Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

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SITU Studio designs a “Solar Canopy” to popularize rooftop solar systems in urban areas

A recently developed product, the Solar Canopy, may solve many of the problems related to having solar panels on residential urban rooftops, according to a recent press release. The Solar Canopy, a collaboration of Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm SITU Studio and Brooklyn SolarWorks, is a raised platform of solar panels. The project’s development also included Solar One, an advisor, and Laufs Engineering Design (LED), a structural engineering consultant. This approach to incorporating solar panels on rooftops in New York City attempts to resolve concerns such as fire code regulations, rooftop obstructions, and wind and snow loads. The Canopy has a minimum size requirement of 6’ wide x 9’ high, based on requirements set forth by the Department of Buildings (DOB). The product was initially designed for brownstones and row-houses in Brooklyn but can be produced in larger sizes. Aluminum, with its solid-but-lightweight properties, was chosen for the Canopy's frame. “The buildings might not [stand the test of time] but [the Canopy] is built to really last,” stated T.R. Ludwig of Brooklyn SolarWorks in an interview with AN. The Canopy consists of standard components—trusses, beams, and angled columns. A T-extrusion is used to attach the structure securely to the roof. Using a parametric formula, these components can be easily reproduced to yield a customized Canopy, potentially double the size of a rooftop solar system. A video included in a press release, seen below, shows the assembly of the Canopy. The Solar Canopy will hopefully allow homeowners to save considerably in energy costs. Tax credits from the Federal government, the State of New York, and the City of New York can be used to cover 60 to 90 percent of the cost of a rooftop solar system. Ludwig told AN that it is possible for homeowners to take out loans to have the product installed and that affordability is one of the project team’s priorities. Brooklyn SolarWorks has a background in solar finance. So far, ten Solar Canopies have been installed in Brooklyn with several others going through the permitting process. The product will likely be available for commercial use in the fall of 2016.
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“Maker Park” emerges as newest idea for development of Bushwick Inlet

A new idea recently emerged for a piece of property, which has long been in dispute, along the Bushwick Inlet. The initial plan for the Bushwick Inlet was to convert the industrial “wasteland” into a 28-acre park. That was what was promised to the people of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in 2005 following the Waterfront Rezoning Agreement, introduced under the Bloomberg administration. Advocates for this proposal, including Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, have continually voiced their desire that the property be used for green space. However, Citistorage owner Norman Brodsky still possesses an 11 acre triangle of land needed for the park. It currently holds the old Bayside Oil Depot. Brodsky wants to sell the property for $250 million to the city. However, the city has far exceeded initial cost estimates for the park—$60 million to $90 million—having already spent around $224 million. Rumors are circulating that city may use eminent domain to take the land. If that were to happen, the city would have to compensate Brodsky for a certain amount, then additionally pay for the extensive environmental remediation needed to make the site usable. As of yet, the city has not make decision. More recently, however, local stakeholder Zac Waldman has floated a vision for a “Maker Park” at the site's industrial facilities. In fact, Waldman has assembled a team of supporters to translate that vision into a more definitive plan. They include the events coordinator for the Municipal Art Society (MAS); Stacey Anderson, a creative director at Kushner Companies; Karen Zabarsky; and architect Jay Valgora of New York City–based firm STUDIO V Architecture, along with other designers and developers. Valgora is known for his adaptive reuse projects, such as Empire Stores, the redevelopment of an empty and neglected brick storehouse in DUMBO, Brooklyn. While no definitive plans have been revealed for Maker Park, the development team is working to devise a strategy to convert the warehouses, garages, and cylindrical fuel containers into an artisan marketplace and industrial playground. The Maker Park website describes the vision as “a beautiful and otherworldly industrial topography.” However, Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, has stated that Maker Park is not a feasible use of the site due to the need for environmental remediation, according to The New York Times. Previous projects of this nature have proved successful, notably the on-going Freshkills Park project and the Croton Water Filtration Plant. Freshkills was the world’s largest landfill until 2001, when it stopped receiving trash (save the debris from post-9/11 cleanups). Over the course of two decades, each of the Staten Island landfill’s massive mounds have been capped, allowing development of 2,200 acres of parkland that offer hiking, biking, playgrounds, and a number of other amenities not typically accessible to residents and visitors of New York City. The site even harvests natural gas from the contained landfill. The Croton Water Filtration Plant, designed by New York City–based Grimshaw Architects, is situated beneath a golf driving range in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. An article in The New York Times notes that 290 million gallons of water are treated each day at the $3.2 billion plant. Additionally, the plant provides 100 million of gallons of water each day to the western edges of Manhattan and areas of the Bronx. While adaptive reuse has played a significant role in breaking up the monotony of the congested metropolitan landscape in these projects, the concept of an "industrial theme" for the Maker Park remains vague. Although the use of existing infrastructure presents advantages, there are still many considerations to take into account before this is deemed feasible and worthy of the community. The fact remains that Citistorage still owns 11 acres of the property needed to pursue any development for public use of the site, or development, period, since anyone could snatch up the property.
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Brooklyn’s design sector is booming

