Search results for "Hudson Yards"

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Railing Against Related

Construction workers protest developer behind DS+R, SOM towers
Hundreds of construction workers crowded New York City's Park Avenue on Wednesday during rush hour in protest against Related Companies, developer of New York’s $20-billion Hudson Yards project. Hudson Yards is the massive real estate development on Manhattan's West Side that has towers by DS+R, SOM, and KPF along with DS+R and Rockwell Group's The Shed and Heatherwick Studio's Vessel. As part of the #CountMeIn movement to fight against open shop or non-unionized workplaces, 37 people were arrested at the scene according to Crain’s New York. The demonstration shut down the street at 345 Park Avenue, an office tower home to the headquarters of the National Football League where billionaire Miami Dolphins owner and Related chairman Stephen Ross works. Protestors called for Ross’s resignation from his new seat on the NFL’s social justice committee, which seeks to appease the professional players who oppose the league’s ban on kneeling during the national anthem. Crain’s said that the #CountMeIn protestors—who claim Ross is anti-union—wore teal T-shirts designed to mimic a Dolphins’ jersey that read “Step Down Steve” in orange lettering. The large-scale gathering is the biggest public display so far from organized labor groups in their ongoing dispute with Related, which wants to use nonunion labor for the second phase of construction at Hudson Yards. Crain’s reported the company filed a $100-million lawsuit earlier this year to undercut the efforts of the city’s strongest labor organizer, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, in negotiating new union opportunities for the construction of the upcoming towers at Hudson Yards. The real estate and construction powerhouse believes union workers abused their hours on site and caused inflation over the last five years while working on the first phase. Crain’s wrote that Wednesday’s protests were seen by many as a personal attack on Ross and that he’s discriminating against laborers by condoning racism, sexism, and union-busting. Targeting Ross’s new position on the NFL’s social justice committee is an avenue for the union groups to bring greater awareness to this ongoing fight.
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By the Numbers

New interactive map details every active construction site in New York City
Construction cranes dominate the New York City skyline almost as much the city’s tallest spires. A street with scaffolding, especially in Manhattan, is a sight seen more often than not. Thousands of projects are currently underway in the five boroughs and it’s impossible to keep track of them all. To provide some perspective, a new interactive map and database from the New York City Department of Buildings allows you to visualize all the active major construction sites in the city. Updated daily, it unveils the great pace at which the city is changing in real time—not to mention that it shows the disparity in investment from neighborhood to neighborhood. Categorized by square footage, estimated cost, and number of proposed housing units, the data lets users analyze what’s being built right now and where. According to the site, there are 7,457 active permits filed and 197,913,815 total square feet of construction happening now. Brooklyn and Queens have the most sites under construction with 2,800 projects and 2,500 projects respectively. Nearly 2,000 more new buildings are coming up than renovations. So this leads us to ask: How is the city making room for all this new space? The answer: It's building up. The largest-scale project shown is 500 West 33rd Street (a.k.a. 30 Hudson Yards), a 3.9 million-square-foot, mixed-use skyscraper spearheaded by the Tishman Corporation. It’s subsequently the most expensive project going up in New York at a reported $576.68 million. Norman Foster’s 410 10th Avenue (50 Hudson Yards), an office tower, comes in a close second at 2.91 million square feet but is beat out for second priciest project in construction by the residential conversion happening at One Wall Street. The data also details that the tallest new building under construction in New York is, not surprisingly, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s Central Park Tower at 225 West 57th Street. The supertall boasts 98 floors and should top out next year. Also hitting the top ten list of tallest buildings by floor count are 220 Central Park South by Robert A.M. Stern, One Manhattan Square by Adamson Associates and Dattner Architects, as well as the MoMA-adjacent 53W53 by Jean Nouvel. The residential project with the most apartments offered under construction is HTO Architects’ 22-44 Jackson Avenue, a controversial two-towered, 1,115-unit development that’s replacing 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens. The map also shows the stark differences between the construction corporations leading the market. Tishman currently has so many projects under its purview that together they span a total of around 15 million square feet in New York. Lendlease and Turner fall behind with 5.4 million and 4.8 million square feet, respectively. According to the data, 120 million square feet of apartment projects are underway, with five of the top ten residential projects with the most dwelling units going up in Queens alone. What this map doesn’t do, however, is zero in on how much residential construction is affordable. To find that out, you have to extrapolate from the data by looking at each project’s permit application on the DOB’s website. Having that information more easily available, maybe also as an interactive map, would be even more helpful to normal New Yorkers than a site that largely details the city’s tallest and most expensive buildings. All you have to do is walk outside and look up to know that.
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Topping the Train

New Sunset Park development by DXA Studio could rise over tracks in Brooklyn
New York YIMBY revealed this morning that a new development designed by DXA Studio is potentially in the works for Sunset Park. The 240,000-square-foot complex, likely mixed-use with residential and commercial components, will stretch between 7th and 5th Avenues at 6205 7th Avenue in Brooklyn. The upcoming site, spearheaded by New Empire Corp., will feature three mid-rise towers situated atop a platform covering the train tracks. The Hudson Yards-like vision for the project—albeit smaller as YIMBY notes—will bring a much-needed, massive new housing option to the borough’s southwestern industrial neighborhood. Renderings show that the structures will include a terraced design facing west towards the river with rooftop plazas dotted with greenery. On the east side, a lower-level, elongated structure runs two-thirds the length of the development while the taller towers jut out at angles facing south. The facades of each building appear to be clad in muted materials with big, boxy, recessed windows that allow ample light into the interior spaces. Close-up visuals detail the jagged shape the angular towers take on at the edges of the development.  The architects told YIMBY that 6205 7th Avenue will house two blocks of retail, office space, restaurants, a gym with a pool, a hotel, community facilities, as well as public park space. Though the initial designs have been released, permits for the site have not yet been filed.  
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Framing the Issues

