The Sydney Park Water Re-Use Project is a seamless intersection of design, art, science and ecology, an outcome achieved by the collaboration landscape architects Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership (TDEP), Alluvium (water and environment), Dragonfly Environmental (ecology) and Turpin + Crawford Studio (public art).
Much has been achieved over the past two decades to transform the Sydney Park site from its former post-industrial history and waste disposal, into 44 hectares of parkland and a vital asset for the growing communities of Sydney’s southern suburbs.
This project forms the City’s largest environmental projects to date, built in partnership with the Australian Government through the National Urban Water and Desalination Plan. It is an integral component of Sustainable Sydney 2030; targeting 10% of water demand to be met through local water capture and re-use in the park. The City also seized the once in a lifetime opportunity to use what was essentially an infrastructure project to breathe new life into the park – as a vibrant recreation and environmental asset for Sydney.
The City engaged a design team led by landscape architects Turf Design Studio and Environmental Partnership who orchestrated an intense and multi-disciplinary collaboration intersecting design, art, science and ecology – in a ‘roundtable’ of creatives shared between water experts Alluvium, artists Turpin + Crawford Studio, ecologists Dragonfly Environmental, engineers Partridge and the City’s own Landscape Architects. Design Landscapes constructed the project.
The beating heart of this project tells a story about water; through its function and processes that enables water to be harvested in its wetlands, made good and returned to viable use within the park and nearby industry. Bio-retention wetlands captures water from the Newtown catchment; the equivalent measure of 850 million Litres/year. Making these water flows and reuse processes visible was an important part of the project, as they highlight the intrinsic relationship between water and urban life, topography, people, plant life and fauna.
The project reinterprets conventional park design, by creating intrigue and dialogue as park users explore and discover ‘moments’ in the landscape that can be at times playful, dramatic and peaceful, but at all times connected to the water narrative of capture, movement, and cleansing. The transformation not only offers inner city residents and the wider community a new place to relax, play and gather in, but it educates on the importance of water management and how improving water quality and reducing potable water can be intrinsically linked into our natural surroundings.
City of Sydney, Turf Design Studio, Environmental Partnership, Alluvium, Dragonfly Environmental, Turpin + Crawford Studio
Award | 2016 MAAS Design Award
Photography | Simon Wood; Ethan Rohloff Photography;
The Dutch design offices Felixx and jvantspijker, together with Orri Steinarsson, have won the international urban design competition in Gufunes, Reykjavik. The task was the strategic redevelopment of a vast coastal area of approximately 140 hectares, at the edge of the city. The winning proposal is committed to transform the area, with striking industrial buildings along the coast and a vast green zone inland, into a haven for urban pioneers. The 1st prize was awarded during a ceremony on Wednesday night (December 7th) by the mayor of Reykjavik. In due course the process to elaborate and implement the project will be developed.
The winning proposal positions the area as an overflow for downtown Reykjavik. Tourism keeps growing, and the city can hardly cope with the increasing pressure on space and program in the center. Gufunes will therefore become an unpolished haven for starters, city pioneers and creative businesses that can no longer be accommodated elsewhere in the city. The vast area is being restructured into a coherent whole. The zone around the existing industrial buildings will be re-densified into a new urban center. The open green area transforms into a multifunctional recreational park for events and large-scale outdoor activities.
The spatial strategy creates the conditions for a phased transformation, able to anticipate on different development speeds. A simple grid structures the industrial area, and a network of paths and roads organize the recreational landscape. The urban and park landscape are linked, and necessary connections with the surrounding urban environment and the shoreline are established. The framework ensures the overall spatial quality and functioning of the area. It both defines the frame and generates the conditions for the re-development of existing and construction of new buildings.
A crucial element is the proposed waterbus service, making Gufunes accessible for commuters and tourists in an environmentally friendly way. The heart of the community is the revitalised pier, where the first phase program is driven by the realisation of the famous Baltasar Kormákur’s film studios in an existing warehouse. Around the pier a wide variety of functions and programs are planned: small businesses, cafes and restaurants, a hotel, residential buildings, leisure and outdoor program. Together these interventions will put Gufunes on the map as a new destination in Reykjavik.
