As the end of this year rolls around and I realise that I have only about one more semester to choose a direction for my thesis proposal I have been keeping an eye on some other projects. The first one to make mention on here was the Miniature Activism post and today brings another. While still in an embryonic state, A Stage For The City is an interesting concept for collaboration and public consultation while exploring ideas in public space.
A stage for the city
The use of urban space fused together with the access of technology. This blog is an Architectural Design Thesis for Adam Lee, Leeds Metropolitan University. The idea is that I will post my design research and development allowing Internet collaboration, acting as an “open sketch book”. This will be submitted as part of my overall research.
Ørestads Boulevard 76, DK-2300 Copenhagen S
3XN has shot another bit of news our way this past week, Ørestad College has been nominated for the 2009 Mies van der Rohe Award. The firm issued a press release explaining the purpose of the building and provides an explanation on the firm’s portfolio.
Ørestad Gymnasium (upper secondary school) creates a framework for cross-disciplinary and an extended use of IT-based learning by revolutionizing educational space in a structure without traditional classrooms With a profile of media, communication and culture studies, and providing wireless Internet and laptops for all students it soon got the knick-name “the Virtual Gymnasium.”
Four boomerang shaped storey decks rotate in relation to each other like the shutter of a camera. They form the superstructure; the overall framework of the college, and provide space for the college’s four study zones. Each zone is on one level, providing organisational flexibility, with the option of micro adjustment to create different spaces, learning environments and group sizes. The rotation of the storey decks projects a part of each deck into the high central hall. This part is the so called X-zone; a spatial expression of the colleges’ ambition to promote interdisciplinary expertise between study zones with physical and visual links.
The storey decks are open towards a central core, where a broad main staircase winds its way upwards to the roof terrace. The main staircase is the heart of college educational and social life; the primary connection up an down, but also a place to stay, watch and be seen. Three ‘mega columns’ form the primary load bearing system, supplemented by a number of smaller columns positioned according to structural requirement, not as part of a regular grid. As a result, each floor has few permanent elements and can be laid out and rearranged almost completely at will. The superstructure is supplemented by a series of newly developed ‘room furniture’, which accommodate the need for the flexible and temporary room arrangements and learning environments required by varying group sizes – from one on one to an entire cohort.
The rotated decks are mirrored in the facades. Due to their rotation, the decks create openings double- and triple high while drawing lines on the façade. As a rule, the glass is smooth with the deck fronts, but on each floor, one façade is withdrawn to create an outdoor space. These outdoor spaces are connected from ground to roof. In front of the glass facades, a series of coloured semi-transparent glass louvers can open or close to protect from the sun, while adding dashes of colour to the indoor environment.
Ørestad College was built in immediate continuation of new legislation in the Danish educational sector in 2005 and is an educational building remarkable for its complete absence of class rooms in the traditional sense. At present, the gymnasium is the most-applied-for in Denmark.
Best building i Scandinavia 2007
Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2009
Forum AID Award 2008 for Best Architecture in the Nordic Region
The building is an intriguing take on an educational facility with its free form design and open concept. I must admit I find it a little hard to imagine what kind of classes could be held in this type of building. I’m curious if it functions as a teaching area or if it functions as more of a study space. As a student I would definitely enjoy studying in this type of building, but I also have to wonder whether noise from my fellow students would be an issue. This building is a forward thinking design that reinterprets the way we look at study spaces.
If any of our readers has visited, or better yet attends Ørestad College we would love to hear what it is like to use this building! Send us an email or comment below!’
The City of Copenhagen has been working on a master plan to redevelop its port area and create and attractive neighbourhood between Amerika Plads and Nordhavnen. The project is called Marmormolen, or the Marble Wharf. It is a comprehensive plan to give the quarter of Østerbro access to the harbour and to the waterfront.
The project is made up of three islands, this will add approximately 1.3 kilometres to the length of the whole wharf system. A major tenant of the plan is to create a bridge will connect Østerbro and the new neighbourhood. What is most interesting about this particular bridge is the scale. The plan calls for a monumental structure that is both a bridge and also a town gate, creating an easily identifiable entry point to the city on a monumental scale that measures up to the size of the ships and cruise boats that will pass through it.
The master plan for the area was put together by 3XN and lays out the general guidelines and design goals in a manor specific enough to properly direct growth, but at the same time also leaves creative licence for the developers of the individual parcels to create a diverse and lively architectural environment.
The winner of the competition for the bridge structure was the office of Steven Holl Architects.
The jury was convinced by the compact towers adapted to the harbour environment and the bridge being “like a handshake across the harbour”.
