Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

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With the go-ahead from City Planning, this office building may close the book on the transformation of Williamsburg’s waterfront

Office space is in short supply in Brooklyn. A 2004 rezoning of downtown Brooklyn was intended to facilitate the development of 4.5 million square feet of Class A office space. Since then, the local development corporation Downtown Brooklyn Partnership estimates that only 250,000 square feet of office space has been built. The space crunch also spreads north, to Williamsburg. This week, the Department of City Planning is expected to approve developer Toby Moskovits' (of Heritage Equity Partners) application to alter manufacturing-only zoning for a nine-story, 480,000-square-foot office building at 25 Kent Avenue. AN first reported on the Moskovits' office plans last April. The building's design by New York–based HWKN appears similar in both the original and updated renderings. Ziggurat-style terracing reduces the structure's mass. At street level, the brickwork and arched floor-to-ceiling windows reference the warehouse it may replace. Currently, the lot, between North 12th and North 13th streets, lies in a M1-2 zone. In this area, zoning requires a non-manufacturing facility build in a manufacturing zone to devote more than half its space to medical, school, religious, or non-profit facilities. Moskovits would like the building to be offices, only, thought a portion of the project may be reserved for light-manufacturing use. Certifying the application triggers the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a process that can take months. The ULURP gathers opinions on the project's request from Brooklyn's Community Board 1; the borough president, Eric Adams; City Planning; and the City Council. So far, signs are good: area Councilman Steve Levin is in favor of the project, Crain's reports. If approved, Moskovits' application could have profound influence on others looking to subvert current zoning in manufacturing areas. Due to the current restrictions, developers shy away from building non-manufacturing in manufacturing zones; creating community space is less profitable than creating office space. Go figure.
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ODA brings mallcore to Brooklyn with this stacked mixed-use development

Master box-stacking architecture firm ODA has unveiled its latest addition to the Brooklyn cityscape: an eight story, mixed-used development at 71 White Street in East Williamsburg. The approximately 80,700-square-foot hotel, retail, and semi-public space will rise from the skeleton of an existing one-story, graffiti-adorned 1930s warehouse. Calling 71 White Street a mall would undermine the grittiness it strives so hard to project. Yet, its circulation pattern and its relationship to the street speaks for itself. The complex's stacked and rotated layers recede from, yet tower over, the existing low-slung street wall to create a series of insular private and public spaces. The main entrance, on the corner of McKibben and White streets, is set deep into the lot, drawing visitors though indoor and outdoor corridors to access food, drink, and entertainment. The first two floors are programmed for restaurant and retail space. Ground-floor windows would punctuate the now window-deficient facade, and create visual interest on the street. The top five floors are given over to a 112 room hotel. That hotel will provide de facto amenities: gym, rooftop bar, and pool. In addition, renderings depict multiple, expansive shared terraces that afford views of Manhattan. For those interested in people-watching, the third floor will be an open-air public promenade. To access the third floor space from the main entrance, a set of stairs slopes gently upward and diverges, giving access to the east and west ends of the structure. The circulation pattern will accommodate a range of uses: on the west end, an amphitheater slopes down to the ground floor, while the east end appears to be reserved for more quiet activities, like eating at picnic tables.
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100 Fountains will revive New York City’s esteemed public drinking culture

Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink. —Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Though New York has the some of the cleanest municipal tap water, New Yorkers now consume 1.25 billion bottles of water annually. A contributing factor to the rise in bottled water consumption is the decline in the number of public drinking fountains. New York–based Pilot Projects would like to revive the grand tradition of public bubblers through a novel design/build competition. Pilot Project's 100 Fountains competition, launched September of this year, will tap artists and designers to build 100 fountains citywide in 2016. Each participant receives $5,000 to develop his or her team's design. According to the project proposal, the competition area will be divided into 30–40 zones, with two or three fountains per zone. The public judging period starts June 2016 and runs through September 2016. The original fountains will be auctioned off for charity, and ten designs from the pool will be chosen and duplicated for permanent installation at to-be-determined locations citywide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFq8z96zbQQ In 2012, Pilot Projects hosted a campaign to raise awareness around the lack of drinking fountains. In the video above, passerbys in Union Square traipse over a red carpet to a (pre-existing, functioning) fountain operated by white-gloved servers. Per a 2007 zoning text amendment, the Department of City Planning (DCP) requires a fountain in every newly-built Privately Owned Public Space (POPS). The report suggests that, in lieu of vending machines offering sweetened beverages and bottled water, designers should incorporate public drinking fountains into the POPS. To justify their economic reason-for-being, 100 Fountains points to large-scale public art installations that overtook city streets in the late 1990s and 2000s: Christo and Jeanne-Claude's The Gates, Olafur Eliasson's New York City Waterfalls, and CowParade. The economic impacts of these project were estimated in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. 100 Fountains also takes direct inspiration from the Minneapolis Arts Commission. The commission highlighted Minneapolis' connection to surrounding rivers and lakes by installing ten custom fountains to celebrate the city's 150th anniversary. Pilot Projects will partner with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Education, Office of the Arts and Special Projects, as well as Yale University’s Environmental Protection Clinic and Parsons The New School For Design to carry out the project. Expect to see fountains on the streets beginning June of next year.  
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Under budget pressures, WXY reveals new ideas for long shuttered Brooklyn War Memorial

