Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

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The Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) and Brooklyn-based Labour on how to design for taste and smell

Design rarely ventures into your nose and onto your tongue. Or, at least, not design as most of us recognize it. An exhibition at Brooklyn's Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) Lab explores how flavorists—essentially specialized chemists—have been simulating natural tastes and smells for generations, dramatically shaping our collective palate in the process. (Read our initial coverage of the exhibition, dubbed Flavor: Faking It and Making It, here). But how did Brooklyn-based creative office Labour and MOFAD create a physical exhibition around the ephemeral sensations and nervous stimuli that creative flavor? MOFAD's Program Director Emma Boast sat down with Labour's Ryan Dunn and Wyeth Hansen in a discussion moderated by the MoMA's Paola Antonelli to explore just that. "Flavor is the synthesis of smell and taste," said Boast, and the exhibit caters to both with multiple flavor pill dispensers and tubes that blow flavor molecule-scented air into your face. In the educational spirit of the exhibition, these smell stations reveal how they work: small glass jars of labelled flavor concentrate are in plain view when you lean into the nozzle. Dunn, Hansen, and Boast wanted to avoid more conventional scented paper samples. Or as Dunn put it, "It had to look bonkers." They contacted a neuroscientist who helped Labour and MOFAD Founder, President, and culinary maestro Dave Arnold develop the smell puffer technology. The consoles are easy to approach and fun to use, in no small part thanks to some familiar design elements. "The brief said it has to have arcade buttons," Dunn said. When partaking of the smell tubes and flavor pills, there is an inherent leap of faith. When you eat a seaweed umami pill, or inhale a molecule used to simulate lemon flavor, you can't be entirely sure what will happen. And that's very much by design. "Disorientation as a means to discovery," said Hansen, was a core idea in designing the exhibition. The lenticular wall graphic that adorns the exhibition interior similarly disorients visitors, forcing them to decipher its dual meaning. In fact, MOFAD's inaugural exhibition, which traveled around New York City, was even more disorientating: MOFAD deployed an early, industrial cereal "cannon" that popped grains into breakfast cereal with a thunderous, shotgun-like boom. (The machine is on display at MOFAD Lab, but not in use.) The cereal cannon, which predated the MOFAD Lab, set a high bar. "The lineage we're trying to follow," said Hansen, "it's not easy." While crowds could naturally gather around the cannon, the MOFAD Lab would have to work harder to create a shared experience among visitors. The MOFAD Lab had to be equally democratic: "Food is something we should all be excited about, not just the foodie elite," said Dunn. People do easily mix among the smell machines, and pairs or groups can step up to sample the flavors together. The design "emphasizes community: friends, strangers...it's more intimate," said Hansen. Antonelli quizzed the trio towards the end, asking if there were crazy ideas for MOFAD Lab that didn't pan out. One such idea was a "tongue theater" that would've projected footage taken from within a chewing mouth onto the walls of a small room. Antonelli and this reported lamented that it didn't come to fruition, but MOFAD one day hopes to inhabit a larger, permanent space, so there may yet be hope. In the broader context of global food culture, which can range from militant nutritionists to daredevil gourmets, Flavor: Faking It and Making It invites visitors to pause and question our idea of flavor. And critically, it's visceral and not some vicarious television experience. As Antonelli put it, "If I see another white guy chewing on stuff around the world...."
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New zoning permits development of Gensler and HWKN-designed Williamsburg office complex

Williamsburg's first office building in more than 50 years is set to rise at 25 Kent Avenue. Designed by San Francisco's Gensler and New York–based Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), the office complex will span 480,000 square feet, rising to eight stories with space available for commercial and manufacturing purposes, as well as an extensive public courtyard area. Brooklyn-based Heritage Equity Partners is the developer.

Crucially, to make the development happen, the city approved a special zoning district that permits developers to trade light manufacturing space for extra office construction.

