and Queens. If one looks to areas like Brownsville, Crotona, or the Southeast Bronx, it is hard to find the Bloomberg initiatives having made little or any improvements to the streetscapes.

But not mentioned in these articles is the degree to which this administration marginalized (though this began under Rudolph Giuliani) the City Planning Commission, once a major player in development decisions and ensuring equity in planning. This neglect of official planning during the period may explain some of the more obvious blunders of the period, including the mayor’s half-baked, developer-focused 2030 plan; the ill-fated (but happily defeated) West Side Stadium proposal; and the disappointing high-rise development now taking place along the Brooklyn waterfront.”

Photo: THE OCCUPIERS OF MANHATTAN’S ZUCCOTTI PARK WERE CLOSELY MONITORED AND SLOWLY PUSHED OUT BY THE BLOOMBERG ADMINISTRATION.

MICHELLE LEE/FLICKR
The Atlantic Cities: 
‘The Accidental Playground’: Why What We Need in Our Parks Is More Freedom
SARAH GOODYEAR SEP 03, 2013.
It was paved in broken concrete, overgrown with weeds, and strewn with broken glass and rusty nails. Located at the edge of a treacherous tidal strait with a long history of industrial pollution, the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal was dirty and risky, haunted by marginal characters, and ungoverned by any written rules of conduct.
In other words, it was the perfect urban recreation space.
In his forthcoming book, The Accidental Playground, planner and professor Daniel Campo writes about the anarchic fabulousness of BEDT, a seven-acre abandoned rail yard on the East River waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which he studied over a 10-year period beginning in 2000.
What he found there was the urban human in its natural habitat: talking, contemplating, getting drunk, having sex, swimming, playing music. There were bagpipers and fire jugglers and fishermen. Local guys hung out and drank beer around barbecues, talking for hours. Skateboarders created a skate park called Shantytown, without any outside money or expertise, which briefly became a mecca for the sport. “No one told us what to do,” one of the skaters told Campo. “We knew what we wanted and that’s just what we did.”
Photo: Daniel Campo

The Atlantic Cities: 

The Accidental Playground’: Why What We Need in Our Parks Is More Freedom

SARAH GOODYEAR SEP 03, 2013.

It was paved in broken concrete, overgrown with weeds, and strewn with broken glass and rusty nails. Located at the edge of a treacherous tidal strait with a long history of industrial pollution, the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal was dirty and risky, haunted by marginal characters, and ungoverned by any written rules of conduct.

In other words, it was the perfect urban recreation space.

In his forthcoming book, The Accidental Playground, planner and professor Daniel Campo writes about the anarchic fabulousness of BEDT, a seven-acre abandoned rail yard on the East River waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which he studied over a 10-year period beginning in 2000.

What he found there was the urban human in its natural habitat: talking, contemplating, getting drunk, having sex, swimming, playing music. There were bagpipers and fire jugglers and fishermen. Local guys hung out and drank beer around barbecues, talking for hours. Skateboarders created a skate park called Shantytown, without any outside money or expertise, which briefly became a mecca for the sport. “No one told us what to do,” one of the skaters told Campo. “We knew what we wanted and that’s just what we did.”

