Search results for "David Rockwell"

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New Sensation

Product>Milan Highlights
We collected our absolute favorite furniture and accessories from in and around Salone del Mobile. Innovation and form combine to create pieces that we want right this instant. Paraventi Berluti x Ceccotti Collezion Ren Valet Stand Poltrona Frau

Designed by Neri & Hu, the collection takes its name from the shape of the Chinese ideogram ren, meaning “person” or “human being.” The pieces are comprised of similar elements, including Canaletto walnut, brass, and Cuoio Saddle leather, best displayed in this handsome valet stand.

Valet Collection by David Rockwell Stellar Works

David Rockwell’s collection is meant to symbolize a new sector of furniture that supports everyday living, working, and entertaining. The valet itself creates an area of reprieve to transition from the busy outside world into a relaxed home. The leather bag holds two pairs of shoes, and there is a walnut shelf for personal items in addition to brass hardware.

Leather Longue chair LL04 DePadova

A reimagined classic lounge chair that combines quality Italian leather with the Scandinavian functionality of designer and architect Maarten Van Severen. The stainless-steel structure is covered in either black or natural cowhide and finished with hand stitching.

Åhus Blå Station

Multicultural design collective OutofStock worked tirelessly with Blå Station’s owners-designers to create their second collaboration. The Åhus easy chair pays homage to the brand’s 30th anniversary by embodying the company’s values: Finding balance between modern and timeless.

Optical collection Lee Broom

A simple, yet graphic lighting collection by Lee Broom is inspired by Op-Art and was displayed all over Milan in a transportable installation entitled “Salone del Automobile.” Although on the outside it looked like an unsuspecting gray delivery van, inside it was an ornately decorated rendition of an Italian palazzo.

Gemma Sofa Moroso

Daniel Libeskind expands his Gemma collection for Moroso with the Gemma sofa, which is an exercise in small-scale architecture. The incredibly plush upholstery contrasts with sharp asymmetrical lines, and the design is inspired by both a precious gemstone and by 15th century Italian tapestries.

Serif TV Samsung

At Superstudio Più in Via Tortona, Samsung and the Bouroullec brothers joined forces to create a new genre of television, designed with an artisanal spirit that considers technology and technical characteristics as well as the consumers’ lifestyle aesthetics and emotions. The result is a monochromatic frame and furniture element unlike any other on the market.

Terra System Mosa

Stone is one of earth’s oldest building materials. Architects designing tomorrow’s landmarks seek its timeless look, but the most desired limestones and sandstones can be porous and problematic over time. Mosa’s expertise in stone-look porcelain is unparalleled, because their technology draws from nature and each tile is unique. Discover the top 5 places where porcelain tile makes a better choice than natural stone.

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Rockwell Group–designed Imagination Playground opens in Brownsville, Brooklyn
Local students and community members joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, City Council Member Darlene Mealy, and David Rockwell, founding principle of Rockwell Group, for the opening of the Imagination Playground at Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Although the concept derives from adventure playgrounds and similar philosophies of unstructured play, the Brownsville Imagination Playground is technically the first permanent one of its kind in Brooklyn, and the second worldwide. (The first, also designed by the Rockwell Group, opened in 2010 at the Burling Slip in Manhattan). The $5.05 million project was influenced by tree houses, a foil to the monolithic blocks of high-rise public housing for which Brownsville is best known. A curved ramp wends its way through mature trees, while blue foam blocks, cut into funky shapes, along with water and sand, are tools for children to collaborate, build, or create by themselves. Traditional play elements—slides swing sets, chess tables, and a basketball court—round out the program. A year before the Burling Slip playground opened, Rockwell Group tested the designs in Brownsville with former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. David Rockwell elaborated on the process: "When we were asked to do a second Imagination Playground, it gave us a chance to do a couple of things from a design perspective: One, these London Plane trees were incredible, they were a landmark that was important to preserve. We were able to create a path that weaves around the trees. Like the lower Manhattan playground, it's a playground you can see from 360 degrees. It's really a community space." This reporter dodged zooming children and risked limb (well, ankle—platform sandals were a bad choice for this assignment!) to give you, dear readers, a panoramic view of the park from the bridge. (Look closely at 0:55 in the video above and you can see another local landmark, the Kenneth Frampton–designed Marcus Garvey Village.)
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Interaction Packed
In Bitly's New York office, San Francisco-based Future Cities Lab crafted a light sculpture that reflects real-time data on the usage of the company's shortened URLs.
Courtesy Future Cities Lab

October 21, 2015—the future date that Marty McFly traveled to in Back to The Future II— was almost a month ago.

