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[...]
July 18 2014

How will Montreal, Quebec Repurpose its Aging Urban Hospitals?

Two super-hospitals (MUHC and CHUM) are under construction in Montreal, Quebec and they are considered to be two of the city’s largest building projects since the 1976 Olympics and will reinforce Montreal’s position as a leader in life sciences research. Their development will combine several major hospitals onto their two sites, rendering many historic buildings vacant and left with an uncertain future. The MUHC, or the McGill University Health Center, was formed in 1997 when the Montreal Children's Hospital, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal Neurological Institute, Royal Victoria Hospital, and the Montreal Chest Institute, all merged together under [...]
July 18 2014

Architects & Communalism Can Solve San Francisco’s Housing Crisis

San Francisco is in a housing crisis!  The skyrocketing housing market is pushing out the people that make the city a diverse and vibrant place with housing rates rising three times faster than the national average. Within the last two years the rental market has increased by an average of 20%, resulting in one bedroom apartment priced at $2,897 and a two bedrooms at $3,898 per month. The city is working hard to deal with the market boom through social housing, incentives for private developers and community group initiatives. However with a growing economy and a project growth of two million people over the next twenty-five years, the supply of housing is still no where near th[...]
July 17 2014

Microclimatic Improvements for Panepistimiou Street in Athens, Greece

An approval was finally signed regarding the environmental conditions of the Panepistimiou Street’s rehabilitation project in Athens. Other projects were also included in this meeting, such as the extension of the tram network and the regulation of traffic in the center of the city. This whole project has a total budget of 78.5 million Euros and was signed by the Minister of the Environment, Giannis Maniatis. The project is divided into two main categories, both of which are going to be financed (37,974,000 Euros) by the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, through the operational program "Environment and Sustainable Development," and by the Region of Atti[...]
July 17 2014

Adaptive Reuse of Former Breweries Brings Charm Back to Baltimore Neighborhoods

It’s hard to pass through Baltimore, Maryland without seeing a mural, billboard, or the giant winking head that symbolizes the once prominent brewing industry of the city’s history. Two of the largest breweries in the U.S., the National and Gunther Breweries, once operating in Baltimore, have remained beloved brands of the city even after closing their doors and subsequently blighting adjacent neighborhoods for years. Similar to other former industrial complexes of Baltimore, the breweries were recently redeveloped for mixed and residential uses that are bringing new excitement to the area - without forgetting the past. Architecturally, the Brewers Hill[...]
July 17 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Kaylie Duffy in Madison, Wisconsin

It’s hard to believe that my six month internship with The Grid has finished. It feels just like yesterday I was trying to find an internship that combined my love of writing, my fascination with urban planning, and my pride for Madison, Wisconsin. When I finally found The Grid, I knew that I had found the perfect match for all of my criteria. Not only did my experience at The Grid improve my ability to manage time and develop my writing skills—it also allowed me to become more intimately acquainted with the city I have called home for the last four years. I perused the streets of Madison weekly with my camera bag and notepad, ready to discover blossoming infrastruc[...]
July 17 2014

New Mobile App for Bus Commuters in Rio de Janeiro Found Unuseful

On the 11th of June, the city of Rio de Janeiro received a tool that allows mobile access and real-time information about bus lines and routes, as well as attractions. Through QR Code technology and Near Field Communication (NFC), users point their smartphone devices towards adhesive signs installed in five thousand points on the fleet of city buses. The users of this new technology will have access to information in Portuguese, English and Spanish. The municipal program Smart City Rio is intended to make life easier, but users are still divided as to the usefulness of the resource. Recently, history teacher Barbara Romano was at a bus stop in the center city, but [...]
July 17 2014

Churches Outliving their Use in Montreal, Canada

Montreal, the city of a thousand church steeples? In order not to lose this identity which is intrinsic to its history, at a time when most churches are emptying out for lack of a secure future, the Quebec Religious Heritage Council (CPRQ) has published six portraits of the sacred sites that have been converted. This is a way of encouraging transformative projects, which are dragging their feet in the metropolis. "The studied projects took between eight and ten years to be implemented," explained Denis Boucher, General Director. "Often, there are many pitfalls to overcome - technical and financial challenges. The subsidy programs are not especially suited to supporting community projects. Th[...]
July 16 2014

Places of Non-Catholic Worship in Florence, Italy: Where Do Other Faithfuls Pray?

Florence is a city whose character has been dominated by Catholicism since the Middle-Ages. Throughout the years, religion has played a significant role in many aspects of its social life. Culturally and artistically, the city initially developed under the Papal Influence. This strong relationship becomes obvious also in an urban realm: Catholic churches are the strongest elements in the urban grid. Not only the Duomo, but also many minor churches serve as symbols and reference points. However, seasons change and historic cities like Florence enter in the era of the globalization. The immigration and the different population allocations have resulted in the[...]

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