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Posts Tagged ‘topography’

BY ZACH MORTICE

Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, compiled in 1979 and printed in 1982. Image courtesy of John Davies and Alexander Kent, The Red Atlas.

A map of Vilnius, Lithuania, produced in Russia at the tail end of the Soviet era, details the speed of the Neris River’s flow (1.8 miles per hour), its depth and width, and that it had a sandy riverbed. In addition, it reveals the dimensions of a nearby bridge, what it’s made of (concrete), and how much it can carry (55 tons). Across the Cold War divide, on Western shores, Soviet cartographers still had a grasp of some of the minutiae that made up its sworn rival’s infrastructure. A 1980 map of San Francisco points out that the Oakland Bay Bridge is constructed of metal and rises between 171 and 213 feet above the water. One of perhaps a million maps made by the Soviets to secretly and conclusively chart the surface of the earth, it’s a relic from what might be the largest and most ambitious cartography effort in history.

Though much of this story’s origins and methods are shrouded in secrecy, British authors and map enthusiasts John Davies and Alexander Kent have found a way to break open these mysteries with a beautiful and brief cartographic volume. Their book, The Red Atlas: How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World (University of Chicago Press, 2017), focuses on how these maps (more…)

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BY ZACH MORTICE

The most important question related to the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago’s South Side doesn’t have that much to do with its architecture.

It is instead: What kind of landscape stewardship can a presidential museum and library offer? To be located in Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted’s Jackson Park, the project already has a heap of canonical landscape history to contend with. So can the Obama library make a great park greater?

The answer is… (more…)

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On Monday, the Aga Khan Foundation announced its 2016 awards for architecture, honoring six projects from a short list of 19 named as semifinalists in May. The award honors architecture of the Islamic world every three years. Among the projects is the Superkilen (“Super Wedge”) park in Copenhagen, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, Topotek 1, and Superflex. In its award announcement, the jury (which included Suad Amiry,  Emre Arolat, Akeel Bilgrami, Luis Fernàndez-Galiano, Hameed Haroon, Lesley Lokko, Mohsen Mostafavi, Dominique Perrault, and Hossein Rezai), cited Superkilen’s ability to integrate disparate ethnicities, religions, and cultures in a vibrant public space. LAM featured the project on its cover in July 2013. Following is our story on the park.

BY JESSICA BRIDGER

In Copenhagen, Superkilen rolls out a half-mile mash-up of global culture.

In Copenhagen, Superkilen rolls out a half-mile mash-up of global culture.

From the July 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

A neighborhood at the margins of the mainstream and beset by the problems of poverty: Arriving at Nørrebro Station is a bit of a shock for anyone who’s been in central Copenhagen’s pristine fairy tale. From Tivoli, the city’s famed historical amusement park, to the perfectly maintained metro stations that still look brand new years after construction, a perfect urbanism seems to be the project here. Yet Nørrebro Station is completely covered in graffiti. The layers of paint obscure the windows, something more out of New York City in the 1970s or present-day Detroit. The streetscape in Nørrebro is less shocking and perhaps looks more like central Copenhagen, just a little more down at the heel. After all, this Scandinavian country has a robust social support network and provides housing, health care, and basic subsistence to all its residents.

Yet graffiti in a train station is a maintenance issue, and, stewardship notwithstanding, efforts are made citywide to improve the city fabric, the quality of life in urban public space. That perhaps Nørrebro has more room for improvement is unsurprising, and in recognition of this the city has (more…)

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