February 18, 2018

Resilient infrastructure proposal aims to protect San Francisco Bay from rising sea levels


San Francisco’s Bay Area could be in for a major ecological makeover. SCAPE Landscape Architecture has unveiled Public Sentiment, a living infrastructure proposal that aims to create a visitor-friendly buffer zone around the bay’s most vulnerable ecosystems – made up of marshes, mudflats, and coastal edges – that would protect the low-lying zones from the imminent threat of rising sea levels.

Scape’s proposal was developed for the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, an open design competition that calls for innovative solutions to the many issues facing the Bay Area due to climate change. According to the architects, their inspiration for the proposal is based on using sediment as a core building block to create a nature-based resilient system around the bay.

The plan is comprised of three projects: Pilots for a Future Bay, The Bay Cushion, and Unlock Alameda Creek. Pilots for a Future Bay involves various pilot programs that would include the local community in participating in the planning process of making the area more resilient. The plan includes working with local students as environmental stewards that would help design and monitor various scientific experiments geared towards protecting the Bay Area’s ecosystems.

The Bay Cushion calls for expanding on the ongoing South Bay Salt Pond initiative. Building on the project, which seeks to reduce tidal extremes around the bay, the proposal calls for creating a massive sediment reserve that links ecosystems, wildlife, and visitors to the area. The reserve would include viewing towers, outdoor mudrooms and various “sensing stations” that would run along the existing Bay Trail.

Unlock Alameda Creek, which involves unlocking the sediment flows of Alameda Creek, is also an essential part of the proposal. This would include redesigning the creek’s water flow in order to restore the breeding grounds of the native steelheads. Once again, the area would be outfitted with a trail of viewing platforms to enable visitors to take in the infinite value of the bay’s valuable ecosystems.


Original Park Hill engineering firm to transform Sheffield council block into flagship venue for arts, culture and heritage

Park Hill

Arup designed the original Park Hill complex over 60 years ago and has now been appointed to transform a block in the council estate into a £21m creative hub, including Sheffield’s largest art gallery.

Park Hill Art Space will see the Duke Street block in the city centre turned into a new flagship venue for arts, culture and heritage. The 13-storey structure will include live-work flats and studios for artists, a research institute, an archive, shop, cafe and a permanent home for charity S1 Artspace, designed by architect Carmody Groarke.

Arup designed the original Park Hill complex which started on site in 1957 and it was hailed as one of the most ambitious inner city housing schemes of its time. Park Hill is regarded as a major piece of Brutalist architecture, which resulted in the entire site – comprising of 995 flats, four pubs and 31 shops – becoming Grade-II* listed in 1998. Arup worked on the 2,300 dwellings scheme from 1953-61, providing civil and structural engineering services, including an in-depth investigation into the abandoned coal workings situated beneath the site.

Greg Hardie, Project Director, Buildings North West & Yorkshire for Arup, said: Park Hill is a project that is close to all our hearts. It is one of the reasons why we established an office in Sheffield, so we are delighted to be part of Park Hill’s transformation. This new flagship arts venue will help put Sheffield on the map as a top arts and culture destination, both nationally and internationally. Preserving the existing structure will be centre to the project, to give it another 60 years of life, while also creating the new gallery space on the estate.”

Arup will provide structural engineering services and joins architects Carmody Groarke, who are the designers behind the newly completed V&A members’ room in London.  Carmody Groarke, was appointed in November, and the Arup team have experience of working together on previous Arts and Culture projects.



£25 million redevelopment in the pipeline for Weston Park cancer hospital in Sheffield


Plans are being drawn up for a major £25 million expansion of the Weston Park cancer hospital in Sheffield.

The scheme – the site’s biggest-ever redevelopment – could involve an overhaul of the outpatient department and car parking, a new pharmacy unit, theatres to undertake surgical procedures and the creation of a ‘link bridge’ connecting Weston Park with the neighbouring Royal Hallamshire Hospital and Jessop maternity wing.

Medical bosses also want to spruce up the main building with fresh cladding to give it a more modern appearance.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ directors and governors have been briefed about the scheme, which forms part of the trust’s estate strategy for the next three years.

But chiefs have emphasised that – as NHS budgets remain tight – finding the necessary funds will be challenging, and a full business case for the redevelopment has not yet been considered.

The revamp would come on top of a £6.7 million project to refurbish wards at Weston Park, which began in 2016. The areas – Ward 2 and Ward 3 – have new equipment, beds and furnishings, and have been designed to create as much clinical space as possible.

