Posts tagged with "Archtober":

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Building of the Day: The Battery

This is the twenty-seventh in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! On today’s Building of the Day tour, Beth Franz, RLA of Quennell Rothschild & Partners (QRP) walked us through the past, present, and future of The Battery. The Battery is built on the site of what was once Fort Amsterdam, later renamed Fort George once the British took over. One of the first things Franz pointed out to us is an original stone placed at what was the corner of the fort. During the redesign process—a collaboration between QRP, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, and WXY architecture + urban design (WXY) with the Battery Conservancy and the Parks Department as clients—QRP decided to completely expose the stone, which made it vulnerable to damage, but it enabled visitors to the park to have a connection to the old fort. We then walked to Castle Clinton, passing by The Battery Oval. The two-acre site acts as a connection from the main entrance to the park at Battery Place and State Street to Castle Clinton. During the Robert Moses era, this portion of the park was a two-lane pathway, mostly devoid of greenery. The oval is mounded, which helps it to act as an amphitheater and inside the oval there are 300 blue plastic chairs that have proven to be very popular with visitors. So popular in fact that they are being mass produced for anyone to buy. Franz then led us to the waterfront promenade, where she explained to us the different design phases of The Battery. After the dire financial times of the 1970s and 1980s when New York’s parks were suffering from neglect, The Battery Conservancy was established to ensure the park was kept in good shape for all New Yorkers to use and enjoy. In 1982, Philip Winslow led the first major redesign of the park with the goal of putting the landscape first and getting rid of the broken landscapes designed during the Moses era. The park is outlined with enormous 7,000-pound granite blocks that serve as a demarcating line between the busy public streets and the quiet garden-like atmosphere of the park. Along the perimeter are various monuments to different people and events. QRP restored these monuments to their original design and placed them at the end of streets that terminate at The Battery. These are designed to help bring visitors into the park and capture their attention. Walking along the bike path, Franz told us how integral it was in the design process. With safety for bikers and pedestrians in mind, QRP added visual cues for pedestrians that they are entering the bike path. They also wanted cyclists to be aware of those who might be in the path: There is granite striping on the paths and rumble strips to alert cyclists as well. Additionally, the path gets quite narrow in portions, which forces cyclists to slow down and be aware of their surroundings. Along the bike path is The Battery woodland, which consists almost entirely of native grasses and plants. The vision is that this will resemble a meadow that Europeans might have found on Manhattan Island when they first arrived. This area does not need to be mowed and it does not use fertilizers or chemicals to maintain the trees and grasses. We ended our tour at the Tiffany Gardens. These gardens also consist of native plants and are mounded, much like the oval. The mounding serves two valuable purposes. Firstly, since the subway tunnels are just inches below the park, the mounds provide enough soil for the plants to take root. Secondly, Franz explained that they create something called “conceal and reveal.” If the landscape is totally flat, a viewer can see the entire park and not be as enticed to enter. If a mound is partially blocking their view, they become interested in what lies beyond and enter to explore the area. The new SeaGlass Carousel designed by WXY is located next to the Tiffany Gardens. Across from the carousel is the last unfinished part of the park, which will be a playground, meant to encourage imaginative play for children of all ages. Among the hustle and bustle of the Financial District, The Battery offers a wonderful respite and it truly is one of New York’s most beautiful parks. About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Class Struggle!) and brewing his own beer.
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Building of the Day: the Japan Society

