The iconic trio of Observation Towers in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in eastern Queens is getting a long-overdue upgrade. Restoration work on the monolith structures at the New York State Pavilion has reportedly begun according to Untapped Cities. Built for the 1964 World’s Fair, it’s no secret that the Philip Johnson- and Richard Foster-designed project has suffered from serious neglect over the last several decades, but the push to restore it to its original glory is well underway. The Pavilion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 2009, and two years ago, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation announced its plans to fully restore the small site, making it a safe, walkable and event-centric destination for New Yorkers and tourists once again. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz first dedicated $14.5 million towards the project in 2014, and then the New York City Council and the mayor put aside more funds, bringing the total to $24.1 million. While several smaller albeit major renovation efforts on other parts of the Pavilion have occurred since 2015, including repainting the old steel framework on the Tent of Tomorrow, the project to rehabilitate the three Observation Towers has been five years in the making and physical indicators are finally starting to show. Set to take place over the next one-and-a-half years, work will include repairing all the deteriorating concrete found on the three, semi-stacked structures, as well as transitioning the finish on the plaza level floor from its current terrazzo-style linoleum to a methacrylate coating that will last longer. The external stairway on Tower 3—the tallest at 226 feet—and the internal stairs on all three stacked structures will be reconstructed. In addition, the waning suspension cables on each tower will be replaced and the electrical and drainage infrastructure in the basement of the site will be replaced and revamped respectively. One of the most visible changes set to come to the New York State Pavilion includes the restoration of the architectural lighting both on the towers and on the circular Tent next door. Bright lights will shine down from the bottoms of the observation platforms and columns of all four structures, ensuring the Pavilion’s presence on the night skyline of Queens for years to come. Construction is expected to wrap up in March 2021.
Posts tagged with "Flushing Meadows Corona Park":
Join this 2-hour walking tour throughout Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, site of the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs. Following the map plan of both original fairgrounds, the tour will include such sights as the Queens Museum (formerly NYC Pavilion), Philip Johnson’s NY State Pavilion, the Unisphere (exact site of the Trylon and Perisphere), Port Authority Heliport, the Westinghouse Time Capsule, and the Hall of Science. Join guide Lloyd Trufelman for a tour of these sites, along with assorted statues, fountains, former pavilion locations and various other fragments.
The renovation of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens continues apace, with a recently announced renewal of the World’s Fair fountains surrounding the iconic Unisphere. Landscape architecture firm Quennell Rothschild & Partners (QRP) has been selected to spearhead a $5 million renovation of the Fountain of the Fairs within the park, and will link the neglected fountains with an interactive “fog garden”. The Fountain of the Fairs, an axis of long, rectangular pools designed by Robert Moses for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, connects the Unisphere to the Fountain of the Planets to the east. Instead of returning the three fountains to their original conditions, QRP will be updating each of them to allow community access as well as save water. In the first phase of the plan, the western pool in front of the Unisphere will be filled in with Art Deco-inspired pavers and converted into a fog garden. The walkway’s fog will be generated by a series of 500 hidden sprinklers, and NYC park officials can either create a four-foot-tall fog wall or release the mist in waves to improve the visibility. As the children play in the garden, parents will be able to watch from the new concrete benches lining the play area. Phase II will see the middle fountain converted into a sunken amphitheater, and the final phase will create a children’s water park in what is currently the easternmost fountain. QRP will also be replacing the massed Yew trees along the fog garden area with maple trees, short evergreen plants, and grasses to improve the views across the park. The new sightlines will also allow food trucks to park in the newly softened plaza in front of the Fountain of the Planets. The renovation is a welcome respite for the Fountain of the Fairs. Although all three fountains were repaired and flowing after a renovation in 2000, the pools have been dry since 2012 due to flood damage from superstorm Sandy. Any visitor to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park might spot children cooling off in the fountain below the Unisphere, although the basin is meant to be purely decorative. “It’s a decorative fountain, it’s not supposed to be used for water play,” Janice Melnick, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park administrator, told amNewYork. “People try to climb up on the Unisphere base; the jets are powerful.” The fountain plans comes on the heels of the revitalization of the Philip Johnson and Richard Foster-designed Tent of Tomorrow, which was restored to its original color in 2015, and which recently won $14 million for structural upgrades. Construction on the first phase of the fountain conversion will begin in the fall of this year.
