This is an interesting project in Amsterdam that both respects and transforms a traditional setting. This would be provocative in places like downtown Boulder and LoDo in Denver that have a rich tradition of brick. click here for the YouTube Video.
the experience of being in the air and zooming through and over a place ... the bicycle highline! [video width="640" height="480" mp4="http://www.re-architecture.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/P1070329.mp4"][/video]
cykelslangen! Eight years in the making.
The bike culture is intense in Copenhagen. A complete bike infrastructure and flat terrain makes biking easy, safe and something EVERYONE does. I have seen a cargo bike with 4 young kids in it, a conservative man in traditional muslim clothing, women in spike heels, men in suits, and everything in between. As my colleague here said people imagine it like a vacuum cleaner: no gear needed to vacuum the house, just another tool you use in life. Bikes on trains, dedicated bike lanes throughout, a clear set of rules, and a compact city make it all work so that more than 50% of the the city is on bikes. Some main thoroughfares into the city have 35,000 bikes per day - more bikes than cars!! A new bike share is starting (white bikes) that is an e-bike with a built in tablet - high tech. Driving is a real hassle especially in the center city but biking is a joy keeping people healthy, fit, and on time. Even on the open roads outside the city there is a dedicated lane. Here are a few greatest hits:
Colleague and friend is always innovating and inspiring the next generation. Like the incredible digifab panels he created for our mapleton project. check out the incredible work he is doing with his students at UC Boulder!
Here is a link to a blog post by Victor Olgay of the the Rocky Mountain Institute. He is a principal there and was a recent juror at the US DOE annual Solar Decathlon competition. We also share time at the University of Colorado Design Review Board His thoughts about the competition I believe extend more broadly to be a very powerful statement about how architecture should be practiced today. I taught a design studio at CU Boulder that was the beginning of the first CU entry (which ultimately won that year!) It has come a long way.
Please have a read:
Last week I took a one day adventure to Williston, North Dakota - ground zero in the new fracking boom. With prices that rival Manhattan and exceed Boulder, it is a surreal combination of man camps, a classic mid-western downtown, beautiful prairie landscape with bluffs and the Missouri River and the ubiquitous pick-up truck as a modern necessity to take on the roads. The contrasts are extreme - with new 3-4 story apartment buildings on the fringe, rows of trailers, repetitious houses, and remnants of the last boom. We are tasked with "Quality Control": how can we bring a bit of design quality to a place where people work 7 days a week and 18 hours a day. What does a sense of place mean hear? How can the design of buildings, streets, and public space add to the good life here. We will be exploring these questions in the coming months to try and understand what 'quality' means in this curious place.
Here is another piece about how our daily life and the way it is organized (both our scheduling and the physical organization) are critical aspects to whether physical activity is integral to our routine. It is interesting when you turn the lens back on one self how the small decisions add up to a lifestyle.
One way to think about activity andhow we live our lives.
Thursday night was the second ULI Boulder Salon at Shine. Martha Roskowski of Bikes Belong presented a fantastic overview of the bike situation - from Copenhagen and Amsterdam to New York and Chicago to Boulder. What lessons can we learn? How can we intensely increase our biking in what many consider biking nirvana - except in the Downtown and east of Folsom and Broadway and so many other palaces. while the off street network is great and always getting better, the on-street network is largely an add-on that makes people not really feel safe (28th Street anyone?) 1% biking in the US, 10% in Boulder compared to 50% in Copenhagen!! Well we still have a way to go. And to get to 25% here by 2020 is a radical goal. There was a great discussion but the transition to a truly bike centric town from the American suburban nation that is much of Boulder will be an interesting challenge!
I just saw the very powerful film "Chasing Ice" that documents the disappearanceof the glaciers in the far north - indisputable evidence of global warming and the profound changes that are happening on our earth. It is another warm December (!!!) day in Boulder and it makes you think. Superstor Sandy, the decimation of the beautiful forests in the west thanks to the pine beetle and forest fires and the rest!!! The film provides stunning photography and clear physical evidence of the changes on one key part of our planet. It is amazing to me that there are still deniers out there but this should help put that to rest!
See the movie!!! Visit the site: www.chasingice.com Get the app.
And it may help move us out of our complacency to take action. And what can you do? what can I do?
Design a new way of living: low carbon buildings and places that create a new paradigm - linked to the past and the future. Create places of lasting beauty and value - that bring meaning to our lives and consider how using less can create MORE.
ULI (Urban Land Institute) Fall Meeting was last week in Denver. There is always such a huge array of offerings at large conferences and I am but one person but a few trends seemed to emerge from my observations and discussions with others: - Enrique Penalosa spoke of a radical re-thinking of the city and especially the suburbs. This is based on an intense introduction of open space, pedestrian-only spaces, transit, and density. He rightly suggests that the backward looking approach of New Urbanism is not equipped to deal with the opportunities and challenges of the present and future. New ideas about water, energy, biophilia, food, community, resources, transit, and culture make the traditional city need a substantial re-thinking.
