Search results for "murphy burnham and buttrick"

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Design Loose
Courtesy Respective Architects

One of the principal joys of surfing is making a pilgrimage to legendary secret spots that hodads (read: non-surfers) don’t know about. For a long time that was the case with Trestles, a mile-long San Diego County beach known for its gnarly swells. But secret spots, at least worthwhile ones, have a habit of not staying secret for very long. Surfers have made Trestles a destination since the 1930s, and in recent decades the number of visitors to the beach has swelled so much that local preservationists and public officials began to voice concerns about the potential impact on the delicate wetland ecology of the area.

"The Natural Scheme," proposed by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, seeks to blend into its surroundings. (Click to zoom)

But that was not the only problem that necessitated the Safe Trestles competition sponsored by Architecture for Humnity and Nike 6.0. The surfing spot gets its name in part from the railroad tracks surfers must cross to get there, with safe passage made all the more important by the near-collisions between trains and surfers so eager to reach the beach that too often don't notice the massive, thundering locomotive barreling down on them. Announced earlier this spring, the competition drew 104 entries from designers around the world, despite the fact that it does not involve an actual construction contract.

Earlier this month, Architecture for Humanity announced that the field has been narrowed to five finalists, selected by an enormous and diverse jury comprising architects, environmentalists and (naturally) a host of prominent surfers who frequent the beach. Perhaps as a testament to surfing's free spirit, the five finalists vary widely in their formal and conceptual approach to the design problem at hand. Some adopt a light touch, making a minimal impact on the landscape, while others more aggressively introduce capital-A architecture into the site.

"The Long Trail," created by Ken Smith's irvine studio, works to accentuate the site without dominating it.

“Easy*Safe*Dry,” a scheme by Berlin-based kola+kle, takes a no-nonsense, Platonic approach, introducing a single, linear, wooden element that leads all the way down to the waves. LA's Co-Lab Design Office’s sinuous “The Wave” calls for an elevated footpath that both slopes and curves atop minimally invasive, sunken footings and built-in seating to watch the action on the beach.

Several of the finalists seek to downplay the presence of any architecture at all, out of respect for the site. “Unveiling the Natural,” by Germany’s ERG04, relies on ramped wooden planks, a pedestrian underpass beneath the train tracks and subtle landscape architecture to draw attention to the delicacy of the area’s ecology, while still providing safe passage for pedestrians.

"The Wave," from the only West Coast finalists, Co-Lab, looks pretty much how its name would suggest. (Click to zoom)

A team from Ken Smith Landscape Architect: Workshop West, the architect's Irvine-based studio tasked with the Great Park there, calls for a design that “traces desire paths,” essentially just leveling and defining the existing trail to the beach with an elevated footpath, outlook points and a safe, ADA-compliant railroad crossing point.

Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects’ quiet entry, “The Natural Scheme,” seeks to minimize the visual and environmental impact of the intervention through a sustainably-constructed, elevated path that is mostly concealed from the sight of visitors who are not using it while heightening the experience of the site for surfers and spectators alike.

"Unveiling the Natural," proposed ERG04, uses fences for safety but also the slow reveal of the stunning landscape surrounding the path.

The desire to keep design in the background makes this the most poetic of the entries, particularly when hearing Jeff Murphy, a partner at Murphy Burnham & Buttrick, describe his firm’s entry in full surfer-zen mode. “Trestles is a surfer’s paradise," Murphy said. "Knowing how invasive this project could be to surfers who covet this natural environment, our design attempts to create a minimal path that over time, becomes hidden by the natural landscape. Our approach does everything possible to maintain the existing Trestles experience in a naturally integrated way.”

Each of the finalists will each receive a $5000 stipend to further develop their schemes, which are due to a final jury in September.

