Search results for "Manhattan"

Placeholder Alt Text

Time's Running Out

AN rounds up must-see exhibitions to catch this summer

Summer is a great time to explore the world of art and architecture, whether through tours of an exquisitely restored historic house or through online exhibitions that celebrate the cutting-edge work of the Bauhaus. Here are some openings you might have missed:

Just: The Architectural League Prize Exhibit

June 21 - July 31, 2019 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10011

In an exhibit closing today, The Architectural League of New York has put work by the winners of its 2019 Architectural League Prize on display, a coveted award that has been recognizing promising young architects since 1981. Provocative models, drawings, and installations produced by the six winners have been assembled in the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at the Parsons School of Design.

The work selected for display covers a wide range of scales and media. With honorees hailing from cities across the United States and Central America, the exhibit gives visitors the opportunity to engage with a diverse array of perspectives and thematic focuses that relate to architecture, urbanism, and the design world at large.

Big Ideas Small Lots

August 1 - November 2, 2019 526 LaGuardia Place New York, NY 10012

Starting tomorrow, New York’s Center for Architecture will exhibit winning submissions from Big Ideas for Small Lots NYC, a competition jointly organized by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the American Institute of Architects’ New York chapter. The competition asked designers to propose ideas for converting small-scale, difficult-to-develop lots across the city into viable affordable housing. Five finalists, including Palette Architecture and Michael Sorkin Studio, emerged from an initial pool of 444 proposals. The exhibition highlighting their work will be on display from August 1 until November 2.

Changing Signs, Changing Times: A History of Wayfinding in Transit

Through November 6 Grand Central Terminal New York, NY

The New York Transit Museum is hosting an exhibit on wayfinding in its satellite gallery at Grand Central Terminal. On view through November 6, the exhibit includes objects, photographs, and other archival materials exploring the evolution of signage in New York’s transit system. The items, which come primarily from the museum’s own collection, shed light on the changing needs of transit users and the ways in which designers have addressed those needs over time.

The gallery is located just off the Main Concourse in the Shuttle Passage, next to the Station Masters’ Office.

Bauhaus: Building the New Artist

Online

Earlier this summer, the Getty launched an online exhibition as a complement to Bauhaus Beginnings, a gallery exhibit on display at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, California. Planned as a centennial celebration of the Bauhaus’ groundbreaking approach to architectural education, the web-based exhibition features historical images from the Getty’s archives and information about the Bauhaus, as well as opportunities for visitors to test exercises crafted by the school’s pioneering luminaries, including Josef Albers and Vassily Kandinsky.

Dilexi: Totems and Phenomenology

June 22 - August 10, 2019 Parrasch Heijnen Gallery 1326 South Boyle Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90023

Parrasch Heijnen Gallery in Los Angeles is displaying counter-cultural works of art from San Francisco’s Dilexi Gallery, including pieces by Arlo Acton, Tony DeLap, Deborah Remington, Charles Ross, and Richard Van Buren. Much of the art featured in the exhibition, which ranges in media from photography to sculpture, uses nontraditional materials and explores the very nature of perception.

Pope.L: Conquest

September 21, 2019

New York's Public Art Fund will present Pope.L’s most ambitious participatory project yet. Pope.L: Conquest will involve over one hundred volunteers, who will relay-crawl 1.5 miles from Manhattan's West Village to Union Square. According to the Public Art Fund, participants will “give up their physical privilege” and “satirize their own social and political advantage, creating a comic scene of struggle and vulnerability to share with the entire community.”

Pope.L has organized more than 30 performance art projects since 1978, but this will be the largest of the bunch. The crawl will take place on September 21, beginning at the Corporal John A Seravalli Playground.

It Might Be a Place (for LLH), as part of Unfoldingobject

June 20 - August 11, 2019 Concord Center for the Visual Arts 37 Lexington Road Concord, Ma 01742

The Concord Center for the Visual Arts in Massachusetts is displaying an installation by James Andrew Scott as part of its ongoing exhibition Unfoldingobject. Curated by Todd Bartel, the exhibit compiles collages by 50 different artists, each of whom has a distinct interpretation of the medium. Scott’s work, which is integrated into a skylight in the gallery building, presents a dramatic series of irregular pyramids that protrude from the ceiling at different angles. The entire exhibition is on view through August 11.

