Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

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Davies Toews uses a DIY mind-set to punch above its weight

Every year the Architectural League of New York recognizes eight dynamic young firms as Emerging Voices that have the potential to become leaders in the field. Historic winners like Morphosis (1983) and Toshiko Mori (1992) have become today's lions, and practices like Johnston Marklee (2007) and Tatiana Bilbao (2010) have jumped to new heights after recent wins. This year's crop was selected in a two-stage portfolio competition where a jury of architects selected the winners. The deciding jury included several previous winners like Dominic Leong (2017), Fernanda Canales (2018), and Marlon Blackwell (1998), giving the process a familial feel. Laureates for 2019 come from across North America and almost all are partnerships or collaboratives—capital letters feature prominently, too.  Davies Toews will lecture at the Scholastic Auditorium at 130 Mercer Street, New York, New York, at 7:00 p.m. on March 7, as part of the Emerging Voices lecture series. The storefront office of Davies Toews Architecture is tucked behind a corner of 13th Street in Manhattan’s East Village, and like so many of the firm’s projects is defined by constraints. Common elements like outdoor tile and plywood create a homey atmosphere, and models and materials are tightly arranged throughout the space, inviting passersby to peer in on the studio’s creative process. Partners Trattie Davies and Jonathan Toews are no strangers to working around tight spatial and financial limitations. Whether it’s a linear park that rises between a descending set of switchback staircases in Hudson, New York; a perspective-defying, split-level park and art gallery in Memphis, Tennessee; or a three-story townhouse in Brooklyn, their projects are united by the common thread of extreme site-specificity. “Our strategy has been: Do first, analyze second,” said Davies. “It’s really important for us to build work, to learn about how things get done—what works and what doesn’t work, so we could get good at it. Most of what we do is built. We do very few competitions.” Fittingly, materiality plays a large role in these completed projects. For the 72,000-square-foot University of Chicago Charter School: Woodlawn Campus, a school for grades 6 through 12 with a 100 percent college acceptance rate, the studio had to balance a modest budget with lofty design ambitions. Using only locally produced Chicago brick, the studio designed a variegated, kinetic facade by patterning the building with darker, extruded brick. The school’s flared parapets and step-gap massing reference missing buildings in the surrounding neighborhood, breaks in a uniform street wall. “We realized that, project after project, the design came from the constraint,” said Toews. “Lately we’ve been thinking a lot about how to design with Sheetrock.” Even Sheetrock, a ubiquitous and uniform material, can provide inspiration; Davies compared the alternating bands of color in stacked, wrapped Sheetrock to a tapestry. “Every project gets modeled,” said Toews. “There’s the idea of the model sitting there; you can’t avoid it. We just try to keep making stuff around the project until it gets better and better.”
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Starbucks brings a multi-story Reserve Roastery to Manhattan’s Meatpacking District

New Yorkers can now experience their own Starbucks Reserve Roastery, the coffee company’s sprawling “upscale” take on the typical Starbucks typology, and AN was able to tour the new location ahead of its December 14 opening. Reserve Roasteries are Starbucks’s largest spaces—the 30,000-square-foot Shanghai location is the largest Starbucks in the world—and the new Meatpacking location is no different, clocking in at 23,000 square feet and covering multiple levels. The flagship store, which anchors the base of the Rafael Viñoly–designed 61 Ninth Avenue, has been imagined as an all-day destination, according to Starbucks’s chief design officer, Liz Muller. A Starbucks location already exists directly across the street, but Reserve Roasteries are meant to be more experiential than the normal stores. Case in point: The Meatpacking location contains several distinct zones that encourage guests to wander and browse. At the roastery’s ground floor is a 360-degree central coffee bar, a lounge (complete with an active fireplace), an active roasting area with a 30-foot-tall copper off-gassing kettle, a separate counter and kitchen for the Italian bakery brand Princi, a station where customers can buy and grind their own beans, and several merchandise stands offering high-end design items. A lounge with another coffee bar sits below-grade and is meant to offer a quieter, uninterrupted experience where guests can work. On the top level is the 60-foot-long Arriviamo Bar, a cocktail bar with seating for up to 80, where bartenders will sling mixed drinks made with Starbucks coffees and teas. The interior is rife with nods to the Meatpacking District’s industrial past. The building’s concrete columns have been left exposed, and terrazzo was used for the flooring. In a Willy Wonka-ish touch, pneumatic tubes crisscross the ceiling to deliver freshly-roasted coffee beans from the roasters directly to hoppers at each coffee bar. Muller described being inspired in part by the conveyor belts that butchers would use to transport carcasses back when the area was used to process meat and dairy. To help modulate the acoustics of such a large space, the in-house design team covered the ceiling in solid-timber boxes that both break-up noise from below and naturally amplify the store’s speaker system. The undulating pattern of the boxes is reminiscent of an ocean wave, and each box is rimmed with copper to impart a soft glow. A series of wooden slats set with recessed lighting was used to clad the ceiling of the below-ground lounge area, creating visual homogeny with the vertically-oriented screen that wraps around the store’s edges. If visitors venture further back into the cellar, they can catch a glimpse of the basement storage area where green (unroasted) coffee beans are kept, and a terrarium full of coffee plants imported from Costa Rica. The furniture was all custom-crafted by BassamFellows from solid walnut, including the backless stools, extra-wide riffs on the classic Kennedy chair, side tables, and the wheeled-display stands. Each Reserve Roastery features its own unique central art piece, and for the New York store, Starbucks installed a 10-foot-tall, 2,000-pound version of the siren from their logo rendered in copper. The piece was designed by artist Max Steiner and fabricated by the Polich Tallix foundry. Those in the Midwest: don't fret. Starbucks is still on track to open its largest outpost yet in Chicago next year: the four-story, 40,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery at 646 N. Michigan Avenue.
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Rockwell Group designs a chill winter escape for Pier17’s new rooftop lounge

