Posts tagged with "Architecture Research Office":

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Adam Yarinsky reflects on ARO’s work in spaces originally shaped by Donald Judd and Mark Rothko

Actual space is intrinsically more powerful and specific than paint on a flat surface. Donald Judd I have made a place. Mark Rothko Architects often say that the best clients are those who are most collaborative, but what if your client died decades ago? I think of our restorations of 101 Spring Street, Donald Judd’s home in New York City, and the Rothko Chapel in Houston as case studies in posthumous collaboration. At these remarkable sites, Judd and Rothko expanded the physical boundaries of sculpture and painting by creating carefully calibrated spatial relationships between art and its context. When we experience these places, we gain greater awareness of ourselves, of our connection to other people and the world around us. Yet the passage of time diminished their qualities, as the conditions needed to appreciate them changed. Sensitively engaging these sites required untangling a web of aesthetic, philosophical, administrative, technical, and constructional questions. Through our research-based methodology, we gathered and analyzed information (including archival documentation), conducted interviews, analyzed historical and existing conditions, and synthesized the work of specialists. This established the basis of a rigorous, iterative design process that aimed to yield a holistic strategy. Ultimately, our challenge as architects was to reconcile the artists’ original intentions with the ongoing missions of the cultural organizations that perpetuate their legacies. Preservation and access The space surrounding my work is crucial to it: As much thought has gone into the installation as into a piece itself. —Donald Judd We first encountered this unusual design problem when we were responsible for the restoration of 101 Spring Street, the five-story 1870 mercantile building that Judd occupied from 1968 to 1994. Here, he made what came to be known as his permanently installed spaces: site-specific installations of his art and that of his peers. He modified the cast-iron building and added new elements to create an unprecedented interaction between art and daily life. In the years following his untimely death, the deterioration of the building compromised Judd’s work and the Judd Foundation’s mission—on top of the fact that the building did not have a certificate of occupancy. Working closely over eight years with representatives of the foundation, we preserved the authentic experience Judd intended. Paradoxically, this required extensive modern technical infrastructure, such as fire suppression and life-safety systems, without which public access would not be possible. Completed in 2013, the painstaking effort touched nearly every part of the building, but the project’s success is measured by the extent to which our presence disappears in service of Judd’s vision. Contemplation and action We have here both a chapel and a monument; a place for worship and a memorial to a great leader. The association of these two remarkable sites should tell us over and over again that spiritual life and active life should remain united. —Dominique de Menil A current project, presently in construction, is the restoration of the Rothko Chapel and new architecture that supports the chapel’s expanded public programming. The Rothko Chapel is both a place and a program, comprising the union of patrons John and Dominique de Menil’s ecumenism and egalitarianism with Mark Rothko’s aspiration to create deep emotional connections through the immersive experience of his art. The chapel building, completed in 1971, is a locus for spiritual enlightenment through meditation in a space Rothko defined through the integration of 14 monumental painted panels with their architectural context. The adjacent reflecting pool and Barnett Newman’s sculpture Broken Obelisk, dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr., symbolize the chapel’s mission to act as a platform for social justice through its programming, which promotes dialogue between people. The dialectic between contemplation and action, which is integral to the chapel’s institutional and architectural identity, is the basis of our design strategy. In this sense, we engage the de Menils as collaborators, too. Restoring the sense of awe A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening in the eyes of the sensitive observer. —Mark Rothko Our goal for the chapel restoration is to reinstate a sense of awe in each guest along with a recognition of self, which is the basis of the chapel’s social mission. This self-recognition is constituted from the experience of Rothko’s interior, an octagonal space formed by his paintings, which are portals into voids of fluctuating opacity, color, and reflectivity illuminated by a central skylight. Although he determined all the key attributes of the chapel (prevailing over the wishes of Philip Johnson, who designed the building with Howard Barnstone and Eugene Aubry), Rothko never visited Houston and died before it was completed. Choosing daylight as the primary source of illumination, he did not anticipate the harsh Texas sun, which immediately began to damage the paintings and weaken the qualities that he had so rigorously studied in his New York studio. During the decades following the opening of the chapel, three attempts to block and filter daylight with baffles did not successfully address the need to control glare and brightness. The most significant element of the restoration is an innovative lighting strategy developed by George Sexton, which opens the interior space as it was originally conceived. This includes a new skylight with an array of angled louvers, each precisely oriented to distribute daylight more evenly to Rothko’s panels. When daylight is lower than needed to see the paintings, such as on a very cloudy day or at dusk, eight digital projectors concealed in a ring around the skylight provide subtle additional illumination. Other changes, including a redesigned entry sequence, will greatly improve the quality of the experience. Mediating between the chapel and the neighborhood …a reconciliation between the ordinary and the extraordinary in a dialectical relationship… —Stephen Fox The new architecture for the chapel is grounded in both the singular power of its building and the unique character of the surrounding early-20th-century residential neighborhood, but does not overwhelm either of these contexts. This maintains the de Menils’ vision—the essence of the chapel’s identity as a program—to situate the sacred within daily life. A new landscape precinct, designed in collaboration with Nelson Byrd Woltz, is created by the removal of adjacent houses occupied by the chapel and the addition of new planting, paths, and plaza pavement. This affirms the chapel’s presence as a freestanding element within the larger open space shared with adjacent Menil Park on a block framed by a necklace of bungalows. Across Sul Ross Street, a new north campus comprises a welcome house, program center, and an administration and archive building that together define a public courtyard, which opens to the street. The scale and massing of these elements echo those of the adjacent residences, further bridging the neighborhood and the chapel. With glass walls shaded by a generous wood trellis, the porchlike welcome house is a resting place along the journey to and from the chapel. The program center, which includes a two-hundred-person meeting room, is pushed to the back of the courtyard to establish a buffer against larger development to the north. The administration and archive building aligns with the width and height of the chapel, which also sets the height of the program center. The architectural expression of the north campus extends the site strategy. The simple building forms echo the chapel’s mass and are clad in gray wood siding that relates to the existing bungalows, which are all painted gray. This vertical and horizontal board-and-batten detailing provides a play of shadows, which integrates the architecture with the dappled light that passes through the tree canopy. A large, shaded glass wall visually connects the program center’s meeting room to the courtyard and the chapel across the street. The meeting room, whose outward-looking public orientation contrasts with the chapel’s inward focus, is defined by simply spanning laminated wood beams, gray plaster walls (which match the chapel), and a wood floor. It is equipped with concealed technical infrastructure to support a variety of events, including lectures, symposia, banquets, and workshops. The north wall of the meeting room is illuminated by a continuous skylight, which brightens the interior and enables views into the space from outside. Unity …one person is a unity, and somehow, after the long complex process, a work of art is a similar unity. —Donald Judd I have created a new kind of unity, a new method of achieving unity. —Mark Rothko The restoration of 101 Spring Street and the restoration and expansion of the Rothko Chapel are deeply informed by our engagement with both posthumous and living collaborators (including the artists’ children). Sometimes our work is invisible; often there are prominent new elements. Ultimately, everything is shaped by our judgment. We seek a reciprocity between existing and new architecture, a complex layering that balances deference and distinction. These projects inform our other current work, including the design of a new visitor center for Olana, the painter Fredric Church’s property in upstate New York, and the Dia Art Foundation’s spaces in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. Judd and Rothko used the word “unity” in describing their aspirations for art that encompasses the fullness of humanity’s relationship to the world. Dominique de Menil expressed her conviction that “spiritual life and active life should remain united.” Through these projects, we learned that inquiry and invention, grounded in empathy and humility, unite architecture with its past, present, and future cultural contexts. Adam Yarinsky is a principal at ARO.
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Architecture Research Office to oversee Dia renovations and expansion

