Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Elon Musk Starts L.A Underground Tunnel

Image Courtesy Julian Berman

It's high time to take Elon Musk seriously and literally. After Twitter hints, tidbits, and whining about LA traffic, the famous entrepreneur and budding mole man is already digging a tunnel as we speak. Well, a hole.

Over the weekend, workers pitted a “test trench” 30 ft wide, 50 ft long, and 15 ft deep on the grounds of SpaceX’s Los Angeles headquarters. Musk calls it the beginning of an experiment. “We’re just going to figure out what it takes to improve tunneling speed by, I think, somewhere between 500 and 1,000 percent,” he said Sunday during a hyperloop design competition at SpaceX. “We have no idea what we’re doing—I want to be clear about that.”

Musk brought this idea last week in a tweet lamenting LA’s heavy traffic, promising to “build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” He has since revealed a far wider vision of eliminating the city’s famed congestion by shuffling humanity through a network of tunnels. “If you think of tunnels going 10, 20, 30 layers deep (or more), it is obvious that going 3D down will encompass the needs of any city’s transport of arbitrary size,” he told WIRED last week in a Twitter direct message.

Read more

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

GSAPP on a trip with its students out of New York and up the river for innovative urban design

Many New Yorkers know the Hudson Valley from weekend trips to Hudson or Beacon, but the urban designers at Columbia University want to introduce new ways of thinking about the diverse and complex region.

Famous for rolling hills immortalized by the Hudson River School, the mostly rural five-state region is home to prisons, 19th-century asylums, back-to-the-land hipsters, art museums, and 13 cities, too. Tomorrow, students and faculty from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University will join community leaders in Poughkeepsie to celebrate the opening of a pop-up exhibition featuring urban design proposals for a more resilient and just Hudson Valley.

Justice in Place is the culmination of student projects that explore how equity and justice can be fostered spatially. Student projects explored these themes through incarceration and education; health; historic preservation; landscape; and food systems. The work will be on display through January 31 at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center.

Map of the Hudson Valley region. (Image Courtesy GSAPP)

The projects are part of GSAPP’s Hudson Valley Initiative (HVI), a research platform and archive that combines the strengths of GSAPP’s programs to build partnerships and projects in the region, as well as facilitate inquiry into the American landscape more broadly.

“Central to the whole urban story of the region is the story of the river itself. Thinking about water as the economic driver provides rich ground in which to think about urban design,” said landscape architect and HVI director Kate Orff. “The Hudson Valley is extraordinarily beautiful, but there’s also this dramatic inequality,” added HVI assistant director David Smiley. “This is out backyard, and we need to take the research here to another level.”

Through the HVI, GSAPP has extended and deepened its relationship to the region. The projects, Orff and Smiley said, aim to benefit both students and the community: Using an applied research framework, students incorporate community feedback with what they’ve learned in class into activist proposals for the study area. In building longstanding regional ties, the HVI also counteracts a common problem with ostensibly community-engaged projects—students parachute in for a semester, create a project with little follow-up, and leave the community once they’ve earned their credits. In contrast to this method, work through the HVI from previous semesters informs current projects.

Since the end of World War II, the once-prosperous region has experienced a slow and steady slide in its economic fortunes. Although recent migrants and investment have revived towns like Cold Spring and Hudson, but left others behind. The videos here showcase work from past urban design studios centered on Newburgh and Beacon.

Orff and Smiley said GSAPP is adding an optional fourth semester onto the three-semester urban design program, so the “same projects hit the ground running,” said Orff. “We need to dig deeper in these places.”

News Via Archpaper

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The Obamas' New Home in Washington, D.C. Gets Security Improvements

The logistics of moving are a headache even under the best of circumstances, so we do not envy what the Obamas are going through right now. The outgoing First Family is preparing to trade the White House for some new digs in the nice Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C., where they plan to stay until Sasha graduates high school in two years. But while former presidents don't get all of the security measurements of a sitting POTUS, protection is still paramount. That means they can't just move into any house. As such, the Obamas' $5.3 million new home is getting some last-minute mandated security upgrades.
According to PopSugar, a brick wall is being built in front of the house—a development that seems a bit ironic given Donald Trump's promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Additionally, the garage is being converted into an office, potentially the spot where Michelle or Barack Obama will pen their next memoir.
Given the Obamas' reputation for excellent style, it's no surprise that their new home looks lovely. The four-story D.C. rental currently has nine bedrooms, eight baths, and one half bath. An unlisted amenity? Some popular neighbors. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are moving into a home that's just two blocks away and Jeff Bezos recently purchased the largest home in the district close by as well. The block party should be a blast.

