Posts tagged with "Chelsea":

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Unveiled> Singaporean Architect Brings Wavy Design to the High Line

Singaporean architect Soo K. Chan of SCDA Architects is the latest to join an internationally renowned group of architects building along New York's High Line in Chelsea. Chan isn't settling for just one building, however. Two new buildings are set to rise just blocks from towers by Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, and feature differing aesthetics that tap into the luxury market that has skyrocketed in the area. The first of the two, 515 High Line at 515 West 29th Street, will stand 11 stories tall. The tower is defined on two sides by rippling glass fins from its podium to its top. The tower is predominantly clad in glass, but renderings show a blank segment of the building facing the High Line that could be covered with murals, adding to the already robust arts offerings along the linear park. "Soo Chan's stunning loft-style interiors evoke an understated appeal and modernity, and the exterior facade, with steel and glass that appears to curve—as inspired by the High Line's bend at 29th Street—will incorporate the High Line both for onlookers and residents in a way that no other property will," Joseph Beninati, of Bauhouse Group, the project's developer, said in a statement. According to the Bauhouse Group, the homes in the $125 million development will range from 2,100–4,400 square feet and will be priced between $5 million and $25 million. There are also three penthouses that have 22-foot-tall ceilings. The property is expected to open in 2015 and is directly across the High Line from Chan’s other condo project—the Soori High Line at 522 West 29th Street. That structure is also 11 stories, but has a more restrained facade that is defined more by modern straight lines than a wavy skin. The units inside the property, though, are anything but restrained—16 of Soori’s 27 units have private, heated pools featuring glass walls on the street facade. This is obviously only the latest set of flashy buildings set to rise on the High Line. Last week, Crain’s reported that piece of a parking lot next to the High Line could be next to get the condo treatment. “That portion can accommodate a 390-foot-tall residential tower about 440,000 square feet in size, making it one of the largest development sites in that area up for grabs in recent years,” Crain’s reported. The piece of land could sell for over $400 million.
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Nine-Story Woolworth Building Penthouse To Be Listed for $110 Million

At this point, the record breaking sales of luxury apartments in Midtown are not really news. As the towers rise higher, so do the prices. This has been the trend for quite some time and it shows no signs of slowing down. With that said, did you hear about the one Downtown? Bloomberg reported that the nine-story penthouse at Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building is expected to be listed for $110 million. The top 30 floors of the tower are currently being converted into luxury apartments, but the penthouse is quite literally Woolworth's crown jewel—and it is priced as such. If the penthouse sells anywhere near its asking price, it will essentially double the current sales record for a downtown apartment. That record was set in January by a penthouse in the Walker Tower in Chelsea, which sold for $50.9 million. Obviously, the Woolworth penthouse is exceedingly expensive, but the space is about more than its nine-floors, 8,975-square-feet of living space, 584-square-foot terrace, and its views from some  50 stories up. The unit is about living inside the Woolworth’s iconic copper cupola. According to Bloomberg, "a great room and wine cellar make up the 53rd floor, and the 55th through 58th levels in the cupola include a library or media room and an observation deck at the top, the plan shows.” Despite the penthouse’s uniqueness, $110 million is still an undeniably ambitious price point for a building in Lower Manhattan—iconic or not. For those looking to spend a few million less, they can always pick up a unit a few levels down. CBS Sunday Morning recently got a look inside those under construction apartments (above video), and they don't look too bad either.
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New York City Council Approves Mega Expansion at Chelsea Market

In spite of angry protests from neighborhood advocates and preservation groups, New York City Council unanimously approved plans Tuesday afternoon to upzone Chelsea Market. The developer, Jamestown Properties, intends on building 300,000-square-feet of office space designed by Studios Architecture that will sit right on top of current Chelsea Market. To move things along in their favor, Jamestown had agreed to give around $12 million to the High Line and $5 million to a fund to build affordable housing, in addition to another $1 million to help launch an internship program at the nearby Fulton Houses. Jamestown called this decision a win for the city’s economy: “As approved today by the New York City Council, the expansion of Chelsea Market will provide an important economic boost to New York City, creating more than 1,200 long-term jobs and 600 construction jobs.” Several local organizations, however, are upset with the outcome.  In an email sent to Chelsea Now, Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, released this statement: “It’s deeply disappointing that they are allowing a beloved New York City landmark to be disfigured and one of the city’s most congested neighborhoods to be further overdeveloped. In spite of the pleas of the vast majority of this neighborhood’s residents, once again the interests of real estate developers have won out.”
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Chelsea Market Expansion Approved at City Planning