The band Barenaked Ladies famously speculated on what a million dollars could buy: a little tiny fridge filled with pre-wrapped sausages, K-cars, a woman's eternal, undying love, or fancy ketchups.  Well, this isn't the nineties anymore, and, as community leaders in Brooklyn are learning, seven figures will not be nearly enough to renovate and preserve the Brooklyn War Memorial. New York's WXY, lead consultants on the 2014's Brooklyn Strand and 2013's Brooklyn Tech Triangle master plan, led the design team and facilitated community visioning sessions for the memorial. The memorial renovation is a component of the "Brooklyn Strand," a project to unify the patchwork of parks, plazas, and green spaces between Brooklyn Bridge Park and Borough Hall. This month, the Mayor's Office released The Brooklyn War Memorial Feasibility Study to delineate proposed changes to the area. Spearheaded by the Cadman Park Conservancy, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and the Borough President Eric Adams, community leaders are looking to raise $11.8 million by 2019 for the renovation. Adams has allocated $1 million to the project, but other politicians, businesses, and foundations will need to come forward with the difference. Though the memorial, in Cadman Plaza Park, sits near eight subway lines, is proximate to a year-round farmer's market, and is often surrounded by lunching office workers, its prime location has not helped with fundraising. So far, the conservancy has received a paltry $4,060 through a May crowdfunding campaign. WXY facilitated workshops with residents and community groups to generate ideas for the memorial and surrounding park space. Designed by New York's Eggers and Higgins and dedicated in 1951, the memorial honors the 300,000 Brooklynites who served in World War II. Due to lack of maintenance funds, the site has been closed to the public for the past quarter century. Currently, the memorial building contains offices and storage on the lower level, while the primary attraction, a Wall of Honor that displays the names of more than 11,500 borough residents killed in battle, occupies the main floor. The renovation of the 33,660-square-foot space would add a visitor's center, exhibition hall, and cafe to the lower level, and a rooftop terrace that can be rented out for events. Gentle slopes will flank the entrance, inviting Strand strollers to linger around the memorial. An ADA compliant entrance ramp at the main level and elevator are planned, as well.
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Ocean Liner S.S. United States may dock in Red Hook after ship-shape conversion

New York City has 520 miles of coastline. The city's coastline-to-swanky-offshore-vessel ratio, however, is seriously skewed. Although New Yorkers may enjoy drinks on the Frying Pan, at Chelsea Piers, or visit the oil tanker cultural center aboard the Mary A. Whalen, in Red Hook, there is certainly room for another moldering boat-turned-modern-recreation-and-entertainment-space. The Brooklyn Paper reports that John Quadrozzi Jr., owner of the Gowanus Bay Terminal in Red Hook, beamed an SOS to investors willing to put up between $50 and $200 million to convert the 63-year-old, 990-foot-long S.S. United States into retail, offices, and cultural facilities. Before air travel, the S.S. United States was a grande dame among ocean liners. The ship has half-a-million square feet of floor space and 13 decks. Quadrozzi would offer space to startups, a maritime school and museum, a swimming pool, gym, and restaurants. The vessel would be self-sustaining, retrofitted to produce and consume solar, waste, and wind energy. For almost 20 years, the S.S. United States has sat in a Philadelphia ship yard. Currently, it costs its owners, the S.S. United States Conservancy, $60,000 each month to maintain. The Conservancy will decide by November whether it wants to partner with Quadrozzi, or another (unnamed) Manhattan partner. If the conversion plan is ultimately deemed nonviable, the conservancy will haul the historic ship to the scrapyard.
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On View> Rachel Whiteread: Looking Out at Luhring Augustine Bushwick

