Can luxury be quality and quantity? A 20-storey shopping centre in China says it can

Sybarite created SKP Xi’an, a mall that uses meticulous design to provide a cohesive experience among numerous experiential spaces and a thousand stores.
 

you can now spend the night in a ‘shipwreck’ hotel on namibia’s skeleton coast


'shipwreck lodge' is a new destination that comprises ten chalets nestled between the region's undulating sand dunes.

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gogoame is a web art experiment where visitors can read poetry out of raining text


the project implements a physics engine that simulates acceleration, gravity, and wind while letters and characters drop.

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estudio galera uses a variety of bricks and bonds to form ‘rincon house’ in argentina


the uneven site will eventually contain six dwellings, each set amid the region's tall trees and rugged terrain.

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1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

WowHaus
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

Yes, it’s the return of an old favourite. The 1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA is on the market.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

I say return because this midcentury modern / modernist gem was first featured on the site back in 2016, selling pretty quickly afterwards (although that’s probably down to the house rather than me).

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

What has changed? Well, the price for one and a few other things, which I’ll cover as we go.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

But first off, for the uninitiated, here’s the rundown of the house. It sits on a 2.82 acre plot in the northwest section of East Hampton and dates back to 1968, the work of by ‘New York Five’ architect Charles Gwathmey and designed for graphic artist Joseph Sedacca.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

The architect had a free hand at creating just what he wanted and the result was this place, a futuristic, almost brutalist construction that still looks ahead of the game today.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

The sculptural extra is just stunning, but the drama doesn’t end at the front door. Check out the double height space, the glazing, the spiral staircase, the walls of glass and all that timber cladding both inside and out.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

Also still present is the oversized stucco chimney and built-in cabinetry, with the separate storage building still as it should be. This is still a very special house.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

A look around the 2016 version of the house and the 2018 take suggests very little change in terms of the structure. Of course not, Why would you?

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

The differences really come down to the fixtures and fittings. A couple of years back they were a little more in keeping with the original period of the house. Today they look a little more contemporary. Not too much but enough to notice.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

There’s another obvious difference too. The presence of an Airstream caravan. Yes, the Airstream in the picture (which didn’t look to be around last time) is part of the house now and is pretty much the third bedroom.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

There are three bedrooms in total, as well as three bathrooms and a living space of 1,200 sq. ft. in total, much of it taken up by the bright and spacious reception area.

1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA
1960s Charles Gwathmey Sedacca House in East Hampton, New York, USA

As I said earlier, an upgrade here and there, but the main one is the price. If you want to own Sedacca House now, then you’ll need to find around $2,500,000.

Images and details courtesy of Zillow. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.

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Sydney-Area Mayors Cry Foul over State-Level Inclusionary Zoning Lag

A recently-built affordable housing development in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan van den Nouwelant)

Last December, the Australian state government of New South Wales made an announcement that was supposed to be good news for affordable housing: It was going to expand the local inclusionary zoning program, known as SEPP 70, to five new Sydney-area municipalities.

Eight months later, however, several mayors say their plans to secure developer contributions have stalled since the state government made that announcement, Domain Media reports.

Simple bureaucracy could be to blame, although several officials see more sinister forces at play. City of Ryde mayor Jerome Laxale told Domain that the longer the government’s approval of inclusionary zoning rules stayed in application mode, “the more developers make money.”

As Next City has covered, inclusionary zoning regulations have been limited in Australia due to constraints in the country’s regional planning laws. Like inclusionary laws in the U.S. — which have been tied up in city council battles and preempted by state governments over the last few years — they’re generally regional or city-specific.

SEPP 70 is supposed to be one of the country’s more streamlined programs. But the mayors are experiencing a lag in enforcement. According to Domain, the five councils are still waiting for the state government to approve their separate inclusionary zoning proposals. The City of Ryde, for example, wants to have 750 new affordable units by 2031 through the program. Northern Beaches Council, meanwhile, has grown so frustrated with the delays that it’s begun negotiating with developers on an ad-hoc basis.

“They’re actually trying to get us to change our policy to [favor] developers more than the public,” Laxale told the paper. “They don’t like our percentages, they don’t like the inclusionary zoning, they don’t like that we want to capture affordable housing at the development application stage.”

