Newsletter of the Institute for Urban Design November/December 2004 Vol. 20 No. 6 MONTREAL BOASTS THREE HEARTS, EACH BEATING AT FULL SPEED For decades Toronto has been envied as Canada’s financial capital and Vancouver as, perhaps the country’s most beautiful city. Now Montreal, founded in 1642 by French missionaries who saw it grow from fur trade center to competitor with New York as a port, is coming back. A spate of building in the old city, the financial center and in constantly expanding University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) is providing a triangle of vibrant hearts, each catering to separate populations. • Vieux Montreal, including the city’s old port district, draws visitors back to its original heart near the church de Bonsecours, a beacon for sailors home from the sea. The original landing place of city founder Jacques Cartier now serves guide boats along the St. Laurence River. From along the river banks one sees Habitat, Moshe Safdie’s box housing for Expo ’67, now luxury housing. The Museum of Archeology and History of Montreal by Daniel S. Hanganu provides a dramatic introduction to the city’s six centuries of history. Along Rue Saint Paul tourists can buy fur hats to trap bears, t-shirts or glass-wear from the design shop in the Marché Bonsecours. Montreal: Canada’s First Design City?
• Quartier International, north east of the old town, has recently opened caiss de dèpôt designed by Renée Daoust, a soaring essay in steel and glass. In so far as its foundations rest on the remains of an underground expressway, it has successfully mended the René Levesque highway breach that separated north and south Montreal. The structure provides hints to solve the Westway canyon in Lower Manhattan. Other gems in the Quartier Internationale are the Centre Canadinne d’Architecture whose library equals Columbia University’s Avery Library in architectural archive materials. To the north is the addition to Montreal’s Museé des Beaux Arts, whose addition by Moshe Safdie, is alone worth the visit. • Quartier Latin, home to the University of Quebec at Montreal since 1967, provides a cozy refuge to visitors and residents as well as students, especially along the restaurant packed rue St. Denis. When the university’s Grand Bibliotheque opens in 2005, it will have, in addition, what promises to be an architectural magnet as well. Making Montreal uniquely attractive at this moment are the cessation of the Francophone/Angloquone language war of the 1970’s and the city’s policy of requiring all new immigrants entering school to learn French as a first language. These trends are explicated by sociologist Annick Germain in Montreal: The Quest for a Metropolis (see review page 4). New Design Cities, an October 7 conference and the brainchild of Montreal Design Commissioner Marie-Josée Lacroix, provided symposium participants to experience first hand, the city’s newfound confidence and verve. To fulfill the intent of the symposium, design brokers, bureaucrats, and design journalists reported on world cities using design to promote economic success. Architect Guta Moura Guedes described Lisbon and Claee Britton, editor of Stockholm News, presented Stockholm. Stewart Macdonald, Director of the Lighthouse, Scotland’s center for architecture, design and the city, described recent developments. In a stunning bus tour wrap-up Nancy Dunston, from The Canadian Centre for Architecture provided a rich but clear comment.
Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp. is issuing in January a request for qualifications to private developers and others for redevelopment of the 172-acre island according to James Lima, President. Based on responses, planners Stan Eckstat, Joe Berridge and David Malmuth will fold data into a new program of uses. National City – known to all as The Mile of Cars – is getting an urban design facelift, reports Michael Stepner, consultant and former city architect for San Diego. National City’s 56,000 population – 40 percent Latino and 40 percent Filipino – has been called until now “a pocket of poverty.” But since most cars imported into Western United States enter through it, the San Diego Port Commission’s fees are helping to pay for an upgrade of the Harbor District industrial area, the creation of a Filipino theme for Plaza Boulevard and of a Mexican theme for Highland Avenue. San Diego’s Bronze Triangle Community Development Corporation has been selected by the San Diego Unified School District to develop mixed-use, transit-oriented housing in Logan Heights, reports urban designer Michael Stepner, consultant on the project. Some 220 multi-family units are planned at a cost of $45 million. The Bronx Greenway, an eight-mile stretch from the Bruckner-Sheridan Exchange to Randall’s Island, will have a complete plan this winter, according to Signe Nielsen, whose office, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, is currently at work. When approved, the New York City Economic Development Corporation will sponsor a demonstration project – to be selected from the plan – to be built. The Greenway is being implemented as the Bronx begins to upgrade parks throughout the Borough with $200 million for parks in the Bronx. Time Warner, which occupied its million square foot headquarters last summer, is celebrating with a new light sculpture, reports Fellow Philip Pitruzzello, Vice President for Real Estate. At dusk viewers on Columbus Circle begin to be aware of slow rhythmic color changes of varying speed and intensity. The sculpture was designed by Romantic Productions and implemented by George H. Ladyman, Jr., Executive Producer.