News Via Architectural Digest
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Traditional masonry vaulting motivated the sculptural ceiling of this L.A. eatery

Amazebowls, a casual health food chain that began as a food truck, recently opened its first brick-and-mortar storefront in Michael Maltzan Architecture’s (MMA) One Santa Fe building in Los Angeles.
The storefront space was designed by 64North, a Los Angeles–based architecture, branding, and product design firm with deep ties to the building: Cofounder and design director Wil Carson was a designer at MMA for a decade and worked on One Santa Fe. Carson described the project as an opportunity to productively engage with the recent iconic structure by designing an “animated element within the larger project, creating a modest yet dramatic experience at the southern terminus of One Santa Fe.”
For the 600-square-foot storefront, 64North drew inspiration from traditional architectural forms, namely masonry vaulting. Carson explained that the project “recalls the classic form of a series of domes, assembled here in a celebratory, contemporary way, as they are individually scaled and distorted, intersecting to create a non-uniform whole.” The designers filled the store with a few key elements, including a sculptural ceiling made of CNC-milled, high-density EPS foam that has been plastered over, a sinuous, maple wood panel accent wall, and a semi-circular stone counter lit by gold-painted Pablo Swell pendant lights. The lofted ceiling extends beyond the curtain wall glazing along Santa Fe Avenue to denote a small exterior seating area located beneath an extended overhang.

See more photos below:

Image Courtesy: 64North
300 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Los Angeles
Tel: 310-384-2202
Architect: 64North
News Via Archpaper
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Friday, January 27, 2017

Grove at Grand Bay where BIG architecture unites Raymond Jungles landscape

Grove at Grand Bay, architect Bjarke Ingels’ first luxury residential condominium project in the United States with landscape design by Raymond Jungles. Located in Coconut Grove on a three-acre site near Biscayne Bay, the anticipated LEED Gold, low-density project with 98 units has two winding, 20-story glass towers that appear to be twisting to capture the spectacular, 360-degree view as they rise to the sky. Ingels’ design combines spectacular architecture with sustainability and takes the Miami condominium typology to its most highly evolved state.

“Coconut Grove is one of South Florida’s most storied neighborhoods and Grove at Grand Bay represents another chapter in that story,” says Terra President David Martin, who co-developed the project alongside his father, Terra CEO Pedro Martin.

With open, spacious floor plans that average 4,000 square feet in size, the expansive residences are meant to resemble vertical homes in the sky. The South Tower’s 10,000 square foot, full-floor penthouse features an additional 5,000 square feet of outdoor space with a private rooftop terrace and swimming pool. Private two-car garages accompany units larger than 4,000 square feet; a private four-car garage accompanies the South Tower penthouse.

Landscape architect Raymond Jungles has designed the gardens and terraces that surround the building. Known for his creative and ecologically sensitive landscape architecture, Jungles has used simple-yet-detailed hardscape elements created by Ingels as the backdrop for a program including numerous water features, nearly 500 trees including the existing giant figs and gumbo limbos that were incorporated into the canopied landscape, and more than 15,000 plants. Most of the trees and plants are native to Coconut Grove. The result is a lushly landscaped campus that echoes the tropical beauty of Coconut Grove and promotes sustainability.

“Our team at Raymond Jungles created a garden that complements Grove at Grand Bay’s architecture, pays homage to the spirit of Coconut Grove, and provides comfort and shade for residents and their guests,” says Raymond Jungles. “My home is in Coconut Grove, so this project was personal to me and will be part of my daily experience.”

Complementing the designs of Ingels and Jungles will be an extensive art collection, valued at more than $1.2 million, featuring original works by Alice Aycock, Tara Donovan, Gimhongsok, Jim Drain, Olafur Eliasson, Cerith Wyn, Jeppe Hein, Nathan Mabry, Geo McFetridge, Pedro Reyes, Pae White, and Antonia Wright.