Murphy Burnham and Buttrick

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Working for the City
The New York Public Library's Mariners Harbor Branch in Staten Island, designed by Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani, won a Design Excellence award this year.
Courtesy Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani Architects Planners

The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) has announced its 2009 list of architects contracted under the Design and Construction Excellence program. Firms on the list are eligible to compete for projects overseen by the DDC. The program was initiated in 2005 under the direction of DDC Commissioner David J. Burney to shift the city’s procurement method from price-based to quality-based selection.

Competition for these coveted contracts has become fiercer each time that the agency has updated its list, which happens every two years. In 2005, 178 firms applied. In 2007 that number grew to 237. This year 329 firms answered the RFP, vying for four fewer spots than were previously available. The DDC reduced the number of contracts due to a downturn in work projected over the next two years.

Firms on the list fall under two categories: those eligible for projects with construction estimates of $15 million or less, and those eligible for projects with construction estimates of more than $15 million. DDC limits the size of firms applying for the smaller budget positions to no more than ten professional staff. Out of 221 applicants for the smaller budget work, the agency issued 20 contracts, down from 24 in 2007. Here are the firms that made that list: Architecture Research Office; Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani Architects Planners; Audrey Matlock Architect; Belmont Freeman Architects; Bentel & Bentel, Architects/Planners; BWA|de.Sign (Basil Water Architects and de.Sign); Charles Rose Architects; Dean/Wolf Architects; Della Valle Bernheimer; Garrison Architects; Gray Organschi Architecture; Huff + Gooden Architects; Leeser Architecture; LTL Architects; Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects; Ogawa/Depardon Architects; Slade Architecture; Toshiko Mori Architect; Wallance + Hibbs Architects; and WorkAC.

The DDC has no rules about only contracting firms based in New York City, as can be seen by the presence of Boston architect Charles Rose, and the New Haven-based Gray Organschi Architecture.

Out of 108 applicants for the larger budget work, the DDC handed out eight contracts, the same number as was awarded in 2007. Here are the firms that made that list: Selldorf Architects; Asymptote Architecture; BKSK Architects; Grimshaw Architects; Rogers Marvel Architects; Snøhetta; TEN Arquitectos; and Thomas Phifer and Partners.

At the time of this writing, all the contracts on the lists are pending registration with the city comptroller, which is a necessary step for all city contracts.

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General Contracting/Construction Management

Sheila C. Johnson Design Center by Lyn Rice Architects with Richter+Ratner
Richard Barnes

43-20 102nd Street
Corona, NY

77 Charles Street South
Boston, MA

E.W. Howell
592 5th Ave., New York

Edward/Bennett Construction
246 West 38th St., New York

33-35 South 8th St., Brooklyn

F. J. Sciame Construction
80 South St., New York

520 West 27th St., New York

Fulton Landing
55 Washington St., Brooklyn

K Construction Company
254 Huron St., Brooklyn

Lico Contracting
29-10 20th Ave., Queens

Milherst Construction
2601 Millersport Hwy.
Getzville, NY

Pavarini McGovern
352 Park Avenue South, New York

Plaza Construction
260 Madison Ave., New York

1370 Broadway, New York

Ronan O’Dwyer Building
21 Peters Path
East Hampton, NY

Shawmut Design and Construction
560 Harrison Ave.
Boston, MA

Structure Tone
770 Broadway, New York

244 Fifth Ave., New York

Tishman Interiors Corporation
666 Fifth Ave., New York



Greenwich Village Townhouse by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects with Lico
Peter aaron/esto

“Mosaics don’t come as single pieces but in nets, and the problem is always laying them in without showing the seams. Biordi did a magnificent job at 25 Bond Street laying in the tiles on a really complex 3-dimensional shape, and without cutting any.”
Ed Rawlings
Rawlings Architects

Cafco, the GC on Styx, was excellent. They have a very professional approach, understand how to put a team together, and are careful to create a stable tripod between the client, themselves, and the architect. They take those frictions and manage them well so everything goes smoothly. They also have a real depth of experience and know how to take care of details and know how to listen.”
Chris Bardt

