Posts tagged with "Archtober":

Placeholder Alt Text

Blurred Lines: SOFTlab and Cosentino

A new exhibition helps a New York-based firm explore indoor and outdoor applications of a new building material.

Cosentino is celebrating Architecture Month with Surface Innovation, a multi-media exhibition at the Center for Architecture in New York that presents innovative applications of its new Dekton material. A combination of raw, inorganic materials found in glass, porcelain, and natural quartz, the new indoor/outdoor surfacing material is made with particle sintering technology (PST) that recreates the natural process of stone formation. The company invited six local architecture firms to design unique projects featuring the material, including SOFTlab, a design/build firm known for its mix of research, craft, and technology in large-scale installations and building projects. For SOFTlab, working with a product that could be used for both interiors and exterior applications was an opportunity to reconcile the growing inverse relationship between the skin and volume of large buildings. “We came up with the idea of building something a little more dense than a single story or residentially scaled building, where Dekton may be used,” said Michael Svivos, founder and director of SOFTlab. “We went to a larger scale building, that blurs the inside and outside.”
  • Fabricator SOFTlab
  • Designers SOFTlab
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion October 2013
  • Material paper, adhesive
  • Process Maya, Rhino, Grasshopper, laser cutting
Starting with the idea of a vertical atrium, which often includes biophilic elements like water features and indoor gardens, the SOFTlab design team envisioned an ATRIUn, a uniquely shaped building feature that uses the durability of Dekton’s stone-like properties to bring the outdoors in. ATRIUn is sponge shaped, and breaches the structure’s exterior at various points. “It forms an interior plaza in a building, not as something that’s flat, but spans the height, width, and depth of the building,” Szivos said. The form was generated in Maya. After inserting the apertures along the quadrilinear volume, the physics simulation plug-in generated the smooth, sinuous surface across various levels. For its larger projects, Szivos says the firm typically solves engineering challenges with Arup through an advanced finite software analysis software program. Those optimized, large designs are then sent to Tietz-Baccon, their long-time local fabricator. However for smaller projects where SOFTlab fabricates its own models and project components, the physics tool provides a close approximation of Arup’s services. To generate a model of ATRIUn’s design for the exhibition, the designers translated the Maya drawing into Rhino with Grasshopper to feed to their in-house laser cutter. Since the design was modeled in paper, four sided shapes were fabricated. If the design was realized in Dekton, triangular shapes would be necessary to achieve the complex curvature of the ATRIUn skin. The set volume was 24 by 24 by 36 inches, scalable for a building between 10 and 12 stories. ATRIUn and Surface Innovation is on view at the Center for Architecture in New York through October 31.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day Grand Finale

