How do you beat the heat without leaving the urban jungle? By stepping inside New York’s Dover Street Market, Copenhagen’s Blue Planet aquarium, London’s new wildlife viewing stations on Regent’s Canal, and other cool city spots.
1 Copenhagen’s Kalvebod Waves
Opened late last summer on a strip of port land not far from Copenhagen Central Station, Kalvebod Waves will experience its first full season as the realized maritime playground conceived in 2008 by Julien De Smedt of JDS Architects and KLAR. Two intricate promenades of wood, concrete and metal skip out over the water and back, escaping the shadows cast by nearby office towers. An on-site kayak and canoe club allows wandering souls to paddle over to the Harbour Bath, completed more than a decade earlier by De Smedt and former partner Bjarke Ingels.
2 Chicago’s WMS Boathouse
For decades, Chicagoans considered Lake Michigan the city’s only place for water play. However, the new WMS Boathouse by Studio Gang – the first of four planned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel along the revitalized Chicago River – serves as a site to relaunch the city’s relationship with its backwards-flowing waterway. Designed for rowers, the 2,100‑square-metre building, which contains a 16-seat indoor training tank and a floating launch dock, expresses the sport’s hypnotic burst-and-recover stroke tempo with a roof silhouette that rises and falls – “the poetic rhythm and motion of rowing,” as principal Jeanne Gang describes it. These peaks allow light to penetrate the plywood-clad interior during winter, and provide natural ventilation to keep it cool in summer. Operated by the Chicago Rowing Foundation, the boathouse is located on the river’s north branch, a straight shot down Addison Street from that other temple of summer fun, Wrigley Field.
3 New York’s Dover Street Market
A Manhattan department store for a summer pilgrimage? Sure, when the project is dreamt up by iconoclastic Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo. The third edition of her fashion-through-chaos Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo opened late last year on Lexington Avenue, in a 1908 building that housed the School of Applied Design for Women.
Kawakubo led the redesign of the original interior, installing a new glass elevator that pierces the market’s seven storeys. Her next move was to invite a squadron of like-
minded artists to animate the spaces. Three “pillars” that span six floors’ worth of open vertical space highlight the artistic intervention: London Fieldworks’ Spontaneous
City NY installation is a precarious tower of wooden boxes. Yarn sculptor Magda Sayeg wrapped one of the massive columns in its own knitted sweater, fabricated with the
help of eight artisans in Austin, Texas. Meanwhile, architecture firm Arakawa and Gins fashioned a staircase to connect the third and fourth floors. Artfully titled Biotopological Scale–Juggling Escalator, it was one of principal Madeline Arakawa Gins’ final projects (she passed away in January, just weeks after DSM’s opening).
The scattershot assemblage of boutiques is populated by such high-end names
as Prada, cult designer Andre Walker, and more than a half-dozen Comme des Garçons sub-labels. The glorious mishmash, which includes an outpost of Paris’s excellent
Rose Bakery, will close down for a few days in July to undergo Kawakubo’s twice-yearly “tachiagari” period: from the Japanese word for “beginning,” it will refresh the entire market space. Summer is no time, apparently, to rest on one’s laurels. 160 Lexington Avenue
4 Aarau, Switzerland’s bus canopy
Getting around is now a bit cooler in the northern Swiss town of Aarau, where Vehovar & Jauslin Architektur of Zurich installed an inflatable bus transfer canopy outside the new central train station. ETFE membranes – with the top layer tinted blue, the lower one clear, and both printed with refreshing bubble motifs – form a warped, flattened doughnut pad around structural steel elements. Secured in place by steel cables, the single-chamber canopy is inflated via an underground control unit linked by polyethylene tubes. Sensors react to changing weather patterns to keep the canopy properly pressurized.
5 On the St. Lawrence in Verchères, Quebec
In Verchères, 30 minutes north of Montreal, Félix Guyon crafted an outdoor monument to the 1740 arrival of the village’s founders by ship. The trio of benches sits in a grassy field on the banks of the St. Lawrence River; they consist of white oak slats affixed to a welded steel structure, like a ship’s sail to its mast. A gentle lean makes the benches appear as if they’re gliding across the water – and makes them much more comfortable, too.
