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96 Infrastructure

96 Infrastructure

Enjoying the
since 1947
Vestre April Sun
Design: Espen Voll, Tore Borgersen & Michael Olofsson

Tanja Braemer, Editor in Chief

In a globalised world, infrastructure has become itself be traced back to fundamental societal
nothing less than a basic and inevitable need. processes of change. This is where Marc Verheijen
Elaborate social, technological and traffic net- comes in (p. 22). He outlines why infrastruc-
works represent the actual manifestations of ture should be considered in a referential and
our increasingly interwoven lives. Consisting contextual manner not least because we
Hkan Dahlstrm

of systems of limbs and nodes that embody spend billions of euros to make it work properly.
nations, organisations and peoples multi-level Infrastructure, in his opinion, has the ability to
interconnections across the globe, they are answer questions which go beyond the one
constantly growing. They represent the three- short-term solution. Verheijen makes a pas-
dimensional fabric that infuses us with con- sionate plea to look at the deeper logic behind
stant and diverse impulses. And these networks infrastructural challenges.
are more than ever before resources of imm- One example of coherent infrastructural plan-
ense power themselves. Without them, we are ning is the newly built Nrreport Station in the
without any exaggeration, nothing. Danish capital Copenhagen (p. 14). A former
To refer to infrastructure as an underlying sub- chaotic place has transformed into a lively
system that functions as a means of transport- urban space that emphasises aspects of playful
ing goods and opinions from A to B thus seems and natural orientation. The project demon-
inadequate. Thinking of landscapes and cities, strates how infrastructural facilities can con-
it is even more necessary to shift how we look tribute to the rejuvination of a neighbourhood
upon infrastructural facilities, i.e. with regard that was known to be a problem area. In his
to the power they have to change the surround- essay for Topos 96, Kees Christiaanse examines
ing open space. On the one hand Topos 96 infrastructural strategies from both the urban
focuses on these contextual aspects of infra- planners and travellers point of view (p. 96).
structure and their impact on the public realm. Apart from its functional and societal facets,
It adresses the question of how infrastructure infrastructure has always been an element of
itself can interconnect with the other systems immense fascination. Masses of moving cars,
and professions that create space. And of how endless rails to unknown destinations the
functional infrastructural planning, in the end, romantic attraction of these images is unabated.
can significantly shape space and its atmo- It provides us with the certainty of permanent
sphere. On the other hand, this issue of Topos movement and never-ending change. And this
draws attention to how every infrastructural spirit is capable of spurring infrastructural
problem is to be seen as a symptom that can planning and its developement as well.

Village Underground
CIPM/Franco Ban
Rasmus Hjortshj

14 Nrreport Station, the most chaotic intersection 28 The BGG, an interdisciplinary advisory group for 60 Shipping containers are symbols of contem-
in Copenhagens city centre has been transformed into design, is working on the coherent appearance of the porary capitalism. They stand for the efficiency of
a lively urban space. Sculptural structures guide the visible, above-ground effects of the Gotthard axis in global logistics systems and can be used for the most
flow of pedestrians and bicycles through the station. Switzerland to connect infrastructure and landscape. noble purposes as well as for the most cruel ones.
Nelson Garrido

Daniel Kessler
Mauro Filippi

66 The Paiva Walkway in Portugal is situated in one 80 The new promenade at the seafront of Balestrate 88 A public footpath and cycleway has recently
of the contrys most beautiful and pristine landscapes. in northwestern Sicily consists of few elements and opened in a border region on the River Rhine. The
The structure is a gentle intervention that respects the is built with local materials. The subtle design of the new infrastructure opens up a section of the riverbank
landscape and promotes sustainable tourism. space enhances the natural features of the site. that had been inaccessible for the public for decades.


Cover: resund Bridge L R K E SOP H IE K EIL L AU R A C IP R IAN I

Design: Georg Rotne, i.a.w. engineering rm Arup 14 A Flow through Copenhagen 74 Floating Airports
Photo: Hkan Dahlstrm Lively space: Nrreport Station in Copenhagen Fragile systems: Airports and water


22 Infratecture 80 Sicilian Minimalism
Improving mobility: How to design infratecture Longing for the sea: Balestrate seafront in Sicily


28 The Idea of Combinare 88 Between Countries
Integrated design: Infrastructure in Switzerland Public crossing: Footpath and cycleway in Switzerland


36 Owned by the Public 96 Multiple Modality
Connecting element: The 606 in Chicago On the road: Travelling through Europe

44 Exploring a New Paradigm
New solutions: Water management in Mexico City Currents
06 News, Projects, Competitions
52 Designing Against the Public Products
Difficult investment: The Garden Bridge in London 102 Playgrounds

AL EXAN DER G U T Z M ER 110 Authors

60 Living (and Dying) in a Box
Inside the container: Logistics and urbanism 111 Credits/Imprint


66 Erotic Slowness
In harmony with nature: A walkway in Portugal



Blurred Lines Topos Cities Initiative in Berlin

BA U M E I S T E R TOPOS and availability as a security and its potential in terms of
device are just three examples. urban connections and sur-
It comes as no surprise then roundings. Jan Liesegang,
that great attention is being architect at Raumlabor Berlin,
INITIATIVE paid to the lumires of the would surely agree here.
future and whether they are Together with Undine Giseke,
able to provide the resources Professor for Landscape Archi-
and services that are required tecture and Open Space Plan-

Alexander Gutzmer
of them by urban dwellers. ning at TU Berlin, he debated
In fact, infrastructure is just the question of when exactly
one angle from which to view participation should come into
the concept of connectivity. the planning process. They both
Leonard Grosch, partner at emphasized that an early start-
What makes urban space acess- The forum, which took place Atelier Loidl Landscape Archi- ing point facilitates mutual un-
ible? What are the keys to guar- during this years Metropolitan tecture, Berlin, explained how derstanding and trust between
anteeing that residents and Solutions conference, held in modern metropolitan parks designers and future users.
outside visitors alike will take Berlin, is part of the Baumeis- such as Atelier Loidls Park am Asked whether citizens nowa-
ownership of it and use it? ter Topos Cities Initiative: it Gleisdreieck in Berlin seek to days are ready to actively sup-
How can green infrastructure was launched in 2015 and bring together people from port and influence spatial
foster maximum openness of examines a wide range of many different cultures and change processes, Giseke and
the public realm? And finally: aspects of urban design, and backgrounds in a subtly mod- Liesegang came to the same
what can technical innovations urban planning and develop- ern and contemporary way conclusion: citizens are more
contribute to transform cities ment, through events and pub- and how that central goal influ- willing to participate than ever
into truly integrative places? lications. In 2016, connectivity ences a designer during their before. In fact, Liesegang and
The forum Connective Spaces, is in the centre of the initiatives planning. He stressed the fact Giseke believe that architects
hosted by Topos, the German attention. When it comes to that the elaborate participatory and landscape architects should
architecture magazine Bau- connective spaces and inter- process that preceded and work together as closely as pos-
meister and lighting specialist connecting people, one may accompanied the planning sible and alongside manufactur-
Schrder, investigated these first of all think of technical phase for Gleisdreieck enabled ers and construction companies
crucial questions, sparking infrastructure. Dr. Ernst Smolka, the landscape architects to bet- that develop connective solu-
lively debates between four general manager of Schrder ter understand what this space tions. Not only in order to find
participants from very different GmbH, pointed out how new that was to become a park adequate products for such so-
backgrounds: landscape archi- modular technologies such as actually meant to people. Even lutions but also to gauge their
tect Leonard Grosch (Atelier Schrders Shuffle can spark a if discussions easily frayed into effects on urban culture in both
Loidl, Berlin), architect Jan shift in the way lighting solu- detail issues and even if many the short and the long term.
Liesegang (Raumlabor, Berlin), tions are perceived in urban of the participants clang to the Liesegang, Giseke, Grosch and
academic expert Undine contexts: the lumire no longer romantic railway scenarios that Smolka share the conviction
Giseke (Technical University functions just as a tool for illu- once characterized the Gleis- that the more professionals sus-
Berlin) and Schrder top man- minating a space. Instead, it dreieck area, Grosch insisted pend the divides that separate
ager Ernst Smolka. One con- becomes a complex interactive that the participation of citi- their professional fields and in-
clusion, however, they all instrument that integrates a zens and other stakeholders stead clear the way for new
agreed on: the success of future variety of highly different func- will significantly inform a combinations of expertise and
cities depends on the extent to tions, which fulfil the kinds of places design for the better. For creativity, the more integrative
which existing professions, demands that todays citizens in the course of this process, the future city will become. And
more precisely the profession- will increasingly make on pub- designers and landscape archi- the more people will benefit
als who work in them, are able lic spaces and their infrastruc- tects are required to balance from this evolution.
to transcend the boundaries of ture. Accessibility to public the demands of the public, the
their disciplines and mind-sets. wifi, provision of electricity aesthetic qualities of the space, Tanja Braemer



The Hills on Governors Island, New York City,

United States
In July, the park extension The Hills on Governors Island, New
York, opened to the public one year earlier than expected.
Thanks to an unseasonably warm fall and rigorous construction
management, we can complete and open the Hills to the public in
2016 instead of next year, said Leslie Koch, president of The Trust
for Governors Island. The Hills are the culmination of the award-
winning Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan,
designed by landscape architects, West 8. Released in 2010, the park
master plan sets the stage for the islands future redevelopment while
ensuring quality public open space. The first 30 acres of new park
and public space opened to the public in 2014. Made of recycled

construction debris and clean fill material, the parks four hills rise
25 to 70 feet above the island. The summit of Outlook Hill provides
visitors with a 360-degree panorama of the Statue of Liberty, New
OMA, Mia Lehrer + Associates and IDEO won the competition for the new York Harbor and the Lower Manhattan skyline. Four hills structure
FAB Civic Center Park in downtown Los Angeles. The design aims to be low the park: Outlook Hill, Slide Hill (featuring the longest slide in New
maintenance, with on-site storm water capture to reduce the need for water. York City), Discovery Hill (featuring a site-specific sculpture by
Rachel Whiteread) and Grassy Hill, which overlooks the islands
new and historic landscapes and the Manhattan skyline. The
FAB Civic Center Park, Los Angeles, United States 2.2-mile-long promenade around the edge of the island also re-
opened after the four-year-building process was completed. The
Los Angeles downtown will soon have a new public park. Hills has ten acres of green space, new pedestrian paths and more
The Architecture practice OMA, landscape architects Mia than 860 new trees. The Trust and the planners hope that this proj-
Leher + Associates and the design firm IDEO won the com- ect will be a new must-see for tourists and residents alike and is
petition for the FAB Civic Center Park, named after the loca- working to turn the island into a year-round destination.
tion a vacant lot situated at First and Broadway street.
Prominent buildings adjacent to the park include the Los Laura Klser
Angeles Supreme Court, the City Hall, the Federal Court-
house and the LAPD Headquarters. The planners objective
is to have workers, residents and tourists all use the park.
The extensive system of low seat walls will create an undulat-
ing ribbon of informal seating and shaded areas that define a
series of park rooms for intimate gatherings and spaces for
art and cultural programming. Larger capacity amphitheatre
seating integrated into the restaurant is available for watch-
ing performances on the main plaza. The building in the
park will feature a split-level restaurant and an array of
sculpted shade canopies that also produce solar energy.
OMAs design of the parks restaurant is made to create a
diverse set of protected outdoor spaces, a main dining area
with a vista over the park and an edible roof garden that
Timothy Schenk

reflects the parks playful landscape. The design aims to be

low maintenance, with on-site storm water capture to reduce
the need for water. The architects will also use local plants.
The park is anticipated to open to the public in 2019.
The Hills on Governors Island opened to the public a year earlier than expec-
Laura Klser ted. The park offers a new view of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.


This years Serpentine Pavilion was

created by the Bjarke Ingels Group
and is, for the first time, accompa-
nied by four Summer Houses.

Iwan Baan
Serpentine Gallery and Summer Houses, London, United Kingdom
Each year internationally renowned architects are invited to design century pavilion by William Kent that rotates and offers 360 views.
the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in Londons Kensington Gardens. Their Summer House is conceived as a series of undulating struc-
The Bjarke Ingels Group created the 2016 Pavilion. The planners tural bands. 93-year-old architect Yona Friedman created a modular
aimed to create a structure that embodies multiple aspects often structure that can be assembled and disassembled in different for-
perceived as opposites: modular yet sculptural, and transparent yet mations. It refers to his project Ville Spatiale begun in the late
opaque. The Pavilion consists of fibreglass forms that are like bricks. 1950s. Asif Khan was inspired by the fact that Queen Carolines
They form a wall that splits up into a cave and hosts the events of Temple was positioned in a way to catch the sunlight from the Ser-
the Gallerys Park Nights programme. Four Summer Houses pentine lake. The Serpentine Architecture Programme invites archi-
designed by different architects accompany the Serpentine Pavilion tects to create their first built structure in England. The process is
this year. They are all inspired by Queen Carolines Temple, a classi- immediate, with a maximum of six months from invitation to com-
cal-style summer house built in 1734, close to the Serpentine Gal- pletion. The very first pavilion was designed by Zaha Hadid; other
lery. Nigerian architect Kunl Adeyemi designed an inverse replica famous architects involved were Daniel Libeskind and Frank Gehry.
of the Temple a tribute to its robust form, space and material. Ger-
man architects Barkow Leibinger were inspired by another 18th Laura Klser

Children need to play to nd the right approach to life. For children, playing does not always
mean doing something active. Playing might just as well mean being there.

Richter Spielgerte GmbH

...our product designation for the European Market



9th European Prize for Urban Public Space awarded

This years award winners of the Two very different projects successful ways: They open up roof. The successful interplay have always been irrigated with
European Prize for Urban Public have shared this years European and revitalise previously of architecture and open space water from the Roman thermal
Space: The irrigation system for the Prize for Urban Public Space: unused public space. Every thus fills an urban planning springs located there. Due to a
thermal allotments in Caldes de the Przeomy Centre for Dia- two years a jury of architects and historical gap in the citys construction boom and conse-
Montbui, Spain, by Marta Serra, Elena logue at Solidarnosc Square in, and critics comes together to centre while creating a new quent discharge of waste water
Albareda and Jordi Calbet (above), Poland by Robert Konieczny typically select two prize win- and vibrant public plaza that at the end of the 20th century,
and the Przelomy Centre for Dia- and the Recovery of the Irriga- ners and several Special Men- allows for a variety of uses. however, the irrigation system
logue at Solidarnosc Square in Szc- tion System at the Thermal tions from the 25 finalists. In the Spanish town of Caldes fell into decline and cultivation
zecin, Poland by Robert Konieczny. Orchards located on the edge The Przeomy Centre for Dia- de Montbui a dilapidated cul- of the orchards was discontin-
of the town of Caldes de Mont- logues underground structure, tural landscape was developed ued. A restoration of the irriga-
bui in Spain, by Marta Serra, which among other things will into a publicly accessible space tion system linked to a redevel-
Elena Albareda and Jordi Cal- be used for exhibitions about where the towns residents are opment of the infrastructure
bet. Both projects fulfil the the history of Szczecin, has an able to experience nature first- system via a variety of bridges
prizes goal in particularly inclined urban plaza on its hand. The orchards in Caldes and walkways lead to the com-
plete renovation of the canal
system within a period of two
and a half years.
With the help of fruit growers
and architects, a basin for the
purification of polluted water
was built and previously pri-
vate parcels of land were made
publicly accessible through the
construction of a bridge over
the main canal.
In addition to the two prizes
the jury also awarded four
special mentions. These were
awarded to the following proj-
European Prize 1, Adria Goula

ects: the Barkingside Town

Centre Improvements in Lon-
don, United Kingdom; the
Multipurpose Hall in Molen-
beek-Saint-Jean, Belgium; The
Ring of Memory: International
Memorial of Notre-Dame-de-
Lorette in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire,
France; and The Garden of the
Heavenly Hundred in Kiev,
A special recognition was
awarded to the city of Copen-
European Prize 2, Jaroslaw Syrek

hagen in acknowledgment of
its public policies for improv-
ing the quality of life in public
open space.

Tanja Gallenmller


is Standard
REVIEWS at Berliner.


