This summer, New York City is launching a new program to explore the city and save money. If you are a Brooklyn, New York, or Queens Public Library Cardholder aged 13 or older, you can reserve a Culture Pass to gain free access to more than 30 cultural institutions, including “museums, historical societies, heritage centers, public gardens and more.” Reservations should be made ahead of time, and a limited number of passes are available on each date. Here is a list of participating organizations: Brooklyn: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, New York Transit Museum Manhattan: Children’s Museum of the Arts, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, The Drawing Center, The Frick Collection, Historic Richmond Town, International Center of Photography, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Morgan Library & Museum, Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Chinese in America, Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, Museum of Modern Art, Rubin Museum of Art, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Society of Illustrators, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling, Whitney Museum of American Art Bronx: Wave Hill Queens: Louis Armstrong House, Noguchi Museum, Queens Historical Society, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter Staten Island: Historic Richmond Town, Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art Check out this link for more details.
Posts tagged with "Museum of the City of New York":
Though he may not have had a household name, few architects have had as lasting an impact on New York City as Rosario Candela. Since they were built almost a century ago, his buildings have come to define several of the city's neighborhoods and have set a standard for classic refinement among the real estate community. The Museum of the City of New York’s Elegance in the Sky: The Architecture of Rosario Candela is an informative, concise, and accessible exhibition covering the work and life of the prolific early 20th century architect. The exhibition is curated by Donald Albrecht and designed by New York-based architect Peter Pennoyer, with Tsang Seymour overseeing the project’s graphic design. Rosario Candela was born in 1890 in the Sicilian town of Montelepre, immigrating to New York City in approximately 1910. Although he struggled with English, Candela enrolled in Columbia University’s School of Architecture and graduated in 1915. The Sicilian immigrant’s early mastery of design—and self-confidence—was soon evident, as documented by architectural historian Christopher Gray, who described the young Candela cordoning off his drafting table with a velvet rope to prevent competing students from copying his work. Candela began his career as a draftsman for fellow Sicilian-American architect Gaetan Ajello, whose firm designed dozens of Renaissance Revival and Neoclassical residential and commercial properties across Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The young architect established his own firm in 1920, positioning himself to take full advantage of the astronomical wealth of the Jazz Age. For curator Donald Albrecht, one of the challenges of the exhibit was ensuring that the show was less a catalogue of Candela's prolific 75-building body of work, and more a narrative embedding his career within a rapidly changing city. To this end, Candela’s canon is cut down to 13 examples that chart his range of styles and their impact on Manhattan’s streetscape. Photography and digital animation are the primary media for the exhibition, showcasing both exteriors and interiors of Candela’s residential towers. Furnishings and ephemera dating from the era play a supporting, but significant role in bringing the subject’s social narrative to life. At street level, Candela’s architectural design is remarkable in its ability to simultaneously blend with the overarching streetscape whilst establishing a distinguishable individual presence. The exhibition begins with an immense print of the dramatically terraced rooflines of 770 and 778 Park Avenue. In typical Candela fashion, the two Neo-Georgian and Renaissance Revival style buildings are elegant and unassuming, with relatively modest brownish-red brick facades standing on delicately detailed limestone bases. Matching the cornice line of neighboring developments, Candela took advantage of zoning codes that required setbacks to create wildly asymmetrical terraced rooftops, adorned with historicist motifs such as flying buttresses, quoins, urns, and cupola-ensconced water towers. Although Rosario Candela’s work is now located in some of New York City’s most desirable neighborhoods, shifting the city’s wealthy from Victorian and French Renaissance mansions elsewhere to uptown apartment living required some persuasion. In a statement, Albrecht notes that “a key theme of the exhibition focuses on the economic history and ingenious marketing campaigns that convinced the wealthy to give up their private homes and move into apartments designed by Candela.” Featured in the exhibition are a number of brochures stemming from these efforts that promised potential tenants the luxury and exclusivity of a family manor with the comforts of apartment living. Additionally, many of Candela’s project were built as exclusionary residential cooperatives, allowing the city’s elite to segregate