Posts tagged with "Lower East Side":

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Milton Resnick’s former studio reopens with retrospective of his work

Free and open to the public, the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation on Lower Manhattan’s Eldridge Street will open to the public on September 15 and 16. The art space is housed in a former synagogue where Resnick (1917-2004) lived and worked, while his wife Passlof (1928-2011) had her own converted synagogue one block over on Forsyth Street. Resnick was one of the original Abstract Expressionist painters and was close friends with Willem de Kooning, through whom he met his wife. Although the foundation is focused on their work, it will also present exhibitions of other artists, readings, performances, and lectures, and welcome scholars. The renovation by Ryall Sheridan Architects attempted to keep the spirit and openness of Resnick’s studio while bringing it up-to-date with such improvements as an elevator and modern-day climate-control. Whereas the original studio was dark and enveloping—it included a double-height space with bare brick walls, kept wide open for large-scale painting without furniture or lighting—the new Foundation is light and open. With blonde-and-gray slat wood floors, white walls, LED track lighting, slate-gray metal staircases, riveted Corten steel plates, exposed brick walls, white scrim blinds, wood joists, silver-handled door pulls, and Duravit sinks in the bathrooms, it has the animus of a Chelsea art gallery. The only traces of its ecclesiastical past are the tall windows in the double-height exhibition space on floors two and three (formerly the painting studio and before that the temple assembly), which are capped with round windows and three carved rosettes on the exterior’s top floor facade along with the inscription of the synagogue’s name and date. The building, originally a tenement, was purchased in 1888 and converted into Bnai Tifereth Yerushalayim (Sons of the Glory of Jerusalem) and the Mesivta Tifereth Yerushalayim. The congregation removed the third floor to create the tall sanctuary, and Resnick later removed the women’s balconies. In the 1960s, a Syrian Orthodox church bought the building, flipped it to the Lincoln African Methodist Episcopal Church, who then sold it to a developer, who converted it into a warehouse and later sold to Resnick in 1977. Passlof’s 1874 synagogue, which the couple purchased in 1963 for $20,000 when it was condemned, was home to Kol Israel Anshe Poland, which installed Gothic windows and fire escapes sporting Stars of David. Passlof’s Forsyth Street building was sold in 2012 for $6.4 million to fund the renovation of the Eldridge Street building. It can be viewed from the back windows of the Foundation, along with new skyscrapers ranging from One World Trade Center, the Herzog & de Meuron tower on Leonard Street, the Gehry Tower on Spruce Street, and a new hotel in Chinatown peeking above the skyline. In fact, the entire Lower East Side neighborhood is still filled with relatively small houses of worship on side streets: the Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum at 280 Broome Street for the Romaniote Jews of Greece, the Angel Orensanz Center at 172 Norfolk Street, Bialystoker Synagogue at 7 Willett Street, Congregation Sons of Moses at 135 Henry Street, Stanton Street Shul at 180 Stanton Street, Congregation Chasam Sopher at 10 Clinton Street, and the granddaddy of them all, the Eldridge Street Synagogue with Kiki Smith and Deborah Gans Rose Window at 12 Eldridge Street. Resnick was born in Ukraine, then part of Russia, the year of the Russian Revolution in 1917. His Jewish family emigrated to the U.S. in 1922, and he studied at the Hebrew Technical Institute in New York City with the intention of becoming an architect. Because the Depression stifled construction, he switched to Pratt for commercial art, then to the American Artists School for fine art. After working for the WPA Federal Art Project, he was drafted into the Army during World War II and studied in Paris afterward. There he met Giacometti, Brancusi, Tristan Tzara, and other art-world luminaries. On his return, he moved into a studio on East 8th Street, where de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock worked. During the summer of 1948, he first met Passlof, a student of de Kooning’s, who told her Resnick was the individual he “respects more than any other.” The work in the inaugural display, Milton Resnick: Paintings 1937–1987, shows his paintings and drawings, ranging from colorful figurative works to large-scale monochromatic pieces. As he became infirm, Resnick confined himself to the third floor where he worked in a converted closet. This small studio has been preserved with paint splatters, images of Rasputin tacked to the walls, family photos, bas-reliefs of faces and animals, a Polaroid of a tree, Chinese sculpture, his own doodling, jars of paint, cans of brushes, bottles of ink, and a pair of rubber slippers.
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An air rights vote divides a Lower East Side community

