Search results for "432 Park Avenue"

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Grand Avenue Gets Another Extension, But May Lose Gehry?
Los Angeles supervisor Gloria Molina has confirmed what we suspected all along. The Grand Avenue committee—chaired by Molina—has granted the Related Companies a third extension on its lease to develop The Grand, a multi-billion dollar, mixed-use development on top of the city's Bunker Hill. The project's Civic Park, designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios, opened last summer, and the first built project, an apartment by Arquitectonica, broke ground earlier this month. But the rest of the project, including 9 acres encompassing at least 2,100 residential units, a hotel, shopping, and dining, still remains dormant. Related would not commit to its original designer, Frank Gehry, when AN talked with them last year, nor would they confirm his continued involvement in a recent interview with the LA Downtown News. More images of Gehry's perhaps-defunct plan below.
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SOM's Roger Duffy Adds Another Skyscraper to Manhattan's 57th Street
A proposed 57-story residential tower designed by SOM's Roger Duffy at the corner of Manhattan's East 57th Street and 2nd Avenue is seeing new life after laying low through the recession. The Observer reported today that the 250 East 57th project, announced in 2006, will begin construction this year now that developer World Wide Group has filed new construction papers with the city and began clearing the site. AN previously reported how the project is a partnership with the New York City School Construction Authority to extract the air-rights value beneath the city's school properties. In this case, developers of 250 East 57th paid the Department of Education $325 million for a site lease and agreed to rebuild P.S. 59 adjacent to the tower's site, including roof terraces and a large astroturf play area. Roger Duffy told AN at the time, "A lot of school sites in New York remain underdeveloped in terms of FAR (floor-area ratio)." The school opened in September 2012. The 715-foot-tall, 270-unit tower is the latest addition to the 57th Street corridor, which has seen many new skyscraper plans unfold in recent years. To the west, Extell's One57 by Christian de Portzamparc continued construction, and the same developer recently announced that Adrian Smith+Gordon Gill will design a new 1,550-foot-tall tower near Broadway. Additionally, Cetra Ruddy is also designing a skinny skyscraper at 107 West 57th, Rafael Viñoly's supertall 432 Park tower is under construction, and Bjarke Ingels is moving forward with his plans for a pyramid-shaped tower at the Hudson River. While SOM remains the architects for the project, developers told The Observer that an updated design is in the works, which reportedly sheds the towers crisp angles for a more undulating facade. Roger Duffy previously designed the Toren Tower in Downtown Brooklyn.
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After Sandy: A Look Back at New York's Worst Storm Ever
While New York and the East Coast try to return to normal after the brutal Hurricane Sandy, AN takes a look at most dramatic storm-related sights as we batten down the hatches for the oncoming nor-easter. Our Lower Manhattan offices reopened on Monday with lights working but our steam-powered heat is still out (space heaters have been working overtime). Architecture for Humanity and AIA New York have already begun mobilizing the design community to help with the recovery effort, as have countless other organizations accepting donations and volunteers. No one was quite prepared for the extent of the damage Sandy unleashed across the city, and New York's infrastructure flaws were made painfully obvious. As the storm surge spilled into the city, subway and auto tunnels were inundated with millions of gallons of water, including some, like the L-train tunnel, which are still filled with water. Water inundated the World Trade Center site, flooded streets, made a mess of parks across the city, like damage above at Hudson River Park' Pier 25, spotted by the Tribeca Citizen, and shuttered many buildings for months to come. ARUP's Lower Manhattan offices on Water Street sustained major damage, forcing the firm to relocate its New York staff to Edison, NJ. Many high-profile projects that have appeared in AN over the past year were adversely impacted, including the Space Shuttle Enterprise, the South Street Seaport Museum, and Jane's Carousel by Jean Nouvel in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Making matters worse, those around contaminated water sources like Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal faced toxic flooding in their neighborhoods. The MTA released a video of flooding conditions at South Ferry and Whitehall Street Stations, two of the worst hit, indicating just how much water was inside New York's subway system. Lower Manhattan's 1 train service remains indefinitely suspended. The past week has been a case study on the importance of mass transit in cities, and New York's system is slowly returning to normal, but with no buses or trains in the days immediately following Sandy, the city was in disarray. A phased reinstatement of train service continues across New York, which New Yorkers followed through regularly updated Sandy Subway Maps. While the lack of transit created gridlock as many took to their cars, the storm was also credited with creating a bicycle boom, with bike counts more than doubling across the East River bridges. The city also set up an emergency bus rapid transit system in a matter of days to help people navigate the city. Battery Tunnel Flooding Above, a large explosion (at approx. 17 sec. mark) at a ConEd plant along the East River in Manhattan preceded a massive power outage. ConEd had previously cut power intentionally to Lower Manhattan in an effort to avoid larger outages caused by flooding. Combined, the outages provided eerie views of a dark Manhattan skyline, below. The Wall Street Journal put together an interactive slider showing the dramatic change. Among the non-flood-related disasters to hit New York was the partial collapse of the construction crane boom at Extell's One57 Tower in midtown Manhattan, which has since been secured. AN reported on the crane collapse last week. Above, the front facade of a four-story building at 92 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan crumbled under high winds, landing in the street below. Fortunately, in both cases, no one was injured. Like most major events these days, the story of Hurricane Sandy played out live on social media, a phenomenon made visual as the raw data was crunched following the disaster. Mirroring Iwan Baan's dramatic photograph of a powerless Lower Manhattan, above, Foursquare check-ins virtually disappear in Lower Manhattan, where the new neighborhood of SoPo—South of Power—briefly existed and lives on in t-shirt form (there are plenty of creative t-shirts helping with the recovery effort available). Twitter accounts of the storm were more evenly distributed across the city. Google has also provided detailed aerial photography of the aftereffects of the hurricane. Groups, organizations, and companies from near and far are pitching in to help the affected areas. Stanley Black & Decker  has sent a giant semi to its North Carolina distribution center where it will be loaded with tools to help with cleanup and rebuilding efforts in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Even the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore is joining forces with Architecture for Humanity as part of the organization's Restore the Shore effort.
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Agencies of Change
Hunters Point South and Long Island City
Courtesy NYCEDC

