Posts tagged with "Hudson Yards":

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Hudson Yards becomes a paranoid fever dream in Conner O’Malley’s latest video

Comedian Conner O’Malley is back with another nightmarish satire, this time turning his attention to New York’s Hudson Yards with a video game parody that quickly spirals into an Adult Swim–esque music video. Hudson Yards Video Game starts off as a generic video game experience that mashes together pieces of Halo, Grand Theft Auto, tons of product placement, and recaps of The Office, and then quickly descends into madness as O’Malley wanders around Hudson Yards, waving at random visitors to collect hello points, drinking Michelob, and bumping into “coworkers” who give him “helpful” information. After roaming to the edge of Hudson Yards—where an out-of-bounds screen helpfully tells O’Malley he’s approaching a “low income area”—he turns his attention to the Vessel. After reaching the top and waving at everyone on the way up, O’Malley is reborn as a computer-generated version of himself inside of the sculpture. The last six minutes turn into a rock music video with his avatar dancing on top of zodiac charts, alien faces, the McDonald’s Golden Arches, and nonsensical fake quotes—basically an animated version of the galaxy brain meme. Skewering the hyper-commercialization of Hudson Yards is nothing new—Hudson Yards Video Game is “sponsored” by Lululemon and references Amazon over and over again—and making it so overstimulating follows in the footsteps of previous dystopian critiques. Blade Runner, Brazil, and pretty much the entire cyberpunk genre spring from critiquing capitalist excess, so it’s only fitting that O’Malley becomes totally digital by the end of the video. This kind of “absurdist-on-the-surface, works-if-you-think-about-it” humor has become what he’s known for. Thanks to the absurdity of the setting itself, wandering around Hudson Yards in a daze fits right in with the talk show O’Malley filmed in the Hudson River, or his increasingly deranged campaign videos for Howard Schultz (where it was eventually revealed he was an experimental Starbucks test subject, or something).
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Related Companies backs down on building a wall around Hudson Yards

After outcry from city officials and local New York community groups, the developers behind Hudson Yards have backed down on building a 720-foot-long wall the neighborhood's southwestern perimeter. In a tweet today, Related Companies and Oxford Property Group said the site’s upcoming second phase will instead be open and connected to the High Line instead of overshadowing it as previously reported.  “Our plan has always been to build an open space along the lines of this years-old rendering and we are working to manage the technical challenges to achieve this,” the tweet reads. “There has never been a wall along the High Line and there will never be a wall.”  Last week, The New York Times broke the news that the real estate giants planned to place a 20-foot-high concrete wall around Western Yard, its official name, and include a new parking garage below a Nelson Byrd Woltz-designed “green deck.” Civic leaders including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson expressed anger over the wall, even calling the proposal a “breach of to public trust.” Robert Hammond, a cofounder of the High Line, sent out an email blast to the park's supporters, asking them to prepare to take action.  But today, Hudson Yards issued a series of tweets rebutting the entire idea:  “Unfortunately, there currently appears to be a lot of misinformation in the public domain, which is disheartening,” the statement continued.  Initial renderings of the project revealed a large green space set below a series of new towers that edges up to the High Line towards 34th Street. This landscape, or green deck, would cover the active rail yard below and help promote ventilation from underneath the development. Crain’s New York pointed out that the original environmental impact statement released by The Related Cos. in 2009 claimed both Hudson Yards or Western Yard would be accessible and open.  Phase one of the site opened last March along with The Vessel by Heatherwick Studio. Immediately after welcoming visitors, Husdon Yards was forced to update its controversial photo policy related to the Vessel. Once the public found out that climbing the spiraling structure meant giving up rights to personal images, audio, or video without credit, the terms and conditions were changed. 
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Will Related Companies build a giant wall around Hudson Yards?

