Wow! Another incredible building by Kengo Kuma.
Here is the new architectural detail at the University of Tokyo/Hongo launched in May 2014. Kuma has covered the new Graduate School of Information Studies with 9000 pieces cedar plate.
Image courtesy of @urbanscape.
Running out of power to take that last insta shot of the perfect sunset? No sweat in Boston, a charge station is just a bench seat away.
City officials in Boston have recently collaborated with Soofa to produce a series of solar-powered benches and have been asking locals which parks deserve one the most.
These guys have an amazing story to share. Visit the website and read more here.
Top image courtesy of Soofa.
It's subtle but so so good! Fresh work by Minneapolis artist, HoTTea, in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, California. HoTTea uses yarn as his weapon of choice and often conveys deeper social meaning through his work.
Image courtesy of HoTTea instagram account @hotxtea.
In Vancouver park benches welcome the homeless instead of rejecting them. How cool is that?!
The brain child of Spring Advertising, and in colaboration with RainCity Housing and Support Society, the campaign modifies bus stops and park benches to change from seating during the day to bed shelter at night.
Read more here.
We'd love to see this take off in cities across the globe and shift stigma and public attitude towards homelessness.
Image courtesy of fastcoexist.
A series of black and white images have popped up around town as a teaser for the Red Earth Arts Festival held in Karratha and the surrounds in late September. They make a nice contrast to the red dirt of the Pilbara region.
It's great to see an initiative that takes art to the people, welcoming and accessible, but also from a marketing angle, builds brand awareness. Looking forward to seeing what the REAF 2014 has in store for us!
More information here.
Image courtesy of @spheruledesigns aka Bron Shipway.
'Rush Hour – Acknowledging everyday practices' is an intervention as part of the International Union of Architects World Congress of Architects in Durban, South Africa.As a collaboration between local collective dala and raumlabor, an experimental practice from Berlin, it aims to transform a plot of land into a temporary station for hitchhikers.
Read more here.
Image courtesy of @goethejoburg.
Infrastructure as art...yes please!
We love seeing initiatives that flip what is considered normal for infrastructure and urban planning projects. Leuchtturm, meaning Lighthouse, was conceived by Ail Hwang, Hae-Ryan Jeong and Chung-Ki Park.
Image courtesy of klasse löbbert.
Seen from the Murray Street car park is a large scale work by London based street artist Phlegm. Painted for the Public mural festival by FORM, the wall is from his creation myth series, "Phlegm speaks of his characters as dream-like reflections of the imagination central to the person in the 'womb'. When he's not creating murals, Phlegm follows the stories of 10 of his creations in picture books he hand-crafts individually." says FORM.
Image courtesy of Phlegm.
Around the world, art in transport nodes is not new! We love seeing crazy awesome art, old and new, in train stations, bus stops, taxis, airport terminals and many other spaces of transport.
However, in Australia, many transport interchanges need a dramatic and well overdue redesign. One great example is the inner circle CBD train stations of Sydney. At times overcrowded and overcapacity, design is often overlooked in favour of just keeping up with customer demand.
That's why it's so great to see the 'Conductors Project' install by Tim Andrew at Museum and St James Stations. While small in scale, it has a dramatic effect on the space and improves the daily (and often monotonous) experience for commuters. More pictures here.
Here at TC we love cool facades! Especially ones that move, shake and have a heart. This one at the Eskenazi Hospital reminds us of the work by Ned Khan at Brisbane Airport, two great examples of making place more dynamic, especially in unexpected spaces and in unusual ways.
Read more and watch a video of the work here.
Image courtesy of Urbana Architecture.
Since 2007, Vélib has been changing the transport grid in Paris and inspiring cities around the world to do the same. With 20,000 bikes and 1,800 bike-hire stations, it’s hard to miss this Parisian sensation. Vélib is now moving into uncharted territory – a bike hire programme for kids. The so-called "P'tit Vélib'" will offer some 300 bikes available in four different sizes (and helmets) for kids 2-10 years old. This is the first such programme in the world to do so, but certainly a trend to follow.
Since 2000, the Beneficial Brick Initiative by Portus Praha has helped raise $1000s for mentally handicapped people in and around Prague.
If interested and you happen to stumble upon the street stall, you are asked to donate a small amount of change and paint a brick with anything you like, before adding it to the giant 'jenga-like' wall.
The proceeds go towards the construction of a new building for Portus Praha and the bricks will be incorporated on site.
More images here. Image courtesy of Kelly Price.
This train station in Stockholm is definitely worth the commute! Containing rainbow murals and other quirky additions, it's a great example of mass transit public art.
Want to see more? Check out these other train stations here.
Image courtesy of say.com
The UN Food and Agriculture Association estimates that circa 30% of edible food is disposed of even before it hits the table – damaged in the distribution process or discarded because it doesn’t meet aesthetic standards. To address this, French supermarket chain Intermarché sells fruits & vegetables, which do not comply with EU standards at a 30% discount. Less aesthetic than the average carrot or tomato, these lumpy, bumpy fruits and vegetables have their own branding strategy – called moche or ugly – and have attracted their own customers. Moche has increased overall store profits and received positive press reviews in social and popular media.