What’s most surprising about Rockwell Group’s design for R17, the new speakeasy-inspired lounge atop Lower Manhattan’s Pier 17, is that it’s not flashy. In contrast to the stand-out building it’s housed in, the 1,830-square-foot restaurant and bar provides a chic setting for cocktail and wine lovers to casually get a drink after work without being inundated by the holiday crowd that’s currently shrouding the South Street Seaport district. While the majority of the structure’s rooftop will transform next week into a veritable winter wonderland complete with New York’s newest ice-skating rink, the bar itself is designed to maintain an aura of intimacy. At least, that’s how Rockwell Group envisions it. “We wanted to create a calming atmosphere that people could escape to,” said Senior Interior Designer Renee Burdick, “similar to how New Yorkers might escape to a cabin or chalet upstate during winter.”      But that vision is completely seasonal. For The Howard Hughes Corporation, the group that owns the mixed-use development, the design team crafted a “pop-up” space that will transition in both style and setting from a winter pavilion into a summer pavilion. While R17 can only accommodate around 70 people now, when it’s floor-to-ceiling sliding doors are open in the warmer months and the dining area expands onto a tiered terrace, the space effectively quadruples in size, increasing capacity to 300. The current cabin vibes, created thanks to low-lighting, fur pillows, dark-hued furniture, and textured wool rugs, will be replaced with a lighter material palette and beachy upholstery. The large fireplaces will become settings for playful art installations. This “transformative” approach to interior architecture is very site-specific, said Rockwell Group. Not many hospitality projects have the bandwidth to literally flip the space throughout the year. “The programming shift here is enormous,” said Richard Chandler, associate principal and studio leader at Rockwell Group. “It will have a completely different look and feel in the summer. We'll add new pieces to the design every year so it’ll always be evolving.” Some things about the lounge will stay the same. Its anchoring design feature is a blue onyx-topped bar with a sand-colored wavy tile that serves as siding. Burdick says it’s designed to look like a mountain skyline. These two elements bring a feel of fluidity to the space, along with the large-format printed tiles on the floor, that contain brushstrokes of blue, silver, and gray. The motif of movement is continuously carried out on the ceiling and windows, which include metallic threads and gilded wood-and-metal screens respectively. These help tone down the bright sunlight that may stream into the space during the day and shield restaurant-goers from the lively scene going on outside, which Rockwell Group will outfit with a temporary bar and lounge that’s reminiscent of a ski lodge interior. These “warming huts” will be shaped to mimic the urban water towers found atop buildings across the city. Much like these locally-inspired building shapes, R17 boasts an array of city, state, and American-made materials that complement the mountain chalet and Long Island beach home concepts. The space serves as a new living room for the city—with arguably the best view of the Brooklyn Bridge in all of Manhattan. It doesn’t have a flamboyant entrance and isn’t suffocated by the bright, technicolor lights that glare out of Pier 17 at night. It’s an understated, flexible space that’s simple and luxurious. Although, in the summer, Rockwell Group plans that the expanded scale, along with the pier’s popular summer concert series, will bring a different kind of festive and potentially exclusive energy to new bar and restaurant. According to Chandler, we'll have to wait and see.
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Nike’s new House of Innovation brings an undulating glass facade to Fifth Avenue