Trump’s timber tariffs divide the construction industry
Last November, the U.S. Department of Commerce under President Trump announced an average of 21 percent import duties on Canadian timber products entering the U.S. The announcement was greeted with mixed reactions within the construction industry; builders claimed that the tariffs would increase the cost of construction, and American suppliers argued that the domestic timber industry would benefit, expand, and keep wood prices low. Single-family home construction in the U.S. relies heavily on Canadian softwood for roofing and framing. In 2017, Canadian lumber yards supplied 28 percent of the U.S. softwood lumber market, and home builders have been the first to raise concerns about the new duties, which were in effect by January. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) claims that the imposed tariffs have added approximately $9,000 to the cost of single-family homes and up to $3,000 on multi-family homes. The NAHB doesn’t believe U.S. domestic production is capable of meeting the current market demand and that the tariffs only hurt native manufactures by forcing them to increase their lumber prices. The NAHB is calling for the Trump administration to resume talks with Canada to secure a more mutually beneficial long-term agreement. David Logan, director of tax and trade policy analysis at the NAHB, says that historically, the U.S. lumber field has never been able to support rapid housing growth. “Buyers are still buying from the distributors they’ve always sourced from despite the tariffs,” he said. “Domestic lumber production has increased marginally in the last year, but it’s not kept up with the housing demand in terms of percentages, so it’s hard to say that we’re meeting the challenge. This has always been the case. We can’t meet that need...not even close.” Logan also argued that larger lumber companies in the U.S. are profiting unfairly from the deal, citing the Seattle-based Weyerhaeuser, which owns 12.4 million acres of forest in the U.S. alone and manages 14 million acres in Canada, as well as West Fraser, a Vancouver-based company that operates 48 mills across both countries. The NAHB claims that these companies are able to reap the benefits of both markets under the current trade agreement and likely won’t be affected if things change again. “We say over and over again that we need predictable and stable supply. That means using Canadian lumber,” Logan said. “Diversification of operations in the biggest mills on both sides of the border has really hampered any progress towards talking further about this issue because they’re able to increase production and do well. Prices have been so high there’s not really room for anyone but the big players to have a seat at the table, whether they’re Canadian or American.” The U.S. Lumber Coalition (USLC) rejects these claims. “Since the duties were implemented," the USLC wrote in a statement last week, "U.S. lumber shipments have increased by about 1.4 billion board feet, roughly filling the gap left by the decrease of Canadian imports. U.S. companies continue to invest in expanding their production capabilities to mill lumber from American trees by American workers to build American homes.” Pleasant River Lumber, a small milling company based in Maine, isn’t experiencing the negative side effects that the NAHB claims is coming out of the current tariffs on timber. In fact, the company is on track to complete a $20 million expansion at two of its four sawmills in the next 18 months. As part of the USLC, Pleasant River Lumber sources 95 percent of its lumber within the state of Maine and takes a bit from New Hampshire and Canada as well. Owner Jason Brochu is pleased with the country’s newfound focus on local production and plans to take advantage of it. “Increased demand due to forest fires and hurricanes in other states, spiked prices from the duties, heightened transportation costs, and a strong housing market all factor in to establish a level playing field for lumber production in the U.S. right now,” said Brochu. “We can’t compete against the government or any larger mills without things being equal.” Pleasant River Lumber is capitalizing on the growing lumber market by adding 50 percent more capacity to its production facilities and hiring 40 new employees as quickly as possible. They plan to boost production of their dimensional lumber from 200 million to 300 million board feet annually with the upgraded equipment. More importantly, they’re investing in their framing mills to address the increased demand within the housing market. “We believe we’re pretty typical of most mills in the country at this time,” Brochu said. “Most mills in Maine specifically are adding shifts or putting more money into mills to increase volume. We’re confident that the duties protect our rights as producers in the U.S. and we feel like the laws are working the way they should.” Brochu also emphasized how “relatively insignificant” framing lumber is in housing construction. USLC said the same thing stating that lumber makes up only 2 percent of the cost of a new home—which in 2018 stands at $368,500.  Framing lumber isn’t the only wood material that’s used to construct new homes. Plywood, which has zero duties imposed on it, flooring, and other timber products are also increasing in price. New York-based specialty wood-product manufacturer Hudson Company said the niche wood market has been affected as well. Two of its most popular reclaimed-wood products, both of which feature Canadian imported lumber, have both been impacted dramatically, says owner Jamie Hammel. Sales of silver pine siding are down by 60 percent, while hand-hewn beams are down 40 percent. “The reason our business is not down by 60 percent,” he said, “is because we sell other things. But we've had to limit the amount of volume we import because of the tariffs and we’ve had to diversify our product line to adjust and will continue to do. We’ve had to source more products locally which I guess was the administration’s goal.” The timber tariffs against Canada were among the first official duties placed on another country by the U.S. government since Trump took office. In the ten years since the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) was established in 2006, the U.S. Commerce Department has allowed Canadian companies to sell lumber to the U.S. market at subsidized prices, lifting previously countervailing and anti-dumping duties as long as prices stayed above a certain figure. The SLA expired in 2015 and since then both countries have been unable to negotiate a new deal.   On behalf of the NAHB, Logan said that his organization doesn't foresee a new Canada-U.S. deal happening in the near future. “We don’t think the dialogue will reopen any time soon as long as the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations are ongoing. If history repeats itself...the last time this happened it took around 5 years to settle,” he said referring to the original SLA. “Hopefully I’m wrong and this is done very quickly. Until then, prices will maybe get a bit higher, but volatility will certainly increase.”
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Welding Bells

