… Washington D.C. and New Delhi
The more you travel, the more you realize the similarities between different parts of the world. Each time I visit Washington D.C. it reminds me of New Delhi. So I thought of penning down these similarities and share them on this blog.
To begin with, both are capitals of two democratic nations (U.S.A. and India), that have many buildings housing government offices. The urban scale on which they were built and the urban image that they present, have many strikingly beautiful similarities. These include low-rise structures, tree-lined avenues, round-abouts and plenty of well-maintained green open spaces. In New Delhi Rajpath connects Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate. It provides a strong axis of symmetry with green parks and water bodies on both sides. In Washington D.C. the open space between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington monument is symmetrical with a large water body in the middle and green parks beyond.
The government buildings in both the cities have a regal grandeur created with classical architecture and the choice of the building materials (beige and rust sandstone in New Delhi, white marble in Washington D.C.). Both cities house very elegant memorials in the midst of serene landscapes. New Delhi has Raj Ghat, Shantivan, Vijay Ghat and Shakti Sthal. Washington D.C. has the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial etc.
Well, I am sure there are many more similarities but the most delightful similarity is in the choice of its trees. Both have lovely trees that were thoughtfully chosen and planted. Washington D.C. has Cherry trees with an abundance of blossoms (see above) that attract many visitors. New Delhi has Jamun trees that bear jamun fruits. The suburbs have plenty of Gulmohar (Delonix Regia) and Amaltas (Golden Shower) trees. These are a visual feast with flowers in orange and yellow colors respectively.
Before I wrap up, here is a bit about the Cherry blossom festival in Washington. Its normally from March 27 to April 11. It transforms the outdoors in Washington D.C. into heaven. Cheers to Spring!
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A New York City Council committee has approved a modified version of a plan to add four new buildings to New York University in Greenwich Village.
The Land Use Committee voted 19-1 Tuesday in favor of a 1.9-million-square-foot expansion plan.
The proposal was reduced about 20 percent since it was presented to a public hearing on June 29.
NYU Senior Vice President Lynne Brown said the plan will help New York City remain economically vibrant.
Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the district, said NYU made significant concessions in its modified proposal.
But Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Preservation Society called the downsizing a drop in the bucket.
The full City Council vote is expected on July 25.
Via NY Post
architecture, architecture jobs, Hiring trends, jobs, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, recession, Urban Planning
AIA NY, architecture, jobs, unemployed architects
Developer Larry Silverstein is said to have offered a way to to build and pay for a facility in back of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Guess what’s in it for him.
On Tuesday, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye told a Crain’s Breakfast Forum about an idea proposed by developer Larry Silverstein to build and pay for a much-needed Manhattan bus garage. Mr. Foye called it “interesting, provocative,” but he offered no details.
A source said the idea, floated during last year’s leadership transition at the Port Authority from Christopher Ward to Mr. Foye, involves developing a site on West 39th Street and Dyer Avenue used most recently by Mercedes-Benz by the service road that funnels traffic to and from the Lincoln Tunnel just southwest of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Mr. Silverstein, who has a long-term letter of intent with the owner to develop that building, proposed constructing a bus garage capped by a residential tower.
Unanswered questions include how big the tower would have to be to generate sufficient income to finance the construction of the garage, and whether anyone would want to live on top of a bus garage in the heavily trafficked area. It also remains to be seen how much the Port Authority would pay.
Certainly, the idea of the Port Authority doing business again with Silverstein Properties presents political hurdles given the two entities’ complex relationship at the World Trade Center site. The developer declined to comment for this article.
On the plus side, a bus garage-cum-residential complex would solve a number of thorny logistical problems for the agency, which abandoned a bus garage development for lack of funds.
Because there’s no room inside the bus station and nowhere else to park, hundreds of New Jersey Transit buses return empty to the Garden State after dropping off morning commuters in Manhattan. They come back to the city to pick up passengers in the afternoon. A bus garage nearby would cut down on trans-Hudson River traffic, reduce air pollution and save money on fuel.