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Chicago’s Southside will be the site for an Intergenerational Learning Center including Headstart, a senior center and family housing reports Fellow Monica Ponce de Leon, whose firm, Office DA, Boston designed the project. The project, funded by the City of Chicago, was exhibited in the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Big & Green Show. For a look at the project see www.architecture.org/bg/portfolio/html. Robert Stern to speak on historic preservation at New York School of Interior Design . . . Enrique Norten, from Arts Library in Brooklyn to Upper Manhattan to install Aztec art show at Guggenheim to 42-story office/hotel to be built in Harlem . . . Alexander Garvin has shipped a New York 2012 Olympic bid to Switzerland where it will be in competition against Paris, London and Moscow . . . Lance Brown has returned from Shanghai where he found destruction of old neighborhoods distressing but construction of new quarters breathtaking . . . Carmi Bee hikes frequently from 22nd Street offices in Manhattan to 105th Street to oversee construction of the first luxury housing above 96th Street. Columbia University will occupy half of the units in the high-rise portions. Daniel Rose returned in November from Mexico City where he dined with Ricardo Legoretta, whose ochre/magenta building palate now brightens buildings in Chula Vista, San Jose and Los Angeles among other cities in the United States . . . Robert Yaro visited Barcelona in August for an unusual World Forum . . . Marilyn Taylor returned in November from Tel Aviv where an SOM designed airport was inaugurated . . . Patrick Seeb, Director of the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation was sailing up the Mississippi on November 17th with Mayor Randy Kelly whose initiative is called Streetbeat Building St. Paul Block by Block . . Wendy Feuer will be at Clinton Cove Park in March for unveiling of new public art . . . Craig Dykers from Oslo to New York to work on Lower Manhattan Museum and celebrate receipt of Aga Khan Award for library in Alexandrina.
Polshek Partnership Architects has won a National Design Award for Excellence in Architecture. The firm, headed by Fellow James Polshek, was most recently in the news for their design of the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas. The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, which announced the award, also recognized the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Museum of Natural History, among other projects. The AIA New York Chapter has announced more than ten Fellows as recipients of Honor Awards: Richard Meier – Courthouse in Islip and Jubilee Church in Rome; Sarah Caples – Heritage Health Housing; Weiss/Manfredi – Museum of the Earth, Ithaca; Ronette Riley – Apple Store, Soho; Raphael Vinoly – David Lawrence Convention Center, Philadelphia; Rogers Marvel – Canal Street penthouse and Stephen Gaynor/Ballet; Polshek Partnership – Zankel Hall; Deborah Berke – Box Studios, New York; SOM – European Central Bank, Frankfurt, ARB Bank, Riyadh; Gruzen Samton – William Patterson Student Center, Wayne, New Jersey; Fox & Fowle – Perth Amboy High School; Swanke Hayden – Sustainable Technology Park, Syracuse. The AIA National Honors Awards for 2004 included four in urban design as reflected in neighborhoods. Chicago Central Area Plan by SOM encourages new mixed-use neighborhoods while creating new waterfront parks and extending public transportation. Mission Bay Redevelopment Plan, San Francisco, by Johnson Fain, received an honor award for establishing a bay-front neighborhood on a 303-acre site, the largest undeveloped site in the city. Urban River Vision, Worcester, Massachusetts by Goody Clancy & Associates, creates a process in which residential, transportation and preservation issues can be addressed. Coyote Valley Sprawl Prevention, San Jose by WRT/Solomon E.T.C. shows how city can accommodate projected growth while avoiding sprawl on 6,800 acres of farmland.
Yale New Haven
Pratt Center for Community Development is currently working in the South Bronx where local environmental justice groups seek to reclaim portions of the Bronx River, reports Brad Lander, Director. In West Harlem Pratt is working with Community Board Nine to prevent obliteration of existing urban fabric in response to the Columbia University plan to expand there. Funded at some $2 million per year and founded in early 1960s by Ron Shiffman and George Raymond, Pratt’s is the oldest and largest community design center in North America. Yale Urban Design workshop has produced plans for a recently completed 9,300 square- foot assembly space and addition to Timothy Dwight Elementary School, reports Alan Plattus, director of the workshop, now housed in a Dwight storefront. A 10,000 square-foot daycare center is next for the workshop, which in 2004, included 10 students. The workshop was founded in 1992 by Plattus who taps Yale Law School when appropriate and collaborates with Connecticut Main Street Center, Connecticut Economic Resource Center and University of Connecticut Landscape Architecture Program. The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation has announced grants available to women in architecture for travel, writing or film. Deadline: March 15, 2005. Details: www.bwaf.org. Richard Meier Architect: Volume 4. By Richard Meier. With essays by Kenneth Frampton and Joseph Rykwert. 432 color/black white photos. 432 pages. Rizzoli International Publications, New York. Hardcover $80.00. Paperback $55.00.
This scrumptious monograph documents Meier’s work since the previous volume in 1999. Among work included are The Perry Street New York Residential Towers, the Burda Collection Museum in Baden-Baden, the splendid U.S. Courthouse on Long Island and World Trade Center site proposal in collaboration with Steven Holl and Charles Gwathmey.
