Search results for "east new york"

Placeholder Alt Text

New York City Looks to Extend East River Ferry Service Through 2019
After launching a year-and-a-half ago, New York City's East River Ferry service, has wildly surpassed ridership estimates and Mayor Bloomberg is looking to extend the initial three-year trial period to 2019. So far, more than 1.6 million passengers have paid the $4 fare (or $5 if you take your bike) to ride on the fleet of 149-passenger and 399-passenger boats along the East River between Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Governors Island (the NYC Economic Development Corporation predicted that 1.3 million would ride the service in its entire three-year pilot). The ferry pilot program was launched to promote economic development along the city's waterfront, and has been seen as a boon to such waterfront projects as the Williamsburg Edge. The city has issued an RFP for a future ferry operator to take over once the current contract with BillyBey Ferry Company expires in 2014.
Placeholder Alt Text

Bayfront to Bayback

Perkins Eastman tapped for 100-acre mega development in Jersey City
Development in New Jersey doesn’t look like it will be slowing down any time soon, and Jersey City seems to be next in line to receive a massive, ground-up neighborhood. As first reported by Jersey Digs, New York's Perkins Eastman has been selected by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency (JCRA) to design a residential community on a vacant, 100-acre waterfront plot. Plans for the new Bayfront community have been kicking around for at least three years, as private developer Honeywell International, Inc. and the city government hashed out their vision for the development. The remediation for chromium contamination, a relic of the plot’s industrial past, has slowed the progress on the site—leading to a $170 million buyout of Honeywell by the city government in October 2018. Jersey City has partnered with the JCRA and will act as a “master developer,” according to Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. After infrastructure is lain at the site by the city, development rights will then be parceled off and sold. According to a November 28, 2018, JRCA resolution that announced Perkins Eastman’s selection, the development plan will be split into two phases. Following a site tour and scope analysis, Perkins Eastman will be responsible for creating a set of design and development principles that fit within the master plan proposed by Anton Nelessen Associates. The First Phase Conceptual Plan will allow the city to create a comprehensive request for proposals (RFP) for prospective private developers. Design guidelines, renderings, “conceptual design for the public realm,” and a site plan will all be included. The second phase will be focused on refining the conceptual plan using feedback from the community and developers and will “get the word out” about plans for the site. According to the JRCA resolution, the city expects to issue developer RFPs in the first quarter of 2019. Once fully built out, Bayside could hold as many as 8,000 residential units. Perkins Eastman’s selection hasn’t been without hiccups; Councilman Rolando Lavarro, who sits on the JCRA advisory board, slammed Mayor Fulop in a Facebook post for the no-bid decision. Perkins Eastman will receive $218,000 for its Bayside work.
Placeholder Alt Text

