Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV


The City of Almere has revealed it’s MVRDV-designed proposal for the Floriade 2022 candidature! Almere is one of four Dutch cities competing to be the next location of the prestigious horticultural Expo, which takes place once every ten years in the Netherlands and is currently open in Venlo.

Rather than creating a temporary expo site, MVRDV has designed a lasting Cité Idéale, which would serve as a green extension to Almere’s city center. Drawing upon research from the radical DIY urbanism plan for Almere Oosterwold and the Almere 2030 master plan, MVRDV has designed an ambitious sustainable city that strives to be a 300% greener exhibition than the current standard.

Continue reading for more on this potential, exemplary green city!


Winy Maas discusses the plan: “We dream of making green cities. City that is literally green as well as ecological. A city that produces food and energy, cleans its own water, recycles waste and holds a great biodiversity. A city which might even be autarkic: A symbiotic world of people, plants and animals. Can this symbiosis between city and countryside offer essential argumentation to the global concerns regarding urbanization and consumption? Can we realize in the next ten years an exemplary ‘green’ city which realizes this synthesis? And could this city be the Floriade 2022?”


Almere Floriade will be developed as a tapestry of gardens on a 45ha square shaped peninsula. Each block will be devoted to different plants, a plant library with perhaps an alphabetical order. The blocks are also devoted to program, from pavilions to homes, offices and even a university which will be organized as a stacked botanical garden, a vertical eco-system in which each class room will have a different climate to grow certain plants. Visitors will be able to stay in a jasmine hotel, swim in a lily pond and dine in a rosary. The city will offer homes in orchards, offices with planted interiors and bamboo parks. The Expo and new city centre will be a place that produces food and energy, a green urban district which shows in great detail how plants enrich every aspect of daily life.


The Cité Idéale program includes: 45ha city entree extension with panorama tower, green housing exhibition (22.000m2/115 homes) hotel (30.000m2), university (10.000m2), conference centre (12.000m2) various expo pavilions (25.000m2) smart green house (4.000m2), care home (3.000m2), children’s expo, marina, forest, open air theater, camping and other facilities (25.000m2).


The waterfront site opposite the city center will be developed as a vibrant new urban neighborhood and giant plant library which will remain after the expo.

Will the next Floriade in 2022 take place in Almere, Amsterdam, Groningen or the Boscoop region? We will find out this October when the Nederlandse Tuinbouwraad (NTR) announces the next Floriade 2022 host.


Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (1) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (2) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (3) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (4) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (5) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (6) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (7) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (8) © MVRDV
Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV (9) © MVRDV

Almere Floriade 2022 / MVRDV originally appeared on ArchDaily, the most visited architecture website on 04 Jul 2012.

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Winners selected for round two of the Moscow City Agglomeration Competition

Photo Credit: RIA Novosti

The international team, lead by well-known Russian urbanist Andrey Chernikhov, and including McAdam Architects, Tower 151, Georgi Stanishev and Ginsburg Architects placed first in round two of the Moscow City Agglomeration Development Concept competition. The winning consortium sparked debate by suggesting officials should consider redeveloping the abundant brown field sites and other available infill spaces within the existing city boundaries before proposing new development. They highlighted vast areas occupied by goods railways and disused industrial sites from Soviet times as prime areas for regeneration and expansion, as well as a re-thinking of transport networks to alleviate pressure on existing systems.

Continue after the break to learn more.

McAdam Architects team beat out nine other teams. All of them presented their first edition of concepts for the city agglomeration development, including the existing city and the new south-west sector of the agglomeration, on June 22.

OMA received second, after placing first in round one of the competition – which required teams to present a detailed analysis of the complex issues involved when doubling the size of Moscow.

Although this is set up to be a competition with “winners”, James McAdam feels otherwise. He stressed to bdonline that “there’s a very open exchange of information between teams” and feels “more like a consultation than a competition.”

McAdam stated, “The process is evolving into a fascinating discourse on how a major capital can tackle the problems of expansion and regeneration on a vast scale. As a consultation procedure the range of ideas being suggested are incredibly diverse and could be pooled as a powerful medium for Moscow’s future.”

The nine teams now have two months to prepare master plan concepts. They will present their ideas to a jury of international experts at the end of August.

In 2011, the Russian Federation Council confirmed that the city of Moscow will annex 150,000 hectares to the southwest in order to overcome its chronic space problems, making Moscow 2.4 times larger than its current size. The expansion is designed to relieve pressure on the over-populated, historic city center by redistributing the working places to the annexed part of the Moscow Oblast, thus addressing transport, ecological and social issues that result from high levels of commuting. Find more information on the competition here on ArchDaily.

Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan / KCAP

Courtesy of

KCAP’s urban design for the transformation of the Garonne waterfront in was recently finalized and officially approved by Alain Juppé, Mayor of Bordeaux, and by Bordeaux’s City Council. The project site is a 67 ha area within Bastide Brazza Nord, a 120 ha former industrial area between the river Garonne and an abandoned railway area. The urban strategy will combine new urban mixed-use functions with re-used abandoned infrastructures and is based on an integrated environmental approach to ground pollution and flood risk. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of KCAP

The program consists of about 600.000 m2 of housing, offices, industrial and public facilities and new public spaces to be implemented on the old industrial riverbank and the abandoned railway area. In the end of 2012 a new bridge – ‘Bacalan Bastide’ – will connect the right and left bank of the Garonne river. This connection will improve the relation of Brazza Nord and the rest of the city. It is considered as a key opportunity for the regeneration of the surrounding communities and will have an important impact on the entire region.

Courtesy of KCAP

A framework of qualitative public spaces benefits of the privileged landscape situation and opens new connections between the river Garonne, the existing neighborhoods and the surrounding hills. KCAP’s masterplan defines a mosaic of character zones with different atmospheres, densities, functions and typologies. The development potential sets broad conditions for a quality urban lifestyle, local involvement and cohesion, where it will be possible to produce, trade, recreate and live in all stages of life.

Courtesy of KCAP

KCAP’s design was enthusiastically perceived by Bordeaux’s authorities and was praised for its strong spatial structure and integration in the city fabric, as well as for the integrated approach to program, typologies and flood management. The masterplan was elaborated by KCAP Architects&Planners together with local partners Mutabilis (landscape), Ingerop Engineering, Oasiis (sustainability) and BMA (programming). The first building permits are expected to be delivered in 2013.

Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (1) Courtesy of KCAP
Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (2) Courtesy of KCAP
Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (3) Courtesy of KCAP
Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (4) Courtesy of KCAP
Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (5) Courtesy of KCAP
Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (6) masterplan
Brazza Nord Bordeaux Masterplan (7) location

What Can Architecture Do for Your Health?


In an effort to make City’s built environment “more livable and hospitable” the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Health and Mental Hygiene, Transportation (DOT), and City Planning have developed the Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design to be referenced in conjunction with the DOT’s Street Design Manual and other guidelines produced by NYC. The guidelines are written for urban planners, designers and architects and are driven by the need to address health concerns such as obesity and diabetes through intelligent design. Our built environments give us cues as to how to inhabit them and have tremendous effects, sometimes subconscious, on our lifestyles. Do you walk, drive, or bike to work? Do you take the stairs or the elevator? We make these types of decisions, which are largely based on comfort, on a daily basis. But the guidelines established in this manual are intended to give designers the tools to encourage healthy lifestyle choices to address the social concerns of NYC. So, what can planners, architects and designers do to create an active and healthy city? Find out after the break.


Since the nineteenth century, we have learned to combat infectious diseases. Preventative measures have proven effective: build better buildings and infrastructure, and incidents of infectious illnesses will decline. It happened in the 19th and early 20th centuries with cholera and tuberculosis. In this century, the diseases that we face are often self-inflicted. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and obesity all have roots in the sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices that many people have today.


But much of New York City is already conveniently walk-able – numbered streets, a regular grid, public transportation, a broad selection of parks and greenways, and a vast amount of the street life that Jane Jacobs commended in The Death and Life of Great American Cities.  On the scale of its boroughs, New York City functions as an active city.  But what can the city improve?  The guidelines are geared toward five key measures: improving access to transportation, improving access to recreational facilities and open spaces, improving access to fresh produce and groceries, improving community connectivity with street infrastructure, and facilitate bicycling for recreation and transportation.

