Search results for "Manhattan"

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Stairway to Nowhere

Department of Justice and Related reach agreement to make the Vessel more accessible

Manhattan's U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman and the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband announced today that they have reached an agreement with Related Companies to help make the notorious Vessel at Hudson Yards more accessible. The $150-million-project will be getting a "one-of-a-kind platform lift mechanism" on the upper levels so that people with disabilities can reach the top level and take in the views of Manhattan's west side and beyond. Currently, the upper levels of the Vessel—a series of interlocking stairways with over 2,400 individual risers—can not be accessed without taking the steps, violating ADA rules. Although the structure has a lift (the curvy "Liberty Elevator"), it's failed to satisfy regulators.

As a release from the Department of Justice notes, Related described the Thomas Heatherwick-designed structure as "a 'public landmark' that 'will lift the public up, offering a multitude of ways to engage with and experience New York, Hudson Yards and each other.'" However this public seemingly does not include those with mobility concerns: Only three of the Vessel's 80 landings are accessible by elevator, which at times only goes to one of those platforms in order to manage traffic. The new agreement also requires that the current elevator stop at any level it can, if requested. There is no word yet on what precise technology will be used or how much of a cost it will add to Related's multibillion-dollar project, which is already no stranger to controversy for its tax breaks and other publicly-funded incentives, private hospital, proported art washing, labor practices, allegedly shoddy construction, exclusivity, and mega-mall-like atmosphere.
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Gen Y-favorite Name Glo puts down roots in New York
Made famous by its collaborations with Google, Lexus, Net-A-Porter, Netflix, Revlon, and Saks Fifth Avenue—to name (but) a few—cutting edge neon company Name Glo takes the design world by storm again and again. Founded in 2014 by Sas Simon and Lena Imamura, the boutique brand opened its first brick and mortar space earlier last week. Situated in Manhattan's edgy Lower East Side neighborhood, the new, compact Name Glo Light Bar is a sight to behold. Cast in a floor to ceiling "teal oasis" hue, the flagship's non-nonsense design is best suited to present neon signage and lighting. The locale incorporates both showroom and production facilitates. Customers can design their own neon masterpiece by mixing and matching shapes, plexiglass elements, and handmade terrazzo-like tiles. A virtual projection allows them to test out the scale of their compositions. Read the full article on our interiors and design website,
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Uptown Blues

Manhattan judge shuts down Mayor de Blasio’s Inwood rezoning plan
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Verna Saunders nullified Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial 2018 plan to rezone Northern Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood to allow for the construction of larger apartment buildings on December 19. While touted as a necessary solution to the area’s housing crisis, community members, and activists fervently disagreed and sued the administration on account of their concerns being ignored. Saunder’s ruled that the city failed to look at these matters closely.  If approved, the plan would have rezoned 59 blocks north of Dyckman street to increase density and commercial development along 10th avenue, a move that protestors believed would accelerate gentrification, displace residents, and negatively impact minority and women-owned businesses. Despite these concerns, de Blasio vowed to appeal what he called the judge’s “wrong-headed” decision.  After Saunders sent the matter back to the Office of the Mayor for Housing and Economic Development, Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesperson for the city’s Law Department told The City, “We stand by the city’s thorough environmental review and will challenge this decision so important projects, including the building of 1,600 new affordable homes in this community, can proceed.” Despite the promise, protestors believe that income requirements for such housing are often set too high for many local residents.  State Senator Robert Jackson responded excitedly to the news in a tweet saying, “the Inwood Rezoning has been STRUCK DOWN!!!,” congratulating and thanking both Inwood Legal Action and Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale, activist groups and organizers responsible for filing the lawsuit. At a press conference on Friday, December 20, he explained that, “We deserve a JUST rezoning, not this one that put profits over people. I hope now the city will let the community lead, as should have happened from the beginning.”  Resident Ayisha Oglivie, a member of Northern Manhattan is Not For Sale said, “I was screaming at the top of my lungs,” when she read the decision. “It’s about justice for our community. This is about a precedent being set for this entire city.”
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screaming into the void