What did Back to the Future II predict and what did it get wrong? While the flying cars and ubiquitous fax machines didn’t quite turn out, fingerprint sensors and video chats definitely did. But one scene isn’t too far from our current future: Marty walks through the town square, bewildered by what his town looks like 30 years in the future and he comes across Jaws 19 on the marquee of the movie theater (the same theater from 1955 and 1985). The movie is playing, and a holographic shark leaps from the building to eat Marty, who is thoroughly scared.

How close are we to this reality, where buildings and people interact through immersive, sensorial environmental features?

This technology, including light and sound components, as well as interactive hardware and software, is increasingly included in installations, exhibitions, branded environments, entertainment venues, and elsewhere. Like the Jaws 19 shark, it brings spaces closer to us through physical and sensorial interactions. These spaces rely less on traditional architectural effect and more on actively evolving a kind of engagement with space. It includes lights, sounds, smells, touchscreens, interactive content embedded in buildings, and even the integration of social media into space.

Could interactive technologies and the lessons of immersive spaces begin to offer new ways for architecture to operate in culture writ large? As this technology-architecture combination evolves, will it offer new forms of collectivity through design?

Rockwell Lab’s installation, Luminaries, will illuminate New York’s Brookfield Palace starting December 1 with 650 interactive LED-filled cubes that can be controlled by visitors via “wishing stations.”
Courtesy Rockwell Lab

Interactive Holidays

Starting December 1 in New York City, the 2015 holiday season will kick off with an installation at the Brookfield Place Winter Garden—an Archigram fantasy applied to a
classic piece of ’80s tropical historicism. Cesar Pelli designed the Crystal Palace–like space and Rockwell Lab is installing Luminaries, an interactive light sculpture composed of 650 suspended cubes that will float among the palm trees. The LED-filled cubes, or “luminoids,” as they are called in-house, will be mostly ambient until visitors control them. Visitors “make a wish” by interacting with touch-sensors embedded in three Corian wishing stations that send pulses of color-change through the installation above. The Corian touchscreens are a traditional surface material embedded with technology to augment the physical experience into an interactive one. Designers can also control the cubes individually to program a sequence, making a more choreographed performance.


The installation is designed to be downtown’s version of a holiday spectacle in the vein of Rockefeller Center’s tree-lighting, but Rockwell Lab hopes it will be an ongoing gathering place though the holidays. As users send their “wishes” through the cubes, they will interact with the environment and also with each other—they can watch others control the panels and work together to create new patterns. “Rockwell Lab is about using interior space to bring people together and ask, ‘How do people connect in space?’” said Rockwell Lab studio leader Melissa Hoffman.

Rockwell Lab has four architects, three strategists, and over 20 tech people who are working to blur the physical and digital in a myriad of situations. “In our projects, content lives in a space. We think of it often as live, digital wallpaper. It is architectural.”

Inside the Rockwell Lab at Union Square, New York, small-scale prototypes are scattered around a studio-like space. It is an ongoing physical experiment with mock-ups and prototypes littering the area, from color-changing glass to LED screens flashing GIFs. These experiments linger and offer a glimpse into the lab’s iterative design process. On one table there are tiny projectors that kiss scale models with light; elsewhere sits an Oculus Rift device that allows designers and clients to really see what the experience of their proposed spaces will be like. “We use it internally to understand, but also to have the client understand,” said Hoffman.

In Arup’s SoundLab, a double-width projection screen displays a space, while the speakers surrounding the visitor project sound as it would be in real life. The spatial simulation can also be augmented with an Oculus Rift, the visual equivalent of the SoundLab.
Courtesy Arup

Design through Auralization

At Arup’s SoundLab, they are simulating sound in the same way that Oculus Rift is simulating visuals. The SoundLab is a hi-fidelity (literally), spaceship-like space with the most cutting-edge sound, visualization, and 3-D-modeling technology integrated into a presentation space that would make most corporate executives proud. Their “auralization” system allows users to hear the acoustic qualities of an imagined space in real-time, through a 3-D simulation. For example, I was treated to a video tour of Brooklyn’s new National Sawdust performance venue. As the tour twisted and turned, it ended on the balcony, where I could turn my body in real space, but the sound was coming from the same place in the virtual space. The “real me” was moving, but not the virtual stage. It is the sound equivalent of the Oculus.