“Eric Dernoshek at Foundations was excellent. His patience is unusual in construction. He was incredibly diligent when we worked through some of the details on a Soho penthouse in the project, like the 1-inch radiator diffuser slot that he helped us coordinate; it all had to be flush in a line with the adjacent materials.”
Victoria Blau
Victoria Blau Architect 

“One thing that made our Greenwich Village Townhouse so successful was our contractor, Lico. They demanded the most from their subcontractors, and on top of that, their subs were very good. They also worked hard on establishing a relationship with the client. For instance, they have a very organized maintenance department, so if there are leaks after the fact or other issues, they’re prepared to help their clients deal with them.”
Jeffrey Murphy
Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects

“Chris Mills at Plaza Construction was really proactive and helpful in streamlining the process. Riverhouse is a very complicated building from a technical standpoint and a very fast-track project for its size, and because Plaza’s team was very hands-on they made it go as smoothly as a project like that can go.”
Brian Slocum
Polshek Partnership Architects 

Rouge Tomate by Bentel & Bentel with shawmut
COURTESY bentel & bentel

“Our renovation at the New School was like operating on a patient without anesthesia. Richter+Ratner were careful about staging the work to maintain student access and fire egress. They had a super on site who was very precise in the way he organized the different trades and personally double-checked measurements and layouts. He was great at preventing mistakes.”
Lyn Rice
Lyn Rice Architects

“Based on the highly accelerated schedule for Rouge Tomate, Shawmut did an outstanding job of keeping everyone together and focused. For two months, laborers from a wide variety of trades were all on site simultaneously, and Shawmut was really effective in keeping them out of each other’s way without sacrificing the quality of the work. Despite the hectic pace, they always maintained their composure and kept their sense of humor. It was really a pleasure working with them.”
Carol Bentel and Thomas J. Lozada
Bentel & Bentel

Structure Tone was really outstanding. They worked with us on the Bank of America before there was even a hole in the ground in terms of establishing a budget and working on value engineering. They really know their stuff.”
Rocco Giannetti

K Construction was very good. They were on time and reasonably priced. I’m using them again on another townhouse project.”
Joel Sanders
Joel Sanders Architect 

“I’ve worked with Fulton Landing on a number of projects and he’s honestly one of my favorite contractors in the city. The concept that came from Nike brand design was like a ship in a bottle and so some of the strategy and the timeline was tight. They had contractors build as much offsite as possible, and the design really lent itself to that construction approach.”
Henry Romann
Frederic Schwartz Architects 

“We enjoy working with Wise whenever we can on exacting private residential projects in the city because of their precision. They leave no stone unturned in completing their projects and give to everyone complete confidence in their abilities. We completely trust them.”
John Henderson
Clodagh Design

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Ghenet by Rickenbacker & Leung with Monk Design
Amy Barkow/Barkow Photo

A-Val Architectural Metal Corporation
240 Washington St.
Mount Vernon, NY

Airflex Industries
937 Conklin St.
Farmingdale, NY

Astec Architectural Bronze
Via dell’Artigianato, 30
Dosson di Casier
Treviso, Italy