New Yorkers may have told themselves over the last year since Hudson Yards opened to the public that there could never be and will never be anything worse than the luxury mega-development—what some view as an architectural ode to capitalism. But today, news broke that things could possibly get worse. Michael Kimmelman revealed for the New York Times that the real estate giant Related Companies may build a 720-foot-long, 20-foot-high concrete wall around the western and southern borders of Hudson Yards, effectively creating a shadow over the northernmost portion of the High Line. This could potentially be part of the development's highly-anticipated second, the phase aptly named Western Yard, which will include a slew of new towers by Herzog & de Meuron, Frank Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, and Robert A.M. Stern, as well a new public school and 12-acre park designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz The landscape, or green deck as it's referred to in renderings, was initially conceived as a covering to the platform that will bridge over the existing Amtrack rail yard on-site. Renderings of the project showed the park spilling over and onto 12th Avenue at West 30th Street. But according to the NYT, recently Related has been discussing the idea of adding a parking garage under the deck instead and elevating its edge from east to west with a curved wall. Not only would a wall separate the development's veritable "front yard" from the public, but it would cast a dark shadow and potentially dangerous presence onto the High Line. Kimmelman said it best:
"Among other things, the wall would visually and perhaps otherwise obscure public access from the High Line and from the street into the yard, turning Related’s development into a man-made promontory, its occupants gazing down on the High Line’s visitors. It would also make the High Line seem the equivalent of an old city fire escape: a piece of aged infrastructure stuck to a wall."
A spokesperson for Related told NYT the idea has only been part of preliminary discussions with neighborhood representatives and that “connectivity to surrounding neighborhoods and the High Line will be critically important" moving forward.  The final decision has yet to be determined, but whatever Related does settle on will have to pass approval from both Community Board 4 and the City Planning Commission.
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Stephen Ross steps down from The Shed's board amid Trump criticism

After a controversy over his fundraising for Donald Trump, Stephen M. Ross, the real estate billionaire of Hudson Yards infamy, has stepped down from The Shed’s board of directors. Hyperallergic reported last week that The Shed, a contemporary arts center which opened this past April in Hudson Yards, confirmed Ross's departure “to focus on his other philanthropic activities.” The development mogul, whose organization, The Related Companies, is associated with the luxury fitness brands SoulCycle and Equinox as well as the Momofuku and Bluestone Lane franchises, has been at the center of protests after it was unveiled in August that he was planning to host a fundraiser for Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Ross, a longtime Republican donor, defended his track record as “an outspoken champion of racial equality, inclusion, diversity, public education, and environmental sustainability.” As previously reported, in addition to facing boycott threats, several high-profile designers backed out of shows to be hosted at The Shed amid the controversy and artists staged on-site protests of Ross's history as a donor.  The Shed itself has also faced its fair share criticism. It recently announced its 2020 line-up featuring a diverse group of voices such as Claudia Rankine and British playwright Arinzé Kene. In the wake of Ross's departure, a spokesperson for the art space told Hyperallergic they were “grateful for his service and his important role in helping found The Shed.”
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Department of Justice and Related reach agreement to make the Vessel more accessible

Manhattan's U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman and the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Eric Dreiband announced today that they have reached an agreement with Related Companies to help make the notorious Vessel at Hudson Yards more accessible. The $150-million-project will be getting a "one-of-a-kind platform lift mechanism" on the upper levels so that people with disabilities can reach the top level and take in the views of Manhattan's west side and beyond. Currently, the upper levels of the Vessel—a series of interlocking stairways with over 2,400 individual risers—can not be accessed without taking the steps, violating ADA rules. Although the structure has a lift (the curvy "Liberty Elevator"), it's failed to satisfy regulators.

