Architecture in public spaces can provide new activities in our daily lives and can improve our lives by offering new perspectives. Architecture can make public spaces a better and funnier place to be. Here are some public projects built in 2012 – accessible to all.
1. El Bosque de la Esperanza, Colombia
Surrounded by shanty towns in the sprawling capital of Bogotà, Colombia, a tree-like architectural structure has sprouted above the city’s streets. El Bosque de la Esperanza – or Hope Forest – is a sports center constructed to engage local residents and support a more tight-knit community. Designed by Giancarlo Mazzanti, the new center is a formation of interconnected linear shapes that create a canopy supported by columns, resembling a group of lush trees. The team suggests that the structure is a symbol of “nature, union and hope” for the area, and believes that the new center can be a catalyst for positive change.
2. Melkwegbridge, Netherlands
The Melkwegbridge is located in Purmerend, the Netherlands. The bridge is part of the masterplan ‘De Kanaalsprong’ and connects the historic city center with the towns’ new district. The most striking part of the bridge, designed by NEXT architects, is a massive arch which reaches the height of 12m above water level and stands in a continuous line with the Melkweg-road, thus offering an incredible view over the city. The high lookout is an attraction in itself and lets pedestrians fully experience the relation between the new and historic center of Purmerend.
3. Mechanical Ramps, Spain
Bisecting the center of Vitoria in Northern Spain and climaxing at the cultural center, Roberto Ercilla’s ‘Mechanical Ramps’ improve accessibility for the local community from one end of town to the other in a protected and constantly transforming sequence, punctuated by sections of level ground which open to the exterior. Analogous to frames in a film, the one-meter intervals stainless steel structures progressively offset from the previous, causing an overall perception of a free-flowing twisting interior space.
4. Gardens by the Marina Bay, Singapore
British architects Wilkinson Eyre and landscape architects Grant Associates completed an enormous tropical garden in Singapore filled with tree-like towers, shell-shaped greenhouses and a 30-metre-high man-made waterfall. Bay South is the first and largest of three landscaped gardens that will comprise the 100-hectare Gardens by the Bay, sited on reclaimed land beside the marina in downtown Singapore.
5. Floating Movie Theater, Thailand
There is no better way to watch a movie! A German architect working in Beijing, Ole Scheeren, took his talents to Thailand to unveil a stunning floating movie theater off the island of Kudu Noi, near the resort island of Phuket. Scheeren’s Archipelago Cinema consisted of a floating screen, cradled between two towering rocks, and a separate raft-like auditorium, together offering a spiritual and vaguely primordial cinematic experience. The stage and screen, framed by fairy tale pillars rising out of the water, were part of the annual Film on the Rocks Yao Noi festival, which took place in March 2012.
6. The Peace Bridge, Canada
The Peace Bridge was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. A red twisting helix-shaped pedestrian bridge, the Peace Bridge – located in Calgary, Canada – is a low single-span bridge without Calatrava’s usual soaring vertical accents because of a no-fly zone above due to a nearby heliport. In addition, to minimize impact on the local environment, the bridge was constructed without supporting piers in the riverbed. The result is a striking tubular steel-truss bridge, with enough coverage to protect against the winter elements, yet open enough to keep cool in the summer. Beautiful!
7. Superkilen Urban Park, Copenhagen
Located just north of Copenhagen’s city center, Superkilen is a 1 kilometer linear park amidst the diverse Nørrebro neighborhood of more than 60 nationalities. The project originated as an invited design competition by the City of Copenhagen and the Realdania Foundation as a means to establish a characterisitc identity at both the local and global context. Designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Topotek1, and Superflex the park consists of three distinct areas: red square, black square, and green park. Upon exploration visitors will discover pop and cultural artifacts sourced from the residents native countries.
8. Chop Stick, USA
Stockholm-based VisionDivision was commissioned to build a concessions stand by the Indianapolis Museum of Art , a project that was realized in a beautiful and playful way – and almost entirely from a single tree. They called it Chop Stick. The design is based on the universal notion that you need to sacrifice something in order to make something new. Every product is a compound of different pieces of nature, whether it is a cell phone, a car, a stone floor or a wood board; they have all been harvested in one way or another.
9. Trampoline of 170 feet, Russia
The trampoline of 52 meters feet was created for Archstoyanie, a Russian festival, by Salto Architects. Taking the form of an installation of road as a path, the project challenges the concept of infrastructure which normally focuses on technical and functional aspects, tending to become imperceptible nearby
10. Festina Lente, Bosnia and Herzegovina
This unusual little bridge in Sarajevo is the design of three Bosnian product design students in response to a tender issued five years ago. Just completed, the Festina Lente bridge (which translates as ‘to make haste slowly’) has been described by its designers Adnan Alagic, Bojan Kanlic and Amila Hrustic as ‘lightweight, agile and adaptable’ and is rapidly absorbing media attention across the world.