All the top names in New York City architecture are vying for a piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park, but whether any of their designs will be realized still remains to be seen. As community groups try to block Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plans to bring affordable housing to Michael Van Valkenburgh's celebrated park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has unveiled 14 design proposals for two coveted development sites on Pier 6. Those proposals were unveiled just hours before a Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation meeting that was packed with community members voicing their strong opposition to any new development in the park. The RFP that the corporation issued in May called for two towers—one 315 feet and the other 155—that are 30 percent affordable. This plan has been met with plenty of opposition, and even a lawsuit, from local groups who claim the towers will block views, eat up green space, and not provide appropriate funding for the park. Under a Bloomberg-era deal, revenue from private development at the park is intended to cover its upkeep and maintenance costs. At the meeting, local residents asked the corporation to reevaluate that plan and pursue other forms of funding. Most were adamantly opposed to new residential towers at the 85-acre park. "This is about developer's greed," shouted one woman during the meeting who was quickly met with applause. There were two individuals with signs that read "Parks for All / Not Condo$ for a Few" and even kids stationed right in front of the corporation's members with homemade signs that read "Save Our Park" and "We Love Our Park." Ultimately, the corporation voted 10-3 not to revisit the funding plan. It will, however, complete a new environmental review of the site. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, if the lawsuit can be resolved, a decision on the site should be made by the end of the year and construction could start about year after that. The proposals for the pier, which were barely mentioned at the meeting, came from architects including Morris Adjmi, Pelli Clarke Pelli,Bjarke Ingels, Davis Brody Bond, and Selldorf Architects, among others. You can check out all 14 proposals in the slideshow below, which reveal a wide variety of tower aesthetics rendered with most of the standbys we've come to expect in modern visualizations—hot air balloons, regular balloons, and plenty of birds. Surprisingly, not a single kayak.
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New York City’s bike infrastructure is expanding into new territory with new greenways connecting the city in a web of safer transportation options. And as it does, the Department of Transportation is working to significantly improve the bike lanes that already exist. In recent weeks, significant progress has been made on the Brooklyn Greenway—a planned 14-mile stretch of protected bike lanes along the borough's waterfront. Volunteers have been busy prepping an empty lot in the Columbia Waterfront District to become one of the Greenway’s many landscaped parks. This two-acre lot is designed by Rogers Marvel Architects. A little farther north in Williamsburg, the blog Greenpointers spotted new markings along Kent Avenue to connect one of the Greenway’s missing links. An existing on-street bike lane will be moved to create a two-lane, buffered bike path with more insulation from moving trucks and cars. And over in North Manhattan, the NYCDOT recently proposed two-miles of bike lanes for Washington Heights and Inwood. Farther south on the island, existing bike lanes in Tribeca and the East Village are being converted into protected lanes. So what will all these bike lanes mean for New York? Are drivers doomed to sit in increased traffic? Simple answer, no. As Fivethirtyeight recently explained, "bike lanes, if they’re planned for the right streets, can be created without greatly increasing vehicular congestion."
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board have announced that two New York-based firms, SCAPE / Landscape Architecture and Rogers Marvel Architects, will collaborate to design Water Works Park, part of the city’s ongoing RiverFirst project. Slated for completion in early 2014, Water Works Park will be incorporated into the existing Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park above St. Anthony Falls, the only true waterfall along the Mississippi River and an important part of Minneapolis' history. The park already draws 1.6 million visitors each year, a number that officials expect to increase with the addition of the year-round, multi-use park. As part of the initial stage of the RiverFirst plan, Water Works Park will feature a series of walking and biking trails that will allow visitors access to the Mississippi as well as the adjacent neighborhoods. The plan is part of a 20-year vision to develop a 5.5-mile stretch of riverfront property in Minneapolis with an emphasis on urban ecology and mobility. SCAPE and Rogers Marvel beat out 26 other bids from the U.S. and Europe to win the project in a unanimous decision. In a press release, the selection committee highlighted the two firms' collective knowledge of the site, particularly its historical, cultural, and natural significance. SCAPE and Rogers Marvel will work alongside local planning and design teams, a factor that committee members considered when making their decision. “In our interview, it became clear that the principals of the SCAPE team work uncommonly well together, and can build a rapport with diverse partners and audiences,” they stated in the release. Schematic design for the project is scheduled to begin in August, and will include additional input from James Lima Planning + Design and SRF Consulting.
