Happy election day! Below are some notable news articles to help get you up to speed before you head to the polls, that is, if you haven’t yet. already voted.
While the far-reaching consequences of today’s crucial midterm election – perhaps the most important in modern history given that democracy as we know it is very much on the ballot vote – might not be clear for weeks or months, we will be tracking any and all potential impacts to the built environment, including housing, transportation, and more. Please be careful tonight.
RIOS expands in Europe with the opening of an office in London
Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary design collective RIOS expands its international reach in Europe with the opening of a new office in the Spitalfields area of the East End of London. The office is headed by the design director Paul Westwood, formerly project manager at Heatherwick Studio. “London is my home and, coincidentally, the home of the best developers in the world,” Westwood said in a statement. “I am delighted to bring the excellence of RIOS design to the UK public and showcase our talents in community and forward-thinking architecture.”
While RIOS, since renamed Rios Clementi Hale (RCH) Studios following the Departure of Julie Smith-Clementi and Frank Clementi in early 2020, will retain its strong Southern California roots, the new London office is the latest big move to come during a remarkable growth trajectory out of the pandemic. In addition to LA HQ, RIOS also has offices in Boulder, Austin, Singapore and Portland, Oregon.
“Our efforts to grow our practice globally are aligned with our ambitions to design bold and responsive spaces, especially in markets that value innovative and ambitious design,” said RIOS Co-CEO. Jessamyn Davis. “The pandemic has heightened our interest in expanding our team, and London is an incredible melting pot of cultures, histories and contexts from around the world. We are excited to bring our unique approach to interdisciplinary design to a new audience.
Recent RIOS projects presented by A reflect the multidisciplinary approach to practice and include Palm Springs Downtown Parkthe Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine in LA, and the next unveiled recently Hollywood TV center transformation complex.
USC School of Architecture launches new platform focused on equitable and sustainable design in cities
The School of Architecture at the University of Southern California (USC Architecture) has launched a new “critical research and actionable design” platform that aims to “provide radical alternatives to the exclusionary policies and extractive practices that shape our cities today.” titled the City Design Centerthe new platform is led by the director Faiza Moatasimassistant professor of architecture in urban planning and urban design.
The city design is envisioned as an “alternative to conventional top-down master planning” that “allows for the deliberate and coherent incorporation of issues of social and spatial justice as well as environmental and community resilience”.
“The Center will seek opportunities for collaboration between USC faculty, design practitioners, and local communities whose voices and expertise are normally unknown in design and decision-making processes,” Moatasim explained in a statement. “This is an important feature of our work as we seek to address various aspects of city design from local expertise and which come from day-to-day experiences.”
As detailed in a press announcement, the Center will support research efforts under four main initiatives – Urban Futures, Urban Humanities, Housing Justice and Urban Reparations – which promote “speculative, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary thinking to understand and address the complex challenges related to the equitable and sustainable design and development of cities.
You can learn more about the Center for City Design and its setting here. Along the same lines, USC Architecture also recently launched a new one-year postgraduate STEM program, the Master in Advanced Research Studies in Architecture (M.AARS), offering concentrations in City Design + Housing (CDH) or Performative Design + Technology (PDT). Applications for the program’s fall 2023 cohort, led by director Alvin Huang, are now open.
Detroit’s one-way wonder, the People Mover, starts collecting fares again
The Detroit Mover (DPM), an elevated automated transit system that glides counterclockwise along a one-way loop through the fast-paced downtown Motor City, began collecting fares again on Oct. 31. The Detroit Transportation Corporation, the city agency that operates the DPM, had temporarily waived the 0.75 cent fee required to use the system following an extended shutdown in the wake of the pandemic to help bolster the traffic among tourists and downtown office workers. First launched in 1987, the DPM circuitous route measures just under 3 miles and stops at 13 stations filled with public art, including the Renaissance Center, Greektown, Broadway and the Financial District.
