Posts tagged with "Beyer Blinder Belle":

Revised Frick expansion clears Landmarks but still faces challenges

A revised scheme for the Selldorf Architects-designed expansion of Manhattan’s Frick Collection with Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) acting as executive architects has gained approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). While commissioners voiced their concern over the addition’s fenestration and whether enough was done to move the proposed programming underground, they ultimately voted to approve the presented plan. That approval still faces resistance from local residents and preservationist groups, including an injunction hearing scheduled for this September that could slow the project down further. In approving the expansion, landmarks commissioners noted the support the project had drawn from the public, including from architects, preservationists, art historians, curators, and landscape architects, but acknowledged they had also received emails in opposition as well. Four grandchildren of Henry Clay Frick have signed letters signaling their support, and the commissioners were quick to mention their prior approval of the more experimental, Jeanne Gang-led expansion at the American Museum of Natural History. Community groups such as the City Club and Landmarks Conservancy have also voiced their support. In the Conservancy's testimony before the LPC, they stated that their Public Policy Committee had “found that the new limestone-clad additions are appropriate in their height, massing, and materials. They draw inspiration from the historic buildings in a respectful manner. The rooftop addition to the Reception Hall will rise gracefully from the building, in the manner of a conservatory. The connecting link is modest, but well-considered. There will be no loss of historic fabric, and while some façade elements of the Library Building will be less visible, they will not be removed or altered by this project.” The original scheme for the Frick's latest expansion was presented at a May 29 hearing where the public was invited to openly comment. Selldorf and BBB had proposed increasing the floor area of the Frick by 10 percent­­­­(18,000 square feet) to provide room for new conservation areas, offices, and gallery spaces with 1,800 of that square footage to be placed underground. Perhaps the most debated portions of the expansion plan touch on the Russell Page-designed garden on East 70th Street which was added in 1977. Installing the proposed 220-seat auditorium below the garden will require removing the garden above and reinstalling it exactly as it was before. The north wall of the 4,100-square-foot garden, part of the 1977 Bayley, Van Dyke & Poehler addition that originally created the garden, is also on the block to be rebuilt. As the scheme calls for the library to rise directly over the garden’s northern wall, a series of hornbeam trees behind the wall that were planted in 2010 (replacing pear trees placed by Page to mask the back of the existing library building) would need to be removed. The original plan had placed the new library almost flush with the north wall, but the trees were ultimately spared in the final version. Annabelle Selldorf was on hand for the follow-up LPC meeting on June 26 and explained that by setting the addition’s massing back three feet from the north wall’s edge, they were able to carve out a shelf behind the cornice for replacement trees. The smaller hornbeams would be located in the same positions as their predecessors and are intended to recreate the trompe l’oeil, the sense that the garden stretches on past its confines, that the current trees bring to the landscape. Selldorf was adamant that shaving three feet off of the addition was the most that can be done, and that tightening the massing any further was impossible due to programmatic requirements. The circular John Russell Pope-designed Music Room, set to be dismantled to make way for more special exhibition space, was briefly discussed as commissioners prodded the Frick to explain why the space couldn’t be repurposed. Museum representatives explained the difficulty in staging exhibitions inside of a round room and the associated temporary architecture required, and that more space was needed to display their collection. The Music Room’s Versailles-patterned wood floors and non-structural wall panels will be reused in the replacement gallery space, and the entire room will be 3D scanned and included in the Frick’s collection. That is, if the room is actually taken apart. As the commissioners noted during this week’s meeting, an active Request for Evaluation (RFE) to designate the Music Room, West Gallery & Enamels Room, and the 1977 Reception Hall as interior landmarks is currently being processed. Questions were raised over whether approving the expansion would preclude the music room’s designation, but commissioners received clarification that the two items were not in conflict with each other. It was entered into the record that the LPC takes a meticulous approach to interior designations and that if the RFE is approved, the scheme will have to be retooled to include a circular music room. Though the commissioners questioned the design team on whether more of the proposed programming could be moved underground­, the plan presented was approved with six votes for, one against, and one commissioner choosing to abstain. The Frick is an individual landmark within the landmarked Upper East Side Historic District, but commissioners highlighted the fact that the Frick Collection is a campus of separate buildings from many different time periods when making their final decision. Opponents have compiled a laundry list of complaints against the Selldorf and BBB plan. The Stop Irresponsible Frick Development (SIFD) coalition, a collection of architects, preservationists, and activists gathered on the steps of City Hall on June 25 to make their voices heard about why the expansion should be halted. Citing the lack of time given to the public to review the revised scheme, the LPC’s failure to consider landmarking the Music Room first, the potential conflict of interest arising from interim LPC chair and BBB partner Fred Bland’s participation in the process, the necessity of the Frick to expand its collection to such a degree, and the addition of a glassy café topper above the reception hall, the group had tried to delay the June 26 vote. Although an emergency temporary restraining order was submitted by the group on June 25 to the State Supreme Court, the judge decided not to grant the measure. However, an injunction hearing has been scheduled for September, which will force the Frick to defend their decisions in court and risks throwing a wrench in the project’s timeline. Preservationist Theodore Grunewald was responsible for filing the Music Room RFE (at the May 29th hearing itself, a first in the Commission's history) arguing that the room deserves to be judged on its own merits. This is the first time that an RFE for a separate part of a project has been raised independently before the LPC. In an op-ed published to the New York Times on June 25, Martha Frick Symington Sanger, a great-granddaughter of Henry Clay Frick, laid the groups concerns bare. “Let us engage an independent professional to evaluate the feasibility of excavation for proposed new facilities,” wrote Sanger, although the LPC noted that they have, historically, never taken outside design considerations into account when making their decisions. “Revisit the possibility of modernizing and repurposing existing underground facilities; purchase the adjacent, 6,000-square-foot building that is currently on the market for less than 10 percent of the anticipated cost of the current proposal; and seek landmark status for the music room, which could just as easily be preserved as a gallery.” The full presentation given at the June 26 LPC meeting is available here. According to the Frick, construction on the addition will not begin until 2020. AN will continue to provide updates on this story as they become available.