With Archtober fading away with the fall leaves and buckets of Halloween candy, here's one last look at the last three Archtober Buildings of the Day from Halloween weekend! Building of the Day #29: NYC Information Center 810 Seventh Avenue New York, NY Neither snow, nor rain... your intrepid Archtober team made it through the snowy October nor’easter to visit the Official NYC Information Center at the Times Square Alliance, designed by WXY architecture + urban design and Local Projects and run by NYC & Company. Alas, our architect tour guide didn't. In the street level space sneeze guards in the shape of large, suspended three-dimensional lower-case "i”s keep unwanted reflections from obscuring the interactive map tables in the center of the room. Old fashioned brochure racks for paper flyers are on each side wall. One stroke of your iPhone or iPad makes these cumbersome tables with their info pucks look so 2008! (A moment of silence, please, for Steve Jobs.) Still, the organization behind the effort is first rate, and we appreciate all of their help. The NYC Information Center was one of the first stops we made when we were launching our idea of a month-long curated calendar and festival of architecture and design in New York City. Upstairs from the retail area are scores of NYC & Company marketing whizzes and PR geniuses who work hard every day to assist the 50 million tourists who visit each year, and who are so vital to our city's economy. We wanted to do our part, too, to let the world know that design is one of our great exports, and that we are home to 40,000 hard working folks in design and related industries...no other city comes close! So, it’s quite fitting to be rounding the end of our first festival with one of our first stops.   Building of the Day #30: Brooklyn Bridge Park 1 Main Street Brooklyn, NY The snow from Saturday’s October storm did not keep us from enjoying a sunny tour of the Brooklyn Bridge Park for Sunday’s Building of the Day. The closing of “swing valley” was the only sign of the prior day’s storm (note the strange juxtaposition of autumn’s red leaves in the shot of the snowy playground). We walked the one mile span of the park with Ellen Ryan, senior staff member of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Danielle Choi of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the landscape architecture firm that designed the park. It was not your average walk in the park – starting with Pier 6 and working our way toward Pier 1, we had a sneak preview of the piers that have yet to undergo redevelopment. Wet suits hanging to dry were the sign of the underwater work of highly trained divers who are reinforcing the 1100 piles dating from the 1950s that support a 5 acre pier the size of Bryant Park. Next fall it will open as sports fields. Long walks to reach a game will be offset by the fantastic views of lower Manhattan. Walking from South to North, the selected vegetation for Pier 6 is “wild but calculated,” and by the northern end the park becomes less heavily planted and rugged. Recreation varies from playgrounds to volleyball courts and kayaking in the summer, to even a merry-go-round (enclosed in a glass pavilion designed by Jean Nouvel for year round use). There is no doubt that every effort was made to produce as sustainable a park as possible. Luxurious yellow leaf pine from the former industrial site was transformed into elegant streamlined benches. The tall lighting fixtures, a reference to the former industry, are the first lights in a city park to utilize dimmers. Storm water collected on site is used for irrigation and accounts for 70% of the park’s water needs. A 15 mile greenway that cuts through the park supports sustainable transportation of bikes and pedestrians. The waterfront-lined Brooklyn Bridge Park, even on a cold fall day, is a fantastic public amenity. There is much there to enjoy, and with the strategic vision of the 2005 masterplan in mind, still more coming. Like our weekend visit to the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park showed signs of success as a wedding photo backdrop. And it’s worth noting that dogs that stay on the paths are welcome. Building of the Day #31: Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn and Lincoln Ristorante Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts New York, NY Archtober draws to a close today with our last Building of the Day, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Lawn and Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center. Diller Scofidio + Renfro authored the project in collaboration with FXFOWLE. Our tour today was led by Zoe Small, AIA, LEED AP, of DS+R. An able tour guide, she knew precisely where each duct and sprinkler pipe was tucked in under that tilted, warped platter of slightly soggy grass. The lawn is both high and low. High in concept—a peeling back of the surface of the plinth on which all of the ensemble buildings of the cultural center rest—and low in use…that freak snowstorm has it off limits, yet again. The restaurant interior felt forced. Travertine-colored leather chairs that sat like slabs of stone, travertine inspired carpet in places, Portuguese limestone in others, still more mahogany elsewhere. The large-scale print of the purplish hemicycle banquettes (also pretty stiff in the seat) was re-echoed in a patterned interlayer on glass cheek walls at the lower, formerly a bar, now private dining level. Much ado was made about the cantilevered toilets inset into the mirror wall “floating” off the back walls of the individual bathrooms. Why? I wondered. But that didn’t stop Archtober 11 1/2" Fashion Doll, who made her public debut today. With all due respect to the creators of a similar “I can be” Architect doll, we thought that our gal needed to be a bit tougher to stand up to all of the challenges of such a demanding career. See you next year! Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture.
Placeholder Alt Text

Inside Archtober “Building” of the Day #24: Subway Vent Benches

Even though Hurricane Irene blew through on August 27th without flooding the subways, which were rendered prophylactically still and silent for a day, a pesky summer storm in 2007 dumped so much water onto the M and R lines that they were forced out of service. Governor Spitzer took immediate action to mitigate the problem, and boldly mobilized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Department of Transportation to do something about it. Solving a range of engineering problems while at the same time providing a streetscape element with some wit and whimsy, Rogers Marvel Architects created banks of raised stainless steel grates that rise up into an undulating wave of slats and hammered speckled side walls. There are three typical grates designed for specific water overflow depths. They can be combined in a left- or right-hand fashion to create the continuous surface over the structural grates below. In case you were wondering, they won’t stop a truck, but happily no Louboutin heels snapped off here! The AIANY Design Awards jury liked it too, giving the project an Honor Award, citing: “This is a really utilitarian solution infused with public art and design innovation.” For the info on the tour of tomorrow’s Building of the Day click here: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Inside the Archtober Building of the Day #20: 41 Cooper Square