Battle over Snøhetta's Upper West Side tower continues
The debate over imposing height restrictions for the Snøhetta-designed tower at 50 West 66th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side continues. The preservation group Landmark West is arguing that Extell, the building developer known for its Billionaire’s Row towers along 57th Street, is continuing to illegally use mechanical void space to circumvent height restrictions according to Gothamist. Such voids are meant to hold mechanical equipment and have been, until recently, exempt from maximum floor area caps according to zoning regulations, giving developers leeway to inflate building heights and charge a premium for boosted units.  The life of the now-775-foot tall tower began in 2015 when the project was announced at just 262 feet, but the building had swelled to its current height by the time the first renderings were released in 2017. As previously reported in January, Extell was given a 15-day window to scale the design back after pushback from local politicians and community groups. The current design has a total of 176-feet blocked out for mechanical equipment, which was reduced from the original 192-foot void. A recent amendment to the zoning law, however, which counts any mechanical space over 25-feet toward the maximum floor area, will not affect 50 West 66th Street because it was passed after plans were already approved. Activists and politicians alike are now accusing Extell of keeping the majority of the building’s 176 feet of mechanical floors empty of any equipment. Landmark West claims that only 22 percent of the void space will actually be filled with equipment, meaning that the mechanical rooms are predominantly included to boost the building’s overall height. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal have both opposed 50 West 66th Street, which could potentially become the tallest building on the Upper West Side.  “These ‘mechanical floors’ are not being occupied by their purported use. They are more than half filler space that will go unused,” said Brewer in a statement to the Board of Standards and Appeals yesterday. “To permit this development to move forward as proposed sets a dangerous message to other developers who will surely seek similarly unjustified mechanical deductions for their buildings.”
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What a Marvel

NYC’s first affordable LGBT-friendly housing for seniors has opened
New York City’s first affordable, LGBTQ-friendly senior housing development opened this week in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Designed by Marvel Architects and operated by SAGE NYC, an advocacy organization for LGBTQ elders, the building is now the largest facility of its kind in the country.  Originally called the Ingersoll Senior Residences, the project was recently renamed Stonewall House in honor of the 1969 uprising that is often cited as the beginning of the modern LGBT liberation movement. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the event.  The project was a partnership between NYCHA, BFC Partners, SAGE, and the New York City Housing Development Corporation. The 17-story 125,000 square-foot, mixed-use building at 112 Edwards Street includes 54 studio and 91 one-bedroom apartments, laundry facilities, a communal lounge, roof deck, and terraces. SAGE will also operate a 6,800-square-foot community center on the ground floor marked by a cantilevered canopy that extends out at the Myrtle Avenue entrance. The center is expected to open in early 2020.  The building sits on a prominent corner of Myrtle and St. Edwards and features brick as the main facade feature. Abutting the St. Edwards and St. Michaels church rectory to the north, and Fort Greene Park across the street to the south, the site provides ample space for residents to enjoy the outdoors. With that in mind, the building's massing has been designed with three setbacks to provide common outdoor roof terraces with views of Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. While the complex cannot be exclusively for the LGBTQ community—although the community has endured decades of discrimination, it would be equally discriminatory to exclude heterosexual elders, according to the city’s Fair Housing mandate—the development has been designed with the larger goal of creating a community rooted in inclusion and support, gay or straight. The proximity to amenities was designed in order to promote healthier lifestyles and social interaction for the tenants. Although New York’s affordable housing crisis impacts people from all backgrounds, LGBT elders are statistically more likely to face housing discrimination and harassment from property managers, staff, other residents, or service providers. A few other statistics contribute to the importance of safe places for LGBT seniors, including studies that show nearly half of those living with HIV are over the age of 50 and 53 percent of LGBT seniors feel socially isolated in their environments. With that in mind, Stonewall House was designed as a place where everyone has the right to age-in-place without fear of harassment, discrimination, and even violence, especially when many states do not have laws that prevent housing discrimination in regards to sexual orientation and gender identities.  “People will be able to live their lives freely and openly in this building,” Michael Adams, CEO of SAGE told The Daily Beast. “We see our elders as heroes and want them to be treated as such when living in their own homes. That’s what we want to accomplish with this building.” Stonewall House will provide housing for seniors above the age of 62 who make 60 percent or less of the area median income, and 25 percent of the units are set aside for the formerly homeless. According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 43 percent of clients served by drop-in centers identify as LGBT. Similar SAGE-supported developments are in the works and one residential facility is set to open in the Bronx in Spring 2020.  The first residents are expected to move into the building this month and the rest of the residents are scheduled to do so throughout January. 69-year-old Diedra Nottingham, who identifies as a lesbian, is looking forward to her move to Stonewall House from the Bronx and told The Daily Beast that, “I’ve always wanted to be in a gay-friendly environment without discrimination and the glares and looks you can get from people...I have been an advocate for the LGBTQ community even back when we were illegal.” 
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towering bas relief

Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects' Centrale nods to the Jazz Age with chevrons of terra-cotta
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Midtown East is a competitive Manhattan neighborhood to design a new tower; the skyline is crowded with an assembly of jostling skyscrapers and landmarks constructed over the last century. Completed in 2019, The Centrale is an 803-foot-tall residential tower designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and developed by Ceruzzi Properties. The building strikes a middle ground between the surrounding Art-Deco icons and post-war glass curtain walls with panels of terra-cotta chevrons and solar-control glass. The 220,000-square-foot tower is located mid-block and is flanked on either side by pre-war midrises of stepped massing and clad in detailed yellow brick, limestone, and ornamental masonry. The challenge for the architectural team was how to incorporate these historical elements into a contemporary mold for a remarkably slender project.
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terracotta Interpane Permasteelisa
  • Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects SLCE Architects (Executive Architect)
  • Facade Installer Permasteelisa
  • Facade Consultant Vidaris
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2019
  • System Custom unitized system
  • Products INTERPANE Ipasol Platin 52-36 Boston Valley Terracotta extruded terra-cotta panels
"We were cautious not to fall into the trappings of architectural style and appearance, but rather to emulate the repetition and movement of the Jazz Age and the expressive machinery that celebrated the still young industrial age," said Pelli Clarke Pelli principal Craig Copeland. "The chevron emerged as a key motif for the project; and we soundly incorporated it throughout from the scale of the skyline, to the touch of many close-up details." The base of the project begins with a 100-foot-tall metal screen that cloaks shared residential spaces and is indented with the tower's prevailing chevron detail. Lifting the residences measurably above street level and shrouding the podium with perforated metal is a clever aesthetic solution to engineering requirements. Similar to SHoP's 111 57th Street, the narrow profile of the tower—floor plates are approximately 3,000 square feet— required significant shear walls on the east and west elevations, and is further stabilized by a 400-ton tuned mass damper located at the bulkhead. A series of hinged setbacks occur as the tower rises, shifting the face of the primary elevation to the northeast and northwest in a playful nod to contextual massing. The orientation of the terra-cotta panels corresponds to the alternating facade planes, and are colored cream and dark brown. Using the latter was a practical solution to heighten the depth of a relatively shallow architectural detail, and the terra-cotta bands form something of an abstract impression of fluted buttresses. The design of the facade and the dimensions of the curtain wall units were impacted by the constraints of the site, and contractors relied on a hoist run rather than a conventional crane to install the panels. Typical curtain wall units measure approximately 5'-8" by 11' and 3' by 11', and the terra-cotta units are 4'-4" by 11'. According to Pelli Clarke Pelli associate principal Jimmy Chang, "The design team had to work with this limitation and modify the much more expressed facade (deep saw-tooth profile), to smaller and shallower profile units." Through scaling down the unit sizes, fabricator and installer Permasteelisa saved time in assembly and installation which ultimately translated to overall cost savings of the curtain wall. On the second day of Facades+ NYC, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, engineering firm BüroEhring, and Roschmann Steel & Glass Construction will lead an intensive workshop titled "(P)ReFabricate: An Interactive Reinterpretation of Prefabricated Building Enclosures." Attendees of the workshop will collaborate closely with the team of nine instructors to recalibrate the designs of one of eight prefabricated case studies according to a change in context, contemporary energy standards, and ease of assembly.  
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Demerits for Demolition