“Our mission was to seamlessly meld the gardens of the Grove at Grand Bay with the historic village community of Coconut Grove and the dynamic towers designed by BIG. We wanted timeless elegance to inform our material choices and have the garden, once completed, appear to have always been there.” – Raymond Jungles

Architecture: Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)
Landscape Architecture: Raymond Jungles

Photos by Rasmus Hjortsho
News Via Worldlandscapearchitect
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Thursday, January 26, 2017

James Corner Field Operations with nARCHITECTS team up to renovate 10-acre park in the heart of Cleveland

Cleveland’s downtown is more welcoming thanks to a civic space replacing a formerly traffic-choked intersection. The Public Square is a recently completed 10-acre park designed by James Corner Field Operations (JCFO). The $50-million project also includes a small cafe designed by New York–based nARCHITECTS with local architects Westlake Reed Leskosky. Initiated by nonprofit organization The Group Plan Commission, the Public Square is a major part of larger mission to connect Cleveland’s public spaces to Lake Erie.

The design joins four smaller traffic islands situated between the wide lanes of Superior Avenue and Ontario Street in the heart of the city. As part of making the space more pedestrian friendly, Ontario Street was shut down in that section, and Superior Avenue, which still bifurcates the area, was altered and restricted to public transportation. A butterfly-shaped path encircles the site and is flanked by curving park benches designed by JCFO. Within the paths, small hills produce an outdoor amphitheater and provide a lookout over the surrounding traffic.

Image Courtesy nARCHITECTS

The Café Pavilion, the final piece of the square, includes a large kitchen and a modest interior dining space. A 60-foot glass facade looks out onto the Public Square and a large fountain. A curated art wall covers the opposite facade, while triangulated metal panels wrap much of the rest of the exterior. Side windows, impressed into the form of the building, allow for views from the street through the dining area and onto the square. The only other structure in the square is the 125-foot Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument, dedicated to those who fought in the Civil War. Built in 1894, the large monument once occupied one of the quads divided by traffic, but it is now integrated into the corner of the Public Square.

Image Courtesy Kevin G. Reeves Photographer

By adding a more inviting green space into the center of the city, the designers are taking part in an effort to revitalize Cleveland’s downtown. Before the park even opened, programs and events were already planned for the square, including hosting the performance season of the Cleveland Orchestra. A temporary outdoor installation by Milan-based Cracked Art was also commissioned by LAND Studio, the nonprofit landscape and public art agency that managed the project. The National Endowment of the Arts awarded arts organization Cuyahoga Arts and Culture a $50,000 matching grant for additional arts programming for the Public Square.

Like many recently built civic spaces across the country, the public–private partnership behind Public Square raised both the public and private funds for the needed $50 million for the project. Similar projects, such as Chicago’s Millennium Park and Houston’s Discovery Green, though both larger than the Public Square, have been wildly popular, much to the benefit of the surrounding cities. Others point to the success of JCFO’s High Line Park in New York as a good sign that the square will have the positive impact the city anticipates. In any case, Cleveland has a little more public space to enjoy—and a little less traffic to avoid—in its downtown.

News Via Archpaper
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Elon Musk despises traffic, aims to dig tunnel under Los Angeles

Elon Musk announced today on Twitter that he is making plans to build at least one tunnel under Los Angeles as part of the Tesla and Space X CEO’s efforts to overcome automobile traffic in that city.

A few weeks ago, the technology magnate issued a series of tweets expressing displeasure with what must have been a particularly bad patch of gridlock, saying, “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” Early this morning, Musk followed up with an update, saying, again via Twitter, “Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so.” Responding to a follower who asked exactly where would Musk’s new tunnel be, Musk said, “Starting across from my desk at SpaceX. Crenshaw and the 105 Freeway, which is 5 mins from LAX.”

It is unclear if or how these tunnels will be approved for construction, whether Musk has begun the environmental review process for the tunnels, or if the tunnels will be built using solely private investment or whether the local, state or federal governments will help out. Musk has cozied up to President Trump in recent weeks, attending a technology summit at Trump Tower earlier this month and another meeting on manufacturing just after the president was inaugurated, so it’s possible he could have access to some portion of the president’s purported $1 trillion infrastructure plan. Details for that plan is still forthcoming, but early reports indicate it will rely heavily on Public Private Partnerships and will aim to boost highway, bridge, and tunnel infrastructure—not to mention detention centers, and prisons—at the expense of more publicly-oriented and environmentally-friendly infrastructure like rapid-transit.