Approved by the City Council and City Planning Commission, YIMBY reports that the new zoning rules allow for greater design flexibility and mandate less parking to encourage office development. The “Enhanced Business Area” is set to incorporate much of the North Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone, a zoning area which, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, seeks to "protect existing manufacturing districts and encourage industrial growth citywide."

As for the building itself, a stepped-back brick facade respects the surrounding context while certain structural elements are revealed behind glass to establish a modern yet industrial feel. “At the east and west ends of the building, it’s as if an old building was sliced and we put a curtain wall on,” said Joseph Brancato of Gensler. The scheme will also have 16-foot slab-to-slab heights to facilitate adequate daylighting made possible through large windows deployed throughout the building. Per the new zoning regulations, the number of parking spaces have been set to 275—all situated underground. Before the zoning rules kicked in, the scheme would have had to made room for 1,200 parking spaces.

According to Toby Moskovits of Heritage Equity Partners in Brownstoner, the staggered facade enables office and manufacturing spaces to be modular and have greater flexibility. Startups, whatever stage of development they may be in, would be able to step into 25 Kent Avenue at any time, while amenities such as cafes can be positioned centrally on every level.

Moskovits argued that the development will support Williamsburg by “giving economic opportunity to small businesses and people in the community who need jobs.”  Moskovits added: “We’re of the community and we are entrepreneurs. Our goal is to tenant the building in a way that makes sense for the neighborhood...We believe passionately in what we are doing."

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Never-before-seen works from Ant Farm and LST to go on display in Brooklyn

Opening September 9 this year at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn is an exhibition that will display time capsules from the former San Francisco-based design studio Ant Farm and its contemporary successor LST. Titled The Present Is the Form of All Life: The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST, the exhibition will present an interactive media sculpture as well as a chronology of Ant Farm's time capsule works spanning from 1969-75. LST, comprising Ant Farm’s core members Curtis Schreier and Chip Lord as well as Bruce Tomb, have created a large inflatable structure for the exhibition. The structure, according to a press release, "explores the mutable nature of time perception, media obsolescence, and our shifting cultural attitudes toward preservation, consumer objects and privacy." Typical of the Ant Farm vernacular, the structure and the exhibition touches on utopian dreams and counterculture movements.
Inside the inflatable will be a re-invisioning of Ant Farm's famed Media Van. While set to be nostalgic, the exhibition will present Ant Farm's work from the perspective of their shortcomings. In addition to this, much of the group's never seen before archival works are also set to be displayed. An undated video of Tomb, Schreier, Lord and Paul Rauschelbach inside the van and discussing its functions can be seen here.The exhibition will be also feature a series of lectures from the artists, classes taught through Pioneer Works’ education department, as well as a book: The Present is the Form of All Life: The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST.  “Over the course of five decades, and specifically through their time capsule works, Ant Farm and LST have routinely transcended disciplinary boundaries and, through experimentation, pioneered new artistic mediums that challenge viewers to think differently” said exhibition co-curator and Pioneer Works Director Gabriel Florenz in a press release. “Transcending boundaries and encouraging experimentation are at the heart of Pioneer Works' mission. Through this exhibition, we celebrate and hope to learn from those who established the practices and approaches that our organization strives to foster through a diverse range of programs.” The Present Is the Form of All Life: The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST will run through October 21 of this year and was co-curated by Liz Flyntz. See here for more details.
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SHoP makes the Brooklyn skyline with a “brooding, elegant, and badass” supertall… There goes the neighborhood?

If you zone it, they will build, and they will build tall. New York–based SHoP, in partnership with JDS Development Group, revealed plans earlier this year to build 9 Dekalb Avenue, a 73-story, 1,066-foot-tall residential tower fused to the landmarked Dime Savings Bank in Downtown Brooklyn. Last month, the design cleared a crucial hurdle when the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the tower’s design and consequent modifications to the bank.