Part of the savings could be used by the Port Authority to lower terminal fees for short-haul intercity buses, including discount carriers that are under fire for using city sidewalks to load and unload passengers. Bus companies that use the terminal have already threatened to leave because they pay millions of dollars in rent and say free curbside parking for their competitors is unfair.
State legislation would actually allow the city to issue permits for private buses to pick up on the sidewalk. A bus garage could open space at the bus station for discount carriers like Megabus.com, which has a permit to use West 41st Street just outside the bus station as a depot.
“You could get more buses into the terminal,” the source said. “But you’d have to ban them from these sidewalk pickups.”
The insider called Mr. Silverstein’s idea “intriguing,” but it may be a pipe dream.
Mr. Foye would say only that he’s looking at fixing the problem. “It’s a serious question under serious review,” he said.
architecture, architecture jobs, Design, Engineering, Urban Planning
Christopher Ward, Developer Larry Silverstein, Larry Silverstein, Lincoln Tunnel, Megabus, new jersey transit, Patrick Foye, port authority bus, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, transportation, travel, World Trade Center, WTC
Monumental victims of dwindling finances, public backlash and political roadblocks, many designs from the world’s most celebrated architects never broke ground. Promising much in their form and magnitude, the stunning structures exist only as colorfully rendered visions on a lost landscape. Here, man’s best unmade plans.
Zaha Hadid's proposed Dubai Performing Arts Center was a 2009 victim of the global economic slowdown.
In his classic novel “Invisible Cities,” Italo Calvino envisioned a building, in a city called Fedora, containing a series of small globes. The visitor peering into each would see a small city, a model of a different Fedora. “These are the forms the city could have taken,” wrote Calvino, “if for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today.” In the real world, one can stand on a street in Manhattan and look into one’s iPhone, where the app “Museum of the Phantom City: Other Futures” reveals the New York that might have been: from the fantastic (Buckminster Fuller’s projected Midtown-covering dome) to the nearly realized (Diller and Scofidio’s Eyebeam Museum).
Architectural history is told by the victors, city skylines their monuments. But there are also missing monuments, those projects which, by dint of political folly, the capricious tides of public taste or simple financial overreach, never break ground. The credit crisis, for example, has turned a presumptive architectural fantasyland in Dubai, that emirate of excess—where submerged hotels or $3 billion cities in the form of chessboards were the order of the day—into a graveyard of gauzy renderings.
The financial collapse claimed so many schemes that the architectural and design provocateurs Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym, known for their small metal replicas of such buildings as the Chernobyl plant (as part of the “Buildings of Disaster” series), began in 2009 to produce a series of so-called “Recession Souvenirs,” projects like Norman Foster’s Russia Tower. “But the series was short-lived,” says Constantin Boym, speaking from Doha, Qatar. “There was not much enthusiasm in this black humor any more.” (The few that were made, however, are highly collectible.)
As is suggested by their difficulty in getting built, unbuilt projects are often superlative in some sense, as much a statement as an edifice. Boris Iofan’s neoclassical Palace of the Soviets, for example, on which construction began in 1937, gradually morphed (with input from Stalin) into what would have been the world’s largest skyscraper. War intervened, however, and its steel frame was repurposed into bridges in 1941.
Norman Foster's Russia Tower. Photos: Renderings to Remember - These brilliant designs from some of the world's greatest architects never saw the light of day.
Even when absent, unbuilt projects can exert a curiously powerful hold on the cultural imagination: Étienne-Louis Boullée’s massively spherical 18th-century cenotaph for Isaac Newton still looms, like the Montgolfier balloon that was said to have inspired it, over the architectural landscape. The 1960s British proposal by Cedric Price for his Fun Palace, with its visual echoes in the Centre Pompidou, now looks prophetic.
