Posts tagged with "Lower Manhattan":

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Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub begins to open up to the public

After all these years (read: delays), the public will finally be able to check out the grand oculus in Santiago Calatrava's $3.9 billion World Trade Center Transportation Hub—starting next month. The New York Times reported that beginning in June, a north-south passageway with direct views onto the building's main attraction will open to "limited pedestrian traffic." The entire building won't fully open until the end of this year, or early next year so don't get too excited. And you can always walk through an already open portion of the Calatrava station connecting to the Brookfield Place towers. The Times also noted that the World Trade Center redevelopment is set to check off milestone after milestone over the next few weeks and months. —The second of four PATH platforms in the Transportation Hub will open on Thursday. —Soon after that, a floor-to-ceiling barrier will come down as well. This will allow commuters to marvel at the immaculate space set beneath those already-iconic soaring white ribs, or wings, or spikes, or whatever you want to call them. —And on May 29th, the One World Trade Center Observatory will open, offering panoramic views to anyone willing to shell out $32 a ticket. As for 2 World Trade Center, well, we're still waiting to hear if Norman Foster's design will be replaced with something from Bjarke Ingels.
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Thanks to Rupert Murdoch, Norman Foster’s 2 World Trade Center might actually happen

Richard Rogers' long-stalled 3 World Trade Center finally climbing again, it's concrete core rising steadily above its nearly-complete podium. Now, it's Norman Foster's turn to bring the last of the World Trade towers to life, and it might happen this time with the help of a media giant. It's starting to look like Foster + Partners' 2 World Trade Center might actually get built, and it's all thanks to Rupert Murdoch. The New York Times reported that News Corporation and 21st Century Fox—both owned by the billionaire media mogul—are interested in using half the building (1.5 million square feet) as a joint headquarters. While there are no firm plans to speak of, the companies have reportedly been in talks for months with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry Silverstein, who has rights to build at the site. If the tower is built, it would effectively complete the drawn-out rebuilding of the World Trade Center. Two World Trade Center was originally scheduled to open in 2011, but, as is the case with just about everything with the World Trade Center redevelopment, that deadline didn't stick. The building, as designed by Foster, is widely considered to be the most architecturally adventurous of the glassy World Trade Center bunch. The 79-story structure appears as four rectangular forms, diagonally sliced at the top to form a set of four diamonds. “The building occupies a pivotal position at north-east corner of Memorial Park, and its profile reflects this role as a symbolic marker,” Foster + Partners said in a 2006 statement. “Arranged around a central cruciform core, the shaft is articulated as four interconnected blocks with flexible, column-free office floors that rise to level sixty-four, whereupon the building is cut at angle to address the Memorial below.” The building’s design was drawn up between 2006–2007 and is expected to change at least slightly if this deal moves forward—which the Times noted is far from certain. But if it does go through, the companies might select their own architect for changes. “Given that the foundation has been built, the two sides are assessing whether the structure can accommodate the changes they want for television studios,” reported the Times.
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Video> Watch Bjarke Ingels’ Manhattan “Dry Line” form before your eyes

The Bjarke Ingels Group's plan to wrap Lower Manhattan in a landscape berm to keep floodwaters at bay was definitely one of the most architecturally interesting proposals to come from Rebuild By Design, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s competition to boost resiliency in a post-Sandy world. Last June, the plan—known as "The BIG U" or "The Dry Line"—also became the competitions's biggest winner. To implement BIG's ambitious vision, New York City was allocated $335 million, significantly more money than what was provided for the other five winners. Last fall, Daniel Zarrilli, the director of New York City’s Office of Recovery & Resiliency, told AN that the de Blasio administration was “absolutely committed” to realizing the plan, but that the end result wouldn't necessarily look like what we saw in the renderings. For one, the money would not be spent on the entire circuit, but rather one section of it on the Lower East Side. As the city continues taking steps toward make this plan a reality, a production company called Squint/Opera has released a pretty cool short film about BIG's grand vision. The piece is part of the firm's current exhibition HOT TO COLD at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. If you can't make it to D.C. for the exhibition, we've got you covered and have posted the video above.
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Calatrava on the state of NYC architecture & his own controversial World Trade projects

The Real Deal recently scored an interview with Santiago Calatrava, the so-called "symphonist of steel" behind the upcoming (and wildly over budget) World Trade Center Transit Hub, and the nearby Saint Nicholas Church. In the interview, Calatrava explained how New York City's building code impacted the two projects’ designs, offers his thoughts on the World Trade Center master plan, and comments on the construction quality of the Transit Hub. Overall, the controversial architect lavishes praise on just about everyone—from Daniel Libeskind to Larry Silverstein to the Port Authority.
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Plan for a parametric townhouse of undulating brick “flames” is rekindled in Tribeca

