Posts tagged with "Manhattan":

Placeholder Alt Text

DDG Partners’ development on the Upper East Side continues to raise eyebrows

In late December, Christmas came early for DDG Partners as work started again on its controversial development on Third Avenue and East 88th Street. The project, though, has become embroiled in a zoning furor with neighbors, experts, politicians, and the Department of Buildings (DOB). And the battle, despite workers being back on-site, doesn’t appear to be over.

Local resident group, Carnegie Hill Neighbors (CHN), has been feverishly fighting the development since it was given the go-ahead in summer 2015. In March 2016, CHN enlisted the services of planning expert George M. Janes to help the cause.

After looking at the zoning drawings, Janes said he noticed a “tactic to subdivide the lot” so that DDG’s building would no longer face on to East 88th Street. By avoiding this, the firm escaped further zoning laws triggered by coming up to the street’s edge.

Two months later, councilmember Ben Kallos and Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer penned a letter to the city flagging the issue and calling for construction to be halted. They succeeded and work stopped in May.

The case is complex. Janes’s argument in the zoning challenge outlined the following: If the building did fall flush with East 88th Street, then this portion of the structure—known as the “sliver”—would be limited to 60 feet tall. Along the edges of this sliver running perpendicular to the street, however, no “legal windows” for habitable apartments would be allowed, thus wasting floor space.

“I understand why they did what they did from a design standpoint,” said Janes. “That doesn’t make a difference in terms of the law though.” Janes, in fact, is sure DDG’s updated plans still break the law. “It’s just a matter of whether the DOB will enforce the law,” he said.

In a statement, the DOB said: “The side lot on 88th Street increased in size from 4 by 22 feet into a 10- by 22-foot developable parcel. DOB’s action reduced the size of the new building by 1,200 square feet. The developer will be required to build two means of egress on Third Avenue.”

Interestingly, even though the building’s base does not face East 88th Street, the developer’s listing of condos names the address as “180 East 88th Street” as seen on 180e88.com. The DOB meanwhile, refers to the development as “1558 Third Avenue.”

Janes has submitted another zoning challenge on behalf of CHN, including a letter signed by Kallos, Brewer, New York State Senator Liz Krueger, and Lo van der Valk, president of CHN. The modifications are “really very small,” said Janes. “The lot is still in common ownership, there are still the same issues.”

In the letter obtained by The Architect's Newspaper, the signatories collectively state their objection “to the developer’s absurd efforts to gerrymander its tax and zoning lots to avoid zoning requirements for buildings facing East 88th Street, which the DOB has apparently accepted in approving the project.”

The letter also reads:

The policy implications of this approach for the City are huge. Developers seeking to avoid zoning restrictions that are triggered by street frontage can merely carve off a tiny tax lot, obtain an access easement, and continue to reap all the benefits that the tax lot might offer, other than the tiny amount of floor area these micro-lots produce—a trade-off many developers will embrace given the premium price for height and high-floor apartments.

This was submitted on December 8 and Janes was initially optimistic given the lack of immediate reply that usually comes when a challenge is declined.

Additionally, van der Valk spoke of his desire to curb building heights on the Upper East Side in the wake of the project. “The long-run solution is to impose some building height restrictions in the area,” he said. “This building has some very tall floors, some of the tallest we’ve seen.”

DDG Partners’ tower will rise to 467 feet (excluding mechanicals), using only 32 floors. According to The Real Deal, DDG purchased the site in 2013 for about $70 million and has an estimated sellout of $308 million for the 48 condos on offer.

In a statement, DDG spokesperson Michele de Milly said: “We are pleased that the Stop Work Order was lifted following the Department of Building’s comprehensive audit. Most importantly, hundreds of construction workers can now get back to work on the site in order to meet our completion goal for late 2018.”

The developer also contributed nearly $20,000 to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that supports the mayor’s social initiatives. DDG declined to comment on the donations when asked in May 2016. It said, however, that it “has and will continue to support public officials with a positive economic development platform that allows New York City to remain a beacon and attraction for the rest of the world.” 