Perhaps the most common, and salient, feature of unbuilt projects is that every architect, at some point in his career, will design one—or several. Will Jones, author of “Unbuilt Masterworks of the 21st Century,” says these are not necessarily negatives in an architect’s career. “If an architect can look back upon it without too much bitterness, it’s the perfect area to test out ideas,” he says. “It’s a proving ground, that they take on and can use in future buildings.” Jones notes that Richard Rogers’s Welsh Assembly building, for example, contains ideas from his unbuilt Rome Congress Center design, which itself, the firm notes, advanced themes from a competition for the Tokyo International Forum project.
The building itself hardly sailed to completion; Rogers was briefly fired from the project. But he ultimately avoided the fate of Zaha Hadid, whose Cardiff Bay Opera House, one of the most lamented unbuilt projects of the past few decades, crashed amid the rocky shoals of politics—nationalist, classist (The Sun denounced using Lottery funds for a project for “Welsh toffs”) and aesthetic. “It devastated us,” Hadid says. But this, and a subsequent slew of unbuilt competition entries, “tested our ideas on landscape topography, and you can see the results of this now in all of our work.” Hadid may be the only architect with two unbuilt opera houses (a project in Dubai was terminated), not to mention a celebrated—and built—opera house in Guangzhou, China.
Sometimes unbuilt projects turn out to have a rather unexpected second life. The young Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose firm designed the Danish Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, entered a competition in 2008 for a resort project in the north of Sweden. The firm lost the competition. But when they showed the work to a Chinese developer, he was struck by the fact that the building’s shape resembled the Chinese character for “people.” The firm hired a feng shui master, scaled the building up to “Chinese proportions,” and the “People’s Building” is now slated for Shanghai’s Bund.
With China’s expanding economic might, its low-cost labor, and relative lack of restrictions in blank-slate cities like Guangzhou, unbuilt projects have been a rarity. This is common in places where economic booms and cultural dreams conspire. As Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne argues, “Los Angeles was known for much of the 20th century as the city where anything—and everything—could and did get built, from massive subdivisions, to avant-garde houses clinging to hillsides, to hot dog stands shaped like hot dogs.”
On the flip side, however, sits another kind of “unbuilt” architecture—that which is torn down. And Los Angeles, Hawthorne says, rarely paused to reflect as it knocked down iconic architecture. Today, he says, with open land more scarce, seismic and other building codes constricted, it’s much harder to get things built. So now, as it is elsewhere, the destroyed and the unbuilt jostle in the collective imagination, and, as Hawthorne describes it, “the black-and-white photograph of the long-ago destroyed landmark is now joined in the collective imagination by the sleek digital rendering of the high-design project that couldn’t get financing.”
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Article in WSJ
architects, architecture, modern architecture, modern buildings, new buildings, Urban Planning
Bjarke Ingels, Christopher Hawthorne, Constantin Boym, Invisible Cities, Laurene Leon Boym, Norman Foster, TOM VANDERBILT, Wall Street Journal, Will Jones, Zaha Hadid
President Barack Obama has appointed Edwin Schlossberg, an interactive media designer and husband of Caroline Kennedy, to serve on a federal panel that helps oversee the architecture and design of the nation’s capital.
The White House announced the appointment Tuesday night for the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts among other diplomatic and cultural posts. Schlossberg has a design firm in New York.
Members of the arts panel play a key role in shaping Washington architecture, including the design of new memorials or museums added to the National Mall or other parts of the city. Seven commissioners appointed by the president serve four-year terms without compensation.
Past members have included architects, landscape architects and artists, including Daniel Chester French who sculpted the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.
Hat tip Associated Press
architecture, architecture critic, architecture jobs, government architecture, Uncategorized, Urban Planning
Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Chester, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall, Obama, U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
An exhibit at the American Institute of Architects headquarters shows off the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system
The architecture firm Farr Associates, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the U.S. Green Building Council have produced a fantastic exhibit on how to create green neighborhoods. It opened in Chicago last year and is now on display at the American Institute of Architects headquarters in Washington.