Spring Awakening

Preview Heatherwick Studio’s upcoming New York City projects
Three of Heatherwick Studio’s monumental projects are taking shape along Manhattan’s High Line, part of the transformation of the Meatpacking neighborhood from a gritty industrial landscape to a playground for the ultra-wealthy. From Hudson Yards at the elevated park’s northern-most tip, to the manmade island taking shape on the coast off of 15th Street, AN recently checked in on the status of the London studio's rapidly rising projects. Pier 55 Pier 55 seemed like it was on the verge of financial collapse just a year ago, as the cost of the Barry Diller–backed project rose to $250 million and the nonprofit Hudson River Park Trust was buffeted by lawsuits. Diller withdrew his support of the 2.75-acre pocket park in the Hudson, and the floating island, supported by sculpted concrete piers, looked like it was never going to happen. Then, thanks to Governor Cuomo stepping in at the last minute to mediate between billionaire Douglas Durst, the City Club of New York, and Diller, the project was declared back on. When AN last toured the site in April of 2018, piles were being driven into the Hudson’s riverbed for the two walkways that would lead to the park. Now, at the start of 2019, it appears that construction is picking up steam. Most, if not all, of the piers appear to be in place, and the 132 sculptural, wave-like concrete caps are being installed. Each of the “pots” was fabricated in Upstate New York from custom foam molds and it’s expected that they’ll be fully installed in March 2020. The installation is on hold for the winter and should begin again in May of this year. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will be handling the landscape design proper, and the park is expected to open in early 2021. Once complete, Pier 55 will include an amphitheater and two landscaped staging areas. 515 West 18th Street Further north on 18th Street, the first tower of the two-pronged 515 West 18th Street has already topped out. The 425,000-square-foot development was only first revealed in January 2018 thanks to a video aimed at luring foreign investors, but the project has already made considerable progress in a year. The split project drew polarizing reactions for its bulging, barrel-like bay windows, which almost seem to be inflated from the inside. The two towers (connected via a single-story annex under the High Line) are expected to bring 181 condos to the neighborhood. The 10-story tower on the eastern half of the High Line has topped out as of January 2019, and the western tower, which will reach 22 stories so that residents can catch views across the Hudson River, is already above ground. It’s likely the condos in the finished development will be pricey, as developer Related Companies has promised high-end interiors, plenty of amenities, and 175 parking spots. Coincidentally enough, Thomas Heatherwick’s High Line–straddling project is going up right next to BIG’s; on the southern side of 18th street is the XI, the Bjarke Ingels Group’s pair of twisting, travertine-clad towers. Once complete sometime in mid-2020, Heatherwick’s bulging towers will sit comfortably between the Gehry-design IAC building to the west, and venerable performing arts space the Kitchen to the north. The Vessel At the High Line’s northern terminus, looming over the entire park is the glass-heavy presence of Hudson Yards. At the center of this massive public-private development is the Vessel, Thomas Heatherwick’s $150 million, 150-foot-tall, bronzed-steel-and-concrete staircase sculpture. Completely climbable (an elevator will also be included for those unable to take the stairs), the Vessel features over 154 flights of stairs, 80 landings, and over 2,400 treads. The installation expands as it rises, going from a 50-foot-wide footprint at the base to a 150-foot-wide diameter at the top. Once at the top, visitors can expect unobstructed views across the Hudson River, down the city, and of the surrounding Hudson Yards neighborhood. The piece was prefabricated in 75 large parts in Italy, then assembled on site, with the last segment installed in December of 2017. When AN visited the site last, construction workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the sculpture’s rails and lights. Phase one of Hudson Yards, which includes the Vessel and the development’s five-acre public plaza in which it sits, is expected to open to the public on March 15 of this year.
Placeholder Alt Text

Prime Benefits?

New York’s proposal for Amazon’s HQ2 is much worse than we thought
While the nationwide application process for Amazon's HQ2 was largely shrouded in secrecy, New York City residents are finally starting to get some answers about the closed-doors deal. The city's Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released the city's proposal to the public on Tuesday, along with a promotional website dedicated to HQ2. Some of what it reveals is expected—boasts about the city's transit, talent pool, and local amenities—but it's the concessions from the city that have raised eyebrows and triggered a trio of City Council hearings on the terms of the deal, the first of which was held yesterday. On Wednesday morning, the city council committee on economic development hosted Amazon's vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, and the NYC EDC President James Patchett. In a three-hour-long hearing, the two were given the chance to defend their decision to bypass the city's traditional land use review process (ULURP) that would have lawfully determined how the new HQ2 will affect Long Island City, Queens, its projected home. We now know the deal was secured through a state-controlled process known as a general project plan (GPP), where large-scale and dense developments are scrutinized at a different level if they're being constructed in a low-income area. Among the more controversial promises in the 2017 proposal is the offer to use eminent domain to gather more parcels for the campus and "override local zoning" to speed up and develop the campus in ways that the retail giant might want. Of the potential sites listed in the proposal for an Amazon extension beyond One Court Square, Long Island City's formerly tallest tower, about 20 are privately owned and only a handful belong to the city. One of the private sites in contention is held by plastics company Plaxall, where a potential apartment building or office tower will be constructed. Because this property is included in the GPP, it means that Plaxall and Amazon will altogether avoid ULURP approval through the city council. In yesterday's meeting, led by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, council members questioned Huseman and Patchett in a series of fiery turns, each expressing serious concern over not only the physical development of Amazon's campus, but also the company's assistance to ICE, its employees' rights to unionize, and whether it would help nurture local young talent in the area and promote diversity within its headquarters. Johnson, alongside Western Queens' representative Jimmy Van Bramer, pointedly asked Huseman if Amazon would be willing to redirect New York's planned $500 million capital grant to the four public housing developments near the site. Like many of the companies' responses, Amazon tiptoed around the questions by citing its projected job creation numbers.   What's even more troubling about this deal is the city's Non-Disclosure Agreement with Amazon that stipulated that the EDC would notify the corporation of all public records requests related to the bid in order to "give Amazon prior written notice sufficient to allow Amazon to seek a protective order or other remedy." While the EDC's promise is not unusual, explicitly stating why is. As the director of a good government nonprofit told Politico, “They don’t normally spell it out so the business can run to court." Yesterday's economic development hearing was fueled with anger over the off-the-record deal to lure the retail giant to New York. City Hall allowed a portion of the public to attend the meeting, where frequent outbursts by protesters disrupted the proceedings. In January, the city council committee on finance will focus on the city and state subsidies provided to Amazon, while a meeting in February will zero in on the potential impact the deal could have on Long Island City's infrastructure, housing, and transportation. Once that's over, the project plan will still have to be reviewed by the local community board and go through an environmental review. The mayor also announced a new 45-member Community Advisory Committee tasked with sharing information and gathering feedback on a number of issues, including public amenities, training, and hiring programs, as well as community benefits. The committee will begin meeting in January.
Placeholder Alt Text