The winning project is characterized by two spectacular and robust towers – one at Marmormolen and one at Langelinie. The towers are connected by a delicate pedestrian bridge that, according to the jury, resembles “a handshake” between the points of the two wharves. The jury finds the expression of the suggested plan “exclusive” and notices that it is also open for facilities appealing to the public, e.g. terraces, restaurants and, of course, walks on the spectacular pedestrian bridge connecting the two areas.S
As a planner and an urbanite, or maybe just as an urban romantic I feel that to an extent right now there has been a lack of truly monumental structures being built, there are a number of starchitect buildings being done and a number of large projects, but in terms of things like town gates, visual focal points, and monuments are in short supply. Of course an economic recession may not be the time to build these projects, but none the less Copenhagen is building one of these monumental structures so we have an opportunity to create one. While the proposal that the jury selected is a dynamic proposal and there are very few examples of buildings of this scope, to a certain extent it doesn’t quite go far enough. The project still appears to the eye as two separate buildings with a bridge connecting them.
3XN was nice enough to send us their proposal for the Marmormolen City Gate, when considered from afar, the 3XN harbour gate proposal satisfies the urge for a true monument or gate more completely.. in my opinion at least. A bridge structure between two buildings isn’t all that revolutionary, while the span is longer then examples like the Petronas Towers or other commercial buildings with sky-walks or bridge links, it isn’t that surprising or unique. The 3XN proposal for the Marmormolen project in Copenhagen appears as a single structure that flows from one side of the harbour to the other rather then as two separate buildings with a bridge between them, something that we haven’t really seen before.
A bridge spanning a body of deep water, providing the only dry connection between two stretches of land, is one of the most powerful architectural experiences in the landscape. Another classical element is the town gate, which marks the boundary between the countryside and the town, and ‘contains’ the town, physically, structurally and aesthetically.
3XN’s proposal for a construction on Marmormolen in Copenhagen is both: a town gate and a bridge that links Marmormolen with Langeliniekaj, creating a new coherent area in Copenhagen Harbor.
The towers and the bridge constitute one single, floating dynamic movement, characterized by the bold span across the harbor entrance in terms of both the plan design and the facade. Establishing a connection across the harbor radically improves public access and creates brand new opportunities for life and growth in the area.
Write up furnished by 3XN.
Of course often it comes down to a matter of opinion, so what’s yours?
The Growing Water proposal was put together by UrbanLab for the City of the Future Competition hosted by the History Channel. The History Channel’s competition preamble lays out the historical context of epic engineering projects that are remembered through time.
“The civilizations covered in Engineering an Empire on The History Channel achieved the impossible—they were the first to design and engineer marvels that astonished the world and transcended time.
This competition, in the spirit of visionary thinkers and planners, world’s fairs and literature everywhere, challenges participants to imagine tomorrow’s buildings, transportation networks, and centers of commerce and begin to give them form by creating bold and visionary designs reflecting what their city might look like and how it would function 100 years from now.
The competition aims for clear architectural and engineering responses with the goal of using what we have learned from past civilizations in order to peer into the future. We want to see tomorrow’s cities foretold in three dimensions, not merely written about or described. We are looking for tomorrow’s architectural and engineering marvels, which like the engineering and architectural marvels of past civilizations, have the staying power to endure beyond their times.” s
The Growing Water Proposal for Chicago puts out a few basic underlying points about what it sees as the conditions facing the world in the upcoming century. It is projected that by the year 2106, the most precious commodity in the world will be water. The Chicago proposal suggests that the city become a fresh water factory in a sense. Reversing the hydrological design which has the city draining water from the great lakes and diverting it across the continental divide into the Mississippi watershed. Currently almost none of the water is returned to the Great Lakes water system.
The project installs a network of Eco-Boulevards designed to function like a giant living machine that will feed used water and storm run off back into the lake after filtering it through a series of engineered marshes. The proposal enhances the ‘Emerald Necklace’ of parks that Chicago is known for and expands them, converting them to a system that not only provides an urban oasis and parkway system but turns the City into a giant fresh water factory.
Fresh water is foreseen to be the Oil of the coming century and as such positions Chicago to enjoy the wealth of living next to one of the largest fresh water deposits in the world.
The proposal is inspiring when especially when you consider that this hydrological utopia is completely achievable with contemporary technology, all it takes is the collective will and a waterfront view is possible most Chicago urbanites the Growing Water Proposal creates a future where cities have a positive impact on the environment, please check it out. Click to see the History Channel Competition and the other winning proposals from LA and New York City.
I enjoy conceptualizing what the future holds for cities, with ever increasing population and the need to house everyone, cities are no doubt key to our future. Its fun to look back and see what we thought the future would look like through the eyes of the past. Images came from the ‘In The Year 2000‘ Flikr Stream.