It is also unclear if Musk has considered taking L.A.’s existing rapid transit system when traveling to the airport. There’s a stop on the system’s Green Line at the corner of the block where Space X’s headquarters sits. Additionally, with the Crenshaw / LAX Transit project due to be completed in 2019, getting to the airport should be quick, easy, and only cost $1.75 each way from there.

“Traffic,” after all, isn’t something that merely happens in isolation; it’s a phenomenon that happens as a result of individuals using private vehicle transport to get around.

News Via Archpaper
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Kazuyo Sejima designs museum devoted to Japanese artist Hokusai

Katsushika Hokusai, the artist behind the The Great Wave Off Kanagawa—a painting so famous it even has its own emoji—now has a museum dedicated to his work. The Sumida Hokusai Museum in Tokyo opened in November last year and was designed by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, co-founder of SANAA.

Inside, more than 18,000 works from Hokusai and his protégés are on display. On the outside, however, a reflective aluminum skin wraps around the entire structure, dampening its monolithic form. The aluminum facade comprises an arrangement of angled panels. This formation allows the museum entrance to remain ambiguous and relatively undefined. Meanwhile, angled cuts through the building also soften the form’s presence while serving as a way of allowing daylight in—the museum has no directly outward facing windows.

(Image Courtesy Vincent Hecht)

In addition to letting light in, the angular voids also provide views out. Museum-goers can enjoy vistas of Japan’s capital city from within when on the upper levels. Walkways and programming too are defined by these incisions.

As part of the brief, Sejima was asked to design a museum that appealed to both tourists and locals. Hokusai lived in the region of Sumida, Edo (now known as Tokyo) roughly 200 years ago. The museum dedicated to his work and legacy resides in the same area—hence its name. The Pritzker Prize–winning architect’s five-story building not only holds close to 20,000 works but, includes seminar, lecture, and workshop spaces, as well as a research center. This program is a bid to broaden the scope of Hokusai’s work, making it accessible to a wider audience and cementing his status within the art world.

See more photos Below:

News Via Archpaper
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TED talk: Architect Jeanne Gang on Buildings That Create Community

In this TED Talk, Jeanne Gang makes a case for the architect as community builder, and how design choices should begin with creating connections between people. In the 12 minute video, Gang walks through some of her firm’s more recent and successful projects, including the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Chicago’s Aqua Tower and a proposal for a completely reimagined police station, outlining the architectural decisions that helped to foster a sense of community.

"Through architecture, we can do much more than create buildings," says Gang. "We can help steady this planet we all share."

Video via TED.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New York City's SeaGlass Carousel, Images by Danica O. Kus

In this latest photoseries, architectural photographer Danica O. Kus takes her lens inside New York City’s SeaGlass Carousel, designed by WXY Architecture + Urban Design with artist George Tsypin. Completed in summer 2015, the 2,575 square foot nautilus-shaped pavilion has become a new attraction within a Piet Oudolf-designed landscape in Battery Park, drawing in visitors with an immersive LED and audio experience inspired by bioluminescent organisms found deep within the ocean.

Courtesy New York City's SeaGlass Carousel, Images by Danica O. Kus
News Via Archdaily
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Georgia’s famous Big Chicken scheduled for major revamp

A Georgia KFC franchise has announced that its beloved “Big Chicken” restaurant is scheduled for a $2 million renovation. Don’t worry, though—plans call for keeping the famous bird.

The Marietta, Georgia KFC branch, owned by KBP Foods, is known locally as Big Chicken for its majestic architecture parlante, a 56-foot-tall stylized steel chicken whose ruddy plumage and bright animated beak seduce would-be diners from its perch at a busy crossroads.