While the simulation is a great tool for showing off the new building, it is also very useful on the front end for making design decisions.

A man is immersed in the Oculus experience at the m | Lab. Arup hopes that one day this technology will have a variety of uses at larger scales and in more public environments.

The SoundLab was conceived in 2001 as the latest in the evolution of sound visualization technology that had been developing for nearly 50 years. The internal metrics that acoustic engineers were using were almost incomprehensible to outsiders. Visualization made visually tracking waves and their reflections possible, but it still didn’t accurately represent the sound in a space to clients.  The “auralization” was built using anechoic chamber music that was recorded in an acoustic reflection-less space at Bell Labs in New Jersey.

The Arup SoundLab goes mobile at the Architecture and Design Film Festival at Chelsea’s Bow Tie Cinemas. The mission of the m | Lab is to turn the speakers “outward” and help the public visualize spaces and hear what they would sound like.

This reverberation-free music is then digitally combined with data collected from a space using a “pulse” with an omnidirectional loudspeaker and microphone, or is extracted from a 3-D model given to them by the architects. The result is an acoustic virtual reality, or a map of how a sound travels in space. These audible acoustic sceneries allow designers to make architectural decisions based on qualitative factors rather than prescriptive objectives.

National Sawdust with some panels removed to expose the operable acoustic drapes that allow different configurations for different types of music, while maintaining a visual appearance.
Floto + Warner

Building as Instrument

Brooklyn design studio Bureau V and Arup SoundLab worked closely on National Sawdust, a new music venue in Williamsburg. From the outset, Sawdust was the brainchild of attorney, organist, and philanthropist Kevin Dolan, who had a specific vision for a space that would accommodate a variety of types of live music, without compromising any. In addition, he wanted to make the space a forum for performance, recording, broadcast, and experimentation in composition—a tall task for the design team.

Embedded and ceiling mounted lights allow variations on the interior surfaces.
David Andrako

“[Dolan] could say what he liked, but he couldn’t design it or talk about it,” explained Arup’s head of acoustics, Raj Patel. “To get the intimate experience he wanted, we had to have the right reflection patterns.” In the end, SoundLab technology let them fine-tune the performance space of National Sawdust so that clarity, loudness, intimacy, reverberation, envelopment, and timbre could be adjusted by the artists in sound check. Dolan got what he wanted, which is a space that can be altered for both acoustic and electric  performance without physically transforming the visuals in the space.

The vision plays out as an intimate venue that has the ability to shift for different exceptional sound qualities, but does not change its appearance; the architecture is the acoustics. “At the SoundLab, we see the relationship of architecture and acoustic engineering as seamless,” said Patel. “For National Sawdust, we really wanted to think of the venue as an instrument that could be tuned like any other.”

David Andrako

National Sawdust is located in an old sawdust factory, where a large, brick industrial structure sits over the L subway line. The performance space is acoustically isolated from the outside to keep all vibrations out and minimize background noise. Arup helped develop a box-in-a box construction that is suspended on spring isolators so that there is no shared structure between the two boxes. The rectangular space was modeled in the SoundLab to achieve ideal proportions for the types of performances Dolan requested; he was in the facility at Arup’s Financial District office from the start.

The interior box is a large, steel structure with inset laser-cut aluminum panels covered in fabric—a system designed to let sound through to the CMU wall behind. “It was important that we did not lose sound as it passed through the first layer,” said Matthew Mahon, a senior consultant on acoustics and audiovisual at Arup. However, in between the two walls is a curtain system that can be tuned for specific performances. For instance, jazz typically requires less reverberation and a dryer sound, while chamber music usually requires more sound reflection and thus a brighter, enveloping sound.

