Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

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AN Exclusive: See Naho Kubota’s stunning photos of Young Projects’ masterclass in materials

Receiving light from all four sides of a Manhattan dwelling is a chance that seldom comes along. So Bryan Young, principal-in-charge of New York studio Young Projects, took full advantage with the Gerken Residence. Occupying the 13th and 14th floors of a historic cast-iron Tribeca building, the apartment’s 1,500-square-foot rooftop offers downtown views—notably of Frank Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street—while its roughly 6,000 interior square feet host a lush cutout courtyard and a collection of private, yet fluidly connected spaces.

Inside, the most eye-catching element is a polished stainless-steel screen found on the main floor. Divided into segments, it can be moved from one side of the building to the other, creating a partition across the space. Cuts made in the twisted, shimmering steel create a visually semipermeable membrane. Subsequently, guests can have restricted or open views depending on the position of the screen: It provides more privacy and opacity when viewed from the elevator entry, while it is more open and transparent when viewed from the living room.

This divider, Young explained, is one of four key spatial elements that organize the program on the 14th floor residence. Three of these—the fireplace, the courtyard, and the screen—can be found arranged around the fourth element, described by Young as the “plaster core,” a sensuously textured volume that houses the back-of-house programmatic elements and allows the rest of the apartment to be more open.

The defining feature of the core, however, is its surface. At first glance it appears to be draped in a frozen, CNC-milled curtain, but upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the material is handmade plaster. With no indication of joinery, the surface’s exquisite hand-detailing of serrated and curvaceous forms, augmented by light and shadow, produce a slightly strange effect, one Young describes as “tectonically unclear.”

Like many research projects in the office, the concept was born from a series of questions about the possibilities of new materials and the process of making.

Young emphasized that the final product is not pulled plaster, but rather an arrangement of plaster casts. To create the effect, Young said, six “master molds” were created using a variation on the traditional technique used to make crown moldings. Here, a custom designed profile, or “knife” and “horse” were moved back and forth laterally, pulled along the length of the custom designed rail to form the plaster in three dimensions. Done by hand, the technique produced casts where serrated edges peeled away in an S-shape, giving way to a contrasting smooth surface. These were then used to create the six master molds, which were used to make the casts that clad the core.

To ensure the monolithic quality Young desired, each cast rose to the same height on either side, allowing them to join in a vertically arranged running bond. “There is a continuity and discontinuity that is rationalized across the entire surface,” said Young. He added that the analog, hands-on method contributed to the sense of material ambiguity that the plaster creates. “It was interesting for us to take a centuries-old technique and rethink the manner in which that process is defined.”

The plaster allows the core’s interior facade to respond to the surrounding spatial elements. More dramatic, “aggressive” casts were employed on the volume’s double-height spaces, most notably by the stairway, which is exposed to direct sunlight, while less articulated, “softer” casts were distributed elsewhere.

The courtyard or “glass core” lies opposite the plaster core and bathes it and the stairwell in light.

“As you move around the house, what initially reads as a negative element starts to read as a positive volume,” Young said of the courtyard. Working with landscape design firm Future Green Studio, it is filled with vegetation that hangs from the rooftop. Young intends for this visual connection to strengthen over time as the greenery piles over, offering a rare dose of thriving interior vegetation in an urban apartment.

The spatial organization of an interior courtyard juxtaposed with a solid, materially ambiguous interior wall gives the projects its raison d’être: The courtyard’s plants glow with light, questioning familiar notions of interior and exterior, much like the transformation of plaster gives new characteristics and life to seemingly familiar materials, taking all of it almost into the realm of the unreal.

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Downtown Manhattan could be getting another historic district

