Search results for "moshe safdie"

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Bjarke Ingels designs a pixelated mountain of residences in Toronto
Just when it seemed that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) had enough projects on its plate, it looks like the firm's gone back to the building buffet for a residential complex in Toronto. Backed by developers Westbank and Allied REIT, the as-yet-unnamed project calls for more than 500 apartments spread over 725,000 square feet. The building consists of 12-foot-by-12-foot "pixilated patterns"—read "cubes"—that are stacked and rotated at 45-degree angles. From straight above, the complex resembles a plain rectangle with a public courtyard in the middle. In reality, the apartments stack and mass to form five peaks ranging in height from 15 to 17 stories, marking a return to Ingels's favored mountain typology. The block-wide building will lift up from the sidewalk at three points to allow pedestrians to travel between blocks. Toronto–based landscape architects PUBLIC WORK are collaborating with BIG on the project. There will be around 13 different floor plans, with a private terrace for each apartment. Ingels, the firm's founder and principal, explained the design to The Globe and Mail, likening the scale of the project to "a bundle of homes rather than a big new building.” The effect, Ingels explained, is similar to “a Mediterranean mountain town.” Canadians don't need to look far for another design precedent. It's difficult not to draw a comparison between BIG's proposal and Habitat 67, Moshe Safdie's iconic Montreal apartment complex.
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Construction wraps up on Moshe Safdie’s Sky Habitat towers in Singapore
Reaching up into the sky in Bishan, Singapore is Moshe Safdie's recently completed development, and aptly named, Sky Habitat. Safdie's design includes walkways that connect the the two structures up to 38 storey's up, offering views across the suburban sprawl of Bishan. Views aren't the only thing offered to residents who take to the bridges at the complex either. As pictured above, a swimming pool spans the majority of the highest bridge (on the 38th floor) complete with palm trees. Below are two more bridges connecting the towers. They provide circulation between the buildings and facilitate airflow through the structures. In fact, ventilation was somewhat of a priority in the context of the Singapore's tropical and climate. As a result, by separating the volumes, Safdie has maximised exposure to each dwelling to combat the humid conditions. That's not to say that they too have been left bereft of vegetation, something which has been a key feature of Safdie's design. The inclusion of such greenery has lead to the bridges being termed as "sky gardens," offering a natural counter to the surrounding urban environment. Bishan, by comparison, is one of Singapore's fastest developing cities. The two volumes of the towers show off a staggered facade that maximizes each dwelling's views and sunlight exposure. Sky Habitat, by name, builds on Safdie's most recognized work, Habitat 67 in Montreal, Canada. Equally hierarchical and arguably more complex, Habitat 67 had its roots in his Master's thesis at McGill University. http://www.skyhabitat.com.sg/assets/video/commercial.mp4
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Pininfarina and AECOM top Fuksas and Hadid to win Istanbul New Airport commission
Pininfarina and AECOM have won an international competition to design an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and technical building at the Istanbul New Airport. The team was selected from a competitive shortlist, which included Zaha Hadid, Fuksas, Moshe Safdie, Grimshaw-Nordic, and RMJM. “One of the World’s largest aviation projects, Istanbul New Airport’s air traffic control tower will be an iconic structure, visible to all passengers traveling through the airport," said İGA's chief executive officer, Yusuf Akçayoğlu, "We were looking for a striking design fit for a 21st century airport while remaining sensitive to Istanbul’s unique heritage." According to the design team, the tower's form was inspired by the tulip, a symbol of Istanbul's culture. This victory marks AECOM's first collaboration with Pininfarina, a firm recognized for designing cars for Ferrari and Alfa Romeo. "The collaboration combines the expertise of AECOM’s architectural and engineering teams with Pininfarina’s distinctive architectural style that epitomises speed and movement, influenced by automotive design," announced the design team. The Istanbul New Airport is expected to have the largest, annual, passenger capacity in the world, accommodating 90 million passengers per year at the first stage and 200 million passengers per year by the final stage. According to the design team, İGA secured a $4.9 billion loan from a group of six banks in October to fund the first phase. The following stages will expand the airport to include six runways and three terminal buildings. AECOM and Pininfarina's design will be approximately 22 miles from the city center, on the European side, adjacent to the Black Sea.
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Finally! The 2016 AIA Gold Medal goes to Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown

The AIA has named Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown the winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. The honor, the AIA's highest, goes to architects whose work is likely to have a lasting influence on the practice of architecture, design, and related fields.

The Philadelphia-based architects’ most recognizable works include the 1964 Vanna Venturi House, in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania; the Seattle Art Museum (1985); and the Provincial Capitol Building in Toulouse (1999).

In addition to buildings, they designed furniture, most notably the Chippendale chair, a postmodern take on the ornate Colonial furniture of Thomas Chippendale.

Scott Brown and Venturi co-authored Learning from Las Vegas: the Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form (1977) and Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966), two texts that analyzed postmodernity in architecture and the American landscape. The award, to be bestowed next year, comes on the 50th anniversary of the publishing of the latter text.