All-Star Cast

Plaster Monuments casts the history of reproduced sculpture in a new mold
Andy Warhol very likely attended art classes in the Hall of Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art. The Hall of Architecture is a star attraction at the Pittsburgh museum, a manifestation of Andrew Carnegie’s instruction to bring the world to the people of Pittsburgh. An eclectic troupe of fragments considered seminal for design practice in the early 20th century, the Hall of Architecture may well have seemed both glamorous and anachronistic to teenage Warhol: glamorous in its array of iconic monuments from Europe and the Middle East, anachronistic as the very concept of plaster casts was antithetical to High Modernist mores, to the cult of function and originality. In Plaster Monuments, Mari Lending takes her readers on a richly informative tour of this curious yet once vanguard world of architectural casts and their presentation in some of the world’s most prestigious museums. Pittsburgh has survived, perhaps as the Carnegie was not so infatuated with the diktats of Modernism. In London, the Cast Courts with their bifurcated cast of Trajan’s Column remain in situ at the heart of the Victoria and Albert Museum; and much of French architectural history is still present in Paris, in what is now the Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine, at the Trocadéro. Nevertheless, other collections, like those in Boston and Brussels, have long been abandoned or dispersed. “Only a decade,” Lending writes of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “after ‘THE MOST IMPORTANT COLLECTION OF CASTS IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD’ was installed in New York City, taste—as well as fortunes—was changing, and in 1905 the position of curator of casts was abolished…The biggest collection of Parthenon casts in the world,” she notes wryly, “survived a 1937 referendum when the people of Basel suggested drowning it all in the Rhine.” Happily, Pittsburgh held out against these slings and arrows of architectural and museological fashion. Lending is Norwegian, a professor of history and theory at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design; she has also recently published a book with Peter Zumthor titled A Feeling of History. In her introduction, she posits Plaster Monuments “within the emerging scholarly field of architecture exhibitions.” For Lending, the past seems to shadow the present, toying with memory and assumptions of linear progress or of a fixed canon. She makes connections not only with the 19th-century museum and architectural theory but with such diverse contemporary technical and political phenomena as photography and colonialism. The book divides into five chapters—spanning, back and forth, across two centuries—plus a coda bringing Lending’s account into our era of digital reproduction. She starts with the Grand Tour and a watercolor, Student Surveying the Temple of Jupiter Stator at Rome, commissioned by John Soane and exhibited—along with twenty-one casts and many drawings, paintings, and engravings—in Soane’s own museum in London. Soon the French are leading the way, at the École des Beaux Art and the Trocadéro (originally the Musée de sculpture comparée). Lending describes the rivalry of Classicists and Romanticists, with the Trocadéro’s Viollet-le-Duc being assaulted at the École by eggs and apples and donkey brays. For the French, casts played a critical role not only for education but also the establishment of national identity. By the time the Met embarked on its collection, these Paris institutions possessed molds to produce multiple new casts. In addition, an entire profession of cast-makers—the formatori—existed to supply museums and private collectors. In Pittsburgh, Carnegie boldly envisaged architecture at the heart of his museum/library/music hall complex, in a roof-lit hall modeled on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Lending emphasizes the speed with which this was achieved, in part due to the frequent use of transatlantic cablegrams. The Carnegie determined its selection through correspondence with two dozen contemporary architects, many inspired by H.H. Richardson. Thus its signature cast of the Romanesque church of Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, facilitated by a personal gift from Carnegie and transported from France in 95 crates. Lending’s final chapter sets up a duality at Yale: Josef Albers versus Paul Rudolph. She quotes Albers stating that “the French Beaux-Arts casts had no place in the methods of the German Bauhaus.” Only a few years after their banishment however, Rudolph incorporated many of these casts—outcasts?—into his Art and Architecture Building, itself a monumental cast of hand-hammered concrete. Whereas Charles Jencks once criticized the building as a “four million dollar architectural potpourri” with “tasteless exhibits”, Timothy Rohan recently suggested that Rudolph’s inclusion of the casts “may have been an instance of homosexual camp." Sounding positively Warholian, Landing writes in her coda to Beaux Arts cast culture that "copying was a serious matter." Can newer technologies now allow facsimiles to replace lost or destroyed works, as with the replica of the Palmyra arch erected in Trafalgar Square in 2016? Plaster Monuments sets the context for many such future discussions. Plaster Monuments Mari Lending Published by Princeton University Press, $39.99
Placeholder Alt Text