As a release from the Department of Justice notes, Related described the Thomas Heatherwick-designed structure as "a 'public landmark' that 'will lift the public up, offering a multitude of ways to engage with and experience New York, Hudson Yards and each other.'" However this public seemingly does not include those with mobility concerns: Only three of the Vessel's 80 landings are accessible by elevator, which at times only goes to one of those platforms in order to manage traffic. The new agreement also requires that the current elevator stop at any level it can, if requested. There is no word yet on what precise technology will be used or how much of a cost it will add to Related's multibillion-dollar project, which is already no stranger to controversy for its tax breaks and other publicly-funded incentives, private hospital, proported art washing, labor practices, allegedly shoddy construction, exclusivity, and mega-mall-like atmosphere.
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AN rounds up the funniest stories of 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, we’re looking back on some of the events that made it memorable. We’ve rounded up this year’s funniest, most important, and most controversial stories, as well as homages to some of the people we lost.  Fast food, sci-fi, and sex toys—2019 had it all. Whether it’s Kanye West designing affordable housing (only to have the prototypes written up), Comedy Central dropping the truth on the architect’s ego, or a Taco Bell themed hotel popping up in California, it was an interesting year to say the least. Laugh (or groan or cry) your way through the most lol-worthy stories of the year. Taco Bell hotel The Bell, a pop-up, Taco Bell-branded vacation experience in Palm Springs, California, that promised guests Baja Blasts in bed, drew Crunchwrap Supreme fans from around the country and sold out its pilot summer season in minutes. Guests could cuddle up with a Fire! Sauce shaped pillow or pool float, wake up to the beautiful sight of a Beefy 5-Layer Burrito, and fill up on taco-themed merch in the gift shop. In other words, Live Más.  Kanye Wars: The building code strikes back Kanye West’s Star Wars–inspired, dome-shaped affordable housing prototypes were demolished after Los Angeles County officials found that West had failed to obtain the proper permit for the structures (they used concrete foundations, rendering them more than temporary structures in the eyes of the law). Thus ended this unexpected chapter of L.A.’s architectural history—until the sequel, at least.  A more lovable Hudson Yards Design firm Wolfgang & Hite satirized Hudson Yards—the much-maligned New York City megadevelopment that opened in March—by turning some of its buildings into hot pink silicone sex toys. As the firm put it: “Sex does the body good. After the fiery criticisms of Hudson Yards this year, we thought city officials might need a healthy outlet for working through some of that guilt.” LuXXXury real estate experience, indeed.  Shoddy Shed  Not everyone hates Hudson YardsTIME named The Shed, the development’s transformable art space, one of the World’s Greatest Places for 2019. But The Shed’s moveable walls (one of the highlights of the $485 million complex) aren’t winning many fans: Because of misaligned hardware, some don’t work. Whoops!  Alternatino architecture We’ve all met that guy—maybe he was your boss at your first architectural internship or your most loathed professor in undergrad who handed you a crumpled piece of paper and told you to model it in Revit. The Comedy Central sketch show Alternatino with Arturo Castro got it right in a July episode that parodied architecture clichés. In Gerhardt Fjuck, a decorated designer, all the tropes—and the ego—of the pretentious architect were on full display, right down to the glasses.
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the_shed_is_a_shack pokes fun at Hudson Yards and corporate malfeasance

On June 21, a couple of months after the opening of the Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group-designed Shed, the anonymous group behind the_shed_is_a_shack Instagram account began trolling the billionaire-real-estate-developer-funded arts center. Its organizers, who include an artist and an executive director of an arts institution, followed their friends' Instagram accounts to attract followers and began lampooning the Shed. They published a photo of a cracked electrical outlet cover and an electrical box with wires sticking out, poked fun at design and programming decisions, and savaged the financing behind the project. Increasingly they focused on its embodiment of extreme economic stratification, poor labor practices, and the "artwashing" of real estate the project embodies. We asked The Shack—as they call themselves—about the account, their trolling of the Shed and Hudson Yards, and their view of what should have happened there instead. They responded with a remarkably cogent argument for an alternative decision-making process for development on public property. AN: Can you tell us about your backgrounds or professional affiliations? Are you connected to any activist groups or have you been in the past? the_shed_is_a_shack: We are arts professionals with many years of experience with cultural institutions and in different aspects of the art world. The Shack includes an executive-level arts leader and an artist who is also active in a number of other social justice/advocacy issues. We are also people who care about our communities, our fellow citizens, and the importance of civic engagement.
 