This is the twenty-sixth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! During an Archtober Building of the Day tour of the Japan Society, visitors learned how the building’s architecture echoes the organization’s mission to deepen the cultural dialogue between the US and Japan. Archtober guide Michael Chagnon, PhD, curator of exhibition interpretation at the Japan Society, delved into the history of the organization and its current location. Founded in 1907, the Japan Society shut down its operations during World War II and was revived by John D. Rockefeller III, an avid Asian art collector. When the organization outgrew the home it originally shared with the Asia Society, Rockefeller secured the land in Turtle Bay and commissioned Tokyo-based modernist architect Junzo Yoshimura to design the Japan Society a new home. In his design, Yoshimura, a student of Antonin Raymond (a Frank Lloyd Wright disciple), masterfully blends traditional Japanese residential language with the bold, almost Brutalist lines and reinforced concrete of American Modernism. Chagnon pointed out several elements on the building’s facade traditionally found in Japanese homes: the low-slung diagonal fence, typical of Kyoto’s Edo period; the elegantly rhythmic vertical storm window grates, or amado; and surare, horizontal screens, usually of bamboo, and here rendered in steel. These references continue in the Japan Society’s lobby, where the ceiling’s exposed concrete combines with delicate wood slats of Japanese cypress, known for releasing a lemon-scented aroma when heated. According to Chagnon, although Yoshimura intended for visitors to have a full sensorial experience upon entering the building, the New York City Fire Department demanded that the slats be coated in flame retardant. A bamboo pond at the end of the garden, once still and serene, now bubbles with the addition of a waterfall. A few other elements of Yoshimura’s original design have also changed, particularly after a renovation in the 1990’s by Beyer Blinder Belle. As the organization, which hosts everything from Noh theater performances to exhibitions on Japanese prints and anime and lectures on sake, continued to expand, its space needed to grow accordingly. Beyer Blinder Belle added two floors, which more than doubled the available gallery space. And while sacrifices have been made in the name of the organization, we can rest assured that the building, the first in New York City built by a Japanese modernist architect, will remain. In 2011, at the age of 40, it became the youngest landmark building by the State’s Landmark Preservation Committee. About the author: Camila Schaulsohn is the Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief of the AIA New York Newsletter.
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Building of the Day: Hudson Yards

This is the twenty-fifth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! When approaching Hudson Yards from Pennsylvania Station, seeing parked buses and queues of travelers along 31st Street, it’s difficult to imagine that this 28-acre campus could shed its transitory reputation to become a final destination point for more than just Long Island Railroad cars. But by reclaiming square-footage currently lost to train exhaust, the architects and developers believe Hudson Yards will quickly emerge as a major retail and cultural hub in Manhattan. Today’s tour started on the 41st floor of 10 Hudson Yards (also known as the Coach Building for its primary tenant) and was led by Mark Boekenheide, AIA, and Sherry Tobak of Related Companies, Marianne Kwok of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), and Serena Nelson of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. Designed by KPF, the 895 foot-tall reinforced concrete tower boasts 1.8 million square feet of office and retail space and is currently home to a number of high-profile tenants. According to Boekenheide, concrete was an unusual material to use for a project of this size in New York City, but was chosen in order to meet Coach’s timeline for move-in. He also noted that many tenants in the building are now opting to keep the material exposed to add a loft-like atmosphere their offices. 10 Hudson Yards and its twin still under construction across the way carry the tradition of twin office towers that stretch down Manhattan avenues ending at the World Trade Center. Although the towers are not identical, Kwok said, both are oriented in such a way to direct energy down to the 14-acres of public space below, reinforcing the complex’s relationship to the city as a whole. Once 30 Hudson Yards is completed in 2018, visitors will be able to take in views of Manhattan from the tallest open air observatory deck. Half of the Hudson Yards’ acreage will remain open space, and will support the creation of interlocking green spaces intended to draw tenants and visitors into the campus. When designing the elliptical gardens, Nelson said, accounting for the heat generated by the trains parked below on the west campus was a unique challenge; on a summer day, when the trains are stalled with their ACs running, temperatures could rise up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and would effectively scorch much of the existing plant life. However, gardens will soon grow at Hudson Yards thanks to the design of a glycol cooling system suspended within concrete beneath the soil. As confirmed by a 360-virtual reality rendering of the five orbital gardens, the Trafalgar Square-like space will serve as an exceptional northern terminus to the High Line once completed. About the author: Kelly Felsberg is the Program Committees Coordinator at AIA New York.
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Building of the Day: Columbia University’s Knowledge Center

