Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

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East Harlem Esplanade Project aims to revamp waterfront parks on Manhattan's East River

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYCDPR), its Community Parks Initiative (CPI), and the Randall’s Island Park Alliance (RIPA), has inaugurated the East Harlem Esplanade Project. The scheme aims to completely rebuild the 107th Street Pier while expanding its programming in the process. This all includes a strategy pertaining to reconstruction advocacy, stewardship, and programming best practices for an improved Esplanade along East Harlem, covering East 96th to East 125th streets.

RIPA will provide support in the form of expertise for the management of long-term development, maintenance, programming and resiliency measures along the East Harlem waterfront.

Aimee Boden, RIPA President said, “The Randall’s Island Park Alliance is looking forward to reaching across the river to work with our nearest neighbors, and to helping to plan for and facilitate improved access and long-term resiliency along the East Harlem Esplanade.”

The CPI is currently committed to improving 67 community parks deemed to be "under-funded" and in "densely populated and growing neighborhoods with higher-than-average concentrations of poverty."

Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said, “Conservancy partners like the Randall’s Island Park Alliance enhance New York City’s key public spaces with their expertise, resources, and passion. Now, with their generous commitment to create a strategic plan for the East Harlem Esplanade, RIPA is extending its influence to one of our city’s most densely populated communities, and providing expertise that will drive green equity and sustainability for the neighborhood.”

At the moment, RIPA is currently speaking to public agencies, advocacy groups and local stakeholders in order to assemble concerns related to the project while also referencing existing studies to develop the plan.

"East Harlem is a thriving, growing community that deserves world class waterfront access," said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "For far too long, our esplanade has been neglected and has fallen into disrepair, which is why the Council has made a priority of allocating millions of dollars in capital funds to address these needs, including the reopening of the 107th Street Pier. Working with community residents and local stakeholders, the East Harlem Esplanade Project will help create a comprehensive plan to fully revitalize this important public space for generations to come." 

State Senator José M. Serrano said, "Through the collaborative efforts of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, the Parks Department and now the Randall's Island Park Alliance we have a dynamic team that will transform the East Harlem portion of the Esplanade into a beautiful piece of parkland. Together we will be able to strengthen the East Harlem Esplanade and give the residents of El Barrio a much needed green space that will create economic growth for the surrounding neighborhood."

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Rafael Viñoly gears up redesign of office space on Manhattan's Auto Row

Rafael Viñoly Architects will lead the redesign of—and two-floor addition to—an office building at 787 11th Avenue on Manhattan's "Auto Row." Viñoly's $100 million renovation will add 86,000 square feet of office space over two floors to the 10-story building, owned by the Georgetown Company. The additions will bring the structure's size to over half a million square feet. The work space, recessed from the building's original footprint, will have wide open floor plates and oversize windows to flood the space with natural light. Renovations will include a two-story penthouse and a 12,000-square-foot roof deck, accessible only to office tenants. Currently, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, and Infiniti have showrooms and offices in the space; post-renovation, BNF Automotive Group and Nissan North America will lease 265,000 square feet for their flagships on the building's lower floors. Viñoly, whose recent New York projects include the Rockefeller University Campus Master Plan and supertall 432 Park Avenue, offered unvarnished praise for the developers in a statement. He added: “The opportunity to combine the building’s historic architecture with a sleek and modern design is one I could not pass up.” The building is one of many new projects outside of Hudson Yards to blossom on Manhattan's Far West Side. A block away from Hudson River Park and the West Side Highway, tenants will have access to a private subway shuttle service, and a CitiBike station across the street. Work is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.
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SHoP's new copper-clad tower on Manhattan's East River