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Are you creating some of the memes or are you mostly sharing other things you see? We create all of the content ourselves, except in a very few select cases where we have reposted and clearly credited the original poster. Our audience also sometimes sends ideas or news articles to us, and occasionally that’s a prompt for us to create a particular meme or post around that idea.
 
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How do you see this action: As advocacy or activism, or are you mostly just having fun trolling the developers? The account is light-hearted about a dark-hearted thing, and so we’re poking fun while also highlighting some very serious issues. There are a lot of problems with how money and power are distributed and abused in the art world, and also in the world at large, and what has happened (and is happening) at Hudson Yards and with the Shed is representative of some of the most egregious examples. There’s also such a huge gap between how Hudson Yards and the Shed were sold and marketed to the public, and what they have actually become. So much marketing hype was built into the selling of it, and so it feels right that the response should be similarly structured in terms of tone, as memes, faux ads, and hype-speak. Also, we’re in the art world, so we like our visuals. There’s a long history of art world projects that critique the structure and internal systems that underpin cultural institutions. We’d like to see that critique contribute to change, so there’s an advocacy element to our trolling.
 
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Is it connected to a particular set of positions? No matter how much we might have a laugh at some of the more outrageous details of Hudson Yards and the Shed, the development is actually a slap in the face to the people of New York and thus in need of more serious examination. A select group of wealthy individuals and corporations are benefitting from Hudson Yards, along with government officials who actively championed and pushed through the development to advance their own political or business interests (including Bloomberg, De Blasio, Dan Doctoroff, and others). But what did everyone else get? Our tax dollars went to build a private luxury neighborhood billed as “Little Dubai,” while many New Yorkers don’t have access to affordable housing, reliable subway lines, or adequate healthcare. The developers tried to cut out unions and limit worker safety standards, and people lost wages and got hurt. And with the Shed, our tax dollars helped pay for a building and organization that is not serving the cultural community or the public as promised, and instead has created a tax-deductible structure and plaything for the developer and his pals to utilize and benefit from. So, our position is about advocating for the public interest and for the cultural community.
 
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What motivated you in particular to start it, and is Instagram an effective tool so far to forward a message? The account started really just as a cathartic response and half-joke. We visited The Shed soon after it opened and were stunned by the experience. The building itself was in disarray. Hardware was falling off the walls or not properly installed, there were cracks in the glass and electrical socket plates, puddles of leaking lubricant from the escalator, peeling and chipped paint on multiple walls, exit signs with wires sticking out, obvious building code violations, and more.  
 
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For a brand-new, wildly expensive building supported by taxpayer money and on city-owned land—and touted by the developers and the city as representing the future of cultural institutions and civic public-private engagement—it was a massive failure. So many cultural institutions around the city are struggling to pay the bills, and money got poured into this development. It’s unconscionable that it turned out this way and that there has not yet been a reckoning for abusing the public trust. So what started as a joke among friends expanded as we realized how serious and ongoing the problems there were. Instagram is the art world’s preferred social media for the most part, at least for the moment, and so it seemed like a natural choice.
 
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What would be an ideal outcome? The desired outcome is to expand the conversation around the Shed and Hudson Yards. It’s also important to us to emphasize how the final shape of the development is not an accident; it’s what happens when a development that is privately owned and controlled does not include the appropriate level of input, regulation, and safeguarding by community groups and the public. The Shed is an extension of that core problem, with a board controlled by the developers and their buddies, and even the building itself is literally infected by and physically trapped inside the development Alien-style (The Shed ended up being constructed with much of its operational guts shared with and located inside of the skyscraper next door). So now we have a major NYC neighborhood and cultural institution that is being controlled by a small group of private investors, continuing to benefit from tax incentives and public money, in order to advance personal interests that are largely counter to the public’s.
 