themselves from those they deemed less desirable. Completed in 1930 at the onset of the Great Depression, Candela’s limestone-clad Art Deco 740 Park Avenue is seen as the summit of the architect’s career. While the facade announces the upper-class status of the co-op, it is the interior composition that sets it apart from surrounding residences. The building is split between four types of apartments: mansionettes with individual street entrances, a series of duplexes, and full-floor apartments, topped by a luxurious penthouse. Past and current residents read as a register of the nation’s political and economic elite, ranging from Jackie Kennedy to John D. Rockefeller. A centrally-placed digital animation of 960 Fifth Avenue is perhaps the finest curatorial tool in the exhibition, and it highlights Candela’s innovative approach to floorplan layouts and his segmentation of luxury residential properties into a diverse range of units. The videographic, created with Lumion architectural rendering software, effectively displays the division of the building into a western portion composed of single-story and duplex apartments, and an eastern wing made up of one- to two-bedroom rental units for upper-class families who predominantly resided in country estates. Faithful to Albrecht's curatorial mission to break outside the confines of architectural history, Elegance in the Sky also includes the catastrophic impact the Great Depression had on Rosario Candela’s dizzying rise as a top-tier architect, essentially leveling all future prospects of prestigious projects. Consequently, the architect left the profession and turned towards the field of cryptography, ultimately creating an unbreakable encryption method used by the American government during World War II. Candela would go on to write two books on the subject and take up a professorship at Hunter College. Although purely based on Candela family lore, Albrecht notes that the architect’s involvement with the Office of Strategic Services could be a factor behind the near complete lack of original renderings, with the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency seizing documents from Candela’s study following his death in 1953. In a nod to Candela’s apartments' classical interior detailing and the designer's involvement in cryptography, Peter Pennoyer wrapped the entire exhibition space in a decorative frieze featuring mullions, egg-and-dart detailing, fluting, and a band of Morse code spelling out the architect’s full name. In similar fashion, facial profiles of those involved in his career, including longtime collaborators, designer Dorothy Draper, and developers Charles and Joseph Paterno, are colorfully sketched below the decorative frieze. The seismic evolution of New York City’s urban fabric during Rosario Candela’s professional career is startling and alludes to the contemporary state of intense development in the city. However, the continued allure and prestige of Rosario Candela’s body of work, from the Art Deco 740 Park Avenue to the Georgian-Renaissance blend of 770 Park Avenue, raises the question of whether the city’s current development boom will leave the same storied architectural legacy.
Elegance in the Sky: The Architecture of Rosario Candela The Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Through October 28, 2018
The AIA Conference on Architecture is just around the corner, from June 21 to 23 at the Javits Center in New York City. To add to the excitement, the city will be bustling with architecture events and exhibits, including at MoMA PS1, the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Van Alen Institute. Here are our editors' highlights for the week. 1) MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program Museum of Modern Art 11 West 53rd St. (Midtown) June 18 6:00–8:00 pm. Free. RSVPs required* www.momaps1.org Exhibition reception for 2018 Young Architects Program, featuring finalists LeCAVALIER R+D, FreelandBuck, BairBalliet, and OFICINAA. The winning scheme Hide & Seek by Dream The Combine (Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers), opens to the public June 26. Opening reception, limited space. 2) Night at the Museums Various locations June 19 4:00–8:00 pm. Free. NightattheMuseums.org Fourteen Lower Manhattan museums open their doors, free of charge, as part of this annual event. Visit the Skyscraper Museum, African Burial Ground, Museum of Jewish Heritage, South Street Seaport Museum, National 9/11 Memorial, and others. 3) Architecture Books Opening Reception Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 19 7:00–9:00 pm. Free. Storefrontnews.org Now on display at the legendary Steven Holl and Vito Acconci–designed gallery, selection of 100 fundamental books, selected by a jury, based on Storefront’s Global Survey of Architecture Books. On June 26, Storefront will host a conference at the New York Public Library Main Branch (6:30–8:30 pm, free), featuring prominent architects. 4) Solstice: 24x24x24 Storefront for Art and Architecture 97 Kenmare St. (SoHo) June 20–June 21 Storefrontnews.org Making the most of the longest day of the year, 24x24x24 brings together 24 designers to shape a day of programming and contribute a seat for a collective gathering during the summer solstice. From dawn until dusk, 24x24x24 is an experiment in collective production in design, action, and thinking. 