Placeholder Alt Text

A Local Visit

AN catches up with Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Without having to leave the firm’s office on the eighteenth floor of Manhattan’s old Starrett-Lehigh Building, employees at Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) have front-row views of five of the studio’s projects. They can look down at the High Line, the project that helped win the practice global attention, gaze over at The Shed, the brand-new arts space at Hudson Yards, or look farther north to Lincoln Center, which DS+R transformed into an inclusive public space. “Being so close to our work was definitely unintentional when we moved into this office in 2006,” said principal Charles Renfro. At the time, the firm had just wrapped up construction on the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, design work had begun on the High Line, and the practice was still mainly known for experimental installations and interiors, like the former Brasserie Restaurant in the Seagram Building. But now, just 13 years later, DS+R has 24 active projects around the world, including the Hungarian Museum of Transport in Budapest, and the expansion of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). With its planned completion this fall, MoMA will mark the firm’s ninth built project in New York City, most of which only broke ground in the last decade. While DS+R’s work, no matter the typology, has always tried to activate public space, Renfro said finding projects that also address issues of inequity, housing, and climate change are top of mind now. “It’s imperative for architects, who have a cultural position that’s respected and are given so much opportunity, to take their knowledge, experience, and influence and share that with organizations and people that are less likely to get it naturally,” he said. “It’s important that our design thinking is put to use in the public realm. We want to better people’s lives.” The Shed & 15 Hudson Yards Completed 2019 New York’s newest destination for the performing and visual arts, The Shed, designed with Rockwell Group, is a transformative piece of infrastructure spanning eight levels housing galleries, a theater, rehearsal space, creative lab, and upper-floor event space with natural light. Jutting out from the base of DS+R and Rockwell Group's 910-foot-tall 15 Hudson Yards, the development’s first residential skyscraper, the city-backed cultural space boasts a telescoping outer shell covered in cloudy ETFE panels. High Line (and The Spur) Completed: Phase 1, 2009; Phase 2, 2011; Phase 3, 2014 Together with James Corner Field Operations and Piet Oudolf, DS+R designed the 1.5-mile-long elevated park for Manhattan’s West Side and created a bespoke paving system using precast concrete planks that allows plants to grow through its cracks. The “pathless landscape” has propelled a global rails-to-trails movement as well as throngs of high-end development along the park. Most recently, The Spur, the last section, which connects to the adjacent Hudson Yards megadevelopment, opened to the public. Lincoln Center Public Spaces Completed 2009, 2010 The iconic Lincoln Center campus was dramatically revitalized in 2010 when DS+R completed a 70,000-square-foot redesign of its public spaces. In an effort to turn the exclusive arts and culture hub practically inside out, the team connected and activated the on-site plazas and introduced a new central spine from 65th Street to Columbus Avenue. The project also included a renovation of the Juilliard School, a new Alice Tully Hall, an expansion of the School of American Ballet studios, and the addition of the Hypar Pavilion and Lincoln Ristorante. MoMA Expansion Opening October 21, 2019 DS+R will give the 53rd Street entrance of the midtown museum a facelift and add 40,000 square feet of new gallery space to its building. The project, a collaboration with Gensler, has been unveiled in phases and also includes the rehab and extension of the historic Bauhaus staircase to the upper-floor galleries, and the addition of a new, first-floor lounge that faces the sculpture garden. Once finished, the design overhaul will allow MoMA to enhance its experimental, performing, and visual arts offerings, and should connect it more seamlessly with the public.
Placeholder Alt Text

Watered Down

Gluckman Tang brings a unique aquarium skylight to the Brant Foundation
Gluckman Tang has converted Walter De Maria’s former home and studio, a 1920s-era Con Ed substation on Manhattan’s East 6th Street, into a second location for the Brant Foundation. The renovation of the Colonial Revival structure, which is fronted by amber-colored brick, casement windows, and a limestone base, included the restoration of historic details as well as the sensitive insertion of contemporary infrastructure. The most dramatic of these interventions brings an aquatic touch to the building: To provide additional daylighting for gallery spaces, the design called for the grafting of a 120-square-foot skylight, which doubles as a reflecting pool on the building’s fourth-floor terrace. At first glance, the skylight might appear to be glass—the design team’s initial choice—but research done in collaboration with structural engineers from Silman showed that the material would require secondary structural support that would partially obscure the opening. According to Gluckman Tang project manager Edowa Shimizu, “It was determined that acrylic, a material often used for aquariums, had the structural characteristics necessary to support the weight of the reflecting pool without any visible secondary structure.” The design team placed the skylight within an existing girder bay, maximizing its size while avoiding the need to introduce significant loadbearing elements. For the production of the 12-foot-4-inch by 13-foot-8-inch acrylic tray, the design team turned to custom aquarium design firm Okeanos Aquascaping. On its own, the 4-inch-thick tray weighs 21/2 tons, and that figure doubles when the vessel is filled with 600 gallons of water. As could be assumed, placing a 5-ton pool of water above an art gallery in a century-old building required an intricate mesh of waterproofing details. The tray was craned into place on top of a concrete curb matted with a 3/4-inch-thick neoprene pad that allows for a 5/8-inch thermal expansion in any direction. Prior to the installation of the neoprene, the concrete was covered with a liquid-applied waterproofing membrane produced by Kemper System. The tray is bounded by a powder-coated steel frame, which is in turn held in place by a series of adjustable tightening bolts. From the interior, the skylight is visible through a rectangular opening paneled with lightly colored wood. The opening is outfitted with a motorized solar shade as well as an edge-lit acrylic light fixture developed by Flux Studio.
Placeholder Alt Text

