The quest to brighten and enliven the numerous disused public spaces underneath New York’s elevated infrastructure continues. Last year, the Design Trust for Public Space and New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) presented the first pilot space in their joint Under the Elevated/El-Space program, which activated the space under the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Now the Design Trust has released the first look at its second pilot space at Dutch Kills Street in Long Island City, which will turn the space below two elevated roadways into a sustainable community gathering space. The Dutch Kills Street site, much like the Gowanus Expressway “el-space,” will reroute runoff from the spaces above through stormwater drains. A set of gabion planters (wire mesh frames with a permeable stone filling) with low-light flora and an illuminated art fence will enliven the public plaza. As the Design Trust notes, New York has millions of square feet of public space that are sitting unused, often creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians. These dark, often-impermeable spaces can cut up neighborhoods and divide communities; the El-Space program is creating a comprehensive framework that can be applied city-wide for reclaiming these areas. El-Space 2.0 will open to the public on May 16 (interested visitors can RSVP here) as part of NYCxDESIGN. The El-Space Toolkit, a framework for officials, private stakeholders, and community groups that want to realize el-space projects in their own neighborhoods, is also in the works and will launch at a later date. The program isn’t slowing down, and the Design Trust–NYCDOT is working on their third el-space beneath the Rockaway Freeway in Queens.
Posts tagged with "Design Trust for Public Space":
It’s hard to imagine that in a city like New York, any space would be permitted to go to waste. However, the spaces underneath bridges, expressways, and elevated trains are often more or less voids, disused and often altogether unpleasant. However, The Design Trust for Public Space is trying to change that with “el-spaces” that activate and reimagine these shadowy locales. The Design Trust has partnered with the city’s Department of Transportation to create the Under the Elevated/El-Space pilot program, which just launched its first physical site test last night under the Gowanus Expressway in Sunset Park. This first el-space is a test site to show off planning methods that better connect residents to the waterfront and make the space safer for pedestrians, all while serving as a form of “green infrastructure” to improve environmental health. After a series of community charrettes and pop-up workshops, this pilot design was realized by three of the Design Trust’s fellows: Tricia Martin (landscape architecture), Quilian Riano (urban design), and Leni Schwendinger (lighting). The pilot features planters of greenery that thrive in low light on elevated platforms below large stormwater drains, and extend the public space away from cars while offering an alternative pathway for pedestrians. It also came with a fresh paint job for the adjacent support structures, brightening the area and setting it apart from the rest of the highway trusses. The pilot is also intended to offer replicable techniques that could be deployed throughout the city’s millions of square miles of underutilized space. The el-spaces are intended to increase urban livability in more than one way. Frequently, infrastructure is built in lower-income areas, bisecting neighborhoods and contributing pollution and congestion. The el-spaces help ameliorate these effects and promote greater health and connectivity in neighborhoods. The el-space pilot site launched as part of NYCxDESIGN. Its official opening was followed by a panel conversation that included participants who have worked on similar projects in other cities. Following this Brooklyn launch, The Design Trust for Public Space is planning two additional el-spaces in Queens, with hopes to spread them under the city’s 700 miles of elevated infrastructure.
