Underpass Park unveiled

Before-after-Underpass-Park_West-screen-res

A derelict area beneath a series of overpasses in the West Don Lands is going to be transformed into the most extensive park to ever be built under an overpass in Canada, and the first in Toronto.

Located within the West Don Lands – home to the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes’ Village – Underpass Park will cover a total of 1.05 hectares (2.5 acres) under and around the Eastern Avenue and Richmond/Adelaide overpasses, between Cherry Street and Bayview Avenue.

Designed by renowned landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg in association with The Planning Partnership, Underpass Park embodies design excellence and is the epitome of innovative urban park design.  The design creates a socially-engaging park for community members of all ages and abilities by incorporating public art, recreational space, playful climbing structures and play areas, flexible community space, community gardens, and public gathering places.

Before-after--Underpass-Park-Rendering-evening-screen-res

[IMAGE SOURCE: Waterfront Toronto]

UK Survey finds shortage of landscape architects

Green space skills: 2009 National employer survey findings, a survey commissioned by CABE and English Heritage, is the first to reveal the full extent of skills shortages in the green space sector in the UK. The report has found that 14.9% of national employers found landscape architects hard to recruit due to skills shortage. Landscape architects were also on top of the table as the hardest to recruit out of all the green space skills.

22% of  respondents from the Private sector stated that it was harder to find landscape architects whereas only 8.5 of respondents in the Public Sector  found it hard to find landscape architects due to a skills shortage.

Green space skills shows an urgent need to address the skills shortfall to tackle climate change. Planning, design and management are what are needed to help to adapt green spaces to a changing climate, and these were exactly the skills which employers felt their staff most lacked.

The report also identified several priorities to counter the shortage including:

- Develop and maintain a strong evidence base to make the case for investment in green space skills

- Improve the availability and quality of training, including continual professional development

- Increase awareness of the sector and the opportunities it offers, to encourage more people into the sector

Download the report at the [SOURCE:  CABE]

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White House launches Urban Affairs website

The White House launched the Office of Urban Affairs website including a blog and Innovations and Ideas page where US citizens can submit ideas and best practices. This is a follow up to the Urban Tour which included 9 city centers and the Inter-Agency working group on urban policy.

The OUA blog states that the launch of the website is to

This effort is an important addition to our ongoing conversation on the Future of America’s Cities and Metropolitan Areas. We have already met with many urban stakeholders, elected officials, and academics; and we’ve been around the country visiting places that are on the cutting edge of urban innovation. But today we are establishing a more direct relationship with you – the American people. You are the ones that are innovating every single day – you are the innovators. You tackle government bureaucracy with creativity and leadership; you overcome a slow economy with public-private partnerships; and you turn distressed neighborhoods around with determination, hope and, above all, hard work.

The President knows that government doesn’t have all the answers. He knows that the best solutions come from you in places like Auburn Gresham in Chicago, South Lake Union in Seattle, and the small city of Flagstaff, Arizona – just to name a few. We know there are many more out there and we want you to share them with us.

Submit your idea or best practice (US Citizens)

[SOURCE: Office of Urban Affairs Blog - Announcing the White House Urban Affairs Website]

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OLIN part of winning team for US Embassy

US Embassy London KieranTimberlake/OLIN

OLIN is part of the team lead by KieranTimberlake that recently won the competition for the US Embassy to be built in Battersea (London), UK. From among 37 architectural submissions, four finalists were chosen to explore the symbolism of the Embassy and its presence and position in the cityscape of London. OLIN was the landscape architect of choice for three of the four competition finalists: KieranTimberlake, Morphosis and Richard Meier & Partners, all of whom worked for nearly a year before making their final presentations to the jury.

The U.S. Department of State’s goal was to create an Embassy and landscape with a timeless quality to appropriately represent the United States of America in the United Kingdom. The winning team was selected by a distinguished jury of both American and British leaders in the fields of architecture, academia and diplomacy for a design which “met the goal of creating a modern, welcoming, timeless, safe and energy efficient embassy for the 21st century.”

The anticipated ground breaking for the Embassy will be in 2013 with a goal to complete construction in 2017. In addition to KieranTimberlake and OLIN, members of the winning team include Arup for Sustainability, MEP/FP and Civil Engineering; Weidlinger Associates for Structural and Blast Engineering; Gensler for workplace design; Davis Langdon for Cost Consulting; and Sako & Associates for Technical Security.

Partners Laurie Olin and Hallie Boyce will lead the design efforts.

[TEXT & IMAGE SOURCE: OLIN]

US Embassy London - Aerial - OLIN/KierenTimberlake

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Competition Shortlist is a who’s who of design

Recently the contest organisers of the Gateway Arch Design Competition announced the shortlist for the second round of the competition and it reads like a who’s who of built environment design from around the world. This competition is shaping up to be one of the most interesting for 2010 and the jury will have a hard job on their hands picking a winner.

The lead designers and design teams are:

  • Behnisch Architekten, Gehl Architects, Stephen Stimson Associates, Buro Happold, Transsolar, Applied Ecological Services, Limno-Tech, Herbert Dreiseitl, Arne Quinze, Peter MacKeith, Eric Mumford
  • FIT (Fully Integrated Thinking) Team – Arup, Doug Aitken Studio, HOK Planning Group, HOK
  • Michael Maltzan Architecture, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Richard Sommer, Buro Happold
  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Steven Holl Architects, Greenberg Consultants, Uhlir Consulting, HR&A Advisors, Guy Nordenson and Associates, Arup, LimnoTech, Ann Hamilton Studio, James Carpenter Design Associates, Elizabeth K. Meyer, Project Projects
  • PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas, Ned Kahn, Buro Happold
  • Quennell Rothschild and Partners and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Vishkan Chakrabarti, Buro Happold, Atelier Ten, and Nicholas Baume
  • Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Urban Strategies, Local Projects, Arup
  • SOM, BIG, Hargreaves Associates, Jaume Plensa, URS
  • Weiss/Manfredi, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Mark Dion

The nine design leaders and teams now have five weeks to complete their teams and present full qualifications to the competition jury, Stastny said.

In addition, local contractors, minority, disadvantaged, or women-owned businesses and others are invited to meet Feb. 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Old Court House with representatives of the short-listed design groups for potential teaming opportunities.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for these businesses to learn about the project and to begin considering participating,” Stastny said. “We look forward to a strong turnout.”

The final stage, Stage III, to take place over the summer, will include a 90-day design concept competition to explore the finalists’ design approach and test their working methodology.

The public will be invited to two events this spring and summer. A “meet the designers night” will be held in late April. This summer, there will be a public exhibition of the designs. Details will be available soon.

The final jury pick will be announced on Sept. 24, 2010. The project is set to be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015.

The new design is called for in the National Park Service’s General Management Plan, which was developed with extensive public input over an 18-month period and approved Nov. 23, 2009.

The competition is sponsored by the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, which includes National Park Superintendent Tom Bradley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, community leaders from Missouri and Illinois, academics, architects and national park advocates.

A full list of registrants for the competition, “Framing a Modern Masterpiece: The City + The Arch + The River 2015,” has also been released. It can be found with other competition information at www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

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