Invasion of The Supertalls

A new breed of skyscraper threatens to devastate the fabric of New York
Imagine arriving at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park intending to lie on a blanket in the warm afternoon sun, as you have done many times before, only to find that there is no sunshine anymore. It has been blocked by a new tower just to the west more than twice the height of any building around it, including the 55-story Time Warner Center several blocks away. You look around and notice that more than half of the 15-acre lawn where you used to bask in sunlight is now in shadow. The greatest urban park in this country is directly threatened by those who see it only from a distance. Just as Capability Brown cleared long vistas in front of grand estates, new Excessively Tall buildings turn Central Park into a landscape framed from above. As a result of these new giants, in a few years Central Park may well be unrecognizable and barren—like much of our environment, dying off and becoming extinct. Our built environment, one that we architects designed, will have mortally damaged an Olmsted and Vaux masterpiece. The irony is that the new Excessively Talls (ETs), jacked up on stilts or interspersed with large and repetitive mechanical voids to increase their height over adjacent buildings and secure desirable park views, may ultimately lose their picturesque vistas. These multimillion-dollar investments may be responsible for the measured obliteration of New York City’s world-renowned park. Developers whose new, faster construction methods have accelerated the emergence of a building type catering to the superrich have now launched insidious advertising campaigns showing off the “new” New York: a thicket of gleaming skinny towers. None of these projects have affordable units. Their ads boast park and river views from altitudes of 600 feet and higher (not all ETs are Supertalls, defined by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat as towers measuring over 984 feet high). But the parks they showcase, Central Park first among them, will continue to exist in name only. No bucolic pasture will remain in the Sheep Meadow, the carousel will be too cold to enjoy, the ball fields unplayable (grass dies in the dark), Wollman Rink gloomy and windy, Tavern on the Green in shadow all afternoon. The New York City Marathon’s slowest runners will be greeted at the finish line not by waning sunlight but by a giant shadow, courtesy of the latest addition to the Upper West Side, a forthcoming tower designed by Snøhetta on West 66th Street, less than 600 feet from the park. The new ETs—many completed along 57th Street, now aptly nicknamed Billionaire’s Row—are also beginning to touch down wherever there is a view for sale and zoning doesn’t limit height, such as the remaining landing strip of underdeveloped properties between First and Second avenues with potential views of the East River and Long Island, and, most recently, on axis with St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Gensler has designed a tower. Has anyone considered that natural light would no longer stream through the church’s stained glass? Whatever happened to protecting our heritage and neighborhoods with sensible planning and human-scale development? ETs are catastrophic energy hogs, far worse than typical urban residential construction. Exaggerated floor-to-floor heights and full-floor apartments create a worst-case scenario for energy efficiency. Superskinny towers also have far more structural steel and concrete than is required to bear gravity loads because of the need to resist outsize wind loads. Local infrastructure (water, sewage, and power) is compromised, or service cut, because of the time needed to pump and discharge water and waste. And consider life-safety issues—how long will these buildings take to evacuate in an emergency, factoring in the time it takes to navigate multiple elevator banks, to rescue people in distress? But the impact of ETs spreads far beyond their physical footprints, especially when they appear in numbers. Sophisticated software can conduct shadow studies on the cumulative effect of more than one ET on a city block. The East Side will soon have two towers between 62nd and 63rd streets, one fronting 2nd Avenue and the other on 3rd. Surrounding apartments left in their shadows will need artificial light all of the time, increasing demand on the power grid and our dependence on fossil fuels. And then there is the wind. While data retrieved from the study of a single ET may show that it has no negative effect, the cumulative wind tunnel effect produced by multiple ETs will quite possibly create impassable and turbulent streets, with vicious downdrafts caused by the Bernoulli effect (increased turbulence, or downdraft, as the wind hits a large facade). The developers of these projects and some of our elected officials, unfortunately for us, have ignored the neighborhood residents affected. The public review process has become virtually nonexistent. Gone are community reviews, special permits, and even cursory notification to neighbors. The only way to find out how big these buildings are is by exhausting a Department of Buildings zoning challenge, then moving on to the Board of Standards and Appeals (Article 78), and finally, issuing an injunction. By then, the as-of-right ET will likely have entered construction, or worse, be built. All is not bleak, as there are new regulations limiting the use of glass on tall buildings, thanks in part to the monitoring efforts of the Audubon Society, which has reported that millions of birds fly into such buildings every year because they can’t recognize a mirrored image. That may help. Not since Central Park was practically devastated by neglect during the Beame administration in the mid-1970s has it been so direly threatened, but this time the danger is from without, not within. ETs and other out-of-scale development also place community and public gardens, pocket parks, and playgrounds at risk. It’s time for New Yorkers to rise up and insist on new restrictions to stop the indiscriminate abuse of light and air that could suffocate the city’s parks and their adjacent neighborhoods. To be sure, our skyline is rapidly changing, and there will be consequences, but the potential for irreversible damage demands a moratorium. To insist on more insightful planning is not “NIMBYism”—it is the professionals taking charge. Page Cowley is founder of the New York architecture practice that bears her name and serves as chair of Landmark West!, a New York preservation nonprofit, as well as cochair of the Manhattan Community Board 7 Land Use Committee. Peter Samton was managing and design partner of the New York architecture firm of Gruzen Samton, aka IBI/Gruzen Samton, and is a past president of the New York Chapter of the AIA. He now serves on Manhattan Community Board 7 Land Use and Preservation Committees. Daniel Samton practices architecture as Samtondesign in Harlem, has worked at KPF and Gruzen Samton, specializes in sustainability, and is a certified passive house designer.
Placeholder Alt Text