“There’s a sort of brooding Gotham to it,” noted Gregg Pasquarelli, founding principal of SHoP. “There’s a little bit of badass to it, but it’s quite elegant at the same time. Isn’t that what we all want to be as New Yorkers?” The 417-unit building is clad in bronze, stainless steel, and stone, with view-maximizing interlocking hexagonal exposures. Pasquarelli explained that the facade detailing is such so that when two sides of the hexagon are viewed from an oblique angle, it will resemble one face, a sleeker reference to the grand old New York skyscrapers like Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building.

Michael Stern, founder of JDS Development Group, proclaimed: “The tower will be Brooklyn’s next icon. Brooklyn was really missing that one iconic statement that was worthy of the borough. This building will really put Brooklyn on the map.” Drawing from the landmark on-site, the spacing of the tower’s vertical facade elements mirrors the spacing of the bank’s neoclassical columns. The color and materials palette picks up on the bank’s colorful stone interiors, which will be converted to retail, while parts of the bank’s roof will be used for the building’s private outdoor spaces.

“The downtown rezoning of Brooklyn in 2004 has been very successful. This is a place where the city could handle density. It’s an incredible kudos to the city they upzoned that area, that they thought about tall towers,” said Pasquarelli. At the prow of Flatbush and Dekalb, the building will be visible from all over Brooklyn, and its distinctive facade will reinforce its prominent position on the skyline.

He and Stern enjoy experimenting with exteriors. Referencing the terra-cotta facade on 111 West 57th Street and the cladding on the East River–facing American Copper Buildings, Pasquarelli intimated that developers and architects are obligated to build for the public realm. “Some people get to live in these buildings, but we all have to live with the exterior.”

While preservationists sometimes bristle at the modification of an individual landmark, Gina Pollara, executive director of the preservation advocacy organization Municipal Arts Society (MAS), thinks there’s a larger issue that’s expressed in the development of tall towers like 9 Dekalb. “For us, it’s not really about the towers itself. Most of these supertalls are going up as-of-right. Because they’re not asking for any variance or any change, there’s no opportunity for public comment.” This tower was unusual, she elaborated, because it involved a landmarked structure. “These buildings are so out of context or out of scale with the neighborhood, and there’s no space for public comment until developers release their renderings. There’s no discussion of the cumulative effects these towers are having on public space.”

In an interview with AN, Stern said that he could not react to critiques like MAS’s (which he had not heard about), “but I can tell you that the commissioners had comments ranging from, ‘the best of urbanism’ and ‘flawless,’ and the LPC approved the project unanimously, as did the community board. It’s something we’re quite proud of.”

Pollara would like to see a better conversation around the 100-year-old zoning code, and reform beyond Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability, the recently codified zoning text amendments. “It’s time to make zoning much more transparent—not just to the layperson, but to elected official,” Pollara said. “We need to get in front of the issue rather than being at the mercy of what is being built around us. Preservation in the 21st century is not necessarily rallying around a specific building, but looking at open space, light, air—all of the elements we want to preserve. We don’t want to live in a city that’s created by default.”

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Operable copper facade adds modern twist to a historic neighborhood

