Planning Rwanda

Metropolis Magazine
‘Just before nine one morning in May, I arrived at the Alpha Palace Hotel, not far from the center of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. A team of American architects waited nervously outside, dressed in blue suits and holding battered travel tubes of drawings. In them was the conceptual master plan for the future of Kigali: a sweeping vision to turn today’s red-dirt ad-hoc city into a verdant capital with tree-lined boulevards, mixed-use neighborhoods, a new university, parks, and a network of wetlands to mitigate storm-water runoff. OZ Architecture, from Denver, along with EDAW, a landscape-architecture and urban-planning firm, had been quietly working on the scheme for three years. This morning, 13 years after Rwanda’s genocide, they would present it to an audience of local planning officials, foreign consultants, and politicians. I had come to watch, to see what American-style urban planning looked like in Rwanda, and what it could possibly do to help transform a place of poverty and struggle into one of prosperity and peace.’ more at Metropolis Magazine

2014 Games offer a chance to rejuvenate Glasgow

Glasgow is to be the host city for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, signifying potential new opportunities for architects and regeneration in parts of the city.

RMJM in Glasgow has worked with Glasgow City Council on the masterplan for the Athletes’ Village, part of which will be converted into a mixture of private and social housing for the East End of the City once the games are over.

UK Design Director of RMJM, Paul Stallan, said: “I am absolutely delighted at the announcement, and to have been part of the Commonwealth bid for Glasgow, one of the most exciting, design led cities in the world. The Games will contribute to the city’s future architectural legacy by regenerating the East End and bringing lasting benefit to the City.” more at ArchitectureScotland

Design at heart of sustainable Wales

DEVELOPERS should push the boundaries of design to help Wales achieve its sustainable development goals, the new development director of the Design Commission for Wales has said.

Wendy Richards, an experienced urban designer and landscape architect, has been involved in delivering a diverse portfolio of high profile design projects, ranging from a major urban park development in Hong Kong’s New Territories to the Riverfront Theatre in Newport as part of a team at Austin-Smith: Lord.

She has spent the last three years working with Newport City Council and Newport Unlimited as their principal urban designer and has worked within the private and public sectors over a number of years, as well as being a voluntary member of the Design Commission’s own Design Review Panel. more at westernmail

Seeing the Light at Last

Told from the beginning, the tale of the new Norman Foster-designed glass canopy over the Smithsonian‘s Old Patent Office Building isn’t pretty. Historic preservationists did not like the idea of covering the courtyard of the building, which houses the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery. And they were incensed when renovation at the museums, which began in January 2000, resulted in the removal of the previous courtyard’s historic features, including two fountains and elm trees. The Smithsonian didn’t help things when it seemed to navigate the shoals of the various approval processes with the subtlety of a Visigoth re-landscaping ancient Rome.

more at Washington Post

The politics of remembering Ground Zero

NEW YORK – Michael Arad achieved the dream of many architects: He won the competition to design the memorial to the victims of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan. If he had thought, somewhat naively, that his plans would be implemented in the format he envisioned, he was quickly disillusioned. Arad, a young architect who seemed steeped in euphoria and quite astounded by his win, became caught up in an imbroglio of politicians, architects, public officials and interest groups. more at haaretz.com