Posts tagged with "Midtown":

Placeholder Alt Text

New York’s angled icon, the Citicorp Center, in line for a 200,000 square foot renovation

601 Lexington Avenue, widely known by its former title as the Citicorp Center, may be the subject of a revamp totaling 200,000 square feet, courtesy the New York office of global architecture firm Gensler. The recently landmarked building (designated in December) could see a new exterior plaza and array of terraces added if the design is approved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee (LPC) next week. Further changes include an atrium located inside (and thus exempt from LPC endorsement) that will house a coterie of retail outlets and dining facilities. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, a spokesperson for Gensler clarified that the plaza is indeed "being redesigned" as renderings suggest. 601 Lexington Avenue was designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates in 1977 and completed the following year. The resultant angular apex created a silhouette that has become an icon of the Manhattan skyline and was a feature that led the building's landmark designation last year. It's at the other end of the building, at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, however, where the changes will be made. Critic Paul Goldberger was complimentary of the existing ground-level features at the time of Stubbins's death in 2006: “[It is] probably the most important skyscraper built in New York in the 1970s because of its elegant and memorable shape, but also because of its engagement with the city at the base," he said. According to Gensler, the building's owners, Boston Properties is "focused not on increasing rents, but on increasing the value of the entire neighborhood by making a distinctive plaza and atrium space." The firm continued: "To this end, the new outdoor plaza and terraces make room for more dining and retail options, while enlivening the staid office component. The resulting 200,000-square-foot redevelopment transforms an internally focused space into a bustling urban oasis for Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood." 601 Lexington (c) Gensler_4 Changes date back to as recently as 2010 when a new office lobby was installed. Twenty years ago, the existing atrium and open-air concourse were renovated. The LPC hearing for the changes will be on Tuesday, March 21.
Placeholder Alt Text

Architect falls to his death from Midtown tower

Architect Bruno Travalja, of Ridgewood, New Jersey, died on Thursday afternoon after falling from the 48th floor of a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper at 6th Avenue and 52nd St. According to the New York Daily News, he bent down to take a measurement and got dizzy when he stood up. He was wearing a safety harness but it wasn't attached to anything, so the co-owner of Crowne Architectural Systems tumbled over the 18-inch security barrier. The Department of Buildings has launched an ongoing investigation. The residential tower was located at 135 52nd Street, between 7th and 6th Avenues.

Placeholder Alt Text

A smart Manhattan office design fits three companies into one space

New York City is one of the most expensive global cities for office space, along with London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. According to data from real estate firm JLL, the average cost of office space per square foot in New York for 2015 was $171. So it is no wonder that companies are turning to innovative ways to rethink where and how they work.

A midtown Manhattan office interior unites three companies—America’s Kids, Gindi Capital, and Mad Projects Industries—across 15,000 square feet to make the most of this precious commodity. (The three companies are leasing the space as one entity.) New York–based architecture firm Only If — was tasked with creating a balanced range of spaces: Half of the space is dedicated to interactive and open space, while the other half to more closed areas for focused work. At one end, toward the right of the lobby, is Gindi Capital and at the other end is Mad Projects with America’s Kids housed in a space near the middle. Among the three companies, there are open work areas and private offices, conference rooms, a studio, a showroom, as well as a lobby, lounges, and a kitchen.

“The three companies, which range from fashion to real estate, had different and often conflicting requirements, but we mainly interfaced with Mad Projects. Mad Projects supported our work but also pushed us further in a way that was truly collaborative,” explained Adam Frampton, principal of Only If —. “During the design process, we were often in a position of mediating and resolving the conflicts between companies that, given their different operations, by definition, had very different needs and visions for what their office should be. Aspects of the design brief were totally contradictory.”

Only If — focused on a simple palette of black and white to help tie the spaces together. “At first, given that each business is very different and relatively independent, we considered expressing differences throughout the entire space as different zones,” said Frampton. “The monochromatic approach provides a relatively neutral background. It doesn’t look overdesigned, and it doesn’t look like the so-called contemporary creative office where one finds tech startups or coworking spaces. As an architect, it’s the kind of space I’d like to work in.”

The firm also employed a range of materials to help break up the space and introduce variety. There are wood, felt, stone, glass, and mirrors that cloak the plus-sign-shaped clothing display and storage module in Mad’s showroom. “The perpendicular and parallel relationships between mirrored surfaces create cascading visual effects,” said Frampton. The mirrored module also helps to divide the showroom into separate display areas.

The firm started working on the project in summer 2014. The clients moved in March 2015, and the interior was finished by fall 2015. “Within an accelerated schedule, a lot of the design also happened while the project was already under construction,” said Frampton. “Technically, the black, seamless floor was also quite challenging to achieve. It’s a poured resilient polyurethane, and because the building was originally two separate buildings, there are different subfloor conditions that had to also be constructed.”

