Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Somebody posted an image of an old map of the Liffey on facebook today. I was sure it had been used on an old Irish bank note (pre euro) and did some searching online. It turns out that my memory is to be trusted, it was on the back of the ten pound note and the image is taken from the 1756 map of Dublin by John Rocque. What interests me about the image is the amount of ships and boats on the Liffey, hard to imagine now that it once was such a bustling transport hub 250 years ago.
John Rocque (1709–1762) was a surveyor and cartographer.Rocque is now mainly remembered for his map of London. He began work on this in 1737 and it was published in 24 printed sheets in 1747. It was by far the most detailed map of London published up to that time, and remains an important historical resource.
The map of London and his other maps brought him an appointment as cartographer to the Prince of Wales in 1751.
His 1756 map of Dublin featured on an Irish Ten Pond banknote. The Area around Dublin city is covered on 4 maps. They extended as far as Skerries and Cardy Rocks to the North, Carton House to the west, Blessington to the south west,and Enniskerry to the south.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The Bathhouse revives the spirit of Barking’s former Bathhouse, which, before closing in 1986 after 87 years of operation, catered for the health of thousands of local people and even hosted events, dinners and dances until the 1960s. The 6,000-square-foot new structure is inspired by both 20th-century working men’s bathhouses and ultra-modern spas, and combines modern spa technologies with functional design that draws on Barking’s industrial heritage, the black-stained timber farm buildings of Essex and the wooden beach huts of Kent. Its raw aesthetic challenges traditional notions of luxury whilst creating a blissful space to relax, and its pod-based design, which was prefabricated and assembled on site, was planned with the future in mind, so that after it closes, the pods can be relocated individually or together for continued use by the local community.
New York City Waterfalls was a public art project by artist Olafur Eliasson, in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, consisting of four man-made waterfalls placed around New York City along the East River. At $15.5 million, it was the most expensive public arts project since Christo and Jeanne-Claude's installation of The Gates in Central Park. The waterfalls officially began flowing on June 26, 2008. They ran from 7 am to 10 pm (under illumination after sunset), until October 13, 2008.
The sites chosen for the four waterfalls were Pier 35 in Manhattan, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge in DUMBO, Brooklyn, between piers 4 and 5 — also in Brooklyn — and Governors Island.
Work on erecting the four support scaffolds began in mid-March, 2008. Once completed, the scaffolding would total 64,000 square feet (5,900 m2) and weigh 270 tons. Eliasson has said that the scaffolds themselves were designed to blend in with their urban surroundings, but that he purposely did not try to conceal them, explaining he "want[s] people to know that this is both a natural phenomenon and a cultural one.”
Construction involved the work of 108 different people, including two environmental consultants. The installation was designed to be ecologically-friendly. Some example of this are energy efficient LED lighting, energy purchased from renewable sources and the filters used to keep aquatic life from taking a ride up-and-over the waterfall. When the project closed the materials were made available for re-use in a future project.
The over $15 million dollar project had no city funding and was paid for entirely by private organizations, business and donors. Mayor Bloomberg's company, Bloomberg LP, donated $13.5 million. With estimates that the waterfalls could generate up to $55 million for the local economies, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation gave $2 million to the effort.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
“Conversation between Olafur Eliasson and Hans Ulrich Obrist.”
Hans Ulrich Obrist: We could start by talking about your Green River series, in
which you completely changed the look of certain cities by colouring their rivers
green. A good example was Stockholm, where you had a residency. How did people in Stockholm react?
Olafur Eliasson: At the time I was working on a smaller project, but very quickly the idea of colouring downtown Stockholm became something I just had to do. I bought the pigment in Germany and came back through customs with a real feeling of suspense and excitement; after all, I had enough colorant with me to dye the whole centre of the city. This wasn't an official project; I had to work really fast, so I'd got the planning down pat together with the current and the turbulence in the river, and one Friday at half past one there I was on the bridge with Emile and a bag full of red powder and people starting to stare at us. I hesitated for a moment then emptied the bag out over the parapet and the wind whipped up this enormous red cloud. I could literally feel people in cars slowing down, the cars went all quiet. And there was this cloud, floating over the river like a layer of gas. When it came in contact with the water, all of a sudden the river turned green, it was like a shock wave. There was a crowded bus ten metres a way and everybody was staring at the water. I told Emile we should maybe move on, as if everything was perfectly normal, then I carefully put the
bag in a trashcan, as if colouring the centre of Stockholm was the kind of thing I did every day. I went down to the studio residency and when I came out again my heart started jumping up and down like mad: the whole length of the river was completely green and all these people had stopped to look at it. Next day it was all over the front page of the papers: "The river turned green". The colorant was absolutely harmless and there was no pollution whatsoever.
HUO: So the idea was to make the city visible for its inhabitants, who no longer take any notice of the way it works or what's special about it. What you did was aimed at challenging their perception of their environment as something changeless and reassuring.
