All posts in East

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Lights, Camera, Action!

The concrete towers of the New York State Pavilion are ready for restoration
The iconic trio of Observation Towers in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in eastern Queens is getting a long-overdue upgrade. Restoration work on the monolith structures at the New York State Pavilion has reportedly begun according to Untapped Cities Built for the 1964 World’s Fair, it’s no secret that the Philip Johnson- and Richard Foster-designed project has suffered from serious neglect over the last several decades, but the push to restore it to its original glory is well underway. The Pavilion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 2009, and two years ago, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced its plans to fully restore the small site, making it a safe, walkable and event-centric destination for New Yorkers and tourists once again.  Queens Borough President Melinda Katz first dedicated $14.5 million towards the project in 2014, and then the New York City Council and the mayor put aside more funds, bringing the total to $24.1 million. While several smaller albeit major renovation efforts on other parts of the Pavilion have occurred since 2015, including repainting the old steel framework on the Tent of Tomorrow, the project to rehabilitate the three Observation Towers has been five years in the making and physical indicators are finally starting to show.  Set to take place over the next one-and-a-half years, work will include repairing all the deteriorating concrete found on the three, semi-stacked structures, as well as transitioning the finish on the plaza level floor from its current terrazzo-style linoleum to a methacrylate coating that will last longer. The external stairway on Tower 3—the tallest at 226 feet—and the internal stairs on all three stacked structures will be reconstructed. In addition, the waning suspension cables on each tower will be replaced and the electrical and drainage infrastructure in the basement of the site will be replaced and revamped respectively.  One of the most visible changes set to come to the New York State Pavilion includes the restoration of the architectural lighting both on the towers and on the circular Tent next door. Bright lights will shine down from the bottoms of the observation platforms and columns of all four structures, ensuring the Pavilion’s presence on the night skyline of Queens for years to come.  Construction is expected to wrap up in March 2021. 
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Pull Up a Chair

R & Company's Chairs Beyond Right & Wrong exhibit surveys fresh interpretations of the typology
As perhaps one of the most ubiquitous design archetypes, one that can make or break a talent's career, the chair has been reinterpreted over and over again. As both a canvas for the articulation of changing trends and the expression of bold personal or political statements, this typology often represents the complexity of the design medium itself. A few brave souls have even gone so far as to push beyond its essential function and to challenge the conventions of what distinguishes art from design. Cueing into the rich plethora of content and subsequent fodder this object has engendered, New York gallery R & Company has just opened the Chairs Beyond Right & Wrong show at its White Street location (through October 19). Curated by Raquel Cayre, the force behind the widely recognized Instagram account @ettoresottsass and the 2018 Memphis-inspired Raquel’s Dream House showcase, the group exhibit brings together an eclectic and diverse range of both commissioned and existing pieces by 50 international designers. Cayre's curatorial focus looks at how the archetype and its corresponding forms of use and composition have been reconsidered as formal objects, products, structures, symbols, and as a material in its own right. Producing new work for the exhibition, participating talents were invited to explore how these ideas contribute to an expanded notion of the chair while challenging the categorical divisions that often pigeon hole it into marginalized roles. The title of the show references the work of Seth Price, whose interdisciplinary use of diffusion, manipulation, and narrative channel into strategies and arrangements found in the exhibition. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
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Pezo Perspectives