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) today voted to calendar and move forward on the creation of the Sullivan-Thompson Historic District, the third and final phase of a proposed South Village Historic District. The new district, which has been a goal of preservationists for a decade, would be bounded by Houston Street to the north, Watts Street to the south, 6th Avenue to the west, and Thompson Street to the east, abutting the Soho Cast Iron Historic District extension. 60 percent of the building stock in the neighborhood was built before 1840. The collection of rowhouses and tenements includes many early examples of Italianate, Queen Anne, and Beaux-Arts styles. It is not your everyday proposed historic district, however. It is connected to the controversy surrounding the proposed rezoning of the St. John’s Terminal site at 550 Washington St., which many in the neighborhood have been opposed to due to its scale and proximity to the South Village neighborhood. This is exacerbated by the New York State Legislature’s approval of 1.3 million square feet of air rights/FAR that could end up being bought and used for parcels in the nearby neighborhood that the new historic district would protect, and in fact, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP), “in recent years developers like Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has [sic] bought properties in the neighborhood such as 156 Sullivan Street, formerly the home of beloved neighborhood institution Joe’s Dairy.” The St. John’s terminal project continues to be controversial, as it still needs approval from City Council, a process that could take a while. The project has raised concerns in the community and is still evolving. The GVSHP, with the support of CB2 and councilmember Corey Johnson, is using the creation of the Sullivan-Thompson Historic District as part of a list of demands that Westbrook Partners and Atlas Capital Group, the developers of 550 Washington St., should meet if they want to develop the proposal at St. John’s Terminal. According to Johnson’s office, the list includes a call for real public open space, public community facilities, more financial support for the pier, significant pedestrian safety measures and traffic mitigation for Hudson Square, and limits on the size of retail at the new development, which has already been reduced when the City Planning Commission removed the “big box” stores from the plan. The St. John’s Terminal project is being considered in a public hearing today, where the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will weigh in on the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which is required for a rezoning of the Washington Street site in order to make it residential. Westfield wants to purchase air rights from Pier 40 for the site across the street and get a new zoning designation in order to build residential. The next step for the historic district will be an LPC public hearing which will be on November 29, and will likely be voted on in December.
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What’s the future of this landmark SOM plaza?