While Hurricane Sandy hasn’t slowed development in some parts of Brooklyn, it has delayed the groundbreaking of the Roger Marvel Architects-designed hotel and residential complex at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park called the Pierhouse. The New York Post reported that the project was originally slated to begin construction this month, but Toll Brothers, the developer, said they will hold off until the redesign of the 159-apartment and 200-room hotel complex is updated with measures meant to protect against future storm surges. Changes include elevating the building three feet, adding steps and ramps to the lobby, and placing the mechanical systems on the roof. This development is paying for a considerable portion—about $3.3 million—of the park’s $16 million annual maintenance budget. Nearby, plans for a velodrome proposed for the park were scrapped in part due to potential flooding of the site.
For those in the market for prime waterfront real estate, there is something brewing in DUMBO. Today Brooklyn Bridge Park issued a Request for Proposal for a development on a vacant parcel in the north section of the park right next to the Manhattan Bridge. This site, located in what will be called the “John Street Section,” is approximately 9,600 square feet and will accommodate up to 130 residential units (with a maximum height of 130 feet) in addition to over 100 parking spaces and retail on the ground floor level.
“The addition of the residential development at the John Street site represents a critical element of our park maintenance plan,” said Regina Myer, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, in a press release. “This development will not only benefit the DUMBO community, it will further activate the northern end of the park.” This development will join the sprawling Toll Brother’s project, The Pierhouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 200-room luxury hotel combined with 159-residential units designed by Rogers Marvel Architects. We'll see what kinds of proposals surface this March when the deadline for the RFP is due.
Barriers or freshwater wetlands? New building codes? What about porous pavements or floating city blocks? These were just a few of the ideas batted around at AIANY’s discussion and fundraiser, “Designing the City after Superstorm Sandy,” at the Center for Architecture last Thursday evening. The panel, moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic for The New York Times, consisted of the city’s leading designers, architects, scientists, and government officials. While each panelist came to the conversation with a different approach and set of strategies, all agreed that change is necessary and new solutions urgent. “There’s a certain consensus about taking steps in the long-run,” said Kimmelman. The participants on the panel included Cynthia Barton, Housing Recovery Plan Manager at the NYC Office of Emergency Management; Howard Slatkin, Director of Sustainability and Deputy Director of Strategic Planning for the city; Dr. Klaus Jacob, a geophysicist and Special Research Scientist at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Stephen Cassell, principal architect at ARO; Donna Walcavage, landscape architect and urban designer; and Robert M. Rogers, partner of Rogers Marvel Architects. The design solutions are part of a larger and more complex issue that call for us to “re-frame the ways we engage with the water,” said Cassell whose ideas helped to spearhead the Rising Currents exhibit at MoMA in 2010. And as Kimmelman pointed out in his introduction, will force us to decide, “what parts of the city are necessary to change, salvage and develop and what parts we cannot.” Cassell and Walcavage advocate for what they term “soft solutions” such as freshwater wetlands and upland parks that won’t disrupt the balance of the ecosystem as oppose to the much talked about barriers. Dr. Jacob referred to himself as a “barrier skeptic.” He hasn’t completely ruled them out, but believes that other preventive measures should be considered, including regulations and large-scale regional planning with New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York. The solutions were at once specific and lofty, and Kimmelman challenged the panelists during the Q&A session when he asked: “Who will legislate and have authority? Why will something change now?” Many of the participants argued that Hurricane Sandy is a turning point, and there’s simply too much at stake. Rogers pointed out that New York City is a “grid of real estate” and the significant investment in waterfront property will prompt developers and the city to be pro-active whether that means implementing new codes and regulations or altering the landscape by creating saltwater marshes to act as buffers against rising sea levels and storms. A few panelists suggested that an improved version of Robert Moses would lead the way or joked that perhaps a benevolent god would appear. Even though Kimmelman remained ambivalent and questioned why strong and cohesive leadership would emerge now to help facilitate change, it looks like the city is already taking action. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has asked the Urban Green Council to launch a Building Resiliency Task Force, which will consist of leading professionals in New York City real estate. In an announcement last week, Urban Green said that the Task Force’s main objective is “to take an in-depth look at how to better prepare our buildings for future storms and infrastructure failures.” A list of recommendations will be released in summer of 2013.
