“Via Verde, or the “Green Way”, was completed two years ago in the South Bronx – and its ideal combination of affordable housing and eco-friendliness has seemingly so far delivered on its promises. David Bench revisited the successful site, asking why the city isn’t filled with more affordable housing schemes like it. Hint: the answer has to do with something green.
Affordable housing is the quest of every New Yorker. The routes to finding it are mysterious and widely misunderstood, as they are made up of a myriad of buildings, programmes, and rules that have failed to keep pace with the production of luxury housing and gentrification of middle class neighbourhoods in the city. This apartment anxiety has led to such amusing and fateful reactions as the creation of the Rent is Too Damn High political party – whose name speaks for itself – and an economic narrative that propelled Bill de Blasio from a long-shot mayoral candidacy to an overwhelming majority on election day in 2013. Soon after taking office, de Blasio unveiled the most ambitious affordable housing program in generations, which aims to build or preserve 200,000 units in the next decade.”
“As US cities continue to expand, questions about the development of green spaces are becoming increasingly pressing for communities and architects alike. Yet, as David Bench discovers, the opening of a multi-purpose community centre in New Canaan, Connecticut this week sets a new precedent for suburban development in the region, much to the delight of both local residents and the architecture world.
New Canaan, Connecticut became the site of formal and social evolution in the relationship between architecture and landscape. This was initiated by Philip Johnson's groundbreaking modernist residence, the Glass House in 1949, which blurred the boundary between interior and exterior and set the stage for a proliferation of formalist exercises by other like-minded architects on former agricultural land around the town. In particular these included a series of significant modern houses by the so-called “Harvard Five” – including Marcel Breuer and Eliot Noyes – in which the Bauhaus ideology of Walter Gropius was first implemented in American residential architecture on a broad scale.”
“Controversial already, on account of its lengthy and expensive construction period, the brand new Spring Street salt shed in NY was gifted an early opportunity to shine in January 2016 as Winter Storm Jonas brought New York City to a snowy standstill.uncube correspondent David Bench braved the blizzard and found the structure sculpturally striking, convincingly functional and thoroughly worth its salt.
One of New York’s newest pieces of infrastructural architecture was functionally welcomed into the world last month by Winter Storm Jonas, one of the largest blizzards in the city’s history. After having witnessed a mild early winter season, the Spring Street salt shed by Dattner Architects and WXY Architecture + Urban Design sprung into action as it serviced thousands of salt spreaders racing to keep the city streets from becoming impassable under a blanket of snow.”
“Pacific Park is a 4.9 billion USD mixed-use development under construction over seven city blocks of Downtown Brooklyn. When completed in 2025, Pacific Park will encompass 6,430 new apartments, up to 100,000 square metres of office space, 25,000 square metres of retail space, a public park, a grand new entrance to the subway lines below and the Barclays Center sports arena – with the latter two elements already completed. First conceived as Atlantic Yards in 2003, the project has accelerated the borough’s rapid transition from a post-industrial district to the poster child neighbourhood for the so-called millennial creative culture, and not without some conflict. If change was inevitable in Brooklyn, the tensions within a borough prideful of its rich and diverse social, economic, and cultural strands have only been exacerbated by the development. uncubecorrespondent David Bench and illustrator Lane Rick, both based in New York, sat down together to ponder the nature of growth, identity and “Brooklyn’s newest neighbourhood” in this long-read dialogue about real estate reality.”
As our built environment evolves, we must continually decide what is worth keeping. A significant percentage of buildings today—particularly in Western nations—are preserved through imposed guidelines. While there are myriad reasons why a building or site may warrant preservation, being deemed a landmark is one of the most powerful and complicated. Architecture's complicated relationship with wider social issues is laid bare through the process of landmarking, in which only one of six criteria—as outlined by the United States National Historic Landmarks program—mentions architectural merit. Furthermore, while structures were previously landmarked after having withstood the test of time, we now consider preserving comparatively young buildings and debate the historical value of unbuilt structures. By designating local, national, and international landmarks and landmark districts, societies officially declare which buildings and places possess cultural value. What are the bases for making these decisions, and what does this mean for the future? With many important buildings facing the wrecking ball and an increasing number of buildings receiving landmark status, it is time to critically discuss how we both let go of and hold onto the past.
More than ten million people around the world are currently held in a prison, jail, or some other form of penal institution. According to the World Prison Population List, prisoner counts have been increasing across every continent, with the United States ranked first in incarceration rates. In fact, the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics reported the U.S. prison population at the end of 2012 as 1,571,013—roughly equivalent to the entire population of Philadelphia.
Architecture has an undeniable role within the incarceration systems that shape and control the lives of millions of people twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. While some architects have pioneered new approaches to the design of detention and correction facilities, others have questioned the very ethics of prison design.
As the number of prisons in the United States has more than tripled over the past forty years, and nations such as Sweden are actually faced with the challenge of closing and repurposing correctional facilities no longer deemed necessary, now is the time to critically examine an often overlooked architectural typology: PRISONS.