The Automated Vacuum Collection or (AVAC) is a pneumatic garbage collections system that transports waste through underground tunnels by a vacuum to a central processing facility where it is compacted, and trucked away. There are a few of these systems in the world right now most of them are in Scandinavia and Asia. There are only two such systems in North America are in Roosevelt Island and of course the magic kingdom of Disney World. You can’t have garbage trucks, or any visible garbage in a magic kingdom now can you?
The system works similar to a packet switched network, transporting one type of waste at a time. The systems usually use a set of pipes or bins for the different types of waste that the system will transport. In parts of Stockholm (they sure have a lot of cool underground things) Envac installed a number of pipes which protrude from the ground in groups of three. The pipes are colour coded, blue for mixed wast, green for organics, and grey for newspapers. The computer controlled evacuation takes about 30 seconds, the waste is sucked out through the pipe network at a speed of approximately 70 km/h. Last year Hammarby Sjostad, a new waterfront community in Stockholm won a clean energy award for their vacuum based underground collection system that allows them to separate waste into organic, recyclables and other forms. The development also uses incinerators to burn any combustible garbage and return it to the waterfront community in the form of energy. The system would still need to be supplemented by occasional curb or alley based collection as you couldn’t throw a broken chair or a hockey stick into the pipe, but for regular household waste it would handle the bulk of the trash removal. A big upside for the consumer is that you wouldn’t have to remember garbage day anymore.
Currently Waterfront Toronto, an organisation set up by the city, provincial and federal government to redevelop the public lands on the waterfront in Toronto are considering using the system in the West Don Lands. However the organisation is waiting on support from city officials to give it the go ahead. The general manager of the solid waste division of the City of Toronto stated that his department had no objection.
“Should they wish to proceed with that, it’s really their decision, not ours. If something like that was built, we could pick up the material at the end of the pipe. So the decision would be Waterfront Toronto’s or the developer’s.” s
The city appears to be taking a cautious approach to the idea but it isn’t dead yet so we may see this space age style of waste collection in Canada yet.
This just in, the city of Montreal has approved a plan to install a vacuum trash collection in the Quartier des Spectacles, a planned rennovation of the city’s old red light district. The city has given the plan the go ahead as the streets in the Quartier des Spectacles are all slated to be torn up to replace the underlying infrastructure; all the sewers, water lines, and power-lines need to be replaced anyway and the city has estimated that the cost of adding in the additional pipes for the vacuum system will only cost an additional $8.2 million.
The system will not only provide street collection but also provide services to all buisnesses and residents in the area with service. Not only that they will also be adding compost collection to the system too!
In Film the arcology has made an appearance in Blade Runner, the massive hyperstructures make up some of its sweeping exterior shots. More recently The Matrix featured a human arcology burried deep within the earth.
An early designer and archology theorist was Paolo Soleri. Born in Italy in 1919 he later set up a studio in Arizona. It was from this studio that he created a number of concept drawings that were fantastical, massive, elegantly designed structures that had as small of a footprint on the earth as possible. Dark Roasted Blend has an excellent article on him that is worth checking out.
The Shimizu Mega-City Pyramid concept is a more contemporary concept. The discovery channel ran a special on it and it also has its own wiki entry. The men behind the project admit that it is still pretty theoretical at the moment, that is unless you know where we can get a large supply of carbon nanotubes?
The pyramid is not something that we are going to built right away so in that sense it is a dream, but by pushing this dream we are pushing the progress of technology as well.
One could argue that the Foster + Partners massive Crystal Island structure comes near the definition of an arcology. Holding 30,000 people with commerce, schools, parks, 3000 hotel rooms and other public venues. There has been a fair bit of discussion about this project and the blogosphere is debating whether or not the project would qualify as an archology.
The creation of a number of these mega tower projects that contain all these functions does however raise the question of how close are we to moving to, or into one of these massive structures. Are they the way to help house the ever growing populations of the world without spreading too far across it? For now arcologies in the true sense of the word as hyper structures are still theoretical, but they may not be such a pipe dream.
Over at Environmental Graffiti there is a posting about ‘bionic’ buildings, these are in keeping with the Biobuilding post that I did earlier on Urban Neighbourhood. The term bionic brings to mind increased mechanisation of our world and lives, however many of these buildings are designed to bring trees and green space into the vertical planes of our cities. The buildings are also designed to improve the surrounding areas. Using Green technology the buildings bring nature and natural processes back into our cities. The building photo’s from the picture above are of a project designed for Paris. The building particular building will use cutting edge technology to filter smog out of the air.