The couple works together on most projects. In 2013, the AIA revised its selection criteria to allow the award to be granted jointly, perhaps in response to the Pritzker Prize committee’s famous exclusion of Scott Brown, granting the prize to Venturi only in 1991. A 2013 petition initiated by students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design to retroactively honor Scott Brown (and signed by Venturi himself) was rejected by the committee.

Last year, the AIA granted the gold medal to Moshe Safdie. Venturi and Scott Brown's legacy will be set in stone: each gold medal winner has his or her name chiseled into the granite Wall of Honor at the AIA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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Star Apartments
Iwan Baan

The Star Apartments are Michael Maltzan Architecture’s third project for the Skid Row Housing Trust in downtown Los Angeles. In contrast to the firm’s 2009 New Carver Apartments—a sleek white cylinder with sharply faceted bays—Star is a rough-edged, asymmetrical stack of prefabricated units rising from an existing single-story podium of retail spaces. It’s a brilliant model for future development, but it illustrates the challenge of experimenting in L.A.—a city where bureaucrats are wedded to the status quo.

“From the start this was to be a prefab building because the Trust wanted to do a mixed-use project on Skid Row,” Maltzan explained. “Though they had enjoyed greater success than other nonprofits, their SROs had been criticized for failing to participate in the life of the city. A retail facility gave them a presence on the street, but that left us with a very confined site and we needed to build quickly and less invasively.” However, as he quickly discovered, the last use of prefabrication for multi-unit housing—a Dworsky Associates project on Bunker Hill—was completed 50 years ago.

L.A.’s building department considers a prefabricated unit to be a product, just like a light fixture or a doorknob, and thus requires stringent testing and a research report when prefabricated units are employed for anything larger than a single-family house. The architects had to work closely with city authorities to develop this as a pilot project in order to secure a building permit and certificate of occupancy.

 

Maltzan’s office designed the units, which are a uniform size and were mocked up and fabricated by Guerdon Enterprises in Idaho. The units are self-supporting and shipped as pairs, with a connector that was sawn through to separate them before they were craned into place and bolted together. A concrete deck and columns below support their weight. The wood boxes are fully equipped, and the logical course would have been to express the individual units to create a boldly articulated complex, as Moshe Safdie did with Habitat 67 in Montreal. Maltzan decided to give each unit a unifying stucco finish to disguise their factory-made character. “I was afraid it would appear as though we were warehousing the homeless in containers,” he said. “What would be architecturally juicy for market rate housing would have tricky connotations for an SRO.” From a bird’s eye perspective Star does read as an erector set; close-up it’s more subdued.

The Trust intended to keep the existing retail to generate revenue, but the L.A. County Health Department wanted to locate their first storefront healthcare facility on-site in an effort to get involved with people on the street and address problems before they became acute. The facility occupies half the ground floor with parking to the rear, and it offers physical and psychological healthcare for this and neighboring Trust properties.

 

Star Apartments is also an experiment in densification, and there, too, it points the way forward. Community areas are located on the second floor, with tightly clustered living units accessed from narrow walkways above. That allowed the architects to provide an expansive deck with gardens, a kitchen, a basketball court, and a jogging track around the perimeter, in close contact with the street. The contrast of spaciousness and compression accentuates the virtues of both. One could imagine a new layer of the city, one or more stories up from the ground. For the homeless, it’s literally a step up from the street. Some have been out there so long that they can no longer navigate the social network. “Shifts of scale are the hallmark of a city,” observed Maltzan. “In New York you might go from a small apartment to Central Park. I wanted to get away from the monotony and privatization of space you find in the suburbs, which have no density.”

Sadly, this ambitious project is undercut by poor detailing—from badly formed joints to uneven finishes and unintentionally exposed services. The budget was cut during the recession, construction was delayed, and the contractor was out of his depth. On the plus side, Maltzan overcame many obstacles, the building is fully leased, and the tenants are happy. The Trust has won praise and developers have been touring the project in search of fresh ideas. It may prove the seed of a new multi-level downtown, adopting prefabrication on a large scale to save time and money, and taking advantage of the many single-story buildings that flank the historic core.

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Moshe Safdie’s 64-story luxury condominium tower in Midtown revealed
Moshe Safdie will design a 64 story, 800 foot tall—wait for it—luxury condo complex at 8–16 West 30th Street, between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. The three-story-tall boxy extrusions on the tower's upper stories expand the interior space while shielding the south face from excessive sun exposure. The tower's irregular silhouette strikes a contrast with the subdued base. That podium will be fronted with limestone, a nod to Marble Collegiate Church, the skyscraper's landmarked 19th century neighbor. To round out the ground condition, HM White will design an adjacent plaza on 29th Street. New York–based HFZ Capital is financing the project. Because of Marble Collegiate's protected status, HFZ Capital must wait on the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve plans before construction can begin.
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In Conversation: Alternative Developers
Sumaida + Khurana's 152 Elizabeth St. in Nolita by Tadao Ando Associates + Gabellini Sheppard Associates.
Courtesy Noe & Associates and The Boundary

As part of the AN developers feature, Matt Shaw interviewed representatives from four developers who are innovating in New York and elsewhere using alternative models for development. These perspectives offer new ways forward as the architecture and business communities work together to find new design, housing, and community-oriented solutions to our 21st century urban issues.

