Tower of Babel. Argentinian artist Marta Minujin has created an 82-foot tall "Tower of Babel" in Buenos Aires after the city was named UNESCO's World Book Capital for 2011. Readers, libraries, and 50 embassies donated over 30,000 books in a variety of languages to fill the twisting structure. The Guardian has a slideshow and we posted a video of the tower after the jump. High Line Caution. Witold Rybczynski penned an op-ed for the NY Times cautioning the many would-be High Line copy cats that the success of the New York wonder-park (and a Parisian predecessor) aren't because of the parks themselves, but because of their unique situations in dense, thriving cities. Tower Trouble. The Wall Street Journal writes that skyscraper construction has dropped off drastically from decades past to the tune of 14 million fewer square feet per decade than the period between 1950 and 1990. Can New York maintain its global competitiveness without ramping up construction? Twin Lions. Two stone lions, Leo Astor and Leo Lenox, have been standing sentinel at the New York Public Library's main entrance on Fifth Avenue since 1911. Ephemeral New York posted a little more history on the backstory of the big cats.
Posts tagged with "High Line":
Today the Serpentine Gallery released the first renderings of Swiss architect Peter Zumthor's plans for its annual 2011 pavilion. Zumthor has recruited Piet Oudolf, the Dutch landscape designer who helped transform the High Line in New York, to work with him on the concept of a "hortus conclusus" (in case you skipped Latin class, that's a secret garden within a garden). Oudolf's garden will form the heart of an atrium-style building constructed of a "lightweight timber frame wrapped with scrim and coated with a black paste mixed with sand" that is intended to be a cloistered retreat removed from the noise and smells of London's urban environment, according to a press statement. Visitors will process through doorways staggered along exterior and interior walls, moving from the dark, shadowy space into the bright, flower-filled landscape."This experience will be intense and memorable, as will the materials themselves--full of memory and time," said Zumthor. The pavilion will be the first building by Zumthor, 2009 winner of the Pritzker Prize, to be completed in the UK and will only be open to the public from July through October. Sure to be a summertime attraction, rather than a serene garden visitors might find a not-so-secret hortus populus.
This Friday, three massive billboards will debut along the High Line, but instead of blasting consumerism, the art installation by Kim Beck hopes to provoke visitors to think of public space. From the High Line: "Kim's work will encourage park visitors to reconsider the water towers, exhaust pipes, HVAC systems, roof decks, green roofs, and other building elements that are integral components of the cityscape views along the High Line." Called Space Available, Beck will install three "skeletal" blank billboards. Experiencing the signs from different angles can provide the illusion of three dimensionality, when in fact each sign is really flat.
We were scouting cool party spaces recently and caught this view from the 9th floor of Neil Denari's HL23 on the High Line. Lower floors of the 14-story condo, now nearing completion, are going to feel pretty vulnerable to nose-pressers strolling up the rail-bed park who will be just feet away from their living room glass walls. But on the upper floors, views of the length of High Line will unfurl as alluringly as the Yellow Brick Road. Right now, it's possible to make out the stretch of emerald lawn section at 23rd Street, waiting for its sunbathers.
Children from a school in the West Village love the High Line and they have a giant model to prove it. Carol Levitt's second grade starchitects-in-training recently finished their wood-block coup de grâce detailing the story of the famed elevated park - past and present. The model shows the transition from railroad line in the 1930s to abandoned field of weeds (featuring actual plants) to the High Line we know today. The kids paid extra attention to detail and demonstrated engineering prowess with structures spanning the High Line, including a tin foil Standard Hotel. Other landmarks in the model include the Chelsea Market and Pastis (maybe the only time you won't have an excruciating wait for a table).