Tuesday night, the residents of the Seward Park Co-op on Manhattan’s Lower East Side went to vote on whether to sell the four-building complex’s air rights to developers Ascend Group/Optimum Group. If the measure had passed, Seward Park would have received $54 million ($39 million after taxes) and four months of maintenance for its residents; in return, Ascend would have used this upzoning to build a pair of 22- and 33-story residential buildings to the co-op’s south. According to community members present that night, the referendum, which required approval by two-thirds of the residents, failed to pass on Tuesday. The final vote was 690 for, 537 against. Residents had become increasingly divided over the potential sale, and many issued public op-eds both for and against the sale as the buildup to the vote grew more intense. If the vote had passed, Seward Park would have been able to pay down $20 million in mounting mortgage costs, replace its 24 ailing elevators, and repair the complex’s crumbling brick facades. Opponents argued that the money isn’t worth the irreparable harm that Ascend will be doing to the neighborhood. From the massings released, the towers, if built with Seward Park’s air rights, would potentially block views from southern-facing co-op units. “No”-aligned residents are also concerned about the impact that building market-rate housing would have on raising the cost of living in the neighborhood. Ascend is looking to build on either side of the landmarked Bialystoker nursing home on East Broadway, which would become a lobby for the towers. With the air rights, a 242-foot-tall tower would rise on Bialystoker’s west side, and a 343-foot-tower would join it the eastern lot and cantilever over the ramp to Seward Park’s underground garage. In this scheme, the development would total approximately 270,000 square feet and contain 210 units across the three buildings. Of course, Ascend will build on the lots even as residents chose to vote no. The developers will still renovate Bialystoker according to their as-of-right scheme and would put up a 239-foot-tall, 20-story tower on the western lot and a 186-foot-tall, 17-story building on the eastern section. This plan would see the creation of a 115,000-square-foot, 140-unit development. According to the developer’s website, “Should the shareholders decide not to sell the air rights, two things will follow. First, Ascend/Optimum will build on both its lots using its existing development rights. Demolition has already begun to prepare for this scenario. Second, the Coop will have lost its only opportunity to sell some of its air rights. Ascend/Optimum is the only property owner adjacent to the Seward Park Coop that can purchase these air rights.”
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Signs and Symbols gallery opens in LES with an architectural mission

Occupying the cozy interior of a former record store on Forsyth Street, Signs and Symbols is the latest art space to crop up on New York’s Lower East Side. Describing itself as a “curator’s studio and non-gallery gallery,” Signs and Symbols takes its name from a short story by Vladimir Nabokov first published in The New Yorker in 1948 (as “Symbols and Signs,” the inversion coming in a later edition), and acts as a laboratory for curatorial projects. Founded by Mitra Khorasheh and Elise Herget, Signs and Symbols’ vision is centered around three major figures of twentieth century art—Ulay, VALIE EXPORT, and Vito Acconci. As such, the space will largely focus on photography, performance, architecture, and the intersection thereof, opening with an exhibition of British artist Rachel Garrard entitled Primal Forms. Signs and Symbols had been hosting performances nomadically around the city since 2012; however, this is the first permanent physical iteration of the project. Perhaps most relevant to architecture is the focus on Vito Acconci. Acconci (1940–2017), the poet turned artist turned designer, opened Acconci Studio in the late 1980s to focus on sculptural and architectural projects. Signs and Symbols’ planned exhibitions have a number of artists whose work intersects with architecture, as well as some architects making art. Sarah Entwistle, a British architect, will be presenting her project in which she communes with her late grandfather, whom she never met, the architect Clive Entwistle. Wermke/Leinkauf, the Berlin-based artistic duo infamous for illegally climbing the Brooklyn Bridge and flying white-out U.S. flags, will be presenting photographic work engaging architecture, the built world, and the body. Brooklyn-based Drew Conrad, whose sculpture deals with buildings and their ruins, will also have a solo show. Signs and Symbols differentiates itself from galleries in another critical way—it works on a royalty model and doesn’t require exclusive representation. A platform rather than a gallery, Signs and Symbols will also be presenting performance collaborations, lectures, workshops, one-off projects, and other programming to complement the exhibitions. Finally, landing a physical location doesn’t mean Signs and Symbols plans to become rigid or stagnant—it will continue to be “a platform for re-thinking and re-adjusting,” that, like contemporary art, is “in a constant state of becoming and transforming.”
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Galerie Perrotin opens downtown after a five-story renovation by Peterson Rich Office