New renderings and construction photographs were released of the latest SHoP–designed Manhattan tower, located on First Avenue between East 35th and 36th streets. SHoP partnered with SCAPE Landscape Architecture and JDS Development Group to design American Copper, a pair of 900,000-square-foot residential buildings whose most prominent feature is a 100-foot-long, three-story tall, skybridge, suspended 300 feet aboveground, that connects the two towers at a jaunty angle. The skybridge, according to the developers, is the first major one constructed in New York in over 80 years. The steel trusses that connect the bridge weigh almost 421,000 pounds, while the facade is clad in over 5,000 copper panels, each measuring about six-by-ten feet. On terra firma, two lobbies with 25-foot ceilings open up onto a park with a water feature.
While the towers are diminutive (the west tower is 540 feet tall, the east, 470) compared to the firm's 1,438-foot-tall 11 West 57th Street, its features are not. The building's 761 units will have access to 60,000 square feet of amenities, many of which double down on the quotidian luxury offerings: Residents can slough off dead skin in a Turkish-style marble hammam; work out in a fitness center that includes a rock climbing wall; bring their children to the playroom, lounge, and juice bar; grill on the roof; chill in the hot tub; or splash around in the 75-foot-long lap pool in the skybridge (from where swimmers can probably see, though wall-to-wall glass the plebes schlepping to the Metropolitan Pool over in Williamsburg).
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The Frick Collection Expansion, Take 2

There is a new expansion plan in the works for the New York City museum founded in 1935 that sits on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side. The 1977 Russell Page-designed garden will still be part of the new plan for a larger Frick Collection. Last week, “leaders of the Upper East Side museum and library said they intend to issue a formal request for qualifications from firms with expertise applicable to the Beaux-Arts mansion,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. “A selection is expected later this year, with designs following in 2017.” Facing criticism from designers and preservationists, The Frick Collection abandoned the former expansion proposal last spring that would have removed the garden, added six stories to the east wing, and “established a stronger connection from the museum to its art reference library on East 71st Street,” explained The New York Times. The nixed plan would have added almost 25 percent more space for permanent exhibits and over 50 percent more for temporary exhibits. If implemented, this would be the third expansion for the Frick. The first was a new entrance in 1977, and the second enclosed the existing open air portico in 2011. The museum was the home of the industrialist Henry Clay Frick who made his fortune on coke manufacturing and steel and infamous for his anti-union policies. Frick stipulated in his will that his house—designed by Carrère and Hastings—become a public museum after his death.
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Jack Masey dies at 91, 57 years after he displayed American culture to Russia and the world

In 1959, Jack Masey caused communism and capitalism to collide thanks to his kitchen design that left a bitter taste in the mouths of Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon. His re-creation of a Long Island kitchen at the American National Exhibition amplified American pride and stirred up tensions between Russia and the United States during a difficult period. After 30 years working as a designer for the United States Information Agency (not a branch of the CIA), Jack Masey passed away on March 13 in Manhattan.

In a rare public meeting of the pair, things appeared to be going swimmingly until Khrushchev's gaze fell onto Masey's Long Island Kitchen. In what would come to be known as "The Kitchen Debate" the world leaders clashed in a bitter exchange. "You must not be afraid of ideas!" Nixon spat, only for the Russian President to smugly retort: "That's what we're telling you - don't be afraid of ideas."

Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Masey worked out of Manhattan for most of his life. During the Second World War, Masey was part of an elite 1,100-man unit that used visual and sound effects to impersonate larger forces. Mastering the art of deception, much of his time was spent designing inflatable rubber tanks and jeeps. “Three guys could blow up a Sherman tank in a half-hour,” he told The New York Times in 1969. “Two guys, a jeep in about 15 minutes.” 

A trained architect, also studying graphic design at Yale, Masey worked with R. Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames at numerous exhibitions where he incorporated fashion shows and art by the likes of Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. With these artistic devices at his disposal, Masey was able to articulate the flamboyant image of the American proletariat, just as the Information Agency wanted. Mundane appliances such as washing machines, dryers and electric ranges flaunted the fruits of capitalism. Ford car designs, films, Pepsi, Levi jeans, hairstyles, and even a mechanical talking chicken all featured as Masey told the world what the Soviet Union was missing out on.

The concept of a World's Fair today seems unnecessary and outdated. During the Cold War, when the world was a lot bigger, Expos informed the public of how others lived. For Expo '67 in Montreal, Masey filled Buckminster Fuller's iconic geodesic "biosphere" with space technology and the arts. Two years later, America landed on the Moon.

One wonders what Masey thought of all this glorified attention seeking. In a interview with the Guardian in 2008, he colloquially described work for the Information Agency laid out on his desk as "the whole shebang," reflecting a laid-back attitude.

An exhibition of his work, “Make-Believe America: U.S. Cultural Exhibitions in the Cold War,” is on view now at the Museum of Design Atlanta.

