Posts tagged with "Greenpoint":

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Columbia professor Anthony Acciavatti on the technical engineering of India’s sacred river

Anthony Acciavatti, Columbia GSAPP Professor and award-winning author, delivered a lecture at Greenpoint creative space A/D/O earlier this week on his 2015 book titled Ganges Water Machine: Designing New India’s Ancient River. The event is part of the company's #Waterfutures Research Program that challenges designers and researchers to rethink the global drinking water crisis. Acciavatti reflected on his decade-long fieldwork where he traveled by foot, boat, and car to document the Ganges River basin from its source in the Himalayas to the historic city of Patna nearly 1,000 kilometers downstream. During the lecture, Acciavatti explained the difficulties of obtaining satellite imagery at a time when web-mapping services such as Google Maps were not yet invented. Instead, he resorted to designing and building his own instruments to map and visualize the region’s data. As a founding partner at Somatic Collaborative, Acciavatti is now actively working with his partner Felipe Correa, who was recently named Chair of Architecture at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, as well as Indian authorities to realize his research and designs for the region. The Ganges is a trans-boundary river, which crosses India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian countries. According to various reports, the Ganges is highly polluted by human activity, but it still is the source of drinking water for over 400 million people. Acciavatti's book doesn't focus on the region’s pollution, but instead investigates the 19th century British engineering that made the network of irrigation canals and aqueducts possible. He was also interested in identifying the political implications of how water became a powerful political resource throughout the river’s historical evolution and what it means today.
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Brooklyn’s East River waterfront is defining itself in unexpected ways

Taking shape along Greenpoint’s once-industrial waterfront district is a series of surprisingly contextual modern condo developments using red brick and exposed black steel to tactfully insert tens of thousands of new residents along this sleepy East River shoreline. The largest of them, a 30-story tower that is part of Handel Architects’ Greenpoint Landing, includes 5,500 units sprawled over 22 acres at the mouth of Newtown Creek, with 1,400 apartments renting for as little as $393 to $1,065. Initial renderings presented for public review surfaced as bland massing diagrams, but the subdued details of Handel’s build-out hold promise for communities becoming accustomed to glossy, glassy, boxy towers in districts where rezoning permits greater height and bulk. To the stakeholders’ credit, the developer showed them a selection of schemes to choose from, including designs by Renzo Piano Building Workshop. In contrast to Long Island City’s gleaming, generic masses and Williamsburg’s spotty, uneven edges, Greenpoint’s waterfront retains enough of its traditional shipping warehouses to sustain the contours of a characteristically industrial neighborhood along West and Commercial Streets, even if most of the industry is gone. Despite a major waterfront rezoning passed by the city council in 2005, until a few years ago, most of West Street continued to host storage for building material and scaffolding, a lumber manufacturer, and a crane and equipment rental company. After large portions of Greenpoint Terminal Market were lost to a ten-alarm fire in 2006, Pearl Realty Management adapted the remains into a studio-and-workspace rental complex, an extension of its Dumbo-based green desk co-working enterprise. Slowly, smaller firms like Daniel Goldner Architects, Karl Fischer Architect, STUDIOSC, and S9 Architecture populated the upland side of West and Commercial with renovated warehouses and upscale condos echoing the material palette of the existing low-rises. Much of the post-rezoning development along West and Commercial stalled due to the 2008 mortgage-backed securities crisis. In 2009, the former Eberhard Faber Pencil Company building became the Pencil Factory lofts, and Daniel Goldner Architects filled in the corner lot with a syncopated colored brick addition and perforated aluminum garage. The project struggled in the post-crash housing market. But in the past two years, a rush of new buildings began to rise up along West and Commercial with a distinct material selection: red and light-colored brick and exposed black-painted steel, with glazed entryways and antique fixtures. Karl Fischer Architect’s 26 West Street opened in 2016, its redbrick and black steel facade filling out the six-story street wall, its large overhang resembling a meat market loading dock. The warehouse modern–aesthetic even extends all the way around the mouth of the Newtown Creek, where a 105-unit building by S9 Architecture employs the same neotraditional style—red brick, exposed black steel, industrial awnings, antique fixtures. An upscale ground-floor grocery store warmed some nearby loft residents up to it after months of sound-based trauma from the drilling of pilings. With leases from $3,350 to $4,350, locals will never be at peace with the rent pressures that come with these buildings, but at least they have the virtue of not extravagantly showing off their residents’ income. Not everything conforms to this trend: The expansive 140-unit development under construction by Ismael Leyva Architects at 23 India Street more crudely fills in its zoning envelope with affordable housing ranging from $613 for studios to $1,230 for winners of the NYC Housing Connect lottery, capped by a 39-story, 500-unit condo tower that promises in every way to form a bland massing diagram in the sky. In any case, contextual exterior cladding is little consolation for a community that fought hard for its 197-a plan—completed in 1999 and adopted by the city council in 2002—which would have allowed significantly less bulk and height, aimed to retain more light-manufacturing jobs, and mandated more affordable housing along with waterfront access. Jane Jacobs, in one of her final written statements, penned a strong defense of the original community plan against the eventual zoning resolution. Of course, the trade-off forced by the city—an upzoned waterfront in exchange for publicly funded parks and developer-mandated walkways—has already helped reduce heavy-industrial pollution, killed a proposed Con Edison power plant, and reduced and eliminated waste-transfer facilities and truck fumes. Some residents are just waiting for the dust and noise of construction to subside, while others hope for another recession to slow down the accelerated activity. In 2009, Andrew Blum published “In Praise of Slowness," for the launch of Urban Omnibus that, in retrospect, should have a more durable life as a critique of fast development. For New York City neighborhoods, slowness provides a much-needed stability in the absence of state-level expansion of rent regulation to protect against predatory development. Yet if there had to be luxury condos facing the former industrial piers, the emerging Greenpoint warehouse modernism was a more subtle and site-specific solution than anyone expected or imagined.
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Abandoned NYC hospital to be redeveloped as affordable housing

