Lansdowne Park Design Competition entries revealed

*UPDATE*
Seems who ever wins of June 4 when the winner of the Lansdowne Park Competition will have to deal with a large amount of consultation with stakeholders and be ready to compromise on parts of there design as Parks Canada and Ontario Heritage Trust raise concerns about some of the design – Read more at the
Ottawa Citizen – Lansdowne makeover hits new snags

Recently the City of Ottawa revealed the five designs submitted by design firms for the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Park area. The designs where labeled as anonymous entrants (although if you have seen prior work of the entrants you can guess who’s design is who’s). The entrants included the following design firms:

  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
  • Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg
  • SWA Group
  • West 8
  • Williams, Asselin, Ackaoui & Associates

What is encouraging is that 5 firms developed differing designs and approaches to the space, often competitions can fall flat as the designs can mimic each other. This also shows that the competition brief was not too restrictive in its design constraints on entrants. The entries all offer different approaches but it is great to see entrants have given thought to the integration of  storm water, heritage, planting, public art with some being more resolved and effective than others.

The design presentations are all of good quality and show that as landscape architects we can produce amazingly presented design work. However, some of the presentation graphics where more polished than others; this may have to do with the size of the firm or there international resources and will be seen if this made a difference when the design firms for each entry are revealed.

The design entries are interesting with many different approaches to spatial arrangement, program & function, circulation, aesthetics, seasons, public art, water, budgets. However, I feel that the all the designs have the same issues which is true of much of current landscape architecture. These issues are compartmentalization, under programming (lack of cross programming) and international design style.

Compartmentalization and under programming are interlinked in that when designing we draw a bubble around an area and state this shall be X and this is Y. Programming should be cross programmed and programs should be allowed to extend beyond the boundaries of an area to create a more dynamic design. Some of the greatest cities and designs in the world are when two uses and/or programs intermingle to create an interesting and energetic place.

International design style which has in recent years grown more pronounced as the globalisation of landscape architecture services takes place. In some ways international design can be beneficial as firms can offer a unique perspective on the area and use their experience of other cultures and designs. However, often the culture of the place can be lost or represented with the token piece of public art or a local sport placed in the design. The design entries presentations sometimes fell into this ‘international design style’ in which the design could have been anywhere in the world or northern hemisphere. How we improve on this is yet to be determined and will be one of the many issues that as landscape architects we face as we design landscapes across the globe.

I also found it interesting that only one of the design entries featured French text for a design competition held for a site in the capital of an officially bilingual country. Maybe it wasn’t a request of the brief; however I find it interesting to see what language was used when presenting a design in a different country and culture from the design firms.

Overall to decide on a winner will be hard and will require deliberation, resident feedback and evaluation of budgets. I hope that the winning design is implemented in its entirety over a well staged implementation. Congratulations to all the teams for producing amazing presentations that shows that landscape architects can produce high-quality world class designs.

Below are the plans and one image from each design. If you would like to see all the designs and presentations go to the City of Ottawa – Lansdowne Park.

IMAGE SOURCE: City of Ottawa

IMAGE CREDITS: All images are copyright of the entrants – currently anonymous

Gulf Landscaping opens in Abu Dhabi

Gulf Landscaping 2010 starts in Abu Dhabi, UAE today with His Excellency H.E. Rashid Mubarak Al Hajeri, Chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs inaugurating the event which will showcase both the theory and shared best practice for those involved in the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 vision.  Speakers involved include Masdar architects Foster+Partners and SWA Group, landscape architects for the 11-hectare green oasis including plazas, pools and promenades that surround the Burj Khalifa. Gulf Landscaping is held in the centre of a cash rich market with an estimated US$1000 billion of projects planned or underway in the Gulf, with the UAE alone accounting for a third of this. Gulf Landscaping takes place at ADNEC, Abu Dhabi on 29, 30 and 31 March 2010.

World Landscape Architect is a supporter of Gulf Landscaping 2010.

SWA urban design project in Anning, China starts construction

The principal government of Miyi County in Sichuan Province, China, just north of Kunming, has started construction on the first phase of a 330-hectare (1.3 square miles) new-town designed by SWA Group’s Los Angeles office utilizing historical ecologies as well as technology innovation to create a more sustainable community.

One of the largest of many city design competitions won by SWA, the Anning River new-town will include higher-density housing and commercial areas as well as preserved agricultural practices, parks and recreation zones. When complete, the new South Miyi County, also known as New South Town, would be home to up to 100,000 people via new construction of 2.3 million square meters of building area and 20,000 units of housing. North Miyi is already home to 500,000 people.

[SOURCE: Businesswire - SWA Group Wins Design for Anning River New Town for 100,000 People Starting Construction Near Kunming, China]

Continue reading SWA urban design project in Anning, China starts construction

SWA win riverfront project in Kunshan, China

Wusong

Wusong_water-cleansing-Park

SWA Group has won a master plan assignment creating an entirely new Riverfront District to accommodate growth, in sync with environmental and sustainability objectives, on the Wusong River in the city of Kunshan, China outside Shanghai.

The 10.2 million square-foot (955,000 square meter) project-area includes master planning for mixed-use implementations along the key oxbow portion of the waterfront as well as a phase-one business district and a signature main structure, the 107,640 square-foot (10,000 square meter) Huaqiao Forum building.

Of note, the master plan also provides a supporting framework for a regional planning for the Wusong River green network and the broader goals for integrating growth with environmental concerns including:

– Providing synergy between development and water treatment so that it creates people-oriented amenities as well as environmental habitat

– Maximizing the water edge for use and enjoyment by the community, and integrating numerous layers of experience

– Maintaining building massings that are appropriate to the pedestrian scale, preserve open space and enable the flexibility of phasing the construction schedule.

The project-sponsor, Kunshan Huaqiao Economical Development and Planning Bureau, wanted to create a new waterfront district that supports the area’s bustling economy while creating public amenities and open space. In analyzing the Wusong River’s natural systems, SWA Group identified the resources and opportunities to support the development objectives while also meeting sustainability goals, according to Hui-Li Lee of SWA. For example, the SWA plan calls for an extensive water purification system within the project’s infrastructure that provides for better water quality while creating recreational aspects.

The Kunshan new community is anticipated to begin first-phase construction in 2010, with a 10 year overall build-out. Other project consultants include Ojanen Chiou Architect LLP and Herrera Environmental Consultants.

SOURCE: Businesswire

IMAGES: SWA GROUP

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