The Frick adjusts expansion plans before next Landmarks meeting

The Frick Collection has further tweaked its expansion plans once again following a Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) hearing on May 29, where the commission declined to make a decision at that time. Selldorf Architects and executive architects Beyer Blinder Belle (BBB) have gone back to the drawing board and have released new renderings of an altered scheme ahead of their next meeting before the commission. The latest scheme addresses–or at least attempts to rationalize–some of the concerns that preservationists and the community had towards the initial proposal to modernize the Upper East Side landmark. Several of the changes proposed in May to the massing of the John Russell Pope addition, and more specifically Russell Page’s 1977 garden, drew the most attention. In order to allow more natural light into the revamped conservation areas, Selldorf and BBB had originally proposed adding a topper to the northern wall of the Russel Page Garden. This will require rebuilding the section and removing the smaller trees planted on top of that wall, dismantling Page’s late addition of a trompe l’oeil garden designed to hide the backs of the adjacent, non-Frick buildings. The revised plan would instead see hornbeams, the same type of tree currently in use, planted behind a modified limestone cornice above the new ground floor windows (which have had operable shutters added to match the existing trellises). The locations of the new trees would attempt to hew as closely to the original plan as possible. The Frick’s plan to dismantle the first floor Music Room and install a special exhibitions area were also elaborated on after preservationists decried the potential loss of auditorium. In notes included with the new scheme, the team explained that the Frick’s mission has always first and foremost been the showcasing of art, and that the conversion of rooms into gallery spaces has historical precedent. The poor acoustic qualities of the auditorium for amplifying speech was highlighted as particularly problematic, as the space is primarily used for holding lectures. The Music Room, if demolished, would be preserved via a 3-D laser scan and photographic survey, with the information added to the Frick’s archive. A modern below-grade auditorium would replace the Music Room and provide more space for lectures, concerts, and other engagements. The room's wood floor and non-structural wall sections would be preserved in the archive as physical artifacts. The Selldorf/BBB team used the opportunity to further elaborate on their plans for expanding the Frick’s subterranean programming. The underground mechanical systems would be upgraded and consolidated and replaced with new gallery and special exhibition spaces, as well as extra back-of-house areas for the staff and new conservation areas. The team explained that their options when planning the underground portion were limited by the site’s plantings and the difficulty associated with creating new required egresses; it wasn't possible, or desired, to cut new exits into the museum's gardens or gallery spaces. AN will follow up on this story when information regarding the next LPC meeting becomes available; the item was originally scheduled to be heard on June 19 but was rescheduled. The full presentation is available here.