Check out their video – a great idea for other supermarkets to follow.
The 'House for Trees' prototype buildings designed by Vietnamese studio Vo Trong Nghia Architects have been designed as a sustainable solution to the rapid urbanisation of Ho Chi Minh City. Each concrete box building incorporates a green roof structure which acts as 'pot plant holders' for the Banyan trees and deep soil. Infill housing doesn't get much greener than this!
Images courtesy of
Commissioned by non-profit organisation Visit California, this floating skate ramp was designed and built by Jerry Blohm and Jeff King. This surrealist structure took 300 hours to build before its first test run by Brazilian pro skateboarder Bob Burnquist.
Read more and watch a video of this amazing project here.
Images courtesy of Visit California.
Take a book; leave a book. That’s the concept behind the Little Free Library. In 2009 Todd Bol of Wisconsin, USA, built a miniature one-room schoolhouse in front of his home and filled it with books in a tribute to his mother, a former schoolteacher.
Rick Brooks, University of Wisconsin-Madison, soon discovered this and saw an opportunity to develop a social enterprising project. Inspired by traveling libraries and neighborhood kiosks, these mini-libraries began to appear in neighborhoods across Wisconsin and in other US cities and around the globe. (Photos are from Seattle). The ‘Little Free Library’ aims to promote literacy, a love of reading and a sense of community.
It’s summer in the Northern hemisphere. As temperatures climb, so too does the urge for a quick dip. In a city or suburb, the easiest choice is often the neighborhood or backyard swimming pool. While lounging around the pool may be enjoyable, swimming pools are energy intensive, and their filters and chemicals damaging for urban wildlife. To address this, David Pagan Butler of Norfolk, England designed the organic pool. Using solar panels to power a simple air filter, the rest of the filtration is done using aquatic plants. The organic pool provides a space for aquatic ecology to thrive, while offering a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Check out this short video for your own escape.
Here at TC we love a good light show! Especially one that also talks, is renewable and also physically responsive. Enter Ray, a joint effort between Pollinate Energy, Amigo and Amigo, S1T2, Wildwon Projects and SCU Sunflower Solar Sound System, Ray is the first ever solar powered installation at Vivid Sydney.
Ray is also the proud owner of a website and reports live data feeds from the site throughout the day. He'll also talk to y'all if you reach out!
Image courtesy of Sally Hill.
The “hut on sleds’ designed by New Zealand architects Crosson Clarke Carnachan has recently received the 2014 Architizer A+ award in New York for small space living. The 40m2 holiday home contains sleeping and living quarters for a family of five due to its innovative use of space, storage and sustainable design. However, what is most unique about the design is its sled base which enables it to be towed in and out of the coastal erosion zone via a Massey Ferguson. Site responsive architecture at its very best!
Images courtesy of Crosson Clarke Carnachan Architects
Fast food redefined!
Christchurch’s award winning C1 expresso has been at the centre of cool since it first opened its doors on the corner of Tuam and High Street back in 1996. In 2012 after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes the café moved into the Old Post Office on High Street which has inspired the coolest fast food in town… Pneumatic sliders! For only $20 you can order three mini burgers with fries and have these delivered straight to you table via a 140km/hour pneumatic tube system. This futurama dining experience should not be missed.
Images courtesy of C1 Expresso
LED messaging artwork by Jenny Holzer at 8 Chifley Square in Sydney. It is the first permanent work by the artist to be realised in Australia-Asia Pacific.
Image courtesy of Tim Carr.
We spotted this amazing artwork on our Instagram and couldn't go past it!
Created by Olafur Eliasson, a Danish-Icelandic artist, 'Your Rainbow Panorama' is located on top of the ARoS Aarhus Art Museum and transforms the surrounding city and bay with all the colours of the rainbow.
More information and pictures on this amazing project can be found here.
Image courtesy of Julien De Smedt.
Need an umbrella? Why not rent one? Bella Umbrella in New Orleans offers over 800 vintage umbrellas for hire and ship nationwide (US).
We love this concept and in an age of Collaborative Consumption, are constantly amazed at what service will pop up next!
Follow Bella Umbrella on facebook here.
Image courtesy of Kevin Schrader.
Melbourne's insatiable desire to shop, eat and party in the city's signature laneways is driving a new economy.
Street artist, Adnate, was recently commissioned by Hosier Inc, a collective of residents, artists and members of the street art community, to create a 23-metre high portrait down Hosier Lane in the heart of Melbourne.
Image courtesy of Dean Sunshine.
This cool picture was taken by Wilson Martin a few months back at Somerville's newest playscape, the Chuckie Harris Park. Here at TC we love design that considers seasonal change and were excited to discover more about the place.
Martin is a principle at GroundView, a landscape architecture, ecology, and urban design firm, that was involved with the recent upgrades at Chuckie Harris Park.