Pezo Von Ellrichshausen brings Chilean design to Cooper Union
On September 10, the Architectural League of New York kicked off its fall 2019 lecture series with a talk by Pezo Von Ellrichshausen moderated by Michael Meredith. Speaking to a large audience in The Cooper Union’s Great Hall, the young Chilean firm presented a body of work ranging from art performance pieces, to an island villa looking toward the Andes, to a cultural center on the cliffs over the Pacific Ocean. The work, in short, is gorgeous, and Mauricio Pezo and Sofia Von Ellrichshausen spoke about it in a way that checked off every box for a formalist architectural project: considering the promenade, the corner, weight, material, color, seriality, etcetera—the stuff of architecture. In response to a question by Meredith about the notion of progress, Pezo evoked the paintings of Mark Rothko. The evocation is apt; in fact, the paintings the office produces as part of their design process resonate with Rothko’s murky blocks of color. Like a Rothko painting, their architecture is transcendental—in a way, utopian. They are modern, but not in the sense of a modernist social agenda, like painters from the mid-20th century: the crisp silence of Edward Hopper, the figural alliteration of Paul Klee, the obsessive geometry of Frank Stella. The architects described their work as an exploration of format rather than form and showed diagrams similar to Sol LeWitt’s 122 Incomplete Open Cubes (1974), exploring every possible permutation of a formal operation. Engulfed in images of this transcendental, modern, utopian work, one could easily forget the last 50 or so years of architecture as it has struggled to adapt to changing construction techniques, global/neoliberal economies, digital workflows, and new social and environmental responsibilities. An audience member questioned the architects about the role of context in shaping what was presented as largely autonomous work. Pezo said that built architecture is by definition contextual, but when he went on to bemoan the difficulty of addressing building codes for a project they are working on in the US, the audience chuckled—a tacit recognition by the crowd that the stunning work presented exists in the unique economic, construction, and environmental bubble in which the architects operate. It is a context of long staircases without landings, inaccessible doorways buried in acute corners, affordable skilled craftsmanship, and available commissions for small one-bedroom chalets. Meredith furthered the question of context, asking what the firm would do in an urban setting. Von Ellrichshausen responded that they don’t know, but they “will do it wonderfully.” Another audience member stepped up to the microphone not to ask a question but to congratulate the young firm on achieving the “perfect balance of Aldo Rossi and Alvar Aalto.” One could certainly discuss the work in relation to Rossi and Aalto or draw parallels between their explorations of the piano nobile and Le Corbusier or of columns and Giuseppe Terragni. But to do so, only, overlooks what their work eschews. In New York, in a progressive school of architecture, on a warm September night following the Earth’s hottest summer ever recorded, the omission of any acknowledgment of the environmental, urban, social, and economic realities of architecture in the 21st century was glaring. Is treating architecture solely as an artistic, formal pursuit useful or even an option for anyone sitting in that auditorium? How much longer can the architecture community afford to do so? An audience member in the row in front of me noted in her phone “look up pve echo pavilion Milan.” Certainly, as with all of the project the architects showed, the pavilion at the 2019 Milan Design Week, a mirrored cube distorting the courtyard of a baroque palazzo, is worthy of our attention; it’s beautiful in both concept and execution. Pezo Von Ellrichshausen should, indeed, be admired, but not emulated. Patrick Templeton is a Brooklyn-based architectural designer and managing editor of Log.
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Essexive Options

SHoP's Essex Street Market brings food hall glory to the LES
88 Essex Street New York Architect: SHoP Architects 917-881-7096 While food halls are “The Thing” developers build nowadays to lure Instagram-hungry foodies, an O.G. grocery and snack palace quietly thrived for almost 80 years on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The city-owned Essex Street Market, home to dozens of vendors, was a delightful institution where you could buy whole branzini, munch on empanadas, and get a haircut without leaving the building. While vendors thrived, economic pressures compelled the city to move the market from its old location. As of May 2019, the relocated food palace has a shorter name and bigger digs. Designed by New York’s SHoP Architects, the newly christened Essex Market’s slanted, scalloped ceilings echo vaulted subway stations and shed warm light on shoppers who wander between the 37 stalls or hunker down to eat in the mezzanine. SHoP collaborated with Hi-Lume Corp., which packed GFRG into textured molds to form the ceiling’s 3-D patterning. On the floor, ShoP worked with AGL Industries, Inc., a Queens-based steel company, on simple metal frames that vendors tailor to their concepts. Essex Market is part of Essex Crossing, a 20-acre development, with nine buildings and a master plan executed by SHoP. In October, the market will link to The Market Line, a subterranean corridor of food purveyors. Get ready to eat up.
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Neo Marquina Minimalism