Designed by Georgia Tech architecture student Hubert Puckett and built in 1963, the sign was reconstructed following storm damage in 1993. The video below (best viewed with the sound on) really captures the essence of the bird:

Renderings revealed in the Atlanta Business Chronicle depict an on-brand interior renovation for the 4,700-square-foot space, plus a gift shop. Big Chicken’s logo will be updated, as well.
Image Courtesy Atlanta Business Chronicle

“Marietta’s Big Chicken is a local landmark that we are proud to preserve,” said KFC franchisee Mike Kulp, president and CEO of KBP Foods, in a statement. “Once completed, our new restaurant will be among the greatest KFCs in the world with design and guest experience features you won’t be able to find anywhere else in the U.S. We can’t wait to bring these designs to life for the community of Marietta and all those who stop along their travels to see this historic landmark.”

The restaurant will be closed for around three months, beginning this week.

KFC’s plans align with Taco Bell’s 2015 decision to save Taco Bell “numero uno,” the chain’s very first restaurant. Taco Bell collaborated with a local preservation group to move the 1953 building from Downey, California to the company’s headquarters in Irvine.

News Via Archpaper
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Monday, January 23, 2017

Hatching plans for your landscape business in 2017

Although 2017 has started and we’re all back to work it is still a great time (during the slow period) to plan for the year ahead for your landscape business (existing or planning to start).

Business Plan
Business Plans are key for a business as it sets out goals for you and the team to know what the year ahead brings. As a starting point answer these two questions, Do you have a business plan? When was the last time you reviewed your business plan? Business Plans do not have to long documents and can be formulated using online templates. Often a simple 4-5 plan that sets out the key information (who you are, what you do, where, market, finances, etc) about the business is enough to get started. When reviewing or creating a business plan you need to be true to yourself and not to over enthusiastic and set expectations (sales or business initiatives) too high for you or your team. If you don’t feel comfortable or confident writing your business plan then speak to your government business department as many of them have guides on how to write a business plan and also offer free seminars on business planning, marketing, people management, finances and other areas of running a business.

For the year ahead a business needs to plan for each quarter, one year and five years. Each period requires a lesser degree of detail (i.e. quarter plan is detailed and the 5 year is dot points on key targets and possibilities.). As the economy and market can change it is best not to get caught up in the 5-10 year plan unless you are a mature business who needs to plan for succession.

Marketing Plan
Marketing is a major part of doing business and growing a businesses and goes beyond just advertising. Creating a marketing plan requires the business to look to the business plan and past clients and sales to determine possible growth and determine which areas and/or markets you would like to enter or increase sales. Marketing is dependent on the market and type of landscape business. A small business may concentrate on referrals, website, meet and greets and local events. A large business may determine that they want to spend time on exhibitions, conferences, social media or writing pieces for magazines and blogs. Each business requires a unique approach based on size, growth and location, there is no wrong or right marketing plan it is what suits your business to bring in customers and the right type of clients.

Marketing is also about knowing who you are, what you do, and who you customers are. The most important part of marketing is planning and setting up a calendar for the year to determine important deadlines such as awards, magazines, local press, conferences and expos.

Financial Plan
Financial planning requires evaluting the past and the future market. The past(quarterly or yearly) gives you a snap-shot of a moment in time. Often you need to operate a plan a running profit & loss as well as possible cashflow and alternate budgets. Cashflow is what often closes business as they fail to plan for proper cashflow management i.e. growing too fast or not having enough cash to get through the slow periods.

Financial planning is often the lease favourite task of design based businesses, however it is something that allows the business to grow and give the leaders and team certainty. The best initiative you can take for 2017 is get advice where possible from accountants and financial managers, they may seem costly but can advise on the best approach for financial planning your business.

The buzzword that is often overused but often sets businesses apart from each other. Those business that innovate whether is it technical research and development, business or production systems, or just allowing time to stop and document what was learnt from a project is key in developing innovation within a business. Sometimes innovation is lead and other times it just occurs through a need (client or design requirements).

For 2017 you should set a innovation plan around at least one to two goals for the business and to support it with either time or finances to explore that goal and idea.

Leadership is key to so many elements of a business – finance, growth, culture, people, and more. Leaders often forget to set goals for themselves as they are often too focused on getting the work in and completed on time to the client’s satisfaction. However, as leaders set the tone for the business, it is best that they set aside some time for self-improvement or themselves to develop as a leader whether it is a formal course or conference or whether it is just listening to podcasts or reading a book. Businesses also need to plan for future leaders and further more succession, both areas which are often neglected until it is too late (i.e future leaders leave or the business leader leaves suddenly).