Getting the blessing of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission can be a tricky thing. Typically, your best bet is to go contextual: stick with historic materials and keep the modern ornamentation to a minimum. That is clearly not the approach that SYSTEMarchitects' Jeremy Edmiston took for a parametrically designed Tribeca townhouse in search of facelift. The existing two-story structure 187 Franklin is not historically significant, but since it sits within a historic district, Edmiston didn't have carte blanche for the owners requested two story addition and setback penthouse. While the architect nods to Tribeca’s history with a primarily brick facade, he doesn’t try to replicate the building’s neighbors. At all. Instead, he assembles a new facade in such a way that it makes the new townhouse appear as if it is entirely engulfed in flames. Home-y? Maybe not. Interesting? Undeniably. Landmark Preservation Commission approved? Unanimously. That approval came back in 2011 and now the Tribeca Citizen is reporting that the project "is back." Edminston told AN that construction is already underway and that the project is slated to be completed in December. The structure’s parametric facade frees bricks from their expected pattern and weaves them into what appear as dancing flames. Between these “flames” are angled windows intended to bring in light while preserving privacy for the family of four. Each floor also gets a steel, mesh-like balcony.
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Were the World Trade Center Transit Hub’s lateral struts part of the original Calatrava design?

  The World Trade Center Transportation Hub—or as its designer Santiago Calatrava likes to think of it, the "bird in flight"—is just blocks from AN's office, so we get to walk by and watch it try to take off regularly. But in the weeks before the holidays, odd “struts” started to be welded between the structure’s giant fins or blades.   Not only do these lateral supports detract from the elegance of its long thin blades, I don’t remember seeing them in the renderings of the station. So I went back through every image I could find online and none show these connectors. In many of the renderings, the overlapping of the transit hub's fins obscures where the connectors would have been located. The renderings fades into solid white, obscuring those areas from clear view. Could it be that these were added later in the design process or did Mr. Calatrava know all along that these were needed to help support the weight of the fins? What do you think? Do they compromise the design?
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Eavesdrop> One Rat Center

  Speaking of One World Trade, Condé Nast’s highly publicized move-in did not go entirely as planned. According to Gawker, Vogue, which is occupying floors 25 and 26, had to delay the relocation of its editorial department due to an infestation of rats. The rodent problem was evidently so dire that the fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief, a one Anna Wintour, went so far as to issue an order to her staff that they must ensure her office is a rat-free zone before she sets foot inside. There was no indication of what measure might be taken should one of those little cheese-loving rascals appear among her papers when she does arrive. One only hopes that Ms. Wintour is an understanding boss who would offer her team some slack, especially where pest control is concerned, considering that it is not in the normal scope of an editorial job. Gawker also reported that Vogue’s sales and marketing staff did make the move on schedule. Eavesdrop is not sure what this might say about these types of jobs and their relative rat-comfort levels.
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Eavesdrop> Not My Spire: Sculptor wants no connection to World Trade topper

Sculptor Kenneth Snelson is tired of having his name all over the derided spire atop One World Trade Center. It has been widely reported that Snelson consulted with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on the 441-foot-tall spire that brings the tower to its highly symbolic height of 1,776 feet. But he said he was only peripherally involved in the early stages of the design and is not all that connected to what now towers above Lower Manhattan. Snelson said everyone involved in the design of the spire had the best intentions, but as for its final iteration, he’s no fan. “I don’t know why somebody doesn’t decide, ‘well, we should remove the spire,’” he said.
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With SHoP’s skyscraper in the balance, Howard Hughes stacks a Seaport hearing