Photo: Daniel Campo

The Architect’s Newspaper:
“DON’T CALL IT A HIGH LINE
B.Tyler Sylvestro
Planning and design team for QueensWay elevated park announced.
QueensWay, the hotly debated and potentially transformative linear park proposal replacing abandoned railroad tracks from Rego Park to Ozone Park in Queens, now has a design and planning team. WXY architecture + urban design and dlandstudio, both New York-based firms, were on the receiving end of a phone call from the Trust for Public Land (TPL) who organized the discreet RFP. The team was selected from a pool of 29 proposals.
On a rainy day in March, a privately invited group of architects and landscape architects were chauffeured (by bus) to a few sections of the abandoned line in Queens. Along the QueensWay route, TPL’s guests viewed the blighted railroad as it dips and soars from moment to moment, carving through a ravine in Forest Hills. WXY and dlandstudio saw opportunity.
The proposal calls for the connection of ecologies to be the guiding framework. “QueensWay with sensitive design can become a critical artery of green open space for a diverse, vibrant community, offering opportunities for recreation, education, community gathering, and ecological productivity to our great city,” said dlandstudio’s Susannah Drake in a statement. Claire Weisz, principal at WXY agreed, “This study is an important next step in making the vision of reclaiming the QueensWay as a green connector and cultural corridor a reality.”
Image: RENDERING SHOWING ONE CONCEPT FOR THE QUEENSWAY. COURTESY WXY

The Architect’s Newspaper:

DON’T CALL IT A HIGH LINE

B.Tyler Sylvestro

Planning and design team for QueensWay elevated park announced.

QueensWay, the hotly debated and potentially transformative linear park proposal replacing abandoned railroad tracks from Rego Park to Ozone Park in Queens, now has a design and planning team. WXY architecture + urban design and dlandstudio, both New York-based firms, were on the receiving end of a phone call from the Trust for Public Land (TPL) who organized the discreet RFP. The team was selected from a pool of 29 proposals.

On a rainy day in March, a privately invited group of architects and landscape architects were chauffeured (by bus) to a few sections of the abandoned line in Queens. Along the QueensWay route, TPL’s guests viewed the blighted railroad as it dips and soars from moment to moment, carving through a ravine in Forest Hills. WXY and dlandstudio saw opportunity.

The proposal calls for the connection of ecologies to be the guiding framework. “QueensWay with sensitive design can become a critical artery of green open space for a diverse, vibrant community, offering opportunities for recreation, education, community gathering, and ecological productivity to our great city,” said dlandstudio’s Susannah Drake in a statement. Claire Weisz, principal at WXY agreed, “This study is an important next step in making the vision of reclaiming the QueensWay as a green connector and cultural corridor a reality.”

Image: RENDERING SHOWING ONE CONCEPT FOR THE QUEENSWAY. COURTESY WXY

Los Angeles Times: 
L.A. River advocates wait for watershed Army Corps study
A nonprofit dedicated to the L.A. River announces plans for a 51-mile greenway. But it’s a decision from Washington that everyone is waiting for.
By Christopher Hawthorne. July 24, 2013
This summer marks a moment of truth for the Los Angeles River.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the nonprofit L.A. River Revitalization Corp. used a riverside press conference at North Atwater Park to trumpet its plan to complete a continuous bike path and greenway along all 51 miles of the river, extending from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, by 2020.
The group also said it has raised more than $5 million to build a pedestrian, bike and equestrian bridge that would span the river between Atwater Village and Griffith Park.
VIDEO: Kayaking in the Los Angeles River
Yet the scope of those projects is minor compared to proposals being prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which holds ultimate decision-making power over the river. The Corps is putting the finishing touches on a much-anticipated, much-delayed feasibility study focusing on an 11-mile stretch of the river between Union Station and Griffith Park.
The study, expected to be released Aug. 30, will weigh three ambitious plans aimed at restoring the river’s natural ecosystem and improving public access to its banks.”

Photo: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / July 23, 2013

Los Angeles Times: 

L.A. River advocates wait for watershed Army Corps study

A nonprofit dedicated to the L.A. River announces plans for a 51-mile greenway. But it’s a decision from Washington that everyone is waiting for.

By Christopher Hawthorne. July 24, 2013

This summer marks a moment of truth for the Los Angeles River.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the nonprofit L.A. River Revitalization Corp. used a riverside press conference at North Atwater Park to trumpet its plan to complete a continuous bike path and greenway along all 51 miles of the river, extending from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, by 2020.

The group also said it has raised more than $5 million to build a pedestrian, bike and equestrian bridge that would span the river between Atwater Village and Griffith Park.

