July 30 2014

Ottawa is Suburban: Why Attempt to Become a Half-hearted, Phony Downtown?

Canada is a suburban nation, and its suburbs continue to grow. This is the primary conclusion of research conducted at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, which found that 90% of population growth in Canada between 2006 and 2011 was in car-oriented suburbs or commuter towns. This is no different in Ottawa, where the urban core represented only 12% of the city’s population as of 2011. But given the fear around the economic, health, and environmental consequences of suburbs, it is no surprise that planners are challenging them even as they grow. The resulting conversation often focuses on the densification of urban cores, but the study at Queen’s University suggests that this is[...]
July 29 2014

São Paulo, Brazil Mobilizes to Preserve Cultural Spaces

After a great deal of political mobilization, the Fine Arts Cinema reopened its doors to the public on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at the traditional corner of Rua da Consolação and Avenida Paulista. Faced with pressures from the owner, who raised the value of the rental property, the cinema ended its activities in March 2011. Since then, a great amount of political mobilization has prevented the permanent closure of the space. The Movement Cinematic Fine Art, who labored together with the city to find solutions that could ensure the existence of cinema on that corner. Earlier this year, the Municipal Bureau of Culture announced a partnership with Caixa to materiali[...]
July 28 2014

Milan’s Zaha Hadid “City Life” Project Lacks Cultural Authenticity & Inclusiveness

Even if architects and urban planners occasionally get wrapped up in their own ideas, the city is and has to be built for its citizens. In other words, the city belongs to the people and it’s design should reflect the comfort and desires of those who live in it. And where planners can’t find a way to change things, its residents have a way of stepping forward and improvising an urban design that suits their culture and lifestyle. That is why, in a city with a strong multicultural population, the built environment often undergoes a process of transformation due to the personal touch of the social-mix. By paying attention to the places that surround you - the buildings, sh[...]
July 28 2014

How A Group of Journalists Are Promoting the Suburbs of Paris, Île-de-France

They adopted a slogan that sounds like a magical remedy and they promise to send people exclusive information by email. The site Enlarge your Paris, which was created by a handful of journalists living in the suburbs surrounding Paris, offers to do what its name suggests. For the past year, the site’s small volunteer team has been taking people beyond Paris’ famous Boulévard Périphérique ring road in order to show them that recreation and culture can be found outside of Paris proper. The team travels around the circular roadway and recounts their discoveries and favorite finds in short articles. Whether they write about parks, museums, restaurants, coo[...]
July 25 2014

Glass Buildings, A Past Perfect Trend in Athens, Greece

From rural to urban, and from marble to glass, the history of the contemporary city of Athens has been vigorous, exciting and sometimes contradictory. While the last marbles of the Acropolis are looking at Athens from above, few other things have managed to distinguish themselves from the cityscape. The tall glass building, known as the Tower of Athens, by architect Ioannis Vikelas, is regarded as the second most recognizable structure in the city, after the Parthenon.

Reflecting the sky and exposing their interiors, glass buildings provoked [...]
July 24 2014

Affective Lighting at Carrousel des Fonds Marins in Nantes, France

At the beginning of June 2014, Laurent Lescop and Bernd Dahlgrun brought together schools of architecture from Hamburg, Gdansk and Nantes. Here follows an account of the international workshop. Vincent Laganier (VL): What does lighting bring to the context of an architecture workshop? Laurent Lescop (LL): Lighting is not taught much among architects. Natural light is mentioned little, just here and there, while artificial light is seldom brought up or is not broached at all. Because of this, the students actually discovered a new discipline, which was fascinating because it was ultimately very dynamic. They took a projector in hand, and light and the wo[...]
July 24 2014

The Waterworks Museum Finally Shines in Thessaloniki, Greece

With the exception of Thessaloniki’s students, who have all visited the Waterworks Museum at least once, the space remains quite unknown for the majority of citizens. Despite the fact that there are many people who have heard about it, almost none of them have ever been to the museum. It is not surprising that the taxi driver who took me there, looked very puzzled at my request and asked for further directions. Similarly, a friend of mine looked up specific directions in order to arrive by car and she found out that this area is called "mpourdelotsarka" (an area where there are many brothels). The Museum is located in an extremely unappreciated and neglected area that[...]
July 24 2014