Last night, at 6:00p.m. sharp, Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee kicked off a public hearing on the Howard Hughes Corporation’s controversial plans to remake New York City's South Street Seaport. The event was held at St. Paul’s Chapel in Lower Manhattan and it was standing room only before anybody got up to the mic. By five after, people waiting on the chapel steps were being turned away. At first glance, the huge crowd makes sense. Since Howard Hughes first unveiled its plan to build a luxury tower next to the Seaport last year, local residents have been showing up in large numbers to meetings like this to voice their opposition. This event also comes shortly after Howard Hughes unveiled its revised Seaport plan: a shorter, SHoP-designed tower and more perks for the community. To many local residents and elected officials, though, that wasn’t enough. Tensions are still high and the developer is still pushing forward, so the turnout isn’t a big surprise. But there was something noticeably different about last night’s crowd, and it didn’t take long to figure out what it was. More than half the people packed into St. Paul’s pews were wearing the same blue or yellow t-shirt that said “SEE / CHANGE” and “Howard Hughes is committed to saving the Seaport Museum.” Some of this t-shirt-wearing contingent said they worked for Howard Hughes and were there to show their support. Others said they were residents or small business owners and wanted the plan to move forward. But that wasn’t everybody. Someone simply said his boss told him to show up. He declined to identify his boss or what line of work he was in, but admitted he didn’t live in the neighborhood. The same thing goes for another non-Seaport resident who said his boss—who has work relating to the Seaport—asked him to show up as a favor. Two men standing in the chapel’s balcony said they signed a petition and kind of just made their way into the event, one of the two worked Downtown. A young guy, maybe in his early 20s, said he was being paid to get people to sign those pro-Seaport petitions; yesterday, he said, was his first day on the job. Some people wouldn't answer the “why are you here?” question at all; others said they didn't really care if the tower got built or not. As for the event itself, SHoP walked through its updated plans, and things played out on familiar lines. Those who support the plan still support it, and those who don’t, don’t. The crowd  was obviously heavily tilted toward the former. When SHoP partner Gregg Pasquarelli mentioned his firm's attention to historic detail, the crowd erupted in applause. It wasn’t until about 6:45 that people waiting outside were allowed into the event. An hour or so later, the crowd was thinning out and the blue and yellow shirts could be heard making plans to meet up at the event’s “after party" that included free ice skating, drinks, and food. That party was held at a South Street Seaport bar and actually started before the hearing even ended. When AN walked by, bartenders—decked out in yellow t-shirts—could be seen passing beers to their patrons who were wearing the very same thing. The crowd was small at that point, but the party hadn’t officially started yet—there was still half an hour of public hearing left. “A broad array of supporters including local residents, small business owners, and members of the labor and business community turned out in force last night to speak out in favor of the proposed plan for the Seaport," said a spokesperson for the Howard Hughes Corporation in an email. "In fact, a recent poll shows that over 84 percent of Lower Manhattan residents support the redevelopment plan for the Seaport District. To thank supporters for taking time out of their evening, The Howard Hughes Corporation held a skate party at the Seaport Ice Rink.” That poll was commissioned by Howard Hughes.
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This beautiful photo of Lower Manhattan won SOM’s World Trade Center photo contest

While the critics sure don't like it, many other casual observers are big fans of Lower Manhattan's World Trade Center. This morning, SOM announced the winner its #WelcomeOneWTC photography contest it held to mark the grand opening of New York City's latest controversy-laden skyscraper. Of about 350 entries, New York–based photographer Gerry Padden took the top honor and will receive a "one-of-a-kind scale model of the tower, handcrafted by the firm's model shop in Manhattan, as well as a limited-edition print of One World Trade Center, taken by renowned photographer James Ewing." Ewing was among the contest judges, which also included top officials at SOM. According to SOM:
One World Trade Center has long captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike, who have watched the building materialize from drawings to a 104-story, crystalline skyscraper that stands boldly in Lower Manhattan. More than 13 years in the making, the 1,776-foot office tower—the tallest in the Western Hemisphere—recaptures the New York skyline, reasserts downtown Manhattan's preeminence as a global business center, and establishes a new civic icon for the country.
The photo was taken over the summer from a rooftop in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood.
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Here’s how Santiago Calatrava’s New York City transit hub got its enormous $4 billion price tag

With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. While the hub ultimately looks more like a stegosaurus than a dove taking flight, as Calatrava originally envisioned, it is undeniably a head-turning piece of dramatic architecture. But one that will be forever grounded by the reality of its staggering price tag. To find out how the Hub's budget soared right along with Calatrava's ambition, the Times conducted two dozen interviews and pored through hundreds of pages of documents. In the end, the Times said the problems go “far beyond an exotic and expensive design by its exacting architect, Santiago Calatrava.” The site's complexity, the hub's changing designs, security concerns, the lack of consistent oversight, and the price of labor and materials all slowed things down and increased costs, but, above all else, the $4 billion cost comes down to politics, politics, politics.
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Kimmelman says “flawed” One World Trade is a “cautionary tale”

New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has weighed-in on 1 World TradeNew York's tallest,most superlative, open-but-not-yet-completed skyscraper. And, spoiler, he is no fan. Kimmelman's piece is so chock-full of quotable critiques, it's hard to decide where exactly to begin. But let's start with the politics. "Like the corporate campus and plaza it shares, 1 World Trade speaks volumes about political opportunism, outmoded thinking and upside-down urban priorities," wrote Kimmelman. "It’s what happens when a commercial developer is pretty much handed the keys to the castle." He described the tower's exterior as "opaque, shellacked, monomaniacal" and the overall design as "symmetrical to a fault." The finished product is "an abbreviated obelisk." As for the antenna, well, Kimmelman said counting that as part of the building's total height is like "counting relish at a hot dog eating contest." Ultimately, he finds the building to be a frustrating failure—a bland building that could be anywhere on the globe, an office tower that gives next to nothing to the city it calls home. To Kimmelman, the failings of 1 World Trade should be a warning to New Yorkers. "The public had a big stake in making [1 World Trade] great," he wrote. "That stake wasn’t leveraged. There are other giant projects like Hudson Yards, Penn Station and Roosevelt Island that will reshape the city’s streets and skyline. Their design is everyone’s business."