Brutalism at Best

Stunning new photos document I.M. Pei’s early Brutalist museum
I.M. Pei, legendary designer of cultural and institutional architecture, designed his first-ever museum in downtown Syracuse, New York. Constructed in 1968, the 60,000-square-foot Everson Museum of Art was a brutalist building that broke the mold on traditional museum design. The geometric structure was made out of poured-in-place concrete and local granite, featuring four cantilevered galleries and a dramatic exterior. In the museum’s grand vision, Pei gave the city its first taste of groundbreaking modern architecture, and in turn, launched his own reputation as a world-class cultural architect. He went on to design other iconic museums like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, the famous glass pyramid at the Louvre, as well as the National Gallery of Art East Wing in Washington, D.C.  On the 50th anniversary of the Everson Museum’s completion, it’s hosting an exhibition on Pei’s design and the institution's history as a “monumental work of abstract sculpture and architecture.” Art Within Art: The Everson at 50, which opened in mid-October, showcases archival materials and never-before-seen plans, photographs, and models of the project.  “For 50 years, our one-of-a-kind arts venue has stood as a work of art to house art,” said Elizabeth Dunbar, director and CEO of the museum. “We are excited to celebrate our facility’s milestone anniversary and bring 50 more years of meaningful encounters with art and architecture to all those that visit the museum.” The Everson is home to over 10,000 pieces of art and features one of the largest collections of international ceramics in the United States. It has hosted the first solo exhibitions of several international artists including Yoko Ono, Bill Viola, and Marilyn Minter.
Placeholder Alt Text

Gettin' Cozy

Rockwell Group designs a chill winter escape for Pier17’s new rooftop lounge
What’s most surprising about Rockwell Group’s design for R17, the new speakeasy-inspired lounge atop Lower Manhattan’s Pier 17, is that it’s not flashy. In contrast to the stand-out building it’s housed in, the 1,830-square-foot restaurant and bar provides a chic setting for cocktail and wine lovers to casually get a drink after work without being inundated by the holiday crowd that’s currently shrouding the South Street Seaport district. While the majority of the structure’s rooftop will transform next week into a veritable winter wonderland complete with New York’s newest ice-skating rink, the bar itself is designed to maintain an aura of intimacy. At least, that’s how Rockwell Group envisions it. “We wanted to create a calming atmosphere that people could escape to,” said Senior Interior Designer Renee Burdick, “similar to how New Yorkers might escape to a cabin or chalet upstate during winter.”      But that vision is completely seasonal. For The Howard Hughes Corporation, the group that owns the mixed-use development, the design team crafted a “pop-up” space that will transition in both style and setting from a winter pavilion into a summer pavilion. While R17 can only accommodate around 70 people now, when it’s floor-to-ceiling sliding doors are open in the warmer months and the dining area expands onto a tiered terrace, the space effectively quadruples in size, increasing capacity to 300. The current cabin vibes, created thanks to low-lighting, fur pillows, dark-hued furniture, and textured wool rugs, will be replaced with a lighter material palette and beachy upholstery. The large fireplaces will become settings for playful art installations. This “transformative” approach to interior architecture is very site-specific, said Rockwell Group. Not many hospitality projects have the bandwidth to literally flip the space throughout the year. “The programming shift here is enormous,” said Richard Chandler, associate principal and studio leader at Rockwell Group. “It will have a completely different look and feel in the summer. We'll add new pieces to the design every year so it’ll always be evolving.” Some things about the lounge will stay the same. Its anchoring design feature is a blue onyx-topped bar with a sand-colored wavy tile that serves as siding. Burdick says it’s designed to look like a mountain skyline. These two elements bring a feel of fluidity to the space, along with the large-format printed tiles on the floor, that contain brushstrokes of blue, silver, and gray. The motif of movement is continuously carried out on the ceiling and windows, which include metallic threads and gilded wood-and-metal screens respectively. These help tone down the bright sunlight that may stream into the space during the day and shield restaurant-goers from the lively scene going on outside, which Rockwell Group will outfit with a temporary bar and lounge that’s reminiscent of a ski lodge interior. These “warming huts” will be shaped to mimic the urban water towers found atop buildings across the city. Much like these locally-inspired building shapes, R17 boasts an array of city, state, and American-made materials that complement the mountain chalet and Long Island beach home concepts. The space serves as a new living room for the city—with arguably the best view of the Brooklyn Bridge in all of Manhattan. It doesn’t have a flamboyant entrance and isn’t suffocated by the bright, technicolor lights that glare out of Pier 17 at night. It’s an understated, flexible space that’s simple and luxurious. Although, in the summer, Rockwell Group plans that the expanded scale, along with the pier’s popular summer concert series, will bring a different kind of festive and potentially exclusive energy to new bar and restaurant. According to Chandler, we'll have to wait and see.
Placeholder Alt Text

