Search results for "Manhattan"

Placeholder Alt Text

Flows Two Ways

Stephen Glassman Studio designs colorful sculpture for new Manhattan development
Flows Two Ways by Stephen Glassman Studio is one of the most innovative new public art wall projects in New York. The walls of the city have a long and complicated history as a site for public art that includes 19th century classical Beaux Arts reliefsWPA scenes on (and in) libraries, hospitals and public housing, and the graffiti that covers buildings all over the city. Furthermore, in the 1970s the loosely organized group City Walls created opportunities for artists to use blank, lot line facades all over downtown Manhattan, particularly in Soho and Noho. Only two City Walls murals remain in 2016 but there were many large works by artists such as Allan D’Arcangelo, Mel Pekarsky, Tania Lewin, Robert Wiegand, Todd Williams, and Forrest Myers. This was a moment when bare, unpainted walls were plentiful downtown and City Walls helped created a template and process for covering them with large graphic images. These artists' projects grabbed the public’s attention and helped define the art of Soho in the 1970s but, sadly, their work only became a template for commercial advertising signs. Except for the late, lamented 5 Pointz graffiti wall in Queens, there haven't been many wall projects of interest in New York since the 1970s—or until now, with Flows Two Ways. The Stephen Glassman project is sited on a new passageway few New Yorkers even know exists. The work is not a painted mural but a raised sculpture that measures sixty-by-sixty feet. It sits on a narrow passageway between the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group-designed Via 57 West building and the Helena by FxFowle. It was commissioned by the Durst Organization, the owners of both developments. The piece was created through a truly 21st-century process of prefabricated construction. The mural is composed of colored aluminum, stainless steel, and rolled metal tubing. Furthermore, the layered eight-story, 32,000-pound jig-saw puzzle is composed of a stainless-steel mounting matrix embedded into the existing Helena wall, 35 interlocking aluminum panels, nearly 400 sixty-foot pipe clusters rolled and flowing in three axes, and faceted metal “boulders.” A sophisticated sliding plate system—which largely floats the 16-ton piece off the building—accommodates thermal expansion and forces generated by wind, rain, snow, and ice loads. It is effectively a panelized façade. To develop this technologically complex sculpture, Glassman used a team of engineers from Arup, architects, and designers to craft its layered construction and anchoring system. The artist’s intent for the work is to evoke “an enduring regard for earth and nature and a love of New York.” It cascades down and up the facade; Glassman says it replicates “the dualities of flowing and falling.” By playing with the sun’s changing angles, the artwork mimics the Hudson River’s glow at sunset. In particular, the artist hopes the work will direct the eye of the viewer upward to the sky rather than the confined, dark space of the narrow alley. The sculpture’s palette, derived through color studies of the historic Hudson River school of painting, imbues the passageway with an organic counterpoint to the surrounding steel and glass built environment. In fact, the majority of units facing onto the artwork are subsidized middle-income apartments that, without the colorful work, would be looking onto a narrow passageway's drab sheer concrete wall. The sculpture points to a new type of composite and prefabricated construction that can transform a blank vertical wall and otherwise dead space into a colorfully vibrant urban space.
Placeholder Alt Text

Instagram Hotspot

Manhattan’s Temple Court Building restored and reopened as The Beekman hotel
The Temple Court Building in lower Manhattan, at the corner of Nassau Street and Beekman Street, recently re-opened as The Beekman following a period of heavy renovations. The Renaissance Revival style building is now a hotel, with a 51-story condominium building on the adjacent lot. Both the renovation and new building were executed by New York-based Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects (GKV Architects).