The combination of a new pioneer area and a recreational landscape park add necessary space and non- existing conditions to the city. They enrich the urban ecology: Gufunes as the urban fertilizer for Reykjavik.
“We don’t know what resilience policy will look like in the new administration. There are lots of unknowns, but we can take solace in what we do know,” said Amy Chester, director of Rebuild by Design, at an event in Washington, D.C. that provided updates on how the six teams devising novel resilient designs in the tri-state area are doing two years into planning and design.
Rebuild by Design, a unique cross-sector initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Initiative, and numerous non-profit organizations, was created by President Obama in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast in 2012 and damaged or destroyed 650,000 homes across 13 states. 148 teams submitted proposals to create new layers of defenses that could also be beautiful public amenities. 6 teams went onto receive nearly $1 billion in public financing.
Each team provided a brief update:
Bridgeport, Connecticut (see image above): David Kooris, with the Connecticut state government, explained how his team received $10 million from Rebuild by Design to create a comprehensive plan to make the low-lying, vulnerable South End more resilient to flooding. The funds, which are much less than what they’ve asked for, gave them extra capacity to plan. From that effort, they learned transit-oriented development, combined with surge protection, green infrastructure, and micro-grids should be core of their approach. They have since received another $54 million from HUD’s national resilience competition. Those funds will be split between implementing the project and developing a “state-wide policy” that can guide other coastal Connecticut resilient projects.
Alan Plattus at Yale University, who is involved in the research side of the project, explained how their plan will link two Olmsted-designed parks, Seaside Park, which is already tasked with surge protection duties, and Beardsley Park, at the mouth of the water system. Plattus thinks Olmsted’s original vision was to connect them. Bridgeport will begin implementation in 2019. Learn more.
Hudson River and Meadowlands, New Jersey: Hoboken, the 4th most dense city in America, received $230 million to control flooding. Alexis Taylor, New Jersey state bureau of flood resilience, explained how a network of berms and gates will be created to protect the vast majority of the city during storms. All the infrastructure will be created in public right-of-ways: alleys, plazas, and parks. An undulating sea wall will be aligned towards the interior of the city, rather than the coast. Vital infrastructure is protected. A network of green infrastructure also helps reduce inland flooding.
Taylor said about “85 percent of the city will be on the dry side, but this benefits 100 percent of the population because Hoboken will no longer be an island cut-off when it floods. All evacuation routes will be dry. This plan strikes the right balance.” Learn more in this presentation. Alternative 3 was finally selected by New Jersey’s government after much community input. Balmori Associates are the landscape architects.
Separately, the Meadowlands project received $150 million, which is far less than the $850 million they requested for the 9 miles of flood protection measures needed. As a result, the team is created a set of modular flood protection systems on streets, a “kit of parts, pre-cast, that can be easily scaled or replicated, and enables prototyping.” Pretty smart. MIT CAU, ZUS, and URBANISTEN are the landscape architects and planners on the team. Learn more.
Staten Island, New York City: Alex Zablocki, New York governor’s office of storm recovery introduced Pippa Brashear, ASLA, SCAPE Landscape Architecture, and their project, Living Breakwaters, which will result in a “necklace of breakwaters” off the Staten Island coast that will attenuate the impact of storm surges, build back beaches, create habitat for millions of oysters and fish, and “reconnect people with the shoreline.” SCAPE modeled the shoreline with their engineering team and tested specially-designed concrete that will enable biogenic build-up. Working with the One Billion Oyster Project, they are collecting literally tons of shells from restaurants to reuse in their breakwater reefs and educating the public about their mission. Brashear said the citizens advisory group was critical to the process, as was going out into neighboring communities to “show progress,” and make public events fun, through the use of virtual reality headsets and games.
Final designs will be ready in 2018. They are now working on schematic designs and environmental assessments before partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on implementation. Learn more.
Long Island, New York: Nassau County received some $125 million, less than the $1 billion they asked for, said Laura Manufo, New York governor’s office of storm recovery. A layered solution will focus on integrated stormwater management along a greenway corridor that follows the Mill River, and preventing flooding and storm surge impacts from the bay through “strategically deploying protective measures like constructed marshes and dikes, which in turn will improve water quality and the bay ecology.”
