Posts tagged with "Brooklyn Bridge Park":

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Spandex and Cash to Flood Brooklyn Bridge Park

An avid cyclist plans to bring his passion for bike racing to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Joshua Rechnitz announced Thursday that his nonprofit, the New York City Fieldhouse, will build a $40 million multi-purpose recreation center on the inland edge of the park bordering the BQE. Now occupied by a deteriorating industrial building used for storage by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the new facility designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners will include a modern velodrome along with space for a variety of other recreational activities. Architects have not begun designing the 115,000 square foot Fieldhouse, but the facility is expected to blend well with Michael Van Valkenburgh's surrounding landscape. The roof, which will be visible from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade above, is expected to become a signature design element and the structure will aim for LEED certification. Inside, the velodrome's 200-meter inclined track will dominate the space, but basketball, tennis, volleyball, and gymnastics will also be accommodated. Seating for nearly 2,500 people will be provided around the bike track. Maintenance areas and public restrooms for park visitors will also be provided. Besides competitive racing, the Fieldhouse will also offer the community cycling lessons, classes, and amateur races. Operations are expected to be self-funding. City officials and Brooklyn Bridge Park representatives praised the plans for bringing a year-round use to the park. “We want this to truly be a community endeavor that will add amenities for park users and provide a much needed all-weather sports facility,” Rechnitz said in a statement. A series of public meetings with the community will be scheduled to help guide the project forward and, pending review, construction could begin within a year and a half.
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Dreaming of Development at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Last week, as New York was blindly transfixed on its impending Thanksgiving feast, the Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) released renderings of a proposed mixed-use development that has been floated to help fund the waterfront park. Seven proposals stacked, folded, and otherwise covered in plants a program calling for several hundred hotel rooms and residences on two park-side sites on Furman Street. The developer/architect breakdown was full of the regular big names and heavy hitters: Brooklyn's Two Trees selected WASA/Studio AToll Brothers worked with Rogers Marvel; SDS worked with Leeser; Extell went with Beyer Blinder Belle; Dermot with FX Fowle; RAL with CDA; and Starwood teamed with Alloy Development, Bernheimer Architects, and n Architects. Building any new buildings along the park has been a contentious issue, but the tax revenue the new development would generate would go a long way toward BBP's financial sustainability. While architects whipped up some flashy renderings, one aspect seems certain to rouse fans of Brooklyn Heights' elevated promenade. In several of the renderings, views of the Brooklyn Bridge appear slightly interrupted despite guidelines that limit the height of new construction. BBP spokesperson Ellen Ryan told AN that all of the proposals adhere to the Special Scenic View Corridor regulations set forth by City Planning, which are actually lower in height  than the old cold storage warehouses that once stood on the site until the 1950s. The building height limits range from 55 feet on the south parcel and 100 feet on the north. That's not the only thing driving neighborhood angst. The Brooklyn Eagle pointed out that the public only has about four weeks to review and comment on the proposals—until December 22—and at the height of the holiday season rush no less. There's a lot to like about the proposals as well. WASA/Studio A clad their curvilinear buildings with giant green walls with windows poking through while Rogers Marvel and others planted every available rooftop space with green roofing. FXFOWLE's stacked metal-mesh-covered volumes connect to the planned Squibb Park pedestrian bridge, providing direct access to its rooftops in what looks to be a gesture to the High Line. Leeser Architects' futuristic proposal called for a massive atrium filled with a gym and a floating pool, while Starwood's team of Bernheimer and n Architects lifted their proposal to provide views of the park along the sidewalk. Take a look at all of the proposals below and share your thoughts in the comments. All images courtesy respective firms / Brooklyn Bridge Park.
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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 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.
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Lantern Lights Out at Jane’s Carousel

Over the weekend, we headed out to Brooklyn Bridge Park to check out the light show of Jane's Carousel. We had been told that silhouettes of horses were to be projected onto a ceiling scrim until 1AM. We even held ambitions of traipsing across the Brooklyn Bridge to get a better view. But after watching a spectacular sunset reflect off of Jean Nouvel's acrylic cube, the show was over. We were told that the lights for the magic lantern were much too hot for the recently restored horses. No matter, it's hard to surpass the carousel's bulbs reflected in the acrylic, with a glittering Manhattan serving as backdrop.

AN Video> Jane’s Carousel: Your Thoughts?

