I realize that this is pretty stupid â€“ but itâ€™s Monday! I enjoy my work, but still need some humor to kick off the week. Oh, and I really want to do this to mess with some tourists before the summer ends.
â€œLiving in NYC is our biggest inspiration. Thereâ€™s constant construction and change on every corner. We embraced the idea of urban growth and saw it as something uncontrollable, having a mind of its own. Like a growing flower, a small town constructs larger buildings and becomes a flourishing city with skyscrapers for leaves, airport runways for petals, and airplanes for seeds. Our goal was to show that a city is like a living being, constantly growing, changing, and spreading.â€
Created by Anca Risca and Joji Tsuruga for their BFA thesis film at theÂ School of Visual Arts in New York, using Maya and Adobe Creative Suite.
What you actually do when you move out of a city is move into a car.
[note: if this video won’t play, visit the original here at PBS]
Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City examines how Detroit, a symbol of Americaâ€™s diminishing status in the world, may come to represent the future of transportation and progress in America. The film debuts nationally on PBS on February 8 at 10 pm (check local listings).Detroit is the crucible in which the nationâ€™s ability to move toward a modern 21st century transportation infrastructure is put to the test. The documentary shows how investments in the past â€” beginning with the construction of canals in the 18th century â€” profoundly shaped Detroitâ€™s physical layout, population growth and economic development. Before being dubbed the Motor City, Detroit was once home to the nationâ€™s most extensive streetcar system. In fact, it was that vast network of streetcars that carried workers to the areaâ€™s many car factories. And it was the cars made in those factories that would soon displace the streetcars in Detroit â€” and in every major American city.
Detroitâ€™s engineers went on to design the nationâ€™s first urban freeways and inspired much of Americaâ€™s 20th century transportation infrastructure system â€” from traffic signals to gas stations â€” that became the envy of the word.
But over the last 30 years, much of the world has moved on, choosing faster, cleaner, more modern transportation and leaving America â€” and Detroit â€” behind. Viewers are taken on a journey beyond Detroitâ€™s blighted urban landscape to Spain, home to one of the worldâ€™s most modern and extensive transit systems; to California, where voters recently said yes to Americaâ€™s first high speed rail system; and to Washington, where Congress will soon decide whether to finally push Americaâ€™s transportation into the 21st century.
[vimeo width=”492″ height=”277″]http://vimeo.com/7218371[/vimeo]
I linked to this great list compiled by the Architects’ Journal of the 10 best comic book cities a while back, but I just came across this video [I think it’s new?] and thought it was worth mentioning a second time – if only so people will check out some of these comics.
Project Presentation: Natural Fuse
Introduction by Mark Shepard
Recorded: September 18, 2009
Running time: 1:02:07
Presented as part of the public program series organized in conjunction with the Architectural League’s fall 2009 exhibition Toward the Sentient City.
For many of us these days, “home” is an idea constructed from several places – we live in social environments and neighborhoods composed of networked fragments that bridge huge geographical distances. Usman Haque will talk about such architectural issues with specific reference to “Natural Fuse,” his project for the League’s exhibition Toward the Sentient City. “Natural Fuse” is a city-wide network of electronically-assisted plants that act both as energy providers and and as a shared “carbon sink” resource. The project encourages collective cooperation in regulating energy consumption through a network of “circuit breakers” distributed throughout the city.
Usman Haque has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and massparticipation performances. His skills include the design of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life. As well as directing the work of Haque Design + Research he was until 2005 a teacher in the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London.
::Video Sundays, or VS, is a weekly feature here on AMNP. For more architecture-related videos, click on any Sunday in the sidebar calendar, or on the ?videos? category in the ?archjutsu?section. And don?t hesitate to submit suggestions for video features to architecture[at]myninjaplease[dot]com::
The Boston Society of Architects has announced a new design/ideas competition – entitled SHIFTboston – calling on participants to answer a deceivingly simple question: What if this could happen in Boston [‘this’ being your submission]. SHIFT is looking for the most radical ideas that could change Boston for the better, and create a more dynamic city. The winner will receive $1,000.00 – and, along with honored runners-up, will be exhibited across the city and as part of the SHIFTboston forum [which I believe has something to do with an exhibit at Boston’s ICA, which would be cool if true].
