Posts tagged with "Archtober":

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Archtober Building of the Day #26: The William Vale Hotel

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On Halloween, we dressed as astronauts and boarded the space ship that has landed in McCarren Park – the William Vale Hotel. The hotel, designed by Albo Liberis, sits adjacent to McCarren Park, two blocks from the Williamsburg waterfront. The 20-story structure stands out in the Williamsburg skyline, where the building stock is primarily made up of four- to six-story buildings. Nick Liberis of Albo Liberis, and Amy, Lindsay, and David from the William Vale Hotel, led us on a tour highlighting the hotel’s urban features, event spaces, and retail spaces. The William Vale Hotel, which opened on September 2, 2016, sits on a 50,000-square-foot site that is sloped seven feet from one side of the site to the other. The hotel is made up of three buildings; there are two short buildings on the east and west ends of the site and a tower that springs from the middle. The tower contains six stories of office space and ten stories of hotel rooms. A large sculptural truss acts as the base of the tower. The truss is made up of five pieces – four legs and one center truss – which land on a massive beam at the base of the site. This six-story truss base, currently used as office space, allows for spectacular views for the ten stories of hotel rooms above. Due to a zoning quirk that allowed for the building of smoke stacks, the designers could max out the height of the building. The downstairs event spaces, including the conference center and ballroom, are submerged in the cellar on the south side of the building, allowing for 27-foot-high ceilings. Interiors were designed by Studio Munge, a Toronto-based interior design firm. Studio Munge and Albo Liberis worked closely together to create a contemporary line motif based on the large truss that the buildings rest on. This design is carried throughout the building and can be seen in the ballroom, hotel rooms, and public spaces. Studio Munge and Albo Liberis also worked carefully to source materials for each individual space. Another benefit of the set-back, raised structure is the creation of an expansive urban green space below. Albo Liberis wanted to integrate the building with the urban fabric by creating a courtyard and lawn that would blend seamlessly with the neighborhood. At street level, the retail storefronts read as the same height as the buildings that surround the hotel. One flight up, the public can enjoy rolling green hills and food from Mister Dips, an airstream parked on the roof, owned by Andrew Carmellini. Carmelini directs the entire food program at the hotel, including the restaurant on the ground floor, Leuca, and Westlight, the rooftop bar and restaurant. Liberis and the William Vale Hotel team also led us to the very top of the hotel, a private event space on the roof. As the tallest building in the surrounding area, the views are amazing. Author: Katie Mullen.
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Archtober Building of the Day #24: Morris-Jumel Mansion