When the DMP resumed operations last May after being closed for more than two years due to the COVID crisis, more than half of the stations remained closed. As of this writing, 10 of 13 stations are now open (Bricktown, Cadillac Center and Times Square remain closed) and Sunday service has not resumed. In addition to single rides at 0.75 cents for adults, monthly and annual passes are available.
While DMP is heavily used at major sporting events (i.e. Super Bowl XL) and when major conventions are in town, the system has come under fierce critical and ridiculous over the years for its high operating costs and low number of users among the inhabitants.
H/t at Urbanize Detroit
Bushwick on track to get its first historic district
While a a lot can be said on Bushwick, conversations about the neighborhood in the northernmost stretches of Brooklyn don’t usually tend to revolve around historic architecture. That, however, is about to change as Bushwick may soon win its first ever landmark preservation commission (PLC)– designated historic district. The proposed neighborhood in question is a stretch of Linden Street between Broadway and Bushwick Avenue populated by 32 brick and brownstone townhouses built between 1885 and 1901. Lining both sides of the street, the remarkably preserved residential structures represent an assemblage attractive late 19th century architectural styles, including Renaissance-Revival, Neo-Greek and, perhaps most notably, Queen Anne.
” It’s breathtaking. One wonders how many other neighborhoods in our city hide with this quality of architecture. It’s really amazing. Brownstoner reported LPC commissioner Fred Bland at a meeting last week.
Following a unanimous vote to revisit the proposed district, the LPC will hold a public hearing in the near future, which will be followed by another vote.
H/t at Brownstoner
Turner Construction Company Highlights Commitment to End Forced Labor in AEC Industry
Earlier this month, Turner Construction Company hosted a one-day summit where the New York-based construction giant, joined by 45 industry leaders representing 18 major players in the AEC space , shared his vision for a more robust sustainability strategy that includes a strengthened commitment to work alongside New Canaan, Connecticut, Grace Farms Foundationit is design for freedom initiative as a key partner in eradicating modern slavery practices in the building materials supply chain.
“This summit is part of a broader strategy to broaden the definition of sustainability in our business, which is based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria. This strategy is directly linked to our culture of actively caring for people and the planet,” said Tom Reilly, Executive Vice President of Turner at the ESG Sustainability Summit, hosted by Deloitte.
“Turner’s commitment to Design for Freedom vertically galvanizes the AEC industry globally, which is necessary to first increase awareness and then eliminate forced labor from the building materials supply chain” , added Sharon Prince, CEO of Grace Farms and founder of Design For Freedom. .
Among those who joined Turner and Grace Farms/Design for Freedom at the summit were a wide range of attendees, including leading architectural firms NBBJ and FXCollaborative, elevator and stair developer/manufacturer/installer mechanics Otis, 169, and steelmaker Nucor. You can find out more here about Design for Freedom, a increasing movement so late A co-founder and editor Bill Menking played a key role in the formation of. Earlier this year, Design for Freedom unveiled its first-ever international project in the form of black chapel, the 21st annual Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Chicago-based artist and urban planner Theaster Gates with architectural support from Adjaye Associates. Design for Freedom served as Materials Advisor on the highly publicized commission for Kensington Gardens, London.
Work set to resume on delay-plagued Harbor Bridge in South Texas after summer shutdown
With work halted earlier this summer due to safety concerns related to major design flaws, construction work will soon resume at the Harbor Bridge, a $1 billion project in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is expected to to be both the longest cable-stayed bridge in the United States and the tallest structure in South Texas, with its main span spanning 1,661 feet and its main tower towering at 538 feet. The new bridge replaces an aging bridge that has carried US 181 across the Corpus Christi Ship Canal since the 1950s.
Originally slated to open to traffic in 2020, the massive infrastructure project is now set to be completed in 2025 after a series of significant delays and the 2020 layoff of FIGG Bridge Engineering, the project’s original engineer, and later hiring of Arup and Carlos Fernandez Casado SL (CFCs) as the new design engineer for the project.
H/t at Diving under construction