Search results for "Brooklyn"

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Yard Work

Explore SITU Studio’s new gallery at the Brooklyn Navy Yard
Brooklyn-based SITU Studio has designed a new exhibition space acalled “Yard Work” in Building 92 of the Brooklyn Navy Yards (BNY). The tenant population at BNY is rapidly expanding—the industrial park reports that $700 million in new developments are currently underway, including investments in public food services and green manufacturing, which it estimates will expand overall on-site employment to 16,000 jobs by 2020. This exhibition space aims to capitalize on this diversification of the BYY's industries by displaying items from their many production lines. “As we grow, we want to create space for people to connect and collaborate, while providing more amenities for Yard employees and the public,” said Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation President and CEO David Ehrenberg in a statement. Though the space was designed by SITU, a tenant of the BNY since 2013, other companies participated in the curation of this inaugural exhibition titled Wood Works; those companies include furniture designer, Asher Israelow; engineering and design firm, Rock Paper Robot; and career training non-profit, Refoundry. The exhibit, aptly named, displays a range of wood products developed with both new technologies and handcrafted design techniques. The gallery uses a system of custom pegboards that can “easily reconfigure to host new exhibits and a range of objects, artifacts, and art.” The pegboards are made of unfinished MDF panels that will produce a patina over time and “reflect the industrial and ever-changing nature of the Yard itself.” This project is the most recent iteration of SITU’s interest in flexible design and adaptable infrastructure which the studio has previously utilized in various workspaces, cultural institutions, and at the urban scale. The gallery and cafe are open 7 a.m. tp 7 p.m., seven days per week. The cafe will be operated by Brooklyn Roasting Company, a tenant of the BNY, and will for the first time serve beer and wine at their evening happy hour. SITU, the Brooklyn Roasting Company, and BNY collaborated on the design of the cafe.
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Decadent Dorms

With 595 Baltic, Brooklyn’s co-living market continues to grow
When touring a new set of apartments, one seldom expects to hear the units are "not for everybody" from the founder and CEO of the firm selling them. Brad Hargreaves of Common, however, isn't fearful his words will affect his business. New York–based Common, which manages nine co-living apartment buildings, prides itself on making living with strangers easier while offering a slew of amenities, including fully-furnished rooms, regular cleaning, WiFi, and more. This tour of 595 Baltic—the company's sixth location in Brooklyn—showcased their latest endeavor into the emerging co-living market. To get a place at Common, prospective tenants are interviewed and checks are made on their finances and background to ensure everything is in order. (This isn't Craigslist.) And while Hargreaves increasingly sounded like he was whittling down his audience in search of the right type of tenant, people are applying in their droves. Prior to opening Common Baltic, the company received more than 12,000 applications for an existing 120 rooms in New York and San Francisco. Walking into 595 Baltic Street—which can house 135 tenants—you're greeted by a lobby with elevators and two social areas coming off it. Herein lies the premise of Common: It aims to be a community, where faces are familiar and residents engage in activities together, even outside their apartment. "There are plenty of buildings where you can have your own private space and be anonymous in the elevator, but this is not that place," said Hargreaves. When setting up Common, Hargreaves said he and the firm took inspiration from the co-living culture in Europe, in particular, Bjarke Ingels' 8 House in Copenhagen. "In Europe, co-living is much more accepted. There are buildings built specifically for co-living residents, but not so much here," he said, later adding that Ingels' other housing projects in Denmark's capital acted as precedents for "fostering community." Common is attempting to establish this way of life in the U.S. Once a week, cleaners replenish kitchen basics (salt, pepper, kitchen roll) and tidy up the shared living spaces. All apartments are fully furnished, complete with washers, dryers and SONOS speakers. A gym, bike storage, and 40 parking spaces are available too. "We wanted to create a residential management company that specifically addressed the challenges of moving to a city and living with strangers," Hargreaves continued. "The biggest part of this, is the idea of community. We like that people here don't just open their doors to a hallway, they open to a living room where there are other people." "Communities" are bound by floors which typically hold 15 to 25 residents. On each level there is a "house leader." This person, who volunteers their services in the application process, keeps most things in order and plans events and activities for residents to take part in. Common even provides $50 a month per person for this. Floor managers also enjoy subsidized rent. The experience sounds akin to living in university dormitories. At 595 Baltic, "traditional," more private dwellings are available to rent too, the split is 50/50 between co-living and traditional apartments. Sophie Wilkinson, head of design and construction at Common, said the bedrooms across the nine Common locations all the same. Social areas, though, are slightly different and offer some variation. Wilkinson also explained that floors weren't designed for a "specific type" of person in order to avoid cliques. Fostering and focusing on a particular community can have its consequences. In his own article, Hargreaves studied two polarizing communities: The Villages in Florida, where the community is 98.4% white with a median age of 71; and Kiryas Joel, New York—the poorest zip code in the U.S.—where the median age is 13. "There’s a lot of talk right now about building new cities. But there’s surprisingly little attention or respect paid to the people who are actually doing it," he said. On the flip-side, Hargreaves argued: "People are complicated, building for humans is messy business, and the designs that work are often not the designs we want to work." "Our community spaces are intimate and comfortable, and become an extension of your suite, as another space for you to retreat to (by yourself or with friends)," Wilkinson added. "When designing the interiors of the suites, we considered comfort, layout, and convenience. Our members move in with a bag and a toothbrush and can be cooking that evening and crashing on the sofa that night. Our design style is focussed on quality with an eye to creating a relaxing home, but once moved in, members add their own furnishings, art, color, and style." If you do not like your community, those at Common are free to move to other locations and floors when the opportunity arises. Hargreaves, however, said that the main issue was having to turn people away. Developers it seems, are happy too. In June of 2016, Common raised $16 million with significant investment from the real estate community; led by 8VC, participants included Circle Ventures, the technology arm of the Milstein Family, LeFrak, Solon Mack Capital, Ron Burkle’s Inevitable Ventures and Wolfswood Partners. Common residents at 595 Baltic will begin moving in at the start of February. Common isn't, however, the only company vying for a share of the co-living "pie." Micro-apartment with similar amenities and living arrangements are also on the rise.
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Going Uplands