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On Saturday, Archtober took a tour of the oldest house in Manhattan, the Morris-Jumel Mansion located in Washington Heights. Frederick Cookinham, a Revolutionary Manhattan expert and volunteer at the mansion, led us on the tour of the estate. The Morris-Jumel Mansion, located on a beautiful hill perched above what is now known as Robert Morris Park, is rich with American history. The house is named for the two families that lived there. In 1765, Robert Morris, a British military officer, bought a vast plot of farmland to build a summer home. Morris began construction a year later and, just as construction finished in 1767, he added an octagonal addition to the north of the house, ultimately creating a three-story, 8,000 square-foot mansion. Morris and his wife lived there until 1775 when they fled the American Revolution. The house was then occupied by General George Washington during the war. Located at the highest point in upper Manhattan, the house gave Washington a strategic advantage with its views to the east and west. In 1810, the mansion was purchased by Stephen Jumel, a wealthy French wine importer, and his wife Eliza. The Jumels were eager to be accepted into New York’s high society, and felt that their home would be their key to that world. They renovated the house, adding an oversized portico and installing detailed wallpapers to the interior. When Stephen Jumel died, Eliza was quickly pursued by Aaron Burr. They married and quickly divorced a year later. Eliza lived the rest of her life in the mansion. As the house stands today, it is decorated in the 1820s style that the Jumels designed. Eliza Jumel is clearly an important figure in the history of this estate and the house’s interior reflects that. The remaining grounds of the estate, which make up Robert Morris Park, were significantly altered by the WPA in the 1930s. Pathways were added, along with a French-style garden on the north side of the property, similar to the one Eliza Jumel planted on the south. In the past few years, the museum has been working towards updating the house and has been sending pieces of furniture out for restoration, including two original couches (from the Jumel era) and Eliza Jumel’s bed. The interior of the house is maintained by the museum, but the surrounding grounds and exterior of the house are actually maintained by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Money has been earmarked for restoration work on the exterior. We look forward to seeing the grandeur of this Old New York house return. Join us on Tuesday, October 31 for the last Archtober Building of the Day at the William Vale Hotel!
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Archtober Building of the Day #23: Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. Though it might be easy to mistake 300 Ashland for another trendy tower dotting the Brooklyn skyline, upon closer inspection it’s anything but ordinary. The sensitivity and vision of its design is remarkable, particularly when it comes to the way the tower interacts with its surroundings. 300 Ashland is centrally located at a unique triangular intersection in the heart of the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, at the intersection of Flatbush, Ashland, and Lafayette Avenues. The mixed-use building will feature 379 apartment units, first floor retail space, and will also become the new home of a number of cultural tenants, including MoCADA, Brooklyn Academy of Music cinemas, and a new branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. 50,000 square feet of performance, gallery, archive, and program space will be integrated into the building for these organizations, effectively extending the BAM campus and creating a cultural hub for the community. This is part of the reason that the architects view 300 Ashland as a civic proposal, despite it being a residential building. As such, much attention was given to the way the building interacts with the street and the community. The success of the project relies on TEN Arquitectos' belief that all architecture is on some level public, regardless of program, and the architects prioritized the creation of public space around the project. The result is an open, inviting, terraced public plaza that acts as a civic space and welcoming area for visitors to the cultural organizations within. As Andrea Steele of TEN Arquitectos explained, “We could have built to the property line, which is the street, and we could have made the tower taller.” Yet instead of maximizing square footage, the architects worked with the developer to “give a piece of this project back to Brooklyn.” And by designing to take up less of the overall site footprint, 15,000 square feet were indeed given back to the city in the form of public space. Of course, the architects acknowledged that the project is a business and needs to make money—and with a clever tweak that moves the cultural spaces to the second floor while preserving street level entrances, the space for retail was maximized. At the time of its conception 14 years ago, there were no other towers in the area; the iconic Barclays Center had not even yet been planned. What was there, of course, was the historic 1 Hanson Place, better known to most as the Williamsburg Savings Bank tower. Since the historic tower was completed just prior to the Great Depression, it stood alone for more than half a century in an area that had been planned to support large–scale building projects. For TEN Arquitectos, respecting that building and its residents became a driving force behind the design of 300 Ashland. The façade shifts back to not only provide an additional terrace, but in doing so preserves the uninterrupted view corridor of the historic tower. Archtober did tour some of the small but bright and immaculately finished apartments, and take in some of the incredible views from the tower’s 33rd floor. We may not all be able to live there, but thanks to an inviting plaza and cutting–edge cultural space integrated in the project, we can all enjoy a piece of 300 Ashland. Join us Sunday at the Morris Jumel Mansion!
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Archtober Building of the Day #21: Bronx River House

