Posts tagged with "Center for Architecture":

Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Edgeless School at the Center for Architecture

Edgeless School: Design for Learning Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place Through January 19, 2013 Edgeless School investigates how technology is changing education and how architecture itself is changing as a result. The exhibition takes a look at 19 newly completed schools throughout the country (eight are in New York City and the majority of the rest are in the Pacific Northwest) and sorts them by their degree of “edgelessness.” The Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School in the Bronx, for example, softens the distinction between the built environment and nature by embracing outdoor space and using a connection with nature as an educational tool. The L.B. Landry High School in New Orleans, LA, on the other hand, blurs conventional distinctions between constituencies by encouraging students, educators, parents, and architects to work together to create a building that is designed to further the school’s pedagogical goals.
Placeholder Alt Text

Architects and Scientists Debate How to Prepare a Post-Sandy New York Region

Barriers or freshwater wetlands? New building codes? What about porous pavements or floating city blocks? These were just a few of the ideas batted around at AIANY’s discussion and fundraiser, “Designing the City after Superstorm Sandy,” at the Center for Architecture last Thursday evening. The panel, moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, consisted of the city’s leading designers, architects, scientists, and government officials. While each panelist came to the conversation with a different approach and set of strategies, all agreed that change is necessary and new solutions urgent. “There’s a certain consensus about taking steps in the long-run,” said Kimmelman. The participants on the panel included Cynthia Barton, Housing Recovery Plan Manager at the NYC Office of Emergency Management; Howard Slatkin, Director of Sustainability and Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the city; Dr. Klaus Jacob, a geophysicist and Special Research Scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Stephen Cassell, principal architect at ARO; Donna Walcavage, landscape architect and urban designer; and Robert M. Rogers, partner of Rogers Marvel Architects. The design solutions are part of a larger and more complex issue that call for us to “re-frame the ways we engage with the water,” said Cassell whose ideas helped to spearhead the Rising Currents exhibit at MoMA in 2010.  And as Kimmelman pointed out in his introduction, will force us to decide, “what parts of the city are necessary to change, salvage and develop and what parts we cannot.” Cassell and Walcavage advocate for what they term “soft solutions” such as freshwater wetlands and upland parks that won’t disrupt the balance of the ecosystem as oppose to the much talked about barriers. Dr. Jacob referred to himself as a “barrier skeptic.” He hasn’t completely ruled them out, but believes that other preventive measures should be considered, including regulations and large-scale regional planning with New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York. The solutions were at once specific and lofty, and Kimmelman challenged the panelists during the Q&A session when he asked: “Who will legislate and have authority? Why will something change now?” Many of the participants argued that Hurricane Sandy is a turning point, and there’s simply too much at stake. Rogers pointed out that New York City is a “grid of real estate” and the significant investment in waterfront property will prompt developers and the city to be pro-active whether that means implementing new codes and regulations or altering the landscape by creating saltwater marshes to act as buffers against rising sea levels and storms. A few panelists suggested that an improved version of Robert Moses would lead the way or joked that perhaps a benevolent god would appear. Even though Kimmelman remained ambivalent and questioned why strong and cohesive leadership would emerge now to help facilitate change, it looks like the city is already taking action. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has asked the Urban Green Council to launch a Building Resiliency Task Force, which will consist of leading professionals in New York City real estate. In an announcement last week, Urban Green said that the Task Force’s main objective is “to take an in-depth look at how to better prepare our buildings for future storms and infrastructure failures.” A list of recommendations will be released in summer of 2013.
Placeholder Alt Text