B.J. McGlone
40 Brunswick Ave.
Edison, NJ

30 Baekeland Ave.
Middlesex, NJ

Berlin Steel Construction
76 Depot Rd.
Berlin, CT

Centria Architectural Systems
1005 Beaver Grade Rd.
Moon Township, PA

Chef Restaurant Supply
294-296 Bowery, New York

David Shuldiner
35 Irving Ave., Brooklyn

Empire Architectural Metal
14–50 118th St., Queens

Gratz Industries
1306 Queens Plaza South
Long Island City

J. Frederick Construction
71 Commerce Drive
Brookfield, CT

KD Ironworks
60 Saint Casmir Ave.
Yonkers, NY

Maloya Laser
65A Mall Drive
Comack, NY

5, Rue de la Roche Grolleau
Lusignan, France

Metropan Systems
85–06 89th Ave.
Woodhaven, NY

68 Lombardy St., Brooklyn

Monk Design
338 Berry St., Brooklyn 

Quality Metal Craft
135 Old Colony Ave.
Quincy, MA

738 Grand St., Brooklyn

Skyline Steel
8 Woodhollow Rd.
Parsippany, NJ

Super Steel
7900 West Tower Ave.
Milwaukee, WI

UAD Group
299 Vandervoort Ave., Brooklyn

216 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA

Wilson Conservation
100 East 5th St., Brooklyn


landmarc by clodagh design with j. frederick
eric laignel

“We’ve used Paul Yam of Chef Restaurant Supply for all kinds of custom stainless steel projects, and each time, he’s delivered a well-crafted piece regardless of the constraints. He’s even been flexible enough to tolerate a Saturday morning delivery, where he and his crew had to tango with a 500-pound wet terrazzo polisher.”
John Hartmann

Empire Architectural Metal had a huge scope for the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center. They manufactured all the custom aluminum window frames, and canopies that double as signage with aluminum letters, which they water-jet-cut and welded together. They re-did several things that we had some issues with. They are very accommodating and committed to making it right.”
Lyn Rice
Lyn Rice Architects

Gratz Industries is legendary. They fabricated Mies’ Barcelona Chair, and they are as good as it gets.”
Ed Rawlings
Rawlings Architects

Maloya Laser’s bread and butter is building heaters for de-icing airplanes before they take off, so they have really high-end laser cutters and CNC milling equipment. On the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism project, they sat down with their knowledge of how steel bends and the properties of various alloys, etc., and worked out the details with a high level of precision. Honestly, it’s hard to find people like this.”
Scott Marble
Marble Fairbanks

toni stabile student center at columbia university by marble fairbanks with maloya laser
COURTESY marble fairbanks

“We used Metropan’s custom zinc panels to clad two walls that flank the back porch of our West Village townhouse. I’ve seen these go in very sloppy on other projects, and this was just a jewel-box-like installation. It’s very clean and beautifully detailed.”
Jeffrey Murphy
Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects 

J. Frederick can fabricate just about anything out of metal; they’re amazing. We spent time in their shop with their blowtorches and chemicals to get some incredible patinated surfaces. Kevin really knows what he’s talking about.”
John Henderson
Clodagh Design 

“Mark Chagnon of Quality Metal Craft is a true problem-solver and a craftsman at an affordable price. He did the custom metal folding and fabrication for our Fin’s restaurant in Boston. All the laser-cut steel bends were really complex. We basically brought him a paper model, and it didn’t scare him away.”
Hansy Better Barraza
Studio Luz Architects


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Reece School by Platt Byard Dovell White with Oldcastle Glass
Jonathan Wallen

122 Hudson St., New York

Circle Redmont
2760 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, FL

Cami de Can Ferran s/n, Pol.
Industrial Coll. de la Manya
Barcelona, Spain

Depp Glass
41–40 38th St.
Long Island City

Josloff Glass
169 Meeker Ave.
Newark, NJ

Klahr Glass
65 Bank St.
White Plains, NY

Maloof Architectural Materials
43 Westbury Rd.
Garden City, NY

McGrory Glass
1400 Grandview Ave.
Paulsboro, NJ

Oldcastle Glass
2425 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA

Olde Good Glass
124 West 24th St., New York

Pilkington North America
811 Madison Ave.
Toledo, OH

R.E. Krug
190 Oliver St., North
Tonawanda, NY

800 Park Dr.
Owatonna, MN


temple emanu-el by beyer blinder belle with femenella & associates

“We used a glass plank porch on the back of our West Village townhouse that enabled us to get daylight down into the basement. Circle Redmont do these big glass paver installations, and the planks—which measure about 18 inches by nine feet—almost make it feel like you’re on an upper floor of the house.”
Jeffrey Murphy
Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects

“Arthur Femenella of Femenella & Associates led the whole effort in removing all the stained glass windows at Temple Emanu-El, moving them to a studio, restoring them, and reinstalling them. He also replaced the exterior Plexiglas covers. And there were so many windows, it was a real logistical challenge.”
Tom Lindberg
Beyer Blinder Belle

“The arrangement of color in the Reece School’s front facade was achieved by incorporating a tinted interlayer by Vanceva into Oldcastle’s facade glass. Vanceva offers a wide range of hues and saturations to choose from, and Oldcastle was able to integrate this material into their production process with little impact on cost and scheduling. The ease of working with them allowed us to design one of the building’s most noteworthy and playful qualities without a great deal of additional effort or problem-solving.”
Ray Dovell
Platt Byard Dovell White

“For the DvF headquarters in the Meatpacking District, we proposed to Landmarks that anything new would be made differently, and so we wanted to use corrugated glass for the awning instead of the metal the area is known for. They loved the idea, but then we had to go out and find it. Manufacturers wanted $1,000 per square foot to make it, and so we almost gave up before we found Olde Good Things, whose Olde Good Glass division specializes in salvaged wired glass from the Twenties and Thirties. It was perfect and even met code for laminated glass, because the codes are so old they still require glass to be wired.”
Dan Wood
Work AC

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Queens Botanical Garden by BKSK Architects with Conservation Design Forum
Nicole de Feo



Cerami Associates
404 5th Ave., New York

8 Fletcher Pl.
Melville, NY

Donaldson Acoustics
150 Wireless Blvd.
Hauppauge, NY

DVI Communications
11 Park Pl., New York

361 West 52nd St., New York

Edit Educational Center
2127 Crompond Rd.
Cortland Manor, NY

Electronic Crafts 

Essential Communications
124 W. 30th St., New York

Shen Milsom Wilke
417 5th Ave., New York


Bright Power
11 Hanover Sq., New York


Hadley Designs
1700 Elmwood Ave.
Buffalo, NY


Design 2147
52 Diamond St., Brooklyn

Jam Consultants
104 West 29th St., New York

Jerome S. Gillman Consulting
40 Worth St., New York

William Vitacco Associates
299 Broadway, New York


CI Code Consultants
215 West 40th St., New York

Rolf Jensen & Associates
360 West 31st St., New York


Conservation Design Forum
375 West 1st St.
Elmhurst, IL


Clevenger, Frable, LaVallee
39 Westmoreland Ave.
White Plains, NY


Jacobs Consultancy
303 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY


Balmori Associates
833 Washington St., New York

Lee Weintraub Landscape Architecture
59 Edgecliff Ter.
Yonkers, NY

Michael Van Valkenburgh
18 East 17th St., New York

MKW + Associates
39 Park Ave.
Rutherford, NJ

Quennell Rothschild & Partners
118 West 22nd St., New York

Robin Key Landscape Architecture
333 Hudson St., New York

Thomas Balsley Associates
31 West 27th St., New York


Viridian Energy & Environmental
21 West 38th St., New York


Levien & Company
570 Lexington Ave., New York


Building Conservation Associates
158 West 27th St., New York


17395 Daimler St.
Irvine, CA


204 5th Ave., New York


P.F.1 by work ac with electronic crafts

elizabeth felicella

broadway penthouse by joel sanders architect with balmori associates

peter aaron/esto

“David Schwartz of Essential Communications is a master at the seamless integration of all the components into the architecture to create an incandescent sound that doesn’t interrupt the design of a space.”
Ed Rawlings
Rawlings Architects 

Cerami helped us with a tough condition in the multi-purpose room. In order to create the right setting we had to have the right acoustics, but we didn’t want to disrupt the wonderful architecture of the room. Together we came up with this concealed panel system that sits behind the arches. They were good partners in the process, very responsive.”
Sylvia Smith