These upgrades focused on rethinking public play areas to reflect the local area and improve diversity of play experiences in the region.
Read more about the project here.
Top image courtesy of Wilson Martin. Bottom image courtesy of Greg Cook/WBUR.
Skip Waste encourages a rethinking of how we use public space by exploring the issue of urban waste and highlighting potential in upcycling materials.
Skip Ramp (in the featured image) "is made from a collection of materials gathered from skips; it reuses them to form a mini ramp in a skip." says Oliver Bishop-Young, the brains behind Skip Waste. This is just one example of many that Skip Waste have explored in activating a humble skip bin. Others have included a swimming pool and grassed park.
Here at TC we are pretty inspired by this project. Read more about it here.
Image courtesy of Oliver Bishop-Young.
Towards the end of last year, after 2 years of planning, Christchurch unveiled its Cardboard Cathedral. The new Anglican Church was designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and built from waterproof and flame retardant cardboard tubes. The A-frame structure can hold 700 people and is temporary while the original cathedral is demolished and a replacement is built.
Image courtesy of Let's Travel.
Artist Ned Khan has designed a car park facade at Brisbane's domestic terminal that moves with the wind. Working with 250,000 suspended aluminium panels, Khan has created a vibrant public art installation that "creates a direct interface between the built and natural environments".
Across the world, we're seeing car focused infrastructure being adapted to cater more and more for the human scale and human experience. It's an excited time for us to rethink structures usually associated with dead space.
Watch a video on the project here.
Image courtesy of Urban Art Projects/Caustic Pictures.
Taking out Colorado's Governor’s Award for 'Outstanding Marketing Program' last year, #BreckBecause (also known as GoBreck) utilised social media in addition to a number of chalkboards throughout the town, to capture the many reasons people love Breckenridge.
Image courtesy of @hembrough.
Tokyo DIY Gardening is the brain child of Jared Braiterman, Chris Berthelsen and collaborators, an open sourcebook and resource that encourages anyone to experiment, share, and create a low-cost garden in dense cities (like Tokyo).
The website includes a comprehensive collection of DIY Gardening examples from one of the most populated spaces on earth! If you love DIY and local grass roots activism, we highly recommend you check out this inspiring project.
Image courtesy of http://tokyo-diy-gardening.org. Photo location: Minami-ku, Nagoya.
Smart housing is the future.
The 28th Street Apartments, restored by KoningEizenberg, showcase the of value of heritage and the balance that can be found with contemporary sustainable design. While the historic features of the building have been restored, the architects have included important social and environmental considerations inc roof is now a garden and the southern facade is covered with a photovoltaic panel.
We should expect to see great examples like this, and more dynamic forms of residential development over the coming years as social and environmental aspects of place become popularised and commodified.
More information here.
Image courtesy of KoningEizenberg.
Here at TC we're excited by this project - street lights that turn on when you need them! The clever brains behind CitySense, Tvilight, have not only come up with the brilliant concept, but also installed hundreds of the systems since thier launch in 2011.
Read more and visit their website here.
Image courtesy of Tvilight BV.
Located on one of Hong Kong's busy stairways is The Cascade, an architectural addition to the space complete with seats, lights and plants. The project highlights potential in adapting existing infrastructure and creating a more diverse urban experience. The brainchild of Edge Design Institute, read more about The Cascade project here.
Image courtesy of Edge Design Institute.
Part meetup, part popup bar, part talk series: all fun! Idea Bombing Sydney was launched on Wednesday night in an underground car park in Kings Cross. Armed with a blank canvas and chalk, the event asked people 'how can we make Sydney more creative?'. There's so much happening in Sydney at the moment and Idea Bombing was one way of connecting creative people and promoting ways of closing the idea loop, by introducing the Awesome Foundation and the City of Sydney Matching Grants program.
Interested in starting an Idea Bombing chapter in your city? Email John at email@example.com
Like Idea Bombing Sydney on Facebook here.
Image courtesy of Emily Pow.
In just 24hrs, this chalk wall (previously construction hoarding), was covered with thousands of love messages in the lead up to Valentine's Day. Read more about the project here and see other examples of creative hoarding here.
Top image courtesy of @kiwikjr. Middle image courtesy of @zareenp. Bottom image courtesy of @John_OCal.
Check out the latest spin on your morning coffee: from beans to brew, grounded by your bicycle. Observing that most fixie-riders are also lovers of fresh-ground espresso – organic of course – Dan Hill and Dave Buonaguidi invented the Gear Grinder, a bicycle-powered coffee grinder. The gear grinder attaches to the average fixie bike frame, in the rear wheel sprocket and grinds as you ride. It’s a bit pricy, but certainly a novel way to get your cycling and coffee fix in one go.
Open office meets climbing gym meets yoga studio meets sauna.