OE: Right. I wanted to get a fix on how the river is perceived in the city. Is it
something dynamic or static? Something real or just a representation? I wanted to make it present again, get people to notice its movement and turbulence. For a few minutes there it was "hyperreal". In some respects the history of cities is the history of how they're represented and most of the time this is done by accentuating the classical, monumental structures that suggest power. The way we experience public spaces is more to do with the way representation and iconography influence our senses and our habits of seeing. A lot of people see urban space as an external image they have no connection with, not even physically.
Moored on a post-industrial stretch of the River Spree, the 'bathing ship' is a cargo container turned public pool, with floating wooden lounge deck, open-air bar, onshore beach, sun chairs and hammocks. In summer, DJs spin minimal techno while young locals sip cocktails and soak up the sun; in winter, the whole thing is turned into a covered wellness retreat complete with two saunas, heated pool, bar, lounge and outdoor cooling platform. Whether channelling Ibiza or Helsinki, it's always good for a chilled-out taste of local flair.
BBC.CO.UK January 2012
A floating pier proposed for the Thames in central London has been delayed and will now not be built before the Olympics.
The River Park, which is to stretch 1km (0.6 miles) from the Millennium Bridge to Custom House Access Bridge, was hailed as an "amazing and unique attraction" by Mayor Boris Johnson.
But its layout and its impact on the river have faced criticism.
The project developer said feedback meant a redesign was now needed.
John Naylor, director of London River Park, said: "While Londoners as a whole are supportive of the scheme, it is clear local residents and river users would like us to look again at certain elements of the scheme.
"We are now reviewing the scheme, taking into account what we have been told.
"We are no longer proposing to take the scheme into the construction phase in advance of the Olympic Games."
Perhaps the most unsung patch of heaven in New York City is a tiny sliver of riverfront parkland tucked between a metal-recycling yard and a giant wholesale produce market, on the far side of a six-lane highway and a pair of active freight train tracks. Hunts Point Riverside Park, a 1.4-acre speck in the South Bronx, opened a few years ago on what had been a filthy, weedy street end.
A garden path now winds from the front gate past rose bushes and flowering butterfly bushes, beyond a sprinkling fountain and shaded benches under a flowered trellis, to a pier on the Bronx River. Save for a couple of brick apartment towers rising over the treetops, the view is green across the river. The other afternoon teenagers from Rocking the Boat, a neighborhood organization that teaches boatbuilding were lugging rowboats to the muddy shore and launching themselves into the river.
For years one of the most blighted, abused waterways in the country, the southern end of the Bronx River has been slowly coming back and with it the shoreline that meanders through the South Bronx.
The New York waterfront is changing perhaps more than any other part of the city. For centuries the interests of big money and industry shaped it. These days the city’s old industrial waterfront is in many places giving way to parks and luxury apartment towers where money still talks, like along the Hudson.
Park by park a patchwork of green spaces has been taking shape, the consequence of decades of grinding, grass-roots, community-driven efforts. For the environmentalists, educators, politicians, architects and landscape designers involved, the idea has not just been to revitalize a befouled waterway and create new public spaces. It has been to invest Bronx residents, for generations alienated from the water, in the beauty and upkeep of their local river.
By the turn of the last century the Bronx River had already become an open sewer, prompting renewal efforts that galvanized around a parkway to cordon off the northern end of the watershed between Westchester and the Bronx Zoo.
The river’s southern end had to wait until the 1970s, when the Bronx was burning, before anybody started talking seriously about ecological restoration and green space. A local police commander, Anthony Bouza, joined forces with a secretary at Fordham University, Ruth Anderberg, to make restoration a cause. The commander lived in Westchester and was struck while commuting each day by how the river was “a bucolic, sylvan, beautiful place” up north, he once recalled, but “in the South Bronx it was a yellow sewer” and “a symptom of America’s attitudes toward the underclass, a powerful, physical metaphor.” Anderberg agreed, quit her job and started the Bronx River Restoration Project.
By 1980 the project had published the area’s first greenway plan, which in many respects mapped what, all these years later, is slowly coming to pass. By the late ‘80s proposals circulated for bike paths.
The ecological movement, urban restoration in Europe and a new generation of bike-riding urbanists moved the issue into the mainstream.
The pint-size Hunts Point Riverside Park cost just $3.3 million; Barretto Point Park, with its floating pool, its pier and beach, fields and playgrounds, cost $7 million; Concrete Plant Park, where I saw lovers necking and old men fishing in the river, cost $11.4 million, most of which went to removing 32,000 tons of contaminated soil.
Hunts Point Landing used to be the dead end of Farragut Street. Signe Nielsen, a landscape architect, designed the site, which occupies barely 100 feet of waterfront. She installed wetlands, bio-filtration pools and reef balls at the water’s edge for oysters and mussels to spawn, and a new pier.
What’s emerging in the Bronx is past and future. A new, more equitable vision for the city in the 21st century. And a river returned, at least partly, to its former glory.