Floto + Warner

“As the audience passes through the familiar, rough, post-industrial exterior, the space reveals a pristine, jewel-like volume formed by a sculptural composite skin of patterned, perforated metal and fabric,” said Bureau V principal Peter Zuspan. “This acoustically transparent, but visually translucent skin unifies the space by collapsing the variable acoustic systems, vibration isolation system, and audio-video infrastructure into one scenographic element, thus eliding technology and aesthetics into a seamless experience for a wide variety of repertoire.”

Each wall of the interior box has a curtain that can be adjusted by hand with a pulley system during sound check, fulfilling what Patel described as the “venue-as-instrument” concept. The upper balcony also serves to increase the reflection and reverberation at the top corners of the performance space. A second series of six curtains wraps the back of the balcony space, allowing for even more control. SoundLab designed several settings that can be used depending on the type of music.

Bureau V and SoundLab were able convey the qualitative experience of being in different parts of the space. On paper, two different design schemes might be very similar, but in actuality, they could have very different experiential properties.

Small nuances in the shape of the room, the materials, and the proportions of the room or variations such as balconies make for huge differences in sound. The auralization helped Arup and Bureau V create a space that can morph into whatever the artist needs.

The Murmur Wall engages visitors by allowing them to see what people in the area are saying on social media. LED pulses turn into “murmurs” of text, when they reach the digital display units.
Peter Prato Photography / Courtesy Future Cities Lab

Future Cities Lab

If National Sawdust is a classical instrument that can be tuned, then Future Cities Lab is an open mike night mixed with a drum machine circle. Working in similar realms as SoundLab and Rockwell Lab—experimental, immersive environments that are produced by augmenting traditional architecture with interactive technology—San Francisco–based Future Cities Lab is led by design principals Jason Kelly Johnson and Nataly Gattegno. Their work integrates physical computing into architecture and represents an even more experimental realm of interactive architectural design and fabrication; as a result, it is also at a much smaller scale than Rockwell and Arup.

Inside the fabrication studio with Future Cities Lab. For Murmur Wall, on view at Yerba Bueana Center for the Arts in San Francisco, steel and acrylic tubing composes the structure, which is lit by colored LEDs.

For Bitly’s New York office, Future Cities Lab was commissioned to build a light sculpture that would reflect the company by visualizing its data. The design was conceived in collaboration with Bitly. Programmers built an API (a small piece of code) that linked data derived from Bitly’s shortened URLs directly to FCL’s responsive installation. Each day, millions of web links are channeled through Bitly via Twitter; FCL set out to visualize this data in space.

FCL built the data visualization piece in the lobby so that the immense data set feeds LEDs inside of folded, laser cut, translucent paper diffusers. It is a living sculpture that changes in real time so the CEO can look at the sculpture and see what is happening—when, where, and how much data is being produced. 24 rows and five columns represent 24 hours in a day and five high-traffic locations. “It is a really advanced data scape of the company’s inner workings,” said Johnson. “A lot of our work is interconnected like that with the internet. We give expression to sets of data that are nested in the internet. We are not as interested in freezing forms in architecture, we are interested in letting data begin to animate and inform and become a poetic element in a building or a surface. The data is always evolving.”


Public Interaction

“We are interested in architecture that is responsive, changing and shifting, and has an ongoing relationship with people and technology in a broader context. We see that attitude in every other allied profession around us,” Johnson said. “We see it in the automotive industry, fashion, music, video. We are interested in taking.”

He also cites Superstudio’s Continuous Monument as one of many radical ’60s and ’70s technocratic projects from which their responsive building systems have taken inspiration. In the famous set of collages, a horizontal, totalizing, gridded white architecture tears across the horizon, with nomads plugged into the landscape. “We like these utopian ideas, like, ‘How can interior public space and civic space be altered by these technologies?’”

Future Cities Lab working with prototype and experimental hardware. These full-scale mock-ups become the basis for their public installations.

For Future Cities Lab, the best spaces are where architecture, landscape, and interaction design are starting to fuse. “When architecture begins to engage with tech, it becomes more potent,” Johnson said. “Our cities are being handed over to engineers who don’t always understand what architecture can bring. We want to bring that ethic that has been in architecture for thousands of years, and use that as a beginning point for new ways of working.”