The Bloomberg Administration is arguably one of the most pro-development governments in city history. Since he took office, the Mayor has used city agencies to unleash the forces of New York real estate while also steering those forces to meet goals for a cleaner, greener, and more equitable city. PlaNYC, the catch-all name for the Mayor’s bundle of 132 sustainability initiatives, creates a framework for over 25 city agencies to collaborate on a vast array of projects, from the new East River Ferry service to a $187 million investment in green infrastructure. While some programs such as MillionTreesNYC, are making streets leafier one tree at a time, many of the Mayor’s initiatives have reshaped the city in profound ways. As the administration counts down its remaining days in office, AN checks in with the individual agencies whose projects have had the most impact on development in the city.

By Alan G. Brake, Molly Heintz, Julie V. Iovine, Branden Klayko, Nicholas Miller, and Tom Stoelker.

Willets Point
Courtesy NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is not a city agency at all but a non-profit with a mission to spur local development, but the Mayor appoints seven members of the organization’s board of directors, including the chairperson.

The NYCEDC, which has grown from a staff of 200 to over 400 during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor, has its hand in hundreds of projects across the city. “Our goal has been to diversify development across five boroughs,” said NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky. And just because Bloomberg’s term is coming to a close, don’t think things are winding down. The Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island is just getting underway and, as of June, the city had acquired 95 percent of the land required to move forward with Willets Point, a five million square foot development that includes the remediation of a contaminated site.

Hunter's Point South (left) and Seward Park (SPURA) (Right).
courtesy NYCEDC; HPD

Major Initiatives: According to NYCEDC, the Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES) Initiative is a “sustainable blueprint for realizing New York as a premier waterfront city.” Under the umbrella of the initiative are 130 projects across more than 500 miles of city coastline. Twelve city agencies are involved along with investment of $3 billion over the next three years.

The City’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan calls for a mixed-use neighborhood with 5,000 new units of housing plus retail, an effort the city predicts will generate 25,000 construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs.

The South Bronx Initiative was launched by the Mayor in 2006 to create a strategic plan to support private investment, development, and infrastructure planning in that area. Working with HPD, NYCEDC developed retail corridors that would support new housing.

NYEDC has also increased outreach to communities impacted by its projects. The State says too much, recently citing EDC for playing “a behind-the-scenes role in the lobbying activities” on behalf of Willets Point and Coney Island developments.

Coney Island
Courtesy NYCEDC

Status: The statistics on WAVES initiatives are detailed: 34 projects completed; 71 projects on schedule; 14 projects with delays; 5 projects reconsidered; 1 project not yet started. Projects include New Stapleton Waterfront, a seven-acre development on the site of the former Navy Homeport in Staten Island, featuring 900 rental units, retail, and a waterfront esplanade. “The RFP was issued in late 2007, then the financial crisis hit causing us to lose all the original respondents. But we managed to persevere. We found a new developer, Ironstate Development of Hoboken, broke the projects into phases, and rejiggered some of the site uses,” said Pinsky.

At Coney Island, before construction can start, the proper infrastructure has to be in place—namely sewers. “A lot of the areas had never had substantial development, and in order to build housing and retail, you need to have adequate infrastructure,” said Pinsky. As part of the Coney Island plan, the City is putting $150 million into infrastructure alone.