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Although Hudson Yards is mostly owned by private developers, the Shed sits on public land owned by the city and is a nonprofit entity that is required to benefit the public good. So we—the public—need to hold the Shed accountable and see that necessary changes are made to the way it operates. There are many different options that might be proposed as an alternative; for example, a consortium of existing cultural institutions and community organizations could come together to re-envision how the space should operate and who should run it. The building could serve as an outpost/off-site programming space for other arts and culture organizations on a rotating basis, among other possibilities. It could also be converted into free or subsidized office/studio space for cultural nonprofits, artists, and community organizations that can’t afford rent because of developments like Hudson Yards, or for events like pop-up free healthcare clinics or other services for those in need. Further, there should be a public conversation to include government officials that rethinks how the next phase of Hudson Yards is allowed to proceed, with an eye toward much more community oversight, regulation, and built-in systems for clawing back public money/tax incentives if and when promises aren’t kept.
 
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What should Hudson Yards have been? Hudson Yards should have been a true public-private partnership, which means careful input, oversight, and regulation by the community at every stage and ongoing for the life of the development. That’s a hard and challenging process, but it’s necessary and fair if developers want to get decades of tax incentives, city- and state-paid infrastructure, and other public money. Hudson Yards could have and should have been an actual mixed-use community, with truly integrated housing for low-income, middle, and yes even some luxury, as well as a range of nonprofit, business, and retail spaces that genuinely serve the neighborhood needs more broadly. It should have true public space (not privately owned space that the developer controls on whim) and cultural venues that more fully reflect the needs and interests of the community. Cultural and creative programming and public artwork should be informed by and ultimately decided by those with expertise in the field alongside community members, not by one rich guy who wants a big Heatherwick bauble because he thinks it’s what other rich guys like. If he wants a Heatherwick (or anything else), he’s welcome to buy it and build it—but not with the support and help of public money and infrastructure.
 
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Because the developers of Hudson Yards are claiming private control of the entire space (even though this isn’t actually correct, with the Shed on city-owned land and the Hudson Yards subway part of the MTA), they are asserting that visitors don’t have the same rights they would normally have in a public space. That’s deeply problematic on many levels (impacting everything from the right to protest, to who gets to sit on benches or be otherwise harassed under what conditions, as well as in their use of facial recognition technology in the kiosks and other surveillance measures by the developers). So there should be requirements that dictate how any development that benefits from public support can control that space.
 
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Also if you have anything to add about the processes by which public property is developed . . . Similar to what we noted should have happened with Hudson Yards, the process for [the] development of public space and property (and public-private developments) needs to be more carefully safeguarded and regulated, and there needs to be oversight by independent community experts and individuals who are not in any way affiliated with the developers. And this oversight should continue for the lifetime of the property and with teeth to match (heavy fines and claw-backs for developers who renege on promises, for example). We all know how arduous these kinds of processes can be, but it’s necessary if we want to ensure projects truly benefit the public. That doesn’t mean there needs to be total consensus on every aspect of a project (which is impossible to obtain in any case and often leads to art-horse-by-committee outcomes), but it means the decision-making needs to be led by a sense of true commitment to the public good and strict, proactive measures to ensure there are not conflicts of interest. There also needs to be a more nuanced understanding and recognition of how we assign expertise and decision-making power within this oversight and community process; for example, there’s a tendency to assume “expert” in the arts only applies to a well-known museum president, a wealthy collector, or a big name artist, when in fact it should include arts workers and others who have active, on-the-job experience within cultural organizations, or an avid arts goer who is not financially able to be a donor/collector but loves art with the same zeal as an Aggie [Agnes] Gund, among other examples. There are many of these people throughout the city, and their voices should be given a place. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because our public spaces will be made better by their input.
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AN Interior chats the future of workplace with Aaron Schiller

