The Brixel

It was bound to happen, a new style ‘brick’ has been invented and yes, it’s controlled by an App. A hi-tech brick for the tech-age. Bricks have been around for a very long time and they still feel a timeless material, but now they’re being updated with Brixel. Each Brixel is controlled through an app and can rotate to a specific position, turning a facade into a kinetic surface, and they are, according to their designers endlessly customizable. Perhaps a great idea for an apartment building foyer, that could change to reflect the day or season.

Colour Trends for 2019

Colour trends come and go rapidly but they are fun and interesting to observe. Colours reflect shifting tastes and can create a conundrum for designers. Fortunately for 2019, according to the predictions of one manufacturer, the immediate future for 2019 is looking refreshingly neutral. One prediction is “Metropolitan AF-690”, a subdued dove grey as its 2019 Colour of the Year. It’s a colour described as neutral creating a contemplative state of mind, not arresting nor aggressive, but understated yet glamorous. Might be an ideal colour for a restless property market.

Sign Crazy

Australia’s traffic planners and local councils have a great appetite for signs. Stand on any inner-city intersection and there’s almost a forest of signs. So many that we are often left scratching our heads after being confronted with a road sign so confusing no one has any idea what they mean. It’s an outcome that appears to contradict what signs are there to achieve; that’s to give everyone a clear, easy to understand, confident and organised way to navigate a city either as a pedestrian or motorist. It’s an art sometimes described as ‘wayfinding’ not a way to confuse people or as some unhappy motorists might suggest a way to extract fines!

Curvy Cities

It’s easy to notice how a current generation of new residential and commercial buildings use curves as a part of their design. Some planners have been convinced that sharp-angled buildings and street led to vice and mental illness. One such planner in New Zealand proposed building a project based around concentric circles. By adopting circular patterns, the idea was to create ‘perfection and happiness’ the vision was never realised, although Canberra used to be notable for its often circular traffic planning, so did the idea work in Canberra.

Park Avenue

Most modern cities have been transformed by cars and one high profile example is downtown Manhattan. However, most visitors or residents of NYC would have no idea that the cities famous Park Avenue, now a highway- like and busy road with a very narrow garden median got its name back in the 1850’s because a very long section of the avenue was actually a spacious park. It was complete with lawns and a pedestrian promenade, now gone to mark way for an endless stream of traffic.

Night Life beyond the CBD

Last week’s Project Agenda took a look at the importance of night life for cities. The idea is spreading with Randwick Council like the City of Sydney also preparing a long-term Night Time Economy Strategy, to encourage a diverse range of business, social and cultural activities and experiences across the region. It’s the first specific strategy for Randwick’s night time economy so that it is more vibrant, inclusive, safe and fun and perhaps just in time for the eventual completion of the East and CBD Light Rail project. The light rail project is bound to help create a stronger and more accessible night time economy for Randwick.