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Found 93 results

  1. Pas certain que retirer la gestion de stationnement des arrondissements est souhaitable. Je comprends le vouloir de simplifier les règles du jeu stationnement mais les fuis de trafique, le nombre et genre de commerces (bar, restaurent, boutique), rue résidentielle etc. sont très différents d'un arrondissement a l'autre voir a l’intérieure même d'un arrondissement. This will no doubt tickle Luc Fernandez. http://www.lapresse.ca/actualites/montreal/201512/16/01-4931755-revision-en-profondeur-du-stationnement-a-montreal.php
  2. http://nymag.com/homedesign/urbanliving/2012/hudson-yards/ Atop the 1,300-foot office tower, soon to rise at 33rd Street and Tenth Avenue, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse From 0 to 12 Million Square Feet In a few weeks, construction begins on New York’s largest development ever. Hudson Yards is handsome, ambitious, and potentially full of life. Should we care that it’s also a giant slab of private property? An exclusive preview. By Justin Davidson Published Oct 7, 2012 ShareThis On a Friday afternoon in September, a conclave of architects and real-estate executives gathers in a hotel conference room to look over plans for Manhattan’s largest remaining chunk of emptiness. Hudson Yards, the railroad depot that stretches from Tenth Avenue to the Hudson River, and from 30th to 33rd Street, barely registers on the mental map of most New Yorkers. Look down from a neighboring window, and you see only a pit full of trains hazed with their diesel fumes. The planners’ view, though, takes in sugarplum dreams of the city’s shiny next wing: an $800 million concrete roof over the yards, and above it the country’s largest and densest real-estate development: 12 million square feet of *offices, shops, movie theaters, gyms, hotel rooms, museum galleries, and open space, and 5,000 apartments, all packed into 26 acres. In the first, $6 billion phase—scheduled for completion by late 2017—the tallest tower will top the Empire State Building, and even the shortest will have a penthouse on the 75th floor. The people in the conference room can visualize that future in high-resolution detail. On the screen, digital couples stroll among trees pruned to cubical perfection. A chain of glowing towers garlands the skyline, and tiny figures stroll onto a deck hanging nearly a quarter-mile in the air. Architects discuss access points, sidewalk widths, ceiling heights, flower beds, and the qualities of crushed-stone pathways. You could almost forget that none of this exists yet—until one architect points to a lozenge-shaped skyscraper and casually, with a twist of his wrist, remarks that he’s thinking of swiveling it 90 degrees. The Related Companies, the main developer of the site, has called this meeting so that the designers of the various buildings can finally talk to each other, instead of just to the client. I’m getting the first look at the details at the same time some of the participants are. Suddenly, after years of desultory negotiations and leisurely design, the project has acquired urgency: Ground-breaking on the first tower will take place in the coming weeks. There’s a high-octane crew in the room: William Pedersen, co-founder of the high-rise titans Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; David Childs, partner at the juggernaut Skidmore Owings and Merrill; Elizabeth Diller, front woman for the cerebral boutique Diller Scofidio + Renfro; *David Rockwell, a virtuoso of showbiz and restaurant design; Howard Elkus, from the high-end shopping-center specialists Elkus Manfredi; and landscape architect Thomas Woltz, the only member of the group new to New York real-estate politics. Their task is to compose a neighborhood from scratch. The success of Hudson Yards depends on the question: Can a private developer manufacture a complete and authentic high-rise neighborhood in a desolate part of New York? “This isn’t just a project; it’s an extension of the city,” says Stephen Ross, Related’s founder and chairman. New York has always grown in nibbles and crumbs, and only occasionally in such great whale-gulps of real estate. In the richest, most layered sections of the city, each generation’s new buildings spring up among clumps of older ones, so that freshness and tradition coexist. A project of this magnitude, concocted around a conference table, could easily turn out to be a catastrophe. The centrally planned district has its success stories—most famously, Rockefeller Center. Coordinated frenzies of building also produced Park Avenue, Battery Park City, and the current incarnation of Times Square. But this enterprise is even more ambitious than any of those, and more potentially transformative than the ongoing saga of the World Trade Center. New York has no precedent for such a dense and complex neighborhood, covering such a vast range of uses, built in one go. That makes this Ross’s baby. Hundreds of architects, engineers, consultants, planners, and construction workers will contribute to the finished product. Oxford Properties Group has partnered with Related, and the city dictated much of the basic arrangement. But in the end, how tightly the new superblocks are woven into the city fabric, how organic their feel, and how bright their allure will depend on the judgment and taste of a billionaire whose aesthetic ambitions match the site’s expanse, and who slips almost unconsciously from we to I. “We went out and selected great architects and then created a whole five-acre plaza,” Ross says. “People will have never seen such a world-class landscaping project. I can’t tell you what that plaza will look like, but what I visualize is a modern-day Trevi Fountain. It’s going to be classical and unique.” The best clue to what he has in mind isn’t in Rome, but at Columbus Circle. Ross lives and works in the Time Warner Center, which Related built, and if you imagine the complex blown out to five times its size, you begin to get a sense of what’s coming at Hudson Yards: crowds flowing from home to boutique, hotel to subway, office to spa, concert to restaurant—and all that activity threaded around and through a curving plaza equipped with fountains and a very tall monument, as yet unchosen. The Time Warner Center brought profitable liveliness to Columbus Circle, the once moribund, now vibrant hinge between midtown and the Upper West Side. But massive as it is, the Time Warner Center is dainty by comparison. Hudson Yards circa 2017 1. This office tower, by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, will become Coach headquarters. 2. Apartments by Diller Scofidio +Renfro, joined by David Rockwell: condos on top, rentals below. 3. The flagship office building, also by KPF: 1,300 feet high. 4. The curvy multiuse tower by David Childs contains a hotel, condominiums, and a big Equinox gym. 5. The shopping arcade (please don't call it the mall). 6.The Culture Shed: still unrevealed, but a great big space for traveling exhibits and other events. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Unnumbered buildings (the western half of the development) have yet to be designed. Photo: Map by Jason Lee The view from the High Line. Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse Start on the High Line, at West 30th Street near Tenth Avenue. At the moment, the landscaped section peters out here, but the old elevated railway continues, forking both east and west to form the southern border of Hudson Yards. Eventually, you’ll be able to continue your stroll beneath the canopy of an office tower housing the headquarters of the leather-goods company Coach. It’s a tricky spot, and the interaction of city street and raised park forces the architecture to perform some fancy steps. The building genuflects toward Tenth Avenue on muscular concrete legs. Coach’s unit reaches out toward the High Line, and the crown greets the skyline at a jaunty tilt. With all its connections and contortions, the tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, assembles its identity out of the complexities of city life. “My whole career has been about taking buildings that are inherently autonomous and getting them to become social gestures,” remarks Pedersen. Head up a couple of blocks from Coach’s future headquarters, and at West 33rd Street, another KPF tower tapers from vast hoped-for trading floors to a jagged peak 1,300 feet up. A state-of-the-art office building these days requires huge open layouts and thick bundles of elevator shafts, which tend to give it the natural grace of a hippopotamus thigh. But look up: Here, the design artfully disguises the two towers’ bulk by making them seem dramatically foreshortened, as if they were speeding toward the sky. One slopes toward the river, the other in the direction of midtown, parted like stalks of corn in a breeze. The cone of space between them draws sunlight to the ground and leaves a welcome break in the city’s increasingly crowded skyline. With any luck, you should be able to stand at the foot of these towers and feel sheltered but not squashed. It would have been far easier to wall the development off and let each tower stand in isolated splendor. Instead, planners have tried to soften the borders of their domain. That’s not just civic-mindedness; it’s good business. If Hudson Yards is going to be a truly urban place, it will have to lure people who neither work nor live there but who come because everyone else does. The development will have two major magnets, one for commerce, food, and entertainment, the other for that primal necessity of New York life: culture. Related is pinning a lot of financial optimism on a five-floor, two-block-long retail extravaganza that links the two KPF towers, rather like the Time Warner Center shops, only bigger, busier, sunnier, and more tightly knit to the city. “We don’t want this to feel like a mall,” insists its architect, Howard Elkus. Pedestrian passageways cut through the building, extending the streets indoors, and a succession of great glass walls turn window-shopping into a spectator sport. The liveliness engine is on the fourth floor, where a collection of informal but high-end food outlets curated by Danny Meyer looks out over the central plaza—“Eataly on steroids” is how one Related executive describes it. Above that are more expensive restaurants and a ten-screen multiplex. Stroll out the western side of the shopping center toward the central plaza, walk diagonally across to 30th Street, halfway between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues, and you come to the most intriguing and mysterious element of Hudson Yards: the Culture Shed. Having set aside a parcel of land for cultural use, the city put out a call for ideas. Elizabeth Diller and David Rockwell answered with an amalgam of architectural and institutional innovations: a flexible gallery complex to accommodate traveling exhibits and nomadic performing events. Together, they designed an enormous trusslike shell that could fit over the galleries or roll out like a shipyard