Meet the New Practices

We let you know about the exhibition, and now this year’s AIANY New Practices New York lecture series is kicking into gear following formlessfinder’s presentation late last month and a winner’s roundtable Monday night. The discussion was moderated by Dan Wood and Troy Therrien and included New Practices honorees Christian Wassmann, Amanda Schachter of SLO Architecture, Emily Abruzzo of ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTS, Julian Rose of formlessfinder, and David Benjamin of The Living. The lecture series, featuring a presentation and discussion of each firm’s work, is held at the Axor/Hansgrohe showroom in the Meatpacking District and will continue through January. First up was formlessfinder, the team of Garrett Ricciardi and Julian Rose. Ricciardi earned his BFA from Cooper Union and Rose received a BA from Harvard in Art and Architectural History before both receiving Masters of Architecture from Princeton. The team has a critical approach to architecture that reflects their academic backgrounds, exploring the fundamental relationships between form and material. The name, since you’re wondering, derives from the philosopher Georges Bataille’s notion of the formless and his critique of the limiting and imposing nature of form. Formlessness describes a conception of architecture that is not limited by the historical and symbolic weight of materials; put simply, says Ricciardi, “architecture shouldn’t have to look like architecture.” The team investigates the physical limitations and possibilities of raw matter as architectural tool, using feedback from material tests to explore and inform structure. formlessfinder exploits building material with an understanding of sustainability that approaches building as inherently environmental. Rose explains, “sustainability leaves no surface safe,” and the symbolic appeal of a “green” material like bamboo is outweighed by the environmental cost of shipping it across the globe. Their short-listed PS1 pavilion proposed arches made from an inexpensive erosion-control geotextile that are filled with gravel at the bases and foam cubes curving above, an intentionally inefficient use of material, but can be almost entirely sourced close to the site. Monday’s roundtable discussion, held at the Center for Architecture, involved a short introduction from each of the firms followed by group discussion about the firms’ multidisciplinary outlooks, manipulation of technology, and metrics of success. Many of the works presented were speculative investigations of material and form, such as formlessfinder’s aforementioned material tests and ABRUZZO BODZIAK’s Peaks & Valleys shading system. Of the built works presented, most were small-scale and more research-oriented than purely architectural, such as The Living’s Living Light canopy in Seoul that displays real-time information about the city’s air quality. SLO researched environmental and social impacts of development along the Bronx River, creating a model of the watershed from reclaimed material that includes historical ecology and infrastructure, then ferrying it up the river with kayaks. While the lack of larger-scale commissioned work is an effect of the commercial climate, all firms have high ambitions; in defining success, Christian Wassman said, "I don't want to be a big architect, I want to be an influential one." AIANY will continue New Practices New York programs with several guided exhibition tours in July and August, while the lecture series will return September 27 with SLO Architecture and run through January. Below is the complete lecture schedule. We’ll see you there! Presentation and Conversation with SLO Architecture Thursday September 27th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with HOLLER architecture Tuesday October 16th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTS Thursday November 15th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with Christian Wassmann  Thursday December 13th, 2012, 6-8 PM, Axor NYC Presentation and Conversation with The Living January TBA, 2013, 6-8 PM,  Axor NYC
Placeholder Alt Text

Thursday: New Practices New York 2012 to Kick Off with a Party

On June 14, 2012, the AIA New York will showcase six of the seven winning firms from the 4th biennial New Practices New York 2012 competition, promoting new and promising firms in New York, at a party at the Center for Architecture. This year, the winning firms contended with over fifty entries to earn the designation. The New Practices New York contest was limited to firms founded after 2006 and located within New York City’s five boroughs, but despite the restrictions, the competition was open to multidisciplinary firms, widening the variety of the work being submitted. To the design enthusiast’s delight, the exhibition will showcase work varying from architectural models to projections and installations. Along with the exhibition, a symposium will be arranged to further enlighten its visitors. An opening party for the exhibition will take place Thursday, June 14th from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Center for Architecture. A panel discussion will follow shortly after on July 16th at 6:00 p.m. with presentations from the winning firms: ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTS, HOLLER architecture, The Living, SLO Architecture, formlessfinder and Christian Wassmann.  All free and open to the public, the exhibition and scheduled symposiums will last till September 8th, 2012.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Newly Drawn: Emerging Finnish Architects