Coming soon to a #siesta near you #beekmanhotel

A photo posted by 🍴🍸😴 (@eatdrinksiesta) on

The Architect's Newspaper took an exclusive preview tour of the building over a year ago. The Beekman has quickly become an Instagram hotspot; visitors have taken some beautiful shots of its lobby, which features an intricately-detailed 9-story atrium. GKV Architects reports that the "historic cast iron balconies, the grand skylight, the atrium... the wood millwork doors and windows surrounding the atrium" were all part of their restoration effort.
A photo posted by The SKW Team (@theskwteam) on
The Temple Court Building—as it was originally named—was completed in 1883, with an attached annex completed in 1890. According to GKV Architects, it was the first of the "fireproof" skyscrapers in New York City, though that didn't stop a small fire from breaking out in 1983. The building and annex were designated a New York City Landmark in 1998.
The first 10 floors of the 68-unit condominium are attached to the hotel and the building's permanent residents will have access to the hotel's amenities. This includes personal training at the hotel's fitness center and in-residence dining by the hotel restaurant, led by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
Of course, all this luxury doesn't come cheap: units start at $1.475 million and run up to $3.75 million. A two-day stay at the hotel in early October will run you over $500 a night.
Placeholder Alt Text


NYC DCP to review plan for SHoP-designed supertall on Manhattan’s Lower East Side after all
In a surprising reversal, the Department of City Planning (DCP) will review JDS Development's plan to build a supertall in Manhattan's Two Bridges neighborhood. Developers Roy Schoenberg and Gary Spindler (of Park-It Management) had planned to build on an adjacent site. The pair sued JDS in New York State Supreme Court recently, claiming that in 2012 Michael Stern's company co-opted the air rights they intended to buy from Settlement Housing Fund and Two Bridges Neighborhood Council. Schoenberg and Spindler had plans to build a 300,000-square-foot, mixed-use affordable housing on the site. Instead, the nonprofits nixed the pending contract and sold the parcel's air rights to JDS for a cool $50 million, Crain's reports. Now, Schoenberg and Spindler have withdrawn their application for their project, so the DCP will review JDS's application for an 80-story, 1,000-foot-tall greenish cascading tower by SHoP at 235 Cherry Street, pictured above.
Placeholder Alt Text

Divine Details

ARO pays careful attention to symbolism, craft, security, and inclusivity in designing new Manhattan synagogue

“The Torah was the first building code,” said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), the prominent LGBTQ-welcoming synagogue. Stephen Cassell, principal at Architecture Research Office (ARO), quoted the rabbi, who was interpreting Deuteronomy 22:8, which set forth practically and ethically the need for parapets to keep people from falling off roofs. From simple safeguards to symbolic elements, ARO’s work for CBST integrates design details with values that Kleinbaum called “radically traditional.”

ARO remodeled the 1928 18-story Cass Gilbert building at 130 W. 30th Street, converting former furriers’ shops into CBST’s first permanent home after over 40 years in rented quarters. It was first in Chelsea’s Church of the Holy Apostles, then in a Westbeth loft. CBST members ceremonially marched last April 3 from the loft to the new site, where nine years of planning and design work have yielded a dignified space for Jews of every identity.

Preserving Gilbert’s Assyrian terra-cotta friezes, Cassell and colleagues wove a complex program into the 17,000-square-foot building. The sanctuary’s ner tamid (eternal light) is embedded into a column rising from the bimah (podium) and pews designed by London’s Luke Hughes are removable for social events. A structural-concrete rear wall supporting a panel of striated glass-fiber-reinforced concrete holds the Torah ark, and tilts back to admit a 46-foot-wide skylight—and enhancing sonic clarity and increasing perceptible area without exceeding allowable floor area. Chicago-based Threshold Acoustics optimized the space to accommodate both a highly musical congregation and the residences above it. Yahrzeit memorial candles are reinterpreted as individually controllable LEDs in a gray glass wall. Revising the traditional orientation of a bimah toward Jerusalem, this podium along the southern wall creates a wide 299-person space where no seat, even in the mezzanine, is more than 35 feet from the speaker.

Rabbi Kleinbaum’s brief, Cassell reported, specified that “everything had to be fabulous.” The 18-foot-high lobby declares CBST’s identity with lavender glazing and rainbow flags. “From day one of designing, we were designing for gay weddings; there was an assumption that they would be legalized; this took place in the middle of our working on the construction documents,” Cassell noted, adding, “We don’t want an outside hall to do that.” CBST’s Javits Center services on the High Holidays draw four-figure crowds.