New ue
a t a l og
C ow
out n er-
info@ m

Bridges and promenades, new approach as infratecture,

crossings and streets infra- a combination of infrastructure
structure is all around us. It is and architecture.
the fabric that holds our glo- After an introduction and
balised world together. Mostly three chapters about the design
regarded as a pure necessity of infrastructure, its history
and solely designed as a func- and an explanation of the spe-
tional element, infrastructure cific philosophy of infratecture,
can be much more than simply the book continues with so-
making places accessible. It can called cases. These cases are
be an integral part of our land- divided into different typolo-
scapes and cities that combines gies upon which infrastructure
engineering with urban plan- is based: bridges, streets, deci-
ning and architecture with sion points, infrabuildings,
landscape architecture. Or at fencing and even roadside bio-
least this is the opinion of topes. Using a range of 15
author Marc Verheijen (see infrastructural elements, the
article, page 22). author presents 30 examples
Verheijen was trained in two where the idea of infratecture
disciplines: He studied both was actually used be it the
engineering and architecture. resund Bridge that connects
Having this specific back- Denmark with Sweden or a
ground, he worked for the new type of noise barrier in the
internationally renowned Netherlands. The structure of
architecture firm OMA in the book forms a practice-
Rotterdam before joining the based guide that helps planners
Department of the municipality develop new concepts. It has a
of Rotterdam. In his book universal approach and can be
Infratecture he gives us an a useful source of inspiration
insight into his idea of infra- for engineers, urban planners,
structure that adds social, cul- architects and landscape archi-
tural, ecological and economic tects or infratects as Marc
aspects to its design, instead of Verheijen would say.
being entirely focused on func-
tionality. Verheijen defines this Alexander Russ

Approaches to the
Every landscape architect dening? Udo Weilacher argues
knows his or her field of for more garden thinking in
work the landscape. They landscape architectural prac-
generally approach various tice. Nina-Marie Lister expl-
projects from different per- ores the interrelations bet-
spectives, and in doing so ween ecology and landscape
focus their views on the con- and the affect they have on
text. In addition to a practi- design, research and practice.
cal examination, a theoreti- Frederick Steiner discusses
cal approach to the concept the interrelationships bet-
of landscape and the tasks of ween landscape and plan-
landscape architecture can ning. Pierre Blanger looks at
also be worthwhile. This is landscape and infrastructure.
also indispensable for a pro- And of course history, dis-
fession which constantly Is Landscape? cussed by John Dixon Hunt, remarks about landscape his- surrounding urban planning
complains about a lack of The collection of essays enti- and theory, explained by tory, the etymological devel- and acute urban questions. A
theory. Three current publi- tled Is Landscape...? Essays on Rachael Delue, cannot be opment of certain terms and profound overview is thus
cations now offer rewarding the Identity of Landscape omitted and are both addres- his skilful transition between provided, which gives ample
insights into this issue. edited by Gareth Doherty and sed here. Charles Waldheim different cultures, the book background information
Charles Waldheim explores examines the topic of Is Land- is first and foremost an invi- about a discourse of landscape
the multiple definitions of scape Urbanism? and also tation to go through the urbanism that has enriched
landscape. The books starting looks at the contribution world with open eyes, to the theoretical investigation
point is Garret Eckbos rhe- landscape architectural prac- observe ones surroundings, about the professions self
torical question Is landscape tice makes with regard to to read the landscape and to image since the 1990s.
architecture?, which he urban design and planning. continuously question the
asked in an essay published context of things. Noting In the introduction to Is
in 1983 aimed at clarifying What is Landscape? that the book is not a field Landscape? the great land-
the relationship between John R. Stilgoe addresses this guide, Stilgoe ultimately scape theoretician J.B. Jackson
landscape architecture and question in his book of the sends his readers out to is quoted: Why is it, I won-
architecture and discussing same title. The Orchard Pro- explore the landscape: Close der, that we have trouble
its potential. A series of rhe- fessor in the History of Land- it now, put it down, and go. agreeing on the meaning of
torical questions asked by scape at Harvard University landscape? The word is simple
well-known authors describe not only investigates the Landscape as Urbanism. A enough, and it refers to some-
the relationship between meaning and change in mean- General Theory thing which we think we
landscape architecture and its ing of the word landscape, Waldheim didnt just contrib- understand; and yet to each of
closely related disciplines and which has its origins in Old ute an essay to the publication us it seems to mean some-
other cultural fields. In doing Frisian. In the chapters Mak- Is Landscape ?, however. In thing different. These three
so, they sharpen the focus on ing and Constructs through the book Landscape as Urban- publications help to promote
landscape and landscape archi- Stead and Farm up to Field ism. A General Theory he also a common understanding of
tecture. In Is Landscape Liter- and Away, numerous terms takes an in-depth look at the issue. Although we are
ature? Gareth Doherty traces are worked out in detail and landscape as being a model given no definitive answers
the influence landscape has their cultural context explored. and medium for the contem- here, the books provide suffi-
had on the written word. At For non-native speakers the porary city. In a series of cient motivation to question
the same time he addresses explanations about the subtle engaging essays he explains ones own views and to think a
the question of how literature differences in vocabulary are the contribution landscape step further about landscape
influences the built environ- at times a challenge. In addi- and landscape architecture
ment. In Is Landscape Gar- tion to the authors interesting has made to current issues Peter Zch


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A ow through
The most chaotic intersection and station in Copenhagens city center has trans-
formed into a lively urban space. With modern sculptural building structures to
guide the massive flow of pedestrians and bicycles through the station, a new
atmosphere and mobility have emerged in a formerly dull and disorienting area.

Nrreport Station is the busiest trafc terminal in Copenha-

gen with access to S-Trains, local trains and the metro.

Client: The City of Copenhagen, the State Railway
Architects: Cobe, Gottlieb Paludan Architects
Year of construction: 2015

Nrreport Station is the busiest traffic terminal in in areas where people were less likely to walk. More than 250,000 people pass through the station every
Copenhagen, with more than 250,000 people Combined with the surrounding infrastructure, day. Its design was inspired by pedestrian ows.
passing through it every day. The station is geo- the final plan resulted in an archipelago of soft
graphically located between the old medieval city organic shapes, with passing pedestrians and Page 18: Nrreport Station was designed as a place that
and the boroughs of Vesterbro, Nrrebro and bicycles almost acting as water streaming in functions for pedestrians and bycicles alike.
sterbro, with borders reflected in the infrastruc- between. In this way, Cobe and Gottlieb Paludan
ture of the Danish capital. Where the S-train line Architects have created an urban space with a nat-
runs through the city, it marks the location of the ural infrastructure for pedestrians and bicycles,
old ramparts of Copenhagen; along these ram- and solved the pre-existing problem of a chaotic
parts were several gates that served as entrances and interrupted way of moving.
to the city, one of them being the northern gate,
from which the name Nrreport evolved. The sta-
Navigating through Nrreport
tion has, over time, transformed from one for
local trains alone to the only central station with The station is not marked by a single significant
access to underground S-trains, regional trains, monument or building, but by several almost
and the Metro, as well as an above-ground bus floating roofs that slowly appear in the urban
terminal. It had become a chaotic and isolated landscape as large canopies along the old city
island between veins of heavy traffic, making it an border. The roofs rest on round, transparent glass
uneasy place for pedestrians and bicycles. pavilions that house the main station facilities
such as kiosks and ticket-vending machines.
Gathered under white concrete roofs are
Shaped by pedestrians
entrances to the underground platforms, public
With a political wish for more open and accessible toilets, elevators shafts, and bicycle parking. The
infrastructure, a large competition was initiated by six pavilions create a curved way of moving
the City of Copenhagen in 2009, with Cobe and throughout the station, with islands of bicycle
Gottlieb Paludan Architects forming the winning parking and chimneys from the underground
team. The competition brief required a remodel- stations located directly on a large, unifying sur-
ling of the area above ground, and focused on face. With the canopy roofs, these elements act as
rethinking the city gate as the link between the volumes to easily guide a visitor in and out. The
old medieval city and the boroughs to create a area is closed to traffic on the east side, linking
modern traffic terminal with a new urban space the station directly with the pedestrianized shop-
connected to it. With the City of Copenhagens ping street Frederiksborggade. Cobe and Gottlieb
vision for a better urban life and its investment in Paludan Architects have created a unifying sur-
democratic and sustainable mobility, it was there- face that provides a foothold for the buildings
fore essential that Nrreport become a place ded- along Nrre Voldgade on the east side, buildings
icated to pedestrians and bicycles. Cobe and that before were hidden away in the visual noise
Gottlieb Paludan Architects mapped out pedes- of station traffic. The surface provides new out-
trian flows, and actively incorporated these into door serving opportunities for restaurants and
the final design of the new Nrreport. By register- cafs, and is a compelling way to merge the infra-
ing how people moved across the old Nrreport structure with surrounding activities at the same
to and from staircases, from adjacent streets and time that it secures a mixed use of the station
at pedestrian crossings a soft-shaped plan area. The roofs, bicycle parking, and chimneys are
emerged. The designs main functions were placed repeated along the entire square, creating a f

rhythmic regularity and shaping a variety of move into the large open space instead of block- Page 19: The station is located between the old medieval city
urban spaces. The unifying surface, a 3-by-3- ing the entrances and the flow. The Metro runs and the boroughs of Vesterbro, Nrrebro and sterbro.
metre grid system, organizes the interior of the one level further down, and can be accessed from
station, benches, bins, and the pillars of the roofs. street level as well as from the train platforms. 20,000 bicycles pass through the station every day. The new
The grid also works as a navigation system for The underground station seems small compared design offers parking space for 2,100 bycicles.
visually handicapped people, and as water drain- to other large traffic terminals. As with above
age. Almost every element at the station is organ- ground, it lacks a central meeting place, main hall,
ically shaped, eliminating backsides and corners. or waiting area. As soon as a visitor enters, he is
on her way in any given direction. The under-
ground network of train lines copies the above-
The infrastructure of bicycles
ground street system, with S-train and regional
One of the biggest challenges of Nrreport is the train lines running along Nrre Voldgade/Vester
20,000 bicycles passing through every day, 2,100 Voldgade, and the Metro line running perpendic-
of which park at the station. The bicycle culture in ular two levels down along Frederiksborggade.
Copenhagen often results in bicycle parking All station facilities are located above ground,
dominating the urban space, sometimes making leaving the underground clear for as seamless a
it impossible to have active fronts at shops and transit as possible to and from the busy Nrreport.
restaurants. The lack of proper parking space
often blocks an optimal system of movement.
More than a station
Cobe and Gottlieb Paludan Architects have
solved this problem in a simple and elegant way The need for a new and improved station was
by creating so-called bicycle beds. As if the con- also a need for a merged urban space in an area
crete roofs were directly lifted up from the with poor connectivity. Nrreport and the adja-
ground, sunken footprints make room for all cent areas were worn, heavily trafficked, and in
bicycles at the station. The beds are sunken 40 some places almost deserted. Now Nrreport Sta-
centimetres, making it easier to look over and tion not only connects Copenhagen to the rest of
find your bicycle; it also creates a clear hierarchy Denmark by public transport, but its new above-
between pedestrians and bicycles, with bicycles ground square and buildings link urban areas of
no longer in eyesight, leaving an unobstructed commerce and cultural sights. The station runs
view across the station. At Nrreport, the parked along Nrre Voldgade and Vester Voldgade, north
bicycles almost become monuments a symbol to south, connecting the entrances to three large
of the Copenhagen bicycle culture. parks, rstedparken, Kings Garden, and the
Around 150,000 passengers use the large Botanical Garden. The lateral axis, east-west, con-
underground network of trains and Metro at nects the newly transformed Israels Plads, the
Nrreport Station every day. The underground much-frequented market halls Torvehallerne,
station consists of two separate platforms, one for and the renovated pedestrian commerce street
the S-train lines and one for the regional lines, a Frederiksborggade/Kbmagergade on both sides
shared staircase from street level the only connec- of the station. Urban life, passenger flow, trans-
tion between them. Cobe and Gottlieb Paludan parency, and accessibility were the keywords in
Architects have dissolved the overcrowded stair- reinterpreting the design. The result is an inviting
cases to and from the underground network. By urban square coexisting with the busiest transit
keeping a good distance between entrances and hub in Copenhagen, a place that emphasises the
surrounding elements, commuters can now easily Copenhagen atmosphere and pulse.

Marc Verheijen

Are you mobile? Probably, you are. Cycling to work, meeting
friends, getting your groceries. Moving by planes, trains, and
automobiles. Infrastructure is such an integral part of our daily
life, our culture, and our being, it should be conceived of far
beyond the functional. The idea of infratecture is a plea for
embracing complexity and a quest for social values besides
simple usage. A plea for the integral design of infrastructure.

In his book Infratecture (see page 11) Marc Verheijen introduces intergral designs like the
resund Bridge that enables a direct connection between Denmark and Sweden.

170 houses form a soundproof element at a motorway in the
Netherlands. It is 700 metres long and 14 metres high.

The Elfenbaan, another motorway in the Netherlands, was

designed as an integral zone with an ecological corridor.

Moving is essential to us for our reproduction, euros to build. Worldwide yearly investments in becomes increasingly difficult to find a parking
trade, and social exchange. The places where we infrastructure concern sums of money most of us space. Cyclists have to pay more attention and
live have usually originated at crossings of trade cannot even fathom. Besides money, we as a drivers have no choice but to be patient. These
routes over water and over land, at mountain society spend much energy and manpower on are gradual transitions. They seem to evolve
passes, around train stations, at fords or in del- infrastructure. Millions of people across the without a system or deeper logic behind them. So
tas. All of these are natural or created meeting globe work in the world of infrastructure. Most preceding an actual design, there is often a pro-
places, where it has been relatively easy to travel of their work is about making sure existing infra- cess of years, if not decades, in which diverging
or where different routes converged. Our mobil- structure functions well every day. Think of road demands, expectations, and even desires come
ity these days is tremendous, and in order to be works, but also of traffic control and snow- together. Designing therefore starts at a much
this mobile, we use many different infrastruc- ploughs. Only a small percentage of these people earlier point than the project assignment itself.
tures on a daily basis. We have a historically work on the realization of new infrastructure, To be able to design alternatives for a future as yet
grown system of networks at our disposal. Our such as contractors, civil engineers, and railway unknown, it is essential to understand these
society is based on these global systems and companies. An even smaller percentage of all developments. This is no different for infrastruc-
networks of infrastructure universal and people working in the world of infrastructure ture than it is for urban design, architecture, or
generic in one respect, local and specific in design infrastructure. So, a small and select landscape architecture. All of these involve spa-
another. By car, you can get to almost every group of civil engineers, architects, landscape tial designs: a three-dimensional proposition
address in the world. By train, you can travel architects, urban designers, and traffic engineers within an existing context. Even a road, no mat-
from station to station quickly and comfortably. determine what our infrastructure looks like. ter how flat and straight, has to be thought up in
The strategic positioning of airports allows us to three dimensions. And since a road has to func-
travel to a different continent in a matter of hours. tion for a long time, the factor of time itself, the
Societal problems
fourth dimension, also plays an important role.
The importance of infrastructure is reason
A foundation of society
enough to take infrastructure design serious. In
The idea of Infratecture
Infrastructure is a given part of our everyday its most basic form, design is the art of creating
environment. It is the physical basis of modern a solution for a specific problem. Designing can Infratecture is an invitation to think in possi-
societies, the foundation on which we travel, be as simple as that. There is a question, and a bilities rather than in solutions. Designing can
meet each other, make exchanges, and have new designer comes up with an answer in the form of then be much more about exploring possible
experiences. All of us use multiple parts of our a sketched image of the future. But is that it? Lim- alternatives for the future. Early choices for a
extensive infrastructure network every day, but iting the answer to a satisfactory result for the certain direction based on first insights and
hardly any of us know who actually owns this designer and the client might suffice for the short ideas will speed up the design process, but carry
infrastructure, who maintains it, who finances it, term, but from a sustainability perspective, we the risk of depriving many qualities from being
who designs it, or who makes decisions about it. would not be making the most of our chances. discovered. Thinking a direction through leads
Still, infrastructure has been devised by the For behind a concrete question, there is often a to new insights and knowledge, which may well
human brain, and has been realized by people larger, societal problem. A typical infrastructural lead to different choices, or even different direc-
spending a lot of money and energy in doing so. project seems to be about a road from A to B, but tions. The design process should therefore not be
Every part, every extension, and every adjust- the reason for the project can generally be traced considered a linear but a cyclic process. A cyclic
ment has been devised, designed, planned, and back to social needs and developments in plan- process provides room for the re-evaluation of
made. The true nature of it, however, is rarely ning. The reality is so much more complex, design directions after deep assessments have
scrutinized. Countries such as Germany and requiring more attention, expertise, and energy. been made, and for new choices based on this
France spend over 16 billion euros a year on the Global developments with an influence on the knowledge. And that is the essence of design:
construction and maintenance of their national local level, such as urban growth and rural choices. More than anything, to design is to
infrastructure. The resundsbron, connecting depopulation, change mobility patterns. Cities make choices. This might seem to contradict the
Denmark and Sweden, cost over four billion become more crowded, streets become busier. It ambition to keep our options open, but merely

A large and empty roundabout in the Netherlands is getting
a distinct identity through artwork a revolving house.

In the Dutch village of Averna, the road was sunk by half a

metre. The low mounds were used to reduce sound pollution.

keeping options open will not change the infra- Eventually, a combination of smart solutions groups, residents, users, investors, administra-
structure. For in the design process, design deci- resulted in a spatial design that reduced the noise tors, and other stakeholders. Social positioning
sions will have to be made (choices) to eventually and created a spatial image everyone was happy of infrastructural questions means designers
arrive at designs that can be realized and thus with. What makes the Alverna solution unique is must also define their position in the social
make the difference. This cyclic thinking is char- the combination of measures that have inge- debate; it means they have to admit irrationality
acteristic for designers, and it sets them apart niously been amalgamated into one whole. One and emotion. The Channel Tunnel between the
from many technicians and specialists. At some measure was to sink the road by half a metre. The United Kingdom and France is obviously an
points, designers keep working on a specific part dug-up soil was used to realize low mounds on object made of concrete and steel. But the his-
of a larger assignment, while at other points they both sides of the road. On the side of the road, torical and cultural impact of this tunnel on the
will focus on the overall picture. One of the most the barriers were fitted with sound-absorbing regions it connected was enormous. Besides the
important qualities of a so-called infratect is materials, while on the side of the houses, they functional requirements, these factors also
the ability to think on different scales. were planted with a rich mix of flowers and played an important role in the design process.
grasses. Because of the combination of the sunken And rightly so, because this new connection
road and the earthen barriers, residents can only also meant new positions within Europe for the
A convincing example
see the roofs of tall vehicles from their houses, so regions on either end of the tunnel.
A perfect example of this approach lies with the their view has actually improved. Now, the resi-
Graafseweg in the Dutch village of Alverna. The dents hardly see the cars anymore, and they have
Creating Conditions
increase in traffic through the years has created a beautiful flowers in front of their houses while
conflict between the flow of traffic and the quality they can still see the houses across the street. Fur- Infratecture is the insight that with the realiza-
of life. The government decided to do something thermore, special quiet asphalt was used for the tion of an infrastructure project, one can achieve
about noise pollution. The first option was to road, and in addition to these physical measures more than just a solution to a specific functional
place a three-metre-high noise barrier on each the speed limit was reduced. problem. With infrastructure, we create the con-
side of the road, a simple and effective element ditions for our way of life, including all potentially
that could be realized quickly and at relatively positive and negative aspects. Approached in this
low cost. Despite the fact that such noise barriers way, infrastructure is the development of a realiz-
would be the ideal solution from a functional This way of designing requires courage. Staying able proposal that naturally also meets the design
point of view, the residents were very much on course with so many variables, expectations, brief. The extra quality that infratecture adds is
opposed to this solution. They feared the barriers interests and requirements is not easy. Knowing social value, value beyond the functional, value
would become filthy, that they would block their when enough is enough. At what point do you beyond design briefs, even value beyond the level
views, decrease the value of their houses, and have to make choices and present these to the of expectations of the stakeholders. Good infra-
have an adverse effect on Alvernas rural charac- stakeholders? This requires finesse, intuition, structure has current value as well as future
ter, as the barriers would split the village into two and experience. This complexity also requires value. Infratecture answers current questions,
halves both spatially and visually. At the initiative interdisciplinarity. The problems we face creates conditions for future and as of yet unfore-
of the residents, professional designers of Topia require the expertise of people from various dis- seeable developments. A plea for embracing
explored alternative options by design. The goal ciplines, not only spatial design disciplines such complexity. A plea for the integral design of
was clear: reduce the noise pollution. How this as traffic engineering, civil engineering, geo- infrastructure. Integral means looking at a prob-
would have to be achieved, however, was open technology, and construction. We must add lem from different perspectives, getting to the
and this was what the participation process was planning, economy, sociology, and other disci- bottom of it, and striving for a comprehensive
for. In this design process, much attention was plines, and it is clear that positioning infrastruc- approach, analysis, and design. It stands for the
given to aspects such as spatial quality, views, tural questions and approaching these as social development of solutions from which nothing is
identity, and quality of life. The designers did not matters is no sinecure. To make matters even missing; for constant changes of perspective
think in standard solutions, but looked for a more complex (and interesting), the designer enabling a complete study of the problem and the
combination of quality-enhancing measures. must also enter into dialogue with interest inclusion of all interests and aspects.