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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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Six design lauded for ideas to reclad Manhattan's MetLife Building with an energy-efficient facade

Manhattan's MetLife building celebrated its 53rd birthday on Monday. The tower has become engrained into Manhattan's urban fabric, but it has also become an incredibly inefficient in how it uses energy, and a recent competition tasked designers with fixing the problem by applying a new building facade. Metals in Construction magazine has unveiled six winners of its “Reimagine a New York City Icon” competition after its jury couldn't select just one winner. Tasked with developing an "innovative and energy-efficient redesign of the façade of 200 Park Avenue," the winning teams split the $15,000 prize. The brief stipulated that designers come up with a "highly efficient envelope with the lightness and transparency sought by today’s office workforce—while preserving and enhancing the aesthetic of the building’s heritage." Prizes were given at a conference at the Times Center in New York City, preceded by talks on sustainability and retrofit facades which included panel discussion. The winning submissions are: Panam Under Glass (PDF) According to competition organizers: "Adapting the tapered form of the tower as a geometric module/motif creates a non-directional pattern across the surface of the tower – in keeping with early models and renderings which emphasized the form over the surface. Applied in a larger scale to the tower allows for maximum daylighting while the denser, smaller scale at the podium creates a more monolithic reading much closer to pedestrian level." Performance-Based Preservation (PDF) According to competition organizers: "By preserving and overcladding - instead of demolishing and recladding - our proposal reduces the building’s environmental impact by 42% over the next 50 years... On the north and south, we add a new unitized curtainwall outboard of the concrete that uses emerging materials to generate energy while dynamically controlling solar heat gain and glare. On the east and west, we bring the new envelope inboard of the concrete to highlight the materiality and plasticity of the existing skin." Thermalswitch Facade (PDF) According to competition organizers: "The Thermalswitch facade looks at hybridizing the overcladding and double skin techniques to create a unitized frame which mounts directly over the existing precast panels. The Metlife facade is constructed of a primary precast panel with integrated fins on both sides that alternates every other bay. Between these primary panels, secondary infills are set at the spandrel conditions." Harnessing Urban Energies (PDF) According to competition organizers: "In our submission for the Metals in Architecture competition, we have lowered the present annual energy consumption of the building by 80 percent, and by 74 percent as compared to the median New York City office building." Vertimeme (PDF) According to competition organizers: "Macro geometry of the curtain wall unit creates a self shading effect to reduce undesirable direct light and heat gain. The angle of the glazing is tuned to reflect solar insolation, optimize views from the building and reflect the image of the city back to the streetscape. Pre-assembled unitized aluminum curtain wall frame and assembly, stainless steel mullions, caps and grills." Farm Follows Function (PDF) Submitted as a graphic novel, "Farm Follows Function" sees Walter Gropius say "This will surely be my Finest work: A masterpiece - my crowning achievement! A multifunctional complex set in the middle of america’s metropolis..." His work is then dramatically transformed into a living tower-block farm. One passer by is shown to be saying "This elevated park is a real oasis of calm in the hubbub of midtown! with a market and even outdoor seating! awesome!"  
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The Port Authority declines to celebrate the grand opening of the world's most expensive train station