Famed mega-gallery Galerie Perrotin made the move downtown from the Upper East Side last April to the Beckenstein Building, an industrial space dating from the 1880s. Fourteen months after construction began, the gallery has finally unveiled all three floors of their new Lower East Side home. Brooklyn-based Peterson Rich Office (PRO) oversaw the 25,000-square-foot, five-story renovation of the building, which includes not only three floors of public exhibition space, but also storage, office and private exhibition space, as well as a street-level shop featuring art books and affordable small editions. While both Miriam Peterson and Nathan Rich, the principals of PRO, have developed art spaces with previous firms and have collaborated with galleries like Luhring Augustine to create exhibition displays, this is the first commercial gallery designed by the office. And they hardly started small. By far the largest gallery on the Lower East Side, it is also perhaps the most pronounced. From the outside, a sleek black steel and glass entryway that conforms with Perrotin’s signature look contrasts with the colorful signage overhead—original painting from the fabric manufacturer and wholesaler that historically occupied the building, updated with Perrotin-specific accents. Edged by a black steel stairwell that connects the three floors of exhibition space, each floor is punctuated by its own desk space and entryway, providing a break and lending rhythm to the experience of moving through the galleries. The second-floor gallery, which for its inaugural show displays the work of Brooklyn-based artist Artie Vierkant, is smaller, which principal Nathan Rich suggests is ideal for staging more experimental exhibitions with younger artists.   At the top floor, just beyond the landing, one emerges into a vast, light-filled space, where rippling arches are punctuated by the pyramid of a skylight. The dramatic room, with its 20-foot ceilings, required major structural interventions to make it possible. The building originally had a central courtyard, which the architects filled in to create the exhibition space. Since residences still exist above the gallery, this was no simple matter of just knocking down some walls. Besides the obvious engineering challenges, noise disturbance was a concern. To dampen the noise of the falling walls, builders laid a matrix of tires in the center of the space for bricks to fall into. The white columns that remain in the space are the remnants of these original outside walls.   Luckily, thanks to its manufacturing past, the building’s floors can withstand tremendous weight for heftier sculptures and installations. Not content to place heavy art low to the ground, PRO developed hidden tracks in the ceilings designed to support substantial projects of up to 3,000 pounds. This load-bearing ability is ideal since the inaugural exhibition of French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel features heavy hanging helixes of glass and metal. Integrating the necessary functional infrastructure, like the hanging tracks, is part of what Peterson refers to as “the ballet of designing an art exhibition space,” where so much has to be made to look like so little, and a great deal of effort goes into making it all seem effortless. PRO’s new Perrotin deftly performs this architectural ballet for a cohesive, and even meditative, experience.
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CetraRuddy to design Rivington House luxury condo conversion