Palle Petersen

The Idea of
The new Swiss Gotthard Axis forms a relationship between infrastructure, architecture and landscape archi-
tecture. For over 20 years an interdisciplinary group has helped design of all of this transalpine flat routes
visible parts. The group has developed integrated solutions, thus creating a coherent appearance.

In 1882 the legendary Gotthard Railway Tun- completed. The Gotthard Axis of the New tectural quality and coherent appearance of
nel opened. Even today travel through the spi- Railway Link through the Alps (NEAT) is part the visible above-ground effects of the Got-
ral tunnel on a train impressively shows how of the European high-speed network and is thard axis all the more important. These were
the Swiss opened up the Alpine region with intended to shift heavy traffic on the north- the declared objectives of the interdisciplinary
this transport connection. The conquest of the south axis from road to rail. Even though there Advisory Group for Design (BGG), founded in
Alps, which had taken Hannibal months to do are several missing links between Rotterdam 1993. The fact that this group has been work-
in 218 BC and still took traders weeks before and Genoa, the heart of NEAT is beating ing on the project for over twenty years hap-
the tunnel, was now reduced to half a day steadily. This greatly improves passenger pened purely by chance. In 1992 engineer
thanks to the railway. A double track system, transport as well. During the 95-minute trip Peter Zuber went to an exhibition about the
electrification and faster rolling stock resulted from Zurich to Lugano, however, passengers Ticino architect Rino Tami. Zuber, the Swiss
in a journey of four and a half hours by 1970. have little time to see the fascination of this Federal Railways (SBB) delegate for the Got-
But not much else happened after this. In June pioneering achievement. Along the 57- and thard axis, was impressed by work Tami had
of 2016, however, a leap in speed occurred: The 15-kilometre-long basis tunnels and the two carried out on the A2 motorway (Gotthard
Gotthard Base Tunnel was opened. And when additional ones in opencast mines there are route) in the 1960s. He decided to form the
the new Ceneri Base Tunnel is opened in 2020, few places with a view. The trip takes place in BGG under the chairmanship of Uli Huber.
an additional centennial project will have been the dark. This makes the outstanding archi- On board were also the Zurich architects

Most of the Gotthard Base
Tunnel is underground, but
several large-scale infra-
structure elements along
the route reveal its exis-
tence. These are examples
of the successful integration
of architecture, infrastruc-
ture and landscape.

Pierre Feddersen, Rainer Klostermann, Pascal develop design specifications and details for (for example, technical buildings, tunnel
Sigrist and Flora Ruchat, who at that time was various types of buildings, use sketches and entrances, animal passages, bridges, retaining
head of the architecture department at the models to construct both entire parts of the walls, substations and workers housing). The
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich landscape and individual buildings, and work portal landscapes at the Urner Reusstal and
(ETH) and a designer of the A16 motorway together with various engineering consortia to Ticinos Valle Leventina are the beginning
(Transjurane). The well-known bridge builder oversee these projects from initial planning to and end of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. This is
Christian Menn worked as a consulting engi- final construction. where countless requirements and standards
neer until 2006 and various engineers includ- They have also done designs and studies converge. Railway infrastructure buildings
ing Peter Zbinden, Walter Schneebeli and Alex for the later development stages of the Got- and access roads, basins for cooling warm
Regli also represented the SBB over the years. thard axis. Within the scope of their present mountain water, railroad switches and under-
construction activities they are working on passes surround the flyover structure that
eight portal areas, eleven main buildings leads the old Gotthard line over the portal for
AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd
(preliminary railway engineering and opera- the new basis tunnel.
The BGG coordinates all the visible temporary tions buildings), more than forty bridges and This large-scale curve appears as an
and permanent impacts of the Gotthard axis underpasses, as well as eight deposits of exca- 800-metre-long and 12-metre-high crescent-
between Litti near Baar and Lugano. They vated materials and over 100 new structures shaped curve. Its sharp-edged concrete shape

spans large granite blocks. Cooling of the tun- them, the sun-warmed granite blocks pro- Left: Cooling for the tunnels
nels by the trains running through them had a mote its updraft and also provide a habitat played a crucial role in the
major influence on the design of the portal for pioneer plants and reptiles. The crescent- planning of the portal areas
areas. In order to prevent short circuits caused shaped flyover might well have been at Bodio and Ernstfeld.
by escaping warm air and indrawn fresh air, designed as a green embankment, but the
the tunnels were staggered. Like sharp-ended architecture is conceived of in a topographi- Right: The yover structures
needles, they symbolise the piercing of the cal way, the landscape architecturally. The also had an effect on the
mountains as a design theme and disappear crescent-shaped arc is now symbolic of the concept and were integrated
into the mountainsides. Their hexagonal pro- epochal performance at Gotthard and stands into the overall design.
file eliminates the need for any additional tun- for one thing in particular: 100,000 tons of
nel routes and combines the trains clearance creative willpower. Natural stone as an hom-
gauge with aerodynamic specifications to cre- age to the design of the landscape and the
ate an ideal air flow. structures of the old Gotthard line, and
When passenger and freight trains shoot dynamically cut concrete, that orchestrates
out of the tubes at up to 250 kilometres per the rapid travel of the trains as a reminis-
hour, trailing warm mountain air behind cence of Rino Tami.

Val Nalps ventilation structure, Sedrun the BGG worked on. But a short lesson about the village of Sedrun. This is the secret heart of
tunnelling is necessary before we continue: the project and only accessible via an 800-
Rino Tamis influence is, as mentioned above, With long tunnels miners dont just work metre-deep shaft. Because of the possible for-
certainly no coincidence, as the BGG carefully toward each other from two sides. They make mation of fog, the ventilation shaft is not near
analysed his design of the Ticino motorway A2 so-called intermediate headings in the the village, but in the Val Nalps side valley. The
(Gotthard route) and also faced similar prob- mountain and assemble tunnel boring project, which was originally of a purely engi-
lems with the railway tunnel. When Pascal Sig- machines at these points. From here these neering nature, consisted of a spacious turn-
rist read the word combinare on one of Tamis monsters, which can be up to 450 metres around blasted out of the cliffs, with a shaft
sketches, he felt confirmed in his assumptions: long, eat their way towards one end. Waste made of precast concrete that towered above
This is exactly the way we work. Large infra- heat and dust created by the machine make the the steep slope. Its wedge shape was intended
structure projects tend to be a built collection air in the tunnel, which is already damp and up to protect it from avalanches and rock falls,
of technical planning requirements. We com- to 50 C in temperature, even worse. This and safety nets were to be provided. The built
bine functions and give integral solutions a makes the provision of powerful ventilation solution, an impressive concrete sculpture,
clear form. The Val Nalps ventilation structure systems essential, especially during construc- now provides a clever solution to all the above
serves as a before/after metaphor. This tion. One of the three intermediate headings at requirements: It follows the course of the slope
exhaust pipe of a Ferrari was the first structure the Gotthard Base Tunnel is located far below and vents toward the front instead of upwards,

and its broad lower wedge shape splits any formations that was not used as concrete aggre- Left: The Val Nalps ventila-
avalanches and deftly integrates the turn- gate or for recultivation of the terrain. The man- tion structure hugs the
around. At this location, combinare means agement of the excavated material, which slope, as the tunnel is later-
having a compact form that hugs the slope, amounts to more than five of the pyramids at ally vented.
requiring both less concrete and blasting. Cheops, is certainly a huge logistics challenge:
70 kilometres of conveyor belts transport the Right: In Buzza di Biasca
rock to concrete plants, interim storage and the material excavated from the
The overburden at Buzza di Biasca
artificial mountains and islands. The deposit rock formations is deposit-
The biggest interventions along the Gotthard near Buzza di Biasca proudly exhibits its artifici- ed in shaped mountains.
axis are neither concrete animals nor stone arcs, ality instead of trying to imitate nature,
however. At about 6.6 million tons, the artificial explains Pascal Sigrist when talking about this
mountain near the south portal at Biasca takes geometric engineering project. Horizontal
this honour. The 50-metre-high mound is one of paths and vertical drainage ways criss-cross the
eight, and together with six bathing and nature artificial mountain at regular intervals. Weath-
preservation islands in the Urnersee lake serves ering and vegetation will, however, eventually
as a deposit for material excavated from the rock blur the sharp distinction to nature.

Multipurpose building, Faido the hillside. The slope, which is logical at this also provided support for the construction of
point, runs across the entire front and bends in more than 100 subsidiary buildings and 40
The intermediate heading at Faido provides the opposite direction at the head. The compact bridges and underpasses. They had to repeatedly
access to a sloping tunnel instead of a vertical volume appears somewhat ponderous, which is explain the purpose and details of their work
one. Here, the BGG combined several engineer- quite unlike the delicate dynamics of the portals and convince numerous engineers to go along
ing structures in one compact building. The and the ventilation structure at Val Nalps. The with their design ideas, which are based on
retaining wall at the base of the cliff looks like a convincing design vocabulary there has been locally applicable design guidelines for tunnel
120-metre-long concrete animal. The entrance turned into a more crystalline-mannered inde- portals and entrances, underpasses and bridges,
to the exploratory tunnel, building services and pendence here. slopes and retaining walls, railings and fences,
operation rooms of the neighbouring substation concrete surfaces, colours and signals. Much of
is in the animals tail. The torso is formed by the underpass at the Kantonsstrasse in Camorino
Kantonsstrae underpass, Camorino
railway infrastructure, i.e. computers, control is similar to the other underpasses the group
equipment and giant diesel engines for emer- One must imagine Sisyphus as happy, grinned has worked on. The troughs cross-section is
gency power. The 27-metre-high head, which Sigrist as he quoted Camus, as the BGGs work rectangular and the wing walls are directly inte-
slopes downhill and serves as the ventilation certainly requires perseverance. Since the grated into the retaining walls. A typical bridge
station, tapers in order to blow the air high up beginning of construction in 2000 the group has abutment links the drip edge, cable ducts, mast

foundation for overhead lines, service road and it should really take advantage of this, as every- Left: The multipurpose
noise protection element in its combined geom- one is aware of the disadvantage of 500-metre- building at Faido is inte-
etry. What is different here, however, is that the long freight trains passing by every two min- grated in the landscape as a
intermediate wall at Camorino dissolves into utes. The future of the ATG (AlpTransit Got- retaining wall.
polygonal cross supports. It takes its inspiration thard Ltd), and especially the BGG, is much less
from the v-shaped columns of the neighbouring certain: Will the organisational and specialist Right: The intermediate wall
railway viaduct, under which Ticino envisions a knowledge the firm (which was created espe- in the underpass at Camorino
future city growing. cially for work on the base tunnel) has be lost? consists of several v-shaped
And who will be responsible for design as the columns.
Gotthard axis is maintained and further devel-
Cross-border links
oped in the future? It remains to be seen what
This southern canton wants to use the Gotthard will happen.
axis as an urban development catalyst and senses
an opportunity to become an important node This article is based on one that appeared in the
between the southern-German-Swiss section of September 2014 edition of the Swiss architecture
the country and Milans metropolitan area. And magazine Hochparterre.

Conor OShea

Owned by the
In Chicago, the 606 represents a new era of park-building in
which municipal interagency collaborations manage complex
teams of consultants to tackle the physical, social, environ-
mental, and financial demands presented by outmoded infra-
structure. Under this new model, landscape architecture is
used as a common framework for building new public spaces.

For the 606, multiple municipal agencies managed large teams of landscape architects and
engineers, capable of tackling the complex conditions presented by outmoded infrastructure.

In 2002, the BNSF Logistics Park in Elwood, Illinois opened on the site of a
decommissioned U.S. Army munitions plant. The freight yard and its adja-
cent Union Pacific port in Joliet now constitute the largest inland port in the
United States. Just a year earlier and some 40 miles northeast, in Chicago,
after decades of declining manufacturing in the area, Canadian Pacific ended
all freight traffic on a nearly three-mile industrial corridor embedded in 19th-
century urban fabric. On June 6, 2015, this 17-foot-high raised embankment
opened to the public as the 606, a park network comprising the 2.7-mile-long
bike and running path known as the Bloomingdale Trail, four adjacent
at-grade parks (with two more planned), and 12 access points. The project
resulted from a planning and design process that involved multiple city agen-
cies, nonprofit, community groups, and over 20 consultants. The collabora-
tion among Collins Engineers (project management; lead civil and structural
engineers), Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (landscape architecture
design), and Frances Whitehead (lead artist), drew upon feedback from mul-
tiple public charrettes and input from numerous community groups.

A new type of park. The 606 represents the mature phase of a new mode of
civic park production in Chicago. Under this model, multiple municipal
agencies manage large teams of landscape architects, engineers, and other
consultants capable of tackling the complex physical, social, and environmen-
tal conditions presented by outmoded infrastructure. These agencies also
blend unique combinations of public and private project-funding. In this new
model, landscape not engineering or architecture is used as a common
framework for thinking about and building new public spaces. Within this
condition, the 606 distinguishes itself from a concentration of other high-pro-
file parks built under this regime in Chicago by the serious debates it cata-
lyzed: how the city should invest in its neighborhoods, how community needs
should be met, and how landscape architecture can contribute to the produc-
tion of democratic urban spaces. Its straightforward celebration of existing
industrial infrastructure, climate-aware planting, and pragmatic primary
function as a transportation corridor set it apart from other parks built since
the turn of the century in Chicago. As Matt Urbanski of Michael Van Valken-
burgh Associates (MVVA) declares, Its not imported glamour and glitz.
Reconceiving abandoned railroad tracks as public space is of course not new.
The 606 comes on the heels of other projects, including Pariss Promenade
plante, Berlins Natur-Park Sdgelnde, New Yorks High Line, and Atlantas
Belt Line. These projects demonstrate the efficacy of landscape architectures
skill in transforming 19th- and early 20th-century logistical infrastructure
into powerful economic generators of 21st-century urban economies.
Though prioritized by Mayor Rahm Emmanuel during his first re-elec-
tion campaign along with other new downtown parks like Maggie Daley Park
and the Chicago Riverwalk, the 606 is several miles northwest of the central

The 606 is a new type of park network, comprising the 2.7-mile-long bike and running path
known as the Bloomingdale Trail, four adjacent at-grade parks, and 12 access points.