AN takes a deep dive into Frick Collection expansion plans

After a major, failed expansion attempt a few years ago, the Frick Collection, that venerable Upper East Side museum and library, revealed its latest renovation plans last month. The Frick tapped Selldorf Architects and Beyer Blinder Belle to bump up the landmarked building's footprint by ten percent, while sinking most of the rest of the program underground. Now, a few days before the architects present their ideas to the city's Landmarks commission for approval, more details on the addition and renovation have emerged. When the Frick went public with Selldorf's design in April, reactions were mixed, but mostly positive. The tallest addition will grow two stories from the building’s music room, while an addition adjacent to the library will top out at the same height as that building. The above-ground additions should preserve sightlines into John Russell Page's gated garden, while a below-ground auditorium and galleries will add give the Frick more space for events and shows. A major goal is to improve the flow between rooms, which will be achieved in part by linking the new second floor galleries with the enlarged lobby and the auditorium beneath the garden. That space is badly needed. The institution is mounting more exhibitions and welcoming more visitors than any time in its history, but its building is strained at the seams. The Frick says its galleries are too packed, and the lightless ones below ground are less appealing to visitors. Wheelchair users must take an unglamorous ride in the service elevator to reach the main entrance. Workers in the conservation areas, meanwhile, labor in dark, cramped offices far from the service elevator. And there's nowhere to get coffee—unlike most other museums, the Frick doesn't have a cafe. Before building out below-ground spaces to make way for a 220-seat auditorium, a larger reception hall, and an upper lobby, the Frick plans to document and restore Page's design. The sculptures, reflecting pool, and north wall will be dismantled and rebuilt (the latter with a different design), while the paths will be restored to their dimensions with new gravel. According to the presentation submitted to Manhattan Community Board 8, which held a public meeting on the plans earlier this month, the garden's plants and trees will be "retained to the extent possible or replaced with appropriate species." As part of the Upper East Side Historic District and as an individual landmark, any changes to the Frick have to be approved by the city's Landmarks commission. Carrère and Hastings, the same architects behind New York Public Library's 42nd Street main branch, designed the original, now-landmarked Beaux Arts home for the Frick family in 1914, as well as an attached library in 1924. (That structure was demolished a decade later to make room for a museum and library conversion by John Russell Pope.) These buildings, plus 1977 and 2011 additions by Bayley Van Dyke Poehler and Davis Brody Bond, respectively, comprise the majority of the significant, still-visible work on the site until now. Although the exterior was landmarked in 1973, the interiors not protected. In mid-May, CB8's Landmarks Committee rejected Selldorf's designs (PDF), while the full board of CB8 couldn't come to a consensus on the appropriateness of the expansion when it considered the matter a few days later. Although community board votes are only advisory and non-binding, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) takes their thoughts into account when it makes its decisions on whether to modify a landmark. Overall, most preservationists prefer Selldorf's design to the Davis Brody Bond scheme the museum proposed a few years ago, but there's concern that interior renovations will sacrifice period interiors like Russell Pope's music room for white-box galleries and splashier events spaces. There's also growing concern around the Page garden. Current plans scuttle northern end of the 4,100-square-foot green space, which features trees of different species planted against a wall. Here's what landscape architect Laurie Olin had to say about Page's work in a recent letter to the Frick trustees that was printed by landscape preservationists at The Cultural Landscape Foundation (we've excerpted the letter, below):
I have always liked this garden and admired Page. It is inconceivable to propose to eliminate the northern planting above and beyond the wall that Page used to give an illusion of depth and of a garden beyond it to the north.  The pear trees, wall, planter, and door are key contributing elements of the garden. His famous asymmetrical planting of four trees of different species plays off not just against the rectangular basin but also this uniform layered plane of green that one thinks the door goes into. It’s a thought worthy of Borromini if he’d had a green thumb, and a mark of Page’s genius and subtlety. These elements are not expendable, but the conclusion of a remarkably witty and brilliant solution to a difficult problem, that of a tiny urban space hemmed in by buildings – one that has challenged designers and artists since Roman times. I have on numerous occasions in my teaching graduate students in landscape architecture and garden design over the decades used this as an example of how a skillful designer can overcome the awkward problem of such a small space in a dense urban setting. I urge you to save your Russell Page garden, the whole garden, not just some of it.
In its testimony to the LPC, historic preservation advocacy organization the Historic Districts Council (HDC) suggested the shelf above the north garden wall, now festooned with trees, be maintained to add interest to the library's rear wall. Meanwhile, in a long letter to the LPC chair, Henry Clay Frick's great-granddaughter Martha Frick Symington Sanger wrote expressed disappointment in the "over-the-top architectural expansion that promises to alter the landmarked buildings and severely compromise the historic Russell Page Garden [sic]." For those who want to have their say on the Frick, the LPC is hearing from the museum, the architects, and the public at its May 29 meeting. The hearing begins at 9:30 a.m., and the exact time should be posted on the agency's website today. At meetings with preservationists at the Frick in May, HDC Executive Director Bankoff confirmed that Selldorf Architects principal Annabel Selldorf said the designs were "schematic"—typically, architects seek the LPC's approval when their designs are final. While the Frick has done a "very good job" at community outreach, given the complexity of the proposal, "I would be shocked if the LPC approved this in one hearing," Bankoff said.