Their project “Murmur Wall”—on view now at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco—might well be a glimpse into the future of integrated design. The steel and acrylic tubing structure sits outside the Yerba Buena Center, collecting data from nearby users. Data is displayed as light pulses that become text on digital displays as they pass through, showing in real-time what people are posting on social media. It is a public installation that they think of as a monument or a fountain would have been in Ancient Rome. Their goal is to make the city more transparent by data participating in the public realm rather than hide nested in a phone. An iOS app also allows visitors to post things directly, too.

These immersive environments are evolving from simple interior spaces that envelop and engage those on the inside, into larger, more complex architectural projects that alter the ways in which we relate to buildings, and ultimately each other. In Rockwell’s case, they are using media-rich architecture to enhance the experience of their spaces and make temporary content-rich space. For Arup, the National Sawdust project showcased their ability to use technology to make design decisions for a more sensorial experience, as well as to convey that experience. Future Cities Lab is attempting to connect the spaces we encounter in the everyday even further, bringing them to life with new technologies. For all of them, immersive and interactive experience is a way forward in connecting us to architecture and the world around us.

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Daniel Libeskind to Deliver Keynote Address for Dwell on Design in New York
On October 9, Daniel Libeskind marks the opening of Dwell on Design NY, a three-day event bringing together design luminaries for discussions and presentations on urban design and architecture. Other speakers at the conference include architect David Rockwell, Pentagram partner Michael Bierut, Designtex CEO Susan Lyons, Claire Fellman of Snøhetta, and many others. Highlights of Dwell on Design NY include self-guided tours of private residences in Tribeca, the Flatiron district, Harlem, and Soho; the curated retail Dwell Store; and CEU sessions. More information is available on the Dwell on Design website.
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Obit> Fred Schwartz, 1951–2014
We heard this morning that Fred Schwartz—one of the most independent, passionate, and even fearless voices in the New York architecture world—passed away last night. Frederic Schwartz Architects was well known for its waterfront park planning and various 9/11 memorials (Fred died at 9:11p.m. last night). Schwartz was the founder of the THINK Team (with Rafael Viñoly, Shigeru Ban, Ken Smith, David Rockwell, William Morrish, Janet Marie Smith, ARUP, Buro Happold and Jorge Schlaich) that presented one of the most creative master plans and designs for what might have been at the World Trade Center site. Everyone that knew Fred knows how passionate he was for New York City (he was raised in Plainview, Long Island not far from Levittown). His architectural practice was firmly rooted in the dynamism and diversity of the city. Schwartz was a proud 1973 graduate of Berkeley and, in 1978, of Harvard. He taught design at Harvard, Yale, Penn, Columbia, Berkeley, and Princeton and was the co-author of essays on architecture. His voice and presence in the New York architecture world will be greatly missed. AN will publish a more detailed obituary of Schwartz in an upcoming print edition of the paper.
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Rahm Emanuel looks to lure George Lucas museum to Chicago
A short time from now in a neighborhood not far, far away… filmmaker extraordinaire George Lucas may land his art and film museum in Chicago. The move comes after the filmmaker's bid to build the museum in San Francisco fell through last year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel formed a task force last week, directing a dozen civic leaders to scout out, as the Sun-Times summarized, “a site ‘accessible’ to all Chicago neighborhoods that’s large enough to host a museum ‘comparable to other major cultural institutions,’ but does not ‘require taxpayer dollars.’” The task force is co-chaired by businessmen Gillian Darlow and Kurt Summers. Emanuel gave the group until mid-May to find a homebase for the Star Wars creator, who last year married Mellody Hobson, president of the Chicago investment firm Ariel. Lucas now lives in Chicago part-time, but Lucasfilm Ltd. and special effects company Industrial Light & Magic are still based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lucas had originally scoped out a spot in the Presidio, but was rejected by the Presidio trust—the nonprofit that oversees the federally owned land at the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Lucas' was one of three proposals for The Presidio's 8-acre mid-Crissy Field site, all of which The Presidio Trust rejected earlier this year, saying in a statement "We simply do not believe any of the projects were right for this location." Spokesman David Perry has described the 95,000-square-foot museum as the “history of storytelling” and the “world’s foremost museum dedicated to the power of the visual image.” Chicago is home to many museums, both well-known like the Art Institute and the Field Museum, and a bit more odd—say, the International Museum of Surgical Science. But the Lucas museum, which will include film memorabilia as well as works of art from the likes of Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, would be a big get. San Francisco is still vying for the return of its film Jedi, but we’ll see in one month how Rahm’s empire might strike back.
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Wines, Gang, Sorkin Among Honorees at 2013 National Design Awards
When an artist begins,      they try to bury him with neglect. When he gains a small foothold,      they try to bury him with criticism. When he becomes more established,      they try to bury him with covetous disdain. When he becomes exceptionally successful,      they try to bury him with dismissals as irrelevant. And finally, all else failing      they try to bury him with honors! This is how James Wines of SITE, quoting Jean Cocteau, accepted his 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at their National Design Awards. Wines joined a 'Lifetime Achievement' group that includes Richard Saul Wurman, Bill Moggridge, Paolo Solari, the Vignelli's, Dan Kiley, and Frank Gehry. Last night's awards program was a special one as the Museum—led by its new director, Caroline Baumann, and an indefatigable team—worked throughout the government shutdown of the least two weeks to put on a spatular gala that gave awards to designers that included Janette Sadik-Khan, Michael Sorkin, Studio Gang Architects, Paula Scher, Aidlin Darling Design, and Margie Ruddick. These figures each asked a special commentator to introduce them. Theaster Gates presented Jeanne Gang from Chicago and Michael Kimmelman said that Michael Sorkin was the first person he spoke to when he decided to be the New York Times architecture critic. Sorkin accepted his award for "Design Mind" with a powerful tribute—as only he can—to his late friends and intellectual mentors, Lebbeus Woods and Marshall Berman. Al Gore presented the TED Talks with an award and finally it was left to Tom Wolfe to introduce James Wines, who he said had created the "first really new architecture after modernism" in his famous Best Stores which "added nothing to the architecture" only re-arranged what was already" as in his Best 'Notch' project in suburban Sacramento, California. Wolfe claimed that Wines wanted to replace "plop art" like formal plaza sculptures by Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi with a new form that put the art onto the architecture. Its about time that Sorkin, who is our greatest living architecture critic to not have been awarded a Pulitzer Prize, and Wines, who is not a registered architect, to be given an award as a great architect.  
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Travelle Restaurant Chicago
Tim Street Porter