VIDEO: Kayaking in the Los Angeles River

Yet the scope of those projects is minor compared to proposals being prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which holds ultimate decision-making power over the river. The Corps is putting the finishing touches on a much-anticipated, much-delayed feasibility study focusing on an 11-mile stretch of the river between Union Station and Griffith Park.

The study, expected to be released Aug. 30, will weigh three ambitious plans aimed at restoring the river’s natural ecosystem and improving public access to its banks.”

Photo: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / July 23, 2013

Washington Post: 
"In Mexico City, planners turn vacant space under freeways into places to work, dine, play
Nick Miroff. May 29, 2013
Mexico City — You can’t get something out of nothing. This is common sense, not to mention a principle of physics and mathematics.
Yet the amazing science of Mexico City’s real estate development obeys no such laws.
Urban planners here, in one of the world’s most populous and crowded cities, have found a way to add thousands of square feet of new commercial and recreational space. And it isn’t costing local government a cent.
Their gambit is called Under Bridges (“Bajo Puentes”), and it’s a simple idea: Convert the vacant, trash-strewn lots beneath Mexico City’s overpasses and freeways into shopping plazas, public playgrounds and outdoor cafes.”
Photo: Dominic Bracco II / Prime - A man rests on one of the new park benches in one of Mexico City overpass developments on May 27. 

Washington Post: 

"In Mexico City, planners turn vacant space under freeways into places to work, dine, play

Nick Miroff. May 29, 2013

You can’t get something out of nothing. This is common sense, not to mention a principle of physics and mathematics.

Yet the amazing science of Mexico City’s real estate development obeys no such laws.

Urban planners here, in one of the world’s most populous and crowded cities, have found a way to add thousands of square feet of new commercial and recreational space. And it isn’t costing local government a cent.

Their gambit is called Under Bridges (“Bajo Puentes”), and it’s a simple idea: Convert the vacant, trash-strewn lots beneath Mexico City’s overpasses and freeways into shopping plazas, public playgrounds and outdoor cafes.”

Photo: Dominic Bracco II / Prime - A man rests on one of the new park benches in one of Mexico City overpass developments on May 27. 

“The Plain Dealer:
Cleveland is slowly becoming a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly town
Steven Litt. March 10, 2013
With little fanfare, Cleveland is undergoing a revolution in attitudes toward public space, city streets and walkability.
This has been a car town for decades, but that’s changing now.
After pitched battles among activists, trucking interests and the Ohio Department of Transportation over the past decade, dedicated bike paths have been installed on the Detroit-Superior andLorain-Carnegie bridges.
Regional trails are weaving their way into the industrial Flats alongside the Cuyahoga River and are within striking distance of the lakefront.
Mayor Frank Jackson wants the big new investments downtown, including the casino, the new convention center and the Global Center for Health Innovation, aka the medical mart, to be accompanied by beautiful new landscaping on Public Square and the downtown Mall.
None of this was happening 10 years ago, and it could not have happened until fairly recently. Civic and business leaders weren’t interested.”
Photo: John Kuntz, The Plain Dealer

The Plain Dealer:

Cleveland is slowly becoming a more bike- and pedestrian-friendly town

Steven Litt. March 10, 2013

With little fanfare, Cleveland is undergoing a revolution in attitudes toward public space, city streets and walkability.

This has been a car town for decades, but that’s changing now.

After pitched battles among activists, trucking interests and the Ohio Department of Transportation over the past decade, dedicated bike paths have been installed on the Detroit-Superior andLorain-Carnegie bridges.

Regional trails are weaving their way into the industrial Flats alongside the Cuyahoga River and are within striking distance of the lakefront.

Mayor Frank Jackson wants the big new investments downtown, including the casino, the new convention center and the Global Center for Health Innovation, aka the medical mart, to be accompanied by beautiful new landscaping on Public Square and the downtown Mall.