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. Today, Archtober went on a hard hat tour of Bronx River House designed by Kiss + Cathcart with landscape design by Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners. Situated on the Bronx River, access to the site is currently from a service road; when the project is completed, it will open into Starlight Park on the Bronx River Greenway. Though the project has been in the works for over ten years, it is expected to officially open in January 2018, with a full program activating the site sometime after that. The Bronx River House is the result of a public-private partnership between the Bronx River Alliance and numerous government agencies, primarily the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation. Since 2001, the Bronx River Alliance has been bringing attention to the recreational possibilities of the Bronx River and working to make the Bronx River Greenway a reality through educational and recreational programs. When Bronx River House opens, it will serve as the headquarters for the offices of the Bronx River Alliance, as well as a community space for locals and park visitors. The Bronx River House is a single-story structure, approximately 7,000 square feet in area, that will contain multiple programs. Surrounding the main structure, a metal mesh screen wall will serve as a security measure and support greenery. Within the building, the Alliance will have space for around 25 desks in addition to a boathouse, which has room for 20 or more canoes. These are used for river restoration, clean-up, and recreational tours. Public spaces will include a multipurpose room and a classroom that will face onto a public plaza that directly connects to Starlight Park. Our tour was led by Gregory Kiss of Kiss + Cathcart, who highlighted the design decisions they made to integrate the building into its setting. Less visible decisions include rainwater collection through the structure’s roof and plazas, geothermal heating and cooling systems, and solar energy panels that will allow the building to run on nearly 100% solar energy on a net basis. Perhaps most exciting are the plans to integrate plants and other greenery into the design of the building. The metal screen surrounding the building will be planted with an array of vines that will provide shade in the summer and allow light through in the winter. Kiss explained that the hope is that the main building will eventually be covered in moss. Because the cultivation of moss on vertical surfaces is still experimental, they will start with a 300-square-foot area. A drip irrigation system using collected rainwater will be added to the shingles on the façade to support the moss. Kiss stated that his intention with the vines and moss is to create a forest-like micro-climate that further integrates the building into the surrounding park. We definitely look forward to visiting again when the building opens to the public. Claudia Ibaven of the Bronx River Alliance, who joined us on our tour, reminded us to keep an eye on the Alliance’s website for announcements on when that will be. Join us tomorrow at ISSUE Project Room. By Berit Hoff
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Archtober Building of the Day: Freshkills Park

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On Sunday, Archtober toured Freshkills Park, a former New York City landfill on Staten Island redeveloped into a 2,200-acre green space. Our tour guide was Mariel Villeré, the Manager for Programs, Arts and Grants at Freshkills Park. She gave us insights into the park’s history, design, and construction. An NYC Parks minibus picked us up from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal for the 30-minute ride to the site. After signing our waivers and traveling some distance over sanitation department roads, we arrived at the Visitor Center. Here, Villeré delved into the history of the site and the project. Until the mid-20th century, Freshkills Park was a wetland. In 1948, Robert Moses chose this supposedly “useless” site to create a landfill, which by 1955 was the largest in the world. The waste was dumped into four huge mounds, North, South, East and West, which today form the basis of the park’s landscape. The waste dump, which all five boroughs used, was officially ordered to close in 1996, and the last barge of refuse was sent to Freshkills after the World Trade Center attack in 2001. (The boroughs now have separate contracts with outside landfills; Staten Island’s garbage, for example, is shipped to South Carolina). In 2001, the Freshkills Park Alliance and NYC Parks launched a competition for a site masterplan, which James Corner Field Operations won. Their plan proposed the four distinct areas of the park based on the garbage mounds, along with a central area, known as the Confluence. Our tour focused on North Park, which recreates and strengthens the site’s wetlands and creeks. The entire site is two-and-a-half times the size of Central Park. In North Park, we took in the stunning views over Staten Island to Manhattan on the north and the rest of Freshkills Park to the south. Villeré discussed the vision behind the park’s design, noting how they needed to balance the recreation of the former habitat with the understanding that the site’s ecology and meaning have been irrevocably changed by 50 years of trash. While the garbage is under several layers of topsoil, no attempt is made to downplay the typical mound shape of the landfill. This creates an ecological opportunity in the northeast, where the drive for reforestation sometimes sidelines open spaces and wetlands. The diversity of the park has increased dramatically over the last few years, with over 100 species of birds now counted at the site. Villeré outlined the manifold challenges of creating a park on top of a landfill. Landfills generate two byproducts: landfill gas and leachate. At Freshkills, landfill gas is funneled into treatment facilities where its components, methane and CO2, are separated. The methane is piped into the New York City gas grid. The other product, leachate, is the liquid that forms, on a small scale, at the bottom of a trash bag. At Freshkills, permeable pipes laid in concrete ditches at the bottom of each mound collect the leachate. It is then treated and separated into leachate cakes, a highly concentrated substance, and clean water. We also drove by a flare station, which is a backup in case there is an issue with the system piping methane into the grid. Since the site is so huge, the project is necessarily phased. These phases are arranged from the outside in order to give back to the surrounding community, which was negatively impacted by the dump. The timeline has therefore prioritized small, demonstrable projects along the park’s edges. So far, some wetland restoration, Owl Hollow soccer fields, the New Springville Greenway, and the renovation of Schmul Park have been completed. We got a view of Schmul Park in the Travis neighborhood just to the west of the park. The redesign of a Moses-era blacktop playground–also by James Corner Field Operations–is now vibrantly colorful, packed with children and families on the warm October day. It is a blueprint for the success of an extraordinary project that will transform not only an extraordinary site, but how we think about the relationship between waste and nature in New York and beyond.
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Archtober Building of the Day #20: George Washington Bridge Bus Station