Since graduating from the Yale School of Architecture in 2013, New York–based architect Aaron Schiller, founder and principal of Schiller Projects, has completed a series of offices that are pushing the limits of what workplace design can be. Rather than create simple open plans or collaborative spaces with no direction, Schiller and his team analyze how businesses operate in order to deliver data-driven solutions that help employees work better. AN Interior’s executive editor Matt Shaw sat down with Schiller at his Hudson Yards studio to discuss. AN Interior: In your practice, workplace design is really more of a research process. What is the thinking behind that? Aaron Schiller: When we take on a new project, first we work with the company and all stakeholders to understand the core functionality underneath how they’re using their current space. The design solution is really that study; it’s analytical design. And out of this analytical design, we get to a new program. In a way, what we do is essentially community organizing within a workplace culture. AN: How do you think that is different from a typical client briefing on an office design? AS: It is about the level of investigation we get to. It takes real engagement on the side of ownership or leadership to commit to this path because it requires more time upfront, but it results in an analytics-driven playbook that looks somewhere between IDEO and OMA. Our workplace strategy and cultural engagement booklets have lots of infographics and charts. We don’t go into these workshops with just architects. We also bring in MBAs, data visualizers, people with experience in community organizing, or people with sociology backgrounds. We move in with the clients, we observe how they work in the space, and we get real data metrics behind it. They’re all distilled to attack the core issues of scale, duration, and frequency. In the law office we designed at Hudson Yards, they came to us and they said, “Look, we’re really collaborative, but we have a traditional space and we don’t like it.” We said, “OK, let us study you.” And we came back to them, and we said, “OK, you’re not going to be a trading floor, and you’re not going to be a traditional law firm anymore, either. Here is something in between that fits your model better.” Part of that was understanding that the majority of their collaboration—their meetings, so to speak—were only two or three people. So now we have a scale. They lasted 15 to 25 minutes, so now we have a duration. And the frequency is that these are 90 percent of all meetings in total. So now we know there’s a lot of what we call impromptus, and they happen all the time. So, we don’t create traditional dead spaces, which is what offices can largely be for a lot of companies. We’re not creating space for happenstance. We’re creating very clear multipurpose space. The great businesses are not getting rid of offices to be cheap toward their employees. They’re getting rid of offices to offer their employees what they think will be a richer working environment. Read the full interview on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.  
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Design firm turns Hudson Yards towers into sex toys

New York-based design studio Wolfgang & Hite is taking a more intimate approach to critiquing the development boom in Hudson Yards. The studio’s newest project, XXX:HY, casts the controversial West Side development in a whole new light. A self-described “luxury real estate dildo experience,” the project presents a series of pink silicone sex toys modeled after Hudson Yards’ most iconic sites. Wolfgang & Hite specializes in interior architecture, exhibition design, and art production. In the past decade, the firm has completed a number of commercial, residential, and studio projects from Atlanta to Copenhagen. While the phallic undertones of skyscrapers may be old news, the inspiration for XXX:HY came from one particular comment by architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable in 2008. In a Wall Street Journal review of Hudson Yards proposals, the 87-year-old Huxtable remarked that “Skidmore, Owings and Merrill's most conspicuous contribution is a pair of skyscrapers that look, in profile, alarmingly like sex toys.” While Huxtable never lived to see these buildings in all their not-so-subtle glory, Wolfgang & Hite has paid a grand tribute to the late critic by reducing SOM’s skyscraper (known as 35 Hudson Yards) to Huxtable’s interpretation—a hot pink silicone dildo. The collection includes a clitoral stimulator modeled after Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s The Shed as well as a ribbed butt plug mimicking Thomas Heatherwick's Vessel. All items were created at 1:100 scale and fit neatly into a base formed from a similarly scaled model of the entire 28-acre development. “There’s a lot to love in NYC’s recent building boom, but the city and developers have been jerking each other off for decades, so naturally we wanted to join in the fun… Masturbation is a great metaphor for the latest wave of development in New York City,” Wolfgang & Hite said in a statement about the project. “Architects design dildos all the time. We wanted to put these buildings to the test.” In a move to make its statement even more provocative, Wolfgang & Hite has gifted a full set of XXX:HY prototypes to the New York City Department of City Planning and Stephen M. Ross, chairman and founder of The Related Companies. "Sex does the body good. After the fiery criticisms of Hudson Yards this year, we thought city officials might need a healthy outlet for working through some of that guilt,” the firm said in a public statement.
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Shimmering, shuddering tower revealed for 450 Eleventh Avenue at Hudson Yards