Placeholder Alt Text

Find out one reason why this year's Armory Show had record-breaking attendance

The result of seven month’s work, involving copious amounts of organizing, planning, scheduling, revising, assembling, testing and eleventh-hour tweaking, culminated in a five-day art frenzy: The Armory Show 2017. Held on Piers 92 and 94 in New York City, this year's fair hosted 200 galleries from 30 different countries—a significant reduction from the previous year's showing (230). However, Bade Stageberg Cox Architects (BSC) designed the layout of the show and the New York firm was on hand to remind visitors how effective the Miesian principle, "less is more" can be.

"We're always playing with scale," said Jane Stageberg, a principle at BSC who showed The Architect's Newspaper around. "The art is big, so the space must be big!" One way to get more space is to have fewer galleries, argued Stageberg, who added that on the flip side, this afforded galleries more floor space to work with themselves. The result was a more fluid and dynamic experience of The Armory Show.

In 2016, Pier 94 had three aisles of circulation, whereas this year two were employed, facilitating a much smoother and more logical route up and down the pier. This also allowed BSC to create what Stageberg called "town squares." For an experience that had the potential to feel like a head-spinning cavalcade of art, the open spaces offered visual relief and acted as convenient meeting points. They also housed "big" public art, making them handy tools for way-finding. Saying "meet by the red and white polka-dotted mushrooms" (or to the more sophisticated "Yayoi Kusama's 2016 work, Guidepost to the New World") made for an easy-to-find reference point. Or, if that didn't take your fancy: the champagne bar by the hanging piano (Sebastian Errazuriz's 2017 piece, The awareness of uncertainty).

"Our goal was to open up the plan and create sight-lines, carving away corners to create diagonal views," Stageberg explained. "The galleries realized that this was good for them too as it meant more exposure. Their goal is to sell art and that's our goal too." The risk paid off, though, as galleries did well. “We sold an enormous amount,” said Sean Kelly, whose Chelsea gallery can be found on 475 10th Avenue.

Additionally, Stageberg said that the bones (especially the roof) of Pier 94 itself were also exposed to acknowledge the site's industrial past. In a refined environment predominantly comprised of white gallery walls, the juxtaposition of evident decay seen on the roof and odd bits of wall was a welcome sight.

On Pier 92, this was less the case, but the inclusion of generous amounts of daylight made possible by numerous windows, supplemented the sense of place BSC strove for. Around these areas of fenestration was more "public space." (This year, public space made up more than a third of the square footage allocated to galleries.) In a setting where square footage and wall space are prime real estate for galleries, the decision to do so was justified as visitors came in record numbers (65,000 over five days—the most ever). In addition to this, the show's busiest days over the weekend were gloriously sunny. Light shimmered off the Hudson and the pier—which is roughly 30 feet narrower than its neighbor—felt open and breathable.

Another advantage of this was simply being able to see where you were in the scope of the city. Be it views of BIG's Via 57 or simply Pier 94, the windows aided orientation and provided a pleasing change of focus. This was particularly the case in the VIP Lounge on Pier 92 where a large window punched through the end of the pier was the highlight of the show’s premium venue.

BSC has been working The Armory Show since 2011 when the firm began designing the 2012 edition of the fair. Between then and now, two directors (Paul Morris and Noah Horowitz) have come and gone, but this year marked the second year BSC had been working with its current director, Ben Genocchio.

For the 2017 show, Genocchio wanted Piers 92 and 94 to be in greater unison. Curatorial programming at previous shows had created a disconnect between the two piers, a phenomenon amplified further due to their differences in elevation (Pier 92 is almost one story higher than its neighbor) resulting in tricky circulation. To challenge this, both modern and contemporary galleries could be found on the two piers and emphasis was placed on the corridor that linked them.