The development team behind Rivington House has tapped New York's CetraRuddy to convert the former Lower East Side nursing home for people with HIV and AIDS into luxury condos. In the wide world of New York City real estate, this wouldn't be much of a story, but readers may remember that Rivington House was scandal central in 2016, when it was revealed that the city lifted the property's deed restriction to allow private developers to flip the 45 Rivington Street building for a handsome profit. The deed restriction mandated the structure's use as a nursing home, but after developer the Allure Group paid the city $16 million to get it removed, it turned around and sold the building to Slate Property Group for a cool $116 million. While State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigated the sale, a partial stop-work order was placed on the property, local news site The Lo-Down reported. A settlement reached last month requires the Allure Group to open a new healthcare facility on the Lower East Side and donate $1.25 million to neighborhood nonprofits, in addition to paying penalties. Before it was sold, Rivington House had the capacity to house 219 people living with HIV and AIDS; 60 of those beds will be relocated to Gouverneur Health, the nearby public hospital. A spokesperson for City Council member Margaret Chin, whose district includes Rivington House, told The Lo-Down that Chin is actively opposing the conversion. The controversy over the Rivington House sale led to land use reforms at the city level that subject deed restriction modifications or removals to extensive community review. Councilmember Chin was the bill's main sponsor. There are no drawings on file for the $17 million project yet, and a spokesperson for CetraRuddy declined to provide more information about the development.
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Two 15-story affordable towers planned for Lower East Side

A nonprofit affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York has revealed plans to build a new, all-affordable apartment complex on the Lower East Side. The Grand Street Guild will build two 15-story towers, one specifically for seniors and the other for families and individuals. The group has hired New York's Handel Architects, the same firm behind San Francisco's sinking Millennium Tower, to design the project. Local blog The Lo-Down reported that District Leader and Grand Street Guild resident Paez said one of the towers will be built on the site of a parking garage at Broome and Clinton Streets, and the other will be replace a Broome Street daycare, one block over. Both sites are just a block south of the Williamsburg Bridge on-ramp. The complex is being built in collaboration with New York City's Housing Preservation and Development and the city's Housing Development Corporation, along with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Grand Street Guild has built and maintained affordable housing in the neighborhood for decades. In 1973, the organization build three towers with 600 units on the land surrounding St. Mary's Church on nearby Grand Street. This time, there will be 400-plus rental units total, and construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2019. The project will rise amid Essex Crossing, the massive mixed-use development at Essex and Delancey streets whose first phase will wrap in 2018.
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Here’s the office building that’s replacing Sunshine Cinema

The sun has officially set on a beloved Lower East Side movie theater, as new owners prepare to replace the 19th-century building with a boutique office building. On Sunday, moviegoers watched Darkest Hour, the last film to be screened at Landmark Sunshine Cinema. The theater, a neighborhood mainstay since the early 2000s, will be supplanted by a nine-story commercial property designed by New York's Roger Ferris + Partners. The 65,000-square-foot structure features a not-so-contextual glass curtain wall facade, as well as ground floor retail. Lucky tenants will be steps away from delicious knishes at Yonah Schimmel's. The building was a theater once before Sunshine Cinema. Originally consecrated as a Dutch Reformed Church, the building was later converted into a venue for movies and Yiddish vaudeville. Between then and Sunshine's opening in December 2001, a hardware store used the building as a warehouse. The New York Times reported the movie theater's operator, Tim Nye, partnered with Los Angeles–based independent movie theater chain Landmark Theaters to bring Sunshine to life. Landmark Theaters was looking for a home base in New York City, and the partnership with Nye offered the perfect opportunity for expansion.

Like so many other local businesses to close up shop, Nye believed that the rent for the building would skyrocket and tank the business. Developers East End Capital and K Property Group bought the building for $31.5 million last year, and yesterday, local blogger EV Grieve posted pictures of the theater's discarded seats in a dumpster outside the building. Even though Sunshine Cinema was doing very well financially, Nye predicted the landlord will raise the $8,000 rent dramatically when his 25-year lease ends on January 31. Demolition begins in March, and Ferris's building (dubbed 141 East Houston Street) will be complete in early 2019.