Montreal: The Quest for Metropolis. By Annick Germain and Damaris Rose. Black/white charts and photos. 301 pages. John Wiley, New York. $130.00. This useful study surveys Montreal as it exists after the French/English language wars of the 1970’s and after the two votes in 1994 and 1996 to secede from the Federation of Canada. The result of the language wars (as codified in bills making French mandatory on signs and in offices) was that some 200,000 English-speaking Canadians left the city. The challenges that face Montreal are daunting:
Montreal: Magnet for France Poland
• the highest percent of low-income people in any Canadian city. • absence of job skills among unemployed do not equip them for growing opportunities in high tech labor market. • an aging population adds to social service burden for families and for social services. Nevertheless, Montreal is considered Canada’s “most livable city.” It now has a vibrant cultural life in English and French, attractive public spaces are surrounded by restaurants, a cadre of bilingual citizens are centering high tech jobs, and ethnic diversity is promoted as key to success. Annick Germain, Belgian educated sociologist, describes Montreal decline from national command center following the imposition of French language laws in the 1970s when some 200,000 English-speaking citizens departed. She presents a liberal immigration policy as key to Montreal’s current success. Haiti, Vietnam and France, itself, are the three top countries from which immigrants arrive. Lebanon, El Salvador and Poland follow. French is the mandatory first language for children entering public school. Local policy makers believe they are educating a new class of tri-lingual speakers to work in high tech jobs. Providing this premise is the new Quartier Internationel, home to Montreal’s financial district and also home to an international population of residents. Subway Style: 100 Years of Design in the New York City Subway. Joseph Giovannini, introduction. Andrew Garn, photography. 252 pages. Stewart, Tabori and Chang, New York. Color photos and maps. $40.00.
This handsomely illustrated book reminds us that the 656-mile New York subway system is not only a milestone of 20th century engineering, it is also public art. The map and signage system has been studied and refined by Massimo Vignelli among graphic designers. Wall murals have been commissioned from arts adviser Wendy Feuer as well as from city school children. And the recently redesigned 72nd Street Station by Fellow Richard Datner was recently completed. Other subway systems launched after World War II – including Stalin’s gift to St. Petersburg – may be more lavish, but New York’s system is still expanding – to the Far West Side and to Kennedy Airport. And top artists still aspire to win commissions.
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NEW FELLOWS Charles R. Beckert, Associate, Henderson and Bodwell, LLP, Plainview, NY; Peter Claman, Partner, SLCE Architects, New York, NY; Suzanne Clarke, Esq., Private Developer, San Diego, CA; Carolyn Clevenger, Senior Project Manager, NYC Economic Development Corp., New York, NY; Henry N. Cobb, Founding Partner, PEI Cobb Freed & Partners, New York, NY; Shane Coen, Principal, Coen + Partners, Minneapolis, MN; Billie Cohen, Landscape Architect, A. Billie Cohen, Ltd., New York, NY; James Corner, Director, Field Operations, New York, NY; Thomas Curley, HOK, New York, NY; James S. Davidson, Partner, SLCE Architects, New York, NY; Michel Dionne, Partner, Cooper Robertson & Partners, New York, NY; Craig Dykers, Architect/Director, Snohetta, Oslo, Norway; Deborah Gans, Gans & Jelacic, New York, NY; Christopher Glaisek, VP, Planning, Design & Development, Lower Manhattan Development Corp., New York, NY; Beth Greenberg, Principal, Dattner Architects, New York, NY; Kathleen John-Alder, Associate Partner, Olin Partnership, Philadelphia, PA; Casey L. Jones, Office of the Chief Architect, US General Services Administration, Washington, DC; David Kamp, President, Dirtworks, PC Landscape Architecture, New York, NY; Laurie Kerr, Contributing Critic, Wall Street Journal, New York, NY; Michael A. Manfredi, Partner, Weiss/Manfredi Architects, New York, NY; Ross F. Moskowitz, Partner, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, New York, NY; Enrique Norten, Principal, Ten Arquitectos, New York, NY; Richard Pergolis, President, Pergolis Swartz Associates, New York, NY; Elizabeth PlaterZyberk, Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co., Inc., Miami, FL; Monica Ponce de Leon, Partner, Office DA, Boston, MA; Barry Rice, Principal, Barry Rice Architects, New York, NY; Mario Schjetnan, Architect/Urbanism/Landscape, Grupo de Diseno Urvano, Colonia Condesa, Mexico; John Shapiro, Principal, Phillips Preiss Shapiro, New York, NY; William W. Sharples, Principal, SHOP Architects, P.C., New York, NY; Edward Tuck, Senior Associate, Michael Graves & Associates, New York, NY; James L. Wescoat, Jr., Head of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at U-C, Champaign, IL; John Williams, Senior Vice President, HDR, Inc., New York, NY; David Miles Ziskind, Principal, S.V.P., STV Architects, New York, NY.
UPDATE, published six times a year, welcomes contributions from members. .