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On Monday, Archtober toured the renovated George Washington Bridge Bus Station. During our tour, Robert Eisenstat, FAIA, Chief Architect of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), and Robert Davidson, FAIA, Senior Vice President and Aviation and Multimodal Practice Lead at STV, described the design and renovation process for the project. The bus station vastly simplified access to buses and subway, creating commercial space to serve as both a source of revenue for PANYNJ and a new focal point for the community. The renovation project began around 2004, when PANYNJ was casting around for revenue streams in the wake of 9/11. A key aim of this initiative was to open retail space throughout PANYNJ’s properties. At the same time, the George Washington Bus Terminal needed considerable revamping. Every two platforms had a separate stair running up from the ground level, creating both a logistical nightmare and an accessibility violation. There wasn’t enough room to put in ramps or an elevator for multiple staircases. PANYNJ architects had long been drawing up plans for an integrated bus concourse from which all platforms would be accessible. This, combined with the need for rental space, became the impetus for the redevelopment. The project officially began once PANYNJ and STV convinced a developer to take on the project in exchange for revenue from renting the business spaces in the late aughts. The George Washington Bridge Bus Station was originally a PANYNJ project planned in conjunction with one of Robert Moses’s immense infrastructure projects. It sits over the Trans-Manhattan Expressway, which connects the George Washington Bridge across the Hudson with the Alexander Hamilton Bridge on the Harlem River. The Bus Terminal was designed by Italian architect and engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, a pioneer of reinforced-concrete construction whose other notable works include numerous sports stadia in his native Italy. As Eisenstat and Davidson stated, although the building is not officially landmarked, they treated it as if it was and even collaborated with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission on the project. A thorough analysis of the building’s use guided the design of the renovation. The proposal consolidated all bus gates into one centrally accessible expanse, eliminating redundant stairs. It also concentrated all bus activity on the top (third) level, leaving the ground level open for commercial use. This retail space focuses on the “Broadway corridor,” which the designers and developer identified as the main way the bus terminal could serve the surrounding community. The set of stores is known as the "GWB Market | Mercado," as new lettering proclaims. These stores, which include a sorely needed supermarket just off Broadway, are almost all rented and will, once fully occupied, create a new hub of activity to ensure that the terminal serves local users as well as those in transit. The ground floor is now a clean, large space where escalators and a stair lead to the bus concourse above. When visitors arrive at the top of the stairs, they can see the parked buses and, past one of Nervi’s columns, catch a glimpse of the George Washington Bridge. PANYNJ and STV managed to imbue clarity and simplicity into Nervi’s extraordinary structure, turning a somewhat forbidding and empty structure into a pleasing and welcoming space serving both those on the move and the local community. Tuesday's tour of The Hills at Governors Island had to be cancelled due to inclement weather. Join us on Wednesday at Bronx River House.
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Sweden comes to New York for a series on democratic architecture