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Senior housing to rise around fire-ravaged Lower East Side synagogue

Developer Gotham Organization and local nonprofit Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) have teamed up to build almost 500 units of new housing across two buildings on the site of a burned-down Lower East Side synagogue. The group presented its plans to Manhattan Community Board 3 this week, eight months after a fire destroyed Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, a landmarked 167-year-old house of worship on Norfolk Street between Grand and Broome streets. In the proposal, the first building, a ten-story structure on the southeast corner of Norfolk Street, would host 88 affordable senior apartments, spread over 73,000 square feet and cantilevered over the synagogue ruins. A second, 30-story building at Suffolk Street, the next block east, will sport 400 apartments, of which one-quarter will be permanently affordable. New York's Dattner Architects is the architect, although the firm has not yet filed its tower plans with the Department of Buildings (DOB). Although Gotham will manage the development via a 99-year lease, the CPC, which serves the Chinese community in New York City, will retain ownership of the parcel behind the ruined shul. As part of the deal, Bowery Boogie reported the nonprofit will own a 40,000-square-foot commercial condo that will serve as its headquarters. Meanwhile, documents submitted to CB3 show Beth Hamedrash Hagadol's congregation will have access to a 5,000-square-foot–plus commercial condo in the 30-story building. Plans also call for almost 22,000 square feet of new retail on Broome Street and in the taller building's basement, while a new outdoor space will be open to senior residents, the congregation, and the CPC. In July of last year, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved the partial demolition of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, citing the structure's instability post-fire. Although the owner had originally sought to demolish the structure entirely, two engineering teams declared the south and east facades repairable, and the LPC approved a resolution that requires the owner to salvage significant architectural features where possible. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to CPC and Dattner for more details on the design. Via CPC, a spokesperson for Gotham told AN that the designs at the community board meeting were just ideas, and that the cantilever proposal may change. The design must undergo a lengthy approvals and community engagement process ahead of a groundbreaking that's slated for late 2019.
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The Anthology Film Archives moves forward with library and cafe expansion

From the outside, the Anthology Film Archives appears to be a modestly sized brick building cornering the busy streets of E. 2nd St. and 2nd Ave. in the Lower East Side. But inside the classical masonry cube exists one of the most enticing gems in the independent film world. The Anthology, equipped with one of the largest film archives, is a crucial cultural institution that supports young filmmakers as well as independent cinema research and education. Now, more than 30 years after its last transformation, the building is finally getting the makeover it was always destined to have. New York City–based Bone Levine Architects has been collaborating with the Anthology for the past four years to devise the best strategies for expanding the building to accommodate new programming and update the existing facilities. “We want to get the Anthology in shape for the next 50 years so this institution has viability,” stated Kevin Bone. The final proposal for the renovations was recently approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and construction is set to be complete by 2020. The brick building, originally constructed as a municipal courthouse in 1919, was reopened as the Anthology in 1988 after the institution moved from its former location in Soho. The initial transformation from courthouse to cinema was led by architect Raimund Abraham (1933-2010), although his plans for the full revival of the art house were put on halt, until now. Kevin Bone of Bone Levine Architects, who worked as an associate to Raimund Abraham, told The Architect’s Newspaper that in 1988 “a lot of our ambitions were cut back in beginning [because of a limited budget]. It was ‘let’s make the basic building function the best as we can.’” Thirty-five years later, the building's transformation is finally happening. Primary features of the renovation consist of a one-story addition that will house the expanded library, a new roof terrace area, and the development of the site's alleyway space as a cafe. The firm settled on cladding the additional story with coated copper panels and a bronze wire mesh screen. “We felt that the notion of an architectural metal addition was the most appropriate so that the artifact, the masonry artifact... was best left as a pure artifact and the additional elements were clearly identified as belonging to their own vocabulary.” This juxtaposition is also carried out in the development of the alleyway connecting the Anthology with its neighboring warehouse. Greatly inspired by Abraham’s original designs, the 12-foot-wide alley space is going to be encased in a glass and iron cylindrical form. “In Raimund’s case that cylinder became a stop, that was a filler within that void between the two buildings... and was not intended to be an opening to the building.... We wanted to reverse that language and make this cylinder a kind of lantern that can be illuminated, and provide a secondary entrance into the Anthology facilities and into [the] cafe.” The isolated entrance allows the cafe to be distinguished as a separate space and opens it up to the public to provide “some badly needed public space.” The approval from the LPC for the Anthology expansion was particularly uncertain due to the visibility of the renovations on a historic building. Bone praised the LPC for “recognizing that historic buildings that are occupied by cultural institutions might need to transform to remain viable and that may require a slightly more courageous strategy towards the architecture… we are really happy to be a part of that.” Although the building is only in its fifth year of being a historic landmark, the architects are committed to preserving the Anthology’s authenticity and respect the cinema’s historical structure. “The integrity of the Anthology is impeccable,” stated Bone, “[and] that was part of [the designs]. What could we do for ourselves, on our own, that is exclusively devoted to the mission of the Anthology Archives.”
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Politicians to sue if New York City approves three new riverside towers