Hoping to bolster its stock of affordable housing, New York City last week issued an RFEI (Request for Expressions of Interest) to redevelop the long-abandoned Greenpoint Hospital in Brooklyn into 500 supportive and affordable apartments. The 146,100-square-foot complex includes three buildings and open land that have been sitting empty since 1983. “It makes no sense in a community desperate for affordable housing that that prime site has been sitting here all this time," Mayor Bill de Blasio told a local town hall, according to DNAinfo. Brick structures on the site were built between 1915 and 1930. One is being used as a homeless shelter and the other was recently taken over by squatters. According to the RFEI, plans for the site need to consider its historic character, repurposing materials and the historic facades. However developers will be able to demolish one or more of the buildings “based upon highest level of feasibility.” A previous plan for redevelopment was halted in 2012 when the developer was indicted on bribery charges. De Blasio, who released his Housing New York plan shortly after taking office, has promised to add or preserve more than 200,000 affordable housing units in the city within ten years. “When more than 50,000 New Yorkers sleep in homeless shelters and hundreds of thousands more struggle to pay high rents with meager earnings, the City fails to live up to its promise of opportunity,” noted the report. The city recently reported that it has financed 77,651 affordable homes since January, 2014, putting it “ahead of schedule” to reach its goal.
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Like design standards manuals? Then you’ll love this new bookstore

Perhaps it's the contemporary obsession with nostalgia, but somehow, just like Brutalism, dated design manuals have made a comeback. Thanks to a few within the design industry—notably "typomaniac" Erik Spiekermann and filmmaker Gary Hustwit—the thirst for graphic design guides and their retro-chic has flourished. These books have become coffee table musts. But where to buy them? Sure, they can be purchased online, but if we are to truly wind back the analog clock, nothing quite beats a visit to a proper bookstore and a new one in Brooklyn has the answer.

Graphic designers Hamish Smyth and Jesse Reed opened their new graphic design bookstore yesterday, along with their new design office, Order. Located in Greenpoint, the store was designed by New York architect Miran Jang in collaboration with Smyth and Reed. According to the owners, it is the only specialized graphic design bookstore in New York City.

Order specializes in branding, corporate identity, publications, signage, and wayfinding design. The Brooklyn-based pair favors a straightforward typographic approach, preferring function over decoration. Their work has been recognized by institutes such as the Type Directors Club and The American Institute of Graphics Arts.