The 606 is in many ways a bridge project 37 bridges were replaced along its length. The
engineers worked hand in hand with the landscape architects in conceiving the overall design.

business district. Its eastern terminus at the Walsh Park access point lies at the
heart of primarily white neighborhoods within short commuting distance to
downtown by public transportation. Its western terminus at the Ridgway
Trailhead is heavily Latino, with lower property values and less access to rapid
transit. While its length led to contentious debate over its outcome, the
design team and managing agencies nobly aimed to democratically connect
the desires of the Wicker Park, Bucktown, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park
neighborhoods through an even and practical design approach.
Dialogues within the community on the future use of the corridor were
formalized in 2003 when Ben Helphand co-founded the Friends of the
Bloomingdale Trail. The former railroad, which first appeared as a potential
bike trail in the citys 1997 Bicycle Facilities Development Plan, was also
included in the influential 2004 Logan Square Open Space Plan. From then
until 2011, the triad of the City of Chicago Department of Transportation
(CDOT), the Chicago Park District (CPD), and the Trust for Public Land
(TPL) were involved in fundraising, land acquisition, and community out-
reach. A three-day public charrette in 2011 informed the Bloomingdale
Trail Framework Plan, which was published in 2012 and foundational in
the formal design process that followed. According to James Hamelka of
Collins Engineers, the design process was thoroughly collaborative. Though
the project is in many ways a bridge project 37 bridges were replaced
along its length the engineers worked hand in hand with MVVA and
Whitehead in conceiving the overall design.
The design delivers on the communitys desire for trail access, recreational
space, and a running and bike path, but is also decidedly unfinished. As Matt
Urbanski and Frances Whitehead stress, the park is built to last, but its design
is not overdetermined. Part of the reason behind this, says Whitehead, is a
vision inherited from the community: that the future park should be a living
work of art that can be owned by the public. Ongoing programming and stew-
ardship of the 606 by local residents will drive its evolution. For example, in
2013, TPL announced the appointment of a two-year Exelon Fellow, an educa-
tion leader to connect children and families of the nearby 25 neighborhoods to
the 606. The 606 will evolve through both community involvement and its
phenologic planting strategy. A designed landscape, according to Urbanski,
comprises both variation and continuity. In the case of the 606, over 450 ser-
viceberries are distributed along the length of the trail; they are punctuated by
striking groups of monoculture like the poplar thicket between Drake and St.
Louis avenues, the smoke bush tunnel at Humboldt Boulevard, and the sumac
tunnel between Rockwell Street and Maplewood Avenue. The serviceberries
are intended to leverage the pathways linear form to engage people in a cli-
mate conversation by using a showy flowery species. The serviceberries,
which Whitehead compares to the annual cherry blossoms in Washington
D.C.s tidal basin, reveal a regional phenomenon: the warming effect of Lake

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation and Chicago Park District
Landscape architects: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Structures: Collins Engineers, Inc.
Lead Artist: Frances Whitehead / ARTetal
Year of construction: 2015

Michigan across the city. Serviceberries will flower in succession from east to
west over a five-day period, casting global and local climate changes into relief.
Chinese lilacs planted every tenth of a mile will become sources of data for cit-
izen-scientists reporting bloom time for the USA National Phenology Net-
work. The Chicago Park District today is increasingly recognized for excel-
lence in project management, community engagement, and project imple-
mentation. The 606s completion represents the mature phase of a new mode
of civic park production that emerged with the opening of Millennium Park in
2004. The types of sites available for parks in the 21st century are usually pol-
luted, physically complex, and embedded in a variety of longstanding social
dynamics. Reconciling these factors takes large multidisciplinary teams, ones
that, according to Michael Lange, senior project manager at the CPD, would
be too expensive to employ full-time, in-house. Under this regime, projects are
produced through what Lange describes as enormous interagency efforts. For
example, in the case of the 606, in addition to the 20-plus consultants on the
team, CDOT applied for much of the funding through a Congestion Mitiga-
tion and Air Quality Improvement grant from the United States Department
of Transportation. While the project was then turned over to the CPD for
managing the design and community input process along with TPL, CDOT
was responsible for bidding and construction. Like Millennium Park, Maggie
Daley Park, and the Chicago Riverwalk, new parks are now rarely funded by a
single source. Managing diverse financial sources in the case of the 606, a
combination of $56 million in public money and $20 million in private fund-
ing is a major responsibility of the CPD. Unlike Millennium Park and other
new downtown parks in Chicago, the 606 is a neighborhood park conceived
through thoughtful community engagement. Its materiality, too, is vastly dif-
ferent. Galvanized steel fencing, exposed concrete viaducts, and its ten-foot-
wide concrete mixed-use pathway bordered on either side by two-foot-wide
rubber running paths are reminiscent of CDOT standards and help reframe
Chicagos industrial heritage for recreational users. Like Chicagos historic
parks, which helped shape the citys expansion during a period of rapid growth
during the 19th and early 20th centuries, the 606 provides mixing space for a
range of Chicago residents. On a recent weekend visit, joggers and cyclists
diverse in age and ethnicity could be seen using the trail. Within the vast
socioeconomic, financial, and physical complexity of projects like the 606, the
landscape architects role as mediator of commercial, community, and civic
responsibilities grows ever more important. Compared with similar adaptive
reuse projects nationally, the 606 is distinguished by modest design, physical
accessibility, and intelligent planting, all inflected by a commitment to ongoing
community-engagement programming. It is a park in which the landscape
architect, lead artist, and engineer worked collaboratively to navigate a com-
plex urban force field to produce a space that, as Urbanski says, is in the
neighbhorhood, [and] of the neighborhood.

The design of the whole structure is decidedly unnished, so that the park can be owned by
the puclic. Its not imported glamour and glitz says the landscape architects of the project.

Kees Lokman

Exploring a New Paradigm

With climate change, urban regions must develop new approaches and policies to sustainably manage
regional water resources. A group of students from the University of British Columbia spent several
weeks in Mexico City to research new synergies between water management, mobility, and open space.

Located in the Valley of Mexico at 2,200 metres hosted several shallow lakes that fluctuated the Lerma Basin (1951) and the Cutzamala Basin
above sea level, the basin of Mexico City has no between one to three metres during the wet and (1982) further complicated issues of water man-
natural drainage outlet for water. As such, floods, dry seasons, providing a dynamic equilibrium by agement. Today, nearly one-third of Mexico
droughts, and other water-related dynamics have regulating floods, infiltration, and precipitation. Citys total drinking water is transported from as
always been part of the region. When the Aztecs This drastically changed at the turn of the 20th far as 130 kilometres away, and uphill over an
founded their capital city Tenochtitln here in century. The implementation of artisanal wells for elevation of 1,100 metres a system that uses an
1325, they engineered an impressive system of the extraction of water from the shallow aquifer, equivalent of energy that could meet the needs
water infrastructures, including dikes, locks, combined with the construction of large-scale of 1.5 million people. At the same time, overex-
aqueducts, and chinampas: small, rectangular hydraulic infrastructures to drain the lakes and to ploitation of groundwater is causing land sub-
islands filled with fertile dredged soil to grow redirect waste and stormwater, completely sidence at alarming rates (approximately one
crops. This half-natural, half-artificial landscape changed the basins hydrological cycle. This sys- metre per 10 years), resulting in building dam-
was at once productive, environmentally sensi- tem, much of which still remains operational age, broken and leaky pipes, and groundwater
tive, and spatially distinctive. It both provided today, diverts water out of the valley into the Tula contamination. To make matters worse, the city
protection against floods and allowed for the irri- River. Additionally, between 1930 and 1940, the pumps massive amounts of untreated storm and
gation and lacustrine transport of agricultural construction of multiple dams as well as the contaminated wastewater to the neighbouring
crops. Even up until the 20th century, the region implementation of water transfer systems from state of Hidalgo, where it is used to irrigate nearly

90 thousand hectares of agricultural land. Crops access to green space, multi-modal transit, and
grown in this area are transported to Mexico amenities, the poor lack basic sanitation and
City to feed its people, not surprisingly creating live in areas prone to natural disasters (flood-
a serious environmental and public health issue. ing, landslides, etc.). Currently, nearly 30% of Above: A so-called pipa
Another challenge is the fact that Mexico the 21 million people in the metropolitan area delivers large plastic bottles
City is composed of two jurisdictions: the federal have inadequate access to clean drinking water to Mexico City to supply the
district (DF) and the State of Mexico. Despite and solely rely on buying water from pipas (water inhabitants with drinking
recent efforts to improve coordination between trucks). While presumably safe, this alternative water. Due to a decient
the two jurisdictions, ongoing shifts in popula- is often more expensive than piped water, and drinking-water distribution
tion and economic activity from DF to the State service is sporadic, leaving communities some- system and low quality of
of Mexico are posing significant challenges with times without water for days. public water supplies, Mexi-
respect to urban development, water manage- cans are the largest con-
ment, and infrastructure planning. This con- Making Water Visible Again. Clearly, Mexico sumers of bottled water per
tributes to growing levels of inequality, which City needs alternative ways to deal with its water capita in the world, accord-
are directly inscribed in the geography. Whereas management. As with many complex planning ing to the International Bot-
(upper-) middle-class neighbourhoods have and design problems, successful solutions f tled Water Association.

During the course, UBC stu-
dents studied water-related
issues in Mexico City through
four different lenses: (1)
ecology, (2) mobility, (3)
housing, and (4) waste.
They explored these topics
by researching a particular
cross-section of the city,
which spans from the pros-
perous areas in the west to
the poorer and less-serviced
communities in the east.

University of British Columbia, April-May 2016
Instructors: Kees Lokman and Daniel Roehr
Teaching Assistant: Gustavo Manzano Prez Pelez
Student Researchers: Kirsten Harrison, Fahimeh Vahabi, Huan Pan, Genevieve Depelteau, Lacee Barr, Patrick Beech, Ayishah Chui, Taylor Kirsh, Yusraa Tadj, Julia Eyerund, Grace Jiang, Afrooz
Fallahmanshadi, Shakun Singla, Baiyi Chen, Yingluo Wang, Nan Zhou, Emily Rennalls, Xuxin Feng, Julia Casol, Mahsa Momenzadeh, Alyssa Quiring, Luyang Zhou and Reese Lewis
Support Mexico City: Centro Cultural Border, Elena Tudela Rivadeneyra and Adriana Chavez

involve approaches at regional, neighbour- dynamics of the hydrological cycle. Similar to ment these large-scale projects, the more imme-
hood and local scales, as well as implementa- recent river-regeneration efforts in cities like diate potential for change exists at neighbour-
tion strategies that are informed by top-down Seoul, Singapore, and Madrid, Ro La Piedad hood and local scales. Here, two examples,
and bottom-up initiatives, both short and has real potential to bring about change and Bicentennial Park by Mario Schjetnan (Grupo de
long-term. In recent years, designers have reconfigure Mexico Citys relationship with Diseo Urbano) and Quebradora Hydraulic Park
developed imaginative and opportunistic pro- water. Unfortunately, due to a strong pro-car by Loreta Castro (Taller Hdrico Urbano/
posals to transform the hydrological cycle in lobby and lack of political will, the project has UNAM), promote ways to reconnect urban pop-
the Mexico City Basin. The project Ro La Pie- not moved beyond a conceptual design phase. ulations with urban water management while
dad by Taller 13, for example, proposes to day- Other similarly ambitious projects like Alberto creating new open spaces and cultural platforms.
light nearly 15 kilometres of river currently Kalachs proposal to regenerate 7,000 hectares
hidden under a major highway. This provides a of ancient lakes have also been stalled. Ecological Engineering. Constructed on the
holistic solution that combines an integrated Indeed, as argued by David Barkin, econom- site of a former PEMEX refinery in northern
system for managing and treating water with ics professor at Mexico Citys Metropolitan Mexico City, Bicentennial Park provides a multi-
multi-modal transportation, public green Autonomous University: This is not a crisis of layered landscape that fuses ecology, hydrology,
space, and ecological restoration connecting water, its a crisis of governance and paradigms. geology, and technology while hosting numerous
people both visually and physically with the Due to this failure of decision-makers to imple- public programs and recreational activities. Aes-

thetically and hydrologically, the most interesting informed the design of a cultural landscape that Left: In recent years, Taller
section of the park is the Botanical Garden, integrates human activities with ecological sys- 13 has worked in Regenesis
which contains seven different micro-landscapes tems to create mutual benefits. and 28 other individual
featuring plants of Mexicos major bioclimatic areas on a proposal to day-
zones. Water is not only the main visual element Landscape Infrastructure. The Quebradora light La Piedad River to
of this section of the park; it is also functional as Hydraulic Park offers another innovative strategy enhance mobility and eco-
it collects, treats, and cycles all the water that falls for the integration of social, ecological and spatial logical connectivity.
on the site. Surrounding the thematic gardens strategies related to stormwater management. The
which include a subterranean orchid garden as park is located in a flood-prone area at the foot- Right: Bicentennial Park
well as a reconstructed chinampa is a system of hills of the Sierra Santa Catarina in Iztapalapa: a celebrates the horticultural,
constructed wetlands, triangular rainwater col- poor, high-crime neighbourhood that lacks hydrological and cultural
lection structures, and underground cisterns that access to both green space and potable water. In heritage of Mexico by repur-
collects and stores all the rainwater. After water is order to address these issues, the design incorpo- posing a formerly industrial
filtered and purified, it is injected into deep wells rates a series of catchment basins to store and site and integrating innova-
(at approximately 80 metres) to recharge the infiltrate rainwater, a program area that can be tive water-management
city aquifer. Here, ecological engineering has temporarily flooded in times of heavy rain, and a strategies.

system of multi-level pathways to provide safe systems, especially in marginalized communi- solution that can be easily implemented in
access and views from which the dynamics of ties that lack consistent access to water. By cap- peripheral neighbourhoods. Where imple-
water and activities are perceptible. The entire turing water that falls during the rainy season, mented, RWH systems act as agents of change.
park embraces processes of water to create mean- the system can supply typical households with Residents now spend less time securing water,
ingful interactions, cultivate public awareness, water for up to 6 to 8 months. By taking advan- allowing them to invest time and resources in
and support local ecologic and economic viability. tage of elements that are already part of a typical other aspects of life. In Paraje Quiltepec, a commu-
Water in all its forms is celebrated and allowed to house in Mexico City such as a pitched or flat nity we visited, access to water enabled residents to
continuously change the landscape, leaving concrete roof, an underground cistern, water- plant an orchard and cultivate crops in order to
behind watercourses and pools, and reflecting the storage tanks, and a small water pump the sys- secure their own food sources. They also imple-
seasonal fluctuations and identity of Mexico City. tem does not require expensive retrofits. Isla mented a bio-digester to produce biogas (energy
Urbana estimates that RWH, if widely imple- for heating) and fertilizer to enrich the soil. Here,
Let it Rain. At an even more intimate scale, mented, could provide nearly a third of Mexico simple access to water fully transformed the
Isla Urbana is providing opportunities for citi- Citys entire water supply. This would not only urban landscape, enabling the cultivation of new
zens to take more control over their water limit the citys reliance on energy-intensive resources and revitalizing the human spirit. In all
futures. The organization is implementing rela- infrastructures that bring in water over great of this, education plays a key role. First, there is
tively inexpensive rainwater harvesting (RWH) distances, it also provides a flexible and scalable a need to educate residents on the benefits of

RWH and the opportunities it provides to posi- inspiring designers to test and develop more sus- Left: Quebradora Hydraulic
tively impact their everyday lives. Second, deci- tainable and resilient models of urban water man- Park in Mexico City pres-
sion-makers need to be convinced that RWH, as agement, particularly by reintroducing water and ents a new type of water
a low-tech and replicable application to individ- its dynamics into urban spaces and everyday life. park, reconnecting residents
ual buildings, is indeed a viable solution to This requires shifting between local and regional with the dynamics of the
regional water-management issues. scales, providing short- and long-term solutions; hydrological cycle in the
manipulating flows and associated physical land- Mexico City Basin.
A New Water-Management Paradigm. Water scapes; and addressing socio-economic and eco-
management is becoming increasingly logical needs. Like Mexico City, there are dozens Right: UBC Students receiv-
important in urbanized areas around the world. of cities around the world in need of a new water- ing a tour of Paraje Quilte-
Mexico City, as a megacity with a simultaneous management paradigm. Here, planners and pec, a semi-rural commu-
excess and lack of water, provides a very relevant designers especially landscape architects have nity that adopted Isla
place to study these issues. It provides a legible a key role to play in providing solutions that com- Urbanas rainwater- har-
example of how changing policies and engineering bine ecology and economy, functionality and aes- vesting systems and also
practices have radically altered the natural water thetics, and advocacy and activism in order to integrated a low-tech bio-
cycle. At the same time, these water pressures are reshape our relationship with water. gas digester.

The Garden Bridge is a new spectacular design for Central London. It is planned to span the River Thames from Temple to
the South Bank. The 366-meter-long concrete and steel construction is designed to appear as a quasi-organic form.

David Madden

the Public
Spectacular new public spaces are being built in many cities
today. But for the most part, they are privately financed and
controlled. Far from embodying the democratic spirit of the
city, they illustrate the domination of urban development by
elites. The Garden Bridge, a new eye-catching project in the
heart of London, exemplifies this trend and exposes the
limits and contradictions of contemporary urban public space.

Urban public space is big business today. Cities across the world are con-
structing expensive new parks, promenades and other new high-profile
public projects. This may seem on the surface to be a boost for the collec-
tive, civic dimension of the urban experience, a vote of confidence in the
urban commons. But many of the spectacular new public spaces being
constructed in cities today are privately financed and controlled. They
speak more to the domination of urban development by elites than they
do to the democratic spirit of the city.
The Garden Bridge, a planned pedestrian crossing in Central London,
exemplifies these trends. The Garden Bridge is planned to span the River
Thames from Temple to the South Bank. The 366-meter-long concrete and
steel construction is designed to appear as a quasi-organic form emerging
from two giant stem-like piers in the riverbed. The deck will be covered
with trees, plantings, and a walkway. A team led by Thomas Heatherwick
designed the bridge, working with the engineering firm Arup and the land-
scape designer Dan Pearson. The project was originally estimated to cost
60 million, though that figure has now grown to 175 million. Fees and
corporate sponsorship are key to its business model. As planned, the bridge
will meet some of its operating costs by serving as a hired venue for private
events. Money will also be raised by selling naming rights to various parts
of the bridge, and through other revenue-generating activities. At first, the
bridge was going to be financed entirely by private funding. But significant
amounts of public money have also been pledged towards it, including 30
million each from Transport for London and the Treasury.

Elitist Urbanism. The project is, in essence, an emanation of Londons

political, financial and cultural establishments. It was first promoted by
the actress Joanna Lumley, who is a childhood friend of the former
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, one of the bridges most enthusiastic
backers. Heatherwick himself is closely associated with two other initia-
tives promoted by Johnson when he was mayor: the New Routemaster
buses and the cauldron for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The
current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has expressed scepticism regard-
ing the bridge, but counts himself as a proponent. Other well-known sup-
porters include the Cameron governments Chancellor of the Exchequer,
George Osborne; Sarah Sands, the editor of the Evening Standard; Mervyn
Davies, a banker and former Labour government minister; and Richard
Rogers, the architect who has done much to promote particular kinds of
urban regeneration projects in the UK. The Garden Bridge Trust, the
organisation that is promoting the project, is packed with representatives
of finance, insurance, real estate and the media. If the Garden Bridge is
public space in any sense, it is a very narrow, well-connected and power-
ful sliver of the public that is promoting it.

Opponents of the bridge criticise that the structure is blocking historic views of world heritage sites. Others object to the
misappropriation of public funds for infrastructure, its failure as transportation infrastructure or as a public space.