Visiting UAP, the studio fabricating many of the biggest projects in art and architecture
UAP may not be a household name, but the firm is behind the scenes of many of the biggest projects in public art and architecture. With studios in Brisbane, Shanghai, and New York, UAP works with world-renowned artists and architects like Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller, and Frank Gehry on highly complicated sculptures and architectural features. Most recently, it manufactured Phillip K. Smith III’s Open Sky with clothing brand COS for Salone del Mobile in Milan. UAP is also overseeing a number of projects in the Hudson Yards mega-development. Started in 1993 by brothers Daniel and Matthew Tobin in Australia, UAP collaborates with artists, architects, developers, and governments to plan and fabricate large-scale projects. However, at their core the Tobins are committed to protecting artists’ voices and maintaining conceptual integrity—dealing with tight deadlines, engineering challenges, and logistical complexities to deliver the creator’s vision in full. In this way, they function as an extension of the artist’s studio, allowing artists to step back from management and go back to doing what they do best: making art. UAP is organized into three sectors: UAP Studio, which produces site-specific artworks and offers curatorial oversight and public art strategy; UAP Factory, which works alongside architects on building projects; and UAP Supply, which offers limited-edition and custom furnishings. While UAP’s business includes working with artists to make their visions materialize, the firm also works with developers and governments to curate and consult on the how, where, and who behind public art. Recently, it has been going even bigger and helping develop master plans and long-term public art strategy for clients such as the Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane. Although handwork, traditional CNC, and cutting-edge fabrication techniques are integral to the practice, UAP is constantly looking for new ways to utilize technology. The team has been introducing virtual reality into its design process and collaborating with manufacturing researchers at Innovative Manufacturing CRC, Queensland University of Technology, and RMIT University to experiment with new robotic manufacturing systems that present a range of new possibilities. With his artist pedigree, founder Daniel has designed monumental projects, including the 197-foot-tall concrete tower Al Fanar (Beacon) in Saudi Arabia (with bureau^proberts) and a National AIDS Monument with the West Hollywood Foundation, to be completed in 2019. It’s this creative sensibility that’s central to UAP. It can help artists because they themselves are no mere fabricators; they’re partners in the creative process with an intimate knowledge of production and a deep investment in creative expression. Good Fences Make Good Neighbors New York This past winter’s blockbuster five-borough public exhibition from Ai Weiwei, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, showcased the work of UAP in one of its most memorable sculptures: the 40-foot mirrored cage underneath the Washington Square Arch. Made in collaboration with the Public Art Fund, the arch sculpture was one of two that UAP completed for Ai’s project. The subject of many photographs, the sculpture approached serious topics with levity—juxtaposing a passage with a cage, it troubled the constructed notion of borders and highlighted the different ways they restrict, regulate, and permit the movement of differentiated bodies. Nuage, promenade Miami Working with renowned designers (and another fraternal pair) Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, UAP oversaw the construction of a series of metal and glass canopies in Miami’s design district. Called Nuage, promenade, the pergola is designed to engage with not only the surrounding built environment of Paseo Ponti, but also the natural environment, as native plants will slowly grow around the blue and green structure. SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico UAP worked on every step of the process, from design to fabrication to installation, for an external cladding system for a SHoP Architects expansion to the New Mexico contemporary art space SITE Santa Fe. The layers of folded and perforated aluminum cladding for the two entrances help to unify the extension as a whole and mesh it with the museum and the public space. UAP also worked with SHoP on the interiors of the American Copper Buildings in Manhattan. Wahat Al Karama Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates In 2016, UAP worked with British artist Idris Khan to realize the massive memorial park Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The central monument comprises 31 leaning tablets made of aluminum plates recycled from decommissioned armored vehicles. The tablets are inscribed with the names of service members and poems and quotes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. At one end of the park is the Pavilion of Honor, completed with bureau^proberts. Made of 2,800 aluminum panels encircling seven glass panels by Khan, the meditative space is a quiet interior pause that complements the monolithic structure outside.
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Face-lift

Renderings released for Rafael Viñoly-renovated Hell’s Kitchen car showroom and office
Rafael Viñoly Architects recently released new renderings for the renovation of 787 Eleventh Avenue. The renderings show how the large industrial building is revamped into an array of car showroom and office spaces for Packard Motor Company. The renovation of the historic building along 11th and 12th Avenues in Hell’s Kitchen was originally announced in 2016. Located in proximity to the iconic Via 57 West, Mercedes House and Hudson Yards, the Rafael Viñoly-designed edifice will be a new addition to the already crowded architectural scene. It will add to Manhattan Midtown’s westward expansion to the Hudson River. The existing eight-story Art Deco building was originally designed by the late Albert Kahn in 1927. Viñoly’s renovation adds two upper floors to the building. The new ninth and tenth floors recedes from the periphery of the building to produce an uninterrupted private outdoor green terrace.The lower floors will remain a car showroom and contain service areas, while the upper floors will become commercial office space to accommodate the expanded workforce. Viñoly envisions a work environment with upgrades such as a 12,000-square-foot green roof deck. The roof was originally allocated as employee parking, which is now moved to the basement. In the original structure, widely spaced columns support one-acre-large floor slabs, which permit open office layouts. To further enlarge the volumes of spaces, the seventh floor slab is removed to create a double-height office. Other features of the new design include the renovation of the facade, the ground-floor entrance, the building lobby and modern infrastructure. The architects will install floor to ceiling windows as large as ten feet by ten feet to allow for better lighting into the offices, as well as expanded views to the city and the river.
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Make Your Voice Heard

