By Kenneth R. Gosselin – The Hartford Courant
Construction is expected to begin next spring on three areas crucial to the iQuilt plan — State House Square, Gold Street and Union Station — a first major step in making the city’s center more easily navigated by pedestrians, cyclists and those who ride the bus. City officials and urban design consultants unveiled the latest plans Wednesday under iQuilt, a vision for making the city more walkable and capitalizing on its arts and cultural assets as well as Bushnell Park and the Connecticut River. The first phase, expected to cost $23 million, includes sweeping changes in how buses crisscross downtown and the way the central business district handles bus traffic from CTfastrak, the New Britain-Hartford busway now under construction.
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In conjunction with the exhibition Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, the Museum of Modern Art presented a half-day symposium exploring the impact of play in urban environments on childhood development. The symposium was organized by longtime playground advocate Jane Chermayeff. The sessions featured play theorists, architects and designers, and educators. The afternoon session, called “Designing Playful Cities,” included Adriaan Geuze of West 8, MoMA’s architecture and design curator Juliet Kinchin, Darell Hammond of KaBOOM, Neil Stevenson of IDEO, and SUD’s Doug Suisman. Suisman spoke about the importance of walking in the city on the development of a child, and his or her awareness of their own potential. He quoted architect Louis Kahn’s maxim that “the city is the place of availabilities, where a small child, walking through it, may discover what she wants to do for the rest of her life.”Read More
Suisman has been asked by Vancouver’s Emily Carr University of Art and Design to help envision their new home. ECUAD will move from their current campus on Granville Island in downtown Vancouver to the new Great Northern Way digital media campus on the edge of downtown on a former industrial site.Read More
Envisionfest debuted yesterday and is Connecticut’s Capital City Festival featuring over 100 events, activities, and performances. Every aspect of this free event showcases Hartford’s abundance of innovative history, arts, and extraordinary cultural wealth, allowing a unique opportunity for people of all ages to discover and celebrate the capital city. Hundreds of live entertainment and hands-on activities stimulate the senses; from free live musical entertainment and dramatic performances on six stages, to free admission to more than eight museums, landmark building tours, and lawn games in Bushnell Park.
Each step taken or pedal pushed has visitors making new discoveries throughout Hartford and provides an opportunity to experience the ongoing transformation by the iQuilt Plan. All Envisionfest activities take place along the GreenWalk and the new routes connecting the State Capitol, historic Bushnell Park, downtown streets, and Constitution Plaza. Visitors are introduced to how the city and scenic riverfront are alive with music, art and science – not just on the date of Envisionfest – but every day in Hartford.
The reality of the iQuilt Plan will improve the livability, sustainability, and economic vitality of Downtown Hartford. Envisionfest Hartford is an event that brings more than 15,000 people to explore the current and future assets of this vibrant urban center.Read More
Just in time for the first EnvisionFest, Hartford’s Downtown Wayfinding system – a critical part of the iQuilt Plan – has been completed. It is the first physical iQuilt project to be implemented. Installed at approximately 45 Central Business District and Capitol area intersections and consisting of over 266 “Pedhead” signs and 135 “MiniMaps,” the system provides directions and estimated time on foot to the city’s cultural, civic, historic, and entertainment resources. This downtown-wide project was preceded by two pilot installations which also included transit stop signs, street name signs, and district banners. The wayfinding system’s core innovation is its use of existing pedestrian signal boxes for the mounting of 90% of the signage, reducing the project’s cost by half. All destinations are indicated with directional arrows and distance in minutes on foot which encourages walking and ultimately promotes a greener city and healthier residents and visitors.Read More
The office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has invited Doug Suisman to join a distinguished group of architects and community leaders to advise on the selection of a winner in the competition for a new Sixth Street Bridge across the Los Angeles River. The existing bridge, built in 1932 and designed, like many of the city’s most famous river spans, by city engineer Merrill Butler, is afflicted with a degenerative structural problem known as “concrete cancer” and needs to be replaced. The city’s Bureau of Engineering considered building a replica or a simple viaduct before switching gears and announcing a major design competition. The 9-member Design Aesthetic Advisory Committee, or DAAC, also includes Hitoshi Abe, Chair of the UCLA Department of Architecture; Eric Owen Moss, Director of Sci-Arc; and Lewis Macadams, Founder of the Friends of the Los Angeles River.Read More
Christopher Hawthorne Kicks Off His Boulevard Series With Atlantic and a Nod to Los Angeles Boulevard by Doug Suisman.
Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne’s front-page feature on Atlantic Boulevard kicks off his year-long series on Boulevards. In the article, he writes: “Suisman’s concise and shamefully underappreciated 1989 study of the history and design of the boulevards…remains the most important take on this gigantic subject.” Suisman and Hawthorne drove the length of Atlantic Boulevard together during the preparation of the article, and Christopher is writing a new Foreword for the anniversary edition to be published by Hennessey + Ingalls in October.Read More
The MetLife Foundation & Association of Children’s Museums announced the selection of Suisman Urban Design and three other international firms (Levenbetts, muf Architecture, WANTED landscape) to participate in a year-long design exploration of the future of the children’s museum. “The Reimagining Children’s Museums Project is an exploration of what it means to experience a children’s museum in the 21st century”, said Janet Rice Elman, ACM executive director. “It’s part of our field’s culture to be proactive.” The three year project is supported by MetLife Foundation.
More than a dozen international design teams responded to ACM’s recent request for qualifications. After careful review, ACM selected four interdisciplinary design teams that will each re-imagine architecture and exhibits, media and technology and the urban design in which the museum is situated.Read More