All posts filed under: public spaces

Rethinking abandoned underground spaces in Paris

I wonder if you saw the story earlier this year about the Parisian mayoral candidate, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who during her campaign joined forces with two architects to conjure and design inventive re-use proposals for the city’s abandoned metro stations? The Parisian metro is the sixth largest in the world and possibly one of the most storied. You’ve seen it in movies, probably heard tourists’ tales about it, and if fortunate, you’ve perhaps experienced it for yourself. I remember it well from my time living in Paris, mostly riding through the depths of its mightily efficient system to university classes on the famed Left Bank and also to the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (the National Library of France) in the 13th Arrondissement, where I could be found, head buried in microfiche, reading about obscure Latin American educational approaches. Ah, the flights of academic fancy that accompany tertiary education! Anyway, I quite liked the metro (although was somewhat partial to the Parisian bus system for the wonderful opportunity to soak in all the sights above ground) and …

Exploring Monterrey

It’s been a bit quiet ’round these parts this past week because I’ve been traveling in Monterrey and haven’t had much of a chance to write. Despite the week not being productive on the blog front, it was in fact awesomely productive on other fronts and the trip was well worth it. You might recall that I was also in Mexico three weeks ago (I happened upon that awesome ball pit at Universidad Regiomontana, remember?); it was great to go back so soon and spend some quality time both exploring the city and engaging in challenging and rewarding design work. I spent Monday in meetings for the collaboration we’re setting up there (related to the whole desk-dweller-by-day thing) and then Tuesday and Wednesday I co-taught a workshop on human-centered design. And it was fantastic. My co-instructor has a wealth of great knowledge and experience, the participants were enthusiastic and engaged, and best of all they’re embedded in an innovative organization that I know will integrate the approaches and methods we taught them into their daily work. And that’s what makes this …

An exercise in contrast: public space in Luxembourg

This is Textured Modern to a T. Look at this installation: a seating tunnel, or cut-through, on the grounds of a former steel mill in Luxembourg. Urban, edgy, rough concrete, warm wood with strong vertical lines…. And that asymmetry! I love the contrast of the welcoming enclosed space with the stark, industrial, open city square. Can you even imagine if we began to transform old industrial spaces in urban areas all over the world with creative human-centered installations like AllesWirdGut has done here? Talk about changing the way we experience the build environment…. Talk about striking textured modern design… (via Contemporist)

São Paulo

I travel to São Paulo a lot these days and it’s always such a mixed experience. The people are nothing short of incredible, the warmest and friendliest people I’ve ever worked with, and yet the city itself is utterly draining. Maybe it’s because I’m not the big metropolis type, more into the mid-sized manageable city with its quirks and charms and real sense of community. Being amidst all the noise, traffic, old concrete and new glass just isn’t my idea of a great city, neither for business nor pleasure travel (let alone to live in). But on my last trip there, as I stood on the 23rd floor of one of the city’s many hotels, making small talk with a woman I had just met, I saw the city in a whole new light. For the first time I was able to see above and beyond the constructed mass, to see the edges of the city, to see pockets of green space, and to begin to see the real contours of the build environment. “It’s …