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has declined to celebrate the March grand opening of the Santiago Calatrava–designed World Trade Transportation Hub. Why is the agency snubbing its own baby? Because it's monstrously over-budget. The $4 billion taxpayer-financed project cost $1.8 billion more than expected, and construction extended years over schedule. These issues have dogged Calatrava personally and professionally, and cast a shadow on his otherwise bright reputation. Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, told POLITICO New York that the project's been a fiscal fiasco from the start: “Since I arrived here, I have been troubled with the huge cost of the Hub at a time of limited resources for infrastructure so I’m passing on the [now-cancelled opening] event.” The Hub is expected to serve 100,000 daily passengers, far fewer than the Port Authority Bus Terminal (230,000), Grand Central (750,000), and Penn Station (906,708). In a follow up statement, Foye was unequivocal about what New York's newest piece of public infrastructure represents to him: “The thing is a symbol of excess.”   In an interview with AN last year, Calatrava delineated the project's design goals and ethos behind the Hub:
I tried from the very beginning to do that whole network of connections extending from the oculus as a single unit. So the character of the structural members you can see with the ribs, and a certain character in the paving, and a certain character in the front of the shops is already delivering a character that a person will see all the way through. So if you are in the oculus or the mezzanine, or in the other corridors to Liberty Street or the other internal streets towards Liberty Plaza, or towards Wall Street or towards Fulton, all these areas are marked with the same character. My goal is to create a space where as soon as I arrive in the transportation hub I know I am in the transportation hub, no matter what corner I enter from. Also, something that the corridor delivers is a sense of quality of spaces. I have built seven of the major transportation hubs in Europe, in Lisbon, in Lyon, in Zurich, in Italy, and so on. Getting out of this experience, it’s very important to create places of quality, because people behave according to that. You see after all the enormous effort to bring all the subways and the trains to this place and see to maintain the service through all the construction—why shouldn’t these places have a certain material and structural quality that you can enjoy in a day-to-day way, not just commuters but visitors who arrive in this place. I think the station will match with the tradition in New York of great infrastructural works, as you see today in Grand Central and in the former Penn Station. If it had not been demolished it would be recognized as one of the greatest stations worldwide. I hope people can see some of these material qualities in the East/West corridor.
On the eve of the opening, New York architecture critics are divided on the aesthetic and functional value of the Hub. AN toured the Hub this afternoon, so check back here for our assessment. In the meantime, picture Calatrava riding a Zamboni, polishing the smooth white Italian marble floors world's most expensive train station.
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Review> Lessons from P! Gallery's recent exhibition on East German designer Klaus Wittkugel

Ost Und oder West [East and West], Klaus Wittkugel P! Gallery Ended February 21 How does one do good work for bad people? This oversimplified question is especially relevant for architects, and one that the recent exhibition of work by East German graphic designer Klaus Wittkugel at P! Gallery asked us to consider, while simultaneously while treating us to some modernist visual pleasure. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall we have been taught that capitalism is the end-all-be-all system to structure our society, and consumption is the answer to our desires, overwhelmingly influencing our aesthetics and our ethics. But looking at the oeuvre of this little-known figure, Klaus Wittkugel, who was the head designer of the German Democratic Republic’s Socialist Ministry of Information, we find an alternate reality: a sense of aesthetic purpose that, while firmly modernist, shows a softer, more figurative and less abstract approach to design. And yet at times it can be reminiscent of Socialist Realism propaganda, today usually met with finger wagging and dismissals of kitsch: the prefered visuals of dictators, with smiles beaming sunshine and 150 percent worker productivity embodied in a visual image. Yet what this show, Ost Und oder West [East and West], revealed is a more complex relationship between design and power, and the extent of artistic freedom under Soviet Communism in postwar Germany. The exhibition is not only impressive for the work it contains, but also for how it was assembled. P! founder and director, Prem Krishnamurthy, spent more than seven years assembling Wittkugel’s work into a thorough survey of books, posters, exhibitions, and signage, found in auspicious moments at used bookstores and by scouring eBay. The work of Wittkugel displayed in the gallery was in a visual style that positions him as an heir to the legacies of early 20th Century design legends El Lissitzky and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, like a long-lost East German cousin of the earlier German Bauhaus and Russian Constructivist diasporas. The judicious use of mis-en-abyme—the graphic technique of creating an infinity mirror, a recursive visual trick of an image containing a smaller version of itself in a window in a window in a window in a…—we might describe today as being very “meta.” Krishnamurthy acknowledges that “one of the things that really attracted me to his work is there’s a strain of self-reflexivity about the production of graphic design. So you have a poster, for an exhibition of posters, that is a freshly-postered poster column,” which the P! exhibition continued, recreating the poster column on the gallery facade. All of this is juxtaposed with a companion exhibition at OSMOS Gallery on the work of Anton Stankowski, a former classmate of Wittkugel’s from the Folkwangschule Essen, who went on to work in West Germany and Zurich, designing many corporate logos, most notably the minimal Deutsche Bank slash-in-square, still in use today. While Stankowski designed symbols of Western capital, Wittkugel designed the visual manifestation of the political and cultural ambitions of Soviet East Germany in the form of an elegantly embellished cursive visual identity, dinnerware, and signage for the now-demolished Palast der Republik. While works like Wittkugel’s signage for the Kino International relate more literally to architecture, the conceptual lessons the exhibition has for architectural practice speak more to architecture’s inevitable collaborations with people whose values may not align with one’s own. You can refrain from designing prisons if you object to incarceration, but it doesn’t mean some architect somewhere won’t design that prison, so why not engage and attempt to design a more humane prison? The importance of critical engagement is shown in Wittkugel’s 1957 exhibition Militarism without Masks, a polemical, anti-West German exhibition featuring former Nazis who became part of the West German government, displayed on a cleverly designed rotating vertical triangular louvered wall, just one example of very compelling exhibition design. Any serious international cultural institution would be remiss not to consider exhibiting, or even adopting, this collection of thought-provoking work from a precarious moment in design history.
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AECOM tapped to lead the next set of coastal resiliency measures for Manhattan

