Search results for "Brooklyn"
Images revealed of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5
“Whimsical Shaker,” is how WH Vivian Lee, principal and cofounder of LAMAS described the design of Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab, a children’s bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The 650-square-foot space is maximized with this simple, multipurpose aesthetic, from the bookshelves along a classic Shaker chair rail (the chairs can be hung up as well when not in use) to the drop leaf tables and chairs that the firm designed. “The display furniture takes on a playful quality because the half-arc is not only a motif, it also takes advantage of MDF [medium density fiberboard]—the drop leaf ‘petal tables’ were cut out of the half-arc display tables,” explained Lee. To brighten the formerly dark space, Lee and her partner James Macgillivray employed a dual-sided painting concept where one side of the furniture is white and the other side is brightly colored. “We wanted to accentuate the shading of the real world literally onto the building,” Macgillivray said. In the back of the bookshop, a small classroom is used for after-school creative writing, drawing, and storytelling programs.
> Stories Bookshop + Storytelling Lab 458 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY Tel: 718-369-1167 Architect: Lee and Macgillivray Architecture Studio (LAMAS)
New co-working space for designers and creatives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn completes construction
Opening to the public in the new year, and featuring a slew of to-be-determined programs and events, creative hub A/D/O stands on a quiet corner in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The coworking space—developed by MINI and designed by nARCHITECTS—will cater to creative and design professionals and house URBAN-X, an accelerator for innovative hardware startups. A/D/O will also act as a portfolio project for the car company as it explores non-automotive ideas.
The 23,000-square-foot former warehouse at 29 Norman Avenue will offer 24 private desks for emerging and established designers (selected through an application process), as well as access to studio spaces and an array of design tools to prototype ideas in-house. A/D/O also includes a cafe, a design store, exhibition spaces, and indoor and outdoor hangout spaces, all oriented around a vast abundance of free working space that will be open to the public.
In a city where a good 90 percent of co-working spaces are member-only, A/D/O seeks “to flip the idea of working spaces on its head,” said managing director Nate Pinsley. “We thought it was far more interesting that the majority of the space is very permeable, so that people can figure out how [A/D/O] fits in their design life.”
With this in mind, Eric Bunge, principal at nARCHITECTS, explained that the concept of “remix” governed the approach to A/D/O’s design, applying the idea to both the physical building and its program. Rather than dividing the warehouse into different zones, “the spaces kind of bleed into each other,” Bunge said, maintaining that “transparent connections to the main event space” allow people to “see what would normally be going on behind closed doors.”
At the core of its programming, A/D/O’s Design Academy will seek to foster critical conversations around the future of design to explore “opportunities for cross-fertilization between disciplines of design,” said Daniel Pittman, A/D/O’s director of design, as well as “how those different disciplines interact with the broader world.”
The space is oriented around the engagement between designers and non-designers, seeking “that sweet spot between the more intellectual group that will be in the space, and the people who have a respect for it, but are not credited in the field,” said cultural programming director Alyse Archer-Coité.
This past fall, the A/D/O played host to a series of events to ramp up the buzz around the new space, including the Open House New York Weekend Launch Party, the Architectural League of New York’s Beaux Arts Ball, and, more recently, The Future Series, presented by B&O Play.
With regard to what sets A/D/O apart from the other maker-spaces in Brooklyn, Archer-Coité believes that its strength lies in its flexibility. “The space affords options for designers to bring some of their more wild projects to life, and for projects that have had lives outside of New York to be celebrated or workshopped,” she said. “In New York there isn’t that flexible space for activating certain projects like that. It’s an asset that would make certain projects possible that wouldn’t be otherwise.”
For more on A/D/O, visit their website here.
Location, Location, Location
From the Everglades to the Rockaways, this Brooklyn firm works with communities to design for resiliency
Walter Meyer and Jennifer Bolstad, founders of and partners in Local Office Landscape and Urban Design (LOLA), are earning a reputation for their innovative resiliency projects at the edges of civilization—coastlines and islands. With a multipronged approach that they describe as part architecture, part environmental remediation, and part community organization, Meyer and Bolstad are battling the effects of environmental change on cities and their populations. Managing editor Olivia Martin talked with them about LOLA’s approach to resiliency and future-proofing the planet—from working on post-Hurricane Sandy conditions in the Rockaways to remediating coastal areas of Florida.
The Architect’s Newspaper (AN): You say that resiliency is the new sustainability. Why?
Walter Meyer: It’s a new buzzword, so people confuse it and interchange it with sustainability as though they are the same thing. But sustainability is a derivative of Frederic Clements’s climax theory, in which a field, for example, will change each decade, from soil to weeds to shrubs to trees and then climax as a hardwood forest—this is a snapshot of nature in 3-D.