The Arthur Ashe Stadium at the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens today unveiled its new retractable roof as well as numerous changes and additions to the tennis complex. Finished in time for this year's US Open on August 29, the roof and masterplanning of the rejuvenated site was served up by Detroit-based firm Rossetti. In 2009, the USTA was pessimistic of constructing a roof over the stadium. They argued it was hard to justify spending such money on a stadium that was used for only a few weeks a year when the organization's primary aim was promoting tennis at the grass-roots level. Now, however, in light of Rossetti's much less costly $100,000 solution the organization has changed its tune.
Spanning 236,600 feet, the Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) weatherproof roof will be primarily used to cover the court during periods of rainfall. USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Gordon Smith said it "remains to be seen" if the roof will be used as a shading device, though later commented that the USTA's "overriding goal is to be an open court tournament at all times." At the unveiling, Smith and Matt Rossetti of Rossetti boasted of how the roof can open or close in under six minutes. This was put to the test only moments later with the roof being fully closed in five minutes and 22 seconds (under this author's watch). Once complete, there was a marked difference in both light and temperature. No longer necessary to squint, the PTFE significantly reduced sunlight glare while also drastically cooling the arena. The reopening however, wasn't quite as smooth. At the third time of asking after Billie Jeane-King beckoned: "Let there be light, again!" the roof finally opened in swift fashion. Smith later used this as a springboard to inform the audience of how the sensory components of the roof require perfect alignment for the structure to move along the track beds that are in place. Courtesy of the engineers on hand, the delay was only a mere ten minutes and Smith was quick to say that the situation of opening and closing in such a quick manner is unlikely to occur - if at all. It's worth noting that the Arthur Ash Stadium, built in 1997, is the largest tennis arena in the world though it was never designed to have a roof of any kind placed on it. Now though, it is part of an elite group of of a handful of tennis stadia worldwide that can boast a retractable roof, third on the Grand Slam tour to the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne and Center Court at the Wimbledon Championships in London. Here, the roof takes a minimum of ten minutes to be fully deployed; conditions are ready for play around a further 20 minutes after. This added delay is mostly due to the fact that Wimbledon uses grass tennis courts in which moisture in the soil can lead to an increase in humidity when the roof is closed, making the ball behave differently. Explaining this to AN, Matt Rossetti pointed out how the U.S. Open uses a hard court system which negates this effect. Play would be able to get underway much more quickly with players barely noticing a difference. Rossetti also responded to questions from AN regarding the new problems a roof would create such as water run-off and climate control. In response to this, Rossetti identified the large metal guttering that traces the perimeter of the roofscape. 15 feet wide and four foot deep, Rossetti recalled how he reacted with shock to the design requirement. "We said no way, something's got to be wrong!" Rossetti exclaimed regarding the results of the calculations that stipulated such monumental guttering. In terms of maintaining a constant climate, Rossetti also noted the large power unit nearby which will power the the roof system as well as act as a chiller for the space. The roof isn't the only change going on at Flushing Meadows either. Part of a masterplan from Rossetti, a new Grandstand stadium has been built, replacing the old venue which was famed for its intimate environment. Rossetti iterated how this intimacy has been maintained as a key component of the new stadium's design. Sunk into the ground, the new 8,000-seat venue uses a PTFE skin to form partial bowl around the arena. Set against the edge of the nearby Flushing Meadows park, the bowl, which is perforated and broken down into segments, aims to imitate "the view through the foliage" in a similar fashion to the adjacent trees. The tectonic structure secures the 486 panels through a "cable structure with parametric geometry" while also mimicking the "branches" of the surrounding greenery. In addition to this, all the courts have seen an increase in capacity while the smaller courts have been pushed slightly south to free up circulation and facilitate the increase in visitors. Though the proposed landscaping isn't quite yet all in place, Rossetti said the esplanade to the north of the grand stand is a "phenomenal place to be."
Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion, located in Queens, was once part of the 1964 Worlds Fair. Now it is the only remaining structure from the event. Years of neglect has seen the pavilion fall into a state of disrepair. However, all does not appear to be lost thanks to The National Trust for Historic Preservation, People for the Pavilion, and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Together, they have organized an ideas competition in an attempt to bring the pavilion back to life. The competition so far has received a number of submissions up for public vote. The current frontrunners are a hydroponic farm (essentially a farm that uses nutrient water instead of soil) and a flexible exhibition space. The former an ambitiously wants to demonstrate a process that could "feed cities into the next century" while the latter envisions an outdoor performance area and park. In recent memory, the pavilion's only claim to fame was its appearance in Iron Man 2 where it played host to the Stark Expo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bchp8boR0Dc The pavilion's appearance on screen however, has done little to bolster its circumstances, although a fresh coat of paint was added in fall last year. The New York State Pavilion Ideas Competition now hopes to "spark a conversation about the value of historic preservation," citing Johnson's work as an "irreplaceable structure" that is one of Queens' "most significant assets." Submissions so far mostly depict colorful scenes that refer back to the pavilion's original red and yellow coloring. These include the "Queens Pavilion Cheeseburger Museum," "Trampoline Castle," "The Funland of art" (that promises to be "the most fun your kids will ever have"), and the "Pavilion for the People." Others proposals include an observatory, ice-rink, and planetarium. There are few constraints on putting forward an idea. Participants must be over the age of 13 and submit an original idea complete with an image. A Sketchup model of the pavilion has been made available to download to aid contributors. The competition is also free to enter. For now, the public has until July 1 to submit their ideas, with Deborah Berke, founding partner of Deborah Berke Partners and soon to be Dean of the Yale Architecture School and critic Paul Goldberger among others judging the submissions. The jury will select first, second and third place, of which will receive $3,000, $1,000 and $500. The voting system however, will be used to select a "fan favorite" with the winner taking home $500.
Until recently, the Tent of Tomorrow looked very yesterday. Part of the Philip Johnson–designed New York State Pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair has been restored to its original color, "American Cheese Yellow," earlier this month. New York City has allocated almost $8.9 million to shore up the tent, the pavilion, and other relics of the World's Fair in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park (including the Unisphere). Designs for the structural reinforcement and preservation of the pavilion will be in by fall 2016, with construction to begin in 2017. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and preservation group People for the Pavilion, in partnership with the city, will begin soliciting ideas for design and programming in the space early next year. New Yorkers got a rare glimpse inside the relic at last week's Open House New York Weekend. Sixteen, 100-foot-tall columns support a 50,000-square-foot ceiling with colored clear panels. Three towers of 60 feet, 150 feet, and 226 feet—most recently famous as spaceships from the film Men in Black—stand adjacent to the tent. The shorter towers held cafeterias, while the tallest supported an observation deck. To fulfill apprenticeship requirements, 30 bridge painters from Painters DC 9 and the Painting Contractors Association worked for a combined 8,000 hours to bring the Tent of Tomorrow's steel diadem back to its original color. This phase of the project was done pro bono, with an estimated value of $3.25 million (really). The city estimates that the fresh paint will extend the life of the structure by about 15 years.
This Friday, catch the world premiere of "Modern Ruin" all about the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair
World Premiere of Modern Ruin: A World’s Fair Pavilion Friday, May 22nd, 2015 Cocktails 7:00–8:00p.m., Screening 8:00–9:30p.m. Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin's New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World's Fair in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park should be more than an eyebrow raiser as those curious, disc-on-pole structures seen when driving to JFK airport. It was Munchkinland, the starting place for Dorothy's journey to Manhattan—correction, Oz—in the 1978 film The Wiz. It was an alien spacecraft tower in the original 1997 Men in Black which crashes into the nearby Unisphere. And it was the site of Tony Stark/Ironman's confrontation with his adversaries in Iron Man 2 on the grounds of Stark Expo 2010, a digitally updated 1964 World's Fair grounds (director Jon Favreau's childhood home overlooked the park). And it will appear in the new film Tomorrowland starring George Clooney that opens May 22. But the common current perception of what Ada Louise Huxtable called “sophisticated frivolity" when the buildings opened is one of dereliction, decay, and outmodedness. That is, except for a number of dedicated citizens called People for the Pavilion and architectural simpaticos, who rightly see this as a preservation issue. What results is a new documentary called Modern Ruin: A World's Fair Pavilion by Matthew Silva and executive produced by the makers of Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island (2014), Jake Gorst and Tracey Rennie Gorst, which will premiere the same day as Tomorrowland. The towers were a favorite of master-builder and fair impresario Robert Moses, who saw these structures as one of the few 1964 World's Fair buildings intended to live beyond the event. Paul Goldberger said it used "advanced engineering combined with a very exquisite sense of architectural composition, to make something that was both