gantry to enclose a vast performance space. The city refuses to discuss architectural details, how the still-theoretical organization will function, or who would pay to build and operate it. But it’s easy to imagine it being used for film premieres and high-definition broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera or as a permanent home for Fashion Week, which now camps out in tents. The Culture Shed can give Hudson Yards the highbrow legitimacy and cutting-edge cool it needs to become an integral part of New York, and also create a cultural corridor running from the Whitney Museum at Gansevoort Street (now under construction), through Chelsea’s gallery district, and up to Lincoln Center. The project may be in the wishful-thinking stage—it could still get scaled back or dumbed down, or it could vanish altogether. But it does have one crucial booster: the Related Companies. “The Culture Shed is critically important,” says Jay Cross, the executive who is running the Hudson Yards project. “We’re going to be major supporters because we want and need to see it come to fruition.” Hudson Yards is getting much more from the city than just the Culture Shed. While planners keep working out ways to weld the complex to its environs, the West Side has already begun to embrace its coming addition. New rental towers have sprouted in the West Thirties and burly office buildings will soon rise along Ninth and Tenth Avenues. “There are communities around us—Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown South, West Chelsea, New Jersey to the west—that if we do a great job are just naturally going to flow in and populate that space,” says Cross. The site as a whole is a yawning pit, not so much a blank slate as an empty socket, surrounded by amenities and infrastructure just waiting to be plugged in. Hudson River Park runs along the western edge (set off by Twelfth Avenue), the High Line spills in from the south, and the future Hudson Park and Boulevard will swoop down from the north. The No. 7 subway-line extension is on the way to completion, the Javits Center is being overhauled, and maybe one day Moynihan Station will even get built. In all, $3 billion in taxpayer-funded improvements encircle the Related fiefdom—not including city tax abatements. “Where else have you ever seen this kind of public money for infrastructure to service a whole new development, in the heart of the city, with that much land and no obstacles?” Ross asks. His vocal enthusiasm for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s small-*government credo evidently hasn’t curbed his appreciation for public support. Although it’s the next mayor who will cut the first ribbon, in the long run Hudson Yards may well be the grandest and most dramatic piece of Michael Bloomberg’s legacy. It’s been on the city’s to-do list for almost a decade, ever since Bloomberg hoped to draw the 2012 Olympics to New York with promises of a West Side stadium. The fact that London won the games was a disappointment to him but a stroke of luck for the West Side, scuttling what would have been a disastrous stadium plan, while at the same time calling attention to the value of the real estate above the tracks. Eager for space to put up high-rises and now prompted by a big hole on Manhattan’s western flank, the city focused on a rezoning that is gradually pulling midtown’s center of gravity westward. There are two ways to conceive such a monster project. One is for a single architectural overlord to shape the whole shebang, as Raymond Hood did at Rockefeller Center. Steven Holl, whose offices overlook Hudson Yards and who has designed two similarly gargantuan complexes in China, submitted an entry that might have resulted in a work of thrilling coherence, with the same sensibility imbuing every detail, from door handles to office blocks. But the auteur development also risks yielding a place of oppressive uniformity, where each aesthetic miscalculation is multiplied many times over. Related chose the second option: recruiting an ensemble of brand-name designers. That approach emulates a sped-up version of New York’s gradual, lot-by-lot evolution; the danger is that it can produce a jumble. “Sometimes architectural vitality leads to messiness, or varying degrees of quality, and we’re trying to avoid that,” acknowledges Cross. “Every building is going to be best in class. That’s the common thread.” But bestness is not actually a unifying concept, and when the city held the competition to award the development rights in 2008, the Related entry failed to wow the city, the public, or the critics. “With a drop-dead list of consultants, contributors, collaborators, and anyone else who could be thrown into the mix … [the company] has covered all possible bases with something dreadful for everybody. This is not planning, it’s pandering,” wrote the critic Ada Louise Huxtable in The Wall Street Journal. None of that mattered: The project originally went to another developer, Tishman Speyer, and when that deal fell through, Related scooped it up. Architecture had nothing to do with it. Yet nearly five years later, with contracts signed and money starting to flow, that gold-plated crew of designers, working in separate studios, with different philosophies and, until recently, little consultation, has nevertheless produced a kind of haphazard harmony. What unites them is their taste for complexity and the deftness with which they maneuver conflicting programs into a single composition. Just past the Culture Shed, on the 30th Street side of the site at Eleventh Avenue, is the eastern half’s only purely residential tower, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, with David Rockwell. It’s an architectural griffin, grafting together rectilinear rental units on the lower floors with flower-petal condo layouts up high—about 680 apartments in all. The fantastically idiosyncratic bulges and dimples join in complicated ways that make the glass façade look quilted. Now walk north, back across the plaza and past a still-to-be-designed café pavilion, and you come to another tower with a textured exterior—vertical folds with stone on one side and glass on the other, as if a palazzo had merged with a modernist shaft. Actually, the building is even more hybridized than that. David Childs, the architect of the Time Warner Center and One World Trade Center, had to shoehorn a large Equinox gym plus offices, an orthopedic hospital, a sports emporium, a hotel, and a condominium into a curved base and a slender tube. “Hudson Yards is a city within a city. This tower is a city within a city—within a city,” he says. The most delicate, crucial, and treacherous design problem at Hudson Yards isn’t a building at all but the public space, and especially the five acres in the middle, an expanse about as large as Bryant Park. Done right, it could be the most vibrant gathering spot on the West Side, a New York version of Venice’s Piazza San Marco. Done wrong, it could be a windswept tundra populated only by office workers scuttling between the subway and their desks. It’s worrisome that Ross and his team postponed thinking about that void until so much of the architecture had been designed, but heartening that they are intensely focused on it now. Related has given the job to the talented Thomas Woltz, whose quietly refined restorations of gardens and college campuses may not quite have prepared him for the fierce pressure of shaping New York’s most ample new public space. It’s not just a place for people to mingle but for the relationships between the various buildings to express themselves across the connecting plaza. “One of the paintings I admire most is The School of Athens,” says KPF’s William Pedersen, referring to Raphael’s klatch of bearded philosophers chatting beneath noble vaults. “You have great historical and intellectual figures gathered together in dynamic groups of interchange, gesturing to each other. That’s the architectural assignment for each of us.” David Childs phrases a similar thought in a way that graciously defers to Woltz even while sending the message: Don’t screw this up. “We have an obligation to create great architecture, and all the buildings have to be related to the space in the center,” he says. “The void is the most important part.” Woltz has gotten it wrong once. In his first presentation, he placed a plush lawn at the center of the complex, and Ross nearly kicked him out of the room. What Ross wants is not a place to toss a Frisbee, but a town square alive with purpose and electricity. That’s a spectacular challenge; there are few great models for a European-style piazza within a ring of skyscrapers. For now, Woltz’s solution is a paved ellipse, outlined by a perimeter of trees cultivated with geometric severity—given “the Edward Scissorhands topiary treatment,” as one designer puts it. The idea is to create a verdant transition from the human scale to that of glass-and-steel giants. “In an open space next to 1,000-foot towers, our tallest tree is going to be like an ant next to a tall man’s shoe,” Woltz says. But the most maddening paradox of Woltz’s assignment is that he must tailor an open space to the motley public—in ways that will please a potentate. Like some fairy-tale monarch, Ross has dispatched his counselors to find an artist capable of supplying his modern Trevi Fountain. What he wants is something monumental enough to focus the entire project, a piece that’s not just watery and impressive but so instantly iconic that people will meet by it, shoot photos of it, notice it from three blocks away, and recognize it from the cover of guidebooks. You get the feeling that Ross is hedging his bets: If Woltz can’t deliver a world-class plaza with his trees and pavers, maybe a Jeff Koons or an Anish Kapoor can force it into life with a big honking hunk of sculpture. A giant puppy can’t solve an urban design problem, though. It’s nice that a hardheaded mogul like Ross places so much faith in the civic power of art, but he may be asking it to do too much. The plaza is the node where the site’s conflicting forces reveal themselves: the tension between public and private, between city and campus, between democratic space and commercial real estate. Occupy Wall Street’s takeover of Zuccotti Park last year pointed up the oxymoron inherent in the concept of privately owned public space: You can do anything you like there, as long as the owners deem it okay. Childs hopes that his client’s insistence on premium-brand design won’t make Hudson Yards just the province of privilege. “We want this project to be laced through with public streets, so that everyone has ownership of it, whether you’re arriving in your $100,000 limo or pushing a shopping cart full of your belongings.” The plans include drop-off lanes, so the limos are taken care of. But if the shopping-cart pushers, buskers, protesters, skateboarders, and bongo players start feeling too welcome at Hudson Yards, Related’s security guards will have a ready-made *argument to get them to disperse: This is private property.
