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Under Spaces 1
Hargreaves Associates


This is a quick survey of sorts in three parts. This is the first part.

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Built in what used to be blighted industrial landscape severed from the urban fabric by rail lines and an elevated highway, Hargreaves Associates' Waterfront Park in Louisville, Kentucky is now a premier public open space. Once inaccessible, an absence and an abscess in the civic life of the city, the area now teems with activity. The centerpiece of the whole park, the 12-acre Great Lawn, runs under an 8-lane segment of Interstate 64 and then slopes gently down towards the river, providing that once missing link between the downtown area and the Ohio River. The Great Lawn also provides expansive views of the waters and the city, and unsurprisingly, it gets completely overtaken by crowds during major events. More tranquil areas can be found in the rest of the park, all of which are intimately tucked within meandering landforms that either mimic the flow of the adjacent river or the flow of traffic hovering above or both. Another major piece of the park will be an abandoned railroad bridge adapted to provide a bicycle and pedestrian crossing to the other side of the river. Rather than tearing it down, this infrastructural remnant will be treated as a sort of monumental public sculpture, a reminder of the city's industrial past.

Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


Louisville Waterfront Park


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Below a highway overpass that has split a neighborhood in the Dutch city of Zaanstadt for decades, you can now find a supermarket, soccer fields, a skatepark, a fishmonger and a florist, a basketball court and a car park. There is even a marina.

Developed in part through an open and interactive public design process overseen by NL Architects, A8ernA “provides a quick solution to re-establishing the connection between the two parts of the divided township whilst also regenerating a space that had become dead, literally and symbolically in the shadow of the flyover.”

A8ernA


A8ernA


A8ernA


A8ernA


A8ernA


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Designed by the SWA Group, the Buffalo Bayou Promenade “connected Houston's downtown core to the river park to the west under and through a neglected and near impossible mess of freeways and bridges, adding 23 acres of parkland to Houston's inner city. The landscape architect's early visioning and then implementation converted a trash-soaked eyesore — intimidating to pedestrians and detrimental to flood control efforts — into 3,000 linear feet of urban park that provides a prominent gateway to downtown Houston.”

Spatial detritus, infrastructure, urban parks, theatrical lighting, floods and flood control, hydrologically responsive public open spaces — combine all of them together and you've got awesome.

Buffalo Bayou Promenade


Buffalo Bayou Promenade


Buffalo Bayou Promenade


Buffalo Bayou Promenade


Buffalo Bayou Promenade


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The McCormick Tribune Student Center on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, is Rem Koolhaas's contrapuntal infill in Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's “immaculately modern desert.” The one-story building holds aloft an oval tube which encircles an elevated tracks. Not only does it muffle the noise from passing trains, it absorbs a disturbance, one which has for decades split campus life, separating student residences on one side from classrooms on the other side.

McCormick Tribune Student Center


McCormick Tribune Student Center


McCormick Tribune Student Center


McCormick Tribune Student Center


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To be continued.
9 COMMENTS —
  • Lucas Gray
  • September 8, 2009 at 2:41:00 AM CDT
  • There are some fantastic photographs and inspiring spaces shown here. I have always been fascinated by the adaptation of underpasses. There is a great park in Eugene, Oregon with an elevated road flying overhead. I have always wanted to design an intervention for some of the rail bridges that dot my home town. Nice post.

    -Lucas Gray
    www.talkitect.com


  • Audric
  • September 8, 2009 at 9:30:00 AM CDT
  • In Taiwan, there is a large section underneath an elevated highway that was the location of a tremendously-long flower market. I unfortunately cannot remember many details as I was much younger at the time. All I remember was that it was bustling with people, stall after stall of orchids, bonsai, fresh cut flowers, "lucky bamboo," food vendors, etc., etc. It was all done with very little permanent infrastructure. This post is particularly interesting for anyone wondering what to do with the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto.


  • Georgia
  • September 8, 2009 at 3:32:00 PM CDT
  • There are several parks beneath highways in Oakland; some work better than others (like Walter Hood's SplashPad). This post presents lots of ideas for the many more underpasses in Oakland that remain un- and under-designed.


  • Georgia
  • September 8, 2009 at 3:35:00 PM CDT
  • Lots of overpasses in neighborhoods of Oakland underserved by full-scale grocery stores. Supermarket idea : http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2653/3898800094_0c1f8d7966_o.jpg.

    Obesity is a growing problem in Oakland. How about a network of trails. Idea: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2573/3898800514_dba9e87b35_o.jpg.

    Great post!


  • Alexander Trevi
  • September 10, 2009 at 12:39:00 AM CDT
  • Georgia, thanks for pointing out Walter Hood's Splash Pad Park in Oakland. I had planned to include it in this quickie survey but then decided to leave it out, because I wasn't too sure what was actually happening under the highway. The plan shows parking spaces, but are they converted to other uses during the weekend and special events? I just didn't know.


  • Georgia
  • September 10, 2009 at 3:04:00 PM CDT
  • Ah, I see your point about Splash Pad. Parking is located beneath the overpass.

    (I always think of Splash Pad as an overpass re-use because the space was v. desolate before the park and now, walking under the overpass, you feel like you're heading somewhere (not away from somewhere), especially during the weekend farmers' market.)

    (Across the street, there's a great mural beneath the overpass.)


  • Agustín Infante
  • September 11, 2009 at 6:31:00 PM CDT
  • An interesting example on under-highway facilities is the Recova area in Buenos Aires. Under Av. 9 de Julio - the world's widest, according to the Argentinians - there are some of the best restaurants in town. A link to a geo-referred photo here on Panoramio.


  • Anonymous
  • September 13, 2009 at 6:57:00 PM CDT
  • Dear mr. Trevi,

    If you would like photos of splash pad park please let me know. I live in Oakland, and there is a fabulous farmers market there every saturday morning, which i often attend-

    yours truly,

    ms. sj baumgartner ;)
    (the one and only)


  • Alexander Trevi
  • September 14, 2009 at 9:26:00 PM CDT
  • Why, of course, the one and only ms. sj!


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