Sheet Ghost-Chic

Anthony McCall brings his light works back to New York
English artist Anthony McCall is bringing his ghostly, “solid-light” installations back to New York City in December, with a new solo show at the Sean Kelly Gallery in East Midtown, his sixth in the space. From December 14 through January 26, 2019, visitors can catch two new works from McCall, and his 2003 piece Doubling Back, which was first shown at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. A number of McCall’s black-and-white photographs will also be on display. While McCall’s show at Brooklyn's Pioneer Works in February was able to take advantage of the space’s cavernous ceilings and present vertical light pieces, horizontal installations are the focus of the Sean Kelly show, Split Second. Despite the format change, McCall’s hallmark exploration of volumetric forms using a volume-less medium, light, will be fully on display. Split Second and Split Second (Mirror) will be making their world debut at their namesake show. In Split Second, a flat blade and elliptical cone will be projected on the gallery’s back wall and slowly combine and form intersecting planes that rotate around each other. In Split Second (Mirror), McCall will split a projected “cone” with a wall-sized mirror, “cutting” the shape with a plane of light reflected back at the source. Doubling Back was McCall’s first return to the form after a 20-year hiatus. Each of McCall’s solid-light installations are actually very slowly moving films—up to a half hour or longer—and Doubling Back is no exception. Two sinuous waves, one moving horizontally and the other vertically, overlap and form pockets of light and shadow, integrating the architecture of the gallery itself into the piece. A selection of photos from McCall’s solid-light installations from the 1970s and 2000s will also be on display, capturing still images, or slices of time, from past work. That sort of snapshot is a bit ironic considering McCall’s description of his work as intentionally slowed down, creating an ever-changing relationship between the viewer and the piece. For best results, patrons will have to experience McCall’s “sculptures” for themselves. Sean Kelly Gallery is located at 475 10th Avenue in Manhattan and is open from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday.
Placeholder Alt Text

"An Exotic Place"

