A competition to revitalize a 1.5-mile-long elevated railway in Buffalo, New York, has ended with five winners, and all five proposals will be combined to shape an RFP aimed at breathing new life into the abandoned rail corridor. The Western New York Land Conservancy launched the Reimagining the DL&W Corridor: International Design Ideas Competition in November of 2018 to revive an abandoned stretch of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western (DL&W) railway that runs from Canalside to the Solar City plant. Much like the High Line or the proposed QueensWay in the southern half of the state, the DL&W railway will be turned into an elevated park that will unite formerly-industrial neighborhoods with a continuous rewilded landscape. “Reclaiming Hill & Del” from the New York City–based Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects (MNLA) took first prize. Their ambitious proposal turns the corridor into an all-season multimodal path to the Buffalo River, using the varied topography of the ridge to add excitement to the routes. Native plants would be used to return the path to a state of nature. “The Dell, The Link & The Wanderer (DLW),” a collaboration between Marvel Architects, BuroHappold, horticulturalist and landscape architect Patrick Cullina, and graphic and placemaking studio NOWHERE Office took second place. The DLW would divide the railway into several distinct ecologies while threading through the neighborhoods. The Dell portion would bring secluded, wooded areas to the former rail line; the Link is where the new park would integrate with existing streets at grade; and visitors can Wander through meandering paths along the water’s edge. Third place was split between two proposals, “The Loop Line” and “Railn.” The Loop Line comes courtesy of the Brooklyn-based OSA, which wanted to turn the railway from a “barrier” to a “linear urban organizer” that capitalizes on investment along the Buffalo River. Unlike the other projects, The Loop Line was conceived as “seasonally inverted,” showcasing the majesty of Buffalo’s winters (even if they are buried in snow). Railn was conceived of by a team of six graduate landscape architecture students from Beijing Forestry University. The project would overlay different axes, including transportation, quality of life, and economic improvements over the railway to create an inclusive, multimodal park. Finally, the community choice award went to Matt Renkas, a SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry grad and Buffalo resident, for his “The Del” proposal. The Del would integrate the industrial remnants along the new park into the landscape and include scrap steel sculptures of animals representing Haudenosaunee clans would dot the DL&W Corridor. The Del would also include several earthwork theaters and staging areas for performances and art shows. With the ideas competition complete, the Land Conservancy will launch a Request For Proposals for conceptual and schematic designs later this summer, integrating ideas from all of the submissions they received, not just the winners.
Posts tagged with "Marvel Architects":
At an awards ceremony at Manhattan’s Center for Architecture on October 8, representatives from AIA New York (AIANY) and the New York chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLANY) gathered for the first annual Transportation + Infrastructure Design Excellence Awards (T+I Awards). The winners, winnowed down from a pool of 67 entrants, showed excellence in both built and unrealized projects related to transportation and infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on work that integrated sustainability and engaged with the public. Outstanding greenways, esplanades, and transit improvement plans were lauded for their civic contributions. A variety of merit awards were handed out to speculative projects, and the Regional Plan Association (RPA) was honored a number of times for the studies it had commissioned as part of the Fourth Regional Plan; it was noted that many of the solutions proposed in past Regional Plans had eventually come to pass. The jury was just as varied as the entrants: Donald Fram, FAIA, a principal of Donald Fram Architecture & Planning; Doug Hocking, AIA, a principal at KPF; Marilyn Taylor, FAIA, professor of architecture and urban design at the University of Pennsylvania; David van der Leer, executive director of the Van Alen Institute; and Donna Walcavage, FASLA, a principal at Stantec. Meet the winners below:
Best in CompetitionThe Brooklyn Greenway Location: Brooklyn, N.Y. Designers: Marvel Architects, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, WE Design Landscape Architecture, eDesign Dynamics, Horticultural Society of New York, and Larry Weaner Landscape Associates Now six miles long and growing, the waterfront Brooklyn Greenway project kicked off in 2004 with a planning phase as a joint venture between the nonprofit Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) and the RPA. The 14-mile-long series of linear parks has been broken into 23 ongoing capital projects under the New York City Department of Transportation’s purview—hence the lengthy list of T+I Award winners. Funding is still being raised to complete the entire Greenway, but the BGI has been hosting events and getting community members involved to keep the momentum going.