From October 24 to 28, the Center for Architecture and Van Alen Institute will host Swedish Design Moves New York, a program exploring Swedish innovation in architecture and design. In addition to a series of public panels, an exhibition of Swedish architecture projects called Aiming for Democratic Architecture will be on view at the Van Alen Institute from October 26 to 28, curated by Architects Sweden and the Swedish Institute. This program is part of the Center for Architecture's Archtober 2017. The program, curated by an international nonprofit called STHLMNYC, will focus on the concept of democratic architecture using Sweden as a progressive touchpoint. According to the series' press release, "Sweden's egalitarian society and intimate relation to nature have generated great examples of balanced architectural solutions that accommodate both community and environmental needs." Through multidisciplinary panels that bring together architects, planners, and designers from the U.S. and Sweden, Swedish Design Moves will look at the application of these principles worldwide. Previous iterations have been hosted in Stockholm, Milan, London, and Paris. The four-day program will open with The Process of Democratic Architecture, a panel that will include Christer Larsson from the Department of City Planning in Malmö, Sweden, Alexandra Hagen from White Arkitekter, Per Franson from the KTH School of Architecture, David Burney from Pratt Institute, Claudia Herasme from the New York Department of City Planning, and Chris Sharples from SHoP Architects. The series will also include a conversation on nature and well-being with panelists from Wingårdhs, Urbio, Marge, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, and RAAD STUDIO, a conversation on culture and people with panelists from GoDown Arts Centre, White Arkitekter, Mandaworks, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and a conversation on innovative solutions with panelists from CFMoller, Färgfabriken, Stockholm City, ORE Design, and HPD Architecture. Along with the panels, several workshops will also offer an in-depth look at questions of a "new urban agenda" and the potential of self-built housing. Equity in design will be a central topic at each panel. "One of the largest challenges we face when it comes to the built environment is affordability," said Chris Sharples, Principal at SHoP Architects. "Our role as architects and planners is to come up with new material systems and design/building processes that allow us to address the cost constraints." Swedish Design Moves New York was organized through a partnership between Visit Sweden, STHLMNYC, Architects Sweden, The Swedish Institute, and the Consulate General of Sweden in New York. The full program for Swedish Design Moves New York (October 24 - 28) at the Center for Architecture and Van Alen Institute is available here.
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Archtober Building of the Day #17: Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On an unseasonably warm Saturday, Archtober got a tour of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) in Manhattan’s Chinatown, revealing the design thinking behind the museum and how it operates today. The adaptive reuse of the ground floor and basement, the two floors rented by the museum in what is otherwise an office building, was carried out by Maya Lin Studio and Bialosky + Partners Architects. Our tour guide was Alina Shen, Museum Educator at MOCA. Our tour began outside, as Shen pointed out the 1915 building’s original façade and discussed the ground floor renovation. The 14,000-square-foot building used to be the Grand Machinery Exchange, one of 40 used-machine dealers on the block, which in the early 20th century attracted buyers from across the country. At the ground floor, the architects transformed the industrial façade with large spans of glass. Closely attuned to the neighborhood and the museum’s mission as a repository of Chinese-American history, Lin’s design incorporated text as a way of harkening back to text-laden signs of Chinese-American-owned businesses nearby.   When the tour moved inside, Shen described the museum’s history and mission. In the 1980s, cofounders Jack Tchen and Charlie Lai noticed that many objects, such as cabinets and photographs, were being left on the curb throughout Chinatown. They began collecting and archiving the objects, and after some research realized that many stores in Chinatown were approaching the end of their 99-year leases. Tchen and Lai created the Chinatown History Project as a way of preserving the memory of these spaces and the older generation of Chinese-American residents. The project eventually grew into MOCA. Formerly located at PS 23, the museum moved into its new digs in 2009, increasing its space six-fold. The lobby, filled with natural light from the glass façade, uses many recycled materials, including much wood, which mixes well with the exposed brick walls of the building. Moving back from the lobby, Shen showed us the “courtyard,” which despite its name is more of an atrium with a large skylight overhead. The space starts in the basement – down recycled-wood stairs from the ground level – and spans three floors. The courtyard also brings in crucial natural light and some interior views to the galleries, which are all housed on the ground floor. MOCA’s basement level houses restrooms and administrative and education spaces.   Our tour continued through the exhibition spaces, laid out in a vague U-shape around the atrium. The first five galleries contain the permanent collection, which tells the story of Chinese in America with a special focus on Manhattan’s Chinatown, and ends with a fascinating meditation on the urban patterns of the 21st century, from traditional Chinatowns to more suburban settings in New York and Los Angeles. Parts of the display tell the stories of prominent Chinese Americans, while others focus on ordinary people to delve into the social makeup of Chinese American communities at various points in time. A timeline runs along the base of many of the display walls, and drawers invite the visitor to interact with the space, continuing the Museum’s goal of being dialogic rather than monologist. The innermost space in the museum faces Lafayette Street, straddling the border between Chinatown and Nolita, thus speaking to the issues of gentrification and transition of many urban ethnic communities. This room, which has an elegant tin ceiling and an end-grain wood block floor, also includes cabinetry saved from stores in Chinatown that were closing, complete with dried herbs and spices. This liminal space emphasizes the fact that the museum, like Chinatown, is an evolving rather than fixed entity, a concept echoed throughout the design.
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Archtober Building of the Day #16: Carroll House