In the New York City mayor's office, the council chamber, and one borough president's headquarters, officials are hashing out critical—and competing—land use reforms that could impact at least one major development in lower Manhattan. One reform is a slate of new rules from the mayor's office while the other is legislation in the city council; both are making their way right now through the review and approvals process. Currently, there is no unified process for the removal or modification of deed restrictions (the legal covenants that outline the use of land). As deed restrictions limit the use of a property, potentially reducing its value, there is often incentive to have those restrictions lifted. Deed restrictions are also widespread: The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) and other city agencies have put (or have grandfathered in) deed restrictions on thousands of city properties, both through the sale of city-owned parcels and through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The mayor's office has introduced agency-level reforms to address shortcomings in the deed restriction modification process. DCAS is holding a hearing next week on these reforms. The mayor's rules call for a review process with a public hearing, plus a stipulation that the community board, borough president, and appropriate councilmember be notified of the pending changes. Parallel to the mayor's reforms, Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer and city councilmember Margaret Chin are advancing legislation that would, among other measures, subject deed modifications to a more rigorous public review. Although Chin and Brewer’s bill, Intro 1182, grew from public outcry over the lack of oversight around the removal of the Rivington House deed restriction, Chin's district also includes 28 Liberty (formerly known as One Chase Manhattan Plaza), another flash point property. Its owner, global developer Fosun, is pushing to modify the deed restriction to construct 11- to 17-foot-tall glass entrances to below-ground retail on the landmarked plaza. Both the mayor’s rules and the Intro 1182 have special importance for Manhattan Community Board 1 (CB1). 28 Liberty lies within the CB1's boundaries and, in a mirror of the citywide conversation, the property has been a controversial issue for the board since the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved changes to the landmarked plaza last year. At the CB1's Planning Subcommittee meeting last week, CB1 board members debated a resolution on deed restriction modifications that will go before the full board at their October 28 meeting. In drafting the resolution, board members repeatedly raised three points: The difference between a "major" or "minor" deed restriction, how that difference should be determined, and by whom. Currently, there's no system in place determine that difference—a minor modification to some could be a radical change in use to another observer, as the ongoing discussion around 28 Liberty's pavilions illustrates. "From what we've seen, putting a deed restriction in place seems to always benefit the public," said James Caras, the borough president's general counsel and director of land use. He added that the burden of proving the benefit of substantial deed modifications or removals should fall on the entity seeking the changes. The borough president's office believes that deed modifications that change the use of a property would "probably benefit" from public review under Brewer and Chin's proposed law. If a developer wants to change the use from public to private, for example, that action may be subject to ULURP, while a continuation of public use may not be. In soliciting the public's voice, Intro 1182 has precedent. Right now, deed restrictions that were the result of a ULURP must be removed through the same process. Intro 1182 would subject major modifications, which are typically granted per the administrative procedures of the DCAS, or the relevant agency, to a ULURP—what they call "the gold standard of public review." In September 2016 testimony given to the Council Committee on Governmental Operations and the Committee on Investigation, Brewer and Chin raised considerable objections to the proposed DCAS rules. The rules' foundations, they said, would not be as strong as the competing law passed by the council, as rules could be changed at any time by the agency itself or by the next administration. As CB1 planning committee member Reggie Thomas pointed out, a ULURP process can be prohibitively costly and time-consuming. Yet, during the meeting there seemed to be a consensus from the board on some kind of public review when the proposed deed changes involve a switch from public to private use. CB1 chair Anthony Notaro called the decision-making process for other properties "a gray area," but said that regardless, the community "should be on the front line, one of the hurdles, before any decision is made." Specifics like these, Caras said, would be worked out in legislation. In light of the lifting of deed restrictions at Rivington House and the Dance Theater of Harlem, as well as continuing conversation around 28 Liberty, Brewer's office is reaching out to each community board in its jurisdiction to answer questions about the pending reforms. Until the city and the council hammer out their respective plans, though, there's no clear process on how to modify deed restrictions, so projects like 28 Liberty are treading water. While plans on file with the Department of Buildings (DOB) show that interior upgrades are progressing, construction on the plaza's glass pavilions appears to be on hold, because the project can only move forward if a deed restriction regulating the height of objects on the plaza is removed. The LPC-issued Certificate of Appropriateness from November 2015 states that no work on the plaza can begin until the agency has received and reviewed the final DOB filing set of drawings, specifications, and a scope of work that details the restoration of the on-site Dubuffet sculpture and Noguchi garden. A spokesperson for the LPC confirmed that the agency has not received DOB specs or drawings. In a statement, Fosun said "all Landmarks Preservation Commission comments regarding the Dubuffet sculpture and Noguchi garden have been resolved to the satisfaction of the LPC," adding that interior work continues to "prepare for the exterior work." At press time, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) was able to confirm that the scope of work for the restoration of the Noguchi garden was on file with the LPC. (As a freestanding object, the Dubuffet, it turns out, is not part of the landmark's designation and is thus outside of the LPC's purview.) Fosun declined to comment on the status of the glass pavilions, reasons for the delay, and whether construction documents exist for the plaza modifications. New York–based SOM, the architect for the project, also declined to comment. In July 2016, Bloomberg News reported that Fosun is preparing to sell $6 billion in assets between now and the end of next year in an effort to raise its junk credit rating and alleviate its massive debt, although AN was able to confirm the seeming hold-up on the plaza is unrelated to Fosun's financial status. On Tuesday night the CB1 planning committee revealed its resolution to the public. It called the reforms drafted by the mayor's office and DCAS "neither sufficient nor in the public interest" due to the fact that they may be easily changed by another administration. The board instead supports a legislative process and expressed support for elected officials as they research the kind and quantity of deed-restricted properties (there's no unified database right now) to create "an appropriate process" for deed restriction modification or removals. The full CB1 board approved the resolution unanimously.
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Pelli Clarke Pelli releases renderings of Trinity Church Wall Street’s new Parish Center

Trinity Church Wall Street, located in New York's Financial District, has released images of what their new Parish Centre at 74 Trinity Place will look like. Designed by New Haven–based studio Pelli Clarke Pelli, the building will offer offices, a gym, cafe, gallery, a children's area, spaces for education, performances, and community activities, as well as offices for their Ministry in downtown Manhattan. 74 Trinity Place will rise to 26 stories and feature 310,000 square feet. Located at the building's base will be the Parish Center and the first nine floors will accommodate most of the programming listed above. Meanwhile, the remaining stories will be used commercial purposes, supplying 160,000 square foot of office space. "The new project forms an ensemble with Trinity Church and Churchyard, creating an enlarged public setting for the ministries of the church," said Pelli Clarke Pelli in a statement. "The resulting design, emerging from a highly collaborative design process, is conceived of as a companion to the historic church building—a supportive and resonant element in a larger urban composition, a sacred and welcoming public space." Within its Wall Street setting, the architects also said how the "new parish building will form a contemporary backdrop for the historic church." Light metal framework will encase glass paneling to form the building's facade. As a result, the tower "resonates with the intricate stonework of Trinity Church Wall Street," a Gothic Revival Episcopal landmark that boasts one of Manhattan's most impressive spires that has stood tall since 1846. With the Parish's programming taking place on the lower levels, the glass fenestration will allow the public to view church activities and facilitate further community engagement. The design has been two years in the making. Both the Church and architects worked with the community to establish the building's aesthetics and program, tailoring it to the needs of all stakeholders including the Trinity’s congregation, ministry partners, neighbors, and the city. The Reverand Dr. William Lupfer, Rector of Trinity Church, said: “Our building is a statement of Trinity’s dedication to serving the people of this community, this neighborhood, and the city of New York for a fourth century. Having been in conversation with our neighbors every step of the way, we are creating a dynamic, engaging home for Trinity’s ministry activities.” According to a press release, building plans are currently pending approval. Groundbreaking is currently scheduled for early 2017, with the 74 Trinity Place being due for completion in 2019.
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Hallway of mirrors installation now on display at Times Square