HonorHunter's Point South Park Location: Queens, N.Y. Park Designers: SWA/Balsley and Weiss/Manfredi Prime Consultant and Infrastructure Designer: Arup Client: New York City Economic Development Corporation With: Arup The second phase of Hunter’s Point South Park opened in June of this year and brought 5.5 new acres of parkland to the southern tip of Long Island City. What was previously undeveloped has been converted into a unique park-cum-tidal wetland meant to absorb and slow the encroachment of stormwater while rejuvenating the native ecosystem. Hunter’s Point South Park blends stormwater resiliency infrastructure with public amenities, including a curved riverwalk, a hovering viewing platform, and a beach—all atop infill sourced from New York’s tunnel waste.
MeritRoberto Clemente State Park Esplanade Location: Bronx, N.Y. Landscape Architect: NV5 with Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Client: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation With: AKRF, CH2M Hill
CitationSpring Garden Connector Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Landscape Architect: NV5 Client: Delaware River Waterfront Corporation With: Cloud Gehshan, The Lighting Practice
MeritThe QueensWay Location: Queens, N.Y. Architect: DLANDstudio Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and WXY Architecture + Urban Design Client: The Trust for Public Land Could a High Line ever land in Queens? That’s what The Trust for Public Land set out to discover, tapping DLAND and WXY to imagine what it would look like if a 3.5-mile-long stretch of unused rail line were converted into a linear park. The project completed the first phase of schematic design in 2017 using input from local Queens residents, but fundraising, and push-and-pull with community groups who want to reactivate the rail line as, well, rail, has put the project on hold.
MeritNexus/EWR Location: Newark, N.J. Architect: Gensler Client: Regional Plan Association With: Ahasic Aviation Advisors, Arup, Landrum & Brown
MeritThe Triboro Corridor Location: The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, N.Y. Architect: One Architecture & Urbanism (ONE) and Only If Client: Regional Plan Association Commissioned as part of the Fourth Regional Plan, Only If and ONE imagined connecting the outer boroughs through a Brooklyn-Bronx-Queens rail line using existing freight tracks. Rather than a hub-and-spoke system with Manhattan, the Triboro Corridor would spur development around the new train stations and create a vibrant transit corridor throughout the entire city.
HonorFulton Center Location: New York, N.Y. Design Architect: Grimshaw Architect of Record: Page Ayres Cowley Architects Client: NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority With: Arup, HDR Daniel Frankfurt, James Carpenter Design Associates Fulton Center was first announced in 2002 as part of an effort to revive downtown Manhattan’s moribund economy by improving transit availability. Construction was on and off for years until the transit hub and shopping center’s completion in 2014, and now the building connects the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, and Z lines all under one roof (the N, R, and W trains are accessible through an underground passage to Cortlandt Street). Through the use of a large, metal-clad oculus that protrudes from the roof of the center, and the building’s glazed walls, the center, which spirals down from street level, is splashed with natural light.
MeritNumber 7 Subway Line Extension & 34th Street-Hudson Yards Station Location: New York, N.Y. Architect: Dattner Architects Engineer of Record: WSP Client: MTA Capital Construction With: HLH7 a joint venture of Hill International, HDR, and LiRo; Ostergaard Acoustical Associates; STV
MeritMississauga Transitway Location: Ontario, Canada Architect: IBI Group Client: City of Mississauga, Transportation & Works Department With: DesignABLE Environments, Dufferin Construction, Entro Communications, HH Angus, WSP
MeritDenver Union Station Location: Denver, Colorado Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) Landscape Architect: Hargreaves Associates Client: Denver Union Station Project Authority (DUSPA) With: AECOM, Clanton & Associates, Kiewit Western, Tamara Kudrycki Design, Union Station Neighborhood Company
StudentTurnpike Metabolism: Reconstituting National Infrastructure Through Landscape Student: Ernest Haines Academic Institution: MLA| 2018, Harvard Graduate School of Design Anyone’s who’s ever cruised down a highway knows that equal weight isn’t necessarily given to the surrounding landscape. But what if that weren't the case? In Turnpike Metabolism, Ernest Haines imagines how the federal government can both give deference to the natural landscapes surrounding transportation infrastructure and change the design process to allow nature to define routes and structures.