Looking Out Luhring Augustine Bushwick 25 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn, NY Through December 20, 2015 Rachel Whiteread is a thoroughly architectural artist. Her sculpture exposes the spatial relationships between common objects, or whole buildings, and their environments. Detached III, a concrete and steel cast of a garden shed, transforms the humble structure into a monument. Her works on paper respond to specific sculptures but are considered a body of work on their own. Whiteread uses unconventional media—graph paper, correction fluid, varnish—to mark present and absent spaces between forms. To complement the Bushwick show, there will be a parallel exhibition of Whiteread’s work at Luhring Augustine Chelsea from November 7–December 19.
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Museum of Food and Drink Lab opens in Williamsburg with exhibition on real fake flavors

At most museums, "Do Not Touch" is a core commandment. Even at idiosyncratic institutions like the New York Hall of Science or the City Museum in St. Louis, licking or sniffing the exhibits is not encouraged. The behavioral guidelines are very different at Brooklyn's just-opened Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab. MOFAD Lab engages all five senses to investigate the history, science, and culture of food and drink. Housed in a converted mechanic's garage across the street from McCarren Park, MOFAD Lab is the first brick-and-mortar museum devoted exclusively to what the world drinks and eats. The first exhibit, Flavor: Making it and Faking It, explores flavor production and manufacturing. MOFAD founder Dave Arnold explained the need for a physical museum in the digital age: "watching TV shows, you're not able to taste food. The MOFAD Lab is a place to experiment" with how to best engage and present MOFAD's novel items and ideas. It is also the testing ground for a possible, but as yet unconfirmed, permanent museum space. Wyeth Hansen and Ryan Dunn, the designers behind Brooklyn-based Labour, directed MOFAD Lab's entire creative strategy. The duo has worked with Arnold and executive director Peter Kim since 2012 to develop the logo and branding strategy. When it was certain the museum would assume a tangible form, Labour extended their work for the lab into 3D, designing the installations, creating graphics and video, and commissioning fabricators to create specialty aroma-producing machines. Dunn describes the aesthetic of MOFAD Lab as "Eames' office meets Willy Wonka." The team worked fast to convert the raw space into a museum: there was a three month turn around time between the design phase and the October opening. While declining to name a figure, the duo stated their budget was "not big." The space, consequently, has a polished DIY feel: Hansen and Dunn described the exhibition as a "hierarchy of modules," underscoring the flexibility of the program. Wall text and some displays are mounted on a system of wooden cleats. The cleats allow for quick install and breakdown, while ensuring that every text panel is aligned with its neighbor. Labour enlisted design and engineering firm RUSHdesign, located right down the street from MOFAD, to fabricate the frames and smell machines. Voll, exhibition designers based out of Bedford-Stuyvesant, created a floor-to-almost-ceiling paneled wall, and the housing for a video installation that greets incoming visitors. The proximity of the fabricators enabled an especially fast turnaround between design and build. As a key component of taste, many installations engage olfaction. Beside wall text that explained the origins of a particular scent or flavor, smell machines ask visitors' nostrils to determine whether two side-by-side smells, piped through metal tubes at the push of a button, are genuine "concord grape" or genuine "methyl anthranilate." The mother of all the smell machines is the whimsical Smell Synth, a taxonomy of scents, edible and not. Visitors may breed hybrid smells from 19 choices like "Pancakes", "Fruity" and "Cheesey/Vomit", or "Vanilla" and "Nail Polish Remover." The machine lights up when its buttons are pressed, while its tubes emit puffs of the chosen olifacton. Amazingly, the Smell Synth took seven to ten days between design and installation. Beginning October 28, MOFAD Lab is open to foodies (and the general public), though as of yet, no hours are posted on their website.
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Along the Gowanus Canal, dlandstudio’s Sponge Park will soon be ready to soak up polluted water