Fogarty Finger frames the Meatpacking District with glass, white oak, and black marble
Located across the street from Chelsea Market on 14th Street is a towering 270-foot-tall office building clad in sleek black metal panels and a glass curtain wall. Designed by CetraRuddy Architecture and opened last fall, 412 West 15th Street is the kind of new stately architecture that turns heads in New York’s largely brick-laden Meatpacking District. Spanning 130,000-square-feet across 18 floors, it offers tenants incredible views of its surrounding historic structures as well as abundant access to natural light.  Boston real estate firm Rockpoint Group and local company Atlas Capital called upon Fogarty Finger Architecture to design a corporate interior for a finance company within the newly-built tower, which the Tribeca-based studio finished up earlier this year. Led by Robert Finger, co-founder of Fogarty Finger and director of its interiors division, the main goal of the office project was to build a comfortable and hospitable space that framed powerful perspectives no matter where a worker might be sitting.  Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.    
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REACH for the Stars

Steven Holl expands the Kennedy Center with semi-submerged pavilions
Steven Holl Architects (SHA) has designed and completed the first-ever expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Located southeast of the National Mall along the Potomac River, the three pavilions that make up The REACH opened this weekend to the public, marking the Washington, D.C.-based institution’s largest design upgrade in its 48-year-history. The $250-million addition spans four-acres of sweeping, waterfront landscape next to the main Edward Durell Stone-designed building that’s held all of the Kennedy Center’s programming for decades. Arranged in a series of angular, cast-in-place concrete structures that are semi-submerged underground, The REACH is strategically woven into the surrounding, sloping green space and features a contemporary vision that lightly references its parent building next door According to a press release, the new structures “break down the traditional barriers separating art and audience.” The Welcome Pavilion, Skylight Pavilion, and River Pavilion all emerge from the green lawns with shapely white facades and opaque glass windows. Together, they make up a porous and fluid, 72,000-square-foot facility that, though largely underground, includes ample access to daylight and features soaring, open interiors.  While the site doesn’t look very active from an aerial perspective, what you see above ground isn’t all that you get. Inside and below the pavilions is a large network of flexible rehearsal studios and classrooms, as well as performance and public spaces that are, by design, more welcoming to visitors—something the Kennedy Center previously lacked. AN wrote previously about the crinkled concrete walls that were integrated into the studio spaces to stop sound from echoing throughout the below-grade rooms. Performance-enhancing technology such as this was used at every level of the building project. For example, SHA worked with ARUP to make The REACH more sustainable than its predecessor; it’s now on track to achieve LEED Gold status. The site features a closed-loop, ground source heat rejection system, advanced temperature controls, an under-floor concrete trench system, and radiant floor heating made by ARUP’s in-house software suite, Oasys Building Environmental Analysis (BEANS). Much like other projects by Steven Holl, the integration of unique light cutouts on the sides or tops of the buildings and curvaceous walls made the structures difficult to heat or cool efficiently. Arup’s interventions will help the facility maintain proper temperatures year-round.  In addition to improving the Kennedy Center campus, The REACH was intended to bolster the memory of JFK. Some of the spaces within the pavilions were named after the 35th president, and a plaza with 35 gingko trees honors his life and accomplishments. Over time, the 130,000-square-foot landscape is expected to grow into a fuller, more vibrant addition to the riverfront and help activate a formerly-inaccessible area. SHA also designed a pedestrian bridge to cross the highway separating the Center from the water’s edge. 
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Inside Out

Modern Management Methods shines a literal light through the U.N. Headquarters

These photos are from Modern Management Methods: Architecture, Historical Value, and the Electromagnetic Image, by Caitlin Blanchfield and Farzin Lotfi-Jam, to be released November 29 by Columbia Books on Architecture and the City.

Modern Management Methods casts architecture in a new electromagnetic light. Through the X-ray and the archive—paired forms of modernist media—the project renders the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, a site of geopolitical uncertainty and bureaucratic happenstance, at the scale of the architectural detail. Thus, it asks how the value of a building is produced through instruments of expertise, management ideologies, and historical narratives.