Impact: “There used to be vacant lots in the South Bronx, and now there’s density, a hustle and bustle. I wish that EDC and HPD would work together more to do mixed-used projects—that’s the type of synergy we need.”
Magnus Magnusson, Magnusson Architects

Zoning initiatives adopted, 2002-2012.
Courtesy DCP

New York City Department of City Planning

Major Initiatives: Under the Bloomberg Administration, the Department of City Planning has been more active than at anytime since the days of the Lindsay Administration’s vaunted City Planning Commission. Since 2002, 40 percent of the city has been rezoned (115 rezonings covering more than 10,300 blocks). Under the direction of Commissioner Amanda Burden, the department has adapted for the 21st century many of the initiatives first conceived under Lindsay, including large-scale mixed-use developments such as Hudson Yards (with customized zoning and financing mechanisms for infrastructure improvements) and Willets Point while amplifying community involvement through intensive public-private collaborations—the High Line, South Street Seaport—and enabling coordinated efforts across agencies in order to address sustainability goals and open space and streetscape improvements. In Greenpoint/ Williamsburg, planning partnered with HPD to structure a new Inclusionary Housing Program along the waterfront, while collaborating with the Parks Department to ensure that the new two-mile waterfront esplanade would remain fully accessible to the public.

But it will most likely be the attention to detail that will be remembered most about Burden’s reign, from the creative zoning encouraging cultural uses on 125th Street to the bar-style balustrades along the East River Waterfront Esplanade.

East River Esplanade.
Tom Stoelker / AN

Status: Subject to major rezonings, some neighborhoods are already reaping the hoped–for rewards although not always as originally envisioned. A 2004 rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn to transform it into a major business hub has been slow to take off, even as it has triggered a residential boom—26 new buildings; 5,200 units. This summer, the emergence of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, New York University’s Center for Urban Science and Progress campus, and MakerBot’s move to MetroTech are adding some momentum. The 2005 rezoning of the Greenpoint /Williamsburg waterfronts has added fuel to the ascendance of the Brooklyn waterfront, while rezonings of Bedford Stuyvesant North, West Harlem and the South Bronx will inevitably take much longer to catch on.

Attention is currently focused on a big final push to rezone East Midtown and redirect development towards the East Side triggering changes with potentially more impact on the core skyline than anything along the waterfronts.

Impact: “Mayor Bloomberg restructured city government by having agencies responsible for land use and economic development report to a single Deputy Mayor. Strong leadership at City Hall has coordinated multiple Mayoral agencies, not just those concerned with economic development, to help shape and realize our ambitious rezoning initiatives. It has been through the coordinated and directed efforts of multiple agencies that we have been able to achieve adoption and ensure implementation of our ambitious plans.”
Commissioner Amanda Burden, Department of City Planning

In Williamsburg, developers of the Edge (Below, left) and Northside Piers (below, right) were required to build waterfront esplanades (above) as public amenities.
Jesper Norgaard

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation

Major Initiatives: New York City comprises 29,000 acres of parkland. Over the past decade, the Bloomberg Administration has added more than 730 acres. While Central Park has long been a major economic generator of funds ($656 million in increased tax revenues in 2007 generated by adjacent properties increasing in value by proximity to the park), increasing riverside accessibility at Greenpoint and Williamsburg’s former industrial sites, Hunters Point South, Hunts Point and along the city’s 520 miles of waterfront have become key initiatives of the administration, and the progress is notable. Commissioner Adrian Benepe has made no secret that the administration’s definition of success lies in creative financing with a bedrock of public-private partnerships. The commissioner pointed to the Central Park Conservancy as the great “friends of” model, but hand-in-glove cooperation with City Planning and the Department of Transportation has reshaped waterfront parks and their upland streetscapes by courting development.

Jesper Norgaard; Courtesy Toll Brother

Status: There are 160 active capital projects in the parks department. Of several near-term priorities, three waterfront projects are engaging in public-private developer involvement. In Greenpoint/Williamsburg the city is cobbling together parcels to create public parks linked with privately owned pubic spaces (POPS). A 2005 rezoning required developers to build the POPS at the river’s edge in return for substantial floor area ratio increases. The zoning encouraged Toll Brothers to build Northside Piers, Douglaston to create Williamsburg Edge, and JMH to restore 184 Kent. The 30-acre Hunter’s Point South allowed for park designs by Balsley/Weiss/ Manfredi with Arup and residential towers developed in part by Related and designed by SHoP. In the Bronx, a grass roots riverside cleanup eventually led the Department of Environmental Protection to supply land for Barretto Park.

The city is building parks at Hunter’s Point South to facilitate development compatible with an urban waterfront.
Courtesy NYCEDC

Impact: “The difference between now and 1979 is that you didn’t have the dozen or so major nonprofits involved, so that I think that will insure that whoever takes over at Parks, maintenance will not be an afterthought.”
Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Department of Parks and Recreation

“Before we bought the Banknote Building we were certainly aware of what had been accomplished at Beretto Point and Hunts Point and saw that as a tangible sign of the city’s commitment to the peninsula. It was a strong symbol that things were happening here.”
Jonathan Denham, co-president of Denham Wolf

LPC has approved both contextual such as St. Vincent’s (left) and contemporary designs like One Jackson Square (right).
Courtesy FXFowle; KPF

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission

Though Landmarks has added 31 new historic districts, landmarked structures represent a tiny fraction of the city’s buildings; Click to enlarge.
Courtesy LPC

