Posts tagged with "Queens":

NYC could create a whole new neighborhood over a Queens rail yard

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s feasibility study for a possible Sunnyside Yard “overbuild” project is complete and suggests that the project could cost anywhere from $16 to $19 billion, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). “In Western Queens, there remains one of New York City’s last great opportunities to solve many of these challenges in one place,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, calling the development a “new and innovative solution” to meet New York City’s growing housing and transportation needs. The 180-acre rail yard, which sits in the center of Western Queens, is a major transportation center owned by Amtrak and Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) that services the New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Rail Road. Some entities are already proposing updates to the site—Amtrack, in particular, is planning a new High-Speed Rail facility that will open by 2030. The feasibility study took many of these developments into account, focusing on the engineering, economic, and urban design implications of the project, and after almost two years of study, the report concludes that the project is feasible, albeit costly. In the study, the NYCEDC establishes three case study plans with different program focuses. The first proposes almost entirely residential development, adding up to 24,000 units of housing. Of those residences, 30% would be allocated for affordable housing, part of de Blasio’s affordable housing goals outlined for New York City. The proposal would also add up to 19 schools and almost 50 acres of open space. The second study, dubbed the “live/work/play” proposal, was designed to offer a well-rounded program with residential, cultural centers, and office space. This proposal is the only proposal to include office space and would still incorporate up to 19,000 units of mixed-income housing and up to 14 schools. The third and final study is the “destination” proposal, which focuses on residential and cultural spaces. The proposal features almost 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use space and up to 22,000 units of housing, still allowing for retail spaces and up to 14 schools. Each of the three proposals focuses on developing the 80 to 85 percent of the site the NYCEDC has deemed viable and connecting it to the surrounding neighborhoods using existing bridges and roads and adding significant green space to the area. During their study, the NYCEDC selected a 70-acre portion of the site, called the “Core Yard,” as an optimal place to begin the development, with a price tag of approximately $10 billion. The area features enough space to create a complete neighborhood and is well-located to incorporate the Amtrak master plan. In the second phase of the master plan, the NYCEDC plans to look in greater detail at how to avoid significant impact on transportation infrastructure. They also hope to create a detailed urban plan and consider sustainable initiatives and architectural standards for future buildings. Before that phase, however, de Blasio and the NYCEDC will collect feedback from the community and work with Amtrak, who plans to begin construction on a High-Speedeed Rail facility at Sunnyside Yard in early 2018, according to QNS. You can read the full report about the feasibility of Sunnyside Yards here.

City seeks firm to build, Hudson Yards–style, over Queens rail yard

New York City is searching for the right developer to build green space, housing, and retail over a Queens rail yard. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in collaboration with the MTA, put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the project today. Developers would have the opportunity to transform a 58,000-square-foot property in Long Island City into mixed-income housing development that includes commercial space, community facilities, and public open space. The city owns the air rights to the site, which sits close to public transit and MoMA PS1. The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) currently uses the site, which is bounded by Jackson Avenue, 49th Avenue, and 21st Street, for storage. Like Manhattan's Hudson Yards, the development would need to be built over the yard, DNAinfo reports. Per the RFP, submissions are due April 21. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.

More details emerge for the new Center for Community and Entrepreneurship in Flushing, Queens

A New York nonprofit powerhouse has commissioned two local firms to build out its mission in Flushing, Queens.

Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), an advocacy and community development agency based in Flushing, selected JCJ Architecture and Leong Leong to design the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a 90,000-square-foot business incubator and event space that will serve as a fulcrum for the neighborhood.

The announcement comes at a time of great growth for the neighborhood, a major commercial center for New York’s Asian-Americans. 70 percent of Flushing’s 72,000 residents are Asian, and the area is home to one of the world’s largest ethnic Chinese enclaves. “Vibrant,” that go-to good streets descriptor, doesn’t adequately capture the level of activity along Flushing’s main thoroughfares—Roosevelt Avenue, Main Street, and College Point Boulevard. Main Street is second only to Times Square in New York City foot traffic. Here, shoppers from all over the region access multi-story mini-malls through ground-level stores whose wares spill onto packed sidewalks that the city is spending nearly $8 million to widen.

The Center for Community and Entrepreneurship addresses a dark side of this prosperity: International real estate investment and a growing population have raised property values and commercial rents, making it tough for new enterprises to get off the ground. The center will sustain AAFE’s holistic development approach and build on its legacy of community investment. Since its founding 42 years ago, the organization has created more than 800 units of affordable housing and given $44 million in loans to 1,000-plus small businesses.