Images revealed of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5
Images for the Pier 5 uplands project at Brooklyn Bridge Park have been unveiled by landscape design studio Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA). Construction started last year, but now renderings depict what Pier 5 will look like. Images depict a slender, eel-like grassy mound meandering lengthways through the 4.5-acre park. The project stretches out across Furman Street and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, acting as a sound barrier to ward off traffic noise. This will hopefully make the esplanade on the other side more peaceful. 17,000 square feet of green space will be added too, courtesy of a reworking of the Joralemon Street entrance. This new configuration will also link MVVA's work to the existing park and its seated waterfront area.  As of now, Pier 5's perimeter includes a 30-foot wide promenade that offers "magnificent views of lower Manhattan, Governors Island, and the New York Harbor." Promenade features also boast three viewfinders, one of which is ADA accessible. On the Furman Street side, further work will include a new entrance to Montague Street along with general pedestrian improvements. A boathouse, a horticulture lab, and more restrooms will be added too, with the former being used for park programs open to the public. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has also done work for Piers 1, 2, and 6. Though the uplands at Pier 5 currently holds an array of soccer, soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football, and ultimate frisbee fields, Interim President of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) David Lowin said he aims for the area to be a "more restful counterpoint." The BBPC recently announced that the Pier 5 sports fields will be closed until Spring 2017. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your area and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.
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Whimsical Shaker

LAMAS crafts a simple, multipurpose aesthetic for a compact Brooklyn bookstore

“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)

