“One of the beauties of Manhattan, particularly in spring or fall, is that the grid is about 30 degrees off true North,” said New York–based architect and shadow consultant Michael Kwartler in the New York Times. “That means the intersections tend to be very bright because the sun is going diagonally across them at lunchtime.” Speaking of these intersections, Kwartler added that they “tend to be brighter than the streets in between, so it creates this really fabulous rhythm in Midtown of light-dark, light-dark.”
Posts tagged with "Manhattan":
Yesterday the New York City Council approved a massive Manhattan air right transfer that allows the controversial St. John's Terminal–Pier 40 development to move forward.The development of St. John's Terminal, which occupies a three-block area along the West Side Highway across from Hudson River Park, is made possible by the transfer of air rights from the park's stewards to the developers, Westbrook Partners and the Atlas Capital Group. The firms will pay the Hudson River Park Trust $100 million for 200,000 square feet of air rights; in return, they can build five buildings to replace the aging terminal. The exchange allows the Trust, which is self-funding, to repair the pier, which hosts a parking garage, much-needed playing fields, and offices. City Councilmember Corey Johnson, whose district includes the project area, has been negotiating the quid-pro-quo for three years. Despite weaker allowances for affordable housing, many elected officials, preservationists, and residents say they already see its benefits. Part of the deal included a bid to designate the Sullivan-Thompson Historic District (also called the South Village Historic District), a 40-block zone in Soho bounded by five other lower Manhattan historic districts. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the district two days before the City Council's vote. At that public hearing prior to the LPC's vote, preservationists and South Village citizens testified to the “spirit of the neighborhood”: “safe and clean,” “neighbors know each other,” and its “wonderful lifestyle and cityscape.” Besides protecting the social and cultural history of the neighborhood, the designation of the 160-building area will prevent outsize construction within its mostly low-rise boundaries. Preservation advocacy group the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) spearheaded the decade-plus campaign to landmark a downtown area that includes over 1,250 structures. The two-million-square-foot St. John's project includes 500 units (30 percent of the total) of housing that will be offered to qualifying households at a range of below-market rates, but the rates are not as low they should be under current law. Typically, projects like St. John's Terminal that benefit from upzonings must comply with the city's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which says at least 30 percent of a development's units must go to households making 80 percent of the area median income. This time, though, Johnson, Borough President Gale Brewer, and the community board okayed the upzoning because of the millions going to park upgrades. On Thursday, two council members voted no on the plan, with one abstention, to protest its lowered affordability requirements. Despite the size and ambition of the approved development, the community bargained for provisions that try to keep its character. The deal includes a restriction on future air rights transfers from Hudson River Park within Community Board 2, as well as a ban on big box (most stores over 10,000 square feet) and destination retail to prevent an odious amount of traffic.
At a presentation last night to Manhattan Community Board 1 (CB 1), the Philadelphia-based firm and its client, the Hudson River Park Trust, debuted their conceptual pier plans before an eager audience. Extending almost 800 feet from shore, renderings depict a Pier 26 shaped by an angular, elevated walkway that draws visitors above the waterline to take in views up and down the shore, sit quietly among native scrub, or galavant on an abstracted play-forest—a special habitat for New York children.
Based on meetings last year with Tribeca and lower Manhattan neighbors, OLIN teased out a need for open recreational space and native habitat but combined those wants with an even stronger desire for contemplative, relaxing outdoor spaces, into what the firm hopes will be an “iconic destination,” explained partner Lucinda Sanders. “We really tried to think of a place for you, not for tourists.” The pier, which sits south of Canal Street between Hubert and North Moore streets, juts almost 800 feet into the Hudson, a canvas of possibility on a blank concrete slab.
The plans hope to fill gaps in the offerings on other west side piers. In addition to standard-issue ballfields around the pier’s midsection, OLIN proposed a netscape—a pliable mesh surface that sags and bounces as people get on but brings everyone as close as possible—or legally feasible—to the water’s edge. Farther out, stadium-style seating could double as outdoor classrooms, while closer to shore, a large lawn could hold movie nights for 750-plus people. Migrating birds would have an exclusive, biped-free resting spot at the pier’s tip, while recreational boats could dock alongside the structure.
“There’s a whole hell of a lot of programming—but it’s fantastic,” said CB 1 member Bruce Ehrmann, echoing the room’s appreciative oohs and aaahs.
Wind turbines could power the pier’s estuarium (to be designed by New York’s Rafael Viñoly Architects) or other functions, but there was unexpectedly strong pushback from the assembled on the turbine’s potential noise and bird-killing capabilities. The board also worried about the cellphone-gobbling potential of the mesh nets. Sanders noted the firm is looking at ways to mitigate the loss of phones and keys, perhaps with a sub-net.