Given the team received far less funds than they hoped, they needed to re-scope, explained Michael Bomar with Tetra Tech. “We narrowed the focus to low and middle income neighborhoods. One thousand acres is more manageable.” But, still, the team is dealing with 45 separate municipal and other stakeholders. An extensive team includes landscape architects H+N+S. Learn more.
Manhattan, New York: The Big U, which received the lion’s share of the Rebuild by Design financing, with $355 million, is designed to numerous communities and billions of real estate along the tip of Manhattan. The Big U will create an integrated system of compartments that can be closed in storms. The first phase to be built will protect the Lower East side, ranging from Montgomery Street up to 23rd Street in Stuyvesant Town, explained Carrie Grassi, City of New York. Most of the infrastructure will overlay the 2.4-mile-long East River Park. New berms accessible via bridges and a series of gates will protect critical infrastructure and communities. Protective measures average 8-9-feet-tall but reach up to 16 feet in some places.
Travis Bunt with One Architecture, a member of the team led by BIG, which also includes Starr Whitehouse landscape architects and Mathews Nielsen landscape architects, said the preliminary design work is done, but now details must be refined. Construction is expected to begin in early 2019.
Hunt’s Point, South Bronx: Jessica Colon, City of New York, said Hunt’s Point has suffered from years of disinvestment and bad planning decisions. It’s a mile from Manhattan, but feels like a world away. Hunt’s Point has a major market, which is one of the key food distribution hubs in the tri-state area, an industrial area, and a smaller residential area. The South Bronx team asked for $800 million but only received $20 million, so they decided to invest that in more planning. Through that process, the community decided to focus on coastal and energy resilience. They have received another $125 million to prototype projects. One realization that came out of their research: critical facilities are not the biggest worry; the “problems are more at the building level.”
Colon said the South Bronx is now at the “vanguard of adaptation. They’ve been ignored by the government for so long. They’ve been to hell and back. They can survive.” Design and construction on prototype projects begins in 2018. OLIN and PennDesign are the planners and landscape architects. After hearing from the teams, Jessica Grannis at the Georgetown Climate Center shared findings from her research into how “public officials overcame challenges to make these projects happen.” She offered a summary of key take-aways, which included:
Create a long-term vision to drive policy and regulatory change. Create regional coordinators, as many issues cross jurisdictional boundaries.
Design berms with benefits. Coastal defenses can offer multiple social and environmental benefits.
Coordinate the layers of authority involved in nature-based coastal resilience projects. In inter-tidal areas, the federal government, state, and local governments will all have a say. Involve regulators early on in a coordinated way.
Leverage public right-of-ways to avoid permitting and ownership issues.
For Grannis, if Rebuild by Design is successful, the projects will not only influence state and federal policy-making for public projects but also for private development.
And she thinks all of this work should have bipartisan support: “Resilience is more important than ever. If you are a Democrat or Republican, you want safe and prosperous communities.”
OMGEVING, a member of the B-DNA partnership and for this competition named ‘OMG-designers and partners’, was awarded the joint first prize in the prestigious international design competition for Han Riverfront Da Nang City. The jury decided to select two laureates out of seven accepted applicants.
The city of Da Nang is located in central Vietnam and consists of five districts. These districts cover a total surface area of 1,250 km² and have a total population of about one million inhabitants. The city of Da Nang, characterized by its two coastlines along the East Sea and the Han River Delta in the city centre, is currently in a state of vast economic expansion and urban development.
A combination of three separate design strategies – ‘green corridor’, ‘green connections’, ‘green program’ – has resulted in one combined masterplan for the Han Delta at the scale of the urban area. These strategies contain solutions for the regeneration of the river’s natural system, stronger slow connections and a sustainable built program.
