Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of January 28, 2012











Decoding landscape urbanism. Michael Mayer of OLIN Studio seeks to find out what is landscape urbanism at OLIN’s Theoretical Symposium.

While the book The Landscape Urbanism Reader defines the term as “a disciplinary realignment currently underway in which landscape replaces architecture as the basic building block of contemporary urbanism,” the symposium explored four definitions of landscape urbanism as the framework for the studio’s theories to clarify the term.

  1. Landscape urbanism as diagnosis
  2. Landscape urbanism as framework and process
  3. Landscape urbanism as green infrastructure 
  4. Landscape urbanism as landscape + urbanism

Via OLIN Studio Blog

Community building through arts education. Because of the increase of financial inaccessibility to higher education and city center exhibition and production space, creative practitioners have had to find alternative strategies to sustain creative knowledge exchange.

Sustainable Cities Collective looks at five very different and innovative London-based engagement projects that offer individual insights into alternative arts education and their positive effect on connecting the local community.

  1. Trade School Croydon
  2. Zeitgeist Arts Projects, New Cross
  3. National Portrait Gallery, Late-Shift
  4. Wide Open School, Hayward Gallery
  5. Q-Art London

Via Sustainable Cities Collective

Embarking on adaptive reuse. Tom Ito, a principal in Gensler's Los Angeles office and a leader of the firm's global hospitality practice, explores the use of adaptive reuse -- the art and design science of reinventing buildings -- in hotels.

Many important urban centers in the U.S. don’t have much buildable, open space but offer a nice supply of underperforming buildings, which could be a golden opportunity for hotel owners and developers looking to bring their brand to those sought-after cities.

Via Gensleron Lifestyle Blog

Retail serenity. The new Alchemist store, a 2,500 square-foot oasis of calm designed by Rene Gonzalez Architect, was designed to offer refuge from the frantic pace of Lincoln Road’s bars, banks, shops, theaters and restaurants.

Tucked into the ground level of an award-winning concrete parking structure at 1111 Lincoln Road (designed by the Swiss firm Herzog and DeMeuron), the new retail space will complement the original Alchemist on the fifth floor.

Via Architects and Artisans

Landscape architects vs. architects. A reader responds to an article in The Atlantic Cities about the transformation of Youngstown, Ohio, in which the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted is referred to as a ‘famed architect.’

The Atlantic Cities clarifies the distinction between architect and landscape architect, pointing out that licensed landscape architects study a quite different curriculum than architecture and typically have a choice between completing a four or five-year bachelor's degree or a two-year master's degree.

Via The Atlantic Cities


Favorite Design and Urbanism Blog Posts for Week of December 8, 2012

121612  Garff harvests rain. Reuse in Pittsburgh. Could cities save the world? Art opening in San Diego. Holiday pop-ups in Sydney.

Harvesting rain. Ginger Garff at Johnston Architects blogs about harvesting rainwater from her home for irrigation purposes.

After filling the cisterns in only two weeks in October and discovering that they would remain full until June with ‘free’ water spilling off for months, the family expanded the scope of work and they use rainwater to flush two toilets, supply the cold water to the washing machine, and supply two hose spigots outside.

Via Johnston Architects blog


Adaptive reuse. Julia Rocchi, managing editor for the National Trust, blogs about a public-private partnership that brought the historic buildings of Pittsburgh’s Market Square Place together into a single mixed-use complex that now boasts residences, retail storefronts, and a YMCA, all with facades that have been restored to their original 1930s appearance.

Rocchi talks to John Martine, founding principal/lead design partner at Strada about the complexities behind Market Square Place and what it took to make this adaptive reuse successful.

Via National Trust for Historic Preservation blog


Cities can save the planet. Landscape Urbanism recently met up with Alex Steffen to talk about his latest book Imagining Cities That Can Save the Planet: Carbon Zero, which looks at the current condition of our growing – and urbanizing, and warming–planet. The book calls for a radical re-imagination of what our city futures could look like.

“This urban boom won’t be wonderful for everyone; for many, it may be tragic. Unless we change our priorities quickly, as many as a billion people—climate refugees, the rural and destitute, victims of conflict and deep structural poverty—will live on the very edge of existence.” – Excerpt from Carbon Zero

Via Landscape Urbanism blog

The Book:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AEWHU8E/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AEWHU8E&linkCode=as2&tag=alexstef-20


Open house for art opening. BNIM Architecture has introduced +1@BNIM, an inhouse art gallery, to continue its commitment to San Diego’s local arts community.

On December 14, BNIM hosted an open house featuring an exhibit of the photographic work of Paul Potash. “The selection of images for this show was inspired by the firm’s strong involvement with sustainable architecture, and the theme of water seemed to be a good fit,” says Paul Potash.