New South Wales does have an incentive-based housing program for Sydney, as Next City has covered. Unlike the U.S., however, Australia’s national government doesn’t provide many subsidies (e.g. federal tax credits) to help developers. From the builders’ perspective, building below-market units is often seen as cost-prohibitive.

 

The History of Rosa Parks’ House is the History of Redlining

American artist Ryan Mendoza in front of the rebuilt house of Rosa Parks in Berlin. (Credit: AP Photo/Michael Sohn)


 

The small square house where Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks lived has traveled from Detroit to Berlin, and then back to the U.S. since it was purchased for $500 in 2014. Now, its future is unknown, ArtNet News reports.

Ryan Mendoza, a Berlin-based American artist who helped preserve the house, hopes that it will become a national monument in the U.S. Currently, though, negotiations are playing out between several Detroit businessmen, a university, and a foundation, according to the news site.

“Rosa Parks is having a teaching moment, once again, through this house,” he told ArtNet recently.

While Parks’ story — and the story of outright segregation — is well-known, the legacy of racism in the built environment is more insidious, and still permeates everything from public transportation to multifamily zoning restrictions. Parks’ house tells the story of those subtler (but no less powerful) kinds of racism.

From the news site:

The Rosa Parks House, which was owned by her brother, had been languishing in an abandoned state and was on the City of Detroit’s demolition list when Parks’s niece, Rhea McCauley, stepped in and bought her childhood home from the city for $500 in 2014 with the hope of restoring it. Located in Southwest Detroit, the house, which was built in 1936, would become an example of the kind of overcrowded living conditions many African Americans experienced at that time, especially when fleeing the South: Parks lived there with McCauley and 16 other family members in the late 1950s. After taking ownership of the home, Parks’s niece enlisted Mendoza’s help, who took it apart and resurrected it on his property in the German capital.…

“The unsung story behind the Rosa Parks House is one of redlining, housing inequality, and its persistent effects on millions of Americans today,” Mendoza says, referring to racial segregation of neighborhoods. “From Brooklyn to Oakland, with pen in hand, 80 years ago, city planners mapped out where Blacks would live.”

Eventually, the house went to auction at Guernsey’s, but failed to meet its $1 million reserve. This is reportedly the second time Parks’ belongings have failed to immediately sell.

Meanwhile, as Next City has covered, white nationalists fight to preserve confederate monuments. The City of New Orleans opted to take several monuments to the confederacy down in the middle of the night (on undisclosed dates) to forestall violence last year. Baltimore did the same. Still, they vastly outnumber monuments to civil rights leaders, according to Mendoza.

“There are 1,500 monuments to the Confederacy, which is absurd,” he told ArtNet News. “There are 76 monuments to the civil rights movement. Let this be the 77th.”

The full story of Parks’ house can be viewed in more depth here.

 

L.A. Metro Will Deploy Scanners to Detect Explosives, Assault Weapons

(Photo by HanSangYoon)

In a bid to tighten security on Los Angeles County’s rail system, transportation authority officials plan to set up a network of body scanners later this year. Unlike the walk-through scanners used by airports, these devices will scan passengers en masse from up to 30 feet away — raising questions about equity and consent.

Los Angeles will be the first city in the U.S. to utilize the technology for its transit system, the Los Angeles Times reports. The devices resemble a “trunk on wheels” according to the paper, and cost about $100,000 each.

Along with metal detectors, scanners are rare on the nation’s rail systems because “the technology does not work fast enough to process a significant share of commuters at rush hour,” according to the Times. But these devices can process upwards of 2,000 people an hour, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said.

“Most people won’t even know they’re being scanned, so there’s no risk of them missing their train service on a daily basis,” Sotero added, according to another article in the New York Times.

Metro security chief Alex Wiggins, however, told the Los Angeles Times that passengers will be made aware that they’re entering an area where they can be searched. Signs will be posted next to the scanners, and would-be riders can choose to opt-out. But “opting out” could mean being barred from the station that day.