This Federalist-style four-story building across the street from the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral was the church’s former school and convent for nearly 200 years. Built in 1826 to replace an orphanage and parochial school founded in 1822, Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral School educated generations of locals and immigrants (including Martin Scorsese; according to a New York Times article he “struggled under the merciless ministrations of the Sisters of Mercy”) before closing in 2010. In 2014, the archdiocese sold it to Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities, who hired Marvel Architects to design the Residences at Prince, a seven-unit condo attached to a 6,100-square-foot space still retained by the church for its offices and community space. Because the structure is a landmark, the exterior elements—namely the windows—were restored. “Integrating glass into [the] historic facade, we supported the architect to update the aesthetic,” said Spencer Culhane, building envelope specialist at Schüco. Preservation consultant Higgins Quasebarth & Partners and Marvel completed the restoration using two styles of windows since the building was built in two different time periods. “The new wood window sashes are shop painted with a durable finish to provide a long-term protected finish,” said Nebil Gokcebay, associate at Marvel. In the interior courtyard, new expanses of glaze and thermally broken windows were installed. Having undergone numerous revisions, the south-facing 200-year old facade is patched up by bricks that fill up what were previously windows. This playful window arrangement (lower level windows occupied by the church are opaque) inspired the new north facade. A similar asymmetrical composition was made with Schüco’s AWS windows throughout. “Between the design starting point and in contrast to the historic double-hung windows in a pre-Civil War wall, we developed an all-glass vocabulary,” said Jonathan J. Marvel, principal at Marvel. Architect: Marvel Architects Location: New York City Codevelopers: Hamlin Ventures and Time Equities Contractor and Fabricator: TRU Architectural Historic Preservation Consultant: Higgins Quasebarth & Partners Facade Windows: Kolbe Windows & Doors Courtyard Glazing System: Guardian Glass Courtyard Glass and Window Systems: Schüco
Today the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) unveiled preliminary designs for a new YMCA in Edenwald, a north Bronx neighborhood that borders Westchester County. The 50,000-square-foot community and recreation facility will be designed by local firm Marvel Architects. The city selected the YMCA to develop and run the facility back in August 2016. In addition to the all-ages programming the Y is known for, the building will feature two pools, a gym, and a full-size basketball court. It will be located on the eastern side of what's known as the Edenwald site (1250 East 229th Street), a property that's owned by the city's child welfare agency and includes the Christopher School, a residential institution for students with developmental disabilities. “For more than 40 years, we’ve been trying to establish a recreational center of this magnitude. Our district is one of the few districts without one," said City Council Member Andy King, in a prepared statement. "I am grateful that a brand-new YMCA is coming to our community. It will serve thousands of residents in the 12th Council District as well as create jobs and eventually bring much needed activity and meeting space in our community.” The preliminary design of the $58 million project is subject to the Public Design Commission's approval. Construction is expected to begin this fall, and the project should be completed by 2020. Before shovels can hit the ground, however, the planned YMCA has to go through Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the city's public review process.