At a time when the U.S. is withdrawing from its international obligations and nationalism is on the rise in this country and others, what does it mean to consider the U.N. Headquarters as a building in New York City? What do we learn by grounding abstractions like universal heritage and internationalism in the material realities of this place, with all the messiness and negotiations of such an undertaking at the city, state, and extraterritorial levels?

Following the September 11 attacks, in 2002 the $2.4 billion Capital Master Plan was launched to refurbish the U.N. Headquarters, bring the building up to fire code and environmental standards, and to strengthen its security—all while maintaining its iconic historical character. The plan was an exercise in risk management in an era of securitization, in the administration of jurisdiction (the U.N. is sovereign territory), and in the regulation of symbolic architectural value. It was also an intensive restoration process, dismantling, for instance, the famed curtain wall to replace it with blast-proof, tinted glass.

Modern Management Methods locates these administrative moments in the spaces of the archive and the building. Through unorthodox survey practices, the project correlates documents from the Capital Master Plan—memoranda, reports, and PowerPoint presentations—and X-rays Blanchfield and Lotfi-Jam took (with a radiographer) of the U.N. Headquarters’ structural columns, window mullions, and communications systems. These two forms of representation reveal how conversations around security, nationalism, environment, accessibility, and historical value entered the bureaucratic framework of a capital construction project, and the specific sites in which this paperwork was translated into architecture.

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Hancock Brethren

Pei Cobb Freed's One Dalton joins the Boston skyline with curved glass curtainwall
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Rising from a triangular lot in Boston’s Back Bay, One Dalton is a 61-story, 706,000-square-foot residential tower designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Its gently curving triangular floorplan—a direct product of the unique site—is extruded vertically to create the building’s clean but dynamic glass form. The slightly bulging facades and the sheer size of the glass units presented some major challenges when it came to developing the cladding. The glass panels are some of the largest the firm had ever worked with, with a typical unit spanning 12-feet-tall by almost 6-feet-wide with a 30-degree curve. The firm set ambitious goals for the glass beyond the unusual size and shape with specific targets for deflection and distortion, solar and thermal transmission, color rendering, transparency, UV filtration, glare and reflectance, and noise suppression.
  • Facade Manufacturer Guardian Glass Oldcastle Building Envelope Sobotec Kenneth Castellucci & Associates
  • Architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners CambridgeSeven (Collaborating Architect)
  • Facade Installer Metro Glass & Metal Cheviot Corporation Kenneth Castellucci & Associates
  • Location Boston, MA
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom glass and aluminum curtain wal
  • Products Guardian SunGuard SN 70/41
To find the perfect glass, the architects tested many different assemblies using full- scale mock-ups. They ultimately decided on a hybrid design that incorporated laminated, tinted glass with a mild, Low-E coated solar control product (Guardian SunGuard SN 70/41), a low-iron substrate, and argon-filled airspace. Testing also showed that the curving glass produced funhouse mirror-like reflections at night, so an interior anti-reflective coating was added as well. Much like the individual panes of glass, the overall facade is more complicated than it at first appears. Subtle incisions break up the massing of the upper 40 floors, creating protected spaces for operable casements while formally suggesting large bay windows that distinguish the condominium units from the hotel rooms below. “I’m a great believer that, especially in a city, it’s important to bring out the different uses that are taking place [in a tower],” Henry Cobb told the audience in June at AN’s Facades+ conference in Boston. One Dalton wouldn’t be possible without the rapid evolution of architectural glass driven by ambitious designs and new technologies. Commenting on these changes, Roy Barris, associate partner at Pei Cobb Freed, noted that despite the firm’s exhaustive pursuit of the perfect material, “If we were to start this project again today, we’d have to start from scratch.”
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Divine Design