330 North Wabash Ave.
Tel: 312.923.0007
Designer: Rockwell Group

The Langham Hotel occupies the first 13 floors of Mies van der Rohe’s historic IBM building in downtown Chicago. Tucked away in the building’s southwestern corner is Travelle, a 24-hour restaurant designed by the Rockwell Group. David Zaccheo, lead project designer, focused on the structure’s original namesake tenant when designing the space. Entering the restaurant, diners are faced with a golden decorative wall whose pattern evokes a layered mass of computer chips. “This isn’t a preservation project,” said Zaccheo. A row of vertical glass tubes separates the dining area from the bar, where golden discs hover in a ceiling recess. As the bar seating sprawls to greet stunning riverfront views of downtown Chicago, wood and leather restore the mutable lounge vibe.

In aiming to shed the trappings of a typical hotel bar, a little luxury goes a long way. While purists could not call it a harmless intervention, the update is flashy but not without a tasteful restraint. Rockwell also collaborated with the Art Production Fund to curate a collection of original artwork for the interior, which evokes the building’s mid-century modernist past.

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Rockwell Group Designs A Treehouse-esque Playground for Park in Brownsville
The Rockwell Group and NYC Parks unveiled their plans last week to turn a 1.5-acre section of Betsy Head Park in Brownsville into a lush and active playground. When designing Imagination Playground, the firm looked to treehouses for inspiration. The site will feature a winding ramp that snakes around London Plane trees and connects to slides and a series of jungle gyms that spill out into an open area with sand, water, benches, and plantings. In collaboration with landscape architecture firm MKW + Associates, the Rockwell Group has taken on this project pro-bono and will donate a set of Playground Blocks to the Brownsville Recreation Center. The $3.92 million playground was funded with the help of government subsidies from Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz, and Council Member Mealy. Partner David Rockwell founded Imagination Playground in partnership with NYC Parks and KaBOOM, a non-profit organization, to encourage activity and unstructured play for children at nominal cost by providing loose building blocks in outdoor recreational spaces. Right now the project is slated to break ground in spring of 2014 and open in 2015.    
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Hudson Yards Breaks Ground as Manhattan's Largest Mega-Development
Tuesday morning, New York's top power brokers gathered in a muddy lot on Manhattan's west side to mark the official groundbreaking of the 26-acre Hudson Yards mega-development. The dramatic addition to the New York skyline will comprise a completely new neighborhood of glass skyscrapers at the northern terminus of the High Line. The South Tower, the first structure to be built and the future headquarters of fashion-label Coach, will rise on the site's southeast corner at 30th Street and 10th Avenue, where Related CEO Stephen Ross, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and others celebrated the first turning of dirt as a large caisson machine bored into the ground. Representing the largest single piece of undeveloped land in Manhattan and the largest private development since Rockefeller Center, Hudson Yards will eventually house towers designed by some of the biggest names in architecture: Kohn Pedersen Fox, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, David Rockwell, SOM, and Elkus Manfredi with landscapes by Nelson Byrd Woltz. Hudson Yards is being developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, who made a deal with rail yards-owner MTA for 13 million square feet of development rights in May 2010. Speaking at the groundbreaking, MTA chairman Joe Lhota remembered back to January 1995 when, acting as the NYC finance commissioner, he realized the lost economic potential in the Hudson Yards site as it generated no revenue for the city. With Hudson Yards, though, Lhota said, "It's not only going to be a new source of revenue. It's going to be something you rarely ever see in New York: the creation of a new neighborhood." The 47-story South Tower by KPF recently crossed the 80-percent-leased line, anchored by Coach which nabbed 740,000 square feet in the 1.7 million square foot building. The footprint of the first tower