The Design Trust for Public Space and Times Square Arts have selected Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho as winners of the 2018 Times Square Valentine Heart Design competition, an annual event that brings a love-themed sculpture to the Crossroads of the World. This year's installation, Window to the Heart, leverages 3D printing to capture the Instagram zeitgeist. The project team collaborated with Formlabs to design a 12-foot-wide 3D-printed Fresnel lens to collect and morph Times Square's lights through a central, heart-shaped aperture. Each segment will be printed using transparent resin in lieu of glass, a material reflection on the changing nature of image capture and dissemination. Laufs Engineering Design – LED is providing structural engineering services for the project. Aranda\Lasch is a New York– and Tucson, Arizona–based design and architecture studio directed by Benjamin Aranda, Chris Lasch and Joaquin Bonifaz. The firm's Exhibit Columbus installation, Another Circle, dropped over 1,000 pieces of salvaged Indiana limestone into a city park to create Stonehenge-like spaces for conversation, theater, and relaxation. Lasch teaches at the School of Architecture at Taliesin, and Aranda teaches at Cooper Union. The other team member, Marcelo Coelho, is a computation designer who lectures at MIT's Department of Architecture and serves as Head of Design at Formlabs. His recent work includes an audiovisual installation for the 2016 Paralympics, as well as Sandcastles, a project with artist Vik Muniz that used old and new photographic techniques to etch images onto grains of sand. "Times Square is a symbol for how we experience our world," Aranda\Lasch + Marcelo Coelho said, in a prepared statement. “ It is a physical manifestation of our culture, one dispersed and absorbed through cameras and screens. And in this culture, to fall in love you must first fall through a lens.” Siq! By some metrics, Times Square is one of the most Instagrammed spots in the world. And yes, the installation can be tracked on social media with its very own hashtag, #WindowHeartTSq. Times Square Arts, the public art division of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with The Design Trust for Public Space, this year's curator, to pick seven firms to submit installation proposals around the theme "labor of love." Proposals from Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, office iii, Studio Cadena, StudioKCA, studioSUMO, Taller KEN, and the winning team were reviewed by artists, architects, landscape architects, and city officials. Planning a visit? The installation will be up near the TKTS booth at Father Duffy Square, between 46th and 47th Streets, from February 1 through the end of the month, with a official unveiling scheduled for 11 a.m. on opening day. More information on Window to the Heart can be found on Times Square Arts' website. The 2018 season is the 10th anniversary of the competition: Last year, The Office for Creative Research installed a data-driven sculpture that explored migration and belonging in New York City.
This month, the Design Trust for Public Space and Staten Island Arts launching a new series of public arts projects, Future Culture, with the broader mission of connecting people to Staten Island's North Shore and heightening its role in greater New York as a cultural destination. Six finalist proposals for site-specific installations or programs will be surveyed in the exhibition, which opens on September 14. Two of those six proposals will be piloted. The first, a concert series called Court Yard Fridays, will include regular public concerts in the garden adjacent to the Richmond County Supreme Court building, bringing together musicians and listeners of diverse backgrounds. The second, Sonic Gates, will be a sequence of sound sculptures linking the St. George Ferry Terminal and the Clifton SIRR station—the installations will function as both wayfinders between the two points and pitstops encouraging exploration into the surrounding urban terrain from St. George to Stapletown. Other finalist ideas included sculptures highlighting the parallel between urban bird corridors and human arterials, bus stop installations celebrating Staten Island's biodiversity, and youth engagement workshops helping local schools rethink their connection to larger community developments. Design Trust for Public Space director Susan Chin said the exhibition aims to "jumpstart a dialogue among the Staten Island Community, developers, and public agencies to strengthen the network of cultural practitioners and to create inclusive and vibrant public spaces in the North Shore." For updates on more specific Future Culture programming running from late September through the end of November, check the Design Trust's website, linked here.
In Manhattan, designer's eyes are moving south, towards the North Shore: The Design Trust for Public Space and Staten Island Arts have teamed up to select five urbanists to work with stakeholders on northern Staten Island to investigate how art and culture can enhance public- and privately-owned open space in the fast-developing area. The urbanists—Lisa Dahl, a Staten Island–based artist; Ben Margolis, urban policy expert; Margie Ruddick, landscape and urban designer; John Schettino, graphic designer, and Gareth Smit, photojournalist—are Design Trust fellows who will work with residents and local artists to collaborate on community engagement, design, and research for Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront, a multi-year initiative that investigates the changing North Shore. Those changes are coming swiftly. The program responds to big changes emerging on the North Shore. This year, Stapleton's URBY opened its doors to residents, who can partake in cooking classes at the development's shared kitchen or glean agriculture knowledge from its on-staff farmer. New parks and street connections will integrate the formerly industrial Stapleton waterfront with its neighborhood, and development around the St. George ferry terminal, including S9's New York Wheel and SHoP's Empire Outlets, are set to draw thousands of visitors to the North Shore. The fellows will test programming and design recommendations with public art pilots, and will author quarterly newsletters for St. George, Tompkinsville, and Stapleton residents to solicit input on projects and keep them appraised of the findings. The fellows' work will culminate in a plan that can guide strategies for equitable economic development, and revitalization that locks in the community's social, ethnic, and economic diversity long-term.