Harlem church wants to rezone above Central Park for tower and cultural center
Harlem’s La Hermosa Christian Church is proposing a major building move to save its congregation. Earlier this summer, it submitted an application to the New York City Planning Commission asking to rezone part of Central Park North to make way for a 410-foot-tall residential tower and community center run by the church. This week it unveiled further plans to integrate a fin-covered music school and cultural center into the structure, all designed by FXCollaborative Located at 5 West 110th Street, the existing three-story building that houses the La Hermosa Christian community is in poor condition and the congregation, which has been in the area since 1960, hopes that building vertically on the church-owned land will allow the institution to secure its future permanence in the neighborhood. As the oldest Latino church on the East Coast, many residents see it as a mainstay resource in Central Harlem. FXCollaborative has designed a striated, 160-unit tower rising 33 stories above the corner of Central Park North that would be built on the church's current site. It would include 50 units of affordable housing and 38,000 square feet of mixed-use space. According to 6sqft, La Hermosa aims to use the money it earns from the building’s tenants to fund its new sanctuary space, a music school, and an art school. The Manhattan School of Music has already offered to partner with the church and host free classes for local children at the site.  The low-lying community center, as envisioned by FXCollaborative, features a curved facade (similar in concept to the studio's Circa Central Park) made of crystal-like glass and a narrow, horizontal cutout spanning from one corner of the building to the opposite edge. If built, it would stand in stark contrast to La Hermosa’s current church building, a red- and creme-colored cement block structure that's slated to be demolished. Though the designs have already been released, no developer has signed on for the project yet and the City Planning Commission says it won’t vote yes on a rezoning decision until that happens. Until then, the La Hermosa community must keep waiting, but the future looks fairly bright given its ample support in the neighborhood and the fact that the church is already neighbored by other high-rise buildings. Not only that, but since Central Park South and a few streets below have been building higher and higher for the past few years, the proposed project may face less criticism than similar projects, given that it's much smaller than any of the supertall skyscrapers ringing Central Park's borders.
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Pratt-ice Makes Perfect

