Search results for "Downtown Brooklyn"

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Check It Out

Snøhetta to design a sunset-hued library in Far Rockaway, Queens
Snøhetta’s dreamy vision for the new Far Rockaway public library in Queens, New York, is inching closer towards reality. Queens Public Library announced that the existing 50-year-old structure will officially close next week ahead of reconstruction. The $33-million project, designed by the Brooklyn- and Oslo-based firm, will break ground over the footprint of the 9,000-square-foot building in the coming months. The library is located at 1637 Central Avenue and was the talk of the town after Hurricane Sandy nearly destroyed the surrounding Rockaway community in 2012. In the aftermath of the storm, the library helped provide disaster relief to local residents. Snøhetta’s design for the new library is slated to not only bring stellar architecture to an often-neglected area of New York, but also help spur revitalization in the neighborhood. The redesign will double the space inside the library by adding new children’s and teen rooms, an ADA-compliant entrance and restrooms, an elevator, a large meeting room, and more. With these enlarged spaces, the library hopes to expand its burgeoning community programming. While significantly bigger than the original library, the two-story structure will feature an entirely green design to help it run efficiently. It will be LEED Gold certified, utilize daylight to control interior temperatures, and include a blue roof that captures stormwater. The site will also be elevated to exceed the new FEMA flood zone guidelines in case of future storms. Snøhetta’s sunset-hued, boxy building is sure to stand out in downtown Far Rockaway not only because of its angular massing but also because of its distinctive cladding. According to the architects, “the simple form provides a calm contrast to the visual noise of surrounding retail outlets.” At the corner of Mott and Central Avenues, the library’s main entrance will take the shape of a carved pyramid, outfitted with transparent glass so passersby can see what’s going on at night. Through a fritted glass curtain wall wrapping the structure, light will be diffused into the central atrium and gathering spaces below during the day. The new Far Rockaway Library is expected to be complete in 2021. Starting October 30, the library will operate out of 1003 Beach 20th Street through the end of construction.
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Industrial Inspiration

Charlotte is converting an old Model T and missile factory into workspaces
S9 Architecture is helping turn an old Ford Model T and army missile manufacturing facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, into the city’s newest hub for creativity and innovation. Camp North End, a long-empty industrial site just northeast of downtown, will feature 1.8 million square feet of office, retail, and event space set inside its historic, early 19th-century factory. New York-based developer ATCO Properties purchased the site in 2016 and opened it to the public last year. Various vendors have populated the grounds, and it’s been a hotbed of activity ever since, housing countless companies and office space for coffee roasters, media professionals, artists, and startups alike. It’s also been home to several exciting festivals and arts programs put on in the various open spaces. S9’s master plan for the 76-acre campus will transform the site into a sustainable spot for businesses to put down permanent roots. ATCO brought on S9 to collaborate on the adaptive reuse of the complex’s 12 main buildings and connect them through experiential passageways. In between each structure, the team will lay out gathering spaces for people to eat, hang out, or put on events. The build-out will also include space for future residential and hospitality developments. While many of the buildings on the site are already in use, ATCO and S9 are renovating four larger areas in the first phase of construction: the Gama Goat Building, the Mount, a 24,000 square-foot former Ford factory building, and the adjacent boiler building. The latter two were designed by Detroit architect Albert Kahn in the 1920s. The design will substantially retrofit the dilapidated structures and add a contemporary edge to the facility. This isn’t the first large-scale placemaking project the Brooklyn-based firm has done in recent years. S9’s design for Ponce City Market converted an outdated Sears building in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward into a coveted piece of real estate for top tech companies and local food vendors. Also under the firm's industrial reuse belt is Dumbo’s Empire Stores in New York City, as well as Dock 72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, home of WeWork’s New York headquarters.
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Architecture in the Aftermath

