WRT’s New York office have installed living sculptures in the Urban Garden Room at Bank of America Tower’s 60-foot high street-level atrium space at One Bryant Park, New York. The Durst Organization, the building’s owner and developer, commissioned WRT to create an appropriate – natural – signature for New York City’s first LEED Platinum office tower. The designers created a sculptural solution: four monumental landscape sculptures, ranging in height from a 7-foot monolith to a 25-foot archway. They have been carefully positioned in the light-filled space at the building’s entrance to create an immersive experience. The WRT team included lead designer Margie Ruddick and sculptor Dorothy Ruddick. The Montreal-based firm Mosaiculture Internationale fabricated the sculpture from scale models using galvanized steel frames. Created in multiple pieces, each sculpture contains an internal irrigation system that was wrapped with porous fabric, then hand-composed with thousands of ferns, mosses, and lichens. When completed, the living sculptures were loaded onto three 52-ton trucks, transported from Canada and carefully assembled on site by a professional installation crew over a 42-hour period. Now known as the Urban Garden Room, the new living green space is a daily pleasure for building users and a delightful urban surprise for busy passersby, offering a welcoming, soothing reprieve from the clamor of everyday city life.
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The idea of returning Detroit to farm land is an interesting idea that was recently covered in New Geography(DETROIT: URBAN LABORATORY AND THE NEW AMERICAN FRONTIER, Nov. 4) and New York Times(Plowing Detroit Into Farmland blog post Nov. 9 based on New Geography article).
The New Geography article reviews the size and scale of Detroit in comparison to other cities and the extent of urban decay since the 1950’s and that Detroit could become farmland.
In my opinion, Detroit could become a city of urban agriculture; it has the land, water & infrastructure(roads, rail) and lots of deserted industrial space that could be converted to markets and storage/logistics. However it would require a either a grass roots movement which gets financial backing (after initial results) from investors or a federal incentive as the city of Detroit is shrinking and resources are already stretched.
Urban agriculture could supply the people of Detroit and other cities in region with food. Large areas of housing could be converted to open fields where the blocks are large or rows of green houses where the blocks are narrow. The agricultural areas could also grow crops for ethanol(although resource intensive) to supply raw materials for fuel(refined in Detroit) for the farm machinery and cars.
Urban agriculture combined with alternative energy such as wind and solar could convert Detroit from a city to a urban core with villages (see New Geography for diagram). The city could become self-sufficient and a possible testing ground for urban design that could be used for other North Americans cities going through the same changes in size and urban form.
New Orleans is currently a hot bed for Urban Design experiments for the South, which came about from a natural disaster maybe Detroit can come back as the hot bed of Urban Design for Northern climates.
Detroit has the opportunity and basic resources but does it have the will to change?
Read more information used as background for this post at [New Geography] & [New York Times]
By Damian Holmes
Streetsblog San Francisco recently had an interview with Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance to see what they could learn about Times Square public spaces.
Tim Tompkins have a few interesting thoughts such as
What I see is that what’s been happening is part of a larger movement in terms of the revitalization of cities. It’s kind of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, where you need to take care of the basics of comfort and security first before you can even think about anything else………
I think the biggest change is that now, especially with the introduction of Duffy Square, which opened in October 2008, [we redefined the] expectations for Times Square as a public space. Until we actually had Duffy Square as a kind of a concrete, tangible paradigm, it was all theoretical, and people couldn’t really experience it.
to read the full interview go to the [SOURCE: Streetsblog San Francisco]
Newly renovated New City College of New York Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture opens today
The City College of New York’s Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture has reopened, after a complete overhaul by Rafael Viñoly Architects.
On the building’s periphery, Landscape Architect Lee Weintraub’s design accentuates the main entrance, creating another accessible congregation point for students.
SOURCE: Building – Viñoly-designed New York architecture school opens
All across Manhattan urban farms are springing up across one of the densely built cities in the world. Urban Farms (community gardens) are nothing new but recently they are moving up onto the rooftops across the world as urbanites want to grow their own food and cool down their buildings.
The Washington Post has an article about the Urban Farms in Manhattan and how as the city has boomed with Community Gardens being sold for development gardens have moved up onto rooftops.
Read and See more at the Planting Roofs takes off in New York – Washingtonpost
New York’s two landfill parks at Fountain Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue could be reclassified as safe for public access by next spring according to a spokesperson from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The parks are currently closed as they are classified as a “significant threat to the public health or environment”.
The parks have undergone a transformation since 2004 when the first seeds were planted on the safety soil cap of the two landfill sites which were closed in 1985. Leslie Sauer, a founder of Andropogon Associates divided the parks into islands of different ecological niches with plantings representing different areas of the region with up 93% of the planting surviving.
The local residents envision various activities in the sites such as bicycle riding, performances in an amphitheater and fishing. The project has cost $200 million including the capping and planting of 33,000 shrubs and trees.
Information SOURCE: New York Times
A stylised native woodland is being planted at Schwartz Plaza at New York University by George Reis, N.Y.U.’s supervisor of sustainable landscapes. The Manhatta project inspired Reis to propose the landscape using plants from before settlement of Manhattan. The design was completed by Darrell Morrison after Reis won the funds from the class of 2008 legacy fund. Recently Reis and Morrison, along with the help of some students, began planting 2,000 plants that were all thriving on Manhattan from the 1600’s.
SOURCE: New York Times