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here.

With its cross-cut profile and tiny vertical slivers for windows, the Carroll House might appear to be an up-and-coming studio space in Williamsburg. Neighbors walk by, staring, and some pause to take photos. Inside, however, is an industrial-chic home for a family of four.

We were joined on our Archtober Building of the Day tour today by Virginie Stolz, project manager at LOT-EK–the firm behind the building's design–alongside the home's owners Joe and Kim Carroll. Built on a 25-by-100-foot site, this standard Brooklyn residential lot is almost tailor-made for shipping container construction, with three eight-foot-wide containers making up the short side of the structure. Comprised of 15 shipping containers in total, this 5,000-square-foot home took four years and many conversations with the NYC Department of Buildings to complete.

According to Joe Carroll, LOT-EK originally planned to strip the shipping containers and let them rust naturally. However, due to code requirements, the design team and homeowners landed on the building’s ruddy brown color, which balances edgy design with the rest of the neighborhood. The details of the long shipping containers were kept intact. The bright yellow twist locks that connect containers on maritime voyages are welded in place.

The 15 containers went up in three days. Originally, LOT-EK wanted to build the house out of pre-fabricated pieces, but due to city code requirements the architects had to rethink the construction process. HVAC and electrical systems were threaded throughout the structure after the containers went up. Surprisingly, the floor of all shipping containers, industry-wide, are made of wood. For this project, LOT-EK chose to keep the original floors. A steep interior stair spans the middle container, maximizing the floor space on each level. An exterior stair snakes up the entire terrace structure at the back.

While the house appears dark and solid from the outside, the interior is quite bright. The containers are sliced at an angle, with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, opening the back of the house to direct sunlight. Solar panels will be installed between the upper terraces, taking advantage of the direct sunlight.

The Carroll family moved into their home in November 2016, and since then, they say passersby and the occasional film scout regularly ring their doorbell to a get glimpse inside the unusual home.