None of this was happening 10 years ago, and it could not have happened until fairly recently. Civic and business leaders weren’t interested.”

Photo: John Kuntz, The Plain Dealer

Architect’s Newspaper:
Nov 6, 2012.
"CRIT> ADJAYE’S D.C. LIBRARIES
Gwen Webber.
Two new libraries by David Adjaye push accessibility, transparency, and sense of ownership to the forefront.
Washington, D.C was once a swamp. Today it stands as an architectural and urban exemplar of austerity and sobering restraint. The outlying residential areas have also been pulled out of the marshes and, over time, developed into sprawl, some of which play host to the demons of modern urban American society: inferior amenities, poor education, and social inequality. Though it doesn’t pretend to solve these problems, DC Public Library (DCPL) has begun to chip away at some of these ills with a program to improve a vital piece of community infrastructure.
Aware that it wasn’t enough to simply build or restore the most dilapidated of the district’s 24 libraries, many of which have not been refurbished since the 1960s, DCPL Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and the library’s board enlisted designers whom they felt would challenge the status quo. Their libraries had to offer something that a wireless connection and a PC couldn’t. Along with Davis Brody Bond Aedas, Freelon Group, and Bing Thom, Cooper commissioned David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect who flipped the notion of a traditional library on its head with his East London Idea Stores in 2005.
 
A DETAIL OF THE LIBRARY’S FACADE (LEFT). THE PLAYFUL SKIN AND SKYLIGHTS ALLOW LIGHT TO FILL INTERIOR SPACES (RIGHT).
 
Unlike the other architects, who were paired with contractors and set to work on a single site, Adjaye and local firm Wiencek and Associates, was commissioned to design two distinct libraries, both in Ward 8, with the same brief, budget, and timeline. The result, from the outside, puts to rest any questions that high-profile architects are as good as their signature styles. Indeed, vocal neighbors have been quick to compare the two libraries as if penned by a different hand. Yet, these polarized forms belie their interiors where Adjaye’s characteristic affection for design is played out.
In the Frances A. Gregory Library on Alabama Avenue in the Fort Davis neighborhood in the S.E. district, material exuberance begins on the outside. Sliced into a lattice of different sized diamonds, the two-story pavilion’s external spandrel and low-E glazing form a skin that simultaneously draws the environment in and reflects it back, like a circus mirror. Designed to “dissolve,” as Adjaye puts it, the 22,000-square-foot building sits anchored like an island between the local school and a playground, but its closest neighbor is the stretch of protected woodland behind it. To say it revives DC’s historic swamp would be going too far, but from the rear verandah on the first floor and the purpose-built plywood nooks in the children’s section on the second floor a less manicured environment than the surrounding neighborhood is easy to imagine.

INTERIOR DETAIL OF THE GREGORY LIBRARY.
 
It is this subversion of context and play on the suburban site that Adjaye deftly taps into with his D.C. libraries. The squat, shoebox form speaks to an earlier civic architecture that was rolled out in the 1950s and, despite its conspicuous shell and heavy steel cantilevered canopy, the building somehow resonates with the residential milieu. Inside the circus theme is explored further with a frenzy of colors, materials, and reflected geometries that is more akin to an urban pavilion. Underlying this energy though, the library’s civic duty is clearly defined and the materials have been carefully choreographed. As with all of Adjaye’s public buildings, there is a clear and coherent code. Legibility is king.”
Photos: Edmund Sumner

Architect’s Newspaper:

Nov 6, 2012.

"CRIT> ADJAYE’S D.C. LIBRARIES

Gwen Webber.

Two new libraries by David Adjaye push accessibility, transparency, and sense of ownership to the forefront.

Washington, D.C was once a swamp. Today it stands as an architectural and urban exemplar of austerity and sobering restraint. The outlying residential areas have also been pulled out of the marshes and, over time, developed into sprawl, some of which play host to the demons of modern urban American society: inferior amenities, poor education, and social inequality. Though it doesn’t pretend to solve these problems, DC Public Library (DCPL) has begun to chip away at some of these ills with a program to improve a vital piece of community infrastructure.

