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The following news articles are geared toward students and other professionals.
Landscape Architecture Firms
Novartis Shanghai Campus (Shanghai, China) Print E-mail
Friday, 15 September 2017 14:29

The poetic inspiration for the Novartis Campus lies in the beauty of the rural orchard, beholding a diverse array of colors, varied emotions, seasonality, textures, tastes and smells. The landscape nurtures notions of community, warmth and inventiveness, a union of places and spaces which culminate to a larger spirit and identity that sponsors creativity and pride within Novartis.

Embraced by the Sergison Bates and Diener + Diener Buildings, the Taxodium entrance area serves to welcome visitors and begins the story of Novartis’ optimism, ambition and practicality. The columnar forms of the noble trees interspersed with elongated lighting elements engender a very definitive sense of arrival. Planted as if the seeds were cast by the hand of nature, the arrival experience is reminiscent of a journey through the forest. The arrival loop is kept functionally simple, maintaining clear vehicular circulation and uncomplicated visitor parking. Taxodium, a drought, flood and typhoon tolerant tree that lives for thousands of years, is representative of Novartis’ durability and future thinking.

From here fastidiously placed flagstones of Blue Diabase direct people to a set of beautiful brass entry gates, spanning over eight meters and these statuesque gates form a gracefully gateway to the gardens beyond. Past the check-in area, the Hammock Grove provides a transitional garden as the antidote to the bustle of Shanghai. Vistas through the sun dappled grove hint to the inspiring architecture and colorful orchard ahead.

The larger Orchard Commons is a place defined by the rural beauty of a fruit orchard and the flexibility of a public commons. Inspired by the concept of life and its many cycles, the native fruit orchard represents conception, growth, change and wisdom. Seasonality of the plantings generates a continual visual and palatable interest as the fruits of the kumquat, tangerine, micro-apple and the Chinese plum trees ripen, perfect to be picked by the passerby. The stimulation of senses is perhaps the greatest muse of them all.

Situated within the fertile landscape of fruit trees and the fragrant sea of sweet osmanthus blossoms are two shade structures. Inspired by the traditional Chinese pavilion these informal spaces create a place for individuals or small groups to experience distinct and personal atmospheres. With rippled roofs of zinc plates the structures allude to the past while looking to the future, shading people from the heat of the sun and providing an oasis of cool. Inside custom designed movable outdoor furniture can be easily grouped together to create an atmosphere of collaboration and interchange.

Outside the microtopography is shaped to both allow flexible gathering for employees and complement the surrounding architecture. Fine-grain networks of interconnected pathways propose the most logical and direct routes between buildings. Paved with gold brick, this ancient material inscribes a passageway through vivid beds of azaleas. Amongst the undulating terrain is rock cluster seating and portable Song dynasty inspired hardwood stools and tables to further encourage inhabitation and interaction. From the private dining rooms of the cantee/multifunction building designed by Kengo Kuma framed views of a scenic garden with an oriental composition of pebbles, rocks and maple trees offer complete visual serenity.

At night, bespoke bollards and elegant lighting candelabras of Accoya, with sinuous Blue Diabase pedestals, Olivio luminaries and a custom designed transition element bathe the gardens and seating areas in warm light. Inviting people to linger around the granite tables or rest on the stone benches as they gaze at the soft haze of lush foliage. The gardens offer a place to wait for an appointment as a visitor, to interact with others contemplate on work and research or a chance to take a seat, take a breath and reflect on the day. The Novartis Campus is a landscape where architecture, the human spirit and the essence of nature harmoniously coalesce, in a productive and progressive environment.

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Toronto Urban Design Award for Queen's Quay Print E-mail
Monday, 11 September 2017 09:57

On the 13th of September 2017, Queens Quay Boulevard was awarded a Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence. West 8 + DTAH's design won in the category Large Spaces and/or Neighborhood Designs. 

The biennal awards programme acknowledges the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and the city builders make to the look and livability of Toronto.