All told, the Trust estimates Pier 26 will cost $30.7 million. All of the funds are secured. There’s no plan for the foreseeable to transfer air rights to facilitate nearby development, a la Pier 40, so the area’s spaciousness will be preserved.
Today the developer of Hudson Yards has revealed designs for the Far West Side's newest tower.
Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group unveiled the icy cloudbuster for 50 Hudson Yards, designed by global firm Foster + Partners. The 985-foot, 58-story structure covers an entire city block.
“50 Hudson Yards is envisaged as a vertical campus in the heart of Manhattan that is eminently readable at city scale with three distinct blocks stacked one above the other,” said Nigel Dancey, Foster + Partners' head of studio, in a statement. “Crafted from a simple palette of white stone and glass, the building’s primary structure has been pushed to the edges to create large-span flexible floorplates. It aspires to define the workplace of the future, bringing to the fore the practice’s values of innovation and creativity by producing a positive work environment that seeks to fulfill the needs and expectations of a demanding workforce.”
When complete, the 2.9 million-square-foot building at 33rd Street and 10th Avenue will be the city's fourth largest office tower. When the building opens in 2022, principal tenants like the financial company BlackRock will enjoy outdoor terraces and private "sky lobbies," as well as access to 30 Hudson Yards' outdoor observation platform.
The New York Times reports that New York State is giving Blackrock, a company with more than $5 trillion in assets, a $25 million tax break to stay in the state and move into the shiny new tower.
Construction is expected to begin next year on the white stone– and glass-clad building. In the renderings, glass windows are framed by stone while dark-outlined floors peek out from behind the glazed facade. Column-free floorplates that span a minimum of 50,000 square feet per floor are able to accommodate 500-plus people, and workers on some floors will enjoy expansive outdoor spaces, the result of periodic setbacks.
“Covering a full city block, the building is highly permeable at ground level, allowing it to engage fully with its urban location," Norman Foster, founding principal of Foster + Partners, said in a statement. "Designed for a sustainable future, the building makes an important contribution to the regeneration of the far west side of Manhattan.”
Like the ESCR, the LMCR visioning process will begin with extensive community engagement to figure out what, exactly, neighbors want to see on the rivers' edge. The firms plan to take lessons from the ESCR, now in its final stages of design, to this one. Besides the resiliency measures that provided the impetus for the construction, Bergmann said the East Side ESCR constituents expressed a strong desire for more green space, open space, and recreation areas.
Initial renderings for the ESCR depict sinuous parks, lighting to illuminate dark and foreboding highway underpasses, and novel play spaces that bring citizens close to the waterway. BIG and ONE Architecture are working in concert to design the 2.5-mile strip, which costs an estimated $505 million, in collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies. Construction is expected to begin in 2018.
For that project and for the LMCR, Bergmann says there's no one design solution that fits all of the waterfront, especially the working waterfront. What Bergman called the LMCR “pinch points”—the tighter areas beneath the raised FDR Drive, or the Staten Island Ferry Terminal—present distinctive design challenges, though he said it’s too early to speak to specific solutions. Public meetings began this summer, and with the next set of meetings planned for February, "we hope the community can see there is traction and movement forward from a devastating event like Hurricane Sandy."The city says that by 2018 the LMCR team is to deliver an actionable concept design for the project area, with design and implementation to follow.
The plan, as its realized in stages, differs from the original BIG U, the sexy proposal that wowed both architects and the bureaucrats at HUD. When it first debuted, the floodproofing infrastructure extended all the way up to West 57th Street. “My hope," Bergmann said, "is that the vision will reach its full intention because that completely protects the entire lower Manhattan area."
The only component that's fully funded is the ESCR, so in order to realize both components—and possibly the whole BIG U vision—government at every level would need to open their budgets. Although Trump's infrastructure plan seems like it will focus on prisons, pipelines, and border walls, maybe the president-elect will put aside his climate change denial for a moment to help out his hometown?