Aware that it wasn’t enough to simply build or restore the most dilapidated of the district’s 24 libraries, many of which have not been refurbished since the 1960s, DCPL Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper and the library’s board enlisted designers whom they felt would challenge the status quo. Their libraries had to offer something that a wireless connection and a PC couldn’t. Along with Davis Brody Bond Aedas, Freelon Group, and Bing Thom, Cooper commissioned David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect who flipped the notion of a traditional library on its head with his East London Idea Stores in 2005.

 

A DETAIL OF THE LIBRARY’S FACADE (LEFT). THE PLAYFUL SKIN AND SKYLIGHTS ALLOW LIGHT TO FILL INTERIOR SPACES (RIGHT).
 

Unlike the other architects, who were paired with contractors and set to work on a single site, Adjaye and local firm Wiencek and Associates, was commissioned to design two distinct libraries, both in Ward 8, with the same brief, budget, and timeline. The result, from the outside, puts to rest any questions that high-profile architects are as good as their signature styles. Indeed, vocal neighbors have been quick to compare the two libraries as if penned by a different hand. Yet, these polarized forms belie their interiors where Adjaye’s characteristic affection for design is played out.

In the Frances A. Gregory Library on Alabama Avenue in the Fort Davis neighborhood in the S.E. district, material exuberance begins on the outside. Sliced into a lattice of different sized diamonds, the two-story pavilion’s external spandrel and low-E glazing form a skin that simultaneously draws the environment in and reflects it back, like a circus mirror. Designed to “dissolve,” as Adjaye puts it, the 22,000-square-foot building sits anchored like an island between the local school and a playground, but its closest neighbor is the stretch of protected woodland behind it. To say it revives DC’s historic swamp would be going too far, but from the rear verandah on the first floor and the purpose-built plywood nooks in the children’s section on the second floor a less manicured environment than the surrounding neighborhood is easy to imagine.

INTERIOR DETAIL OF THE GREGORY LIBRARY.
 

It is this subversion of context and play on the suburban site that Adjaye deftly taps into with his D.C. libraries. The squat, shoebox form speaks to an earlier civic architecture that was rolled out in the 1950s and, despite its conspicuous shell and heavy steel cantilevered canopy, the building somehow resonates with the residential milieu. Inside the circus theme is explored further with a frenzy of colors, materials, and reflected geometries that is more akin to an urban pavilion. Underlying this energy though, the library’s civic duty is clearly defined and the materials have been carefully choreographed. As with all of Adjaye’s public buildings, there is a clear and coherent code. Legibility is king.”

Photos: Edmund Sumner

"Better Block: Bottom-Up Urban Reboot In a Single Weekend
Julie Ma. August 23, 2012
It’s remarkable what some people can accomplish in a single weekend. While others spend those days catching up on lost sleep or exploring their city with friends, Texas-based nonprofit The Better Block uses that time to rally communities to rethink their neighborhoods. Since itsinception in 2010, the project has built temporary dog parks, pop-up shops, urban forests, cafes, and bike lanes. They’ve left their mark in more than 35 cities including Philadelphia, Wichita, Cleveland, Houston, and Oklahoma City.
The organization’s next stop: Detroit, where the city’s first-ever Better Block project will take place from September 22 to 23 as part of theDetroit Design Festival. Headed by volunteers from the US Green Building Council and Wayne State University, the project aims to reshape a location with plenty of vacant commercial space—New Center.
Better Block will fill the vacant lots with work from local artists and artisans, food and drinks, and art exhibits via collaborations with local galleries and art organizations. There will also be pop-up retail shops, music performances, outdoor games, yoga instruction, urban farming demonstrations, and general lounging. The project aims for zero net waste, a temporary bus route to access the site, plus bike lanes and crosswalks painted around the block for the occasion. 
Better Block wants to jumpstart local policy shifts. “We want to change the planning process in the United States,” says organizer Andrew Howard. “It can be frustrating when things are taking too long, and our idea is that we don’t have to wait for the perfect city. It starts from the bottom up.”
The Better Block gives neighborhoods a temporary community-focused facelift, and can give struggling areas a glimpse into their futures. The organization provides training to community members interested in revitalizing their blocks by increasing multi-modal transportation and fostering economic development. Post-project, the communities work with The Better Block to see what was successful and take the steps necessary to turn these temporary solutions into permanent fixtures. In some cities, weekend pop-up shops have even turned into lasting storefronts. “
Via: GOOD Magazine
Photo: Better Blocks