In a unanimous vote today, the New York City Planning Commission approved Jamsestown Properties' plans for expansion at Chelsea Market with few modifications. The building was rezoned to be included in the Special West Chelsea District, thereby allowing developers to increase density after a significant contribution is made to the High Line. Much to the quite literal relief of High Line visitors, this likely means bathrooms will finally find their way to the southern section of the park. The latest designs by Studios Architecture set the massing of the Tenth Avenue addition back away from the park, which Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden expressed concern about during a review session. Jamestown Properties has also agreed provide funds and space for park amenities, like bathrooms, as well funds for affordable housing in Community Board 4 district. "While affordable housing bonuses are not normally associated with commercial buildings, there are special features of the West Chelsea district regulations which make this possible,"said Burden. "I believe this will be a great addition to the West Chelsea neighborhood," she continued. "The additional office space will serve what has become a destination for creative and technology industries, and this new development will provide critical amenities to the High Line." Nevertheless, community activists remain concerned about traffic and congestion from the park and resulting building boom. This was no secret to those attending CB4 meetings, but the controversy roared into the open with Jeremiah Moses' oped piece in Sunday's New York Times under the head, "Disney on the Hudson," which claimed "the park is destroying neighborhoods as it grows." The sound-off got a swift response from the many, including Friends of the High Line founders Joshua David and Mark Hammond who found Moses' claims "an unfortunate simplification of our past and current reality." The current reality for parks is a public/private financing model, thus David and Hammond's support for the Jamestown project and the resulting park amenities it provides. "This is clearly a deal between the Friends, City Planning, and Jamestown," said Save Chelsea's David Holowka. He noted that the majority of the massing will gravitate toward the park rather than the Ninth Avenue. Regardless of where the bulk will land, some will never be appeased with further expansion. "The amenities are cold comfort," said Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "The development will increase traffic and congestion to an area that’s already busting at the seams." Berman added that the West Chelsea Special District already allows for substantial growth for many years to come. The measure will now go before City Council and speaker Christine Quinn, whose district includes the Chelsea Market. The expansion is considered by some to be a litmus test of where the mayoral candidate's loyalties lie, with the NIMBYs or the development community.
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Quick Clicks>Spirals, Alchemy Tower, Sidewalk Cocktails, & Chemicals

Spiraling Out of Control. Salt Lake Tribune reported that the New York-based Dia Foundation's failure to pay the annual land fees for Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty has resulted in the state of Utah's appropriation of the artist's famous "earthwork masterpiece." Dia subsequently released a statement explaining that they were not aware of the pressing payment and are in negotiations with the state to ensure the water sculpture's preservation. Artinfo digs deeper to find that the problem could have been caused by a computer or clerical error and says the Dia Foundation hopes to have the matter resolved by the end of the week. Bad Chemistry. According to DNA, Lower Chelsea residents are fighting to stop Alchemy Construction's development of a 30-story tower at 31 W. 15th Street.  The development firm bypassed standard zoning regulations after securing air rights from the Xavier High School, which will utilize the lower floors as new classrooms and event space.  The Lower Chelsea Alliance maintains that construction of the 300-foot tall building is already causing noise and odor pollution and insist the tower will ruin the neighborhood's aesthetic character. Good Mixing. Further uptown, the Wall Street Journal exposes the first gourmet food truck with a one-year liquor license.  The city has permitted the Turkish Taco Truck in Central Park to serve beer, wine, and cocktails as long as it provides seating and remains parked.  Now introducing: better lunch breaks. Toxicology. The New York Times reveals the National Toxicology Program's recent report identifying formaldehyde and styrene as carcinogens. While consumers are at minimal risk due to the low quantities in wood construction materials and plastics, respectively, the chemicals pose a serious threat to factory workers.  The industry is attempting to dispute these results, but some manufacturers have already sought alternative production.

Now Playing: Every Corner of New York

Our friends over at Urban Omnibus created this delightful video entitled Archipelago, a sort of cinematic corollary to the current New New York show at the site's mothership, the Architectural League. Billed as "a day in the life of five New York neighborhoods: Hunts Point, Jamaica, Mariner’s Harbor, Downtown Brooklyn, and Chelsea," the video really is amazing for how it so succinctly captures the mind-boggling diversity of the city, revealing both the familiar and obscure to even the most stalwart local in a way so seamless that the city, for once, seems truly bound together despite all its disparity. The soundtrack alone, from Mr. Softee in the Bronx to freestyling on Staten Island to the constant sirens, is irresistible. It's the fastest eleven-and-a-half minutes you'll watch for some time. Almost as fast as the city it chronicles.

Lights, Camera, High Line!

Sundance Channel recently launched a new online video series titled “High Line Stories,” profiling activists, artists, architects, landscape architects, City officials, and celebrities involved in turning the abandoned elevated railroad track into a park paradise.

Including commentary by Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker, Adrian Benepe, Commissioner, New York City Dept. of Parks & Recreation, Amanda Burden, Chair, New York City Planning Commission, James Corner, landscape architect for the High Line, and Piet Oudolf, planting designer for the High Line, Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer, Ric Scofidio and Liz Diller, High Line architects, Ethan Hawke, Joel Sternfeld, photographer, Robert Hammond and Joshua David, Co-Founders, Friends of the High Line, and Kevin Bacon, the ten featured episodes explore the profiled individuals relationship to the High Line as well as the structure's impact on the city. Even without the commentary, these breathtaking panoramic video shots are sure to get you excited for the park’s official opening next month.

