At the intersection of trade and art, practice and expression, between Bleecker and West Third Streets, in the middle of a unique three-block stretch, aptly named a “Place,” fronting grand superblocks of New York University, with its descending jutting voids the opposite of Breuer’s overhead solids at the Whitney, lies the Center for Architecture. The Center is home to the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) and the Center for Architecture Foundation. The 12,000 square feet of galleries-as-meeting-spaces (and meeting-spaces-as-galleries) burrow two stories underground from the sidewalk level. A cut-away section lets the speakers at the podium the lowest-level Tafel Hall, the centerpiece of the ensemble, look up from their notes and see passers-by looking back. The life of the city, connected, to the discourse on architecture. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the next 30 days—Archtober—we will write here about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. This is a personal account. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
Posts tagged with "Center for Architecture":
In New York City, buildings account for almost 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 95 percent of electricity use. It was these facts like these that prompted the Center for Architecture to further investigate the urban energy crisis and display the findings--and potential solutions--in an exhibit entitled Buildings=Energy. The exhibit, which opens on the evening of October 1st, explores how important choices made by designers, planners, architects, and building occupants can positively affect energy consumption in our cities. One such example featured in the exhibition is a model building designed by the firm Perkins+Will, whose proposal demonstrates the significance of site planning, materials, programs and their affects on energy costs. For instance, as firm principal Anthony Fieldman explains, tilting the exterior glass by only 10 degrees towards the street prevents a substantial amount of solar heat gains, saving the building on cooling costs throughout the summer months. Other highlights of the exhibit can be viewed from the sidewalk. The attention of passersby on LaGuardia Place will be caught by a display of nine building materials suspended in the Center's window, each representing the embodied energy of one gallon of oil--just a preview of the striking visuals on view inside. The Center for Architecture's kick off-event is presented as part of Archtober, the inaugural month-long festival of architecture activities, programs, and exhibitions in New York City.
With all the NYU real estate hubbub going on around LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, it’s refreshing to hear of a quiet transaction between two locals. This week, the AIANY signed the lease for 532 LaGuardia, an empty retail space owned by local lumber magnate Guy Apicella just one door south of the AIANY's current home, the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia. AIYNY will take occupancy as of August 1, and plans are already afoot to nail down design concepts. “We’ll benefit from the best design advice in the city,” said AIANY executive director Rick Bell. Rogers Marvel has been hired as the architect and Mary Burke will head up AIANY's Premises Committee. The floor plate of the new building is about 1,200 square feet with about another 800 square feet available in the basement. All three levels at the Center’s current space net about 12,000 square feet, so the extra 2,000 will add about 10 percent more space, helping ease the strain of hosting more than a thousand programs each year. Also included in the deal is small garden space out back, on which the director hopes the Horticulture Society of New York will leave their green thumbprint. Bell jokingly compared the growing horizontal street presence to that of Uptown's Zabar's or Downtown’s J&R Music, both of which expanded storefront by storefront, eventually claiming an entire block. Perhaps NYU's gallery space at 528 LaGuardia will be next? An architects' row perhaps? But for all the extra sidewalk frontage, Bell said that the organization has no intention of bringing in any retail. “If Olympia (Kazi) were to get out of the business, maybe we’d reopen the discussion, but we don’t have plans for any,” he said, reiterating AIANY's steadfast support of VanAlen’s recently opened architecture bookstore. This is not to say that the Center will eschew commercial endeavors altogether, quite the opposite, actually. Bell said the “robust conference center” would be very attractive for corporate rentals—to say nothing of weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.
Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040 at the Center for Architecture (through September 10) is a clarion call for designers to redefine sustainability in architecture. Though it didn’t start with this intention, the visions of 10 young architecture firms imagining future landscapes of New York and Amsterdam raise questions about what changes are imminent for urban development and what part architects can play. The projects suggest both practical and fantastical interventions to improve the prospect of urban growth in the face of ecological, geographic, and demographic shifts. The program comes hot on the heels of the announcements of Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan and the similar strategy-based Structural Vision: Amsterdam 2040. Curators Luc Vrolijks, Rosamond Fletcher, and Marlies Buurman’s collective ambition has been to use design and debate to link the two cities in the context of these new directives. This month, the Center for Architecture hosted a series of talks and presentations of the work by the architects and the exhibit is also at the ARCAM site in Amsterdam until August 13, which will raise new questions about potential futures. The projects responded to one of five headings: Breathing, Eating, Making, Moving, Dwelling. Breathing: Both Delva with Dingeman Deijs and W Architecture and Landscape Architecture take water as their starting point. While Delva takes the IJ estuary as a generator for energy, W Architecture’s Hudson archepelagos, made using dredge from the port, provide habitats as well as landing banks. Eating: Here, WORKac focuses on the ‘food desert’ in the Bed-Stuy and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn and maps the potentially resourceful ways of re-appropriating the streets to harvest food, from future transportation (gondola-type links) to a hybrid fish farm and greenhouse-grown plants (Aquaponics). Van Bergen Kolpa Architects imagines a Landscape Supermarket, where varieties of food can be grown and sourced in park-like environments run by city dwellers. Making: In The Refinery, Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) imagined a floating market place where robotic arms compartmentalise waste materials to mend a broken landscape. Barcode Architects on the other hand has developed a contained mega science park from which to export knowledge - “the most valuable commodity of The Netherlands in 2040” said Caro van der Venne of Barcode. Moving: Dlandstudio responds to the future need for water transportation and how this can be an opportunity to also positively affect public wellbeing as well as environmental health. Fabric’s interpretation considers a new urban fabric based on mixing uses to produce “a more complete urban program, so that our daily needs are always near.” Dwelling: The Newark Visionary Museum by Interboro Partners and Space & Matter’s We is the New I both approached the idea of sustainability as social concerns. Interboro’s projection showed a colourful scene of failed plans and possible future solutions to Broad Street’s transportation, entertainment, sports and communication demands. Similarly practical was Space & Matter’s solution to increasing diversity and social cohesion by harnessing and building around common interests.