This is the twenty-fourth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! Columbia University came to Mitchell | Giurgola for the renovation of their Knowledge Center after the New York-based firm previously renovated their Learning and Teaching Center in 2008. Originally housing the Columbia University Medical Center’s library, Jill Wendorff and Carl Gruswitz wanted to take the space in a different direction as compared to the classic definition of a “library.” Recognizing that a university’s collections consist of more than just books, Wendorff and Gruswitz rebranded the area as the Knowledge Center, a place where tech and data outlets abound. To that effect, Mitchell | Giurgola moved the majority of books offsite and opened up the area to make it much more collaborative. Wendorff wanted to create an open area while having different zones with different purposes. Different furniture items and carpet patterns help designate these different zones. In the spirit of creating a 21st-century study space, Wendorff wanted to add as many power outlets as possible. When it became clear that it wasn’t possible to add hundreds of new outlets on the floor, which would make it structurally unstable, Wendorff worked with Steelcase to create furniture with outlets built into them, thereby distributing the power outlets throughout the room without having to add power outlets to the floor. Wendorff wanted the space to be as flexible as possible, so she added movable whiteboards throughout the Knowledge Center; these added study tools and help block off sections of the space. While the majority of the space is very open, there are rooms around the perimeter that students and educators to use as classrooms, conferences rooms, or just to have a quiet work room. In creating the new conferences rooms, Mitchell | Guirgola pulled back portions of the wall to create a new corridor space, connecting the first floor Knowledge Center with the Teaching and Learning Centers on the lower levels. Mitchell | Giurgola renovated the lower levels in 2008, which at the time contained the Medical School’s library. Gruswitz wanted to shrink the collection as much as possible to add new classrooms and learning spaces. Much of the collection was moved offsite, while other materials were digitized as much as possible. For the materials that had to remain on site, Gruswitz employed the use of compact shelving to further compress the collection as much as possible. A total of seventeen classrooms were added to the lower levels of differing sizes. Much like the Knowledge Center on the first floor, the classrooms are able to be divided into different sizes, depending on need. Movable walls allow the larger classrooms to transform into two smaller classrooms, adding much needed space when needed. The classrooms follow the very collaborative method of learning featured throughout the site. They have large tables with computer connections that allow students to share images with other students also connected at the table. Additionally, large TV screens allow them to display the images for the entire class when needed. The classrooms extend out into the sidewalk, and as Gruswitz told us, the space originally had a large supporting column through the middle. This column had to be removed to accommodate the classroom, so Mitchell | Giurgola instead installed a large horizontal girder through the ceiling for structural support. We ended our tour in the student lounge, which had large windows installed during the 2008 renovation. This allows those in the Knowledge Center to peer down to the lounge. The added glass also helps to bring light into the subterranean space. During the renovation, a new entrance was installed by cutting a doorway in the façade. All in all, the renovation of the space helps to create a totally new collaborative environment for the entire Columbia Medical Center. Join us tomorrow as we venture to Hudson Yards! About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Shadows Over Camelot!) and brewing his own beer.
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Building of the Day: Gould Memorial Library