sits just south of the rail yards, below where a platform will be built to accomodate further development, and adjacent to the High Line, partially straddling a portion of the wildly successful park. A large atrium at the base of the South Tower will overlook the High Line. The tower is being designed to achieve LEED Gold certification and will be complete in 2015. Once additional tenants are secured, KPF's second, larger North Tower with 2.4 million square feet will be built atop the rail yards and linked to the South Tower by Elkus Manfredi's shopping mall complex along 10th Avenue, which will contribute 750,000 square feet, the majority of the overall 1.15 million square feet of retail space at Hudson Yards. "As more tenants commit to the area, Related will build the platform and the additional towers that will be constructed atop the platform allowing us to realize our vision," Bloomberg told the crowd. The North Tower will feature an observation deck precariously cantilevering 80 feet out into Manhattan's air space. "We began with two basic principles," Bloomberg said. "We determined Hudson Yards should be a mixed-use community and an extension of the Midtown central business district." He cited affordable housing, schools, and world class commercial spaces as key to the areas success. "The second principle was recognizing that public policy decisions and infrastructure investment will be crucial to this new community." He lauded the 2005 city council approval of a 300-acre rezoning of the area and an agreement with the MTA to expand the 7 line west from Times Square to this area, a project he was quick to point out is completely funded by the city. West of the South Tower, the flagship cultural component of Hudson Yards will occupy a dramatic spot alongside the High Line. "Working with dynamic architects Diller, Scofidio + Renfro and David Rockwell, [the Culture Shed] is another step in New York City's development as the world's home for innovation in the arts. And that's what gets an awful lot of people to come here," Bloomberg said. "The Culture Shed will welcome all the creative industries—performance, exhibitions, media, design, and fashion week—and be a destination for community events." The 100,000-square-foot Culture Shed is expected to build on recent cultural additions lining the High Line like the new Whitney Museum to the south. Elsewhere on the site, 5,000 residences and a luxury hotel in towers by DS+R and SOM and a new public school will be built. SOM's 60-story "E Tower" features rounded corners and gradual setbacks as it rises, meant to evoke abstracted canyons and produce stunning views. It will house the hotel, residences, office space, and a health club. The "D Tower" by DS+R will stand 72 stories tall and connect with the Culture Shed. The tower's main design feature is called "The Corset," an intricately deformed portion of the building's middle where criss-crossing "straps" that make the building appear fluid in form. Eventually, more than 40,000 people will live or work at Hudson Yards. The entire development is organized around large public spaces, which appeared in a recent issue of AN. Running north from 33rd Street, another public space by Michael Van Valkenburgh, called Hudson Park and Boulevard, will house a new entrance to the expanded 7 Line subway, expected to open in 2014. Be sure to check out the full multimedia gallery below, featuring renderings of all the buildings that will comprise Hudson Yards, the site today, speakers from the groundbreaking, and views of the site's detailed architectural model.
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Event> OHNY Celebrates Ten Years with a Party in Times Square!
This weekend, October 6 and 7, Open House New York (OHNY) is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its popular weekend of tours, lectures, and open houses of many of the New York City's most important buildings and spaces. In its ten years OHNY has hosted over two million guests and remains New York's most important architectural outreach to the public. It will launch the weekend with a party at the Times Square Museum and Visitors Center and the city's architecture community should be there to support the organization and its mission to serve as a bridge between great design and the public. The Architect's Newspaper will be there with David Rockwell and we look forward to seeing you!
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Hotel & Restaurant
Eric Laignel

