Posts tagged with "Lower Manhattan":

Placeholder Alt Text

Rebuild By Design> BIG’s “BIG U” for Lower Manhattan

In early April, the ten finalists in the Rebuild By Design competition unveiled their proposals to protect the Tri-state region from the next Sandy. And in the near future, a jury will select a winner—or winners—to receive federal funding to pursue their plans. But before that final announcement is made, AN is taking a closer look at each of the final ten proposals. Here's BIG's "Big U" that could save Lower Manhattan from the next superstorm. Team BIG encased Lower Manhattan in  the "Big U," a ring of flood protection measures and community and recreational programming. The 10-mile system is separated into compartments that provide unique storm mitigation strategies and programming for the distinct communities along Manhattan's outer edge. On the East Side, the Bridging Berm protects against future storms and provides access to riverfront parkland when the waters are calm. Underneath the FDR Expressway, BIG would install panels that are decorated by local artists and can be deployed as storm-walls when necessary. A new berm in Battery Park would protect the country's financial center and provide a new pathway through the already popular public space. And an existing Coast Guard building is replaced with a "reverse aquarium," which "enables visitors to observe tidal variations and sea level rise while providing a flood barrier." The team includes One Architecture, Starr Whitehouse, James Lima Planning + Development, Project Projects, Green Shield Ecology, AEA Consulting, Level Agency for Infrastructure, Arcadis, and the Parsons School of Constructed Environments.
Placeholder Alt Text

SHoP and Ken Smith Unveil Another Piece of the East River Esplanade

Connecting two existing waterfronts—Battery Park and East River Park—the rehabilitation of the East River Esplanade has been a catalyst of renewal along Manhattan's East River. The latest phase of the plan—by SHoP Architects and Ken Smith Workshop—extends the current three-block-long Esplanade north, adding recreational amenities and addresses the challenges of building a new landscape beneath an elevated highway between Catherine Slip and Pike Slip in Lower Manhattan.. The so-called "Package 4" aims to create a "front porch" for the Lower East Side by introducing new street furniture such as conversation benches, bar stools, lounge chairs, picnic tables, and swing sets hanging from the FDR highway overpass. The new plan also includes the prospective installation of amenities such as elevated exercise platforms, a skate park, games tables, a synthetic turf field, waterfront fishing docks, and multiple bike paths. The project’s designers wish to integrate a significant amount of perspective and dimension on the site by conserving already-existing open lawns, installing light fixtures under the FDR highway overpass, building multi-leveled seating and benches, and planting a diversity of foliage. Pending approval from the New York City Council and City Planning, the project should be complete by Spring 2015.
Placeholder Alt Text

New York City Looks to Activate Public Space on Downtown Manhattan’s Water Street

After Hurricane Sandy swept through the east coast, it left Water Street, a sleepy corridor in lower Manhattan, even more deserted. But now, Department of City Planning (DCP) has proposed a zoning text amendment to enliven the quiet downtown stretch by allowing for seating, art installations, food trucks, concerts, and other such events and amenities on privately owned public spaces (POPS). Sprinkled throughout the city, POPS are unique public areas that are maintained by developers for public use in return for more floor space in their development. This slice of downtown is a mix of commercial and residential buildings, and has a shortage of amenities to offer residents and employees in the area. DCP hopes to change this and turn Water Street, extending from State to Fulton Streets, into a “Public Space Activation Area” for a variety of activities such as farmer markets, concerts, food tastings, festivals, cultural exhibitions, and performances for this coming summer, spring, and holiday season. The City Planning Commission green lighted the proposal back in April, and next City Council will make the final decision by June 29th. water_st_pops_map_01
Placeholder Alt Text

Uncertainty Shrouds New York’s Plans For a Permanent Food Market at the Seaport

It seems that a proposal to make the New Amsterdam Market a permanent fixture in the South Street Seaport's former Fulton Fish Market building has every food critic and preservationist in New York City revved up, and touting the plan as the next big game-changing development for Lower Manhattan. New York Times opinion and food columnist Mark Bittman went so far as to say that this expansive food market has “wonderful potential that dwarfs even that of the High Line.” Robert LaValva, a former city planner, first launched the market in 2005 after the fish market relocated to the Bronx. He looked around and realized that, unlike a number of cities, New York City didn’t have a large-scale food hall or market. And so he modeled his vision to create a permanent food market in the Tin and New Market buildings after places such as Pikes Market in Seattle, the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or Les Halles in Paris. Today the City Council is holding a public hearing to determine the future of the South Street Seaport. The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), the developer that rents Pier 17 next to the Fulton Fish Market, has enlisted SHoP Architects to redesign the struggling 250,000-square-foot mall. The plan calls for new boutiques, restaurants, rooftop shops, a concert venue and museum. But the question remains whether these changes will extend to the Tin and New Market buildings that once housed the old Fulton Fish Market, and is now the temporary weekend home of New Amsterdam Market. Supporters of the food market are concerned that the overhaul of Pier 17 could pave the way for development on the former site of the fish market and have launched an online petition to bolster their cause. HHC, however, hasn’t indicated any plans to raze or rebuild at the site.
Placeholder Alt Text