- Many sessions, culiminating in the Bulder Urban Agriculture Tour in Boulder on Saturday highlighted the new opportunities to integrate agriculture directly into our cities and towns. Medians, left-over spaces, yards, and open space all become chances to bring food closer to where we live, create fresh local and affordable food and create a strong sense of community. It is a new definition of mixed use and provides a new way to think about space, place, and food. And it is the new amenity in communities: out with the golf courses, in with the gardens!!
-Health is the new gold standard of sustainability. This reminds us again that the ultimate purpose of the built environment is for people and to foster health on many levels. Current design practice and the planning of our cities can create disease especially obesity and diabetes brought about by inactivity. The best neighborhoods promote health by making movement mandatory and enjoyable - a natural part of daily living. And integrate local healthy food, And community.
Make sure you get your 10,000 steps a day. It keeps the doctor away.
An amazing few days. Starting in Cambridge, seeing my son off to the Moral Cognition lab at Harvard and seeing one of my favorite buildings - the Carpenter Center of Visual Arts by Le Corbusier, where the sidewalks becomes a promenade experiencing the building from galleries and studios.
Then off to China: From the airport train at 300 km/hr to bikes with flowers to Patrik Shumacher (Zaha Hadid's partner) lecturing at Tongji a great few days in Shanghai. On to the next week in Shanghai and month in Nanjing exploring urban design and architecture with my students in China and coming up with a designed response to this interesting, wild, mixed-up place!
My friend Steve and I are designing a “mountain village” – a cluster of attached homes and apartments with a sense of community, a center, a mix of uses and and a departure from the norm of single family suburbia found in the area around the site. We are also seeking to create an architectural approach for the project that connects the buildings to the land and is authentic to its time and place.
We have done a lot of cycling together so the other day we did our morning ride which functioned as the perfect setting for a meeting – watching the prairie roll by, a a great blue heron flies over, we pass the buffalo herd, and the metal clad barn, come upon a house with some interesting material and formal approaches that we have to stop and photograph. And explore the idea of the asymmetrical duplex to create diversity and identity.
Then past the old house to a large modern horizontal stucco house perched in the foothills, past the Greenbriar and the warehouse, with a discussion of management and schedule and culture and then back to Boulder. A sublime 1-1/2 hours that advanced the project in a way that may be impossible in the setting of our office. A context that allows the mind to roam, to merge the creative and the experiential, that connects the ideas of the project to our world around us. Now we have to draw it up!!
This will make you smile on your daily commute!! RTD could learn a few things!
And still one more way to get around and make money as you do it!!
Thanks to the Linked In Urbanist group for the links!!
There are limits to density. But a compelling image of the human capacity to live and adapt (to) their environment. Amazing pictures by Greg Girard.
It is also strikingly similar to Shibam: the Manhattan of the desert, an incredible vernacular city in Yemen. Very old city of 8-10 stories, all in mud brick. It also did not meet Hong Kong building codes! But it is very beautiful and socially and climatically highly adapted to its place.
I wandered into the Monday night weekly celebration at Prospect in Longmont. Designed as a New Urbanist community by the usual suspects, it has matured into a real place with a heart and soul. This was in fine evidence on Monday night when food trucks circled the green, highlighted by live music, dogs, kids, wine, and good conversation with old friends. It is interesting how the physical place enables the event: the road for the trucks, the green surrounded by buildings with some mass, and a nearby liquor store in my building as a supplement to the trucks!
Unlike many 'master-planned' communities, this has evolved into a wonderful and quirky kind of place thanks to individualism and character: in the architecture, in the shops, and the people. Kiki Wallace, the developer, is a character whose spirit imbues the place ... and his insistence that the lots be sold and developed a few at a time rather than by a larger developer in builder. I took advantage of this with a small mixed use project as did many others, giving the place an idiosyncratic feel. This has created diversity in the character of the place from a neo-traditional older section (older means only a little over years or so but in a quirk of fate the older section has the traditional architecture!) to the newer contemporary buildings in the commercial area. I chose to develop and design a small mixed use building here that has been, like Prospect itself, a mix of design exploration, marginal real estate, and mellowing with time. As a friend who moved to Prospect from Boulder says, the place has a feeling of quality, of community, of soul that he did not find in the Holiday Neighborhood. The big difference is not only the people but also the leadership set by Kiki. It is nearly impossible to have that quirkiness in a larger commercial developer, the one-off incremental lot development, the mixed use, the range of styles and approaches ... It has also been helped along by being on the site of Kiki's family tree farm so there are beautiful mature trees!
In a search for authenticity and meaning in our world, especially in the realm of contemporary design and the making of new places, it is refreshing to see where it actually works! A number of factors have conspired to pull this off; it has been a long and sometimes difficult road for Prospect but it slowly just gets better and better. And the pulled pork sandwich and the lamb sliders were excellent!