Beach Pollution a Major Threat to Fisheries, Economy & Tourism in Fortaleza, Brazil

The mission: picking up trash on a stretch of the Praia do Futuro (Beach of the Future in Fortaleza, Brazil). Sponsored by the Cleaning the World Organization, volunteers gathered together with gloves to protect their hands, clipboards to record their progress, and bags to be filled, as they prepared to begin cleaning up the beach. For a little over an hour, over forty pounds of trash were removed. More than 1,871 pieces of solid waste were collected including large amounts of plastic which is referred to as "the villain," according to Juaci Araújo, the main coordinator of the Cleaning the World Organization. The goal of the project is mainly to remove [...]
July 23 2014

Hacking the City: “Explore Everything” Book Review

There is a feeling among many people that the city is built for others, that we may look at it but may not touch it, the spatial equivalent of an artifact in a glass case in a museum. (162) Explore Everything documents the adventures of Bradley Garrett, an urban explorer and researcher at the University of Oxford, as he delves into the abandoned buildings, infrastructure, and construction sites of London and beyond. Roughly defined as the infiltration of the built environment - typically ruined, abandoned, or places under construction - Garrett claims "urban exploration" existed long before organized communities formed. His experiences in Explore Everything, however, are framed by h[...]
July 23 2014

The Grid’s Top 20 Landscape Architecture Websites of 2014 – Highlighting the Top 10

In 2012 and 2013, The Grid searched far and wide across the web to find the most popular websites for landscape architects. Now another year has passed, and it’s time to click refresh. We’ve created a new list, with updated rankings and a couple of new entries, including the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and the Landscape Architecture Foundation. These are the most visited websites for landscape architects according to Alexa Analytics. You may be completely new to the field or a veteran, either way you’ll find loads of helpful information and resources. Click through our Top 20 to get all the information you could want on landscape architecture. 1. Places / http://pla[...]
July 23 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Kunal Matikiti in Melbourne, Australia

My internship at The Grid has been nothing short of amazing, particularly in how it challenged me to see and experience Melbourne in ways that I previously did not know. Working with The Grid provided the necessary motivation to explore the city, seeking the understanding of the city's problems and successes. While working at an architecture firm at the same time as my internship, I had a first-hand view into how architects think and create and how this inevitably impacts the city.

Though my primary interest lies in African Architecture and urbanism, during this internship I was looking for a way to understand the first [...]

July 23 2014

The New Bierger-Center of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: Drawing From the Past

On Monday, June 30, the new Bierger-Center in Luxembourg City’s Guillaume Square officially opened its doors. The transformation, renovation, and expansion of this historically significant group of structures was done by STEINMETZDEMEYER architects and the engineers of InCA Ingénieurs Conseils Associés (general coordination) through intelligent and subtle dialogue with contemporary styles. Alternately a sanctuary for the Dominicans of Marienthal in the 17th century, the seat of the International Bank, then a residence hall for girls run by the Sisters of Saint Elizabeth, it was only in 2003 that the Luxembourg City acquired this group of buildings that neighbors the Hôtel de Ville. These str[...]
July 22 2014

“Acropole Palace” Transforms into a Cultural Haven in Athens, Greece

Permanent and temporary exhibitions, a digital library, activities associated with modern culture, a gift shop and a restaurant with great views of the entire city of Athens are expected to be housed at the former hotel, "Acropole Palace," after its restoration. The historic building, which is expected to be open for the public by the end of 2015, was once again the main topic of a discussion by the Central Board of Modern Monuments. This time they talked about its specified uses, and the approval or the dismissal of modifications to its interior design. At first, the building was designed to house public services or the offices of cultural opera[...]
July 22 2014