2017 Best of Design Award for Adaptive Reuse: The Contemporary Austin, Jones Center Architect: Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects Location: Austin, Texas Formed from the merging of Arthouse and the Austin Museum of Art, the Contemporary Austin is a 23,800-square-foot museum in the heart of Austin. The building presents a fresh identity for the new organization, while preserving and adding to the century-old building’s history of transformations from a theater, a department store, and a local art center to a highly refined exhibition space. The most public aspect of the renovation comprises a perforated aluminum canopy that floats 23 feet above the roof deck, providing shelter from the elements and framing site-specific art installations on the parapet. The canopy supports a retractable weather curtain, monumentally scaled at over 5,600 square feet. Key to the renovations, though less visible by design, are alterations that provide increased capacity for large-scale artworks and exhibitions, including enlarged access panels, a high-capacity scissor lift, environmental control upgrades, and improvements to the building envelope. "Simultaneously serious and whimsical, the project is a beacon not only for Austin, but for adaptive reuse in general—inspiring for its inventiveness." —Eric Bunge, Principal, nARCHITECTS (juror) Construction Manager: Zapalac/Reed Construction Company MEP Engineer: Kent Consulting Engineers Structural Engineer: MJ Structures Lighting Designer: Lumen Architecture Curtain Fabricator: Contract Workroom Honorable Mentions Project: New Lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Firm: Marvel Architects Location: Brooklyn, New York The New Lab transforms Building 128 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, once a shipbuilding factory, into a high-tech design and prototyping center. A variety of classes and educational programs will provide job training for Navy Yard tenants and other high-tech manufacturers, as well as local entrepreneurs wishing to advance their skills. Honorable Mention Project: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), The Robert W. Wilson Building Architect: Bruner/Cott Architects Place: North Adams, Massachusetts Mass MoCA breathes new life into a 17-acre industrial complex built in the late 1800s with this pioneering adaptive reuse project. The museum was completed in three phases, with the Robert W. Wilson Building being MASS MoCA’s final realization of its “museums within the museum” concept.
Today the New York City Council voted to approve a controversial redevelopment plan for Brooklyn's Bedford-Union Armory. The plan, Bedford Courts, proposes revamping the vacant, city-owned armory with a 67,000-square-foot recreation hall, 330 rental apartments and 60 condominiums. The recreational facilities would include multi-purpose courts, a swimming pool, and an indoor turf field.The project still must be approved by the Mayor's Office before it can begin development. The project is designed by Marvel Architects, with Bedford Courts LLC and BFC Partners as the plan developers. CAMBA, a local non-profit, will manage the recreational facility and administer the initial affordable housing program. The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will administer leases and provide project oversight. The New York City Housing Preservation and Development agency (NYCPHD) will serve as an advisor to NYCEDC and Bedford Courts on affordable housing and regulate the affordable housing program after construction, taking over CAMBA's responsibilities. Although 50 percent of the rental units and 20 percent of condos would be made affordable, the plan's opponents have argued it does not include nearly enough affordable housing, given rising rents and the potential for displacement as Crown Heights gentrifies. City Planning Commission member Michelle de la Uz told DNAinfo, "Given that this is publicly owned land, the community has come to expect more." When the City Planning Commission greenlit the plan on Monday, de la Uz was the only Commission member to vote against it. Monday's decision was also met with public opposition, with protesters gathered outside and within City Hall. Two demonstrators were arrested at the meeting.
This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. Archtober isn’t just a program for buildings, it’s also for landscapes. The Naval Cemetery Landscape is one of several landscape architecture projects featured this year. The site was designed as a natural area populated exclusively by native plant species to provide a respite from the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), warehouses, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. It was created by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects with Marvel Architects. Nestled on a site that lies between communities and roadways, the Naval Cemetery Landscape is something that is more readily stumbled on then sought out. Built for access from a bike artery, the Brooklyn Greenway, the site provides a natural stopping point for cyclists, bees, and birds. It is also a processing place for stormwater. A delicate touch was needed for every element of this project because it sits on hallowed ground: over 2,000 patients from the adjacent Navy Yard Hospital were buried there between the 1830s and 1920s. In 1926, the known remains on the site were exhumed and reinterred in the Cypress Hills National Cemetery. In