"The children in my group feel as if the High Line somehow belongs to them," Carol says, "They joyfully take their parents, grandparents, and friends of all ages to the High Line and tell them the story. The children followed the approval of the Rail Yards with cheers. How extraordinary that they studied the High Line as it grew and will continue to grow. They see themselves as being the future of the High Line—which they will indeed be."Looks like the High Line will be in good hands for years to come! [ Via High Line Blog. ]
More cave-itecture under the High Line. Architecture firm Leong Leong and fashion designer Siki Im have teamed up for the fifth and final installation in the Building Fashion series of pop-up collaborations beneath Chelsea’s High Line Park. Picking up where Snarkitecture and Richard Chai left off, Leong Leong has turned the former Sales Tin for Neil Denari’s HL23 condos into another amorphous cave-like interior—only now you’ll have to take off your shoes before entering. “We wanted to radically transform the interior,” explained principal Chris Leong. “We wanted to breakdown the traditional pop-up experience.” To do this, the firm oriented the store around a parabolic, foam-covered ramp and hung clothes seemingly at random from the walls and ceiling, which were sculpted with the same soy-based spray-foam. Leong Leong, a winner of the AIA’s 2010 New Practices New York Competition, is no stranger to the fashion world. The New York firm has designed stores for Phillip Lim and Opening Ceremony in New York, Los Angeles and Seoul. The Siki Im pop-up is located at 504 West 24th Street and will remain open through November 15. More photos available from BOFFO.
Lurking under the High Line has been a bit more fun since Building Fashion began its series of architecture-and-fashion installations in September, erecting a new collaboration every two weeks as a means of reusing the former onsite Sales Tin of Neil Denari's HL23 condos. On Thursday, Brooklyn firm Snarkitecture and fashion designer Richard Chai will unveil the fourth project in the series, a cave carved by hand from architectural foam. Designed to give shoppers the feel of a glacial cavern, the pop-up shop will feature men's and women's fashions displayed on shelves, niches, and hang bars embedded in the foam. Located at 504 West 24th Street, the store will be open to the public October 21-31 from noon to 6 p.m. The final installation in the Building Fashion series, a collaboration between Siki Im and architecture firm Leong Leong, will be launched November 5, with the adjacent garden designed by Konyk Architecture open through the end of the series.
The high-end cotton label Supima is planting its flag—or rather, a field of cotton plants imported from Texas—under the High Line this summer, in a public outdoor event space designed by Brooklyn's Konyk Architecture. Dotted with movable cotton-bale seating and set atop a plywood "walkable mural," the space will host a variety of events beginning the week of July 15 and continues through New York Fashion Week in September, just in time for those cotton bolls to bloom beneath Neil Denari's soon-to-liftoff HL23. Konyk's competition-winning design for the 4,000-square-foot event plaza, currently a staging area for construction near 10th Avenue and 24th Street, will include a plywood "flat field" transformed by routers and jigsaws into a fiberlike landscape based on the botanical profiles of Pima cotton, recalling an expanse of pressed flowers. The reconfigurable cotton-bale seats will allow varying uses for the space, which is expected to host 500-person Fashion Week blowouts, but should also serve as a ruminative, gardenesque respite for flagging Chelsea shoppers. Sponsored by the group Building Fashion—along with Supima, the Pima cotton-growers association—the project also includes a rotating series of pop-up boutiques installed in what is known as the "HL23 Tin," a customized prefab box that currently houses the HL23 sales office. (A model apartment upstairs will take over sales duties.) To fill the space, each of five fashion lines will be paired with an architect to fit out the pop-up store, with architects selected through competitions on Architizer. The first boutique features designer Simon Spurr working with Collective, a young collaborative practice including architects Marc Dizon, George Alan, Zach Hines, and Dehlia Quellman. And rest assured, Alf Naman: there'll also be voyeuristic glimpses of HL23's glittering facade. "It's an interesting hybrid in the shadow of Neil Denari's building," said Craig Konyk of the site. "You're right under the High Line, where HL23 cantilevers over. We'll have a mirror where you can look up through a slot and see the facade as a landscape."
