From Seattle to Shanghai

August 1, 2009

For the past few weeks we’ve been doing a lot of design and a little less researching as before. But, we’ve gotten some useful tips on successful public spaces happening under the highways. So from Seattle to Shanghai, here they are: Read the rest of this entry »


Concrete Island

July 11, 2009

Picture 2CNCRETE J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island is the story of architect Robert Maitland, whose car accident in April of 1973 leaves him stranded and confined to the forgotten land under the spur of the M4 motorway in London.

Maitland, the hero of the story, ends up stranded in an ‘island’ defined by the concrete structure of the highways that surround it and the deafening roar of the cars. No-one sees him as they drive by and, as he remarks more than once, no will ever think of looking for him there.

The ‘island’ – and extension of his car and of himself- is nothing but the wasteland of urban living. The space is constricted and airless, left to overgrowth, trash and a seemingly abandoned outbuilding where Proctor and Jane (a brain damaged acrobat and a social outcast) live forgotten and isolated from and by society.

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Parking Garage_Stuttgart1

This parking garage in Stuttgart, Germany is across the street from the recently completed Mercedes-Benz museum. The three story parking garage is a perfect example of the integration of highway residual space and meeting the needs of the surrounding city. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sound Barrier

June 21, 2009

Hessing Luxury Car Showroom

This luxury car showroom, designed by Dutch firm Kas Oosterhuils/ONL, sits along the A2 Highway in Ulrecht.  The showroom was designed to fit into a thickened part of the highway sound barrier.

Land Bridge

June 21, 2009

Land Bridge Vancouver, Washington

A pedestrian bridge, crossing the highway near Fort Vancouver and the Columbia River provides a safe crossing, integrated with art and local history.  Part of the Confluence Project, and designed by architect/artist Maya Lin, the Land Bridge crosses over Highway 14 and railroad tracks, linking together two important historic sites. Along the bridge are places to sit and small kiosks illustrating various aspects of local Native American history.

Rock the Casbah

June 11, 2009


When it comes to the future of cities, it is often easiest to look to Le Corbusier. In the case of the future of Algiers it appears Corbu thought of it too. After his visit in 1931 he took it upon himself to design a plan for a future Algiers, an Algiers that was to become the center of Africa, a world capital just like Barcelona and Paris. He called it Plan Obus. Read the rest of this entry »

Inevitable Dross

June 8, 2009

Cities produce waste, not unlike living organisms. Alan Berger advices us to accept the residual space that comes as a direct consequence of urban living, and embrace it as a possibility for innovative design.

“To expect a planned city to function without waste (such as in a cradle to cradle approach), which represents the in situ or exported excess not only in its growth but of its maintenance, is as a naïve as expecting an animal to thrive in a sensory deprivation tank. The challenge for designers is thus not to achieve drossless urbanization, but to integrate inevitable dross into more flexible aesthetic and design strategies.”


PHOTO: Interchange Construction at Interstate Highways 610/10, Houston, TX


Saved Space!

June 7, 2009

Venice Architecture Biennale 08: MAP office
The project is called ‘underneath: life within the continuous monument of china,’ it is a multimedia installation created by MAP office for the 2008 Venice Biennale Architecture Expo. With the installation the office explores the new relationships created by the highway’s presence in the current urban landscape. The research was done in the Pearl River Delta region in china and specifically explores the area underneath a superhighway in Guanzhou.
The monumentality of the highway is contrasted with the understated uses the inhabitants have created for themselves underneath the motorway. The programs include billiards and entertainment, restaurants, parking lots, small shops and even a new model of infill construction under the highway.


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Highway Space in Use

June 7, 2009

Washington Street Skatepark

Built in 1999 by a group of skaters, the Washington Street Skatepark is the first of its kind in San Diego. The skatepark is most interesting in that it was built on the residual space left along the edges of a highway underpass.


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