In a report by the Center for an Urban Future, figures show that Brooklyn has seen a significant spike in the design sector with architecture and design employment figures growing by some 86 percent during the period from 2010-2014. The report was published to coincide with NYCxDesign, New York City's design festival that closes today. Its statistics pertain to most realms within the creative industry, including "architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial design, graphic design and other specialized design (including fashion, costume, and jewelry design)." Data and analysis was taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Back to Brooklyn: growth in the sector significantly outdoes Manhattan (at 19 percent) and the rest of the city where growth averaged out at 23 percent. Despite Manhattan lagging behind, however, that borough remains New York's stalwart home for creatives, accommodating 89 percent of all jobs related at architecture and design companies within the city. During the four year period, the city saw more than 5,000 jobs added in the sector, making New York City home to 27,037 design jobs, though Brooklyn can still only boast 1,954 compared to Manhattan's 24,045 majority share. The figures though show the early roots of Brooklyn as an emerging alternative base for creative companies. Landscape architecture jobs witnessed the sharpest increase of 376 percent jumping from 21 to 100. Meanwhile, other growing industries saw jobs in "industrial design" and architecture rise by 90 percent (from 67 to 127 and 387 to 737 respectively) and graphic design jobs by 94 percent from 285 to 552. As for the other boroughs, the Bronx was the only one subject to negative growth, losing 11 jobs (down 17 percent) whereas Queens saw 42 percent growth (260 jobs) and Staten Island just over over 4 percent (4 jobs). Over the scope of ten years from 2004-2014, Brooklyn has more than doubled in job accumulation in every industry of the design sector, outperforming its counterparts by a considerable margin. In Manhattan for example, there was even a 10 percent decline in the graphic design industry. During this period Staten Island in fact suffered a net loss of 43 jobs across the board equating to a 30 percent decrease. Moreover, Queens and the Bronx achieved only marginal growth in the same time span. "Our new data brief highlights the growing importance of the design sector to New York City’s economy, and details that a disproportionate share of the growth in the sector is now occurring in Brooklyn," said the authors of the report.
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Williamsburg’s 21-story William Vale Hotel-offices-retail development to open July 11

Initially touted to open in April this year, the William Vale hotel on 111 North 12th Street is now due to open on July 11. Climbing 21 stories, the $130 million hotel has already topped out at 250-feet. Designed by Albo Leberis, the hotel rests on a duo of pylons sitting on two low-rise retail-based platforms that greet the streetscape. Covering 320,000 square feet, five floors (starting at the fifth) will accommodate offices, meanwhile the scheme will hold 183 hotel rooms and spare 40,000 square feet for commercial space.
On the first floor roof there'll be a 15,000 square foot public park courtesy of Gunn Landscape Architecture that will offer views over the area and onto Manhattan. Meanwhile, other amenities include a roof located on the third floor.  
“In addition to low-maintenance native plantings and an urban farm, Gunn plans to create arbor structures from living willow, weaving them into sculptural shapes that will both block the wind and beautify the rooftop in a unique way,” the firm said.
Further square footage has been set aside to cater for event spaces, including a ballroom that will be able to accommodate 240 guests for business affairs and 315 guests for social events. 
002. Inspiration in the most unexpected places. #thewilliamvale #brooklyn #architecture A photo posted by The William Vale (@thewilliamvale) on
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Brooklyn shows off its design chops at BRKLYN DESIGNS this weekend