It's been a couple of week's since Jane's Carousel opened to the public on the Brooklyn Waterfront, allowing us time to reflect on the rainy opening day and see just how the new attraction is being received. It's seems Jean Nouvel's pavilion is a study in contrasts, particularly on cold gloom of the opening ceremony when we first stopped by. We made a short impressionistic collage of our observations including the carnivalesque merriment going on inside the pavilion set against the sober geometry outside. (You might also spot Nouvel himself taking a ride or an overly-excited Marty Markowitz astride one of the wooden horses.) Granted the acrylic-paneled doors of Nouvel's pavilion can be thrown open to the surrounding park, but the celebratory atmosphere seems contained, anchored even. Viewed from across the park, the riverside building takes on the feel of a ferry terminal. Inside, however, the playful carousel offers distorted views through the giant door panels that give downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge a fun-house-mirror effect. Have you been to the carousel yet? What are your thoughts of Nouvel's contrasting design?
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Taking a Spin With Nouvel

The man in black designing a Merry-Go-Round seems a jarring fit. But out on the Brooklyn waterfront buffeted by winds on a raw point between the muscular grandeur of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, Nouvel seems just the right man to insinuate something as delicate as a life-size interactive music box into a setting as tough as the Brooklyn waterfront. The contrasts were not lost on the architect who said shortly before the ribbon-cutting today that he wanted to make a shelter for the 1922 carousel that was “a little tender but not too cute and with a feeling for the poetry of the situation.” His original dream was to encase it all in glass but getting down to a more realistic budget, acrylic glass turned out to offer something even more interesting and close to the architect’s temperament: distortions. He dismissed concerns—shared by the client it turns out—that the acrylic would scratch and yellow:  “That’s the old acrylic,” he said.
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Building Brooklyn Awards Showcase Green Design

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 11th annual Building Brooklyn Awards, recognizing 13 buildings for innovation in expanding and preserving Brooklyn's built environment. Awards covered a variety of categories including adaptive re-use and historic preservation, mixed-use, education, interior renovation, mixed-use, open space, and affordable housing. In addition to the building awards, the Chamber of Commerce honored Deb Howard, Executive Director of the Pratt Area Community Council and Jed Walentas, Principal of Two Trees Management for their work in restoring and revitalizing neighborhoods Bedford-Stuyvesant and DUMBO respectively. Noteworthy projects include Brooklyn Bridge Park by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Myrtle Hall at the Pratt Institute by WASA/Studio A, Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility by Ennead Architects LLP; Greeley and Hansen; Hazen and Sawyer; and Malcolm Prime, and Brooklyn Ecopolis by Simino Architects. Each building has been recognized because of its sustainable preservation of and attention to public and private space. Brooklyn Bridge Park Piers 1 and 6 were awarded for design in the Open Space category. From the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, "Pier 1 is the only park pier to built on landfill, rather than a pile-supported structure, which allowed for the construction of dramatic topography. The monumental Granite Prospect offers stunning harbor views and utilizes granite salvaged from the reconstruction of the Roosevelt Island Bridge." The pleasant greenery along the waterfront is complemented by its sustainable features and innovative management systems. The Chamber of Commerce recognized Myrtle Hall at the Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill as an example for Education building. Listed as the first LEED Gold certified academic building in Brooklyn, the 120,000 square foot structure "brings design integrity back to the street, along with foot traffic and increased retail vitality." The Newton Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility completed its first phase of a 25 year master plan in Greenpoint. As the Chamber of Commerce noted, "The site addresses the community's concerns about a large and expanding facility of its kind through integrating excellence of design, a phased approach; and providing public art and waterfront park space." Also, visually interesting because "the entire plant is covered in blue light at night, uniting the disparate elements of the facility and providing a glowing visual element against the skyline." The Mixed-Use award goes to Brooklyn Ecopolis, a family-owned five story building designed for different sustainable projects. Currently, "a sustainable coffee shop at the ground floor level, Brooklyn Ecopolis, a non-profit sustainable resource center on the second floor, with the owners living on the residential floors above." The LEED Gold certified project is hoped to inspire the community of Cobble Hill as an example for other structures of its kind.
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The Scenic Route: NYC from the East River Ferry

We tried the new East River Ferry service this week and found some of the best views of the biggest projects in town.  Though many of the renderings in circulation for developments like Domino Sugar Factory and Hunters Point show views from the river-front perspective, it's rare that you actually get to see the sites from that angle--until now. We decided to give the ferry service a test-run to check out the viability of getting from an office in downtown Manhattan, such as ours on Murray Street, to Brooklyn and Queens, then completed the loop by heading back the 34th Street terminal. Taking the MTA bus meant a series of transfers and the subway was about five blocks away from the pier, so we opted to take the Downtown Alliance's Downtown Connection, a free service that loops around the southern tip of the island and drops you right off at Wall Street a block from Pier 11. At the corner of Governeur Lane and Front Street the Korilla BBQ truck beckoned, but the long line of Wall Streeters discouraged us. The boat was waiting when we got there and left the dock in about ten minutes. Within about ten more minutes we were docking at Brooklyn Bridge Park and were on our way to four more stops before landing at 34th Street. There, the ferry service runs a free bus loop to Sixth Avenue which wasn't there when we arrived, so we hopped on the M34, transferred and was back in the office in an hour and half from our starting point.
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QUICK CLICKS>Lost Library, Bad Planning, Homey, Pricey Park