The project is WeWork's 15th office in a landmarked site (the Corbin Building was landmarked in 2015) and its eighth in New York City. Cautious of eradicating the 127-year-old building's history, WeWork kept new design interventions to a minimum. Existing elements in the Corbin Building, including an eight-story bronze and marble staircase, along with Guastavino tiles in the arches of the doorways (which form part of the French Gothic detailing found throughout the building and on its facade), were renovated.Light permeates the space courtesy of the conical atrium which the office wraps around on the third floor. Officially known as the Sky Reflector-Net, the dome structure is the work of James Carpenter Design Associates, Grimshaw Architects, and engineering firm ARUP. The office area comprises places to read, conference rooms, a reception, and hot desks. A pantry and range of common areas operate as stand-alone areas. From inside, occupants can peer through the structure's complex of perforated optical aluminum panels, tensioned cables, high-strength rods, and stainless steel elements down onto the 300,000 transit users that pass through the center every day. The narrow space within the Corbin Building, meanwhile, will provide space for functions and office events. Bridging old and new, a 3D art installation by local artists, The Guild, is located on the threshold between the Corbin Building and Fulton Center and aims to unify them through material and color. In a statement emailed to The Architect's Newspaper, WeWork said:
WeWork Fulton Center is uniquely positioned across both the landmarked Corbin building and a new major transit hub. We have a history of breathing new life into historic buildings, and we’re proud to help give new futures to iconic pieces of the city’s history.Also appearing this week within the Fulton Center is a new artwork installed by the MTA Arts & Design program. Titled New York Dreaming and by artist Anne Spalter, the kaleidoscopic video installation on show for the holiday season.
Hudson Park River Trust moves closer to selling $100 million of air rights to St. John’s Terminal development
Meanwhile, Hudson River Park President and CEO Madelyn Wils said in a statement emailed to AN:
The full city council will vote on the matter on December 15.
Pier 40 is a treasured community resource and an important revenue generator for Hudson River Park. Today's votes move us one step closer to ensuring that the urgently needed repairs to the pier's piles will be made, and the pier will stay open. Under a newly strengthened deal, the full $100 million will be guaranteed to the park before the developer can pull the special permit.
Once the funding is secured, we must also make sure Pier 40 serves as a revenue generator for the entire park. We thank the City Council for acknowledging today that the remaining development rights on Pier 40 should be used on the pier itself in a future redevelopment.
Thanks to Council Member Johnson, all of our local elected officials, the de Blasio administration and Community Board 2 for their hard work and leadership over the past year on this critical issue for Hudson River Park.
Since the June approval of the controversial Water Street Upgrades Text Amendment, which opened up 110,000 square feet of underused, privately owned public space (POPS) for commercial use in exchange for community benefits, a snag has emerged: This same area is now included in the 2016 New York City Flood Insurance RateMaps (FIRMs) and developers will be held responsible for making sure new structures comply with the updated building requirements.
The Water Street Upgrades Text amendment applied to 17 buildings in the area enclosed by Pearl, South William, Fulton, South, and Whitehall streets. While opponents to the amendment believed it favored developers overmuch—it turns these POPS into more than 2.5 million square feet of potentially rentable space—it’s now looking less that way. In early October, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released new requirements for areas affected by flooding, expanding the number of areas needing flood insurance and requiring additional building specifications.
It is important to note that there are many areas in New York City, and in numerous other cities, that will be affected by the updated FIRMs—which have been in the works since 2008. The previous FIRMs were issued in 1983, and, over the past 36 years, the elevations identified as being in flood hazard zones have shifted across the UnitedStates. After receiving the new FIRMs, Mayor Bill de Blasio looked to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which develops the standards for many of New York City’s building and construction rules. The society recommended that New York City adopt the flood regulations issued by FEMA.
“The need for flood-proofing has been long understood,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “What people are waiting on is clarity as to what the approved standards might be. Property owners along Water Street will make their own decisions about whether to take advantage of the changes once the impact of the regulations is clear. We do not think the costs of even the most demanding resiliency standards will deter anyone who believes the fundamentals of the plan make sense for them in the long term.”
Currently, the most obvious issue is how property owners will reconcile the new building requirement that storefronts must withstand floods as high as 12 feet with a previous law that specifies storefronts must also be made largely of glass. An easy solution would be to use aquarium glass—but the material’s high cost may deter developers from building. Might we suggest a new downtown aquarium?
An ongoing fight over a storied Manhattan landmark proves that indeed, size does matter.
Fosun International, the Shanghai-based owner of lower Manhattan’s 28 Liberty Street (formerly One Chase Manhattan Plaza), has commissioned Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to revamp its own classic, 1960s International Style building and 2.5-acre plaza. Among its planned changes to the site, Fosun received Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approval to build three glass pavilions on the landmarked plaza to serve as entrances to below-ground retail.
Although the commission approved the scheme, implementing changes at 28 Liberty requires an additional—and contentious—next step.