A refurbishment of the site’s assessment unit was carried out before work on the wards started. Single rooms have allowed patients to be checked discreetly, offering more privacy.

Dr David Throssell, medical director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “Over recent years, we have made significant improvements to Weston Park Hospital’s facilities and services to enhance patient care and experience.

“We have a long term strategy which we have been progressing and some of which has already been actioned such as fantastic ward refurbishments, which were also supported by our excellent charities, and a new state-of-the-art assessment unit.

“The remaining developments outlined in the strategy have not yet been considered as a full business case and, of course, in the current climate funding is a key consideration.

“Therefore we cannot say at this stage that all of the developments will be able to go forward in the short term, but we are continuing to explore every opportunity to make appropriate improvements where we can.”

Weston Park, which opened 47 years ago, is one of only four dedicated cancer hospitals in the country, and provides chemotherapy and radiotherapy to thousands of patients from across South Yorkshire and beyond.

However, hospital bosses have identified ‘deficiencies’. There are several areas where demand far outstrips the available capacity, in particular the outpatient and chemotherapy day case units.

Changes to car parking would address the rising number of visitors to the site on Whitham Road, while new retail and restaurant services are proposed to generate more income. Waiting and consultation rooms could be refurbished, and it is hoped the offices and educational facilities will be improved too.

The hospital superseded the Sheffield National Centre for Radiotherapy when it opened in April 1970. In 1995 it was designated as a cancer centre because of its specialist facilities for complex conditions.


Image:  Lewisskinner licensed for reuse under this creative commons license 

Landscape and architectural firms collaborate on elaborate Gingerbread City

















In festive news this week, some of the world’s biggest architecture firms have been competing for plots in this winter’s tastiest property market — the Gingerbread City.

Recently opened at the Museum of Architecture in London, the miniature metropolis is brimming with contemporary — and almost entirely edible — buildings.
Around 50 companies specializing in architecture, engineering and landscaping have baked and built structures for the project. The city boasts a castle, a stadium and three bridges, alongside public buildings and residential areas. Organizers said that, in addition to raising money for charity, the project can encourage the public to engage with urban planning.
“Often, people only come into contact with architects through consultations or contentious (planning) issues,” museum director Melissa Woolford said. “So this is an opportunity for them to show their creativity and do something fun for the communities they serve.”
Built at a scale of 1:100, the Gingerbread City is composed of four distinct neighborhoods: The labyrinthine Old Town centered around Crumble Square, the industrial New Town with its own “Central Baking District,” an eco-town and a waterside energy district.
Participants were invited to choose from four types of plot — landmark buildings, housing, landscape sites or bridges. Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners, two heavyweights of British architecture, have each taken an entire miniature island in the city’s Eco Town.
The city’s layout was designed to make architects — and visitors — consider how residents might experience life in its streets. It draws direct inspiration from real cities, according to Hilary Satchwell, the director of Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design, the firm behind the city’s masterplan.
Tasked with baking their own gingerbread, the architects were allowed to incorporate candy cane, sugar and other treats into their designs. The brief permitted the use of non-edible supporting structures, though they cannot be visible to visitors.
Project organizers advised participants to cook the gingerbread without baking soda, helping to keep it hard and firm. But, as a building material, gingerbread still presented unique challenges, according to participant Petra Montuschi. An architect at Foster + Partners, Montuschi worked on the firm’s entry — an island transport hub where electric trains, water taxis and pedestrian traffic converge.
Gingerbread City will be exhibited at the Museum of Architecture in London until Dec. 22, 2018

Bennetts wins contract for Ainsdale Station revamp


Aluminium glazing specialists Bennett Architectural have been chosen to supply and install glazing and curtain walling for the upgrade and refurbishment of Ainsdale train station in Southport.

Working with main contractor Morgan Sindall, Bennetts will provide and install Kawneer AA100 curtain walling systems as well as Pilkington Planar bolted glazing.

The £2.5m investment in the Merseyrail station comes from the Government’s National Stations Improvement Programme and Network Rail.

Additional features for the new station include a passenger waiting area with WiFi, improved information screens, increased seating and new waiting shelters.

Lionel Grant, Managing Director at Bennett Architectural commented,

“We’re delighted to support the transformation of Ainsdale Station and provide our wealth of experience.

“The improved facility will greatly benefit users of the station.”

Liverpool based Owen Ellis Architects will provide designs for Ainsdale Station.