There is no direct English translation for the Indian word ‘jugaad,’ but the gist of it is to “make do.” But simply “making do” does not aptly describe the clever and resourceful strategies on display in Jugaad Urbanism: Resourceful Strategies for Indian Cities, a new exhibit at the Center for Architecture that opens tomorrow night. For the most part the exhibit shirks high design in favor of “design by the people, for the people.” “The concept itself came about when we looked at the cities,” said Kanu Agrawal, the exhibit curator. “There was a tragic narrative that they’re over populated; they’re messy. But somehow things work—not in a banal way but in a creative way. We found that jugaad existed in so many ways.” The exhibit is organized around resources, such as land, water, energy, and transportation and culls the material from communities in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune. Video, photos, graphics, renderings and object displays develop a narrative detailing how NGOs and designers can draw inspiration by observing the everyday survival of the India’s poor. While some of the developed designs are relatively inexpensive, not all are cheap—especially when it comes to dealing with land. A good portion of the exhibit examines proposals for preservation and renovation of chawls, the multistoried tenements endemic of Mumbai. “Land projects are a little more difficult because of the politics and land development,” said Rosamond Fletcher, the Center’s director of exhibitions. “I think that there is some hope for the historic fabric.” The implication is that rather then leveling Mumbai’s chawls, they could be recast and redeveloped as an integral part of the city’s character, as was done with Wapping in London or Lower East Side in New York. A good portion of the exhibit studies waste management, particularly that of humans. One device on display is a porcelain toilette pan with two compartments that separates the waste for better management. Cast off tobacco packages get recycled into corrugated plastic material. Throughout the space, American milk crates get the jugaad treatment with cushions covered in gold satin. When pressed to pick one object on display that really attracted them, Agrawal and Fletcher both said they were drawn to the e-charka, an energy generating spinning machine. Besides the obvious cultural connections, to Gandhi in particular, both said the machine is loaded with symbolism. “It’s such a fascinating little piece. It’s quirky and humorous but at the same time its really serious,” said Agrawal. The energy from the machine powers a transistor radio and a small lamp with a decorative plastic shade. It’s the flourish of the shade that intrigues Fletcher. While lifting it up she points to the shade's curved outline. “Everyone needs that added layer,” she said.
PACKING UP CAMP Now that Donald Fisher’s CAMP project in San Francisco is officially dead, talk is swirling about where the Gap founder’s art collection will go. The whispers have focused on one obvious suspect: SFMOMA, which has already begun planning a 100,000-square-foot expansion that could get even bigger. One rumor has it that the museum is talking to the city about acquiring an adjoining fire station and building a new one elsewhere in return, in order to offer the Fishers their own digs. SFMOMA director Neal Benezra coyly parried questions with the comment: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with the Fishers to find a home for their collection as part of an expanded SFMOMA campus.” PEARLS BEFORE SCI-ARC Few talking heads can dent an architectural ego like critic, curator, and professor Jeff Kipnis, who moderated a chat at SCI-Arc on July 29 with Eric Owen Moss and Thom Mayne about Moss’ new installation at the school. Among Kipnis’ gems, he praised Moss’ garrulousness with the bon mot that he got paid by the hour for such events, and marveled at Moss and Mayne’s ability to argue with themselves—not among themselves, mind you, but each with his own self! Days later SCI-Arc hosted another panel, this time with Moss, Mayne, Hitoshi Abe, Peter Cook, Wolf Prix, and Peter Noever, among others. The event had the makings of a navel-gazing nightmare, but Eavesdrop promptly fell asleep and can’t recall a thing. Honest. RAISE HIGH THE WINDOW WALLS Everyone adores the Center for Architecture in New York, the storefront space run by the AIA New York chapter that draws more activity than any other such facility. Word has it that AIA Los Angeles is among those green with envy, which could mean a departure from its eighth-floor digs in Mid-Wilshire. The group is said to have hired a real estate consultant to scout locations nearer to Museum Mile. Will Wright, head of legislative affairs at AIA/LA, was semi-mum on the matter: “We have long-range plans to evaluate the opportunity to evolve into an Architecture Center.” Roger that, Will. Easy does it, we always say.