24x24x24 is collectively organized and curated by a group of architects who will be taking over Storefront for Art and Architecture from 7pm on June 20 to 7pm on June 21. 5) Mind the Gap: Improving Urban Mobility Through Science and Design Van Alen Institute 30 West 22nd St. (Flatiron) June 20 6:30–8:30 pm. Free. VanAlen.org An examination of how populations move through cities, using tools and methods from neuroscience and behavioral psychology. Organized by the Van Alen Institute. AN’s very own Assistant Editor Jonathan Hilburg will moderate the discussion. 6) Summer Solstice Aperitivo Vitra 100 Gansevoort St. (Meatpacking District) June 21 4:00-8:00 pm. Free with RSVP* aiany.org Toast the summer solstice with Vitra and Skyline Design. Aperitivi, live DJ, and special exhibitions. 7) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 1 Sheila C. Johnson Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 21 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by the winners of the Architectural League’s prestigious annual prize, recognizing the nation’s top young architects: Gabriel Cueller & Athar Mufreh, Coryn Kempster, and Bryony Roberts. Followed by reception 8) Modulightor Building Open House 246 East 58th St. (Midtown) June 22 6:00–9:00 pm. $15. RSVP required* modulightor.com Tour Paul Rudolph’s stunning four-story glass townhouse. 9) Infrastructure: The Architecture Lobby National Think-In Javits Center 655 W 34th St, New York June 22 7:00 am–7:00 pm Prime Produce 424 W 54th St (between 9th and 10th aves) June 23 10:00 am – 7:00pm This Think-In is divided into two parts over two days: active engagement with relevant sessions at the AIA National convention to ensure substantive dialogues on professional issues on Friday, June 22; and Think-In panel discussions on Saturday, June 23 at Prime Produce that examine the theme of Infrastructure. Infrastructure is the network of systems necessary for an organization to function. When those systems are degraded enough, the defining functions of the organization fail. The Architecture Lobby has selected this theme for its first National Think-In to generate a way forward and rebuild our discipline’s infrastructure. 10) Architecture League Prize 2018: Night 2 Sheila C. Johnson Design Center Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 22 7:00–9:00 pm. $10 for non-members. RSVP required* ArchLeague.org Lectures by winners of the Architectural League’s prize: Anya Sirota, Alison Von Glinow & Lap Chi Kwong, and Dan Spiegel. 11) A’18 Community Service Day Various locations Check-in: Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place 7:30 am–6:00 pm; reception 6:00–8:00 pm aiany.org/a18 Looking for a meaningful way to spend the last day of conference? AIANY encourages you to volunteer for a half or full day of work that will benefit local nonprofits. Roll up your sleeps and pitch in on projects that range from upgrading a church kitchen, fixing a shelter’s community room, working a mobile farmer’s market in an underserved community, and installing infrastructure at a school’s educational outdoor garden. Volunteers will have the chance to make a real difference for these organizations and the people they serve, and see parts of New York City that they might not otherwise visit. Collaborating firms include: Cannon Design and Stalco Construction, James Wagman Architect, Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects, FXCollaborative, Perkins Eastman, and 1100 Architect. Participants must sign up in advance. 12) Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries Parsons School of Design 66 Fifth Ave. (Greenwich Village) June 22–23 12:00–6:00 pm. Free. ArchLeague.org Exhibition featuring the 2018 winners of this prestigious prize program. This year’s theme, Objective, asked entrants to consider objectivity and criteria by which architecture might be judged today. 13) Panorama of the City of New York Queens Museum Flushing Meadows Corona Park Ongoing QueensMuseum.org Conceived by urban mastermind and World’s Fair President Robert Moses for the 1964 Fair, the Panorama is a 1:1200 scale model of New York City, covering 469 acres and including hundreds of thousands individually crafted buildings. In 1992, the original modelmaker updated the Panorama while the museum underwent its expansion, designed by Rafael Viñoly. 14) New York at Its Core: 400 Years of NYC History Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Ave. (Upper East Side) Ongoing MCNY.org What made New York New York? Follow the story of the city’s rise from a striving Dutch village to today’s “Capital of the World.” Framed around themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity, the city delves into its past and invites visitors to propose visions for its future. 15) Designing Waste: Strategies for a Zero Waste City Center for Architecture 536 La Guardia Place (Greenwich village) Through September 1 CenterforArchitecture.org Waste is a design problem. This show presents strategies for architects, designers, and building professionals to help divert waste from landfills. Curator Andrew Blum will lead tours of the exhibition on Friday, June 22, 10:00–11:00 am, and Saturday, June 23, 11:00 am–12:00 pm. This exhibition is based on the Zero Waste Design Guidelines and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Text by AIA City Guide, Storefront for Art and Architecture and AN.