It wasn't all smooth sailing on the water, however. While an oversized floating concrete block (Drifter, by Studio Drift) did well to draw visitors to the connecting stairwell, traveling between the two piers was still awkward. This problem, though, may be impossible to solve. Stageberg was disappointed in the food outlet "Mile End" at the end of Pier 94. "It felt like a dead-end space," she said. Likewise, it's hard to see how such an issue will be resolved without sacrificing more gallery space.

Stageberg, though, took this as a positive. "We're learning what we can do next year," she said. “We’re very pleased with how the public spaces in general turned out, they were really needed.” In the end, it's the piers' quirks that make The Armory Show what it is. There are few, if any, places where you can gaze over millions of dollars worth of art amid expertly organized chaos, all under one, slowly dying roof in the middle of New York.

Placeholder Alt Text

Waldorf Astoria interiors designated as historic landmarks by LPC

Following an initial hearing in January, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted unanimously on March 7th to designate several of the interior spaces of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel as historic landmarks. The move was widely expected and has not stymied the owner’s ambitious plan to renovate the building, a plan which includes converting a majority of the existing 1,413 rooms into condominium apartments. The Anbang Insurance Group released a statement in response to the decision:
Anbang knows the Waldorf Astoria's history is a large part of what makes this hotel so unforgettable. That is why we fully supported the commission's recommendations for designation of the Waldorf Astoria's most important public spaces and applaud the commission on achieving landmark status for them.
LPC’s designation protects many of the public spaces throughout the first three floors of the iconic art deco building, including the Park Avenue Lobby, entry hall on the ground level, and the Grand Ballroom on the third level, one of the largest event spaces in the New York City. The designation currently awaits approval by the city council.
Placeholder Alt Text

New renderings revealed for SOM's The Milstein Center at Barnard College

Barnard College has unveiled designs for a new library and academic center by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). The Cheryl and Philip Milstein Teaching and Learning Center at Barnard's Morningside Heights campus will feature the "flexible learning spaces" that are pretty much de rigueur for any new academic building. The 128,000-square-foot, 11-story structure will be almost double the size of Lehman Hall, the building it is replacing. Barnard chose SOM to design The Milstein Center back in 2014, though the college waited until last week to reveal all the final renderings. SOM has envisioned a building with a five-story base and a comparatively narrow six-story top, a move that allows sunlight to flood the adjacent main lawn. In growing its footprint by 50 percent, The Milstein Center library program will almost double Lehman's seating while providing access to the outdoors on multiple terraces. Though there will be plenty of individual study spaces for students who prefer to hit the books in relative isolation, the library, in keeping with the times, will de-emphasize books in favor of multimedia labs and group study spaces. The core programming, which includes new offices and conference space, will be framed by a ground floor digital commons (Barnard is one of the only liberal arts colleges with a technology requirement) and a computational science center for teaching and research. The video below gives a snazzy introduction to The Milstein Center, which is slated to open in August 2018:
Placeholder Alt Text

New York City plans a tech incubator designed by Davis Brody Bond

The City of New York has unveiled its vision for a tech incubator, designed by Davis Brody Bond, in Manhattan's Union Square. The firm's scheme builds out the city's ambitions for its very own Silicon Alley. Developed in partnership with RAL Development Services, the Union Square Tech Hub also responds to a need for 21st-century office space: Much of New York's older office building stock provides inflexible or hard-to-retrofit layouts that are incompatible with tech industry demands. The hub will house a 36,500-square-foot jobs training and education center, and 58,000 square feet of workspace for new tech-focused enterprises, while Civic Hall, a member-based collaborative workspace that uses technology to benefit the public, will anchor the project. The announcement included buzzing endorsements from elected officials and project partners that verged on tech-babble. The hub will be a "nexus" for "innovation" and "cross-pollination" between startups in the "booming creative economy." In all, the project's expected to cost $250 million. "This new hub will be the front-door for tech in New York City," said Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a statement. "People searching for jobs, training or the resources to start a company will have a place to come to connect and get support. No other city in the nation has anything like it. It represents this City’s commitment to a strong and inclusive tech ecosystem.” The 258,000-square-foot development will replace the electronics store PC Richard & Sons on 14th Street between Third and Fourth avenues. To support fast-growing enterprises, the hub will offer shorter leases (6 months to five years) than a typical commercial office building. In turn, Civic Hall will partner with General Assembly, Per Scholas, the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education, Code to Work, FedCap, and Coalition for Queens to provide workforce development for city residents. For Davis Brody Bond, 2017's shaping up to be a banner year for development downtown. Late last year, New York University revealed the firm's vision for a 23-story housing and academic center on Mercer Street, designed in collaboration with KieranTimberlake.
Placeholder Alt Text