Just as rolling hills of green lawn have replaced the industrial waterfront at Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP), two new buildings by Rogers Marvel Architects will soon mask the terraced autopia of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway cutting off Brooklyn Heights from the park below. City officials announced today that the mixed-use proposal by Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital Group was selected from a list of seven proposals to be built alongside immediately south of the Brooklyn Bridge along Furman Street at the entrance to the park's Pier 1, providing much-needed maintenance and operational funding for the new waterfront green space. Zig-zagging through the site, the two new buildings are composed of three distinct masses of stone, glass, and steel all topped with lush planted roofs and terraces. Rogers Marvel countered the linear horizontality the site presented with a bold facade of vertical stone panels delineating residences from the hotel. A ten-story glass tower situated at the entrance to BBP's Pier 1 contains a 200-room luxury eco-hotel atop a lobby and two-story restaurant spilling out onto a terrace fronting the park. Connected to the hotel over a four-story open passageway, a terraced ten-story residential slab has been aligned to take advantage of skyline and park views. A park-side cafe sits adjacent another pass-through at the residential lobby. Small retail shops front Furman Street and banquet and meeting rooms face the park. Separated by the planned Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge to the south, a smaller 5-story residential structure includes park amenities like restrooms and maintenance areas and includes a third access point connecting Furman Street to the park. Ground-floor residences have been pulled back from the property line to create private outdoor space alongside the park. Combined, the two new buildings encompass 550,000 square feet, including 159 apartments and 300 parking spaces, and adhere to height restrictions of 100-feet and 55-feet respectively established by City Planning. Rogers Marvel worked closely with BBP's landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to integrate the new buildings with the existing landscape, including the multiple pedestrian passageways through the buildings and a landscaped berm serving as a buffer between the development and the park, said David Lowin, vice president of real estate at Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation. This responsiveness to the landscape and porosity within the larger building mass was important to Community Board 2 (CB2), said CB2 district manager Robert Ferris. He said the community approached the project from a functional level including how the rooftops will appear when walking along the Brooklyn Heights promenade and how light will reflect off the building in the evening. Toll Brothers and Starwood signed two 97-year leases for the two park-side parcels in a deal that's expected to net BBP $119.7 million, or about $3.3 million annually when the buildings are complete, in payments in lieu of taxes to cover maintenance costs. Until now, the park has relied on funds from the One Brooklyn Bridge Park condominiums at the southern end of the park to cover security, maintenance, and infrastructure costs. The public-private funding model at BBP calling for about ten percent of the park to be developed to cover maintenance costs has drawn criticism from some in the community who have charged that turning over public space for development transforms the park into a lawn for expensive residents—and the back yards of several ground-level residences back directly up to the park—but "CB2 largely accepted the proposed building program as the best way to raise the most income for the park on the smallest footprint," said Ferris. Boundaries between public and private space, between what is the park and what is someone's backyard need to be established in a meaningful way, he said. Toll Brothers and Starwood hope to break ground on the new buildings by summer 2013 with the hotel and residences opening in the fall of 2015.