A New School for The Lower East Side up in the Air

Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Yori Yanover) The massive development planned at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) was unanimously upheld by the New York City Council Land Use Committee on Thursday, and the Lower East Side might be getting a new school. Or not. City officials won’t decide whether to build the project—part the 1.65 million square foot development at SPURA—for at least another five years, claiming initially that the community did not need a new school. According to City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, the city will set aside 15,000 square feet in the new mixed-use buildings in case a school becomes necessary in the future. The city will also reevaluate the funding available to build it and will keep the potential space available until 2023.
Placeholder Alt Text

High Holiday

We heard rumblings, but now it’s official—a 400-room, 50-story high Holiday Inn will be joining the ranks of downtown hotels at 99 Washington Street near the World Trade Center. It will be the world’s tallest Holiday Inn and the go-to architect for New York hotels, Gene Kaufman of Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects, will be doing the honors. Kaufman’s other high-profile hotel projects, the Chelsea Hotel renovation and the new Hyatt near Union Square, seem to be moving full steam ahead, despite legal wrangling at the Chelsea. The Holiday Inn will likely open to guests by the end of this year.
Placeholder Alt Text

South Street Seaport Preservationistas: Oh no! PoMo Don’t Go!

The PoMo aficionados were out in force at yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation hearing for the new proposal for South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. It would seem that just as debate on the value of 1970s Brutalism shifts into high gear, the 1980s PoMo crowd is revving its engines. As preservationists and developers whacked it out, some larger questions about context and neighborhood integration arose. The SHoP-designed tectonic glass response to Ben Thompson’s wood-clad gables of the exiting 1985 Pier 17 building is a clear break from the past, both literally and figuratively. SHoP’s Gregg Pasquarelli didn’t mince words when he told the New York Times “We’re taking away the po-mo and making it a real waterfront market building.” But Thompson, who died in 2002, had plenty of defenders on hand yesterday, including a statement from his wife Jane Thompson, who warned that real estate in the new plan “will inevitably rise to premium rates; privatization will intensify, which forces a turn to luxury retail.” Elise Quasebarth, of the preservation consultancy group Higgins Quasebarth, testified on behalf of Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer, that many of the upland elements planned in conjunction with the 1980s "festival marketplace" are still fundamentally robust. The SHoP worked with James Corner Field Operations to further integrate the street grid through a north-south connection to the East River Waterfront Esplanade and east-west connections to Beekman and Fulton streets. But the deal between NYC Economic Development Corporation and Howard Hughes has a distinct cutoff point at the so-called Tin Building. The empty 1907 structure, which formerly housed a market, sits at the river’s edge where the pier juts into the river. Though the plan has the support of Community Board 1, the board did encourage a master plan that carries through the entire South Street Seaport Historic District. Further complicating matters, the district actually cuts through half of Pier 17. The board resolved the districting by extending the boundary to incorporate the north section of the pier as well. The concern was driven home by local wine merchant Marco Pasanella who testified that the uplands should be considered as part and parcel pier plan and that only a “holistic” approach would work, particularly while the pier is under construction. Pasanella said the big picture should ensure that the plan attract similar tenants and “the right sort of visitors." Speaking on behalf of the Howard Hugh’s Corporation, senior executive vice president Chris Curry said the taking the nearby elements into account, particularly the Tin Building, would require a separate ULURP.  He added that the company wants to make an immediate investment, though that wouldn't preclude additional investments down the line. For the time being however, the cutoff point leaves a few of Thompson’s gables left at the back of the pier. Pasquarelli said they would be painted a uniform color to visually drop away. The gables would still function as a mask for mechanical equipment. If all goes as planned, a little slice of PoMo might survive after all.      
Placeholder Alt Text