Whatever your feelings about public art, there's a lot of it in New York City. A new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York reflects on the origins and future of the city's public sculptures, murals, and more ephemeral works, fifty years after artists and curators brought art out of the galleries and into the streets. Of course, New York has always had civic statues and monuments, but the public art movement really took off in the 1960s with Sculpture in Environment, a 1967 Parks Department exhibition that brought work by 24 artists to parks and buildings in Manhattan. The installations were the city's attempt to beautify itself in the face of disinvestment and decay, as well as a response to changing urban conditions that coincided with Kennedy-era positioning of American art and culture as a worldwide export. A timeline in the forecourt of Art in the Open gives a concise and colorful overview of public art from the 60s to today, with "Go See It!" stickers affixed to work that's endured, like Isamu Noguchi's Red Cube in front of 140 Broadway. A walk in the gallery is a greatest hits parade, organized by theme. A red Keith Haring mural, Crack is Wack, greets visitors who enter Art in Public, the opening category that engages the role of art in shaping shared spaces. Art in Place features site-specific works like The Gates, the 23 miles of orange banners Christo and Jeanne-Claude threaded through Central Park; A Subtlety, Kara Walker's arresting installation inside the Domino Sugar Factory; and a throwback, Wheatfield—A Confrontation, Agnes Denes's amber waves of grain in front of Minoru Yamasaki's World Trade Center. The third and final grouping, Art in Action, is devoted to performance and interactive installations. Tania Bruguera's Immigrant Movement International, a community center for migrants in Corona, Queens, and Rudy Shepherd's Drawing Cart, a table in front of a Harlem laundromat where the artist drew with neighbors, are thoughtful exceptions to the blockbusters. Exhibition curators collaborated with the city's major public art organizations to realize Art in the Open. There's art from MTA Arts & Design, the transit arts program that brings straphangers mosaic murals and Poetry in Motion, video stills and ephemera from Creative Time, the nonprofit behind A Subtlety, as well as many other works featured. The Public Art Fund, the group behind Ai Wei Wei's current citywide installation, shared its archives with MCNY for the show. Full-scale photographs of the art in situ contextualize the work, most of which (if decommissioned) is scaled to the sky, too massive to fit inside the gallery—a tension the show highlights. There's a lot to take in, and for New Yorkers, the show will jog memories of art that shapes the city, love it or hate it. Art in the Open: Fifty Years of Public Art in New York, is on view tomorrow, November 10 through May 13, 2018.