Yuri Ivanov of the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories has come up with a comprehensive building monitoring and tracking system that may actually be less invasive of peoples privacy then current CCTV systems. He and his college Christopher Wren outfitted their office with 215 detectors placed at 2 meter intervals. These detectors capture less information in terms of raw data, but they are actually able to generate much more data then a conventional CCTV system. To understand how this is possible one only needs to think of the way that these sensors work.. a motion sensor picks up and relays if and when a person goes by, by having the sensors spaced closely together they are able to track a persons movements through the office. A CCTV on the other hand captures images of the areas they surveil regardless of whether anyone is there or not. Wren explained the difference as such;
“It’s not going to catch you picking your nose. You can only tell that some person went by,” Wren explains, “maybe this is better than living under thousands of cameras.”
The system basically knows that you are in the building but you could be walking around naked and it wouldn’t be able to tell. In order to make sense of all the data that these motion sensors capture the pair developed a software package that we have only seen before in Harry Potter of all places, they developed their own version of the marauders map. People on the display show up as bright spots of light with a comet tail that fades away behind them. Giving viewers the ability to both see where they are and what their trajectories are. The program also allows them to compile this movement data over extended periods of time and look for anomalies and patterns.
The implications for security and human traffic data collection are exciting. The pair was able to analyse data from a fire drill to discover that two out of three of the fire exits went virtually unused. The congregation habits of people and how long they stay at work also have implications for making air conditioning and heating systems more efficient. The system seems like an excellent trade off for better security without compromising personal privacy.
It isn’t often that I get really excited about the things I read but I positively nerded out when I started reading about a pilot program for Sustainable Stormwater Management that Kevin Robert Perry designed for the city of Portland. One of the most exciting things occurring in Urban Hydrology right now is a return to basic low-tech solutions that not only cost little to maintain, but beautify the area’s they serve.
The NE Siskiyou Green Street is a project that is so simple in its basic premise that the benefits become self evident as soon as you look at it. It is one of those visionary ideas that took a landscape architect willing to think outside of the high-tech box to come up with.
The premise, allow Mother Nature to do the work she is already equipped to do by bringing her back into the equation. The NE Siskiyou Green Street project removed a portion of the street’s parking zone and converted it into a pair of landscaped curb extensions. Curb extensions are ideally suited for residential applications on their own as they act as traffic calming devises and thereby increase pedestrian safety. In this case they go one step further. The curb extensions on this street also capture, cleanse and infiltrate storm water runoff.
The project basically removes NE Siskiyou St. from the city’s storm/sewer system and manages the runoff locally. Water flows down the approximately 10,000 square feet of of NE Siskiyou Street and the driveways leading off of it until it reaches the seven foot wide curb extensions. The curb extensions have an eighteen inch cut that allows the water to enter the curb extension. The landscaped area within is designed to hold up to seven inches of water, allowing the landscaped area to infiltrate the water. The water is slowed and contained using a series of rock berms that facilitate the curb extensions three inches per hour infiltration rate. In the event of a very intense storm there is a curb cut at the lower end of the planting that allows excess water to flow through and enter the city’s established storm/sewer system.
The extensions are planted with a series of native plants including Oregon grape, sword fern, and grooved rush. The grooved rush does the majority of the storm water management. The upright growth structure of the grooved rush slows down water flow and captures pollutants while its deep penetrating roots work well for water absorption.
Another advantage to this type of local solution is that it keeps the rain where nature put it. Part of the issue with the way that cities currently deal with storm water runoff is that the water is removed from where it fell and away from the local plants that could use it. This system restores water that had been shunted away, back to the local environment.
The most impressive thing about this system is that it manages nearly all of NE Siskiyou’s annual street runoff, estimated at 225,000 gallons, and deals with it locally. Taking the equivalent load off of the old city system. It gets even better, this low impact solution was built for less then $20,000
The Times Online has an old article that I stumbled across ages ago that got filed into my bookmarks for use later and then forgot about. (My Urban Neighbourhood folder see’s a number of bookmarks come and go) It seems that there is a new trend for the super wealthy that inhabit London’s heritage houses. Plenty of homeowners ‘splash the cash’ to create expansive basements and increase the square footage in the only places that the British capital’s heritage laws allow them–underground.
“Vast tracts of London are being dug up to create sub-basements,” he adds. “My clients are prepared to pay to create houses that push all the boundaries of luxury and technology. I’ve put in a swimming pool with a cover that rose, concertina-style, up and over the water to convert the space into a private concert hall, with seating for 100.”