The City of New York has selected AECOM to lead the design and build of coastal resiliency measures for Manhattan, formerly known as the Dryline (and before that, BIG U). The project team includes Dewberry, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and ONE Architecture. BIG and ONE provided the original vision for the 10-mile-long project, and are working on the project's Lower East Side component (Phase 1). That phase, which should be complete by 2017, runs from Montgomery Street to East 23rd Street. That (fully funded) $335 million initiative incorporates parkland and recreational space into and over berms and heavy-duty flood barriers in the East River. Starr Whitehouse collaborated with the firms on the landscape design. AECOM and Dewberry New York–based firms responded to a request for proposals issued by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). The duo's design will encircle the lower Manhattan waterfront for around 3.5 miles, from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side, around the island's southern tip, to Harrison Street in Tribeca. The project is expected to cost more than $1 billion, Crain's reports. New York State Senator Chuck Schumer secured $176 million in federal funds for the project, while the City has set aside $100 million in capital funds last year, on top of an earlier $15 million contribution. There's no renderings yet available of AECOM and Dewberry's design, but AN will keep you updated as the project progresses.
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Renderings finally revealed for the base of the Western Hemisphere's tallest tower

With all the attention focused on the impossible height of New York's new crop of supertalls, it's easy to forget that even skyscrapers have a tether to earth. Renderings were recently revealed for the base of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill's 1,550-foot-tower, which, when complete, will be the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Most mere mortals will never ascend to Central Park Tower's 95th floor, let alone live in one of its 182 condominium units, but it will be possible to go shopping at its base. The anchor tenant, Seattle–based Nordstrom, will occupy 363,000 square feet over eight floors: Three below and five aboveground. James Carpenter Design Associates created the undulating glass facade that runs up seven stories from the sidewalk. The sprawling department store will be Nordstrom's first Manhattan flagship, but it won't be contained to 217 West 57th Street, The Seattle Times reports. As seen in the two renderings below, the retail footprint will blend new and old by extending into three adjacent prewar buildings. Nordstrom's, along with the rest of the building, is expected to open in 2019.
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Futuristic coffee shop, Voyager Espresso, opens in New York's Financial District

Voyager Espresso, a 550-square-foot coffee bar, brings the perks of artisanal coffee to New York’s perpetually caffeine craving Financial District in the new Fulton Center. The bar opened in January and was crafted by New York–based design practice Only If, a team of five architects and designers founded in 2013. The clients, a pair of Australians, wanted the space to look distinctly different from the ubiquitous white tile, reclaimed wood, and Edison bulb coffee shop aesthetic and had ambitious plans despite their tight budget. With this in mind, Adam Frampton, principal at Only If, opted for an “inexpensive but futuristic” material palette of aluminum enamel painted oriented strand board, black marble, perforated aluminum and copper, and black rubber. “In such a small and constrained space, our first intuition was to be very pragmatic with the layout and articulate the design through the materials and details. However, we didn’t want to simply decorate the space,” Frampton said. “It soon became apparent that a more figural gesture—albeit less efficient in terms of quantity of seating—improved ergonomics within the service area and produced a greater identity and hierarchy.” Frampton also devised a layout based on two circles: The positive volume, a barista station, allows two baristas to work simultaneously and a negative volume, the "grotto," a seating space carved out of the surrounding walls. Frampton and his team worked through many iterations before landing on this clever configuration. “The method of exhausting all possibilities until the best fit emerges is probably something that came from my experience working at OMA,” said Frampton. “What’s really interesting about the layout is how it activates different social settings and creates different types of seating.” The careful planning paid off: After seven weeks of preparing the design and obtaining the correct permit, drawing, and construction documents, the space was built in about eight weeks. It is now open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 110 William Street through the John Street subway entrance.