cityLAB (UCLA) announces finalists for “WPA 2.0: Working Public Architecture.” WPA 2.0 an open competition that seeks innovative, implementable proposals to place infrastructure at the heart of rebuilding our cities during this next era of metropolitan recovery. The finalists include an Urban Algae: Speculation and Optimization Mining Existing Infrastructure for Lost Efficiencies, Coupling Infrastructures: Water Economies/Ecologies, Border Wall as Infrastructure, 1,000,000,000 Global Water Refugees.
Proposal location: applicable nationwide to tollbooths, coal-fired power plants, automobile tunnels and other locations of CO2 production; main sample project is a Brooklyn to Manhattan pier/bridge armature
Primary issues: This proposal seeks to turn negative byproducts of auto use and coal-fired energy (CO2) into ecological, economic, and social opportunities. Three site types are targeted – toll booths, coal-fired power plants, and automobile tunnels. The team’s design for a pivoting, pier-like, armature between Red Hook, Brooklyn and the Battery in Lower Manhattan not only captures the CO2 from the underwater auto tunnel, encouraging photosynthesis and alternative fuel production using algae pontoons, but also creates new public spaces (swimming pools, boardwalks, and plazas) and new locations for ecological or agricultural development including controlled wetlands and fish habitats.
Proposal location: case studies include Salton Sea, Mono Lake, and Owens Lake in California and Pyramid Lake in Nevada yet proposal is applicable to numerous locations, particularly in the southwest.
Primary issues: This proposal focuses on America’s impending water crisis, particularly in cities in the southwest where growth is high and water availability is limited, by rethinking water use, distribution, and storage. Using the Salton Sea as a model site, the proposal envisions “converting the Sea back to its recreational use while allowing multiple economic opportunities for the production of water, salt, and more efficient greenhouses.” Here “infrastructure [becomes] an extension of nature.” Island pods provide for salt harvesting, recreation, and new animal habitats.
Mason White, Toronto, ON; Lola Sheppard, Toronto, ON; Daniel Rabin, Toronto, ON; Fei-ling Tseng, Toronto, ON;
Primary issues: “[T]here exists far more potential in a construction project that is estimated to cost up to $1,325.75 per linear foot.” Recognizing the high cost, limited effectiveness and unintended natural consequences of the new, multi-layered US/Mexico border wall (disruption of animal habitats, diversion of water runoff that has caused new flooding in nearby towns), this proposal names 30 alternatives (covering nearly the whole of the Mexican alphabet, literally from Aqueduct wall to Zen wall) that might better combat the energy crisis, risk of death from dehydration, disruption of animal habitat, loss of vegetation, negative labor relations, missing creative vision and lack of cross-cultural appreciation likely in the government sponsored version.
Ronald Rael, Oakland, CA; Virginia San Fratello, Oakland, CA; Emily Licht, Oakland, CA;
Proposal location: Great Lakes Region
Primary issues: Combining the rust belts’ loss of population with its abundance of fresh water, this proposal outlines a strategy for redensification of under-utilized post-industrial landscapes (parts of Milwaukee, Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, and Cleveland) by relocating populations threatened by water scarcity.
Martin Felsen, Chicago, IL; Sarah Dunn, Chicago, IL; Lee Greenberg, Chicago, IL; Jeff Macias, Chicago, IL;
Proposal location: Los Angeles, with other possible urban applications
Primary Issues: Through the development of integrated, ecologically sensitive, and aesthetically compelling architecture, this proposal seeks to turn the often mechanistic infrastructural system of LA – in this case, the waterworks – into an interactive and sensory series of public nodes. As mist platforms/light rail stations, urban beaches, energy producing water treatment plants, solar-panel encased water towers, pools, and aquatic parking lots, these water-based landscapes become organizational moments for community building.
TEAM: Darina Zlateva and Takuma Ono
Darina Zlateva Los Angeles, CA; Takuma Ono, Beverly Hills, CA;
Primary issues: Tapping into the Department of Public Works catalogue of San Francisco’s “unaccepted streets” (those no longer maintained by the city and hence neglected and often impassable), this proposal utilizes various computer models and statistical data to determine and propose new public, park-based uses for these interstitial spaces. Over 1600 of these sites are available, a selection of which are analyzed for the proposal in terms of elevation and topography, microclimate, soil type, hydrology, population density and demographics, economics, crime, and existing networks to determine the most parametrically appropriate transformation of use.
Nicholas de Monchaux, Berkley, CA; David Lung, Berkley, CA; Matt Smith, Berkley, CA; Sara Jensen, Berkley, CA; Thomas Pullman, Berkley, CA; Kimiko Ryokai, Berkley, CA; Benjamin Golder, Berkley, CA; Son Nguyen, Berkley, CA;
SOURCE: WPA 2.0 and cityLAB
IMAGES: Courtesy of WPA 2.0 and cityLAB
IMAGE CREDIT: Copyright and Credit goes to each entry team as noted