Sumaida + Khurana

Up-and-coming developer Sumaida + Khurana is bringing high-profile international architects to do its first buildings in New York, including NoLita condos by Tadao Ando and a forthcoming 400-foot midtown tower by Alvaro Siza. Amit Khurana has more than two decades of experience in the real estate industry, while Saif Sumaida holds an architecture degree from the Cooper Union. Together, they are changing how New York development is designed.

Matt Shaw: How did you end up working together as developers?

Saif Sumaida: I graduated from Cooper Union with a degree in architecture, and the education was very rich in discourse and concepts. Just by accident, I actually ended up in construction, and over the last 23 years, I’ve been building in New York. I like working as a developer because you have control of authorship both from a construction and architecture perspective, but also as the developer when you put the vision together.

Amit Khurana: Saif is tremendously experienced and when we met it was an interesting fit just because I love architecture and design. I have to give Saif such credit for this but when we are in a room with an architect and we sit down, his knowledge is so fantastic, to not only think of just construction but to think of how architecture relates to construction. And I think that it was a unique situation because there was a shared vision and very complementary sets of skills.

Courtesy Sumaida + Khurana
 

What do you feel these projects bring to New York as a city, not just for the residents of the buildings?

AK: We see ourselves as developer/custodians of the built environment and ultimately we have a responsibility because we play a very important role that really changes the city. Small or large—it doesn’t matter. It’s about uplifting people, and fulfilling the dream of the city too, right? I think if you ask anyone, at the end of the day people appreciate excellence. It’s not about the asset type, it’s not necessarily about who is going to live there or rent there or work there. It has something to do with a kind of purity of design and the impact it has on people.

SS: I think the problem is a lot of developers are really looking at buildings as commodities to monetize. But I think there is a legacy to be made in selecting the architect and making something that has meaning and has a place in the fabric of the city and that is something that you’ll ultimately be proud of. We want to create places. We feel that we have some sort of a social responsibility to do that.

Why bring in these architects?

AK: New York is a melting pot with a lot of influence from outside. We also came from different countries although we spent so much time here. We wanted to just focus on, in a very pure fashion, this idea of bringing master architects to New York to design their very first buildings here. Especially in New York where as-of-right sites are such a tremendous opportunity to work in a specific way and to push the envelope a little bit. looking at it and finding a site, we’re actually looking for a site for Ando or for Siza. This inverted process allows us to think about things a little bit differently.

SS: A lot of developers rely on marketing people to tell them what has worked. They’re following formulas because they believe that these are the formulas that will get them the profit. People find a proof of concept and just follow it. You don’t have to think too much. When you bring somebody else from abroad or somebody who hasn’t built anything in New York, they actually bring a certain amount of freshness. What’s amazing about New York is that it allows for this diversity. You can still be visionary and make it successful.

Courtesy Noe & Associates and The Boundary
 

Do you think that your experience as an architect lets you work with these architects in a different way rather than other developers?

SS: I think the one thing is, I’m very respectful of the process. I’m always able to talk to architects in their language. Instead of looking at it, again, as a commodity, I can engage them in their concepts and be able to enter that dialogue and be able to discuss it with them as opposed to always looking for an end product. I can enter the process and into a discourse with them so that once I understand what they’re trying to do we can then figure how best to get there.

You mentioned affordable housing a little bit. Do you see that as a project that could be interesting to take on?

SS: Very much so. I think there’s a responsibility for developers to be able to bring to the city various projects. It can’t just be building for the wealthy, you have to be able to do it for all. Otherwise, you’re not really making an impact in the city as you think you are. To make an impact on the city you have to touch on the various fabrics.

AK: Well I think that it’s also responding to the realities of where you are in a market cycle. Currently we’re in a market where land is insanely expensive. So we have to respond to that. It’s always allowing yourself to be flexible with different opportunities. I mean, imagine bringing in a famous Spanish architect to New York to build a wonderful, affordable housing project or something like that. It isn’t about how many dollars per foot you spend on a construction; it’s about thoughtfulness. We have the ability and skillset that allows us to also control costs and control some of these variables that can get out of control.


 

Proposal for a pool at the Shore Club in Miami by Isay Weinfeld.
Courtesy HFZ Capital Group
 

Thorsten Kiefer, HFZ

Thorsten Kiefer is Director of Design and Development for HFZ Capital Group. In this role, he has helped initiate collaborations with architects such as David Chipperfield, BIG, Moshe Safdie, and Isay Weinfeld on projects at various scales in New York and Miami. He talked with AN about his background at OMA, SOM, and SHoP, and what someone in his position can bring to the firm and ultimately the city.