Author: Kelly Felsberg
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Archtober Building of the Day #14: 56 Leonard Street

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. Today’s Building of the Day tour gave participants an exclusive look at 56 Leonard Street, designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed the building's interiors. The tour was led by Mehmet Noyan, Associate at Herzog & de Meuron and Project Manager of 56 Leonard, which was developed by Alexico Group. Participants viewed a four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom penthouse and the amenity floors for the building. The tour began outside the building, with a discussion of its unusual structure. 56 Leonard Street was designed “from the inside out,” according to the designers. Each unit is meant to be personal and individualized, unlike most high-rise apartment structures. The structure is intended more as a “vertical neighborhood” than an apartment complex. The balconies, which jut out at staggered intervals, were intentionally designed to not block sunlight for those below. This design also adds increased privacy for residents, since direct views to other units are limited. The top units of the building take this aesthetic to the extreme, with large terraces that cantilever out at greater distances. It is these cantilevered upper units that give the building its Jenga-like appearance. The penthouse apartment that Archtober participants toured has been recently purchased for an undisclosed amount. The apartment is currently empty, which only served to emphasize the design features and, most importantly, the amazing views. The unit spans the entire floor, with views in every direction, but the wrap-around terrace outside the kitchen and living room was by far the most stunning. The views span the entire eastern side, with views into Brooklyn as well as up into midtown and down to the financial district. The unit featured 14-foot, ceiling-to-floor windows, solid white oak floors, a black kitchen island, and white and neutral colors in the bathrooms. Noticeably, the surfaces in the apartment, including those in the bathroom and kitchen, were all done in a matte finish, which worked well–the amount of light in the apartment would have made reflective surfaces an unattractive option. The two amenities floors contain a gym, pool, lounge, sundeck, spa, theater, and children’s room; both floors also have terraces. Perhaps most impressive on these floors was the giant spiral staircase of poured concrete connecting the two levels. The stairwell matched the concrete core of the building, but because of the windows and carpeting, the amount of poured material does not overwhelm the space. Join us tomorrow at the Staten Island Courthouse, St. George. Author: Mary Lib Schmidt
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Archtober Building of the Day #13: iHeartMedia

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. In today’s Building of the Day tour, Archtober viewed the new offices of iHeart Media in Midtown. Designed by Architecture + Information (A+I) in association with creative consultants Beneville Studios, the space houses the corporate headquarters of iHeart Media over three floors. From A+I, Todd Stodolski, Senior Associate; Tony Moon, Architect; and Jara Mira, Project Manager, joined Michael Beneville, Founder and Principal, and Kyle Hoy, Design Manager at Beneville Studios, to lead the tour. First, Beneville and the A+I team gave an overview of iHeart Media’s history and the context for the new office. iHeart Media is the largest radio station owner in the United States. iHeart’s predecessor, Clear Channel Communications, was founded in San Antonio in 1972 and expanded over the next 30 years to include not only radio stations but other forms of mass media assets, notably billboards and live concerts. Beneville described CEO Bob Pittman’s deep faith in radio as a medium, and his belief that, were radio invented today, it would be seen as a groundbreaking technology. It was this belief that led Pittman to rebrand Clear Channel as iHeartMedia in 2014. A+I and Beneville Studios were tasked with creating a flexible, open office space that would convey the excitement of working for and with iHeartMedia. Moreover, the design themes used in the headquarters would be copied at iHeart corporate and broadcasting offices throughout the country, meaning elements had to feel as natural in Peoria or Phoenix as in New York. And the most important directive for the 75,000-square-foot space came from Pittman: “I want visitors to walk through the door and say, ‘Who the #*%! are these people?’ and I want them to get it within five seconds.'” The main entrance, on the middle floor of three, amply fulfills his vision. In the corridor leading from the elevator to the offices, motion sensors trigger lights in iHeart’s colors of red and white, and speakers play randomly chosen live content from iHeart’s stations across the country. An average office entrance it is not. The barrage of audio-visual information continues inside. The heart of the space is a cut connecting all three levels around a massive screen which plays footage from iHeart events and seating steps. This space is used to present office-wide policies to all New York employees, but has also host mini-concerts from the likes of Alicia Keys. Behind this light, airy space is the dark, intense Promotional Porthole, a conference room with screens and other fixtures that play video and sound as well as emit fragrances. The three floors of the office all house different parts of the iHeart staff. The top floor is for employees of the audio-visual groups, the middle floor is for Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, one of the country’s largest owners of billboards and hoardings, and the bottom floor contains boardrooms and executive offices. The offices are bright and airy, primarily white with flashes of red and blue. The previous offices were very traditional, and there was some concern about the transition to a new space. The main feedback the designers have received is that they could have gone even further in replacing individual glassed-in and cubicle offices with open plan meeting spaces and “phone booth” meeting pods. Many initiatives at iHeartMedia involve multiple teams, and having a common space to meet is essential. Additionally, market managers from across the country meet with executives in New York once a month, so there is a strong ebb and flow in the office population, requiring spaces that can grow or shrink as needed. Within this complex context, A+I and Beneville Studios have conveyed in spatial terms the excitement iHeartMedia generates across its many media platforms. Join us tomorrow at 56 Leonard Street.
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Archtober Building of the Day #12: New Lab, Brooklyn Navy Yard