Dia Art Foundation is undergoing major changes at all its locations, overseen by New York-based architects Architecture Research Office (ARO), with partners Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao taking the lead. The plan is to upgrade and expand the flagship New York City and Beacon locations, reactivate a programming space in Soho, and revitalize two New York exhibitions of Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), which have been in Dia’s care since the 1970s. Dia, which has been around since 1974, has exhibited primarily in former industrial sites, such as a converted Nabisco factory in Beacon, NY. As director Jessica Morgan told The New York Times, “The idea of new architecture is so antithetical to Dia.” ARO was chosen for its notable sensitivity to existing spaces and its experience in renovating art spaces, such as the Judd Foundation and the Rothko Chapel. In Beacon, ARO will redesign the former factory’s lower level to open up 11,000 square feet of exhibition space. Dia’s Chelsea location will also see an expansion. Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer Beyond will be getting climate control to keep them open through the summer. Beyond renovations and improvements of existing sites, the project also includes the reclamation of a 2500-square-foot gallery in Soho that had previously served as a retail space. Renovating existing spaces rather than engaging in new construction also aligns with Dia’s financial mission. These renovations are made possible in part by a $78 million campaign, which Dia is hoping to mostly direct to their endowment and to operating finances, rather than to construction. As Jessica Morgan, the Nathalie de Gunzburg Director of Dia, puts it, “Our work with ARO builds on Dia’s history of repurposing and activating found architectural spaces and will help us reinvigorate our mission and program across the range of sites that make up Dia today.”
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Two new schools and a 74-story high-rise planned for Downtown Brooklyn