Newly Drawn: Emerging Finnish Architects The Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place Through April 30 A shift is occurring in Finnish architecture as a new generation of firms is emboldened by a unique competition culture that allows anonymous submissions from young and established architects alike. Helsinki is undergoing a major process of renewal with the transformation of former industrial and harbor areas to new uses; as such, large-scale commissions are available to otherwise inexperienced practices with new approaches to the city, such as Kilden Performing Arts Center by ALA Architects (above) and Kuokkala Church by Lassila Hirvilammi (below). As the 2012 World Design Capital, the city of Helsinki will stage events and initiatives that seek to examine the ways design can improve our lives. The AIA New York presents a collection of work by young Finnish designers in collaboration with the Architectural League of New York, the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York, the Consulate General of Finland in New York, and the Museum of Finnish Architecture.
Placeholder Alt Text

Thursday: Panel discusses designs for Long Island City

Noguchi Skyviewing model, 1969. (Courtesy Noguchi Museum) Thursday night at the Center for Architecture, AN's executive editor and editor of the forthcoming Civic Action publication Julie V. Iovine will moderate a panel on Civic Action: A Vision for Long Island City, a site-study and exhibition featuring innovative design proposals for the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens. The panel will include Lyn Rice, Elliott Maltby, and Claire Weisz speaking about involving the arts in civic planning. See you there!
Placeholder Alt Text

Eavesdrop> AIA/LA Has Architecture Center Envy

It appears that AIA/LA is serious about opening a new architecture center, a storefront, multi-use space similar to that of the Center for Architecture in New York (above). According to a now expired post on Idealist.org, they’re looking for (and rumored to have already hired) a new fulltime “Campaign Director” for an $8 to 15 million capital campaign to “support the acquisition and renovation of an existing building for the new Center for Architecture and Urban Design Los Angeles,” and “create an endowment to maintain this new property.” According to the post the center will be “a highly collaborative organization that builds strong relationships with other organizations to carry out its mission.” The center is rumored to contain not just AIA offices and exhibition and event spaces, but perhaps spaces for the A+D Architecture and Design Museum and the Urban Land Institute's Los Angeles chapter.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Middle Eastern Ambitions at the Center for Architecture

City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952–1982 Through May 5 Change: Baghdad, 2000–Present Through June 23 Center for Architecture 536 LaGuardia Place Two complimentary exhibits at the Center for Architecture capture an aspirational past and equally ambitious present in the Middle East. City of Mirages: Baghdad, 1952–1982 shows a flourishing cosmopolitan city that—whatever the regime—commissioned an impressive array of international design talent for much of the last century resulting in an architecture combing modernist ideas with interpretations of the local climate and culture. Through models and drawings, including Walter Gropius and Hisham A. Munir’s campus building (top) at the University of Baghdad, rather than photographs in order to emphasize the optimistic intentions of the period, City of Miracles sheds light on a significant but rarely seen corner of global modernism. CHANGE: Architecture and Engineering in the Middle East, 2000–Present surveys 123 contemporary works from 20 countries in the wider Middle East, including Asymptote and Dewan Architects’ Yas Marina Hotel in Abu Dhabi (above), gathered through an open call for submissions. The impact of rapid growth and instant globalization is evident through supertalls, man-made islands as well as UNESCO monument sites under siege.
Placeholder Alt Text