AN interviews Frances Bronet, the Pratt Institute’s new president
Pratt Institute began in 1887 in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill neighborhood as an affordable college accessible to the working class of New York. Founded by industrialist Charles Pratt, whose company, Astral Oil Works, was absorbed into John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust in 1874, it was run as a charity for many years. It still had a Pratt family member, Richardson Pratt Jr., as president in 1990, the fifth family member to serve in that position. Its ninth president, Henry Saltzman, who served from 1970 to 1972, was an urban studies specialist, but other non–Pratt family leaders came from the fields of education and academia. Now for the first time, the school has selected a president, Frances Bronet, who has degrees in architecture and civil (structural) engineering. This, in itself, is a unique background for someone leading a design institute, but of course, she was also selected for her accomplishments in and out of design academia. In this interview, we questioned Bronet about her design background, what it brings to the school, and how it informs what she hopes to accomplish as the institute’s 12th president. William Menking: You’ve had a distinguished 20-year career as an educator before becoming Pratt Institute’s 12th president. You have degrees in architecture and civil engineering, and a diploma in management. This is not a common degree path to becoming a college president. How did it happen that you went from being a designer to a president? Frances Bronet: I have always imagined what it would be like to be the head of a think tank, from the time I was 17. I may not have known exactly what that meant, but at this moment we can all agree that leading a college would qualify. In Montreal, I worked in prominent, faculty-led architectural offices, and ultimately in a partnership with two colleagues. After graduating from McGill, I began teaching at McGill, Vanier, and Montreal Technical College in the evenings after working in practice during the day. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to continue in the academy, and I came to New York City to study at Columbia University for grad school. As an engineer and an architect with solid experience as a teacher, I was offered a few jobs, from the University of Texas to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), as a tenure-related faculty member. It’s hard to believe when looking back, but I taught for almost 30 years. In my experience, the academy, somewhat like an ambitious office, offers an amazing amount of freedom. As a faculty member, you have an incredible bandwidth for experimentation, new ideas, and collaboration. In many ways, it is both an entrepreneurial environment and one that has manageable boundaries. As soon as I was tenured, I became associate dean (I was also a new parent!). This was a great experience. I love building relationships and brokering genius—and being in an administrative position lets me do that. There are certainly many architects who would avoid administration, but it can be unbelievably creative. And where else do you get to engage this extraordinary amount of intelligence and aspiration? I then left RPI to become dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts (now the College of Design) at the University of Oregon. Being dean across domains—from painting to architecture to public policy—gave me access to understanding the big picture. When an even larger university-wide landscape was made available to me as acting provost at Oregon, I couldn’t resist. The ability to take opportunities across disciplines and connect remarkable people, projects, and places was key, as was designing teams where the unexpected can unfold. From there, I went on to be provost at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago and now have the honor of being the president of Pratt Institute. The school has a massive external face, leading through design—and as an extreme extrovert, this position is perfect. WM: The next logical question is how did an architecture and engineering degree prepare you for your academic career? Did it give you particular and unique insights into design education? FB: Absolutely. Studying and working in these environments exposed me to various ways of thinking and unique modes of defining complex problems and solving them. I was impressed by how distinct expertise came together to make it all work. We all have different modes of learning and teaching, and people self-select these disciplines. For me, architecture, although tough, resonated with how I experienced and performed in the world; engineering put me in a place that was unfamiliar, so that very precariousness opened up a new universe. WM: Your resume highlights your publishing career “on multidisciplinary design curricula connecting architecture, engineering, STS (science, technology, and society), dance, and fine electronic art.” You’re now the president of an art and design institution of higher education. How will you expand or develop interdisciplinarity between schools at Pratt? FB: Ah! That would be the provost’s gig. And now that we have a strategic plan developed with all our constituencies, this very recommendation is central. I could guide, advise, and listen, but the provost is the chief academic officer. My work is how what is going on in the world impacts our strategic vision and how we share this beyond our own gates, building broad constituencies of support. We have 1,200 faculty members—many of whom have their own practices—already connected to the world at large and bringing the world here when they teach. How can these connections be magnified and supported? Many educational enterprises are building experiential, embodied, problem-based, and practice-oriented courses. Pratt has been doing this for more than 130 years. That is where we should take a leadership role. WM: What are the challenges of directing an art and architecture and design academy in 2019? How do you hope to change or expand the institute? FB: Some challenges transcend the institute—preparing students for careers that don’t yet exist, accessibility, including cost, and wellness, to name a few. But for us, it is that excellence will be measured by how a private institution works for the public good, from social and environmental to cultural metrics. We are part of the economic and social engine that has transformed our neighborhood into a new, creative economy. And we must do more to create an academic institution that can collaborate to make a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable community. WM: What are the challenges and advantages of directing an institution of higher education for creative thinkers and makers in New York City? FB: The world’s best and brightest are here or are coming to New York City. It is also important to be aware that some great talent is outside of New York City, too. When thinking about the great diversity of this city, we ask ourselves, how do we represent the communities in which we sit? How do we collaborate with all this extraordinary talent and get out of institutional silos? How can we leverage our practice-based faculty, who bring both new ideas to their students and their students’ ideas to bear on their practices? There is an incredible opportunity to ask what are the key projects, and how do we partner and get involved? How are we part of a larger ecosystem? Climate change, rapid urbanization, ethical practice, and so forth impacting our world will require research, working across many disciplines, universities, and other organizations. This infrastructure can serve as a frame for true participatory democratic practice. Pratt is uniquely poised to do this type of engaged work and be part of this ecosystem. Our goal is to equip our students as cultural, environmental, urban, design, and education contributors and leaders. We are sitting next to one of the great new emerging developments at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. That’s where you’ll find our Consortium for Research and Robotics. It’s clear to me now that I was on the right track envisioning myself at a think tank. But in today’s world—with so much possible through technology and collaboration—we work in think-make tanks. There is so much possibility for partnership that, indeed, it will be the only way to address some of the most difficult issues confronting us. Designers are optimists. As Nobel laureate Herbert A. Simon said, “Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”
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Foto Finish