The awards in this category give special credit to efforts that make improvements to the public realm as downtown Toronto continues to densify and develop.

"Design set a new precedent for North American urban design"

The jury expresses its admiration: "The redesign of Queens Quay Boulevard clarifies the multiple modes of transportation that occupy the boulevard. Through a process of condensing and compressing the space used by car traffic, additional space is created for adjacent public and commercial functions, including a streetcar corridor, cycle lanes, and enlarged sidewalks.

The jury continues: "The distinct material palette associated with each mode of movement ensures the clear identity of each zone, and allows for the flattening of the pedestrian plane (via curb less edges) between the adjacent layers of movement. The design's sensitive but robust details draw on a graphic iconography celebrating Canadian and nautical themes, resulting in an unusually coherent multi-layered urban realm. These are just a few aspects of this design that set a new precedent for North American urban design."

A worldclass waterfront 

Queens Quay Boulevard is a redevelopment sub-project of the 2006 award-winning Toronto Central Waterfront Master Plan. The redesign of Queens Quay was guided by sustainable transportation priorities which are manifested in the reduction of vehicular traffic from four to two lanes, introduction of a Light Rail Transit Corridor, widening of the pedestrian sidewalks and planting of 240 new trees along the boulevard. The enhancement of the sidewalks also considers interaction with the north side facades, fostering economic vitality. The space now provides a public realm that is both functional and beautiful; what was once a barrier is now a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly corridor and a grand destination. The designers also extended the Martin Goodman multi-use recreational trail through the site on the south side of the street. This worldclass waterfront design creates a sustainable civic space that honors, revitalizes and inspires the legacy of Toronto.

The full jury report and overview of all winners are available here.

Credit list:

Project Team
West 8 + DTAH in Joint Venture: Landscape Architects
ARUP: Civil, Municipal, Transportation and Design Engineers
WSP/MMM Group: Site Engineer
TSL Consulting + Design Group Ltd.: Electrical, Streetlighting and Signalization
WSP Global (Parsons Brinckerhoff Halsall Inc.): Structural
James Urban and Associates: Urban Forestry
A.W. Hooker Associates Ltd.: Quantity Surveying
BA Group: Traffic Management Smart Watering Systems Irrigation
DPM Energy Inc.: Utility Coordination
LVM Franz and Golder Associates: Environmental and Geotechnical

Client
City of Toronto Waterfront Toronto

Contractor
Eastern Construction Company Ltd.

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Toronto Urban Design Award for Queen's Quay Print E-mail
Monday, 11 September 2017 09:57

On the 13th of September 2017, Queens Quay Boulevard was awarded a Toronto Urban Design Award of Excellence. West 8 + DTAH's design won in the category Large Spaces and/or Neighborhood Designs. 

The biennal awards programme acknowledges the significant contribution that architects, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, design students, and the city builders make to the look and livability of Toronto.

The awards in this category give special credit to efforts that make improvements to the public realm as downtown Toronto continues to densify and develop.

"Design set a new precedent for North American urban design"

The jury expresses its admiration: "The redesign of Queens Quay Boulevard clarifies the multiple modes of transportation that occupy the boulevard. Through a process of condensing and compressing the space used by car traffic, additional space is created for adjacent public and commercial functions, including a streetcar corridor, cycle lanes, and enlarged sidewalks.

The jury continues: "The distinct material palette associated with each mode of movement ensures the clear identity of each zone, and allows for the flattening of the pedestrian plane (via curb less edges) between the adjacent layers of movement. The design's sensitive but robust details draw on a graphic iconography celebrating Canadian and nautical themes, resulting in an unusually coherent multi-layered urban realm. These are just a few aspects of this design that set a new precedent for North American urban design."