Flummoxed Lenox. Inspired by a Gothamist post about hidden rooms in the Frick, Mark Lamster digs a bit deeper and shares his knowledge of the site when it was occupied by the old Lenox Library. "...sober, imposing, and correct, much like the man who designed it, Richard Morris Hunt," he says of the old edifice, before delving into the curious history of the Hunt memorial across the street. Boulevard Blues. Brownstoner is still hammering away at a bleak streetscape along 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, where first floors of the new residential buildings leave a lot to be desired. The site reports that City Planning may be looking at measures to fix mistakes from 2003 upzoning and bring more life onto the street. While they're at it, perhaps they can tap the DOT to add some green to the median. House vs. Home. A kinder and gentler Peter Eisenman emerged from nearly 20 years of Jungian analysis, the architect tells The Washington Post. Far from the heady world of theory ("I was a cerebral cat"), Eisenman returns to the world of bricks and mortar. The change helps him expound on the differences between a house and home. Tick Tock. The clock is ticking for the Brooklyn Bridge Park to make a decision on how to pay for maintaining the park, reports Crains. “If we don't have a financial model, we won't be able to proceed with construction,” BBP President Regina Myer tells the paper.
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Quick Clicks> View, Fix, Crash, Don′t Crash

[ Quick Clicks: A regular guided tour of interesting links from around the web. ] What a view. Curbed uncovered a few renderings of the planned restaurant at Brooklyn Bridge Park including the view from its rooftop terrace (Hey, where'd the Beekman 8 Spruce Tower run off to?). There's currently an RFP out until January 25 for a restaurant operator to fill the already partially-built concrete and wood structure. Fix don't nix. There are a couple days left to get in on the conversation going on at The Glass House led by New York Magazine architecture critic Justin Davidson. This week's question asks how architects and designers can fix our pervasive car culture without outlawing cars outright. There's already quite a discussion going on. Crashing. A public safety campaign in Melbourne hopes to catch the eye of a few Aussie drivers. PSFK shows how a normal car has been wrapped with decals portraying the wreckage of a car after a high-speed collision to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding. Hopefully drivers will remember to keep their eyes on the road as they slow down to take in the view. Not crashing. Naysayers have been questioning the merits of a dedicated bike lane along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West ever since it was installed last year, but now a report released by the NYC DOT confirms the road diet has increased safety without major impact on drivers. StreetsBlog has full details, but crashes have been reduced 16% and injury crashes are down by 62.5%. Several new improvements are suggested to increase pedestrian safety even further, but no word if the Third Street boulders will get funding.
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Potential Pyramid Scheme in DUMBO

Is NYC's next architectural adventure shaped like a pyramid? Maybe, if one of the groups competing for usage space in Brooklyn's historic Tobacco Warehouse has its way. The recently stabilized structure  is currently under the purview of the powers-that-be at the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which sees the Warehouse as "most compelling public spaces" in the city's quest to spruce up the Brooklyn waterfront. Our friends at Curbed have some renderings of what dance and theater troupe LAVA would like to do if they win the great space race for this (currently) roofless brick structure that seems to sidle up next to the Brooklyn Bridge. This blogger has to wonder if it's less a pyramid and more a volcano (LAVA... volcano... get it?) Meanwhile, contestant #2, the DUMBO-based theater group St. Ann's Warehouse, has more a conventional, but potentially more contextually palatable, idea of what they'd like a revamped Tobacco Warehouse to look like.

Despite an appeal by former Partridge Family star and 1970s teen idol Susan Dey to send the contract out for re-bidding at Monday's tempestuous public meeting, the folks at Curbed are putting their money on St. Ann's to win the conditional designation sometime soon. (Leave us your predictions in the comments section below.)

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A Day at the Park

We've already mentioned the opening today of Pier 1, the first piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park. But for those of you less concerned with park governance and public-private funding mechanisms—most of you, really—than with the actual park itself, herein is our guided tour (click the photo above to begin). While the rain may have dampened the mood of some New Yorkers today, not here in the park, which seemed brighter for the downpour, verdant as Ireland and twice as lucky for having opened after a 25-year struggle. The park, and even this first sliver of it, is magnificent and majestic, a transformative place so different and particular—not unlike the High Line—that it can change your entire perception of the city. Dan Kramer, chair of the BBP Conservancy, agrees. "When I walk around, I get the same feeling I get walking around the High Line" he said at today's ribbon cutting. "This park feels like it was always here, like it always belonged here." Michael Van Valkenburgh sees the park as a civics lesson. "I'm always reminded when a park opens that there's nothing more democratic or important to the city than a park," he said. "I'm always struck how this is for everyone." He and principal-in-charge Matt Urbanski said they expected the newly empowered to city to keep on building, and the opening would only help boost their momentum. "It's like serving the entree without all the fixings," Urbanski said. "This is a big slice of roast beef, and it's gonna be good, and everyone'll want more." Regina Myer, head of the park development corporation and maestro of its construction, certainly believes New Yorks will like their first taste of the place. "It's a park like none other, given its place on the water and in the city," Myer said, "but really, it's extraordinary for the way it embraces beautiful design and sustainability and I think that, maybe after the bridge, is what people are going to notice."