What emerged after World War II was a new theory of the natural cycles of time. Rather than seeking an equilibrium theory of nature, there is a disequilibrium, where nature is trying to balance itself and adapt to change. Those who can anticipate and respond to change quicker are the ones who have the upper hand.
The big difference is that resiliency is dynamic and changing, while sustainability is static. In terms of scale, sustainability is holistic and more big-picture, and resiliency is more local. So I think of sustainability as an old model but still an important tool.
AN: Do you have examples of where sustainability failed us and why it should no longer be considered the gold standard, so to speak?
Jennifer Bolstad: Well, a few years ago, I consulted on One World Trade Center, which is a very sustainable building [LEED Gold]. But when the mechanical system drowned in Hurricane Sandy and couldn’t be used anymore, the firm in charge ultimately decided it was cheaper to abandon it and leave several floors uninhabited rather than fix it.
Meyer: Also during Hurricane Sandy, all of the buildings that ran on photovoltaics failed because the city grid was down. So, literally, every single building with solar was down. This is because there is a law that if the grid goes down, you can’t back charge the line with your solar panels, because you’ll zap the workers trying to fix the grid. Since then, they invented a hybrid inverter that “islands” the building into a microgrid, so it can function independently off of the grid. There needs to be a dynamic relationship with nature, and we should be creating multilayered systems.
AN: You have a lot of work in Florida right now that deals with water management. How does resiliency factor into those projects?
Meyer: All of the articles written about Miami focus on the ocean and city. It’s all about the ocean—and that makes for good headlines. But what’s missed is that Miami’s most vulnerable areas are in the Everglades, on the west side of the city, because they have freshwater, five feet higher than the ocean, that can’t become diluted with salt water or else Miami loses its water source.
The area near Everglades National Park is particularly at risk because the main flow of the water runs north–south, down from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay, and a secondary flow of water runs east–west—like a spine and ribs. Originally, the secondary water flow moved through transverse glades and occasionally wet bogs and sloughs. Since the channels weren’t actual rivers, the city filled them in, and now, when it rains, the houses on those streets along these former sloughs flood. The homes are considered Repetitive Loss properties and the owners cannot collect insurance for the damage anymore. The buildings’ foundations are cracking, due to the water infiltrating the alkaline bedrock, literally melting it. We are trying to open up more options to the people who are stuck in these houses but don’t want to leave their community.
Normally, there is a lot of discussion about design activists, but we are more like community organizers—we want to engage the residents themselves. It’s a lot of listening and then designing and showing them what legal options are available, or creating new ones. One option is a CLT, a community land trust—where everyone buys into this idea, and you work with a public–private partnership, such as a developer and the county. For this neighborhood, it’s about creating high density along the edge of the vulnerable corridor, along the slough of the transverse glades, and doing this three blocks at a time.
If you can organize just three blocks—the center of the slough, a transitional, and a bank—then this creates a housing swap, where the residents can continue their normal lives and not have their schedules disrupted. So, for example, you can move out of the home into a temporary housing unit; then the home will be demolished and turned into a flood storage park, and you will have the option of moving or the right of first refusal to a new high-density, 40-percent affordable housing unit nearby. This makes more sense than simply moving everyone to higher ground because, then, those who are already at higher ground could be dislocated due to rising real estate costs—already Florida developers are looking at luxury housing inland—and this creates new levels of climate refugees.
AN: So, resiliency aside, is relocating more responsible than fixing?
Meyer: Well, that is what leads to climate gentrification; the issue of scale is a major one. If you take a holistic approach and just get everyone out of harm’s way, then you aren’t paying attention to the social fabric. For example, Staten Island was a state buyout project; the government essentially said, “We’ll buy your house, and you can take the money and run.” The problem with that is then the people basically had to move out to Newark because the buyout price point doesn’t acknowledge the gentrification, and $200,000 or $300,000 won’t get you another house in the city. In the Edgemere Urban Renewal Area, in Rockaway, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Office of Recovery and Resiliency offered more options than just a buyout—such as housing swaps and other solutions at the neighborhood scale.
Bolstad: We focus on the built environment in a way that looks at how cultural issues touch the ecological issues. In the Florida project, people very much want out of their houses that are constantly flooding, but they still want to stay within a five-mile radius so they can be near family and keep their routines. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, even if you believe in a long-term retreat from those areas. Otherwise, you end up with people who are not there by choice, like when Robert Moses dislocated people in the Bronx in the 1960s and moved them out to the beach. Economically vulnerable populations ended up in environmentally vulnerable areas.