You won't be able to drink from it anytime soon, but the fetid, toxic shores of the Gowanus Canal will soon be graced with a new park that filters stormwater as it enters the canal. Designed by Brooklyn's dlandstudio in partnership with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park will be an 18,000 square foot public space on city-owned land, where Second Street meets the canal. Due to the canal's Superfund status, multiple federal, state, and city agencies are involved in environmental remediation, on and offshore (see diagram below). The $1.5 million project is publicly and privately funded: New York-based Lightstone Group will bankroll a boat launch for the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. The developers are planning a 700 unit residential high rise adjacent to the park. Initiated in 2008, the project stalled for seven years as funding was secured. dlandstudio chose plants for their ability to filter out biological toxins from sewage, heavy metals, and other pollutants that overwhelm the canal, especially when it rains. Floating wetlands adjacent to shore will filter runoff further. Due to the canal's Superfund status, multiple federal, state, and city agencies are involved in environmental remediation, on and offshore (see diagram above). The first phase of the park is expected to open early 2016. State and local officials plan for the Sponge Park to be part of a network of green space that will mitigate flood risk while cleaning incoming stormwater.
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New York City launches interactive maps that reveal the minutia of neighborhood-level data

Busybodies and neighborhood know-it-alls rejoice: today, New York City, in partnership with civic data managers Vizalytics, launched a beta version of neighborhood.nyc, a new website that maps street-level information derived from 311 calls and city agencies. While this information was and is available in the NYC Open Data Portal, it often required time and high-level sleuthing to sort through mounds of data. The city's new website, neighborhood.nyc, pulls from open data feeds to streamline and map information in the data portal, allowing residents to filter results by neighborhood, or categories, including: MTA, traffic, public health, and quality of life. A search of Tribeca (AN's home neighborhood) revealed markers for noise complaints, street closures, restaurant inspection reports, and contact information for police, fire, and elected officials. In the coming months, the city will invite community leaders to become page administrators, allowing them update their neighborhood's home page images, post community events, or promote local business. To ensure broad access, the site is available in 13 languages. Each neighborhood has its own searchable URL. The index lists over 400 districts famous and obscure, including the twee portmanteaus that are definitely not a thing.
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Please be Seated: New York City expands its CityBench program and grows ‘Street Seat’ parklets in Brooklyn

If there's one thing New Yorker's won't stand for, it's a lack of benches. After unveiling the 1,500th addition to its CityBench program, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has revealed that a federal award package of $1.5 million will be used to develop the CityBench scheme further. In addition to this The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has initiated a colorful "Street Seats" program as seating projects gain popularity in the city. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=csrcLeTEZaM Over three years ago, an initial $3 million funded the CityBench initiative which pledged to place 1,000 new seats in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Now, according to NYC.gov, a further 600 benches have been promised by 2017. The program aims to bring seating to areas where there are few areas of rest aiding the elderly and disabled, with hot spots being around bus stops and areas with high concentrations of senior citizens. Since the scheme started in 2011, citizens have been able to request benches if they choose. Requests can be made via a website form here. So far over 110 senior citizens have made requests and the program has contributed significantly in aiding the pedestrianization of New York City's streets. As a result, distances that would once upon a time be deemed too far to walk by some residents are now possible with the aid of sufficient public seating. "DOT is proud to install our 1,500th CityBench and receive additional federal funding to continue serving our communities, particularly our children and seniors,” NYCDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a statement. “Not only are CityBenches a valuable urban amenity in this dense city but they also add to the changing New York City streetscape. I’d like to thank our partners at the federal level for their continued support of this much needed project.” Behind the design aspect of the scheme is NYC-based Ignacio Ciocchini who is Director of Design for Chelsea Improvement Company. Focusing on durability and withdrawing the need for constant maintenance, backless and backed styles provide comfortable resting spaces. Made from domestic steel and manufactured in the USA, they are designed to meet the rigorous demands of New York City’s streets and are coordinated with the look of existing street furniture. Street Seats For the people of Brooklyn however, the notion of sidewalk seating is going a step further. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a non-profit local development organization has begun working with designers Studio Fantástica to produce "Street Seats." These more colorful additions to Brooklyn's sidewalks began popping up in 2014 and have been a huge hit. So much so that NYC DOT has started working with the Studio Fantástica to establish a Street Seats design standard to be used throughout the city. The first example was officially unveiled by DOT on September 11 in East New York and further installments are planned in other boroughs.
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Archtober Building of the Day 11> Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park 150 Furman Street, Brooklyn Maryann Thompson Architects It was a perfect day for Archtober-ites to walk onto Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park and engage in an enlightening tour of its creation, from concept to completion. Kait Kurs from Maryann Thompson Architects began at the entrance—the threshold that separates the big city and pier. It is what makes Pier 2 an island of recreation that includes playgrounds, picnic areas, an inline skating rink, and courts for basketball, handball, bocce, and tetherball. Essentially, it is a “toy box” for the larger park. The pier was originally built by New York Dock Company in the 1950s and operated by Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Kurs mentioned that the team found bullet casings and black burn marks on the concrete when they started working on the project – remnants of the Port Authority police training. Instead of tearing down the pier and its history, the team chose to adaptively reuse the existing building as the most profound form of recycling. The columns and roof structure were refurbished, but all the walls were removed to bring bright light into the interior. For additional support, large box trusses were added without disturbing the existing form. Polycarbonate skylights inserted into the gables cast a diffused light across the site. Subtractions of roof create voids of sky and open views of Lower Manhattan. The industrial look has been maintained to reference the pier’s past use and landscape. Among the biggest challenges in creating the pier were its drainage system and program. The drainage system was solved by creating a water tank below the entrance to the pier. As for the program, a horizontal layering was used as an organizational strategy for the dispersion and sequence of programming. The space is negotiated with a series of full-height, stainless-steel screens that partially contain “interior” programs, yet allow a visual transparency. Picnic tables are interspersed with various sport courts, alternating between spaces of activity and rest. Apart from that, the perimeter of the pier is a 30-foot-wide promenade that offers magnificent views of Lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor. Pier 2 is a much-needed paradise within the bustling city. Archie Srinivasan is an Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
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Archtober Building of the Day 8> The NYCHA Red Hook West Urban Farm