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Prefab

Brooklyn-based CAZA is designing a modular hospital and trauma center in the Philippines
Construction is set to begin this month for a joint hospital and trauma care center in Baler, Philippines. Designed by Brooklyn-based Carlos Arnaiz Architects (CAZA), the Ospital Pacifica de Juan and Juana Angara will be the firm’s first healthcare design project and the first hybrid hospital and trauma center for the Pacific island nation. The $8 million, 65,817 square-foot medical complex will have a daily patient capacity of 75 and will offer an array of services, including maternity wards, imaging, operating rooms, a chapel, and a café. The proposed facility will also seek to foster the therapeutic presence of Baler’s natural, tropical aesthetic, by incorporating a series of undulating canopies that will also shelter an extensive courtyard, surfaced with tiles and grass, in the center of the hospital.  According to a press release, CAZA designed the hospital and trauma center in three parts, with “adaptable modularity and operational growth” in mind, offering an array of different arrangements for patient and examination rooms. The first modular form is the structural skeleton—a prefabricated concrete structure that’s bolted into place and organizes the facility at an infrastructural level, weaving gas, plumbing, and ventilation ducts through its beams and columns. The second modular aspect is the facility’s doors, walls, and windows, which are made of lighter materials, that fasten into the concrete. Insulating packets inserted where the wall structures meet the concrete create a seal that permits higher levels of hygiene, for example, in an operating room where sterility is a matter of life and death. The perimeter of the building will be produced onsite—a series of awnings and gardens built locally, with rather inexpensive materials and where labor is also affordable.  “Normally trauma centers in urban areas are big and separate from hospitals,” principal architect Carlos Arnaiz said. “The idea of doing a small scale trauma center for rural communities and small towns was really unusual,” and given that there was no “precedent or case study, we had to really hybridize techniques and knowledge from different sectors.” Research for the project spanned over the course of half of a year, during which time the firm consulted with different trauma center specialists on both the planning and operations side in the United States, as well as a host of contacts in the Philippines who would provide culturally specific insights. “In the Philippines, we talked to a number of people in the government, people in the [Department] of Health with familiarity about health and trauma centers, and people at the university level,” Arnaiz said. The University of the Philippines School of Health Sciences has a campus located adjacent to where the hospital is set to be built. Anraiz said he's excited to be the first boutique firm to design a health and trauma center and take a different approach, saying that healthcare in the design and architecture world has “been monopolized by large corporate firms that have a lot of experience doing this.” “Given the fact that it’s being done in a community where costs will be a major factor, we’re not focused on high-end finishing, or focused on the 1%. We’re focused on communities where healthcare doesn’t exist,” Arnaiz said.  Arnaiz also said the chapel is an important part of the design, allowing "space to retreat from the intensity of a hospital and to commune in silence." While the non-denominational meditation space is removed from the central facilities, it's the first thing one sees upon entry. The chapel is clad in the stone used for the landscape walls, while custom-designed screen bricks were used to wrap the apse and admit light in an ethereal manner. "The intent here is to fuse the ground with the sky and connect people with the dual belief that our souls come and go to both places upon death," Arnaiz said. CAZA has set March 2018 as an anticipated date for medical center’s completion.
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Much A/D/O

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.

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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.

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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.”

Resources

Engineered Maple flooring: Kährs Contractors: Bolt Construction Developer: The Hudson Companies Design Architects: Barker Freeman Design Office 4|Mativ Design Studio
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No Relief?

When the Brooklyn Heights Library is demolished, what will happen to the art on its facade?
Community members and preservationists are worried that a local developer will pull a Trump on a Brooklyn library and send its art to the trash. In an unusual move, New York–based Hudson Companies this week filed plans to demolish the Brooklyn Heights Library at 280 Cadman Plaza West before they close on a deal for the site with its owner, the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL). Despite assurances that the art on the facade will be saved, city officials haven't issued a commitment in writing to preserve the work. If all permits are approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB), exterior demolition could begin in January to make way for a 36-story, mixed-use tower designed by Brooklyn-based Marvel Architects. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported this week that the branch, which closed in July and now operates out of temporary quarters, wants to get up and running inside the new building as soon as possible to minimize disruption to patrons. (Marvel Architects is also designing the new library.) As part of the BPL's $300 million capital repair campaign, the deal with Hudson and this new—smaller—library will generate a surplus $40 million in funds that will go towards renovations at other branches. The Business & Career Library, long headquartered at the Brooklyn Heights branch, moved to the main library this summer, though the neighborhood branch will retain specialized services for freelancers and entrepreneurs when it reopens. The reduced size of the new library caught the community's attention and the deal behind the site attracted the feds. In May, the New York Post reported that federal and city prosecutors are investigating whether the $52 million redevelopment deal was a quid pro quo for contributions to Mayor Bill de Blasio's nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York. Hudson's winning bid for the library site was a full $6 million less than another developer's. Although ongoing investigations will not affect the demolition timeline, the fate of the library's facade is still undecided. The six bas-reliefs by artist Clemente Spampinato surround the main entrance and depict industry and businesses; crafts; sciences; knowledge; literature; and arts. In New York, his architectural work graces the auditoria, gyms, and facades of public schools in the five boroughs. Back in 2011, Brownstoner contributor Suzanne Spellen (a.k.a. Montrose Morris) praised the library's art when she dismissed its "not great architecture." Designed by architect Francis Keally, one of the architects behind the main branch at Grand Army Plaza, the building opened in 1962 but looks like a throwback to the WPA era. Separated from the neoclassical post office and courthouses across the street by a grand allée on Cadman Plaza Park, it defines the character of the corridor despite its design shortcomings. Advocacy groups Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL) and Love Brooklyn Libraries, Inc. fought hard to keep the library open in its original building, but are now hoping that at least Spampinato's work will be preserved in some capacity. "There's a longstanding tradition of incorporating art into the grand civic architecture of public libraries. From the [NYPL's] Main Branch on 5th Avenue to the library on Grand Army Plaza, art is an integral part of the identity of New York library systems," said Michele Bogart, professor of art history at Stony Brook University and former vice president of the Art Commission (now the Public Design Commission). A Carroll Gardens resident, Bogart suggested the BPL should incorporate the reliefs, which are 20 feet tall and 11 feet wide, into the new tower's branch as an important continuation of tradition and a gesture to the neighborhood losing its public facility. In addition to architectural sculpture adorning libraries, there is a venerable history of spolia in New York's public works. Simeon Bankoff, the executive director of the Historic Districts Council, a preservation advocacy group, said the reliefs could be repurposed in another municipal capacity, like the Marine Grill's opulent mosaic murals greet straphangers at Fulton Street. Alternatively, preservation activist Theodore Grunewald said the library reliefs could go to a museum, citing the Pegasus sculptures from the Coney Island High Pressure Pumping Station that now live in the Brooklyn Museum's extensive collection of architectural objects. The Public Design Commission (PDC) reviewed Spampinato's pieces when they were installed in 1963, Bogart said, and the PDC still has a chance to weigh in on the significance of the library sculpture. A spokesperson for the developer confirmed in an email that the reliefs will be saved in some capacity: “Hudson Companies will carefully remove the reliefs and store them for the duration of the construction period. The ultimate decision for the reuse will be made by the Brooklyn Public Library, which is committed to making sure they are preserved either at the new branch or another location." Echoing Hudson, a spokesperson for the BPL confirmed that the library will make the final decision about the reliefs, although there is no confirmation yet about whether "another location" means a different branch or another entity like a museum or private collection. At press time, Marvel Architects could not be reached to discuss plans for incorporating the reliefs into the new library, and PDC executive director Justin Garrett-Moore could not be reached for comment on the commission's plans, if any.
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Where Oh Where Will My BQX Go?