The Highline: Eastern Rail Yards – Courtesy City of New York and Friends of the High Line

Projects such as the Highline, currently a one-mile walk from Gansevoort St to 30th Street, and the South Bronx Greenway, currently under construction and development and includes a network of bike paths connecting the South Bronx with Randall’s Island and existing paths, already address the some of the new guidelines – proving how the measures can work. Just as vital as it is to observe these guidelines for urban design uses, the building and its everyday uses and accommodations can inspire day-to-day healthy patterns.  The key measures are:
  • Increase stair use among the able-bodied by providing a conveniently located stair for everyday use, posting motivational signage to encourage stair use, and designing visible, appealing and comfortable stairs;
  • Locate building functions to encourage brief bouts of walking to shared spaces such as mail and lunch rooms, provide appealing, supportive walking routes within buildings;
  • Provide facilities that support exercise such as centrally visible physical activity spaces, showers, locker rooms, secure bicycle storage, and drinking fountains;
  • Design building exteriors and massing that contribute to a pedestrian friendly urban environment and that include maximum variety and transparency, multiple entries, stoops, and canopies.

The guidelines read like a rating system.  They are not part of scientific research; they are observations of behavior – how people interact with their environment and what precedents tell us about how spaces function, actively or passively.  Other urban environments were assessed according to the five “D’s” – density, diversity, design (coined by Robert Cervero and Kara Kockelman), destination accessibility and distance to travel.  The priorities of the guidelines are to encourage land use mix, walkability, bicycling, infrastructure, and parks and open space.  This requires that planners consider the types of programs in a given neighborhood and encourage the development of full service supermarkets, physical activity facilities, public transportation routes, and outdoor parks. Some of these measures also encourage more responsible environmental design as well.  By encouraging alternatives to cars for transportation and expanding green spaces, designers can reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gases in neighborhoods.  According to the guidelines, NYC addresses most of these fields, yet design can always be improved upon.

South Bronx Greenway: Hunts Point Landing © New York City Economic Development Corporation

The manual is divided into subsections to address each measure individually for urban design: land use mix, adequate access to parking and transit, access to parks, open spaces and recreational facilities, children’s play areas, public plazas, proximity to grocery stores and fresh produce, street connectivity, traffic calming, pedestrian pathways, creating street-scapes, bicycle networks and infrastructure.  Each has suggestions assessed for effectiveness according to strong evidence, emerging evidence, and best practice.  These are followed by a series of case studies, from projects such as the Highline, Greenstreets, Madison Park and bus shelters.


A similar layout is organized for interventions in building design.  The subsections are: stair design for everyday use with visibility and accessibility, stair dimensions, creative solutions for stairs as sculptural elements central to the building, reducing the prominence of elevator and escalator use, building programming, varied walking routes, building facilities that support exercise, and building exteriors and massing.  This chapter describes successful case studies such as the Museum of Modern Art, Harlem Children’s Zone and the New York Times Building.


In conjunction with Active Design Guidelines, planners, architects and designers are encouraged to look at PlaNYC – a strategic plan that addresses the issues that currently face NYC: a rapidly growing population, an aging infrastructure and global climate change.  The strategies within this manual give planners insight into urban environments through points that give sustainable and active solutions to environmental planning.  Several of the city’s agencies are working in conjunction with one another.  The DOT has been and is continuing to develop streets that make walking more attractive through traffic calming measures, landscaped medians that provide shade, and public plazas that have been converted from streets.  Along with this, the DOT is expanding the on-street bicycle network along with bicycle infrastructure, such as bicycle parking, that is mandated by zoning regulations in community and commercial spaces. Universal Design is an additional manual by the NYC Department of Design and Construction to promote design that can be adapted for and used by all users.

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art © Iwan Baan

Together, these measures strive to find solutions that combine these various goals – active design, sustainable design and universal design – and finding a balance between design and cost.  Case studies of these types of solutions are also provided.  The Riverside Health Center in the Bronx, Morphosis’s new building at 41 Cooper Square, and the Via Verde Mixed-Use Development in the South Bronx share connectivity of paths, green spaces, prominence and accessibility of stairs and building programming to create interesting circulation paths for users. The manual is a dense and comprehensive combination of strategies and suggestions that can inspire unique and creative strategies for designs that incorporate elements that are active, sustainable and universal on a variety of scales.  Accessibility is important and in terms of design, it makes strong suggestions to encourage design strategies such as: imageability, enclosure, human scale, transparency and complexity. Download a copy of manual here.
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (1) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (3) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (2) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (4) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (5) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (6) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (7) © NYC DDC
Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design (8) © NYC DDC
The Highline - Eastern Rail Yards The Highline: Eastern Rail Yards - Courtesy City of New York and Friends of the High Line
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art © Iwan Baan
South Bronx Greenway: Hunts Point Landing South Bronx Greenway: Hunts Point Landing © New York City Economic Development Corporation

The Green Building Council of Australia Launches Community Ratings for Sustainable Practices

The Green Building Council of has released Green Star – a new comprehensive rating system that can assess the degree to which communities, as a whole, succeed in creating livable and sustainable environments. This is a new and dynamic way to look at the culture of sustainability. “Green building” is not only reflected in individual buildings; it is the accumulation of the buildings, the infrastructure, the urban planning and design, the amenities of the community and the lifestyles that communities live. Projects such as DIY Urbanism in the Netherlands by MVRDV and “e_co_llectiva” by Athanasios Polyzoidis & Katerina Petsiou have this kind of regard for the development of holistic community.