Beachy Keen

James Corner Field Operations' public Manhattan beach reveals first renderings
Park stewards at the Hudson River Park Trust have just revealed preliminary renderings for a new public beach in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. The five-and-a-half acre site used to be a parking area for the sanitation department and adjacent salt shed, but in a few years, it will be a recreation area with a kayak launch, sports field, picnic areas, and a marsh. James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) is the New York-based landscape architecture firm behind the design, while hometown firm nARCHITECTS is doing park buildings. The soon-to-be park was first announced in February of this year, and in about 18 months, the beach on Gansevoort Peninsula will open to the public on the banks of the Hudson River at the end of Little West 12th Street. While there will be ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, the Hudson River is still too gross to swim in (but who knows, great strides in cleanliness could be made by the time the park is complete). From the renderings, it appears the new beach will rise alongside artist David Hammons' recreation of the demolished Pier 52Day’s End. This is far from the only project on the Trust's plate. The organization cares for a four-and-a-half-mile greenway on the river and is now shelling out an estimated $900 million for capital projects that include Pier 57, by Youngwoo & Associates, as well as Pier 26, which features a playground designed by OLIN and an ecology center from Rafael Viñoly. In addition, construction on Pier 55, the overwater park on piers, designed by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects and go-to artist for the hyper-wealthy, Thomas Heatherwick, is well underway. The new beach will also be a stone's throw away from the Whitney Museum. This is not the first Manhattan beach as some outlets have claimed, however, not counting pre-contact or New Amsterdam times. As recently as the 1980s, during the construction of Battery Park City, New Yorkers donned bikinis and sunned themselves on the sandy construction site just north of Manhattan's southern tip. At the same time, art organization Creative Time hosted multiple annual editions of Art on the Beach which brought large-scale public art to the desolate area. Today, way uptown, there's a semi-secret sandy beach at Inwood's Swindler's Cove, thanks to a New York Restoration Project initiative to restore shorelines in the area.
Placeholder Alt Text