How can architecture criticism give everyone a seat at the table?
As Christopher Hawthorne moves on from the Los Angeles Times and as new forms of criticism proliferate, we asked the architecture community what the role of the critic is today, and what it might be missing. What do you see as the role of the critic in architecture today? Why is it important? What aspects of architecture are not being addressed today by critics? What are the problems with criticism today? Here are the responses we received from those who felt that architecture criticism is inherently political and should be approached as such, from across the country and abroad. How can women and people of color be included in the conversation when the field has typically buried their voices? This article was originally published in our May print issue, and was preceded by a selection of answers from architecture critics themselves and those who thought that the internet has fundamentally changed the field. Nolan Boomer Arts critic and editor of Take Shape. “At the core of architectural criticism is the realization that setting is not the backdrop of humankind’s story, but actually a character that shapes its plot...some of the best criticism appears in other genres like fiction and poetry, but it often isn’t considered as such.” Alice Twemlow Head of Design Curating and Writing Masters at Design Academy Eindhoven and professor of design at The Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. “If you take architecture to be less about individual buildings, and more about the structural, political, and conceptual framing of the shifting relationship between public and private space, (which I do) then the role of the architecture critic merges with that of the social critic and, in that respect, is immensely important. When that framing is thoughtful and brilliant, she should make sure we hear about it; and when the framing is uninformed or unfair, she should also make sure we hear about it. She should remind us of the past, respond to the current situation, and anticipate or lead future moves. She should advocate for the right of every public citizen to access the aesthetic and practical benefits of the built environment whilst being protected from it failings and harmful effects. And if that sounds like hard work, and that it encroaches on the territory of urban planning, social politics, environmental science, ethics, and philosophy, that’s because it is, and it does.” Mitch McEwen Assistant professor at Princeton University School of Architecture and partner of A(n) Office. “Architecture has made so many heroic and visionary claims, and also failed so many people for so long. The architecture critic can sort through these claims and failures and new potentials, both for us and for a wider public.” Mark Foster Gage Principal of Mark Foster Gage Architects and the assistant dean of the Yale School of Architecture. “I think there is an old notion of a critic who tells you if something is good or not. This is outdated and it probably comes from [Gene] Siskel and [Roger] Ebert on television, watching movies—‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down.’ Here the critic is an arbiter of taste. It’s not helpful: it’s about judgment rather than a new opening of discussion. It’s a closure, stopping conversation cold. Once you call a movie bad, why discuss it? I believe a critic is a person that opens people’s eyes as to WHY certain things are notable in various disciplines (or outside of them). A critic should be opening conversations, prompting curiosity, and inciting interest. I also think it is the responsibility of the critic to focus on contemporary work and issues—‘the new’ is always in most need of support and discussion, especially among those who feel intimidated or uncomfortable about it. This is what the critic is supposed to do, make it possible to bring more people into the conversation about any type of work. They are stewards of curiosity and interest, not judges of success or failure.” Enrique Ramirez Writer and architectural historian based in Brooklyn. “This question presumes that criticism is important to the discipline and practice of architecture. To say so is to admit to a certain kind of hubris. Criticism is not needed, for no matter if critics decide to take on the mantle of an investigative magistrate and try to shed light on a particular issue, to watch different actors scurry about once their particular malfeasances become exposed, to say: ‘Aha, Architecture...YOU’VE BEEN CAUGHT’...this is criticizing, but is it criticism? I used to think, ‘Yes, it is.’ It’s not. An architectural critic may tell you, ‘Look at this building ...Modernism is EVIL!’ or ‘Postmodernism is TRITE!’ or ‘Everything coming out of UCLA or Michigan is MAGENTA and CORNFLOWER BLUE!’ Okay, but so what? If that is the mode of engagement that architectural critics prefer, then I want no part of it. As critics, we need to look at colleagues in other fields to see how they advocate for the cultural relevance of their object of inquiry, for this is at the heart of criticism. Architectural criticism seems stuck in a kind [of] mode that conflates ‘criticism’ with ‘criticizing,’ one that privileges the dressing down of a building over everything else. Architecture lives in the world at large, and as critics, we need to state how this is the case.” José Esparza Chong Cuy Associate curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. “I believe that an informed public opinion of what needs to be celebrated and denounced is more important than ever. Contemporary life is shaped by so many invisible mechanisms that need to be exposed to the day-to-day eye. There are so many things at play regulated by sociopolitical, economic, and environmental factors in the spaces we inhabit that we need to have thought out critical positions to be able to act accordingly, both socially and professionally. Having a better understanding of these invisible mechanisms could potentially open new ways of operating. Moreover, I believe that all critical mediums should make an attempt to cover rural environments. It is clear that city-living is not the only option, but critics should make an effort to cover stories about rural life and the rural landscapes to connect the practice or architecture to these settings as well. We tend to forget how interconnected the rural and urban contexts are, and the critic should use its platform to inform how one setting feeds off the other and vice versa.” Bika Rebek Founding principal of Some Place, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia GSAPP. “A master of expansive writing reaching all fringes, and perhaps my favorite critic is Karl Kraus. While architecture is just one of his wide-ranging interests, his writing is personal, angry, funny, extremely timely and unconcerned with the consequences. Contemporary architectural criticism would benefit from this fearlessness and sense of humor. With more pointed controversy, critics could attract wider audiences and become part of an age-old dialogue, spinning the web further through the lens of our time.” Jesse LeCavalier  Designer, writer, and educator whose work explores the architectural and urban implications of contemporary logistics. He is the author of The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment, assistant professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the Daniel Rose Visiting Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Architecture. “Foucault’s appeal to a kind of criticism focused on curiosity, attention, stewardship, and imagination remains, for me, an appealing statement about the potential role of the critic: ‘I can’t help but dream about a kind of criticism that would try not to judge but to bring an oeuvre, a book, a sentence, an idea to life; it would light fires, watch the grass grow, listen to the wind, and catch the sea foam in the breeze and scatter it. It would multiply not judgments but signs of existence; it would summon them, drag them from their sleep. Perhaps it would invent them sometimes—all the better. All the better. Criticism that hands down sentences sends me to sleep; I’d like a criticism of scintillating leaps of the imagination.’ While thoughtful and perceptive engagement with buildings will always be important, I feel like now more than ever we need to develop an expanded understanding the larger forces shaping the built environment, from our own consumer choices to larger policy transformations, their implications, and ways to engage them.” Kate Wagner Creator of McMansion Hell and a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University researching concert hall design in transition from late- to post-modernism. “Architecture is inherently political on its own! While the city is relevant to the building, we should avoid using the city as a crutch.” Fred Scharmen Teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning. His first book, Space Settlements, will be out later this year. “I saw a joke on Twitter the other week that said: ‘Every academic discipline has another academic discipline which watches them, occasionally making sarcastic comments.’ For architecture, criticism gets even weirder, because this shadow discipline is supposed to do at least two more other things: it’s meant to be internalized, so architects should be working and self-critiquing at almost the same time; and it’s also supposed to be outward-facing, to explain what’s going on inside the discipline to an external audience. So somehow we’re all meant to be our own worst and best critics, hecklers, and narrators, all at once. This situation is messed up.” Peggy Deamer Professor of architecture at Yale University, an architect practicing in New York, and content coordinator of the Architecture Lobby. “The role of the critic is to inform both the public and the discipline about what aesthetic, economic, cultural, or social value is potentially embedded in that discipline and point out examples that are good or bad in relation to that potential. Critics aren’t identifying the connection between how we in the discipline work—with illegal, economically naive, sexist, and formally myopic protocols—and the poverty of what we are asked to work on (rich peoples second houses; the occasional private institution) and the consequent lack of respect and financial stability.” David Grahame Shane Adjunct professor in the Urban Design program at Columbia GSAPP. “Architectural criticism is not important as there is so little architecture of quality produced today by large firms or clients to consider. Look at Hudson Yards or the World Trade Center, and weep. The profession is BIM-ed and value-engineered to death. Public commissions and competitions that once gave openings to critics and young firms have disappeared along with small bookstores and magazines. Chat rooms and the academy remain as hermetic critical fortresses with their own private codes and handshakes. Sadly public intellectuals and critics are a disappearing breed, dying off in the new architectural ecology, occasionally spotlighted by museums as avant-garde and remote insights. It’s not a pretty picture, but surely in the future people will regain a sense of shared communities in the city and countryside and a new breed of architectural critics and architectural practice will re-emerge.” Michael Sorkin Architect, author, educator and founding principal of Michael Sorkin Studio. “The critic’s duty is resistance!  As the country careens toward full-on fascism, its environment assailed and warfare looming, we must defend the social architectures of civility and not lose ourselves in the artistic weeds.  A critic who fails to assail Trump, supports him.” Kelsey Keith Editor-in-Chief of Curbed. “Architecture as a study and as a practice has done a lot to isolate itself. I think that the built environment matters so much because it affects and influences people in the places they live. I speak not as an academic or as a critical theorist, but as someone who genuinely loves all this, wants it to be better, and believes that end is achieved in part via criticism. An architecture critic’s role in society today is to contextualize—whether the point is to educate, or entertain, or satisfy some curiosity: ‘Why are A-frames suddenly so popular again? Why is it important to preserve the work of a rare woman project lead from a midcentury architecture firm?’ Most critics are too busy broadcasting their own well-formed opinions to actually listen to the zeitgeist. Dialogue is important, but so is listening to others—as a knowledge-gathering tool or when their perspectives differ from your own.” Abdalilah Qutub (Abdul Qutub)   Co-founder of Socially Condensed Fully-Built Enviromemes. “The role of the architectural critic today goes beyond the immediate issues surrounding a building, but also includes the larger ethical practices and impacts in which the participants in the architectural field might be involved. There are two main themes that are not really being fully addressed today: Workers’ rights issues and the overwhelming whiteness of the field. The dominance of white men now only further keeps alive the whiteness of the field that has been passed on by previous generations. Recent efforts within the #MeToo movement and the allegations that have recently come out against Richard Meier further reveal some of the underlying power structures in the field and how they are being abused. Criticism alone is not going to solve these problems without the provocation of direct action from the architectural and associated fields (strikes, demonstrations, and protests).” Nicholas Korody Co-founder of the experimental architecture practice Adjustments Agency, co-curator of the architecture store domesti.city, and editor-in-chief of the architecture publication Ed. “The role of the critic today is first and foremost to draw attention to the architecture of architecture—that is, the ways in which ‘architecture’ is not a given, but rather something constructed and therefore mutable. Within the discipline and profession, we take for granted that certain things, from exploitative labor practices to rampant sexism and even assault, come with the territory. They do not have to. Alongside this, we accept with little criticality the complicity of architecture with capital, with the end result that not only do we now design only for the select few, we also help fuel the conversion of our cities into playgrounds for speculative finance. This relationship is historically specific, and the role of the critic is to both point this out and to imagine alternatives. Critics today tend toward the myopic. They see a form and not what’s behind it: labor relations, environmental degradation, capital accumulation, displacement of people. Every act of construction has cascading effects far beyond the building site. Critics must contend with this. Broadly speaking, it is a conservative field. Many supposedly liberal or even leftist critics are in fact advocating for a maintenance of the status quo, which is a violent position to take. There are far too few voices demanding truly radical change within the discipline. Criticism is itself a form of practice, a way of imagining possibilities where others see none. Integral to that is looking far beyond the discipline, far beyond buildings. Most importantly, critics must take positions—albeit ones capable of change—and fight for them. Political neutrality does not exist. A good critic loves architecture so much they despise everything about it.” Ana María León Trained as an architect, León is a researcher and architecture historian at the University of Michigan. “Critics link the discipline not only to a broader audience, but also to larger concerns that often escape architecture’s purview. If good histories take a critical view of the past, good critiques are able to historicize the present. Our current political moment urgently needs more critical voices. Critics are still overwhelmingly white, male, and Western. This is not to say that white, male, Western critics are unable to look beyond their own identities, but representation matters, and a diversity of voices tends to insure a diversity of opinions and points of view. I would love it if say, The Architect’s Newspaper reached out to critics in South America, Africa, Asia, and asked them to review events and buildings there for a broader public.” Eva Franch i Gilabert Architect, educator, curator, founder of Office of Architectural Affairs (OOAA), current executive director of the Storefront for Art and Architecture and future director of the Architectural Association. “A critic is the historian of the present, or the present future, or as Reyner Banham’s intellectual biography points out, of the immediate future. To understand the power of architecture, unveil it, and transmit it to a larger audience is the most benevolent image of the critic, but the most seminal and most needed is to allow the field to find positions beyond obsessions; to position design culture in relation to the most important issues affecting contemporary culture and the built environment. Any critic needs to go beyond the cliché, the commonplace assumptions behind good design, and understand radical, powerful designs that are able to produce more equitable societies. A critic that is able to read beyond press releases, instant gratifications, three minute impressions of what should be and help us all imagine what actions, ideas, and form could be. The problems with criticism today are the same as the ones with architecture: it is extremely hard to go beyond client-oriented work, to produce designs that question the status quo and the forces at play. The making and buying of history in the PR age is an issue to be investigated thoroughly. It is extremely hard for editors, critics, and architects to keep a critical distance. While this might not be any different than in times past, at least I think there is now a more transparent understanding of sponsored articles, and the influence and power of certain lobbies. The real difficulty of being a critic is that we do not have editorial structures that support criticism in its full flesh. As in many other fields false criticism, sensationalism, scandalous headlines, ...are more in vogue than rigorous - maybe less sensationalist- forms of criticism. The problem is that bad criticism is more profitable in terms of business models; good criticism needs of idea models, less business models....”
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Cedric Price’s Fun Palace comes to life in a moveable exhibit at Prelude to The Shed
In the run-up to the opening of The Shed, Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the Rockwell Group’s new arts center in the Hudson Yards development, a 2-week program called A Prelude to The Shed, featuring free performances, talks and events, took place in a temporary structure designed by Kunlé Adeyemi of NLÉ Works. A Stroll Through the Fun Palace, British architect Cedric Price’s 1961 project, developed with theater director Joan Littlewood, was presented in dynamic form by architects wheeling models and items from the project archives at the Canadian Centre for Architecture on carts throughout the site, and interacting with curious visitors. A Stroll was originally presented at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale at the Swiss Pavilion, where it was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, who is also Senior Program Advisor at The Shed. On May 1, the evening panel discussion centered on Price’s Fun Palace and its impact on The Shed. Obrist and Prelude co-programmer Dorothea von Hantelmann set the stage by explaining why they included this work in the roster, and how its presentation explores the exhibition form itself. They correlated the Fun Palace’s interdisciplinary nature—opera, visual art, theater, dance—with Artistic Director Alex Poots’s background at the Manchester International Festival, the Park Avenue Armory and now The Shed. They were followed by Eleanor Bron, Cedric Price’s concubine (her preferred term for life partner), an actor best known for film roles in Help!, Alfie, Two for the Road, Bedazzled, and Women in Love, and Samantha Hardingham, interim director of the AA and author of Cedric Price Works, 19522003: A Forward-Minded RetrospectiveThey described the challenge for the self-described “anti-architect" to create a home for as many forms of fun in one spot as possible, and to open up science and culture to all. The Fun Palace, intended for the Olympics site in East London, was conceived as a permeable, moveable, gravity-defying open space without beginning or end, in contrast to the prevalent earthbound style of the times in Britain, Brutalism. It counted among is trustees Buckminster Fuller and violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and it nearly happened except for a drainage problem on the site. In another connection to The Shed, in 1999, Price submitted a proposal for Phyllis Lambert’s Hudson Yards competition, the current site of The Shed. Titled A Lung for Midtown Manhattan, Price was one of five finalists, who also included Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, Morphosis, Reiser + Umemoto, and winner Peter Eisenman.  The jury consisted of Frank Gehry, Arata Isozaki, Philip Johnson, Rafael Moneo, Joseph Rose (City Planning Commissioner), and Elizabeth Diller. Notably, Diller voted for Price’s entry, which proposed leaving the space open with “wind-blinkers” to encourage breezes from the river to waft over Manhattan. Diller recounted the competition in the next panel, which also included David Rockwell and Kunlé Adeyemi. Diller and Rockwell discussed their approach to the design of The Shed:  to be forever contemporary, flexible but not generic, scalable, indoor and outdoor, unbranded and entrepreneurial. They said their key architecture reference was the Fun Palace, which was an architecture of infrastructure. They also questioned why we need one more cultural institution, since New York City already boasts 12,000. Referring to the moveable portion of The Shed, Rockwell pointed out that many theaters are meant to be flexible (think Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall), which are rarely utilized because it’s too difficult or expensive. For him, another lesson was from his TED Theater in Vancouver, an annual pop-up meant to be “live.” Here, the architecture does not dictate what happens inside. The evening was rounded out with Keller Easterling, an architect and Yale professor, who spoke on notions of theater in architectural spaces (in addition to being an architect, she has a background as a performance artist) and Caroline A. Jones, a professor at MIT Architecture, who found parallels in electronic technological modes of production in the art world.  They commented that presenters on stage facing the audience was the antithesis of the future Shed.
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BIG WORK