  3. Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks | Cities | The Guardian Cities Lots to lose: how cities around the world are eliminating car parks It’s a traditional complaint about urban life: there’s never anywhere to park. But in the 21st century, do cities actually need less parking space, not more? Paris has banned traffic from half the city. Why can’t London? Houston, Texas Parking lots dominate the landscape in downtown, Houston, Texas. ‘Though the perception is always that there’s never enough parking, the reality is often different,’ says Hank Willson. Photograph: Alamy Cities is supported by Rockefeller Foundation's logoAbout this content Nate Berg Tuesday 27 September 2016 12.23 BST Last modified on Tuesday 27 September 2016 15.51 BST With space for roughly 20,000 cars, the parking lot that surrounds the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, is recognised as the largest car park in the world. Spread across vast expanses of asphalt and multi-storey concrete structures, these parking spots take up about half the mall’s 5.2m sq ft, on what was once the edge of the city of Edmonton. A few blocks away, a similar amount of space is taken up by a neighbourhood of nearly 500 homes. Despite its huge scale, the West Edmonton Mall’s parking lot is not all that different from most car parks around the world. Requiring roughly 200 sq ft per car plus room to maneuvre, they tend to be big, flat and not fully occupied. Often their size eclipses the buildings they serve. Even when they’re hidden in underground structures or built into skyscrapers, car parks are big and often empty: parking at homes tends to be vacant during the workday, parking at work vacant at night. A 2010 study of Tippecanoe County, Indiana found there was an average of 2.2 parking spaces for each registered car. The US has long been the world leader in building parking spaces. During the mid 20th century, city zoning codes began to include requirements and quotas for most developments to include parking spaces. The supply skyrocketed. A 2011 study by the University of California, estimated there are upwards of 800m parking spaces in the US, covering about 25,000 square miles of land. Nobody goes to a city because it has great parking Michael Kodransky “As parking regulations were put into zoning codes, most of the downtowns in many cities were just completely decimated,” says Michael Kodransky, global research manager for the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy. “What the cities got, in effect, was great parking. But nobody goes to a city because it has great parking.” Increasingly, cities are rethinking this approach. As cities across the world begin to prioritise walkable urban development and the type of city living that does not require a car for every trip, city officials are beginning to move away from blanket policies of providing abundant parking. Many are adjusting zoning rules that require certain minimum amounts of parking for specific types of development. Others are tweaking prices to discourage driving as a default when other options are available. Some are even actively preventing new parking spaces from being built. A typical road in San Francisco. A road in San Francisco. Photograph: Getty To better understand how much parking they have and how much they can afford to lose, transportation officials in San Francisco in 2010 released the results of what’s believed to be the first citywide census of parking spaces. They counted every publicly accessible parking space in the city, including lots, garages, and free and metered street parking. They found that the city had 441,541 spaces, and more than half of them are free, on-street spaces. “The hope was that it would show that there’s actually a lot of parking here. We’re devoting a lot of space in San Francisco to parking cars,” says Hank Willson, principal analyst at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. “And though the perception is always that there’s never enough parking, the reality is different.” Knowing the parking inventory has made it easier for the city to pursue public space improvements such as adding bike lanes or parklets, using the data to quell inevitable neighbourhood concerns about parking loss. “We can show that removing 20 spaces can just equate to removing 0.1% of the parking spaces within walking distance of a location,” says Steph Nelson of the SFMTA. The data helps planners to understand when new developments actually need to provide parking spaces and when the available inventory is sufficient. More often, the data shows that the city can’t build its way out of a parking shortage – whether it’s perceived or real – and that the answers lie in alternative transportation options. Parking atop a supermarket roof in Budapest, Hungary. A parking lot on a supermarket roof in Budapest, Hungary. Photograph: Alamy With this in mind, the city has implemented the type of dynamic pricing system proposed by Donald Shoup, a distinguished research professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. In his book The High Cost of Free Parking, Shoup explains that free or very cheap on-street parking contributes to traffic congestion in a major way. A study of the neighbourhood near UCLA’s campus showed that drivers cruised the area looking for parking for an average of 3.3 minutes. Based on the number of parking spaces there, that adds up to about 950,000 extra miles travelled over the course of a year, burning 47,000 gallons of gasoline and emitting 730 tons of CO2. After San Francisco implemented a pilot project with real-time data on parking availability and dynamic pricing for spaces, an evaluation found that the amount of time people spent looking for parking fell by 43%. And though there’s no data available on whether that’s meant more people deciding not to drive to San Francisco, various researchers have shown that a 10% increase in the price of parking can reduce demand between 3-10%. Sometimes, the supply of parking goes down because nobody needs it. Since 1990, the city of Philadelphia has conducted an inventory of parking every five years in the downtown Center City neighbourhood, counting publicly accessible parking spaces and analysing occupancy rates in facilities with 30 or more spaces. Because of plentiful transit options, a walkable environment and a high downtown residential population, Philadelphia is finding that it needs less parking. Between 2010 and 2015, the amount of off-street parking around downtown shrank by about 3,000 spaces, a 7% reduction. Most of that is tied to the replacement of surface lots with new development, according to Mason Austin, a planner at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and co-author of the most recent parking inventory. Philadelphia Planners in Philadelphia have noted the decrease in demand for parking, and reduced spaces accordingly. Photograph: Andriy Prokopenko/Getty Images “At the same time, we’re seeing occupancy go down by a very small amount. So what that’s telling us is the demand for this public parking is going down slightly,” Austin says. “And that could be alarming if we were also seeing some decline of economic activity, but actually that’s happening at the same time as we’re seeing employment go up and retail vibrancy go up.” And though many cities in the US are changing zoning and parking requirements to reduce or even eliminate parking minimums, cities in Europe are taking a more forceful approach. Zurich, has been among the most aggressive. In 1996, the city decreed that there would be no more parking: officials placed a cap on the amount of parking spaces that would exist there, putting in place a trading system by which any developer proposing new parking spaces would be required to remove that many parking spaces from the city’s streets. The result has been that the city’s streets have become even more amenable to walking, cycling and transit use. Copenhagen has also been reducing the amount of parking in the central city. Pedestrianising shopping streets raising prices of parking and licences and developing underground facilites on the city’s outskirts has seen city-centre parking spaces shrink and the proportion of people driving to work fall from 22% to 16%. Paris has been even more aggressive. Starting in 2003, the city began eliminating on-street parking and replacing it with underground facilities. Roughly 15,000 surface parking spaces have been eliminated since. A world without cars: cities go car-free for the day - in pictures View gallery But progress is not limited to Europe. Kodransky says cities all over the world are rethinking their parking policies. São Paulo, for instance, got rid of its minimum parking requirements and implemented a maximum that could be built into specific projects. Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are hoping to emulate San Francisco’s dynamic pricing approach. And as cities begin to think more carefully about how parking relates to their urban development, their density and their transit accessibility, it’s likely that parking spaces will continue to decline around the world. “Ultimately parking needs to be tackled as part of a package of issues,” Kodransky says. “It’s been viewed in this super-narrow way, it’s been an afterthought. But increasingly cities are waking up to the fact that they have this sleeping giant, these land uses that are not being used in the most optimal way.” Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebook to join the discussion.
  4. Je vais déménager à Manhattan au mois d'Août. Je garde un pied-à-terre à Vancouver et reviens fréquemment à Montréal. Je viens de voir cette nouvelle toute fraiche. Je vais habiter tout juste à côté de Washington Square, et ce nouveau développement m'intéresse au plus haut point. J'esssaierai de vous en faire part régulièrement. Voici l'article du Wall Street Journal: First Look at NYU Tower Plan University Wants 38-Story Building on Village Site; Critics Fret Over Pei Design By CRAIG KARMIN New York University on Thursday expects to unveil its much-anticipated design plans for the proposed 38-story tower in Greenwich Village, one of the most ambitious projects in the school's controversial 25-year expansion plan. Before and after: The space between two towers designed by I.M. Pei, above, would be filled by a new tower, in rendering below, under NYU's plan. The tower, sight-unseen, is already facing backlash from community groups who say the building would interfere with the original three-tower design by famed architect I.M. Pei. Critics also say the new building would flood the neighborhood with more construction and cause other disruptions. The concrete fourth tower with floor-to-ceiling glass windows would be built on the Bleecker Street side of the site, known as University Village. It would house a moderate-priced hotel on the bottom 15 floors. The 240-room hotel would be intended for visiting professors and other NYU guests, but would also be available to the public. The top floors would be housing for school faculty. In addition, NYU would move the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center farther east toward Mercer Street to clear space for a broader walkway through the site that connects Bleecker and Houston streets. The sports complex would be torn down and rebuilt with a new design. Grimshaw Architects The plan also calls for replacing a grocery store that is currently in the northwest corner of the site with a playground. As a result, the site would gain 8,000 square feet of public space