For design inspiration, the two firms looked both at AAFE’s mission and the surrounding area. “In Flushing, there are already a lot of pre-existing hybrid typologies,” said Dominic Leong, cofounding principal of Leong Leong. “It’s an interesting urban context—because of the history and the influx of immigrants from Asia, there are mixed-use typologies that just don’t exist anywhere else in the city. This project falls in line with that DNA, and takes it to an institutional level.”

The building’s seven-story gradient of public-to-private use beckons residents inside, while the program—a twist on the Flushing commercial typology of stacked retail—tackles challenges posed by the neighborhood’s rapid growth. A public plaza at 39th Avenue and College Point Boulevard, the architects explained, anchors the building to the neighborhood by drawing people in from the street, while private offices occupy the upper levels.

The space is organized as four connected volumes, each joined to an outdoor terrace. At ground level, the plaza’s 5,000-square-foot marketplace connects to Flushing’s street life, while upstairs, a flexible event space opens onto an adjacent terrace. A three-story open staircase, wide enough at its base for seating, connects the space through the third level. “From the plaza up to the stairs, you are metaphorically tracking the mission of AAFE,” said JCJ principal Peter Bachmann.

A third-floor incubator will provide co-working space, where emerging businesses will get assistance from the AAFE-affiliated Renaissance Economic Development Corporation. “The center is not only about providing affordable space,” said Christopher Kui, AAFE’s executive director. “It’s about networking opportunities and resources.” The nonprofit, whose offices will occupy the fourth floor, will lead entrepreneurship classes geared specifically to small businesses. As they grow, firms can rent space on floors five through seven.

A reflection of the hybrid program, the facade is most transparent at the two lowest and most public floors. The glass increases in opacity as the eye ascends to the upper, non-public floors, explained Chris Leong, Dominic’s brother and cofounder of the firm. The lot line wall is clad in metal panels and roughly mirrors the glass walls’ spacing.

Overall, the building respects its lot line, but, unlike a “jewel on the block,” it’s not trying to define itself against its context, Dominic said. It has a slight curvature in plan that brings it up the lot line, while the corner lot ensures that adjacent developments will respect the building’s profile.

AAFE awarded the project to the firms last fall, and the center is expected to be complete in 2018. Leong Leong and JCJ have mutual respect for each other’s desire to work with mission-driven organizations, and the architects stressed the strengths they bring to the project. JCJ has seven offices and a deep portfolio of community-minded projects, while Leong Leong is known for bringing its impossibly cool aesthetic to projects like the U.S. Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale and the Anita May Rosenstein Center, a new campus for the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

In Flushing, both firms see architecture as a platform for community. “We are in a post-icon paradigm. This generation is trying to understand a different way to relate to context.” Dominic said. “Here, we interface with the community on the urban level of the plaza, then create building forms that respond to those criteria.”

90,000-square-foot modern industrial workspace to be developed in Ozone Park, Queens

Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) has been selected by the New York Economic Development Corporation (NYEDC) as the first awardee of the city’s Industrial Developer Fund. With the support of the fund, GMDC will create a 90,000 square-foot workspace in the Ozone Park neighborhood in Queens. According to the NYEDC, the new workspace will be designed for small and medium-sized industrial and light manufacturing businesses, and will be LEED-certified, partially solar-powered, and equipped with new freight elevators and new electrical infrastructure, among other features. "Now more than ever, we must ensure that our economy is diverse, equitable, and provides opportunity for all New Yorkers. Supporting the industrial sector is critical to that effort," said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. The new workspace will support 24 new businesses and 80 workers earning an estimated average of $51,500 per year, which is consistent with tenants in other GMDC-developed sites. Queensborough president Melinda Katz praised GMDC for its approach to equitable economic development, calling it "a great model for how to better assist smaller manufacturing companies and keep those jobs in New York." Since 1992, GMDC has rehabilitated seven industrial buildings in New York City to provide affordable and flexible production space for small and medium-sized manufacturers. The GMDC Ozone Park Industrial Center will be geared toward tenants similar to those of other GMDC projects, including custom woodworkers, set builders, metal workers, and home goods manufacturers, among others. GMDC will receive $10 million from the Industrial Development Fund, and a $3.7 million loan from NYEDC to get the $37 million project off the ground.

2016 Best of Design Award for Lighting > Indoor: Planned Parenthood Queens by Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it's grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you.