This is the twenty-third in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! Standing on the highest natural point in all of the Bronx, Bronx Community College boasts the building known as architect Stanford White’s shining achievement—the Gould Memorial Library. Inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia Library, the library forms the centerpiece of White’s late-19th-century master plan for the campus, originally the “country” campus of New York University. Preservation architect Lisa Easton, who has worked with Stanford White buildings since 2004, explained that around the turn of the 20th century a campus master plan manifested the vision of higher education’s purpose in a “grand manner.” Listed as a National Historic Landmark, Easton pointed out that the interior of the building is landmarked as well. Tiffany Studios created the library interior. “It’s a jewel in there,” Easton said. In the library’s grand central rotunda, which formed the reading room of the non-circulating library, Connemara marble pillars support the domed roof. The library fell into disuse in 1969 when anti-Vietnam War demonstrators set a fire in the building. Today the stacks surrounding the rotunda are empty of books. In the right light, a look upward just above the glass-floored ambulatory that encircles the rotunda can reveal the Tiffany windows that masked the stacks from view. More than a just a library, the building also houses a downstairs auditorium that can hold upwards of 700 people. Outside and around the back of the building, overlooking the Harlem River, a colonnaded Hall of Fame, the first such built in the United States, contains busts of notable statesmen, scientists, authors, inventors, and other men and women deemed people of “great citizenry.” Today the Gould Memorial Library is a gem of a building without a use. Built with only one means of ingress and egress, current laws limit occupancy of the building to 74 people at one time. “But it’s restorable,” Easton noted, “and that’s important in an age when it’s easier to build something new rather than restore.” She added that grants have been secured from the Getty Foundation Campus Heritage Grants program to fund repairs to the building and bring it up to current code so that new uses can be discovered for this Stanford White masterpiece. About the author: Carol Bartold received the MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York and a BA with Honors in Music from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia. An accountant by trade, she is the bookkeeper at AIANY|Center for Architecture. As Senior Reporter for MyHometownBronxville.com, a local news website, she covers municipal government, education, business, and land use. She has sung professionally at Sarah Lawrence College with the Women’s Vocal Ensemble and Chamber Choir, and with the Concordia College Camerata. Her essay “At Full Thrust” was published by Prairie Schooner blog.
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Building of the Day: The Met Breuer

This is the twenty-second in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! With only six days left in the month, the Archtober 2016 Building of the Day tours are sadly coming to a close. We've seen a variety of new and innovative spaces mixed with old favorites and hidden gems that presented a mosaic of New York’s most impressive architecture. This year’s list would not be complete without Marcel Breuer’s iconic Whitney Museum, now known as the Met Breuer.

The Met Breuer, which opened in March of this year, houses the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s expanding modern and contemporary collections within its modest 29,000 square feet of exhibition space. When the Met moved into the building, its main goals were to restore and rejuvenate the space while still preserving the patina of the past. To that end, the Met gave the former Whitney the kind of exacting precision and gentle care it uses on its most treasured art objects.

That precision and care resulted in a building that both honors Breuer’s original vision and updates the space to meet the challenges of contemporary museums. The Met enlisted the help of Beyer Blinder Belle, a firm that specializes in the revitalization of historic buildings and has significant experience with the restoration of other midcentury modernist icons (Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK International Airport and Wallace Harrison’s Lincoln Center Promenade are two great examples). The restoration of the building took just under a year.

The updates that the Met and Beyer Blinder Belle incorporated show an informed understanding of Breuer’s subtle, graceful materiality and his ingenious structural engineering. A multitude of restoration and revitalization techniques needed to be devised for the various materials used in the building, which includes terrazzo, concrete, walnut parquet, and the famed gray granite exterior. The bluestone floors were treated with a natural, black wax to bring a soft luster while the walls, which required both chemical cleaners and water, were treated with a gentle, painterly approach. Breuer designed with the effects of time on materials in mind. The Met and Beyer Blinder Belle followed this example by leaving the bronze handrails of the staircase unfinished, allowing them to show their wear.

The lobby showcases the updates made for a contemporary museum with greater visitor numbers. The space was completely redesigned with multiple ticket sales points, self-service kiosks, and a substantially decreased retail footprint. Additionally, the lighting in the lobby has been updated to Breuer bulbs that can dim and provide a warmer uniformity of color temperature. The plexiglass and stone information center originally installed has been changed to a LED screen.

For the time being, the Met and the Whitney share ownership of the building. The Met will occupy the Breuer masterpiece for eight years, with a possible extension to 15 should the Met Breuer prove to be a success.

Despite its fame, the Breuer building is not a New York City landmark. Perhaps with a new tenant and renewed interest in the space, the building will get the recognition it deserves. Otherwise, its fate will be another question for the city and architecture lovers, should the Met end up vacating.

About the author: Anna Gibertini is a freelance journalist based in the New York metropolitan area. She contributes regularly to The ArtBlog, a Philadelphia-based arts and culture publication, and has had work published in Charleston, South Carolina’s Post & Courier and Syracuse, New York’s The Post Standard. She recently graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications with a master’s in arts journalism.