2001–2018: Looking at the architectural history of the World Trade Center
In the early aftermath of September 11, 2001, New York City showed incredible resilience as people banded together to support those who were affected by the tragedy. The fateful day's horrific events took thousands of lives with the collapse of the two tallest towers in the United States, leaving rubble and wreckage at Ground Zero. In an effort to reclaim the site as a powerful and beautiful place to work, gather, and reflect, an unprecedented wave of downtown development began 17 years ago. We've all watched the city build—from scratch—a new complex that doesn’t replace history, but strengthens it. The new World Trade Center stands today as a place of remembrance and as an architectural marvel of the early 21st century—one that was built at an extraordinarily aggressive schedule and isn’t done yet. With a master plan designed by Studio Libeskind, the 16-acre site includes a handful of office towers, cultural facilities, commercial spaces, and parkland all conceived by world-class architects working within the confines of a nationally significant property. One of the most-anticipated upcoming projects, a performing arts center by Brooklyn-based studio REX, is now under construction with an estimated completion date between 2020 and 2022. In honor of the anniversary of 9/11 and what’s to come for the booming site, here’s a look back at the history of the structures that now populate the grounds and the few that remain to be built. 7 World Trade Center Designed by SOM’s David Childs, this 52-story tower was the first completed building to open on the site in 2006. The award-winning structure was also the first office building in New York to be LEED Gold–certified. Its reflective skin features floor-to-ceiling glass panels that reflect the tone of the sky, allowing its westward-facing facade to seemingly disappear from sight. At night, LED installations line the base of the tower with text art from artist Jenny Holzer. 4 World Trade Center Finished in 2013, this Fumihiko Makidesigned office tower stands 72 stories tall with 140,000 square feet of retail on its first five floors. Home to Eataly, H&M, and Banana Republic, it’s part of the Westfield World Trade Center shopping mall, which extends into the adjacent transit hub designed by Santiago Calatrava. Maki and Associates’ minimalist design includes a glazed exterior with colored silver glass that achieves a metallic quality as the light changes throughout the day. The southwest and northeast corners are also drastically indented to provide views for the office space inside.   National September 11 Memorial and Museum The 9/11 Memorial is the heart of the area's redevelopment. Conceived by Michael Arad and Peter Walker in 2003, the memorial design features two recessed pools set within the footprints of the original Twin Towers. These large black voids receive continuous streams of water, with the names of victims etched in the black stone’s edge. The National September 11 Memorial Museum, created by Davis Brody Bond in collaboration with Arad and Walker, houses the physical building blocks of the former WTC campus as well as found artifacts, written articles, and gathered anecdotes from the day of the attacks. Completed in 2014, the 110,000-square-foot museum features an above-ground glass pavilion designed by Snøhetta that welcomes visitors into a light-filled space before descending 70 feet below into the cavernous Foundation Hall, built around one of the original towers' retaining walls. One World Trade Center Designed by SOM’s David Childs, One WTC rises 1,776 feet to the top of the New York City skyline. The 104-story structure opened in spring 2014 with its first tenant, Condé Nast, moving in later that year. The iconic building's form is shaped by eight isosceles triangles that interlock in such a way that the floorplans, square at both top and bottom, are octagonal in the middle. The base of the structure features 2,000 pieces of prismatic glass that refract the changing light throughout the day. Oculus The $4-billion architectural object housing the revamped World Trade Center Transportation Hub features the winged design of Santiago Calatrava. Designed to resemble a bird in flight, the striking structure opened in May 2016 after years of construction delays and budget overruns. Now, it’s the site of the aforementioned Westfield Mall, situated inside a pristinely-white, soaring interior with a ribbed roof. Each year on September 11, the overhead window panels fully retract to reveal an open skylight that stretches the length of the building. The “Way of Light” annually shines through at 10:28 a.m. when the second tower fell. Liberty Park Designed by AECOM’s landscape studio, the 64,000-square-foot Liberty Park is set atop the World Trade Center’s vehicle screening center, providing unmatched views of the memorial and surrounding office complex. It opened in 2016 to rave reviews as the only public part of the site that’s easily walkable, providing a simple pedestrian pathway from east to west. The one-acre open space features ample seating, 19 planters, and a 300-foot-long green wall. Also situated within the park is the Calatrava-designed St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, currently under construction but stalled due to fundraising issues. 3 World Trade Center Richard Rogers’s design for 3 WTC was completed earlier this summer as the 1,079-foot tower welcomed its first tenants in June. Designed with a stepped profile, the tower’s corners are accentuated by stainless steel load-sharing trusses that allow for column-free interiors and unobstructed panoramic views of the city. The building also features a 5-story podium and three large-scale terraces. 2 World Trade Center Originally planned with a design by Norman Foster, 2 WTC is the last remaining tower to be built on the campus, now featuring a proposal by Bjarke Ingels Group. The 90-story tower will be made up of seven cuboid volumes stacked atop one another, allowing for green terraces within each setback. Currently, colorful murals wrap around the construction site of 2 WTC as well as the bottom of 3 WTC, showcasing the breadth of new creative talent that’s moved to the Financial District since the new campus opened. Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center Having broken ground just months ago on the northeast side of the WTC campus, the new REX-designed performing arts center will be housed within a translucent, marble-clad box. Through its thin exterior walls, daylight will seamlessly filter into the 90,000-square-foot structure while at night, the white-veined cuboid will serve as a beacon for the site. The building will be divided into three levels with performances spaces and back-of-house support areas. REX unveiled their design for the center in 2016 and construction is expected to be finished within the next two to four years.
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Super States, Assemble