Major Initiatives: Though landmark districts encompass a mere three percent of the city’s landmass, their effects can stretch beyond landmark borders. Developers argue that the districts inhibit growth and preservationists believe they spur it. Under Mayor Bloomberg, the Lamdmarks Commission has been known to allow huge projects within districts, such as the Rudin Managment’s St. Vincent plan, especially when highly contextual. At other times, new buildings are allowed to challenge the status quo, as in Hines’s One Jackson Square, which sits just up the street from St. Vincent’s. To make for a more transparent process, Commissioner Robert Tierney said that new rules will be introduced next year to codify procedures and allow online permitting. But this has not mollified concerns from developers. Two Trees owns more that 2 million square feet within the DUMBO historic district. “People like to live in DUMBO before it was a landmark district,” said Two Trees’ Jed Walentas. “The fact that it’s landmarked just makes it more expensive.”

Status: Pre-Bloomberg, there were 77 historic districts and 9 historic district extensions, encompassing approximately 22,400 properties.

Currently there are 108 historic districts  and 18 historic district extensions, encompassing approximately 28,500 properties.

There are 30,000 landmarked sites throughout the city, including 1,316 individual landmarks, 10 scenic landmark sites, and 114 interior landmarks.

Protected buildings in DUMBO (left) and the new DUMBO historic district (right).
Courtesy Two Trees; LPC

Impact: “Yes, it’s a process that requires significant resources and time, but maybe for the developers who are able to work through our process, it’s worth it.”
Chair Robert Tierney, Landmarks Preservation Commission

“There’s a time and a place for landmarking; where it becomes scary is when it becomes an anti-development tool during a hot real estate market.”
Brooklyn developer Jed Walentas

Left to right: Madison Square Plaza; Dutch Kills Green; Broadway leading to Columbus Circle.
Courtesy DOT; Linda Pollack; Courtesy DOT

New York City Department of Transportation

Major Initiative: Pedestrian Plazas

Status: Recognizing that streets in New York account for 25 percent of the city’s area yet pedestrian amenities were scarce, DOT created Sustainable Streets, a multimodal transportation policy for the city, calling in part for improving streetscapes for pedestrians and cyclists and creating new public spaces from underused roadways in targeted locations such as Times Square, Herald Square, the Flatiron District, and now Vanderbilt Avenue. Also in 2008 and 2009, DOT undertook the Green Light for Midtown program to improve the streetscape along Broadway, created new plazas at Madison Square’s iconic Flatiron Building, and built a ribbon of new public space along a new Broadway Boulevard connecting Herald and Times squares.

In June the study, “If You Build It: The Impact of Street Improvements on Commercial Office Space,” showed how improvements work together to create a backbone along Broadway. Hotels, in particular, are taking advantage of older building stock. In recent years, the Ace Hotel, the NoMad Hotel, and the Flatiron Hotel have all opened in previously overlooked blocks of Broadway; Marriott plans an Edition Hotel in Madison Square’s Clock Tower Building. Astor Place may be the next hot spot. With over eight acres of new pedestrian space planned there, it is the site for one of the first new spec buildings in the past 20 years.

Madison Square Plaza after DOT's pedestrian improvements (left) and the conditions before (right).
Courtesy DOT

Impact: “Once it was valuable to be right on the park, but now it’s also valuable to be near the park as the pedestrian improvements and bike lanes connect everything together. It’s not just Broadway, but areas around them forming a cohesive whole.”
Janet Liff, a commercial broker in Midtown South

“We have definitely seen vacancies decrease and rents increase. We’ve seen a massive amount of hotel development at the north side of the Flatiron District. In particular, large commercial tenants see these improvements as their front yard. It was the perfect storm of investment in the community.”
Jennifer Brown, Executive Director of the Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership

Hunter's Point South.
Courtesy HPD

New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Via Verde.
Courtesy Dattner

Major Initiative: The New Housing Marketplace Plan calls for the creation and preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014.

Status: HPD counts more than 125,000 units towards this goal. By the end of fiscal year 2011, 35% of housing started under the plan was new construction, 65% preservation. The agency has been more successful at preservation of affordable housing than new construction, due in part to the real estate downturn. HPD is currently “getting started on and finishing out” many new construction projects and closing in on construction, according to Deputy Commissioner for Development RuthAnne Vishnauskas. “You will definitely see progress towards getting towards the marquee goal for new construction sites.” Seward Park (now in ULURP) on the Lower East Side and Hunter’s Point South (under construction) in Queens are major new developments that the agency hopes to complete by 2014, each of which will include more than 900 units of affordable housing.

Impact: “New York City is lucky and unique in that we have a very strong for-profit sector that builds affordable housing. That part of the sector never really wanes. There were for-profit developers doing affordable housing even when the economy was low.”
RuthAnne Vishnauskas, Deputy Commissioner for Development

Two examples of Blue Roofs.
Courtesy DEP

New York City Department of Environmental Protection

Major Initiative: DEP signed a consent agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Protection (which enforces federal EPA standards) to comply with the federal Clean Water Act standards, improve the health of the city’s waterways, and dramatically reduce the number of combined sewage overflows.