under the tower proposal, according to an NYU spokesman. NYU considers the new tower a crucial component of its ambitious expansion plans to add six million square feet to the campus by 2031—including proposed sites in Brooklyn, Governors Island and possibly the World Trade Center site—in an effort to increase its current student population of about 40,000 by 5,500. The tower is also one of the most contentious parts of the plan because the University Village site received landmark status in 2008 and is home to a Pablo Picasso statue. The three existing towers, including one dedicated to affordable public housing, were designed by Mr. Pei in the 1960s. The 30-story cast-concrete structures are considered a classic example of modernism. Grimshaw Architects, the New York firm that designed the proposed tower, says it wants the new structure to complement Mr. Pei's work. "It would be built with a sensitivity to the existing buildings," says Mark Husser, a Grimshaw partner. "It is meant to relate to the towers but also be contemporary." Grimshaw Architects NYU says the planned building, at center of rendering above, would relate to current towers. He said the new tower would use similar materials to the Pei structures and would be positioned at the site in a way not to cut off views from the existing buildings. Little of this news is likely to pacify local opposition. "A fourth tower would utterly change Pei's design," says Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. He says that Mr. Pei designed a number of plans about the same time that similarly featured three towers around open space, such as the Society Hill Towers in Philadelphia. Watch a video showing a rendering of New York University's proposed 38-story tower, one of the most ambitious projects in the university's vast 2031 expansion plan. The tower would be located near Bleecker Street in Manhattan. Video courtesy of Grimshaw Architects. Residents say they fear that the new tower would bring years of construction and reduce green spaces and trees. "We are oversaturated with NYU buildings," says Sylvia Rackow, who lives in the tower for public housing. "They have a lot of other options, like in the financial district, but they are just greedy." NYU will have to win permission from the city's Landmark Commission before it can proceed. This process begins on Monday when NYU makes a preliminary presentation to the local community board. Jason Andrew for the Wall Street Journal NYU is 'just greedy,' says Sylvia Rackow, seen in her apartment. Grimshaw. While the commission typically designates a particular district or building, University Village is unusual in that it granted landmark status to a site and the surrounding landscaping, making it harder to predict how the commission may respond. NYU also would need to get commercial zoning approval to build a hotel in an area designated as residential. And the university would have to get approval to purchase small strips of land on the site from the city. If the university is tripped up in getting required approvals, it has a backup plan to build a tower on the site currently occupied by a grocery store at Bleecker and LaGuardia, which would have a size similar to the proposed tower of 270,000 square feet. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704198004575311161334409470.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsForth
  5. Wanted to build a second downtown and wanted to have the metro line to go further west for this section. Proposed by Robert Campeau. Would have been known as New City Center 1.5 million sqft shopping center - total 2.2 million sqft retail space 75 floor office tower - total 5 million sqft office space 2 hotels (1750 rooms) 8000 unit condo tower
  6. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project by Raffy Boudjikanian Article online since November 24th 2009, 13:00 Holly Arsenault shows the property line dividing her land from that of a developer whose potential project leaves many on Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro unhappy. Chronicle, Raffy Boudjikanian. Tensions build over Roxboro high-rise project Even as some residents of Fifth Avenue North in Roxboro, a dead-end street lined with single-unit bungalows, are concerned over the possible development of a multiple-storey condo at the end of their street, Pierrefonds officials at a lively public meeting last Wednesday night were at pains to explain nothing could move ahead yet. "Before the project can be accepted or acceptable, the developer must present plans that conform to our legislation. For now, that isn't the case yet," said Pierre Rochon, urban planning and business services department director, in answer to citizen questions. However, residents are concerned after seeing land surveyors walk into the swampy wooded area over the last few weeks. Holly Arsenault, who lives in a home right on the property line of the area, even said one of them told her the owner, Jacob Wolofsky, has already acquired all necessary permits and construction will begin in February. "If that's true, he's dreaming in colour," Rochon replied. When The Chronicle went to visit the street last Thursday, Arsenault showed a row of rocks that separates her yard from Wolofsky's property. Planted alongside both sides of that makeshift border are 45 trees, which Arsenault said play a large role in keeping her home from flooding when nearby Rivière des Prairies rises in the spring. "He said he's going to cut them down," Arsenault said, adding about half of them are on the developer's side. Another Fifth Avenue North resident, France Marsant, voiced her displeasure at the Wednesday meeting too. "Our street had a very peaceful, very calm character," she said. "We find it unthinkable to have a big block of eight floors on the street, which could lead to 300 cars going into the street by the summer." Borough Mayor Monique Worth insisted Pierrefonds was doing all in its power to ensure legal norms force the developer to create a reasonable project. "Our norms are getting higher and higher," she said. Rochon said previous bylaws allowed a 12-storey high project on the site, but the borough's revisions have already cut that size down to eight. At least one resident of the street was skeptical anything could be built at all. "I wouldn't even invest a cent into that land, it's a swamp," said Michel Davuluy, who has been living there for several years. After the meeting, Worth conceded the city of Montreal would, in an ideal world, like to buy up that land and turn into green space. "I think, in a way, we would like it to be a part of green space that would start, let's say, west of the Rapides du Cheval Blanc and end with that piece of property," Worth said. "But we can't force him to sell at a lower price because we would like to. It's up to him, it's his decision," she said. Though the land is valuated at about $188,000, a purchase by Montreal would cost millions because it is a public body, Worth said. Montreal had a right of expropriation on the property in question up to last May, but did not renew it after it expired, Marsant mentioned at the meeting. Wolofsky did not return calls for comment.
  7. By Andrew Weiland , of SBT Published September 14, 2007 Milwaukee-based developer Steve Stewart and restaurateur Jay Supple, chief executive officer of Oshkosh-based Supple Restaurant Group, plan to introduce America to the Montreal Bread Co. restaurant chain. They plan to open the first Montreal Bread Co. location in the United States in the River Renaissance development, a seven-story, 82-unit condominium building under construction southeast of Water and Erie streets in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. Stewart, president of New Vision Development Co., is a partner in the River Renaissance project, which will be complete in November. During the next 10 years, Stewart and Supple plan to open and sell franchises for an additional 50 to 100 Montreal Bread locations across the United States. They will be master franchisors for Montreal Bread in their territory, which so far includes Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. That means they will be able to open or sell franchises for Montreal Bread locations in those states. In addition, Stewart and Supple are negotiating with Montreal Bread to add more states to their territory. “We want to be the master franchisor for the entire U.S.,” Stewart said. Montreal Bread Co. is a chain of European style cafes. Its menu includes sandwiches, soup, salads, desserts, pizza, cheese platters, fruit platters, vegetable platters and retail bread and wine. “It’s an upscale café,” Supple said. “It’s another level above Panera Bread and Atlanta Bread Co. It’s kind of a meet-and-greet place, kind of like Starbucks, but with a much bigger menu. It’s a concept we feel we can take and repeat it throughout the country. That’s what is appealing to us.” Stewart and Supple plan to open six to eight Montreal Bread locations in the Milwaukee area and about 15 total Wisconsin locations during the next 10 years. The concept is flexible and can fit in a 500- to 1,500-square-foot space. “We’re going to have a lot of other Montreal Bread locations throughout Milwaukee, but the locations will be very urban,” Stewart said. The concept will work in suburban locations, but only in high-density communities such as Whitefish Bay in high-traffic areas, Stewart and Supple said. They also plan to do catering and deliveries, so they will be looking for locations near a large number of offices. Rob Weich, chief operating officer of Mequon-based Weich Group Inc., and Alec Karter, a commercial real estate broker with Pewaukee-based Judson & Associates, will help Stewart and Supple find locations and franchisees for Montreal Bread restaurants. “They’ve got some good contacts,” Stewart said. The River Renaissance Montreal Bread location will occupy about 2,800 square feet of space, which will include a 1,500-square-foot training area for franchisees. It will be located on the first floor of the building right at the corner of Water and Erie. The restaurant will also have sidewalk seating for about 40. “This is going to be kind of our model,” Supple said. Supple also plans to open a Fratellos restaurant in an 8,610-square-foot space in River Renaissance, along the Milwaukee River. It will be the fifth location for Fratellos, which has two locations in Appleton, one in Ashwaubenon and one in Oshkosh. Fratellos serves a wide variety of American dishes, including seafood, steaks, sandwiches and pizza. “We try to have something for everybody who comes through the door,” Supple said. Most of the Fratellos locations are located on a waterfront, and the River Renaissance location will feature seating for 100 outside along Milwaukee’s Riverwalk. “The places are beautiful, but you have a menu that is very price sensitive,” Supple said. Supple’s company also owns Wave Bar and Ballroom in Appleton, and he is a franchisee for Golden Corral restaurants in Plover and Oshkosh, a Melting Pot restaurant in Appleton and a Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Oshkosh. “We’re a little bit unique in that we have independent concepts and franchise concepts,” Supple said. The company has been looking to expand into the Milwaukee area, he said. Some in the Milwaukee area are already familiar with Fratellos from taking trips north for Green Bay Packer games or vacations. “This is big for us,” Supple said. “It’s a larger market. We’ve been looking down here for about three years. We love the Third Ward.”