How do you feel about open office spaces? Some like it. Most don’t. But imagine working in an “active collaborative workspace” in the heart of a climbing gym? That’s the concept behind Brooklyn Boulders Somerville (actually located in Somerville, Massachusetts) which blurs the lines between work and play. Come to climb, practice yoga or capoeira, and then when inspiration hits you, find your computer – or vice versa. Open less than 6 months ago, it attracts start-ups, academics and established firms looking for a new edge on their latest ideas.
Work. Play. Meditate. Innovate. Brilliant.
Photos from & more info at: Fast Company.
From upscale restaurants, to farmers’ markets and secondary schools, local food and urban agriculture are in high demand among today’s urban dwellers. New York has taken this to new heights: rooftop farming. With so many flat roofs offering the perfect urban farm fields with sweeping cityscape views and great sun exposure, why not?
Overlooking Manhattan, the Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm, produces over 50,000 pounds of organically-grown vegetables/ year, as well as mushrooms, honey and the likes, on roughly 2.5 acres. Still, it’s not the only city with available roof space. Let’s get planting!
Read more on Ecobusiness.
Hybrid cars are so yesterday! The city of tomorrow will have hybrid bikes like The Copenhagen Wheel. A partnership between MIT and the City of Copenhagen has developed an electric hybrid bike that seeks to improve human-powered mobility for cities.
Read more about this great initiative and order your Copenhagen Wheel here.
Watch the video here.
Image courtesy of Superpedestrian.
A carpark restaurant located in Sydney's east is one of the City's newest 'it' spots. The Riley Street Garage has converted an old 1930s building, previously used as car garage and parking lot, into a modern bar and restaurant. Here at TC we love adaptive re-use of any kind, but especially when something is up-cycled and yet still manages to salute its past.
If you're in Sydney or planning a trip, definitely read more about this great project here.
Image courtesy of Fiona Susanto via Broadsheet.
Fences around construction sites are the new urban canvas. Don't trust us? Check out the awesome Pinocchio army and read on...
Forget train tracks, dark alleys and abandoned warehouses, street art is making construction fences look great while capturing the attention of big business. We're a little slow on this news story but it looks like street art on the fences outside the new European Central Bank in Frankfurt may just make an appearance inside the €1 billion construction site once the doors open.
There are many great examples of construction hoarding art across the globe but here at TC we're yet to see anything of this scale before. It's an exciting frontier, looking for opportunities either temporary or permanent, for including art in all phases of the project timeline.
Read more about this exciting project here.
Image courtesy of REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach.
This is crazy! But then again, it is Melbourne. A city known for its architectural boldness and ornate designs comes the latest project to capture local and international imaginations - End to End.
End to End is a new 5 level office complex located in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. Designed by ITN Architects the building features 3 motor carriages on the rooftop as a nod to Melbourne's train graffiti culture.
Top image courtesy of the archininja.
Bottom image spotted by @thinkingcity via google in Shoreditch.
A temporary urban beach has popped up in the middle of Perth just in time for Christmas, and the summer heat!
A joint initiative of the Perth Cultural Centre and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority the popup beach is part of Perth's Short Term Activation Works program.
If you live in Perth, your City's newest beach is located in the Amphitheatre of the Perth Cultural Centre in Northbridge. It's the perfect place to relax and welcome the festive season.
See more images of the popup here.
Image courtesy of Perth Cultural Centre.
Diébédo Francis Kéré has changed his home town forever using one simple element, clay.
An architect by trade, Diébédo is origianlly from Gando and has developed a unique building method utilising local resources and community trust. He uses compacted clay and local waste to build new local civic buildings, like the local primary school, and teach new skills to participating locals. By doing so, residents gain new skills and earn money to further support development in their own community.
Images courtesy of Kéré Architecture.
Huge posters have landed in Budapest reading "Buy by Bike" to encourage locals to shop locally, and by bike.
The posters, created by the Hungarian Cyclists' Club are part street exhibition part promotional advertising. The high quality images show how easy it is to shop in a variety of ways, all on bike, and by doing so, highlights an alternative to the car that can save you money.
Check out the other posters here and let us know if your city is doing something similar.
Image courtesy of the Hungarian Cyclists' Club.
Our 4th and last Urban Snapshot for the year is now available. This edition has been curated by Jesse Darling and features some of the most popular content on TC right now! Download your copy here >
Interested in contributing? Or just want to subscibe? Get in touch!
Behind Seattle’s Pike Place Market, lies the Seattle Gum Wall. This tacky tradition began in 1993, when patrons to a local comedy club would leave used chewing gum & small change attached to a brick wall outside the Market Theatre. Twice the theatre tried to scrape the gum away, but the tradition “stuck” and was deemed a tourist attraction in 1999. It has since grown in size and popularity. Tourists and locals come to gawk, take photos or add their own gum wad to this expanding art project – sometimes spelling out messages or designing symbols out of this sticky medium. Disgusting? Yes. Interactive? Also yes: completely participatory urban art!
In 2012, less than 10% of vegetables consumed in Singapore were locally grown. But this could soon change! Sky Greens, the world's first commercial vertical farm has just opened and is set to increase local production for the tiny island nation.
Watch the video and read more about Sky Greens here.
