Horns honking, cabbies swearing, streets filled with a slow moving mass of metal particles, pedestrians choking on exhaust fumes: Traffic. Nothing says Urban center like a heaping helping of fossil fuel consumption, or does it? Paris and Vienna have both rolled out free short term bicycle rentals (albeit at different scales) as a social experiment and attempt to reduce reliance on automobiles and ease traffic within the urban centers of these two European Cities.
If you can’t be London, why not be Paris? At least that’s what NYC seems to think according to an article in New York Magazine. The article discusses that with the failure of the congestion surcharge, New York City officials are looking towards the changes that Paris has made since the turn of the century (from 20th to 21st) to be a more resident/pedestrian friendly place; specifically Paris-Plage, bike sharing and the new bus lanes and routes. It appears that NY may be looking at making some streets pedestrian only during the summer, and adding more bike routes. Having lived in Paris for a summer, I believe that parts of New York City that the are the most talked about – lower manhattan and midtown – are already as Paris-like as they can get; It is the outer boroughs that need to be brought up to speed. The reason for this is mass transit. The Métro is extensive within Paris much as it is in Manhattan (though the Métro does seem to run more trains it closes at 2am). This allows rapid movement within the city for pedestrians, sometimes it can be faster than driving. In addition, nothing short [...]
According to the Washington Post (click here for the article) Jean Nouvel has been awarded the Pritzker Prize. A more fully illustrated blog post can be found at Gizmodo (click here for the post). This intrigues me because Jean Nouvel is one of the contemporary architects whose buildings were used quite often as precedent studies in school. He joins other distinguished contemporary precedent study architects like Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Herzog and de Mueron. I have only seen one of his buildings in person, the institute of the Arab World in Paris. I was only able to see it from the outside, but that is where most of the design concept lies. The skin, which is patterned off of an Islamic geometric progression and screening methods, is made of a geometric/fractal-like pattern of operable irises that adjust to limit the solar gain. When I visited the building, it appeared to have some issues with the operation of these irises. Some of them were stuck in the open and others in the closed position.