Aliotta Takes Helm at AIANY

Joseph Aliotta, a principal at Swanke Hayden Connell, took over the chapter presidency of the AIANY last month, ushering in the Center for Architecture’s 2012 theme: “Future Now.” Aliotta plans a two-prong approach that will focus on the future of the profession and of the future of the built environment. A first generation New Yorker, Aliotta said his blue-collar Brooklyn roots partly informed his efforts to bring fresh faces to the profession. A City College education yielded his family’s second college degree (an older cousin got the first), inspiring him to volunteer at the ACE Mentor Program, which lends a hand to high school students aspiring to be architects and engineers. “They may not look like me, but they are just like me,” he said of today’s first generation New Yorkers. Aliotta doesn’t plan on reinventing the wheel to bring newcomers to the Center. Instead, he plans to capitalize on existing career development programs, like Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) and New Practices New York competition. Rather than dreaming up new exhibition themes, the ENYA and New Practices competitions will act as flagships to the year’s programming. The thinking is that over the summer months when students are out of school, they’ll populate the Center and drive the programming effort. A one-day conference where students and young professionals set the agenda is planned for September. Regarding the built environment, Aliotta has requested that all 27 committees at AIANY focus on future needs to answer the question, “Where are we going to grow?” He added that even committees that may seem to go against the grain of a future-focused theme, like the Historic Buildings committee, fit quite nicely into the program when it comes to greening and maintaining older buildings. Even though the new president isn't not planning marquee moments, changes are already taking place. “It’s not about how many events we have, it’s about a change of culture,” he said. He noted that with the year’s theme announced, several of the existing committees have reached out to the ENYA members to coordinate with them, creating a casual interaction between established and new members. “That collaboration and that energy results in a mentorship that’s natural and not forced," said Aliotta.
Placeholder Alt Text

Opening Salvo Aimed at NYU Expansion

It was the opening shot heard 'round the Village--and the East Village, and SoHo. An overflow crowd gathered at the Center for Architecture last night to rally the troops opposing NYU's twenty year expansion plan. It certainly wasn't the usual black-clad crowd found at the Center. No, these were some good old fashioned Village rabble rousers. The event was organized by the Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, who assured the crowd that the NYU Core plan is "not a done deal." On Tuesday, the university certified proposals with City Planning, thus kicking off the ULURP process for what is likely to become one of the most contentious development debates of 2012. The proposal is, after all,  in the heart of Jane Jacobs country. Just across the street from the Center are the remains of Robert Moses' failed attempt to build the Lower Manhattan Expressway through SoHo after Jacobs and Co. put a halt to the plan. Parcels of land assembled by the Department of Transportation to accommodate the failed highway are now parkland commonly known as the DOT strips. A substantial portion of the 1.3 million square feet NYU wants to build in the area would be placed beneath the strips. The university has proposed designating the strips as parkland after the construction is complete, with the new green space designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. No matter the promises, this was not a crowd that trusts the university. The term "Midtown Zoning" got thrown about with on-message regularity. As did square footage metaphors, such as "bigger than the Waldorf-Astoria," "the size of the Empire State Building," and "three Jacob Javits Convention Centers." Council Member Margaret Chin was on hand to listen, but not to state her pro or con position--despite pressure from the crowd. This month's Community Board 2 subcommittee meetings will no doubt be unusually crowded as they're all dealing with the proposal. If you want to see some New York zoning theater in action, here's a selected breakdown: Land Use:  Mon., 1/9 6PM at The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl. Traffic and Transportation: Tues., 1/10 @ 6:30 NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Pl. room 520 Parks:  Thurs., 1/12 @ 6:30PM at NYU Silver Bldg. 32 Waverly Pl. room 520 Full Board: Thurs., 1/19 @ 6:00PM 116 West 11th Street, Auditorium  
Placeholder Alt Text