This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. As participants in today's Archtober Building of the Day tour discovered, the siting of New Lab in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard couldn't be more harmonious with the mission of the space. Considering the history of the Navy Yard as a hub of innovation—the place where the USS Arizona was built, where Squibb invented anesthesia, and where opera singer Eugenia Farrar sang the first song broadcast over wireless radio—we couldn't think of a more appropriate backdrop for New Lab, a space that uniquely supports entrepreneurs working in advanced technology. Designed by the Marvel Architects alongside his project management firm DBI, New Lab is located inside of the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard Building 128—a century-old former shipbuilding machine shop. It was the primary machine shop for every major ship launched during World Wars I and II, but by 2011, the site was a deserted iron skeleton. That’s when the 51,000-square-foot shop was repurposed into an 84,000-square-foot multidisciplinary design, prototyping, and advanced manufacturing hub. In addition to plentiful meeting, office, and exhibition space, New Lab’s amenities include a woodshop, a metal shop, and two 3-D printing labs for members. Details such as these underscore New Lab’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs in cutting-edge technological fields including robotics, urban agriculture, AI, and nanotechnology. Members also have access to an arguably more valuable resource: each other, as well as a network of city agencies, venture capitalists, domain experts, and corporate partners. Only 15% of applicants are ultimately accepted to New Lab, and leases are set at one year to ensure longer-term use of the space. The tour uncovered how deeply the designers considered ways of configuring the building to align with preservation standards. Central to the interior design was the desire to preserve the massive “central corridor” and to establish a clear path down the center of the space. “We were committed to the notion of being able to experience the trusswork continuously from end to end,” explained Scott Demel, AIA, of Marvel Architects. Co-working spaces are currently all the rage, but unlike many of these, the driving force in New Lab’s design was respect for the original building, rather than a desire to squeeze every last square foot out into rentable workspace. The result is an airy, voluminous space supporting not just work, but exhibitions and large gatherings as well. The interior feels ethereally light despite the massive original iron and steel beams preserved within. The space is punctuated by bursts of colorful lounge spaces for meetings and impromptu conversations. As opposed to many buildings with technical programs, where the interior design is either driven by playful, gaming-centered design or the streamlined minimalism of an Apple store, here the designers went for postmodern furniture in strong, saturated colors. Clearly, much consideration was also given to user experience—and not just for the workspaces inhabited by entrepreneurial tech companies. The visitor experience was also key in developing the interior layout; the designers wanted the casual visitor to be able to experience the space on their own terms without disturbing work happening within. The repetitive series of bridges, walkways, and mezzanines offers unique vantage points and opportunities to traverse the space, and the compartmentalized one-story offices provide tidy compartments of space along the perimeter. New Lab is an inspiring, thoughtful space dedicated to the history and the future of innovation, tucked away in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. Archtober takes a break from the Building of the Day series over Open House New York Weekend. Join us on Monday at the offices of iHeart Media! Author: Mary Fichtner