Long story short – here’s your chance to put your money design where your mouth is and propose your vision for a better Beantown. Personally, I’m feeling some pressure from my ego to enter – as I talk so much shit around here…
Overview of the Competition Brief
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, USA
THINK PLAY THINK NEW THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
The SHIFTboston Ideas Competition 2009 is calling on all innovators to submit the most provocative ideas for the City of Boston. SHIFT would like competitors to think: WHAT IF this could happen in Boston?
SHIFT seeks to collect visions that aim to enhance and electrify the urban experience in Boston. Innovative, radical ideas for new city elements such as public art, landscape, architecture, urban intervention and transportation. Competitors could explore topics such as the future city, energy efficiency and ecological urbanism.
YOU TELL US.
Submissions are due on December 11th, and require a $35 entry fee [pretty cheap, if you ask me].
Now, to piggy-back on to this topic of improving the Hub – why isn’t the Rose Kennedy Greenway a runaway success? The Boston Globe raises the question today, to which I’d like to respond with another question: why should it be?
Diagrammatically, the Greenway is little more than a green roof over the now subterranean expressway [as the Globe points out] – and in reality, the park does little to shake this fact. For those of you not familiar with the project, the Greenway is a narrow band of green surrounded by traffic [I’d estimate that if you combined the roads on either side of the Greenway, then they would be wider than the park itself]. There is little protection from the elements, and nearly no ‘privacy’ from passing traffic. Having lunch on many parts [not all] of the Greenway is like eating on a traffic island.
Now, all of this criticism is incredibly unfair. Local firms are still in the process of designing structures for the Greenway, and the trees and other vegetation haven’t had adequate time to fill in and create a sense of ‘place’ and ‘park’. I’m sure in another 5 years or so it will be a much different, and more successful, place.
BUT, with that said – does Boston need another un-programmed park? The Boston Common is less than a 10 minute walk away, with the Public Gardens just past that. Within the Common and Gardens you nearly have the sense of leaving the city amongst the towering trees and hilled landscape – like a mini Central Park. If you’d prefer something along the water, try the Esplanade – where there is a continuous park along the Charles River, reached by pedestrian bridges to avoid getting run-down by a Masshole. If you need more than that, there’s Commonwealth Ave down to the Fens, into Jamaica Pond and eventually the Arboretum – Boston’s ‘Emerald Necklace‘. Then drop on top of all that the unique neighborhood parks – Pope John Paul park is less than a 10 minute walk from my apartment, and provides a number of beautiful spaces along the Neponset River.
Basically, we’ve got parks and open space – ‘more’ isn’t better. Other than providing a place for workers to eat outside on nice days and a brief patch of green for tourists to walk through on their way from the Aquarium to Faneuil Hall, what is the function of the greenway? Who is it meant to attract? What happens there?
For any of you interested in the SHIFTboston competition, I’d suggest looking at the Greenway as a way to transform the city. Open space in Downtown Boston is a rare thing, and the Greenway could be put to better / more interesting + dynamic use.
“In a cold, cold land…
The Mayor of the City decided to create a new settlement. He did not want to conceive just a city plan, but to reveal a new emotion, a new political vision. He loved to repeat a sentence “the city is too important to put it into the hands of the architects”.
Many meetings and workshops with citizens were organized to decide how to go forward with this new project. The Mayor invited a famous urban planner to the workshop, who showed pictures and drawings of many urban models. People were always happy seeing pictures of public spaces, squares, courtyards, gardens etc… otherwise they were just a bit afraid – fearful of those projects made by the very famous masters, drawn by urban planners as “heroes”.
But how to organize such a complex system? What form will the city be? This was the problem: can the desires of the community be shown black on white?”
Video by 2A+P architettura.
[images: Chicago 1000011101, by Joe Valerioa of Valerioa Dewalt Train]
Really, who doesn’t like extraordinary visions of the future of our cities? For instance, how about a 22nd century city covered in a transparent, biologically engineered, thermochromatic skin – which traps heat, that then rises through solar towers to power wind turbines [seen in the two images here]. Like a city covered in plastic wrap.