WeWork taps Bjarke Ingels to be its first “chief architect”
In Manhattan, there are two things we keep seeing everywhere: WeWork and Bjarke Ingels. From its signature coworking office spaces to an elementary school, WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann seems intent on infiltrating every aspect of people’s lives. According to WeWork’s blog, the plan “starts with every space for every member and scales to every building in every city.” Danish architect Bjarke Ingels is also cropping up around NYC (quite literally as the BIG U will encircle downtown Manhattan) as well as VIA 57 West, Two World Trade, 40th Precinct Police Station, the Spiral at Hudson Yards, and the Eleventh. With all of this in mind, it seems inevitable that the two would team up for dual domination: WeWork has hired Ingels as its first “chief architect.” Ingels will continue to lead his offices out of Copenhagen and London as he creates more WeWork spaces. “WeWork was founded at the exact same time as when I had arrived to New York. In that short amount of time – the blink of an eye at the time scale of architecture–they have accomplished incredible things and they are committed to continuing their trajectory to places we can only imagine. WeWork’s commitment to community and culturally driven development is perfectly aligned with our active, social and environmental agendas. As WeWork takes on larger and more holistic urban and architectural challenges, I am very excited to contribute with my insights and ideas to extend their community-oriented vision to ground-up buildings and urban neighborhoods,” Ingels said in a statement. His first task will be to transform the former Lord & Taylor building into WeWork’s new headquarters. He is also working on the aforementioned school, WeGrow. As Fast Company reported, Neumann and Ingels have a shared, confident vision:
“I [Neumann] said, ‘Give me your favorite building.’ “He [Ingels] said, ‘I don’t have one favorite building because of the design-by-committee situation. I get one or three amazing original ideas that I’ve been working on for a decade in a building, but there were seven other ideas that were not exactly mine.’ “I said, ‘I want all your best ideas in one building.’ “He said, ‘If someone actually allowed me to do it, I could design the perfect office building or perfect residential building.’ “I said, ‘Perfect, that’s a big word.’ “He said, ‘No one’s ever given me a shot.'”
Sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
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Shacked Up