As an architect at OMA in Rotterdam, his job included working in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro on a master plan for Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2001. This experience at OMA also led to HFZ bringing in OMA to develop an entire empty city block in New York between Tenth and Washington streets along the High Line. However, OMA wasn’t able to continue because of previous contractual commitments, so HFZ turned to another OMA alumni, Bjarke Ingels of BIG, who had worked with Thorsten 15 years ago.

 
Thorsten Kiefer.
Courtesy HFZ
 

Matt Shaw: You have an interesting background. How did you end up in this role as an experienced architect working directly for a developer?

Thorsten Kiefer:  My time at SHoP was truly formative. At SHoP I worked on competitions in London and New York as well as the redevelopment of the South Street Seaport, initially with General Growth and then followed by Howard Hughes. I formed a number of connections with the development side of the business and after a couple of years at SHoP I began looking for the next career challenge. This opportunity seemed interesting for myself.

What is your role at HFZ?

As Director of Design and Development, I work closely with the marketing team and our executives on the overall conceptual and programmatic framework. The team establishes a list of architects, which we believe would be a great fit for the project. In high-end residential development, the branding aspect of an interior designer or design architect can make a difference in sales.

The global desire for design is higher now than it was 20 years ago. There is money from many countries. Different cultures have different attitudes toward design, and the global market is reacting to that. A lot of global people invest in the city. HFZ tries to offer a high quality product. We do high-end residential, and without design, we wouldn’t get the margins. The value added from the architecture is necessary to get the numbers. 432 Park Avenue by Viñoly has a tremendous location, so people would buy there anyway. But 432 is getting astronomical numbers. Would you get the same price per square foot without the good design? Would the Russians, Chinese, Europeans, and South Americans still choose it?

This position is more common than maybe known in the architectural community. Large developers like Related or Extell have in house design teams. I do believe that this role is valuable. There are very different mindsets in design, construction, and development. The architect is best suited to mediate in between all of them. I also work with zoning lawyers to see if our massing is possible, and also with the construction team to make sure quality is good.

20 West 40th Street.
 

How do you see your role impacting the designs and ultimately the city?

Ziel Feldman, founder and chairman of HFZ as well as Nir Meir, Principal partner at HFZ are very keen on design and quality. Good design simply distinguishes our product within a very competitive market, and we understand this well. I’m also really interested in finding smart solutions to making the city a nice, vibrant place to be.

We are working with David Chipperfield on the last empty lot at Bryant Park and those units will come on the market in the next couple of months. I truly believe that it will not just be a beautiful piece of architecture completing an important urban space in New York, but also a very successful development.

What can this position bring to a company?

I believe an architect is best suited to communicate between all the different groups involved within the development process. We all know that the motivations of construction, marketing, development, or design are not always necessarily aligned, so the role we have with the position is to bring the different mindsets a little closer and hope that the end result is good design.

Do you ever push for different types of projects, like affordable housing?

I certainly have my personal opinion on “affordability” in New York and I do think that affordable housing will be a challenging component in any future residential development in this city.


Common Ground’s Schermerhorn supportive housing in Downtown Brooklyn by Susan Rodriguez/Ennead Architects.
David Sundberg/Etso
 

Brenda Rosen, Common Ground

Common Ground is the largest supportive housing developer and operator in New York. The organization offers formerly homeless people quality environments and services to recover, and also works to develop more traditional affordable housing. Its non-profit status makes its work different from many other developers in the city. Brenda Rosen is the president and CEO, and she gave us some insight on how Common Ground supports its tenants and navigates the non-profit development process.

 
Brenda Rosen.
Courtesy Common Ground
 

Matt Shaw: What is the mission of Common Ground?

Brenda Rosen: Supportive housing is affordable housing with onsite services so that’s what is different from your cookie-cutter affordable or market rate operation. There is a percentage of the tenants that come through the lottery process like any other affordable low-income tenant. And the other part of the building is filled with formerly homeless people who oftentimes are suffering from mental illness or substance abuse issues or medical issues and often times all of the above.

So there’s 50 percent or 60 percent of the building that is set aside for people coming from those circumstances and that is why we have onsite support to make sure that all of our tenants—low-income, regular working people, and those who are formerly homeless and who are coming with a lot of challenges and a lot of issues—have the support that they need to do that and to be as successful in housing as anybody else. With the exception of a few projects, one in Rochester and two in Connecticut, we are the property managers for all of our projects so we never leave the project.

We are about to break ground on our first stand-alone conventional affordable project which will be 248 units of affordable housing and that will not have a supportive housing component at all. Because our buildings are tax-credit buildings, your income has to be at 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income. We do the same marketing, advertising, and lottery like any other developer in the city for the affordable housing.

Webster Avenue by COOKFOX.
Courtesy COOKFOX
 

What are some of the challenges of being a non-profit? What does it mean to be a non-profit developer?

