We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun. BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying. His spark of inspiration for the first playground came on a trip to India, where he found an exhibit harnessing children’s full body play to demonstrate principles of physics. He envisioned it on a park-sized scale and empowered our team (Ivan & Jane Chermayeff, Lee Weintraub, Mattyias Levy, and Tian Fang Jing from Weidlinger Associates, among others) to engage in extreme brainstorming. His questions all involved content—“What does it teach? How can it engage a group of participants?” At his urging, our projects embraced the sun, sounds, water, and wind of the museum’s Flushing Meadow site. We feel sure that the other architects he engaged as the Hall of Science grew, including Ennead (then Polshek & Partners) and Beyer Blinder Belle, would say the same: that Alan was a tireless source of, and promoter of, ideas. Above all, he wanted us to make spaces that were themselves teaching tools. Under his guidance, the process of design itself was a full body and full mind experience, filled with surprise and delight. Joan Krevlin is a partner at BKSK Architects in New York City.
Posts tagged with "Queens":
As development along the Brooklyn and Queens’ waterfront has increased dramatically over the years, transportation options—for residents old and new—has not. The number of glass towers, startups, and parks along the East River has only been matched by style pieces on new “it” neighborhoods from Astoria to Red Hook. But, now, the New York Times' Michael Kimmelman has used his platform to launch a plan to change that equation, and give these neighborhoods the transportation system they deserve. Kimmelman is proposing a modern streetcar to better connect these waterfront neighborhoods. He explained that a streetcar system takes less time to build than a new subway line, needs less space on the road than light-rail, and is more romantic than a city bus. “By providing an alternative to cars, streetcars also dovetail with Mayor De Blasio’s vow to improve pedestrian safety,” Kimmelman said, adding that the mayor wouldn’t need Albany’s blessing for this plan. The streetcar would, of course, not run cheap, but Kimmelman said the upfront costs are more than worth it. “The city’s urban fabric can’t be an afterthought,” says Kimmelman. “The keys to improved city life—better health care, housing, schools, culture, business, tourism and recreation—all have spatial implications.” Read Kimmelman's full proposal at the NY Times.
Why cap a transit hub with traditional, mixed-use towers when it can be topped by an amorphous, alien-like, tubular, metallic structurethat seemingly defies gravity? That, apparently, was the thinking behind AMLGM’s “Urban Alloy” proposal for Queens, New York. Their dramatic proposal, which bends and twists above an existing transportation center, includes retail, office, cultural, and residential space within its metallic skin. The hypothetical project is the brainchild of New York City–based architects Matt Bowles and Chad Kellogg, and it recently won Metropolis’ Living Cities competition. Using the intersection of the Long Island Railroad and the 7 Line Subway as a test case, the architects place tunnels above existing tracks, and had them converge and transform into towers. The resulting superstructure resembles a piece of coral, or an alien, or maybe even a giant virus. The team says Urban Alloy is an "opportunity to draw the energy of Manhattan out into the four other boroughs without disrupting existing land use." While the radical forms of the proposal might not scream Manhattan at first glance, it's not likely to crawl or slither into reality any time soon.
Vision Zero is coming to Brooklyn and Queens' Atlantic Avenue. Nearly eight miles of the notoriously dangerous thoroughfare will be transformed into the first of 25 planned “arterial slow zones.” Last Wednesday—at the busy corner of Atlantic and Washington avenues—Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the city is taking immediate steps to save lives by reducing the street's speed limit from 30MPH to 25. The city will also be re-timing traffic lights, increasing speeding enforcement, and adjusting medians to increase pedestrian safety. According to the commissioner, there were 25 traffic fatalities on Atlantic Avenue between 2008 and 2012. The change on Atlantic Avenue is a significant step in Mayor de Blasio’s ambitious goal to reduce traffic fatalities to zero. As part of his Vision Zero plan, he has also proposed installing more speed cameras and reducing the city’s default speed limit from 30-miles-per-hour to 25; but both of these initiatives require approval from Albany. And while five new speed cameras have issued 14,500 tickets since January, new cameras aren't coming to Atlantic Avenue just yet. At the announcement, Commissioner Trottenberg said “we have some pretty tight restrictions from Albany on how we can deploy speed cameras.”