The Torah ark is protected by a sliding panel of steam-bent oak staves and includes a custom-woven Bogotan tapestry and a laser-cut fabric whose 14th-century Spanish design recognizes Sephardim, the Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal after 1492. A chapel-library includes an additional ark incorporating 1920’s doors rescued from the Bronx’s Tremont Temple Gates of Mercy. Excerpts from secular and sacred literature proliferate. Though last month’s events in Orlando underscore the risks a diverse group faces in a society where the intolerant can be armed, CBST refuses to hide behind bollards or metal detectors. However, blast-resistant film coats the facade glass, protecting the lobby without shouting “security.”

Cassell found that congregants were closely attentive to the ways architectural features reflect priorities: “Everything was freighted with meaning, because this is the first time they’ve had a home of their own.” The question of whether pews rather than chairs are appropriate in a synagogue, he recalls, occupied “probably 25 meetings.... In some ways it is radically traditional; this aligns with [the question], what does it mean as a community to share a seat?” Classroom doorways include ADA-compliant mezuzot within reach of anyone in a wheelchair.

A nongendered restroom with eight full-height stalls that accommodate people of any identity with privacy and respect, illustrates CBST’s saga through a “history wall” of documents, including the Department of Buildings (DOB) variance allowing the restroom to bypass requirements for separate men’s and women’s rooms. “The rabbi wrote a phenomenally impassioned letter,” Cassell recalled, and DOB granted the variance. He wryly quoted its bureaucratic language about “‘the LGBT community, where conventional definition of gender is no longer sufficient.’ Hearing that coming from DOB is unheard of.”

Far from Chelsea, such a room itself might be unheard of. Still, Cassell notes, “it’s not rocket science.” Creating spaces appropriate to a population’s diversity, this building suggests, merely requires design sense fused with common sense and common decency.

Resources Lighting Designer Tillotson Design Associates Ark and Custom Furniture City Joinery

Memorial Wall and Ner Tamid Fabricator RUSHdesign

Ritual Items Design Mark Robbins Acoustics Threshold Acoustics
Placeholder Alt Text

If only...

A smart Manhattan office design fits three companies into one space

New York City is one of the most expensive global cities for office space, along with London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. According to data from real estate firm JLL, the average cost of office space per square foot in New York for 2015 was $171. So it is no wonder that companies are turning to innovative ways to rethink where and how they work.

A midtown Manhattan office interior unites three companies—America’s Kids, Gindi Capital, and Mad Projects Industries—across 15,000 square feet to make the most of this precious commodity. (The three companies are leasing the space as one entity.) New York–based architecture firm Only If — was tasked with creating a balanced range of spaces: Half of the space is dedicated to interactive and open space, while the other half to more closed areas for focused work. At one end, toward the right of the lobby, is Gindi Capital and at the other end is Mad Projects with America’s Kids housed in a space near the middle. Among the three companies, there are open work areas and private offices, conference rooms, a studio, a showroom, as well as a lobby, lounges, and a kitchen.

“The three companies, which range from fashion to real estate, had different and often conflicting requirements, but we mainly interfaced with Mad Projects. Mad Projects supported our work but also pushed us further in a way that was truly collaborative,” explained Adam Frampton, principal of Only If —. “During the design process, we were often in a position of mediating and resolving the conflicts between companies that, given their different operations, by definition, had very different needs and visions for what their office should be. Aspects of the design brief were totally contradictory.”

Only If — focused on a simple palette of black and white to help tie the spaces together. “At first, given that each business is very different and relatively independent, we considered expressing differences throughout the entire space as different zones,” said Frampton. “The monochromatic approach provides a relatively neutral background. It doesn’t look overdesigned, and it doesn’t look like the so-called contemporary creative office where one finds tech startups or coworking spaces. As an architect, it’s the kind of space I’d like to work in.”

The firm also employed a range of materials to help break up the space and introduce variety. There are wood, felt, stone, glass, and mirrors that cloak the plus-sign-shaped clothing display and storage module in Mad’s showroom. “The perpendicular and parallel relationships between mirrored surfaces create cascading visual effects,” said Frampton. The mirrored module also helps to divide the showroom into separate display areas.