This weekend at 72 Noble Street (near the Greenpoint stop on the G), BKLYN DESIGNS is showcasing a wide range of work from Kings County's craftsmen, architects, designers, and educators. The venue—the Brooklyn Expo Center—is a wide, open space that puts all the exhibitors in a single, easily navigated showroom floor. Visiting early this morning, highlights included the ability to take a virtual tour of the modular Pod Hotel, designed by Garrison Architects, that will soon be rising in Williamsburg. I also especially enjoyed a 3D printing station by Peru Meridian Studios and products from Think Fabricate, the sister studio of Brooklyn-based Doban Architecture.   The atmosphere was convivial as dozens of Brooklyn designers, including a large contingent from Pratt, showed designs ranging from specially-cast concrete planters to mobile meeting rooms/lounges designed for offices and homes alike. Tickets are $15. Events this weekend include, on Saturday: "Adaptability and Scale in Green Architecture" (a recap of lessons learned from City Tech's 2016 Solar Decathlon), "Kickstarter for Designers 101" (with Kickstarter outreach experts), and "Design Fabrication Methods in Interactive Architecture" (with AN's own Matt Shaw, Wes Rozen of SITU Studio, Michale Szivos of SOFTlab, and Emily Abruzzo of Abruzzo Bodziak Architects). On Sunday, visitors can attend "The Right Sized Life: Designing Around What Matters" (featuring Resource Furniture's founders and Jim Garrison of Garrison Architects), as well as "True Calling: Authentic Design for Hospitality" (which features a host of Brooklyn-based designers).
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Brooklyn’s first skyscraper over 1,000 feet given approval

Late last year, AN picked up a trail that SHoP Architects were planning a "super skinny supertall" skyscraper set for 9 DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. Now, the project has finally gathered some momentum: it's been granted approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). According to 6sqft, the LPC showered the project, which is being back by Michael Stern’s JDS Development and the Chetrit Group, with compliments. They reportedly described the project as “flawless” and “enlightened urbanism at its best.” Developers had to tread carefully, considering the proximity of the skyscraper to one of Brooklyn's historic architectural treasures. Occupied most recently by JP Morgan, the development is giving the landmarked Classical Revivalist Dime Savings Bank a new breath of life. In doing so, developers will turn the hall into a public and retail space and restore the lavish interior decor and ornate exterior marble facade. The LPC were inclined to comment that the restoration “improved the vision of this historic landmark” with one commissioning member remarking that it was "similar to the Parthenon sitting on the Acropolis.” You can find SHoP's LPC presentation here. To accommodate the skyscraper, which will sit adjacent the Beaux-Arts banking hall, developers are also asking for two local low-rise buildings to be demolished to make way. If (or rather when) realized, the skyscraper will be the boroughs first 1,000+ in height, rising to 73 stories high topping out at 1,066 feet. Hexagonal forms can be found throughout tower as an homage to the footprint of its neighbor. Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects reportedly said how they wanted to put forward a different tower design compared to the slab-like high-rises also going up around the area. Subsequently, the skyscraper's facade at street level aims to evoke the fluted ionic columns of the Bank through reflective glass fenestration with bronze mullions alongside white marble columns. As the tower stretches upward, the bronze ribbons join grey spandrel and vision glass panelling. Here black metal is employed in a similar, linear fashion running up the building's facade. Set to be complete by 2019, SHoP's Brooklyn high-rise will house around 500 apartments, all available to rent. In this selection, a range of luxury condos will be thrown in while 20 percent will be kept below the market rate.
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Rockwell Group–designed Imagination Playground opens in Brownsville, Brooklyn

Local students and community members joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, City Council Member Darlene Mealy, and David Rockwell, founding principle of Rockwell Group, for the opening of the Imagination Playground at Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Although the concept derives from adventure playgrounds and similar philosophies of unstructured play, the Brownsville Imagination Playground is technically the first permanent one of its kind in Brooklyn, and the second worldwide. (The first, also designed by the Rockwell Group, opened in 2010 at the Burling Slip in Manhattan). The $5.05 million project was influenced by tree houses, a foil to the monolithic blocks of high-rise public housing for which Brownsville is best known. A curved ramp wends its way through mature trees, while blue foam blocks, cut into funky shapes, along with water and sand, are tools for children to collaborate, build, or create by themselves. Traditional play elements—slides swing sets, chess tables, and a basketball court—round out the program. A year before the Burling Slip playground opened, Rockwell Group tested the designs in Brownsville with former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. David Rockwell elaborated on the process: "When we were asked to do a second Imagination Playground, it gave us a chance to do a couple of things from a design perspective: One, these London Plane trees were incredible, they were a landmark that was important to preserve. We were able to create a path that weaves around the trees. Like the lower Manhattan playground, it's a playground you can see from 360 degrees. It's really a community space." https://www.flickr.com/photos/136339520@N03/25924630244/in/dateposted-public/ This reporter dodged zooming children and risked limb (well, ankle—platform sandals were a bad choice for this assignment!) to give you, dear readers, a panoramic view of the park from the bridge. (Look closely at 0:55 in the video above and you can see another local landmark, the Kenneth Frampton–designed Marcus Garvey Village.)
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Explore this interactive map of the Gowanus Canal’s slightly scary microbiology

