GORDON LINDEN

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Gordon Linden was a keynote speaker at the Asian American Architects and Engineers 34th Annual Dinner on the 28th of October, 2011 which was held at the Intercontinental Hotel in San Francisco, CA. Linden, B. Arch ’68, an architect and urban planner currently working with Parsons on the Ministry of Housing project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, spoke on the topic of “Mega Projects – From Olympics and Expos to America’s Cup”. Linden’s professional career has included a variety of international and U.S. assignments with organizations hosting Olympic Games and International Expositions (“Expos”). He recently has been acting as advisor to the team assisting the Government of Thailand in their bid to host Expo 2020. His book, “The Expo Book: A Guide to the Planning, Organization, Design and Operation of International Expositions” was launched last year at the US Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, the largest and most heavily attended Expo in history registering an attendance of over 70 million. The Expo Book is available at www.theexpobook.com and is currently being translated by King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and for publication this fall in the Arabic-speaking world. The Asian American Architects and Engineers (AAAE) was founded in 1978 by San Francisco Bay Area design professionals with the goal of increasing contract opportunities for Asian Americans and small businesses in the design and engineering fields. AAAE's mission is "to advocate and practice equal opportunities, professional excellence, and social responsibility."

Expo 2017, Edmonton, Canada - The next available date for a B.I.E.-sanctioned Expo after Yeosu's Expo 2012 is 2017 and Edmonton, Canada undertook a variety of studies over a period of approximately two years to support decision-making by the City to pursue hosting this prestigious event. Gordon Linden was an advisor to the City on various aspects of the event including organization, site planning, and finance. In spite of robust local support for the event, the bid effort was cancelled due to lack of required National endorsements. 

Shanghai Expo 2010 – Gordon Linden was the featured speaker at an event in Shanghai sponsored by Cosmos PR which brought together numerous representatives of the many nations who will be participating in Expo 2010 which opens in May next year. With construction of the site and most of the pavilions well underway to create the largest Expo in history, and coming on the heels of the unprecedented success of Beijing’s Summer Olympic Games of 2008, all eyes are on Shanghai. Two major innovations at Expo 2010 which may have a significant bearing on future Expos include the so-called “Virtual Expo” and the “Urban Best Practices” area. The “Virtual Expo” provides a web portal which will allow anyone, anywhere in the world who has access to the internet, to experience the Expo, visiting the individual pavilions with “avatars” who can be directed by the visitor to move anywhere within the grounds and buildings. The “Urban Best Practices” area will provide a platform for several major cities from around the world to exhibit their interpretation of the theme “Better City, Better Life”. Attendance at the event is forecast to be 70 million, but many observers believe that the number could go higher.


Left to right at China’s National Pavilion: Mage, Director of Cosmos PR, Gordon Linden, Pascal Deseure, International Business Representative for Crystal CG designated multimedia provider for the “Virtual Expo”.


After many tense months of hand-wringing and fund-raising, the U.S. Pavilion is rising. Exhibit design is being provided by BRC Imagination Arts.

 

Houston Astrodome – Opened in 1965 and closed in 2004, the Houston Astrodome was known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. As home for many years to Houston pro teams the Astros and the Oilers, the venue was also utilized for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo show; most recently, it was the temporary home of evacuees of the Katrina Hurricane. Community sentiment about the fate of the structure appears to be clearly in favor of saving it from the wrecking ball, although numerous challenges exist in terms of meeting current day codes. Gordon Linden was an invited member of a consultant team, led by Ian McLennan, Phil Hettema and George Wiktor, convened in Houston in September of 2009 to brainstorm concepts for the repurposing and reutilization of the building.

The Expo Book – Gordon Linden and Paul Creighton have collected decades of research and hands-on experience into a new collaboration and written ‘The Expo Book’. The ‘Expo Book’ goes well beyond most publications about Expos which focus only on the architecture of these megaevents and provides a wealth of insight into the planning, organization, design and operations of Expos. Six chapters of the material are currently being serialized and published by “In Park” Magazine ; additional materials are available at www.theexpobook.com. It is anticipated that the full book will be available in the Spring of 2009. Details of where and how to acquire the entire book will be posted to the Expo Book website.