New York's Fotografiska gears up for its fall opening
The 2019 fall season will open with what promises to be an exciting new photography venue in Manhattan’s Flatiron District. Fotografiska New York—a collaboration between the brothers Jan and Per Broman and the architects of CetraRuddy—intends to offer a unique kind of exhibition hall for the city. It will not function as a commercial gallery depending on market fluctuations, nor museum/institution like the International Center of Photography (ICP), but rather its stated goal is to become a center or “community” for photographers and the viewing public in general. This project reprises the first apparently wildly successful Fotografiska in Stockholm, established in 2010, with another under construction in London and a completed outpost in Tallinn, Estonia. The global approach, according to the founders, is essential to their notion of a venue dedicated to focusing on major themes that touch upon “human” issues and aspects of cultures worldwide. This large, encompassing, and admirable goal will be better understood when the roster of inaugural exhibitions finally open as well as the building into which the works will be placed. The opening shows, which begin October 18, will include well-known photographers such as Ellen von Unwerth, Israeli Adi Nes, who is better known regionally, and will include fashion, landscape, and more conceptual works. The following November exhibition will be a retrospective of the iconic Swedish photographer Lars Tunbjörk, followed by three solo exhibitions by Nick Brandt, Julie Blackmon, and Man Ray. The institution seems to have done their research to identify artists representative of a wide range of cultures and seem to be covering all the bases, albeit with a rather traditional or unsurprising set of works. The photographs in the first show, however, are by genuinely accomplished artists and well worth the visit. Other artists who have been previously exhibited in the Stockholm location include well-known auteurs David la Chapelle, Annie Liebowitz, Sally Mann, and Irving Penn. Because the very definition of what constitutes “photography” today is in constant flux, it will be heartening to see what Fotografiska offers as a broad definition of the medium or media. The exhibitions will be curated by Jan Broman himself in conjunction with a staff of curators headed by Amanda Hajjar, the director of exhibitions who trained at the Courtauld and had a stint at Gagosian Gallery. Unlike many photo venues, this group doesn’t seem to have funding issues, and they certainly have the means to fulfill their intended program. The choice of the landmarked building at 281 Park Ave South for the New York Fotografiska outpost has proven to be an exciting, though challenging, one for the architects. Built by Robert Gilbert Wilson as the Children’s Aid Society Mission House in 1894, the faux-gothic building was not designed to accommodate the crowds Fotografiska plans on attracting. Exits, elevators, and plans had to be entirely revised and the space revamped for viewing a wide variety of photographic works from simple black and white traditional images, to the many new mixed media projects. What has resulted from the endeavor is an impressive and exciting new venue. The project wasn’t just another commission to the group. From the onset, the architects were excited to work with what they call the “jewel of the building.” The goal was to devise a system that would retain the flavor of the old building while producing a state-of-the-art new photo venue. Interestingly, they did not have any original/historic drawings from when the building was constructed and therefore required the structural engineer to take many probes and samples of the assembly to help with the analysis of what was required. The egress requirements for the new use required the entire team to strategize very early on in the process how to plot safe pathways for the occupants. Jan Broman with a team headed by Geoffrey Newman worked with the Landmarks staff in order to preserve the distinctive faux Gothic details that gave the building its charming character, taking care to retain the stained-glass windows and refurbish the mosaic detailing. For historical accuracy in the preservation and restoration, the team consulted with engineering firm Higgins Quasebarth. CetraRuddy’s initial concept involved opening up the space to afford an easy flow through the six floors. The vast areas, some spanning 560 square feet, would be reconfigured to allow for more intimate viewing and punctuated by areas for rest and conversation. There will be three total floors for exhibition space, with one functioning as a major exhibition hall, while another will provide space for alternating experimental works. The architects managed to incorporate the building’s existing, extravagantly sculpted deep poche windows into the project by deploying them to block out the daylight while addressing passersby. The notion behind this solar shading was to develop a way to integrate Fotografiska into the neighborhood by offering a spectacle that would provide the street a taste of the activities within the center while still remaining functional. The lighting system was another complex issue because of the wide range of photographic forms to be presented at the center. The design team researched to first determine the various requisites for viewing traditional photographic prints, often with reflective surfaces, to projection systems requiring more elaborate wiring and for which the work required a darkened spaced. Then, they had to develop a complex strategy for the basic support system for the building itself. Rather than simply replacing the columnar structures, they crafted a kind of bone replacement system—reinforcing from within to preserve the original character of the structure. In addition to the exhibition floors, the design includes a ground floor bookstore with posters and prints and cafe. The entire second floor is devoted to the restaurant, designed by Roman and Williams. It will function in a way similar to the much-acclaimed restaurant in the Stockholm center. All the pieces are in place for a unique and flourishing photo center that addresses global issues, with a particularly intimate approach.
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It makes an impression