Jacksonville Jaguars will get a master-planned neighborhood by Beyer Blinder Belle

The Jacksonville Jaguars, a team known for their less-than-stellar record, are going big on their home turf. At their April 19th State of the Franchise event, the team announced that they would be partnering with local firm Iguana Investments (run by Jaguars owner Shad Khan) and national developer The Cordish Companies to realize a $2.5 billion, 4.25-million-square-foot mixed-use neighborhood around their Jacksonville, Florida stadium, master-planned by Beyer Blinder Belle. The proposal to redevelop the area around the Jaguars’ EverBank Field, the formerly-industrial Jacksonville Shipyards, is an expansion of the team’s plans first presented during the 2017 State of the Franchise. It also marks the second time that Khan has won the right to build in the area after the city’s Downtown Investment Authority scuttled Iguana’s original plans for the site in 2016. The Jaguar’s latest plan seeks to tie the downtown Shipyards to the rest of the city. To do that, the development team wants to drop a new neighborhood on the waterfront. The proposal would bring office space, a “Live!” arena (Live! is used to brand Cordish venues), dining options, a hotel tower, a parking garage to offset the loss of the lots, and “luxury residential living” on top of the parking lots between the stadium and the St. John’s River. While it’s early on in the development cycle, the renderings show a suite of towers clustered around the stadium, including a hotel building on the waterfront at least 15 stories tall. However, the Jaguars may face a host of hurdles in building out the Shipyards. The project is slated to break ground on Lot J, the stretch between the Populous-designed Daily’s Place amphitheater and a detention pond to the west. The lot’s top four feet of soil is contaminated with petroleum from the site’s manufacturing past and currently capped with a clay wall and asphalt. Any digging in the area would need to be preceded by environmental remediation, and the sitemap released on Thursday leaves out the most heavily polluted sections of the Shipyards. Complicating things further is that both the northern and southern sections of the site present their own set of challenges. Building to the north would mean getting approval from the city government and the military community to relocate a Veterans Memorial Wall to a new Veterans Park along the waterfront. Developing the southern portion towards the river would mean potentially tearing down an elevated ramp at the adjacent Hart Bridge, which would also require action by the city. The project has been designed as a public-private partnership, but it remains to be seen how much the public will be paying for it. It’s uncertain when construction will begin and how long it will require, but as Cordish Companies Vice President Blake Cordish told Jacksonville.com, “Completing full build-out could take a generation.”