Take a peek at NLÉ Works’s Prelude to The Shed
The Shed, DS+R and the Rockwell Group's slick ETFE-padded arts building in Hudson Yards is a solid year away from hosting performances. In the meantime, The Shed's curators are teasing the public with Prelude to The ShedPrelude, for short—a temporary pavilion for dance, theater, and art right across the street from its still-under-construction sibling. Today The Architect's Newspaper got a first look at the structure and its inaugural exhibit on the Fun Palace, the conceptual 1960s theater that inspired The Shed. While the Shed was conceived by two large New York firms, Prelude was designed by Kunlé Adeyemi of Amsterdam- and Lagos-based NLÉ Works in collaboration with Tino Sehgal, an artist from Berlin who's also one of the event's programmers. The building, a reconfigured steel shed crossed with a party limo, is separated from 10th Avenue by an open plaza and a short flight of black stairs. To give performers an abundance of flex space, the front entrance is completely open to the elements, but the approach is staggered by oversized, movable Chesterfield chairs. Ultra-cushy seating wraps the interior and most of Prelude's exterior, a must for a initial 13-day free events program that's sold out its entire run. Its roofline is defined by a simple gable, a humble dwelling amid the towers of Hudson Yards. The structure backs onto a site that feels like an afterthought. A café is connected to Prelude by a standard-issue wheelchair ramp, and from its slightly elevated perch, visitors can gaze across a gravel lot where scattered potted plants suggest an attempt at landscape design. REX's crystalline 5 Manhattan West and Hudson Yards beam reflections onto each other from across the avenue, disorienting the eye a hundred feet above ground level. Blessedly, there are public restrooms. Prelude's seven programmers are engaging the public beyond architecture, and a packed events schedule promises to keep the space brimming with visitors. Today, volunteers stood around hospital carts filled with Hudson Yards ephemera, part of A stroll though the fun palace, an exhibit on Cedric Price and Joan Littlewood's never-built idea for a democratic performance and community gathering space. For the next two weeks, the programmers have tapped artists across media for a series of public performances. Each afternoon into evening, choreographer William Forsythe's Pas de Deux Cent Douze alternates with Sehgal's This variation. Beginning Thursday, Prelude will host evening shows by artists across genres (Atlanta's ABRA kicks off the festivities her signature take on R&B). Prelude's pre-opening program will run through May 13. More information on hours, performances, and events can be found here.
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Ballin'