Two new exhibitions at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) excavate the past and future of New York with a historian's eye for patterns and an urbanist's love of variety. The permanent exhibition, which tries to present New York's entire 400-year history, adheres to the platonic ideal of the 19th-century museum with forward-thinking updates that open up the urban encyclopedia for perspectives on the city of the future. New York at Its Core occupies three galleries—the whole first floor—divided chronologically and organized around the themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity to reveal the city's essential qualities and explain its changes. Although featured artifacts anchor the historical galleries—Port City, 1609-1898 and World City, 1898-2012—the exhibition, part of MCNY's ten-year, $100 million renovation, is a multimedia bonanza that uses digital representation to both immerse visitors in the past and visualize the Gotham to come. Your correspondent is wall text's #1 fan and one of the world's slowest museum-goers. Via immersive visuals like a colorized floor-to-ceiling projection of Mulberry Street around 1900 and touch-screen "learn more" graphics that highlight New Yorkers famous and obscure, Port City and World City gratify a pendant's desire to learn as much as possible about New York's development, but the cheerfully packed graphics and 400-plus artifacts will provide a quick review for the less patient. The exhibition was designed by New York–based Studio Joseph while Local Projects executed the media and playful UX design. Pentagram was responsible for the graphic design throughout. A spatial thread, Mapping New York, links changes in the city's land use to cultural and political changes through the three galleries. That element gets its biggest expression in the third and thrilling Future City Lab, a suite of interactive virtual-reality installations that open up questions around the challenges of an ever-growing city. Facing the entrance, the digital map overlays almost 100 maps to document the present and peer into the future (up until 2050). "Our philosophy past and present is that New Yorkers' actions shape the city," said Jake Barton, founding principal of Local Projects. Actions on a screen count, too: Visitors are invited to explore the intersectional problems of housing, transportation, outdoor space, living together, and getting by in New York through SimCity-like games that amuse and edify. In the housing section, visitors can construct an apartment building from one of the five boroughs to create a structure based on context, budget impact, and sustainability—the very real factors architects and developers consider when building in the city. Your corresponded saw a visitor create an eight-story Morris Adjmi–esque condo in East Harlem with large units, subtract volume to make a ziggurat, add trees to the terraces, and put a seniors' disco (programming) all along the third floor. Aside from housing, the outdoorsy can redesign a street or create a park. This reporter made a Manhattan waterfront recreation area that scored major points on biodiversity and flood mitigation for its oyster beds and native grasses, but went over-budget with a floating pool, public art, windmills, and a skatepark. A video of the final product (below) is projected onto a wall-sized screen in the museum for all to admire or make fun of: Each of the five themes is complemented by street photography from Joseph Michael Lopez. For metadata nerds who desire transparency, the curators set up the Data Nook, a cozy display that offers insight into how and why the exhibition's statistics were chosen and represented. After the joy of the lab, it would be a mistake to stop exploring. Upstairs, a second and thematically compatible exhibition, Mastering the Metropolis: New York City and Zoning, 1916-2016, delves into the city's zoning code on its centennial. The show injects brio and vitality into the rules—which, in today's iteration, fill three thick binders—that both govern building in New York and shed light on how ideas for the "ideal metropolis" have evolved. New York is New York because of tightly packed millions that generate wealth and art as well as explosive tensions over light and air that major code revisions in 1961 and this year have addressed. New York–based Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) built models that visualize urban planners' favorite acronym, Floor-Area Ratio (FAR), and show how the FAR allowance from nine lots, for example, was used to assemble air rights for Rafael Viñoly's cloudbusting 432 Park Avenue. while the exhibition explains a just-added suite of requirements on height and setbacks, plus affordable the new housing legislation.
