The road under the Second Street Bridge has been transformed into a plaza — filled with plantings, seats and pedestrian spaces to host festivals and celebrations — shaded by the dynamically illuminated overpass. Leni Schwendinger Light Projects’ streetscape scope included a service road and vacant land alongside the Clark Memorial Bridge. The historic cantilevered truss bridge, locally known as Second Street Bridge, crosses the Ohio River. Conveniently located adjacent to the new Yum Arena, the objective was to transform the off-ramp into a vibrant promenade.
Recently Starr Whitehouse unveiled three concepts for a section of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) – a trenched Interstate (I-278)in New York. The concepts where presented to the community, elected City and Congress officials and representatives from DOT and DPR. Starr Whitehouse developed the designs in consultation with the community through workshops and were seen as ‘…an achievable vision for enhancing the pedestrian and cyclist environment above the BQE, adding green components and improving the physical connection and sociability among adjacent neighborhoods’.
The multi-disciplinary team lead by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates have been selected over the other 4 teams to proceed to the planning stage of the competition. The jury chose the MVVA Team over four others competing to enliven the area around the Gateway Arch and connect it to downtown St. Louis, the Mississippi River and the Illinois bank. Based in New York, MVVA’s portfolio includes the redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, the design of Brooklyn Bridge Park and many other prominent projects.
The MVVA Team’s design concept narrative describes their vision for the redesigned park as a “centerpiece of civic culture, an engine of regional economic growth, a showcase for sustainable ecological restoration and a celebration of the national significance of this historic place.”
MVVA TEAM – Historic Landscape Pond
The sponsoring group, the MVVA Team and others will host intensive reviews and workshops this fall to analyze the design concept and conduct a more detailed design exploration. At a minimum, the study will focus on the review of the technical advisory group, the impact on related downtown park properties and the Illinois side of the river, traffic and transportation and federal compliance issues.
For the next stage the MVVA tean will work over a 90-day period, in partnership with the sponsors, the City of St. Louis, the National Park Service and others to further define program requirements; begin developing a design that takes into account the feasibility and practicality of proposed solutions; create a construction budget and fundraising plan; and define the delivery expectations from now until 2015. The sponsors also will study issues relating to cost and construction, traffic, financial resources and federal compliance.
The project will be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.
For those of you in St.Louis the leaders of the MVVA team will be introduced, along with details on the next stages of the process, at 10:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, at the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
Recently the finalists for the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition were selected to continue into Phase 2 of the competition to develop conceptual designs and 3-D models for a wildlife overpass at West Vail Pass along Interstate Highway 70 near Vail, Colorado. The designs are intended to usher in a new generation of wildlife crossing infrastructure using new methods, new materials, and new thinking to reduce structural costs and increase adaptability and ecological function. The five finalist teams are:
Balmori Associates (New York) with StudioMDA, Knippers Helbig Inc., David Skelly, CITA, Bluegreen, John A. Martin & Associates, and David Langdon.
The Olin Studio (Philadelphia) with Explorations Architecture (Paris), Buro Haphold (London) and Applied Ecological Services.
Janet Rosenberg & Associates (Toronto) with Blackwell Bowick Partnership, Dougan & Associates, and Ecokare International.
Michael Van Valkenburgh & Associates with HNTB Engineering with Applied Ecological Services, Inc.
Zwarts & Jantsma Architects (Amsterdam) with OKRA Landscape Architects, IV-infra and Planecologie
Recently Public Works published a survey or Top AEC (Architecture Engineering Construction) firms finding that for the first time since 2005 one-third of Public Works departments “are now turning to these same firms for landscape architecture park/design.”
We can interpreted this survey in many ways such as AEC firms have hired more landscape architects and therefore have the skilled staff to complete the work and are marketing their firm as multi-service or integrated design (hot topic at the moment). Another interpretation is that AEC firms needed more billable work in the current financial market to keep their current architecture, engineering & construction staff occupied and have been marketing wider services towards Public Works departments. I just hope that Public Works departments are making sure that the landscape architecture work is being undertaken is by qualified landscape architects and not engineers and architects.
With large unemployment in the landscape architecture industry in North America it would be a shame to see so many talented people to be left idle as Public Works departments contract Architects and Engineers to take on a service that they are not trained or qualified to fulfill. I don’t wish to be negative or hostile towards our allied professionals and I hope that this increase of Public Work departments use of AEC firms for landscape architecture means more jobs for landscape architects!