Hudson Square is a little pocket on the west side of Lower Manhattan that’s fairly unknown to the average New Yorker. A former printing press district, it’s now home to dozens of prime commercial properties with views of the Hudson River. Thanks to the large floor plates and ample access to daylight in the area’s immense brick buildings, tech start-ups, advertising companies, and media giants are clamoring for space in the neighborhood. Norges Bank and Trinity Real Estate, the real estate arm of New York’s Trinity Church and owner of over a dozen properties in the area, enlisted Architecture Plus Information (A+I) to transform the lobbies of three Hudson Square buildings into an amenity-rich network of informal spaces for local workers. The design team, led by Eliane Maillot, A+I’s associate principal and studio director, sought to make the entrances to buildings at 75 Varick Street, 225 Varick, and 155 Avenue of the Americas as engaging as two other A+I projects in the area: the headquarters of Squarespace and Horizon Media. Read the full article on our interiors and design website, aninteriormag.com.
Posts tagged with "Lower Manhattan":
Port Authority officials are currently working on repairing the damaged Oculus skylight at the Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have already spent at least $50,000 on waterproofing the $3.9 billion dollar Manhattan transit hub's glass ceiling, according to The Wall Street Journal, and are expected to spend another $200,000 on repairs. The skylight consists of dozens of glass panels that run the 355-foot length of the Oculus's spine and are powered by a mechanical system with 130 motors that move each of the panels in sync, rather than as two static hemispheres. Officials believe that the retractable skylight began leaking on to the marble concourse in 2018 after a rubber seal that spanned the length of the roof ripped due to a system malfunction. As the software failed to work, workers were forced to repeatedly start and stop the program to get the skylight to open and close. Despite sealing the ring around the skylight with water-resistant tape, the agency expects to spend more on sealing the skylight with an actual waterproof membrane instead of a stopgap. The feature is designed to open each year during the September 11 commemoration, envisioned by Calatrava as a symbol of a dove being released from a child’s hand. The architect's initial proposal required that the entire roof pivot open but that idea was nixed after the building's soaring budget doubled from the initial $2 billion dollar estimate. One Port Authority spokesman said last Thursday that the agency is conducting an engineering analysis on how to permanently repair the skylight. “While that analysis is ongoing, we are taking prudent steps to better protect the skylight with a more durable barrier system,” he said. City officials had anticipated the skylight would be able to open for the 2019 memorial, however, it remained closed for the first time since the building opened in 2016.
Gliding right into place is the new maharishi boutique in New York; the British clothing brand’s first store outside of London. Celebrated practice Abruzzo Bodziak Architects (ABA) developed the retail space as an insertable grid of wood cabinetry. Clad in the fashion company’s own iconic olive-green hue and pine plywood surfaces, the two-level structure at 38 Lispenard Street in Tribeca does not obstruct or alter the listed building the store occupies. Rather, the new cubic and minimalistic building-within-a-building infix works to frame its historic features. “We left the existing space, with its historic facade and ceiling, as a found condition,” ABA principal Gerald Bodziak explains. Read the full story on our interiors and design site, aninteriormag.com.