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Building of the Day: Zaha Hadid’s 520 West 28th Street

This is the twenty-first in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! The architecture buffs of Archtober got a special hard-hat tour this afternoon of one of New York’s most highly anticipated new constructions: 520 West 28th Street. The project is the first building in the city by the late Zaha Hadid, the renowned Iraqi-British architect who passed away last spring (The Real Deal recently reported that the Moinian Group has filed plans for a second Zaha project in Chelsea). For this luxury residential property along the High Line, developer The Related Companies and the design team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) are carrying out her legacy. Our tour began at the project’s sales gallery at West 25th Street—a small but comprehensive showroom that defines the brand of the building’s interior: bright, white, simple, and striking. Tour-goers were introduced to the project by a video narrated by Hadid herself. We learned about the multiple upscale amenities the building has to offer that make up this “distinctly curated lifestyle.” We were shown stunning renderings of the soon-to-be constructed 75-foot sky-lit pool, the private spa suite, the private IMAX theater, the fitness center, the robotic parking portal, and the lobby with 16-foot ceilings and a sculptural “moonscape” wall. Hadid’s projects around the world are often characterized by the graceful curves and nature-inspired organic forms she infuses into her designs. This curvy condo is no exception. Even the interior showroom, representing a single unit’s living room and master bathroom, was full of sweeping lines and exhibited seamless flow throughout the space. After studying the detailed interior, we put on construction vests and customized ZHA hard hats to tour the L-shaped construction site. The flat façade on 28th Street was already complete, and we could view the futuristic chevron pattern that covers the entire building. Walking into the lobby, it was hard to imagine the visionary, light-filled spaces that would eventually replace the current construction. But ZHA’s Filipe Pereira explained the nuances of the coming design that would make it feel like a Zaha rendering come to life. In fact, once next to the project, it felt as if the construction had magically gone up exactly as she’d designed it. This building may look like an out of this world as a rendering, but it feels very authentic as a singular, physical piece of architecture. No unit is like another, so every buyer is getting a unique work of art. Our final stop on the tour was on the 16th floor of the 18-story structure in unit 32, a split-level, four-bedroom condominium and among the most expensive of the building's 39 units. Here we were able to best understand what it will be like to own and live in one of these spaces. We lingered on the balcony, talking about the non-distorting window glass and watching the construction workers prepare to put pieces of the hand-rubbed stainless steel façade in place. We also gawked at the views of the High Line and the distant Empire State Building while trying to capture the best angles of the building on our smartphones. And up there, it became clear, as Pereira pointed out at the tour’s start, that this beautiful, immaculate façade—and building as a whole—won’t be done again. Tomorrow, we visit the brutalist Met Breuer! 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.
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Building of the Day: Lever House