Read on for more after the break.


A growing number of designs features holistic approaches to building design and that includes the street and the plaza and the communty associated with it. More than that, urban developments have more frequently begun to incorporate a mix of programming: residential, commercial, retail and recreational working together. The system will rate each community according to livability, economic prosperity, environment, design, governance and innovation. The administration hopes that it will encourage better and more creative designs for communities with improved planning. It provides an incentive that up until now has only been awarded to individual buildings.

The GBCA is setting a precedent that will hopefully be followed by other Green Building Councils. It promotes a healthy competition for the best in planning for healthy communities, both for the residents and the environment.

Find more information here! 

via Design Build Source, “Green Star: Communities Rating System Released” by Emily D’Alterio

A Bright Future for Willets Point – Redevelopment on an Environmentally Marred Peninsula

The New York Economic Development Corporation and Mayor Bloomberg of NYC announced the completion of the final plan for Willets Point – a peninsula on the Flushing River in Northern Queens, . The development of Willets Point is part of the urban renewal project associated with Citi Field – the Mets’ new stadium. Nicknamed the Iron Triangle, the project will include housing for mixed incomes, retail and entertainment amenities, a hotel, a convention center, office space, parks and open space, and a new public school, all of which falls under the umbrella of LEED-certified buildings and infrastructure. As with every redevelopment plan, there are positives and negatives to restructuring the community.

Read on for more after the break.

The Willets Point Redevelopment Plan is a ten- to fifteen- year commitment to the regeneration of this district. There are many environmental concerns associated with this land. Historically, the 60-acre peninsula was used as an ash dump. It accumulated approximately 100 railroad car loads of ash per day. Since, it has also been contaminated by petroleum, paint, cleaning solvents and automotive fluids. A high water table exacerbates the environmental hazards, threatening to spread into other bodies of water. It also lies within the 100-year flood plain which requires that the grade be elevated significantly. In addition, storm water and sanitary infrastructure is lacking. Its neighbor, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, was marred by the same kind of environmental damage, but was restored in the early 20th century in preparation for the 1938 World’s Fair. Now officials believe it is time for Willets Point to follow suit.

Willets Point is valuable due to its geographic location. It has the potential to become a hub for a variety of activities from entertainment, residential use, outdoor recreation, and commercial and retail use. It is regionally well connected to the subway towards Manhattan, to the LIRR towards Long Island, the highways and airports. It is already well positioned in proximity to other popular destinations such as Flushing, Corona Park, the National Tennis Center, Shea Stadium and Citi Field. The benefits are tangible – the plan promises 25,000 “person-years of construction employment”, 5,000 permanent jobs, 1,000 indirect jobs that come from the convention center, mixed-income housing, a new diverse community and hub, an estimated 30-year fiscal impact of $4.2 billion dollars, and the rebuilding of environmental infrastructure throughout the peninsula, in addition to a LEED buildings.

Despite its advantages, there are challenges to the city’s plans. According to Smriti Rao’s article in DNAinfo on New York Neighborhoods, residents and local businesses in the area are reluctant to relinquish their properties to eminent domain. It is a legitimate claim to private property but is often pushed aside for development such as these. However, Bloomberg ensures that 95 percent of the property has been or is being acquired. Is there no way that the future plans could be incorporated into the already existing architecture and infrastructure that the community there has established? It is frequent tug-of-war between the two. As the project goes out to bid, we will be able to see if and how the redevelopment unfolds and changes the district for the better.

via DNAinfo, “Mayor Unveil Massive Willets Point Redevelopment Plan” by Smriti Rao
via NYC EDCWillets Point Redevelopment Plan

Willets Point Redevelopment Plan (1) © NYC EDC
Willets Point Redevelopment Plan (2) © NYC EDC
Willets Point Redevelopment Plan (3) © NYC EDC
Willets Point Redevelopment Plan (4) © NYC EDC
Willets Point Redevelopment Plan (5) © NYC EDC