River Center Branch Library / Schwartz/Silver Architects + WHLC Architecture

Text description provided by the architects. The River Center Branch is a technology-rich downtown public library that celebrates its distinctive regional climate, proximity to the Mississippi River, and the unique local community.

River Center Branch Library / Schwartz/Silver Architects + WHLC Architecture - Exterior Photography, Windows, Facade, Cityscape
© Matthew Caillouet

Downtown Baton Rouge has recently seen an economic revival, yet forty percent of the city’s residents still live at or below the poverty line. With the Library following a pay-as-you-go strategy, fiscal responsibility was a major project driver, and the design and budget required comprehensive public vetting and full community support. The program was developed with an emphasis on technology, the broadest possible service menu, and the goal of providing facilities that would allow teens and adults to use the library to explore new interests and access information and training in ways that could help set them up for success.


The Largest Development Coming to U Street Moves Forward

Plans for the largest development on the boards for DC’s U Street Corridor are continuing to move forward.

Eastbanc and Jamestown have filed a planned unit development (PUD) with DC’s Zoning Commission for a development with a variety of different property types surrounding the U Street Metro at 13th and U Street NW (map).

Click to enlarge.

The development will consist of 117-143 new residential units, between 55-67 hotel rooms, 15 alley townhomes, and approximately 6,780 square feet of retail. The three-bedroom townhomes will border the historic alley known as Temperance Avenue. Shalom Baranes is the architect.

At least 15% of the units in the large residential building will be devoted to Inclusionary Zoning units set aside for households earning up to 60% of median family income. A portion of Temperance Avenue between the two rows of Townhomes will be converted into a pedestrian walkway open to the public, and the development team has a plan to redesign and significantly upgrade the west entrance of the Metro station.


Can Anacostia Build a Bridge Without Displacing Its People?

A decade in the works, the 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington, D.C., has yet to be built. But it could be a model for how to create public space while lessening the effects of gentrification.

I. What’s the purpose of a park?

In 2016, Faruq Bey moved into a one-bedroom apartment in a red brick rowhouse in Washington, D.C. A Cleveland native, Mr. Bey first came to the city to study theater at Howard University. He left after college and bounced around, but he missed the city. When a job running a black box theater at the Anacostia Arts Center came his way, he jumped at it. The nonprofit that ran the arts center rented out several affordable apartments in the neighborhood in southeast Washington, and Mr. Bey settled into one. He painted accent walls — sky blue in the living room, periwinkle in the kitchen. He could imagine staying a while.

Mr. Bey loved Anacostia. It felt like a small town nestled in a big city. Like Mr. Bey, most of the people who lived there were Black, and he relished the feeling of walking out the door and into a Black community. He took his dog on long walks in the park that ran in a narrow ribbon along the Anacostia River. He’d walk down the waterfront trail and across a new four-lane bridge at 11th Street, lingering to enjoy the breeze and the view from the wide pedestrian walkway or the overlooks built on the piers of an old highway that had once spanned the river.


Pickleball, Skate Parks + More: The Plans to Revitalize Public Space in DC’s Capitol Riverfront

A new effort on the boards in DC’s Capitol Riverfront aims to make good use of some underutilized public space in the neighborhood. 

A rendering of the proposal for the 2nd Street underpass.

The Underpass and Virginia Avenue Public Space Vision Plan, spearheaded by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, proposes a variety of changes, particularly to the 2nd Street, 3rd Street, 4th Street, 7th Street, 8th Street and New Jersey Avenue underpasses along I-695. 

While projects in the proposal are largely comprised of aesthetic changes and art installations, such as a cultural storytelling mural along the 4th Street underpass, others are more ambitious. The plan for the 2nd Street underpass calls for a basketball court, pickleball courts with stadium seating, a skate park, a stage for community events and an inviting entryway into Garfield Park. 

Other aspects in the proposal include three-dimensional windmill-powered sculptures, solar panels, updated stormwater management systems, freeway sound barriers, LED light art, bike paths, a bicycle repair station, playground equipment and an opportunity for urban farming. 


Amazon Investing $82M In 2 Prince George’s County Apartment Projects Near Metro

A rendering of Gilbane Development Co.’s Atworth College Park development.

Amazon‘s $125M partnership with WMATA to fund transit-oriented development in the D.C. region has borne fruit at two Prince George’s County Metro stations.

Amazon is investing $81.7M combined into two multifamily projects, it announced Tuesday, pumping $56.3M into Gilbane Development Co.’s project at the College Park Metro station and $25.4M into an Urban Atlantic building at New Carrollton.

The investments are being made to help ensure that both projects, which combined would yield more than 700 apartments, would remain affordable for those making less than 80% of area median income for 98 years, according to details released Tuesday by Amazon and WMATA.


V&A Dundee Museum / Kengo Kuma & Associates

Setting – Dundee sits on the north shore of the Firth of Tay and has a long history as the key entry point to Scotland for shipping from northern Europe. Today, V&A Dundee is the jewel in the crown of a £1 billion transformation of Dundee City Waterfront, which stretches 8km alongside the River Tay and its estuary over an area of 240 hectares, in a 30-year development that began in 2001. The building is positioned at the heart of what was once Dundee’s bustling maritime infrastructure, on the site of the demolished Earl Grey Dock. Its striking form reconnects the heart of Dundee to the Tay, echoing the time when shipbuilding and the trade in textiles were its economic lifeblood. Alongside the museum are Slessor Gardens, a new public park space that hosts live music and events, and RRS Discovery, the exploration ship which was built in Dundee and sailed to Antarctica from 1901-1904 by Scott and Shackleton.


A 250-Unit Apartment Building Pitched Just North of Nats Park

Another large new apartment building is on the boards near Nats Park. 

The Ruben Companies has filed plans for a 248-unit apartment building at 1100 South Capitol Street SE (map) just north of Nationals Park and adjacent to St. Vincent de Paul church. The 130-foot tall building was designed by Eric Colbert & Associates and Robert A.M. Stern Architects. 


Empire State Development board approves overhaul for Penn Station and its circumambient neighborhood

The saga surrounding the redevelopment of Pennsylvania Station and its peripheries moved, slightly, forward yesterday when New York’s economic development agency, the Empire State Development (ESD), unanimously voted in favor of the Midtown Manhattan megaproject. In its current iteration—a version pared back late last year when Governor Kathy Hochul took office—the still-ambitious scheme will comprise up to 18 million square feet, with eight plots slated for redevelopment.

Under the approved plan most of the new constructions in the so-called Empire Station Complex will be dedicated to commercial space, including offices and retail, spread across 10 skyscrapers to form an office-centric neighborhood on par with nearby Hudson Yards. The plan also includes 1,800 housing units, a hotel, and a long-overdue renovation to Penn Station, recently dubbed a “hellhole” by Hochul.

For decades the project has been subject to outcries over redevelopment—and overdevelopment—that disturbs the area’s history and fabric. It began in 1963 when the original Pennsylvania Station was demolished to construct the rounded entertainment complex Madison Square Garden.


A White Cottage Expands Into a Black + White, Asymmetrical Modern Home

Originally a white cottage in Northern Melbourne, the Host House underwent a massive renovation and expansion to work for a growing family. Splinter Society first extended the pitched roof volume running front to the back behind the original facade. To top off the new, dramatic design, the cottage is the base to black structures seen from the outside and inside as they penetrate through to create new interior divisions.