the postwar era the original site was reborn as a ballfield, but after a human bone was found during practice, the land was sealed in the 1970s and became overgrown with invasive mulberry and mugwort in the intervening years. The site was redeveloped as part of the Brooklyn Greenway’s plan to develop a series of calming oases-like nodes along the path that extends from Greenpoint to Red Hook. The land is still owned by the Navy Yard, and the Cemetery Landscape is one of the few publicly-accessible sites within the vast complex. Because of the site’s sensitivity, no digging could be done. A natural meadow was planted on the surface of the land with help from Larry Weaner Landscape Associates (specialists in Northeastern meadow habitats), and the undulating boardwalk that loops around the park sits on diamond-shaped footings that are pinned, not dug, into the ground. Two caretakers help keep invasive species out of the meadow and interpret the site for visitors. They work out of a small structure that leads visitors into the boardwalk, and frames the landscape behind it when the site is closed. It is open on Wednesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The project was funded in large part by the TKF Foundation, whose mission is to bring nature into urban areas. The Foundation also provided funds for a social scientist to study the process. As groups from Brooklyn’s Green School have been watching the park takes shape, a researcher has accompanied them on their trips. TKF also placed a bench along the boardwalk, with a visitors' booklet stored inside. Numerous entries in Yiddish and English are a testament to the Cemetery Landscape’s evolving use and to the diversity of its surrounding communities. Join us tomorrow at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Author: Sam Holleran
In the wake of the profound damage wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, New York-based architects Jonathan Marvel and Walter Meyer are coordinating relief efforts through a Brooklyn nonprofit, the Coastal Marine Resource Center (CMRC), which has initiated a project called Resilient Puerto Rico to supply solar microgrids to municipalities across the island. Walter Meyer, principal at Brooklyn-based Local Office Landscape Architecture, is organizing a large shipment of solar panels, generators, and power inverters to the storm-ravaged island. Meyer himself has family in Puerto Rico, and is looking for longer-term solutions to replace the island's historically faulty energy grid. Immediate recovery efforts, however, are focused on those in particularly dire straits, like seniors and those in need of medical attention, many of whom lack the proper care or medication due to the near-total outage. Supplies are being held at informal community centers in public spaces all over the island. Some of these improvised centers will receive funding from Jonathan Marvel, founding principal of New York firm Marvel Architects. Marvel, who is in San Juan to coordinate recovery efforts, donated $50,000 towards relief centers that provide cell phone chargers, food, and water. When The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke with Marvel over the phone, he was in middle of wiring these funds to a Florida-based supplier of solar panels and generators called Sun Electronics. These solar supplies will be sent to 16 community centers across Puerto Rico with existing leadership structures, each serving tens of thousands of nearby residents. Marvel got information about these centers from his mother, Lucilla Fuller Marvel, a career AICP urban planner in San Juan who has worked on resilience planning her entire life. The panels and generators supplied by Sun Electronics will be then shipped down to San Juan, where Marvel and a team of architects from the firms's Puerto Rico office will put together assembly kits before sending them out to the 16 community centers. The island has 78 municipalities in total, and CMRC's eventual goal is to provide every one of them with a solar microgrid. "We're in many ways a perfect candidate for having a grassroots-based, municipality-scale, solar-powered energy grid," Marvel said. His team's longer term goal is to focus on scaling these renewable energy sources to provide more permanent sources of electricity to communities that aren't generated by petroleum plants hundreds of miles away. Marvel and Meyer are also working with Cristina Roig Morris, assistant vice president and senior legal council at AT&T, to fundraise for the project's larger mission, which may receive help from the Rockefeller Foundation. While the coordinated relief effort is ambitious, Marvel has another idea for architecture students currently on the island. Modeled after post-Katrina efforts to relocate students from the Tulane School of Architecture to other design schools where they could continue studies while their school was closed, Marvel would like to create opportunities for architecture students in Puerto Rico to do the same. The idea is in an early stage, and he is brainstorming ways for the three architecture schools in San Juan (serving about 75 to 125 students total) to partner with host schools in the mainland United States to continue their education. Never one to be excluded, Elon Musk has also extended an offer to aid in the propagation of solar energy solutions to the island, tweeting his interest at Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo Rossello this week.