The new director of Cincinnati’s School of Architecture and Interior Design talks the future and Ohio
Ed Mitchell began his role as the new director of the University of Cincinnati's School of Architecture and Interior Design (SAID) one year ago. Notable for its innovative century-old cooperative education platform, the school's rankings have dipped in the past decades out of the country's elite programs. In this interview, Mitchell—whose resume includes an energetic mix of professional practice and academic positions at Columbia, Pratt, Yale, IIT, and more—explains his vision for the school and the move from the east coast to the midwest. The Architect's Newspaper: At the time you took the role of SAID director, you were in charge of the post-professional program at Yale and an Associate Professor there. Ed Mitchell: There were things we were doing in studios at Yale that I thought had the mission of a "school." What I liked about the students at Yale—especially the post-professional students—was that they were international. Their perspective on issues was very different from the standard American East Coast background that Yale typically gets. We were doing studios where the problem was wide open—but it was real. It wasn't a problem of program or constructional limitations. What was important was a real evaluation of the aesthetics and formal control of architecture to other disciplines. There were physical aspects of city-making that compelled me. People would come to both of us with questions like: "We've got 1,600 acres. What should we do? We need an answer in three weeks." That was the problem. As a result, our students would get involved in the actual project—meet with state officials, local politicians, developers, fishermen, industry workers, local immigrant communities—and actually stage the city they wanted to have happen. AN: Why did you apply for the job in Cincinnati? EM: Cincinnati, if you've never come out here, is an exotic place. Everything was new here for me. It was like being in a foreign country. As an architect, this is one of the most beautiful architectural cities I've been too, bar (almost) none. Cincinnati is the westernmost eastern city, the southernmost northern city, and the northernmost southern city in the country. Nothing is resolved here! The city has an incredible history that you feel around you all the time. This is the subculture that makes a place interesting. It's the kind of place that I always gravitated to—I lived in Providence as an undergraduate. I moved to New York and San Francisco in the '80's which were both like that. If you were talented and had energy, then people would find out about you, and they might just invite you to collaborate with them. It wasn't like you had to pay dues to gain access. What's interesting about a city like Cincinnati is that it's relatively easy to get into the community to do work. The cost of the education is relatively low—when high tuition cost prohibits at a point of entry from certain economic classes that isn't right. If you are eliminating talent based on income, you're not doing anything important anymore. This was the right school with the right kind of potential. AN: What are you most excited about in your new position as director of SAID? EM: $2 beers and cheap bowling. An exciting art scene of young people in the city. Adjunct faculty who looked like they might have the kind of energy to take this to the next level. I sensed people wanted somebody to push the energy level up—to keep it up and stay positive about it. A lot of people forgot about the University of Cincinnati. On the east coast, it had a reputation as a great school. The midwestern schools safeguarded and championed the discipline of architecture for several decades. I still think of it that way, but admittedly many students are not familiar with the place and its mission. People are a little intimidated about taking risks, and this might be a risky place to be. It's not New York or L.A. or London. But it's a place where culture arises from.
You have opportunities here that you wouldn't have elsewhere. This week was incredible. The first year graduate studio built a pavilion on the main campus in two and a half weeks that's pretty incredible; we have five books coming out next month after one year. We have a new dean incoming from Hong Kong who is bringing a global perspective to the college. AN: What plans do you have for the school? What's your vision for it? EM: A lot of people don't realize Cincinnati has a 100-year old co-op program where a portion of the curriculum is dedicated to students working in offices around the world. The idea of the cooperative was a radical political agenda in the midwest. It would be an exciting mission for the school to take it dead seriously. Not just as a service to professional offices—there's nothing wrong with that—but what the cooperative project really is. Whether that's questioning our urban futures, or taking a group of new students and in three weeks building a community structure to host events, or organizing the junior faculty in a three-city exhibition. There's an attitude here: an "all hands on deck" approach. Everyone pitches in to get things accomplished. I think this is fantastic—something you don't get in a lot of places. People here are competitive and want to do excellent work, but they're supportive and cooperative towards a larger cultural effort. AN: Explain the issues facing the school. EM: The school's reputation was in the accredited B.Arch program. I think we need to define what a Masters program is. The real question is what do we do different here than other schools? It's a relatively small program in size with a "down home" work ethic about what it does. However, that shouldn't stop it from being creative and original. Ohio is full of great subcultures in the arts and music from its utopian past to the birth of punk in Cleveland and Akron. We need to keep that spirit in architecture. There's too much focus on program and not enough critique of architecture. The good intentions of the students and faculty sometimes backfire: the moral is a way of dodging the physique. Some of our students travel internationally through co-op, but historically we haven't had strong enough partnerships with international academic programs. For example, our students will work in Beijing on a co-op, but they haven't actually done studio work there or looked at larger international problems that they'll probably be involved in within offices. So I'm trying to find a way that we can do research-based work within the school. Not only as a studio imperative but as an extended research project in a developing post-doc program or the existing doctoral programs. These projects can become longer-term sustained revisitation of a series of problems. In this way, international studies become less episodic and more engaged with a broader mission statement. AN: Since you were at Eisenman's office in the mid-'90s during the design of the school addition, what insights can you share about the building? Can you tell us how it operates? EM: The building has a legacy as one of the last buildings during the peak of a critical, theoretical approach in formalism. When I got out of school, I thought this was the only thing architecture would be left to do. It's an important legacy to retain, but not one to continually emulate to the point of exhaustion. It's like a medieval city—you have to learn it's internal routes. There are ways of moving about the building that inspire conspiracies, gang organizations, and new collectives. The main space in the building exists as a great gallery of work. SAID tends to occupy this space as much as it can. You can sit there, eat a sandwich, roll around on the floor, look at your work. People are in discussions there. It's a really active space and didactive for our students and faculty. AN: While SAID is one of four broader schools within DAAP, it contains two disciplines: architecture and interior design. Culturally, these programs feel like two different worlds, each with their own academic agendas and representational toolsets. EM: I'd like for the two disciplines to interplay more. There are things that each does better. Something is fascinating about how, in the 18th century, things like color couldn't be described scientifically. Issues like color and shape that weren't normative or relative to a platonic solid fell out of the discourse of architecture because they couldn't be documented, written, and transcribed. Interiors, as a discipline, didn't really emerge until the 19th century when "identity" became an issue. This led to a wide range of proto-formations of architecture and spatial matrices. Cincinnati is full of that because it emerged as a great city during this time of a shifting cultural spectrum. The result is that it's a place where you can invent stuff—there is great high modernism here, there's incredible Victorian architecture, and the landscape and river have its own unique presence. I think you can tap into that variety of circumstances, ecologies, and histories.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Roundup