Open March 2020

Cooper Hewitt taps James Wines for Willi Smith streetwear show
Manhattan's Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum is hosting an exhibit on Willi Smith, the first solo show for the late fashion designer who was best known for his distinctive 1980s streetwear looks. Willi Smith: Street Couture, borrows its title from Smith's best-known collection, where he brought music and multimedia art together to enhance the presentation of the garments he debuted in 1983. That collection, part of the WilliWear line he started with Laurie Mallet in 1976, was sold through a showroom designed by artist and architect James Wines. Wines founded SITE, the firm that famously kitted out the BEST Products stores with form-breaking facades that defied the typical big-box typology.
The Garment District store, above and at the top, was the opposite of a polished Manhattan showroom—it resembles the utility room in a big building styled in monochrome grey. The pipes, chain link fencing, hydrants, construction and demolition waste, and manhole covers doubled as clothing racks and lent the space a grittiness which matched Smith's oversized, softly exuberant collection meant for everyday people. The showroom office, meanwhile, took a cue from SITE's deconstructed buildings via a glass-topped work surface supported by white bricks, broken and scattered at the far corner. Piles of bricks on a dolly added a decorative touch.
This time around, Wines is designed the exhibition, along with the Ingelwood, California–based poly-mode, a communication design studio. The exhibition will feature photos of the store, along with dozens of other outfits, patterns, and artwork by Smith and peer-collaborators: dancer-choreographer Dianne McIntyre, video artist Juan Downey, and Keith Haring, known for his bold line murals. This is the first time in 30 years that much of Smith's oeuvre has been shown to the public. “Willi Smith cared about ‘style over status,’” said Alexandra Cunningham Cameron, curator of contemporary design and Hintz Secretarial Scholar at Cooper Hewitt, in a prepared statement. “Clothing was simply a tool for him to disseminate ideas about personal freedoms beyond class, beyond gender, beyond race, while still having fun. He shows us that true collaboration, and the inclusivity it requires, is not a marketing gimmick or token gesture, but a way of thinking, of making and of life.” Along with Cunningham Cameron, curatorial assistants Darnell-Jamal Lisby and Julie Pastor organized the exhibition. Smith, who was born in Philadelphia but worked in New York City, died of complications from AIDS in 1987. He was 39. Programming for Street Couture, which opens in March of next year, will include a talk series around race and fashion organized with another Smithsonian institution, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, D.C. Willi Smith: Street Couture opens March 13, 2020, and will run through October 25. More details on the exhibition can be found on the Cooper Hewitt website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Same building, New purpose

Atlanta City Detention Center could become mixed-use community development

Atlanta could be poised to convert its now-defunct Atlanta City Detention Center into a mixed-use development catering to the formerly incarcerated and the community at large. The Reimagining Atlanta City Detention Center Task Force, which was convened at City Hall by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for the first time last week, is in charge of determining how the 17-story jail facility will be used. With a whopping 471,000 square feet of available floor space, the building will likely serve numerous needs in the neighborhood.

Mayor Bottoms ordered the closure of the jail earlier this year, due primarily to rising costs and a lack of inmates. She emphasized the need for any revisioning or adaptive re-use project to be of benefit to locals, and especially to those who have already been involved in the city’s justice system. Several justice-oriented organizations, including the Racial Justice Action Center (RJAC) and the Oakland-based agency Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, have been tapped to guide the planning process. RJAC director Xochitl Bervera encouraged people to think big when contributing ideas. So far, informal proposals have included spaces for a daycare center, a food service training restaurant, a skate park, recording studios, and a legal clinic with an attached coffee shop. So long as the new development is not cost-prohibitive and is accessible to diverse swaths of the local populous, Bervera says it has serious potential to be successful.

In terms of the detention center’s physical makeover, concerns that entering the building could be triggering or unsettling to some former inmates have prompted planners to adopt a more transformative approach. The task force and RJAC have asked Designing Justice + Designing Spaces to reimagine the menacing structure with a more transparent and open form. With a glass curtain wall and a far greater number of windows than the jailhouse, initial renderings of the project offer a glimpse of how RJAC and the Atlanta city government will create the proposed Atlanta Center for Wellness and Freedom.

Overall, the effort is reminiscent of similar adaptive reuse projects executed in New York and other cities across the country. In 2016, two years after a film company announced plans to purchase Staten Island’s Arthur Kill Correctional Facility and convert it into the borough’s first movie studio, Deborah Berke Partners won a competition to turn Manhattan’s former Bayview Correctional Facility into The Women’s Building. Elsewhere in the country, detention facilities have been transformed into everything from luxury hotels to apartment buildings. But while the potential for an upscale development certainly exists at the Atlanta City Detention Center, there are concerns that such a proposal could exacerbate changes already seen in one of America’s fastest gentrifying cities.