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At Home in Dystopia

Friend of AN Jeremiah Joseph visited an exhibition of interest in New York's gallery district. Et in Arcadia Ego, a new exhibition at the Thornton Room in Chelsea, examines the intersection and overlap of natural and man-made landscapes. With the title, roughly translated from Latin, “I am in pastoral utopia,” the show, curated by Blanca de la Torre and Juanli Carrion, could easily devolve into a Nature equals Good, City equals Bad equation. Instead, the way the six artists explore the topic is not so divisive or stale. The work tends to engage the subject from the side, generating surreal results. At the end any answers are farther off than before viewing the work, and this ambiguity is show’s strength. It prevents the viewer from standing too sure-footed and jumping ahead to conclusions and prejudices. In the modest gallery space, Chus Garcia-Fraile 's video Protected Zone is projected in the front window. In the piece, an escalator is placed in a lush forest, running like a waterfall in reverse. The device sits seamlessly in the forest. The viewer knows these components should not co-exist, save perhaps in some Wow-Me mall in Dubai where ski-slopes and the world's largest-something-or-other are commonplace. But here the relationship is eerily correct. Recalling the tension of Michael Heizer's Double Negative—platonic geometry thrust into a rustic landscape—two clearly opposing conditions go deep into dialogue (or not) with each other, forcing us to decide which reading is correct—nature, man-made, or a combination.
Carlos Irijalba's video Twilight uses artificial light as a gateway into natural and synthetic landscapes. The video begins with the viewer above an empty soccer stadium where an array of stadium klieg lights flicker on as twilight arrives. With gentle thrumming of the city beyond, the lights run through varying colors until they hit their hottest white light. Dropping down and hovering above the perfectly manicured grass pitch, the light and flora are shown in their most synthetic and controlled states. Relocating to a forest at twilight, a generator rumbles on and the same array of lights reveals a very different context. Standing like the Monolith from Arthur C. Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey the lights are clearly alien among the trees and insects. What does the light Monolith bring to the forest? Simple illumination? Does it turn the forest into an overly dramatic movie setting or bring an impending sense of destruction? Or perhaps a sense of detached and bemused sentimentality? With a different sensibility, the photographic works Catastrophes by Christoph Draeger recall newspaper disaster images. With child-like earnestness, the images show the apparent aftermath of a plant explosion and a tornado strike. The cheekily morbid images, familiar at first glance, quickly reveal they are deliberate constructed narratives. Both pieces in fact are careful staged and photographed models. The fabricated horrors are so thoroughly executed it is difficult to suppress a smile at their morbid nature. But this inversion of bleak sadness leads to a pause. How often do we gloss over these situations in the media with a mild sense of loss, but a greater sense of relief because they are far away? Draeger directly engages the terror, readdressing them as modern fables and foibles. We look at the images as a whole and then trace through to see how they are made. In the deep scanning and study we see fresh the nature and complexities of real world catastrophes. By far the most architectural and accessible but also most troubling piece is J.G. Zimmerman's Dystopia Series: Suburbia (above). In a 24 minute video satellite images of suburbs run by leisurely, hypnotizing as the landscape morphs from one familiar suburban fabric into the next. Initially appearing like a lazy Google Earth, the video is actually a deftly crafted piece of art. By specifically removing details and cues of inhabitation—there are no cars or people—we are left only with houses, streets and a smattering of grass and trees. It would too easy to jump to the conclusion that a suburban existence equals the Boring Life, but the artist sidesteps this reactionary reading. Recalling photos by Hilla and Bernd Becher studying industrial archetypes Zimmerman bends our perception of reality. Even while carpet-bombing the landscape with familiar suburban quadrants, we see an odd duality of sameness and differences everywhere. The effect is spellbinding and disturbing leaving us wondering what is real and what is simulacra – in both the video and real-life. Rob Carter's Landscaping II is a large-scale print of plants growing literally up and through folded, cutout images of traditional buildings. A recurring theme for Carter, nature reclaiming urban territory, in the piece he places two different scales together (real life plants within the tiny pictures of historic buildings) and allows the intermingling to commence. There is no good or bad, winner or loser, only a snap shot of a process. Shot strongly in black and white and printed large scale, the picture is harder to decipher then if it was shown in color and in 1:1 scale. Carter obscures legibility, creating a situation where he and the audience are both first time viewers of this creation. Everyone, artist and viewer, have wait for allow the process to unfold. And all we can do is to try to understand the equilibrium, if there is one, and ponder where the process might lead us next. Et in Arcadia Ego runs through May 23rd at the Thornton Room, 150 West 25th Street, New York City.