The firm started working on the project in summer 2014. The clients moved in March 2015, and the interior was finished by fall 2015. “Within an accelerated schedule, a lot of the design also happened while the project was already under construction,” said Frampton. “Technically, the black, seamless floor was also quite challenging to achieve. It’s a poured resilient polyurethane, and because the building was originally two separate buildings, there are different subfloor conditions that had to also be constructed.”

The midtown office project gave Only If—an opportunity to think more deeply about the next wave of office interiors. “The project allowed us to speculate on what we think the future of the creative workplace will be,” said Frampton. 


Glass Subcontractor

Regency Glass


Kin & Co.


Premium Millwork

Furniture - Products:

Knoll Antenna System, Vitra Joyn, Vitra Alcove, Vitra Hal, Filzfelt Rugs, Magis Baguette

Placeholder Alt Text

BKSK Architects + Morris Adjmi

Two modern developments in Manhattan’s Noho neighborhood given the green light by the LPC
A ten-story office complex on 363 Lafayette Street in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood has been awarded approval by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Designed by local firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the scheme had previously been rejected. Another project, a multi-family residency just round the corner on 22 Bond Street by fellow New York practice BKSK Architects, was also given the go-ahead. Initially, Adjmi's design had employed double-height windows as part of a slightly angled and staggered facade that included a dash of greenery along its incremental edges. This design was rejected by the LPC in July earlier this year, but Adjmi's subsequent alterations did the trick this time around. The modifications included making sure the street corner doesn't feature the staggered angular fall-back—except for a major recession on the eighth floor)—which was a previous gripe of the LPC in July. These subtle angular increments now occur southwards down Lafayette Street and, unlike before, are in accordance with each level change. Furthermore, new glazing has been placed on the south-side of the building while additional window detailing features around every exposed facade. According to New York Yimby, in response to the latest iteration, Commissioner Michael Devonshire described the design as “beautiful.” Preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth from New York firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, who specialize in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties, commented that the architects had “strengthened [the] corner, using it as a pivot” to create “dynamic slicing” and “more graceful proportions." While commissioner Frederick Bland said it was a “terrible thing for a committee to nit pick [an architect’s work] to pieces,” he and the rest of the commissioners were happy with the design voting unanimously for its approval. Also vying for approval was New York studio BKSK for their multi-family dwelling lot on 22 Bond Street, a stone's throw away from Morris Adjmi's project. The design features minor changes to the front facade as well as a "braille sidewalk" that features cast-iron vault lights which illuminate the entrance area at night. A third project at 413-435 West 14th Street was also due for hearing but was laid over at the committee meeting. All three projects can be viewed in detail here, here and here (in order of appearance in this article).
Placeholder Alt Text


No L train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 18 months
Attention riders: All L train service will be suspended between Brooklyn and Manhattan beginning January 2019. The MTA announced today that the Canarsie Tunnel which brings L train riders under the East River will be closed for 18 months to repair damage wrought by 2012's Hurricane Sandy. In four community meetings this spring, the agency reviewed repair scenarios and solicited New Yorkers' feedback on partial and full tunnel shutdown scenarios. The full closure option was chosen over a one-track-at-a-time three-year closure. Although residents in L-dependent neighborhoods had mixed feelings about the inevitable closure, all 11 Community Boards along the L were "overwhelmingly in favor" of a total shutdown. Repairs will target damaged signals, switches, tracks, power cables, and other infrastructure that was corroded by salt water when seven miles of the tunnel flooded. Upgrades will be made to stations closest to the river, as well. “Approximately 80 percent of riders will have the same disruptions with either option. Throughout our extensive outreach process and review, it became clear that the 18-month closure was the best construction option and offered the least amount of pain to customers for the shortest period of time,” NYCT president Veronique ‘Ronnie’ Hakim stated. “The 18-month option is also the most efficient way to allow MTA to do the required work. It gives us more control over the work site and allows us to offer contractor incentives to finish the work as fast as possible. We think it is better to have a shorter duration of pain than a longer more unstable process—and risk unplanned closures—by leaving one track open during construction.” Although the MTA is formulating a transportation plan for the Brooklyn-Manhattan commute, perhaps it's time to seriously consider some alternative options. Newtown Creek water shuttle, anyone?
Placeholder Alt Text