Preservationists fight to save Midtown Manhattan's 19th-century Demarest Building
Another prominent Midtown Manhattan building could be demolished and replaced with a 26-story mid-rise tower.  The Demarest Building, a 19th-century, iron-framed structure on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street, has long been loved for its three-story-high arched windows and unique history as a high-end horse carriage showroom and later as the home of the world’s first electric elevator. Its owners, Pi Capital Partners, filed an application for the new building this summer but have yet to begin the paperwork for a demolition permit, according to amNewYork Over the past few years, preservation groups have tried without success to stop the project. They worry that, if destroyed, the Demarest Building would be a major loss for the city, given its architectural and technological legacy. It was designed in 1890 by local firm Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell, the practice of St. Patrick’s Cathedral architect James Renwick Jr., and built by Aaron T. Demarest, a prominent carriage and automobile manufacturer. The then-upcoming Carnegie Hall was thought to be the design inspiration for the light-orange Beaux Arts building, though it’s unlikely since they were built around the same time.  Preservationists are set to gather today at 10:30 a.m. at a rally on-site (339 Fifth Ave.) to protest the Demarest's potential demolition. The event is co-organized by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which has repeatedly appealed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate the building as a local landmark and has launched a petition (here) to save the building. The LPC claims its exterior has been altered too much since opening nearly 140 years ago.  Andrew Berman, the organization’s executive director, told amNewYork that despite any changes, the Demarest Building is particularly significant given its age and because it’s a “great link to New York’s commercial past and its development as the commercial capital of the world.”  Situated blocks away from Penn Station and near Herald Square as well as the Empire State Building, the structure is and has always been a cornerstone of activity. While now the ground floor contains a Wendy’s, a souvenir shop, and a money exchange, the upper portion of its tan brick facade—with its terra-cotta panels and detailing—has remained architecturally iconic, preservationists argue ,and should be saved. 
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Breaking News

Architect Erica Tishman killed by falling debris near Times Square
Erica Tishman, a founding partner of DeWitt Tishman Architects, was tragically struck and killed today by a piece of a building facade that fell in Manhattan. The 60-year old architect and vice president at Zubatkin Owner Representation was declared dead on the scene around 10:45 a.m. at 49th Street near 7th Avenue. According to the police, the incident occurred outside of 729 7th Avenue, a 17-story building that was constructed in 1915. The building had been issued a violation in April for “failure to maintain exterior building facade and appurtenances,” and according to The Wallstreet Journal, a city inspector noted in the April summons that the building had damaged terra cotta above the 15th floor in several locations, “which poses a falling hazard for pedestrians.”  The building is owned by a limited liability company controlled by commercial real estate firm Himmel + Meringoff Properties. According to Department of Buildings records, the company took out permits in October and November to work on the facade. As of this morning, the scaffolding needed to complete this work has not yet been installed.
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In the Round

2019 Best of Design Awards winners for Unbuilt — Urban Design
2019 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt – Urban Design: St. John's Park Designer: Ballman Khapalova Location: New York City

St. John’s Park is the entry into Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel, passed through by 100,000 people per day. The distribution of traffic into five directions using five off-ramps results in a difficult morphology, rendering the center of the site inaccessible and unbuildable. As a result, St. John’s Park is permanently closed to the public. This proposal is generated from the geometry of the existing off-ramps, so that tunnel traffic may continue unimpeded. A continuous loop travels from street level to one level belowground, excavating the center of the site and allowing passage below the existing roadway. At street level is a series of new playgrounds, lawns, and dog parks. At the center is the main park, 300 feet in diameter and open to the sky.