The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls
2 East Main Street
Beacon, NY
Tel: 845.440.3327
Architect: Rockwell Group

Drive down Main Street away from the train station for exactly one mile, past the Shangri-La nail salon, BJ's Chicken and Ribs and Augie's Texas Lunch, home of The Augie Doggie, and you begin to notice the Dia-fication of Beacon. You'll pass a yoga studio, a fledgling gallery or two and a plain-faced pizza shop advertising a new addition to its menu written in Sharpie marker on a sheet of white paper taped to the front window: "gluten-free options available." There are other restaurants, too, of course, ones that the Dia's staff can confidently recommend to their visitors. But continue on over a set of seldom used railroad tracks until you arrive at 2 East Main Street, the unassuming location of The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls, the new hotel and restaurant designed by David Rockwell. Dia:Beacon may have lured New Yorkers to make the quick day trip to the small and charming Hudson River Valley town since it opened in 2003, but with Rockwell's contribution city folk now have a reason to stay overnight.


Developed by Robert A. McAlpine, the hospitality project renovated one of the few remaining historic industrial buildings in Beacon, a mill with a 200-year-old history that includes manufacturing thick industrial grade felt, fur hats, and the line of Swift lawnmowers, which the recently opened 100-seat restaurant is named after. The 6.25-acre site is split by Fishkill Creek, a gently moving tributary that falls over a perfectly horizontal ledge before joining up with the Hudson River less than two miles away. As luck would have it, the prime viewing location of this waterfall is 2 East Main Street, and Rockwell made sure to give diners at Swift an eyeful through the large windows that encircle one side of The Roundhouse. There are more views, too, from the 14 guest rooms (including two affordable penthouse suites) in The Roundhouse and the 42 to follow across the creek in The Mill property, which will also house a spa when it opens in early 2013.

The Roundhouse has been renovated in the most considerate manner, preserving the best features of the long abandoned industrial space. Original bricks have been used to reconstruct exterior walls and The Mill's rough wooden beams are used to support the roof. In The Roundhouse, raw cement beams overhead bear the marks of the original joinery, and the ceiling itself is inset with panels of thick grey felt—another tribute to the building's past life. McAlpine has even gone to the great trouble of restoring the turbine from the site's former hydroelectric plant, which will supply around 60 percent of the hotel's energy when it is completed.


Apart from being something of a poster child of architectural renovation, the project is also a showroom for Beacon's creative community. Every interior element is sourced from no further than a mile or two around the site. The restaurant and guest rooms are outfitted entirely by local artisans, from the wooden tables and doors by Wickham Solid Wood Studio to the beautiful hand blown pendant lights by Niche Modern and the gold-cerused oak bar face by Metconix. The interior designer, Elizabeth Strianese, resides in Beacon, as does McAlpine, whose construction company is based there and whose son and daughter are involved in the property's management. Even the restaurant's executive chef, Brandon Collins, was trained at the nearby Culinary Institute of America before working as a sous chef at Valley at the Garrison, also a stone’s throw away. At Swift, he's developed a menu of clean, fresh American fare made with ingredients that are grown, yes, locally. Fortunately, none of the emphasis on the L-word is presented as a preconceived selling point for the property. Rather, it comes across like an earnest, family-run venture, albeit a family with very excellent taste.