Status: DEP is currently developing Long Term Compliance Plans (LTCP) for ten New York City Waterways as well as a citywide LTCP, the first of which will be completed in 2013 and all of which will be finished by 2017. DEP is also expanding gray and green infrastructure throughout the city—including bioswales, and green and blue roofs—moving from pilot projects to larger scale implementation.

On July 1, DEP mandated a ten-fold increase in the amount of stormwater that must be retained on site for all new construction projects, dramatically reducing stormwater flows. DEP worked with the real estate and development community to create flexible options for retention systems, including pervious surfaces, green and blue roofs, storage tanks, and recycling systems. Cleaning New York’s waterways, from the Gowanus Canal to New Town Creek to the Bronx River, will also open up desirable waterfront sites for redevelopment. Investing in green infrastructure will in general benefit the development community, according to DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.

Impact: “We spent a lot of time doing outreach to stakeholders, including the real estate community. They wanted more options and more guidance for how to meet the new standards. Green infrastructure improves the social spaces of the block and makes them more desirable. It improves the triple bottom line.”
Commissioner Carter Strickland, Department of Environmental Protection

East River Ferry Route (left; click to enlarge) and a ferry navigating the East River (right).
Courtesy Billybey Company; Branden Klayko / AN

New York City Economic Development Corporation/ Department of Transportation/Private Operators

Major Initiative: East River Ferry Service

Status: A three-year pilot program for East River ferry service connecting rapidly developing sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens including Hunter’s Point South and the Williamsburg waterfront launched in June 2011. The public-private partnership is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy (WAVES) calling for sustainable development along New York’s waterways. Initial projections estimating 409,000 annual trips were shattered as over one million rides were logged in just over a year of service. Responding to the popularity, private ferry operator, the BillyBey Ferry Company, began offering local food options on all of its 149-passenger ships and launched larger, 399-passenger boats on weekends.

Impact: “The East River Ferry Service is still in a trial period, but so far it’s exceeded all our expectations.”
EDC spokeswoman Jennifer Friedberg

“The early signs are remarkable in terms of economic vitality. The life that’s been embedded into the neighborhoods along the ferry service is remarkable. At the Edge development in Williamsburg, once ferry service was in place, marketing for the Edge worked much better. I have heard interest from developers in Long Island City on being near the ferry. It’s easy, frequent, steady transportation, especially when the only alternative is the overcrowded 7-line in Queens. Now, we’re looking for a permanent form of subsidy to keep the pilot going. The cost is one third of the subsidy of the average express bus service, so it’s a real bargain.”
Roland Lewis, President of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance

Left to right: One57; The Sheffield; The Willow; 50 West Street.
Courtesy Extell; UT Borrower; AKA Partners; Time Equities

Back To Building

MEANWHILE, private development is beginning to rally on its own, whether driven by an economic upswing or the irresistible momentum of the pendulum swinging back into action. Condominiums and tall towers are leading the way, more than a few on 57th Street, propelled apparently by that incomparable shaper of urban form, commercial competition:

12th Avenue & West 57th Street
35 stories

The Sheffield
322 West 57th
58 stories
UT Borrower

157 West 57th Street
90 stories

The Willow
120 West 57th Street
29 stories
Ark Partners

105 West 57th Street
52 stories
JDS Development

432 Park Avenue
& 50 East 57th Street
89 stories


250 East 57th Street
59 Stories
World-Wide Group

250 West 55th Street
39 stories
Boston Properties

Tour Verre
53 West 53rd Street
78 stories

Baccarat Hotel
20 West 53rd Street
45 stories
Starwood Capital Group/Tribeca Associates