2016 Best of Design Award for Lighting > Indoor: Planned Parenthood Queens—Diane L. Max Health Center

Lighting Design: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design Location: Queens, NY

Planned Parenthood’s new clinic in Queens transforms a former storage warehouse into a welcoming ambulatory healthcare center. Using the building’s generous new windows as inspiration, LED light coves in bold colors punctuate a sleek, white interior. These colorful elements work with signage and furnishings to support wayfinding and spatial organization and the overall design embodies a modern, forward-thinking spirit, representative of the center’s youthful clientele. A thoughtful combination of LED and fluorescent sources achieves a 5 percent energy savings beyond the stringent standards and also meets the project’s modest budget. Light, color, and architecture are woven together to create a friendly, upbeat health center that will serve as a guide for future Planned Parenthood facilities.

Architect Stephen Yablon Architecture

Signage & Environmental Graphics Calori & Vanden-Eynden Dimming Ballasts Lutron Fixed-Color LED Cove Lights iLight Technologies Adjustable Downlights Lucifer Lighting

Honorable Mention, Lighting > Indoor: Lincoln Square Synagogue

Lighting Design: Tillotson Design Associates Location: New York, NY

Small recessed LED downlights in the synagogue’s ceiling create the effect of a starry night, while LED coves with resin diffusers spill soft light onto the acoustical walls, accentuating its form and completing the imagery of a nomadic tented structure under a desert sky.

Honorable Mention, Lighting > Indoor: The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption 

Architect: MBH Architects Location: San Francisco, CA

In order to maintain the character of this important cathedral while modernizing its lighting, long-life solutions like LED and fluorescent fixtures as well as DMX lighting were seamlessly integrated. The system creates studio-quality imagery for television recordings while maintaining a warm glow.

East Elmhurst Community Library in Queens breaks ground on expansion

After closing just a day before Thanksgiving, the East Elmhurst Community Library has broken ground on its renovations. Originally built in 1971, the $8.9 million dollar project will add 4,500 square feet to the existing 7,360 square-foot space over the course of the next three months. Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) joined with Queens Library President Dennis Walcott, local elected officials including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilmember Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and representatives from Queens Community Board 3 at yesterday's the ground-breaking ceremony. All of them spoke of the importance of libraries for community members to learn, assemble, and engage with the larger Queens community. “The Queens Public Library is a crucial resource for seniors, students, immigrants and families in my district,” said City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “We not only use the space for its collections but use our local library as a place to bond with our children, learn new languages, and immerse in cultural programming.” As the library approaches its 50th anniversary, senator Jose Peralta said the project will “modernize the East Elmhurst Community Library and bring it into the future.” The expansion of the front of the building will create a multi-purpose assembly space that will accommodate up to 120 people, and the side expansion will house part of an assembly space, in addition to an interior reading court with skylight and a computer room. The library will also meet standards for LEED Silver certification, boasting several sustainable features such as solar panels, active heat recovery ventilation, and insulated glazing that will use a suspended plastic film to triple parts of the building envelope’s thermal resistance. The new library expansion will be managed by the Department of Design and Construction, in partnership with Garrison Architects of Manhattan, and construction by the National Environmental Safety Company of Long Island City.

Arthur Ashe Stadium’s new PTFE retractable roof can open or close in just six minutes

Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens recently unveiled its new retractable roof as well as numerous changes and additions to the tennis complex. Finished in time for this year’s U.S. Open, the roof and master planning of the rejuvenated site was served up by Detroit-based firm Rossetti.

Spanning 236,600 feet, the polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) waterproof roof primarily will be used to cover the court during periods of rainfall and is able to open or close in under six minutes. USTA executive director and chief operating officer Gordon Smith said it “remains to be seen” if the roof will be used as a shading device, later adding that the USTA’s “overriding goal is to be an open court tournament at all times.”

To counter water run-off issues, a 15-foot-wide and 4-foot-deep metal gutter traces the structure’s perimeter. Meanwhile, an attached power unit will aid temperature regulation and run the roof’s opening and closing system.

The new Grandstand stadium was built as part of the site’s master plan. The new 8,000 capacity venue uses a PTFE skin to form a partial bowl around the arena, intended to emulate the foliage of the stadium’s surrounding greenery. For more information on this development, see our full article here.

Arthur Ashe Stadium Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, NY Tel: 718-760-6200 Architect and engineers: Rossetti

Renderings revealed for Queens entrepreneurship center designed by Leong Leong and JCJ

Leong Leong is bringing its design talents to Queens at the behest of a local nonprofit.

Nonprofit Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) selected the New York and Los Angeles–based firm to design the Center for Community and Entrepreneurship, a 90,000-square-foot business incubator, retail, and community space complex on a busy Flushing corner.