Against the Garden Bridge. There are many different grounds upon
which to object to the Garden Bridge. For some, the issue is the integrity
of the process by which Heatherwick was selected. Jane Duncan, presi-
dent of the Royal Institute of British Architects, is one of many prominent
voices to raise questions about how Heatherwick was chosen for the job.
Two other firms, Marks Barfield and Wilkinson Eyre, had been invited to
submit designs. But Boris Johnson is alleged to have decided to award the
project to Heatherwick from the beginning, and Transport for London
admitted that the procurement process was neither open nor objective.
Others object to the projects spoiling of historic and protected views of
the Thames. The artist Will Jennings, one of the Garden Bridges most
prominent critics, has objected to the bridges blocking of historic views
of world heritage sites. Jennings and others have noted that the render-
ings used to promote the bridge present a drones-eye view of the site,
rather than an actual pedestrians point of view. Westminster Council
remarked that if this proposal was for a private commercial development
of this height and size, the harm to these views would be considered
unacceptable and the application refused. Yet others object to the misap-
propriation of public funds for infrastructure. There are many locations
on the Thames where new crossings are needed, but the Garden Bridges
planned site is not one of them. It will stand only three hundred metres
away from Waterloo Bridge. In basic ways, it is bound to fail as transpor-
tation infrastructure. The designers expect long queues, which will com-
plicate the use of the bridge for commuting. Cyclists will be required to
dismount and walk their bikes. The project is manifestly not designed as
a solution to transportation problems.

A Failed Public Space. These are all serious points that raise major ques-
tions. But the deeper reason to object to the Garden Bridge is that it fails as
an urban space. And it does so in ways that are symptomatic of many of the
most troubling developments in contemporary public space in cities world-
wide. The urban public realm has long been shaped by opposing forces:
between city dwellers advocating control versus those pushing for autonomy;
and between urbanites seeking to use outdoor space for commerce versus
those seeking to use it for free leisure or collective politics. The ideal of pub-
lic space as a contemporary version of the ancient Greek agora was
always misleading. But there were times when public space provided a
respite from market-led urbanisation and facilitated critical opposition to
the urban power structure. The historian Lisa Keller describes how public
spaces in nineteenth-century London and New York became sites for free
speech and assembly. The philosopher Iris Marion Young defined public
space in the twentieth century as the collection of places where anyone can
speak and anyone can listen. While in different historical eras, actual public

The project was originally estimated to cost 60 million, though that gure has now grown to 175 million. As planned, it
will meet some of its operating costs by serving as a hired venue or by selling naming rights to various parts of the bridge.

spaces have often departed from these visions, the existence of the urban
public realm is still justified by the possibility of serving as a political and
social resource available to all. The Garden Bridge serves no such public
purposes. It is planned not as a common social and political resource but as
a strictly controlled, privatised tourist trap. The Garden Bridge Trust says in
a planning document that it intends to maximise the opportunity provided
by the status of the bridge as private land with permitted access, by intro-
ducing a set of conditions prior to opening to help manage the bridge envi-
ronment. While the group has backed away from its initial plan to require
tickets for groups of eight people or more, the fact remains that, like Pater-
noster Square and the viewing platforms at the top of City of London sky-
scrapers, the Garden Bridge will not be a place for public assembly. It will be
a place where public assembly will be off limits. The organisation lists Pub-
lic Protest/Encampment as one Crime Related Threat that must be antic-
ipated and actively avoided. In order to deter potential troublemakers, the
bridge will be fully monitored by closed-circuit television. There are plans to
track visitors mobile phones. The self-conscious whimsy of the design dis-
guises the fact that the bridge is planned as a high-tech surveillance-scape.
In this sense, the project resembles recent design interventions in other
cities. Joanna Lumleys original idea notwithstanding, the direct inspira-
tion for the Garden Bridge is supposed to be the High Line in New York
City. Critics and supporters alike have argued over whether or not the
Garden Bridge will live up to the High Lines standard in terms of design.
But the goal of emulating the High Line is itself part of the problem. The
High Line is also a privately operated public space, closely tied to local
real estate, finance, and culture industry elites. Research has shown that
the users of the High Line are significantly less diverse than the neigh-
bourhoods that surround it. Like the Garden Bridge, it has been justified
by its appeal to tourists in a city not lacking for places to visit. As a design
intervention and icon of adaptive reuse, the High Line has clearly excited
many. But it was above all a mechanism for pushing the gentrification of
Chelsea into overdrive. It should therefore not be treated as a model for
public space today by London or other cities.

What Cities Need. Unequal cities like contemporary London do not

need more projects that reflect and augment the power of elites. Instead,
they should seek to produce spaces with actual democratic and egalitarian
sensibilities. Central London is enough of a luxury product as it is with-
out the Garden Bridge. What London truly needs today is a public realm
through which city dwellers can experience the conviviality of
everyday urban multiculture rather than be subjected to a controlled,
gentrified version of it and a space where Londoners can contest urban
inequality rather than being absorbed by it.

The deck of the Garden Bridge will be covered with trees, plantings, and a walkway. It is planned as a pedestrian crossing,
but the designers expect long queues of people, which will complicate the use of the bridge for daily commuting.

Alexander Gutzmer


MVRDV have designed a City Container that consists of 3500 containers. They are sub-
stracted from the worldwide ow of trade to form a megacontainer on the scale of the city.

It is one of the prime symbols of contemporary capitalism: the
IN A BOX shipping container. The plain box stands for the impressive ef-
ciencies of todays global logistics system. Inherently ambivalent
as so much of modern technology, it can be used for the most
noble purposes as well as for the most cruel and atrocious ones.

MVRDVs design is like a beehive with 3500 niches for sleeping, eating, exhibiting and
performing. It creates space for hotels, bars, galleries, business units, schools or ateliers.

One of the most shocking scenes of recent television history occurs guns, bananas or bombs, motor bikes or human beings, even dead
in Season Two of HBOs The Wire: thirteen unidentified young ones. It is simply a sturdy and robust box used to carry objects effi-
women are discovered dead in a container at the docks of Baltimore ciently over large distances.
port. A crucial element in this scene that reveals the horrors of mod-
ern human trafficking is the shipping container a standardized box A GLOBAL SYSTEM OF PORTS. In organizing the constant flow of
made of steel, with suitable strength to sustain the shipment, storage, commodities across the planet the shipping container has become a
and handling that it undergoes as it travels across oceans and conti- crucial factor. Its efficiency has made it the congenial partner for the
nents. In the universe of todays globalized capitalist economy it is as erection of the global trading system we are witnessing today. The
ubiquitous as it is indispensable. Logistically, the invention of the container is the glue that makes global trade logistically feasible at
modern shipping container was a stroke of genius. all. It is the missing link connecting the worldwide system of produc-
Ethically, the situation is more complicated. Technology is ambiv- ing, transporting (mainly shipping), and consuming. What is more, it
alent per se. It can be put to use by good motives as well as sinister is what connects water and land. The container eases the transition of
and evil ones. The scriptwriters of The Wire must have been aware product delivery from sea to land. It works like an amphibian. In this
of that; their TV series is arguably one of the most lucid pop-cultural way, it is also essential for the functioning of the global system of
critiques of the drama of the capitalist city. The container is indifferent ports. Without containers, there would be no ports as we know them
to what it is being transported in it. It does not care. Its economic today. And without ports, the world of trade, and the global economic
efficacy is available regardless of whether it transports tea or machine network, would be a very different one.

The Village Underground in Lisbon is a co-working space for artists, musicians and design-
ers. It consists of stacked containers and is situated under the 25 de Abril Bridge.

While the system of ports spans the entire world, it is by no means and company can only profit from those global trade processes that can be
globally equal. In fact, the weights of this port system are currently chang- physically handled. You can only shop an iPad if it can be delivered to your
ing dramatically. Its center of gravity has been shifting towards the East. house. And for this, it needs to be transported from its place of origin, e.g.
Being born in Hamburg, I always fancied the idea that Hamburgs port from an industrial hub like the infamous Chinese Pearl River Delta.
might be a key player in global goods transport, and the city of Hamburg No country has understood the relevance of ports for strengthening
a center of global trade. However, looking at the numbers, this is clearly its power in the global trade system (and increasing its geopolitical sway)
not the case. According to current statistics published by the World Ship- as well as China. Not only does the country already own most of the
ping Council, Hamburg ranks only as number 15 of the worlds busiest worlds biggest ports, as the statistics above show, it also continues to fur-
ports. Rotterdam comes in as number 11. With the exception of Dubai, ther expand its global power network. One strategic region targeted by
number 9, the top ten are all in East Asia: Shanghai; Singapore; Shenzhen; Chinas geopolitical ambitions is Africa. As has recently been frequently
Hong Kong; Ningbo-Zhoushan (China), Busan (South Korea); Qingdao reported, China has been investing heavily in Africas infrastructure,
(China); Guangzhou (China); Tianjin (China). thereby securing its own central position in the running of this
infrastructure. Ports are a crucial part of this investment-based power
TOOLS OF POWER. Just as containers, ports too are much more than strategy, thats why China is helping so many African countries to build
indifferent or neutral enablers. They are tools of power. If you own the ports, new ports. One key example is the new port of Bagamoyo, currently
you control the flows of global capitalism. It might be relevant for a country being built in Tanzania, East Africa. Bagamoyo Port is probably the most
to be the home base of the most successful digital enterprises. But Amazon ambitious current investment program by the Tanzanian government.

This building in Flrsheim, Germany, consisting of 22 containers forming a courtyard and
accessed via gallery walkways, offers accommodation to 40 asylum seekers.

Construction started in October 2015, and despite some setbacks, it is that bale, getting a little drunk. Instead, the new port is an abstract
still expected to be finished in 2017. The main funder of the project is the machine. Banham comments: What you see, more than anything else,
construction firm China Merchants Group, a company owned by the is acreage of flat tarmac or concrete. And in addition to that, what you
Chinese government. Politically, the port project is a co-operation see is containers. The new port city is a container city.
between Tanzania, China, and Oman. What we can see here is a new sys-
tem of global political alliances unfolding. Ports function as central A WORLD OBJECT. Only a minority of containers, however, are in ports
nodes in this system, and the central mechanism are containers. at any given time. Most of them are at sea. Given the need for a reduction
of stagnation times in the global economy, only a moving container is an
CONTAINER CITY. However, the container is not only the key unit efficient container. The number of containers that can be moved at any
around which ports and the global product flow in general are planned. one moment is impressive. According to data from the information pro-
It is also the visual icon that distinguishes a high-efficiency port from an vider Alphaliner, today there are 6,130 ships active on liner trades. These
ordinary logistics space. Aesthetically, we perceive containers as a colorful have the capacity to transport 20,667,618 TEU, with TEU standing for
dots characterizing the visual appearance as well as the spatial structure of Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit. Twenty foot refers to the length of the stan-
a port. In his essay Flatscape with Containers, published in the journal dardized container. So, at any given moment, ships can transport and hold
New Society, architectural theorist Reyner Banham describes these new more than 20 million standard containers. However, while the 20-foot con-
spatial structures. The old port city with its craggy warehouses, masts, tainer is the standard, the stock of containers is increasingly replaced by
cranes and funnels silhouetted against the sky is a thing of the past. There 40-foot containers, which means that the global capacity of an estimated 33
are no more picturesque Trotskyites in silk mufflers toting that box, lifting million TEU is made up of fewer than these 33 million containers.

A further container building in Tbingen, Germany. It is used to shelter families seeking
political asylum who are given the right of residence for up to one year.

Whether 20 or 40 feet long, the container is an impressively flexi- THE CONTAINER AS A SYMBOL. The container also gives symbolic
ble object. It can shelter and confine, move and capture things and expression to our way of life. It is a metaphor. As such, it expresses a
people. It can be used as tool for global trade, but also as an architec- high degree of replicability and differing surfaces amid an essential
tural icon, as we can see in the hipper areas of our metropolises, where quality of sameness. The key quality of the container is its sameness.
artists and design offices love to reside in temporary structures built Each container functions like the other. And each container has the
from containers. Innovative architectural practices such as the Dutch capacity to link with its peers in a potentially endless process of pil-
office MVRDV play with the idea of an outright Container City. ing-up and stapling. The container is the object that never tires of
(MVRDV proposed such a design, unsuccessfully, to the city of Rot- being stapled. This characteristic is what makes it so productive, but
terdam.) It is this flexibility that makes the container a supreme also so scary. For the container, shape does not matter. It is the link
instrument for organizing the culture and economy of the world we that counts. Each container has fulfilled its purpose as soon as it has
live in. It is what the philosopher Michel Serres calls a world object. been filled, linked to another container, and moved.
Quoting Serres, design theorist Craig Martin, in his book Shipping If we take this as a metaphor of our times, then the world we live
Container, explains why the container is such a world object. The con- in is one of brutal functionalism, in which the ultimate end are
tainer, he says, is an object that we live through. By this I mean that objects. Human beings are reduced to joining in in a system that pro-
they are one of the paradigmatic objects of the global age. This puts vides links and is incessantly on the move. In this sense, the container
the container alongside other iconic objects such as the car, the mobile is a somewhat uncanny world object, even beyond the fact that it can
phone, or the laptop computer. Like them, the container enables and become the instrument of an inhuman crime as the one displayed in
organizes the way we live. the televison-series The Wire.

Viriato Soromenho-Marques

In Northern Portugal, in one of the most pristine landscapes
of the country, landscape architects and engineers have pro-
posed a solution to solve one of the major problems of sus-
tainable tourism: how can we enjoy environmental beauty
without spoiling it through unwanted negative impacts?

Henry David Thoreau is the well-known North-American ethical pioneer of

many of our worries regarding the major problem of our planet today, the
global environmental crisis. It is almost impossible not to be deeply touched by
his decision on the 4th July 1845, to move from his hometown Concord to the
wooden shores of pound Walden, only some miles away in the Massachusetts
countryside. He wanted, according to his own words, to live deep and suck
out all the marrow of life. The literary depiction of his two-year-long solitary
experience in the heart of nature can be found in his masterpiece, Walden; or,
Life in the Woods (1854). However, the reader will not find in the hundreds of
pages of this philosophical pilgrimage a mention of the authors serious blun-
der that raised the wrath of timbermen and farmers who also wandered near
the lake. Apparently, Thoreau caused the burning of around 300 acres of valu-
able forest land by letting a camp fire that he had lit run out of control. This
incident may be taken as emblematic of the very same problem facing human-
ity today, only at a global scale: our problem, both as society and individuals, is
the gap between our intentions and our deeds. We will not find solutions, nei-
ther to climate change nor to the massive extinction of biodiversity, merely by
professing lofty moral commitments or giving ponderous speeches, like those
delivered by heads of state at the end of international summits. We need to
learn, as fast and as smartly as possible, how to dwell on earth in ways that do

Page 66: The project provides an intense visual experience of the landscape, which gradually
unfolds as the hikers slowly progress, step by step, on a boardwalk comprising sharp zigzags.

The walkway blends into the sourrounding landscape and meanders over the Paiva Rivers left
bank, covering a distance of almost 9 kilometers.The visitor can pick one of its two entries.

not destroy it. That is the essence of grand concepts like sustainable
development or green economics. Will we be capable of developing an alterna-
tive to our current predatory paradigm of civilisation, which continues to
dominate despite attempts at reform? Can human society and the natural
environment establish a way of living together that is symbiotic and peaceful?

The Wildest River

Great challenges are often gained or lost through small-scale events. The big
transition towards a sustainable human existence is being fought in thousands
of small and large battles around the world. These represent a collective learn-
ing process, often progressing by trial and error, in which the contributions of
individual minds, their values and actions, will be the key factors. A good
example of this can be found in Northern Portugal, in the area of the Arouca
municipality. The Paiva River is approximately 110km long, traversing a pris-
tine landscape characterized by a stupendous natural wealth of fauna and
flora. The area is part of the EUs Natura 2000 network and has been classified
as a Site of Community Importance (SCI). The river rises at an altitude of 1000
meters on the Nave Plateau in the Leomil Mountains, near the village of Cara-
pito, located in the Moimenta da Beira municipality. It flows through a steep
valley, crossing ten different municipalities, before meeting the much larger
Douro River at Castelo de Paiva, a village spread on the Douro Rivers left
bank. The Paiva River basin is as rich in biological diversity as its landscape is
beautiful; and it is probably one of the best-preserved wilderness areas of the
country. According to Orlando Ribeiro, the father of modern geographical
studies in Portugal, the area where the Paiva runs is still part of Atlantic Portu-
gal, i.e. those regions of the country that benefit from the moisture and rain
coming in from the ocean and in some parts penetrating even to higher alti-
tudes. The river slopes sport a wide variety of riparian flora, with groves of
alder and ash, flanked by oaks and an impressive range of flower species,
including protected endemic plants like the Anarrhinum longipedicellatum. In
terms of fauna, the basin likewise harbours a large diversity of protected spe-
cies, like the water mole or Pyrenean desman (Galemys pyrenaicus), the com-
mon otter (Lutra Lutra), the gold-striped salamander (Chioglossa Lusitanica),
the Iberian frog (Rana iberica) and the marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus).
In the river one finds one of the rare European populations of thick-shelled
river mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera).

Multiple Benefits
Contemporary history is paved with negative examples of humans exploiting,
and in the course destroying, the treasures of nature. The rich and unique hab-
itats of the Paiva River basin are viewed by many political decision makers as a

The Paiva River is approximately 110km long, traversing a pristine landscape characterized
by a stupendous natural wealth. The area is part of the EUs Natura 2000 network.