As Next City has covered, adding extra layers of security to public transportation comes with a whole host of equity concerns. Cleveland’s “proof-of-payment” system, which allowed police officers to stop passengers and check whether they’ve paid their fares, was ruled unconstitutional by a municipal court judge last year. In her decision, Judge Emanuella Groves wrote that stops conducted by officers “decorated with the color of the law” violated the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Advocates in other cities celebrated her ruling — voicing concerns that allowing law enforcement to stop and search passengers would deter immigrants and people of color from using public transportation.

But cities from Paris to Florence to New Orleans are upping their security measures in response to terrorist attacks and mass shootings, whether by deploying soldiers or mounted cameras or even retooling public spaces to withstand vehicular rampages. In Los Angeles, officials say the scanners won’t violate passengers’ right to privacy.

“One thing we have to be sensitive to is the Fourth Amendment, unreasonable search and seizure,” Wiggins said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We will make it very, very clear that individuals are entering an area where they’re subject to search.”

Time will tell if passengers agree.

 

french theme park trains crows to pick up trash


the goal is not just to clear up but also to show that nature itself can teach us to take care of the environment.

The post french theme park trains crows to pick up trash appeared first on designboom | architecture & design magazine.

 

Making Progress on Baltimore’s Bumpy Road to Bike Safety

Baltimore's Maryland Avenue bike lane. (Photo by Brian O'Doherty)

On a warm, sunny afternoon in mid-June, longtime bike advocate Liz Cornish was returning home from a Baltimore City Council hearing when she noticed a large tiller fire truck — the kind with a secondary steering wheel for its tail end — parked in front of her house on Maryland Avenue in central Baltimore. Five higher-ranking Fire Department officials were also there, not responding to an emergency, but participating in the filming of a video intended to highlight the obstacles that bike lanes pose to emergency vehicle access.

“I recognized it immediately as a [fire] truck I had never seen in my neighborhood before,” Cornish recalls. “I was taken aback and I was angry because it really looked like clear intimidation.”

The incident became linked to a few verbal and physical bouts of fighting over the past year between Baltimore fire authorities, local residents, and cyclist advocates over a bike lane along Potomac Street in southeastern Baltimore. Shortly after its construction began in spring 2017, the bike lane became the center of controversy when area residents and members of the city’s Fire Department alleged that it would take up precious street space from emergency vehicles.

The firestorm caused Baltimore legislators to introduce a bill that would loosen urban design guidelines of the city’s fire code with the goal of lessening the regulatory hurdles to new bike lanes and private development projects. They approved the bill this month.

The fire code amendment bill, which will likely become law in late October, revokes a section of Baltimore’s fire code that requires at least 20-26 feet of clear street width for large fire apparatus during an emergency response. The clearance regulations would be supplanted by more flexible street design guidelines, from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, in order to facilitate approval of public infrastructure and private development projects.

Opponents of the Potomac Street bike lane viewed the lane as a safety hazard because, according to them, it would impede access to fires. Within a month of the start of construction, they petitioned the city’s Department of Transportation to cease completion of the two-way buffered lane. In June 2017, the city took heed and made plans remove the infrastructure it had only begun building two months prior.

“Initially, the department of transportation worked with the firehouse to make some minor adjustments [to the bike lane design],” says Cornish, executive director of Bikemore, a local cyclist advocacy organization. “Since that didn’t satisfy the opposition, the issue was brought to the [Baltimore County] fire marshal’s office, international fire code was invoked, and the city was going to stop work.”

Bikemore sued the city in an attempt to prevent the bike lane’s demolition, claiming that the application of the fire code’s clearance rule was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“Other projects [that entailed] changing parking configurations had been approved that didn’t meet the requirements of the fire code,” says Cornish. “As we continued to raise this issue for many months, the Fire Department’s response was not to work on a case-by-case basis to ensure public safety, but to become more strict about how they approved projects. And, it was clear that the city’s inaction had emboldened the firefighters.”

City Council Member Ryan Dorsey, vice chair of the council’s public safety committee and a member of the council’s land use and transportation committee, says the Fire Department’s public safety concerns were short-sighted — particularly since some 80 percent of emergency calls the department receives are about non-fire-related incidents. “The Fire Department has exhibited a narrow definition of public safety, one that looks essentially only at fire access,” says the council member.

Dorsey also notes that the Potomac Street controversy set a bad precedent for other public and private development projects around Baltimore.