  8. Condos, costs squeeze Vancouver office space DAVID EBNER From Monday's Globe and Mail June 29, 2008 at 10:33 PM EDT VANCOUVER — The numbers, at first glance, couldn't look better for a commercial real estate developer. On the small peninsula that constitutes downtown Vancouver, there's barely any available office space. The 2.6-per-cent vacancy rate ranks as the lowest of any city core in North America. And rents are soaring, with the cost of prime office space jumping 25 per cent in just one year to more than $34 per square foot. Yet hardly any new commercial space is being built. Just 130,000 square feet is under construction in downtown Vancouver, which would add less than 1 per cent to what exists. It's a fraction of what's happening elsewhere: Calgary's downtown is expanding by 5.6 million square feet, or 17 per cent, and Toronto is growing by 3.8 million square feet, or 5 per cent. Construction costs have risen far faster than rents, driven by a Western Canadian construction boom that has made labour scarce and expensive, and the climbing cost of materials such as steel. Vancouver developers say they just can't make the numbers add up for new projects. In Calgary, for example, the energy boom allows developers to charge $45 a square foot, a third more than they can get in the Vancouver market. “It takes a lot of nerve to build today,” said Don Vassos, a senior vice-president at real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis Ltd. who opened the company's Vancouver office 24 years ago. Since then, the downtown has gone through a transformation that helped produce the current shortage of commercial space. It's a trend the city now hopes to reverse. In the 1980s and 1990s, planners and politicians set about creating the Vancouver that currently exists, one consistently on best-places-to-live lists. Under the rubric of “living first,” the city heavily promoted residential development downtown, pushing the population on the peninsula to 90,000, more than double the 40,000 or so in the mid-1980s. But the dozens of residential condominiums have begun to squeeze the commercial core. Four years ago, alarm bells started going off for planners when Duke Energy sold the landmark Westcoast Transmission building for a condo conversion. That provoked the city to impose a temporary halt on such changes in the central business district. With developers predicting that Vancouver will run out of space to build new commercial buildings in the next 20 years, city council is poised to encourage construction of more office space. In July, it will consider a series of proposals from planners that include an expanded central business district, tighter rules on condo conversions and proposals to allow taller towers with more density. Until things change, however, businesses will continue to feel the squeeze. Part of the problem, developers say, is that condos are far more profitable than commercial space because residential buyers are willing to pay large premiums for benefits such as views of the ocean and mountains. And unlike Calgary and Toronto, where large corporations drive demand for many storeys of commercial space, the typical Vancouver tenant is more likely to be a law firm or upstart technology company requiring far less space. Developers have to sign on many more tenants to make a project work instead of landing one big name. Some Vancouver developers say the city has to take measures to encourage new commercial buildings that go beyond the proposals city planners have put together. “They need to address costs,” said Tony Astles, executive vice-president for B.C. at Bentall Real Estate. “And they need to address the length of time it takes to go through the whole process, from zoning to approvals. “It's a clogged-up system. Right now, it's very difficult to rationalize a high-rise office tower in downtown Vancouver. The costs of construction have risen so fast that rents – even though they're at their all-time high – haven't kept up.” http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080629.wrdowntown30/BNStory/Business/home
  9. Vacancy rates keep rising in third quarter for Canada's commercial real estate sector, report shows (CP) – 44 minutes ago TORONTO — The amount of empty office space across Canada continued to rise in the third quarter due to higher unemployment in white-collar industries and excess inventory in some cities, a new report shows. Vacancy rates for commercial real estate are expected to keep rising "well into 2010" as the country works through the impact of the recent recession, CB Richard Ellis Ltd. said in report released Monday. Vacancy rates rose for the third straight quarter to an average of 9.4 per cent, up from 6.3 per cent for the same time last year, said the real estate services firm. "Limited new job creation in Canada's 'white-collar' industries and the addition of new inventory in two of Canada's three largest office markets are cited as reasons for the increase," according to the National Office and Industrial Trends Third Quarter Report. Commercial vacancy rates rose most noticeably Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, the report shows. Calgary's third quarter vacancy rate jumped to 13.1 per cent, from 4.7 per cent last year, due to the impacts of a slowdown in the oil and gas industry. "The city's oil and gas industry and commercial market remained inexorably linked, as players both large and small continue to recognize that even Calgary has not been immune to the country's new economic reality," the report states. In Toronto, the commercial vacancy rate rose to 9.1 per cent from 6.6 per cent last year. The vacancy rate in downtown Toronto is expected to climb further in the coming quarter as space becomes available in newly constructed office towers. In Vancouver, vacancy rates climbed to 8.9 per cent from 5.4 per cent for the same time last year. The report said Vancouver is one of the more stable markets in the country thanks to limited new development. Montreal's vacancy rate rose to 10.3 per cent from 8.3 per cent last year, while Halifax's rose to 10.2 per cent from 8.4 per cent. Vacancy rates also rose in the country's smaller office markets, specifically in suburban areas, but at a lesser rate, the report shows. It said cities with government office space also saw more stability in their commercial real estate markets. Ottawa had the lowest overall third quarter vacancy rate in the country of 5.8 per cent compared to five per cent for the same time last year, while Winnipeg's rate came in at 7.5 per cent up from 4.8 per cent last year. The overall vacancy rate in the Waterloo Region, home to such technology firms as Research in Motion (TSX:RIM), edged up slightly to 6.7 per cent from 6.4 per cent last year. The report predicts vacancy rates to keep rising in the fourth quarter and into 2010, "as Canada continues to grind its way out of the recession."
  10. All 8 combined total:$530,000,000 Floor space well over: 64,000 sq.ft Article Just imagine someone buys all 8 and asks them to reconfigure it to make it a large residence.
  11. KPF wins planning approval for Gravesend riverside renewal project Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (London) have won planning approval for a new riverfront development to the north-west of Gravesend Town Centre that combines affordable housing, public amenity space and the restoration of Thames riverside heritage. Clifton Wharf will occupy two brownfield sites separated by West Street. The unique location includes a disused iron railway pier extending out into the Thames. KPF’s proposed re-development advances both the Kent and Medway Structure Plan and the Gravesham Local Plan by redressing the legacy of decline to the environment and infrastructure of this area. It will revitalise Gravesend town centre by bringing life into the neighbourhood though the creation of jobs and much needed accommodation. The scheme comprises 145 residential apartments, a retail unit and provisional river-related uses. The design overcomes the challenge of a split location by means of five sliced ellipsoidal buildings. Cutaway roofs allow for terraces at the top levels; punctuations in the wooden façades provide balconies for lower flats. The buildings, pebble-like in form, sit on a landscaped podium that stretches out in line with the pier. Every building in the cluster uses cutting edge morphology and careful positioning to maximise variety, giving the appearance of differing volumes and heights and taking advantage of the site’s access to unique views and natural light. KPF’s scheme restores the old iron pier and introduces steps and ramps to allow members of the public to get close to the original engineering. The shape and orientation of the pier is echoed and extended inland by the podium which unifies the site and reinforces the connection with the river. The new public walkway, which extends across the road to the pier, provides pedestrian access to the terraces and viewpoints on the water. The relocation of the old river defence wall creates space for proper pavements on West Street and an improved flood protection barrier further to the north. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11355
  12. J'ai eu cette idée de ssc.com. Quelle tour qui est présentement en contruction (ou recemment complétée) n'importe ou dans le monde, aimerais tu voir à Montréal? N'oubliez pas les photos! je commence le MoMa à NYC!!! Vraiment incroyable! NYC n'a vraiment pas peur de construire à l'avant garde. Il ne s'inquiètes pas des osties de NIMBY's!!! New York Times November 15, 2007 ARCHITECTURE Next to MoMA, a Tower Will Reach for the Stars By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF A rendering of the Jean Nouvel-designed tower to be built adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art. The interior of Jean Nouvel’s building, which is to include a hotel and luxury apartments. Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building, William Van Alen’s Chrysler Building, Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building. If New Yorkers once saw their skyline as the great citadel of capitalism, who could blame them? We had the best toys of all. But for the last few decades or so, that honor has shifted to places like Singapore, Beijing and Dubai, while Manhattan settled for the predictable. Perhaps that’s about to change. A new 75-story tower designed by the architect Jean Nouvel for a site next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown promises to be the most exhilarating addition to the skyline in a generation. Its faceted exterior, tapering to a series of crystalline peaks, suggests an atavistic preoccupation with celestial heights. It brings to mind John Ruskin’s praise for the irrationality of Gothic architecture: “It not only dared, but delighted in, the infringement of every servile principle.” Commissioned by Hines, an international real estate developer, the tower will house a hotel, luxury apartments and three floors that will be used by MoMA to expand its exhibition space. The melding of cultural and commercial worlds offers further proof, if any were needed, that Mr. Nouvel is a master at balancing conflicting urban forces. Yet the building raises a question: How did a profit-driven developer become more adventurous architecturally than MoMA, which has tended to make cautious choices in recent years? Like many of Manhattan’s major architectural accomplishments, the tower is the result of a Byzantine real estate deal. Although MoMA completed an $858 million expansion three years ago, it sold the Midtown lot to Hines for $125 million earlier this year as part of an elaborate plan to grow still further. Hines would benefit from the museum’s prestige; MoMA would get roughly 40,000 square feet of additional gallery space in the new tower, which will connect to its second-, fourth- and fifth-floor galleries just to the east. The $125 million would go toward its endowment. To its credit the Modern pressed for a talented architect, insisting on veto power over the selection. Still, the sale seems shortsighted on the museum’s part. A 17,000-square-foot vacant lot next door to a renowned institution and tourist draw in Midtown is a rarity. And who knows what expansion needs MoMA may have in the distant future? By contrast the developer seems remarkably astute. Hines asked Mr. Nouvel to come up with two possible designs for the site. A decade ago anyone who was about to invest hundreds of millions on a building would inevitably have chosen the more conservative of the two. But times have changed. Architecture is a form of marketing now, and Hines made the bolder choice. Set on a narrow lot where the old City Athletic Club and some brownstones once stood, the soaring tower is rooted in the mythology of New York, in particular the work of Hugh Ferriss, whose dark, haunting renderings of an imaginary Manhattan helped define its dreamlike image as the early-20th-century metropolis. But if Ferriss’s designs were expressionistic, Mr. Nouvel’s contorted forms are driven by their own peculiar logic. By pushing the structural frame to the exterior, for example, he was able to create big open floor plates for the museum’s second-, fourth- and fifth-floor galleries. The tower’s form slopes back on one side to yield views past the residential Museum Tower; its northeast corner is cut away to conform to zoning regulations. The irregular structural pattern is intended to bear the strains of the tower’s contortions. Mr. Nouvel echoes the pattern of crisscrossing beams on the building’s facade, giving the skin a taut, muscular look. A secondary system of mullions housing the ventilation system adds richness to the facade. Mr. Nouvel anchors these soaring forms in Manhattan bedrock. The restaurant and lounge are submerged one level below ground, with the top sheathed entirely in glass so that pedestrians can peer downward into the belly of the building. A bridge on one side of the lobby links the 53rd and 54th Street entrances. Big concrete columns crisscross the spaces, their tilted forms rooting the structure deep into the ground. As you ascend through the building, the floor plates shrink in size, which should give the upper stories an increasingly precarious feel. The top-floor apartment is arranged around such a massive elevator core that its inhabitants will feel pressed up against the glass exterior walls. (Mr. Nouvel compared the apartment to the pied-à-terre at the top of the Eiffel Tower from which Gustave Eiffel used to survey his handiwork below.) The building’s brash forms are a sly commentary on the rationalist geometries of Edward Durell Stone and Philip L. Goodwin’s 1939 building for the Museum of Modern Art and Yoshio Taniguchi’s 2004 addition. Like many contemporary architects Mr. Nouvel sees the modern grid as confining and dogmatic. His tower’s contorted forms are a scream for freedom. And what of the Modern? For some, the appearance of yet another luxury tower stamped with the museum’s imprimatur will induce wincing. But the more immediate issue is how it will affect the organization of the Modern’s vast collections. The museum is only now beginning to come to grips with the strengths and weaknesses of Mr. Taniguchi’s addition. Many feel that the arrangement of the fourth- and fifth-floor galleries housing the permanent collection is confusing, and that the double-height second-floor galleries for contemporary art are too unwieldy. The architecture galleries, by comparison, are small and inflexible. There is no room for the medium-size exhibitions that were a staple of the architecture and design department in its heyday. The additional gallery space is a chance for MoMA to rethink many of these spaces, by reordering the sequence of its permanent collection, for example, or considering how it might resituate the contemporary galleries in the new tower and gain more space for architecture shows in the old. But to embark on such an ambitious undertaking the museum would first have to acknowledge that its Taniguchi-designed complex has posed new challenges. In short, it would have to embrace a fearlessness that it hasn’t shown in decades. MoMA would do well to take a cue from Ruskin, who wrote that great art, whether expressed in “words, colors or stones, does not say the same thing over and over again.”