A worldclass waterfront 

Queens Quay Boulevard is a redevelopment sub-project of the 2006 award-winning Toronto Central Waterfront Master Plan. The redesign of Queens Quay was guided by sustainable transportation priorities which are manifested in the reduction of vehicular traffic from four to two lanes, introduction of a Light Rail Transit Corridor, widening of the pedestrian sidewalks and planting of 240 new trees along the boulevard. The enhancement of the sidewalks also considers interaction with the north side facades, fostering economic vitality. The space now provides a public realm that is both functional and beautiful; what was once a barrier is now a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly corridor and a grand destination. The designers also extended the Martin Goodman multi-use recreational trail through the site on the south side of the street. This worldclass waterfront design creates a sustainable civic space that honors, revitalizes and inspires the legacy of Toronto.

The full jury report and overview of all winners are available here.

Credit list:

Project Team
West 8 + DTAH in Joint Venture: Landscape Architects
ARUP: Civil, Municipal, Transportation and Design Engineers
WSP/MMM Group: Site Engineer
TSL Consulting + Design Group Ltd.: Electrical, Streetlighting and Signalization
WSP Global (Parsons Brinckerhoff Halsall Inc.): Structural
James Urban and Associates: Urban Forestry
A.W. Hooker Associates Ltd.: Quantity Surveying
BA Group: Traffic Management Smart Watering Systems Irrigation
DPM Energy Inc.: Utility Coordination
LVM Franz and Golder Associates: Environmental and Geotechnical

Client
City of Toronto Waterfront Toronto

Contractor
Eastern Construction Company Ltd.

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Edzo Bindels joins conference for Urban Densification in Vienna Print E-mail
Friday, 01 September 2017 11:43

More than 75 % of Europe's population now lives in urban areas and the proportion continues to grow. The corresponding pressure for new development in a finite space is leading to increases in urban density and in many cities is stimulating a debate about how to deal with the last remaining reserves of urban land. At the same time there is a growing awareness of the importance of green and blue infrastructure and its role in providing urban ecosystem services. 

Usable urban open space - especially green space - is consistently viewed as a key factor in determining quality of life  and as an influence on people's choice of where to live. High quality open spaces are therefore among the most important factors in the development of new and in the renewal of existing urban areas.  How will it be possible to do justice to the increasing importance of urban green and open spaces despite the need for denser development in towns and cities? Can we resolve this apparent contradiction? 

Titled 'URBAN DENSIFICATION - The Chanllenge for Open Space', the upcoming International Conference at Vienna University of Technology will take place on 28th and 29th of September 2017. This year's Conference brings together international specialists from city administrations, research and practice once again to report on current European strategies and experience as well as presenting examples of specific projects. In doing so it aims to initiate a debate on future possibilities, both for the City of Vienna and similar metropolitan area.

Edzo Bidels's lecture 'Reframe' will showcase West 8's stellar projects from Rotterdam to Toronto, sharing successful cases in reframing urabn space and debates about how to deal with the last remaining reserves of urban land. These projects fulfil the need for denser development in the cities while reframing meaning of some far discounted social sustainability issues in urbanization. They are examples of how creations of a more attractive and liveable urban environment can successfully trigger new development.

Edzo Bidels will be joining international experts and scholars in this conference, including Jose Manuel Calvo del Olmo, Gerhard HauberAndreas O. KiparSusanne MetzDirk van PeijpeJürgen PreissAriadna Miquel Amengual.

For more infromation and registration please visit TU WIEN.

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Blog: Claire Agre on Longwood Gardens Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 16:47

West 8 New York's principal Claire Agre wrote a blogpost about our work at Longwood GardensShe reflects on designing Longwood's masterplan and working on the grand Main Fountain Garden revitalization.

'Along with our client team at Longwood, we have a huge ambition—to further root the Gardens within the canon of the greatest gardens of the world. For this, we have to be unabashedly ambitious—to imagine what the next 40 years can hold, what the next generation will experience, and even more boldly, to consider the Gardens in the arc of the most majestic places on earth.'

Read the entire blogpost on the website of Longwood Gardens.

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Copyright © 2017. Robert Hewitt | Clemson University professor of Landscape Architecture.
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