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2015 Placemaking Seminar Archive / back to Placemaking Network Committee page »

Placemaking Seminar Series 2015


Speaker: Robert Tullis, Vice President?Director of Design,
GID Urban Development Group

Why are some places loved while others are never popular? Are some architectural
characteristics​ more conducive to human habitation? How do scale, enclosure, use,
and memory help create a sense of place? 

The Placemaking Network engages in a series of conversations covering architectural
thinking and writing that relates to the making of distinct urban public spaces. After an
overview derived from a Placemaking course that ​Rob Tullis developed for the Boston
Architectural College, attendees will share a discussion of each group of authors’ ideas.

THE OBSERVERS: The Renaissance, Camillo Sitte, Art Historians 
March 2, 2015 
These writers focus primarily on the FORM of successful public spaces and simply document them or attempt to tease out of their observations some prescriptive notes on why the observer thinks they are successful. The talk will focus on the godfather of placemaking, Camillo Sitte, and bring Renaissance thinkers like Alberti & Palladio into the conversation, along with more contemporary observers like Gordon Cullen, Ed Bacon, William MacDonald, and Spiro Kostoff 

THE RESEARCHERS: William ‘Holly’ Whyte, Jan Gehl, Kevin Lynch 
March 30, 2015
These writers focus primarily on the USE of public open space, analyzing both human perception and human behavior. They’ve conducted real architectural research, setting up cameras to record how people behave in different spaces, creating experiments to test people’s spatial orientation, distributing questionnaires to understand their emotional reactions, and compiling diagrams of their movements. The research is a treasure trove of information. 

THE THEORISTS: Rowe & Koetter, Aldo Rossi, Chris Alexander 
April 27, 2015
These writers have created full-fledged architectural theory about public urban space. They have conceptualized an intellectual approach to the city and the role of architecture within it, and combined it with a working process for placemaking. Whether it’s the concept of the Collage City, or the Locus Solus, or a Pattern Language; each of this talk’s theorists was influential on the practice of architecture and urban planning in his time and in his own distinct way. 

THE ADVOCATES: Jane Jacobs, Project for Public Spaces, Leon Krier and the New Urbanists 
May 18, 2015
While all observers, researchers, and theorists have advocated for the creation of quality places within the city and town to a degree, this group of writers is primarily known for their advocacy of a certain prescription for the design of Place, often in opposition to a competing polemic. The influence of 1961’s “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” opposition to top-down renewal efforts, the Project for Public Spaces’ crowdsourcing and event-style advocacy, and the New Urbanists’ form-based codes have all turned the prevailing standards of their times on their heads.

Art in the Landscape: Patrick Dougherty, Roxy Paine and Konstantin Dimopoulos 
June 22, 2015
Returning Placemaking Network co-chair, Christina Lanzl, will talk about the work of Patrick Dougherty, Roxy Paine and Konstantin Dimopoulos, three internationally renowned artists who have been transforming landscapes into worlds of wonder and discovery. Through their imagination and creativity, their works have imprinted indelible memories through both temporary and permanent installations. As placemakers, these artists have centered their creative inquiry on trees. Their processes and outcomes are distinctively different in regard to materials, narrative and durability of their large-scale outdoor installations. Dougherty has been utilizing traditional basket weaving techniques to turn saplings into massive "Stickwork" environments, many of them with an architectural character. One of his large-scale outdoor installations is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum through 2016. Roxy Paine’s naturalistic tree sculptures are meticulously cast in stainless steel. His Dendroids closely resemble leafless trees in a paralyzed, inanimate state. Dimopoulos developed The Blue Trees project, which has been realized in partnership with cultural and environmental organizations, cities and hundreds of volunteers at a dozen prominent sites worldwide. Stands of trees, either mature or saplings, are colored with an environmentally safe, ultramarine blue pigment to call attention to global deforestation. This Placemaking session will explore artistic intent, context and the relationship between art, landscape and nature in a comparative dialog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015 | 6:30pm
cultureNOW in partnership with the BSA Placemaking Network and the New York Center for Architecture's Architecture Dialogue and Global Dialogue committees presented FRAMES OF REFERENCE | New York : Boston.
cultureNOW reached out to a diverse group of artists, architects, planners, and curators who practice globally and locally to explore the impact of context on the built environment. They shared their thoughts about how historical, cultural and civic contexts become their frames of reference at a pecha-kucha style presentation. The event was simulcast live from both cities. Moderator in New York was James Russell, FAIA, Adjunct Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture. Boston:
David Fixler, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, EYP Architecture and Engineering, moderated the Boston presenters.

Cities with Heart
September 28, 2015
Nowhere is the need for implementing urban public open spaces best practices more urgent than in rapidly urbanizing China. Harvard-educated landscape architect and BSA Placemaking participant Thomas Paine, founder of the Boston office of AGER, a Shanghai based multidisciplinary design firm, will share the China book-tour PPT of his recently published book “Cities with Heart” (China Architecture and Building Press, Beijing, 2015) to show how he makes the case for urban public open space excellence to a general audience in China, where standards of practice differ markedly from our own in the US. For anyone currently involved in international work, or contemplating it, this session will be of particular interest. Design guidelines for open space systems–civic plazas, downtown parks, large parks, greenways and neighborhood parks–will be included in this image-rich presentation. 

Architecture and Human Subconscious Responses to the Built Environment
October 26, 2015
The revolution in the life sciences, including neuroscience happening now, will impact far more than biology: it will change our understanding of the human response to buildings and places. With the availability of affordable biometric devices to measure subconscious traits, new tools for determining how built-environments makes people feel are
possible, providing opportunities for research and a comprehensive understandings of our experience of place. Anne Sussman, co-author of Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment (Routledge, 2015) will talk about three subconscious traits that determine our behavior: why Edges Matter, Patterns Matter and Shapes Carry Weight–each topic a synthesis of recent scientific findingsAnn Sussman, AIA, is an architect, artist, writer and community organizer. She co-authored Cognitive Architecture with Justin Hollander, PhD, AICP, of Tufts University. Previously, the pair created the “Open Neighborhood Project”, using art, craft and digital tools to increase public participation in planning, and earning the Commonwealth's "Gold Star Award"

The Urban Innovation Gallery: A Report from the Field
December 7, 2015
Sam Aquillano, Executive Director of Design Museum Boston, will report on the ongoing implementation of the Urban Innovation Gallery, an urban intervention and education project that explores placemaking strategies to improve underneath the I-93 overpass at Berkley Street bridge, close to Traveler and West 4th streets, an area Design Museum Boston named the Neighborhood Border Zone. The Urban Innovation Gallery will unite Boston's Chinatown, South End, Fort Point, and South Boston neighborhoods by exploring new solutions for the urban depression in what should be the heart of Boston's artistic and innovative core.The project is funded in part by an ArtPlace America grant.