Brooklyn-based firm Alloy Development has unveiled new scheme in Downtown Brooklyn that will boast 900 housing units (200 of which will be affordable), two new schools, and 200,000 square feet of office and retail space. The architect and development company will also design the scheme. The project known as "80 Flatbush" is being bankrolled by the Educational Construction Fund (ECF), a department within the New York City Department of Education that deals with development projects. It is sited next to the Atlantic Terminal, the Brooklyn Cultural District, and Barclays Center. In addition to the office and retail space, 40,000 square feet of the development—what Alloy called in a press release "neighborhood retail"—will be included in the scheme, as will 15,00 square feet of "cultural space." The latter was made possible by transforming the Khalil Gibran Academy (an old Civil War infirmary which dates back to 1860). This will then become an extension of the BAM Cultural District. As per the timeline outlined by Alloy, construction is set to start in 2019, with the project being built in two phases. The first will incorporate the two schools, both of which will be designed by New York studio, Architecture Research Office. Also included in this phase will be a 38‐story triangular residential block, office, and retail building. Phase one is due to be complete in 2022. Phase two, on the other hand, will comprise a 74‐story residential, office, retail tower and the rehabilitation of a coterie of buildings at 362 Schermerhorn Street. Phase two is due to finish in 2025. “It's rare for a developer to come to us for feedback in the earliest stages of a project,” said Peg Breen, President of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, in a press release. “But Alloy did that, listened, and made preservation a meaningful priority.  We're very appreciative of their efforts. This project shows that development and preservation can work together and that investing in historic buildings makes economic sense.  We're pleased to support this important project.” 80 Flatbush is yet to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and so final approval has not yet been granted.
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2016 Best of Design Award for Civic Institution: Architecture of Buffalo Bayou Park

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 Civic Institution: Architecture of Buffalo Bayou Park Architect: Page Location: Houston, TX

As part of a varied program of structures commissioned for Houston’s three-mile long Buffalo Bayou Park, Page’s pavilion is designed to withstand the area’s frequent flooding. Solid board-formed concrete piers provide resistance to flood damage and are paired with an expressive steel frame and delicate steel screens to create shade. When a severe flooding event occurred just after completion of the structures, no damage was sustained.

Landscape Architect SWA Group

Environmental Consultant Hunt & Hunt Engineering Corp. Contractor Millis Development & Construction Wood Supplier US Lumber Brokers Railing Manufacturer Pool Custom Ironworks

Honorable Mention, Civic Institution: Congregation Beit Simchat Torah

Architect: Architecture Research Office Location: New York, NY

To provide a home for the world’s largest LGBTQ Jewish community, ARO renovated a landmark Cass Gilbert–designed warehouse to create a synagogue that embodies the community’s core values of transparency, intimacy, warmth, and flexibility.

Honorable Mention, Civic Institution: Museum of Neon Art

Architect: Shimoda Design Group Location: Glendale, CA

The renovated 8,400-square-foot building and public pedestrian space infuses a new sense of cultural and pedestrian connectivity in downtown Glendale. Shimoda Design Group kept the interior of the gallery space as raw as possible, while maximizing its existing volumes to include a neon workshop, classroom, and museum shop.

