Image: Tim de Chant.
The London 2012 Olympics are now over and within a day or so the activity in the city centre is near normal again. There has been deep consternation in central London during the games because the city has been so quiet! Realising that the city risked becoming gridlocked due to the extra Olympic traffic, the transport planning authorities were asked to provide a solution. Their action was drastic yet effective, and raised interesting questions.
Special traffic lanes, so called “games lanes” were created across the city for the sole use of Olympians. Resented as they were by Londoners, transport chiefs took the even more unpopular move of throttling road traffic at key junctions coming into the city to compensate for the reduced road capacity. They also ran a massive publicity campaign to encourage commuters to work from home for the duration of the games. The measures were so effective that the city felt empty. Shops and businesses off the main thoroughfares felt the pinch. Mid games even the Prime Minister made a call for people to return to the centre of the city.
Yet, the underground system reported that during the games it had carried more people than at any other time in its history! Read more
Image: Allan Sekula and Noël Burch.
Architects have often thought about shipping containers as convenient volumes of ready-made, modular space, from which Architecture can potentially be created. A few weeks ago we featured a few of the more interesting projects here. But in their film, The Forgotten Space, the directors Allan Sekula and Noël Burch have thought about the spaces associated with the marine transportation of goods. Or, thought of another way, the places the containers pass through.
Images: Lemay Associés [Architecture Design
Railway stations, bus depots and airport hangers are clover for admirers of supersheds! The need for massive spans bring the need for close collaboration, even harmonic relations, between architect and structural engineer. The transport shed can also lead to some pretty good architecture. Who, that has visited it, can forget Stockwell bus depot in London? When it was constructed in1952 it was the largest single-span concrete structure ever built! Its cathedral-like proportions and elegance astounds today.
So this transport centre in Montreal designed by Lemay Associés for the Montreal Transit Society is part of a noble tradition and must answer some particularly demanding questions. It has been designed to house 300 vehicles and is colossal in scale but it also sets different design priorities to earlier transport sheds.
Photos: Hufton & Crow
Today is an exciting day for the regeneration of Kings Cross – a formerly industrial area of London. The last key piece of transport infra structure, a new station concourse designed by John McAslan + Partners, opens to some architectural shock and awe, as well as palpable relief for the station’s regular users. Read more