Weekend Edition: D.C.’s newest museum, election analysis, and more
Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! D.C.’s newest museum goes underground to explore the American police system The new National Law Enforcement Museum in Washington, D.C., opened to the public in mid-October and teaches civilians what it's like to be police officer. Florida residents demand border wall around Habitat for Humanity housing Habitat for Humanity announced that an upcoming affordable housing development in East Naples, Florida, will have to be built with a concrete border wall. Amazon to split HQ2 between New York and Virginia, but can they handle it? News of a Crystal City Amazon headquarters may have been premature; it now seems the tech giant is looking at Long Island City as well. What did the 2018 midterms mean for East Coast architects? Let out a sigh of relief; the 2018 midterm elections are over, and voters passed judgment up and down the Eastern Seaboard on a wave of measures. West Coast sees big wins (and losses) in architecture and urbanism ballot initiatives As Democratic voters retook the House of Representatives and key gubernatorial seats, a series of initiatives saw mixed results in western states. That's all. See you Monday.  
Placeholder Alt Text

Tune In

New York architect launches guerrilla radio station about community uplift and food
Earlier this year, when architect Dong-Ping Wong branched out to start his own firm, he found himself going through name after name but none seemed to have the right ring. Finally, the word “food” occurred to him. Ridiculous at first, it wouldn’t leave his head, and so it stuck. Food, the firm, was born. Food, said Wong, is “something that everyone has an association with and a relationship to.” It is something people “can come together around.” Food as an architecture firm name, he points out, is unfortunately also very hard to Google. But that hasn't stopped them from working on projects for clients ranging from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to Kanye and Kim Kardashian West. But it's their most recent project, Office Hours, where the name's magnanimous universalism really shines through. For Office Hours, Food has taken over a storefront on East Broadway in New York’s Chinatown for three weeks of programming centered around an online radio station (to be distributed in more permanent format later) as well as various community projects and events. All manner of creative people, like chef Angela Dimayuga, artist Jon Wang, designers Chen Chen and Kai Williams, SO-IL partner Jing Liu, DJ Venus X, and creative director Heron Preston have come through and spoken on the air. As the website for Office Hours notes, the events, like actual office hours, also serve as an “open invitation.” People can come in and listen, and youth are particularly encouraged. In fact, Food members have stopped by the public library on more than one occasion to invite kids and teens in and people have come in off the street to do work or check out the "reading room." Office Hours is committed to promoting people of color and those who live in the largely-immigrant neighborhood. As the project description notes, “In New York City, one in four Asian Americans live below the poverty line…Unsurprisingly, many young people that grow up in this environment self-limit what they see themselves being able to do.” The purpose of Office Hours, in part, is to expand this range of vision and imagination by introducing youth to the whole array of future possibilities for themselves. The space, which is laid out with some wiggly custom-made gray plywood tables held up by Ikea desk legs, has hosted happenings for all ages—from drawing lessons to impromptu happy hours. Office Hours continues through November 16 and all are invited to intend. The schedule and the live stream are available on Food's website.
Placeholder Alt Text