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Councilperson Margaret Chin are pushing the Department of City Planning (DCP) to conduct additional reviews of three waterfront towers in the Two Bridges neighborhood. The pair said they will pursue legal action against the city if it doesn't stop the developments. Developers have set their sights on the Chinatown-adjacent area in recent years with a series of high-rise residential buildings. The 77-, 69-, and 62-story towers would sit less than a block away from the FDR Drive, near the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges from which Two Bridges gets its names. JDS Development Group, the same firm behind the troubled supertall on Central Park, is backing the 77-story, SHoP-designed skyscraper at 247 Cherry Street, which will rise next to an under-construction 80-story tower, Extell’s One Manhattan Square, designed by Adamson Associates Architects. Two Bridges Associates is planning a double tower (69 stories each) with a shared platform at 260 South Street, and Starrett Development wants to build its 62-story structure at 259 Clinton Street. Last year, Brewer and Chin, whose district includes the proposed towers, asked DCP to assess the development via a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a seven-month review that goes through the community board all the way up to the mayor for public comment, revision, and further assessment before the development is approved or denied. Here, though, current zoning allows the towers to be built as-of-right, so no scrutiny through ULURP was legally necessary. The developers of the tower trio are only required to do environmental review for their project, though they did hold voluntary community reviews (which were interrupted by protests). In response to community concerns, DCP is considering the projects together, instead of individually. "While the modifications sought for the Two Bridges sites do not trigger ULURP—in other words no new density or waivers are needed—a thorough environmental review which offers multiple opportunities for the public and elected officials to participate is being conducted," said DCP spokesperson Rachaele Raynoff, in an email to DNAinfo. "Moreover we are ensuring a coordinated review by the project applicants that looks at the cumulative effects of these three developments at the same time—an extraordinary but important measure that is not ordinarily required. This coordinated review will help produce the best possible outcome for this neighborhood. Much as we appreciate the desire of the community to do so, there are no grounds under which a ULURP could legally be required in this instance." Though there are many neighborhood groups across the city saying "no" to tall buildings, the political geography of downtown Manhattan lends the Two Bridges controversy a special edge. Restrictive zoning and landmarking shields wealthier and whiter neighborhoods downtown from skyscrapers, but those protections are missing in the Lower East Side or Chinatown, a condition that jeopardizes affordability and encourages what some see as out-of-scale development. Though activists are working to mitigate displacement, since 2002, Chinatown has lost more than 25 percent of its rent-regulated apartments. Now, neighbors are worried the developments will stress already over-burdened infrastructure, block natural light, and engender displacement in the low-income neighborhood by causing property values to spike. At One Manhattan Square, for example, prices for two-bedrooms start at almost $2.1 million.
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Carriage Trade gallery exhibit delves into America’s disturbing psyche