New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, took to New York Magazine to lay out an ambitious $10 billion plan to protect Lower Manhattan from the worst effects of climate change. The city will also be advancing $500 million in capital projects right away to beef up the coast with grassy berms, esplanades, sea gates, and by elevating existing infrastructure; but the most surprising measure is an initiative to extend the tip of Manhattan another 500 feet into the East River. Both initiatives are the result of the Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study released today as part of the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) project, which is meant to examine the risks and challenges posed by climate change. The study found that by 2050, 37 percent of Lower Manhattan would be susceptible to storm surges, while by 2100 that number would move to 50 percent as sea levels rose six feet. Twenty percent of Lower Manhattan would be vulnerable to daily tidal flooding by that time as well. For an area that holds more than ten percent of New York City’s jobs, and produces ten percent of the city’s gross economic output, flooding on the scale seen during hurricane Sandy would be devastating. The report also identifies heat waves, extreme precipitation events, and the gradual encroachment of groundwater (which would eat away at the neighborhood’s below-ground electrical and transportation infrastructure) as catastrophic threats. After running through a gamut of different flood mitigation approaches, the report advocates extending the shoreline to prevent flood waters from reaching critical buildings and infrastructure sites as the optimal solution. Requiring buildings to implement individual-level flood mitigation measures would result in a piecemeal, non-standardized application, and building hard storm barriers would impede views and access to the waterfront. Mayor de Blasio expects that building into the East River could cost up to $10 billion. “Over the coming years, we will push out the Lower Manhattan coastline as much as 500 feet,” wrote de Blasio in his NY Magazine op-ed, “or up to two city blocks, into the East River, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Battery. The new land will be higher than the current coast, protecting the neighborhoods from future storms and the higher tides that will threaten its survival in the decades to come. “When we complete the coastal extension, which could cost $10 billion, Lower Manhattan will be secure from rising seas through 2100.” As for funding such an ambitious project, the mayor admitted that the city wouldn’t be able to go it alone, but that President Trump also wouldn’t be willing to contribute. He then called on Democrats to make the project part of their national agenda, to work towards allocating federal funds, and to fast-tracking the extension. Alongside the resiliency study, the city also released the third iteration of their Climate Resiliency Design Guidelines, which architects and planners can use to future-proof their projects. Starting in the spring, the city will begin holding public engagement meetings on all of its resiliency capital projects and the in-progress Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan. The input gathered will help guide the city on which district should receive the first phase of the plan.
Launched by the Alliance for Downtown New York, a free interactive 3-D map (dubbed LM3D) uses real-time data to show all current and development projects one-square-mile south of Chamber Street. Although it may seem very specific, Lower Manhattan is the third largest central business district in the United States. The map will display all residential, office, retail, and hospitality developments, as well as open space and transit. Users can view information on individual buildings, select specific areas to learn about land use, building and unit counts, identify key corridors, see upcoming developments, and sort between residential, hotel, office, transportation, institutional, retail, and restaurant services. By the end of the year, LM3D should also provide historic data on the area’s development. The map is in beta and currently accessible through the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers. Learn more by watching this how-to video:
The City Council is considering adopting a zoning text amendment that would eliminate 110,000 square feet of “privately owned public space” (POPS) along 13 blocks of Water Street from Whitehall to Fulton Street by allowing developers to “infill” these “arcades” with retail stores. Approval of the Amendment would shred a long-honored promise made by the developers to forever preserve this space for use by the public. The promise was made in exchange for “bonus air rights” that enabled the developers to extend their buildings many floors higher which increased the value of their properties by millions of dollars. In recent months, the developers have waged a campaign to undo their promise. They have argued in the public forum and before our City institutions that the arcades are worthless, “outdated”, “unwelcoming”, “under–utilized”, “bleak”, used for “smoking” and the product of an earlier approach to design that is now disfavored. Contrary to these claims, most of the threatened arcade and plaza spaces are in excellent condition and people living and working in the neighborhood would like to see them stay. Two towers in particular—77 and 200 Water Street, both developed by Melvyn Kaufman—were once celebrated as having some of the most