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Architecture Research Office to renovate Rothko Chapel in Houston

New York City-based Architecture Research Office (ARO) has been selected to lead the renovation and master planning of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, the home of 14 monumental panels by artist Mark Rothko. The chapel's interior was designed to the artist's precise vision. ARO will seek to improve the Chapel’s interior lighting and its presentation of Rothko’s panels by renovating the skylight, the interior light baffle, and the electric lighting systems in collaboration with lighting designers from George Sexton Associates. According to a press release, the project will also include improvements to the HVAC system and acoustics, and the entry vestibule will be redone to better enhance the visitor experience, all while maintaining a close eye toward Rothko’s original intent for the space. The master planning portion will address the outdoor plaza and reflecting pool containing Barnett Newman’s sculpture Broken Obelisk, as well as several adjacent edifices. Given that the chapel’s neighboring institutions, the Menil Collection and the University of St. Thomas, are both undergoing extensive renovations, the plans for Rothko Chapel seek to elevate its visibility while maintaining its identity and function as a quiet sanctuary. ARO has a history of working with leading universities and cultural institutions and is the winner of the 2011 National Design Award for Architecture from the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.
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ARO pays careful attention to symbolism, craft, security, and inclusivity in designing new Manhattan synagogue

“The Torah was the first building code,” said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST), the prominent LGBTQ-welcoming synagogue. Stephen Cassell, principal at Architecture Research Office (ARO), quoted the rabbi, who was interpreting Deuteronomy 22:8, which set forth practically and ethically the need for parapets to keep people from falling off roofs. From simple safeguards to symbolic elements, ARO’s work for CBST integrates design details with values that Kleinbaum called “radically traditional.”

ARO remodeled the 1928 18-story Cass Gilbert building at 130 W. 30th Street, converting former furriers’ shops into CBST’s first permanent home after over 40 years in rented quarters. It was first in Chelsea’s Church of the Holy Apostles, then in a Westbeth loft. CBST members ceremonially marched last April 3 from the loft to the new site, where nine years of planning and design work have yielded a dignified space for Jews of every identity.

Preserving Gilbert’s Assyrian terra-cotta friezes, Cassell and colleagues wove a complex program into the 17,000-square-foot building. The sanctuary’s ner tamid (eternal light) is embedded into a column rising from the bimah (podium) and pews designed by London’s Luke Hughes are removable for social events. A structural-concrete rear wall supporting a panel of striated glass-fiber-reinforced concrete holds the Torah ark, and tilts back to admit a 46-foot-wide skylight—and enhancing sonic clarity and increasing perceptible area without exceeding allowable floor area. Chicago-based Threshold Acoustics optimized the space to accommodate both a highly musical congregation and the residences above it. Yahrzeit memorial candles are reinterpreted as individually controllable LEDs in a gray glass wall. Revising the traditional orientation of a bimah toward Jerusalem, this podium along the southern wall creates a wide 299-person space where no seat, even in the mezzanine, is more than 35 feet from the speaker.

Rabbi Kleinbaum’s brief, Cassell reported, specified that “everything had to be fabulous.” The 18-foot-high lobby declares CBST’s identity with lavender glazing and rainbow flags. “From day one of designing, we were designing for gay weddings; there was an assumption that they would be legalized; this took place in the middle of our working on the construction documents,” Cassell noted, adding, “We don’t want an outside hall to do that.” CBST’s Javits Center services on the High Holidays draw four-figure crowds.

The Torah ark is protected by a sliding panel of steam-bent oak staves and includes a custom-woven Bogotan tapestry and a laser-cut fabric whose 14th-century Spanish design recognizes Sephardim, the Jews who were expelled from Spain and Portugal after 1492. A chapel-library includes an additional ark incorporating 1920’s doors rescued from the Bronx’s Tremont Temple Gates of Mercy. Excerpts from secular and sacred literature proliferate. Though last month’s events in Orlando underscore the risks a diverse group faces in a society where the intolerant can be armed, CBST refuses to hide behind bollards or metal detectors. However, blast-resistant film coats the facade glass, protecting the lobby without shouting “security.”