“The green roof was both the client’s and the public’s favorite part of the Queens Botanical Garden. Conservation Design Forum did a plant selection in terms of seasonal variety and color that really demonstrates what’s possible in a 6-inch soil.”
Julia Nelson
BKSK Architects 

“Because Rouge Tomate is so heavily influenced by the cooking technique, the design of the kitchen was extremely important. Foster Frable proved to be the perfect complement for Rouge Tomate’s desire to create the most well-designed kitchen possible.”
Thomas J. Lozada
Bentel & Bentel 

“Lab design is a science and if you haven’t done it before it can make your head explode. Basically the lab plan component dictates the building and Jacobs Consultancy helped us to understand that at the Weill Research Center. They were great teachers.”
Renny Logan
Richard Meier & Partners 

Lee Weintraub is a great designer, very responsive, very thoughtful. He was able to get the maximum number of uses from a small space, and to involve as many residents as possible.”
William Stein
Dattner Architects 

Robin Key Landscape Design created a really great outdoor room in the rear yard of our West Village townhouse that’s defined by birch trees and a trellis, and this huge vine that was encroaching from the neighbor—instead of cutting it back and eliminating it from the yard, she actually incorporated it into the space.”
Jeffrey Murphy
Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects 

“Joe DeCeglie from William Vitacco Associates is helpful in every step of the way. He provides clear interpretations, and professional assistance to help resolve every issue in every phase.”
Stephen Luk

Viridian helped us on Riverhouse to make sure we were meeting Battery Park City’s energy requirements. We were able to subvert the 60-to-40 masonry-to-glass ratio by showing that a double curtain wall system would be more energy efficient than a traditional masonry wall.”
Brian Slocum
Polshek Partnership Architects 

greenwich village townhouse by murphy burnham & buttrick architects with robin key landscape design
Kevin Chu/KCJP

Levien & Company had a really great way of keeping the team going. They kept us together at crunch times, bottlenecks, and tough building conditions.”
Annabelle Selldorf
Selldorf Architects 

Building Conservation Associates are preservation specialists. They helped us to interpret the history of Lion House—the narrative behind it—as well as helped us with the technical issues of disassembling and reassembling different aspects of the building.”
Sylvia Smith

Aria is doing everything at our Chelsea townhouse: the furniture, the facades—everything. Clive Hawkins just does it on his computer and we take it straight to production. He’s actually a car designer, though superhero is more like it.”
Winka Dubbeldam

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Up On the Roof
The urban wetland at the heart of Lehman College's new science building.
Courtesy Perkins+Will

Although Le Corbusier believed in hanging gardens for “reasons of comfort, sentiment, technique, and economy,” the consensus for much of the last 80 years, sadly, has been that terraced rooftops were neither so economical nor so technically feasible. That consensus, however, is changing.

With the accelerating enthusiasm for environmentally sound design, architects are turning their eyes upward. While green roofs are hardly widespread enough to measure their impact on an urban scale, it is already evident that a top layer of greenery can add energy savings along with aesthetic appeal to individual buildings. Thanks to recent advances in building technology, green roofs are proving as practical as they are attractive, as borne out by a brace of new projects in New York City.

The centerpiece of a $1 billion capital expansion, the proposed new Science Building for CUNY’s Lehman College in the Bronx will have a green roof that does double duty. Architects Perkins+Will intend to perch a greenhouse atop the L-shaped facility covering 50 percent of the roof’s surface, lining the remainder in solar thermal panels and a white Pyramic “cool roof” coating. “Plant science is a part of the school’s research,” explained Tony Alfieri, an associate principal at Perkins+Will, “and obviously the roof has the best exposure to the sun—so the green roof emerged out of the program.” But it was a programmatic feature that dovetailed perfectly with the goal of energy efficiency.

