Posts tagged with "PBDW Architects":

New-York Historical Society previews new Gallery of Tiffany Lamps

Yesterday morning, the New-York Historical Society previewed the totally transformed fourth floor of its Upper West Side museum—once a drab archive, it will soon host 100 Tiffany Lamps in a space designed by London- and Prague-based architect Eva Jiřičná. The creation of the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps was spurred by the discovery that Clara Driscoll, one of the “Tiffany Girls” (women who worked for Tiffany Studios and selected the glass fragments that went into the lamps), was a leading creative force and designed many Tiffany lamps herselfNew York City–based PBDW were the architects of record for the 4,800-square-foot, two-story gallery, which features specially-crafted curving glass displays surrounded by a low-light environment and dark blue walls. Jiřičná's firm, who has come to specialize in glass construction, designed the LED-lit stairs with absolutely minimal metal details. In most instances, the stair's glass-to-glass metal connections are encased within the layers of laminated glass panes, making them totally flush and well-hidden. Furthermore, the stair's glass hangs off the nearby wall and works in tension. A small amount of give was engineered into the steps for users' comfort when walking upward. Georgina Papathanasiou, an associate at Eva Jiřičná Architects, said the staircase was "a feat of technology in the 21st-century" to match the technical achievement of Tiffany's 20th-century creations. In addition to telling the history of the Tiffany Girls and Clara Driscoll, visitors can create their own Tiffany lamp through an interactive digital installation (created by Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Small Design firm Inc.) on the second floor. The Gallery of Tiffany Lamps is adjacent to the also-new 1,500-square-foot Joyce B. Cowin’s History Gallery, a space dedicated to exhibitions organized by the New-York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History. The newly-established Center is the first institution of its kind dedicated to public exhibits on women in American history. (The Joyce B. Cowin’s History Gallery will be inaugurated with Saving Washington, an exhibition on First Lady Dolley Madison, along with items from the archives of Billie Jean King, an interactive multimedia wall, among other artifacts.) Lastly, a new North Gallery will showcase objects from the museum's permanent collection. All the galleries will open to the public on April 29.

New York City’s ubiquitous sidewalk sheds re-imagined by PBDW, Gensler, Gannett Fleming, and Francis Cauffman

What's uglier than a construction shed? The sheds cover nearly 200 miles (!) of sidewalks across the five boroughs, enveloping pedestrians in drab tunnels of darkness. Past competitions in New York City have attempted to resolve the ubiquitous blight that sheds present, but the winning designs were never implemented. Now, the New York Building Congress has announced four winners of its Construction Shed Design Competition, an invitation to create a more aesthetically pleasing shed. A jury of 14 architects, engineers, and city officials selected Gensler's G-Shed, Gannett Fleming's ScaffoldWing, Francis Cauffman's Side+Ways+Shed, and PBDW Architects and Anastos Engineering Associates' UrbanArbor as the competition's winners, from a pool of 33 entries. “The New York Building Congress issued a challenge to the industry to use its ingenuity and expertise to offer fresh ideas for solving a vexing quality of life issue for New Yorkers, who experience the construction industry most often when navigating the obstructions and cramped spaces of construction sheds,” proclaimed Thomas Scarangello, Chairman of the Building Congress and its innovation task force, in a statement. “The industry’s collective response has been truly inspirational.” The four designs had to meet stringent New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) requirements that regulate sheds for commercial construction of residential and commercial properties, as well as abide by masonry repair regulations set out in Local Law 11. The designs reduce or eliminate the shed supports that obstruct pedestrian flow. They open at the curb line, allowing light to penetrate the sidewalk up to the building wall. To facilitate widespread use, the designs are constructed from ready-made materials, are cost-effective and off-the-shelf, as well. In a vote of confidence, the UrbanArbor design will be used at upcoming New York City Department of Design and Construction projects. Take a look at the winning projects: Gensler's G-Shed's modular poles fit can be braced in different configurations, creating an arcade that enhances the street presence of ground-floor retail. ScaffoldWing's roof decking is made from translucent polycarbonate panels to allow light in from above. Side+Ways+Shed photovoltaic-powered LEDs mitigate the low lighting and "tunnel effect" that plagues the typical construction shed. The supporting columns are wrapped in customizable, patterned fabric to enliven the streetscape. UrbanArbor's Y-shaped, diagonally-braced posts refrence trees, while reducing the density of supporting posts by 50 percent. Translucent polycarbonate parapets afford maximum daylight at sidewalk level while LED lights and solar panels save energy.