David Chipperfield-designed West Village condo finally gets Landmarks approval

It seems the third time's the charm for David Chipperfield. After twice declining to approve his firm's proposal for a West Village condo, pictured above, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has okayed the design, which has changed only slightly since its last hearing. The proposed structure, at 11-19 Jane Street, sits on a largely residential side street in the Greenwich Village Historic District. Chipperfield's work would replace a two-story parking structure with a six-story condominium building. The firm's first proposal, a white precast concrete building, was rejected by LPC in July of last year. A January proposal did not fare any better and was turned down mostly on the basis of its out-of-character entrances and sliding windows. The new design features casement windows divided by red brick mullions topped by stone lintels that echo the neighbors. A more subtle penthouse roofline responded to commissioners' concerns around the building's height. In a post-decision statement, preservation advocacy group the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) remained deeply unimpressed with Chipperfield's most recent round of revisions, suggesting the condo would look better beside a highway off-ramp:
It is deeply disappointing that the Landmarks Preservation Commission chose to approve a design which is so patently inappropriate for the Greenwich Village Historic District and for Jane Street. The design is barely changed from the one roundly criticized by the public and rejected in January. It still looks like a chain motel, it’s still too large, and it still sticks out like a sore thumb.  The changes made by the architect since January are the proverbial rearranging of the deck chairs on the Titanic.  This design might look at home next to the off-ramp of I-95, but it does not make sense on this historic side street. We hoped for better from this architect, and from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Though the project received unanimous approval, the commission urged the architects to continue to refine the design, especially the windows at street level.
Placeholder Alt Text

Visual chaos descends on a gallery in downtown Manhattan

The Gallery at Cadillac House, located just west of Soho, is hosting Toiletpaper Paradise—an exhibition that is as eccentric as it sounds. Toiletpaper Paradise invites audiences to touch, play, move, sit, recline, and position themselves in the visual antics of artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrai's curated space. The kaleidoscopic spaghetti world features over-sized stringy pasta pasted to the walls and floor joined on either side by enclaves of further obscurities enamored with space popcorn and cloud fish wallpaper. This description alone should suffice in setting the tone for the exhibit: The inclusion of risqué carpets, a life-size crocodile, tombstone, and ionic column are strangely unsurprising inclusions in their context of peculiarity. Though overwhelmed with imagery, furniture and accessories of note have been interspersed throughout the space. Despite not jumping out at you as much as the wallpaper, a range of midcentury modern furniture can be found within the setting, a feature that has led the exhibition to be dubbed "Mad Men on acid." Meanwhile, if you can spot them, works produced by Italian homeware manufacturers Gufram and Seletti are on display, all carrying with them inflections of Toiletpaper Magazine's off-beat Instagram-ready aesthetic. The exhibition was made possible through creative media agency Visionaire and Toiletpaper Magazine; Ferrari and Cattelan are co-creators of the latter. Toiletpaper Paradise runs through April 12 and is free to the public. The Gallery at Cadillac House 330 Hudson Street New York City
Placeholder Alt Text

Pace University gears up for $190 million campus overhaul

Manhattan's Pace University has announced plans for a major expansion starting this summer.

Today the university unveiled a three-phase expansion plan for its lower Manhattan campus. Responding to increasing enrollment, the $190 million plan will reinvigorate academic and common areas at the school's two main academic buildings. New York's FXFOWLE is the design architect.