Can you see yourself at Times Square this month? Running through November 21, visitors to Times Square in Manhattan will find The Beginning of the End. The reflective intervention comes from the Times Square Arts, Cuban Artists Fund, and Cuban artist Rachel Valdés Camejo and asks audiences to think about the relationship between an object and its surrounding space—Broadway Plaza between 46th and 47th Streets. Camejo’s first work in the U.S., The Beginning of the End sees the bright lights and razzmatazz of Times Square amplified through a corridor of mirrored surfaces. Visitors can walk through and glance down to see the sky at their feet along with the vibrant streetscape around them. Immersed within the new perspective of their surroundings, the audience is prompted to contemplate the way they view the vicinity. The Beginning of the End also works as a successful installation at night too. Despite not being able to walk on the sky, Camejo's installation encapsulates and reverberates the visual chaos of Times Square has to offer. Speaking in a press release, Camejo gave her thoughts on the installation:
For me it is wonderful to have this opportunity to present my work in a public space such as Times Square. It is certainly a place totally different from the environments where I have shown my installations before. My pieces always work according to the environment that concern them and in this case will be very different. I build objects to create dialogues between human beings, the object and space. So far the other environments in which I worked are quieter places, even places that become inhospitable, so to have my work this time in a place where so many people pass, and in a city like New York, it gives a whole other visual and conceptual possibility to my work.
“This work pulls in the sky to draw it underneath your feet, wrapping Times Square completely around your body," said Times Square Arts Director, Sherry Dobbin. "The natural skyscape, the electronic billboards and the office buildings combine in a human kaleidoscope, in which each twist of your body brings about new perspectives.” Meanwhile, Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “Times Square has always been a reflection of America and ourselves. Ms. Camejo’s work allows the marvelous mix of people in Times Square to intersect in ever-new ways.”
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Manhattan’s Temple Court Building restored and reopened as The Beekman hotel

The Temple Court Building in lower Manhattan, at the corner of Nassau Street and Beekman Street, recently re-opened as The Beekman following a period of heavy renovations. The Renaissance Revival style building is now a hotel, with a 51-story condominium building on the adjacent lot. Both the renovation and new building were executed by New York-based Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, Architects (GKV Architects).

Coming soon to a #siesta near you #beekmanhotel

A photo posted by 🍴🍸😴 (@eatdrinksiesta) on

The Architect's Newspaper took an exclusive preview tour of the building over a year ago. The Beekman has quickly become an Instagram hotspot; visitors have taken some beautiful shots of its lobby, which features an intricately-detailed 9-story atrium. GKV Architects reports that the "historic cast iron balconies, the grand skylight, the atrium... the wood millwork doors and windows surrounding the atrium" were all part of their restoration effort.
A photo posted by The SKW Team (@theskwteam) on
The Temple Court Building—as it was originally named—was completed in 1883, with an attached annex completed in 1890. According to GKV Architects, it was the first of the "fireproof" skyscrapers in New York City, though that didn't stop a small fire from breaking out in 1983. The building and annex were designated a New York City Landmark in 1998.
The first 10 floors of the 68-unit condominium are attached to the hotel and the building's permanent residents will have access to the hotel's amenities. This includes personal training at the hotel's fitness center and in-residence dining by the hotel restaurant, led by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.
Of course, all this luxury doesn't come cheap: units start at $1.475 million and run up to $3.75 million. A two-day stay at the hotel in early October will run you over $500 a night.
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Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava makes steps to ensure its preservation