The three general design strategies have been converted into the design of a masterplan for the Han river, which runs through the city centre over a length of seven kilometres. At the scale of the urban river, a rehabilitation of the riverbanks would be connected to a diverse program within the public space: making use of an extensive recreational walking network, deck paths over the river and next to the riverside and water-taxi stops, you can reach floating river nature, a floating market place, a city park and an urban sport park. The integration of four public buildings adds to the public nature of the river as a whole: from north to south over the whole length of the river there will arise an opera building, waterhub building, a redesigned market hall and a concert hall. The combination of a landscape and architectural design makes for a high quality and diverse riverfront. This masterplan should be the solid base to be able to manage the rapid development of the city, in 2030 up to 1.5 million inhabitants.
This park area transforms both riverbanks in a high quality public park with a customized design for the rapidly expanding city of Da Nang. The key principle remains restoring the river nature in the city while creating a park of which the shape refers to the original riverbanks. These riverbanks will be allocated their new functions according to the implementing program. On one hand there will be water-bound functions such as water-taxi stops and waterhub building, and on the other hand there will be park functions in the form of sports and leisure areas. The introduction of 3,000 new trees will create a design unity at the scale of the city as a whole. The integration of two new (motor)bike and pedestrian bridges, one of which will be a market bridge, allows the park areas at both riverbanks to function as a whole. This integration consolidates the relationship between the eastside and westside of the city of Da Nang. The total construction cost of the strategic park area is estimated at 85 million euro. It is the intent to involve the city closely in the development of the city.
Developing the design, OMGEVING was able to count on the local partners HUNI architectes (France – Vietnam, architecture), NEY&partners (Belgium – Vietnam, design market bridge), Boydens Engineering (Belgium – Vietnam, sustainability) and HYDROSCAN (Belgium, water management).
After the first round of selections out of a group of 39 applicants, OMG-Designers was selected as one of eleven design teams to submit a proposal. Seven of the eleven teams actually submitted a design. The other competing teams represented countries such as Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, France and Germany.
OMGEVING is a design company that has its headquarters in Antwerp and also has a smaller office in Ghent. The firm focuses on urban, landscape and architectural projects, from research to design and execution of the projects. In Flanders, the firm is known for its projects such as Ringland, Plan Landscape Be-Mine in Beringen, Abbey Square in Averbode, Boekenbergpark swimming pond, the vision for Space for Ghent, masterplan former sugar factory Veurne, urban vision for the Linkeroever dikes and the E313-E314 interchange.
 B-DNA (Belgian Design Nature Architecture) is a unique partnership established by Belgian architects, engineers and urban designers (B-Studio), as well as manufacturers of building materials and design products (B-House). Together they have more than 30 years of R&D (research & design) experience in the European construction industry. The common interest of the partners is their focus on sustainability and energy efficient design, together with the establishment of business relations and possibilities in the southeast Asia region. OMG-Designers, Boydens Engineering and NEY&partners are members of B-Studio.
International landscape design competition for Han river
designer | OMGEVING, competition name ‘OMG-designers and partners’
location | Da Nang, Vietnam
client | Vietnam Institute of Architecture
team | Amedeo Ardolino, Andries Deconinck, Carolien Decq, Daphné Roels, Hang Zhang, Luc Wallays, Kevin Favere, Steven Petit partners
HUNI architectes (France – Vietnam), Boydens Engineering (Belgium – Vietnam), Ney&partners (Belgium – Vietnam) en Hydroscan (België)
There were so many great books this year that honing in on just ten favorites was too challenging. Whether you are looking for a unique book to give as a gift or one for yourself to delve into, we have some options. Here’s The Dirt‘s top 15 books of 2016, our picks for the best on the environment, cities, and landscape:
Garden Revolution: How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change (Timber Press, 2016)
Larry Weaner, one of the world’s top meadow designers, and Thomas Christopher have created a reference book on ecological design for gardeners and landscape designers and architects. They write: “By following ecological principles, we can have landscapes that are alive with color, friendly to local wildlife, and evolve over time—with much less work and effort.”
Environmentalism of the Rich (MIT Press, 2016)
Peter Dauvergne, a professor at the University of British Columbia, asks the hard questions: is environmentalism, as it’s practiced in the developed word, failing? Is the mainstream sustainability movement, with its focus on incremental gains, failing the planet? Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute, writes that the book “is required reading for anyone wanting to help ram the movement off its current dead-end path and build a new deep green movement.” Read The Dirt review.
Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life (Liverlight, 2016)
In his latest book, renowned biologist and author E.O. Wilson makes the case for both preserving and restoring half of the Earth, which he believes is possible if we set aside some of the richest places of biodiversity on land and in the oceans. Read The Dirt review.
The Long, Long Life of Trees (Yale University Press, 2016)
Fiona Stafford, a professor who focuses on romantic poetry at Oxford University, has published a lyrical volume on the history of seventeen common trees, including ash, apple, pine, oak, cypress, and willow. She delves into history, paying homage to important specimens from the past, and also explains trees’ critical role in the future fight against climate change.
Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Planning and Design (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2016)
In their new book, editors Frederick Steiner, FASLA, George Thompson, and Armando Carbonell have made complex ideas about urban ecological design incredibly accessible. They make a convincing argument that “ecological literacy” is an “essential base” for anyone involved in urban planning and design today. There are 17 thought-provoking essays from leading landscape architects and planners from around the world.
Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist (Jewish Museum, 2016)
The Jewish Museum in New York City has put together the definitive book on the influential Brazilian landscape architect and artist. In addition to designing more than 2,000 gardens, Burle Marx created paintings, drawings, tile mosaics, sculpture, textile design, jewelry, theater costumes, and more.
Toward an Urban Ecology: SCAPE / Landscape Architecture (The Monacelli Press, 2016)
Kate Orff, ASLA, and her team at SCAPE have created a beautiful book with engaging full-page color photography that delves into Breakwaters, their Rebuild by Design project in Staten Island, and others. The goal of their projects is to “bring together social and ecological systems to sustainably remake our cities and landscapes.” They describe the book as “part monograph, part manual, part manifesto.”
Site, Sight, Insight: Essays on Landscape Architecture (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016)
Landscape historian John Dixon Hunt, who has just retired from University of Pennsylvania, collects twelve of his recent essays in one book. He takes the reader on an intellectual ride, explaining the ways we perceive landscapes, and in turn asking us to examine our own baggage when viewing them, so that we may gain greater insights into landscapes’ true meaning and our own emotions.
Vital Little Plans: The Short Works of Jane Jacobs (Random House, 2016)
In this new collection of the short writings and speeches of Jane Jacobs, one of the most influential thinkers on the built environment, editors Samuel Zipp and Nathan Storring have done readers a great service. They’ve brought together the best of this brilliant autodidact’s arguments for why planners and designers must never forget the importance of small-scale diversity given it results in interesting cities created, first and foremost, for people. Read The Dirt review.
Water Infrastructure: Equitable Deployment of Resilient Systems(Columbia University, 2016)
Developed for the UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, S. Brye Sarte and Morana M. Stipisic, with the Sherwood Institute and Columbia University Urban Design Lab, have created a well-organized guide to resilient green infrastructure for developing-world cities. There are smart solutions for water pollution, climate change, and multiple types of flooding, with real-world examples.
Wild by Design (Island Press, 2016)
A leading advocate of the “wild” landscape movement, landscape architect Margie Ruddick, ASLA, explains how she carefully balances ecological conservation and restoration with a strong sense of design. Ruddick is the 2013 winner of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award. Learn more about Ruddick and the book.
Also, worth knowing: buying these books through The Dirt or ASLA’s online bookstore benefits ASLA educational programs. And if you are based near Washington, D.C. we also recommend checking out the National Building Museum’s fantastic book store.
This winter the Quartier des spectacles Partnership invites Montrealers and visitors to discover Loop, an original installation on the Place des Festivals, on the Quartier des spectacles. The work, which will be presented from December 8 to January 29, consists of 13 giant zoetropes – an optical toy that was a forerunner of animated film. When a zoetrope is activate, images are shown in rapid succession, creating the illusion of motion.
This illuminated musical installation, featuring a distinctive retro-futuristic look, uses cylinders two metres in diameter. Members of the public are invited to sit down inside and activate the mechanism, causing beautiful images inspired by 13 fairy tales to come to life. It’s magical! Loop is sure to spark children’s imagination and revive their parents’ childhood memories.