creative, playful, and useful public spaces in the city. One of the original architects of the arcades, Richard Roth Jr, a former principal of Emery Roth, has explained that he designed the arcades as a “very nice public convenience where people could take advantage of the covering in heat and inclement weather.” The Architect’s Newspaper (AN) strongly believes these public spaces have great aesthetic, financial and practical value, and should remain public amenities. If the Amendment is approved, the door would be flung open for developers to make similar land grabs of similar spaces across New York City, all on the spurious claim that the spaces are somehow imperfect. To ensure that everyone will have opportunity to consider the full value of these spaces, AN invites all members of the public to participate in a design charrette to recommend creative ways to use the arcades and adjacent plazas that surround the perimeter of 17 buildings along Water Street in the Financial District. The recommendations will be presented to the City Council in June 2016. Strong Entries will take the following factors into account: 1.In recognition of the fact that the City allows kiosks, cafes and events in these spaces, as well as trees, plants, benches, water fountains and bike racks, the entry may include one or more of these uses, or may recommend additional uses. 2.The entry should be conceived as an integral part of single plan for the street. 3. The entry should consider creative and economic ways to keep the public arcade and plaza spaces open to the public 24 hours a day. 4. The entry should consider ways for these spaces to be active and vital, responding to the Department of City Planning’s declared mission of “enlivening” the Water Street corridor. 5. The entry should take either or both of the two following forms: a) a design idea applicable for all the arcade spaces surrounding the 17 buildings or b) a design for a particular singular arcade space (including an adjacent plaza fronting on the arcade). Submission Requirements: The entry should include the following elements: 1.A brief half page introduction outlining your proposal and design objectives are required. This should be concise and addressed to the jury. 2. A site plan showing your design in its downtown Manhattan context and with a north arrow. 3. Up to 3 digital images of your design project and a plan that details the site. (Digital submissions can be represented through renderings, Cad Files, photos, digital, collage or drawings or any other medium that indicates JPAGS at 300 dpi.) All architects, designers, landscape architects, urban designers and planners are encouraged to apply. The top three entries will be featured in a story in The Architect’s Newspaper. The design charrette will end at 12:00am (midnight) on June 12 and should be sent to the following address: wmenking[at]archpaper.com Judges: William Menking, editor-in-chief, The Architects Newspaper Signe Nielsen, principal, Mathews Nielsen David Burney, Professor of Planning, Pratt Institute Alice Blank, principal, Alice Blank, Architect Olympia Kazi architecture critic Articles about the Arcade controversy: The Architect's Newspaper The Broadsheet The New York Times Downtown Express Politico New York Tribeca Citizen
Public space-fronting commercial buildings in New York City are under constant threat of privatization. The latest example: the public spaces along Water Street from Whitehall to Fulton Street. The area was heavily developed during the 1960s with a series of mostly bland towers (except 88 Pine by I.M. Pei Partners, 1968) that are noted more for their surrounding opens spaces than their corporate facades. Two towers in particular—77 and 200 Water Street, both developed by Melvyn Kaufman—have some of the most creative, playful, and useful public spaces in the city. Their designs were influenced by the writings of Holly Whyte and remain a testament to his belief in user-friendly public space. Back then, corporations were leaving the city in droves and New York developers fought back by creating useable, suburban mall-like public spaces. These Water Street plazas nearly all follow the same urban design pattern: a protected arcade just outside their lobby that works as a transition to a larger open plaza. In exchange for these public arcades, the owners and developers were given an extra 2.5 million square feet of floor space. Now the building owners, supported by the Downtown Alliance and an increasingly out-of-touch Department of City Planning (DCP)—led by former Downtown Alliance president Carl Weisbrod—are trying a land grab. They want to turn these spaces into rentable square footage. With the Downtown Alliance taking the lead, the DCP is seeking a zoning change that would allow more than 110,00 square feet of public space along the half-mile strip from Whitehall to Fulton Street to become rentable land. Jessica Lappin, the current Downtown Alliance president, claims these spaces are “uninviting and underutilized” and “serve little public purpose.” Downtown Express has reported that this would provide more than $250 million in annual rent for the building owners. This rezoning would set a dangerous precedent for all public space in New York. The plan labeled ‘The Water Street Text Amendment" has been presented to the members of Community Board 1, which turned it down on February 23, but has now been approved by a single vote in the March 22 board meeting. Its supporters continue to push for this problematic zoning change and it will receive a final vote by the New York City Council.
