Great Place Wednesday: Hampton Court Palace & Gardens; London, UK

With the 2012 London Olympics still in full swing, let’s head back for another week of Great Places in London.  Hampton Court Palace is located south and west of central London, in Richmond, just a few miles upriver on the River Thames. Originally built in the 1500’s by the powerful Cardinal Wolsey, the palace was[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Trafalgar Square; London, UK

With the London Olympics ongoing, its only appropriate to visit the psychological heart of London: Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is literally at the crossroads of London’s primary axes, also at almost the precise center of the Greater London area.  Once lying at the edge of the City of Westminster, today Trafalgar Square lies at the[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Berlin Wall Memorial; Berlin, Germany

Memorials and monuments take a variety of shapes and forms, often depending on the event, people, or places they commemorate.  Often intended to evoke a certain emotion or response, designers of urban memorials often can only catch a the attention of a passerby very briefly.   Such is the memorializing of the Berlin Wall,  the totem[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Stanford University Campus; Stanford, CA

College campuses are unique places in the US–almost entirely planned around pedestrian use.  Campus planning has a long and fascinating history, and it has certainly changed over time how we create places specifically designed for learning.  Stanford’s campus near Palo Alto, California is a beautiful place, with monumental, contextual architecture, and is a direct outgrowth[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Sugar House Streetcar Greenway, Salt Lake City, UT

VODA’s been involved with an exciting new project, one of Salt Lake City’s future Great Places, the Sugar House Streetcar Greenway.  Many groups, municipalities, and organizations have been working for years to see this project come about, and everyone’s excited to see the project finally under construction.  We’ve been working with the great design team[…]

Great Place Wednesday: The Green Necklace; Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb is one of Europe’s most un-appreciated cities. An ancient capitol for the “Southern Slavs” (Yugoslavia), the city bears all the beauty of hundreds of years as a major city in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  A series of parks surrounding the center of the city have come to be called Zagreb’s Green Necklace, home to stately[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Park Guell; Barcelona, Spain

Park Guell is undoubtedly one of the most unique parks in all the world. Designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, the park reflects his unique design style on every light post, bench, fountain, and staircase.  The park was initially part of an unsuccessful development scheme by the wealthy Guell family, and transformed a once barren hillside[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Marin County Civic Center; Marin County, CA

The Marin County Civic Center is arguably one of the most fascinating architectural gems in the USA. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the late 1950’s, the building is one of ten of Wright’s works that have been nominated for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.  The structure straddles three hills, and its long, linear[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Utah State Capitol Building

Utah’s state capitol building is a massive neo-classical building situated on the top of Capitol Hill, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City, and the entire Salt Lake Valley. From a site planning perspective, this building is unmatched in its prominence in the city or the state.  Utah achieved statehood in 1896, and its state offices occupied[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

Great cities have great parks. The jewel of San Diego is Balboa Park, a 1200 acre park in the heart of the city.  It was the location of the 1915 Panama–California Exposition and 1935 California Pacific International Exposition which each created architectural landmarks for the park. The park’s site was placed in reserve in 1835,[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Pearl Harbor Monument, Honolulu, HI

Landscape architects are often asked to design a place that will memorialize a person or event, and inspire some emotional reaction in visitors to the place.   Today marks 70 years since the attacks at Pearl Harbor that pushed the US into World War II. The memorials that mark the site at Pearl Harbor belie the[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Syntagma Square, Athens, GR

The last year has seen tremendous, grass-roots change and protest against authoritarianism across the globe.  We discussed this last February, right on the cusp of the “Arab Spring” protests in many countries of Northern Africa and the Middle East.  In recent months, increasingly large protests have shaken Athens as the populace has risen up to[…]

Great Place Wednesday: The Highline; New York City, NY

I’ve had several conversations in the last few weeks about the Highline Park in New York City. This is truly one-of-a-kind park was built on an abandonded, raised rail line running into lower Manhattan from the 1930′s. Abandoned in the 1960′s, the Highline lay dormant for more than 40 years, until the community organized “Friends[…]

Great Place Wednesday: Inner Harbor; Baltimore, MD

America’s been extraordinarily adept at completely ignoring its waterfronts. Most cities in America with a waterfront have turned that waterfront into an entirely industrial wasteland, with little public use, and even less quality spaces.  New York City has only recently discovered its waterfront, and has invested millions in developing more public space along the Hudson[…]