That’s what Joe Valerioa has proposed for Big. Bold. Visionary. – 22nd visions of Chicago, proposed in celebration of the centennial of the Burnham Plan. In considering the next century, contributors envisioned 22nd century big plans for the city, urban catalysts, public spaces, the Lakefront, towers, and transportation projects – all of which are on display through October 11th at 72 East Randolph Street, Chicago.
In 1909, Daniel H. Burnham and Edward Bennett helped Chicagoans look at the rapidly industrializing city with new eyes. Their 165-page Plan of Chicago presented a comprehensive rethinking of the entire region – from Kenosha to Dekalb to Michigan City. It was a vision for Chicago in the 20th century. And it established a precedent of dreaming big and thinking boldly that every generation of Chicagoans since has firmly embraced. This exhibition taps current Chicago architects, planners, and landscape architects for their visions of the city and region in the 21st century and beyond.
Some are comprehensive – proposing radically different forms that might someday make Chicago a place unrecognizable to our contemporary eyes. Some are simply big – tall new towers and vast urban spaces that could transform the skyline and the neighborhoods in which they are proposed. Others are big ideas – seemingly small inventions that if implemented could catalyze the city and region’s way of life for the better.
These proposals represent the best thinking of Chicago today. The ideas are rich and diverse, representative of many cultures and ideas that have made this city the world capital of Architecture. All are fundamentally Big, Bold, and Visionary – in the mold of Daniel Hudson Burnham.
Lots of interesting, thought provoking work that you should definitely go check out – in person, if possible, but at least view the images featured online here.
[Sectional perspective of underground city – click images for larger view]
An underground Venice in the US Southwest? My ninjas, please. This was my second reaction to this project – after my inner sci-fi / dystopian fiction geek and Frank Herbert fan thought, “yeah, this is pretty dope – and I’d probably be down to live there”.
My peculiar willingness to live in a dystopian, water-starved future aside, the Sietch Nevada – designed by MATSYS for “Out of Water: Innovative technologies in arid climates”, exhibited earlier in ’09 at the University of Toronto – attempts to address the very real issue of the future of the increasingly arid American Southwest.
Lured by cheap land and the promise of endless water via the powerful Colorado River, millions have made this area their home. However, the Colorado River has been desiccated by both heavy agricultural use and global warming to the point that it now ends in an intermittent trickle in Baja California. Towns that once relied on the river for water have increasingly begun to create underground water banks for use in emergency drought conditions. However, as droughts are becoming more frequent and severe, these water banks will become more than simply emergency precautions.
Inverting the stereotypical Southwest urban patterns of dispersed programs open to the sky, the Sietch is a dense, underground community. A network of storage canals is covered with undulating residential and commercial structures. These canals connect the city with vast aquifers deep underground and provide transportation as well as agricultural irrigation. The caverns brim with dense, urban life: an underground Venice.
[View of the urban life among the water bank canals]
MATSYS has rooted the concept of this proposal, quite seriously, in the world created in the Dune novels. This fictional universe focuses on an arid planet, where the indigenous people live in ‘sietch‘ communities in the desert – conserving, recycling, and worshiping their water. Applying this concept to the American Southwest, MATSYS has created a subterranean city – taking the idea of waterbanking one step further, creating an underground canal system that both provides water to the inhabitants and allows for necessary irrigation of the proposed garden spaces in the center of each of the sietch’s cells.
This cellular structure, in plan, allows for the large underground structures seen in the rendering above – while creating large open spaces that open both to the sky or to the newly-formed cavernous world below. Those cells that open to the desert are terraced to allow for urban agricultural project, while those below open to create large civic spaces for public use – much like any other city.
[Plan above ground (left) and below ground (right)]
The grim idea that we will need to retreat below-ground due to catastrophe aside, the concept of a subterranean metropolis carries fascinating implications. Would this be ‘greener’ than our current development? Could people really live like this, below ground, without being pushed to do so by some kind of devastating disaster?
Pretty sick, I think – no matter how you look at it.