Loop is a cross between a music box, a zoetrope and a railway handcar – the pump-powered vehicles familiar from Bugs Bunny cartoons. The retro-futuristic machine plays animated fairy-tale loops set in motion when visitors work the lever together. When the cylinder starts spinning, it lights up, making the series of still images appear to move. A flickering strobe effect accompanies the black and white images, like in the very first movies. The animation is visible from inside or outside the cylinder and can be viewed from up close or far away. The speed at which the images move, the frequency of the flickering and the tempo of the music are determined by how fast the participants move the lever.
Superb video projections by Ottoblix will be shown on two buildings overlooking the Place des Festivals: UQAM’s Pavillon Président-Kennedy and, for the first time, the side of the new Wilder Building Espace Danse. The projections feature characters and evocations of the mysterious settings of fairy tales, as well as a series of images representing the looping nature of zoetrope movies.
Loop invites you to feel childlike wonder and get some exercise. Experience winter in the city differently.
Place des Festivals, December 8, 2016 to January 29, 2017
Sunday through Wednesday: noon to 10 p.m.
Thursday through Saturday: noon to 11 p.m.
13 giant wheels
13 different tales, with 24 images each
800 hours of assembly and three months of design work
115 kg of screws (22,000 in all)
20 suppliers throughout Quebec, located in Montreal, Terrebonne, Mirabel, Chicoutimi, Bromont, Plessisville, Saint-Hyacinthe and Laval
15 dedicated volunteers
“We were inspired by the mechanical poetry of the zoetrope to give the public – thanks to digital technology – an extraordinary immersive experience. It will be interesting to see how each person responds, but in any case we want to stimulate everyone’s imagination and encourage all to participate, helping people see public space differently. Loop looks simple, but it is technically complex. It is not the work of one person, but of an imaginative and enthusiastic team. Without them, the project could not have been completed.”
Olivier Girouard and Jonathan Villeneuve, designers of Loop
“Year after year, Luminothérapie keeps getting better, surprising us with daring and original works. Montrealers have the privilege of being part of a renaissance in temporary public art. The Partnership is very proud to provide an exceptional showcase for local artists, who are not only getting exposure locally, but are increasingly acclaimed in other countries thanks to the export of their work.” – Jacques Primeau, chair, Quartier des spectacles Partnership.
Designers | Olivier Girouard, Jonathan Villeneuve and Ottoblix
Contributors | generique design, Jérôme Roy and Thomas Ouellet Fredericks
Produced by Ekumen and the Quartier des spectacles Partnership.
Photography | Ulysse Lemerise/OSA Images
When reductionist artwork, like a Jackson Pollock or Piet Mondrian painting, succeeds, it succeeds in part because of the role it affords us, the viewer. Faced with a vacuum of meaning, we impart our own identities on the work, gratifying ourselves in highly-personal ways. Artist Barbara Grygutis, whose sculptures are featured in the new book, Public Art / Public Space: The Sculptural Environments of Barbara Grygutis, practices a different reductionism. It’s not us, but the sculpture’s setting that completes the composition.
The book’s subtitle tells us a bit about how Grygutis sees herself, not just as a composer of materials, but a composer of environments. Many of her sculptures cast intricately woven shadows, filter and disperse light, or consolidate it into beacons. The resultant spaces are elevated by the sculptural work and reconstituted environmental qualities. Bronx River View is one such example. This collection of sculptures transform the walls of an above-ground subway station into windows and seating. The view works both ways, and the light cast inward onto the train platform illuminate the sculptures and the passage of time.
“If you look back at civilizations, we learn about them through their art,” Grygutis says in an interview at the outset of her book. That’s an edifying thought if we consider Dawn’s Silver Lining, a sculpture that epitomizes Grygutis’ most successful work (see image at top). Set in Salina, Kansas, the surrounding rural landscape is flattened into a silhouette of trees and vegetation and pressed onto perforated aluminum: the reduction process. The silhouettes are then re-extruded by the light, the quality of which is constantly changing.