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On the corner of Manhattan's Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street, the Nike House of Innovation announces its presence on this stretch of largely historic masonry structures with a striking slumped-and-carved glass facade. The 68,000-square-foot recladding and interior design project replaces the avenue elevation of the concrete-and-glass Pahlavi Foundation Building (formerly owned by the Shah of Iran and recently seized by the Federal Government).
  • Facade Manufacturer Cricursa (glass), Seele GmbH
  • Architects Nike Global Retail Design, CallisonRTKL
  • Facade Installer Seele GmbH
  • Facade Consultants Heintges Consulting Architects & Engineers, Mode Lab
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion November 2018
  • System Curved and annealed glass curtain wall units
  • Products Curved Annealed - Crisunid, Low-E / Selective Coatings - Crislan
For the six-story structure’s recladding, the design team reached out to Spanish glass manufacturer Cricursa. Based in Barcelona, the company has specialized in curved glass since the early-20th century. To give the glass its shape, the modules are slowly heated to the softening point, around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, where the materials slumps into customized molds. Once the glass panels have achieved their desired geometry, they are slowly cooled in a process called annealing. Installed as a double-glazed curtain wall, a low emissivity coating was applied to each panel to reduce heat transfer on both sides of the glazing. The size of the glass modules is largely standardized, measuring approximately 8 by 14 feet. However, where the entrance tapers upward, Cricursa fabricated three variations of trapezoidal panels and a singular triangular panel. The glass manufacturer fabricated five full-scale mockups of the modules to allow for thermal and structural load testing prior to full production. After testing, approximately 100 windows were shipped to Seele GmbH's facility in Augsburg, Germany, for assembly. Novel in terms of architectural application, the slumped glass was also CNC-carved with a series of striations perched at a 23.5-degree angle in the style of Nike’s iconic Swoosh logo. Andy Thaemert, Nike senior creative director, described this effect as accomplishing the brand’s goal to “create static architecture that feels like it's in motion.” From street level and within the House of Innovation, views through the glass present constantly shifting refractions of adjacent buildings. As a re-cladding project, the facade’s assembly is relatively straightforward. According to Heintges, the facade consultants for the project, "the glass facade is hung from the existing roof level with a grid of custom shaped steel mullions and transoms, pinned back for lateral loads at the 5th, and 3rd floor, and just above the ground." In total, the exterior envelope went from steel to glass in roughly four months. The project follows the Nike House of Innovation 001 constructed in Shanghai in October 2018, while a third is planned for Paris in 2019
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Raw facade hardware gets spotlit in this flagship in New York’s Meatpacking District

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Since the construction of the High Line’s first section in 2009, Manhattan’s Meatpacking District has undergone a dramatic transformation from a declining industrial district to a burgeoning site of development attracting leading national and international firms. Now, California’s Backen & Gillam Architects has stamped its presence in the neighborhood with a modern aluminum-and-glass screen wall inserted atop a restored historic reddish-brown brick warehouse.
  • Facade Manufacturer Ahlborn Structural Steel, Inc
  • Architects Backen & Gillam Architects
  • Facade Installer Steadfast Development & Construction
  • Facade Consultants Jacqueline Pue-Duvallon Historic Preservation Consulting
  • Location New York
  • Date of Completion 2018
  • System Pre-fabricated aluminum screen wall
  • Products Custom-designed black aluminum frames
Located on the corner of Little West 12th Street and 9th Avenue, the nearly 100,000-square-foot project for the retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware, now known as RH, is within the stringently-protected Gansevoort Market Historic District. The building itself was constructed over a century ago as a retail warehouse, and ultimately transformed into a garage for the renowned Astor family. For project lead Jim Gillam, the constraints set by the Landmarks Preservation Commission pushed the design team to draw upon the neighborhood’s prevailing historical elements: the bolts, splices, and rivet patterns found on steel and cast-iron awnings, as well as elevated infrastructure. The new black aluminum frames primarily consist of a set of prefabricated components. Each frame is composed of two aluminum cross braces which are fitted to a set of turnbuckles, allowing for the adjustment of tension across the screen wall. T-frames studded with bolts are the primary vertical and horizontal elements of the screen wall. These can be split into two categories: structural members that run the length of the elevation and drive into the building below, and beams supporting the overall rigidity of the frame. This entire system is connected to an array of vertical mullions through existing steel brackets and a new screen wall connector. For the project, Backen & Gillam worked closely with the manufacturer, Ahlborn Structural Steel, to produce a kit of parts that was easy to assemble on site. Every component shipped from Santa Rosa, California, was designed as a three-piece unit set to maximize space on the convoy of flatbed trucks that carted them across the country. Each aspect of the screen wall, down to the bolts, were numbered and classified to ease their installation. In total, the design and construction teams were able to erect the entire addition in approximately two weeks. Gillam's interior spaces maintain the structure's historical bones while providing room to breathe for the new. The central and defining moment of the internal spaces is the light-filled, six-story atrium extending the full height of the complex, with successive rows of fluted Corinthian columns bordering aluminum-and-glass balconies.
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New York City launches interactive map of its privately owned public spaces