This is the eighteenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! New York history lovers will be beside themselves when exploring the brand new permanent exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The exhibition, aptly titled New York at Its Core in reference to the city’s international status as the Big Apple, will open to the public on November 18. Archtober tour-goers got a sneak peak of the design and construction of the 6,600-square-foot space today in a special walk-through led by Sarah M. Henry, the museum’s chief curator. Ennead Architects recently completed a nine-year renovation of the museum’s landmarked Joseph Freedlander building on 5th Avenue. With newly restored galleries and better-organized program areas, MCNY’s latest exhibition takes up the entire first floor, revealing the museum’s new modern image as visitors enter the building. New York at Its Core is five years in the making and will be the first and only exhibition in the city’s history to provide an in-depth tour of New York’s progression from a small Dutch settlement to the metropolis that we live in today. The exhibition is divided into three phases: “Port City, 1609-1898;” “World City, 1898-2012;” and “Future City Lab,” an interactive space that focuses on New York’s present and the challenges it may face in the future. Henry explained the exhibition is meant to answer the question: What makes New York New York? The answer revolves around the four themes of money, density, diversity, and creativity. “Creativity signifies the quality of New York and how it draws in more money, more diversity, and more density,” she told the group. Henry took us into each of the three gallery spaces, which are still being constructed and branded to designers at Studio Joseph, Local Projects, and Pentagram. More than 400 objects are displayed in the two black-box galleries that delve into New York’s history. State-of-the-art interactive maps and digital totems allow visitors to get both a bird’s eye view of the city’s growth and insights into lives and minds of some of the city’s prominent and lesser known past residents. Rare artifacts, like the Lenape chieftain’s club that’s been held in Sweden since 1660 and was just installed in the museum this morning, give viewers a deeply personal view of the beginning of our history. In the Future City Lab gallery, visitors engage in imagining a future city and thinking about how our current choices determine various outcomes in the future development of New York. In this last gallery, the largest of the three, visitors step into an airy, light-filled room—a stark contrast to the previous dark, more introspective galleries of the exhibition. You could say that while viewers travel back in time at the start of their visit, they project themselves into the future at the end—a future that’s hopefully a bit brighter. About the author: Sydney Franklin is a content producer at the NYC Department of Design and Construction. She recently graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s degree in architectural journalism.
Review> Paul Gunther on preservation and the ongoing exhibit, Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks
Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks An exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York and Catalog edited by Donald Albrecht, Andrew Dolkart, and Seri Worden Through January 3, 2016 Since the first trace of the species homo sapiens, human evolution only represents four one hundred thousandths of one percent of the earth's age. In proportion to an 80-year life span, that means just 31 hours—less than a day and a half of the 701,280 hours lived. With the existential threat of climate change and ecological ruination gaining traction in collective consciousness—combined with the outsized expectations of breath-holding fundamentalists for whom earth’s rapturous end can’t come soon enough—our sense of what permanence means has begun to shift. If all human culture to date is just four-dozen millennia and we’ve wreaked so much havoc already, “forever” strikes a dubious chord. This temporal dynamic is one prism through which Saving Place and the anniversary it examines can be seen. Another is the end of the post-World War II order and with it a sense that history hasn’t ended after all, including the survival of world monuments (especially amidst the tribal strife in the Middle East) that a united (albeit Western-centric) world had deemed essentially imperishable. It turns out historic places of exceptional human accomplishment can disappear as readily as an endangered species can; the risk of disorientation resulting from the obliteration of common orthodoxies is always high. Such sobering reflection informs this worthy stock-taking anniversary enterprise, which focuses more on the role of the preservation movement as part of the plodding, existential course of civic engagement, rather than some celebratory juggernaut tied only to the singular examples of past excellence like Grand Central Terminal or the Guggenheim Museum. Among the most valued places saved are those of daily routine that most identify as the common bonds of a vibrant community. Only with such coherence can change occur in ways that succeed—and that hold value. Fifty years ago, New York City Mayor Robert Wagner signed into law the first landmarks designation statute in the nation with the creation of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. With its advent came new public authority and civic duty to adjudge the aesthetic and historic value of elements of the built environment, including privately owned or nonprofit properties, whose future disposition affects the commonwealth of all citizens. It