Right now, green roofs are becoming a major plus for new urban design and making our cities more sustainable. Well here we have the next step: Bio Buildings. While this firm isn’t the only one out there doing this, it is the first firm to have crossed my web wanderings in search of fun urban factoids.
TR Hamzah Yeang is an Architectural Firm based in Kuala Lumpur and has been around for three decades. They have an interesting portfolio with a couple of Bio buildings including the two that you can see here. The firm has a pro sustainability mission statement and is worth a look over to see some of the stuff they have in the hopper.
The first picture is of their Editt Tower. It has a number of interesting features, but my favorite is the ‘Vertical Landscaping’
Vegetation from street-level spirals upwards as a continuous ecosystem facilitating species migration, engendering a more diverse ecosystem and greater ecosystem stability and to facilitate ambient cooling of the facades. Species are selected not to compete with others within surroundings. “Vegetation percentages” represent of area’s landscape character. Source
Next comes the ‘Elephant & Castle Eco Tower’
The Concept: “City-in-the-Sky”. The design takes the model of a general geographical area of a city, with its inherent systems, zoning, and social infrastructure, and inverts it into skyscraper buildings. The skyscraper and its retail and commercial base are seen as a microcosm of the city, containing within itself the inherent elements of a city block, i.e. parks, shops, entertainment centers, community facilities, and housing etc.
The “City-in-the Sky” concept provides for:
These are the type of dynamic buildings that make me want to paw through their plans, models, and whatever other material I can get my hands on.
In Urban areas ,space is often at a premium. Small apartments in urban areas are often short on room, connections with the outdoors, light and air. The debate on whether or not to use valuable square footage for a balcony that reduces your year round space is often faced by developers and urbanites. The Bloomframe designed by Hofman Dujardin Architects is an innovative solution to this urban dilemma.
As their website states:
Bloomframe is an innovative window frame which can be transformed into a balcony. Opening the Bloomframe window offers the possibility to step outside and enjoy the outdoor space. With one simple movement, light, air, and space are added to the interior. S
This is what I call smart and innovative design. The website goes on to let us all know that the colour and material of the Bloomframe is customizable so it can fit into new and existing buildings. I have a number of friends here in the city who would love to have one of these attached to their apartment.
Hanyoung Lee has come up with an creative new crosswalk design which creates a virtual wall using ‘plasma lasers.’ The lasers are at a low enough strength so as to not burn holes through cars or pedestrians, and project an image of people crossing the street in red. The virtual wall has an increase ability to slow drivers down and stop. The barrier causes what could be called an “I don’t want to drive into a wall” effect.
While its definitely going to be a while before we see any thing like this in our cities this could quite possibly be what cross walks of the future may look like.
Sweeping elevated highways and expressways are reminders of the modernist era with its dreams of speedy transportation from area to area on elevated right of ways. Le Corbusier and the modern movement glorified automobiles and gave them their own monumental structures upon which to travel so as not to be encumbered by the minor cross streets and other obstacles below. The modernist movement and Le Corbusier himself have in the years following been criticized for their legacy and these elevated freeways and expressways have gone from being glorious examples of the industrial prowess of man to giant eye sores and physiological barriers pretty much universally disliked by all and expensive to maintain. Toronto and Montreal both have extensive elevated systems and both are experiencing major structural issues. In Toronto there has been much debate over what to do about the Gardiner Expressway as many feel that it is a barrier to the successful redevelopment of the waterfront and no longer able to meet the demands placed upon it in terms of carrying capacity. There have been many proposals to deal with the issue of the Gardiner, however, due to both the prohibitive price tags and the question of what to do with existing traffic while these proposals are carried out has stalled the process.
Jose Gutierrez of Seneca College has come up with a new idea the Toronto Waterfront Viaduct, first the idea of a 6km long cable stayed bridge seems ridiculous, however on further consideration it has some advantages that outweigh other proposals; its aesthetic appeal, the freeing up of land currently occupied by the expressway, and lack of interference with the existing expressway while under construction. Its 1.65 billion dollar price tag is also comparable with other proposals for the expressway.
“I thought about utilizing the existing Lakeshore rail corridor, and merging the Expressway and the rail tracks into one major transportation corridor,” Gutierrez says. “The cable-stayed idea came from the need to provide as few obstacles as possible for train movement and street level traffic (either pedestrian, bicycles, transit or car traffic).” source
Gutierrez’s proposal has simply the basic plan for the elevated viaduct and also add ons that could be used to either increase the diversity of uses for the viaduct or even offset the cost of building it.Its an exciting proposal and it has the potential to integrate well into other projects such as the union station redevelopment and assorted waterfront projects.
Click here to see his proposal in depth.