Posts tagged with "hudson valley":

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A house of intersecting volumes in upstate New York house offers a geometric, sustainable retreat

Sitting alone in a dense forest clearing, the Sleeve House is composed of two simple intersecting volumes whose relationship produces a series of complex interior spaces and experiences. Designed for urban clients by New York-based actual/office (a/o), the home, two hours north of Manhattan in the Hudson Valley, offers an escape. With expansive views of the Catskill and Taconic mountain ranges and generous spaces provided for art display, the Sleeve House provides a certain lifestyle through architectural moves and a selective material palette. The 2,500-square-foot house is composed of one small and elongated prism slipping into a larger but stouter one. The irregular spaces produced between the two provide for the public programs of the house. An entry gallery leads guests to a large living area, the home’s grandest space. The remainder of this in-between is used for a stair leading to the smaller inner volume, which is mounted in the middle of the house upon concrete supports. Neatly arranged within this volume are the private spaces—bedrooms, a bath, and a study—distinctly separate (formally and metaphorically) from the home’s public areas. “The project is interested in being contemporary, yet having some reference to its context and its site,” explained a/o founder Adam Dayem. “One of the references is old agricultural buildings, barns, and silos you find in upstate New York. They are very simple volumes sitting in the landscape and have these rough and weathered facades from sitting in the elements for one hundred years.” Throughout, a selective palette of materials emphasizes the formal moves of the project while enforcing the separation of public and private. Inside and out, both volumes are clad in shou sugi ban–charred wood siding. Through alternating the orientation and spacing of the continuous black boards, the geometry of the house is emphasized, while at the same time, its surface is activated with depth and pattern. Along with structurally supporting the house, large concrete walls provide space to hang art. Exposed concrete and glass further accentuate the form, appearing on both the exterior and interior. The ends of the volumes are capped with massive glass walls, framing views of the countryside for the enjoyment of which the house was sited. The high level of detail is carried through to the mechanical systems, which are meant to provide comfort while addressing sustainability concerns. The house’s entire electrical system is supplied by solar energy, a true advantage, considering the building’s relatively remote location. Triple-paned glass and radiant heat embedded in the foundational slab keep in as much heat as possible during often brutal Northeast winters, and a heat and energy recovery ventilation system efficiently heats and cools the home all year. Finding a contractor to build a leaning house with unconventional detailing presented its own challenges, but the project’s location in upstate New York helped. “I found that there is a serious culture of high-end design and construction up there. Some contractors did say no, but the contractor I went with, Lorne Dawes, is maybe not a typical contractor. He won’t say no; he will say, ‘Let’s figure this out.’”
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Small Hudson Valley town may soon host a $500 million Legoland

The upstate town of Goshen, New York, with a population of about 5,300, may get a $500 million Legoland theme park. Goshen's Planning Board unanimously approved a resolution last week allowing the park to move forward. The developer behind the park, Merlin Entertainments, already operates nine other Legolands worldwide. For the park's proponents, Legoland represents a way to bring considerable revenue into the town, as well as ancillary development like hotels and restaurants. Goshen Supervisor Douglas Bloomfield told the Times Herald-Record that the park was "a way to offset escalating costs and declining revenues." About 52 percent of the land in Goshen is public and not subject to taxation. The project's approval granted Merlin Entertainments $37 million in tax breaks, which its opponents have said is unnecessary for a company of Merlin's size. A host agreement approved in May requires Merlin to pay the town $1.3 million yearly if the park successfully brings in 2 million visitors during its season from April to October. Legoland's opponents have raised concerns about the local impacts of the development. Stop Legoland, an initiative by the Concerned Citizens for the Hudson Valley, has held teach-ins on the potential negative effects of the theme park, discussing topics from traffic congestion to alleged corruption between the town and the developer. The group has issued a petition for a referendum on eight acres of the 150-acre project. This petition is not likely to impede the park's progress, as representatives from Legoland have said they will move forward with or without the eight acres. With a Bjarke Ingels–designed Lego House recently opened in Billund, Denmark, the Goshen park would represent another major property expansion for Merlin Entertainments, a $7.1 billion conglomerate second only to Disney in its parks' attendance.
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GSAPP is taking its students out of New York and up the river for innovative urban design