6 Paris’s abandoned subway stations
Could Parisians soon exchange their summertime ritual of fleeing south for a more local escape? According to renderings dreamt up by local architects Manal Rachdi and Nicolas Laisné, the new move might be to head underground. Earlier this year, the pair released an innovative scheme as part of a campaign by Parisian mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet to remake some 16 abandoned stations on the Paris metro. According to the renderings, a station such as Arsenal, shuttered in 1939, would become a swimming pool (shown), or a nightclub, or a restaurant. None of the designs will be realized anytime soon, but for Parisians the turnstiles of the imagination are now open.
7 Dunas Arena in Natal, Brazil
At recent soccer World Cups, the beautiful game has called for increasingly beautiful showpiece venues. Five new stadiums were designed for this year’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil, to join seven more scattered across the country that were either renovated or rebuilt. Among the most visually impressive are an arena in the Amazon city of Manaus designed by GMP Architekten to resemble a traditional indigenous basket; and another by Populous, GMP’s rival for the title of world’s top stadium architects.
For the coastal city of Natal, Populous designed the Dunas Arena, a 42,000-seat stadium enclosed by 20 curving petals that serve as both facade and rooftop. These rounded trusses, of varying heights to evoke the region’s surrounding dunes, are clad with aluminum on the exterior and a pre-stressed PVC membrane on the interior. Translucent polycarbonate panels link the segmented walls.
Because the World Cup will be played at the height of the rainy season, the architects installed a gutter system that will collect and transfer water to nine below-ground tanks for use in the restrooms. The facility will host four opening-round games, including a highly anticipated June 16 match between the United States and its football nemesis Ghana, which has knocked the US out of the past two World Cups. If stadium design confers any sort of home field advantage, bettors might note that Populous was founded in Kansas City in 1983.
8 Beach gear out of Barcelona
Managers, be wary of that salesman leaving the office to attend an “afternoon client meeting” while carrying a retro briefcase: he or she just might be heading to the beach for a cookout. Designed by RS Barcelona, the Mon Oncle Portable BBQ opens to reveal a stainless steel grill; the stand, perforated to improve air flow, is painted in fire-resistant blue, green, or black. A messenger-style shoulder bag designed to conceal charcoal and a single porterhouse steak is surely in the pipeline, right?
9 Berlin’s Gleisdreieck Park
Gleisdreieck Park in central Berlin is one of the city’s most recent public spaces to be remade following World War II; it was completed in 2013 by the landscape firm Atelier Loidl. Local architects Grischa Leifheit and Jörg Wessendorf crafted a welcome kiosk for the park’s main eastern entrance, playing on the peaked geometry of typical German saddle-roofed houses. With the shutters open, it offers information and concession services to visitors. The most clever design gesture is the cladding: durable, weather-resistant laminate sheets, made of paper and resin, printed with an oversized graphic of freshly sawn wood grain. Möckernstrasse, near Gleisdreieck U-Bahn station.
10 Copenhagen’s Blue Planet aquarium
A swirling new architectural form by 3XN, on Kastrup Harbor, near the airport in southern Copenhagen, draws landlubbers into Denmark’s stunning national aquarium. Modelled after a whirlpool, the swirling structure, named the Blue Planet, is clad in diamond-shaped aluminum shingles that set it shimmering in sunlight. Inside, a lighting program by Jesper Garde Kongshaug projects ripple effects that dance across the walls and ceilings of curved walkways. These augment the natural rhythms of over seven million litres of water that host some 20,000 aquatic animals. Most important of all to visitors: yes, there is a shark tank. Jacob Fortlingsvej 1, Kastrup
11 A stunning kiosk in London
Boardwalk kiosks can be a hot, grimy place for vendors to sweat out the summer. So London’s Make Architects, led by Sean Affleck, devised an aluminum-clad kiosk for Canary Wharf that promises to be the envy of vendors cooped up in the veritable little saunas alongside. Based on an origami-like geometry that enables easy opening and closing, the design also features an ingenious double wall system: a waterproof inner membrane coupled with a breathable, rear-ventilated rain screen. Moisture penetrates the outer skin and evaporates between the layers. This double wall keeps vendors dry in inclement weather and, more important, keeps the interior cool on hot August afternoons. Two of the multi-purpose mobile units are now deployed in and around Canary Wharf.