Located on 15 West 25th Street in Manhattan, the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was severely damaged by a fire on May 3rd this year. The church is now working with the city and engineers to develop a plan of action for the building. Formerly known as the Trinity Chapel Complex, the English Gothic Revival church was completed in 1855 and designed by British-born American architect Richard Upjohn. In 1942 it was purchased by the Serbian Eastern Orthodox parish. In 1968 the church's stone facade and roof (all of which was lost in the fire) were designated a city landmark. 14 years later, the whole complex—which includes the Cathedral's Parish House and the Clergy House—was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This month, the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) ordered that the South Gable wall on 25th Street be reinforced with metal beams for public safety reasons. Working with engineers and the Landmarks Preservation Committee, the DOB also stipulated “shoring and bracing” and that the wall tops be covered with a waterproof canvas to protect them from the elements. Rumors of arson spread once news broke that three other churches had been subject to fires that Easter. "Too many churches have burned to call it an accident," said former Serbian ambassador Dusan T. Batakovic. "It is very strange that it happened, that the fires all took place on Easter, the greatest Christian Orthodox holiday. Some kind of terrorist action can not be excluded." However, officials said that candles were the most likely cause of the blaze. AN also spoke to FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Gala who recalled the incident. "Upon arrival, fire was already billowing out of the rose window. Due to the amount of combustible material in churches, fires can spread very rapidly," he said. "I think this fire could have resulted from an improperly discarded candle." There were also fears that structural damage would result in the building being torn down. However, Alexander Schnell of the DOB said in June: "We don’t see that it’s impossible to stabilize the structure and preserve what remains while ensuring that public safety is not compromised. The situation—as we see it right now—does not pose a hazard to the public." The church (albeit, its shell) is still standing. As Ann Friedman, director of sacred sites at the New York Landmarks Conservancy points out, churches have a habit of staying put. 235 out of the 255 landmarked religious buildings in the city are currently still used by religious organizations.

As for St. Sava, the church is going through motions of fundraising to ensure its preservation.

Just yesterday, AN spoke to a number of attendees at a fundraising event. Gordon Bijelonic, a Los Angeles-based film producer who grew up in the community, mentioned how the church played a role for refugees arriving in the U.S. "This Church created safe passage for my parents to the U.S.A. from an Austrian refugee camp during the communist era of former Yugoslavia.” He added how it was imperative that the building maintains its landmark status. "This is not so much about religion either, it has become a cultural icon. The church is a pillar of culture for Serbians who come to the U.S.," he said. "We want to rebuild, not move. It's so important that it remains where it is."

Newly appointed to the parish, Very Reverend Dr. Živojin Jakovljević spoke of how much the church welcomed the support they received after the fire. "At the time when our Parish and we, the people of Saint Sava, grieve the loss of a beautiful church, we also feel comforted, because we know we are not alone. We would like to thank all those, who, by their support and solidarity, have given us comfort and hope. Such attitude will not only help us rebuild the church, but also uplift the spirit of many lovely faithful people of our Saint Sava community."
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A man is currently climbing up the facade of Trump Tower using suction cups

A man is currently on his way up the Trump Tower in Midtown, Manhattan with the aid of suction cups. The police and fire department so far have tried (unsuccessfully) to help the man down, however, he does not appear to be cooperating.
A person is climbing Trump Tower in New York City.A person is climbing Trump Tower in New York City using suction cups. Posted by CNN on Wednesday, 10 August 2016
According to multiple ABC News, the climber had smashed several windows while also changing his path up the building so to avoid police who had sawed into ventilation grates. Police were reportedly leaning out of these openings, though were unable to stop the man who's reason for the stunt is so far unknown. At the base of the Tower on Madison Avenue, a crowd had formed with many cheering the man's efforts. He has so far responded with whistles though gasps were heard when the climber slipped. So far provisions have been made for if the climber falls with two giant inflatable cushioned drop-zones in place. The road has also now been closed.
The climber will have no luck if he expects to find the Republican nominee in the building as Trump himself is currently at a rally in Abingdon, Virginia, more than 500 miles away. UPDATE: As of 6:35 p.m. (EST) AN learnt that the man, identified as Stephen Rogata was caught and subsequently arrested shortly after by the NYPD. Glass had been removed from windows located above the climber thus preventing him from ascending any further. Rogata was described by police as a 20-year-old man from Virginia who intended to meet Trump. Ironically, Trump (as mentioned above) was in Rogata's home-state as he made his ascent. Since his arrest, he has been taken to Bellevue Hospital to be psychologically evaluated.
In a YouTube video posted this week (see below), Rogata defines himself as an "independent researcher" who had to give an "important message" to the Republican presidential nominee. Trump's campaign meanwhile, has reacted to the incident. "This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt," said Michael Cohen, executive vice-president of the Trump Organization. "I'm 100% certain the NYPD had better things to do."
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A smart Manhattan office design fits three companies into one space

