London Mayor Sadiq Kahn scraps Garden Bridge
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has finally pulled the plug on the controversial plan for a garden bridge across the Thames, announcing that he would not provide the vital financial guarantees needed for construction to begin.
In a letter to the Garden Bridge Trust, the charity leading the much-delayed project, Khan said he was taking the decision because of a continuing shortfall in fundraising for the scheme, and a lack of the necessary land use agreements despite three years of talks.
— The Guardian
New USC Dean Milton Curry shifts pedagogical focus toward theory
When you think about diversity and globalization and urbanization, you can’t do it without a theoretical underpinning. You just can’t. And I think that what we’re seeing in the discipline at large is the limit conditions of thinking a-theoretically about urbanism, about inequality, about what we should do about environmental challenges and sustainability. We’ve got to address it through a theoretical lens. - Milton Curry
— The Los Angeles Times
In this interview conducted by Christopher Hawthorne as part of his pithy Building Type column, the soon-to-be-Dean of USC's School of Architecture Milton Curry talks about reintroducing a theoretical emphasis to the school's programs. Curry, who in his time at University of Michigan experienced... View full entry
New York to spend $100M to extend the Waterfront Greenway surrounding Manhattan
The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a 32-mile ring of parkland that surrounds Manhattan—or almost all of it, that is. Between 41st and 61st Streets along the East River lies a “glaring gap”, as The New York Times calls it. Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that the city will spend $... View full entry
AIA awards $100,000 to five intriguing Upjohn Research Initiative projects
From a Circadian Daylight Metric and Design Assist Tool to Trashwalls, the AIA has announced the five projects it has selected for its 10th annual Upjohn Research Initiative grants, and they're all fairly promising. Speaking broadly, the projects each propose investigating a particular aspect of... View full entry
So-called "parking podiums" are aesthetically ruining downtown Los Angeles
As L.A. pats itself on the back for its freshly angular skyline, a new architectural trend — enabled by another city ordinance — threatens to turn the beating heart of modern Los Angeles into a cold, lifeless and unwalkable place.
— The Los Angeles Times
This excellent piece by the aptly named Steven Sharp delves into the uglification of downtown Los Angeles via the "parking podium," wherein large buildings dedicate their first few floors to a parking garage to meet code requirements for parking, thereby plunging the pedestrian realm back into an... View full entry
Indian bar legally evades closure by adding 250-meter long maze entrance
Since April 1 a large number of the bars, pubs and liquor shops across India has gone out of business, thanks to a Supreme Court order that the outlets should be at least 500m away from state and national highways...The Aishwarya Bar in North Paravoor, a Kochi suburb has built a 250m-long maze-like walkway to the entrance, theoretically making it more than 500m away from the highway.
— India Times
In a move that has even delighted the bureaucrats who initially drafted the rule that no bar could be within 500 meters of a highway, an Indian bar has managed to stay in business by virtue of building a 250 meter long maze that, like the snaking lines at an amusement park, greatly expands the... View full entry
Oil company proposes turning L.A. oil-drilling site into affordable housing
Sentinel Peak Resources, which took over the roughly 1.1-acre site in December, now believes that affordable housing is the “best beneficial use” for the land [...] Neighborhood leaders said they were interested in closing and re-purposing the site, but are awaiting more details. They stressed that regardless of any plans, they still want the city to pursue their concerns about violations at the site, which Sentinel Peak Resources has so far brushed off.
— Los Angeles Times
According to the L.A. Times, “No official plan has been drafted and details are scant, but [L.A. City Council President Herb] Wesson said he was ‘unbelievably excited’ about the idea, arguing it could pave the way to convert other local drilling sites.”But converting the site — which is... View full entry
AI project proposal for a 500 unit residential development in Digbeth, Birmingham
London-based practice Architects of Invention (AI) has submitted a design proposal for 500 residential units in Birmingham’s Digbeth area.The practice was approached by Chinese private equity fund PGC- Capital whose The Jewel Court, 77 one-two bed luxury apartments, is already on site in... View full entry
Hyperloop One plan would take travelers from NYC to D.C. in 20 minutes
Passengers and cargo are loaded into a pod which gradually accelerates with electric propulsions through a low-pressure tube. Then, the pod lifts above the track using magnetic levitation and moves at airline speeds. This would connect 80 percent of the country, making a cross-country trip just about five hours long.
Hyperloop One–whose transportation concept was first proposed by Elon Musk–has revealed a plan that would take travelers from NYC to D.C. in just 20 minutes via magnetically levitating pods that move by electric propulsion and travel faster than 700 miles per hour. View full entry
Rikers Island proposed for Laguardia Airport expansion
The Island is uniquely positioned to accommodate an expanded LaGuardia Airport that would reduce delays and could serve as many as 12 million more passengers annually.
Last week, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced that the city would close Rikers Island jail complex. The news followed a report by the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform which recommended such action. The report also included a number of... View full entry
Trump family's NYC properties are embarrassing energy hogs
Wasteful, inefficient, and pointlessly expensive to operate: most of Donald Trump's namesake properties, as well as his son-in-law Jared Kushner's new "666" edifice, are oozing energy by virtue of their poor design and indifference toward conservation. A report by the IBTimes noted that:As of... View full entry
OMA mixes historic renovation with new construction in the masterplan for Columbia Circle in Shanghai
OMA has designed a new masterplan for Columbia Circle in Shanghai. A historically-rich area, Columbia Circle includes preserved colonial-era monuments as well as former industrial buildings. Located on a 4.7 hectare compound, the new master plan is the first urban renewal project in the city... View full entry
The Dafne Schippers Bridge in Utrecht doubles as a school and a garden
Designed by NEXT Architects and Rudy Uytenhaak Architectenbureau in collaboration with Arup and Bureau B+B, the Dafne Schippers Bridge integrates a cycle and pedestrian bridge spanning the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal in Utrecht with a school and public garden. Opening on April 3, the bridge-cum-school... View full entry
Snøhetta designs a "boat tunnel" in Norway
Snøhetta has designed a “boat tunnel” that would allow ships to run beneath a mountain in Norway. With a whopping $272 million price tag, the mile-long tunnel would enable ships to safely avert the dangerous waters off the Stad Peninsula.150 feet tall and 118 feet wide, the tunnel would be... View full entry
St. Louis, segregation and how history shapes the urban landscape
Segregation is no accident.Nearly five decades after the Fair Housing Act of 1968, American cities remain racially, culturally, spatially and economically divided. Entrenched conditions and persistent biases undermine the policies and priorities that would heal lingering wounds.So argues Catalina... View full entry