International Gem Tower
54 West 47th Street
34 stories


Gotham West
550 West 45th Street
31 Stories
Gotham Organization

Hyatt Times Square
135 West 45th Street
54 stories

555 West 34th Street
65 stories
Moinian Group

Manhattan West
West 31st – 33rd Streets
66 stories

One Hudson Yards
56 stories


99 Washington Street
50 stories
Holiday inn

111 Washington Street
57 Stories
Pink Stone Capital

56 Leonard Street
57 stories
Alexico Group/Hines

Courtyard & Residence Inn
1715 Broadway
68 stories
Granite Broadway Development

50 West Street
65 stories
Time Equities

Four Seasons
99 Church Street
80 stories
Silverstein Properties

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New York's AIDS Memorial Approved by a Beleaguered Community Board 2
It was a week of devastating lows and mild highs for Community Board 2. With NYU virtually assured of getting their 1.9 million-square-foot expansion plan through City Council next week, in spite of vigorous local objection, the mood at last night’s executive board meeting was decidedly grim. But a new design for the AIDS Memorial, to be incorporated into the proposed St. Vincent's Hospital Park across the street from the former hospital site in Greenwich Village, offered some hope. The new design was in response to a demand that the designers incorporate community input, providing hope for some that that the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) was not a waste of time. "With ULURP being ULURP, I didn't think this would happen," Village resident Robert Woodworth said of the memorial designed by Brooklyn-based studio a+i. The vote was nearly eclipsed by a visit from Council Member Margaret Chin who came to explain her position on NYU to the polite but angry crowd. Board Chair David Gruber didn't mince words, telling the Council Member that the vote earlier this week was "monumentally tragic" in its disregard for the community. The frustration with NYU made the memorial's evolution that much more poignant. Community member Steve Ashkenazi drew a direct comparison. "This group has responded to the community," he told the crowd. "It's a beautiful, relevant design."  Strange as it may seem, the memorial and NYU do share commonality, both the modest AIDS Memorial and NYU's huge expansion plan bid high in their initial proposals and eventually whittled the scale down after negotiating with the board. Indeed many had thought that a+i's winning design resulting from the ideas competition, sponsored by Architizer and Architectural Record , would be realized as it was presented, encompassing the entirety of the triangular park. But as it tuned out, site-owner Rudin Management had a plan of their own for a much smaller park. Under the banner of the Queer History Alliance, activists rallied media support for an AIDS memorial on the site, even as the board was trying to influence the design underway by Rudin's landscape architect M. Paul Feiedberg. In the process the site for the public park evntually expanded to encompass the entire triangle, with 17,000 square feet set aside for the memorial. The memorial's planted overhead canopy will mimic the angles formed by West 12th meeting Greenwich and is supported in turn by three inverse triangles. Cross beams of planters will run the width of the triangles, holding English Ivy, Virginia Creepers and Honeysuckle. Slats running opposite the planters will hold a galvanized Greenscreen grid, giving the vine a surface to grow on. A large oculus will hover above a reflective water element and granite benches will run along the north and south border. Under foot, carved poetry texts find their way in a series of large intersecting circular pavers. Lighting, planting, and irrigation systems include a detailed plan for maintenance. The memorial's co-founder Chris Tepper told the crowd that the compromise, which led to a much smaller memorial than the winning proposal presented last spring, still meets the group's "policy goals." He promised that he and co-founder Paul Kelterborn would remain committed to raising the $2 million for the memorial as well as $500,000 for a maintenance fund. In a first exclusive look, New York Magazine's Justin Davidson gave the project a thumbs up. With such media savvy, there is little doubt that the the group, now officially called the AIDS Memorial Park, will have trouble raising the funds to build.  
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Some of Our Faves from the AIA LA Awards

Eric Owen Moss's Samitaur Tower, one of our faves
AIA/LA hosted its annual Design Awards last night at LACMA, an event that while not too full of people (that pesky recession) was full of astoundingly good projects. The AIA made us really happy, awarding AN a Presidential Award (Thanks AIA/LA President Paul Danna) for "Architectural Interpreter". Aw Shucks.. Other notable winners included Firm of the Year Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects and Gold Medal winner Brenda Levin. Since there were a hefty number of Design Award winners, we've decided to pick out a few of our favorites. And so without further ado we present the first ever, completely unofficial, AIA/LA Awards Awards! Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Morphosis Laumeier Sculpture Park Museum, St. Louis, Pugh + Scarpa 3631 Holdredge Avenue Building, Culver City, Lynch/Eisinger Pittman Dowell Residence, Michael Maltzan Architecture Czech Embassy, Washington D.C., Your Building Here Performance Capture Studio, San Francisco, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects with Kanner Architects Palms Residence, Venice, Daly Genik Conga Room, Belzberg Architects 41 Cooper Square, New York, Morphosis Deichmann Center, Beer Sheva, Israel, Vert Architects
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Skin Craft
Each of the curves in Pei Cobb Freed's curtain wall for the Palazzo Lombardia in Milan is of an equal radius, allowing the design to use only two curtain wall module types.
Courtesy Pei Cobb Freed
the insulated glass modules run floor to floor, with an 11-inch aluminum spandrel.

aluminum vanes between the glass block sunlight.
COURTESY pei cobb freed

Palazzo Lombardia
Milan, Italy
Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Double-skin curtain walls, sometimes referred to as climate walls, come in many shapes and sizes these days. What can be said about all of them is that they inevitably cost more to fabricate and install than your basic single-skin, insulated glass curtain wall. The payout may be recouped in time with cheaper energy bills through increased thermal performance, and there’s satisfaction in doing one’s part for the environment, but the initial cost is enough to put the system out of range for many projects seeking sustainability. This is especially true in the United States, where such measures are value-engineered out quicker than you can say Global Climate Change. But the Palazzo Lombardia, a municipal building currently under construction in Milan, proves these systems can be completed at a reasonable price. Pei Cobb Freed’s competition-winning design for this 1 million-square-foot, 225 million-Euro regional government headquarters provides a refined climate wall that matches manufacturing efficiency with energy efficiency.