Look toward the future and review your current staff and who you are, your current leaders and who are the future leaders and determine their strengths, weaknesses and interests. This will then give the business a clearer picture of the future in terms of people not just finance and growth.

The most important part of your landscape business is your people. Planning the year ahead (projects, interests, support, training, business initiatives, leave, life events, etc) whether it is just an a basic calendar outline gives you and the team the general idea of the coming months. Also make time for people and mentoring to allow people to grow into their careers, gain experience, grow as people and praise people more than you manage them. Without people you business is little more than a legal entity with a leader.

It is with the plans above(Business, Finance, Marketing, etc) you can plan ahead for whether you will need more or less people and the skills that they need to have to support business initiatives. Also don’t forget the people who also make your business possible including your mentors, clients, consultants, suppliers; now is a great time catch up with them and learn about their plans for 2017. Your business cannot survive without your extended team of consultants, suppliers but even more so great clients who love and support what you do.

Final Thoughts
The above outline for business plans is not meant to be an extensive guide and cover every topic in detail but to provide the starting point. Creating plans may seem daunting at the beginning of a new year but just get your thoughts and ideas down on paper, setting out your ideas, plans and hopes for the year can give you and your team greater confidence in the year ahead and a reference point later in the year to assess how you are progressing and if you need to change or improve one or more elements of your plans.

Editor: Damian Holmes 

News Via World Landscape Architects
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Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace, London by RMA

The Magic Garden, a new family play garden at Hampton Court Palace designed by landscape architects Robert Myers Associates (RMA). Commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces, it is intended that the new garden will become a landmark destination in the palace grounds.

Located within part of Henry VIII’s former tiltyard, the garden is a contemporary space which embraces the rich historical, cultural and mythical legacy of the Palace to deliver an innovative landscape of discovery that is unlike any other.

A strong design has been developed in which a series of character areas are layered. These include a tournament ground, wildwood, mythical beasts’ lair, strange topiary garden, encampment, and a spiral mount with moat and grotto. Tiltyard towers contain different themes for exploration andlearning. The journey through the garden provides challenges, obstacles and illusions that play withthe notions of royalty, status and scale. Stories of the Palace and its inhabitants are referenced in thefabric of the design creating a sense of occasion and identity.

“We have incorporated playfulness and magic into every aspect of the garden,” said Robert Myers. “It has been designed as a relaxing as well as a stimulating environment, with spaces to pause and rest, as well as places that are truly active and adventurous. Our aim has been to create a garden full of beauty, an essence of escapism and an exciting setting for learning, interaction and expression through exploration and adventure.”

RMA have worked with a number of artists and craftsmen who have created various mythical and heraldic beasts which occupy the garden, including pieces by Andrew Tanser (a steam-emitting head for the 30 metre-long dragon, as well as a panther, yale and unicorn; Harry Gray (a stone lion that magically disappears and reappears), Chris Bailey (a carved griffin and falcon); and Tom Hare who has created a giant dragon’s nest in woven willow. Other members of the design team included Snug & Outdoor (play consultants), The Michael Barclay Partnership (structural engineers), Speirs and Major (lighting designers) and Chapman BDSP (service engineers). The garden was constructed by Frosts Landscape Construction Ltd.

“Although the Magic Garden is clearly a one-off, we specialise in designing contemporary landscapes within historic settings, and have substantial experience of working with artists and craftspeople to commission site-specific art and sculpture, so the Magic Garden has been the perfect project for us,” Robert Myers said.

The Magic Garden
Hampton Court, UK

Design Firm  Robert Myers Associates (RMA)

Images Courtesy of Robert Myers Associates (RMA)

News Via World Landscape Architects
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Rafael Viñoly Contributes to Miami's Luxury Residential Boom with New Tower Design

Designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, 'One River Point' is set to be the latest addition to Miami’s ever-growing luxury real estate market. Comprised of two 65-story-tall towers, the project is a mixed-use residential development situated along the Miami River, in the city’s downtown core.