The midtown office project gave Only If—an opportunity to think more deeply about the next wave of office interiors. “The project allowed us to speculate on what we think the future of the creative workplace will be,” said Frampton. 


Resources:

Glass Subcontractor

Regency Glass

Fabricator

Kin & Co.

Millwork

Premium Millwork

Furniture - Products:

Knoll Antenna System, Vitra Joyn, Vitra Alcove, Vitra Hal, Filzfelt Rugs, Magis Baguette

Placeholder Alt Text

Detroit artist takes legal action to save mural from development

Detroit muralist Katherine Craig (a.k.a. Exactly Hitops) is taking legal action in federal court to protect one of her vanguard works, as the owner the artwork’s building plans for development. Painted in 2009, The Illuminated Mural at 2937 East Grand Boulevard in Detroit’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood has been an icon of the North End’s burgeoning art scene. The nine-story tall “bleeding rainbow,” as it is often referred, was painted with the support of a Community + Public Art: Detroit grant from the College for Creative Studies. As one might guess, the mural was executed by pouring over 100 gallons of colorful paint down the side of the 125-foot-tall building. In hopes of saving the mural from destruction Craig has filed suit in the U.S. Circuit Court, citing the Visual Artist Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), a federal copyright act specifically passed to protect visual artists, including muralist. This would not be the first time that VARA has been invoked regarding murals being destroyed by building owners. After his six-story tall mural of Ed Ruscha was painted over on a Los Angeles public building in 2006, artist Kent Twitchell sued the federal government, ultimately winning $1.1 million. The potential developer, Princeton Enterprises, a Michigan-based property management and construction firm, bought the building in mid-2015 with plans to sell or develop the site. Located near the College for Creative Studies, the building has recently been used as artist studios, one of which was used by Craig while she completed the mural. The 1913 building was designed by the eminent Detroit industrial architect Albert Kahn, designer of the Packard Motor Car Factory and the multiple factories for Henry Ford, for the Detroit Storage Company. Predating his famed 1928 Fisher Building, 2937 East Grand is an example of Kahn’s early Art Deco style. Interest in the building and the area has grown since the painting of the mural. With the neighboring Midtown booming with new commerce, and the future M-1 Rail passing from the North End to the Downtown, the area is primed for future development. Either way Craig’s lawsuit plays out, it will mean a new precedent for artist-developer relationships as former art communities in urban centers become desirable real estate.
Placeholder Alt Text

This giant ball pit in New York City is all about “the transformative power of play”

By now you’ve surely seen a friend or relative’s selfie from the massive ball pit at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The installation, dubbed The BEACH, was designed by Snarkitecture and includes nearly one-million all-white, translucent, recyclable plastic balls. It's like a McDonald's ball pit, but artsier and probably a little bit cleaner. As AN reported earlier this summer, “A mirrored wall at one end creates the illusion of an unending abyss of translucent orbs. Bordering the enclosure is a 50-foot ‘shoreline,’ filled with umbrellas and monochromatic beach chairs for lounging in the sunshine that filters through the window-laden ceiling four stories above.” If you’re not able to hit The BEACH before it closes on Labor Day, you now have another chance to swim through a sea of plastic and strangers. AMNY reported that New Yorkers are getting their very own ball pit from August 21st to September 21st. The installation, called JumpIn!, comes from the London- and New York–based creative agency Pearlfisher. According to the company, the installation is all about “promoting the transformative power of play.” While the ball pit will likely be quite popular, and a lot of fun, let’s not kid ourselves here: with a grand total of (only) 81,000 white plastic balls, JumpIn is a fraction of The Beach. (You win this round, Washington!) https://instagram.com/p/x16nbCpN3D/ JumpIn! will be at Pearlfisher's Soho offices, which are on the 5th floor of 455 Broadway. It's free to enjoy, but reservations must be made in advance. You can do that here. https://instagram.com/p/x6sSRKJN4y/ [h/t Curbed]
Placeholder Alt Text

The tallest crane ever in New York City was just installed to build SHoP’s Manhattan supertall

The tallest freestanding crane ever erected in New York City is now in place to help SHoP's bronze, glass, and terracotta 57th Street tower rise to 1,428 feet. For those doing the math, that's about 32 feet taller than Raphael Viñoly's 432 Park and almost 100 feet shorter than the roof over at the Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill–designed "Central Park Tower," the supertall formerly known as "Nordstrom Tower." JDS Development, the company behind SHoP's 111 West 57th Street tower, told YIMBY that the building's crane was erected over the weekend and tops out at over 220 feet. The building is slated to be completed in 2017 with apartments starting at $14 million. So at least enjoy the view of the crane, because chances are slim you'll be enjoying the views from inside the tower.
Placeholder Alt Text