Building of the Day #20: 41 Cooper Square The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art New York, NY Often “stats” and awards are known well before the public appreciates a new building’s urban role. Cooper Union’s 41 Cooper Square, designed by Thom Mayne, FAIA, of Morphosis Architects with Gruzen Samton as Associate Architect, is more than a volume for a multi-disciplinary academic building with a co-generation plant, cooling and heating ceiling panels, low V.O.C. materials, green terraces, and “Fit-City”-worthy vertical circulation. While these stats did help the client claim the first LEED Platinum-certified academic laboratory building, Cooper has also revived a former traffic triangle and extended its identity southwards along the new Bowery. At a time when both NYU and Columbia’s building goals face sharp scrutiny, it pays to have a tough skin. Make that a gritty double skin! The west façade’s projected outer skin is so dynamic in section that I only recently understood (via Mayne on YouTube) that it is also gently convex in plan. An eye-catching event along the city’s grid at the start of Third Avenue also reintroduces us to Peter Cooper Park. After 150 years, the short (south) façade of Frederick A. Peterson’s Foundation Building has a worthy urban partner with which to share this public space and the 1897 Peter Cooper Monument (Augustus Saint-Gaudens with a Stanford White base). The Foundation Building employed innovations such as wrought iron framing, ventilation at the below-grade Great Hall and a round elevator shaft. Mayne’s primary elevators skip stops to encourage use of the central open and luminous stair. This void is the heart of 41 Cooper Square, with its walls inflected by labs and studios. The façade gash opens this “heart” to the city and, in return, the city to it. -Arthur Platt, AIA, is Co-chair of AIA New York’s Architectural Tourism Committee and a partner at Fink & Platt Architects. For the info on the tour of tomorrow's Building of the Day click here: Toni Stabile Student Center, Columbia University. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Inside the Archtober Building of the Day #19: East Harlem School

A rainy day couldn’t dampen the spirits of the fourth graders that we met playing hoops in the brightly lit gym of the East Harlem School. It looks to me that there are two geniuses behind this wonderful building: Peter Gluck, the acerbic and seasoned architect/builder and Ivan M. Hageman, co-founder and Head of School. Gluck led the tour, but Ivan was ever-present—in the cafeteria leading an appreciation of the chef and servers, and in the reception area meeting with parents. He welcomed us into his office, which is perched at the east end of the building with a clear glass open view up 103rd Street to the Public School embedded in the nearby housing project. Jane Jacobs eyes on the street. The East Harlem School is an independent school—think Collegiate School or Dalton. It doesn’t have to play by any rules handed down from political higher ups, construction authorities, or educational commissions, and come to think of it, the East Harlem School seems to play by rules from higher powers. Its mission is to rescue middle schoolers from their context with a nine hour school day and an eleven month school year. Stressing moral integrity, courtesy, academic excellence, and providing the students with an unshakable commitment to their future, this small (130 students) school is having a significant impact on their young lives. Surrounded by high quality materials, nice furniture, well-proportioned lively spaces, good acoustics, and strong discipline, they go on to fancy high schools, and eventually to major colleges. They hope some come back as teachers. The four eighth grade girls I met were poised, comfortable shaking hands, engaged, and eager to hear about the architecture—I mentioned that ladies can be architects, too. The building is Gluck’s manifestation of Hageman’s vision. Its black, white, and grey Trespa façade evokes the diversity of its student body and founders, at the same time as it provides for pedagogical flexibility. The school is supported by a bold-face name board of worthies, who have enabled the construction of the new 27,800 square foot facility, as well as its ongoing support of staff and students. The interior is lively and coherent with accent colors in expensive rubber flooring that was affordable because the building was both designed by Gluck the architect and built by Gluck’s construction arm. Gluck is carving out a space for the master-builder/architect of days gone by—and he’s messianic about it. Just ask him. -Cynthia Phifer Kracauer For the info on the tour of tomorrow's Building of the Day click here: 41 Cooper Square. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Inside the Archtober Building of the Day #18: 200 Fifth Avenue