12 Long Island’s PS1 MoMA pavilion
This June, a cylindrical tower built using organic materials will rise in the courtyard of Long Island City’s MoMA PS 1. Titled Hy-Fi, it is the work of designer David Benjamin, whose studio The Living explores adaptive technologies. The tower is being constructed out of biodegradable bricks made from cornstalks and living root structures. The bricks’ moulds, made out of 3M daylighting mirror film, will then be set atop the structure to bounce light downward. Visitors will experience the installation’s natural cooling effects, and in September, the organic bricks will be returned to the earth with no carbon emissions created.
13 Toronto designers reinvent the canoe
South Street Boatbuilders makes canoes and kayaks in multiple shapes and sizes at their studio just east of Toronto’s Don River. But the Mary 8 (above right) – with its ultralight frame and translucent, heat-shrunk Dacron skin – cuts the most remarkable wake. Weighing in at a mere five kilograms, the solo paddler is easy to carry single-handedly. Designers Hilary Hayes and Tim Richards build similar craftsmanship and utility into their Hull lamp, illuminated with a low-voltage, high-output LED strip. A 2.7‑metre model hangs in the event space of Toronto’s Dionysus Wines.
14 Osaka, Japan’s internet-foodie hub
On the ground floor of Grand Front Osaka, a massive new multi-purpose development in the city’s former railway yards, architect Kengo Kuma has designed a small space to serve as a sort of culinary concierge. Gurunavi, a popular bar and restaurant listing website in Japan, opened the shop as its PR headquarters, and as a place where company hosts can interact with hungry patrons, offering recommendations for the roughly 100 dining options available throughout the complex. Named Shun*Shoku, the 80-square-metre storefront is composed of simple yet intricately stacked shapes, built out of larch plywood panels, which make room for a seasonal smoothie bar and seating where patrons can eat boxed lunches. 1F Umekita Plaza
15 The inflatable festival tent
The Ark Nova, a doughnut-shaped tent created by architect Arata Isozaki and artist Anish Kapoor, made its debut last fall at a music festival in Matsushima, in Japan’s tsunami-ravaged Tohoku region. While plans for its second solstice appearance remain in flux, organizers of the Lucerne Festival hope to take their uniquely coloured tent on a broader tour of Tohoku this year. The 18-metre-tall “ark” is made of translucent PVC-coated polyester and inflates easily with help from fans. The aubergine interior seats up to 500 and contains multiple performance stages.
16 New York’s crowd-funded pool
Floating pools may not be new, but filling one with water from the Hudson River certainly is. The concept for +Pool imagines an 864-square-metre structure filled with water drawn and filtered from the river it floats in – with no chemical treatment. The team behind this bold vision has already completed two successful Kickstarter campaigns, which offered backers the chance to have their names etched into the tiles. Partnering with such firms as Arup and IDEO, as well as naval architects Persak & Wurmfeld, the team is now testing the filtration membranes via a floating science lab, with the aim of making the pool fully operational by summer 2016.
17 London’s wildlife viewing stations
On a section of Regent’s Canal, a waterway lined with greenery in the middle of busy King’s Cross, sits an angular wildlife viewing shelter that references the Laavu tents of Scandinavia’s Sami peoples. The eponymous principals of the young Finnish firm AOR – Erkko Aarti, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola – designed a thoughtfully modern structure for the similarly young Camley Street Natural Park, which was established in 1984. The wooden structure is clad in dark Corten steel, and the concrete floor is dotted with grooves shaped like animal tracks, to prevent slipping. The piece was constructed in February in a nearby lot, lifted into the canal by a crane, and towed into position by boat. Meanwhile, the architects oversaw most of the installation from Helsinki via webcam.