New Yorkers and open space enthusiasts have something to celebrate, as the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) has released a map of the more than 550 privately owned public spaces (POPS) in the city. POPS have been an integral part of New York City’s zoning process since their introduction in the 1961 zoning code as an incentive to developers; in exchange for building public plazas, arcades, or outdoor spaces, the city allows private developers to add extra floor area to their buildings or grants other waivers. According to the DCP, POPS exist at over 350 buildings and account for more than 3.8 million square feet of open space. With the new searchable map, interested visitors can gather information on the location, amenities, hours of operation, year of construction, and designers behind each and every privately owned public space. Most of the aforementioned spaces are in Manhattan, and while Brooklyn and Queens only contain a smattering of such public areas, the DCP expects this number to grow dramatically as development in these boroughs increases. Despite the significance of POPS in Manhattan, they’re not untouchable. A furor arose in October of last year as the owner of 200 Water Street at the southern tip of Manhattan sought to convert half of their public plaza space into retail. Even the release of the DCP’s mapping tool wouldn’t have happened without pushback against developers who were misusing the extra space afforded by POPS. The city has been engaged in a tug-of-war with the Trump Organization since the 1980s over the removal of a 22-foot-long stone bench from the lobby of the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and East 56th Street. After Trump added two sales counters hawking Trump-branded merchandise to the public lobby, the city issued a series of fines, and the City Council ultimately passed legislation in 2017 to guard against the future misuse of POPS. Up until that point, nearly half of all POPS were being improperly used but the city lacked a stringent inspection protocol to verify this. A three-year inspection schedule, along with new signage requirements and the map released this week, arose directly from that vote to tighten POPS regulations.
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Neighborhood sues to stop Sutton Place condo tower

The troubled tower originally designed by Foster + Partners in Manhattan's Sutton Place neighborhood has hit yet another speed bump. Crain's reported that local residents have filed a lawsuit to block the condo building from going up at 430 East 58th Street, claiming that it has run awry of recent zoning changes. Locals are unhappy with the tower's height. Its scale is closer to the skinny supertall towers of nearby 57th Street, which is also known somewhat pejoratively as Billionaire's Row and is the home of some of the city's most expensive apartments. Sutton Place is, however, an affluent mid-rise and low-rise area, home to historic townhouses and exclusive brick apartment buildings. The project has never been welcome in the area. In an attempt to block its rise, the local populace successfully lobbied the city government to change the area's zoning to exclude structures of the tower's proportions. The developers then scrambled to get the building grandfathered into compliance by finishing the building's foundation before the new restrictions took effect last December. The city gave the developers an extension to meet the deadline, which is what the neighborhood is objecting to and suing the project over. The suit is aimed at stopping construction and shrinking the tower, which is currently planned to be 68 stories. The original developer, Joe Beninati, was a relative newcomer to the New York City real estate scene, and after a series of bad financial decisions he lost control of the project, and it went into the hands of Gamma Real Estate. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Foster + Partners is the current architect on the project. 
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Costas Kondylis, architect of Trump’s New York City towers, dies at 78