Innovative Fire Hydrant-Water Fountains on the Plateau in Montreal

Starting Monday, residents and commuters going through the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhood will be able to drink straight out of two reinvented fire hydrant fountains. At first sight, the spatial allure of the metallic structures of the “Borneos” incites curiosity, as if it were necessary to "drink in order to believe it." Installed Thursday, at the intersections of Mont-Royal-Saint-Laurent and De Brebeuf-Mont-Royal, these innovative, movable urban elements, developed by the Association of Industrial Designers of Quebec (ADIQ), will allow citizens to reclaim the water that sleeps beneath their feet. "There are very few fountains in the Montreal area," said Catherine Pi[...]
July 22 2014

The Franciscan Well Brewery and Home-Brewed Beers in Cork City, Ireland

With the economic downturn in Ireland there has been an increase in the popularity of home-brewing. Across Cork City numerous home-brewers have popped up, both on a commercial and personal basis, because it's a cheap way to make your own beer. Also, where there were only a few trusted beers on tap, there is now a wide array of craft beers and home-brews to choose from. Here in Cork these are making their way into bars across the city. The most popular of these are the Franciscan Well variety which have ales, blonds and a stout. They brew twenty four beers, ranging from stouts, pale ales, lagers, malt ales and wheat beer. They have started to export the b[...]
July 22 2014

A Look at the Positive Legacy of the World Cup in Porto Alegre, Brazil

It is not difficult to see the legacy of the World Cup for the city of Porto Alegre. In total, fourteen major transportation public works have been developed in different regions that will dramatically change traffic patterns. Four have already been delivered. In addition to these projects, the revitalization of public areas, investment in spaces for sport and recreation, and investments in education for students of ​​technology and communications are all developments that will provide a better quality of life for citizens. But the legacy of hosting this mega sports event transcends the visible benefits. In addition to the construction of infrastructure projects qualifying as [...]
July 21 2014

The SFMOMA Expansion: Increasing Community Connection Through Transparency

Commonly, the most dreaded hurdle for architects is: How to address the site in a way which does not dismiss the surrounding urban fabric. Drawing in the occasional pedestrian would be a compliment, but it is not always that simple. A building’s connection with both city and site can often become clouded and disjointed with codes, programming, and of course the too familiar egos that tend to surface. Architecture firm Snøhetta makes the engagement of urban fabric seem effortless with its design for the expansion of San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Set to open to the public in early 2016, SFMOMA's sleek addition will expand the museum’s program to n[...]
July 21 2014

Montreal, Quebec, Canada Welcomes Its First Parklet

The borough of Plateau-Mont-Royal in Montreal has launched an unusual public development project; a parklet that is being developed. A concept inspired by cities such as San Francisco and Vancouver, parklets, or placottoirs in French, are sitting and rest areas resembling outdoor terraces that are installed in the parking areas in front of businesses. What makes them unique? They are accessible to everyone, from customers to people passing by, and the sale of products is forbidden. Montreal’s very first parklet appeared on Saturday, July 5th on the corner of Duluth and Saint-André in front of the Léo le Glacier ice cream shop. It took little time for this new re[...]
July 21 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Christine Cepelak in Dallas, Texas

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Already active in the sustainability, urban development, and poverty realms of Dallas, Texas, I consistently encountered inspiring people engaged in the complex issues of the greater metropolis. From my original interest in how poverty and marginalization could be ended for the long-term, I became unable to ignore the urban environment's role in generating both problems and solutions. I was drawn to the collective topics being addressed on The Grid, and felt that beginning to share some of the stories [...]
July 18 2014

Poised for Redevelopment: Boland’s Mill at Grand Dock in Dublin, Ireland

Boland’s Bakery Mill is located at the intersection of Barrow Street and Pearce Street beside Dublin’s Grand Canal Dock. This area has recently become one of the most popular locations in Ireland for domestic and international companies to establish offices. Facebook and Google are just some of the recent additions to the area, resulting in both commercial and residential properties being in high demand. Boland’s Mill, along with the Four Courts and the General Post Office (GPO), was one of the most significant sites during the 1916 Easter Rising. Though the 1916 Rising was a complete failure in terms of actual results, it was seen as a major turning point in the Iris[...]

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