The Center for Architecture's latest show imagines the future of the New York region
The nonprofit, nonpartisan Regional Plan Association (RPA) released its Fourth Regional Plan back in 2017, a 400-page prescription for a variety of problems facing the Tri-State New York metropolitan area. Now through November 3, visitors to the Center for Architecture can explore the RPA’s plans for increasing housing affordability, improving the region’s overburdened public transit, and addressing climate change by 2040. The Future of the New York Metropolitan Region: The Fourth Regional Plan exhibition at the Center breaks down The Fourth Regional Plan into four typologies: core urban areas, suburbs, local downtowns, and regional green spaces. Each section is further broken down to address affordability issues, the failure of policymakers to address problems in those regions, how climate change will impact each area, and how to best improve mass transportation. Both the problems themselves, as well as the RPA’s proposed solutions, are on display. The Four Corridors, an RPA-commissioned initiative that tasked four different architectural firms with reimagining different “corridors” throughout the region, is also on display at The Fourth Regional Plan. Rafi A+U + DLANDstudio proposed a “landscape economic zone” to protect the area’s coastal regions from flooding—a softer, living take on the traditional seawall; Only If + One Architecture proposed creating the Triboro Corridor, an accessible route from Brooklyn to Queens to the Bronx; WORKac wants to turn the Tri-State suburbs into denser, greener versions of themselves and create easy access between smaller towns; and PORT + Range proposed reinvigorating the area’s highlands into ecological buffers with varied natural ecosystems. “RPA’s Fourth Plan is a blueprint for creating a healthier, more sustainable, more equitable region, one with more affordable housing, better and expanded public transit, and a closer connection with nature," said RPA Executive Vice President Juliette Michaelson. "This exhibit provides an opportunity for New Yorkers and regional visitors to explore the Fourth Plan and imagine what our future could look like if we are bold enough to reach for it." Other than the show itself, the Center will host two accompanying programs. Creating More Housing without New Construction will take place on September 14 from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM, and Designing the Future of the Tri-State Region will be held on October 29 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
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Open secret