Architect Costas Kondylis, the prolific designer behind over 86 buildings in Manhattan, died Friday at age 78, according to The Real Deal. The cause of death has not yet been announced. Kondylis was best known as one of Donald Trump’s closest and most frequent collaborators in New York City. He designed the 90-story Trump World Tower, formerly the world’s tallest residential structure, in Midtown East for the real estate mogul as well as the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle, and several buildings at Trump Place on Riverside Boulevard. While Kondylis’s extensive resume reveals a handful of projects associated with Trump, the architect’s 50 years designing in New York included countless high-rise designs for various local developers Born in Central Africa, Kondylis studied in his parent’s home country of Greece before earning a graduate degree at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. After finishing his second masters at Columbia University in 1967, he began working for Davis Brody & Associates. While employed by Philip Birnbaum & Associates, he designed his first notable building, Manhattan Place Condo, in 1984. As one of the first high-rise condo projects in the city, as well as one of the few to focus on luxury design at the time, it caught the eye of Trump who was then expanding his New York building empire. Five years later, Kondylis launched his own firm, Costas Kondylis and Partners in 1989. During this busy time in his career, he designed 65 buildings—one building every six weeks—from 2000 to 2007, TRD reported. Once the practice dissolved two decades later, Kondylis started his own firm, Kondylis Design. It’s argued that Kondylis influenced the New York skyline more than any other architect in history. His more recent projects, Silver Towers, River Place, and Atelier, all towering residential properties, have helped shape the newly-developed far west side of Manhattan. He was largely recognized as the “developer’s architect,” a term he grew to embrace, having worked well with everyone from Silverstein Properties to Moinian Group to Vornado Realty Trust and Related Companies. Though his work was usually on time and on budget, it wasn’t highly favored by critics who saw his large-scale structures as too conventional. Larry Silverstein told The New York Times in a 2007 interview that Kondylis’s name is almost synonymous with the city’s condominium architecture. “He designs an attractive, buildable, functional building,” he said. “If I’m going to do a residential building in New York, the most natural thing in the world is to pick up the phone and call Costas.” Kondylis repeatedly stated that his primary goal was always to please the client. He was regarded as one of the most professional, humble, and patient architects in the business despite criticism or praise of his work.  Kondylis died last week in his home and is survived by his two daughters, Alexia and Katherine. A service in his honor is scheduled for October.
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Jail tower proposed by New York City officials

As part of the plan to close Rikers Island by redistributing inmates to smaller jails across four of the five boroughs, the Daily News reports that city officials are looking to build a 40-story jail tower at 80 Centre Street in Lower Manhattan. Perkins Eastman, along with 17 subcontractors, has been tapped to redesign the smaller community-oriented jails in each borough and orient the new developments toward a rehabilitative model. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office had released a list of preferred community-chosen locations in each borough back in February, but ran into opposition with their sites in the Bronx. Now the plan for the Manhattan location appears to have changed as well, as the city is looking to top the nine-story 80 Centre Street with a jail tower that could contain affordable housing. The initial location in Manhattan, an expansion of the Manhattan Detention Complex at 125 White Street, was deemed infeasible for the number of inmates that would need to be housed. Rikers currently houses 9,000 inmates, but the city is hoping to cut that number to 5,000 through bail and sentencing reform and distribute the population throughout the new sites. Closing the jail has been the goal of vocal activists for whom the facility embodies gross abuses of the criminal justice system. Mayor de Blasio has recently come to support the push for closure. If the jail tower moves forward–80 Centre St. is one of two sites under consideration–the 700,000-square-foot Louis J. Lefkowitz State Office Building would be gutted and the preserved facade would serve as the tower's base. The granite, art deco building is currently home to the marriage bureau, and was completed in 1930 and designed by William Haugaard; according to the city’s official building description, Haugaard kept the building squat to avoid casting shadows on the nearby courthouses and Foley Square. The jail’s vertical shape would mean that men and women would need to be separated on different floors, as would the hospital area, outdoor space, recreation areas, and classrooms. AN will follow this story up as more details become available.
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The MIT Self-Assembly Lab prints squishy, tactile lighting fixtures