Many New Yorkers know the Hudson Valley from weekend trips to Hudson or Beacon, but the urban designers at Columbia University want to introduce new ways of thinking about the diverse and complex region. Famous for rolling hills immortalized by the Hudson River School, the mostly rural five-state region is home to prisons, 19th-century asylums, back-to-the-land hipsters, art museums, and 13 cities, too. Tomorrow, students and faculty from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University will join community leaders in Poughkeepsie to celebrate the opening of a pop-up exhibition featuring urban design proposals for a more resilient and just Hudson Valley. Justice in Place is the culmination of student projects that explore how equity and justice can be fostered spatially. Student projects explored these themes through incarceration and education; health; historic preservation; landscape; and food systems. The work will be on display through January 31 at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center. The projects are part of GSAPP's Hudson Valley Initiative (HVI), a research platform and archive that combines the strengths of GSAPP's programs to build partnerships and projects in the region, as well as facilitate inquiry into the American landscape more broadly. "Central to the whole urban story of the region is the story of the river itself. Thinking about water as the economic driver provides rich ground in which to think about urban design," said landscape architect and HVI director Kate Orff. "The Hudson Valley is extraordinarily beautiful, but there's also this dramatic inequality," added HVI assistant director David Smiley. "This is out backyard, and we need to take the research here to another level." Through the HVI, GSAPP has extended and deepened its relationship to the region. The projects, Orff and Smiley said, aim to benefit both students and the community: Using an applied research framework, students incorporate community feedback with what they've learned in class into activist proposals for the study area. In building longstanding regional ties, the HVI also counteracts a common problem with ostensibly community-engaged projects—students parachute in for a semester, create a project with little follow-up, and leave the community once they've earned their credits. In contrast to this method, work through the HVI from previous semesters informs current projects. Since the end of World War II, the once-prosperous region has experienced a slow and steady slide in its economic fortunes. Although recent migrants and investment have revived towns like Cold Spring and Hudson, but left others behind. The videos here showcase work from past urban design studios centered on Newburgh and Beacon. Orff and Smiley said GSAPP is adding an optional fourth semester onto the three-semester urban design program, so the "same projects hit the ground running," said Orff. "We need to dig deeper in these places." The Justice in Place: Design for Equity & Regional Currents opening party is tomorrow, January 28, at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. More information can be found here.
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This tilting house is a piece of “performance architecture”

At the end of July, in a field in the middle of the Hudson Valley, this precarious house twisted and tilted for five days while its creators lived inside. The house is called Reactor and it's the latest from collaborators Alex Schweder and Ward Shelley. Schweder and Shelley told The New York Times their work is "performance architecture," a name that reflects their philosophy of building interesting structures and then living in them. Reactor was built at the Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, New York, with dimensions of 40-by-8 feet balanced on a concrete pillar. As Schweder and Shelley lived in the space, both the wind and their own movements kept it in perpetual motion. As breezes spun the structure around the center, it would tilt up and down as the pair moved into the building's different rooms and changed its center of gravity. The installation has similar themes to the pair's previous works which involve a pair cohabiting an unusual space that requires teamwork to get around. For example Orbit from 2013 resembles a giant hamster wheel, with one artist living on top and another living inside the circle. Counterweight Roommate from 2011 had the two attached to each other on opposite sides of a vertical structure, so that for one to go up the other had to go down. Shelley and Schweder shared their journal entries from the first few days of living in Reactor with The New York Times. In them they express the irregularity of the weather and movement patterns in the house, and the calming effects of being in constant motion. They also shared the sense of being intimately aware of your roommate's presence, as the ground under your feet moves with them as well. The house will be on display at the Omi International Arts Center for two years. Scheweder and Shelley will return to spend more time in Reactor for several days in September and October.
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Plan would surround Poughkeepsie’s long-vacant Hudson River Psychiatric Center with suburban homes, shopping

The long-vacant Hudson River Psychiatric Center in Poughkeepsie, New York, is poised for redevelopment. The 156-acre hospital complex, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), was built in 1871 and closed in 2001. Designed by Frederick Clarke Withers, with a landscape architecture plan by Olmsted & Vaux, the site's significance derives primarily from the expressive Gothic Revival architecture organized under the Kirkbride Plan. According the NRHP entry, 11 of the buildings on site have particular historic significance.