“The facade is almost alive, it’s always dynamic and changing.” - Luca Andrisani

“Aperture 538,” the name of Luca Andrisani Architect’s 10-unit, multi-family residence on Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, says it all: Apertures, or perforations, are the main feature of Andrisani’s imaginative, airy and eco-friendly design, from the copper scrim wall that sheaths its facade to the black metal handrails lining the units’ balconies. Developed by Sam Boymelgreen LLC, and opened June 2015, the building is adjacent to many of the neighborhood’s iconic 19th century brownstones. “There are a lot of beautiful trees and brownstones on the street, and I was taken in by the beauty, and the beautiful, warm experience of walking on the street,” the Manhattan-based architect said. In copper, Andrisani found an ideal material to recreate this warmth: It can be easily cut and weathers beautifully, gradually altering from a metallic color to iridescent brown, black and eventually green. “The facade is almost alive, it’s always dynamic and changing,” he added. Embedded in the facade screen is a series of shutters that cover the units’ windows; these are retractable via hinges, allowing light to pour in directly to the units’ rooms.
  • Facade Manufacturer Kingspan (panels); Hi-Tech Metals, Inc. (screen & shutter system, guardrails); Westside Windows & Doors (glazing)
  • Architects Luca Andrisani Architect (design architect); Tamar Kisilevitz (architect of record)
  • Facade Installer CONSTR LLC (G.C.)
  • Facade Consultants Axis Facades; Hi-Tech Metals, Inc. (screen engineering)
  • Location Brooklyn, NY
  • Date of Completion 2016
  • System steel frame with metal cladding and screen system
  • Products black insulated galvalume panels from Kingspan, aluminum windows from Westside Windows & Doors, custom perforated copper screen & shutter system from Hi-Tech Metals Inc.
The architects consulted with Axis Facades on performative details of the exterior screen, while Hi-Tech Metals Inc. manufactured the assembly. The custom pixelated patterning is derived from Grasshopper scripts, and offers both performative and decorative functions. While the perforations enabled Andrisani to meet local building code requirements for light and air, the patterning reveals a desire to respond to historic and cultural features of the scenic tree-lined street. Simple metal shutters often found on historic buildings throughout New York City provided a historical precedent for the operable copper screens, designed to offer protection from the elements. The facade’s design—which won a 2016 North American Cooper in Architecture Award from the Copper Development Association—is inspired by something else archetypically Brooklyn: John A. Roebling’s 1883 landmark Brooklyn Bridge. Three diagonal lines flying out from the far right of the screen are meant to represent the bridge’s turrets, Andrisani said. The screen and balcony spaces offer a glimpse of the steel frame construction system while balancing the precision of digitally controlled perforations with a deliberately raw material palette. Various balconies in the units, located in the building’s rear and along its side, contain black metal handrails, perforated like the facade’s screen. Dividers separating cabanas for each unit on the building’s roof—as yet unbuilt—will contain similar handrails. The main volume of the building features a black galvalume panel cladding set in a clean stack bond pattern with reveal joints that register copper trimmed windows along the side elevations. The facade material extends to the interior lobby, providing streetside continuity, while the copper window trim extends to the interior of the units, showcases the depth of the exterior wall construction while offering a warm glow at window openings. Paired with operable copper shutters, the window detailing at Aperture538 appropriately reaffirms the name of the development.
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SITU Studio designs a “Solar Canopy” to popularize rooftop solar systems in urban areas

A recently developed product, the Solar Canopy, may solve many of the problems related to having solar panels on residential urban rooftops, according to a recent press release. The Solar Canopy, a collaboration of Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm SITU Studio and Brooklyn SolarWorks, is a raised platform of solar panels. The project’s development also included Solar One, an advisor, and Laufs Engineering Design (LED), a structural engineering consultant. This approach to incorporating solar panels on rooftops in New York City attempts to resolve concerns such as fire code regulations, rooftop obstructions, and wind and snow loads. The Canopy has a minimum size requirement of 6’ wide x 9’ high, based on requirements set forth by the Department of Buildings (DOB). The product was initially designed for brownstones and row-houses in Brooklyn but can be produced in larger sizes. Aluminum, with its solid-but-lightweight properties, was chosen for the Canopy's frame. “The buildings might not [stand the test of time] but [the Canopy] is built to really last,” stated T.R. Ludwig of Brooklyn SolarWorks in an interview with AN. The Canopy consists of standard components—trusses, beams, and angled columns. A T-extrusion is used to attach the structure securely to the roof. Using a parametric formula, these components can be easily reproduced to yield a customized Canopy, potentially double the size of a rooftop solar system. A video included in a press release, seen below, shows the assembly of the Canopy. The Solar Canopy will hopefully allow homeowners to save considerably in energy costs. Tax credits from the Federal government, the State of New York, and the City of New York can be used to cover 60 to 90 percent of the cost of a rooftop solar system. Ludwig told AN that it is possible for homeowners to take out loans to have the product installed and that affordability is one of the project team’s priorities. Brooklyn SolarWorks has a background in solar finance. So far, ten Solar Canopies have been installed in Brooklyn with several others going through the permitting process. The product will likely be available for commercial use in the fall of 2016.
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“Maker Park” emerges as newest idea for development of Bushwick Inlet