The MIT Self-Assembly Lab and Swiss designer Christophe Guberan have unveiled a range of new lighting and household items that are 3D-printed in soft materials and then inflated to their proper sizes. Liquid to Air: Pneumatic Objects is currently on display at the Patrick Parrish Gallery at 50 Lispenard Street in Manhattan through August 26. The Self-Assembly Lab team, consisting of Björn Sparrman, Schendy Kernizan, Jared Laucks, and Skylar Tibbits, were able to “draw” the malleable objects using rapid liquid printing. The experimental process is a collaboration between the lab and furniture company Steelcase and can be used to rapidly print large-scale products in a variety of materials. Prints are “drawn” in a vat of gel using a variety of extruded materials–everything from rubber to plastic–that only stick to themselves and not the gel. The prints are limited only by the size of the container holding them, don’t require supports, and can contain variable thicknesses within a single object, representing a huge leap forward for 3D printing technology. For Liquid to Air, the team printed table lamps, pendants, and sconces from silicone rubber and inflated them into round, buoyant fixtures with a malleable finish. Walking through Patrick Parrish Gallery, visitors are encouraged to touch the final products, which also include multi-chambered vessels used as vases and holders for stationery. A hands-on exploration reveals that everything is soft to the touch and rebounds after squeezing, demonstrating the potential of rapid liquid printing to create complex but durable objects. Liquid to Air isn’t the first collaboration between the Self-Assembly Lab and Guberan. The team has worked together since 2014, and last year they printed a series of mesh handbags and lighting fixtures for Design Miami 2017 and used rapid liquid printing to churn out unique pieces in a matter of minutes.
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San Francisco’s Instagram-famous Color Factory is headed to New York

Explosions of summer color are coming to New York City as San Francisco’s sold-out Color Factory pop-up installation is set to brighten Manhattan's streets starting on August 20. A 20,000-square-foot interactive exhibition from artist collaborative Color Factory will open in SoHo and will be accompanied by 20 “secret” color installations hidden across Lower Manhattan. The original Color Factory installation opened last August in San Francisco for a four-week run that eventually expanded to last nearly eight months. That show brought together a star-studded roster of local and international artists to create an exploration of color that went viral on Instagram, and Color Factory is looking to replicate that success in New York. Instagram-friendly installations and pavilions have exploded in recent years, and lauded firms from AGENCY to Snarkitecture have all jumped on the bandwagon, delivering selfie walls and all-white takes on the form. Let's not forget pop-ups like the Museum of Ice Cream, either, soon to be joined by its long-lost cousin the Museum of Pizza. The California version of Color Factory involved multiple explorations of color in light works, several monochrome rooms (currently all the rage), rainbow decals, fabric, balloons, and technicolor plastic furniture. The New York version seems like it will keep to the same vein; visitors will be able to experience 16 rooms, including a bar filled with mocha in every color of the rainbow, a light-up dance floor, a room full of ombré balloons, a room where participants can walk through a guided experience to discover their own “personal color," an enormous full-room ball pit, and custom illustrations from New York artists. After guests are finished at the exhibition, they can pick up a map to the 20 “secret experiences” Color Factory has hidden across the island, and the group says that the installation will be inspired by the colors of New York. Manhattan Color Walk from Color Factory on Vimeo. Color Factory is no stranger to New York’s streets. Manhattan Color Walk, a survey of colors from 265 individual Manhattan blocks, recently wrapped up at the Cooper Hewitt. The free installation was on display through June and adorned the museum’s terrace, garden, and walkways with colored bands pulled from New York’s most unique and ubiquitous colors. Color Factory staff walked and biked from West 220th Street all the way down to Battery Park and translated one color per block into a stripe at the museum and released an accompanying guide. General admission tickets for Color Factory are now on sale for $38, and the exhibition will be open at 251 Spring Street after August 20 from Thursday to Tuesday, 10:00 AM through 11:00 PM.
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Target opens in the East Village with polarizing faux-urbanism

The East Village outpost of Target opened in lower Manhattan this weekend and kicked off the festivities by draping a vinyl facade of long-gone East Village institutions down a stretch of the street. The installation concocted Target-ized versions of long-gone cultural institutions, including riffs on CBGB, the Village Voice, a local laundromat, and more, drawing the ire of preservationists.
The 27,000-square-foot Target is a smaller, “urban” offshoot at the base of the Beyer Blinder Belle-designed luxury EVGB (“East Village’s Greatest Building”) tower at the intersection of 14th Street and Avenue A. The kiosks around EVGB’s base were all throwbacks to the neighborhood’s punk 1970s past and included a wrapping reminiscent of the tenement buildings that existed before Extell developed EVGB. The online responses were, predictably, divided. Preservationists viewed the stunt akin to a facadectomy and accused Target of appropriating the area’s past to promote a gentrifying store. On the other side, most of the visitors this weekend seemed happy to snag free swag the “TRGT”, fake pizza places, and “palm readers”. Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York was particularly scathing in his assessment, calling it a “Potemkin Village from Hell” and decrying the commodification of his formative experiences. Still, this kind of thing happens regularly, as facades and nods to an area’s past are frequently appropriated in the marketing for whatever comes next, whether it be an addition or wholesale replacement.