Posts tagged with "Brooklyn":

Woody and The Donald

Here is a story to file under the Republican presidential primary, celebrity, radical American politics, and affordable housing policies in New York City. The Conversation writer Will Kaufman reports that the "This Land is Your Land" folk singer Woody Guthrie lived in Federal Housing Authority–financed housing in Coney Island's Beach Haven. Those residences were constructed by non other than Fred Trump, Donald’s father. Guthrie despised his landlord, the elder Trump, and wrote several ditties (a reprise of his "I Ain’t Got No Home") about him:

Beach Haven ain’t my home! 
I just cain’t pay this rent! 
My money’s down the drain! 
And my soul is badly bent! 
Beach Haven looks like heaven 
Where no black ones come to roam! 
No, no, no! Old Man Trump! 
Old Beach Haven ain’t my home! Trump’s involvement with and creation of (racially exclusive) affordable Beach Haven housing for the hundreds of thousands of returning servicemen to New York after World War II is a sordid tale. Kaufman unearthed the story after going through the Guthrie archive in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He reports that “when the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) finally stepped in to issue federal loans and subsidies for urban apartment blocks, one of the first developers in line, with his eye on the main chance, was Fred Trump. He made a fortune not only through the construction of public housing projects but also through collecting the rents on them." Its a fascinating story of housing policy in New York that becomes more pointed “in the wake of Donald Trump, who says, 'My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy.'” (via Gawker)

It’s now too expensive to build local for New York’s modular construction industry

Thanks to high rents, New York City is losing one of its longtime modular construction companies at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. And the news could send ripples through the city's prefab construction scene. Capsys, a pre-fab builder founded in 1996, was paying $4 per square foot for its space in the Navy Yard, far below what other tenants were paying. The going rent, $20 per square foot, for manufacturing space at the Navy Yard is already set below market to retain firms that would otherwise not be able to afford to do business in the city. Upon learning in 2010 that their longterm lease was not being renewed, Capsys went hunting for new space. The advantage of local prefab construction is cost and quality control. Building are constructed at the factory by (usually) nonunion workers. Architects can check in on the projects, correcting any flaws before the pieces are shipped. Although rents are lower in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, being based locally cuts down on expensive overland shipping costs. Recently, though, new regulations require modular units to have an (expensive) police escort when the units are ferried to construction sites. For almost ten years, Capsys was the only modular builder in the Navy Yard until Forest City Ratner moved its operations there. With new owners of Forest City's Pacific Park, it looks like Forest City's modular building operations may close, though this could be due less to rising rents and more to design issues that incur costs. The shortcomings of Pacific Park's B2, the SHoP Architects–designed world's tallest modular tower, have been widely documented. Capsys has designed 55 micro-apartments for Carmel Place (the building formerly known as adAPT NYC), and Alexander Gorlin's Nehemiah townhouses, among other projects. When the company closes shop, Capsys will sell its intellectual property to a Pennsylvania company.

TEN Arquitectos’ mixed-use downtown Brooklyn building tops out

TEN Arquitectos' 286 Ashland Place, a 384-unit, 32-story mixed-use development in Downtown Brooklyn, has topped out. The building's 45,148 square feet of community space will host 651 ARTS, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and the Brooklyn Public Library. The New York– and Mexico City–based firm has a number of major projects in design and under construction. Their campus for Centro, a technology, design, and business university in their home city, opened in September 2015, while plans for the Mexican Museum and residential building at 706 Mission Street in San Francisco are moving forward. Last month, TEN Arquitectos revealed renderings of a luxury resort in the Cayman Islands. At 286 Ashland Place, 20 percent of the units in the building are set aside for affordable housing. The building will host 21,928 square feet of retail. Construction is expected to be complete this summer, YIMBY reports. The project is located within the Brooklyn Cultural District, a Fort Greene development plan anchored by BAM. The triangular lot, across the street from BAM and a block from Atlantic Terminal, fronts high-traffic areas on all sides. On the Flatbush Avenue side, ground-floor retail and a stepped plaza break up what could have been a monotonous street wall. The facade is reminiscent of the firm's Mercedes House, in Midtown West. There too, the facade is broken up by a nonstandard arrangement of windows and built-in air treatment units. Mercedes House's outstanding features are terraced cubes and snaking profile respond to the site's steep elevation. 286 Ashland Place has a more standard site, and relies on an origami-ed facade for visual interest from afar. Though it obscures a previously unobstructed view of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building the articulations of the facade draw the eye outward, towards the surrounding streetscape.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.