Một phụ nữ đang đi dạo cùng chó bên bờ sông gần nhà thờ Ely, hạt Cambrigeshire, Anh vào một ngày không xác định trong năm 2009 thì đột nhiên con vật tỏ ra hoảng loạn. Người phụ nữ ngẩng đầu lên và nhìn thấy một vật bay phía trên nhà thờ. Ảnh: Archant Herts & Cambs.

This summer, Jerusalem inaugurated a new bridge by Santiago Calatrava that will be the centerpiece of a planned light-rail system connecting the Old City to the sprawling neighborhoods just over its walls. The serpentine, cable-stayed structure is a stone’s throw away from the Central Bus Station in a dusty, car-clogged intersection, where its gleaming white “strings” (it is meant to evoke a harp) and glass-and-basalt walkway make an odd juxtaposition with the dismal surroundings. The angled mast, which rises 387 feet into the air-making it among the most prominent features of the skyline-has been a particular point of contention, with many Israelis calling it overscaled and out of place. The city maintains that the $70 million bridge, which is expected to open in 2010 along with the first rail line, will help ease perennial traffic jams, aid tourists traveling into the Old City, and provide Jerusalem with a sparkling new symbolic entrance. Continue Reading »

An Interview with Santiago Calatrava

Photo © Luca Vignelli

Santiago Calatrava fulfills an astonishing variety of roles in a specialized age: engineer, architect, sculptor, artist, builder, husband, father. The Spanish-born architect Calatrava and his wife Robertina live and work in an elegant white villa beside Zurich’s Lake Zurichsee. On a spring day, he and Record editor-in-chief Robert Ivy met in a museum-like space on the residence’s piano nobile, amid Calatrava’s models and works in progress. Yellow light and Bach pierced the quietude, and when he spoke, Calatrava talked like an animated philosopher. The two then strolled to lunch beside the lake, a daily ritual for Calatrava.

ARCHITECTURAL RECORD: How do you formulate your ideas and develop them?

CALATRAVA: I try to emphasize the importance of place. The very first impression will come from the place. And I think it is fundamental to establish a link of feeling with this place. Continue Reading »

Editor’s note: Late Monday night the Huntington Beach City Council passed the Ripcurl project with modifications, including a 385 unit limit as proposed by city staff for the 3.8 acre site, with 50 percent on site affordable housing provided for moderate income levels (50 percent low income housing provided off site) and improved pedestrian walkways. The vote was 6-1 with Councilmember Jill Hardy voting no. The OC Voice will publish more details soon on this blog and in its next print edition on Nov. 24.

By Thu-Trang Tran
OC Voice Staff Writer
(Nov. 10, 2008 at 4 p.m.)

Ripcurl could become Surf City's first development guided by the hand of God.

With Him in charge, how bad could it be?

Jesus may have been a carpenter, but would he build a “green” high-density and mixed-use development of luxury apartments and hep boutiques on Gothard Avenue and Center Street across from Golden West College?

Red Oak Investments, seeking “To serve God in the marketplace,” according to company literature, will ask the Huntington Beach City Council tonight for permission to build the project, which it calls Ripcurl, heralding a radical new approach toward redevelopment in the city.

Ripcurl was previously approved by the planning commission but with 87 apartment units per acre on the 3.8-acre property, or 330 units total. Red Oaks wants 440 units per acre. Residential density is typically 15 units per acre but often goes over 35 units and sometimes as high as 50 units per acre at specific locations throughout the city.

The strongest advocates of change that Ripcurl represents are city planners and developers. They have been swept away by the “green” philosophy of New Urbanism, a more centralized approach to community planing that allows much higher population densities and mixes commercial with residential living in order to save space and cut down on automobile commutes.

But Ripcurl’s critics depict is as out of touch with Surf City’s life style and full of the Devil in its details, including increased traffic, parking problems and crime. They are busy organizing opposition to the Ripcurl and similar projects nearby and along the Edinger/Beach corridor.

With the exception of some minor changes recommended by city staff, Ripcurl shows little sign of slowing down, even though the city council hasn’t yet completed its evaluation of the proposed Beach-Edinger Specific Plan, which would drastically change land use for large sections of land west and south of the Beach-Edinger intersection, creating synergy between existing and future developments like Ripcurl, Village at Bella Terra and Murdy Commons-all mixed-use, high-rise, high-density projects. Continue Reading »