 

PREVIOUS

Expo 2008 Zaragoza, Spain – The most recent BIE-sanctioned International Exposition was hosted by Zaragoza, Spain. Gordon Linden was an accredited journalist and was among the crowds who visited the event on Opening Day. Organized on the theme “Water and Sustainable Development”, the event attracted 5.76 million visitors over a short three month schedule (93 days). The three month schedule and the relatively small site (25 ha./62 ac.) reflects the BIE’s new approach in organizing Expos which are now categorized as either “registered” or “recognized” with Expo 2008 being a “recognized” event. “Registered” events have no restrictions on site area and have a six-month exhibition schedule, while “recognized” events are restricted to 25 ha. and three months’ exhibition time. Zaragoza, with a population of about 680,000 people, is Spain’s fifth largest city and is located adjacent to the Ebro River. High-speed train service – the AVE – was inaugurated in time for the Expo which now provides convenient, fast connections between Madrid – Zaragoza – and Barcelona. Among the highlights of the event were a new pedestrian bridge over the Ebro designed by architect Zaha Hadid and a river aquarium. In terms of innovation, two level, as opposed to predominately one level, structures were utilized to accommodate the exhibits of the various countries and corporations. Although some additional costs were incurred by providing numerous banks of escalators to transport visitors to and from the upper level, these costs were more than offset by the reduction in overall site development costs. The majority of the Expo structures are being retained for post-Expo use as offices, educational facilities and as an industrial park.

 

Parsons International – Dubai, UAE – Gordon Linden has been appointed the Manager of Planning and Urban Design for Parsons’ Dubai office. Parsons has been active in the region for over thirty years and has played a key role in the development of many of the landmark projects, such as Palm Island, which have been widely reported and publicized over the past few years in the international media. Recent and current planning assignments undertaken includes The Lagoons - a 95 million square foot mixed use development [4 times the size of London’s Canary Wharf] featuring seven manmade islands – the Lagoons – which is under construction in Dubai. Additional information is available at http://www.lagoons.ae/. Parsons was also a part of the Master Plan team for the King Abdullah Economic City project in Saudi Arabia, which is also now under construction. See: http://www.kingabdullahcity.com/en/ Linden is also managing resort and master-planned community projects which are currently underway for sites in Egypt and Algeria.

Mozart House Vienna Expansion & Enhancements - January of 2006, after several years of planning and construction, the City of Vienna's holding company, Wiener Holding, completed a major program to expand and enhance Mozart's remaining residence in Vienna, Austria in commemoration of the 250th birthday of the famous composer. Gordon Linden acted as advisor to the project owners - Mozarthaus Vienna - in developing a concept for this cultural attraction. On the opening weekend, the new cultural attraction remained open to the public for 48 hours and, in spite of cold weather, crowds lined up all night long to see the widely anticipated improvements. By December of 2006, over 200,000 people had visited the facility.

The Mozarthaus Vienna website, launched in January, 2005, contains a variety of current images and information about the project. For further information go to www.mozarthausvienna.at.

 

Before and After:  September 2004, scaffolding was in place on the exterior of the building; July 2005, scaffolding has been removed and facade is restored. Historic preservation efforts have been undertaken inside the building and revealed up to 32 layers of paint in individual rooms. Plans are to retain these "archeological windows" on the past so that visitors can see the different treatments applied over the years since before and after Mozart lived in the building.


Left to right: Dr. Peter Diem (project advisor), Gordon Linden, Dr. Gerhard Feltl (MHV Board Member)

Visitors enjoy the new exhibits which provide multimedia presentations of Mozart's life, his music and his apartments

The newly restored basement has been redeveloped as a meeting room but also has acoustics suitable for the finest musical performances.
 

