May 16, 2020

Two disused railways are being transformed into public spaces

Rail construction
Rail construction
Catherine Sturman
3 min
Seoul has now become the home to a completed sky garden, transforming a disused highway to become a space for all to relax and enjoy. Taking two years t...

Seoul has now become the home to a completed sky garden, transforming a disused highway to become a space for all to relax and enjoy. Taking two years to complete, the skybridge will aim to connect cities and individuals through a tranquil space and be open at all times.

Situated in Seoul’s Central Station district, Dutch architects MVRDV are responsible for the stunning 16-metre-high creation, utilising the existing overpass and incorporating over 20,000 plants, flowers and shrubs, with over 200 species within its design.

Spread over 983 metres, the floating walkway will be segregated into a collection of gardens with their own characters to identify the differing seasons through various flora and fauna. Café’s, performance areas and markets have also been embedded, creating a unique social space to bring people together. Even when the plants become too big for the area, they will be replaced by further plants and sold, providing a “nursery” for developing greenery.

The project has a number of connecting structures to access the garden, with a pedestrianised viaduct located next to Seoul’s main station. The entire structure has been strengthened throughout. Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV said, "Our design offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea and now, existing in the city center. The idea here is to connect city dwellers with nature, while at the same time also offering the opportunity of experiencing these amazing views to the Historical Seoul Station and Namdaemun Gate."

At night time, the garden will be lit up to provide suitable access at night. The blue lights will contrast with the city and be adjusted for festivals and events.

Similarly, Camden in London are proposing to build a structure similar to New York’s ‘High Line’. Situated between Camden Town and Kings Cross, a disused railway line could become a new transport route and elevated park for visitors and tourists to utilise and enjoy. The 0.8km route (which was part of the previous North London Railway) would be eight metres high and 18 metres wide, crossing 8 roads. It has now been confirmed that Studio Weave and Architecture 00 have now won the bid.

Named the Camden High Line, the project will provide a new elevated park and reduce congestion for a large number of commuters in the city. Camden Town Unlimited Chief Executive Simon Pitkeathley said: “We think the re-use of this railway line for the Camden Highline outweighs the benefits and costs of leaving it vacant. This new transport link can reduce overcrowding and journey times on the existing, cycling and pedestrian routes nearby, like Regent’s Canal.”

“Making innovative use of disused space can create new employment opportunities as well as economic, health and quality of life improvements for the local community.”


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Jul 22, 2021

Tokyo 'most expensive city' for construction

Dominic Ellis
2 min
The International Construction Market Survey 2021 by Turner & Townsend found Tokyo the most costly city for construction

Tokyo has picked up an unenviable gold medal after being classified the most expensive city for construction.

As the Japanese city prepares a subdued opening to the Olympic Games on Friday, the International Construction Market Survey 2021 by Turner & Townsend found it was the most costly for building, with an average cost of $4,002 per sqm, followed by Hong Kong ($3,894 per sqm) and San Francisco ($3,720 per sqm). New York and Geneva were ranked fourth and fifth respectively. 

The survey forecasts that rising prices being seen in the global construction sector will be sustained through 2022 and into 2023. 

The widespread disruption to global supply chains witnessed through the pandemic is also being sustained by high demand and competition for key materials between global markets including the US, Europe and Asia. 

Globally, demand for steel, softwood and copper piping have seen prices rise sharply over the year, with increases of up to 40 percent seen in some international cities including Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Birmingham, Glasgow and Dublin.

As activity accelerates, supply chain constraints are increasing and skills shortages are worsening, resulting in substantial construction cost inflation in many markets.

Neil Bullen, Global Managing Director, Real Estate Turner & Townsend said material shortages have undoubtedly recast the client and supplier dynamic and there is currently a shift in power from client to supplier in many markets around the world.

"Companies need to work closely with their supply chains to guard against these risks – moving from a ‘just in time’ to a ‘just in case’ approach to delivery," he said. “Beyond material and skills shortages, public and private sector clients across the world are juggling multiple, competing goals and priorities. From accommodating hybrid working patterns, to embedding social value into their operations and taking concrete steps towards net zero, success is no longer judged by the old mantra of ‘better faster, cheaper’.”

London ($3,203 per sqm), which ranked third in 2019’s report, fell to eighth place behind Geneva, Zurich, and Boston. The fall in ranking reflects the buoyancy of other construction markets and the combined effects of Brexit and COVID-19, which placed many projects on hold, restricting demand for new work in 2020.

According to the research, the most buoyant construction sector across all 90 markets are data centres, driven by the unabated growth in technology and digitalisation. It is the first year that data centres have topped the ranking moving up from sixth position in 2019.

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