"Better Block: Bottom-Up Urban Reboot In a Single Weekend

Julie Ma. August 23, 2012

It’s remarkable what some people can accomplish in a single weekend. While others spend those days catching up on lost sleep or exploring their city with friends, Texas-based nonprofit The Better Block uses that time to rally communities to rethink their neighborhoods. Since itsinception in 2010, the project has built temporary dog parks, pop-up shops, urban forests, cafes, and bike lanes. They’ve left their mark in more than 35 cities including Philadelphia, Wichita, Cleveland, Houston, and Oklahoma City.

The organization’s next stop: Detroit, where the city’s first-ever Better Block project will take place from September 22 to 23 as part of theDetroit Design Festival. Headed by volunteers from the US Green Building Council and Wayne State University, the project aims to reshape a location with plenty of vacant commercial space—New Center.

Better Block will fill the vacant lots with work from local artists and artisans, food and drinks, and art exhibits via collaborations with local galleries and art organizations. There will also be pop-up retail shops, music performances, outdoor games, yoga instruction, urban farming demonstrations, and general lounging. The project aims for zero net waste, a temporary bus route to access the site, plus bike lanes and crosswalks painted around the block for the occasion. 

Better Block wants to jumpstart local policy shifts. “We want to change the planning process in the United States,” says organizer Andrew Howard. “It can be frustrating when things are taking too long, and our idea is that we don’t have to wait for the perfect city. It starts from the bottom up.”

The Better Block gives neighborhoods a temporary community-focused facelift, and can give struggling areas a glimpse into their futures. The organization provides training to community members interested in revitalizing their blocks by increasing multi-modal transportation and fostering economic development. Post-project, the communities work with The Better Block to see what was successful and take the steps necessary to turn these temporary solutions into permanent fixtures. In some cities, weekend pop-up shops have even turned into lasting storefronts. “

Via: GOOD Magazine

Photo: Better Blocks

“Hong Kong, the City Without Ground
Nate Berg. August 20, 2012.
For miles and miles, you can walk through the city of Hong Kong without ever once putting a foot on the ground. All day you can get everywhere you need to go, taking care of any errand you might have on your list, all while separated from the streets and surface of the city. This is possible thanks to the network of elevated walkways and underground tunnels that have gradually developed in the city – both formally and informally – over the past 50 years.
It’s an impressively widespread pedestrian infrastructure, linking people to the waterfront city’s wide array of transportation options. And as a forthcoming book contends, it’s also a new kind of civic space and even a new form of citymaking. Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook, out in September from ORO Editions, considers the city through the lens of these above- and below-ground walkways, creating the first-ever maps showing the extent and variety of these networks.
Co-authored by Adam Frampton, Jonathan D. Solomon and Clara Wong, architects and academics who spent time living and working in Hong Kong, the book comprehensively documents the walkways through highly detailed drawings and 3D models. Mostly visual, it presents a different kind of city guide, showing both how to get around within these networks and how they’ve developed and grown despite any formal planning or blueprint.
"It’s an exciting urban experience," says Solomon, now associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. "You’re constantly shifting from underground to above ground, from interior to exterior, from air-conditioned to non-air-conditioned, from public to private, and the dimensions are constantly going from large spaces to tighter spaces."
The walkways are so varied because they were all developed at different times and by different people. The first was built in the 1960s by the Hongkong Land company, one of the main developers in the region, to connect a high-end hotel to the second-story of a shopping mall. Gradually they began to see that they could rent out the walkway-accessible second story retail space in the mall for as much or even more than the ground floor space, and so the company started building more and more walkways connecting their various properties.
"And then the government saw it and said, ‘Hey this looks like a good way to circulate people without getting in the way of the movement of cars.’ So they start building bridges to link the ferries and the trains and the buses and everything into the center of the city," Solomon says."
Via: The Atlantic Cities
Photo: Adam Frampton