Formerly of Pentagram, Smyth and Reed are also the two designers behind Standards Manual. The venture started off when they unearthed a 1970 edition of the New York City Transit Graphics Standards Manual and decided it would be a good idea to reproduce it. A 2014 Kickstarter campaign asked for just over $100,000 to print 1,000 books. The pair eventually raised more than $800,000. People actually wanted this, who knew?

Naturally, a second standards manual followed, this time for NASA and also from the 1970s. And this time their fundraising fell a mere $58,000 shy of $1 million. Their current Kickstarter, for the 1977 EPA Graphic Standards System, has already reached its goal.

These design manuals and a selection of curated graphic design books from a variety of publishers including Chronicle Books, Gary Hustwit, Harper Collins, Hartley and Marks, Hachette, Laurence King, Niggli, Phaidon, Prestel, Unit Editions, and Yale University Press are available to purchase at their new store.

Standards Manual store 212 Franklin Street Brooklyn, New York

Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10–6 p.m.

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New co-working space for designers and creatives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn completes construction

Opening to the public in the new year, and featuring a slew of to-be-determined programs and events, creative hub A/D/O stands on a quiet corner in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The coworking space—developed by MINI and designed by nARCHITECTS—will cater to creative and design professionals and house URBAN-X, an accelerator for innovative hardware startups. A/D/O will also act as a portfolio project for the car company as it explores non-automotive ideas.

The 23,000-square-foot former warehouse at 29 Norman Avenue will offer 24 private desks for emerging and established designers (selected through an application process), as well as access to studio spaces and an array of design tools to prototype ideas in-house. A/D/O also includes a cafe, a design store, exhibition spaces, and indoor and outdoor hangout spaces, all oriented around a vast abundance of free working space that will be open to the public.

In a city where a good 90 percent of co-working spaces are member-only, A/D/O seeks “to flip the idea of working spaces on its head,” said managing director Nate Pinsley. “We thought it was far more interesting that the majority of the space is very permeable, so that people can figure out how [A/D/O] fits in their design life.”

With this in mind, Eric Bunge, principal at nARCHITECTS, explained that the concept of “remix” governed the approach to A/D/O’s design, applying the idea to both the physical building and its program. Rather than dividing the warehouse into different zones, “the spaces kind of bleed into each other,” Bunge said, maintaining that “transparent connections to the main event space” allow people to “see what would normally be going on behind closed doors.”

At the core of its programming, A/D/O’s Design Academy will seek to foster critical conversations around the future of design to explore “opportunities for cross-fertilization between disciplines of design,” said Daniel Pittman, A/D/O’s director of design, as well as “how those different disciplines interact with the broader world.”

The space is oriented around the engagement between designers and non-designers, seeking “that sweet spot between the more intellectual group that will be in the space, and the people who have a respect for it, but are not credited in the field,” said cultural programming director Alyse Archer-Coité.

This past fall, the A/D/O played host to a series of events to ramp up the buzz around the new space, including the Open House New York Weekend Launch Party, the Architectural League of New York’s Beaux Arts Ball, and, more recently, The Future Series, presented by B&O Play.

With regard to what sets A/D/O apart from the other maker-spaces in Brooklyn, Archer-Coité believes that its strength lies in its flexibility. “The space affords options for designers to bring some of their more wild projects to life, and for projects that have had lives outside of New York to be celebrated or workshopped,” she said. “In New York there isn’t that flexible space for activating certain projects like that. It’s an asset that would make certain projects possible that wouldn’t be otherwise.”

For more on A/D/O, visit their website here.

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New design space A/D/O to open in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Creative hub A/D/O is set to open in Greenpoint with a series of events this fall and will open fully to the public in December. Developed by MINI and designed by nARCHITECTS, it will be the newest space for creative and design professionals in Brooklyn. The facility will also act as a “portfolio project” for the car manufacturing company as it explores “nonautomotive” ideas, as The New York Times reports . The multi-purpose, 23,000-square-foot space will offer 24 private desks for emerging and established designers, all of whom will have access to studio spaces and an array of design tools and resources to prototype ideas in-house. They will also work alongside URBAN-X, an accelerator for innovative hardware startups that will be headquartered at A/D/O. Classes and workshops, exhibitions of exceptional work, and a full calendar of cultural performances and events will also be hosted in the space. This programming will be geared toward building a community around design processes and solutions for improving urban life. According to Technically Brooklyn, the organization also hopes to invite non-designers into the space by including a restaurant that’s open from morning until late in the evening, outdoor and indoor hangout spaces, as well as free work areas for people who are just passing through.
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All the toxic sites in two of Brooklyn’s most expensive neighborhoods, mapped