“Our goal was to create a master plan that matches the clarity and aspirations of Opportunitas: Embracing the Future [Pace's plan],” explained FXFOWLE senior partner Sylvia Smith, in a statement. “The plan responds to the needs of today’s learners, fosters an increased sense of community, and encourages engagement. We focused on student-centric solutions to activate, reveal and connect spaces and places at Pace.”

Phase One channels $45 million into reviving more than 55,000 square feet of space at One Pace Plaza and 41 Park Row, right near City Hall. Improvements will target One Pace Plaza's courtyard entrance, first, and then lower levels, adding a welcome center, new student center, learning commons, and quiet study areas. At (former New York Times building) 41 Park Row, the original entrance along Spruce Street will be restored, and FXFOWLE's work will add an art gallery and another student commons. 

The school's 13,000 undergraduate and graduate students take classes in the performing arts and liberal arts, business, science, and tech in Manhattan and at a Westchester County campus.

Construction on Phase One is expected to wrap in fall 2018.

Placeholder Alt Text

4,000 cubic yards of concrete poured for One Vanderbilt's foundation

Progress was made over the weekend—starting Friday, 9pm through Saturday afternoon—on New York City’s One Vanderbilt Avenue as construction crews poured 4,000 cubic yards of concrete foundations into the excavated site. The KPF-designed project broke ground in October of last year after a lengthy squabble over air rights and the controversial rezoning of portions of Midtown. The project’s 1,401-foot, 58-story height was made possible through a special permit which will see the developer make $220 million worth improvements to Grand Central’s transportation infrastructure and pedestrian access. The complex foundation design is indicative of those improvements, making the concrete pour one of the largest in New York City’s history.
Placeholder Alt Text

Witness the beginning of high-rise Manhattan with this online interactive map

In 1874 The New York Tribune Building, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, topped out at 260 feet (including the clock tower) on 154 Printing House Square (Nassau Street and Spruce Street) in Manhattan. Though demolished in 1966, the building lives on in TEN & TALLER: 1874-1900, an exhibition at the Skyscraper Museum in New York City. But if you can't wait to delve into the TEN & TALLER, an online interactive map is available below. TEN & TALLER documents all 252 Manhattan buildings erected before and 1900 that, as its name suggests, were ten stories or taller. The museum's online interactive map plots the 252 structures on both historic and contemporary maps of Manhattan. A timeline feature starting at 1874 (the year Manhattan's first ten story building went up) allows users to toggle through the years, revealing ten-story-plus buildings all color coded by typology ("office, hotel, apartment, loft," and "other") in the process. In addition to zooming in and out, users can also appear and disappear the historic/contemporary Manhattan grid. The historic grid is comprised of 101 plates from 1909 Bromley’s Atlas (updated to 1915). The result of more than 1,500 hours of work—stitching individual files together and aligning them with the modern-day grid of Manhattan—the map (according to its creators) is the only one of its kind that covers such a wide geography of Manhattan and can be examined in such detail. Upon this mega-map, the footprints of the buildings appear as users alter the date. Buildings can be clicked on too, in order to find out more information on the building such as: when it was built; its status; height, width and slenderness (height divided by width); depth; architect; building use; framing; type of walling used (and their material composition) and cost. As to why the study only looks at 26 years of New York's high-rise development history, The Skyscraper Museum said in a press release that the early development of skyscrapers was a narrative which they felt deserved more attention. By 1900, the standard method of construction was skeleton construction and thus the technology to allow towers to rise skyward paved the way for an influx of high-rise development. At the museum's gallery, the exhibition features models, maps, historic photographs, and original architectural drawings to depict this narrative. The exhibition is now on show at 39 Battery Place runs through April this year. [Warning: This map will not scale on a mobile device or small screen. You can also access it on the Skyscraper Museum's website here.]
Placeholder Alt Text

A new Manhattan exhibition creates a dialogue between two generations of architects