Building of the Day #18: 200 Fifth Avenue New York, NY Beautiful weather continues to make Archtober the best month ever to enjoy great architecture. Madison Square, where 200 Fifth Avenue is located, is a palimpsest of the northward expansion of commerce and civilization in Manhattan. A public space since 1686, it first became a park in 1847. With the construction of the Fifth Avenue Hotel, (Griffith Thomas with William Washburn Architects, 1859) on the site of the current 200 Fifth, the area became the social, cultural, and political hub of elite New York in the years after the Civil War—think Edith Wharton. And it has the monuments to prove it. The swank hotel gave way in 1909 to a 14-story office building, by architects Maynicke & Franke, designers of more than 100 New York City buildings, many in the nearby Ladies Mile Historic District. It is this structure (formerly the Toy Center) that STUDIOS Architecture addressed in its LEED Gold restoration and renovation. That old Toy Center building cleaned up really well! All of the seediness of the 1990s decline has vanished both in the surrounding buildings and in the park as well. The repositioning miracle has drawn a cadre of high style tenants, and I was lucky today to get a personal tour of the Grey offices, also designed by STUDIOS Architecture and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The Grey offices are sparkling with light from generous perimeter windows, replaced in the restoration, and from the enormous central courtyard with white reflecting paving and terracotta cladding. It functions as a center around which the hipster creatives can lounge, chat, or spiff up Don Draper style for the next big pitch. For the company that brought us the talking E*Trade baby, I was pleasantly surprised to find none of the Sesame Place silliness of current interiors for other media and information technology companies. There’s good art, good furniture, beautiful Persian rugs, and an atmosphere that is both collaborative and individual at the same time. Plenty of nooks and crannies for quiet creative thinking. Nice open planning and firm-wide assembly areas. No kitsch in their kitchens either. Nice job! -Cynthia Kracauer To take the tour of tomorrow's Building of the Day click here: East Harlem School. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #12: Betances Community Center

When is a Center really a center? Well first of all it’s got to have a center, don’t you think? The Betances Community Center has a splendid gym holding strong in the middle of the plan, full of warm, white light modulated by the south-facing glass block wall and monitor side walls of Kalwall. Originally intended to house a boxing ring and bright orange bleacher seating, the space is now multi-purpose with the bleachers accordioned to the walls; the famous boxing program moved elsewhere. Even without the ring, the architecture packs a wallop of clarity, modesty, attention to detail, and programmatic resolution. So much transparency is rare for community center projects, says architect Stephen Yablon, AIA, principal of Stephen Yablon Architect. He credits David Burney, FAIA, his then client at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for establishing the clear statement of values and goals for the center. Built in an area challenged by crime, the large areas of glass would seem to invite the errant brick. Quite the contrary: the very high quality of the design has engendered unusual respect for the facility. This is a community center with a community that has found identity in the architectural expression of its public amenity. Now filled with after school programs, performing arts, art classes, and fitness, the Betances Center has had only one broken pane, and that one was inside. It’s all proof positive of the power of architecture to bring out the best in us. Click here for tour info on tomorrow's Building of the Day: New York Public Library Francis Martin Branch. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #7: IAC Headquarters

IAC Headquarters 550 West 18th Street New York, NY The IAC Headquarters is Frank Gehry’s first building in New York. Neither a symphony hall nor an art gallery clad in riveting titanium that creates its own economic system, it is rather a diminutive swell of faceted glass with a graded white frit. Compared to most big-name office buildings, the IAC is built at a much more personal scale. Built as-of-right and opened to little in the way of the usual starchitect fanfare, some might notice it’s hard to find the front door. What you may not know, however, is how bird friendly the building is. Glass buildings are responsible for 100 million to 1 billion bird deaths every year in the United States. New York City is on a major migratory route, and our tall glass buildings kill millions every migration season. The New York City Audubon Society has created a handbook for architects to help them avoid design decisions that prove deadly to our avian companions. One such design tactic is to include a frit pattern on a buildings windows so birds don't confuse the glass with the open sky. With a highly-fritted facade, the IAC is just fine for our feathered friends. (But with that hidden front door, you might see more humans walking into the glass building than birds!) Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #6: Hearst Tower