The complex accommodates resident facilities, commercial offices and retail spaces, a hotel and four levels of covered parking, all while maximizing the surrounding views of the waterfront.

Though separated, the pair of offset residential towers are connected at two points; an elevated plinth at the base from which the aforementioned programs stem, and a three-story ‘skybridge’ on the 56th floor. The buildings are purposely set back from the waterfront, allowing for a seamless continuation of Miami River Walk at the edge of the site. This, along with reflecting pools, a palm tree court, and an 85 foot (26 meter) high waterfall combine to create a unique experience for both residents and the public below.

Nearly all 350 condominiums have their own elevator landings as well as private terraces, providing ample views of the Miami skyline. In addition to the numerous resident amenities, the Sky Club offers hotel suites, dining, business facilities and exercise rooms.

Capping the towers with two ‘sky villa’ penthouses, the elevated plinth at the foot of the complex eliminates any barriers that may have inherently been created, providing extensive views and an open public plane.

Viñoly's latest endeavor is phase four of the six-step Miami Riverfront Development. It holds a prime location in the city, affording easy access to the Arts and Cultural District, Design District, Brickell City Centre and the airport.

News via: viñoly
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How to Redesign Dallas’s Fair Park

In 1936, the year that Dallas' Fair Park hosted the Texas Centennial, Balboa Park in San Diego was the site of the California Pacific International Exposition (after previously hosting a World's Fair in 1915.) Both parks were designated National Historic Landmarks. Both benefit from central locations easily accessed by public transit and streets.

But while Balboa Park is now a beautiful and vibrant urban amenity featuring natural vegetation areas, gardens, recreational facilities and miles of pathways, as well as museums, theatres, restaurants, a world famous zoo, and easy connections with its surrounding neighborhoods, Fair Park is sorely underperforming. Over time, Fair Park's original Art Deco buildings have suffered from benign neglect and are now vacant, while many of the museums and performance halls have relocated. Much of park has been usurped by parking (200 of its 277 acres), and the park sits desolate most of the year, except for the three weeks when it is home to the State Fair. And each year the city loses many millions of dollars in operations plus tens of millions in amortizing capital expenditures.

Fair Park could become a beautiful and vibrant park for Dallas. The question is, how do we pay for it? As with other major parks, the optimal funding strategy is going to require a mix of several tools. Which specific tools are best will depend upon what the park's redesign entails. Year-round activity and connectivity with adjacent neighborhoods are essential for financial viability of the park.

Historically, general obligation bonds have been the default tool for municipal capital park expenditures, providing a low cost of capital, payable over an extended timeframe. This is a strategy that has been proposed for Fair Park. But taxpayer-funded bond issuance need not be the primary strategy.

If we are going to step away from asking taxpayers to fund 100 percent of the redevelopment of Fair Park, we will need to incorporate revenue-generating elements into the redesign. Conversion of large surface parking lots, that produce massive heat islands, into structured parking, particularly with solar panel rooftops, could generate revenue to repay bondholders and would qualify for a green bond designation. Municipalities across the world have increasingly turned to relatively new financing mechanisms for projects, such as green bonds, which function as municipal debt to finance projects with environmental benefits.

A sale/leaseback structure or leasehold improvements financing could be possible with revenue-generating capacity, such as underground garages or historic buildings converted to use by creditworthy tenants. Given the poor condition of the buildings at Fair Park, significant renovation work is needed. Including environmental elements (such as energy efficiency, water conservation, or LEED design) into the scope of rehab or new buildings could earn a green label, attract unique tenants, and increase the city's ability to generate rental income for the park. Twenty percent income tax credits are available to prospective tenants for rehabilitating income-producing historic buildings. Daylighting of currently paved-over creeks should be considered, improving storm water drainage and creating dramatic settings for rent-paying tenants nearby.

Once it is clear what the redesign will entail, a financing plan can be developed, combining philanthropy with creative financial mechanisms, making a revitalized Fair Park financially feasible without burdening taxpayers through a reliance on city general obligation bonds or other public subsidies as the main source of funding.

This city is our canvas, and we are all urban artists who together can create a grand masterpiece. Together, let's envision best possibilities for Fair Park and rally the resources to make the improbable inevitable, so we can inhabit the masterpiece that will be Dallas.

News Via DallasNews
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