NYC unveils possible routes for Brooklyn-Queens streetcar
This week the City of New York unveiled potential routes for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), the $2.5 billion streetcar line that could connect East River–adjacent neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn. A key goal of the BQX is to deliver reliable public transportation to the waterfront, where many residents a half-mile or more walk separates many residents from the subway. In May, a representative for engineering firm Sam Schwartz, the streetcar's transportation consultant, said that available maps are “very and deliberately vague description of the route” because city agencies, in collaboration with Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector [sic], the project's nonprofit spearhead, were still hammering out exact routes. After months of anticipation, these routes are out for public review. Maps released by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the city's Department of Transportation (DOT) show potential routes for the 16-mile line, which is set to open in 2024. The BQX maps are both descriptive and ideative. Williamsburg's Berry Street could be turned into a streetcar- and pedestrian-only thoroughfare—like Downtown Brooklyn's bus-only Fulton Mall, only sexier, because buses. On the other hand, new crossings over the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek could raise project costs, though this wouldn't impact (state-led) MTA projects like the Second Avenue subway because the BQX is financed by local government and speculatively by a projected rise in real estate value along the route. By New York City walking calculations, there is less-than-desirable pedestrian access for some proposed routes: Of the four streetcar scenarios in Astoria, Queens, two are more than ten blocks from the waterfront, a "transit-starved" area. Residents will have the opportunity to make their voices heard. Over the next few months, the city is soliciting feedback on the BQX routes at community boards in Brooklyn and Queens. Pending a successful environmental review, the project could break ground as early as 2019.
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Belle’s Brook

Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new garden is inspired by New York wetlands

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.

Shelby White and Leon Levy Water Garden Brooklyn Botanic Garden 150 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York Tel: 718-623-7200 Designer: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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MINI Project

New design space A/D/O to open in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Creative hub A/D/O is set to open in Greenpoint with a series of events this fall and will open fully to the public in December. Developed by MINI and designed by nARCHITECTS, it will be the newest space for creative and design professionals in Brooklyn. The facility will also act as a “portfolio project” for the car manufacturing company as it explores “nonautomotive” ideas, as The New York Times reports . The multi-purpose, 23,000-square-foot space will offer 24 private desks for emerging and established designers, all of whom will have access to studio spaces and an array of design tools and resources to prototype ideas in-house. They will also work alongside URBAN-X, an accelerator for innovative hardware startups that will be headquartered at A/D/O. Classes and workshops, exhibitions of exceptional work, and a full calendar of cultural performances and events will also be hosted in the space. This programming will be geared toward building a community around design processes and solutions for improving urban life. According to Technically Brooklyn, the organization also hopes to invite non-designers into the space by including a restaurant that’s open from morning until late in the evening, outdoor and indoor hangout spaces, as well as free work areas for people who are just passing through.