The Port Authority declines to celebrate the grand opening of the world's most expensive train station
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has declined to celebrate the March grand opening of the Santiago Calatrava–designed World Trade Transportation Hub. Why is the agency snubbing its own baby? Because it's monstrously over-budget. The $4 billion taxpayer-financed project cost $1.8 billion more than expected, and construction extended years over schedule. These issues have dogged Calatrava personally and professionally, and cast a shadow on his otherwise bright reputation. Pat Foye, the Port Authority's executive director, told POLITICO New York that the project's been a fiscal fiasco from the start: “Since I arrived here, I have been troubled with the huge cost of the Hub at a time of limited resources for infrastructure so I’m passing on the [now-cancelled opening] event.” The Hub is expected to serve 100,000 daily passengers, far fewer than the Port Authority Bus Terminal (230,000), Grand Central (750,000), and Penn Station (906,708). In a follow up statement, Foye was unequivocal about what New York's newest piece of public infrastructure represents to him: “The thing is a symbol of excess.” In an interview with AN last year, Calatrava delineated the project's design goals and ethos behind the Hub:
I tried from the very beginning to do that whole network of connections extending from the oculus as a single unit. So the character of the structural members you can see with the ribs, and a certain character in the paving, and a certain character in the front of the shops is already delivering a character that a person will see all the way through. So if you are in the oculus or the mezzanine, or in the other corridors to Liberty Street or the other internal streets towards Liberty Plaza, or towards Wall Street or towards Fulton, all these areas are marked with the same character. My goal is to create a space where as soon as I arrive in the transportation hub I know I am in the transportation hub, no matter what corner I enter from. Also, something that the corridor delivers is a sense of quality of spaces. I have built seven of the major transportation hubs in Europe, in Lisbon, in Lyon, in Zurich, in Italy, and so on. Getting out of this experience, it’s very important to create places of quality, because people behave according to that. You see after all the enormous effort to bring all the subways and the trains to this place and see to maintain the service through all the construction—why shouldn’t these places have a certain material and structural quality that you can enjoy in a day-to-day way, not just commuters but visitors who arrive in this place. I think the station will match with the tradition in New York of great infrastructural works, as you see today in Grand Central and in the former Penn Station. If it had not been demolished it would be recognized as one of the greatest stations worldwide. I hope people can see some of these material qualities in the East/West corridor.On the eve of the opening, New York architecture critics are divided on the aesthetic and functional value of the Hub. AN toured the Hub this afternoon, so check back here for our assessment. In the meantime, picture Calatrava riding a Zamboni, polishing the smooth white Italian marble floors world's most expensive train station.
The 467 foot tower is organized around the clean lines of a 4 mm thick aluminum composite material (ACM) panel system.Tourists in Manhattan might now be overheard saying something to the effect of: “Did you go to the observation deck at the Empire State building!?” "No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn." Rightfully so, as there is a new way to experience the Big Apple: 50 stories in the air, in a bed, at the “world’s tallest” Holiday Inn just three blocks south of the World Trade Center. The 490-room, full-service hotel was designed by Gene Kaufman Architect (GKA) in collaboration with Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects (GSKA), who created the façade. When asked about the “world’s tallest” designation, Kaufman recounts, “The building was originally 42 stories and after development rights were obtained for an additional seven stories, we figured out how to make it an even 50. Only then did someone suggest finding out if that would make it the tallest Holiday Inn.” The 176,600-square-foot Holiday Inn has a low-rise base that complements the surrounding streetscape. Atop the plinth is a dramatic tower with graduated setbacks, from which striking views of the city, the harbor and the Hudson River can be seen from a large number of rooms. A preliminary building shell design incorporating modular bricks presented both geometric and weight issues. Because the site has limited space for construction staging and is constrained by irregular property lines, Kaufman and his team sought out a more lightweight, flexible system that allowed for an angular floor plate. “Although we like brick and use it for most of our projects, we looked for and found a very slender metal panel system that could accommodate all of these conditions and all of the issues related to the building's height.” According to PG Drywall, installing the Reynobond material going up 467 feet with perfectly aligned metal panel joints running from the bottom to the top of the building was presented a unique challenge. The setbacks required frequent reworking and moving of swing scaffolding and mast climbers in a limited staging area. The project was completed in just 10 months. The installation was aided by the use of Allied Metal’s patented Dry-Seal Gasket System, an open V-joint system with snap-in silicone gasket (110 PSF) and locking progress that exceeds the New York City Building Code requirements and is compatible with the attachment and panel in the 1.5-inch space mandated by the limited space air rights. Another advantage to selecting a metal panel system was contextual, says Kaufman: “People refer to the streets in this area as ‘canyons’ because they are so narrow and the buildings so tall that the streets can be very dark. We chose a very light color with a metallic finish that would reflect light down into the streets. We also created a setback tower on a base. These decisions, and taking advantage of being only one block from the river, help light the streetscape.” The jewel-like, multifaceted facade, with its silver cladding that captures and reflects the light, creates a striking image while brightening the street-level pedestrian landscape.