What it means is that the financing of the projects can be incredibly complicated compared to for-profits. When we finance a project we have multiple streams of support coming in for capital and for operating. We’ll use bonds, we’ll use tax credits, we’ll use state and city subsidies. And sometimes borough presidents or city council funds will fill a gap that we might have on the capital side. We also have government contracts that are providing operating support so we have regulatory agreements and government contracts, which means we are under intense scrutiny at all times regarding the services that we’re providing and the quality of the housing.

Can you talk more about what it means to be non-profit and specifically do affordable housing?

Fortunately or unfortunately we are not in this business to make a ton of money as we develop. Any non-profit developer that builds housing—for whatever population—will be collecting a developer fee. I think that the thing that really sets a non-profit apart from a for-profit developer is that all of the development fees that we collect, all of the net proceeds of whatever we’re doing, goes right back into the services and the housing that we’re providing. At the end of the day, again, we’re here to have a sound investment for investors that will buy our tax credits and finance a building. But we aren’t here to come out with this monstrous surplus in our budget. I think that because we are a mission-driven organization, our goal is ultimately to develop and operate housing for vulnerable people in New York.

2010 Brook by Gorlin Architects.
Courtesy Common Ground
 

What role does design play in your mission and in your projects?

Design in all of our projects is a top priority for us. We believe that a pride in home and surroundings helps recovering people to gain stability and to really end up succeeding. Ennead [Architects] did Schermerhorn in downtown Brooklyn for us. It has a ton of green elements, is cantilevered over a subway, and it’s incredibly beautiful. We have worked with COOKFOX who designed a building for us in Brownsville and is designing our next two buildings up on Webster Avenue in the Bronx—both a supportive building and an affordable building. The apartments and hallways are really flooded with natural light.

COOKFOX and Robert A.M. Stern are normally known for high-end buildings and yet they come back and work with us again and again, and bring those same design elements into an affordable project. Not many non-profits get to say that Robert A.M. Stern is going to be doing their next project and build in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn. We also develop mini studios, where the average apartment is between 225 to 300 square feet. We have to be really thoughtful about the design of the interior of each apartment. I’ve joked that we were doing micro units long before micro units were popular.

What are some of the challenges that you face when choosing sites?

Years ago when we were looking for land, we would site projects in Manhattan and in Brooklyn and in other places. Over the last several years we’ve done new construction in downtown Brooklyn, Brownsville, the South Bronx, and the Lower East Side, in addition to our older Manhattan sites in Midtown. But now primarily the only affordable land for us at this point is in the Bronx.

Common Ground tends to build large. Our smallest building has 72 units and our largest has 640. We prefer to have a building with 200 or more units. So you need a lot of buildable square feet for that, because in addition to the apartments we have a lot of community space in our buildings for our tenants—so we can have computer labs, a multi-purpose room, a gym, outdoor spaces, and offices for the onsite support staff.


Tom Fruin, kolonihavehus, in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Matthew Williams
 

Lisa Kim, Two Trees

Two Trees Management Company was founded in 1968 and has developed over 3 billion dollars in real estate. It is most famous for its redevelopment of the industrial neighborhood of Dumbo, Brooklyn. The company has remained committed to fostering artistic and cultural activity in the area through subsidized spaces for arts community tenants, and more broadly, supporting art as an urban issue. Lisa Kim is the Cultural Affairs Director for Two Trees. She formerly served as Private Collection Manager and Director of Exhibitions and Operations at Gagosian Gallery.

 
Lisa Kim.
Courtesy Two Trees
 

Matt Shaw: What initiatives does Two Trees have to support arts and culture?

Lisa Kim: Just having someone in my position is different. I am not a real estate person. My entire background comes from the art world. And so they brought me in to be the liaison to the art community and to think about this notion of organizing the company’s efforts of cultural philanthropy and making space for arts and artists in the neighborhood and how that integrates into our development. For Two Trees in Dumbo, it was really organic from the beginning. They own the majority of this neighborhood, and have seen it change.

It has become expensive for artists to work in Dumbo. The reason for the cultural space subsidy program is to find an organized way to create a level of support for the art community and open up space in our buildings for artists and non-profit groups. We thought an application process was the best way to do it. The space subsidy is rather dramatic. If you are granted a space subsidy here you’re given a lease of up to three years at basically a dollar a foot per month.

It’s tricky because there are a lot of people that certainly do want to bring artists in just to kind of spruce stuff up and then leave them when they don’t need them, but that’s not our case. We have 17 tenants—11 artists and six non-profit groups. With the cultural space subsidy tenants who’ve come in, we want to make sure that they’re also an active part of the community over there.

We want them to know who else is in the neighborhood. We had a little happy hour event last month where we brought in, not just the cultural space subsidy tenants, but our other artists and arts organizations tenants.

A mural in DUMBO.
Daniel Greenfeld
 

Who are some of the tenants?

We have New York’s first feminist cooperative gallery that was founded in 1972 and has been in Dumbo for eight years. On the 2nd floor of 20 Jay Street is a young theater group that goes to empower young women, to teach them how to write, direct, and perform plays about women’s issues. So here you have an A.I.R. gallery, a 40-year-old institution meeting Girl Be Heard, a six-year-institution with very-like minded initiatives talking about what they do.