Hong Kong, the City Without Ground

Nate Berg. August 20, 2012.

For miles and miles, you can walk through the city of Hong Kong without ever once putting a foot on the ground. All day you can get everywhere you need to go, taking care of any errand you might have on your list, all while separated from the streets and surface of the city. This is possible thanks to the network of elevated walkways and underground tunnels that have gradually developed in the city – both formally and informally – over the past 50 years.

It’s an impressively widespread pedestrian infrastructure, linking people to the waterfront city’s wide array of transportation options. And as a forthcoming book contends, it’s also a new kind of civic space and even a new form of citymaking. Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook, out in September from ORO Editions, considers the city through the lens of these above- and below-ground walkways, creating the first-ever maps showing the extent and variety of these networks.

Co-authored by Adam Frampton, Jonathan D. Solomon and Clara Wong, architects and academics who spent time living and working in Hong Kong, the book comprehensively documents the walkways through highly detailed drawings and 3D models. Mostly visual, it presents a different kind of city guide, showing both how to get around within these networks and how they’ve developed and grown despite any formal planning or blueprint.

"It’s an exciting urban experience," says Solomon, now associate dean at the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. "You’re constantly shifting from underground to above ground, from interior to exterior, from air-conditioned to non-air-conditioned, from public to private, and the dimensions are constantly going from large spaces to tighter spaces."

The walkways are so varied because they were all developed at different times and by different people. The first was built in the 1960s by the Hongkong Land company, one of the main developers in the region, to connect a high-end hotel to the second-story of a shopping mall. Gradually they began to see that they could rent out the walkway-accessible second story retail space in the mall for as much or even more than the ground floor space, and so the company started building more and more walkways connecting their various properties.

"And then the government saw it and said, ‘Hey this looks like a good way to circulate people without getting in the way of the movement of cars.’ So they start building bridges to link the ferries and the trains and the buses and everything into the center of the city," Solomon says."

Via: The Atlantic Cities

Photo: Adam Frampton

“A Gallery Atypical to Its End
 RANDY KENNEDY. August 3, 2012
How long can an art gallery that has no regular hours, no staff, no windows, no air-conditioning and — perhaps more relevant to the question at hand — pays no rent remain open in the heart of Chelsea, one block from behemoths like the Pace Gallery and Gagosian?

The answer in today’s art world, with today’s High Line-spiked Chelsea real estate prices, should be that such a place does not have the slightest possibility of existing. But the correct answer, as it turns out, is 4 years 7 months 15 days, give or take a hiatus or two, and counting on everything going well until the end of September.
That is when Honey Space, one of the city’s strangest art establishments, will officially be no more, ending what Tom Beale, a sculptor who opened the space in February 2008 in a ramshackle warehouse along the West Side Highway, liked to describe as an artist-run, unattended no-profit gallery (nonprofit being far too formal), the kind that otherwise hasn’t existed in Manhattan for decades.
Mr. Beale moved into the building from Bushwick, Brooklyn, in 2007 — swimming against the tide of most young artists looking for affordable space — when the four-story warehouse was opened as an experimental artists’ cooperative called Emergency Arts. That plan fell apart. But Mr. Beale stayed on, earning a free ground-floor studio space by serving as the building’s carpenter, salvage man, plumber and all-around concierge after Alf Naman, a developer who controls the property, hatched a plan to make the building temporarily into a rough-hewed event space with inexpensive rental studios for artists.

