PLAN 83: Article
A Winning Vision For The Future Of Urban Mobility

Yoon and Partner Awarded €100K in International Competition

Meejin Yoon and her partner Eric Höweler have won the Audi Urban Futures 2012 Award – a €100K prize – for their proposal to create a new kind of transportation platform in the Boston to Washington corridor. The award was judged and presented as part of the Istanbul Design Biennial 2012.

Höweler+Yoon Architecture was one of five architectural offices asked to develop a vision on future urban mobility for the competition, each focused on the metropolitan region they call home. For the region they nicknamed BosWash, Höweler and Yoon imagined a ‘Shareway’ that would merge all forms of transport into a single artery, piggy-backing a new bundled high-speed rail infrastructural system on the existing interstate.

All modes of transport – commuter and freight trains, cars, bikes and pedestrians – would coexist on a multi-level track that follows the 450-mile route and connect to a ‘Superhub’ in Newark with an airport, seaport, rail station and interstate intersection, along with parking and storage. The proposal also includes house-sharing programs and a proposal to convert vacant Baltimore land into agricultural fields.

Their proposal is a response to what they term the ‘outdated’ American Dream of the single-family home with a lawn and two-car garage, arguing that within the ‘infrastructural leftovers’ of that dream lies possibility. A main component of their 'New American Dream' ?focuses on connecting suburbs and cities?to one another to form an urban space which has the potential of accommodating and moving more than 53 million people.

According to John Thackara, chairman of the interdisciplinary jury, ‘the jury concluded that this was the most thoroughly resolved response to the competition brief, and noted that it also has the potential to be realised, at least in part, within the 2030 timeframe prescribed by the competition. The jury also noted with approval that the winning entry is based on thorough research into its social and economic context; it involves both social and technical innovation at a system-wide level; and real architectural quality is evident in its execution.’

According to Höweler and Yoon, 'The US is home to one of the largest public infrastructure networks in the world, courtesy of the Eisenhower Administration. ?It is also aging rapidly at a time where spending for infrastructure is declining and the number of cars on the road is still rising. ?The imminent obsolescence of many of the highways, bridges and tunnels in this country is alarming. ?A transformation of these aging arteries into aggregated circulatory systems promises to rethink the relationship between different ?kinds of transportation that are currently co-existing but not really mixing.’ ?

Curator for Höweler+Yoon’s proposal was architecture professor Ana Miljacki working with alumna Sarah Hirschman (MArch’11), director of publications and exhibitions in SA+P’s department of architecture. The curatorial role involved discussions with the architects, reviews of their work, interviews with stakeholders in Boswash mobility, and production of scripts and voiceovers for all the related videos. The curators also produced blog entries on mobility issues in Boswash and oversaw all of Höweler+Yoon’s textual communication on the project. Local curators were suggested by the participating architects, paid by AUFI and served as cultural and internal critics for their respective offices.

Audi’s international competition is part of its Urban Future Initiative, which looks to engage in dialogue with architects, planners and researchers on the synergy of mobility, architecture and development in cities of the future. The other finalists were CRIT (Mumbai, India), NODE Architecture & Urbanism (Pearl River Delta, China), Superpool (istanbul, Turkey) and urban-think tank (São Paolo, Brazil). ?

For more information on Höweler + Yoon’s proposal, see the videos below:

0. Shareway

1. Sharestay

2. Superhub

3. Farmshare

4. Tripanel