New York and Paris will soon be joined by Morristown, Tennessee as cities that have turned abandoned, elevated bits of their aging infrastructure into pleasant walkways. New York’s High Line and Paris’ Promenade Plantee have justifiably received many pages of press, but Morristown’s 1968 Skywalk is known to few people outside of eastern Tennessee. The sheer audacity of the concrete promenade—“built to Interstate quality,” with planter boxes and piped-in Musak—should rank it with the better-known works of 1960s utopian planning. It’s not exactly Cedric Price’s Potteries Thinkbelt in aspiration, but more like Peter and Alison Smithson’s concrete service ramps in Robin Hood Gardens if they were designed by Victor Gruen. Yet unlike most of the era’s utopian visions, over 1,000 feet of Skywalk was actually built. Morristown’s Main Street grew up directly above a main line railroad and a waterway known as Turkey Creek. In 1962 the creek flooded, nearly wiping out the commercial district. At the same time, a suburban shopping mall was ruining the historic downtown district, and the city developed a plan to modernize Main Street by creating an “overhead sidewalk” that would turn the second floor of the existing buildings into a new street while serving as a canopy for the sidewalks below. Building owners spent nearly $2 million upgrading their properties and linking them to the ramp, while the government contributed over $5 million to build the ramp and place Turkey Creek underground. The project, the city fathers hoped, would turn the dilapidated central business district into a bright and enticing commercial haven and “aesthetically place the downtown on par with any shopping center.” In the end, however, the Skywalk was no match for air-conditioned and enclosed suburban shopping malls, and it has served as little more than a roof over the sidewalk and a remnant of the idealism of 1960s urban renewal. That may soon change, though, as Morristown is embarking on a resurrection of the Skywalk as a social and commercial hub. A newly accessible ramp has been built up to the walkway, and it has been made a key element in a greenway master plan for the region. (Plus, it’s about to receive a fresh coat of paint.) Town librarian Bill Denton claims the Skywalk remains a source of pride for many local residents. It may not have saved Morristown’s Main Street in the 1960s, but to its credit, it was essentially an urban approach that may outlive all the ill-conceived suburban malls built in the 1970s and beyond.
Today, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on the High Line, written by none other than AN's Executive Editor, Julie V. Iovine. Employing the same skill for observation and elegant phrasing that she applied to our own sneak peek of the elevated park back in April, Iovine has brought the wonders of this industrial-wreck-turned-lilly-scented-promenade to a whole new readership: the brokers and bankers of The Street. The Journal also put together this video on the High Line just before its opening. Enjoy!
As the first segment of The High Line opened to the public on Monday, the first public art commission to occupy the space was unveiled. An installation by Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch, The River That Flows Both Ways, is a collection of 700 tinted films applied to the existing windowpanes of a semi-enclosed loading dock attached to The Chelsea Market. Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director at Creative Time, the cultural partner of Friends of the High Line, described the project: “He takes old window mullions in a dark, unremarkable tunnel and transforms them into reflections of color and light taken from the nearby Hudson River.” The installation is based on a single day Finch spent in a boat floating up- and downriver propelled only by the natural flow of the Hudson. A camera, on a timer, took a photograph of the water once a minute for 11 hours and 40 minutes. Later, selecting the exact color of a single point in each photograph, Finch produced a film with which he laminated the windows and organized in chronological order. The River That Flows Both Ways is a subtle work, unassuming at first glance, especially with construction still taking place around it. On its first day open, passersby were observed walking halfway through the underpass, apparently unaware of the exhibit, and suddenly stopped to look at the playfulness and soothing colors of Finch’s work. The park currently plans on presenting at least one other major public art project, scheduled for next spring. The artist and the project will be announced in the next few months. Pasternak explained that in addition, “Friends of the High Line will be launching an artist residency program this fall through which artists will be invited to create new work that interprets the site's past, present, and future.” The new curator for this program is Lauren Ross. Adrian Benepe, the Parks & Recreation Commissioner, also shared his view of the park’s future. “The High Line will be one of the city’s best outdoor art museums,” he said. With Finch's work now on view, the elevated park has a great start.
Unless you’re living under a rock, you already know the High Line officially opened its first section to the public on Monday. One of its highly styled neighbors and our favorite designer happens to also be one of its biggest supporters, not just financially speaking! Diane von Furstenberg recently released a newly designed limited edition towel that is, according to her blog, “inspired by the tracks of the railroad.” Available at her Washington Street studio, which is conveniently located steps away from the Gansevoort Street entrance to the High Line, and online, the towel retails for $75 and a percentage of the proceeds will go towards Friends of the High Line to help raise funds for the remaining sections and maintenance. So if you haven’t already been, the green promenade that stretches from Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street is now open daily for strolling from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Don’t forget to grab your towel on the way!