Poor Pour

Faulty concrete delays construction of new upper Manhattan pedestrian bridge
Last fall, AN reported on a $24.4 million bicycle and pedestrian bridge that was due to be constructed at 151st Street in Manhattan. However, as locals to the area may have noticed, footing that was put in place in April this year is now being torn down. What does this mean for those who had been longing for a connection between West Harlem with the Hudson River Greenway? Cyclists and pedestrians, fear not. After speaking with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYDOT) Public Information Officer Diane Park, AN can confirm that, due to a faulty concrete pour, the western abutment of the bridge falls short of NYDOT's standards and is being removed. "This will not impact the project's schedule" said Park, adding that the contractor will also foot the bill for the new work required as well as the cost of removal. In addition to this, Park was able to disclose that the bridge is due for completion in spring of next year. For cyclists, the bridge will be a welcome addition to the area as it is set to provide stair-free access between the greenway and the intersection of 151st Street and Riverside Drive. Spanning 270 feet, the new bridge will feature ADA-compliant ramps on both sides and a dramatic archway overhead. This is the second and final installment from the NYDOT within the 71st Assembly District to improve access to the Hudson River waterfront, the first of which came in 2006 with the $2 million ramp and stairway at 158th street. When announcing the project last year, NYDOT Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said the project will cost $24.4 million, with some funds going toward new landscaping and lighting within the area.
Placeholder Alt Text

Haunted House

LPC grants tentative approval to New Classical replacement townhouse on site of blown-up Manhattan building
A decade ago, a Manhattan doctor made headlines when he blew himself up inside his beloved 62nd Street townhouse. Dr. Nicholas Bartha was forced to leave the building after a messy divorce, and he is thought to have triggered the explosion himself by tampering with a gas main as a final act of vengeance. The site’s spooky past was no match for the value of Manhattan real estate, and ten years later a new building has been approved for the site, 6sqft reports. The Woodbine Company purchased the 100- by 20-foot plot for approximately $12 million in 2015, and New York–based HS Jessup Architecture designed a 7,800-square-foot home to fit into the space. The building will have five bedrooms and five stories, and its New Classical design is meant to blend in with the surrounding townhouses. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has given approval for the building at 34 East 62nd Street, albeit with the suggestion of design changes. The proposed building has a faux-historic style, with a simple facade of limestone and brick that takes notes from other buildings on the block. A previously approved townhouse had a much more modern design.
Placeholder Alt Text

Hercules Art Studio Program

A new model for affordable artist studios in Manhattan

“I just got tired of people always talking about the same problem—it’s simple, just don’t go for the highest dollar [as a landlord],” said sculptor Andrea Woodner in response to constantly hearing how hard it is to foster the arts in New York City. When the third floor became available in her building, 25 Park Place, she worked with architect and business partner (the pair cofounded Design Trust for Public Space) Claire Weisz of WXY to renovate it for artists’ work studios to be leased below market rate. They dubbed it the Hercules Art/Studio Program (named for the 1930s Hercules Seating sign on the building).

Woodner initially envisioned the type of studio she once had: a large, empty sunlit space. However, after talking with a few artists, she amended her plans from three 1,000-square-foot studio spaces to seven 300-square-foot spaces, which would be cheaper. “It’s custom-made for this generation of artists,” said Woodner. “It’s not what I had, but it’s what they wanted.”

Weisz gutted the 5,700-square-foot space to create the seven studios, a common area, an industrial kitchen, bathrooms with showers, and a gallery. “It looks simple, but it took a lot of fussing,” said Weisz.

Getting sunlight to permeate the north-south-oriented floor proved particularly tricky. Weisz built partial, eight-foot-high walls to provide privacy without inhibiting natural light or the flow of heating and cooling. Although the budget was tight, Weisz opted to splurge on gallery-quality lighting designed by Domingo Gonzalez of DGA.