Kohn Pedersen Fox’s One Vanderbilt now has all the approval it needs to climb 1,501 feet over Manhattan

In late May, the New York City Council unanimously voted in favor of a plan to upzone a five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue next to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. The widely expected move gives developer SL Green the green light to start work on its 1,501-foot-tall office tower known as One Vanderbilt. SL Green was able to rally such strong support for its controversial Kohn Pedersen Fox–designed supertall by promising to give some things back to the city. Specifically, $220 million in upgrades for One Vanderbilt's s iconic, Beaux-Arts neighbor—Grand Central Terminal. As AN wrote in November, in an attempt to make commuting through Grand Central less hellish, SL Green pledged to build new subway entrances into the terminal, update existing mezzanines and corridors, and include a 4,000-square-foot waiting hall (complete with a living green wall) within One Vanderbilt. The developer will also create a block-long public plaza along Vanderbilt Avenue. All of these improvements must be completed before One Vanderbilt opens, which is slated to happen in 2021. The city council's stamp of approval also allows other supertall towers to rise on the five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue.
Placeholder Alt Text

Another supertall tower to rise in Manhattan’s increasingly crowded supertall district

If you guessed that the newest luxury tower planned for Midtown, Manhattan would be very tall, skinny, and glassy then you, wise architectural observer, are correct. But don't be too proud of your guessing skills—predicting that a luxury New York City skyscraper will be a glass-wrapped giant is like guessing Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. It's too easy is what we're saying. Without further ado, we present to you 1 Park Lane, a 1,210-foot-tall glass condo tower revealed by New York YIMBY and designed by Handel Architects. The new building will replace Central Park South's Helmsley Park Lane Hotel which did not receive landmark status last year. "Windows will measure 10×14 feet, while ceilings on every floor will stand 15’5" tall," wrote YIMBY. "It appears the developers will maximize views by gutting the vast majority of the existing Helmsley Building and turning it into an enormous foyer, which will allow them to stack the extra floorspace up top." After a few massing setbacks, the building begins it rise. On the way up, there are four seemingly double height notches that are filled-in with plantings and get illuminated at night. The effect is similar to the passthroughs at Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue a few blocks away. The building is expected to be completed in 2020, so get those checkbooks ready, global elite!
Placeholder Alt Text

New York City’s iconic Four Seasons Restaurant inside the Seagram Building is at the center of a renovation dispute

Four_Seasons_restaurant Traditionalists went into a tailspin over proposed modifications to the landmark Four Seasons Restaurant, a gastronomic and architectural emblem of New York City housed in the historic Seagram Building. The high-ceilinged enclave, clad with French walnut walls, plays daily host to high society a big business in Midtown Manhattan. The eatery garnered landmark status in 1989 for the building’s architectural prowess. Nevertheless, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) cautions that this designation does not shield the Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, Florence Knoll banquettes, Eero Saarinen cocktail tables, and table settings by L. Garth Huxtable. Building owner and noted art collector Aby Rosen of RFR Holdings recently filed plans to make changes to the restaurant, reportedly without consulting owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder. While the LPC approved the proposed new carpeting without qualm, they balked at a removal of the cracked-glass and bronze partitions separating the dining area and bar. Originally installed by legendary architect Philip Johnson, who designed the space with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1959, the partitions would be replaced by movable ivy planters to open up the space. Selldorf Architects is also considering nixing the large walnut panels separating the square-shaped 60-foot-by-60-foot Pool Room from the dining room on the mezzanine. These will be replaced with five panels, the outer two of which would be operable for reconfiguration of the space. According to Rosen, this would improve the flow between the mezzanine and the Pool Room without the upper tier framing the space. “This landmark is elevated to a level where any kind of intervention would not be living with preservation,” objected LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. Conservationists bristled last year when Rosen entertained an eviction of the Le Tricorne Picasso tapestry hanging inside the restaurant in order to facilitate reparations to the wall behind it, where a “potentially serious steam leak” from the two-story kitchen had purportedly crippled the structure. The preservation commission retorted that removal of the tapestry would cause it to “crack like a potato chip.” A New York State judge issued an injunction prohibiting Seagram from removing the painting, but Rosen, a real estate developer and avid collector of post-war art, is in conservationists’ crossfire again for daring to alter a landmark. “These are features that are integral to the sense of space. Not just decorative but have architectural meaning and value,” said Commissioner Diana Chapin. Edgar Bronfman Jr., whose family owned Seagram, claimed that RFR’s proposal displays “utter contempt” for the icon. RFR representative Sheldon Werdiger maintains that the changes are restorative rather than invasive. “We’re not making changes as much as we’re restoring. Our local press is trying to make it into a controversial situation,” he told Arch Record.
Placeholder Alt Text