Visit Sky Greens homepage here.
Image courtesy of Sky Greens.
Federation Square in Melbourne is one of the most controversial (mainly due to it's super modern architectural facade) yet well programmed spaces in the world! It's a great example of effective place management that finds balance between activities, events, initiatives and downtime.
Fed Square's latest initiative, a joint project with Little Veggie Patch Co, is a popup patch located on the car park rooftop. And it gets better! The patch isn't cultivated by Fed Square (although they do provide support) but by you! That's right, you! Locals are invited to rent a patch for $3.50 a day or $25 a week making it that little bit easier to farm your very own produce smack bang in the middle of the city.
Watch a great video of the popup patch and get your hands dirty here.
Image courtesy of @clean_lean_green.
Prior to its unveiling in 2012, the site was an infamous 'hole in the ground' for over 20 years and had been voted one of the ugliest features in the city. Today, the new tower and public domain aims to 'knit' the site together, leveraging off previously abandoned heritage buildings, to create alfesco dining spaces and high quality public sphere.
Read more about Brookfield Place here.
Brookfield Place was recently recognised for design excellence at the WA Architecture Awards winning best building for Commercial, Urban Design and Heritage.
Image courtesy of Fenella Kernebone.
Here at TC we love our bikes. They're changing the way we interact with our cities and are leading a renaissance of sorts back to designing for the human scale. So it's no surprise we love to promote bike safety, especially when it looks this good! Are we right?
Love this? You'll also like the interactive helmet making cycling more fun and safe. Watch a video of the helmet here.
Also if you missed our post a few weeks back, see this cycling airbag helmet that not only looks good but also protects a cyclist during collision.
Image courtesy of Martone Cycling.
You will never look at peppers the same way after seeing this amazing installation as part of A Di Città.
Located in Rosarno, a small town in Calabria, Italy, A Di Città involved a collective of artists to install a series of interventions based on collaboration, partnership and sharing.
These peppers were part of Peperonata Nocturna, an installation by luzinterruptus, an artistic group focusing on urban interventions in public space. "We used 2,000 precious yellow and red peppers, brought from nearby fields, to which we added lights and hung on ropes, forming a colorful natural canopy." The installation concluded with a feast of left over peppers and celebration of a successful intervention.
Image courtesy of luzinterruptus.
LUMIERE is a light festival based in Durham and organised by registered charity Artichoke. Like all light festivals happening across the globe, it recreates our imaginings of the city, our prevailing image of what norms exist in public space and manages to bring new meaning to public life.
Image courtesy of @artichoketrust.
Over the past few months, phone charging stations have been popping up all over New York City! A collaborative effort between Street Charge, AT&T and Pensa, has seen a new addition to the street furniture family, a solar powered phone charger. What we’re most excited about here at TC is the very essence of this concept, providing a physical public service for a digital connection. It’s also great to see them being used! If you see one around your ‘hood use the hashtag #ATTstreetcharge.
Watch a video of Street Charge here.
Also read about solar power pumping stations here.
Image courtesy of @streetcharge.
Imagine a better city...what does it look like and how easy would it be to create? While the Better Block initiative is sweeping across the world, here's another great example of local activism combining place, art and imagination by Mona Caron.
Image courtesy of CJWHO.
It's all about small steps...and for us here at TC we get really excited when a prototype delivers on its promise. We're always talking about making sustainable forms of energy mainstream and possibly the world's first walkable solar panel has done just that. A collaboration between George Washington University (GW) and Onyx Solar created a 100 square foot pavement at GW's Virginia campus.
Read more here.
Image courtesy of sourceable.
Interactive street signs to improve wayfinding through cities...yes please! Points is the newest project from design firm BREAKFAST based in New York. The project leverages content from social media and traditional directional data to produce a moving and interactive street sign. If you need to know the weather, directions to the nearest train station or gig, or even tweets from an event, these signs 'point' you in the right direction.
Images courtesy of Points.
You know we love cycling! It's hard to hide sometimes, especially when there are so many great initiatives happening across the globe! Take for instance this spectacular floating bypass built for cycling in the Netherlands. Read more about it here and watch the video here.
Image courtesy of Ronald Otten.
Across the world innovative architects and city designers are pushing creative dreams into reality. The Bjarke Ingels Group, or BIG, is a Denmark based architectural firm doing just that and focusing on pragmatic utopian architecture. Recently opening a HQ in New York, BIG is now truly global with some exciting projects in the portfolio and happening on the ground.
Watch a great video of BIG founding partner, Bjarke Ingels, talking hedonistic sustainability here.
Image courtesy of BIG.
The Baycycle Project is a 'new aquatic frontier in cycling'. Read more about how the ride doesn't end at the water's edge here.
Image courtesy of Baycycle Project.
It looks like the same rule applies to community engagement as it does physical infrastructure - 'build it and they will come'! Or so it goes with innovative Cape Town based design firm Studio Shelf.