“When I first came in, they told me, ‘Just go tape off your space,’ ” Mr. Beale, now 34, recalled. “And so I took this ridiculous amount of space for myself, right on the street in Chelsea, which I didn’t deserve at all. And I knew that somebody was going to figure it out pretty soon and take it back.”
But then, in the summer of 2008, a funny thing happened: The economy fell off the cliff, and plans for demolishing the warehouse to develop the site commercially went onto a slow track. The building, on West 21st Street, quickly filled up with artists — some well known, like Iona Rozeal Brown and the street artist Swoon — and became a kind of creaky, dusty small town, with a town square in the form of a second-floor kitchen and dining hall that Mr. Beale fitted out with scrap lumber he scavenged from the building and the streets.
With so much room on the ground floor, Mr. Beale said, he decided he would regret it for the rest of his life if he didn’t try to turn at least part of it into a gallery space for young artists he liked.”
Via: The NY Times
Photo: Tom Beale works on a wood sculpture in his studio in Honey Space. Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A Gallery Atypical to Its End

 RANDY KENNEDY. August 3, 2012

How long can an art gallery that has no regular hours, no staff, no windows, no air-conditioning and — perhaps more relevant to the question at hand — pays no rent remain open in the heart of Chelsea, one block from behemoths like the Pace Gallery and Gagosian?

The answer in today’s art world, with today’s High Line-spiked Chelsea real estate prices, should be that such a place does not have the slightest possibility of existing. But the correct answer, as it turns out, is 4 years 7 months 15 days, give or take a hiatus or two, and counting on everything going well until the end of September.

That is when Honey Space, one of the city’s strangest art establishments, will officially be no more, ending what Tom Beale, a sculptor who opened the space in February 2008 in a ramshackle warehouse along the West Side Highway, liked to describe as an artist-run, unattended no-profit gallery (nonprofit being far too formal), the kind that otherwise hasn’t existed in Manhattan for decades.

Mr. Beale moved into the building from Bushwick, Brooklyn, in 2007 — swimming against the tide of most young artists looking for affordable space — when the four-story warehouse was opened as an experimental artists’ cooperative called Emergency Arts. That plan fell apart. But Mr. Beale stayed on, earning a free ground-floor studio space by serving as the building’s carpenter, salvage man, plumber and all-around concierge after Alf Naman, a developer who controls the property, hatched a plan to make the building temporarily into a rough-hewed event space with inexpensive rental studios for artists.

“When I first came in, they told me, ‘Just go tape off your space,’ ” Mr. Beale, now 34, recalled. “And so I took this ridiculous amount of space for myself, right on the street in Chelsea, which I didn’t deserve at all. And I knew that somebody was going to figure it out pretty soon and take it back.”

But then, in the summer of 2008, a funny thing happened: The economy fell off the cliff, and plans for demolishing the warehouse to develop the site commercially went onto a slow track. The building, on West 21st Street, quickly filled up with artists — some well known, like Iona Rozeal Brown and the street artist Swoon — and became a kind of creaky, dusty small town, with a town square in the form of a second-floor kitchen and dining hall that Mr. Beale fitted out with scrap lumber he scavenged from the building and the streets.

With so much room on the ground floor, Mr. Beale said, he decided he would regret it for the rest of his life if he didn’t try to turn at least part of it into a gallery space for young artists he liked.”

Via: The NY Times

Photo: Tom Beale works on a wood sculpture in his studio in Honey Space. Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

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Mass Urban is a multidisciplinary design-research initiative concerned with contemporary cities and urbanism. Mass Urban was co-founded in April 2011 by David Lee and Cliff Lau.

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