Post-Office Architectes stamps Tribeca with corrugated cardboard concrete formwork
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Tribeca is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that non-landmarked lots throughout the area are being snatched up and redeveloped for commercial or residential purposes. 30 Warren Street, which is currently wrapping up construction, is located on a northeastern corner of Church and Warren Streets. Designed by the Paris-based practice Post-Office Architectes, which was founded by The Ateliers Jean Nouvel alumni David Fagart, Line Fontana, and Francois Leininger, the new luxury condominium joins the scene with an ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) facade formed with corrugated cardboard. The approximately 50,000-square-foot project is located just outside of the official boundaries of the four historic districts within Tribeca. As a commercial center for the city in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the architectural makeup of the neighborhood is defined by Renaissance Revival masonry and cast-iron offices and warehouses, differing in scale according to their proximity to either the avenue or side street. For the architects, it was integral that the design of the new residential development stands on its own as a contemporary project while still paying reverence to the context with a mineral-based cladding. In terms of massing, the 12-story project rises on the entire footprint of the corner lot and sets back at the fifth floor in unison with the cornice line of the adjacent historic structures. The north elevation will eventually rise to two stories and will serve as a retail space.
  • Facade Manufacturer TAKTL Schuco Rainscreen Solutions
  • Architect Post-Office Architectes
  • Facade Installer GGL Enterprises
  • Facade Consultant Front, Inc
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion Fall 2019
  • System Custom TAKTL system
  • Products TAKTL RAL 8019 Schuco window system
"Thanks to its very fine grain, UHPC typically allows all kinds of textures," said Post-Office Architects Co-Founder Francois Leininger. "Rather than creating a complicated texture using readily available digital processes and having to deal with the constrains (repetition, uniformity...), we wanted to create something crafty, something that would look a bit handmade, something with a unique feel. This was our way to pay tribute to the magnificent cast-iron architecture across the street and all around Tribeca." In total, there are approximately 921 UHPC panels across the facade, all of which are 3/4-inch thick and vary in size; the largest is about 11-by-3.5 feet. The system is not complex, as the panels are secured to a stud system that rests on the floor slabs. Where the assembly does stand out is in the use of a matrix of 1.5-inch-wide black aluminum channels placed behind the joint of each panel—a challenge when many of the panel dimensions are in fact unique. The aluminum channels serve two functions; the depth of the concrete panels is visually extenuated, and they obscure the insulation located behind the rain screen. Detailing for the precast concrete panels is fairly subtle and clever. The team suggested industrial-grade one-sided corrugated cardboard, pressed against the concrete slabs at a 45-degree angle. The 70 molds produced are imperfect; cardboard has a habit of micro-tearing and causing other impacts associated with the fabrication process. "The result, as one can observe on site today, is an ever-changing texture, reacting to the slightest inflections of light," continued Leininger. "The presence of the ribs helps to make the concrete panel look homogeneous, while the change of direction of the ribs, at each setback, modifies the perceived color of the panels." The project is slated to wrap up in the fall of 2019.