The secret behind Pei Cobb Freed’s cost-cutting wall is its repetitive, modular design. In plan, the building fills out an awkward site with four snaking 7- to 9-foot-high slabs that meet in several places to define semi-elliptical public courtyards. At merely 46 feet wide, these office blocks allow ample daylight into the interior. The curves in the plan are all of equal radius. This allowed the architects to spec only two different curtain wall modules, one for the convex curves that are 6 feet wide and one for the concave curves that are 5 feet 10 inches wide. The module widths were also calibrated to match the structural bays, which boast 36-foot spans. There are seven modules per bay on the convex curves, and six modules per bay on the concave curves. At over 11 feet high, all of the exterior modules, which are insulated glass units, run floor to floor with an 11-inch aluminum spandrel unit. The interior layer is a laminated glass unit that runs from floor to ceiling. “The systems themselves are very flexible,” said José Bruguera, a partner at Pei Cobb Freed who directed the project team, working closely with lead designer Henry N. Cobb and technology partner Michael D. Flynn. “The interior was also meant to be flexible to meet the needs of each new government, as after every election there is some change.”

The 3-foot air space between the two layers of glass is wide enough to access for maintenance and cleaning purposes. It also houses a shading system of micro-perforated vertical aluminum vanes. Controlled by a building management system, the vanes rotate throughout the day to reflect direct sunlight. The perforations maintain a degree of transparency even when the shades are completely closed, allowing dappled light to flow into the interior and views to pass out. The cavity also acts as a return air duct. “In the competition, we didn’t have the slab continue all the way to the outer layer,” said Bruguera. “There was a grating for walking, so that air could travel up multiple floors. However, local fire code required separation in the cavity, so we brought the floor slab all the way through and designed the air return to be floor to floor.” This also permitted the exterior wall to be hung directly from the slab, another cost-saving opportunity that sidestepped the need to design a dedicated truss system for support.

A 550-foot-tall, 41-story tower sprouts at the intersection of two of Palazzo Lombardia’s sinuous office blocks. The double-wall system continues all the way to the top of this new distinctive element on the Milan skyline, except on the south face, where building-integrated photovoltaic panels were used. Pei Cobb Freed designed the tower’s concave east and west faces as a formal response to the nearby Pirelli Tower’s convex profile, but the project also bears a kinship to that modern masterpiece’s forward-thinking spirit. 

Aaron Seward


Maki and associates aimed for Tower 4, shown above from each elevation, to express a minimalist sense of serenity.
courtesy maki and associates

World Trade Center Tower 4
New York
Maki and Associates with R.A. Heintges & Associates

Designing the new towers now rising at the World Trade Center site was a daunting task. On the one hand, you have the relatively straightforward program of an office building with a retail component in the podium. On the other, the weight of a site that holds a powerful emotional charge in the national psyche. Fulfilling the former while honoring the latter creates a dichotomy of purpose prickly enough to befuddle the most sensitive of architectural talents. This is doubly true of Tower 4, which sits directly across Greenwich Street from the center’s memorial, Reflecting Absence. To respond to this conundrum, Maki and Associates set their sights on refining the building’s envelope to a point of ethereality, removing it from the appearance of any association with making and spending money. “We had a moral responsibility to the public to deliver a spiritual design,” said Gary Kamemoto, Maki’s director on the project. “We decided to use a very minimal vocabulary, to create something very abstract that would allow the tower to have a quiet presence of dignity and serenity.”

The architects did not stop at minimalism. “As we travel back and forth to New York, we are always struck by three towers on the skyline—the Empire State, the Chrysler, and Citicorp,” continued Kamemoto. “They have a sparkling metallic materiality that shines in the otherwise drab mass of buildings. They make us feel a certain optimism that we thought would be appropriate for the World Trade Center site.”

A mockup of the podium's laminated glass modules with steel mullions.
COURTESY maki and associates

Maki began by creating a very simple, sculptural form for the 65-story, 550,000-square-foot building—in plan, a parallelogram chiseled away at the top to form a trapezoidal crown with two cutout corners running the entire height. To achieve a Brancusi-like abstraction on the surface of this volume, the architects, along with facade consultant R. A. Heintges and Associates and wall manufacturer Benson, designed an extremely reflective curtain wall module with no spandrel. Structurally glazed, the assembly of 5-foot-wide by 13-foot-6-inch-high unitized panels creates an abstract grid that completely hides the building’s floor plates and confuses any reading of scale.

Pulling this off involved a few unusual details. For one, the team worked with Dow Corning to develop a coating for the glass that would deliver the right metallic sheen. At 40 percent reflectivity—an anomaly in this day of super-transparent glass envelopes—the insulated glass units deliver impressive energy performance by casting off heat loading from the sun. Secondly, the lack of spandrel required the use of a touch mullion, which is a horizontal mullion that extends between the floor plate and the back of the glass. Though it plays no structural role, it does satisfy local fire code, which demands that both the top and bottom of a slab reach the exterior wall. Finally, Leslie E. Robertson Associates’ structural design puts only four massive columns at the perimeter, leaving the corners cantilevered and a jaw-dropping 80-foot clear span across the face of the building. While this was good for opening up a lot of free wall space, it also created significant differential movement that the skin had to be able to absorb. The team responded with a 1.75-inch horizontal joint in the curtain wall that can open to as much as three inches.