On a Jane's Walk tour of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint industrial waterfront last year, our guide gestured to the luxury-high rises that have sprouted from former industrial areas along Kent Avenue in recent years. "See those buildings? See all the strollers? EVERY SINGLE ONE of their kids is exposed to TOXIC POISON." Though the North Brooklyn neighborhoods are now known for servicing the lifestyle needs of bourgeois bohemians, the cold-press juice shops and midi-ring purveyors are, a new map confirms, laid on a foundation of seriously toxic earth. Yesterday Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG) launched their ToxiCity Map, an interactive tool that shows how environmental risks correlate with the neighborhoods' population density, average income, and health outcomes. NAG advocates for policies that promote "healthy mixed-use communities," works with Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents to access the waterfront, and partners with citizens and businesses to reduce area environmental threats. The map was created with the help of a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation grant in partnership with Pratt Institute's Spatial Analysis and Visualization Initiative (SAVI). The ToxiCity Map lets users pinpoint environmental hazards and gives an idea of how specific hazards could impact a given neighborhood zip code. Waste transfer stations, scrap metal and recycling sorting facilities, for example, are all sites which divert materials from the waste stream but are often surrounded by idling materials delivery trucks that degrade air quality. The location of these facilities can be overlaid onto district asthma rates: The map suggests that the number of waste transfer stations is positively correlated with higher rates of asthma. On the toxic waste side, the map features fine-grained explanations of the difference between, say, highly regulated sites versus "E" designated sites, or spills versus brownfields versus Superfund sites. Handily, the map links to the group's industrial history walking tour, the same one this reporter took last year.
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Senior Housing in Oakland Pushes the Building Envelope

Sustainability and high design meet in Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects' affordable housing complex.

Designing a sustainable building on a budget is tricky enough. But for the Merritt Crossing senior housing complex in Oakland, California, non-profit developer Satellite Affordable Housing Associates upped the ante, asking Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects to follow not one but two green-building ratings systems. "They wanted to push the envelope of what they typically do and decided to pursue not only the LEED rating, but also the GreenPoint system," said principal Richard Stacy. "So we actually did both, which is kind of crazy." Wrapped in a colorful cement-composite rain screen system punctuated by high performance windows, Merritt Crossing achieved LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Pilot Program Platinum and earned 206 points on the Build-It-Green GreenPoint scale. The building was also the first Energy Star Rated multi-family residence in California, and was awarded 104 points by Bay-Friendly Landscaping. Merritt Crossing’s 70 apartments serve low-income seniors with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of the area median. More than half of the units are reserved for residents at risk of homelessness or living with HIV/AIDS. Stacy explains that in the context of affordable housing, sustainability means two things. The first is quality of life for the residents, "the sorts of things that have a direct benefit to the people living there," such as natural daylighting and indoor air quality. The second is energy efficiency. "Both non-profits and [their] residents have limited financial capabilities," said Stacy. "The one time they have funding for that kind of thing is when they’re building a building. So we focused a lot on the building envelope in terms of energy efficiency. At the same time, we wanted to have ample daylight and controlled ventilation.” Finding themselves with unused contingency funds during construction Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects upgraded the exterior skin to a rain screen system of SWISSPEARL cement composite. "We worked pretty closely with the SWISSPEARL company," said Stacy, who noted that Merritt Crossing may be the first building in the United States to use the system. Though the panels are installed like lap siding they offer "the benefits of a rain screen in terms of cooling and waterproofing issues," he explained. To accommodate the thicker skin, window manufacturer Torrance Aluminum designed custom trim pieces, which "had the added benefit of giving us the appearance of deeply recessed windows," said Stacy.
  • Facade Manufacturer Eternit Switzerland SWISSPEARL
  • Architects Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
  • Facade Distributer Western Specialty Fabrications
  • Facade Installer PCI
  • Location Oakland, CA
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • System Cement composite rain screen
  • Products SWISSPEARL cement composite, GreenScreen modular trellising, Torrance Aluminum windows with custom trim pieces, Dow Corning polyiso insulation, Grace Perm-A-Barrier VPS vapor permeable membrane
Insulation was a special concern for the architects, both because Merritt Crossing was built using metal frame construction, and to minimize air infiltration in keeping with the green ratings systems. The building’s exterior walls are wrapped in 1-inch-thick high performance polyiso insulation from Dow Corning with a Grace Perm-A-Barrier VPS vapor permeable membrane. "As a result we ended up with a very, very tight building from an air insulation standpoint, which means you have to pay more attention to air ventilation," said Stacy. To compensate, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ mechanical engineers designed a special air filtration system for the building’s roof, complete with built-in HEPA filters. The building’s southwest facade faces a freeway, presenting potential noise and privacy issues in addition to exposure to the western sun. "We did a highly layered facade on that [side] where the actual exterior wall is back three to four feet from another screen wall," said Stacy. The outer wall "is a combination of typical wall assembly as well as GreenScreen panels that form a webbing of open areas and solid areas that help with sunshading as well as acoustical [dampening] and privacy." Greenery in balcony planters will eventually grow up and over the screens. On the ground floor, the garage is also enclosed in GreenScreen trellising, to enhance pedestrians’ view without sacrificing ventilation. Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ Merritt Crossing proves that affordable housing does not have to look institutional. The facade’s vibrant colors—green on the northeast elevation, red on the southwest—and playful punched texture pay homage to the neighborhood’s patchwork of architectural styles and building uses. The first major building in the planned redevelopment of the area around the Lake Merritt BART regional transit station, Merritt Crossing sets the bar high for future developments.
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Changes Ahead for North Brooklyn: Two Massive Projects Move Forward