World Trade Center Transportation Hub World Trade Center, Manhattan Downtown Design Partnership; STV, AECOM, and Santiago Calatrava A team from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey wowed the crowd of lucky Archtober fans this morning with a full-length tour from the Hudson River to the beating heart of the new World Trade Center. Robert Eisenstat, the chief architect at the Port Authority Engineering Department, was joined by Thomas L. Grassi, a program manager on the World Trade Center construction, and a number of others along for the ride. These dedicated people, along with many others, have been working on the site since “the day.” Today was a little reminiscent of that day, over 14 years ago—a crisp sunny day with only wisps of clouds. It is hard to visit the site at all, for some of us. But now because of the sublime poetry of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub—they call it the “oculus”—a brighter future can be imagined. It is a futuristic creature born from the construction chaos that still defines the neighborhood, with white, spiked ribs rising up like the barbs of a chalky peace dove’s feather. Peace is not easy. I kept thinking, we have to tell the crowd how complicated this all was, how many levels, how many logistical nightmares, how many times its seemed like it could never be completed. I have to do my thing about how architects are problem solvers, which of course is true. But some problems are spiritual ones, hard to put in the brief for a nearly $4 billion transit integration project. This is where the architect’s special poetry comes in. Whatever you may say about this project, and there has been a lot of negative press with Santiago Calatrava certainly taking some knocks along the way, it is uplifting. The spirit soars; the room has an ineffable majesty of great architecture that defies easy explanation. While the Port Authority was getting its “network cohesion” out of the tangle of subway lines and trans-Hudson modalities, it also got a cathedral that looks like the waiting room for heaven. Cynthia Phifer Kracauer is the managing director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober: Architecture & Design Month NYC. She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989–2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell. After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson, held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. Tomorrow: Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center, Entry Building, and Arch.
Bringing Street Art Back Downtown: Check out these enormous murals this weekend from New York City's LoMan Fest
Even as Lower Manhattan has become increasingly filled with luxury condos and scrubbed of its grit, it has retained the legacy and image as a cultural hub. Though many artists who once thrived in downtown have left due to skyrocketing rents and a shrinking stock of available studio and living space, the desire to keep the arts alive there has not withered for some devoted New Yorkers. Wayne Rada, the founder/curator of the nonprofit L.I.S.A. Project NYC has launched the inaugural LoMan Arts Festival, inviting international mural artists—such as Ron English, Beau Stanton, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, TATS CRU, and Ludo—to create large-scale works around 21 neighborhoods, stretching from 23rd Street down to the South Street Seaport. Starting August 5, two dozen artists, armed with spray paint cans, have transformed the city's barren walls into larger-than-life works of art. Ron English's muscular Pink Temper Tot stands next to her equally brawny green sibling on a wall at 114 Mulberry Street (dedicated to the artist's kids Zephyr and Mars). On another corner, Faith47's swan-like birds puff out their feathers as if about to take flight. “We conceived of this festival as a revitalization of the artistic energy of downtown Manhattan. NYC is such a nexus for art, but these days so many artists are being pushed to the outer boroughs. Following the success of The L.I.S.A project, we wanted to create a larger public arts district and community of support worthy of the city’s thriving art scene,” said Rada in a statement. “Though the events of the festival will only last a few days, the resulting artwork will leave a permanent, and extremely positive, mark on downtown Manhattan’s neighborhoods.” Through Sunday, the festival will host a variety of programming, including concerts, panels, and podcasts around downtown.
For Two World Trade Center, Bjarke Ingels has created a tower with multiple personalities. From the 9/11 Memorial, the building, with its seamless glass facade, appears like a somber glass giant huddled around the hallowed site with its peers. But from pretty much anywhere else, the building is quite expressive with a stepped massing scheme that appears like a stack of boxes, a ziggurat sliced in half, or a staircase for King King. To give New Yorkers a better sense of how the 1,340-foot-tall building will impact the city's skyline when it opens in 2020, the New York Times has created a nifty visualization that shows the tower's virtual appearance from Brooklyn Bridge Park, Staten Island, Flushing, Queens, the Bronx Zoo, and Hoboken. Brownstoner reported that Ingels and New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman unveiled the visualization at the Times' Cities for Tomorrow Conference on Monday. For more on the tower's design, check out our Q+A with Ingels from the day he unveiled his design.