It’s not always enough to simply reduce. There must be a re-introduction of substance into the artwork. Without this — or with too uncritical a reduction — the piece can suffer from a poverty of meaning. Grygutis’ Drop in Prewitt Park is a 35-foot steel and glass sculpture of a water drop. Set centrally to rippling landforms, the sculpture is intended to read as the moment of congruence between water and earth. Instead, because of the drop’s very recognizable and very flat form, it reads as a corporate logo, a symbol rather than a system.
This logo-ization of complex system holds back a few of Grygutis’ sculptures that seem to have powerful ideas behind them. Weather, an oblique steel and glass structure located in North Richland Hills, Texas, is meant to evoke the meteorological systems that our landscape is subject to. But the pattern emblazoned in the glass says less about our weather systems than a barometer. Grygutis’ sculpture Signs and Symbols, Symbols and Signs, is quite literally a giant symbol, π, comprised of several other symbols borrowed from keyboards and calculators. There’s literalness in this and other Grygutis sculptures may put an expiration date on them.
Other projects, like Flaming Arroyo in Las Vegas and Frequencies, a project slated for completion in 2017 in Palo Alto, feel timeless. The latter, which is comprised of five perforated aluminum sculptures and set on a tech campus, indexes electromagnetic frequencies that are ordinarily invisible to us.
This is Grygutis at her most impactful, manifesting the unseen or ignored forces of our environment with sculptural interventions that beg people to slow down and take notice.
For 40 years, Rundle Mall in Adelaide, South Australia, has been a place for people to shop, dine and gather with friends. The Adelaide City Council commissioned HASSELL and ARUP to revitalise this much-loved civic space, creating an exciting destination and prosperous city precinct.
Stimulating community engagement and the local economy
Rundle Mall became a pedestrian shopping district in 1976. Today it comprises over 700 retail stores, 350 commercial businesses, three department stores and 15 arcades connected by 10,000 sqm of open public space.
To improve the mall’s urban environment and entice a broader range of visitors – and encourage them to stay longer and contribute to the local economy – HASSELL and ARUP led a collaborative design process to create a place that could adapt over time to suit the needs of South Australians.
The new Rundle Mall needed to be a place that could grow along with the fast-changing nature of contemporary society, which favours experiences over static transactions – so it had to be able to support pop-up events and business through ‘plug and play’ infrastructure and anticipate future changes.
An authentic design that opens up the mall for the people
Our design for the revitalised Rundle Mall focused on creating more space for the public. By removing dated, superfluous structures from the mall’s central spine, we opened up the area to redefine its character and use.
The design was inspired by the shifting patterns of the South Australian landscape. A stone-paved promenade improves access, grading and flood resistance across the entire space. Timber plinths at the entrances have become popular gathering, and the doubling of trees throughout the mall will increase shade and comfort while framing views of heritage buildings. The central focus of the mall at the Gawler Place junction is highlighted by a beautifully lit canopy by night, setting the stage for productions and events.
Great experiences for the Adelaide community
Rundle Mall has become the vibrant, vital heart of Adelaide, and our short, medium and long-term strategies to attract people to the mall will ensure its future success.
Curated ‘pop-ups’ – like outdoor cinema, fashion events and music performances – by the Rundle Mall Management Authority, Council and other event organisers mean the environment continually changes over the days, weeks and seasons. The central promenade has also become a route for public parades and demonstrations.
“What’s important about the mall is the people and activity in it. It’s bringing the humanity back to what has become a commodity,” said Tim Horton, Former South Australian Commissioner for Integrated Design.
With President-elect Trump coming into office vowing to raise $1 trillion for infrastructure, many cities and states see a potential bonanza for high-speed rail development, bridge and highway repair, and, hopefully, urban transportation networks. As former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell noted at The Atlantic‘s summit on infrastructure, the Republican agenda is to let localities decide — and that should hold true for their infrastructure priorities as well, even if it means bike lanes, which a number of Republican Congressional lawmakers have come out against. At the summit, experts called for using this investment opportunity to create smarter, more resilient infrastructure, unleash new technologies, and move to more equitable approaches for long-term financing.