And it’s not just the built environment. Even if we aren’t preserving the area for housing in the long term, then the environmental situation needs to remain. That barrier [the Rockaway peninsula] is the first line of defense in the city and Lower Manhattan, and, without active management of the environment of that place, it risks the rest of New York City.
Meyer: I like to quote my mentor and city planner Ronald Shiffman when we talk about these issues: “These disturbances don’t discriminate, but our reaction to them can.” We want to make the most just city we can.
For more on LOLA's projects, see their website.
Let That Sink In
Developers add nursery school with playful multipurpose kitchen to Brooklyn development
Prospect-Lefferts Gardens was once referred to by locals as “Brooklyn’s best-kept secret.” Now, developments—many of which offer vistas across Prospect Park and onto downtown Manhattan—are shooting up as the area surges in popularity. One of those is The Parkline at 626 Flatbush Avenue between Fenimore and Hawthorne streets.
The 23-story building, backed by developer Hudson Inc., is the tallest in the neighborhood. It offers 254 units as part of a mixed-income “80/20” scheme (a development that is granted tax-exempt financing when at least 20 percent of the units are reserved for low-income earners).
Aside from the rental units, a restaurant with a glazed facade can be found on the ground floor, along with a bookstore. As per the “Community Facility” zoning code of the area, Hudson decided to include a school—an expansion of the nearby Maple Street School—into the development.
“We could easily have opted for a doctor’s office,” said principal Alison Novak. “Frankly, a doctor’s office might have paid more for the space. But having a nursery school, especially one based in the neighborhood with a stellar reputation, was more appealing in part because it is a more attractive use to residents of the building. We also recognized that it is more difficult to locate a school than a doctor’s office, and we had an opportunity to support a neighborhood institution.”
Maple Street School is located on the second floor of The Parkline and has been open since September. The preschool, designed by Brooklyn-based studios Barker Freeman Design Office architects and 4|MATIV, offers three classrooms on the west side, all connected in a linear fashion through sliding timber doors. Holding approximately 16 children each, the classrooms can open up to form larger spaces with adjacent rooms when needed.
Even when closed, however, the doors facilitate connections between classrooms. Windows, placed at varying heights and shapes, can be found. Novak remarked how her daughter, who attends the school, interacts with friends on the other side, often knocking on and peering through the low-level windows. Around the north and west perimeter, large windows have also been included.
Inside each classroom, children have access to bathrooms and “play-sinks.” Alexandra Barker of Barker Freeman described how the sinks connect the inside and outside of the bathrooms. “The play-sinks store toys where the children can play, but on the other side is where they can wash after going to the bathroom,” said Barker. Situated in the classrooms themselves, the bespoke bathrooms prevent children from wandering astray when they need to go.
Another feature is a multipurpose kitchen area. Priya Patel of 4|MATIV said that a “big part of the curriculum is to teach kids through cooking.” Barker elaborated: “It’s a diverse space: At one level it acts as a kitchen-cafe area, whereas on another level kids can climb up and play. It also doubles up as an informal performance space and, due to its location, a gathering point that the whole school has access to. It was actually a big deal to decide that this was a specific space that wasn’t just the classrooms or lobby.”
Within this space, and indeed throughout much of the school, maple timber has been employed for flooring, cabinets, and other furniture, as well as a “peg board” (a board with moveable pegs that children can play with in the lobby when being dropped off or collected). With its white interior walls—left intentionally blank so children can display their artwork on them—and generous amounts of daylight, the school has a Scandinavian feel to it. “We wanted to materially represent Maple Street,” said Barker. “This was a big choice to use maple flooring, as opposed to something that would have perhaps been easier.”
ResourcesEngineered Maple flooring: Kährs Contractors: Bolt Construction Developer: The Hudson Companies Design Architects: Barker Freeman Design Office 4|Mativ Design Studio
When the Brooklyn Heights Library is demolished, what will happen to the art on its facade?
Where Oh Where Will My BQX Go?
NYC unveils possible routes for Brooklyn-Queens streetcar
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG) opened its new Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden, a 1.5-acre project inspired by the wetlands of New York. The new section of the park was designed by landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and will act as a habitat for local wildlife. In addition to more than 18,000 new plants, the garden will also include a brook system, Belle’s Brook, which will feature riparian flora that can adapt to different water levels. The garden is part of the BBG’s innovative Water Conservation Project, an ongoing initiative to reduce its freshwater usage and cut down on stormwater runoff. BBG expects to cut water usage from 22 million to 900,000 gallons per year and reduce discharge to the city’s stormwater system from 8 million gallons to 2.5 million gallons per year.