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is notorious for its filth. Normally a sure fire way to contract dysentery, cancer and arsenic poisoning, the canal is now the subject of study from a diverse collaborative effort: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, biotech nonprofit GenSpace, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and data visualizers Landscape Metrics. Called the BK BioReactor, the undertaking employs a small autonomous watercraft that samples waters throughout the infamous canal (an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund site). The researchers set out to catalog its microbial communities before the canal undergoes dredging and sub-aquatically capping as part of the Superfund cleanup later this year. https://vimeo.com/156573571 Why the Gowanus? The team aims to discover new microorganisms "unique to the urban realm." With many urban areas facing similar pollution challenges, there may be important lessons to be learned. "The Gowanus Canal is an incubator for the evolution of such bioremediating functions, attesting to its industrial past and its capacity for self-renewal," they stated. To carry out the task, the group are using the BK BioReactor: a mobile watercraft that takes samples and stops at 14 "Smart Docks" throughout the canal. The craft measures "water temperature, pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen; and most importantly grant researchers and citizen scientists access to the microbiome below the cleanup cap. Subsequently, an interactive microbiological map has been produced, locating all the different microorganisms, the vast majority of which are bacteria. However, in some parts of the canal, large quantities of the siphoviridae virus family can be found. For those wondering, this is not linked to syphilis (which the canal has been associated with). That's not to say the findings were in any way healthy however. "Many of the species identified in preliminary samplings are also found in the human gut (a result of raw sewage) while other species reveal influence of the canal’s proximity to the ocean," the group said. "Regardless of their source, the microbial melting pot of the canal has fine-tuned its metabolism, swapping genes with neighboring communities and evolving novel functions to develop real-time strategies for the unique state of the canal." https://vimeo.com/156590188 Other substances discovered included:
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In latest push to clear backlog, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designates nine new landmarks

Tasked with clearing its 95-item backlog, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is moving swiftly to shape the future of historic structures in the Big Apple by clearing its docket. On Tuesday, the LPC voted to designate nine items—eight individual structures and one historic district—as New York City Landmarks.
Perhaps the most recognizable item on the list was the Pepsi Cola Sign, which has graced the shores of Long Island City, Queens, since 1936. The sign is not a typical landmark. It's an ad for a beverage conglomerate, albeit a charming, retro ad. A debate arose around the nuances of the designation at a meeting in February to present evidence in favor of preservation. Supporters' eyes ping-ponged anxiously as LPC members brought up possible obstacles objections: Would designation cover the metal scaffolding that the bottle and logo are attached to, or would designation encompass just the signs' iconic appendages, leaving a loophole to alter the sign's arrangement?
The LPC decided to landmark the Pepsi sign, noting in its recommendation that the sign was preserved once before, as the factory it flanked was sold in 1999. The LPC's decision recognizes the city's manufacturing heritage, and preserves the spirit of place that's otherwise the face of bland waterfront luxury condo development. The grassroots Historic Districts Council (HDC) recommends that the LPC "investigate additional preservation protections, such as an easement or some other form of legal contract to help ensure this landmark’s continued presence."
In all, there were ten items recommended for designation, including two whose eclecticism and allure rival the Pepsi sign (the commission delayed a vote on Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx.). One residence is a Gravesend landmark: The Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, a stone, 18th-century Dutch-American-style farmhouse, is a rare survivor from Brooklyn's agrarian past. Local lore holds that the house belonged to Lady Deborah Moody, one of the area's first European women landowners.
New Yorkers thrilled by the Neoclassical flourishes of the Fifth Avenue facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be delighted by the LPC's recognition of the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, a diminutive-by-comparison and little-known work by the same architect. École des Beaux Arts–trained Richard Morris Hunt designed the Romanesque Revival final resting place for the titans of industry, located in Staten Island's Frederick Law Olmsted–designed Moravian Cemetery. The Vanderbilts were so impressed by the meeting of minds that they hired Hunt and Olmstead to collaborate on the clan's low-key country house in North Carolina.
With that memento mori, the LPC voted to designate a few 19th-century structures within Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Although the entire cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, was up for local designation, even ardent preservationists advocated against the designation, noting that landmark status could place onerous restrictions on the 478-acre cemetery's operations: The plots, headstones, and mausoleums are owned by individuals, with 1,200 new "permanent residents" added annually, potentially complicating the regulation process.
The largest rural cemetery in the U.S., Green-Wood was designed by David Bates Douglass under the guiding landscape principles of Andrew Jackson Downing. The Gothic Revival entrance on Fifth Avenue, designed by Richard Upjohn and home to a vigorous parakeet colony, was declared an Individual Landmark in 1966. A chapel in the same style by Warren & Wetmore (the same firm behind Grand Central Terminal) received designation this time around, as did the Gatehouse and Gatehouse Cottage at the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance.
For more information and updates on the extension of a Park Slope historic district, St. Augustine’s Church and Rectory, New England on City Island, and other newly-landmarked items, check out the LPC's website.
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Munich Residents Demand Affordable Housing Replace Parking Spaces