---For those who'd like to pitch in for Puerto Rico's recovery, below are some recommendations of groups, both in Puerto Rico and on the mainland, to check out. This list is based on recommendations from Ruth Santiago and Luis G. Martinez in our original article on the post-Maria energy crisis. On the island, there are a number of groups doing on-the-ground recovery work, including: Unidos por Puerto Rico (United for Puerto Rico), led by the First Lady of Puerto Rico, one of the largest initiatives garnering funds for recovery. ConPRmetidos (Committed), a nonprofit completing impact and needs assessments and seeking to provide power and structural repairs to the communities most in need. Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico (Community Foundation of Puerto Rico), based in San Juan, a philanthropic foundation awarding grants for, among other things, housing and economic development in local communities. Comité Diálogo Ambiental (Environmental Dialogue Committee), the Salinas-based group that Santiago works for, housed under an umbrella organization bringing together community groups, fishers associations, and others, called IDEBAJO–Iniciativa de Ecodesarrollo de Bahia de Jobos (Jobos Bay Ecodevelopment Initiative). Stateside, here are a few diaspora groups participating in recovery work: El Puente | Enlace Latino de Acción Climática (Latino Climate Action Network), based out of Brooklyn, has been holding fundraisers to raise awareness and support for Maria recovery efforts. Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños (Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY) have been pooling community voices, news, and fundraising opportunities since the storm. AN knows this list is not comprehensive, and we encourage readers to leave additional resources in the comments section.
This may be one of the only buildings in Brooklyn turning hipsters away. A Brooklyn-based construction company with deep roots in a now-trendy neighborhood is planning to erect an office building with manufacturing space. On paper, it's a hipster honeypot, but in practice, the family-owned business wants little to do with the liberal arts grads, especially those from the Midwest, who flood the borough after each graduation cycle. Owners of Adams European Contracting want working-class Brooklynites to sign leases, not just "Oberlin students who have just moved to Brooklyn like an hour ago," according to the project's lawyer. Brooklyn's Marvel Architects is designing the nine-story building, at 79 Bogart Street in East Williamsburg, with commercial and manufacturing space. The owners are seeking a zoning variance for the building so they can add a video game room, wine bar, and showers, amenities to appeal to artists, ad agency employees, and "drone designers"—again, this building is not just for Midwest liberal arts transplants... "We're competing for talent," the lawyer, Ken Fisher, told DNAinfo. "We think that the density will create a community in the building and will give it a sense of destination." His client plans to move their offices to the new building once it's finished.
Last week the Department of Buildings (DOB) approved demolition permits for the Brooklyn Heights branch library, clearing the way for a 36-story tower but raising questions about the ultimate fate of the art on the library's facade. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that exterior demolition at 280 Cadman Plaza West will begin in late March, and take about three months to complete. The new tower, designed by New York's Marvel Architects, will add 133 condos, retail space, and a STEM lab for young people in the neighborhood. An almost 27,000-square-foot library will occupy the development's mezzanine, part of the ground floor, and a below-grade level. Though it's smaller than the low-rise building it's replacing, the city maintains that the new branch will contain more usable space. Moreover, the sale of the city-owned property to developer Hudson Companies for $52 million is set to generate $40 million in capital repair funding for the BPL. Although site work has begun, the library sale and delayed transfer of ownership have remained a point of contention for activist groups like Citizens Defending Libraries, which maintains that no work should begin until the deal between the two parties is signed. So, with plans filed and permits in, there's just one more question—what's happening to the art on the library facade? The Architect's Newspaper previously reported that New York City's Public Design Commission (PDC) had to weigh in on the two bas–relifs by Clemente Spampinato before they could be removed. Keri Butler, deputy director of the PDC, shared the latest on the art's final home in an email:
The Public Design Commission has reviewed the methods and materials for removing the artworks from the facade of the library and temporarily storing them, and has found these methods to be appropriate with the understanding that a proposal for relocating the artworks within the new development at 280 Cadman Plaza West will be submitted by September 2017.Displaying Spampinato's work in the new library underscores its civic function while preserving the art more-or-less in situ for public enjoyment. There's no word yet, though, on where in the new building the reliefs will be hung when it opens in spring of 2020.