Buildings = Energy at the Center for Architecture

Amidst the event saturated month of Archtober and the holiday hubbub that followed, the Center for Architecture's fall show, Buildings = Energy, got a bit lost in the shuffle. But there's still time to check it out through January 12. Earlier this month Margaret O. Castillo took AN on a tour of the exhibit, the last under her tenure as AIANY chapter president. The show drives home several green points that Castillo has been hammering at all year, primarily the fact that buildings consume energy--a lot of it.  Eighty percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, and in New York City alone they use 94 percent of the power. The exhibit takes a holistic approach focusing on the amount of energy needed to extract and make materials, to the energy used to build, and the energy consumed by the completed structure. The story begins in the front window with calculations of how much oil it takes to produce a typical building material. Suspended from the ceiling are aluminum, cinder blocks, lumber, bricks, and sheetrock. Each material has a barrel ring floating around it with figures printed on them, such as: "1 gallon of oil = 3.33 CU. FT. of hardwood." The calculation includes the energy to fell the tree, transport it, and cut it to size.  The Mayor's Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, ARUP, and Dattner Architects lent their expertise to arrive at the various figures found throughout the exhibit, lending the heft of real world numbers to the theoretical aspects of the show. The main theoretical voice comes from Perkins+Will in a section of the exhibit called One Building = Many Choices. Through a series of renderings the firm explores key factors from building concept to completion that include: Site Choices, Program Choices, Passive Systems Choices, Active Systems Choices, Materials Choices, Construction Choices, Operational Choices. Each section is deserving of in depth analysis, but the Passive System attracted our attention because of the design of the building's envelope, about which the team from Perkins+Will had the luxury of dreaming big without a client screaming "How much?!" Thus an elaborate customized photovoltaic facade zigzags down the face of the building. It may cost upfront, but the returns are obvious. “I’m imagining the day when buildings will produce energy, not use energy,” said Castillo. Anthony Fieldman, design principal at P+W, noted that the curtain wall is "the only membrane between you and an uncontrolled environment. So if you use it intelligently you can temper nature's forces before they become problems you have to deal with in the interior." Fieldman added that the geometry of the facade was designed to maximize light, minimize solar heat gain, and maximize energy though the PVs. The photovoltaic facade drew questions of customized photovoltaics vs. mass produced ones.  To which Castillo argues that architects should be pushing for the industry to create more choice. "We should be pushing for better looking photovoltaics, instead of just the flat black photovoltaics on the roof," she said. Elsewhere in the exhibit, plenty of real world projects illustrate the show's values. An air circulation animation produced by Buro Happold Consulting Engineers of Pelli Clark Pelli's Transbay Center in San Francisco demonstrates both passive and active systems working together for temperature control and air flow (see below). A model of City College's entry for the Solar Decathlon, the so-called Rooftop Pod, is also on display. And there are several examples of adaptive reuse, including a project that Castillo worked on with Helpern Architects for Columbia's Knox Hall. To avoid rooftop disruption, the school drilled 1,800 feet into the ground for geothermal heating and cooling. It all adds up to a message that Castillo delivers with nearly evangelical fervor: "If we can reduce the energy use in buildings you wouldn’t have to build new power plants, we wouldn't need transmission lines that are loosing electricity. It we got rid of fossil fuels, we wouldn’t be shipping it around the world, we wouldn’t be polluting the gulf with oil spills. So much could be solved at building level if we really concentrated."    
Placeholder Alt Text

Archtober Building of the Day #4: Top of the Rock

It’s hard to imagine that the cool and suave young architect who launched Minimalism on Park Avenue with the Jil Sander Store in 1983 is the same man who brought us the modern apotheosis of Art Deco at Top of the Rock. Is it a space? Is it a ride? It certainly has a chandelier! Michael Gabellini, FAIA, a principal of Gabellini Sheppard Associates, a RISD grad, and a Kohn Pedersen Fox alum, waxed poetic at the Archtober preview: "Top of the Rock epitomizes Archtober’s mission of raising awareness of architecture and design. By restoring public access, the project celebrates and embraces the ongoing life and vitality of Rockefeller Center." As I’ve been saying for months, almost 50 million people don’t come to New York every year to enjoy purple mountains' majesty. They come for a different view…and from the Top of the Rock, 70 stories above Rockefeller Plaza, they get it. Jaded New Yorkers may stay away from this tourist destination, but they shouldn’t. Gabellini has created an extravaganza of sparkle that will cheer one and all on even the gloomiest day. 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. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.