Posts tagged with "Fred Schwartz":

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Obit> Fred Schwartz, 1951–2014

We heard this morning that Fred Schwartz—one of the most independent, passionate, and even fearless voices in the New York architecture world—passed away last night. Frederic Schwartz Architects was well known for its waterfront park planning and various 9/11 memorials (Fred died at 9:11p.m. last night). Schwartz was the founder of the THINK Team (with Rafael Viñoly, Shigeru Ban, Ken Smith, David Rockwell, William Morrish, Janet Marie Smith, ARUP, Buro Happold and Jorge Schlaich) that presented one of the most creative master plans and designs for what might have been at the World Trade Center site. Everyone that knew Fred knows how passionate he was for New York City (he was raised in Plainview, Long Island not far from Levittown). His architectural practice was firmly rooted in the dynamism and diversity of the city. Schwartz was a proud 1973 graduate of Berkeley and, in 1978, of Harvard. He taught design at Harvard, Yale, Penn, Columbia, Berkeley, and Princeton and was the co-author of essays on architecture. His voice and presence in the New York architecture world will be greatly missed. AN will publish a more detailed obituary of Schwartz in an upcoming print edition of the paper.
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Going Down River

We mentioned the passage of Robert Venturi's second built house from Jersey to the North Shore of Long Island last week, and here she is, afloat on the North Shore. Being helpless landlubbers, we missed the party on Pier 17, but Fred Schwartz was nice enough to send along these photos from the event. More after the jump.
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LIEBing for New Shores

The Lieb House, Robert Venturi’s second commission and once in danger of demolition, will soon be en route to its new location, but by sea, not by land. After a bit of resistance from Glen Cove town council, the house has been cleared to travel by barge to its new site in the Long Island town. The architect Frederic Schwartz and Jim Venturi, Robert’s son, led the fight to save the storied home. The beach house, completed in 1967 in Barnegat Light, New Jersey, was to be razed and replaced by its new owner. Schwartz and the Venturis negotiated a 10-day grace period to allow them to find a new location for the house before it was to be destroyed. They found a fitting new site for it alongside another Venturi-designed home on the Glen Cove property of Debbie Sarnoff and Robert Gotkin. The two-story, 2,000-square-foot Lieb House will now act as a guesthouse to the main residence. Featuring a large, segmented circular window and curiously large number “9” signage, the Lieb House became an immediate postmodern success. The not quite box-shaped home set the foundation for the then-burgeoning Venturi style. (Video courtesy The Press of Atlantic City). The Storefront for Art and Architecture is hosting a weeklong exhibition, including a pier party to watch it sail by, celebrating the house and its unusual move. Opening on March 11, the exhibition will feature a map highlighting the house’s current location, final destination, and the route it will take between the two. Original drawings and photographs of the house will also be on display. The following day, March 12, Storefront will present a conversation about the house and its fate with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. The couple had deplored the house’s once seemingly inescapable demise:

We think it is architecturally tragic: it is a very significant house. We enjoyed making it a Modernist box with views toward the sea via windows and a roof terrace, and with a big sign: "9". We loved that by accident the round window works as a halo to the neighbor's religious statue, and we loved working with wonderful, understanding clients.

Early on the morning after the discussion, the public is invited to Pier 17 between 7 am and 9 am, to watch the house cruise down the river toward its future habitat. Thirteen cameras, including a heli-cam, will be filming the move as part of a documentary on the house being produced by Jim Venturi.
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Showdown at the Coney Corral

So it comes to this. Later tonight--6:30 to be exact--the Municipal Art Society will hold its final meeting on Coney Island, where it will take comments from the community, present the work of its charrette team, and, finally, present their recommendations to the city, a copy of which AN has received. The group's timing couldn't be better because we have also learned that the city is to certify its own long-simmering plans for Coney on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the entire neighborhood has gone (further) to pot. Though the MAS has received more than 300 recommendations through its ImagineConey website--which it kicked off with a Will Alsop-led charrette in November--the heart of its recommendations come from a report prepared by "amusement developer" David Malmuth and real estate advisory company Robert Charles Lesser & Co. Though the group probably has other ideas in store, there are four in particular it would like to see the city take up. First is the purchase of any land to be utilized as an amusement park so as to prevent future problems akin to those the city and local businesses are facing with developer Joe Sitt. Second, the MAS believes any master plan should be shaped by locals, and especially amusement operators and vendors, and that it should include a singular iconic ride that can come to symbolize the new Coney. Third, the city should require, instead of recommend, entertainment- and amusement-related uses for Coney West and Coney North. (The current plan only requires amusements in the main park area, Coney East.) One of two major departures for the MAS from the city is the demand that some interim short-term programming be implemented to keep the neighborhood vibrant and viable as the new rezoning is worked out and new amusements are built, a process that could take decades. The other, and most damning, point is that, in order to be viable, the new amusement area must cover 25 acres. The city's most recent numbers call for only 9 acres of amusement park, which was reduced from 15 acres initially proposed last February, when the rezoning was announced. According to Malmuth's report, that is the level required to attract and support 3.5 million visitors per year, which he says is the critical mass needed to make Coney truly stable and protect it from the sort of market fluctuations and development pressures that have led it astray in the past. Still, even if the MAS has come to some firm conclusions already about what it wants to see from the city, the community proposals are certainly worth checking out. With submissions from the likes of Fred Schwartz and countless architecture students, they're pretty trippy, even garnering a particularly vicious and snarky perusal from Curbed blogger Robert Guskind. And yet, over at his main blog, Gowanus Lounge, Bob gives a thoughtful analysis of the MAS approach:
We respect our friends at the Municipal Art Society and their ImagineConey effort. They have been one of the most vocal groups insisting that the city come up with a interim plan to keep Coney Island viable. Yet, we’re also concerned that as latecomers to the debate–which has been ongoing now for nearly three years–some of what they are bringing to the table is more of a distraction than a help. [...] Mayor Bloomberg, Amanda Burden, Purnima Kapur, Lynn Kelly and all the CIDC Board members, Joe Sitt, Kent Barwick–we’re talking to you and about you. Let’s cut out the meaningless twaddle and get down to the real work of making sure the summers of 2009 and 2010 are not the Summers of Horror in Coney Island. And, if that means sacrificing vision and slowing down bureaucratic process, so be it.
Much as we wish that Bob's wishes would come true, something tells us neither MAS's proposals nor Tuesday's all-but-certain certification will deliver.