Placeholder Alt Text

Boxing Day

Abruzzo Bodziak Architects designs first U.S. store for British fashion brand maharishi
Gliding right into place is the new maharishi boutique in New York; the British clothing brand’s first store outside of London. Celebrated practice Abruzzo Bodziak Architects (ABA) developed the retail space as an insertable grid of wood cabinetry. Clad in the fashion company’s own iconic olive-green hue and pine plywood surfaces, the two-level structure at 38 Lispenard Street in Tribeca does not obstruct or alter the listed building the store occupies. Rather, the new cubic and minimalistic building-within-a-building infix works to frame its historic features. “We left the existing space, with its historic facade and ceiling, as a found condition,” ABA principal Gerald Bodziak explains. Read the full story on our interiors and design site, aninteriormag.com.
Placeholder Alt Text

RIP

S9 Architecture cofounder Navid Maqami has passed away
Navid Maqami, cofounder of New York's S9 Architecture, passed away on Friday, July 19. Below is a statement of remembrance from his colleagues, friends, and coworkers: Navid Maqami, prolific New York architect and cofounder of S9 Architecture, known widely for his kindness, humor, and dedication to his craft, died on Friday, July 19 after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his wife and two sons in Manhattan. He was 59 years old. His wife Niloo confirmed his death. S9 Architecture, which Maqami cofounded with John R. Clifford in 2011, is responsible for creating some of New York’s most celebrated projects of the last decade. Built with a deep and defining sense of teamwork, he empowered those around him to develop and express their creativity. Maqami believed that every project had a story, and that narrative was the inflection point between a block or neighborhood’s past and its future. His dedication to this kind of social, societal and physical storytelling made him one of New York’s most respected contextual architects. This commitment earned him more than a dozen awards including from the Municipal Arts Society and Urban Land Institute. One of his most lauded projects is Dock 72, towering 16 stories above the East River in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Historically the birthplace of some of America’s most venerated warships, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was one of the nation’s premier maritime construction facilities for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Maqami led the design process to reimagine the shipyard as a hub of innovation that pays homage to the mighty ships built along the river while simultaneously creating a modern ecosystem to foster technology, manufacturing and creative sectors. In 2016, the project received the Excellence in Design Award from the New York City Public Design Commission. Dock 72 celebrated its grand opening just a few weeks before Maqami died. Unable to attend, he commemorated the opening from his hospital room with his wife and two sons, never missing a moment to celebrate both an extraordinary opportunity and his unyielding love for his family. Born in Iran and raised in the United Kingdom from age 13, Maqami attended Oswestry Boarding School before graduating from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London in 1984. He moved to New York in 1987 and worked at Davis Brody and GreenbergFarrow before launching his own venture, S9 Architecture. Devoted to bringing out the very best in his people, Maqami was infamous for using laughter as a tool to help young associates learn and grow. Never from a place of judgment and always smiling, he used clever turns of phrase and extraordinary wit to communicate the thesis of a critique. His life outside of work was dedicated entirely to his family. Since 1993, the West Village of Manhattan was their beloved home where he and Niloo, his wife of nearly 40 years, raised their sons. Arsean, a senior director of development at WeWork, and Arman, a musician and actor, brought him much joy. Maqami was a member of the American Institute of Architects, the Architectural League, the Urban Land Institute and the Urban Design Forum. A celebration of Navid Maqami’s life will be held on Saturday, July 27 at the S9 Architecture office in Manhattan.  Please visit navidmaqami.com for details.
Placeholder Alt Text