Studio Shelf has been popping up all over the city in an attempt to better connect and interact with the public. By doing so, the Studio is not only getting some interesting results, but also partnering with local businesses who generously allow them to set up a cafe office or 'coffice'. It's a great initiative that hopefully continues and inspires others to meet the public(s) they are designing for.
Image courtesy of Lisa Burnell Graphic Studio Shelf.
What to do with a dark, abandoned and at times dangerous space? Activate it with a reason to visit - art! This great project by Warren Langley sheds some light to a space under one of Sydney's major motorways. It's also an unexpected surprise when walking between destinations.
Image via Landscape Architects Network.
Here at TC we're fascinated by mirrors. Not so much our own reflection but their potential to change the very way we experience public space. Over the past few months we've seen articles popping up all over the world showcasing innovative designs and uses. We've looked at two recent art projects - Dalston House in London and Copenhagen's Mirror House and have often spoken about Sydney's giant heliostat, but now, it appears, mirrors are becoming more ambitous. We just sumbled upon some giant mirrors that shed light on a small town in Norway. Read more about it here.
Image courtesy of Reuters/Tore Meek/NTB Scanpix.
Here at TC we love our bikes. It is after all the future (or depending how you look at it, a return to the past)!
But as we look across the globe, we're also seeing a growing debate around cycling safety. More specifically the wearing of a helmet. In most circumstances not wearing a helmet is considered an offence. But what if the helmet was in fact flexible, comfortable and sexy? Not even a helmet as such, but, an airbag?
The Hövding is just that! An airbag for cyclists. Designed by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, the Hövding has just recieved $10 million in venture capital and changing attitudes towards safe cycling around the world!
Image courtesy of Hövding.
Spotted in a local pub in South London by Simon Khalighi, this initiative is bringing some love back to Croydon. A shout out to Candy Chang's creative work on how we shape our places, and in turn our places shape us, this window proves all it takes to show local pride is some stick it notes.
Image courtesy of Simon Khalighi.
We love convenience. Who doesn't?! But why does it always have to be fatty, sugary or just generally bad for you in every single way? Why can’t, say a vending machine, sell us real banana’s instead of banana flavoured candy and milk. Well, we have some good news (especially for this article)! The wait is over and you can now get that fresh banana in the most convenient of ways, via a vending machine in Brisbane.
Image courtesy of Josh Bavas.
An amazing group of young volunteers have transformed a concrete staircase into a piece of public art in their town of Deir Atieh. The group, known as Jood, includes youth development academics and seeks to improve their local community.
Also here's another article on painted stairs causing tension in Istanbul.
Read more about our Trend Watch: Painting A Concrete City article here.
Image courtesy of Salmo Al-batal.
Remember Monopoly? The Electric Company was always fraught with risk! If you landed on it, there was always a dilemma. Do I or don't I? It's one of the cheapest units on the board, could have potential if I pick up Water Works but it also doesn't have a high return. On top of that, it's got to be one of the ugliest designs too! Back in the real world, electrical infrastructure cuts across continents, but it too, is pretty ugly! Enter Choi + Shine Architects.
With a proposal to redesign electrical pylons in Iceland, the team from Choi + Shine are changing our attitudes towards infrastructure design and highlighting a world of possibilities. Read more about their giant human pylons here.
Main image courtesy of Choi + Shine.
We spotted this on the Urban Times and had to share!
Skateistan is a new community tool using skateboarding as a way to empower young people on the streets of Afghanistan and more recently Cambodia. It makes sense. If we want to engage young people we need to connect with them in a young way. Watch the Skateistan movie here and read more about the program here.
Also watch this great video from Detroit Ride It Sculpture Park - building skateparks to build community.
Image courtesy of www.theguardian.co.uk.
Last week TC stumbled upon this image from aieshaapple and it has inspired us to look at fire escape in a whole new way. Colourful, playful and fun, these fire escapes are not uncommon to see in South Korea but on a more serious side, highlight an innovative solution to a dangerous problem, how to evacuate young children quickly and without fuss.
We saw this earlier today on twitter and thought we needed to share! We all know about the numerous bike share programs popping up across the globe, but how about this, a scooter sharing scheme!
In Barcelona, the Motit is quickly becoming a favourite of locals and gaining attention around the world. And it gets better. Not only is it a great form of collaborative consumption, the scooter fleet is also electric, so better for the environment too. Read more here.
Image courtesy of Motit.
Yesterday we put a call out via twitter for anything trending in your 'hood. Within a few hours we heard back from @SouthSideSlopes and the infrastructure celebration that is StepTrek! "The family-friendly event combines photography, historic narrative and a sense of a neighborhood dependent upon steps." says the South Side Slopes Neighbourhood Association. It focuses on local pride of place and community ownership, with a series of cleaning days (ie pruning, painting and repairs all done by locals) in the lead up to October 5 trek.
Check out more FAQs here and if you're in Pittsburgh in October definitely check it out!
Image courtesy of South Side Slopes.
A common sight along the west coast of Canada, Douglas Coupland has paid homage to the Orca whale by creating a giant pixalated artwork that connects past, present and future. Read more about the artwork and also learn about other installations along the Vancouver waterfront here.