This is the thirteenth in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! We’re at the halfway point of Archtober and today’s Building of the Day tour brought us to Brooklyn to tour Marvel Architects’ AIANY Design Award-winning St. Ann’s Warehouse. We met our tour guides, Lissa So, AIA and Zachary Griffin, RA, in the Max Family Garden adjacent to St. Ann’s Warehouse where they gave the group some historical context for the building. The original structure was built in 1886 and consisted of five stories. In the 1940s, the building was lowered to two stories and was later abandoned. The Silman Group was brought in in 2000 to strengthen the existing brick walls, but the structure stood as a shell until Marvel started construction in 2013. So and Griffin told us how their primary design goals were to respect the existing historic brick walls while giving St. Ann’s a wide open floor plan for their activities. Upon entering the lobby, you immediately notice how the walls are primarily unfinished plywood. This was entirely intentional as Marvel wanted to use as little paint as possible in order to play the new walls off the old brick walls. It gives it an old, industrial look which works well in the space. Inside, the designers wanted the lobby and main floor space to feel continuous, so there are no doors separating the main lobby area from the performance area. This really allows patrons to grasp the scale of the building. Perhaps the most noticeable feature of St. Ann’s is the glass brick wall atop the historic brick walls. The existing walls are 24 feet tall and Marvel needed an additional seven feet to accommodate new mechanical areas. So and Griffin decided to use glass bricks after trying out almost every other material since that gave them the best acoustics in the space while also nicely complimenting while not explicitly imitating the existing brick. Being directly under the Brooklyn Bridge meant that acoustics were an extremely challenging feature to deal with. The glass brick also allows ample natural light into the space, a nice change from other theaters. The main staging space is very flexible by design. Seating can be added or removed as needed and the floor is Masonite which allows St. Ann’s to paint and replace them. Working with Charcoalblue, Marvel built a very intricate catwalk in the newly added space above where they hid the electrical, lighting, and HVAC systems. Marvel began construction shortly after Sandy, so there was a concerted effort to put mechanical systems up above in case of another catastrophic weather event. One of the more interesting parts of the building is the bathroom adjacent to the lobby. Marvel originally wanted a unisex bathroom in the space, but the Department of Buildings would not allow that to happen. As a compromise, Marvel built a common area with sinks and mirrors. The unique lighting fixtures from David Weeks Studio and infinity mirrors go a long way in making the bathrooms a quirky, fun part of St. Ann’s. We’re taking off the next two days to allow everyone to enjoy the amazing selection of buildings offered by Open House New York Weekend. We’ll be back Monday for our visit to Pivot! About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Settlers of Catan!) and brewing his own beer.
Marvel Architects' Brooklyn Heights Library tower gets green light from New York City Planning Commission
Development at 280 Cadman Plaza West was given the go-ahead at today's New York City Planning Commission meeting. Excluding two commissioners who recused themselves, the commission voted unanimously to approve plans for a 36-story tower designed by Marvel Architects. The mixed-use development will replace the Brooklyn Public Library's Business and Career Library, which opened in 1962. The development will house 136 luxury rental units, ground floor retail, and a new, 21,500-square-foot library. Commissioner Carl Weisbrod noted that the developers, Hudson Companies, would build additional retail on nearby Fulton Street, as well as develop 114 units of affordable housing off-site, along Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue. The hearing was packed to capacity with members of Citizens Defending Libraries (CDL), a grassroots organization devoted to protecting the city's libraries from being sold to private developers. After the commission's vote, the group reacted in anger and dismay, calling members of the commission "sell outs" and noting that the commission "disregarded all that [we] said" about selling off city property. In a statement, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Public Library said: "We applaud the City Planning Commission for joining Community Board 2, Brooklyn Heights community organizations, and Brooklynites who care about the future of their libraries in supporting BPL’s plan for a new Brooklyn Heights branch. As the Commission recognized, this project is a win-win for Brooklyn. In addition to bringing a new state-of-the art library to Brooklyn Heights at no cost to BPL, it will also help to alleviate the system's capital crisis by generating more than $40 million that will be invested in libraries throughout the borough. We look forward to continuing this dialogue throughout the public review process." The library is in the midst of a budget shortfall, and the proceeds from the sale will go towards approximately $300 million in deferred maintenance across all BPL branches. CDL claims that the city bestowed a below-market deal on the developers. Michael D.D. White, cofounder of CDL, notes that the property is valued at $120 million. The commission's approval may be the final green light for the development, but judging by the intensity of the activists' disapproval, developers may encounter fierce opposition from CDL in the near future.