Renderings for the latest skyscraper at Hudson Yards have been unveiled—again. An updated vision for 450 Eleventh Avenue was revealed last month from Flushing-based Marx Development Group and things look drastically different than the initial scheme put out in July. Taller and thinner at 487 feet tall, the project now resembles an untouched Jenga Tower, not to be confused with one that looks like it’s currently in play at 56 Leonard.  The rendering, done by DSM Design Group, indicates a much more dynamic building than what was first chosen. Spearheaded by hotelier David Marx, the $368 million structure has been in the works since 2016 but movement on it has been slow. The 43-story tower was originally supposed to feature a tall podium from which a slimmer tower rose. Its glass facade then appeared to boast a woven-basket window pattern. Now, the skyscraper is instead made up of window boxes stacked on top of one another, with a reflective glass grid that undulates ever so slightly, and a new series of irregular double- and triple-height spaces at its base.  Set to rise directly across from the Javits Center between West 36th and West 37th Street, the project is already in the early stages of pre-construction. According to New York YIMBY, the site is still largely being excavated. Once complete in the fall of 2022, it will house a 531-room hotel for Marriott International.
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The Railyards in Sacramento will be America's next big urban development

A neglected parcel of land once home to a leg of the First Transcontinental Railroad could become the next Hudson Yards-like mega-development in the United States. The former Union Pacific Railyards spans 244-acres just north of downtown Sacramento, California,—the largest urban infill site in the country—and is currently being eyed for several large-scale projects. Built in the 1860s, the site served the western terminus of a 1,912-mile-long stretch of rail line that extended from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to the Oakland Long Wharf in San Francisco Bay. Old, existing brick buildings used as maintenance shops in the yard's heyday still exist on the massive industrial plot and serve up sour views for drivers along Interstate 5 or passengers on flights headed into the nearby airport.  Sacramento has long had a difficult relationship with the Railyards—environmental remediation has been ongoing for decades—but recent investment in the adjacent Downtown Commons district has brought in significant interest in revamping the underused land next door. For example, the Golden 1 Center, a new high-tech arena for the city’s NBA franchise, the Sacramento Kings, finished up construction in 2016 and has spurred the introduction of new hotels and businesses in the area.  Around the same time the venue was completed, the local city council approved a planning entitlement submitted by Downtown Railyard Ventures, a subsidiary of the development group, LDK Ventures, that bought the Railyards in 2010 for $18 million. The ambitious company has a masterplan to make the Union Pacific return to its roots as a central hub of activity and innovation. In the next several decades, The Railyards, as the project is formally being marketed, will become a mixed-use urban landscape made to attract local residents, tech workers, and tourists. In total, there’s set to be 30 acres of green space, 70,000 square feet of retail, up to 10,000 residential units, 5 million square feet of office space, a 1,000-room hotel, and a mass transit hub with a new Amtrak station.  Preservation will be a key component of redevelopment on the site—unlike at Hudson Yards—with the partial reuse of the “Central Shops” buildings and the old Southern Pacific Sacramento Depot. It’s suspected that this area will become some sort of tech district for the city. In addition, three major architectural projects already in the works will anchor the initial phase of development.  By far the biggest and most-talked-about development coming to Sacramento is a new, $250 million soccer stadium for a future MLS franchise. The city has been in talks to upgrade its own team, Republic FC, to major league status now that it’s secured long-term funding from billionaire businessman Ron Burkle. The proposed development would include a 20,000-seat sports and entertainment arena situated on 14-acres of the Railyards’ northeastern corner, as well as a surrounding 17-acres of commercial buildings and retail.  Visuals for the project have already been revealed by architecture and infrastructure engineering firm HNTB and feature a square-shaped, open-air bowl with red inverted triangles that wrap and protect a 360-degree canopy. Fans will have unencumbered views of the surrounding city from anywhere around the pitch. Housing is planned in between the arena and an upcoming 900,000-square-foot hospital by Kaiser Permanente. The healthcare giant announced in January that it had purchased 18 acres of land to build a state-of-the-art medical facility on the northwestern edge of the Railyards that will open in 2025 and offer services to the thousands of people who live downtown.  Other structures slated to come online include a light rail stop, two six-story office and retail buildings by RMW Architecture & Interiors, as well as a 175,000-square-foot museum. On the southernmost portion of the Railyards, there will be a 17-story complex housing the Sacramento County Courthouse. Designed by Miami-based studio MOTIV in collaboration with NBBJ, the largely-glass-clad structure is supposed to start construction this fall and open in 2023. 
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The Shed’s temporary gallery partitions don’t work, and more updates