Image courtesy of Jason Thomas.
Our 3rd Urban Snapshot for the year, curated by Billy Haworth, looks at a summary of the most popular content on TC right now! This edition looks at crowd farming, renewable energy and architecture in a time of climate change to appreciating heritage and revitalising public spaces through design and public art. Download your copy here >
And previous editions here >
Interested in contributing? Or just want to subscibe? Get in touch!
A unique suburb in Amsterdam, Ijberg, sees residents floating and living on water. The ambitious housing project forms part of a plan for Holland's future in combating climate change and rising sea levels. Architect Koen Olthius now has further plans to move development away from pricey individual homes to higher density dwellings, and even floating parks, transport facilities and energy fields for the Netherlands, a nation with one quarter of its land mass currently below sea level. There are also talks of other low-lying nations like the Maldives getting a floating makeover, and even flood-prone areas in places like Britain are considering a future afloat.
Image courtesy of bowcrest
More images of Ijberg at inhabitat
Yep that's a bike on a living wall in one of the most polluted and crowded cities in the world. Enough said. The Downtown boutique hotel in Mexico City is a breathtaking example of architecture and a diamond in the rough. The Hotel, designed by Abraham Cherem Cherem, combines historical elements like volcanic rock walls and brick ceilings with the green wall to great effect. It's modern virtues hint at a time before and is all for the comfort of guests!
Image courtesy of Undine Pröhl.
Built in 1931, this neglected underground rail underpass, had reportedly become unsafe (or at least felt unsafe) in downtown Birmingham. So what did Bill FitzGibbons do? Where there was dark, there is now light!
Image via Contemporist.
Inspired by Angkor Wat, 'Tír na nÓg' is part playground, part landscape, part ruin. Designed by Drew Heath, the house brings the outside in, and the inside out, to create a blurring of space that works in harmony with the Sydney climate. It's a great time for Australian architecture, with form complementing function and aesthetics achieving green outcomes.
Read more here.
mage courtesy of Brett Boardman via SMH.
Across the world the city you know during the day, transforms with the going down of the sun. It's an amazing evolution that differs from one night to the next. What we're seeing more and more is the use of light and technology to add another level of vibrancy to an already magicial space.
Image courtesy of tao tajima.
A collection of murals, sculptures and other installations are currently being exhibited as part of 'Public Art Horsens' in Horsens, Denmark. This exhibition features Pin, by local creative ÖRNDUVALD, is a re-imagining of those pins you see on google maps, this time pointing to one of their favourite places, Horsens.
The Pin consists of thousands of small circular discs that move with the wind. Watch a video of the installation here.
See more images here.
Image courtesy of Henrik Haven.
For renewable energy supporters, public space lovers & playground enthusiasts, here’s one that combines all 3: a playground constructed of end-of-lifecycle windmill parts. In Rotterdam, Netherlands, Superuse Studios has designed the Wikado playground using discarded (or in this case upcycled) windmill blades & shafts to create a playground full of mazes, tunnels, towers and slides. From renewable energy to public space project: that’s one way to build support for wind energy & have a bit of fun! Find out about Wikado & other green playgrounds on Inhabitots.
Image: Superuse Studios (© Allard van der Hoek, Jos de Krieger/2012Architecten)
This parklet installation in Newcastle is a fun way to demonstrate that up to 10 bicycles can take up the same space as 1 car and to encourage people to adopt cycling as a practical form of transport.
designer of the bike rack parklet was Bernie Hockings, an
active local cyclist involved with the Newcastle CBD cycling scene. The cost of the construction
was funded by Newcastle NOW, who also meet any installation and ongoing
Read more about Newcastle here.
In 2011, Sacramento International Airport unveiled a $1.3B addition and by doing so, 14 major artworks by Lawrence Argent, Donald Lipski, Christian Moeller, Ned Kahn, Camille Utterback, Mildred Howard, Joan Moment, Suzanne Adan, Lynn Criswell and others.
See more amazing art from the Sacramento Airport and read more here.
Read about Australia's Canberra recent airport upgrade here.
Image courtesy of tessallas.
We came across this amazing mural by Robert Proch last week and after seeing more of his work had to share his 'outdoor' collection here on TC. Native to Poland, Proch is a painter, muralist and animator, bringing high quality art into the public sphere. We can't wait to see his next project.
Image courtesy of Robert Proch.
As part of the Sydney Writers Festival, the City's garbage trucks are being transformed into literary treasures and covered in poetry for one month only. While this year the trucks will be displaying famous literature works, the City will be looking for opportunities to include amateur submissions next year.
Image courtesy of City of Sydney.
Every city has a few of them - creative pioneers leading the way for a better, greener more sustainable future. Sydney is no exception. In fact with the Youth Food Movement, the Grow it Local campaign and crowd farming for TEDX, it seems we're embracing better food in a big way!