Rafael Viñoly Architects may bring New York City’s first soccer stadium to the Bronx
Rafael Viñoly Architects is set to design New York City's first soccer stadium. Related is spearheading the 26,000-seat Bronx project, which will be the future home of the New York City Football Club. Similar to Hudson Yards, Related's mega-development on Manhattan's Far West Side, the stadium will be constructed over rail yards by the Harlem River in the South Bronx. While a deal for the site hasn't been finalized, YIMBY got its hands on the preliminary renderings for the RFP, which Related submitted with Somerset Partners. Somerset Partners is working on a major project on an adjacent lot, a development with nearly 1,300 units of market-rate housing along 1,200 feet of the river. Given soccer's popularity in the five boroughs, it's surprising that the Bronx stadium will be the city's first. The renderings right now make the toilet seat–shaped arena look more like a massing diagram than anything, but the design is sure to evolve if the city accepts the developers' proposal. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to Viñoly's firm and Related for comment, and both declined to share any more details on the project. The stadium will be joined by affordable housing in a project the developers are calling Harlem River Yards.  The New York City Football Club's new home and the 550 units of housing will be joined by a medical facility, retail, and an 85,000-square-foot park. Related and Somerset would lease the 12.8 acre property for $500,000 annually for 99 years, and invest $125 million total in sitework and a planned waterfront park. Harlem River Yards is expected to cost $700 million in total, and it's slated for completion by 2022.
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Popular Polymer