We’ve been the go-to for arts groups that need a space once they’ve been booted from Tribeca, or Chelsea, or Soho. So we have arts support groups such as the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Marie Walsh Sharpe Faith Program. We also have the sculpture studio for the NY Studio School. Brooklyn Arts Council has their offices here. Arcadia is another arts funding organization that has its office here. We’ve been very supportive, for decades, to St. Ann’s Warehouse and to Smack Mellon. These are all tenants who had free to low rent. So it creates a very serious art community and a cluster in this neighborhood.

Do these cultural initiatives translate to added value for the developers? Or is this sort of a cultural, philanthropic project?

I think it’s cultural and philanthropic. A lot of people want to quantify what happens when you bring culture, but you can’t say when you put in X amount of dollars into arts support that you’re going to affect your bottom line by another number because you can raise property values or rents are higher or various other things. I mean I think it’s really anecdotal. I wish I could give you a metric. If you have cool shit for people to see they’re going to come see it. So who’s doing the cool shit, it’s the arts groups, right?
So how are these initiatives structured financially? Are they part of a separate non-profit? How does it relate to Two Trees?

Well, we’re a two-person part of the staff of Two Trees. The cultural space subsidy program is straight out of Two Trees. You get the same commercial space you would get if you were a market rate tenant. In Dumbo we have three commercial buildings—45 Main, 54 Washington, and 20 Jay Street—and our subsidy tenants are spread throughout all three buildings.

Then, separately, there is the non-profit Walentas Family Foundation with two programs as part of it. One is a neighborhood school program where grants are given for innovative school programs. The other half is the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program that offers 17 selected artists free studio space for one year in New York.
What does someone in your role bring to the development firm?

Because I’m naive to the world of development I can really be fresh about my approach in thinking about the art first. I go create it first and then there’s the reality check of is it possible to do this? On this site? Is it possible to do it in this budget? Does it make sense for this project or development?” And that’s when you start to put things together.

One of the buildings is a rather significant renovation and that’s the old Galapagos Art Space building at Water and Main streets. Four galleries will occupy that space. We spent the winter and spring months renovating that building from a cavernous, theater event space/bar to four beautiful sixteen-foot-ceiling white box gallery spaces.