Last week was a big week for development in the already condo-saturated area of north Brooklyn. Brownstoner reported that City Council gave the massive Greenpoint Landing proposal the green light to construct 10 towers along the East River waterfront. While the project already had the approval to build as of right, the developers made a few concessions including an agreement to build a public school, offer free shuttle service to transit nodes from the complex, bump up the number of affordable housing units, and allocate money towards Newton Barge Park. In Williamsburg, the SHoP-designed Domino Sugar Refinery proposal (pictured) received Community Board One's approval. Two Trees also had as of right to build its string of towers, but the developer is now seeking to increase the height of the buildings and add more green space. Board members requested a few tweaks to affordable housing options and retail.
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New York City Gearing Up For New Bike Lane on Pulaski Bridge

Pulaski Bridge (Courtesy of Newyorkshitty) Now that Citi Bikes are taking over the streets of New York City, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) is getting ready to pave the way for a new bike pathThe Daily News reported that the NYCDOT plans on creating a new dedicated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, the connection between Greenpoint and Long Island City, by 2014. Currently pedestrians and cyclists share a crowded path, but soon a single traffic lane will be turned into a bike path. An engineering study of the bridge will include this addition and be unveiled to the Community Boards in Queens and Brooklyn in the next few months. (Photo: Courtesy Newyorkshitty)
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Brooklyn Neighborhood Slams Proposal for Massive Waterfront Development

It is going to be an uphill battle for the developers behind two massive residential projects planned for Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  DNA Info reported that Community Board 1 rejected the proposals to build over a dozen 40-story residential towers on the northern tip of the borough, but they indicated they could be persuaded to change their minds. The bargaining chip is more affordable and senior housing. The board would like the developers behind the two developments, Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street, to drastically bump up the number of affordable units in their plans, which so far include housing, retail, a public school, and esplanades along the water. This decision is just the first step in the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).
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Not So Green: Greenpoint to Lose Park During Highway Construction

Originally named for its once thick forests and lush meadows, the former industrial neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn now has a real shortage of green space. The Brooklyn Paper reported that parkland will only grow scarcer with the pending closure of Sgt. William Dougherty Park, located on the corner of Cherry Street and Vandervoort Avenue, as soon as the state begins its four-year construction project to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge. Greenpointers have expressed concern about the temporary loss of the park, and Assemblyman Joe Lentol has asked the lawmakers in Albany to allocate a portion of the funding reserved for the bridge construction to building a new park. One local resident has already scouted out a possible location at an empty five-acre parcel on Kingsland Avenue between Greenpoint and Norman avenues.