Inch by inch, the Times Square Palace Theater will be raised 29 feet to accommodate added retail

In any other circumstance, razing a beloved historic building elicits outrage from preservationists. This time, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) worked the homonym, approving plans to raise the Palace Theater, at the corner of Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street, by 29 feet. New York's PBDW Architects and historic preservation consultants Higgins Quasebarth & Partners will lead the theater-raising and subsequent renovation. The lift will allow for 10,000 square feet of retail space on four levels, a new entrance on 47th Street with a 75-foot marquee, back-of-the-house space, a lobby 25-times the size of the current one, plus new bathrooms, the Wall Street Journal reports. Indianapolis-based Maefield Development is financing the move and renovation. When complete, theatergoers will enter through an escalator on West 47th Street to access the mezzanine lobby. Completed in 1913, the 1,700-seat Beaux-Arts Palace was one of the largest vaudeville theaters in the city. Originally, the theater was ensconced in an office building on four sides, though that building was demolished in 1988. Currently, the 45-story DoubleTree hotel tower surrounds the structure. The LPC gave landmark status to the theater's interior in 1987. Though raising a theater in the middle of a crowded urban area poses some logistical challenges, the project management team is not worried. The existing truss will be reinforced. One part will be removed, and a full box will be built around the theater. Beams for the new platform will be installed before telescopic jacks are put into place. The jacks they are using have twice the capacity needed for the weight of the structure, just in case. The existing structure will be raised one inch at a time. Though approved, the plan faced opposition from some preservation groups concerned about the message—commerce > art—that the project sends. The nonprofit Historic District Council noted that:
It is not appropriate to move or obstruct access to an interior landmark to make way for private development, a request that seems to be on the rise as we saw last year with the clocktower at 346 Broadway. Approval of this application will be a clear communication of conscience, and indicative that our culture and art is merely secondary to a Times Square corporate chain store.
Proponents argue that the move allows both ground floor retail and expanded space for theater. Moreover, the Palace's interface with the street will be enhanced by the move, as the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue is too busy for theatergoers to linger around pre- and post-show. There's no word yet on dates for the move.

Archtober Building of the Day 22> The Educational Alliance by PBDW Architects

The Educational Alliance 197 East Broadway, Manhattan PBDW Architects As the population of Manhattan's Lower East Side (LES) has shifted over the past 126 years, the Educational Alliance’s programs have evolved to meet the needs of a changing community. Still close to its roots as a settlement house that helped Jewish immigrants acclimate to the United States (and with mezuzahs on the doors to show for the continued ties with Judaism), the alliance serves the entire community, across age, race, ethnicity, and income level. In the mid-2000s, the Educational Alliance came to PBDW Architects, asking them to install a second elevator into their LES headquarters—the solitary one by the entrance to the 1890 building wasn’t cutting it anymore. Instead, the firm developed a master plan that would unite the original building with its two annexes that had been added in the 1920s and ’50s. Leonard Leung began today’s Archtober tour with an overview of the master plan’s goals—to improve circulation in a suite of buildings serving many different programmatic functions, and to ensure that the architecture enforced the Educational Alliance’s mission of welcoming the entire community. A continuous ceiling plane extends along the entrance hallway to the exterior of the building, where it cantilevers over the front door to draw visitors inside. Small details, like a bamboo bench set into the wall, activate the entry area and give plenty of room for parents and caregivers to mingle during drop-off and pick-up. Head Start programs occupy most of the first three stories. Joe Tarver, operations director of the Manny Cantor Center (as the alliance’s flagship building is called), told us about frequent visits from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Buildings, and FDNY. Head Start has strict regulations for student-to-teacher ratios, as well as for the physical classrooms and support spaces for its programs. The LEED Silver building fulfills all of these requirements, although a set of cubbies recently had to be bumped out of a classroom and into a hallway to meet per student square footage allotments. The sounds of pounding feet in the 5th-floor gym are insulated from the senior center and executive offices below by a jack slab concrete floor system. Springs absorb vibrations so that they don’t carry down through the rest of the building. A top-floor multipurpose room with views of Lower Manhattan, which was added during the renovation, is rented out for private events. The space was busy at 11:30 this morning, as seniors streamed in for the daily $1.50 lunch, but we were assured that this was nothing compared to the crowds that come out for salmon day, when 100 or more senior foodies flock to the building for a favorite meal. As Tarver told us, “It’s not just bingo anymore” that draws this community to the Educational Alliance. Tomorrow, we’ll visit St. Mark’s Bookshop. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.