Via BNIM blog


Holiday pop-ups in Sydney. John O’Callaghan blogs how online stores are launching pop-ups for the Christmas season, examining the idea that consumers of experience and culture are happy to risk the craziness of festive shopping and buy on the street.

While more people are spending money online, localization comes into play when it comes to pop-ups. O’Callaghan visits a local popup called Real Food that promotes local and fresh produce.

Via John O’Callaghan blog








Weekly Roundup for the Week of July 2

Transformation of vacant Wal-Mart. Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle converted an abandoned Wal-Mart in McAllen, Texas, into a functional and contemporary library. The firm, which was recently named winner of the International Interior Design Association’s 2012 Library Interior Design Competition, installed a strip of laser-cut wood into the ceiling plane to visually divide the library, placing the computer lab on the left and meeting rooms on the right. The designers also used several hanging graphic elements to help break up the space visually.

Via Inhabitat

Architecture and Affordable Care Act. HOK healthcare experts share their thoughts on how the Supreme Court’s ruling on ACA will affect healthcare architecture and opportunities to bring value to clients.

“When we think of health care architecture, we are looking at a tool in the larger social context of healthcare delivery. When delivery of care is inefficient and expensive, with insufficiently good outcomes, or doesn’t cover all citizens, we are looking at problems that we as architects can help solve.” -- Chuck Siconolfi, a senior principal and director of healthcare innovations, planning and design at HOK

Via HOK Life

Race to be green. Mayor Vincent Grey of Washingon, D.C., has initiated an ambitious new plancalled SustainableDC, that seeks to make the nation’s capital No.1 in sustainability in a generation.

Seven bills are being considered by the City Council, which include boosting energy efficiency, spurring renewable energy production, promoting electrical vehicles, protecting rivers, promoting urban agriculture and reducing toxic exposure among children.

Via The Dirt

Permanent play street in Queens. Jackson Heights residents and City Council Member Daniel Dromm won a hard-fought battle to close 78th Street to traffic for two summer months. Now, 78th Street is being turned over to the community and is on track to receive a bottom-up redesign that will make the new space more than just asphalt.

The Department of Transportation has two designs underway. One is to enable the street closure to function year-round while letting parents at the adjacent Garden School drive and drop off their children on 78th. The second is a longer-term vision of how the street can be remade as a space that works for people, integrated with Travers Park on one side and the Garden School park on the other.

Via Streets Blog

Friday Features: Weekly Roundup for the Week of April 2

We are starting a new series where we highlight some of our favorite news and online finds for the week. Please share!

Social Media Buzz: Mashable presents 9 key ways to add LinkedIn to your company’s website.

LinkedIn is not only the most useful social network for recruiting, but it’s also 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter. This article shows you how to make it easier for your website visitors to share information with their links, stay connected with your company and to get to know you better as well.

Rising Waters: The Washington Post writes about Architects exploring the design of floating homes as sea levels continue to rise in coastal cities.

“Climate change will require a radical shift within design practice from the solid-state view of landscape urbanism to the more dynamic, liquid-state view of waterscape urbanism.” - Danai Thaitakoo, landscape architect

related: Waterstudio.nl

100 Years Contest: AIA Florida celebrates its 100-year anniversary by finding out the public’s favorite Florida architecture.

Vote for your favorite building among 100 candidates.

related: AIA Florida

Reuse Renaissance: Downtown Los Angeles' retro-chic makeovers show how retail and restaurants can transform a neighborhood. By @Gluck in the Architect's Newspaper

"With an abundance of largely intact historical buildings, architects and designers have paid homage to the past by restoring or re-creating many of classic features while adding a modern sensibility."

related: Kelly Architects, Killefer Flammang Architects, SO/DA

Urban Debate: The New York Times asks, Should Los Angeles New Yorkify? A panel of urban designers, Angelenos and writers weigh in on the topic. By @RoomForDebate

"Millennials are embracing the urban lifestyle by the tens of thousands, especially along the Red Line subway between downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood (two neighborhoods that are every bit as urban as most of Manhattan and, in fact, often stand in for Manhattan in the movies)." - Bill Fulton, Smart Growth America

Sustainability Education: Eco-Structure features an architect’s story how he took parent participation to a new level by hosting a series of sustainability workshops at his son’s school.

"I have taught undergraduate and graduate students in many parts of the world, but few occasions have been as rewarding as this one for elementary school students. The children were excited to learn about ways in which they can protect the planet and build a better future." - Pablo La Roche, HMC Architects

related: HMC Architects, HMC ArchLab