Join The Design Trust for Public Space for a conversation on how we can improve neighborhoods through design, moderated by The Architect's Newspaper Editor-in-Chief William Menking. The brand-new edition of our Laying the Groundwork design guidelines will debut! In the coming decade, thousands of new mixed-use affordable housing developments created through Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York plan will transform the cityscape. With the power of good design, this unprecedented building boom can help foster vibrant, mixed-income neighborhoods and attractive, fully leased commercial corridors. Laying the Groundwork, developed by the Design Trust for Public Space and our Fellows in partnership with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD), is a comprehensive set of guidelines for high-quality ground-floor design in mixed-use affordable housing developments. Speakers include:
- Eric Wilson, Assistant Commissioner of Planning and Sustainability, NYC HPD
- Susan Chin, FAIA, Hon. ASLA., Design Trust executive director
- Fiona Cousins, PE, CEng, LEED Fellow, Principal, Arup; Design Trust Engineering Fellow
- R. Darby Curtis, AIA, Partner, Curtis + Ginsberg Architects
- Penny Hardy, Principal, PS New York; Design Trust Graphic Design Fellow
- James Slade, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Slade Architecture; Design Trust Architecture Fellow
- Hayes Slade, AIA, Principal, Slade Architecture; Design Trust Architecture Fellow
Presented in partnership with the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) Interiors Committee.
Last night, AN was over at the National Museum of the American Indian in Lower Manhattan, to hear the Design Trust for Public Space announce the winners of Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm—its open call for proposals to reimagine the city's public space. Out of over 90 submissions that came from individuals, city agencies, and community groups, the jury selected four winning plans that should collectively include programming in all five boroughs. In a statement, the trust said the proposals "will develop new ways of connecting diverse people, systems, and built, natural and digital environment of New York City. Each project, which will receive seed funding to begin immediately, will respond to the needs and aspirations of community users." Here's some information on each project all courtesy of the Design Trust for Public Space: Design Guidelines for Neighborhood Retail ( The New York City Department of Housing, Preservation & Development) The NYC Department of Housing, Preservation & Development needs design guidelines to achieve successful mixed-use developments that include high-performing ground-floor spaces. The resulting manual will generate immediate changes to HPD’s development process for mixed-use projects, but also for other entities focused on creating vibrant local economies through design. FMCP Creative / Reconnect the Park (Queens Museum and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation) Queens Museum and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation will investigate new ways of connecting public parks to communities through a pilot study that will analyze Flushing Meadows Corona Park (FMCP). Envisioned as an active learning framework for park users, the project will support community participants in developing proposals to improve FMCP’s connectivity with surrounding neighborhoods, focusing on the park entrances, wayfinding system, and new uses for the World’s Fair infrastructure. Future Culture: Connecting Staten Island’s Waterfront Staten Island Arts (Staten Island Arts) Staten Island Arts seeks to establish a replicable model of inclusive development through public art to link neighborhoods, starting with Staten Island's North Shore. The project will provide planning and policy recommendations to stabilize the cultural assets of neighborhoods. Opening the Edge (Jane Greengold with the support of New York City Housing Authority) Brooklyn artist Jane Greengold aims to activate underused public spaces surrounding public housing developments with the residents. The project will develop new ideas and a prototype to transform inaccessible landscapes around NYCHA developments into lively places to gather for residents and visitors alike.
On Monday, dozens of designers, planners, and community organizers packed the amphitheater at the newly opened LEESER-designed BRIC House in Brooklyn's rapidly-growing BAM district. The attendees were there to hear the details of the latest Request For Proposals (RFP) from the Design Trust for Public Space, The Energetic City: Connectivity in the Public Realm. The Design Trust has launched pivotal projects before, like their Five Borough Farm that is helping to redefine urban agriculture in New York City. This time, the group is seeking new ideas for public space and, according to a statement, "develop new forms of connectivity among the diverse people, systems, and built, natural, and digital environments of New York City." At stake is the future of public space in New York, along with seed funding that could provide research fellows and eventually a publication of ideas from the winning proposals. Chin said at the launch event that the Design Trust takes the long view, and that winning proposals could move on to future phases with higher budgets and potentially much more lasting impacts. "Public space is all around us, yet for so many New Yorkers it remains invisible and unchangeable. The Design trust is committed to unlocking the potential of NYC's public spaces. With The Energetic City, we will continue to push for design innovation," Chin said in a statement. "We're open to revolutionary ideas that change ways that public space is conceived in many different areas, ranging from sustainable design, transportation, and communication to art, product design, and technology initiatives. We want to help ordinary and extraordinary citizens make a difference in their own communities and in the life of their city." Chin has asked interested parties to look closely at a particular public space in New York City and how ideas revolving around "connectivity" can help to create a more sustainable and equitable city. The Energetic City initiative is open to public agencies, community groups, and, this year, individuals—a first for the Design Trust. The deadline to participate in the RFP's first phase is June 30. Chin highly recommended that interested groups and individuals coordinate their proposals with Rosamond Fletcher, Director of Programs at the Design Trust, to make sure the RFP process goes smoothly. Read more info about the RFP and submit your proposals on the Design Trust website.