With major cities running short on affordable housing, local residents have adopted unique measures to air their grievances. In New York, the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) held a sign outside a real estate summit in Brooklyn last year, asking car-driving attendees to honk if the rent was "too high." Earlier this year, students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa erected an iron shack on campus to decry the lack of housing available to poor students around the city. For people living in Munich, the solution was simple but proactive. Leerstand089, a citizen group in the city, listed all vacant parking spaces to shame the authorities into building more affordable housing for residents. The plan worked, with a 120-unit apartment complex now slated to replace a parking lot once used at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The area is surrounded by large gardens with trees, a modest soccer field, and a swimming pool. To prevent the rent prices from rising, the apartments will be economically built to keep them within Germany's rent stabilization threshold. Leerstand089, which stands for vacancy and Munich's area code, has notched up several other successes with a number of buildings being earmarked as housing sites. The most recent is a 5,700-square-foot building now designated as a public housing cooperative that will contain 11 rental apartments. The group's basic action plan encourages everyday citizens to call out neglected buildings. If the building is being left unattended, they will report it to the city so it can be put to better use.
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Mayor de Blasio’s $2.75-per-ride ferry service to begin summer 2017

Expanding on the East River Ferry system, Mayor de Blasio will see his $55 million plan for a five borough ferry network come to fruition summer 2017.  At $2.75-a-ride, the system will be managed and operated by a California company, Hornblower, that has a proven track record in the industry, having run services in New York for ten years. Currently, the ferry caters to Manhattan residents and those on the shoreline between DUMBO, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens. The network will be expanded to escort people to Astoria, Queens; Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; and the Rockaways, Queens. Come 2018, Soundview will service the Upper and Lower East Side. Another proposal looks to extend the service further to Staten and Coney Island, though no completion date has yet been penned in. The cost of a ferry trip will align with the price of a single subway ride. Bicycles may be carried on for an extra dollar. This is less than half of what it costs for a standard weekend ferry fare at the moment. Such a pricing scheme is no accident, either, as de Blasio has his eyes on integrating the network with the rest of the MTA system. According to de Blasio, commuters will be able to enjoy the "fresh air, harbor views, and a fast ride on the open water" on the 20-minute journey between Astoria and Manhattan's East 34th Street, as well as being able to make the most of the ferry on the hour-long commute between the Rockaways and Wall Street. “Today I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his $55 million capital commitment to a 5-borough ferry system and declaring that New York City’s waterfront will be open for all. The ripple effect from this service will be felt throughout the entire city from Bay Ridge to Bayside; from Staten Island to Soundview,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile. “Access to a true 5-borough ferry system will be just another jewel to add to our crown here in southwest Brooklyn, one that will be a boon to small businesses and real estate alike.”
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Brooklyn-based studio embraces topophilia to craft quilts out of city streets

Brooklyn-based Haptic Labs has created some strikingly beautiful polysilk and cotton quilts with hand stitched topographical accents.

The designs include coastal motifs from Nantucket to Australia, and city terrains that began as a tribute to designer Emily Fischer's mother Peggy who started to lose her eyesight from complications of macular degeneration. The first Haptic Lab quilts were meant to be used as tools for the visually impaired, and everything the studio designs is inspired by the tactile over the ephemeral:

Haptic designs counter the rapid digitization of our lives by privileging the real, physical world our bodies occupy. Like a cane that safely guides someone down the sidewalk, our projects serve as tools for sensation. We make intricate quilts, kites, furniture, and environments that combine new technologies with traditional craft techniques—infusing a sense of play and timelessness into everything we make.
The City Quilt series employs subtle white-on-white stitching to inscribe a city's streets into fabric. The queen-sized City Quilt for the studio's home borough covers Coney Island through Greenpoint, and, like the other quilts in the series, is stitched in India, and is made of 100 percent cotton. The result is an intricate and subtle homage to 12 major metros, five of which are pictured below: The newest collection, debuting at the Architectural Digest Design Show in NYC, includes faceted maps of the world made in partnership with the Buckminster Fuller Institute, using Architect Richard Buckminster Fuller's original Dymaxion drawings.