  13. The office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has been commissioned to design a large-scale residential complex in Singapore. The project will be located on an expansive 8 hectare site bounded by the Ayer Rajah Expressway and Alexandra Road, in a central position between the National University and downtown Singapore. With 170,000 m2 of built floor area, the development will provide over 1,000 apartment units of varying sizes with extensive outdoor spaces and landscaping. Instead of creating a cluster of isolated, vertical towers – the default typology of residential developments in Singapore – the design explores a dramatically different approach to the issues and challenges of living and social space. 32 apartment blocks, each six-stories tall, are stacked in a hexagonal arrangement to form six large-scale permeable courtyards. The interlocking volumes form the topography of a “vertical village” with cascading sky gardens and private roof terraces vertically extending the landscape of the courtyards. Extensive communal facilities which are embedded in the lush vegetation offer multiple opportunities for social interaction in a natural environment. While maintaining the privacy of the individual apartment units through unobstructed views and generous spacing of the building blocks, the horizontal and interconnected volumes create an explicitly social network of outdoor spaces within the green terrain. The site completes a green belt that stretches between Kent Ridge, Telok Blangah and Mount Faber Parks, while the stacked volumetric relationship of the apartment blocks extends the landscape and forms a mount/hill that relates to the surrounding topography. Beyond the extensive presence of nature and collective space, the project will be designed to respond carefully to the tropical climate and address issues of sustainability through incorporating multiple features of energy-saving technologies. The project is lead by Ole Scheeren, Director of OMA Beijing, together with Eric Chang, Associate. http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=1943
  14. Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- New York’s biggest banks and securities firms may relinquish 8 million square feet of office space this year, deepening the worst commercial property slump in more than a decade as they abandon a record amount of property. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., bankrupt Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and industry rivals have vacated 4.6 million feet, a figure that may climb by another 4 million as businesses leave or sublet space they no longer need, according CB Richard Ellis Group Inc., the largest commercial property broker. Banks, brokers and insurers have fired more than 177,000 employees in the Americas as the recession and credit crisis battered balance sheets. Financial services firms occupy about a quarter of Manhattan’s 362 million square feet of office space and account for almost 40 percent now available for sublease, CB Richard Ellis data show. “Entire segments of the industry are gone,” said Marisa Di Natale, a senior economist at Moody’s Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “We’re talking about the end of 2012 before things actually start to turn up again for the New York office market.” The amount of available space may reach 15.6 percent by the end of the year, the most since 1996, according to Los Angeles- based CB Richard Ellis. Vacancies are already the highest since 2004 and rents are down 5 percent, the biggest drop in at least two decades. In 2003, the city had 14.8 million square feet available for sublease. If financial firms give up as much as CB Richard Ellis expects, that record will be broken. ‘Wild Card’ CB Richard Ellis’s figures don’t include any space Bank of America may relinquish at the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan, where Merrill Lynch & Co., the securities firm it acquired last month, occupies 2.8 million square feet. Brookfield Properties Inc., the second-biggest owner of U.S. office buildings by square footage, owns the Financial Center. Merrill “is a wild card right now,” said Robert Stella, principal at Boston-based real estate brokerage CresaPartners. Manhattan’s availability rate -- vacancies plus occupied space that is on the market -- was 12.3 percent at the end of January, up more than 50 percent compared with a year earlier and almost 9 percent from December, according to CB Richard Ellis. Commercial real estate prices dropped almost 15 percent last year, more than U.S. house prices, Moody’s Investors Service said in a Feb. 19 report. The decline returned values to 2005 levels, according to the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Property Price Indexes. SL Green The Bloomberg Office REIT Index fell 25 percent since the start of January, with SL Green Realty, the biggest owner of Manhattan skyscrapers, slumping 50 percent. Vornado Realty Trust, whose buildings include One and Two Penn Plaza in Midtown, has fallen 36 percent. SL Green of New York gets 41 percent of its revenue from financial firms, including 13 percent from Citigroup, according to its Web site. Bank of America plans to give up 530,000 square feet at 9 West 57th St. as it completes a move to 1 Bryant Park. New York- based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is leaving 1.3 million square feet of offices at 1 New York Plaza and 77 Water St. as it prepares to move to new headquarters near the World Trade Center site. JPMorgan put 320,000 square feet of Park Avenue offices on the market after scooping up rival Bear Stearns Cos. last year along with the company’s 45-story headquarters tower at 383 Madison Ave. Citigroup has put 11 floors, or 326,000 square feet, on the market at the 59-story Citigroup Center at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, bank spokesman Jon Diat said in an e-mail. The tower is owned by Mortimer Zuckerman’s Boston Properties Inc. Moving Out “We’ve been having conversations for two and a half years with Citigroup, and it’s been very clear to us that for the right economic transaction, they would move out of virtually any space in midtown Manhattan that they have,” Boston Properties President Douglas Linde said on a conference call last month. Boston Properties is also expecting to receive about 490,000 square feet back from Lehman Brothers at 399 Park Ave. as part of the bank’s liquidation. That space “will be a monumental challenge” to fill, said Michael Knott, senior analyst at Newport Beach, California-based Green Street Advisors. “They’re going to have to really bend over backwards on rate, or make the strategic decision to sit on it for an extended period of time.” Zuckerman said in an interview he doesn’t expect the increase in sublets to be a long-term problem for landlords. “You’re not going to be able to get for the space what you were able to get a year ago,” he said. “But in a year or two, in my judgment, the space will be absorbed.” Future Forecast Landlords must be prepared for a slow recovery, said Di Natale of Moody’s Economy.com. Commercial vacancy rates climbed for almost a year and a half after the last recession ended in late 2001. Still, CB Richard Ellis Tri-State Chairman Robert Alexander said New York’s financial community will regenerate. “In the late ‘80s, we lost Drexel Burnham Lambert and we lost Salomon Brothers, and we lost Thomson McKinnon,” Alexander said. “New York City survived.”
  15. St. Catherine Street: the changing of the guard Remember that little boutique where you bought the leather jacket 15 years ago? It’s gone. If you have not visited St.Catherine Street in Montreal since the early 1990s, you would not recognize it. Of the stores that were located in the prime area between Bishop and University, not more than fi ve are still in existence. The locallyowned stores are gone, replaced at first by national retail chains, which in turn are giving way to international chains. Storefront retail throughout North America has been in decline for many years. St. Catherine Street is the exception. Rental rates have quadrupled. Vacancies are nonexistent. It is not just any street. Fifteen kilometres long, St. Catherine comprises 1,200 stores, making it the largest concentration of retail outlets in Canada. The street is witness to 3,500 pedestrians per hour, 250,000 offi ce workers at lunchtime, and 100,000 students per day, keeping the street alive at all hours. Furthermore, eight subway stations, 30 kilometres of underground walkways with 178 entrances, and 2,000 underground stores totalling 36 million square feet (sq. ft.) of floor space are used by 500,000 people on a daily basis. In street front retail, if you don’t have a store on St. Catherine Street, you have not made it. There are two strategies for retail chains entering Quebec: 1) open a fl agship store on St. Catherine Street; or 2) open four or five stores in major malls around Montreal, and a flagship store on St. Catherine Street. At the corner of Peel and St. Catherine, three of the four corner stores have changed in the past year. The newcomers are H&M (Hennes & Mauritz of Sweden) with 20,000 sq. ft; Guess with 13,000 sq. ft; and American Eagle, with 17,000 sq. ft and Apple Store. In the last five years, more than 20 flagship stores have opened here, mostly multinationals, such as: Lululemon, Oakley, American Eagle, Esprit, Garage, Guess, Khiels, Geox, GNC, Ecco Shoes, H&M, Mango, French Connection, Quicksilver, Marciano and Adidas. The shortage of space forces stores to take minimal frontage on the ground floor, and more space on the second and third fl oors. Ground fl oor space that leased in the early 1990s for $50 net per sq. ft. (psf ), with the landlord offering $25 per sq. ft. for leasehold improvements, now leases for $200 net psf and up, plus $30 psf for operating costs and taxes. And some of the stores spend $5 million renovating the space. But as they say in Rolls Royce dealerships, if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. Some of these stores are not making money, but they are here for image and marketing purposes. All the other banners are here, so they have to be here too. Whereas the mixture of stores constantly evolves, most of the landlords have been here for 30 or 40 years. They have seen the market go up and down. In this market, they will turn down all but the best. For one vacancy last year, there were four multinational chains trying to outbid each other for the space. http://www.avisonyoung.com/library/pdf/National/Fall-Winter_2008_AY_National_Newsletter.pdf
  16. Proposed: Current: NOTE: This is a Karsten Rumpf project announced back in JUNE 2011 with little to no indication that any work started. Since he is currently active with the Bishop Court condo conversion, I figured this project would be worth posting here. But this thread probably belongs to "projects oublie" for now.