The MoMA PS 1 jury process that selected the “100 percent organic pavilion Hy-Fi” for its 2014 pavilion may have been a contentious group. The museum announced last month that David Benjamin, the principal of Brooklyn-based firm The Living, would design the temporary structure. But several sources have told Eavesdrop that one of the short listed firms (Collective-LOK, PARA-Project, WOJR, over,under, Fake Industries Architectural Agonism, LAMAS, Pita + Bloom) was in fact told that it—not Benjamin—had won the design competition. The architects were told to come to a PS 1 meeting to discuss moving forward as the winner, but after waiting for an hour they were told that a member of the jury was not there and the meeting could not take place. They waited patiently for another hour until they were asked to go home and wait—“don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Later that week, a MoMA official contacted the firm and told them that, actually, Benjamin and his firm had been selected as the winner of the coveted summer pavilion—oops, sorry. It was, of course, a devastating blow. So devastating that the architects are not willing to talk about the episode. So MoMA will go forward with the “organic” brick pavilion. Benjamin employer Columbia University reported in its May 15 GSAPP newsletter that “Kanye West and GSAPP faculty member David Benjamin (M.Arch ‘05) are working on a ‘strictly confidential’ project.” Though other sources claim that this project involves a “new type of movie theater and 3D entertainment experience,” can we expect Benjamin’s partner to take part in PS 1’s usually rollicking summer party to inaugurate the pavilion?
Looks like Steven Holl’s impressive design for a new library in Queens, New York costs quite a bit more than expected. DNA Info reported that bids for the 21,000-square-foot project came in about $10-20 million over budget. But that doesn’t mean the project is dead just yet. While the city has nixed a planned geothermal heating and cooling system, is swapping customized interior fixtures for standard ones, and is replacing the aluminum façade with painted concrete, they say the library will stay true to its original design. Despite the changes, the library will still include an amphitheater, community room and a reading garden. A spokesperson for the Queens Public Library said a timeline will not be available until new bids are evaluated by the Department of Design and Construction.
John Catsimatidis, the billionaire-grocery-store-tycoon-turned-failed-mayoral-candidate said he will write a check to save Philip Johnson’s iconic New York State Pavilion in Queens, New York. That is, if someone presents him with the right “visionary” plan. At a recent event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair, Catsimatidis told the New York Daily News he wants to see another World’s Fair in Queens in the near future. “I can make it happen,” he told The News. “But you need people who have dreams.” It, of course, will take more than dreams alone, and, as the publication notes, Catsimatidis does not have “a specific plan, timeline, or strategy” behind his offer. Oh, the little things. But, if Cats—as he was known during his unsuccessful, but entertaining, mayoral campaign—is true to his word, then he can expect to write a pretty hefty check. A study by the New York City Parks Department found that preserving the structure as-is will cost about $50 million, and renovating it for new use would set someone like Catsimatidis back $70 million.