Page 72: The walkway was opened in June 2015, becoming an instant and tremendous suc-
cess. In less than three months it brought over 200,000 visitors to the region.

resource that needs to be used; environmental protection, in their eyes, is just

a stumbling block to economic development. We must be wary even of those
who do profess to be environmentally correct. Too many times we have seen
that the praise of sustainable development is nothing but lip service to green
ideals, which actually disguises the business-as-usual policies that are being
pursued by these seemingly environmentally minded decision makers. And
business as usual means that both biological diversity and the beauty of the
natural landscape are sacrificed on the altar of economic growth. To add more,
exploitation of natural resources often does not even mean that the
material gains reach those whose live in the area. Instead, material profit is fre-
quently drained away from the region, which is ultimately left depleted and
impoverished, the very opposite of what the growth model promised. Fortu-
nately, the way things went in the Paiva River basin has been quite different.
The Arouca municipality, one of the local governments responsible for man-
aging the areas natural resources, decided to apply a different model of
development to the river and its basin, viewing these assets of the region as
natural capital that needs to be preserved even as it is used. In 2010, the Paiva
Walkways project was launched, starting with a competition organized by the
Arouca local government. The task was to design 8.7 kilometers of boardwalk
along the left bank of the Paiva River. When the completed walkway was
opened in June 2015, it proved an instant and tremendous success. In less than
three months the new attraction brought over 200,000 visitors to the region. A
forest fire caused by arson led to partial destruction of the wooden structure,
forcing it to be closed in September 2015. However, the unexpected closure
was used to not only rebuild the 600-meter stretch lost to the fire, but also to
review and upgrade the management tools for the entire project, with the
intention of enhancing the safety of both the public and the environment. The
permissible number of visitors was capped at 3,500 per day. Monitoring pro-
cedures were significantly improved, allowing the project to become a public
investment that was environment-friendly and self-sustaining.

Erotic Slowness
The walkways impress visually by how well they blend in with the sur-
rounding landscape. The light and elegant wooden, serpent-like structure
meanders over the Paiva Rivers left bank, covering a distance of almost
9 km. The visitor can pick one of its two entries. The elevated path con-
nects Areinho River beach to the beach of Espiunca River and in between
these end points also passes by Vau River beach. The project was designed
to provide visitors with an intense visual experience of the landscape,
which gradually unfolds as the hikers slowly progress, step by step, on a
boardwalk comprising sharp zigzags, balconies, a suspension bridge, and
viewing points. Coming from Espiunca, the climbing is mild; at various

Client: Municipality of Arouca, Portugal
Landscape architects: Nuno Melo, Joo Oliveira, Pedro Domingues
Structures: Fernando Domingues, Jos Oliveira, Ins Rodrigues, Rui Oliveira
Year of construction: 2015

places hikers are offered the opportunity of a swim in clearly identifiable

and monitored sites along the river. A narrow suspended footbridge pro-
vides dizzying views as it crosses a gorge. Hikers may also simply pause
and marvel at the bounty of colours, sounds and scents as they look from
one of the numerous balconies, wisely planted amongst the green of the
bushes and the grey of the old and silent cliffs. As they follow this enchanted
route, hikers are continuously surrounded by oaks, ashes, alders, rocks and
the restless waters of the Paiva River. Eventually, the visitor will reach a
flight of steep stairs that climb up to Areinho, the walkways upper gate.

Ecomomic Impacts
The Paiva River Walkways represent a design achievement that impresses
through its coherence and its sensitivity towards the natural environment in
which it is embedded and which it aims to protect and celebrate. As fragile
as the wood construction may appear, it convinces through engineering fea-
tures that fulfill all safety requirements and at the same time insert the struc-
ture into the landscapeso carefully as to keep disruption at a minimum. The
investments undergone to realize the Paiva Walkways project have paid off
well so far as they have created a significant boost to the local economy,
ranging from restaurants to small hotels to the creation of new small busi-
nesses. The visitors who come to experience the wonders of the Paiva River,
bring with them an influx of capital into the area that contributes directly to
the betterment of the quality of life of Aroucas citizens and families. This is
a case of clear evidence of the virtues of local public investment, in compar-
ison to alien investment, which tends to abuse local resources, while the
profits made are siphoned off, depriving the local economy and community
of potential benefits. Finally, it is important to underline that the Paiva Walk-
ways are the result of not only a coherent architectural concept, but also a
holistic and strategic long-term political vision for the community of Arouca.
The local government had been engaged in promoting and enhancing the
natural and geological richness of its territory for a long time. Many years
before the idea of building the walkways materialized, Arouca had already
been working very hard to become a member of the select and prestigious
club of the Unesco Global Geoparks Network, a goal that was eventually
achieved in 2009. In other words, the Paiva Walkways are not a sudden mir-
acle but a result of long-term planning and serious political resolve that vin-
dicates public interest in a sustainable use of the environment. Here local
institutions and citizens at large have had a word to say about their shared
future from the beginning. Paiva Walkways is an exemplary project that for
this region of northern Portugal will bring about opportunities for many
other inspiring learning experiences and whose appeal extends far beyond
its immediate locality.

Laura Cipriani

Recent episodes have demonstrated the fragility of airport
nodes in the face of extreme weather events. But what does
that mean for the future? Can we envision a new alliance
between architecture, landscape architecture and water? The
disciplines of urbanism, architecture and landscape planning
will become of central importance in the choices to be made.

What will the airport of the future look like? Floating airports are based on a view of
water that does not see it as a threat but as an element to adapt to by oating.



Bloomsburg Municipal Airport, USA


Diagram by L. Cipriani.
DECEMBER 26 2004
Mal International Airport, MALDIVES
JANUARY 9 2005
Corona Municipal Airport, USA
AUGUST 29 2005
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, USA
OCTOBER 3 2008
Chicago OHare International Airport, USA

Source data: Newspapers and magazines, 2004-2013.

AUGUST 4 2009
Louisville International Airport, USA
AUGUST 22 2009
Delhi International Airport Limited, INDIA
Palermo Falcone Borsellino Airport, ITALY
Pago Pago International Airport, American Samoa
MARCH 16 2010
Norwood Memorial Airport, USA
APRIL 4 2010
Norwood Memorial Airport, USA
JULY 23 2010
General Mitchell International Airport, USA
DECEMBER 21 2010
Corona Municipal Airport, USA

JANUARY 12 2011
Brisbane Airport, AUSTRALIA
JANUARY 22 2011
Rockhampton Airport, AUSTRALIA
MARCH 2 2011
Ancona Raffaello Sanzio Airport, ITALY
MARCH 11 2011
Sendai Airport, JAPAN
MARCH 31 2011
between the risk of ooding by tsunami, hurricane, rainstorm or river overow.

Whitsunday Coast Airport, AUSTRALIA

MARCH 31 2011
Koh Samui Airport, THAILAND
APRIL 16 2011
Harrisburg International Airport, USA
The diagram lists airports that, according to international press sources, were temporarily
declared inoperative due to water damage among them mayor airports across the world.

The diagram also gives an overview of the threat of sea level rise to airports. It distinguishes

MAY 10 2011
General DeWitt Spain Airport, USA
JUNE 6 2011
Firenze Amerigo Vespucci Airport, ITALY
JUNE 12 2011
Eppley Airfield, USA
AUGUST 29 2011
Teterboro Airport, USA
Delhi International Airport Limited, INDIA
OCTOBER 25 2011
Don Muang Airport, THAILAND
OCTOBER 25 2011
Dublin Airport, IRELAND
Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport, ITALY
Bari Palese Airport, ITALY
Elba Island Airport, ITALY
NOVEMBER 28 2011
Chennai Airport, INDIA
MARCH 8 2012
Catania Fontanarossa Airport, ITALY
AUGUST 13 2012
Canefield Airport, DOMINICA
AUGUST 30 2012
New Orleans Lakefront Airport, USA
Ronald Reagan Washinton National Airport, USA
SEPTEMBER 29, 2012
Valencia Airport, SPAIN
OCTOBER 29 2012
La Guardia Airport, New York USA
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
NOVEMBER 17 2012
Malaga Airport, SPAIN
NOVEMBER 30, 2012
Sonoma Valley Airport, USA
JANUARY 13 2013
Jakarta airport, INDONESIA
Recent empirical evidence and scientific data suggest that climate change is soft green measures to be implemented alongside traditional engineer-
happening with now irreversible dynamics. Numerous effects will have con- ing choices (hard measures). But if the climate will inevitably change
sequences for the territory, for cities and for infrastructure itself, not the least the design process, what will the airport of the future be like? Can we
important being airports, considering the fundamental role air transport imagine an airport infrastructure adaptable to the changing climate and
plays in todays world. The airport of the future will necessarily be re-shaped landscape? Today many airports in the world are located along the coast
and transformed in a changing climate. Airports are, in fact, highly vulnera- or on plains at high risk from flooding. Exceptional precipitation and
ble infrastructures requiring precise adaptation and mitigation strategies at floods, not to mention tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis, can all cause
various levels. Recurrent floods, rising seas, desertification, land impover- infrastructure to become partially or totally unusable. La Guardia at New
ishment and more generally extreme meteorological events can temporarily York, Don Muang at Bangkok, Sendai in Japan and Brisbane in Australia
or permanently compromise mobility networks and spaces. are just some of the airports that had to be temporarily closed in recent
years due to a range of extreme weather events. Historic records of mete-
orological events affecting New York show a string of hurricanes over the
Three Principal Issues
years hitting the city and the state, and already in the past making the air-
Within this complex situation, three principal issues must be clarified. The ports of La Guardia and J. F. Kennedy inoperative. The administrative
first concerns the uncertainty and variability of scientific predictions on authorities of the regions regularly affected are almost always aware of the
future climate change. We know that during the next few years and type and scale of potential risks for urbanised areas. But often when
decades the sea level will rise, extreme events will become even more fre- extreme meteorological phenomena occur, there is a clear lack of coordi-
quent and intense, and temperature changes, increased precipitation and nation among the institutions and authorities involved. In many cases, the
drought cycles will affect various parts of the planet. Despite a widely damage extends to the entire mobility network. Not just airports, but also
shared awareness of the climate change underway, we do not know, how- underground and above-ground railways and roads are flooded by water, with
ever, when and with what intensity it will occur in the coming years. More- such circumstances causing various degrees of disruption and devastation.
over, the data currently available indicate that the dynamics of climate
transformation are much more rapid than initially predicted. The second
Exposure and Vulnerability
concern focuses on the fact that the effects of climate change are particu-
larly insidious for transport infrastructure, which typically have a long life Those most exposed to these phenomena are the infrastructure and pop-
cycle. The life span of ports, bridges, roads, railways and airports usually ulations of Southeast Asia, the archipelagos consisting of atolls, and the
vary from a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 200 years. Much of the regions lining the Gulf of Mexico. But also countries such as the Nether-
infrastructure existing today or currently being designed will still be in use lands, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Egypt, other regions of the United States,
by 2030 or 2050 when climate change could have a much greater effect Papua New Guinea and Australia are affected by these events. As stated by
than at present. The third issue therefore concerns the degree of uncertainty the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the scientific forum
that infrastructure in general must confront before, during and after its life formed in 1988 to study climate change, the seriousness of the impacts of
cycle; the focus here is on how to limit the economic, social and environ- extreme weather events depends greatly on exposure and vulnerability.
mental damage. It has been calculated that the annual financial losses Both man-made and natural risks are, in fact, interpreted as consequent
deriving from extreme meteorological phenomena have increased appre- to the stresses and pressures affecting a given area (dangerousness), the
ciably from a few billion dollars in 1980 to about 200 billion in 2010. quantity and type of elements (presence of people, services, environmen-
tal resources, infrastructure, economic, social or cultural elements)
potentially affected (exposure) and the propensity for damage of those
Flooded Airport Urbanism
elements (vulnerability). Given a similar event, different landscape sys-
Design or re-design of the territory and infrastructure elements must tems may suffer widely diverging degrees of damage, according to the
therefore be redefined. In the foreseeable future, the disciplines of urban quantity and characteristics of the local elements exposed. Everything
and landscape planning will become of central importance in the choices that is apparently unexpected can often, in fact, be partially planned. The
to be made regarding both new infrastructure sites and the adaptation of planners must therefore adopt a case-by-case strategy for the landscape,
existing infrastructure to the changed environmental conditions, with which will involve short, medium and long-term scenarios.

Floating Airport Urbanism Fertile Ground

While, on one hand, water threatens the operation of airports in particular cli- Although the overall picture of climatic/weather phenomena in an urban
mate conditions, there is a small number of airports around the world that context is complex, and the various elements require study at regional scales,
have been defined correctly or incorrectly as floating airports. Although they airport systems and structures can be brought into a framework of global
actually stand on artificial islands, Kansai International Airport (at Osaka in strategies and precise adaptation measures on various scales. According to
Japan) and Hong Kong International Airport have become symbols of techno- the definition of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in
logical adaptation to nature. Some of these structures were initially designed as natural and human systems, adaptation is the process of adjustment to
refuelling bases for transoceanic crossings, then converted into airports with actual or expected climate and its effects, in order to moderate harm or
the goal of distancing air traffic movements from the mainland in order to exploit beneficial opportunities. Adaptation (in terms of scale, usually involv-
reduce acoustic and environmental impacts. No genuine floating airports have ing regional and local circumstances) must not exclude mitigation, the latter
yet been built, they have merely been studied by engineering science. Even so, being understood as an anthropogenic intervention to reduce the sources or
the existing artificial island structures have become emblematic of a new enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases. Together they can significantly
union between architecture, landscape and water. Real floating airports must reduce the risks deriving from climate change. To prepare the territory and
not be imagined literally as a banal technical and technological solution, but construct resilient infrastructure and cities largely means identifying suitable
rather viewed figuratively as a new way of interacting with the given circum- prevention measures on the various scales of action to help mitigate the
stances of coastal regions. Defensive measures cannot be the only solution to effects deriving from the rigidity of urban and infrastructural systems.
oppose water, as sooner or later nature will get the better. We are currently wit- Short, medium and long-term scenarios and large-scale strategic plan-
nessing a radical paradigm change in the way the subject is approached. Water ning are the first necessary steps to the construction of resilient airports
is no longer seen as a threat to be protected against, instead it is viewed as an a strategy that has to be combined with effective design tactics. In airports,
element that stimulates adaptation to living with it and on it, by floating. for example, runways, terminal roofs, roads and large areas of hard stand-
ing prevent rainwater from percolating into the subsoil, also contributing
to water pollution given the high concentrations of heavy metals, oil,
A Concept of Resilience
grease and antifreeze liquid. In addition, rainwater runs off these impervi-
Certain cities have always had to adapt to and live with water, giving rise to a ous surfaces rapidly, flooding pipes and canals, contributing to erosion and
genuine floating urbanism. Take for example an amphibious city such as accumulating pollution as it flows. In response to this runoff problem,
Venice, certain cities in the Netherlands, the floating gardens of Myanmar, or numerous architectural and landscape solutions have been developed to
numerous examples of pile dwellings from the Alps to the Padana Plain in slow down the rate of flow and absorb this excess water. Water manage-
Italy. There are also examples of floating airports built from the late 1970s, ment techniques compensate for peaks caused by the excessively impervi-
largely in East Asia and Southeast Asia in Japan, apart from Kansai Interna- ous surfaces (runways, structures, car parks, etc.); they also increase effi-
tional, Chubu Centrair International, Kobe Kitakyushu and Tokyo Haneda ciency and save water. Green roofs can improve permeability (which also
International; in China, in addition to Hong Kong International, Macau Inter- reduces noise); bioswales or rain gardens can be used to collect rainwater
national. These structures seem to be an expression of the concept of resilience, in vegetated ditches in place of surface waterways or underground storm
at least in theory. Applied here to the urban context, resilience is a notion that sewers. Settlement tanks or wetlands can be constructed upstream of the
has been borrowed from studies on how ecological systems react to stress and airport area if not inside the airport itself, where water bodies must be
disturbance caused by external factors. Far from being truly resilient, the con- meticulously covered to avoid birdstrike with aircraft. Porous asphalt
cept of floating airport can instead be used as a symbol to give space to water allows rainwater to percolate at least into the subsoil under the runways.
in urban structures. From an ecological point of view, C. S. Holling, one of the In an era dominated by uncertainty about tomorrow and by a race
founders of ecological economics, was the first to talk about the topic in 1973, towards real or presumed sustainability, infrastructure must be re-planned,
suggesting that resilience is the persistence of relationships within a system not just to accommodate todays technological functions or contingent
and the ability of these systems to absorb changes of state variables, driving needs, but also with a view to possible future recycling, generating a method
variables, and parameters, and still persist. In other words, resilience is the for re-inventing the landscape, which may thereby become fertile ground
ability of a system to suffer disturbance and maintain its functions and control. for the unexpected.

A small number of airports have been dened as oating airports. They stand on articial
islands and have become symbols of a new union between architecture, landscape and water.

Japan's Kansai International is a oating airport. It was designed as refuelling base for
transoceanic crossings, then turned into an airport further removed from the city of Osaka.




0 0

5 5

15 Km 15 Km

2004 1981 1987 1995 1998 2005 2006 2006 2010

offshore runway
year 2011

year 2011

1.54 km 2 1.80 km 2 10.62 km 2 1.14 km 2 12.29 km 2 5.80 km 2 2.80 km 2 3.73 km 2 1.50 km 2

2 637 000 2 600 000 13 857 000 5 000 000 53 314 213 9 060 000 2 215 000 3 000 000 64 211 074
passengers passengers passengers passengers passengers passengers passengers passengers passengers
year 2004 year 2011 year 2010 year 2006 year 2011 year 2011 year 2011 year 2007 year 2010

N.A. N.A. 712 000 220 000 3 939 000 151 000 N.A. N.A. 818 806
tons tons tons tons tons
year 2010 year 2006 year 2011 year 2011 year 2010


21 000 000 48 000 80 10 000

10 000 000

Stefan Tischer,
Francesca Arici

The seafront of Balestrate in northwestern Sicily is a thin
white strip of land between the towns geometric pattern
and the sea. Along that strip a new promenade has been
opened, consisting of few elements and built entirely with
local materials. The subtle design of the space enhances the
landscape and the natural features of the site.

The last decade has witnessed a phenomenon of re-appropriation of a few signicant public
spaces along the coast of northwestern Sicily. The promenade of Balestrate is a case in point.

Balestrate is a town of about 6000 inhabitants. The new promenade at rst elicited strong
opposition by the local population but now enjoys widespread appreciation.

With an area of 25,000 square kilometres and a population of five million,
the island of Sicily is one of the most densely populated regions in Europe,
if one allows for the fact that the majority of its inhabitants reside along the
coast and large swaths of the interior are virtually uninhabited. Palermo is
the capital of the region, with a metropolitan area spanning along the
northern coast of the island for some 110 square kilometres. Since the late
20th century there has been a peculiar attitude of neglect of the formerly
remarkable public spaces inherited from the past. For most people
public means nobodys instead of everyones.