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Walmart heirs hope the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program will ramp up architectural standards in the state
In a bid to bolster an economic and population boom in Northwest Arkansas, plans are afoot to shore up and streamline the region’s architecture and landscape design. The Walton Family Foundation recently announced the launch of the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program, in which previously vetted architects and public-space projects will receive financial support from the foundation at every stage of the design phase. The selection committee of distinguished architecture professionals and educators will earmark projects that are sustainable, contribute to the region’s walkability and, most of all, inspire a “sense of place.” While Northwest Arkansas comprises four cities—Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville—the program will be concentrated in the Benton and Washington counties, whose income per capita, while $2,000 shy of the national average, oustrips the other cities in the region by nearly 20 percent. “I think the interest within the building and design community has never been higher,” said Karen Minkel, Home Region program director at the Walton Family Foundation. “It seems like every week there’s an article about a downtown masterplan. I think there’s a general interest across the region. This program provides resources to grantees in that they can think carefully about how their project can contribute to the overall sense of place.” The program’s winning formula consists of complementing the public welfare objectives of school districts, county, state, and local municipalities and nonprofits with the cutting-edge design smarts of world-class architects, who will be handpicked for their ability to identify with the region’s character. Columbus, Indiana, stands as an exemplar of the power of nonprofits to raise the image of a city through design standards. An architecture aficionado and the former Chairman and CEO of Cummins, J. Irwin Miller started the Cummins Foundation’s architecture program in 1960, beginning with grants disbursed to schools in the town’s outskirts. It later spurred unprecedented designs like the glass-fronted, half-moon Columbus City Hall by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Eliel Saarinen’s strikingly modern First Christian Church, now city emblems. Meanwhile, Northwest Arkansas’ bragging rights include the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, designed by Moshe Safdie, the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville by Deborah Berke, the award-winning Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs by Faye Jones, and the Garland Center in Fayetteville by Knowles Blunck Architecture. Minkel relishes the idea of “complementing and reinvigorating the history of architectural design in the region, and the idea that it will become part of the vernacular and we can reinterpret it in different ways.” Like the Cummins program, the Walton Family Foundation foresees attracting and retaining top human resources as a byproduct of next-level design, an economic driver and a bid to raise the city’s architectural profile. “The program in Columbus, Indiana, has become a tourist mecca. We think this program can potentially benefit tourism in the region,” said Minkel. “If we talk about how it can contribute to sense of place and the overall urban fabric, that’s what’s attracting people to our overall downtown area and that’s what adding to our identity.” Interested architects have until September 16 to submit material for review. Applications should include a letter of interest, examples of five past projects, and the firm’s approach to creating a sense of place. For more information, visit the foundation's website.
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These eight interiors are the AIA’s 2015 Institute Honor Awards winners
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2015 recipients of its Institute Honor Awards, which it describes as “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” This year’s 23 recipients were selected from out of about 500 submissions and will be honored at the AIA’s upcoming National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. Here are the winners in the interior architecture category. Arent Fox; Washington, D.C. STUDIOS Architecture According to the AIA:
Key elements of this office building include a formal reception space with a physical and visual connection to the building lobby, a conference center, an auditorium with tiered seating, break-out areas for receptions, and slab openings on typical office floors for visual connection to other floors. The building has two primary street-facing sides and two sides that face an alley. To create parity between the two, the design places key elements on the alley side of the building to draw people from the front to the back for collaboration and support functions. Glass was used to shape offices and conference rooms and to blur the line between circulation and enclosed spaces.
The Barbarian Group; New York City Clive Wilkinson Architects; Design Republic Partners Architects According to the AIA:
A 1,100-foot long table connecting as many as 175 employees—snaking up and down and through the 20,000-square-foot office space provides a digital marketing firm a medium for collaborating employees. To maintain surface continuity and facilitate movement through the space, the table arches up and over pathways, creating grotto-like spaces underneath for meetings, private work space, and storage. Dubbed the Superdesk, this table encourages connection and collaboration, makes conventional office furniture seem redundant, and challenges traditional ideas about what a modern office space should look and feel like.
Beats By Dre; Culver City, California Bestor Architecture According to the AIA:
The Beats By Dre campus was designed to reflect the diverse and innovative work undertaken in the music and technological fields. The main building is carved by a, two-story lobby that forms an axis and two courtyards to orient the work spaces. Courtyards connect to the varied working environments and include offices, open workstations, flexible work zones, and interactive conference rooms. The office plan encourages interaction and contact across departments by establishing a variety of calculated environments that exist within the larger workspace: peaceful, activated, elegant or minimal.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Museum Store; Bentonville, Arkansas Marlon Blackwell Architect According to the AIA:
The work of a local Arkansas basket maker, Leon Niehues, known for his sculpturally ribbed baskets made from young white oak trees from the Ozarks, provided the design inspiration for the museum store, located at the heart of the Moshe Safdie, FAIA, designed museum (2011) in Bentonville, Arkansas. A series of 224 parallel ribs, made of locally harvested cherry plywood, were digitally fabricated directly from the firm’s Building Information Modeling delivery process. Beginning at the top of the exterior glass wall, the ribs extend across the ceiling and down the long rear wall of the store.
Illinois State Capitol West Wing Restoration; Springfield, Illinois Vinci Hamp Architects According to the AIA:
The West Wing of the Illinois State Capitol is the second phase of a comprehensive renovation program of this 293,000-square-foot National Historic Landmark. Designed by French émigré architect Alfred Piquenard between 1868 and 1888, the Capitol represents the apogee of Second Empire design in Illinois. Over the years inappropriate changes were made through insensitive modifications and fires. The project mandate was to restore the exuberant architecture of the West Wing’s four floors and basement, while simultaneously making necessary life safety, accessibility, security and energy efficient mechanical, electrical, & plumbing system upgrades.
Louisiana State Sports Hall of Fame and Regional History Museum; Natchitoches, Louisiana Trahan Architects According to the AIA:
The Louisiana State Museum merges historical and sports collections, elevating the experience for both. Set in the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase on the banks of the Cane River Lake, the quiet yet innovative design reinterprets the geometry of the nearby plantation houses and the topography of the riverfront; between past and future. Spaces flow together to accommodate exhibits, education, event and support functions. The hand-folded copper container contrasts with the digitally carved cast-stone entry and foyer within, highlighting the dialogue between the manmade and the natural.
National September 11 Memorial Museum; New York City Davis Brody Bond According to the AIA:
The 9/11 Memorial Museum is built upon the foundations of the Twin Towers, 70 feet below street level. Visitors reach the museum via a gently sloped descent, a journey providing time and space for reflection and remembrance. Iconic features of the site, such as the surviving Slurry Wall, are progressively revealed. This quiet procession allows visitors to connect to their own memories of 9/11 as part of the experience. Located at the site of the event, the museum provides an opportunity to link the act of memorialization with the stories, artifacts and history of that day.
Newport Beach Civic Center and Park; Newport Beach, California Bohlin Cywinski Jackson According to the AIA:
The Newport Beach Civic Center and Park creates a center for civic life in this Southern California beachside community. Nestled within a new 17-acre park, the City Hall is designed for clarity and openness. A long, thin building supporting a rhythmic, wave-shaped roof provides a light and airy interior, complemented by connections to outdoor program elements, a maritime palette, and commanding views of the Pacific Ocean. The project’s form and expression are generated by place and sustainability, as well as the City’s democratic values of transparency and collaboration.
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Eavesdrop> Renzo Piano to deliver high design with a low-minded name in Des Moines
Downtown Des Moines, Iowa, courted an all-star list of architecture firms for a new $92 million corporate headquarters that has the unfortunate baggage of being helmed by the world’s most cringe-inducingly named and spelled convenience store chain, Kum & Go. BIG, Morphosis, SOM, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Safdie Architects all competed for what CEO Kyle Krause is calling Des Moines’ next landmark. And that landmark is going to be designed by the Piano man himself. According to the Des Moines Register, the convenience store was attracted to Piano's "ability to emphasize collaboration, transparency and light." The new building will be located between 14th and 15th streets north of the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, and locals hope the new building will take a back seat to the art on display that includes works by the likes of Jaume Plensa. The headquarters will house 300 employees in some 120,000 square feet and is expected to be complete in 2017. "What we want to do is create the best environment for our associates," Krause told the Register. "Architecturally, sure, they'll do a great job, but it's really about that inside space and what you can create inside the building that is best for our people." He added that Piano is "a great down-to-earth guy who we think can create the space that creates the transparency, the collaboration, the openness for our people to have a nice work space." Eavesdrop can’t be the only one who feels uncomfortable gassing up at this midwestern roadside retailer—but maybe a work of starchitecture can change our minds.
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Top Reviews
Aerial view of Jardim America, Brazil.
Courtesy CIA City Archive