This carries some symbolism. When it comes to sustainable communities, the architecture profession has been both hero and villain. It has been a hero because many of the early (and continuing) leaders of smart growth and sustainability in our built environment have been architects, from William McDonough to Peter Calthorpe, from Andres Duany to David Dixon. Frankly, in my opinion, architects were way ahead of the environmental community in forging solutions to sprawl. And it’s a good thing that they were, because they gave us environmentalists something positive to advocate.
Continue with article via The Atlantic
aia, architects, architecture, architecture critic, built environment, carbon-neutral office building, Design, eco building, Green Architecture, green buildings, Green Built Environment, Urban Planning
aia, American Institute of Architects, Andres Duany, Chicago Architecture Foundation, David Dixon, Farr Associates, LEED, Peter Calthorpe, sustainable communities, The Atlantic, U.S. Green Building Council, William McDonough
When I attended the University of Miami School of Architecture from 1974-1976 (before transferring to Pratt) my studio director was Andres Duany. He was a relative unknown and had recently graduated from Columbia. I have very fond memories of my time in his classes.
A slide presentation is available at www.PortAuPrinceRP.com.
Famed Miami architect and planner Andres Duany’s government-commissioned blueprint for the reconstruction of Port-au-Prince’s quake-decimated historic city center envisions a new, middle-class residential, commercial and governmental district literally built upon the rubble of the old.
While sparing the few remaining viable structures — including, most significantly, the partially collapsed National Palace — the plan would start virtually with a clean slate. It calls for clearing much of the badly damaged city center, encompassing some 25 city blocks, which pre-earthquake contained a dense mix of government buildings, homes, a commercial district and a cruise port.
Duany’s Miami firm, known for its advocacy of traditional, pedestrian-friendly urban planning, was commissioned by the Haitian government to develop the plan in collaboration with The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, a charity backed by Britain’s Prince Charles that supports ecologically sound planning and building.
The planners outlined their ideas this week in Port-au-Prince after weeks of research and a weeklong public workshop. A final version of the plan, which would have to be adopted by the government, is due in mid-February. Whether Haiti can muster the will or the financing, though, remains an open question. Enacting the plan would require a blend of government funding, private investment and foreign aid.
On ground raised above flood levels by the use of demolition rubble, the plan calls for self-contained blocks mixing one- and two-story residential and commercial buildings to be constructed in small, incremental phases. While street fronts would be public, courtyard interiors would be secure and private and include parking. Small corner parks would dot most blocks.
The plan also proposes a Classically inspired, naturally ventilated prototype for new government buildings to replace those toppled by last year’s catastrophic earthquake.
Key to Duany’s overall rebuilding strategy would be luring back to central Port-au-Prince some of the Haitian middle class that had decamped for the city’s hilltop suburbs — the only financially viable way for the old city center to be rebuilt, Duany has said in interviews.
Reconstruction of the city would be impossible without the investment and income of middle- and upper-class property owners, Duany says.
The plan outlines three possible approaches to rebuilding.
To keep initial costs down, one approach would be to rebuild a single block at a time, with each urban “village” containing at its center its own power generation, water and sewer capabilities, at a cost of about $3.7 million per block. That would avoid the need for a large, upfront and improbable investment to replace destroyed utilities across the entire urban center.
But that approach would over time be far more expensive — a total of $440 million — than doing everything at once with centralized utilities, which the planners estimated would cost $175 million.
The plan would require new building codes and zoning rules to control what can be built. It proposes a range of rigor, with the loosest set of regulations allowing informal construction in the interior of each block.
A contemplated retail complex and waterfront promenade would cater to an incipient tourist trade from the cruise port to supplement government and small-business employment.
Along the waterfront, mangroves would be replanted to protect the shoreline from storms.
Duany, whose firm, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., drew up Miami’s new pedestrian-friendly Miami 21 city zoning code, also has designed prefabricated shelter housing for Haiti. He also has designed redevelopment projects for post-Katrina New Orleans, although only small parts have been implemented.
Via The Miami Herald
architecture, buildings, built environment, Design, Engineering, government architecture, new buildings, Urban Planning
Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Prince Charles, University of Miami School of Architecture