Slideshow> A New York Year in A New York Minute

Neither blizzards, an earthquake, or Hurricane Irene slowed down work here at 21 Murray Street. Nor did any of these disrupt work down the street at the World Trade Center. The demonstrations at Zuccotti Park did not get in the way, nor the spontaneous turn out following the death of Osama bin Laden. Construction only paused for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Some of the year's biggest stories sat at our doorstep, and quite often, we only had to go downstairs to capture their images. Here are a few photos of the news and news-makers taken downtown, as well as a few from uptown, across town, and over the river...
Placeholder Alt Text

New York’s Standard Oil Building Gets New Life

The landmarked Standard Oil Building at 26 Broadway continues to undergo its transformation from the oil giant’s Carrère and Hastings-designed New York headquarters into a bustling school building. Last week, AN got a sneak peek at the third academic institution to be completed there, a 104,000-square-foot space occupying the building’s first, mezzanine, and second levels. It will add 677 high school seats to the Broadway Education Campus, which currently includes The Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women (on the 4th and 5th floors) and Lower Manhattan Community Middle School (on the 6th and 7th floors). All three schools have been designed by John Ciardullo Associates Architects, who have worked extensively with the SCA over the past several decades. Perhaps that relationship is why Ciardullo was allowed to have a bit of fun with the campus. As illustrated by the below photos, the underused interior mechanical courtyard is being transformed into a double-height gymnasium complete with a peaked skylight. The construction took a bit of maneuvering—not only with the Landmarks Preservation Commission but also with the new roof’s structural steel, which was slid into place through the building’s windows. John D. Rockefeller wouldn’t have imagined that students would someday play basketball within the walls of his Beaux Arts edifice, which he occupied from 1928 through 1956, but fortunately new pupils will see many of the original limestone and marble details intact in the school’s hallways, in addition to original elevator doors (now sealed shut) and brass light fixtures. Of course, the 29-story building’s upper floors are still marketed as posh office space, including Rockefeller’s own quarters, complete with historic woodwork and chandeliers.
Placeholder Alt Text

World Trade Weekly: White Dots Edition

At first glance, it seems that the riot of square white panels suddenly appeared on the base of One World Trade, but  photos from the past few weeks show that they were going up all along. Closeup shots taken today reveal metal bolts protruding out from the panels. The curtain wall fasteners for the metallic scrim?
Placeholder Alt Text

Models of Freedom: Architectural Model-Maker Featured on Television

Fox News featured Ed Wood and Leszek Stefanski of Radii Inc. last night, giving viewers a behind the scenes glance at a craft little known outside of architectural circles. Wood explained the relevance of architectural models in the face of advances in computer animation. He noted that there is, perhaps, a kind of dishonesty to the flat screen. “The physical model allows freedom,” he said. It was a sound bite that no doubt gelled with Fox producers, who promptly posted the video to their “Rise of Freedom” website under the subtitle “Designing Freedom.”
Placeholder Alt Text

New York Expands Pop-Up Cafe Program in 2011

Could 2011 be the year of the pedestrian in New York? Under the guidance of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC sidewalks will continue their slow march into the street next year as the city launches a major expansion of its "pop-up café" pilot program across its five boroughs. The first pop-up café tested out in Lower Manhattan this year proved successful enough that Sadik-Khan has expanded the program, planning for up to 12 sidewalk extensions. The concept is simple: street space is limited and valuable. To that end, New York has been evaluating whether the highest and best use for street space along narrow sidewalks is storing cars. Like a glorified Park(ing) Day spot made (semi-)permanent and held on high, these pop-up cafés invite pedestrians to imagine their city in new ways. In fact, the concept draws its inspiration from such pedestrian interventions. San Francisco began a Pavement to Park initiative incorporating their own version of the pop-up café, called a "parklet," several years ago, drawing upon the success of the Park(ing) Day event and pedestrian plazas in New York. California-based RG Architecture designed New York's pop-up café based on their parklet designs in San Francisco. New York's first pop-up café, recently put in storage for the winter, consisted of a six-foot wide wooden platform spanning about five parking spaces. The space accommodated 14 brightly colored café tables and 50 chairs. Sadik-Kahn says the concept is not only an innovative approach to urban design, it's also good for business. Each pop-up café is sponsored and maintained by adjoining shops and the benefits are tangible with up to 14% increases in business when the cafés were installed. "The Pop-up Café has been like night and day for our business, transforming a loading zone full of trucks into an attractive space that makes our storefront much more visible and accessible to potential customers," said Lars Akerlund, owner of Fika Espresso Bar, in a release. "This green oasis has really opened up the street, drawing more foot traffic and making the whole area more appealing." While each pop-up café is paid for by private businesses, the space is treated as public. Simply relaxing and enjoying the city is free and encouraged. The city is accepting applications for next year's pop-up cafés through Friday, December 3.