In AN's review section, we ask some of the profession's top thinkers and writers to share their thoughts on the latest architectural shows, books, and exhibitions. Here's what got them talking this year.

Garden Suburb of Good
 
Garden Suburb of Evil

Murray Fraser casts doubt on Robert A.M. Stern's celebration of the suburb while Paul Gunther finds much to admire in his taxonomy of the bedroom community.

 

A Room for Books

Paul Gunther on the visually stunning new book, The Library: A World History

 

 

[Continue reading.]

 
 

 

Act Naturally

Russell Fortmeyer checks out the new book, Architecture Follows Nature: Biomimetic Principles for Innovative Design.

 
 

 

Car Trouble?

Chip Lord takes the new book, The Car in 2035: Mobility Planning for the Near Future, for a spin.

 

 

 

Form Follows Politics

Sean Khorsandi on the book, Modern American Housing: High-Rise, Reuse, Infill.

 

 
 

 

Critical Condition

Mildred Schmertz reads Martin Filler's Makers of Modern Architecture, Vol. II.

 

 
 

 

Fading Within Memory

Pamela Jerome reads a book about preserving modernist building materials.

 

 

 

Reading Between the Lines

PIN-UP Interviews delivers the straight talk without the filter of editorial discretion.

 

 
 

 

Citizen Safdie

Ronnie Self heads to Crystal Bridges to see Global Citizen with Moshe Safdie himself.

 

 
 

 

The Worthy Client

Mildred F. Schmertz reads Phyllis Lambert's book on the groundbreaking Mies project.

 

 

 

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Eavesdrop> The AIA “looks up”
Today, December 12th, the architectural world changed forever. Is that an overstatement? Entirely, but the AIA did launch a new social media campaign that it's really excited about. It's called "Look Up" and the AIA said it marks the next phase of its "multi-year repositioning initiative" to increase the public's awareness about the importance of design. Like all good social media campaigns, "Look Up" came into this world with a slickly produced promotional video and, expectedly, a hashtag: #ilookup. The video is awash in stock footage of clouds, skyscrapers, water, natural landscapes, a sunrise or two, and some science-y looking things. Mixed between the imagery are architectural models, blueprints, and noteworthy buildings (hello AIA gold medalist Moshe Safdie, twice). Take out the architecture moments and the video is almost a carbon copy of  "This Is a Generic Brand Video," a parody created by Dissolve, a purveyor of stock footage. "Tell me," says a deep-voiced narrator in the AIA's video, "what do you see when you look up? Walls? Windows? Or do you see something else?" Before the narrator can answer his own question, there are some time-lapsed stars, a few trees, an intricate ceiling, a woman staring into the sun, and then, boom, he's back. "To be an architect is to look up, even before we put pencil to paper." With the video comes the inevitable Twitter campaign which asks followers to "look up" and post what they see under the hashtag #ilookup. For example, Twitter user Manuel posted a photo of the Willis Tower and Craig Toocheck saw the Chrysler Building. But here's the thing, sometimes when you "look up" you don't see the most interesting thing. Case in point, Toocheck's previous tweet: https://twitter.com/ctoocheck/status/543507558397657089/ It didn't take long for the AIA's followers to more directly attack the premise behind the "I Look Up" campaign. Ethan Kent, the senior vice president of the Project for Public Spaces, tweeted that he hoped the AIA would put more focus on human scale and place-making over looking skyward. To that, the AIA tweeted back "haters gonna hate," spurring a number of additional tweets among urbanism circles. The Institute has since deleted that tweet. Why don't we all just calm down and wait to see what Arcade Fire thinks. https://twitter.com/AIANational/status/543487974827388928