Arc Wildlife Crossing

2010 - DENVER, CO, USA



CLIENT US Department of Transportation / SIZE 1.5 acres / 0.6 hectares / STATUS Competition Finalist 2010 / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Studio MDA / Knippers Helbig Inc / David Skelly / CITA / Bluegreen / Davis Langdon

The United States has one of the most extensive road transportation networks in the world. The system of roads that facilitates so well the movement of people and goods imposes substantial obstacles to the other species sharing our environment. Animals cross roads because their lifestyles depend on the use of resources that are distributed in space. 

Whether we provide the means to ease these movements or not, they occur with great frequency. Resulting collisions with vehicles represent a safety hazard for travelers, a significant financial burden, and a threat to the viability of species populations located in landscapes dissected by roads.

The Modular Crossing System utilizes the surrounding landscape in order to create a new shape inspired by nature. The design uses a low tech system of layering wood planes to create an easily modifiable shape. The main design intent of the crossings is a structure derived from the abstraction of the topographical layers in the landscape above. The wood for this system suggests the utilization of local trees felled or weakened by disease e.g. red pine in Colorado.

Building an Urban Living Room Come Se Gallery

2010 - Rome, Italy

Building an Urban Living Room Come Se Gallery

Rome, Italy

CLIENT Galleria di Architettura “Come Se” / STATUS Design completed in NY in 2009, Exhibition in Rome June/July 2010/ DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates / Civico Zero & Save the Children

What should a public space be, asked Balmori in an online twitter forum with invited landscape architect Erik de Jong, planner Arnold van der Valk and their 40 Dutch students. We extended the conversation to the Meatpacking District, the neighborhood of our office, by participating in New York festival for contemporary psychogeography, “Conflux City 2009”. The ideas we collected on sharable space, urban decorum, and contextual appropriateness were broadcasted in a short video on blogs including the New York Architectural League’s Urban Omnibus.

With these ideas we developed design principles for the Urban Living Room:

Re-use materials – design to avoid waste create rough, industrial aesthetics

Keep it simple – Low tech and inexpensive construction and maintenance

Anticipate changing requirements – plan for easy reconfiguration The Urban Living Room is made of simple, inexpensive and interchangeable elements – a base, a pole, a canopy – to perform the functions of planter, shading, space partition, seating, lighting, rainwater collector…and even a birdhouse. Put together, these components create a public place, a space where one can linger, relax, and just be.

In 2010 Balmori Associates took the Urban Living Room to the first edition of Rome Architecture Festival, La Festa dell’ Architettura di Roma. Balmori Associates provided the organization “Civico Zero / Save The Children Italia” with guidelines for the construction of an Urban Living Room. The children and adolescents of the association, who recently arrived in Rome from Africa, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe, often homeless, sometime without papers, and who do not speak Italian or English, built their Urban Living Room.

Diagrams of the components indicated Materials a barrel filled with gravels and cement or with soil when used as a planter, galvanized steel poles, rubber mats made from tires for the seats, and sail cloth for the canopy and partition. But materials on hand in Rome were different from the ones originally selected for the New York City project: the barrel was replaced by cars and trucks’ wheels, the poles were orange PVC construction pipes, and the canopy and lightshade were made from an olive collecting net. Hosted by the Architecture Gallery, Come Se, the Urban Living Room opened in June 2010 accompanied by photographs telling the story of the construction of the Urban Living Room taken by one of the adolescents of Save The Children, the young Ivoirian, Mohamed Keita.

Building an Urban Living Room

2010 - New York, NY, USA

Building an Urban Living Room

New York, NY, USA

CLIENT Meat Packing District Initiative / STATUS Design proposed 2010  / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Erik de Jong

The proposal for a temporary solution for the public space of Gansevoort Plaza in the Meatpacking District (MPD) used the city’s streets for pedestrian use in a way that is flexible, inexpensive and contextually appropriate. Under the request of the Meatpacking District Initiative, Balmori Associates was given the task to re-imagine the public spaces created by the new traffic alignments and design a language of street furniture and planting that helped define the space. Before beginning to develop our design principles, we first had to ask, what should a public place be? We wanted to engage a wide audience in answering this question. We set up an online forum through live video and twitter and invited landscape architect Erik de Jong and planner Arnold van der Valk, with their 40 Dutch students to discuss urban public space in the American context. We extended the conversation to the neighborhood by participating in a street festival “Conflux City”, and we also made a video that could be shown in various online blogs. We turned this community engagement exercise into a preliminary design scheme where one simple and inexpensive piece of furniture with interchangeable components – a pole and hollow pole base, canopy and rubber mats – can perform the functions of planter, shading, space partition, seating, lighting…even a birdhouse. The flexibility of this solution allows for a variety of layout options, from grouped seating at right angles or in triangles, to a weekend market activities or event space.

University of Buffalo Solar Park

2010 - Buffalo, NY, USA

University of Buffalo Solar Park

Buffalo, NY, USA

CLIENT University of Buffalo / New York Power Authority (NYPA) / STATUS Competition Finalist, 2010 / SIZE 6 acres / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, Inc.

Balmori Associates with their proposal of “Public Power Park“ was chosen as one of three finalists out of 20 artists invited to compete for the design of a new ‘Solar Park’ by the university of Buffalo with the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The installation was required to use 5,000 solar panels within a landscape to produce energy for the student housing and proposed one of the largest on any campus in the United States. Balmori’s proposal addresses the nature of technological infrastructure, where nature and technology intersect and proposes a new kind of public space, one that is a programmed response to producing power, and powering public space.

Modeled after the lake effect, Solar Effects captures weather to produce power and public space. The lake effect marries wind, humidity, temperature and topography creating a powerful weather machine that shapes our collective experience of landscape. This phenomenon drifts through the sky painting the land with rain and snow.  The solar grid is pixilated and reordered along the flows of wind and people. The drifting arrangement and varying heights of the panels form a solar topography, optimized for peak power production.  Solar education and demonstration are embedded in the project. Water collects in the gently undulating meadows.  Mirrors dot the underside of the panels, sparkling in the sun and moonlight, further increasing the solar efficiency of the system.  Snow cones register snow and ice in playful sculptures embedded into the structure of the system and an interactive Solar Iceberg glows with the latest solar technologies.