The Jerde Partnership responds to previous WAN article 'Year of the Tower'
To complement a recent News Review feature: "Onwards and upwards," (8 May 2012), and the reference from RTKL that 2013 be entitled ‘The Year of the Tower,’ The Jerde Partnership offers a varying viewpoint to suggest an equally important architectural and urban design notion of ‘The Decade of Dynamic Pedestrian Space’. The last decade has seen a dramatic shift towards integrated mixed-use development with a dynamic public realm as the feature of a project. The desires of people and cultures the world over are increasingly related to urban lifestyle and places that provide social and memorable gathering spaces. As cities continue to wade through tough economies, it is all the more imperative that developers, public figures, and planners continue for the next decade and beyond to respond appropriately to the needs of the local residents and overall public, while delivering solutions that are efficient, sustainable, and attractive. This is not achieved 300 meters in the sky, but at the street and pedestrian levels of a city.
As key emerging markets, particularly China and Asia Pacific, seek such celebrated landmark towers, it is apparent they have an even greater necessity for innovative community gathering spaces where people can come together in a dynamic public setting to advance a city’s livability and offerings. Ultimately, it is the first 10 meters – the experiential element – of a mixed-use high-rise ‘city within a city’ development that attracts and engages people. These public realms serve as catalysts to activate their surrounding communities into uninterrupted social, cultural, and economic engines, all driven by the diversity of its users and pedestrian activities.
“We have seen the value and success of carefully planned and designed public spaces breathing new life into communities worldwide,” said David Rogers, FAIA, design director for Jerde. “As architects who are focused on creating memorable experiences, our goal is always to design places that people will remember. While it's our job to define these spaces physically, layering our architecture in, around and on top of them, it's the big idea of translating host cultures and peoples’ expectations into place which results in the real landmark - acknowledged by the public who come in time and again, and interact with what we've created.”
Rooted in experiential design since its founding in 1977, The Jerde Partnership pioneered the philosophy of placemaking by balancing conventional architecture’s focus on building forms with innovative design of the spaces between the buildings where communal experiences occur. Over the last 35 years, Jerde has implemented its philosophy as a catalyst to make new urban villages, regenerate struggling cities, and give growing cities an identity – all with the common goal of bringing people together. Jerde’s international experience and expertise in mixed-use and commercial design has allowed the firm to excel in today’s volatile economy. With millions of people visiting Jerde projects worldwide annually, the results speak for themselves. People long for places that excite and energize their daily lives. While these gathering spaces serve to promote audiences for innovation, or simply opportunities for social inclusion, creating actively populated spaces attracts investment that strengthens and advances local economies.
In the past decade, Jerde-designed projects like Roppongi Hills in Tokyo or Namba Parks in Osaka have emerged as significant urban mixed-use models (both Urban Land Institute award winners) highlighted by an innovative pedestrian experience. They have towers, too.
The fall of 2011 saw the completion and opening of Jerde’s D-Cube City in Seoul, Korea. The new cultural and commercial destination is one of the city’s first fully integrated developments of its kind, made up of over 300,000 square-meters of a multi-level commercial and cultural complex, high-rise office and 5-star hotel, two residential towers, and over six acres of public landscape, parks and plazas. D-Cube City has emerged as one of Seoul’s primary live, work, play, and stay destinations due to its vibrant pedestrian-oriented design and development. To date, the average visitor count is 80,000 people, and the project has created over 3,000 new jobs.
Looking ahead, between 2011 and 2014, Jerde will have several newly completed mixed-use high-rise projects that emphasize dynamic public space, including three in China, two in Korea, one in Moscow, and one in Los Angeles. These places will attract office tenants, or residential buyers, or travelers, but it will be the public attraction, the city’s ‘urban living room’ that will be the real sense of place.
The Jerde Partnership