Two Bridges to Nowhere

The Dubaification of New York
The residents of the Two Bridges neighborhood in the Lower East Side find themselves in a predicament. Throughout the city, developers have targeted expired urban renewal areas originally governed by land-use controls that have ensured housing affordability for decades. The Two Bridges Large Scale Residential Development is one such target. Exploiting the site’s underlying high-bulk zoning allowances, a group of developers is proposing to build four new predominantly market-rate skyscrapers, ranging in height from 62 to 80 stories—four gleaming luxury megatowers that portend a storm of gentrification and displacement. The proposal needs approval by the city administration. Many argue that the development requires a “Special Permit,” which would call for a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). In 2016, Carl Weisbrod, then Chair of the City Planning Commission, declared the project a “Minor Modification” requiring no ULURP. After public outcry, the Department of City Planning requested the developers to undertake an unprecedented joint Environmental Review. On October 17, 2018, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing regarding the proposal’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The room was packed. About 100 people testified. The vast majority (myself included) raised serious objections to the project and the approval process. Only five were in favor: two members of a union advocating for 50 permanent building service jobs promised for the site; an advocate for the disabled, who supports all projects that add elevators to subway stops; the current Two Bridges commercial tenant, who is promised a long-term lease in the new complex; and the executive director of Settlement Housing Fund, who is selling air rights to the 80-story tower. At the public hearing, questions about the appropriateness of the project’s scale were addressed by Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP, the firm responsible for the 80-story tower, who showed examples of recent large-scale waterfront projects and said that the city has consistently approved this kind of development. In his presentation, Pasquarelli glossed over substantive issues of urban context. The audience was baffled if not offended. When Pasquarelli claimed that the project “will create a vibrant, beautiful, equitable, and appropriate skyline for the city and its residents,” the room actually burst into laughter. Commissioner Anna Hayes Levin pointed out that the projects of “tremendous scale” that Pasquarelli used to make his case were in manufacturing areas transitioning to a new use, while this expired urban renewal area was planned for, and still is, a low- and moderate-income residential development. Pasquarelli, showing what was at best was ignorance and at worst callousness, did not really respond and brought up the example of the American Copper Buildings, a SHoP-designed 800-unit residential development in an already affluent neighborhood, with nowhere close to the same risks of gentrification and displacement impending at Two Bridges. Laughter also greeted Pasquarelli’s closing sentence: “the city is in a housing crisis, and this provides a huge amount of affordable housing for the neighborhood.” Indeed, a quarter of the new apartments (694 out of 2,775 units) will have a degree of affordability. But for whom? Surely not the current residents of Two Bridges, whose households’ median income ($30K) is below the threshold for renting in the new ‘affordable’ units ($37K). City-wide trends and the advent of Essex Crossing have already resulted in the loss of rent-regulated units as well as higher eviction rates in the area. The influx of 2,081 market-rate apartments cannot but exacerbate the situation and lead to residential and business displacement. Whose neighborhood will this be once bodegas are replaced by cafés selling five-dollar lattes? The Environmental Review was meant to identify any adverse impact from the proposed development in 19 areas of analysis as defined by the City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Technical Manual guidelines. The review found negative impact in five areas—Transportation, Shadows, Open Space, Construction, and Community Facilities & Services—for which the developers are proposing some mitigation. No adverse impact was found in 14 areas, among them Socioeconomic Conditions and Neighborhood Character. How is this possible? The CEQR guidelines are notoriously flawed. For instance, per the guidelines, no resident of a building with even one rent-regulated unit is vulnerable to indirect displacement. Even more troubling: the guidelines call for a “No Action” scenario to be used as a comparison when evaluating indirect displacement. The DEIS defines “No Action” as a condition “in which projects are expected to continue the trend towards market-rate development and rising residential rents in the study area. In accordance with the CEQR Technical Manual guidelines, since the vast majority of the study area has already experienced a readily observable trend toward increasing rents and new market rate development, further analysis is not necessary.” The “No Action” scenario is one of several critical factors that make possible and seemingly inevitable what we might call the ‘dubaification’ of New York City. It is not a loophole: the developers and their compliant architects are going by the book, following the law to the letter. The problem is written in the law itself: once you accept the premise that the market is already conquering the city—that increasing rents and luxury developments are already the norm—no new project, no matter how big or in which urban context, can ever be held responsible for negatively affecting the socio-economic fabric of any area. The question, in assessing this proposal as well as the spate of massive developments popping up all over the city, is not solely about scale. To be sure, height is a major concern. (I find it ironic that the tallest of the existing six housing complexes at Two Bridges is a 21-story building that everyone calls “The Tower.”) But what these megatowers portend is something more ominous: an ever more homogeneous and generic skyline; the disappearance of neighborhoods and their communities; apartments becoming phantom residencies for absentee investors; dwelling valued only as an investment, a commodity; a city of resplendent buildings towering over dead streets. There is still time to do the right thing for Two Bridges. The City Planning Commission will be voting as early as November 14 on the “Minor Modification.” They must deny it. A ULURP must be granted, to allow the public and elected officials to negotiate for more significant community benefits, including greater and deeper affordability as well as height caps to truly tackle the adverse impact of the megatowers. More important, the Two Bridges debate is an opportunity to start imagining alternative visions for our city. The City administration must close zoning loopholes and fix the CEQR guidelines. Let’s build a city in which housing is not treated as a commodity but as a fundamental right.