  17. http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/07/paris-wants-landlords-to-turn-vacant-office-space-into-apartmentsor-else/374388/ Paris Wants Landlords to Turn Vacant Office Space Into Apartments—Or Else The city has a surplus of empty commercial buildings that could better serve as residences. And it plans to fine owners who don't convert. FEARGUS O'SULLIVAN <figure class="lead-image" style="margin: 0px; max-width: 620px; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Oxygen, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 17px;"><figcaption class="credit" style="color: rgb(153, 153, 153); font-size: 0.82353em; text-align: right;">Justin Black/Shutterstock.com</figcaption></figure>Leave your office space unrented and we’ll fine you. That’s the new ruledeclared by the city of Paris last week. Currently, between six and seven percent of Paris' 18 million square meters of office space is unused, and the city wants to get this vacant office space revamped and occupied by residents. The penalties for unrented space will be as follows: 20 percent of the property’s rental value in the first year of vacancy, 30 percent in the second year and 40 percent in the third year. The plan is to free up about 200,000 square meters of office space for homes, which would still leave a substantial amount of office space available should demand pick up. The city insists that, while the sums involved are potentially large, this isn’t a new tax but an incentive. And, if it has the right effect in getting property re-occupied, may end up being little-used. Landlords' groups are taking the new plan as well as can be expected. They’ve pointed out that, while the cost of the fines might be high, it could still cost them less to pay them than to convert their properties to homes. According to a property investor quoted in Le Figaro, the cost of transforming an office into apartments can actually be 20 to 25 percent more expensive than constructing an entirely new building. Many landlords might be unwilling or unable to undertake such a process and thus be forced to sell in a market where, thanks to a glut of available real estate, prices are falling. There is also the question of how easy the law will be to enforce: Landlords could rent out vacant properties at a token rent simply to avoid the vacancy fine. <aside class="pullquote instapaper_ignore" style="font-family: Bitter, Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 2.11765em; line-height: 1.05556; border-top-width: 5px; border-top-style: solid; border-top-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); border-bottom-width: 1px; border-bottom-style: solid; border-bottom-color: rgb(0, 0, 0); padding: 25px 0px; margin: 30px 0px;">As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. </aside>It’s too early to see if these predictions will come true, but past experience in smaller French property markets suggests it won’t. The fines have already been introduced elsewhere in France: in the country’s fourth city of Lille (governed by the Socialist party) and in the Parisian satellite town of St Quentin-en-Yvelines (governed by the right wing UMP). So far, neither has experienced a legislation-exacerbated property slump. It’s also fair to point out that Paris is asking for a round of belt tightening from pretty much every group involved in the city’s real estate. The new levy is part of a plan announced last month that will also pressure state and semi-public bodies to release Parisian land for home building. Paris has some fairly large reserves of this, including space currently owned by the state health authority, by the national railway network and by the RATP—Paris’ transit authority, on whose unused land alone 2,000 homes could be built. In the meantime, stringent planning laws are also being relaxed to cut development costs for office converters. They will no longer, for example, be obliged to provide parking spaces for new homes, as they had been until the law change. Finally, starting next year, landlords will get an incentive to rent their properties to financially riskier lower-income tenants by having their rents and deposits guaranteed by a new intermediary, a public/private agency called Multiloc. Coming on top of laws that have relaxed building-height restrictionson the Paris periphery, it’s clear that, for Paris developers and landowners, there’s a decent ratio of carrot to stick. But will it all work? At the very least, Paris deserves recognition for being proactive, especially on a continent where many cities’ grip on the property sector is floundering. Berlin has recently had major new homebuilding plansrejected by residents (for good reason—they were due to get a bad deal), while the U.K.’s number of newly built homes has actually gone down, despite property prices continuing to rise sharply. As Paris becomes a laboratory for new legislation to make homes more plentiful and affordable, other European cities would do well to watch it carefully. (Photo credit: Justin Black/Shutterstock.com)
  18. Bay Street still has Canada’s most expensive office space http://renx.ca/bay-street-still-canadas-expensive-office-space/ Bay Street in Toronto has the most expensive office space in Canada, and no other city comes close to matching the $68.52 per square foot average rent that’s being asked for in the heart of the country’s financial district. JLL Canada recently released its “Most Expensive Streets for Office Space” report, which ranks Canadian cities by their highest asking rents. It shows many companies are still willing to pay a premium for the most expensive spaces, and competition is growing to get into prominent financial, retail and government hubs. “The most significant trend that we are seeing across major markets is that there are a large number of new developments underway,” said JLL Canada president Brett Miller. “Although we have only seen minor changes to the top market rents thus far in 2014, we anticipate that as the new inventory comes to market, overall rents will decrease in the older class-A stock whilst headline rents in new developments may raise the top line rents.” Here are the most expensive streets in nine major Canadian cities 1. Bay Street, Toronto, $68.52 per square foot Bay Street held strong in first place for the fourth year running. It features the headquarters of major Canadian banks and is home to many investment banks, accounting and law firms. Brookfield Place, at 161 Bay St., continues to command the highest office rents of any building in Canada at $76.54 per square foot. The average market rent in Toronto is $34.82 per square foot. (Bay St. looking north from Front St. shown in the image,) 2. 8th Avenue SW, Calgary, $59.06 per square foot 8th Avenue SW again has the highest average gross office rents in Calgary. Large vacancies and availabilities along this corridor typically account for significant activity and command market-leading rates. Large oil and gas companies have historically clustered around the central business district in this area. The top rent on the street is $64.40 per square foot and the average market rent in Calgary is $46 per square foot. 3. Burrard Street, Vancouver, $58.87 per square foot Burrard Street has dropped to third place despite a slight increase in average asking rent from $58.47 in 2013. Approximately 18.3 per cent of downtown class-A office supply is located on Burrard Street between West Georgia Street and Canada Place. The vacancy rate in these six buildings sits at 1.6 per cent, which justifies this location commanding some of the highest rental rates in the city despite the impending influx of new supply that’s putting downward pressure on rents throughout the central business district. The top rent on the street is $66.06 per square foot and the average market rent in Vancouver is $38.81 per square foot. 4. Albert Street, Ottawa, $52.10 per square foot Albert Street remained in fourth position with average rents decreasing slightly from $53.40 per square foot. Albert Street is mainly home to government-related office towers, including numerous foreign embassies, and a few of the largest Canadian business law firms. There seems to be a wait-and-see approach in anticipation of the 2015 federal election regarding the government’s intentions to lease or return more space to the market. The top rent on the street is $53.54 per square foot and the average market rent in Ottawa is $30.90 per square foot. 5. 101st Street NW, Edmonton, $46.71 per square foot The average asking rent dropped from $48.19 per square foot, but 101st Street NW is expected to remain the most expensive in Edmonton with the recent commitment to build the arena district, a large-scale, mixed-use project incorporating the city’s new National Hockey League arena. This is expected to revitalize some of the most important corners on the street. The top rent on the street is $54.15 per square foot and the average market rent in Edmonton is $28.30 per square foot. 6. René-Lévesque W, Montreal, $44.28 per square foot The average gross rent on the street hasn’t changed significantly year over year, but the total value of tenant inducement packages has nearly doubled. The most expensive building on the street (1250 René-Lévesque W) rents for $52.76 per square foot but has seen some downward pressure of two to four dollars on its net rent due to 170,000 square feet of vacant space left behind by Heenan Blaikie. The average market rent in Montreal is $30.38 per square foot. 7. Upper Water Street, Halifax, $36.42 per square foot Upper Water Street has maintained seventh place despite its average asking rent dropping from $36.65 per square foot last year. New construction coming on stream is expected to put downward pressure on rents in existing office buildings. The top rent on the street is $36.62 per square foot and the average market rent in Halifax is $27.44 per square foot. 8. Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, $35.67 per square foot Portage Avenue held strong in eighth place, with its average rent increasing from $35.17 per square foot. The class-A market remains tight and is expected to remain so through 2015. The top rent on the street is $37.32 per square foot and the average market rent in Winnipeg is $23.62 per square foot. 9. Laurier Boulevard, Québec City, $27.50 per square foot Laurier Boulevard held its ninth-place position despite the average rent dropping from $28.14 per square foot. There’s been no notable increase in the average gross rent and the vacancy rate on the street remains low at 5.2 per cent compared to the rest of the market’s 7.8 per cent. The top rent on the street is $28.98 per square foot and the average market rent in Québec City is $21.89 per square foot. JLL manages more than 50 million square feet of facilities across Canada and offers tenant and landlord representation, project and development services, investment sales, advisory and appraisal services, debt capital markets and integrated facilities management services to owners and tenants.