The winners of the AIA New York's biennial design competition have been been announced. The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) committee selected from 120 proposals submitted as a part of QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm, which was intended to drum up ideas that would contribute to the proposed re-purposing of an elevated railway in Queens. Entrants were tasked with designing a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of the 3.5 mile–long track currently under consideration for the High Line treatment. A jury consisting of Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture + Urban Design, Matthew Johnson of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and project manager of the High Line, and Margaret Newman from the New York Department of Transportation among others convened on January 18th to anoint Carrie Wibert the winner and recipient of the $5000 ENYA prize. Nikolay Martynov's Queens Bilboard finished second, followed by Song Deng's Make It! Grow It! Jessica Shomekaer won the Student Prize while Queens local Hyontek Yoon received honorable mention for Upside Down Bridge. These proposals, along with others submitted to the competition will go on display July 17th in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture that will be supplemented by a series of discussion panels. The exhibit should come on the heels of the completion of the ongoing feasibility study undertaken by WXY and dlandstudio Landscape Architecture & Architecture. The project is not without its detractors, with some locals clamoring for the re-activation of the track for rail transportation as a means of alleviating congestion in the borough. Advocates of the Queensway question the feasibility of such a move and also claim that the park would link communities, improve quality of life, and enable safer bike and foot traffic.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city's continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio's predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York's built environment. With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan's street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it's at Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta's redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate. As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Allen and Pike Streets in the Lower East Side. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Holland Tunnel Area. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: St. Nicholas Avenue & Amsterdam Avenue. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Allen and Pike Street in the Lower East Side. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Harlem River Park Gateway. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Herald Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Harlem River Park Gateway. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Location: Broadway at Times Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: 12th Avenue West at 135th Street. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Holland Tunnel Area. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Louis Nine Boulevard. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Delancey Street in the Lower East Side. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Prospect Park West. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Broadway at Times Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Broadway & West 71st Street. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Union Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Columbus Avenue. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Union Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Water and Whitehall Streets. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Union Square. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Randall and Leggett Ave. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Grand Army Plaza at the entrance to Brooklyn's Prospect Park. [beforeafter][/beforeafter] Location: Hoyt Avenue at the RFK Bridge. All photos courtesy New York City Department of Transportation.
Now that Citi Bikes are taking over the streets of New York City, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is getting ready to pave the way for a new bike path. The Daily News reported that the NYCDOT plans on creating a new dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, the connection between Greenpoint and Long Island City, by 2014. Currently pedestrians and cyclists share a crowded path, but soon a single traffic lane will be turned into a bike path. An engineering study of the bridge will include this addition and be unveiled to the Community Boards in Queens and Brooklyn in the next few months. (Photo: Courtesy Newyorkshitty)
Sweden-based firm White Arkitekter has been named the winner of the "For a Resilient Rockaway" (FAR ROC) design competition. The team's winning proposal, Small Means & Great End, offers a set of design strategies to transform an empty swath of land, known as Averne East, along the Rockaways in Queens, New York into a resilient, mixed-use community. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), along with private developers and the AIA New York Chapter, shortlisted four finalists back in July, including Ennead Architects, Lateral Office, and Seeding Office. Ennead's design, "Fostering Resilient Ecological Development," was recognized by the jury for Leading Innovation in Resilient Waterfront Design for its diverse ecological design solutions. White Arkitekter, which has been granted a $30,000 prize to realize its plan for the 80-acre site, has proposed implementing "a series of small, affordable, and smart interventions," which aims to mitigate damage, provide improved access during a storm, and create what they call an "antifragile" environement that fares better during and after extreme weather conditions.
It is the end of an era. The New York City Council voted in a favor of a plan to demolish the iconic 5Pointz, the former manufacturing building-turned-graffiti-mecca, in Long Island City, Queens, to make way for a $400 million residential development. The New York Times reported that the Wolkoff family, the owner and developer of the property, will build two residential towers—one of which will climb up to 47 stories—consisting all together of 1,000 units. But first, the Wolkoffs needed the approval of City Council to build beyond the current zoning regulations. Before today's decision, the developer negotiated a deal with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and the community board to bump up the number of affordable apartments to 210 and accommodate 12,000 square of artist studio space. The $400 million project will also provide wall space for aerosol artists to exhibit their work. The graffiti artists, however, are disappointed with this offer and the final outcome. Jonathan Cohen, curator of 5Pointz, told the New York Times, that this development will “just destroy more of what made New York what it is. Now it is just boring, full of bland boring towers of boxes of glass."