was as controversial then as it continues today, whether held as the basis for NIMBY battles by the privileged few or the evergreen bane to developer dreams clipped by what they sometimes assert are its onerous and subjective restrictions blocking the growth and change endemic to sustained livability. That is not an easy distinction for a metropolitan region. Since first launched by the colonizing Dutch, the bonanza of real estate development has been the golden egg of the regional economy. It is the essential cornerstone of New York commerce and the obsession of dwellers from those born and bred to those beckoned by its promise of opportunity and fresh beginnings. This relatively recent chapter of local land use policy and its record of impact are the inspirations for Saving Place, delivered with a welcome sobriety of tone and presentation calmly sharing its results along with the means and personalities that made it happen. An underlying intent born of civic pride stays in lively focus. Like any thorough history show, gray wins out over black and white: The movement started far before the generally shared crucible of the 1963 demolition of McKim, Mead & White’s uplifting Beaux-Arts Pennsylvania Station (giving way to the peerless bathos of Penn Plaza by designer and businessman, Charles Luckman, whose clients took the train users of 1968 to be some dying breed of rodents) and has learned as much from its failures and occasional compromises as from its best known victories. The movement’s roots took hold not so much against change, but against failed progress when the exchange of present conditions for some promised social gain fell short and urban well-being emerged impoverished. Like the l965 law, the 1978 majority ruling by the United Sates Supreme Court, written by Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (upholding the City’s designation of Grand Central Terminal and thus laying to rest once and for all any lingering assertions that landmark designation was unconstitutional), is far more nuanced than its friends and foes would have New Yorkers believe. The preservation work done, like the battles to come, are perpetually a collective work in progress. The places and leading players presented in such a context emerge more as dynamic case studies than as fixed heroics. The commissioned photographs by Iwan Baan (whose work is characterized as usual by the vehicles, people, and quotidian activity of such places, so often absent in studies of planning and architectural design). Like the exhibit installation by Wendy Evans Joseph and her firm Studio Joseph, record individual designations are not just bright beacons of superior significance but indispensable, stabilizing place holders that bind community even when hidden in plain sight. Saving Place respects the value of landmarks by gently reminding its audience of what we take for granted and by offering (without insisting) on a greater depth of meaning for sites both individual and district-wide. And yet its overwhelmingly beneficial impact on all corners of today's five boroughs, not to mention the quality and measure of visitor appeal (like it or not, tourism means jobs), cannot be denied or scoffed away as a Luddite blockade to change. Whatever else New York may risk in 2015, a dearth or loss of dynamic change is not one of them. Saving Place shows instead how traces of the past can at best stand alongside the new for at least the relatively small measure of time that our present civilization can endure. Like the natural world, today we know that the built world also demands balance as a basis of sustenance. The exhibit’s iconic original architectural models and array of primary artifacts are brought to the fore as the landmark’s legacy of material sensuality in historic terms both material and artisanal. The society we keep is well served by some record of past beauty that for all kinds of reasons simply cannot be replicated, and how that should be done. These strands tie a knot of quiet reflection for the Saving Place initiative that bodes well for a landmarks movement pausing only briefly to recall the reasons its work will never end in the messy marketplace of a healthy city. Coexistence is the key; landmarking works best as one part of the overall planning process, not the bejeweled hobbyhorse of some nostalgic elite. In a world with a foreshortened sense of permanence, the longer we can maintain this democratic equilibrium the better off we all will be.
Archtober Building of the Day #31 Starlight at the Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Cooper Joseph Studio Starlight, the aptly named chandelier in the neo-Georgian rotunda of the Museum of the City of New York, was a marvelous termination to our fourth Archtober. Wendy Evans Joseph, principal at Cooper Joseph Studio, described the light fixture with meticulousness equal to the design itself. Fifteen feet in diameter, the display is a three dimensional grid of paired LED lenses fixed within three wires and suspended from the ceiling. The visual effects are stunning, ranging from infinite reflected vistas of tiny lights, to starbursts, and pixelated moire patterns. Executive Director Susan Henshaw Jones joined the tour and called the piece “the most successful thing ever!” and “everybody’s favorite thing!” Demonstrating the extraordinary craft of Studio 1 Thousand and RUSHdesign, Starlight provides a dynamic experience enhancing the trip up the swell old marble stair. It received a 2014 AIA New York Chapter Design Award in the catch-all “Projects” category. So Archtober 4 comes to a close, and the ghosts and ghouls have mustered down here in Greenwich Village for the after the annual Halloween parade. See you next year!
Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober: Architecture and Design Month NYC. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. email@example.com
Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile Museum of the City of New York 1220 5th Avenue, New York Through September 7th Coming to New York City from Washington, D.C., this exhibition illuminates the legacy of architect and builder Rafael Guastavino. A Catalan immigrant, Guastavino created the iconic (and aptly named) Guastavino tile. By interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar to build his arches, Guastavino married old-world aesthetics with modern innovation. The resulting intersection of technology and design revolutionized New York City’s landscape, and is used in over 200 historic buildings including Grand Central Terminal, Carnegie Hall, The Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House, and Ellis Island. Guastavino’s son, Rafael III, is part of the family legacy explored in the exhibition. MCNY has expanded this showing to include 20 more projects found throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The exhibition also boasts an 11-by-15-foot replica of a Guastavino vault, contemporary photos by Michael Freeman, previously unreleased drawings and materials, and a video gallery installation that visually immerses the viewer in Guastavino’s vaults.
The Museum of the City of New York presents A Beautiful Way to Go: New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery, a new exhibition that examines the Brooklyn cemetery’s astonishing 175-year history, on view from May 15 to October 13. As a National Historic Landmark that predates both of Olmsted's Central Park and Prospect Park, the cemetery grounds cover a vital 19th-century American public green space and remain a critical site in New York’s architectural history. The landmark landscape characterizes the “rural cemetery movement” and tells a complex narrative that links architectural, art, social, and cultural histories. The installation involves a gallery-sized map of the cemetery that serves as a guide for visitors to walk upon and as the framework for the arrangement of over 200 artifacts, sculptures, architectural drawings, and documents. The exhibit not only focuses on exploring the cemetery, but also its most eminent permanent residents. Burial at Green-Wood garnered considerable respect and attracted posh New Yorkers to choose it as the ultimate resting space. The cemetery also represents a new type of burial space: non-sectarian and not bordering a church. The rural burial ground concept, with its greenery and comfortable travel distance from the city, was first designed for Paris’ 1804 Père-Lachaise. The idea reached the United States by the 1830s and Mount Auburn in Cambridge was the country’s first such cemetery. Green-Wood Cemetery, designed by David Bates Douglass, followed in 1838 within the newly incorporated city of Brooklyn. Highlights of the exhibition include 19th-century landscape paintings by Asher Brown Durand and John William Casilear, chief Hudson Valley School artists who are buried at Green-Wood. The exhibition incorporates viewing machines with “stereographs” that provide popular period three-dimensional pictures of Green-Wood Cemetery and one of four zinc Civil War soldiers on site that were reproduced in cemeteries nationwide.
Designing Tomorrow: America's World's Fairs of the 1930s Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Through March 31 Designing Tomorrow presents relics from six depression-era expositions that brought new visions of progress and prosperity to a struggling nation. Tens of millions of Americans flocked to fairs in Chicago (1933/34), San Diego (1935/36), Dallas (1936), Cleveland (1936/37), San Francisco (1939/40), and New York (1939/40) to catch a glimpse of the futurist oracles that would soon become post-war realities—from glass skyscrapers, superhighways, and the spread of suburbia, to electronic home goods and nylon hosiery. The fairs helped America to look forward to an era of opulence and innovation, spreading from the metropolis to the living room. Modernist furniture, streamlined appliances, vintage film reels, and visionary renderings drawn from the museum’s collection are presented together.
Nowadays it seems that everyone is jumping on the micro apartment bandwagon, and it only makes sense that a bite-size state like Rhode Island would pick up on this trend. Developer Evan Granoff is restoring the historic Providence Arcade (also known as Westminster Arcade), the oldest existing indoor mall in America dating to 1828, and converting it into a mixed-use complex with retail on the ground floor and micro apartments on the second and third levels. J. Michael Abbott of Northeast Collaborative Architects is leading the renovation of the Greek Revival-style Arcade. Granoff said that the original layout of the building naturally accommodates the micro apartments: “The building was interesting in the way that it is built. It divided itself into very small spaces pretty easily.” There’s already a long waiting list for the 48 units, of which 38 are micro-sized ranging from 225 to 450-square-feet. Each unit will come furnished with built-in beds, seating, and storage. The building will offer residents common gathering space, bike access, and storage. “It is designed to avoid clutter and to have everything flow,” said Granoff. Granoff anticipates that residents should be able to move in by this Spring. The Museum of the City of New York included the Arcade’s micro apartments in its recent exhibit, “Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers.”