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2013 Archive

News Roundup

Mar 18, 2013

Happy almost-Spring Monday! Here’s a roundup of some of the most interesting and most shared articles from the last couple weeks from VIA’s Twitter and elsewhere around the ‘net:

photo credit: ArchDaily courtesy of Central House of Architects, full article below

Can the Longest Remaining Stretch of the Berlin Wall Be Saved From the Threat of Condos? (The Atlantic Cities) It’s all happening so fast that locals can hardly believe it. In a move first announced publicly only on Thursday afternoon, Berlin developers attempted this morning to tear up and remove one of the last still-standing pieces of the Berlin Wall. Part of an intact 1400-yard stretch flanking the eastern bank of Berlin’s River Spree, a 25-yard chunk has been abruptly slated for removal, despite being protected by national monument status.

New Skyscraper-Deconstruction Technique Harvests Energy from Demolition Process (Inhabitat) Demolishing tall buildings is typically a loud and messy process that produces a lot of dust and not a lot of building materials that can be salvaged. But Japan’s Taisei Corporation is pioneering a new technique that preserves building materials and actually generates energy from the demolition process.

Nordic Wood Festival of Wooden Architecture (ArchDaily) Between March 15th and March 27th 2013 the Central House of Architects will host the Nordic Wood festival of wooden architecture in Moscow where the most interesting examples of wooden architecture in Scandinavia, the Baltic states and Russia will be on display.

Japan Turned the One Surviving Tsunami Tree Into a Gigantic …

Today is International Women’s Day and in recognition and celebration, we polled our team to see which female architects, planners, and designers have made an impact on them. This is who they came up with (in no particular order):

photo credit

Jane Jacobs Author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities, a seminal and inspirational book for any urban planner/designer/architect or pretty much anyone who lives and breathes in a city.

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urbanist and activist whose writings championed a fresh, community-based approach to city building. She had no formal training as a planner, and yet her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, introduced ground-breaking ideas about how cities function, evolve, and fail that now seem like common sense to generations of architects, planners, politicians, and activists.

Jacobs saw cities as ecosystems that had their own logic and dynamism which would change over time according to how they were used. With a keen eye for detail, she wrote eloquently about sidewalks, parks, retail design, and self-organization. She promoted higher density in cities, short blocks, local economies, and mixed uses. Jacobs helped derail the car-centered approach to urban planning in both New York and Toronto, invigorating neighbourhood activism by helping stop the expansion of expressways and roads. She lived in Greenwich Village for decades, then moved to Toronto in 1968 where she continued her work and writing on urbanism, economies, and social issues until her death in April 2006.


Billie Tsien Billie Tsien …

News Roundup

Feb 12, 2013

Hello VIA Blog readers! Here are a few of the last couple weeks’ most shared and talked-about articles from the VIA Twitter, Pinterest, and beyond.

One of 21 amazing off-the-grid houses shared by Gizmodo, full article linked below 

5 Pearls of Wisdom for Architecture Grads (Arch Daily) Phil Bernstein is a Vice President at Autodesk and teaches at Yale. This post, originally published in 2011 on his blog as “Winter Commencement,” offers timeless advice for architecture students about to enter the job market.

Traveling the Entire Length of California by Local Transit (The Atlantic Cities) Local transit maps tend to stay local. Some designate connections to other lines or systems but it’s not really their purpose to expand the map beyond the metropolitan area — say, the way road atlases do. Recently a California design team did what local agencies don’t: created a statewide rail map with more than 500 destinations served by ten rail authorities plus Amtrak, ferry, and major bus connections.

Bridge Built from Shipping Containers Is Trendy, but Inefficient (Treehugger) Over at Designboom, they’re featuring a new bridge design made from shipping containers by Israel’s Yoav Messer Architects. The firm says that “repurposing the containers is fast and easy work that can be done off-site and later assembled, minimizing invasive construction. A new steel truss will be integrated with the metal boxes as the primary structure of the bridge.” But is it smart design?

How to ‘Rightsize’ a Street (The Atlantic Cities) The …

by Brendan Hurley, Urban Planner, VIA Architecture

Southeast False Creek, Vancouver

Stepping Stones Vancouver has just been named Canada’s most walkable city. Walk Score ranked Vancouver against other cities using their online algorithmic tool that looks at the connections and places within urban areas. Vancouver received top marks based on the mix and density of uses, places, activity, and connectivity.

At VIA, one of our driving principles is how to make cities exciting, connected, and valued places to live; an experience. So when one of our home towns gets lauded for doing what we hope it should and believe it can, we believe that distinction deserves reflection.

Vancouver getting awards for livability seems old hat at this point. As one of the perennial poster children for urban livability, this young West Coast city has more feathers in its cap than some feel it deserves, sometimes being described as a “Setting waiting for a city.” While this statement may have been true in the past decades, the efforts of planners and city builders to improve the vibrancy of urban life in this region have helped shaped a new existence for the Terminal City. By focusing on the urban environment and the connective nature of complete communities, design and planning – including the efforts of the VIA team – have shifted to not only capturing the power and beauty of the West Coast setting, but creating an urbane city all of its own.

The Importance of a Walking City Walkability is about more than …

Monday News Roundup

Jan 14, 2013

Happy Monday! Here are a few of the last couple weeks’ highlights from the VIA Twitter, VIA Pinterest, and elsewhere across the web. Have a great week, all!

The ‘Strong Core’ Theory of Los Angeles (The Atlantic Cities) Samuel Krueger grew up in Portland, where he enjoyed “how the streets are very active with people and shops in the downtown.” He’s lived in Los Angeles since 1998 and now works as a drafter for the city’s Department of Water and Power. “In any place, people who grew up there don’t really think of it from an outside perspective, so they miss some of the obvious structures,” he says.

Could an urban gondola solve the Montlake Mess? (Seattle, The Montlaker Blog) Light rail in the far corner of campus — the 520 flyer stop a long walk from nowhere — lumbering buses merging left, blocking traffic — bus stops located far from UW Station. If transit is going to be a solution for the Montlake Mess, this tangled knot of bad connections will have to be untied. How to better move buses through Montlake? Don’t. Use an urban gondola instead.

Light Art by Bruce Munro (Contemporist) British light artist Bruce Munro has announced his second-ever U.S. show. He will return to exhibit “Light,” a collection of 10 large-scale outdoor lighting installations coupled with indoor sculptures at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Case for Walkability as an Economic Development Tool (The Atlantic Cities) A terrific …