This is the twentieth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! Standing street level at the corner of 53rd and Park Avenue among the towering steel and glass office buildings packed together creating the dense built environment we have known for decades as Midtown Manhattan, it is easy to forget that the earliest innovators of the curtain wall skyscrapers had different goals. Lever House, designed by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in the international style, completed in 1952, was one of the very first modernist colossuses to rise in New York City. Built to be gazed upon as a structure and to be inhabited by the employees of Lever Brothers, the iconic building balances a tall, vertical volume with one that is horizontal, features open interior spaces, and attains, through engineering, visual weightlessness—all of which creates an elegant, airy and comfortable place to work, dine and socialize. lever_7381 Archtober visited Lever House on Sunday for a tour lead by technical architect Sam O’Meara of SOM. He made connections between the design of the building and the desired experiential effects including the human scale of the spaces and rhythm of components on the ground floor, which is established by the strategic dimensionality of the column grid. Since taking over leasehold position in 1998, Aby Rosen, whose firm RFR Holding LLC is housed on the terrace-adjacent 3rd floor of Lever House, has activated the fluidly visible ground floor lobby with museum-quality presentations of blue chip artists including Jeff Koons, Damien Hurst, Tom Sachs, and Rachel Feinstein under the curatorship of the recently late Richard Marshall. Lever House underwent an important renovation in 2001 to repair its façade. The steel mullion system had corroded and pushed on the spandrel glass panels, which were cracking all over the building and irregularly replaced. New aluminum mullions were installed along with uniformly hued glass panels, a process that has successfully renewed the look and feel of the original design. Interestingly, the original window washing system was left in place—innovative in its time and still in use today. The group toured the stunning offices of Hellman & Friedman LLC on Floor 21 and Sanders Capital on Floor 17. It was striking how comfortable these spaces were—because of the relatively slender footprint of the vertical tower, the generous use of glass on the exterior walls and interior designs, and modest ceiling heights (under 10 feet), the offices were light-filled and human-scaled. Floor 2 of Lever House, a 34,056-square-space located directly under the elevated southern terrace, which originally housed an employee lounge, medical suite, and operational facilities, is available for rent. To accommodate the build-out needs of a new tenant, the space is bare—accentuating its awesome capacity and potential. Two generous terraces are placed on the north and south sides of the tower. From here employees can get air and enjoy the sights of the city from a comfortable perspective. Special thanks to Steven Samuelsen of RFR Holding LLC and Sam Cross of Lever House. Tour of Lever House sponsored by Kramer Levin. About the author: Anne Shisler-Hughes is the Development Manager at AIA New York | Center for Architecture.
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Building of the Day: Industry City

This is the nineteenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! Industry City 220 36th Street Brooklyn, NY Architect: William Higginson (1906) One of Industry City’s primary goals is to connect businesses and consumers in a more meaningful way by taking the mystery out of commercial production. Visitors to the 35-acre campus, for example, will be able to purchase items like gourmet chocolates while seeing the very same product pass by on a conveyor belt. At the same time, in a building across the courtyard, one can see and hear the work of an ironworker putting the finishing touches on a wrought-iron door. It is clear that Industry City’s adaptive reuse of the 16 buildings on its sprawling campus in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, is what makes this cacophony of production and collaboration possible. Today’s tour of the campus, led by Rob Marino, took us through what he called the “finger buildings,” or the 9 city-block-length warehouses buttressed by 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Originally built in the early 1990s, the warehouses are separated by sunken courtyards where trains once transported materials to one of three loading lobbies. In order to achieve a sense of unity between buildings, Marino explained, New York-based S9 Architecture conceived of “Innovation Alley,” which connects the central lobbies of the 9 warehouses, and is visually marked by red, ceiling-height wickets. To account for the previous loading system, Industry City’s 10-year renovation program called for the design of elevated sidewalks so that pedestrians could enter more easily. The program also called for the renovation of its courtyards into unique, useable space for employees. No courtyard is the same: The 3-4 courtyard (nestled between warehouses 3 and 4) was designed by Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, and features a sunken, sandbox-like pit and iron planters that establish sight-lines to the waterfront. In the 5-6 courtyard, Terrain landscaped the area with more mature plants that protect a zig-zagging boardwalk. Plans for 8-9 courtyard are to be determined during the next phase of construction. At the tour’s conclusion, we entered an unoccupied warehouse where cardboard boxes were once produced for close to a century. With 30-foot ceilings and immense windows, the space is impressive and gives a sense of what Industry City once was prior to the robust renovation program. After the space is brought up to code (and given a much-needed coat of paint), Industry City hopes to secure a tenant that can use the square footage productively and support the fine balance the campus currently has with its other tenants. By using multiple architects and encouraging businesses across food, culture, entertainment, and wellness sectors to use the space, Industry City has turned this once abandoned and decaying campus into a thoughtful workspace for a new economy. About the author: Kelly Felsberg is the Program Committees Coordinator at AIA New York.
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Building of the Day: Museum of the City of New York’s “New York at Its Core”

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.
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Building of the Day: Center for Remembering and Sharing

