Though the proposed 90 story resort casino with on-site yacht parking will bring many amenities to Jersey City, that development will not include a library. Perhaps in response to this shortcoming, Jersey City is bringing education out of classrooms and into public spaces with a small-scale, semi-permanent library. Architecture and development firm Jorge Mastropietro Architects Atelier (JMA) created for the Jersey City Little Free Library Competition. The New York– and Buenos Aires–based firm created a diminutive, shape-shifting outdoor book kiosk in Hamilton Park. This is one local example of over 32,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide (map). [En]Light is made of semi-transparent acrylic, so that books are visible from the outside but protected from the elements. Its orange aluminum casing unfolds, chrysalis-like, into benches, creating a gathering space around the project. At night, [En]Light lights up, a glowing beacon for bibliophiles (and probably moths, too). In a statement, founding principal Jorge Mastropietro explained the significance of the design: "We've emphasized the importance of the printed word in an age of digital media. To celebrate the public role of a library, it's important to build community interaction—bringing together people and knowledge in an organic way, just as the best libraries do." Little Free Library is a national movement to broaden access to books and foster enjoyment of reading. Founded in 2009, the movement is inspired by the wide-reaching philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie's public libraries, as well as the "take a book, leave a book" systems of local cafes. It's up to leaders in individual communities to establish their own book boxes; organizers can register their library with the Little Free Library website to gain recognition and support. The Little Free Library was honored last month by the Library of Congress (one of the world's largest) for its unconventional approach to building literacy.
Posts tagged with "New Jersey":
Hurricane Sandy brought more than two feet of water inside 85 percent of homes in Union Beach, New Jersey, a low-to-middle income shoreside community south of Staten Island. In all, 315 homes (15 percent of the total housing stock) in the borough of 6,200 were damaged beyond repair, and demolished. Led by Jennifer Maier, resident and founder of the nonprofit Rebuilding Union Beach, the community built back. Rebuilding Union Beach commissioned the design and construction of flood-proof modular homes that now house 14 displaced families. The prefabricated homes, available in eight different styles, measure 950–1350 square feet, depending on the household's size. Constructed off-site, each took three to six weeks to build (excluding shipping and installation), at an average cost of $220,000 each. In tandem with homebuilding assistance, Rebuilding Union Beach helped homeowners apply for government assistance, insurance, and other storm recovery programs. These homes are reinforced to withstand another hurricane, and attendant 115 mile per hour winds. Rebuilding Union Beach touts the structures' "cement board siding, hurricane strapping, renewable and non-toxic materials, rainwater catchment, erosion-resistant planting, and solar panels." To help recovering communities in the region, the organization has shared their methods via a project guide. The project guide doubles as a process manual, sharing which interventions worked for the community and which were less successful. The guide explains, for example, that standard, three tab roof shingles have insufficient grip in high winds. Consequently, the houses were fitted with more durable, five tab shingles. The project was funded by a $770,000 grant from the Robin Hood Sandy Relief Fund and a $1.67 million grant from New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie’s Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
Two rail tunnels connecting New Jersey to New York are the main arteries of the regional transit system. Riders usually don't need to focus on the infrastructure that carries them to their destinations—unless something goes wrong. Each day, 500,000 commuters use mass transit—Amtrak, PATH, and NJ Transit—to travel from New Jersey to New York and back. After more than one hundred years in service, the rail tunnels are rapidly deteriorating. "Tunnel Trouble," a new video released by the Regional Plan Association (RPA), warns of the dire consequences for transit on the Eastern seaboard if one of the tunnels were shut down for extensive repairs. https://vimeo.com/143811940 The daily ridership on Amtrak and NJ Transit has more than doubled, from 35,533 passengers in 1990 to 85,869 in 2013. Over the next 25 years, ridership on these lines is expected to grow more than 40 percent. Each tunnel handles inbound and outbound traffic. Typically, 24 trains pass through each tunnel each hour. The RPA states that, if one tunnel closed, only six trains per hour could pass, reducing service by 75 percent. Those with cars may chose to drive, straining an already overburdened road network. Hurricane Sandy inundated the tunnels three years ago. Saline river water corroded the concrete lining and damaged the Depression-era wiring. Today, mechanical problems in the tunnels create a chokepoint for local train traffic and delay regional Amtrak trains coming in and out of New York. The RPA makes a strong case for building two new tunnels, while the current tunnels are still operable, to forestall an immanent transportation disaster. It appears, however, that the political will is lacking. In 2010, AN covered the defeat of the ARC project, an $8.7 billion transit upgrade between the New Jersey Meadowlands and Penn Station. The ARC proposed building two new single-track tunnels to alleviate the bottleneck under the Hudson. Today, and especially after the devastation of Sandy, investing in new tunnels is key to maintaining the economic health of the region.