Fosun is seeking a modification of 28 Liberty’s deed restriction that would allow the pavilions to rise 11 to 17 feet above the highest points of the plaza, heights that far exceed the deed restriction’s stipulation that structures on the plaza shouldn’t be more than six feet tall.
SOM is updating the tower’s office space and plaza by reintroducing original details lost in prior renovations while transforming approximately 290,000 square feet of basement space into retail.
The developers maintain that the glass pavilions are a key part of the renovations. Fosun argues that the three pavilions will improve handicap accessibility to the stepped plaza as well as protect shoppers entering and exiting the retail spaces from inclement weather. The pavilions, along with glass storefronts along Liberty and William streets, are intended to activate street frontage and encourage more fluidity between indoor and outdoor, below-grade and street-level spaces of the plaza, and sidewalk and tower.
Although some later modifications imitate original conditions, all of the plaza’s elements are non-original aside from the Isamu Noguchi sunken garden. (The black-and-white Jean Dubuffet sculpture, installed 1971, was not included in the landmark designation.) The space is not a privately owned public space (POPS), but remains open to the public nonetheless.
Not all New Yorkers are thrilled with the changes. Some members of Community Board 1 (CB1), one of the city’s 59 local representative bodies, say the design and the deed restriction, although technically unrelated, cannot be considered independently from each other. They point to the scale of the pavilions as proof: According to plans filed with the Department of Buildings, the three proposed pavilions include a 17-foot-tall, 46-foot-long, 1,473-square-foot structure at the corner of Nassau and Liberty streets; another 16-foot-tall, 43-foot-long, 1,132-square-foot structure facing Pine Street; and a third 11-foot-tall, 18-foot-long, and 418-square-foot structure at Cedar Street.
The cubes’ sizes are not the only points of contention. Some residents think the architects’ renderings suggest the cubes are being rendered too transparently (a common offense in renderings), and that the built structures will impede sightlines on to the plaza, especially to the Dubuffet and Noguchi pieces.
“Depending on light and structural angles, a glass cube can be quite reflective. At most angles, glass cubes are pretty transparent, but they are not like a window, they’re totally going to interrupt the view,” said Michael Ludvik, glass engineer and founding principal of M. Ludvik Engineering.
SOM’s glass pavilions have been compared to the Apple Cube, which is not entirely accurate, Ludvik said. The Apple Cube is not made of anti-reflective glass, so when viewed from an angle, it can look almost opaque. To make the proposed pavilions as transparent as possible, he suggested using the thinnest and clearest glass available, along with appropriate fins, to minimize impact on clarity.
SOM could not be reached for comment on the glass choice, but a spokesperson for the developer explained that it is not far enough along in the process to have made a materials choice.
Alice Blank, an architect and resident who also serves on CB1’s board, asked why the design can’t be done differently, without the large pavilions that trigger the deed restriction modification: “I need to know, have all alternatives been considered before pavilions were added on top of the plaza? I need to know why the existing street-level entrances to the underground cannot be adapted.”
In July, a spokesperson for the developer issued a statement on the deed restriction modification to assuage concerns about the modification: “CB1 is voting on a MINOR MODIFICATION which would ONLY PERMIT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE GLASS PAVILLIONS [sic] AS APPROVED BY THE LANDMARKS AND PRESERVATION COMMISSION [sic], AND NO OTHER CHANGES. THERE IS NO CREATION OF ADDITIONAL RETAIL SPACE, AND NO CHANGE OF USE.”
Blank questioned the impact of the changes and the legacy they could set. “Development is important, but [a] violation of commitments to preserve open space for the public in perpetuity ought to be reviewed with extraordinary care in light of the compromise of the public interest. What would be next—Seagram, Lever House?”
Blank’s concerns mirror public outcry over the recent Rivington House scandal, in which the city lifted a deed restriction that mandated the property be used as a healthcare nonprofit, a move that allowed the owner to profit handsomely from the sale of the property. In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a series of reforms to the deed modification process that could impact the dealings at 28 Liberty in the near future. Faulting “a process that has failed to protect and preserve significant community assets, like Rivington House,” councilmember Margaret Chin, whose district includes 28 Liberty, along with Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer, favor a process that would make deed restriction changes subject to a rigorous public land use review.
Judgment day for the plaza is near if the city can agree on how, exactly, to process deed change requests. Right now, the mayor’s office is forging ahead with rules for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) that would provide clear guidelines for changes to deeds.In parallel to the mayor’s office, sources tell AN the city council could vote soon on legislation that would create a more rigorous public review than the mayor’s rules. Although the board’s decision is purely advisory, in October CB1 voted in favor of council-led deed change reform.