Hearst Tower 959 8th Avenue New York, NY As written in the AIANY Design Awards issue of Oculus, Summer 2007:
With its efficient use of resources, abundant natural daylight and fresh air, and modern technologies, this 856,000-square-foot building designed by Foster + Partners and completed in 2006 is the first in New York City to receive a LEED Gold rating for its core, shell, and interiors. Most notably, it was constructed using more than 80% recycled steel. The diagrid framing uses 20% less steel than conventionally framed towers, and it was designed to consume 25% less energy than most Manhattan towers.
Continued from Oculus, Summer 2007:
The original, landmarked cast-stone façade by Joseph Urban and the new tower are linked on the outside by a transparent skirt of glazing that floods the interior spaces below with natural light and gives the impression that the tower is floating above the base. The building’s main spatial element is its atrium lobby – a vast internal piazza. It occupies the entire shell of the original building and features a 340-seat company cafeteria, the 168-seat Joseph Urban Theater, and exhibition spaces. A series of diagonal escalators take riders from the street-level lobby to the atrium level. They are between two halves of Ice Fall, a cascading water-and-glass sculpture designed by James Carpenter, which cools and humidifies the air.
Writers, like architects, are constantly scrambling for work, so in uncertain times, the construction of two monumental buildings for the print media (also the New York Times Building) gave hope to writers that their craft could sustain big buildings. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #4: Top of the Rock

It’s hard to imagine that the cool and suave young architect who launched Minimalism on Park Avenue with the Jil Sander Store in 1983 is the same man who brought us the modern apotheosis of Art Deco at Top of the Rock. Is it a space? Is it a ride? It certainly has a chandelier! Michael Gabellini, FAIA, a principal of Gabellini Sheppard Associates, a RISD grad, and a Kohn Pedersen Fox alum, waxed poetic at the Archtober preview: "Top of the Rock epitomizes Archtober’s mission of raising awareness of architecture and design. By restoring public access, the project celebrates and embraces the ongoing life and vitality of Rockefeller Center." As I’ve been saying for months, almost 50 million people don’t come to New York every year to enjoy purple mountains' majesty. They come for a different view…and from the Top of the Rock, 70 stories above Rockefeller Plaza, they get it. Jaded New Yorkers may stay away from this tourist destination, but they shouldn’t. Gabellini has created an extravaganza of sparkle that will cheer one and all on even the gloomiest day. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #3: Seven World Trade Center

The view from LaGuardia Place includes the symphony of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s 7 World Trade Center at 250 Greenwich Street and its ever-rising companion, One World Trade Center, beyond. I see the buildings every day from the Center for Architecture, and have become a fan of 7 WTC’c magical properties, both geometric and optical. It is a building made out of reflections, refractions, inflections, and colors, expressed in glass and stainless steel. The obtuse angle of the extruded parallelogram gestures to the southeast, while the north face is frontal to the West Broadway view, making two surfaces for the sky to paint its themes and variations, and impossible to imagine that the curtain walls are the same all around. We’ve covered the technics and subtleties of its curtain wall (“Good Connections,” Oculus, Fall 2005, by Carl Galioto, FAIA). It creates a continually transforming ephemeral glowing surface that merges with the sky, and we reject those detractors who call the building boring. That’s like saying the sky is boring. Tell that to JMW Turner! The building is a beauty, tall, slender, elegant, and sharp. It was the first LEED Gold skyscraper in the City. By Benjamin Kracauer Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day: Center for Architecture

At the intersection of trade and art, practice and expression, between Bleecker and West Third Streets, in the middle of a unique three-block stretch, aptly named a “Place,” fronting grand superblocks of New York University, with its descending jutting voids the opposite of Breuer’s overhead solids at the Whitney, lies the Center for Architecture.  The Center is home to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture Foundation.  The 12,000 square feet of galleries-as-meeting-spaces (and meeting-spaces-as-galleries) burrow two stories underground from the sidewalk level.  A cut-away section lets the speakers at the podium the lowest-level Tafel Hall, the centerpiece of the ensemble, look up from their notes and see passers-by looking back.  The life of the city, connected, to the discourse on architecture. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter.  For the next 30 days—Archtober—we will write here about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy.  This is a personal account.  Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.