New York City's Carriage Trade gallery has had two homes in its short history and both were small spaces that director Peter Scott packed with intelligent, thoughtful exhibits. Scott is an artist who curates exhibitions as part of his practice and they have always had a strong organizing idea, engagement with issues of relevance, and connections to the current generation of New York artists. Now relocated to the Lower East Side, at 277 Grand Street, the gallery’s first show American Interior is a response to the recent Trump election. Theorizing that the U.S. media and psyche have avoided looking honestly into its character and habits that led us to the election of Donald Trump, Scott highlights images that open up to interiors that Americans would rather not highlight. These images take on a recognizable but haunting specter, he writes, because the “media increasingly saturates day-to-day life, [and] politics adopts its techniques, shaping reality to suit its goals.” The exhibit features recognizable but creepy domestic interiors, racism in its uniquely American expressions, and views into the American psyche. Taken on their own, many are striking—even seductive—images but together they raise the specter of a frightening uncomfortable reality we don’t like to see or admit on a daily basis. The exhibition American Interior runs through June 3, 2017. Carriage Trade is located at 277 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York, 10002.
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An expansive bronze-colored rainscreen covers Peterson Rich Office’s latest Lower East Side project

Ten years ago, around 60 art galleries populated the Lower East Side. Today, that number has increased five-fold. Two architects, Nathan Rich and Miriam Peterson, have witnessed the area’s cultural shift and are now working on two significant projects in the area under their firm, Peterson Rich Office (PRO), which they cofounded in 2011.

“Most of the current galleries only come to between 13 and 18 feet wide,” explained Rich, discussing the gallery and residential block due to be built on Grand Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. “What’s interesting about this new building is that there is going to be a gallery space that’s about 45 feet wide. Spatially it is more akin to what you see in Chelsea.”

Rich and Peterson agreed that this gallery-residential building at 282 Grand Street—and their work on the forthcoming location of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin—are a response to rising costs in Chelsea, where many galleries are being forced to relocate.

PRO secured work in the Lower East Side after bumping into project partners Vito Errico and gallerist Marc Straus—the latter having a long family history of building ownership in the area. Not able to afford Straus’s artwork, the pair offered its services instead.

“Because of Straus’s history in the neighborhood, it was very important to us to do something that is conceptually contiguous to that history,” said Rich. PRO conceptualized the building as a new tenement, retaining the proportional vernacular of 19th and 20th century tenement buildings common in the vicinity.

Covering approximately 20,000 square feet, the building will house 20 condos within seven stories, climbing to 80 feet. Aside from two penthouse apartments on the roof, the dwellings will all be one-bedrooms with around 550 square feet of space.

“The spaces are highly efficient, much like the original tenement buildings were,” said Rich. “Efficiency was the driving concept. They’re efficient, both spatially and environmentally.” The tenement typology is further referenced through a perforated aluminum rain-screen facade system, which doubles-up as a shading device and louvered panel for air exchange. According to the architects, the facade will be coated with a bronze colored Kynar paint, emulating the surrounding yellow and red street signage.

Rich continued: “The screen became a way to achieve this environmental efficiency. There’s also a language of sheet metal and cast iron used for awnings and fire escapes on traditional buildings that we wanted to reference with something that was much more contemporary.”

“By using windows as opposed to a curtain wall and trying to relate the scale of those windows and openings to the adjacent building, we’re trying to create something that’s part of the existing fabric but that is also new.”

Peterson, meanwhile, discussed why PRO proposed a full build-out of the site, which is currently occupied by a low-rise 19th century building housing a Chinese grocery store. “We basically found that the existing building was not suitable for renovation,” she said. “After looking into the project we found tenants had been removing masonry walls without properly replacing them structurally. We said to ourselves, ‘This is no longer made to last.’”

PRO also wants to set an example for future development in the Lower East Side—a movement that has already began. “Developers are not, as a blanket, known for always doing sensitive design or building things that have consideration beyond the status-quo,” Peterson said. “We are hopeful that working with architects such as ourselves to design a building that everybody is proud of will also inspire the next wave of development to abide by those principles.”

The building, due to break ground this spring, is slated to be complete in fall 2018. PRO’s new relocation of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin on 130 Orchard Street is set to open fall this year.