Open House New York opens 20 downtown Brooklyn sites during AIA weekend
People can roam about in the Brooklyn Point Sales + Design Gallery designed by Kohn Pederson Fox Associates, the Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn by JDS Development, the Ashland by FXCollaborative Architects and SPAN Architecture, and many more old and new landmarks in Making Place: Downtown Brooklyn, organized by Open House New York. More than twenty sites are participating in the Open House event happening on June 23. A discussion about the change and transformation in the region featuring Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer, FXCollaborative Design Director Gustavo Rodriguez and other industry leaders will take place at the ISSUE Project Room at 10:30 a.m., kicking off the day-long events. Downtown Brooklyn has undergone dramatic changes in the past two decades. It has now emerged as a new area for real estate and commercial development. The neighborhood is flooded with commercial creativity and upscale living. This event will offer an insider look at the transformed, up-and-coming district. Other participating sites include Brooklyn Strand Action Plan by WXY architecture + urban design, the New York Transit Museum, Polonsky Shakespeare Center and the Schermerhorn. The general public can purchase tickets to attend tours and panel discussions in those private buildings. Tickets can be purchased at this link.
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Stoss and Friends

Stoss Landscape Urbanism to design major public space in St. Louis

Along with a team of artists, planners, and architects, Stoss Landscape Urbanism has won a competition to knit St. Louis into a walkable, bikeable green strip between the Gateway Arch and Forest Park, the city's largest, on the western end of town.

The St. Louis nonprofit Green Rivers Greenway asked L.A.- and Boston-based Stoss and three other teams to link the riverside to the center of the city for the Chouteau Greenway. A citizens' group, the Chouteau Community Advisory Committee, worked with local organizations organized under the Chouteau Design Oversight Committee to review the designs in public fora. According to ArchDaily, over 2,000 residents responded to Green Rivers Greenway's survey soliciting input on the designs. Stoss's win was first announced in early May.

Stoss is calling its concept The Loop + The Stitch, a nod to the circular bike and foot path (outlined in green, above) that will connect downtown and the Gateway Arch to Forest Park and Washington University in St. Louis, home to the well-regarded Sam Fox School of Architecture. The "stitch" portion, delineated in magenta, links the city's north and south neighborhoods together and to the "loop" with pedestrian infrastructure. Stoss collaborated with Marlon Blackwell Architects and five other firms on its design.

Great Rivers Greenway is overseeing the first segment of the project, between Boyle and Sarah avenues. A now-under-construction MetroLink light rail station, funded by a $10.3 million TIGER grant, will connect with the Greenway along this leg. The station will be completed later this year, as the Stoss team works with stakeholders to finalize its proposal.

This isn't the first major landscape project to shape St. Louis recently. Last fall, Brooklyn's Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) debuted CityArchRiver, its plan to reconnect Eero Saarinen and Dan Kiley’s Gateway Arch and landscape with the rest of downtown over a portion of I-44.

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Down by the River

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, David Adjaye selected to design Detroit's West Riverfront Park
Beating out a pool of over 80 international design teams, a team with Brooklyn-based landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) and Sir David Adjaye have been chosen to transform the 22-acre West Riverfront Park in downtown Detroit. While the nonprofit Detroit RiverFront Conservancy has stressed that they were choosing a team, not a design, MVVA’s presented plan for the park would substantially change the waterfront. While the final four competitors for the park presented big names in landscape architecture, including James Corner Field Operations, Hood Design Studio and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, the diverse programming proposed by MVVA ultimately won out. The $50-million redevelopment will present all-ages options throughout the shore, including the carving out of a beach inside of a secluded cove. Now that the design team has been chosen, the MVVA-led team and Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will solicit input from the community to nail down the final design details. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy will also fundraise to reach the rest of the $50 million goal in the meantime, meaning the construction and completion date for the project are uncertain at the time of writing. MVVA’s design for the riverfront park mixes active uses with more passive recreational areas and mingles the park’s natural systems with the city grid, similar to firm’s approach at Brooklyn Bridge Park. On the western side of the park, there will be a pool house and built up “performance hill,” complete with a clamshell-shaped amphitheater that will sit on a pier in the river. The circular “Sport House” will go up to the east, which from the renderings looks like it will float above a basketball court and feature a green roof on top. Moving east, a tall, artificial bluff will surround the park house and picnic grove. Perhaps the most prominent feature in the proposal is the aforementioned beach at the park’s center, which will be hemmed in by a stone jetty to the west and a fishing pier to the east, likely to prevent erosion. MVVA’s renderings show kayakers and beach-goers relaxing in the summer and skating on the frozen river in the winter, part of the Conservancy's vision for an all-year-round park. Capping off the eastern edge of the park is the enormous “Great Lakes Play Garden” for children, and “Evergreen Isle.” The stone island sits parallel to the playground in the river and is designed to break up ice floes and anchor ecological improvements by creating a shallow, biologically diverse channel. The shore of the entire park will be bounded by the Detroit Riverwalk. “It was love at first sight when I saw the Detroit River,” said Michael Van Valkenburgh in a press release. “I immediately recognized that this new park could draw the city to the water’s edge.” West Riverfront Park is bounded by Rosa Parks Boulevard to the west and Eighth Street to the east, a stretch that had been in private hands for nearly 100 years before the Conservancy purchased it in 2014. A $345,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s “Livable Communities” focus area financed the West Riverfront Park Design Competition. MVVA’s team for the project, besides David Adjaye, will also include Utile and Mobility in Chain, and local partners LimnoTech (Ann Arbor), PEA (Detroit) and NTH Consultants (Northville).
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Haute Hoyt