Resources: Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti Climate Engineer: Transsolar KlimaEngineering Construction and Logistics: Sciame Construction Honorable Mentions Project Name: Pensacola Waterfront Framework Plan Designer: SCAPE Landscape Architecture DCP Project Name: Pier 70 Designer: SITELAB urban studio Editors' Picks Project Name: Chicago Transit Authority: Damen Green Line Station Designer: Perkins and Will Project Name: Boston Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines & Zoning Overlay District Designer: Utile, Inc.
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WeWork is getting a TV show as it lays off 900 employees in NYC
The dramatic rise and fall of WeWork will soon be transformed into a TV series, and Nicholas Braun (aka Cousin Greg) of HBO’s hit show Succession will be playing the company’s cofounder, Adam Neumann.  Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content have acquired the TV rights to the saga detailed in a forthcoming book from Wall Street Journal reporters Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell which will be published by Penguin Random House imprint Crown. Having extensively reported on the nearly $50 billion startup for years, Chernin and Endeavor are also working on a WeWork documentary, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The writer of the limited series and the network it will air on have not yet been announced, however, Braun will executive produce the project. While the TV series is the latest in WeWork projects, others also have plans in the works. Blumhouse Productions will produce a feature film based on an upcoming book by Fast Company’s Katrina Brooker, and Campfire announced it would be producing a documentary with Business Insider Meanwhile, today the actual WeWork is in the process of laying off over 900 New York City employees after announcing last month that they would lay off about 2,400 employees across the company. The filing, required because of the high number of positions to be cut, listed that 911 New York employees would be affected, mostly in Manhattan. Additionally, the company is also trying to spin-off (or shut down) the various office management and co-working startups it had acquired during its rise. According to the filing, of the 911 employees, 262 (largely maintenance workers) will be offered transitional positions to one or more third-party vendors. The locations with the most affected are 85 Broad Street with 250 employees, 1619 Broadway with 71 employees, and 12 49th Street with 23 employees.
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Total Transformation

The 2019 Best of Design Awards winners for Building Renovation — Commercial
  2019 Best of Design Award for Building Renovation — Commercial: Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice Designer: Gensler Location: New York City When Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates completed the Ford Foundation building in 1968, critics hailed it as an architectural icon. A private, not-for-profit organization established in 1936, the Ford Foundation partnered with Gensler for a mission-driven redesign of its Manhattan headquarters that opened in 2018. The holistic renovation transforms the foundation’s workplace and public spaces in a manifestation of its mission: to promote the inherent dignity of all people. Completed over two years, the project highlighted the building’s original character while bringing it into alignment with New York City safety code and Landmarks Preservation Commission requirements, and bringing it beyond ADA code in order to increase accessibility throughout the building. Owner’s Representative: Levien & Company MEP Engineer: Jaros Baum & Bolles Landscape Design: Raymond Jungles in collaboration with SiteWorks Lighting Design: Fisher Marantz Stone Construction Manager: Henegan Construction Honorable Mentions Project Name: Avling Brewery & Kitchen Designer: LAMAS Project Name: Apple Fifth Avenue Designer: Foster + Partners Editors' Picks Project Name: 645 Fifth Avenue, Olympic Tower Designer: MdeAS Architects Project Name: Intelligentsia Designer: Bestor Architecture
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Moving Downton

Van Alen Institute will move to Gowanus in Spring 2020
On Tuesday, the Van Alen Institute announced that they would be moving their home in Manhattan’s Flatiron District to a new, street-level space in Gowanus, Brooklyn, in Spring 2020. The ground lease of 303 Bond Street, a 3,500-square-foot space not only reflects the evolution of the design institute but also aligns with their broader mission as an organization. The announcement comes a year after the nonprofit sold its current storefront home at 30 West 22nd Street. “For Van Alen, maintaining a street-level space is not just symbolic; it is absolutely critical to our work,” explained Deborah Marton, executive director of the institute, in a recent press release. “We must use design thinking to answer questions we hear most often from outside the profession--questions about displacement, responsible city growth, and impacts of climate change,” she added. The Bond Street location will house the organization’s ongoing public programming as well as new workshops. With street-level access, the location reflects the commitment to foster conversations between communities by staying engaged with its surroundings and providing space for discussion on cities, design, and public health.  Marton elaborated that, “As we’ve learned in our Flatiron District space, street access gives us the single most important tool in answering these questions: a direct connection with the public. Our doors will be open to our Gowanus neighbors and we look forward to listening to them.”  “Van Alen’s new Gowanus space is an important mission-driven investment, and provides a sustainable home for our next 125 years,” said Jared Della Valle, Van Alen board chair and CEO of Alloy Development. “As we expand our work nationally, we look forward to learning from the ongoing conversations about climate change and equity in this neighborhood.”  With the success of a recent Miami project focused on the use of design and climate change, Van Alen hopes to continue expanding this work on local and national levels.