Figment, the participatory public arts project on Governor’s Island, is preparing for its fourth annual summer event and has released its call for art and architecture proposals. There are three open competitions:
- Design an individual hole to compose part of an 18-hole mini-golf course. This year’s theme is World’s Fair. This was a very popular installation last year. Proposals are due by March 1.
- Proposals for artworks works to be featured in the City of Dreams Sculpture Garden. 16 works were featured last year. Proposals are due by March 1.
- Design and construct an architectural pavilion for the 2010 summer season which will serve as a gathering and performance space as well as a venue for learning about arts programs on the Island. Registration deadline for this one is February 16th.
(via Governor’s Island Blog)
The Land Art Generator Initiative is hosting an international design competition to design outdoor public art installations that generate renewable energy–in Dubai. While the United Arab Emirates has made most of its wealth by exploiting oil reserves, Dubai has become an international hub for innovative architecture and infrastructure projects due to its dizzyingly rapid pace of development. Two American artists who live in the city have organized the competition, working with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, to explore opportunities for aesthetic intervention as renewable energy production facilities become more intertwined with real estate development. Proposed projects must produce no negative environmental impacts and must be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment. There are no limits on the type of energy generation employed, so long as it is tested.
Examples of potential proposals here revisit the land art movement: sculptural wave energy accumulators; a photovoltaic outdoor video installation; a PV-based camera obscura pavilion. Project organizers continue to seed inspiration for proposals on their blog. No word on whether or how winning proposals will be built, but since so many otherwise-unbelievable projects do make their way to construction in Dubai, there is no ruling out the possibility. Submission deadline is June 4th.
A couple of exciting exhibitions and projects featuring the built and natural environments are currently underway at the MoMA and P.S.1. The MoMA exhibition, “In Situ: Architecture and Landscape”, opened last April and will be running through February 22nd. A small but succinct show, it’s worth visiting.
P.S.1′s recent program “Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront” included a studio residency for Architecture Research Office (ARO), which developed designs for “adaptive ‘soft’ infrastructures” to address rising tidewaters in New York and New Jersey, taking into account the needs of both the metropolis and the coastline ecology. An exhibit of models, drawings and analytical materials produced during the residency will be opening at the MoMA March 24th. In the meantime, the Rising Currents Blog continues to offer interesting reflections on the intersections of urban and hydrological systems.
The NYC Parks Department has partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers to restore wetland habitat near the mouth of the Bronx River in Soundview Park. The project will clear away garbage and debris dumped into the area to allow greater inundation, and then native shrubs and coastal grasses will be planted along the river’s edge. The intention is to restore habitat through clean-up and planting, which will attract clams and worms and, in turn, draw fish to the area. The restoration is in design now, and construction is expected to start later this year.
The project is part of the Bronx River Basin Ecosystem Restoration Study, a larger habitat restoration effort undertaken by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Westchester County and the Army Corps. The Corps conducts research and provides technical services and planning guidance to states, Native American tribes and local governments on the management of water-based and related land resources.
(via the New York Daily News)
When we first caught sight of London’s Northala Fields Park, which opened in May 2008, the similarity in topography to Fresh Kills set off instant recognition–this is filled land. The park’s construction included the creation of four man-made hills filled with construction debris from local projects including the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium and the construction of a nearby shopping center. Transport of this waste to the Northala site saved considerable money over its export to a remote landfill, and the corresponding £6 million went to supporting park development. Almost everything on the site is recycled from the original construction sites–paths, piers, soil. The tallest mound stands 84 feet high.
A design proposal that seemed almost inevitable: New York-based architects Terreform propose the employment of automated robots in reusing garbage sited within the Fresh Kills Landfill to construct buildings and islands. The robots, refashioned from existing industrial equipment, would compact garbage into stackable units and be assembled like building blocks.
Wall-E, anyone? The firm’s proposal, Rapid Re(f)use, bears uncanny similarity to the animated robot’s activities, of course; their cleverness is really rendering the film’s scenario in real world architectural terms to reflect meaningfully on the relationship between the city and its waste. Terreform posits that the entire volume of the Fresh Kills Landfill, in addition to waste newly generated and collected, could be used to construct seven landmasses equivalent in size to Manhattan island. A provocative idea, for sure, and fodder for further academic discourse.
To be clear, though, we’re sticking to the park project.
Gansam Architects’ G.lab* has designed a visitor’s center to host the 2.8 million annual visitors to Korea’s Suncheon wetlands, which, at more than 8,700 acres, make up the world’s fifth largest tidal flat. The proposed design for a Suncheon International Wetlands Center structure is based on the imprints left by receding tides, and the 90,000 sq ft complex would be green-roofed, daylit and stilted above the wetlands so as to reduce impact on the ecosystem. Still, our New York State regulatory context makes us wonder how much shade will be cast on the ecosystem lying under the complex, and if that wouldn’t have a negative impact. Gansam’s site isn’t all in English, so it’s hard to seek out further detail. No word on whether or when the project is expected to be built.
Architecture and urbanism blog mammoth has compiled its review of the best architecture of the past decade. It’s a refreshing list because of its inclusion of projects that stretch outside of what is typically considered ‘architecture’–the Large Hadron Collider, Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment System, the MIT Media Lab’s City Car, the iPhone.
[T]he items on this list have been selected to represent some of the most hopeful trends which impinge upon the territory of architecture (and, occasionally, landscape architecture, as the constant and intentional conflation of the two disciplines which is a mammoth trademark continues). You’ll discover that our criticism of boring lists consists primarily in their being confined to (a) buildings and (b) things built by architects, though our list includes both buildings and things built by architects. In fact, “favorite” might be a better way to describe this list than “best”, but we’ve stuck with “best” because it’s more fun, as you can’t argue about “favorites”.
Field Operations‘ design of Freshkills Park also ranks within the list.
Web Ecoist showcases some incredible feats in green roof and, especially, green wall design around the world. These are always fun and inspiring image galleries, even when the projects seem slightly misguided. At their best, green roofs and walls not only serve as aesthetic amentities, but also provide insulation, purify air and reduce storm water runoff.
The New York Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects is hosting a panel discussion on Restorative Landscapes tomorrow evening, January 14th. The panel will be comprised of:
- Jack Carman, founder of Design for Generations, LLC who specializes in the design of therapeutic gardens, particularly for the elderly;
- Nancy Chambers, director of the horticulture therapy program at the Enid Haupt Glass Garden within the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine;
- Naomi Sachs, founder and director of the Theraputic Landscapes Network and principal of Naomi Sachs Design.
Thursday, January 14th, 6:30 pm
The Arsenal, Fifth Avenue & 65th Street
Admission $20, $15 for NYASLA members
RSVP in advance: RSVP@nyasla.org