Peek inside the TWA Flight Center, now under construction

For an unskilled photographer, the TWA Flight Center is a perfect subject. The sweep of Eero Saarinen's Jet Age curves are very generous towards those (like me) who can't intuitively frame a shot. The view up the double staircase towards the thin-shell roof, the sightlines down into the conversation pit, and the vista across the lobby onto the tarmac make almost every (non) angle into a pose. On a recent tour, construction made it even easier to appreciate the structure. Acres of butcher paper covered the building's coin-sized tiles, and plastic sheeting shielded the signature red upholstered furniture from dust. The work is part of a Beyer Blinder Belle–led (BBB) renovation that's converting the landmarked terminal into a large-scale events center. BBB is working with Lubrano Ciavarra Architects to design a high-end hotel directly behind the terminal, as well. When the complex is complete in 2019, visitors will enter Saarinen's terminal beside fountains, pictured above, that will resemble Dan Kiley's at Lincoln Center, said Richard Southwick, a partner at BBB partner and the firm's director of historic preservation. Inside, there will be a food court and conference check-in to the left and right of the old arrivals-departures board. BBB is working with fabricators in Italy to re-create the split-flap display, which could show information about events at the venue, or display drink menus for the many bars that will populate the lounge. On that same tour, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) got an inside look at the in-progress 505-key hotel on site. The structure flanks the TWA terminal but leaves enough space for the older structure's swoops to define space in the interior courtyards. Since the project broke ground in December 2016, a lot has happened: on yesterday's tour, crews were framing the lower floors of the hotel, and work on the triple-glazed glass facade was almost complete. The rooms, as you might guess, are midcentury-themed. Each will include a martini bar, and be outfitted with Knoll favorites like tulip tables and womb chairs. The tour was organized by Aerial Futures as part of a two-day symposium on airports and the city. The nonprofit holds events all over North America and Europe and is dedicated to exploring the architecture of flight and mobility.

2017 Best of Design Awards for Lighting – Outdoor

2017 Best of Design Award for Lighting - Outdoor: Longwood Gardens Renovation Lighting Designer: L'Observatoire International Location: Kennett Square, Pennsylvania Longwood Gardens is one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States, comprising 1,077 acres of gardens, woodlands, and meadows. The firm’s goal was to subtly enhance and shape the visitor’s experience by concealing light fixtures and using small LED light sources when possible. The lighting reveals the garden architecture and fountains at night, leading the eye toward the spectacle of the grand fountains and strategically spotlit garden features without drawing attention to itself. The firm created a varied lighting scheme that gives an overview of the fountain garden as a tableau, while simultaneously creating an intimate space within the garden to reveal pathways, lawns, and fountain areas up close. The system ties the garden to natural cycles, lunar and seasonal, so that the lighting schemes evolve in parallel with the seasons—offering a rich experience for visitors. “The lighting design illuminates the formal garden, creating an evocative ambience and a wonderful medium for enhancing the nighttime experience.” —Emily Bauer, Landscape Architect, Bjarke Ingels Group (juror) Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle Landscape Architect: West 8 Water Feature Designer: Fluidity Design Consultants Water Feature design-build contractor: Crystal Fountains Light fixtures: Winona Lighting   Honorable Mention Project name: University of Iowa, Hancher Auditorium Lighting Designer: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design Location: Iowa City, Iowa University of Iowa campus regulations prohibited exterior floodlighting on the auditorium. The firm addressed this challenge with custom downlights with dropped glass lenses illuminating the wood ceiling and defining the building’s form. The arrangement of these fixtures resembles a magical, modern marquee. Honorable Mention Project name: City Point Mall Lighting Designer: Focus Lighting Location: Brooklyn, New York A balance of cool and warm tones on City Point’s exterior creates an elegant beacon of light that pulls Brooklyn shoppers off the street and into the building. This lighting scheme was specifically designed to highlight and offset the building’s wood and terra-cotta façade.

New York Public Library gets new master plan by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle

Here's what the main branch of the New York Public Library (NYPL) could look like after renovations by Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle. At last night's Board of Trustees meeting, NYPL revealed a master plan by the two firms for the lion-flanked Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Under the $317 million plan, there will be 20 percent more public space in the building, much of it derived from repurposed staff and back-of-house space. Among the changes, storage and former staff rooms will be converted into research, exhibition, and education rooms, including a new Center for Research and Learning, a space for high school and college students to learn how to use the research library. Outside, an entrance on 40th Street and new elevators will welcome visiting groups, while new elevators near 40th Street will replace back-of-house rooms. A cafe will replace a map storage area that is now closed to the public. “We have developed a master plan that inherently adheres to the logic of a Beaux-Arts building,” said Mecanoo Founding Partner Francine Houben, in prepared remarks. “Our changes are both subtle and clever—to direct the flow for different user groups, for example, or to improve the quality and function of currently underused spaces.” The building will be adapted around its historic interiors, including the landmarked Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room, as well as Astor Hall, and the Maps, Periodicals, and Genealogy reading rooms, which are un-landmarked. In some corners of the city, the re-location of the seven floors of stacks is the most controversial aspect of the plan. The master plan doesn't include a definitive plan for the 175,000-square-feet subterranean rooms, but Mecanoo and Beyer Blinder Belle will conduct a study to explore possibilities for the space, with public input. The NYPL says the stacks, which are filled with circulating books while the Mid-Manhattan Library is being renovated, don't meet present-day standards for housing delicate research material. "The stacks should be used for their original purpose, which is to hold books," said Charles Warren, president of advocacy group Committee to Save the New York Public Library. Warren, who attended last night's trustees meeting, said the stacks are crucial to library researchers. Fragile research materials are held in climate- and light-controlled storage under Bryant Park, and books in the stacks can make it to the Reading Room in less than 30 minutes, while books off-site take at least one business day to reach the library. A library spokesperson confirmed that the timing won't change post renovation. "I'm a little troubled [the NYPL] has thrown the door back open to other crazy, expensive options to re-use the stacks," he said. "The plans are unacceptably vague, but at least they're exploring the question with an open mind." The public will get to hear about the master plan next week, on November 20 at 5 p.m. in the Schwarzman Building’s Celeste Auditorium. Instead of stamp-ready plans, the plan is a roadmap for the design, which is still in development. Back in 2015, the NYPL Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dutch firm Mecanoo and New York's Beyer Blinder Belle to renovate the Schwarzman Building as well as the Mid-Manhattan Library across Fifth Avenue. Work has already begun on the latter building, which will reopen as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library in early 2020, while renovations to the Schwarzman Building will wrap in 2021. This story has been updated with clarifying information about the stacks.

Foster + Partners–designed Apple store approved for historic Carnegie Library in D.C.

An Apple store will be realized in the Carnegie Library at Mount Vernon Square, Washington, D.C. after plans were approved by the District's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) last week. Last year, Events DC (the capital’s convention and sports authority) and Apple filed a letter of intent to lease portions of the 63,000-square-foot historic library. That now-approved plan includes restoring the exterior and retrofitting the interior to create retail, office, and exhibit spaces. Apple’s store will be designed by London-based Foster + Partners and the restoration efforts will be undertaken by New York–based Beyer Blinder Belle. Alterations already made to the neoclassical library, including a rooftop over the original skylight and the conversion of a reading room into a theater, will be reversed as part of the restoration process. The north elevation of the building will see a grander, rounded staircase replacing its current one, and a central pillar will be removed to enlarge the entryway and make space for a glass entrance. Other changes include the removal of the partitions in the library’s stacks and the original lay-lights in the Great Hall ceiling to create an atrium. Some of the proposed additions, mainly concerning 12 exterior banners fixed to the facade, are under revision for the quantity and size of the signage. “This new space, which will feature a massive video screen, new wall openings on both levels, and circulation 'bridges' connecting the upper floors, will significantly alter the historic layout and character of the interior,” a report from Historic Preservation Office (HPO) stated in Urban Turf. The current arrangement allows Apple to ‘co-locate’ in the library with the existing tenant, The Historical Society of Washington. Events DC will be able to use non-retail areas for special events. The building was constructed in 1903 and designed by Ackerman & Ross in the Beaux Arts Style; it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

New images released of Domino Sugar site public waterfront park

Today, real estate development firm Two Trees Management released new images of the James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)–designed Domino Park, which will line the waterfront of the 11-acre Domino Sugar redevelopment site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In its press release, Two Trees confirmed that the park is on track to open in the summer of 2018, as per its original estimates. “By opening Domino Park in its entirety next summer—ahead of the site’s new waterfront buildings—we are delivering on our commitment to bring waterfront access and much-needed public park space to North Brooklyn,” said Two Trees principal Jed Walentas in the press release. “Weaving in industrial remnants of the factory, Domino Park will serve as a living, breathing reminder of the history of this storied neighborhood.” As part of its design, JCFO preserved 21 columns from the site's Raw Sugar Warehouse, 585 linear feet of crane tracks, and 30 other "industrial artifacts" that will be used in the park. This includes "36-feet tall cylindrical tanks that collected syrup during the refining process, mooring bollards, bucket elevators, and various dials and meters from the factory." JCFO is extending River Street to run the length of the park, all the way from Grand Street to S. 5th Street at the base of the Williamsburg bridge. The aforementioned artifacts (including two 80-foot-tall cranes) will feature prominently in the aptly-named "Artifact Walk," a five-block stretch that includes a "450-foot-long elevated walkway" inspired by the catwalks of the old sugar factory. When complete, the Domino Sugar project—whose campus is being designed by SHoP Architects—will feature 380,000 square feet of offices and 2,800 rental apartments (700 of which will be affordable) across four buildings. The landmarked Domino Sugar Refinery building, designed by the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism and Beyer Blinder Belle, will retain its facade and host the offices. 325 Kent will be the first residential tower to open, in June 2017