Architectural rendering and design today is filtered through digital platforms that define contemporary production. It is rare to see an architecture that breaks out of this design template, whether the architect asserts environmental, stylistic, or urban design as the impulse behind the form. But Re-Constructivist Architecture: A Call From Rome, a carefully crafted exhibition at Ierimonti Gallery in Midtown, purposefully tries to avoid this new international style. Curated by Jacopo Costanzo and Giovanni Cozzani with Giulia Leone, the exhibit presents the work of thirteen, mostly Italian, architects born in the 1980s and sets them the task of generating “a debate between two generation of architects”; principally those presented in the 1988 MoMA show Deconstructive Architecture and of that show's generation. The Deconstructivists, the curators argue, "destabilized a certain kind of relationship with the design theory" and the architects in this exhibit want to rediscover a thoughtful dimension behind the architectural subject. This new work is more about place, specific local issues, and conditions, and operates from an Italian perspective, much as the manifesto of postmodernism did in 1980. The Architect’s Newspaper is sponsoring a special preview of the exhibition next Tuesday, February 7 from 6:00 to 8:30 at the gallery. It will feature short comments from Kenneth Frampton, Morris Adjmi, Umberto Napolitano from LAN and Enrique Walker. Ierimonti Gallery is located at 24 West 57 Street, suite 501.
Placeholder Alt Text

100 illuminated Tiffany Lamps will feature in the New-York Historical Society's revamped 4th floor

Louis Comfort Tiffany is synonymous with the lamps that bear his name. However, a recent discovery about the lamps' origins helped shape a new exhibition space currently under construction at the New-York Historical Society. It was well-known that Tiffany employed dozens of women—known as "Tiffany Girls"—to carefully select the glass fragments that went into Tiffany lamps, one of the many types of objets de luxe his company produced. (Tiffany thought women had a better eye for color.) However, letters discovered in 2005 and written by one such Tiffany Girl, Clara Driscoll, revealed that she was a leading creative force in the lamp studio and designed several lamps herself. Now, the New-York Historical Society's 100 Tiffany lamps will be celebrated in a new gallery that will stand adjacent to the also new 1,500-square-foot Joyce B. Cowin's History Gallery, a space dedicated to exhibitions organized by the New-York Historical Society's Center for Women's History. The newly-established center is the first institution of its kind dedicated to public exhibits on women in American history. Both spaces will be located on the museum's fourth floor, which was previously an archive. London and Prague-based architect Eva Jiřičná, who designed the Jewellery gallery at the V&A, is behind the Gallery of Tiffany Lamps, with New York City-based PBDW as architects of record. Specially-crafted curving glass displays, surrounded by a low-light environment and dark blue walls, will let the lamps shine unencumbered. The 4,800-square-foot, two-story Gallery of Tiffany Lamps will also feature an all-glass curving staircase lit by LEDs. Its glowing structural glass steps, risers, and vertical fins will fit together with minimal metal connection details. In addition to telling the history of Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, visitors will be able to create their own Tiffany lamp through an interactive digital installation. The Joyce B. Cowin's History Gallery will be inaugurated with Saving Washington, an exhibition on First Lady Dolley Madison, along with items from the archives of Billie Jean King, an interactive multimedia wall, among other artifacts. Lastly, as part of the 4th floor's revamp, a new North Gallery will host items from the society's permanent collection—such as a copper globe from 1542 that traces Giovanni da Verrazzano's voyage—in fifteen themed niches. The Gallery of Tiffany Lamps, Joyce B. Cowin's History Gallery, and North Gallery will open April 8th. A new 4th floor multimedia center, which will feature scanners, computers, a 3D printer, and more, will come online this summer. This article appears on HoverPin, a new app that lets you build personalized maps of geo-related online content based on your interests: architecture, food, culture, fitness, and more. Never miss The Architect’s Newspaper’s coverage of your city and discover new, exciting projects wherever you go! See our HoverPin layer here and download the app from the Apple Store.