Segregation from the sea. In Palermo the public space is the waterfront.
The social degradation of the meaning of public values manifests itself in
the citys conflicting relationship with this space. After the Second World War,
the waterfront was used as a dump both for solid waste and for the debris
left by the war; the sea was segregated from the land by a successive expansion
of the disconnected commercial port and, above all, by an extensive private
appropriation of coastal areas for the development of second houses or exclu-
sive clubs. The railway and the highway run parallel to the coastline for the
entire length of the northern coast, creating a continuous linear urbanized pat-
tern, occasionally interrupted by the topography or by protected natural areas.

Connecting to the sea. The last decade has witnessed the start of a phe-
nomenon of re-appropriation of a few significant public spaces on the
waterfront. One example is the commendable redevelopment of La Cala,
the old port of Palermo, designed by architects Sebastiano Provenzano and
Giulia Argiroffi. Most of these interventions have remained isolated facelifts
basically unable to trigger momentous or strategic change. The bombastic
restyling of the urban seafront, the Foro Italico by architect Italo Rota,

completely missed the opportunity to address the urgent issues of the citys
infrastructure, choosing instead scatter expensive ceramic bollards across
the large site. Interestingly, however, this recent trend has shown the eager-
ness of the local population to re-conquer space in contact with the sea.
More than by the public administrations, this need is now understood by
the private sector. A diffuse investment in bars and catering services along
the coast has been opening up the denied sea to public access.

A unique case. In this context, the project for Balestrate a small coastal
town of about 6,000 inhabitants to the west of Palermos airport appears as a
unique case. The skill of AM3 Architects and Studio Cangemi, originally
appointed by the Municipality for detail design services only, achieved maxi-
mum result through minimum use of public resources. This is even truer
when acknowledging the political context of the project: a conflictive demo-
cratic terrain where an enlightened minority overcame the opposition of the
local majoritys resistance to change. The plan, with small but significant
changes to the state of the place, intended to preserve and enhance the land-
scape and the natural features of the site, mitigating the environmental impact
of the coastline road. The design focused on the creation of a promenade in
straight contact with the beach, limiting the presence of artificial structures.
The project reduced the environmental impact of the seafront road and
instead favored non-vehicular uses of the site. All newly designed elements on
the seafront were constructed according to the principle of easy reversibility.

Constitutive elements. What originally appeared as a simple intervention

of emergency maintenance became an operation of environmental and urban
redevelopment of this coastal space. This result was accomplished through
the integration of all the infrastructural elements the road, the drainage

The redesign restricted itself to subtle interventions. Among these are the so-called sea-
plazas, enlargements of the promenade that create belvederes over the beach.

Bridges, benches and street lights are constitutive elements of the site. The promenade pav-
ing was replaced by a covering of in-situ cast concrete with quarry aggregates and sand.

system, the street lighting into the design as constitutive elements of the site.
While the overall width of the roadway was not changed, a considerable
enlargement of the sidewalks was achieved by eliminating the existing unor-
ganized and spontaneous line of parking stalls along the seaside, with a con-
sequent reduction of the road section and of the asphalted surface.

A new public space. The resulting pedestrian and bicycle promenade

has an average width of 2.30 metres, reaching 8 metres at some specific
points, the sea-plazas. These areas enlarge the promenade and create
belvederes over the beach and offer places for rest without using a new
language of design. The promenade paving was replaced by a covering of
in-situ cast concrete with quarry aggregates and sand, which was then
washed to bring the aggregates to sight. The access points to the sea were
made conveniently usable by the installation of walkways made of lamel-
lar wood and stainless steel. In order to limit the impact of the new con-
structions on the site, a new surface of local stone was laid, with the pur-
pose of protecting the retaining wall of the road from potential sagging,
and defining the boundary of the beach in a more natural way.
The local population at first manifested strong opposition against the
project, mostly because a sizable number of parking spaces were eliminated.
But meanwhile the project has become widely appreciated, for the rede-
velopment has significantly upgraded the seafront, both esthetically and
with regard to its value as a public space. In this way, the architects were
able to achieve a maximum result with minimal intervention. Even under
the difficult circumstances of an unfair and petty administrative practice
on the part of the municipal client, who neither mandated nor paid the
planners for preliminary or definitive design work, a truly high-quality
public space was created.


Client: Municipality of Balestrate
Design team: AM3 Architetti Associati, Studio Cangemi
Year of construction: 2014

A spectacular new public promenade by the River Rhine near the Novartis Campus in Basel
connects Switzerland with France. Curved walls weave the various different levels together.

Claudia Moll

A public footpath and cycleway has recently opened in a
border region on the River Rhine. While the Swiss part of the
project incorporates an elaborate promenade, the French side
represents a much-reduced extension of this transnational
initiative. Despite these notable differences, the venture
should certainly still be regarded as an urban achievement,
creating connections across borders and opening up a section
of the riverbank that had remained inaccessible for decades.

Client: Kanton Basel-Stadt, Novartis Pharma AG
Landscape architect: Hager Partner AG, Zrich
Year of construction: 2016

Imposing walls level out height differences of up to 12 metres between the slopes steeply down to the river, free from steps or ramps. Move a little fur-
city and the water in the area stretching from the Dreirosenbrcke (three ther along and the trail passes industrial sites that are still in operation,
roses) bridge in Basel to the French border. These partitions divide the river- where two concrete walls have been erected to protect pedestrians and
side, which is 30 metres wide in places, into a flood-safe promenade and the cyclists. Six feet tall and ten and seventeen feet long, these massive struc-
deeper-lying Bermenweg path. This is where a series of gates and showers tures separate the public space from the land belonging to BASF, which is
embedded in the walls await swimmers who enjoy the waters of the Rhine. classified as a risk zone. Shortly before the Dreilnderbrcke bridge, the
The paved promenade opens out into small gravel areas on the upper level. road turns into a path that has been integrated into the embankment due to
Curved wooden benches nestled under sparse willows and alders offer pass- a lack of space. The austere engineering structure will soon become more
ers-by the chance to stop and enjoy a clear view of the fast-flowing river. interesting. The IBA Basel launched a competition in 2015 for landmark
Stairs and ramps lead from the Dreirosenbrcke bridge down to the water design ideas and the winning project will be realised in the coming year.
and weave the various different levels together. The promenade is part of the The new link eventually connects to the existing cycleway, which leads into
public footpath and cycleway that continues on the French side. It forms part the heart of the French Huningue suburb of Basel.
of the European EuroVelo 15 cycle route, which extends along the Rhine
from the Swiss village of Andermatt all the way up to the North Sea.
From gasworks to research campus
The most striking feature of the promenade on the Swiss side is without
doubt the glowing yellow limestone. Curved walls are covered in narrow, The new footpath and cycleway is very much an urban achievement. It
vertically arranged stone bands that give them an almost textile appearance. opens up part of the riverbank that had remained closed to the public for
The restaurant in the middle with a huge terrace has echoes of the Mediter- the last 150 years. The urban turning point on the Swiss side goes back to
ranean. It is housed in the base of the Asklepios 8 office block from Herzog 1860, when Basels first gasworks, which since 1852 had been located close
& de Meuron, which was opened a year ago. Together with a series of archi- to the centre, was moved to the edge of the city near the French border. The
tectural gems, squares and green areas, it is now part of the Campus of meadows, pastures and vineyards that marked the border area had to give
Knowledge that has evolved above the promenade since 2011 on the site of way to industry, but the location offered several logistical advantages. The
the Novartis pharmaceutical companys former St Johann factory complex. close proximity to the St Johann cargo station guaranteed optimum rail
Archologische Guckrohre (archaeological telescopes), a project from the connections and coal required for production could be delivered directly by
Basel scenographers Stauffenegger + Stutz, harks back to the Celtic settle- ship. In addition, both solid and liquid waste materials were eventually dis-
ment that was established in 100 BC in the area around the modern-day charged directly into the water. Ownership of the private gas plant passed
Dreirosenbrcke bridge. It can certainly take some getting used to the thirty to the municipal authorities in 1886, before the city of Basel constructed St
infrared cameras mounted on masts lining the promenade path. They ges- Johann Harbour as the first of a series of three Rhine ports at the beginning
ture towards the Novartis Campus like powerful neighbours whose main of the 20th century. After the closure of the gasworks in the early 1900s, dye
priority is to protect the important research location. They also leave those and colorant industries began to spring up in the area. In the following
people visiting the elegant walkway with a slightly ambiguous feeling. Just years these small businesses expanded in line with the increasing amount of
how public are public spaces these days? What is allowed, what is forbidden shipping entering the river port. The riverbank remained largely closed to
and how far should each step be registered and recorded? Just a few metres pedestrians. The public path on the Swiss side ended in the shadow of the
after the border, the contrast could hardly be greater. A simple asphalt road huge St Johannes-Parkweg residential development, which was built shortly
represents the continuation of the promenade on the French side. A meadow before the Dreirosenbrcke bridge in the 1980s. The nature of the urban f

A series of stairs connect the different levels of the promenade. Curved wooden benches
offer passers-by the chance to stop, relax and enjoy a clear view of the fast-owing river.

The promenade is part of the public footpath and cycleway that continues on the French
side. It forms part of the European EuroVelo 15 cycle route that extends along the Rhine.

Client: Conseil Departemental Haut-Rhin
Engineering: gis, Strasbourg
Year of construction: 2016

development on the French side was similar, with chemical industries set- The contract was awarded to the gis France global consortium, which set
tling on the banks of the Rhine. The residential areas of the French-Swiss about devising a concept for the footpath and cycleway that took a functional
agglomeration area started to appear between the industrial plants, of approach to dealing with local conditions. The project managers presented
which just two are still in operation. Over the years these areas slowly crept their ideas to local people in September 2014 and the project was finally initi-
down to the Rhine and merged into a dense residential belt. ated around a year and a half later.
In 2005 things gradually started to change. The Novartis organisation,
which now occupied the former gasworks industrial site, entered into negoti-
Solidarity despite the differences
ations with the Basel-Stadt Canton (Basel metropolitan county). The pharma-
ceutical company wanted to acquire the port area and transform the manufac- The respective planning costs on each side of the border once again reflect
turing base, which had grown haphazardly on both sides of the border, into a two widely divergent approaches. Canton Basel invested jointly with Novar-
large research campus. The canton accepted the proposal and sold most of the tis around 25 million euros in its 600-metre-long Rhine promenade, while 4
site, although a thin sliver of the riverbank remained in their possession. In million euros were sufficient for almost 2 kilometres on the French side of the
return Novartis agreed to help support the construction of a long-coveted border. Along with the Huningue municipal authorities and the Dpartement
public promenade. The different interests came together in a joint project du Haut-Rhin, the costs were shared between the Basel-Stadt Canton, the
called Campus Plus, which the two parties used to pursue their goals on the European Union, the Communaut de Communes de Trois Frontires (the
one hand, the expansion of the pharmaceutical company campus down to the commune community of the three borders) and the Novartis company. So
Rhine, and on the other, direct access to the river combined with a continuous why are the two sections so strikingly different? Can the variation on each
public path. The design for the Swiss promenade section was finalised as early side of the national boundary be explained by divergent planning cultures?
as 2007. The Staubli + Kurath civil and hydraulic engineering office and the No, according to Guirec Gicquel, who is responsible for the landscape proj-
Zurich landscape architects Hager Partner engaged in a multi-stage competi- ects at IBA Basel, which supported the initiative. It was more the different
tion process. The designers used their work to try and symbolise the current of overall conditions that led to the aforementioned financial
the river, with gently curving walls, paths and ramps forming a core central imbalance, as well as varying usage of the waterfront sections. While the
aspect. Where obstacles such as the Dreirosenbrcke bridge or campus build- industry on the Swiss side made room for a new urban function, the active
ings had to be taken into account, the contours simply became even more pro- factories on French soil were until now more of an obstacle. The land here is
nounced. A quick comparison between the visualisations created for the selec- also held by a number of different owners, which would have complicated a
tion process and the actual project is certainly quite impressive. Despite a plan- project with high artistic standards in the time period available.
ning phase that lasted almost ten years, the landscape architects succeeded in Despite the many differences, Gicquel is at pains to highlight just what has
translating their finely detailed image directly into reality. Although this defi- been achieved by working together. For a start, there is the urban success of
nitely represents an outstanding piece of design, the final result sometimes reopening the riverside to the public between Basel and Huningue. In addi-
seems to prioritise order and formality. The promenade has become a specta- tion, the cross-border cooperation between authorities and planners, as well
cle in places less would indeed have been more. The process was very differ- as the commitment and motivation to connect interests, people and facilities
ent on the French side, where planning for the footpath and cycleway only at a regional level, should certainly not be overlooked. For the organisers of
really started once the finishing touches were being added to the Swiss prom- the IBA, this alliance therefore represents a showpiece initiative a belief that
enade. No competition was held to design the infrastructure, so engineering convinced Managing Director Monica Linder-Guarnaccia to mark the offi-
companies were offered the chance to apply for the publicly tendered project. cial opening by awarding the Rheinuferweg project the IBA Base Label.

The promenade continues on the French side with a simple asphalt path to Huningue. There
was no competition held to design the infrastructure and its surroundings.

Multiple Modality:
a Travel Report
An urban planner travels a lot: Kees Christiaanses projects have repeatedly lead
him through Central Europe where he observes the changing mobility-systems. In
this article he talks about how itineraries change and what impact this often has
on urbanisation, infrastructure, architecture and the landscape.

Kees Christiaanse Amsterdams central station is connected to the ICE VS. TGV. The train ride from Amsterdam to
European high-speed network, which can be Zurich takes about eight hours whether one uses
understood as a part of an urban model. In this the German or the French rail network. Travel-
model, local centres that have high densities of ling with the TGV from Paris is about 250 km
supply form a complementary polycentric sys- longer, however, and there is still time for a caf
tem, both in terms of Western Europe as well as au lait avec croissant between the Gare du Nord
within their own agglomerations. The failure to and the Gare de Lyon train stations. In addition
construct a high-speed rail link from Amsterdam to the TGVs higher-speed, this fact can also be
to the German border is therefore one of the attributed to fundamental differences between
many shortsighted decisions made in the history the Dutch-German-Swiss high-speed network
of mobility in Holland. As a result, an ICE travel- and the French high-speed network. All three of
ling to Frankfurt must first travel through Arn- the aforementioned countries have more cities
hem to the Dutch border at a snails pace of 130 than France and the ICE always travels through
km/h. Upon reaching the border, it can each citys main train station. In France the SNCF
accelerate to about 250 km/h the average speed decided that the TGV would travel past fewer
of the German high-speed network. cities, and thus the train stations need to serve

KCAP Architects & Planners developed a new master plan for Montpellier that calls for a
framework of public space. The TGV station is one of the projects main components.

several cities simultaneously. The differences in surrounding metropolitan area. The catchment by Piranesi-like stairways. The railway station is
these systems have also resulted in different area for this S-Bahn system is unique. It func- practically surrounded by...nothing: a large as-
forms of urbanisation. Stopping in urban centres tions like a remote-control underground sys- phalt surface, a bus stop, an empty office build-
makes these cities more accessible, promoting tem: Trains head out at 30-minute intervals and ing and an Etap Hotel without any staff.
urbanisation in the areas around the railway sta- after a 15-minute ride, passengers arrive in idyl- In Montpellier the TGV reaches its final stop
tions as a result of their proximity to downtown lic suburbs around which well-structured urban at the Gare Saint-Roche, near the Place de la
areas and the location of urban functions in expansion is thriving. This type of development Comedie. Beginning in 2017 the TGVs will no
them. Conversely, stopping at stations that are is in stark contrast to the desolate train stations longer arrive here, however. The railway station
close to but not in cities does indeed increase in the Dutch Vinex neighbourhoods, which are will only serve regional trains, even though
the speed between stations but not necessarily large-scale and monofunctional. Montpellier is a prosperous city, with a university,
the speed between city centres. And while the high-tech companies and tourism. There is a lively
areas around the train stations in the urban cen- Stopping in the middle of nowhere. From architectural culture in the city, with residential
tres may have developed less intensively, the Zurich to Montpellier the TGV is the only areas developed by Christian de Potzamparc,
TGV stations except for airport-railway combi- option for travel. It runs through Basel-Mul- Rob Krier and Ricardo Bofill, and buildings
nations have now become interurban industrial house, Besanon Franche-Comt and Lyon designed by Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid. To the
parks that required the construction of additional Part-Dieu to Montpellier. In Besanon the train south, the city is bordered by the A9 motorway
shuttles into the cities. stops in the middle of a forest, 15 kilometres and then there is a 2 kilometre-wide belt of great
away from the city, and new passengers appear scenic interest. Montpelliers airport is located
A remote-control underground system. The as if out of nowhere an extreme example of here along with commercial areas and event
central train station in Zurich should be men- SNCF policies. The station itself consists of halls, and a narrow strip of sand that separates
tioned as a positive example of the Dutch-Ger- little more than a parking area and a bus stop. the lagoon from the ocean. During the summer
man-Swiss model. This is where ICE and TGV Another example is the railway station at Montpellier also serves as a transfer hub between
trains arrive shoulder to shoulder. The main Valence one of the most bizarre places along the Maghreb countries low-cost airlines and
hall of Zurichs central station is open, as the the TGV network. The station is located 12 kilo- those airlines and railways serving Northwest
rails have been pushed back about 100 metres. metres from Valence, in the middle of nowhere. Europe. This type of movement can be observed
The resulting space has become a lively location This train accident inspired by Zaha Hadid at other places in the network as well, for instance
for public events, where Christmas markets, appears to arise out of nowhere as well. The in Lyon-St Exupery. Eindhoven Airport is even
concerts and trade fairs take place. The build- tracks here run through a large trench. The considered to be an important stopover for
ings flanking the central space contain the usual middle track runs through a concrete enclosure human trafficking.
functions, i.e. two good restaurants, a medical and is used by the TGV, which can rush past at
centre and spa facilities. The labyrinthine Shop- full speed. The actual train station appears to Central decisions. It was recently decided that a
Ville shopping centre is located below the main float on top of this concrete box, which is con- new TGV line will be built between Nimes and
hall and is open day and night. The large rail- nected to the surrounding area by bridges. A Barcelona, as should a new A9 through the beau-
head station sits atop a transit station serving track for local trains crosses the train station tiful landscape that separates Montpellier from its
numerous commuter trains arriving from the diagonally. All these various levels are connected airport. This is where the new Montpellier TGV