aesthetically and structurally quite beautiful and fully resolved." The pavilion consists of three components made of reinforced concrete and steel: the "Tent of Tomorrow," the Observation Towers, and the "Theaterama." The elliptical “Tent of Tomorrow” measured 350-feet by 250-feet with sixteen 100-foot-tall columns supporting a 50,000 square foot roof of multi-colored fiberglass panels—like a Rose window over a circus tent—once the largest cable suspension roof in the world. The Observation Towers are three concrete structures, the tallest at 226 feet high, with observation platforms once accessed by two "Sky Streak capsule" elevators. The adjacent “Theaterama” was originally a single drum-shaped volume of reinforced concrete where pop artworks by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, and Ellsworth Kelly—plus art from local museums—were exhibited alongside a display from the New York State Power Authority featuring a 26-foot scale replica of the St. Lawrence hydroelectric plant. A 360-degree film about the wonders of New York State, from Jones Beach to Niagara Falls, was screened inside. Warhol’s specially-commissioned Thirteen Most Wanted Men series depicting criminals' mug shots straight on and in profile, displayed on the exterior had a fate reminiscent of Diego Rivera's censored murals at Rockefeller Center: Nelson Rockefeller had it covered over, here because too many Italian Americans were depicted as criminals. (In 2014, the complete series was displayed at the Queens Museum, just 200 yards from the New York State Pavilion.) The Theaterama was converted to the Queens Playhouse in 1972 and is now the Queens Theatre where Modern Ruin: A World's Fair Pavilion will be screened. Connecting the complex was a floor made of 4-foot-by-4-foot terrazzo panels that formed a map of New York State. In fact, it was a Texaco roadmap and was a great hit with people finding their home towns and navigating across the state. At the end of the fair, the floor was supposed to be moved to a building in Albany, but instead was left and became a roller rink—terrazzo is a great skating surface. The site was largely intact until the mid-1970s (the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin performed there), but its fate was part of New York City's downslide. The roller rink closed, the roof was taken out. Left open to the elements, the mapped floor was destroyed. Since that time, the complex has continued to deteriorate, but a handful of dedicated citizens have devoted themselves to resurrecting the space. Volunteers for the New York State Paint Project are sprucing up the tent with a fresh coat of paint. CREATE Architecture Planning and Design came up with an idea to make it into an Air & Space Museum—that plan went nowhere. In 2014, New York City government announced a pledge of $5.8 million towards rehab of the structure, and Governor Cuomo’s office pledged $127,000, but estimates for the complete rehabilitation have climbed to a staggering $75 million. The film is a loving portrait with intelligent interviews with Frank Sanchis (World Monuments Fund), Robert A.M. Stern, and Paul Goldberger laced among those who created, remember, and are saving the site.
We love all of our clients equally… but Dr. Alan Friedman we really, really loved. We should all be so fortunate as to work with someone as generous, curious, optimistic yet not unrealistic, trusting, and somehow always fun. BKSK worked with him on two ambitious permanent outdoor exhibits (collectively the NY Hall of Science Playground) approximately ten years apart, and in between were tapped for various smaller tasks. So lightning, for us, struck more than once. The beginning of any project was, following that metaphor, electrifying. His spark of inspiration for the first playground came on a trip to India, where he found an exhibit harnessing children’s full body play to demonstrate principles of physics. He envisioned it on a park-sized scale and empowered our team (Ivan & Jane Chermayeff, Lee Weintraub, Mattyias Levy, and Tian Fang Jing from Weidlinger Associates, among others) to engage in extreme brainstorming. His questions all involved content—“What does it teach? How can it engage a group of participants?” At his urging, our projects embraced the sun, sounds, water, and wind of the museum’s Flushing Meadow site. We feel sure that the other architects he engaged as the Hall of Science grew, including Ennead (then Polshek & Partners) and Beyer Blinder Belle, would say the same: that Alan was a tireless source of, and promoter of, ideas. Above all, he wanted us to make spaces that were themselves teaching tools. Under his guidance, the process of design itself was a full body and full mind experience, filled with surprise and delight. Joan Krevlin is a partner at BKSK Architects in New York City.
Last year, plans were floated to build a new $300 million, 25,000-seat, Major League Soccer stadium in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park, to be designed by SHoP Architects. Because of the contentious nature of using public park land to build a stadium, the project had remained out of public view, but early conceptual renderings were leaked by the Empire of Soccer blog following a lecture by SHoP principal Gregg Pasquarelli at Columbia University. According to Empire of Soccer, in a video of the lecture posted and since removed from Youtube, Pasquarelli is heard saying, "The project I’m not supposed to show (you) so I am not going to tell you where it is or what it is but it’s a new stadium that should be announced in the next couple of months." He described the facility as a new type of stadium without walls. According to Capital New York, MLS president Mark Abbott denied that the proposed stadium would look like the renderings and that SHoP may not be designing the final stadium, stating: "These drawings do not represent what they stadium will look like. In fact, we haven't selected an architect yet and will not start the design process until we have an owner for the club. This was simply a concept drawing that was done only to help determine the potential height and footprint. Any assertion that these drawings represent what a stadium will look like in Queens is wrong.