Expo 2005 - Aichi, Japan Japan hosted the most recent BIE-sanctioned international exposition in 2005. As with most of the previous Expos held in Japan (Tsukuba 1985, Osaka 1970), large numbers of visitors turned out to see the numerous international and corporate presentations. Gordon Linden attended as an accredited journalist and had the opportunity to see first-hand the many innovations and "firsts" which this event provided. For visitors, the introduction of a time-ticket system which guaranteed entry to many of the large, most attractive pavilions was a truly welcome innovation. Additional information and photos are provided at Expo 2005

Vienna, Austria's New Performance and Entertainment Venue - An architectural competition was organized to propose solutions to upgrade and enhance Vienna's well-known Municipal Arena complex to add a new performance venue and entertainment area. Gordon Linden acted as advisor to the architectural competition and assisted in the preparation of a feasibility study which examined the potentials for creating a new "Edutainment Center" which is based on the successful Exploratorium facility in San Francisco, California.

The new "Halle F" project which opened in January of 2006 provides a new hall for around 2,000 spectators along with a new box-office and information center and new catering services. The venue is intended to be suitable for a various of events including concerts, lectures and conferences, and corporate hospitality. Additional information is provided in the promotional brochure.



Athens Summer Olympic Games 2004 - After several tense and difficult years of planning, design and construction, the City of Athens emerged victorious in it's efforts to demonstrate to the world the ability of the Greek people to host the world's most demanding megaevent - the Summer Olympics.  Gordon Linden, who previously acted as technical advisor to the Athens Olympics Organizing Committee (ATHOC) in carrying out an architectural competition for the Olympic Village, traveled to Athens to gain a first hand look at the outcome. Linden previously was Project Manager for the adaptation work at three of the Olympic Villages developed for the highly successful Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992; subsequently, he has visited several Olympic Villages as an accredited visitor including Nagano '98, Sydney 2000, and the Salt Lake Paralympic Village of '02.

In Search of Flying Dinosaurs - Dr. Raymond Hoche Mong, of GT Ideas, and Gordon Linden traveled to China in the Spring of 2004 to assess opportunities for creation of a new visitor and cultural attraction to exhibit fossils found in and around Chaoyang, China. These fossils - "flying" or "feathered" dinosaurs have been determined by scientists to represent a major breakthrough in paleontology and demonstrate the link between dinosaurs and birds. A January, 2003 article in National Geographic magazine provided international coverage of the discovery. Subsequent to the visit to China, the team prepared a report for the Vice Mayor of Chaoyang recommending a concept development effort to provide a basis for coordinating Chinese government efforts to implement the project as well as information which can be utilized in obtaining international support. A return visit to China in anticipated in the Fall of 2004.

CEH - Hungarian Architecture/Engineering Firm Consulting Agreement - Gordon Linden continues to collaborate with CEH, one of Hungary's leading Architecture and Engineering firms, in pursuit of the planning and development of projects in Hungary and elsewhere in the region. Last summer he assisted the City of Sopron, which is located about 45 minutes from Vienna, Austria, with their bid to become the European Cultural Capital of 2015. With Hungary's entry into the European Union, a variety of new public and private investments are anticipated in the country including infrastructure, tourism developments and other urban facilities. Janos Lantos, former CFO of the planned Expo'96 in Budapest, has acted as a consultant in this effort and will provide financial and investment advice to the team.

Pictured below during a recent meeting in Sopron, second from left, Attila Toth, President and Managing Director of CEH, second from right, Janos Lantos, and third from right, Gordon Linden along with representatives of the Mayor's Office. Also, the renowned, "Fire Tower" in the historic center of the City.

   

Gold Rush Visitor Attraction - A recently completed study, prepared by Parsons with Gordon Linden as Study Manager in collaboration with Barry Howard, examines the potentials for creating a major new visitor attraction in Old Sacramento, California based on the theme of the California Gold Rush.

The Yardbirds - A rare photo from the pantheon of psychedelic rock - San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium, taken by Gordon Linden, was recently published in a new book about the Rock superstar group - "The Yardbirds" whose lineup briefly featured both Jimmy Page (who later went on to become the guitarist for Led Zeppelin) and Jeff Beck (who continues today as one of the most creative and influential rock guitarists of all time).