When it comes to making the most out of city space we've all heard and witnessed the old adage "If you can't build out, build up." But what about building down? The Design Trust for Public Space, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative public spaces such as the High Line, has recently announced the launch of a new project titled Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities. In collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the Design Trust has just named a team of five fellows that aims to transform the 100 million square feet of dark, dingy, and neglected space that currently exists beneath New York City's elevated train and highway infrastructure into functional, vibrant, and inviting public spaces. “When you look at the impact the mile-and-a-half-long High Line has created, and then consider the potential of these spaces in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, you understand the magnitude of this undertaking,” said Susan Chin, executive director of the Design Trust, in a statement. In order to carry out this enormous task the Design Trust invited professional architects, engineers, designers, and urban planners to apply for five fellowships in Urban Design, Particapatory Design, Policy, Graphic Design, and Photo Urbanism. The Design Trust fellows were selected according to their experience in delivering solutions for projects similar to this undertaking, their ability to work independently and collaboratively, and their willingness to commit significant amounts of time to this project. Susannah Drake, AIA, ASLA, principal of dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture, was awarded the Urban Design Fellowship. Drake joins the team with experience working on projects such as the BQE Trench: Reconnection Strategies for Brownstone Brooklyn, Rising Currents: A New Urban Ground, and Gowanus Canal Sponge Park. Chat Travieso, a Brooklyn-based artist and architectural designer known primarily for his interactive public art installations that challenge viewers to question their built environment, won the Participatory Design Fellowship. The Policy Fellowship was awarded to planner and urban designer Douglas Woodward, who is currently working on a project titled “The Under Line,” which aims to re-open 33 vacant lots under The Highline for public use. The Graphic Design Fellowship was bestowed to Neil Donnelly, maker of books, posters, websites, and exhibitions often within the art and architecture industry. Finally, a fifth Photo Urbanism Fellowship was awarded to Krisanne Johnson, a Brooklyn-based photographer who primarily shoots powerful images in black and white. Johnson not only won a $5,000 stipend, but will also have her photographs published at the conclusion of the project. Together the Under the Elevated project team will significantly transform New York City by cleaning up and enlivening the gloomy, underutilized spaces that currently define areas such as those beneath the BQE and Harlem's 1 train.
Just in time for Valentines Day, today the Times Square Alliance and Design Trust for Public Space officially opened Situ Studio’s Heartwalk, a heart-shaped installation constructed of salvaged boards that once made up the boardwalks in Long Beach, Sea Girt, and Atlantic City, to the public. Heartwalk is the winner of the 5th annual Time Square Valentines Day Design competition, taking its cue, in subject matter and materials, from the “collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the love that binds people together during trying times,” according to Times Square Alliance. Check out the installation "in the heart of Times Square" through March 8, 2013.
The fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design has been awarded to Situ Studio. The Brooklyn-based architecture firm presented a design that features "boardwalk boards salvaged during Sandy’s aftermath—from Long Beach, New York; Sea Girt, New Jersey; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. " The project titled Heartwalk is described "as two ribbons of wooden planks that fluidly lift from the ground to form a heart shaped enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square." The competition was cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborated with Design Trust for Public Space. The installation opens on Tuesday, February 12, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.
These days, it seems that the Brooklyn community is doing its best to find creative solutions to ameliorate the awkward neighborhood divisions caused by the BQE. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just received a grant for $75,000 from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to create what they’re calling a “funderpass” that will turn the dreary BQE underpass into a pedestrian-friendly passageway, which provides a direct connection between the shops and businesses on Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 6. The Atlantic Avenue BID will team up with the Design Trust for Public Space to redesign the underpass to include wall murals by Groundswell, and new amenities such as a bike service station, seating, lighting improvements, and prominent wayfinding signage. BID hopes to finalize the design and possibly implement these changes by the end of 2013.