The building seeks a fluid interface between public and private space. "How do you take a conventional office typology, with staked uses and different tenants, but find a way to pull a public space through those different layers and create an interface between the different users?" said Chis Leong, founding principal of Leong Leong. "We wanted to create synergy and collaboration between the users of the building."

In collaboration with JCJ Architecture, the firm's seven-story building is a "vertically-integrated campus" expressed as four connected volumes, each with an outdoor terrace programmed for different uses. A three-story open staircase, wide enough for terraced seating at the ground floor, opens up the space—and encourages walking.

On the ground floor, a plaza hosting a 5,000-square-foot marketplace connects the building to the neighborhood's vibrant street life, while upstairs, a flexible event space beckons people inside or onto an adjacent terrace. Floors three through seven are offices: A third-floor business incubator provides co-working space, where firms may seek assistance from Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, an AAFE affiliate. AAFE's offices occupy the fourth floor, with the remaining above-ground floors are available to rent. Two levels of below-ground parking round out the program.

The facade's transparency is greatest at the two lowest and most public floors, but the glass increases in opacity as the eye ascends to the upper, more private floors. The lot line wall is clad in metal panels and roughly mirrors same spacing as the glass walls.

The firms were awarded the project last fall, and the center is expected to be complete in 2018.

A derelict aquatics building turns into a brilliantly colorful outdoor painting at NYC’s Fort Tilden beach

Fort Tilden beach might be New York City’s best-kept summer secret. Sandwiched between Jacob Riis Park and Breezy Point in Rockaway, Queens, it is nearly impossible to get to on public transportation—an indie comedy called Fort Tilden caricatures two Brooklynites on a doomed adventure to the titular beach—but those willing to make the trek will be rewarded with a strip of protected shoreline on the site of a former Army Reserve post. It’s also the site of Rockaway!, a public art installation put on by MoMA PS1 to help remediate the area and build awareness post-Hurricane Sandy. This year, German artist Katharina Grosse turned a derelict aquatics building into a brilliantly colorful outdoor painting that uses the existing structure as well as the surrounding landscape. Her signature spray-painting technique brings the rundown concrete structure to life both inside and out.

Rockway! will be at Fort Tilden beach, New York, through November 24, 2016.

Come rain or shine, tennis will be played at this year’s U.S. Open

The Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens today unveiled its new retractable roof as well as numerous changes and additions to the tennis complex. Finished in time for this year's US Open on August 29, the roof and masterplanning of the rejuvenated site was served up by Detroit-based firm Rossetti. In 2009, the USTA was pessimistic of constructing a roof over the stadium. They argued it was hard to justify spending such money on a stadium that was used for only a few weeks a year when the organization's primary aim was promoting tennis at the grass-roots level. Now, however, in light of Rossetti's much less costly $100,000 solution the organization has changed its tune.

A photo posted by @usopen on

Spanning 236,600 feet, the Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) weatherproof roof will be primarily used to cover the court during periods of rainfall. USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith said it "remains to be seen" if the roof will be used as a shading device, though later commented that the USTA's "overriding goal is to be an open court tournament at all times." At the unveiling, Smith and Matt Rossetti of Rossetti boasted of how the roof can open or close in under six minutes. This was put to the test only moments later with the roof being fully closed in five minutes and 22 seconds (under this author's watch). Once complete, there was a marked difference in both light and temperature. No longer necessary to squint, the PTFE significantly reduced sunlight glare while also drastically cooling the arena. The reopening however, wasn't quite as smooth. At the third time of asking after Billie Jeane-King beckoned: "Let there be light, again!" the roof finally opened in swift fashion. Smith later used this as a springboard to inform the audience of how the sensory components of the roof require perfect alignment for the structure to move along the track beds that are in place. Courtesy of the engineers on hand, the delay was only a mere ten minutes and Smith was quick to say that the situation of opening and closing in such a quick manner is unlikely to occur - if at all. It's worth noting that the Arthur Ash Stadium, built in 1997, is the largest tennis arena in the world though it was never designed to have a roof of any kind placed on it. Now though, it is part of an elite group of of a handful of tennis stadia worldwide that can boast a retractable roof, third on the Grand Slam tour to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne and Center Court at the Wimbledon Championships in London. Here, the roof takes a minimum of ten minutes to be fully deployed; conditions are ready for play around a further 20 minutes after. This added delay is mostly due to the fact that Wimbledon uses grass tennis courts in which moisture in the soil can lead to an increase in humidity when the roof is closed, making the ball behave differently. Explaining this to AN, Matt Rossetti pointed out how the U.S. Open uses a hard court system which negates this effect. Play would be able to get underway much more quickly with players barely noticing a difference. Rossetti also responded to questions from AN regarding the new problems a roof would create such as water run-off and climate control. In response to this, Rossetti identified the large metal guttering that traces the perimeter of the roofscape. 15 feet wide and four foot deep, Rossetti recalled how he reacted with shock to the design requirement. "We said no way, something's got to be wrong!" Rossetti exclaimed regarding the results of the calculations that stipulated such monumental guttering. In terms of maintaining a constant climate, Rossetti also noted the large power unit nearby which will power the the roof system as well as act as a chiller for the space. The roof isn't the only change going on at Flushing Meadows either. Part of a masterplan from Rossetti, a new Grandstand stadium has been built, replacing the old venue which was famed for its intimate environment. Rossetti iterated how this intimacy has been maintained as a key component of the new stadium's design. Sunk into the ground, the new 8,000-seat venue uses a PTFE skin to form partial bowl around the arena. Set against the edge of the nearby Flushing Meadows park, the bowl, which is perforated and broken down into segments, aims to imitate "the view through the foliage" in a similar fashion to the adjacent trees. The tectonic structure secures the 486 panels through a "cable structure with parametric geometry" while also mimicking the "branches" of the surrounding greenery. In addition to this, all the courts have seen an increase in capacity while the smaller courts have been pushed slightly south to free up circulation and facilitate the increase in visitors. Though the proposed landscaping isn't quite yet all in place, Rossetti said the esplanade to the north of the grand stand is a "phenomenal place to be."