Nearly six months after the opening of Hudson Yards, and five after the opening of the Shed (now The Bloomberg Building), it has come to our attention that there has been a snafu at the Shed, the “new Fun Palace” designed by DS+R and Rockwell Group for New York's Hudson Yards. Heralded as a flexible platform for performance and arts of all kinds, the movable elements such as the translucent ETFE sheath and interior walls are what give life to the $485 million complex. However, recent reports indicate that there were some hurried details in the large gallery space, and the temporary partitions do not work. The floor grid does not align with the ceiling grid, making it impossible to install the partitions as originally designed. As such, the gallery currently can’t be subdivided. Whoops! Shoddy construction? Budget cuts? Blame the architects? UPDATE: In a statement, Diller Scofidio + Renfro told AN, "The Shed utilizes anchors in the floor to cantilever freestanding partitions, which allows for a thinner dimension than most fixed museum walls that are typically braced from the ceiling. The same system was used successfully for The Broad museum's gallery floors. In a few limited instances, construction deviations left the anchors slightly off center. The wall system has easily adapted to these conditions and continues to serve the Shed well. For example, Level 2 was partitioned to separate the two different performances (choral and orchestral) of Reich Richter Pärt." In other Shed news, on the heels of a $250,000-a-plate fundraiser for President Trump’s reelection held by CEO and chairman of The Related Companies Stephen Ross, calls to boycott The Shed have been growing. According to Hyperallergic, artists Zackary Drucker and A.L. Steiner withdrew their contribution to the Shed’s Open Call show, Rag & Bone dropped out of the Fashion Week show that would be held in the Shed, and artist Thanushka Yakupitiyage staged a “Decolonize This Place” performance on Sunday, August 25, in protest. Yakupitiyage, through a combination of remixed music, dance, and audio clips put on MigrantScape as part of Open Call and spoke out against the government’s treatments of migrants—as well as Ross’s complicity. The piece was put on on top of the concrete plaza in front of the building, which, when the ETFE envelope is rolled forward, forms the 17,000-square-foot McCourt space, the venue’s main performing area. In more positive news, The Shed was named to TIME Magazine’s second annual list of the World’s 100 Greatest Places today, placing it in high accolades among other exemplary recent projects, such as Snøhetta’s underwater restaurant and a suite of refined museums.