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Neighbourhood News

Neighbourhood News August 24th

Of windy cities, neighbourhood development and construction gone wrong.

Blair Kamin talks fusing modern with traditional: An expansion Done Right.

In the Toronto Star Christopher Hume gets excited about a waterfront proposal.

Do you prefer the edgy or the grand, and where do you want your cultural institutions? its A Tale of Two Downtowns.

Don’t you just want to hug a designer? How Designers Banded Together to Remake New York’s Libraries.

What could possibly go wrong with a government contract? Find out in the tale of Government Square!

An Expansion Done Right

Chicago Tribune

Mixing the modern and the traditional is one of architecture’s ultimate high-wire acts. Sometimes, as in the newly-completed renovation of the Wrigley Building’s first-floor façade, designers fall from the heights. Yet they can also make it to the other side unscathed, as in the just-announced expansion plan for Fourth Presbyterian Church.

As if to underscore the unpredictability of the outcome, both projects come from the same firm—the Chicago office of Gensler. Read the full article.

Bayside will be right at home on the lake.

The Toronto Star

It’s a long way from Texas to Toronto, but for mega-developer Gerald Hines, it’s like coming home.

Houston-based Hines is the latest international builder to appear on the waterfront, where, aided and abetted by one of the world’s best-known architects, Cesar Pelli, he has plans for an $800 million mixed-use neighbourhood.

Hines, whose family hails from Nova Scotia, sings the praises of Toronto, Canada, and Waterfront Toronto, whose selection process he lauds as “the most professional I’ve ever seen.”

Given that he has worked in more than 100 cities including Barcelona, Washington and Shanghai, that’s good to gear. Of course, his firm won the competition, so naturally he’s well disposed to Waterfront Toronto.

On the other hand, it must be said that the scheme prepared by the Hines/Pelli team bodes well for the future of the city and its waterfront. Though design details have yet to be drawn up, the idea calls for low-rise development — condos, offices, retail, cultural — organized around transit and a series of short streets. The site, dubbed Bayside, extends east from Sherbourne to Parliament Sts. between Queens Quay and the lake.

Also central to the proposal is public space; it will include at least one green roof and the glass-enclosed Bayside Hall, which will connect Bayside to Sherbourne Common — the park/water treatment facility that opens next month. Bonnycastle St., which will be extended south from Queens Quay, will become the main drag of the new neighbourhood. Read the Full Article

A Tale of Two Downtowns

The LA Times

As Eli Broad prepares to make official the long-rumored news that he will build a museum to hold his collection of postwar and contemporary art on Bunker Hill, perhaps naming an architect as soon as Monday, some persistent questions about the urban character of Los Angeles are poised to reemerge. What role do we expect downtown to play in the cultural life of the city and region? How central, geographically and psychologically, do we want downtown to be? More to the point, maybe: How central is it capable of being?

Broad’s likely choice of downtown over contending sites in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, where building might have been politically and logistically simpler, reflects his longstanding commitment to downtown, and in particular to Grand Avenue. By putting his museum in the shadow of Walt Disney Concert Hall and across Grand from the Colburn School and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Broad is endorsing the idea that it makes sense for cultural institutions to cluster together, even in notoriously spread-out Southern California. Read the Full Article.

How Designers Banded Together to Remake New York’s Libraries

Fastcodesign

In 2001, the Association of Librarians signed on to a new project to help define the needs and solutions for the libraries of the future. They thought that the word “library” was too old-fashioned and wanted something more snappy to compete with the “media lab” down the hall. They said that librarians of the future weren’t going to “shush” their students, which inspired the designer of their new logo–Pentagram’s Michael Bierut–to place an exclamation mark inside the word: The L!brary Initative was born.

The Robin Hood Foundation partnered with Syracuse University’s Masters of Library Science Program and began a process for educating the new librarians. Robin Hood raised millions of dollars, librarians went back to school and got their masters degrees. But that was only part of the plan–new libraries would also be built to serve New York’s neediest students. The Board of Education paid for construction, and the build-out of the first series, completed in fall 2002, included libraries in Harlem, the South Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Read the Full Article.

Engineers offer blueprint of a breakdown at Courthouse Square

Statesman Journal

Engineers haven’t attempted to unravel how the Courthouse Square project turned into a debacle, but they do understand the forces that are cracking its walls and making its ceiling grids zigzag.

The defects seen by the downtown Salem building’s occupants are symptoms of design errors, material problems and shoddy construction, according to an ongoing engineering study. Read the Full Article.

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