“It impacted literally every other [development] project in the city for a year,” he says. “Other cycling infrastructure was not allowed to move forward, and some private development projects ended up having to modify their design to be substandard and, in some cases, less safe, in order to appease the Fire Department.”

Bikemore won a temporary restraining order that halted the bike lane’s demolition and proceeded to drop its lawsuit once the city agreed to keep the Potomac Street bike lane, which was finally completed last December. The bike organization and its supporters may have scored an even larger with the fire code amendment bill. City legislators expect the bill to go into effect on October 29.

The law is deemed a necessary legislative solution to the recurring dilemma of the city’s strict fire code standards impeding individual development and infrastructure projects, according to city councilman Eric Costello.

“This problem we’ve identified is extremely prevalent throughout the entire city,” says Costello, who chairs the council’s judiciary and legislative investigations committee. “We gave the Fire Department multiple options for ways to work with us, and they essentially said, ‘we’re still opposed to this bill’ — so, we moved forward with the bill.”

While Cornish believes the law is a result of a lack of effective leadership by the city and the Fire Department, she has hopes that it will lessen or eliminate the “competition” between fire safety and cyclist safety. “If we can design city streets that calm traffic and reduce the speed of cars,” she says, “we can reduce the number of times our emergency responders need to respond to [incidents].”

Bikemore’s rise to the forefront of Baltimore’s bike advocacy world was prompted by tragedy in late 2014, when Baltimore bike frame builder Thomas Palermo was struck and killed by a drunk driver. At the time, Baltimore’s streets had no protected lanes exclusively for bicycles, and politicians were virtually stagnant on taking steps to actively promote safe bike travel, according to Cornish.

While the road ahead looked steep, the need for change was perhaps more apparent than ever. “All of a sudden, there were all these people were so moved and were asking, ‘What can we do so this never happens again?’” Cornish says of Palermo’s death. “That began the advocacy movement.”

Bikemore first emerged in 2012 from an Alliance for Biking and Walking initiative and an Open Society Foundations grant, hiring an interim leader while launching a national search for an executive director. They found Cornish, a bike aficionado originally from Tulsa, Okla., who at the time managed the women bike division for the League of American Bicyclists in Washington, D.C.

“When I was hired in spring of 2015, it was just me, a little bit of money in a bank account, and a young, small board,” Cornish notes. “We had to grow very quickly as an organization and solidify its position as the authority and the voice of biking advocacy in the city.”

Bikemore’s chief goal quickly became to advocate for the realization of the Downtown Bike Network, a Baltimore Department of Transportation initiative that envisions a connected system of bike lanes in neighborhoods across the city. While the city had most of the necessary funds for the network’s construction, the political will to get the project going was virtually non-existent, says Cornish.

So she worked “aggressively” to cultivate relationships with representatives of state and city agencies in order to influence projects in the early stages of their development. “We just needed to get people in the same room so they could stop pointing fingers at each other about who would start the process,” she says. Later that year, Bikemore also launched its “IWalk, IRide Transit, IBike, IVote” campaign to mobilize the city’s bike advocates to cast votes for prospective city council members who support transportation equity.

Thanks to these types of advocacy efforts, and with the support of the Roland Park Civic League, the Baltimore Department of Transportation decided to include a two-way buffered bike lane along Roland Avenue as part of its resurfacing and traffic-calming project for the corridor. That bike lane was completed in December of 2015.

In late 2016, the Maryland Avenue bike lane also opened, and it earned a spot in PeopleforBikes’ top-ten best new bike lanes of the year. Cornish, who deems it the “crown jewel” of Baltimore’s bicycle infrastructure, witnesses local families with children using the bike lane to get to nearby Wyman Park. “I see firsthand how ridership volumes and diversity has changed,” she says. “You even see my elderly neighbors pushing their shopping carts down it.”

In just three years under Cornish’s leadership, Bikemore’s membership count has grown fivefold to more than 5,000 supporters, its operating budget has tripled in size to $90,000, and the organization now has three full-time staff members.

As a woman in a male-dominated world of city politics, Cornish vows to continue fighting for more equitable, bike-oriented communities in Baltimore.

“I have a very, very tiny piece of the pie in the government that I’m responsible for advocating for,” she says, “but I have an opportunity to show that it’s possible to win.”

 



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