Studio Gang's new 51-story Brooklyn tower is revealed
Renderings for the new Studio Gang-designed 11 Hoyt condo development in downtown Brooklyn have been released. It will be the Chicago-based firm’s first residential project in New York City and located next to the downtown Brooklyn Macy’s building. Topping out at 51 stories at 664 feet, 11 Hoyt will be among the tallest buildings in Brooklyn—taller than any existing structure and only beat by the yet-to-be-completed City Point Tower III and the under-construction 1,066-foot skyscraper at 9 Dekalb Avenue designed by SHoP Architects. Built on the site of a former parking garage demolished for the project, 11 Hoyt is part of a broader set of changes and high-rise construction happening in downtown Brooklyn. The foundation is already laid with construction of the concrete superstructure to begin soon for an anticipated 2020 completion. The tower is distinguished by its rippling facade and punctuated by square windows, adding a textural quality to Brooklyn’s growing skyline.The luxury building will have 480 residences with interiors by Michaelis Boyd Associates, as well as 50,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor amenities. Landscape design of the significant outdoor space will be overseen by Hollander Design. The site is being developed by Tishman Speyer, who is also behind the major changes to the adjacent Macy’s building, which includes the addition of a ten-story office tower designed by Shimoda Design Group.
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Crane Game

Adjaye Associates' loggia-wrapped Manhattan condo tower starts to rise
The Adjaye Associates-designed 130 William, the firm’s first skyscraper in New York, is on the rise. AN has spotted crews working above grade, and a red kangaroo crane has gone up at the Financial District site to help the building reach its expected completion in 2020. At 66 stories and 755 feet tall, the building will be a substantial addition to the downtown skyline. However, unlike most recent towers built in this current boom, 130 William will eschew a glass curtain wall for a custom-tinted precast concrete accented with bronze. The texturally rich surface will be punctuated by arches and loggias on the upper floors, which will blur the divide between interior and exterior spaces for their inhabitants. The cutouts in the upper half of the building's façade invert the traditional window shape commonly found among historic buildings in the neighborhood (as well as on the tower's lower half). The project’s narrow, L-shaped lot on the corner of Fulton Street and William Street was assembled in 2015 through piecemeal acquisitions and demolitions by developer Lightstone group. Construction began in late 2017, well before the official renderings were released. The building’s location near the Brooklyn Bridge will afford many of the residents unobstructed views of the East River from the 244 light-filled units, which includes interiors also designed by Adjaye Associates. Residents of the luxury tower will also have access to a number of amenities, such as a black-tiled swimming pool with grandiose windows, a fitness center, a pet spa, shared outdoor spaces, a rooftop observatory, and not least of all, reportedly an IMAX theatre. According to City Realty, city paperwork also suggests that there will be ground-level retail and a plaza park, embedding the tower within the urban landscape below. David Adjaye has been ramping up the firm's presence throughout Manhattan as of late, including the Studio Museum in Harlem and the recently completed SPYSCAPE museum in Midtown.
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Retail Vision