The NYCHA Red Hook West Urban Farm 6 Wolcott Street, Brooklyn thread collective A gaggle of green-thumbed Archtober enthusiasts joined thread collective’s Elliott Maltby and Gita Nandan to learn about the NYCHA Red Hook West Urban Farm. Situated in Brooklyn, the one acre plot has served as a model for other farms being developed on New York Housing Authority properties, including at Howard Houses in Brownsville and in Coney Island. While the lessons learned in the past three years have eased the way for these projects, each community has its own set of needs and will come up with unique solutions. In its pre-farm days, the site served as an open space that was largely unkempt, although a “tree zoo”—a small gated area with trees—had been put in place to make the lot more welcoming. While no planned walkways crossed the field, desire lines, eroded paths created by people moving along their daily lives, helped guide the design. Rather than planting rectangular beds parallel to the street, thread collective worked on a diagonal to recreate the paths that had developed naturally over time. Americorps team members, all of whom come from the community, talk with residents regularly—people are still learning about the farm every day.  Green City Force and thread collective worked to keep the space accessible to all to encourage community ownership and involvement. When asked if they have ever had a problem with people coming in and picking vegetables for their own use, John Cannizzo of Green City Force explained that while he doesn’t count every tomato, the nobody takes advantage. And if someone really can’t put food on the table, he hopes that they will come and take what they need. None of the produce is sold. Instead, the weekly farmers market is run as an exchange program in which residents volunteer their time or trade compost for freshly-picked vegetables at a pound-for-pound rate. Cooking demonstrations inspire experimentation in the kitchen, and Americorps team members check in with residents to ensure that they are growing the produce that the community wants. We turned the tour into a double feature, heading next to the nearby Red Hook Community Farm. This three acre plot, which is run by Added Value with the support of Green City Force and a coterie of interns and volunteers, processes compost and runs a CSA and farmers’ market. Nefratia Coleman, a CSA intern whose interest in food began at the NYCHA Red Hook West Farm, took us through the process of composting. Neatly arranged piles maximize airflow and capture heat to decompose the product without attracting vermin or smelling up the farm, which is teeming with interns and volunteers throughout the year. The farm and CSA program took a huge hit in 2012 when Sandy ravaged the land; water from both the East River and the Gowanus Canal rendered that year’s crop unusable.  The sanitation department cleaned it up, and the farm was replanted, this time a few feet above its original level. Corey, a staff member of Green City Force explained that the farm serves as a “vehicle to educate, empower, and train young people.” While the interns won’t necessary use their composting skills in future jobs, the leadership abilities they cultivate here will carry them forward in the future. Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.