New York City is one of the most expensive global cities for office space, along with London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. According to data from real estate firm JLL, the average cost of office space per square foot in New York for 2015 was $171. So it is no wonder that companies are turning to innovative ways to rethink where and how they work.

A midtown Manhattan office interior unites three companies—America’s Kids, Gindi Capital, and Mad Projects Industries—across 15,000 square feet to make the most of this precious commodity. (The three companies are leasing the space as one entity.) New York–based architecture firm Only If — was tasked with creating a balanced range of spaces: Half of the space is dedicated to interactive and open space, while the other half to more closed areas for focused work. At one end, toward the right of the lobby, is Gindi Capital and at the other end is Mad Projects with America’s Kids housed in a space near the middle. Among the three companies, there are open work areas and private offices, conference rooms, a studio, a showroom, as well as a lobby, lounges, and a kitchen.

“The three companies, which range from fashion to real estate, had different and often conflicting requirements, but we mainly interfaced with Mad Projects. Mad Projects supported our work but also pushed us further in a way that was truly collaborative,” explained Adam Frampton, principal of Only If —. “During the design process, we were often in a position of mediating and resolving the conflicts between companies that, given their different operations, by definition, had very different needs and visions for what their office should be. Aspects of the design brief were totally contradictory.”

Only If — focused on a simple palette of black and white to help tie the spaces together. “At first, given that each business is very different and relatively independent, we considered expressing differences throughout the entire space as different zones,” said Frampton. “The monochromatic approach provides a relatively neutral background. It doesn’t look overdesigned, and it doesn’t look like the so-called contemporary creative office where one finds tech startups or coworking spaces. As an architect, it’s the kind of space I’d like to work in.”

The firm also employed a range of materials to help break up the space and introduce variety. There are wood, felt, stone, glass, and mirrors that cloak the plus-sign-shaped clothing display and storage module in Mad’s showroom. “The perpendicular and parallel relationships between mirrored surfaces create cascading visual effects,” said Frampton. The mirrored module also helps to divide the showroom into separate display areas.

The firm started working on the project in summer 2014. The clients moved in March 2015, and the interior was finished by fall 2015. “Within an accelerated schedule, a lot of the design also happened while the project was already under construction,” said Frampton. “Technically, the black, seamless floor was also quite challenging to achieve. It’s a poured resilient polyurethane, and because the building was originally two separate buildings, there are different subfloor conditions that had to also be constructed.”

The midtown office project gave Only If—an opportunity to think more deeply about the next wave of office interiors. “The project allowed us to speculate on what we think the future of the creative workplace will be,” said Frampton. 


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Two modern developments in Manhattan’s Noho neighborhood given the green light by the LPC

A ten-story office complex on 363 Lafayette Street in Manhattan's Noho neighborhood has been awarded approval by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Designed by local firm Morris Adjmi Architects, the scheme had previously been rejected. Another project, a multi-family residency just round the corner on 22 Bond Street by fellow New York practice BKSK Architects, was also given the go-ahead. Initially, Adjmi's design had employed double-height windows as part of a slightly angled and staggered facade that included a dash of greenery along its incremental edges. This design was rejected by the LPC in July earlier this year, but Adjmi's subsequent alterations did the trick this time around. The modifications included making sure the street corner doesn't feature the staggered angular fall-back—except for a major recession on the eighth floor)—which was a previous gripe of the LPC in July. These subtle angular increments now occur southwards down Lafayette Street and, unlike before, are in accordance with each level change. Furthermore, new glazing has been placed on the south-side of the building while additional window detailing features around every exposed facade. According to New York Yimby, in response to the latest iteration, Commissioner Michael Devonshire described the design as “beautiful.” Preservation consultant Elise Quasebarth from New York firm Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, who specialize in the preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties, commented that the architects had “strengthened [the] corner, using it as a pivot” to create “dynamic slicing” and “more graceful proportions." While commissioner Frederick Bland said it was a “terrible thing for a committee to nit pick [an architect’s work] to pieces,” he and the rest of the commissioners were happy with the design voting unanimously for its approval. Also vying for approval was New York studio BKSK for their multi-family dwelling lot on 22 Bond Street, a stone's throw away from Morris Adjmi's project. The design features minor changes to the front facade as well as a "braille sidewalk" that features cast-iron vault lights which illuminate the entrance area at night. A third project at 413-435 West 14th Street was also due for hearing but was laid over at the committee meeting. All three projects can be viewed in detail here, here and here (in order of appearance in this article).
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Sleek quinoa automat coming to NYC