New renderings revealed for Macy's-topping tower in Downtown Brooklyn
Although construction has been underway for some time, new renderings have surfaced for Shimoda Design Group's Macy's-topping tower in Downtown Brooklyn. The structure, a 14-story office tower, is slated to rise inside and on top of the three buildings occupied by the department store on Fulton Street. The strip, one of the busiest retail corridors in the city, has been targeted in recent years by investors due to its proximity to prime Brooklyn neighborhoods like Fort Greene, Boreum Hill, and Brooklyn Heights. Developer Tishman Speyer is calling this 256-foot-tall project the Wheeler. It will bring almost 844,000 square feet of office space to the area, with floorplates in the new building ranging in size from 34,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet. Macy's is staying on as a retail tenant in the bottom four floors, while offices will occupy the other ten stories. Because the four lower floors are an amalgam of different buildings, these volumes will feature 90,000-square-foot floor plates and 16-foot-tall ceilings. The new structure sports a glass curtain wall with angled fenestrations, and outside, the setbacks and the roof will be crowned with 11 terraces, YIMBY reportedPerkins Eastman as the architect of record. If all goes according to plan, the Commercial Observer noted the project is expected to be complete by the middle of next year.
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Easy as LPC?

Here's what NYC architects need to know about changes to Landmarks rules
This week the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is holding a public hearing on changes to its rules of operation. Among other modifications, the new rules would allow the agency to move items off its public hearing calendar, a change the LPC says would alleviate pressure on the almost all-volunteer commissioners who meet weekly to debate and vote on new landmarks, as well as changes to historic properties. Many leading preservation groups, however, believe that channeling more items to agency staffers would deprive New Yorkers of the opportunity to meaningfully weigh in on changes to the historic built environment. Right now, select LPC applicants go through a public hearing, a Tuesday meeting at the LPC’s Manhattan office where architects and owners present their plans to the agency's 11 commissioners and to the public. These meetings let stakeholders weigh in on small items like the window replacement scheme for a private home in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and on headline-grabbing proposals like the landmark potential of Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s AT&T Building. Discussions on each item can last twenty minutes or one-and-a-half hours, depending on how controversial the item is or if the commissioners debate the owner's request vigorously. Other more minor issues, like small storefront build-outs in a landmarked building or railing replacement on a private home in a historic district, get evaluated by LPC staff and approved behind the scenes. The items in public hearings are seeking a Certificate of Appropriateness, while the items processed by staff are awarded either a Certificate of No Effect or a Permit for Minor Work. The draft of the new rules (PDF) addresses both changes to the public hearing process as well as issues like sidewalk modifications, appropriate materials, and “no style” buildings, to name a few. Together, they cover more nuts-and-bolts preservation issues than can be discussed in a single article, so The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) reached out to preservation leaders to get their take on the key issues the public, especially architects, should watch out for ahead of tomorrow’s hearing on the proposal. Many leading preservation groups are worried that the proposed rules would silence the public’s voice on changes that have a cumulative impact on the city’s historic fabric. Simeon Bankoff, executive director of preservation advocacy group the Historic Districts Council, was concerned about what he sees as a softening of requirements around materials for repairing and replacing historic building components. After six stories on masonry buildings, for example, the new rules would allow owners to use substitute materials like fiberglass in lieu of original stone or terra-cotta when replacing historic building elements. “Rather than lowering the standards—which we felt was being done in many cases in these rules—you want to raise them,” Bankoff said. “People are going to build to whatever standard you give them. If the reward is they don’t have to go through a public hearing, they should be held to the highest standards possible.” Under the new rules, rear yard additions, which can be contentious, would be heard by staff only, provided they met certain requirements. HDC believes that rear-yard addition should go before the public, because neighbors have a right to comment on what is (literally) going on in their backyards. On the plus side, Bankoff said, the proposal includes “nice language” on the collective impact of rooftop and rear yard additions, as well as signage. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), a leading downtown preservation group, expressed concern that, under the new public hearing rules, more buildings could wind up like Twin Peaks, an unusually proportioned Greenwich Village co-op that that exemplified the neighborhood’s bohemian spirit. The owner got staff approval last year to repaint the structure and its distinctive brown half-timbering beige and dark grey, a move that Berman believes could have been avoided had the public been given a chance to weigh in on the significance of the original contrasting color scheme. He was blunt about the impact of the changes to the public hearing. “The proposed rules are fundamentally anti-democratic, anti-transparency, and anti–public participation. This is the opposite direction the commission should be moving in.” Landmark West! Executive Director Sean Khorsandi echoed GVSHP’s concerns. “The New York City landmarks commission has been