  19. The Saudi capital is unlikely to become an alternative to Dubai any time soon May 11th 2013 | RIYADH |From the print edition THE glass-clad skyscrapers are reaching ever higher into Riyadh’s dusty sky. The first tenants are due to move to the King Abdullah Financial District in the Saudi capital’s north-west later this year. But they may well find it a lonely place: enthusiasm is clearly lacking for the development, which boasts 42 buildings and 900,000 square metres of office space—similar in scale to London’s Canary Wharf. Granted, new office districts often take time to come to life. Canary Wharf had to battle against sceptics for many years before becoming the success it is today. But it is unclear how Riyadh’s new district will develop into what it is meant to be: a sober Saudi alternative to Dubai’s exuberant International Financial Centre. To date just 10% of the district’s office space has been leased; tenants will include the country’s stockmarket regulator, the Capital Markets Authority, and one large local bank, Samba. A further 10% is under negotiation, according to sources close to the developers of the project. A big problem is its size. The Saudi economy may be doing well on the back of high oil prices, but not so well that its businesses could easily digest all the extra property. The new financial district has three times as much high-end office space as the rest of Riyadh. In other words, even if every company in the city’s plusher offices moved to the new district it would still be two-thirds empty. Costs are another hurdle. “It might be prestigious but why should I pay an arm and a leg to be there?” asks a local executive. Some banks, like Arab National Bank and Al Rajhi Bank, are building new towers elsewhere. Even the Saudi central bank is thought to be staying where it is. But if banks do not fill the space, then who will? Accountants, lawyers and insurance firms are not nearly numerous enough. They also remain to be convinced of the development’s merits. “There’s going to be all those towers, but for what? It looks like an overbuilt proposition,” says a Riyadh lawyer. Nor are foreign firms likely to be of much help. Riyadh may be the centre of the region’s biggest economy, boasting more people and oil revenues than anywhere else. But unlike Dubai, as a financial centre the city is inward-looking, with banks largely servicing the domestic economy. That, as well as a lack of cultural life, prevent it from becoming a regional financial hub. Yet at some point the new district may still serve its purpose. The owner has pockets deep enough to take the long view. The project was the brainchild of the Capital Markets Authority, with support from the Public Pensions Agency. One of the agency’s subsidiaries, the Rayadah Investment Company, has taken over the development, which is estimated to cost between $7 billion and $10 billion. More important, so many near-empty buildings will be a political embarrassment, in particular since the new district carries the king’s name. Authorities may yet lean on the banks to move. Optimism and market forces alone will certainly not be enough to fill all the space. From the print edition: Finance and economics http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21577424-saudi-capital-unlikely-become-alternative-dubai-any-time-soon-empty?frsc=dg%7Cc
  20. This is the same building as Angela Pizza. Walked by today, noticed some heavy renovations going on at "ground" floor level. All graffitis cleaned up. Peeked inside and saw plenty of ladders and fresh new walls. I think this is a handsome rugged building that deserves a facelift. Gives me NYC vibes. It's been abandoned for as long as I can remember though I think there was a dental clinic in there at some point. Googled a bit for 1668 Maisonneuve and found this listing as well as this Altus profile. [sTREETVIEW]https://maps.google.com/maps?q=maisonneuve+at+st-mathieu,+montreal&hl=en&ll=45.494924,-73.580168&spn=0.001765,0.004106&sll=45.55097,-73.702207&sspn=0.225754,0.525627&hnear=Maisonneuve+Blvd+W+%26+St+Mathieu+St,+Montreal,+Quebec,+Canada&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=45.495001,-73.58008&panoid=-CcEf2QVZaTxF67hFVvEag&cbp=12,152.08,,0,-17.9[/sTREETVIEW]
  21. jesseps

    Google Fiber

    Read more at http://9to5google.com/#KtzmPqKgJf6xvBI3.99 1 Gbps with unlimited data all for $70/month Damn you Kansas City (Kansas / Missouri) Oh yah did I forget 1TB of space in Google Drive.
  22. Hi everyone, My husband and I are going to pick the finishes for our condo soon and I was wondering whether most people stuck with the standard finished or chose upgrades? We are purchasing to live in the condo for at least 5 years. In terms of backsplash/tiles, have any of you noticed a difference between standard vs upgrade? Also, I wanted to extend the kitchen cabinets to cover more of the space, possibly extend the island and change the faucet/sink. Will this cost me an arm and a leg? Any advice would be very appreciated! Thanks
  23. New York City streets go green New York City transportation head, Janette Sadik-Kahn is taking it to the streets, literally. The visionary transportation planner, who has been on the job for two years and was tapped by the Obama Administration for a top post, is serious about sustainability. And, while her first attempt to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by proposing congestion pricing for those who came in to the city by car went over like a lead balloon, her current efforts to green the city’s streets by reinventing car lanes as public space has carried favor with just about everyone. Her latest project, dubbed “Green Lights for Broadway”, aims to transform the city’s iconic car-clogged thoroughfare into a pedestrian oasis. As the only street in Midtown that is off the grid, Broadway poses significant traffic problems and safety issues along its length. “Green Lights for Broadway” aims to reduce traffic congestion through Midtown with targeted improvements focused at Times Square and Herald Square that will speed cross town traffic and replace car lanes with public space where pedestrians can lunch or relax in the middle of the street. Broadway is just one of many areas of the city that is being “pedestrianised” by Sadik-Kahn. Another intiative to green the city steets is the Plaza Program which began last year aiming to put all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of a park. Under this program, streets throughout the city are being reinvented as public plazas, as, for example, at Madison Square Park where 45,000 sq ft of public space was recently added in the middle of Madison Avenue and in nearby Chelsea where a car lane was transformed into a plaza with planters and a bike lane. While these efforts will no doubt make the city more liveable, the Mayor and the Transportation Commissioner would like to see a Manhattan with fewer cars. As such, the city is tweaking its public transportation system to expand and speed service. While the focus is mainly on adding designated bus lanes and improving ferry service, there may also be a tramway in New York’s future. In the 1990s, while with the Dinkins Administration, Sadik-Kahn tried to build a light rail system on 42nd Street. And though that project died on the vine, the idea of a building a light rail line on 42nd Street is still very much alive. The Institute for Rational Mobility (RUM), an advocacy group, is currently floating a proposal, dubbed “Vision 42” that re-imagines 42nd Street as a landscaped pedestrian mall with a 2.5-mile long light rail line that runs river to river. In a recently released report, RUM indicates the roughly $500 million project would generate $704 million in annual benefit. While that project’s future is yet to be determined, Sadik-Kahn has said she is not opposed to using the dedicated bus lanes initiative as a “back door “ step toward light rail, noting that cities all over the world, like Bogotá Columbia, are working toward a light rail service by reclaiming auto space in this way. Regardless, the city’s green transportation czar is on the case manipulating over 6,000 miles of roadway and 12,000 miles of sidewalks for the betterment of the public. While incomplete, her efforts have led to large increases in cycling as a primary mode of transit, increased ridership on subways and busses, and reduced mortalities amongst bicyclists and pedestrians. Sharon McHugh US Correspondent http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=11479
  24. September 10, 2009 Architecture Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF Does Manhattan have a future as a great metropolis? If you hope the answer is yes, you will be disheartened by the City Planning Department’s decision on Wednesday to chop off 200 feet from the top of a proposed tower next door to the Museum of Modern Art on 53rd Street in Manhattan. Designed by Jean Nouvel, the building would have been as tall as the Empire State Building minus its antenna, a fact that probably made planners tremble. Amanda Burden, the city planning commissioner, said the tower’s top, which culminates in three uneven peaks, did not meet the aesthetic standards of a building that would compete in height with the city’s most famous towers. And who, after all, wants to be responsible for ruining the most famous skyline in the world? Still, the notion of treating the Midtown skyline as a museum piece is more disturbing. The desire of each new generation of architects and builders to leave its mark on the city, to contribute its own forms, is essential to making New York what it is. The soaring height and slender silhouette of Mr. Nouvel’s tower not only captured the spirit of Midtown — the energy and hubris that transformed this island into a monument to American cosmopolitanism — it also brought that spirit forcefully into the present. Mr. Nouvel’s design was conceived as a giant spire, like the Empire State’s but without the boxy building. Supported by a matrix of interwoven steel beams reminiscent of a spider’s web, it tapers jaggedly as it rises, evoking a shard of glass. The beams are flush with the building’s glass surface, giving it a taut muscular appearance; an underground restaurant and lounge, visible from the sidewalk, root the structure to the site. The design’s beauty stemmed from its elegant proportions, particularly the exaggerated relationship between its small footprint and enormous height. Seen from the street, its receding facades would have induced a delicious sense of vertigo. Ms. Burden’s objections were directed at the top of the building. “Members of the commission had to make a decision based on what was in front of them,” she said. “The development team had to show us that they were creating something as great or even greater than the Empire State Building and the design they showed us was unresolved.” It’s true that aspects of the design had yet to be developed fully. The three peaks were too symmetrical, which gave them a slightly static appearance. And they could have been sharpened to finer points. But Mr. Nouvel, one of the profession’s most creative forces, would have been more than capable of dealing with these issues. With the new height restriction in place, though, his original design concept will surely be diminished. And the loss of as much as 150,000 square feet of floor space could also lead to cuts in the design budget, which could mean cheaper materials and more cramped interiors. Or, just as bad, it could push Hines, the building’s developer, into finding a way to pack more space onto the lower floors, which could further distort the building’s proportions. But the greater sadness here has to do with New York and how the city sees itself. Both the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, built during the Great Depression, were celebrated in their time as emblems of the city’s fortitude. The Freedom Tower, our era’s most notable contribution to the skyline, is a symbol of posturing and political expediency. And now a real alternative to it, one of the most enchanting skyscraper designs of recent memory, may well be lost because some people worry that nothing in our current age can measure up to the past. It is a mentality that, once it takes hold, risks transforming a living city into an urban mausoleum. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/10/arts/design/10building.html?_r=1