Cassell found that congregants were closely attentive to the ways architectural features reflect priorities: “Everything was freighted with meaning, because this is the first time they’ve had a home of their own.” The question of whether pews rather than chairs are appropriate in a synagogue, he recalls, occupied “probably 25 meetings.... In some ways it is radically traditional; this aligns with [the question], what does it mean as a community to share a seat?” Classroom doorways include ADA-compliant mezuzot within reach of anyone in a wheelchair.

A nongendered restroom with eight full-height stalls that accommodate people of any identity with privacy and respect, illustrates CBST’s saga through a “history wall” of documents, including the Department of Buildings (DOB) variance allowing the restroom to bypass requirements for separate men’s and women’s rooms. “The rabbi wrote a phenomenally impassioned letter,” Cassell recalled, and DOB granted the variance. He wryly quoted its bureaucratic language about “‘the LGBT community, where conventional definition of gender is no longer sufficient.’ Hearing that coming from DOB is unheard of.”

Far from Chelsea, such a room itself might be unheard of. Still, Cassell notes, “it’s not rocket science.” Creating spaces appropriate to a population’s diversity, this building suggests, merely requires design sense fused with common sense and common decency.

Resources Lighting Designer Tillotson Design Associates Ark and Custom Furniture City Joinery

Memorial Wall and Ner Tamid Fabricator RUSHdesign

Ritual Items Design Mark Robbins Acoustics Threshold Acoustics
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ARO, KieranTimberlake, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam make shortlist for Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis on Monday announced the three finalists competing to design a new building for its Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. The three teams vying to design Annabeth & John Weil Hall are: Architecture Research Office (ARO), KieranTimberlake, and Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects. The building is part of the university's arts and architecture campus, a collection of limestone-clad structures ranging from Beaux Arts style structures dating to the St. Louis world's fair of 1904 to more modern additions by Fumihiko Maki. The Sam Fox School campus is visually set apart from the university's predominantly Collegiate Gothic Danforth Campus.   No renderings or specific timelines are available yet, but a previous announcement of the project said the university aimed to complete construction within the next five years. The new building is part of the university's 10–15 strategic “Design for Excellence” campus plan. New York City–based ARO has designed academic buildings for universities including Tulane, Brown, and Princeton, as well as renovations to Donald Judd's home and studio in Soho. KieranTimberlake has worked with Yale, Rice, and Tulane universities. In the firm's home base of Philadelphia, it has helped revamp Dilworth Park with architectural greenhouses serving as entrances to the city's subway system. Atlanta's Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects count among its higher education clients Yale, Carnegie Mellon, and Clemson universities, and the firm was shortlisted to design a new U.S. embassy in Beirut (that job ultimately went to Morphosis). As part of the selection process, each firm will deliver a public presentation in Washington University's Steinberg Auditorium, an early building by Maki dating to 1960 when he was a professor at the university. The event dates are: Monday, March 23, 1:15p.m: Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects Monday, March 23, 4p.m: KieranTimberlake Tuesday, March 24, 1:15p.m: Architecture Research Office (ARO)
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Archtober Building of the Day #20B> Donald Judd Home and Studio

