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Posts Tagged ‘civic space’

As part of an ongoing effort to make content more accessible, LAM will be making select stories available to readers in Spanish. For a full list of translated articles, please click here.

Click above for a full PDF of the translated text with English text available below.

BY JONATHAN LERNER / PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM WISEMAN

From the June 2018 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

One bright December day, Mario Schjetnan, FASLA, was ushering a visitor around Mexico City’s historic Chapultepec Park, where his firm, Grupo de Diseño Urbano (GDU), has been enacting subtle renovations for nearly a decade and a half. He detoured, though, to show something that has not required the firm’s intervention. It was a concrete sump, perhaps five meters square, three meters deep, and open on top. It is the terminus of an aqueduct, completed in 1951, that brings water from 60 kilometers away through a tunnel under a mountain range. At the time, the city’s population had more than doubled in two decades, to three million thirsty souls. This new aqueduct must have seemed like deliverance. (Today, the population of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico, comprising the city proper plus 41 contiguous municipalities, numbers more than 21 million.)

The sump, whose function was really just to hold water before it was piped into four enormous tanks buried nearby, was treated reverentially. Sheltered within a temple-form building, the depression’s walls and floor were painted by Diego Rivera in a fantastical narrative called Water, Origin of Life. The inlet seems to pour through the hands of Tlaloc, the Aztec god of floods and droughts. Swirling around the floor and up the walls are life forms of increasing complexity. There are an ur-man and ur-woman, and depictions of everyday people using water (swimming, sipping, irrigating gardens), of workers jackhammering rock, and of giant pipes and valves. When the sump was actually used, the view through water surely added a vitalizing shimmer, but water was destroying the mural. Eventually the flow was rerouted and the painting restored.

Now Schjetnan pointed to where Rivera had portrayed a gathering of two dozen men in modern dress, some in hard hats, some in suits; on a table before them is a sheaf of blueprints. “The engineers who built the aqueduct,” he said respectfully, (more…)

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BY STEPHEN ZACKS

An expansive park at the foot of the Kremlin helped drive a series of revolutionary improvements to the Russian capital.

FROM THE APRIL 2018 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE. 

At Zaryadye Park in central Moscow, a procession of Eurasian birch trees, grasses, and shrubs winds downhill from a glass-encrusted outdoor amphitheater that tops the new Philharmonic Hall, framing photogenic views of the candy-colored cupolas of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The park’s verdant terrain folds onto the rooftops of five scalloped pavilions that shelter a botanical display, an educational center, a food court, and a screening room that plays an immersive 3-D film on Russian history. The park, which covers 32 acres, stretches to the edge of Red Square, and even adds 11 square feet to the square that was uncovered during excavation. The pavilions, with their vegetated roofs, and most of the park’s terrain sit atop a 430-car underground parking garage. To keep the whole landscape in place, a geocell soil-stabilization system rests on top, anchoring granite pavers on pedestrian pathways that stretch onto an arching, boomerang-shaped overlook that cantilevers and hovers over the Moskva River. Here visitors of all ages and groups compulsively photograph themselves against the backdrop of the Kremlin and the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building, one of the Stalinist high-rises that define Moscow’s skyline.

Zaryadye Park is an entertaining landscape intended as a spectacular place, a special attraction, and a free public space—a term that Russian architects agree had almost no precedent in the language before a series of convergences brought the park into being. (more…)

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