Following a design competition that dramatically reimagined the landscape of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the Trust for the National Mall has announced three winning teams to update various segments of the iconic public space. Union Square, near the foot of the Capitol, will be redesigned by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond, Constitution Gardens, near the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool, will be redone by Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker & Partners, and the grounds surrounding the Washington Monument will be reimagined by OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi. One of the most heavily used public spaces in the country, the National Mall has seen considerable wear and tear, prompting, among other actions, the National Park Service to remove the biannual Solar Decathlon competition due to maintenance concerns. Each of the winning entries released ahead of a formal announcement by the Washington Post aims not only to restore a landscape able to handle millions of visitors a year, but also to add a new layer of design to the historic site, bringing it into the 21st century. The Trust for the National Mall, a non-profit partner with the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall, shied away from the theatrical undulations of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Hood Design and the twisting pavilions by Balmori and WorkAC, instead opting for the reflective and more subtle but no less ambitious proposals selected today. At Union Square, located at the foot of the U.S. Capitol opposite the Washington Monument, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol and Davis Brody Bond chose to extend the U.S. Botanic Garden on the southern edge of the site and the Congressional Youth Garden on the north to establish the park's edges. A large reflecting pool criss-crossed by walking paths and flanked by smaller pools around its edges can be partially drained, providing programmatic variety that allows for festivals and special events. Rogers Marvel Architects and Peter Walker & Associates proposed a restaurant pavilion cantilevered over the reflecting basin at Constitution Gardens. Now a source of drainage problems, the site is addressed by the winning design with an innovative water-management plan allowing water infiltration across the site and an aquatic shelf for filtration. The basin allows model boating in summer and ice skating in winter. Rogers Marvel was also selected recently to renovate the nearby Presidents Park at the White House. "We are very excited to have won the competition. Both Constitution Gardens and Presidents Park are very important public spaces in Washington. These competitions mark a time in the city for building on legacy," said Isabelle Moutaud, strategy director at Rogers Marvel Architects. "At Constitution Gardens, we were impressed with the clarity and optimism of the original modernist plan. Our design focused on extending that legacy, to bring renewed life to this exquisitely different site on the National Mall." Finally, the Sylvan Theater at the base of the Washington Monument has been reimagined as a terraced hillside that forms an amphitheater. OLIN and Weiss/Manfredi propose a pavilion with a delicately flowing green roof emerging from the landscape to the south of the monument. OLIN previously was involved in 2004 with a security upgrade to the site. Now that the three designs are in place, fundraising begins. Work to complete the Washington Monument grounds and Constitution Gardens, to be overseen by the Trust, is estimated to cost around $700 million, covering construction and future maintenance. The first groundbreaking could happen as early as 2014. The Architect of the Capitol will oversee changes to Union Square. Click on a thumbnail to view the slideshow.
[Editor's Note: Following the unveiling of proposals to redesign the National Mall, AN will be running a three-part series to display the proposals for each of the three segments of the Mall: Constitution Gardens, Union Square, and the Washington Monument Grounds.] A 50-acre parcel of the National Mall, Constitution Gardens, lies just north of the Reflecting Pool and east of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Grade changes keep it somewhat hidden from the main stretch of the Mall, and many tourists (and locals) visit the monuments and Smithsonian museums without coming across it. The gardens' focal point is a small lake with an island that visitors can access by footbridge. The National Park Service has struggled with the site's poor soil conditions—the ground was dredged from the Potomac River back in the late 19th century—and with upkeep of the paths and other features. The National Mall Plan of 2010 calls for an "architecturally unique, multipurpose visitor facility, including food service, retail, and restrooms" to be developed at the east end of the lake, as well as a flexible performance space. Andropogon + Bohlin Cywinski Jackson propose a "resilient park landscape...sustained by biologically enhanced soils." Their design includes a Magnolia Bog in part of the current lake area and different edges for the lake (lakeside promenade, wetlands boardwalk, rock outcropping). The team envisions a marketplace along Constitution Avenue. The concept submitted by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architect + Paul Murdoch Architects features a cafe built into the parkland near Constitution Avenue, the ground seemingly tilting up to form its green roof. This scheme also proposes boardwalks, performance seating, and biodiverse plantings. In OLIN + Weiss/Manfredi's plan, distinctive braided pathways curve around and over the water. Interlaced pavilions would house a cafe and a more formal restaurant, as well as a gift shop. Spectators at the outdoor amphitheater would be entertained by performers on a floating barge. Rogers Marvel Architects + Peter Walker and Partners call for a large restaurant/pavilion to face a reflecting basin that would allow ice skating in the winter and model boating in the summer. Paths would be widened and, at the lakeshore, bordered by an aquatic shelf for filtration; connections with other parts of the Mall would be improved. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy respective firms.