At the building’s podium, which houses the office lobby and retail space, Maki switched to a different skin. While unearthly abstraction worked for the tower, at the ground he wanted something more tactile and architectonic. There, transparent laminated glass modules are supported by a stick-built system of 3-inch-by-12-inch solid steel mullions. The system is robust enough to meet the World Trade Center’s stringent blast requirements, but its Miesian detailing keeps it elegant and provides a satisfying foundation for the luminous tower. “It’s a simple move,” explained Kamemoto. “You use a different modulation from the tower and it makes the base look special, makes it stand out.” 



the ribbon-glass facade is based on five spline curves and fabricated by brooklyn-based roxy lab. 
courtesy cetraruddy

Lincoln Square Synagogue
New York
CetraRuddy with Front

The five undulating ribbons of the soon-to-be constructed Lincoln Square Synagogue facade are inspired by the ancient scrolls of the Torah, but the historic form is being interpreted with the most advanced BIM and parametric modeling systems around. Principal John Cetra and project manager Theresa Genovese of CetraRuddy designed the 70-foot-square curtain wall in collaboration with facade consultant Front’s co-founder Marc Simmons. Beginning with hand-drawn curves, the design was translated into BIM to create five spline curves in multiples of 16.5 inches—the optimal panel width, taking into account ease of fabrication and the appearance of the curves. Though glass panels and joints are identical, each of the 250 aluminum frames contains a customized suite of extrusions and transoms, many of which are being fabricated using CATIA by Brooklyn-based Roxy Lab, a facade research and development facility and sister company of Front.

the system is optimized so that each glass panel is identical.
Courtesy cetraruddy

Simmons described the curtain wall glass fabrication as the one analog process in the project’s hyper-digital execution. The architects envisioned using a real fabric interlayer to evoke the Torah’s parchment scrolls, and after extensive testing chose a synthetic fabric called Trevira, hand-placed to create delicate striations. The wall’s external lite contains the fabric laminated between SGP interlayers, while the interior lite is laminated white ceramic fritted glass. Placing the frit on the innermost surface will diffuse light from a 12-inch linear LED component in the base and head of each unit, causing the facade to glow.

The extent of Front and Roxy Lab’s involvement with the project grew in part out of larger contractors’ lack of interest in a highly complex yet small-scale project. For Simmons, though, the synagogue is a pilot for larger endeavors, like the Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards: “Essentially, we are taking the Lincoln Square, design-to-fabrication model and scaling it up to deliver the building for Forest City Ratner.” 

Jennifer K. Gorsche


the reskinned facade will boost efficiency by a third.

330 Madison Avenue
New York
Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects with W&W Glass

Designed in 1962 by Kahn & Jacobs, 330 Madison has a great location and 742,000 square feet of space, but also a facade that is long past its prime and its life expectancy. The original operable single-glazed windows allow air and water into the building and hike its energy consumption, but when owner Vornado hired Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects (MdeAS) to reclad the building, the team discovered the facade had one thing going for it—enough strength to support a new skin. According to MdeAS principal Dan Shannon, new cladding for buildings that predate 1968 can only project 4 inches from the existing property line, so using 330 Madison’s original mullions allows a new facade to be attached to the building’s 15-story podium as well as to its set-back tower.

The work will change the building completely. With an articulated curtain wall at the base and sleeker panels over the tower, it will look as new as nearby 100 Park Avenue, for which MdeAS was a finalist in this year’s Zerofootprint re-cladding prize. Though the new windows at 330 Madison will be nearly 20 inches larger than the original 7-foot-high vision panels, the reflective insulating glass units will help the wall assembly be one-third more energy efficient. Behind the glass, aluminum shadow boxes will cover the dated brown brick piers. “This tired old lady comes out a brand new building,” said Shannon.

As much as the building will change from the outside, perhaps the design team’s best trick will be doing the work while offices are completely occupied. Once the new skin has been attached, workers will remove the old windows at night, pulling them inside and installing aluminum trim kits to finish the frames. When employees return in the morning, they’ll hardly know it’s the same building; at least, according to the plan. 


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Coney of the Mind
It's been a busy day out at Coney Island. Not only did local City Council rep Dominic Recchia tell the Post that the city is trying to buy up developer Joe Sitt's stake in the area, but now comes the Municipal Art Society's zany plans for the famed amusement park. The MAS spent a busy week talking to the community and then working to conceive fanciful designs with a world-renowned team of planners, designers, and amusement experts, the fruits of which were unveiled at a press conference today at Borough Hall. AN had a correspondent on the scene, but these renderings are just too nice to keep to ourselves. With the blustery weather outside, maybe they can give hope for a warmer future. More amusements after the jump. Update: We almost forgot! Do check out the party tonight at BAM, where the designers and their designs will be on view. It starts at 6:30, and a source tells us there will be free Coney Island Lager on hand. See you there. (We'll be wearing the pink tie and the gray cardigan.)