From top: Lehman College's Science Building; the rooftop greenhouse at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s school; Adlai Stevenson high school’s green roof.  
Courtesy respective firms

Since roofs tend to leak substantial quantities of heat during the colder months, the Science Building’s greenhouse will act as an additional layer of insulation over much of the structure. The greenhouse itself, designed in consultation with the Ohio firm of Rough Brothers, will feature acrylic glazing rather than glass, allowing further gains in heat conservation. Meanwhile the solar thermal panels are expected to provide for as much as five percent of the building’s energy needs, a big help in Perkins+Will’s quest for LEED Gold certification. But for Alfieri, the roof’s greatest contribution is that there isn’t much of it. “We made the building footprint, and the roof, occupy as small a percentage of the site as possible,” leaving the grounds around it open for cultivation as an “urban wetland.”

In Manhattan’s Morningside Heights, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick have topped their renovation of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s private school with another greenhouse, this one less LEED feature than learning tool. The ongoing refurbishment, underway for the last eight years, has been eco-minded from the start, incorporating reused and recycled building materials; but principal Mary Burnham puts this in the context, not just of the present green phenomenon, but of the school’s mission: “The sustainability aspect has become an educational tool. The greenhouse is the latest effort to create spaces that nurture an understanding of the environment.” Studying plant life in this simple, sunlit conservatory, featuring low-maintenance finishes and non-toxic materials, the children will develop a rapport with the natural world that will prepare them for the responsibility of environmental stewardship.

Innovation and collaboration are the hallmarks of Rafael Viñoly Architecture’s Adlai Stevenson High School. A coalition including the School Construction Authority, the nonprofit Salvadori Center, and New Visions for Public Schools have singled out the South Bronx school for an ambitious experiment in green design. A lightweight, modular roofing system devised by engineer/architect Joe Hagerman will be filled with the Gaia Institute’s GaiaSoil planting matrix. Hagerman’s invention is simple in section, but padded out with enough insulation to ensure water retention for the plant beds above while providing energy savings for the building below. A planting scheme from the City of New York’s Greenbelt Native Plant Center will stress local flora, as well as provide areas for student and teacher research. Viñoly and Hagerman have worked together in the past; but what makes the Stevenson project stand head and shoulders above previous green roofs is its sheer scale: at 70,000 square feet, it’s sure to make a mark, putting paid to all the barren flat roofs of architecture past and giving a touch of color to New York’s long-neglected roofscape.

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AIA New York 2005 Housing Design Awards

The local chapter resurrects its housing award program. As Anna Holtzman discovers, this year's jury champions affordability.

Murphy Burnham & Buttrick's Bronx Row Houses, designed for Habitat for Humanity.
Each unit has a small front yard with a stoop,
a backyard, three bedrooms, and a skylight-topped stairwell.
courtesy murphy burnham & buttrick

>I don't expect this project to be published in the magazines,, said architect Jeffrey Murphy of his firm Murphy Burnham & Buttrick's award-winning project. His sentiment sums up that of many architects who submitted to the AIA New York Chapter 2005 Housing Design Awards. Displayed in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture and titled Everything Housing: From Homeless Shelters to Luxury Living (open through December 3), the awards span the gamuttfrom a supportive housing development in Brooklyn by Polshek Partnership to Richard Meier's exclusive Charles Street tower. Yet the focus of the judges, and of the AIA New York Chapter housing committee behind the awards, was clearly on the unglamorous side of the shelter spectrum: affordable housing.

1  front yard
2  living room
3  kitchen
4  rear yard
5  master bedroom
6  bedroom
7  storage
8  basement hall

Spearheaded by housing committee chair James McCullar, the nascent program drew 102 entriessincluding built projects and those approved for constructionnfrom which judges Julie Eizenberg, Adele Naude Santos, and Michael Pyatok selected nine awards and five citations. The New York AIA housing committee hasn't held an awards program since 1981, said McCullar, for unexplained reasons. And somehow with the Design Awards program, housing got lost in the shuffle,, he recounted. In the last few years, New York architects have been invited to submit to the Boston Society of Architects (BSA)'s biennial housing awards. [But] with all of the recent zoning changes in New York, such as the Greenpoint waterfront,, said McCullar, there could not be a more opportune time to bring local housing efforts to the forefront. Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and a guest speaker at the October 17 awards ceremony, drove McCullar's point home when he stated, Since 1990, New York City has added more people than the population of Boston,, creating an unprecedented need for affordable housing.

Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates' Marcy Avenue Residence in Brooklyn serves the mentally ill.

courtesy jonathan kirschenfeld associates

Donovan lauded such projects as the Schermerhorn House, Polshek Partnership's citation-winning, glass-faced supportive housing project for Common Ground Community, which brings luxuriously light-filled interior spaces to a mix of low-income and formerly homeless residents. Donovan's praise was tempered, however, by a more critical take from the jury. We were hoping to see some new typologies as far as spatial arrangements and clustering of units,, said Santos, but the truth was, there wasn't any of thatton the first pass, we said, Boy, these New Yorkers are really conservative.'' Eizenberg concurred, When everything is brick with sensible windows, you start to get a little worried.. In explaining their initial reaction, Santos proffered, We were very much a West Coast jury.. While Santos teaches at MIT, she is also a partner in San Francisco firm Santos Prescott & Associates; Eizenberg's practice Koning Eizenberg Architecture is based in Santa Monica, and Michael Pyatok practices in Oakland, California. Santos continued, In some ways, it's easier for us,, without the harsh climate, material constraints, stringent codes, and contextual pressures plaguing architects in dense East Coast cities.

The L-shaped building shelters an interior courtyard.

On closer inspection, the jury uncovered a group of projects whose stories go deeper than their practical brick walls. Among the award winners is Jonathan Kirschenfeld Associates' Marcy Avenue Residence, a Brooklyn home for the mentally ill, which the jury likened to the brick buildings of the Amsterdam School because of its carefully articulated faaade on which interior configurations are expressed by gestures such as recessed windows. Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects won an award for theiroriented toward a community garden across the street, and skylights within make the most of limited space. As the jury notes stated, These aren't cheap gestures, but [the architects] decided where to prioritize,, bringing an element of delight to this low-budget scheme. Another standout project, Melrose Commons in the Bronx, took root when Magnusson Architecture & Planning began pro-bono consulting for the client, Nos Quedamos ((we stayy in Spanish), a community group formed in 1993 to protest the city's Urban Renewal plans for Melrose. The project won an award in the Building Communityy category, more for the community-involved design process than for the buildings themselvesstidy rowhouses with sliver-sized front lawns, awnings, and orange-and-terracotta patterned faaades.

Ground-floor plan, top, and second-floor plan, below.


Similarly, Murphy admitted of his firm's Habitat project, The architectural expression is not necessarily that exciting, but the result is exciting: The people who live there are now a close-knit group of friends because they worked on the houses together.. As Santos stated, There's always been some kind of ambiguity, as to whether housing is really architecture with a capital A.. And for this reason, Eizenberg posited, People who do housing feel a bit marginalized.. She concluded, I'm glad they're doing [this awards program]]the people working in housing need all the support they can get.. If McCullar has his way, this will only be the beginning. The New York AIA housing committee is in talks with the BSA about coordinating both cities' housing awards, with New York taking the odd-numbered years and Boston the evens. But for its inaugural year, the New York Chapter's Housing Design Awards was all about the home city: Following the same criteria as the New York Chapter Design Awards, announced on September 19, all of the projects had to be either by or for New Yorkers.


Courtesy Magnusson Architecture & Planning
Magnusson Architecture & Planning worked with community group Nos Quedamos to draw up a renewal plan for Melrose Commons, a 35-block area in the Bronx. The plan includes several new residences, including a 95-unit coop (top) on 3rd Avenue between 158th and 159th streets.

Anna Holtzman is a New York based writer and a former editor at Architecture magazine. She is completing a documentary about New York City's subway musicians.