A new idea recently emerged for a piece of property, which has long been in dispute, along the Bushwick Inlet. The initial plan for the Bushwick Inlet was to convert the industrial “wasteland” into a 28-acre park. That was what was promised to the people of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in 2005 following the Waterfront Rezoning Agreement, introduced under the Bloomberg administration. Advocates for this proposal, including Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park, have continually voiced their desire that the property be used for green space. However, Citistorage owner Norman Brodsky still possesses an 11 acre triangle of land needed for the park. It currently holds the old Bayside Oil Depot. Brodsky wants to sell the property for $250 million to the city. However, the city has far exceeded initial cost estimates for the park—$60 million to $90 million—having already spent around $224 million. Rumors are circulating that city may use eminent domain to take the land. If that were to happen, the city would have to compensate Brodsky for a certain amount, then additionally pay for the extensive environmental remediation needed to make the site usable. As of yet, the city has not make decision. More recently, however, local stakeholder Zac Waldman has floated a vision for a “Maker Park” at the site's industrial facilities. In fact, Waldman has assembled a team of supporters to translate that vision into a more definitive plan. They include the events coordinator for the Municipal Art Society (MAS); Stacey Anderson, a creative director at Kushner Companies; Karen Zabarsky; and architect Jay Valgora of New York City–based firm STUDIO V Architecture, along with other designers and developers. Valgora is known for his adaptive reuse projects, such as Empire Stores, the redevelopment of an empty and neglected brick storehouse in DUMBO, Brooklyn. While no definitive plans have been revealed for Maker Park, the development team is working to devise a strategy to convert the warehouses, garages, and cylindrical fuel containers into an artisan marketplace and industrial playground. The Maker Park website describes the vision as “a beautiful and otherworldly industrial topography.” However, Natalie Grybauskas, a spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio, has stated that Maker Park is not a feasible use of the site due to the need for environmental remediation, according to The New York Times. Previous projects of this nature have proved successful, notably the on-going Freshkills Park project and the Croton Water Filtration Plant. Freshkills was the world’s largest landfill until 2001, when it stopped receiving trash (save the debris from post-9/11 cleanups). Over the course of two decades, each of the Staten Island landfill’s massive mounds have been capped, allowing development of 2,200 acres of parkland that offer hiking, biking, playgrounds, and a number of other amenities not typically accessible to residents and visitors of New York City. The site even harvests natural gas from the contained landfill. The Croton Water Filtration Plant, designed by New York City–based Grimshaw Architects, is situated beneath a golf driving range in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. An article in The New York Times notes that 290 million gallons of water are treated each day at the $3.2 billion plant. Additionally, the plant provides 100 million of gallons of water each day to the western edges of Manhattan and areas of the Bronx. While adaptive reuse has played a significant role in breaking up the monotony of the congested metropolitan landscape in these projects, the concept of an "industrial theme" for the Maker Park remains vague. Although the use of existing infrastructure presents advantages, there are still many considerations to take into account before this is deemed feasible and worthy of the community. The fact remains that Citistorage still owns 11 acres of the property needed to pursue any development for public use of the site, or development, period, since anyone could snatch up the property.
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Brooklyn’s design sector is booming