Detroit breaks ground on Motor City’s first protected bike lanes

Work is underway on Detroit's first protected bike lanes, which will shelter cyclists with buffer zones and bollards along Jefferson Avenue in the historic Jefferson-Chalmers business district. According to Streetsblog the project will start with only seven blocks, but a second phase will extend it three miles to Grand Boulevard. Parked cars will block bike riders from traffic along the busy street, which is the target of a road diet funded with public money and led by Jefferson East, a neighborhood-based community development corporation. The city gathered money from the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the Community Foundation for SE Michigan, the Kresge Foundation, and the DTE Energy Foundation. The project is part of broader plans to update to Detroit's transportation infrastructure, which include buffered bike lanes in Midtown and millions of dollars in non-car “enhancements” funded by Michigan's Department of Transportation. The Motor City added 50 miles of bike lanes in 2013.
Placeholder Alt Text

CetraRuddy’s latest New York City skyscraper goes curvy, slender, and cellular

The latest glassy residential tower to rise on Manhattan's West Midtown comes courtesy of Cetra RuddyCurbed spotted renderings of the 625-foot-tall condo tower that is slated to rise on the site of the Roseland Ballroom, a beloved New York City concert venue that shuttered in April. The glass structure is encased in a geometric grid that provides texture and some visual identity to the facade. Protruding, rounded balconies give the building a more fluid form. "[T]he building’s massing responds to various site and zoning constraints, revealing inventive solutions that maximize the residential adaptability of the building through increased floor area, direct outdoor access and amplified views," CetraRuddy said on its website. "Shaping of the form reflects changes in unit mixes, with larger units occupying the top of the building and smaller units occupying the bottom. Building amenities, located within the podium, take on a vertical hierarchy by locating the various amenities from short to tall around the tower, resulting in a series of cascading layers on the roofs above each space." Curbed reported that permits for the building have been filed with the Department of Buildings, but have not yet been approved. And drone footage of demolition work at the Roseland Ballroom site: http://youtu.be/xfbmm5AEgLE
Placeholder Alt Text

Pictorial> Inside the revamped UN Security Council Chamber

Wednesday afternoon, AN stepped inside the United Nations Security Council Chamber to see how the global institution had spruced the place up. No, we didn't just walk in there—you can't do that; it's the UN. We were invited by the Royal Norwegian Consulate. Anyway, after a six-year renovation, which was part of the UN's larger Capital Master Plan to renovate the entire East River campus, the truly awe-inspiring space has been returned to its original, mid-century glory. The chamber was gutted, upgraded, and then put back together with a few 21st Century bells and whistles thrown in—out with the ashtrays and in with the outlets! The Security Council Chamber was originally designed by Norwegian architect Arnstein Arneberg and given to the UN as a gift by the Norwegians in 1952. Every aspect of the Security Council Chamber reminds you that it is a Very Important Room. Let’s start with the iconic horseshoe table which is topped with placards and perfectly angled pencils at each seat. A gavel is positioned at the center of the table to mark the acting president's prime spot. Around the ambassadors' seats are the color-coded chairs: blue for advisors, red for member states, and green for visitors and members of the press. The chamber's high walls are covered in a wool Damask wallpaper. If that didn’t drive the point home that this is a Very Important Room, then direct your attention to the massive oil canvas where a phoenix is rising from the ashes. That mural is surrounded by marble. And that marble is bookended by heavy, detailed curtains. Originally, the curtains were left open to provide views of the East River, but since the table is shaped like a horseshoe, light was unevenly distributed on the Security Council members. “The people who were facing East got better seating because the sunlight would stream in and they would look happy,” said Michael Adlerstein, the Assistant Secretary General of the UN and Executive Director of its Capital Master plan. “The other people did not, they were in shadows and looked evil.” The natural light also started causing problems for this new-fangled technology called "television." Ultimately, it was decided to close the curtains and bring in more artificial light. With this recent renovation, the UN set out to make the chamber more energy efficient and increase security measures while not compromising any of the original design elements. To achieve that tricky goal, the space was reduced to its concrete shell, asbestos and contaminates were removed, new heating and cooling systems were installed, and measures were taken to fortify the space against a possible explosion. With all of those improvements in place, the room was reassembled with a few cosmetic changes—seats were reupholstered, marble was washed, the mural was cleaned, and tapestries and fabrics were scrubbed or recreated. Adlerstein said that, at the end of the renovation, the Security Council Chamber hadn't changed "by one iota.” Of course, a lot has changed in recent years, but all of it has been successfully hidden away in this Very Important Room. For more on the renovation, check out the video below the from the Royal Norwegian Consulate General New York