A skin for the spectacular? It has to be ETFE.
From biodomes to Disney resorts, "Sheds" and stadiums, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, better known as ETFE, has become the material of choice for architects designing a venue for the spectacular. Appealing to designers as an affordable, translucent building skin, the material is now the go-to polymer for flamboyant facades. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke to three firms leading the way to get the lowdown.

"When we designed Eden over twenty years ago, this was the largest installation of ETFE, which had principally been used for small sports buildings," said Andrew Whalley, Partner & Deputy Chairman at Grimshaw Architects. Whalley was, of course, referring to the Eden Project in the U.K.'s southwest, the project that put ETFE and its use for buildings on the map. Previously, the material had been used mostly in the aerospace industry, with the odd agricultural project thrown in. Now it was being used for huge, bulbous "biomes" that drew inspiration from Buckminster Fuller.

"I think the Eden project certainly gave it a much higher profile, which led quickly to its use on several high-profile buildings. This rise in popularity has lead to a continual refinement in the product, and with secondary applications," added Whalley.

Grimshaw has since gone on to be a pioneer of the polymer in architecture. Their U.K. National Space Center in Leicester was another landmark project, and, more recently, the firm has stepped it up a level, with the dazzling Disney resort, "Tomorrowland," in Shanghai. Whalley continued, "Current ETFE is much more transparent than its earlier version, is available in a range of color tints. It can be fritted, and combining this with variable air pressures can change the amount of light passing through the envelope." Light and colour certainly abound at Tomorrowland. David Dennis, Associate Principal at Grimshaw explained how this was achieved through a double-layered ETFE cushion that spans 164 feet across a complicated twin-gridshell canopy. This is then held in place by custom-formed aluminum clamps that respond to the tight bending and twisting of the structure. "ETFE’s inherent flexibility permitted spanning these complex forms. Meanwhile, advancements in imbedded color and custom-applied ‘frit’ patterns enabled a backdrop suitable for both daytime and nighttime light shows," elaborated Dennis. "The canopy structure required a lightweight cladding that could keep guests dry and comfortable in Shanghai’s wet summers. At the same time, it also needed to be an expressive and iconic canvas for lighting effects and projections that celebrate Disney’s stories and capture the Tomorrowland theme of an optimistic future," he added. "ETFE met these needs, providing flexibility of form and advanced capacity for showcase." But how is ETFE being used on U.S. shores? Alloy Kemp, a Senior Project Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti's New York office, was on hand. The engineering firm has already worked on numerous ETFE facades, including Banc of California Stadium (for the Los Angeles Football Club, MLS), the U.S. Bank Stadium (for the Minnesota Vikings) and the Hard Rock Stadium (for the Miami Dolphins) in Florida. Right now, Thornton Tomasetti is working with Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and the Rockwell Group on The Shed at Hudson Yards which, yes, you guessed it, has an ETFE facade. According to Kemp, The Shed uses a pneumatic system, whereby three foils made into a panel are inflated with air. "The air is not structural; it serves to stabilize the foils," said Kemp. "The outer foil is fritted (printed with silver ink in a dot pattern) to reduce the light transmission of the panel into the space." The middle foil, meanwhile, is clear, and the inner foil is white, with 20 percent opacity. Kemp remarked that the "overall effect is to diffuse and scatter the direct sunlight into the space." ETFE is also representing the U.S. on foreign soil, too. Back in the U.K., Philly-based studio KieranTimberlake Architects recently used the material to clad the U.S. Embassy in London. Partner at studio Matthew Krissell told AN how the "single layer tensioned membrane," arranged in an array of sails on three sides of the building, optimized natural daylighting with a high level of transparency. Meanwhile, the scrim also provided a second air gap to give further resistance to thermal transfer.
And so what of the future of ETFE? Whalley shared that Grimshaw is currently looking at new versions that integrate high-efficiency photovoltaic cells and low-emission coatings. He, along with Dennis, Kemp, and Krissell, will be talking about ETFE (and the projects mentioned here) in greater detail at the Facades+ NYC conference this April 19. Whalley is the event's co-chair while the rest will form a panel specifically on the material.
For more information and tickets please visit www.facadesplus.com. Seating is limited.