Last week, as New York was blindly transfixed on its impending Thanksgiving feast, the Brooklyn Bridge Park (BBP) released renderings of a proposed mixed-use development that has been floated to help fund the waterfront park. Seven proposals stacked, folded, and otherwise covered in plants a program calling for several hundred hotel rooms and residences on two park-side sites on Furman Street. The developer/architect breakdown was full of the regular big names and heavy hitters: Brooklyn's Two Trees selected WASA/Studio A; Toll Brothers worked with Rogers Marvel; SDS worked with Leeser; Extell went with Beyer Blinder Belle; Dermot with FX Fowle; RAL with CDA; and Starwood teamed with Alloy Development, Bernheimer Architects, and n Architects. Building any new buildings along the park has been a contentious issue, but the tax revenue the new development would generate would go a long way toward BBP's financial sustainability. While architects whipped up some flashy renderings, one aspect seems certain to rouse fans of Brooklyn Heights' elevated promenade. In several of the renderings, views of the Brooklyn Bridge appear slightly interrupted despite guidelines that limit the height of new construction. BBP spokesperson Ellen Ryan told AN that all of the proposals adhere to the Special Scenic View Corridor regulations set forth by City Planning, which are actually lower in height than the old cold storage warehouses that once stood on the site until the 1950s. The building height limits range from 55 feet on the south parcel and 100 feet on the north. That's not the only thing driving neighborhood angst. The Brooklyn Eagle pointed out that the public only has about four weeks to review and comment on the proposals—until December 22—and at the height of the holiday season rush no less. There's a lot to like about the proposals as well. WASA/Studio A clad their curvilinear buildings with giant green walls with windows poking through while Rogers Marvel and others planted every available rooftop space with green roofing. FXFOWLE's stacked metal-mesh-covered volumes connect to the planned Squibb Park pedestrian bridge, providing direct access to its rooftops in what looks to be a gesture to the High Line. Leeser Architects' futuristic proposal called for a massive atrium filled with a gym and a floating pool, while Starwood's team of Bernheimer and n Architects lifted their proposal to provide views of the park along the sidewalk. Take a look at all of the proposals below and share your thoughts in the comments. All images courtesy respective firms / Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Even though Hurricane Irene blew through on August 27th without flooding the subways, which were rendered prophylactically still and silent for a day, a pesky summer storm in 2007 dumped so much water onto the M and R lines that they were forced out of service. Governor Spitzer took immediate action to mitigate the problem, and boldly mobilized the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Department of Transportation to do something about it. Solving a range of engineering problems while at the same time providing a streetscape element with some wit and whimsy, Rogers Marvel Architects created banks of raised stainless steel grates that rise up into an undulating wave of slats and hammered speckled side walls. There are three typical grates designed for specific water overflow depths. They can be combined in a left- or right-hand fashion to create the continuous surface over the structural grates below. In case you were wondering, they won’t stop a truck, but happily no Louboutin heels snapped off here! The AIANY Design Awards jury liked it too, giving the project an Honor Award, citing: “This is a really utilitarian solution infused with public art and design innovation.” For the info on the tour of tomorrow’s Building of the Day click here: Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.
The Metropolitan Tower is the wedge-shaped, Darth Vader-like all black glass monolith next to Carnegie Hall. Rising a tidy 716 feet in 77 stories of offices in the low-rise portion and residences in the high rise, the AIA Guide to New York City tells us that its developer Harry Macklowe claimed to have designed it himself. Not true! Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron (now SLCE Architects) get the credit for the 1987 tower. Rogers Marvel Architects took a second look at the passarelle connecting 56th and 57th Streets. Sticking with the black theme, they switched from glass to shiny black aluminum panels for the walls. The reception desk was glowing blue when I passed through, and ESPN was twinkling on the 200-foot-long digital display strip. I was a bit unhappy because I couldn’t get the money shot with my metallic blue flower shoes (see Day 3). But outside I did much better with the Christian de Portzamparc extravaganza going up right across the street. I’ve done some hanging out there producing the Heritage Ball video of honoree Gary Barnett, the founder of Extell Development Company. One57, as the tower is now called, will be the tallest residential building in the city. The now visible undulating concrete structure hints at the shape of things to come. On my morning dog walks, from Central Park’s Great Lawn, I can just see it peeking out from behind the Essex House. I can’t wait to see more! -Cynthia Kracauer To take the tour of tomorrow's Building of the Day click here: Lincoln Center Public Spaces. Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture. Read more at www.archtober.org/blog.