In a report by the Center for an Urban Future, figures show that Brooklyn has seen a significant spike in the design sector with architecture and design employment figures growing by some 86 percent during the period from 2010-2014. The report was published to coincide with NYCxDesign, New York City's design festival that closes today. Its statistics pertain to most realms within the creative industry, including "architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial design, graphic design and other specialized design (including fashion, costume, and jewelry design)." Data and analysis was taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). Back to Brooklyn: growth in the sector significantly outdoes Manhattan (at 19 percent) and the rest of the city where growth averaged out at 23 percent. Despite Manhattan lagging behind, however, that borough remains New York's stalwart home for creatives, accommodating 89 percent of all jobs related at architecture and design companies within the city. During the four year period, the city saw more than 5,000 jobs added in the sector, making New York City home to 27,037 design jobs, though Brooklyn can still only boast 1,954 compared to Manhattan's 24,045 majority share. The figures though show the early roots of Brooklyn as an emerging alternative base for creative companies. Landscape architecture jobs witnessed the sharpest increase of 376 percent jumping from 21 to 100. Meanwhile, other growing industries saw jobs in "industrial design" and architecture rise by 90 percent (from 67 to 127 and 387 to 737 respectively) and graphic design jobs by 94 percent from 285 to 552. As for the other boroughs, the Bronx was the only one subject to negative growth, losing 11 jobs (down 17 percent) whereas Queens saw 42 percent growth (260 jobs) and Staten Island just over over 4 percent (4 jobs). Over the scope of ten years from 2004-2014, Brooklyn has more than doubled in job accumulation in every industry of the design sector, outperforming its counterparts by a considerable margin. In Manhattan for example, there was even a 10 percent decline in the graphic design industry. During this period Staten Island in fact suffered a net loss of 43 jobs across the board equating to a 30 percent decrease. Moreover, Queens and the Bronx achieved only marginal growth in the same time span. "Our new data brief highlights the growing importance of the design sector to New York City’s economy, and details that a disproportionate share of the growth in the sector is now occurring in Brooklyn," said the authors of the report.
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Williamsburg’s 21-story William Vale Hotel-offices-retail development to open July 11

Initially touted to open in April this year, the William Vale hotel on 111 North 12th Street is now due to open on July 11. Climbing 21 stories, the $130 million hotel has already topped out at 250-feet. Designed by Albo Leberis, the hotel rests on a duo of pylons sitting on two low-rise retail-based platforms that greet the streetscape. Covering 320,000 square feet, five floors (starting at the fifth) will accommodate offices, meanwhile the scheme will hold 183 hotel rooms and spare 40,000 square feet for commercial space.
On the first floor roof there'll be a 15,000 square foot public park courtesy of Gunn Landscape Architecture that will offer views over the area and onto Manhattan. Meanwhile, other amenities include a roof located on the third floor.  
“In addition to low-maintenance native plantings and an urban farm, Gunn plans to create arbor structures from living willow, weaving them into sculptural shapes that will both block the wind and beautify the rooftop in a unique way,” the firm said.
Further square footage has been set aside to cater for event spaces, including a ballroom that will be able to accommodate 240 guests for business affairs and 315 guests for social events. 
002. Inspiration in the most unexpected places. #thewilliamvale #brooklyn #architecture A photo posted by The William Vale (@thewilliamvale) on
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Brooklyn shows off its design chops at BRKLYN DESIGNS this weekend

This weekend at 72 Noble Street (near the Greenpoint stop on the G), BKLYN DESIGNS is showcasing a wide range of work from Kings County's craftsmen, architects, designers, and educators. The venue—the Brooklyn Expo Center—is a wide, open space that puts all the exhibitors in a single, easily navigated showroom floor. Visiting early this morning, highlights included the ability to take a virtual tour of the modular Pod Hotel, designed by Garrison Architects, that will soon be rising in Williamsburg. I also especially enjoyed a 3D printing station by Peru Meridian Studios and products from Think Fabricate, the sister studio of Brooklyn-based Doban Architecture.   The atmosphere was convivial as dozens of Brooklyn designers, including a large contingent from Pratt, showed designs ranging from specially-cast concrete planters to mobile meeting rooms/lounges designed for offices and homes alike. Tickets are $15. Events this weekend include, on Saturday: "Adaptability and Scale in Green Architecture" (a recap of lessons learned from City Tech's 2016 Solar Decathlon), "Kickstarter for Designers 101" (with Kickstarter outreach experts), and "Design Fabrication Methods in Interactive Architecture" (with AN's own Matt Shaw, Wes Rozen of SITU Studio, Michale Szivos of SOFTlab, and Emily Abruzzo of Abruzzo Bodziak Architects). On Sunday, visitors can attend "The Right Sized Life: Designing Around What Matters" (featuring Resource Furniture's founders and Jim Garrison of Garrison Architects), as well as "True Calling: Authentic Design for Hospitality" (which features a host of Brooklyn-based designers).
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Brooklyn’s first skyscraper over 1,000 feet given approval