The Kirkbride Plan envisioned a system of “moral treatment” of mental illness through design. Conceived by psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride in 1854, the Kirkbride Plan called for architecture that maximized the salubrious effect of sunlight and fresh air. A typical building's program featured staggered patient wards flanking an administrative core. To create a community environment, Kirkbride advocated that fewer than 250 patients live in each structure. Over 40 Kirkbride Plan hospitals and asylums built between 1848 and 1900 in the United States and Canada still stand today, though many were demolished or abandoned as mental health care transitioned to community-based models.

Diversified Realty Advisors and EnviroFinance Group are spearheading the redevelopment project as EFG/DRA Heritage or Hudson Heritage Group. The group purchased the property for $4 million from development firm CPC Resources in November 2013. The proposed $200 million, mixed-use development, Hudson Heritage, calls for a suburban-style, 350,000 square foot shopping center, 750 single and multifamily residences, and an 80 room hotel. Four of the historic buildings on site will be re-purposed (including The Kirkbride, for the hotel), while 55 others will be demolished.

Damaged by fire and vandals, the historic structures need extensive renovation. The plan is to develop the shopping center on the southern portion of the site first, and housing on the northern portion after that. The cost of environmental remediation (particularly for lead and asbestos) may be offset by New York State brownfield tax credits in the northern portion of the site.

There's much work to be done before the project breaks ground. Per state regulations, the Town of Poughkeepsie will complete a comprehensive environmental review of the entire site before giving the go-ahead to the developers. Hudson Heritage Group is still marshaling financing for the project.

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Heroic Food Farms in rural New York teams up with Ennead to provide micro-housing, mentorship, and jobs to displaced veterans

Shaken by war and existentially disoriented, most veterans struggle to reintegrate and find work. A nonprofit food farm on the outskirts of New York City is being eyeballed as a possible housing and training solution for displaced veterans. The masterplan by Ennead Architects and RAFT Landscape Architecture includes eight micro-housing units for individuals or couples. The homes, equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchenette, will all be programmatically linked by a community building for living, dining and instruction. The housing units, which are positioned in relationship to one another, rest on piers to “sit lightly on the land” and are interconnected by raised decks. The architects declined to install a living room in order to encourage tenants to use the community building for leisure. Meanwhile, the existing farmhouse, hay loft, and barn will be renovated. "It's about striking a balance between creating privacy for the individual and fostering a sense of community with shared spaces that open out to the view," said Andrew Burdick, director of Ennead Lab, the architecture firm's public interest and pro-bono division. Sited on 19 acres in the hilly Hudson Valley, the shed-like dwellings are designed to meet Passivhaus standards of extremely low energy consumption. The configuration of the buildings – a quadrangle surrounded by residences with linked porches, takes after Thomas Jefferson’s academic village at the University of Virginia. Veterans will receive instruction and mentorship, as well as job placement at nearby farms during harvest peak season. On the Heroic Food Farm site, they will raise livestock and cultivate produce in the greenhouses. Though small in scale, Burdick hopes the food farm can become a prototype to help plug the gap in the U.S. labor market, whereby a simultaneous shortage of agricultural workers and high unemployment among veterans presents a promising opportunity to connect those dots. According to report by the Wall Street Journal, the shortage of farm workers reduces agricultural production by roughly 9.5 percent per year. Statistically, one possible cause is that 30 percent of farmers are over the age of 65, while less than 10 percent are below 35. Heroic-Food-Farms_Ennead-Architects_sketches_dezeen_468_1 Screenwriter Leora Barish, founder of Heroic Food Farms, told Architect Magazine: “We know that supportive housing is one of the keys to sustaining programs for returning veterans.” Currently, New York ranks among the top ten states with the highest veteran population and veteran unemployment rate.