Woodner selected the seven students to fill the space by visiting local graduate programs at Hunter College and Columbia University. Each applicant had to submit a statement explaining that having a rent-controlled studio was critical to him or her to be able to continue working. Finalists were then interviewed to make sure they would be a good fit for the collaborative space. Woodner plans to host discussions, shows, and panels in the building to further connect the artists to the community and vice versa.


There are hopes to expand the program. “I’m a realist,” said Woodner. “The headwinds are in appreciating real estate value, so to do anything other than that is an uphill climb. I am doing it because I can afford to do it. I am happy to do it. I would like to encourage other landlords to contribute space as well. We are only going to be able to chip away at this, but if we can make some incremental changes toward bringing artists back to lower Manhattan, it can be mutually beneficial…the city needs the artists as much as the artists need the city.”

Placeholder Alt Text

Total Basket Base

New renderings revealed for CetraRuddy’s basket-inspired Manhattan tower
New renderings confirm that CetraRuddy's new tower, at the border of Manhattan's Upper East Side and Midtown East, is a total basket case. The images of 200 East 59th Street released in November featured the latticed main entrance, and the wraparound roof decks with spiral staircases, but these are the first images to depict the full tower. 200 East 59th Street is developed by Macklowe Properties, the same entity behind Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue, but this tower is downright diminutive compared to its nearby cousin. It's set to rise 490 feet (35 stories), with 67 units over 99,848 square feet, YIMBY reports. The ceilings will be 14 feet tall, on average, although renderings seem to show the ceilings becoming progressively higher as the floors rise. The base of the tower will host almost 15,000 square feet of retail, and is clad in a shiny facade that takes inspiration from a woven basket. The ground floor looks awfully similar to Shigeru Ban Architects' Aspen Art Museum, a contemporary art space for the ritzy Colorado ski town that was completed in 2014 (and reviewed by AN here). The woven wood panel facade encircles 33,000 square feet of galleries; art sits cozily inside like a hatchlings in an artificial nest. The video below gives a full tour of the museum, for further comparison: But, since CetraRuddy is a homegrown firm, maybe the luxury tower's true inspiration was the "Big Basket" out in Newark, Ohio that's now threatened with demolition? Regardless of inspiration, CetraRuddy's new Manhattan structure will cost approximately $278 million to build (think of how many crafty woven baskets you could buy for that!). Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
Placeholder Alt Text

Dirty Trick

DDG uses a four-foot-wide lot to build (too) tall, enraging residents on Manhattan’s Upper East Side
Do you know the one weird trick that lets developers build tall buildings where they're not supposed to? It's not stilts, DJ booths, or mechanical floors this time. DDG Partners got city approval in 2014 to take a regular, 30-foot-deep lot and slice off a four-foot-wide chunk, then used that buffer to avoid zoning regulations that govern the height and setback of buildings on Manhattan's Upper East Side. The developers are building a 32-story, 521-foot-tall luxury tower whose address is the tiny lot on 88th Street, but whose entrance is on adjacent Third Avenue. The tower is 60 feet taller than those typically allowed in the neighborhood, The New York Times reports. “There’s lots of little lots in Manhattan, some that are five square feet, but they’re relics, or they provide access. This is novel; this is new; this is a very aggressive strategy," planning expert George M. Janes explained to the New York Times. Carnegie Hill Neighbors, a local residents' group that opposes the tower, hired Janes to conduct a site analysis. Janes noted that the developers may be trying to avoid building a larger base for the tower, which would be needed if the lot abutted 88th Street. With the zoning circumvented, the square footage for the base can instead be used to boost the tower's height. Permits were issued in March, and DDG is banking on the tower's height as a major selling point. Councilman Ben Kallos, a Democrat who represents the neighborhood, sent the Buildings Department a letter last week requesting a stop-work order, noting that the building sets a precedent for exploiting "a new and dangerous loophole.” In light of this project, the department is reviewing its earlier rulings. It's worth noting the the developers contributed nearly $20,000 to de Blasio's Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that supports the mayor's social initiatives. DDG declined to comment on the donations, but did say in a statement that they “have and will continue to support public officials with a positive economic development platform that allows New York City to remain a beacon and attraction for the rest of the world.”