Love quinoa but loathe human interaction? A California–based restaurant is bringing its healthy quinoa power bowl automat (yeah) to Midtown this fall. At Eatsa, which has locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, patrons order via iPads instead of popping coins into a slot in exchange for food. Diners can customize their quinoa bowls, or choose options like the "Cantina Kale Salad" or "Chili con Quinoa" a-la-carte. In the video below, food blogger Eddie Lin, alternating between amazement and pure, unadulterated joy, offers a blow-by-blow look at the bowl-ordering process: Other corners of the internet are abuzz about the old-fangled concept updated for 21st-century habits. See this diner pick up his food and beverages from the slot with his name displayed on it:

Greetings from the future. Coolest restaurant ever!!! #eatsa @meagle23

A video posted by Chelsea Franco (@francothetank0) on

Quinoa bowls are prepared behind the scenes by real live people but delivered automatically into cubbies with light-up, numbered displays and include the diner's name. While Bamn!, the short-lived automat on St. Marks Place, had a vintage, Jetsons-in-pink aesthetic, Eatsa's brand skews more Apple Store. Crucially, while the automats of yore kept items to temperature with in-cubby heating, Eatsa's items are made to order.
As an added bonus, all dishes are priced under $7.00. Mmmm.
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LPC approves faux-classical Upper East Side mansion; many see a lost architectural opportunity

Manhattan-based firm HS Jessup Architecture has been given the green light for a five story faux-classical apartment on 34 East 62nd Street. The design, which is for the Woodbine Development Corporation, was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and will rest on the site where Dr. Nicholas Bartha blew up his own house in 2006. Only days more than a decade ago, Bartha had become embroiled in a marriage dispute that forced him to sell the house. However, Bartha wasn't budging. The New York Times reported the incident on July 11 2006:
The graceful town house on East 62nd Street was more than a home to Nicholas Bartha. It was the culmination of his life’s work, proof that he had realized the classic immigrant’s dream. In court papers, [Bartha's former wife] said he had repeatedly vowed in ominous tones that he would die in that house and that she would never get it. Now there is no house.
Shortly afterward, the 20 by 100 foot plot was available for $8.35 million and marketed by Brown Harris Stevens as an “opportunity to build your dream house” on a “quiet, lovely tree-lined street.” A year on from this, Bridgehampton-based architect Preston T. Phillips was touted to design a slender, modern replacement for Bartha's town house, though the 2008 crisis proved to fatal stumbling block for the project. Fast forward ten years ten years and now it looks like there will be a house on East 62nd Street once again. Employing a limestone and red brick on the North and South facades respectively, the 7,800-square-foot Manhattan mansion seeks to fall in line with its adjacent typologies adding a contemporary edge. The Historic Districts Council (HDC) however, had other ideas. At a hearing on July 12 the council said:
HDC finds that while the proposed design is not offensive and would be constructed of appropriate materials, it raises the question of whether it is appropriate to construct faux historic houses in historic districts. Introducing a design that is of our time or replicating the house that originally stood here would be acceptable strategies, but this house, while thoughtfully picking up details found in the neighborhood, does neither. The house might look like it has always been here, but we are not sure that would be an honest approach.
They weren't the only group to raise their concerns too as Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts voiced their issue with the facade's design:
While the proportions and scale of this building are appropriate for its setting, our Preservation Committee can’t help but feel that this project may be a missed opportunity for a more creative design.