Late last year, AN picked up a trail that SHoP Architects were planning a "super skinny supertall" skyscraper set for 9 DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. Now, the project has finally gathered some momentum: it's been granted approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). According to 6sqft, the LPC showered the project, which is being back by Michael Stern’s JDS Development and the Chetrit Group, with compliments. They reportedly described the project as “flawless” and “enlightened urbanism at its best.” Developers had to tread carefully, considering the proximity of the skyscraper to one of Brooklyn's historic architectural treasures. Occupied most recently by JP Morgan, the development is giving the landmarked Classical Revivalist Dime Savings Bank a new breath of life. In doing so, developers will turn the hall into a public and retail space and restore the lavish interior decor and ornate exterior marble facade. The LPC were inclined to comment that the restoration “improved the vision of this historic landmark” with one commissioning member remarking that it was "similar to the Parthenon sitting on the Acropolis.” You can find SHoP's LPC presentation here. To accommodate the skyscraper, which will sit adjacent the Beaux-Arts banking hall, developers are also asking for two local low-rise buildings to be demolished to make way. If (or rather when) realized, the skyscraper will be the boroughs first 1,000+ in height, rising to 73 stories high topping out at 1,066 feet. Hexagonal forms can be found throughout tower as an homage to the footprint of its neighbor. Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects reportedly said how they wanted to put forward a different tower design compared to the slab-like high-rises also going up around the area. Subsequently, the skyscraper's facade at street level aims to evoke the fluted ionic columns of the Bank through reflective glass fenestration with bronze mullions alongside white marble columns. As the tower stretches upward, the bronze ribbons join grey spandrel and vision glass panelling. Here black metal is employed in a similar, linear fashion running up the building's facade. Set to be complete by 2019, SHoP's Brooklyn high-rise will house around 500 apartments, all available to rent. In this selection, a range of luxury condos will be thrown in while 20 percent will be kept below the market rate.
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Rockwell Group–designed Imagination Playground opens in Brownsville, Brooklyn

Local students and community members joined NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, City Council Member Darlene Mealy, and David Rockwell, founding principle of Rockwell Group, for the opening of the Imagination Playground at Betsy Head Park in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Although the concept derives from adventure playgrounds and similar philosophies of unstructured play, the Brownsville Imagination Playground is technically the first permanent one of its kind in Brooklyn, and the second worldwide. (The first, also designed by the Rockwell Group, opened in 2010 at the Burling Slip in Manhattan). The $5.05 million project was influenced by tree houses, a foil to the monolithic blocks of high-rise public housing for which Brownsville is best known. A curved ramp wends its way through mature trees, while blue foam blocks, cut into funky shapes, along with water and sand, are tools for children to collaborate, build, or create by themselves. Traditional play elements—slides swing sets, chess tables, and a basketball court—round out the program. A year before the Burling Slip playground opened, Rockwell Group tested the designs in Brownsville with former NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. David Rockwell elaborated on the process: "When we were asked to do a second Imagination Playground, it gave us a chance to do a couple of things from a design perspective: One, these London Plane trees were incredible, they were a landmark that was important to preserve. We were able to create a path that weaves around the trees. Like the lower Manhattan playground, it's a playground you can see from 360 degrees. It's really a community space." https://www.flickr.com/photos/136339520@N03/25924630244/in/dateposted-public/ This reporter dodged zooming children and risked limb (well, ankle—platform sandals were a bad choice for this assignment!) to give you, dear readers, a panoramic view of the park from the bridge. (Look closely at 0:55 in the video above and you can see another local landmark, the Kenneth Frampton–designed Marcus Garvey Village.)