321 new rain gardens in Queens will help clean up Newtown Creek

The City of New York has begun construction on a new green infrastructure project that will place over 300 rain gardens in the Queens neighborhoods of Sunnyside, Maspeth, and Ridgewood. According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the specially-designed curbside gardens will be able to collect 2,500 gallons of stormwater each for a total capacity of 38 million gallons each year. Along with beautifying these three neighborhoods the rain gardens will help combat sewage overflows into Newtown Creek, an estuary between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens that is one of the country’s dirtiest waterways and a designated Superfund site. The project will be funded by a $7.3 million dollar investment from the DEP, which manages New York City’s water supply, and will be managed by the Department of Design and Construction. Rain gardens, also known as bioswales, have also been constructed in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gowanus to reduce pollution in its famously filthy canal. The DEP’s standard rain garden design involves digging out the garden to a depth of five feet, then backfilling with a mixture of stone and engineered soil. Hardy trees and plants absorb water trapped in the soil mixture, providing the added benefit of greener streets and cleaner air for residents. These gardens mimic natural environmental systems and make good use of what would otherwise be problematic wastewater. The city has already constructed approximately 1000 rain gardens, with another 1500 currently under construction. This and other green infrastructure projects are a key part of the city’s $10 billion initiative to improve its wastewater treatment system and reduce overflows, improving the health of New York City’s harbor and waterways. Check out this video to see a bioswale collecting stormwater in Boerum Hill:

In a surprise move, NYC Planning nixes Flushing West rezoning

The rezoning of Flushing West, Queens was supposed to be a royal flush. City officials envisioned dealing a great hand for the neighborhood, a win-win for economic development and affordable housing. Residents, though, believed the plan, which would diversify the neighborhood's composition and increase density, was a crapshoot.

In a surprise move, the city has scuttled a proposed rezoning of 11 mostly industrial blocks between the last stop on the 7 train and Flushing Creek.

City Councilman Peter Koo sent a letter to the Department of City Planning that framed his constituents' objections to the plan, which would allow for the development of retail, open space, and affordable housing (See AN's coverage of the proposed rezoning here). Koo expressed concern that the area's infrastructure wasn't equipped to handle an influx of new residents. The to-be-rezoned parcels, he argued, are in the flight path of planes at nearby LaGuardia Airport, limiting the developments' maximum heights. (The paths could be re-routed, but that would require federal intervention.) The city's plans, moreover, did not address the other side of flushing: Heavy combined sewage outflow into Flushing Creek would make any waterside park very, uh, fragrant, and potentially pose a health hazard to visitors.

The same day, Carl Weisbrod, the chair of the City Planning Commission, wrote back, saying he shared Koo's concerns and would withdraw the plan, Crain's New York reports. The rezoning was intended to be one of 15 neighborhood rezonings that would spur the creation of affordable housing in exchange for denser development—in this case, up to 1,600 new affordable and market-rate units. Weisbrod did note that the city could revisit the proposal, if the problems Koo and the city recognized are addressed.