This is the seventeenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! The Center for Remembering and Sharing (CRS) first approached Masa Sono and Clouds Architecture Office about redesigning their studio after seeing the firm’s work at the St. Marks’s Bookstore, a 2015 AIANY Design Award winner and Archtober Building of the Day. CRS was impressed with the curved shelves of the bookstore and wanted a similar design for their space. The studio, known as the white room, was designed as a kind of multipurpose room for meditation, yoga, and relaxation. CRS wanted this space to be a room where their patrons could concentrate and almost lose themselves. Sono and Clouds completely transformed the hard-edged room to a space with a smooth, curved wall. This posed a challenge to the design team since architecture is essentially defined by edges. In curving the walls, Sono wanted to create an ambiguous relationship between the person in the space and distance. The room itself is cone shaped, with the door forming the point and the curved walls emanating from there. The curvature of the room makes the room feel larger, which becomes very apparent when one lies down, as the edges of the wall cannot be seen. Additionally, a one-inch gap between the wall and the floor acts as a horizon in the room. The floor itself is cork, which has the benefit of being soundproof and contrasts well with the stark white walls. The bench below the window doubles as storage space for the room. Clouds did not want a fixed light on the wall, so they put the lighting for the room around the windows. Since light bounces off the walls so well, only a small amount was needed to light the room. CRS originally wanted the room to appear more textured, but they were pleasantly surprised with the minimalist design Clouds came up with. They also designed the rest of the floor, which included office space and a small waiting room. CRS was not the only body impressed with the design, as Clouds won a 2016 AIANY Interiors Design Award. Join us tomorrow as head to the Museum of the City of New York! About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Munchkin!) and brewing his own beer.
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Building of the Day: St. Patrick’s Cathedral

This is the sixteenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! When Sarah Rosenblatt of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) and Ricardo Viera of Building Conservation Associates, Inc. (BCA) say that they touched every square inch of St. Patrick’s Cathedral during its three-year restoration, they aren’t kidding. From surveying each piece of stained glass window to washing individual blocks of marble and cleaning the 7,855-pipe gallery organ, this project was nothing short of detailed—and all done without closing the cathedral for a single day. Today’s tour highlighted the comprehensive restoration of the 137-year-old cathedral and the countless hours of collaboration that it took to accomplish this massive achievement. Our tour began across the street from the cathedral’s main entrance. From the Atlas statue at Rockefeller Center, we studied the building’s south side façade. Rosenblatt and Viera explained the original design and construction process by American architect James Renwick, Jr. Thanks to a thorough cleaning job using micro-abrasion technology, from our perspective you could easily see the color and texture gradations in the various types of marble chosen through each construction phase in the mid-to-late 1800s. Once a dreary gray due to years of pollution and exposure to rainwater, the seven types of marble and three granites that make up this historic cathedral are more lustrous than ever. Not only did the exterior become significantly lighter during the restoration, but the interior was fully brightened as well. “The building really sings now,” said Rosenblatt as we entered the cathedral’s nave. Renwick’s original vision for the Gothic Revival construction featured a white, bright, and airy interior with natural light filtering in from the stained glass windows and the lay lights in the ten chapels that surround the pews. After reviewing Renwick’s archival drawings, the team discovered and revealed those lay lights, which had been covered for the last 55 years. The deteriorating interior ceiling—plaster fixed to wood lath ribs—was also inspected for repairs and then cleaned and repainted, further brightening the 397-foot space. To convince the Archdiocese to allow such a radical and time-consuming restoration on the interior, the project team first completed one small section of the north transept, unveiling a night-to-day transformation. BCA’s Viera showed before and after photos to the tour group, calling what they did a “big understatement” compared to the project’s full potential. It’s been over 70 years since the cathedral’s last major renovation in the 1940s. Overdue for a new birth of sorts, it went through 33,000 individual repairs. New fire suppression and geothermal mechanical systems were also installed to increase safety and reduce energy consumption. Our tour ended on Madison Avenue, examining the exterior detailing of Lady Chapel. After observing all the ornamentation in the interior roof bosses, on the column capitals, and the spires that top out around the building, Rosenblatt noted how much unknown embellishment they found during surveying. “There’s so much going on that you don’t see from down here on the street or in the nave,” she said. “But I guess the point is that God can see it.” 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.