Archtober Building of the Day #20 Donald Judd Home and Studio 101 Spring Street Architecture Research Office; Walter B. Melvin Architects The Soho of the 1970s has come and gone, grungy artists’ studios replaced by glitzy storefronts and luxury condos. However, two decades after artist Donald Judd passed away in 1994, his presence still permeates 101 Spring Street. It’s in the nooks he carved out for his children and his books, his kitchenware and furniture, and, most of all, his art. To Judd, 101 Spring Street was love at first sight. He purchased the cast-iron corner building in 1968 and was careful to respect the integrity of the space when setting up his life and his work. Dividing walls are kept at a minimum, and everything is arranged to leave the right angles of the windows uninterrupted. Light generously floods the interiors. Though not an architect, the godfather of Minimalism knew a thing or two about arranging spaces. Somehow, in the master bedroom, a site-specific Dan Flavin light installation coexists in harmony with works by Claes Oldenburg and John Chamberlain. Despite the sleek metal surfaces of his work, the range of surfaces and textures in his home reveals the breadth of his taste. The restoration, led by Architecture Research Office (ARO), was guided by Judd’s last will and testament: make necessary repairs, but leave the rest unchanged. Restorers looked through old photographs and arranged walk-throughs with Judd’s friends and visitors to determine the precise location of artworks and furniture, and everything in between. There was probably more clutter when Judd was around, but, according to our Judd Foundation guide, the artist had his own organizational systems in place. A custom-made cabinet with a very low shelf was specifically designed to store cutlery side-by-side in a single row. According to ARO Principal Adam Yarinsky, the restoration’s main challenge was how to introduce the modern infrastructure of museums without impacting the character of the building and its art installations. In the 1960s, Judd removed all sprinklers from the third and fourth floors, claiming that they interrupted the building’s sightlines. ARO consulted with Arup to devise a fire-proofing system that would not detract from the space’s qualities. Walter B. Melvin Architects, which led the facade renovation, installed new but old-timey double-paned glass to protect the art from harmful UV rays. Judd is gone, but his art and his legacy live on. The artist’s careful considerations, along with ARO’s precise renovation, allow the spaces to showcase the art and vice versa.
Camila Schaulsohn is Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief of e-Oculus. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile.
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Architecture Research Office Designs Public Art Display Panels for NYC's Pedestrian Plazas

Streets occupy nearly a quarter of New York City's land, however there are limited outdoor spaces to socialize, sit, and enjoy city life outside of parks. As part of an effort to improve the quality of public space for all New Yorkers, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) has been developing new public open space by converting underutilized street spaces into pedestrian plazas. With dozens of plazas already open and functioning across the city, the NYCDOT has been looking to polish the new spaces, installing permanent designs, improved benches, and now, specially designed signs to showcase public art. Ten art display cases were on view from May through late August 2013 at Brooklyn’s Willoughby Plaza—one of the city’s first asphalt strips once dedicated to cars and subsequently transformed into a pedestrian space. The signs were part of NYCDOT's Urban Art Program and were part of its inaugural show titled There is no US Without U. The sail-like panels were designed by the NYC-based architectural and urban design firm Architecture Research Office (ARO) and were fabricated by Rhode Island–based custom composite construction leader Goetz Composites. Each panel is composed of three integrated elements: a sail-like field material involving an anti-graffiti coating, beveled panel edges clad in stainless steel, and stainless steel panel bases connecting the panels to the ground. The idea takes inspiration partially from recreational equipment and incorporates materials typically associated with boats. DOT sought a prominent boat builder to collaborate with the design team to create the construction details and assemble the prototype, which was exhibited last year at Bogardus Plaza and Water and Whitehall Plaza. Through an art therapy program at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System, veterans created the featured artwork shown on the new display kiosks. The exhibit will now be moved other public spaces around New York City. All images by James Ewing / Courtesy NYCDOT.
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Public Art, If It Holds Up

If all the world is a stage, according to Shakespeare, all the city is a kunsthalle in the eyes of the New York City Department of Transportation. Bogardus Plaza, a tiny pedestrian plaza carved out of a little-used block of Hudson Street in Lower Manhattan and named for architect James Bogardus, the inventor of the cast-iron building, just received a well-deserved facelift and has now been chosen to host a prototype art display case designed by Architecture Research Office (ARO). If the design looks familiar, that's because ARO designed their sleek new case to mirror the look and feel of the city's existing bus shelters, newsstands, and benches to create a cohesive streetscape. The stainless-steel-wrapped display features a unique angled edge that creates a playful optical illusion. The rectangular shape is chamfered at the base, meeting the sidewalk at a single, stationary point, standing in contrast to the plaza's moveable cafe chairs, tables, and potted plants. “We envision the display panel as a visitor to the plaza, a temporary and flexible element that moves culture out into New York City’s pedestrian spaces,” said ARO principal Adam Yarinsky in a statement. ARO's design was selected after NYCDOT challenged designers to rethink the museum display case as public furniture. The display case is on a month-long trial run to test for durability. If it holds up, a series of cases will be fabricated and installed throughout the city in the fall and a new rotating art program will be implemented. The initiative is part of NYCDOT's Urban Art Program that brings art in unexpected places throughout the city.