Iconic architecture plays off of updated decor in the Met Breuer’s Flora Bar and Flora Coffee

At the end of 2015, restaurateur Thomas Carter and chef Ignacio Mattos, the duo behind Matter House, were tapped to create the new restaurant and coffee shop at the Met Breuer in collaboration Beyer Blinder Belle, the architects that led the building’s overall renovation. Carter and Mattos previously created trendy downtown restaurants Estela and Café Altro Paradiso, and Thomas P. Campbell, the director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, hoped that the pair would bring the same kind of hip ambience to the stately Brutalist Upper East Side building that now houses the modern and contemporary branch of the museum. With the opening of Flora Bar and Flora Coffee, the Met Breuer’s reinvention takes another step forward.

Flora Bar is open to the public without a ticket and is located one level below the sidewalk with a seating capacity of 74. Throughout the space, iconic elements play off of updated, modern decor. For example, an ample wood-and-marble bar and custom stools by Brooklyn-based designer Steven Bukowski complement the original concrete walls and columns, while the ceiling, with Marcel Breuer’s original disc-shaped lights, is mirrored by the circular Mountain White Danby marble tables. Flora Bar will maintain separate hours from the museum and will be accessible through the main entrance even when the museum is closed. 

Flora Bar and Flora Coffee 945 Madison Avenue, New York, NY Tel: 646-558-5383 Designers: Beyer Blinder Belle with Matter House

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Officials break ground on the hotel at iconic TWA Flight Center

Today elected officials, Port Authority higher-ups, and a whole cadre of former TWA pilots gathered in one of New York’s best buildings to break ground on the TWA Hotel, an extension of and homage to Eero Saarinen’s grand terminal at JFK.

The Beyer Blinder Belle–led (BBB) restoration of the existing TWA Flight Center and hotel extension is meant to bring back the ethos of Saarinen’s 1962 building, which has been closed to the public since 2001.

JFK is one of the country's busiest airports, and one of the only major international airports without an adjoining hotel. Today it accommodates 56 million travelers annually, but come 2050, 90 million passengers are projected to pass through its doors. 

Like President-elect Donald Trump, Governor Andrew Cuomo fixated in his introductory remarks on the nation’s lackluster airports. Invoking halcyon days when big projects got done quickly, Cuomo lamented that New York is not keeping up with the Dubais and Shanghais of the world. Unlike thorn-in-his-side LaGuardia or the Second Avenue subway, the airport hotel is a bright spot: He praised MCR Development, the hospitality investment firm spearheading the project. “They have built a hotel for the future," Cuomo said. "They’re not building a museum, they’re building a business. They're banking on the future.” 

Actually, there will be a museum. It's devoted to New York's role in the Jet Age, that hopeful time when people thought science and technology could resolve the profound contradictions of the human condition, and when women picked shoes to match their handbags. As befits the setting, there will also be exhibits devoted to midcentury modern design.

For travelers, the soon-to-be 500-room TWA Hotel will try to infuse some glamour into the New York airport hotel landscape, now thoroughly dominated by budget inns with gross carpeting. The new structure will sit behind the original terminal and flank its wings on either side: The landmarked flight terminal will be a lobby, and patrons will be able to access the structure via Saarinen's red passenger tubes that connect to Terminal 5. In that same vein, BBB's work will revive original interiors by Charles Eames, Raymond Loewy, and Warren Platner. 

A 40,000-square-foot events space will accommodate up to 1,600 people, and attendees can access a 10,000-square-foot observation deck to see planes take off. If hungry, visitors can dine in eight restaurants and six bars, one situated prominently behind Saarinen’s terminal, or patronize a food-hall-cum-incubator that features Queens- and Brooklyn-based vendors. When it's complete in fall 2018, the building will have its own power plant, totally off the grid.

No need to worry about another Calatrava mall (uh, transit center): The $265 million project is being executed with the Port Authority and other agencies, but it is privately funded.

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.