Brendan Shane, regional director at C40 Cities, argues that with any new federal infrastructure investment, there is an opportunity to make infrastructure low-carbon and resilient. Complete green streets enable all forms of travel, but especially climate-friendly ones like walking and biking. The national energy grid is woefully outdated and could be updated to be more energy-efficient. Water systems could be made more cost-effective and resilient through the use of green infrastructure. However, he cautioned that “$1 trillion won’t go very far. Los Angeles just approved $120 billion in projects, and that was just one city.”
Improving resilience is the primary focus of Norfolk, Virginia, said Christine Morris, the chief resilience officer of this coastal city. Norfolk, which hosts the largest naval base in the U.S., just finalized its Vision 2100, which creates a road map for resilience and adaptation to both land subsidence and flooding from sea level rise. She said “resilient cities don’t wait for someone to save them, they move forward and find partners.”
Morris was optimistic the department of defense and federal government will continue to invest in making the base and the city that houses it more resilient. Norfolk plans on creating a layered system of defenses with wetlands, green infrastructure, berms, and gates. “The federal government wants to keep and protect national assets.”
He said second-tier cities like Pittsburgh — the site of Uber’s self-driving ride-share experiments — are great places to test new transportation technologies, “as they can get things done faster.”
Klein sees a mix of driven and autonomous vehicles for “a long time,” with a painful transition period over the next 20 years. Eventually, with the explosion of automated ride-share vehicles, 90 percent of cars in dense urban cores will go away, freeing up space for housing and parks.
Christoff noted that one of the biggest obstacles for automated vehicles are potholes, which cause confusion for the computers. She said Uber may eventually share the data automated vehicles collect on potholes with local transportation departments. If they are fixed, it would be a win-win for the private and public sectors.
Klein said cities can also turn to the public for help in fixing potholes, asking them to identify and submit information. In D.C., when he was transportation commissioner, he created Pot-hole-palooza, a crowd-sourcing effort, and then sent out an “auto pothole killer.”
While Trump aims to use some mix of private and public funds for infrastructure, there was discussion on what happens long-term after the money has been spent. The federal gas tax hasn’t been increased since the 1972. One innovative model piloted by Oregon last year finances road and highway investment through a usage fee, a tax for miles traveled, instead of the usual federal gas tax. Some 5,000 cars participated in the pilot.
Instead of privileging the low-gas use of hybrid vehicles, the system, which involves adding a small USB-like device into cars’ speedometers, treats all miles traveled the same. “It’s more equitable, and the payment system is transparent. At the end of the month, you receive a bill like you do for water or cell phone service,” explained Richard Geddes, with the American Enterprise Institute. As part of the scheme, there are rebates for any gas taxes.
In a poll from last year, Oregonians were split on the idea of replacing the federal gas tax with a mileage based approach. Still, the idea of charging vehicle owners based on how much they actually use and wear down roads seems more direct, understandable, and fair.
Singapore has announced it will build a polder designed by Royal HaskoningDHV with local partner Surbana Jurong that will add 810ha to Pulau Tekong, one of Singapore’s largest islands.
Traditionally, sand has been used to fill the area to be reclaimed above sea level. This new approach involves building a dike around the area to be reclaimed and draining the water from it – a 400 year old Dutch proven method. This will allow the reclaimed area to be built at a lower level and hence significantly reduce the amount of sand needed for land reclamation.
Royal HaskoningDHV and local consultancy Surbana Jurong carried out the detailed study and engineering design with Singapore’s Housing & Development Board for this development located in the northeast of Singapore. The studies and design were carried out together with Professor Kees d’Angremond as an expert adviser and Deltares as a Specialist Consultant.
Rising sea levels
Mr Loh Yan Hui, Deputy CEO for Infrastructure, Surbana Jurong, added, “Innovative and cost effective reclamation solutions are needed to help countries tackle the challenge of rising sea levels as a result of global warming. This partnership with Royal HaskoningDHV is the first of its kind in this region. Royal HaskoningDHV’s global experience in polder reclamation combined with Surbana Jurong’s coastal engineering experience and knowledge of the local environment in Asia puts us in a unique position to offer innovative and cost effective reclamation solutions to clients in Singapore and the region.”
This project is estimated to commence at the end of 2017 and complete in 2022.