trendsetters, nationwide and globally,” he said. “The commission is in a league of its own; people have been looking to it to set the standards. We see these proposed changes as a little bit of a backtrack.” On the Upper West Side, the neighborhood for which Landmark West! advocates, Khorsandi said the new rules would have a substantial impact on current and future landmarks. The  rules would allow alterations to features not mentioned in the designation report, a change that would disproportionately impact earlier designations like The Belnord. The apartment complex’s one-page report doesn’t mention the property’s distinctive vault lights, as the LPC used to require short-and-sweet reports on all items, regardless of their size or importance. This leaves historic features on early designations vulnerable to inappropriate changes or outright removal. To ensure sensitive treatment of protected items, Landmark West! would like to see the agency hire more staff, instead of moving items away from public hearings. Architecture and urbanism advocates at the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) also believe the new rules might unintentionally incentivize removal of these vault lights, among other historic features. Tara Kelly, MAS’s vice president of policy and programs, explained that the group was concerned about the language around “no style” buildings, vague wording that covers structures that are undistinguished or don’t contribute to the look and feel of a historic district. The term originated in the Upper East Side Historic District around three decades ago, but, a “no style” structures of yesteryear might become historically significant years later. Kelly (a former executive director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts) cited 966 Lexington Avenue, a simple mixed-use building that wasn’t named in the original historic district, but probably would have been included had the district been designated today. “It takes time to appreciate a new style,” Kelly said. “We want to see the commission take a harder look at those buildings, not make exceptions for them.” To help the public understand all the changes afoot, MAS has released a set of interactive maps for each category of permit to help the public understand what landmarks currently exist and how they’ve been modified over time. Unlike other preservation groups AN consulted, however, MAS conditionally supports the changes that would move items out of the public hearings. “As long as these rules are strong, robust, and thoughtful and take into consideration the recommendations that we have for the rules, and the staff is well-trained and well-supported in their ability to execute the regulation, we don’t have a problem with the staff doing so,” Kelly said. Although the chatter around the changes to the public hearing is loud (especially on preservation Twitter), the new meeting rules would affect relatively few items. A LPC spokesperson said that each year, the vast majority of the approximately 14,000 permit applications are decided by staff, while fewer than 1,000 items get discussed at the public meetings. Right now, the agency has 36 staff members reviewing permits, and they will welcome three new permit-reviewing staffers in fiscal year 2019, which begins in July. Taken together, the number of permit-reviewing staff has increased 44 percent between fiscal years 2013 and 2019.  Even so, the increasing number of permit applications places stress on the commissioners at the public hearing—only LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan is paid for her work. The other ten commissioners take time away from their practices as architects and planners to serve in a volunteer capacity on the commission nearly every week. Of the items that go to public hearing, the LPC contends in its summary of the new rules that agency staff could “approve a variety of work-types that are consistently approved by the Commission utilizing established criteria.” AN spoke with a government insider familiar with the proceedings who confirmed that the changes are intended to save staff time and increase efficiency so LPC staffers can process more applications. Overall, the insider said the intended goal is to make the process easier for homeowners and developers. The rules changes were a long time coming. Beginning in February 2017, the LPC convened multiple meetings with eight leading preservation groups to discuss the agency's ideas. A LPC spokesperson confirmed that representatives from the New York Landmarks Conservancy, MAS, the Brooklyn Heights Association, HDC, Society for the Architecture of the City, Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, Landmarks West!, and GVSHP were shown criteria for specific types of work and asked for input on the criteria. As part of its outreach, agency representatives also met with community boards, members of the public, and other preservation groups, as well as AIA New York (AIANY), Urban Green Council, the NY Bar Association, and REBNY. In addition to those groups, LPC staffers solicited input from window manufactures, expeditors, and preservation architects on the rules. The current draft was released in January of this year. Suzanne Mecs, managing director of AIANY, delivered a statement in support of the rule changes. The organization characterized the public hearings in pursuit of a Certificate of Appropriateness as “a process that can often be expensive, time-consuming, and complicated.” With more items decided on by staff, AIANY believes the public hearing process will improve because, it reasoned, the commission will have more time to focus on “complicated preservation projects with subjective design considerations or innovative technical solutions that do not readily conform to the previously-established criteria of the Commission.” The AIA held a forum on the changes with its members and Srinivasan in early March. For those who want to weigh in on the rules, the meeting begins tomorrow, March 27, at 9:00 a.m. The agenda and more details can be found here. Edward Gunts contributed reporting.
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Making Moves

