St.Petersburg could lose its UNESCO status *UPDATE*

gazProm_RMJM

St. Peterburg, Russia could lose its UNESCO status as a World Heritage Centre if the plans of the world’s biggest natural gas company to build a 396 metre (1,299 ft) skyscaper go ahead. The $3 billion building designed by RMJM has still not been approved by the local government.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

*UPDATE*

1. Opponents of the Okhta Center, also known as the Gazprom Tower, filed a lawsuit late last week asking the court to cancel an upcoming public hearing as “illegal.” SOURCE: St.Petersburg Times

2. St. Petersburg residents on Tuesday (01.09.09) clashed with police and OAO Gazprom security guards during a public hearing over the plan to erect the tallest skyscraper in Europe. Around 12 people who attended Tuesday’s meeting were removed, as calls of ‘shame on Gazprom’ rung in the air. SOURCE: Architect’s Journal

Cross programming Urban Park in Singapore

Perspective of Urban Park at City Square Mall

Perspective of Urban Park at City Square Mall (Ong & Ong)

Ong & Ong have proposed a new Urban Park design for City Square Mall at 17th Kitchener Road, Singapore. The site is  approximately 0.45 ha with few facilities besides the entry to the Mass Rapid Transit Station. Ong & Ong‘s design incorporates several programs including a Butterfly Garden, Sculptures, a Living Maze for children, an interactive fountain park and an education wall about recycling.

The proposal of developing this open space into an urban park will drastically change the appearance and usage of this open space. The development of the urban park and the mall will complement one another. The urban park will be like a green carpet lay out in front of the mall to welcome its visitors.

The urban park when it is completed, will serve as a green lung for the neighborhood. Conceived as a series of spaces connected by footpaths, these spaces are meant to encourage learning about ecology and the natural environment in an urban oasis that is both fun and didactic for young and old. As they play and walk through the landscape, they learn.

Ong & Ong’s project increases its environment friendly status by introducing the application of a myriad of ecologically-friendly elements including Vertical Green Walls, an Eco-Roof to showcase green technologies and  materials such as  “Eco-tiles” – a composite recyclable product that is manufacture with sustainable resource, and recycled timber. The designers have also retained 2 large existing trees and proposed to plant native species in the design.

Perspective of Urban Park at City Square Mall

Perspective of Urban Park at City Square Mall (Ong & Ong)

Plan with Roof - Urban Park at City Square Mall (Ong & Ong)

Plan with Roof - Urban Park at City Square Mall (Ong & Ong)

Plan at Street Level - Urban Park at City Square Mall (Ong  & Ong)

Plan at Street Level - Urban Park at City Square Mall (Ong & Ong)

Image Credit: Ong & Ong Pte Ltd

Approximate budget in SGD: $ 400,000,000.00
Project design start year: 2005
Project status currently: Under Construction
Expected project construction completion: 30 November 2009
Landscape Architects – Ong & Ong Pte Ltd

NASA launches ‘Sustainability Base’

Yesterday, NASA’s Ames Research Center held a ground breaking ceremony for its new ‘Sustainability Base’ – a high performance Platinum LEED Rated building in Moffett Field California. The building will feature near zero net energy consumption, use 90 percent less potable water than conventionally built buildings of equivalent size and reduce building maintenance costs.

To help achieve the building’s sustainability objectives, the company will install approximately 72 geothermal wells featuring ground-source heat pumps, and will provide parking and landscaping with California-native plants.

The $20.6 million building  is designed by AECOM and William McDonough + Partners and Landscape Architects – Siteworks.

You can also watch a video about NASA’s Sustainability Base

SOURCE: NASA
IMAGE SOURCE: NASA

Governors Island – Useless Beauty – The New Yorker

Wondering what’s happening to Governors Island after the International Design competition was won by the design group led by WEST 8. Well, the August 31, 2009 edition of the New Yorker (subscription only) on p. 56 has an article titled Useless Beauty’ by local correspondent Nick Paumgarten, who discusses plans for a park on the island designed by the Dutch architecture firm West 8. A section of the abstract(shown below) gives a hint of the discussion that takes place with Adriaan Geuze.

Writer discusses the proposed park area with Adriaan Geuze of West 8. Briefly compares the Governors Island to the development of the High Line. A risk of a project like the High Line or Governors Island is that the place may pass from one kind of elitism, in which virtually nobody is allowed, to another, in which ambitious restoration introduces esoteric or refined tasted and uses. (SOURCE:THE  NEW YORKER)

Sounds like an interesting read for those lucky enough to have a subscription or able to buy a copy.

Another incentive to buy a copy is the article by Ian Frazier Ian Frazier, Parks Dept., “Treepocalypse,” The New Yorker, August 31, 2009, p. 26 which looks at the about trees in Central Park destroyed by a recent severe thunderstorm.

The New Yorker has also posted a video – Tour of Governors Island.

In this video, Paumgarten tours the island with Leslie Koch, the president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, who explains how this former military base is being converted into parks and other public spaces. (SOURCE: THE NEW YORKER)


SOURCE: The New Yorker

Toyota uses LA & SF Interstates to launch Prius

Prius Floralscape

Harmony Floralscape” along the Pasadena Freeway (SR-110) (Credit: Toyota)

Toyota has unveiled “Harmony Floralscape” along the Pasadena Freeway (SR-110), this is one of the nine oversized floral designs that will appear alongside California freeways in support of the ongoing launch of the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. Seven of the Floralscapes will be in the Los Angeles area and two in the San Francisco area. Developed by Greenroad Media, Inc., using the company’s patent-pending “Living Pixel” technology, design images are replicated using flowers of differing varieties and colors.

The 30’x60’ Toyota Prius “Harmony Floralscapes” are comprised entirely of living seasonal flowers. The flowers used in each Floralscape – about 20,000 blooms in total – are grown by local businesses in special modular “Eco-crates” made from recycled plastic. Several different designs have been developed, and the displays will be changed and updated several times during the next four months.

Video -The Making of a Toyota Prius “Harmony Floralscape” (Credit: Toyota)

SOURCE: Toyota via Autoblog

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