Mott Street Crease

Toshiko Mori Architect greets the Lower East Side with CNC-milled granite
facadeplus_logo1
Brought to you with support from
Due to be completed in 2019, 277 Mott Street is a seven-story, retail infill project that offers a contemporary vision of contextual development in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Designed by the New York-based Toshiko Mori Architect—whose office is located just a few blocks away—the project features a custom-fabricated CNC-milled dark granite facade with vertical ribbons of fenestration. The Lower East Side is no stranger to development; the neighborhood continues to experience seismic alterations of its architectural makeup in the form of historic demolition and the subsequent construction of often non-contextual development. In a welcome change of pace, 277 Mott Street is not built on the bones of a predecessor but rises on a 21-foot-wide lot that had stood empty for decades.
  • Facade Manufacturer YKK Campolonghi Caliper Studio FACE Design AM Architectural Metal & Glass
  • Architect Toshiko Mori Architect
  • Owner's Representative Doug Fountain
  • Facade Installer Caliper Studio AM Architectural Metal & Glass IA Construction
  • Facade Consultant Eckersley O’Callaghan Engineers
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System YKK YCW 750 FSG
  • Products CNC-milled Black Zimbabwe granite stone Custom-fabricated aluminum fins
The Mott Street-facing elevation is set back 18 inches from the street wall and is clad in dark Black Zimbabwe granite fabricated by Campolonghi Montignoso in Italy. “We worked extremely closely with the stone fabricator due to the highly specialized fabrication process as there is a very close interface between the initial digital model and the final product,” said the design team. “There were several technical challenges with the digital model to overcome, full-scale mockup reviews, and visits to the factory in Italy—where the stone was fully assembled—before the end result arrived disassembled on-site.” The result of this intense collaboration is a bold and seemingly twisting facade that echoes the brick-and-glass rhythm of its historic Italianate neighbors. At the front elevation's summit, which is 65 feet tall, the front facade's crown reaches slightly above the adjacent cornice line while the panels themselves flatten into more formal piers with an approximately four-and-a-half-foot width. The panels are anchored to a steel substructure fastened to each concrete floor slab. "The main challenge in developing the facade was achieving the architectural intent of the twisting and undulating stone with the vertical slot glazing, whilst keeping the details appropriately simple and rational enough to meet the tight budgetary constraints," said Eckersley O'Callaghan principal Phil Khalil. "This was successfully implemented to the point where—other than for the stone—local fabricators and installers were able to handle all of the glazing, framing, and installation without issue." Since the project is exclusively for retail use, it was crucial for the design team to ensure an ample amount of daylight made it inside. For this purpose, the rear elevation of the structure is clad in a glass curtain wall backed by twisting chords of aluminum, which serve as shading devices against western solar exposure. A monumental stairwell—which also serves as a point of egress—rises and is completely visible through the rear elevation. Toshiko Mori Architect was in continual dialogue with the Department of Buildings throughout the design and construction process to gain approval within the protected Special Little Italy District zoning area.
Placeholder Alt Text

In Memorium

Remembering César Pelli
The death of César Pelli at 92 on July 19 marked the end of an era. Yet the firm he headed with Fred Clarke and his son Rafael Pelli continues, with dozens of important and innovative projects underway. Pelli’s modest demeanor belied the fact that he and his partners designed over 300 buildings and 68 unrealized or theoretical projects. The best known built works are the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur (briefly the tallest buildings in the world), the colorful glass-skinned Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, the complex Cleveland Clinic, the American Embassy in Tokyo, and the recent Salesforce Tower and Transit Center in San Francisco (the tallest building there). In New York, they built the 1977-84 addition to the Museum of Modern Art and its residential tower, the World Financial Center—now dubbed Brookfield Place—in Battery Park City, the unusually contextual Carnegie Hall Tower, the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building in downtown Brooklyn, and the pioneeringly energy-efficient Verdesian apartment building in Battery Park City, along with numerous other buildings that fit into their surroundings so well that they are not easily recognized. An office building for Trinity Church on Wall Street, the Yale Biology Building, the one-million-square-foot Bulfinch Crossing in Boston, a Natural History Museum in Chengdu, China, the Google Tower in Austin, Texas, and 3.3-million-square-foot Union Park in Toronto are among dozens of buildings underway now. Given the size of the practice, the complexity of its projects, their international range, size, scale, and sensitivity to place, it is surprising that the work of Pelli Clark Pelli has not received more critical attention. It is not something the partners sought. Doing innovative work and treating colleagues well has always been the firm’s priorities. César Pelli was one of architecture’s real artists and intellectuals. He was born in the medium-sized city of San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, where one of the most innovative architecture schools in the world opened just before he matriculated. His father, Victor Pelli, was an innovative tinkerer who loved to make things. His mother. Theresa Pelli was a professor at Resistencia, who taught alongside the mother of the woman César would eventually marry, Diana Balmori. They got to know one another in architecture school, and then applied to various graduate programs together around the world. They ended up moving to the United States, where César earned a Master’s degree at the University of Illinois. It was not easy. Other young Argentinians they knew soon returned home. Diana once told me that they sold their wedding presents to make ends meet, but that fact that she spoke excellent English helped. Then, César’s professor recommended that he join the very busy office of Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. That move was not easy for Diana either, who had two young sons, but it was there, on the lush Cranbrook campus, that she developed an interest in landscape design. Saarinen’s office, enriched by the opportunity to design the $100 million, 320-acre General Motors Design Center, had attracted talented young architects from all over the world. César soon became the one Saarinen trusted with some of his most challenging projects. The firm was thriving with numerous enticing commissions. Eero had recently remarried journalist and architecture critic Aline Bernstein Saarinen, who wanted to move to the East Coast where her career, and increasingly Eero’s, was centered. Lonely in Michigan, she often invited the Pellis to join them for lunch. But soon after the birth of their son Eames, Eero developed a brain tumor and died within days. The firm moved to New Haven as planned to finish his work. César was in charge of two of the most challenging projects: the proto-postmodern Morse and Ezra Stiles Colleges at Yale, which imaginatively acknowledged Gothic Revival buildings nearby, and the TWA Terminal at JFK (then Idlewild) Airport in New York, which has now been restored and turned into the centerpiece of a new hotel. When Saarinen’s work was completed, some associates formed a successor firm, Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Partners, but the Pellis instead moved to the booming Los Angeles. César went to work first for the pragmatic commercial firm, Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall from 1965 through 1968, then to Gruen Associates from 1968 through 1976, often collaborating with young talented international architects he had known at the Saarinen firm, such as Anthony J. Lumsden. By the mid-70s, Pelli, who had been teaching part-time at UCLA, decided he would like to work in architectural education. He was offered deanships at UCLA, Harvard, and Yale, that last being where he moved in 1977 and had been living ever since. Soon he was invited to expand the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, so he opened the original Cesar Pelli & Associates office in New Haven, which continued to grow after he stepped down as Yale dean in 1984, but which still operates on an open-minded academic model. Over the years, Pelli worked on and off with Balmori, who herself developed an innovative practice in landscape design. She died in 2016. César Pelli is survived by sons Rafael and Denis, as well as dozens of colleagues, friends, clients, former students, and admirers. His legacy is enormous.
Placeholder Alt Text