Galerie Perrotin opens downtown after a five-story renovation by Peterson Rich Office
Famed mega-gallery Galerie Perrotin made the move downtown from the Upper East Side last April to the Beckenstein Building, an industrial space dating from the 1880s. Fourteen months after construction began, the gallery has finally unveiled all three floors of their new Lower East Side home. Brooklyn-based Peterson Rich Office (PRO) oversaw the 25,000-square-foot, five-story renovation of the building, which includes not only three floors of public exhibition space, but also storage, office and private exhibition space, as well as a street-level shop featuring art books and affordable small editions. While both Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich, the principals of PRO, have developed art spaces with previous firms and have collaborated with galleries like Luhring Augustine to create exhibition displays, this is the first commercial gallery designed by the office. And they hardly started small. By far the largest gallery on the Lower East Side, it is also perhaps the most pronounced. From the outside, a sleek black steel and glass entryway that conforms with Perrotin’s signature look contrasts with the colorful signage overhead—original painting from the fabric manufacturer and wholesaler that historically occupied the building, updated with Perrotin-specific accents. Edged by a black steel stairwell that connects the three floors of exhibition space, each floor is punctuated by its own desk space and entryway, providing a break and lending rhythm to the experience of moving through the galleries. The second-floor gallery, which for its inaugural show displays the work of Brooklyn-based artist Artie Vierkant, is smaller, which principal Nathan Rich suggests is ideal for staging more experimental exhibitions with younger artists.   At the top floor, just beyond the landing, one emerges into a vast, light-filled space, where rippling arches are punctuated by the pyramid of a skylight. The dramatic room, with its 20-foot ceilings, required major structural interventions to make it possible. The building originally had a central courtyard, which the architects filled in to create the exhibition space. Since residences still exist above the gallery, this was no simple matter of just knocking down some walls. Besides the obvious engineering challenges, noise disturbance was a concern. To dampen the noise of the falling walls, builders laid a matrix of tires in the center of the space for bricks to fall into. The white columns that remain in the space are the remnants of these original outside walls.   Luckily, thanks to its manufacturing past, the building’s floors can withstand tremendous weight for heftier sculptures and installations. Not content to place heavy art low to the ground, PRO developed hidden tracks in the ceilings designed to support substantial projects of up to 3,000 pounds. This load-bearing ability is ideal since the inaugural exhibition of French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel features heavy hanging helixes of glass and metal. Integrating the necessary functional infrastructure, like the hanging tracks, is part of what Peterson refers to as “the ballet of designing an art exhibition space,” where so much has to be made to look like so little, and a great deal of effort goes into making it all seem effortless. PRO’s new Perrotin deftly performs this architectural ballet for a cohesive, and even meditative, experience.