The central train station in Zurich is as a positive example of the Dutch-German-Swiss mod-
el of railway transportation. The main hall has become a lively location for public events.

railway station will be built. Decisions about rural These Grand Gares are still unique central out. And thus the privatisation of public space has
infrastructure in France are generally made as a structures in Pariss urban landscape. Given already begun here. An urban planner who works
result of central planning. Local communities, the current developments within the network, on projects scattered all over Europe is continually
however, are very interested in both the TGV net- however, railheads can only survive as final on the lookout for the best route to take. The fast-
work and motorways especially because of the destinations if they are located in very dense est way often involves a combination of modes of
economic advantages that such connections pro- areas of cities or, as is the case with Zurich travel, so-called multiple modality. The fastest
vide. The fact that the TGV in Montpellier will and Stuttgart 21, if great pressure is brought to and least expensive way of getting from Zurich to
not run through the city via St. Roche has mainly bear and they are converted into transit sta- Brittany is to take the train to Basel, fly to Nantes
to do with the simultaneous construction of the tions. The rest of these stations are unfortu- with Easyjet, and then to drive a hired car to
new motorway, but is also a result of aforemen- nately dead ends, which in the Parisian con- Vannes. This is twice as fast as using the TGV and
tioned SNCF policies and the high cost of con- text becomes painfully clear due to the great costs half as much. There are many examples of
verting the inner-city line. increase of through trains at stations like such trajectories that confirm the fact that high-
Marne la Valle und Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. speed trains and air transport are not competi-
The end of the railhead. From Montpellier I The Thalys doesnt even stop at Euralille, one of tors, but can instead complement each other as
would like to go back to the Netherlands, and the first modern railway stations. part of a future concept of European mobility. The
specifically to our office in Rotterdam. The increasing combination of airports, railway sta-
flight with Air France to Amsterdam via Paris The privatisation of mobility. The journey tions and urban centrality is thus a sensible devel-
is not terribly attractive because of poor con- ends at Rotterdam Centraal, a beautiful new cen- opment. In spite of the TGVs higher speed, the
nections and the high price. But in the summer tral station that has emerged from the ruins of the central European model of ICEs with their sta-
this trip is easy: With Transavia there is a former station designed by Van Ravesteyn, which tions in urban centres is therefore the preferable
direct flight to Rotterdam. In the autumn it was also quite beautiful. The large new shopping way to go. It would activate urban centres in a sus-
gets more difficult, though. Then I have to fly centre under the tracks is a precise urban inter- tainable manner and promotes the use of regional
to Brussels or Charleroi with Ryanair, take a vention, with public areas and strong connections public transport as opposed to individual
shuttle to Brussels-South and finally take the to the surrounding parts of the city all activated motorised transport. Fast links that provide unin-
Thalys high-speed train to Rotterdam. As an by retail sales and restaurants. Rotterdams entire terrupted connections to airports must therefore
alternative, I can take the train to Marseille centre has become a huge railway station central- be provided. Large airports like Amsterdam,
and then fly with Ryanair to Eindhoven, the ity due to the extension of the underground and Brussels, Paris, Zurich and Frankfurt should have
Dutch low-budget air traffic hub designed by light rail system to The Hague, and the high- full-service Intercity railway stations. This kind of
KCAP and De Bever Architects. The rest of the speed line that connects the city with Schiphol organisation forms the basis upon which the mul-
year I have to rely on the TGV that runs Airport. There is one thing the city didnt count tiple modality of future forms of mobility can be
through Paris. I decide to take the train from on, though: Since the introduction of electronic built in a complementary way.
Montpellier and travel north. The trip from tickets, the pedestrian passage between Rotter-
Bordeaux to Rotterdam first goes, as usual dam Centre and Rotterdam North is blocked by This article is based on one that appeared in the
(and with time for a caf avec croissant), to two smart card batteries. It is therefore only possi- June 2013 edition of the Dutch architecture maga-
Paris Montparnasse and then to Gare du Nord. ble to go through the passage when checking in or zine deArchitect.

Rotterdam Centraal has emerged from the ruins of the former station designed by Sybold
Van Ravesteyn. The large shopping centre under the tracks is a precise urban intervention.



David Hannah
More risk-taking for children
The popularity of theme play- Cities and communities around continues to grow, especially in This involves risks, however,
grounds is increasing. Swings, the world have recognised this, Europe. In Asia, Australia and that children can assess them-
seesaws, sand boxes thats the as have operators of tourist the United States, on the other selves, risks which present no
way things used to be. Theme resorts, amusement parks and hand, large playgrounds with a hidden dangers. This can be
playgrounds are now the order camp grounds. Those interested wide range of activities for play seen as progress in a world in
of the day when it comes to in attracting families have to and movement are increasingly which helicopter parents
providing children with oppor- expand the range of activities common. Here, there is a ten- constantly provide all-round
tunities to play and exercise. they offer children. dency to build progressively care for their children. As one
And, it is even better when such But what are the current trends bigger and higher play equip- established playground desig-
facilities are integrated into the concerning this type of play- ment that often involves the ner once said, Every child has
local environment, i.e make use ground? Although there doesnt use of climbing nets. the right to break his or her
of existing topography and nat- appear to be any one particular The willingness to design play- arm while playing.
ural materials such as stones, direction, its clear that the mar- grounds that enable children
plants, soil and especially water. ket for indoor playgrounds to take risks is also growing. Thomas Jakob


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creative practice, and teaching. You must be committed to
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representation. You must enjoy teaching courses and design
studios, and supervising graduate students.

Instructor, Landscape Architecture

You will develop innovative curricula in landscape technology
and representation courses. Youll take on a leadership role in
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opportunities to participate in design-build projects. You must
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Thomas Jakob

Rope play equipment offers children and adolescents a variety of opportunities to safely go
beyond their limits. It can also be used by several children simultaneously.

Mobile Play System

The Imagination Playground is a mobile playground equipment
system for children between the ages of two and twelve. The
geometric blocks and shapes are made of lightweight foam
material, and were developed by the American architect David
Rockwell. The Imagination Playground blocks can be used to
create both mobile indoor and outdoor playgrounds. When
used together with other materials such as sand, water and vari-
ous loose items, the strengths of this play and learning system
quickly become apparent.

Global Motion
Children who love to climb and rotate now have infinite play
possibilities within their reach with Global Motion. Landscape
Structures new freestanding, rotating climber welcomes groups
of children aboard for a fully-inclusive, multisensory experience.
Global Motion even remains easy to turn and control when fully
loaded, thanks to the patent-pending progressive resistance
mechanism which keeps things rotating at fun, yet controllable
speeds. With 14 nets that can be climbed on the inside or outside
and two levels of multi-person seating areas, Global Motion is a
thrilling and safe way for many children to play together.


Water Journey
Inspired by natures flowing streams, Water Journey is a collec-
tion of four events Labyrinth, Jet Dance, The Race and Tide
Pool that stimulate children of all ages physically, intellectually,
emotionally and socially. Whether this involves the use of a sin-
gle event or multiple ones connected together, Water Journey
creates vibrant spaces that invite everyone to play, socialise or
just relax. It is an interactive experience for children and a com-
munal meeting place for parents as they gather to play, socialise
or just contemplate and watch water on its journey downstream.

Across the Gorge

The Swiss municipality Grindelwald southwest of Bern has yet
another tourist attraction: a 170 m2 net construction now spans
the glacier gorge through which the Ltschine River rapidly
flows. Opened at the end of June 2016, a maximum of 229 climb-
ers can now simultaneously climb above the gorge at a height of
seven metres above the water, supported by a structure made of
steel and rope. The net was custom-made by hand in Berlin by
Corocord Spacenet Manufacture, which belongs to the Danish
Kompan Group. The climbing spacenet is part of grindelwald-
sports AGs completely new adventure and theme park.


Nature Play is a prominent new gate-

way at Royal Park in Melbourne, Aus-
tralia. The playground includes an
area of high rope traverses, a water
play area and climbing structures.

Peter Bennetts
Nature Play, Melbourne, Australia
Nature Play at Royal Park is Play has 1,200 trees, gullies, children to take more risks.
part of a partnership project grasslands and a hill with dra- An extensive community
between the City of Mel- matic views of the city. And, to engagement process encour-
bourne and the Victorian the chagrin of many parents aged input from locals, broader
Department of Health and and delight of their children, metropolitan Melbourne and
Human Services to reestablish the project also includes a the entire state, reflecting
parkland at the former Royal water play area that encourages both the regional role of the
Childrens Hospital site. The kids to work together to pump park and the important rela-
project is a prominent new and dam water before it is tionship this site has with the
gateway that responds directly finally released into a sandpit. new Royal Childrens Hospi-
to both feedback from the The playground was devel- tal. This engagement process
community and the valued oped and designed by the City lead to the creation of a brief
character of Royal Park. The of Melbourne and Richter to include nature-based play
seven Wurundjeri seasons of Spielgerte in Germany. It and to be inviting and accessi-
Melbourne are central to this includes an area of high rope ble to the whole community.
new landscape, informing the traverses, large climbing struc- The project was recently
structure, planting and play tures made of logs and ropes, crowned the nations best by
Richter Spielgerte

experiences of the space. a water play area and land- the Australian Institute for
Built for $5.5 million and scaped areas. The idea was to Landscape Architects.
opened last March, Nature provide an opportunity for


Richter Spielgerte


Margaret Mahy Playground, Christchurch, New Zealand

With the opening of the Mar- region. The entries for this foundations are at different the entire site was surveyed.
garet Mahy Playground in competition helped inspire heights. One of the greatest The resulting three-dimen-
Christchurch, New Zealand, the final design as created by challenges facing the team at sional data set was then used
one of the southern hemi- the Berliner Seilfabrik. the Berliner Seilfabriks Cre- by the Berliner Seilfabrik to
spheres largest and most The playgrounds layout is ative Centre was to get reli- create a virtual site.
modern playgrounds has based on Canterburys four able topographical data from Using this data, the play
been created. It was built after main natural habitats: The the park designers on the structure was conceived,
the major earthquake that Forest, The Wetlands, The ground, since the creation of manufactured and installed
struck New Zealand in Feb- Plains and Coastal. The artificial hills was envisaged as on site with the utmost preci-
ruary 2011, and affected playground consists of two part of the parks landscape. sion. As a result, a new and
Christchurch in particular. different parts. The first sec- To allay this problem, play- wonderful playground is now
Margaret Mahy Playground in Christ- The detailed planning phase tion includes a large, custom- ground concepts were first located in the Heart of
church, New Zealand was built after from early 2013 to mid-2015 made net stretched across created, based on which pre- Christchurch, exciting both
the major earthquake that struck New included a playground design two enormous masts. The net liminary drafts were then children and their parents
Zealand in February 2011, and affec- competition held among is fixed in place by a total of drawn up and offered. When and grandparents alike.
ted Christchurch in particular. schools in the Canterbury 15 anchor points, whose site grading was completed,


Berliner Seilfabrik



Francesca Arici is a Sicilian Lrke Sophie Keil is a land- and was an editor for the maga- Stefan Tischer is a landscape Kees Lokman: 4851
landscape urbanist with exten- scape architect with an M.A. zines Garten+Landschaft and architect. He is also a Professor Arup: 5259
sive international experience. from the University of Copen- Topos. Currently, she is with the for Landscape Architecture at MVRDV: 6062
She is an Adjunct Professor in hagen. Specializing in the re- gta Archives at ETH Zurich and the University of Sassari, Italy. Village Underground: 63
Urban Culture at IE University configuration of 20th-century also works as a freelance jour- With his office in Berlin he has Olaf Riegel: 64
in Spain. Currently, she is urban landscapes and citizen nalist. She is Co-President of realized major projects like the Heiner Holme: 65
leading a large interdisciplin- participation, she will contin- the Swiss Association of Land- memorial landscape at the for- Nelson Garrido: 6673
ary urban regeneration project ue her doctoral work at UCPH scape Architects (BSLA). mer concentration camp of E. Isidoro, P. Marangoni,
for Mutrah, Oman. in the fall of 2016. Ravensbrck in Germany. F. Marcato, A. Marinelli, N. Mascotto: 7475
Conor OShea is an American Laura Cipriani: 76
Kees Christiaanse studied Kees Lokman is Assistant landscape designer and urban- Marc Verheijen is a traffic en- E. Isidoro, P. Marangoni, F.
architecture and urban plan- Professor in the School of Ar- ist. He is founder and princi- gineer and an architect. He is Marcato, A. Marinelli, N. Mas-
ning at TU Delft, the Nether- chitecture and Landscape Ar- pal of Hinterlands Urbanism Professor of Urban Infrastruc- cotto: 79 (Top)
lands. In 1980 he joined chitecture at the University of and Landscape and Assistant ture and Mobility at Rotterdam G. Facchinelli, L. Gibellato, D.
OMA/Rem Koolhaas and was British Columbia, Canada. Professor in the Department University of Applied Sciences Jovanovic, L. Musio, C. Oliva-
appointed partner in 1983. In His research focuses on rela- of Landscape Architecture at and also work as an architect to: 79 (Bottom)
1989 he founded his own tionships among landscape, the University of Illinois at Ur- for the Urban Planning and AM3/Mauro Filippi: 8087
company, now KCAP Archi- infrastructure, ecology and bana-Champaign. Public Works Department of Daniel Kessler: 8889
tects & Planners. Kees Chris- urbanism. Lokman is also the municipality of Rotterdam. Daniel Kessler: 9193
tiaanse was awarded with a founder of Parallax Land- IBA Basel: 95 (Top)
2016 RIBA international Fel- scape, a collaborative plat- Palle Petersen studied jour- Stadt Huningue: 95 (Bottom)
lowship as an honour to his form that explores design nalism in Winterthur and ar- KCAP: 97
lifetime oeuvre. challenges related to climate chitecture at ETH Zurich. PHOTO CREDITS Stefan Mller: 99 change, water and food short- Since 2013 he has been an edi- Ossip van Duivenbode: 101
ages, depletion of energy tor for Hochparterre, a Swiss Rasmus Hjortshj Coast
Laura Cipriani is an Adjunct resources, and urbanization. specialized journal for archi- Studio: 15
Professor of Landscape Archi- tecture, design and planning. Cobe Architects: 16 BIBLIOGRAPHY
tecture and Urbanism at IUAV He accompanied the develop- Rasmus Hjortshj Coast
University of Venice and the David Madden is Assistant ment of the Gotthard axis by Studio: 1819 p. 44, Kees Lokman
Politecnico di Milano. After Professor in the Sociology De- publishing several articles as Gottlieb Paludan Architects / Tortajada, C (2006), Who has
completion of a Masters degree partment and the Cities Pro- well as a 40-page special edi- Lars Rolfsted Mortensen: 20 access to water? Case study of
in Design Studies at Harvards gramme at the London School tion on the subject. Hkan Dahlstrm: 2223 Mexico City Metropolitan Area,
GSD and a Ph.D. at IUAV, of Economics. His research fo- Buro Lubbers: 25 (Top) thematic paper for the 2006 Hu-
Cipriani co-founded the re- cuses on housing, public Idde Lammers: 25 (Bottom) man Development Report, ac-
search firm Superlandscape. space, and urban theory. He is Viriato Soromenho-Marques Mi Chiel: 26 (Top) cessible at co-author, with Peter Marcuse, teaches political and environ- Buro Topia: 26 (Bottom) ports/global/hdr2006/papers/
of In Defense of Housing (Ver- mental philosophy, and Euro- BGG: 28 Tortajada, C. (2012), Mexico
Alexander Gutzmer is Editor- so, 2016). pean intellectual history in the Markus Frietsch: 3031 City's Problem Is Political,
in-Chief of the German archi- Departments of Philosophy Markus Frietsch: 32 UBM Future Cities, 31 October.
tecture magazine Baumeister and European Studies at the Alp Transit Gotthard AG: 33 http://www.ubmfuturecities.
and Editorial Director of the Claudia Moll studied land- University of Lisbon, where he CIPM/Franco Banfi: 3435 com/author.asp?section_
publishing house Callwey in scape architecture at HSR is a Full Professor. He has been Alex MacLean: 3637 id=362&doc_
Munich. He is also a Professor Hochschule fr Technik Rap- actively engaged in the citizens Michael Van Valkenburgh id=523714&print=yes
of Communication and Media perswil, Switzerland, and holds environmental movement in Associates, Inc.: 3839
Culture at Quadriga University a Ph.D. from ETH Zurich. She Portugal and other European Alex MacLean: 4043 ideas-mexico-water-shortage-
of Applied Sciences, Berlin. worked for several landscape ar- countries since 1978. Grace Jiang: 45 climate-change/a-18792527 chitecture offices in Switzerland Patrick Beech, Julia Casol: 4647 Marilyn Jordan Taylor (2014),


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Topos 97/December 2016 Transformation Process

Infrastructure. Mobility is all around us. It is a central element in a globalised world that
shapes our everyday life. To enable mobility, infrastructure is becoming more and more
important. But infrastructure should be much more than just a necessity that connects peo-
ple with their surroundings. It affects our environment and calls for integrated solutions
that form a relationship between engineering, architecture and landscape architecture. This
issue of Topos portraits projects, that have an interdisciplinary approach and provide inno-
vative design solutions for stations, walkways and promenades. Furthermore, it looks at the
social and political impacts of infrastructure be it a bridge in London, a new water man-
agement concept in Mexico or a transboundary footpath between France and Switzerland.

ISBN 978-3-7667-2259-1