Noblesse Oblige

Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform employs photography and drawings to capture a movement
The United States of America of the 19th century was a civilization in rapid flux, subject to spiraling economic and demographic growth coupled with staggering socioeconomic inequality that manifested in deleterious urban poverty. Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform, on display at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston through September 15, 2019, effectively encapsulates the bold visions of the era's patrician reformers with the living conditions of the urban poor that influenced their sweeping plans. The exhibition is curated by Charles Waldheim, the Harvard Graduate School of Design's John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture, Director of the Office for Urbanization, and the Ruettgers Curator of Landscape, and is largely made up of highly-detailed topographical and landscape maps, historical photographs, and personal mementos. According to Waldheim, "the show started with a very simple idea; could we take large urban plan drawings from the 19th century and treat them like works of art?" For Big Plans, Waldheim hones in on four protagonists; Frederick Law Olmsted, the historic doyen of landscape architecture; Isabella Stewart Gardiner, the museum's namesake and prominent member of the Boston Brahmins; Charles Eliot, Olmsted's apprentice and prominent city planner in his own right; and Lewis Wickes Hine, the sociologist and prodigious photographer of the American urban condition. Although contemporary controversies surrounding park construction largely center on budgetary or zoning constraints, the execution of such projects during the 19th century was remarkably radical in ideology and scope. Big Plans highlights the revolutionary nature of public landscape design with an initial focus on Olmsted & Vaux's design for Central Park in New York, juxtaposed with an original hand-colored map by William Bridges for New York's 1811 Commissioners' plan that would place the gridiron street layout of Manhattan. In comparing these two disparate visions of Gotham at the onset of the exhibition, the curatorial direction quickly lays out the reformers' visions of reshaping the rigid rationality of the industrial city into one that cultivated both economic and social progress. The theme of correcting the societal ills of the industrial metropolis is continued in the second room of the exhibition with five-by-seven-inch silver gelatin prints produced by street photographer and sociologist Lewis Hines. Similar to contemporaneous New York-based social reformer Jacob Riis, Hines advocated for photography as an effective tool to prod for social reform. The images are not beautiful; as is the case with much early photography, many are overexposed and out of focus. However, aesthetics were not their purpose. The photos are a searing indictment of child labor, depicting young men and women toiling in industrial mills and sifting through fetid landfills in search of scrap materials. The remainder of the exhibition is largely a collection of drawings that plot out the expansion of the public realm and park space in Boston and Chicago, ranging from the Back Bay Fens to Jackson Park. Absent from the curatorial direction of Big Plans is a perspective from the urban working class and impoverished for whom the grandiose schemes were tentatively laid out for. This top-down perspective was a conscious decision by Waldheim to highlight the uneasy paternalism, or noblesse oblige, of the era's social reformers. While not explicit, the exhibition begs the question of whether this condescension laid the groundwork for similarly grandiose urban renewal plans during the mid-20th century. Big Plans: Picturing Social Reform Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum 25 Evans Way Boston Through September 15, 2019