Watch this amazing video on crowd farming for the TEDX Sydney event here and be inspired by local everyday people feeding the 2000+ TEDX participants.
Image courtesy of Instalizi.
We've been watching this one for a while, and after it's first successful Kickstarter campaign two years ago, the next phase of +Pool is underway.
True to it's participatory origins, now you can buy a tile, own a piece of NYC waterfront and contribute to the funding for a floating test lab, a critical element to the +Pool DNA and future development.
We can't get enough of this idea and can't wait to see it become a reality.
Watch the latest video here and stay updated with +Pool happenings.
Image courtesy of PlayLab.
Argentine artist Leandro Erlich has installed a mirrored plane, suspended over a faux facade, to create a rather nice effect of people crawling over a building like spiderman. Currently on exhibition at the Barbican Art Center’s Dalston Mill site in London, Dalston House is sure to impress.
Image courtesy of Gar Powell Evans.
Urban chicken rearing is exploding – functional pets that lay fresh eggs, why not? As backyard chicken farms expand, many cities have relaxed their policies on these feathered friends, allowing chickens within city limits (however noisy roosters are a different story). To tackle questions associated with urban animal husbandry, Seattle Tilth hosts a Chicken Coop and Animal Husbandry Tour. Future farmers can learn about designing a chicken coop, caring for them and where to go if questions arise. Happy farming!
Image: Seattle Tilth
Vivid has once again come and past, a spectacular light show that sees thousands of people flocking to where the city meets the water in Sydney's Circular Quay. Vast spotlights are erected to display a dizzying array of light-art against a variety of surfaces.
The iconic Sydney Opera House, who's pale white tiled sails make for a perfect canvas for projection. Similarly the MCA and Customs house have vibrant moving artworks cast upon them. This year's most hyped art-work though was the interactive harbour bridge, a booth centred behind Circular Quay station had an operable control panel to allow individuals to change the lights that ran along it's beams and trusses.
More efficient and frequent transport services will see Vivid become even more popular in the future.
For more information on the event visit their website http://www.vividsydney.com/
Our second Urban Snapshot, curated by Tom Payne, is a summary of some of the most popular content on TC right now! This edition looks at a Public Piano in Vancouver, Bicycle Counter in Malmo, digital activation in Newcastle, an Indian popup city, and much more!
Download your copy here >
And last edition here >Get in touch!
Zurich has combined its café culture with its biking culture – introducing a bicycle drive-in café with bike docking stations so cyclists can pull in, enjoy the morning newspaper and a cup of coffee without leaving their bike. This instillation at the Rathaus (city hall) café was on display through April as part of the city council’s Stadtverkehr 2025 program to support Zurich’s growing cycling community by improving infrastructure, safety and reducing traffic.
Image courtesy of City of Zurich.
Every 2 years, Amsterdam Zuid (South) hosts a public art expo, Art Zuid – this year featuring 66 Dutch & international sculptures. Located in Amsterdam’s Museum District, the Vondelpark and near the 1928 Olympic Stadium, it focuses attention on Plan-Zuid, an area designed by architect H.P. Berlage almost 100 years ago. Berlage is considered the father of modern architecture in the Netherlands. Interested to know more about Amsterdam’s historic architecture or modern art displays? Guided tours are available for art enthusiasts from May until September. Check the Art Zuid website for more info.
Photo credit: Jennifer Lenhart
We love looking at festivals here at Trending City (like here and here) but what we really love is a festival that takes us to a place we never thought possible, an urban experience unlike any other, and an event that captures the imagination of the entire community.
Dark Mofo, in Hobart, is a great example of this captivating power. Read more here.
Image courtesy of John O'Callaghan.
This unique playground at the National Arboretum is every child’s dream and in a salute to emerging local design, typically Australian! The Pod playground is shaped and inspired by its surroundings, creating a playscape featuring an oversized nut with climbing nets, slides and interactive spaces. Here at Trending City we see play as a crucial element to the urban fabric. High quality playgrounds, such as the Pod, are important to this.
Read more and listen to the design vision here.
Image courtesy of Jim Trail, ABC Canberra.
This 10 storey building, known as the Housing Silo, is located on the IJ River in the western part of Amsterdam Harbour. A mixed community in one structure, the design offers different experiences on each level with a shared roof terrace.
Image courtesy of MVRDV.
Going back to the days where food was accessible as plucking it from a tree, Seattle is on its way to building its first food forest. Its urban agriculture at its best!
Image courtesy of Beacon Food Forest.
Here at trending city we know about Lego bombing and knitted trees and now, we’ve just come across knitted sidewalks! Artist Juliana Santacruz Herrera has brought street art to a new dimension, by repairing the cracks in the sidewalks with colourful coiled pieces of cloth.
Read more here.
Image courtesy of Juliana Santacruz Herrera.
As part of its Zero Waste campaign, the City of Sydney commissioned AZB Creative to design the Yuk installation - a 3m high artwork made from "1000s of cigarette butts in a timber and concrete plinth" says AZB Director Alex Zabotto-Bentley.
Read more here.