The Stevens Institute of Technology's SURE HOUSE has won the biennial United States Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon for 2015, beating out 13 other teams. Showcasing aesthetics, serious sustainability, and financial viability wrapped in a tiny and efficient solar house, the winning dwelling scored consistently well in all ten of the competition's categories. "SURE," a portmanteau for SUstainable and REsilient, features sustainability throughout the home's design. Using Hurricane Sandy as inspiration, the team from Stevens Institute of Technology incorporated resilient aspects into their design, allowing the building to open up during summer months and be sufficiently secured during the winter. The team expects the structure to be able to endure any coastal storms on the Jersey Shore. In terms of aesthetics, the dwelling would fit right into a book on '60s Modernist coastal flats, however, the technical side to the house tells a much different story. The roof is more than well equipped with solar paneling, making the house fully solar powered, generating 10,000 watts. Meanwhile the buildings envelope is constructed from a fiber-composite glued together over a foam core, protecting it from the elements and each layer is orientated in a perpendicular fashion to boost structural rigidity. Beachside shading devices that allow residents to enjoy the summer sun, can fold away, doubling up as storm shutters. SURE HOUSE uses 90 percent less energy than a regular dwelling. Such a feat is achieved thanks to advanced appliances like Daikin Skyair's zoned heat pump that can be used for heating, cooling, dehumidifying, and solar-electric hot water. A heat recovery and ventilation system from Zehnder Novus energy is also used, retaining building heat and preconditioning inflowing fresh air. As a nod to community, the house has been designed with an external USB charging station for community use during emergencies.
Bike sharing is a trend that is taking the country by storm of late as Jersey City, New Jersey, jumps on the biking bandwagon installing 35 docking stations for 350 bicycles. The new Jersey City bike sharing setup will work in sync New York City's system and will have the same pricing scheme. Likewise, membership to either system overlaps with the other, so bikes can be used across both cities. Docking stations have been placed near PATH stations and spread over the city and into the suburbs. In fact, nearly every neighborhood will have one. Subsequently the distances between docking locations is longer than that compared to the system in NYC. In New York, Motivate, the group behind the scheme, focused on core areas and then dispersed docking locations later on. Speaking to the Jersey Journal, Mayor Steve Fulop said, "We wanted each of the areas in the city to have access right from the start. That was a priority." Dispersing the docks so widely is a risk however, as commuters may be put off cycling the longer distances. Fulop though expressed his excitement for the system to be integrated city-wide. “It’s not very often that a city gets a completely new public transit system, a new way to enjoy the outdoors and stay active, and a new link to New York all at once, but that’s what we have today with Citi Bike,” Fulop said in a press release. “This is something that will connect every corner of the city. We have bike stations in every ward.” Part of the appeal of the biking scheme is that it doesn't require any public money for operating subsidies. Like in NYC, Citi Bike Jersey City is funded by private sponsorships and user fees. Motivate president and CEO Jay Walder said: “Thanks to Mayor Fulop’s visionary leadership and the support of terrific sponsors, the Citi Bike program is now a seamless regional transportation network improving commutes on both sides of the Hudson.”
In 2016, Jersey City’s population is set to exceed Newark’s. With an influx of newcomers, city officials have pioneered a tax incentive plan that encourages new development while actively combating segregation by income. While these goals usually conflict, officials are confident that the program, Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT), will meet the needs of all stakeholders. Introduced in 2013 by newly elected Mayor Steven M. Fulop, the plan spreads affordable and market rate housing evenly throughout the city by tying development incentives to the relative desirability of given neighborhoods. Though there's been no development under PILOT yet, as of now, new developments can qualify for the program. New Jersey property taxes are one of the nation's highest. Like most tax abatements, the objective of PILOT is to encourage economic activity by easing the developer's tax burden to incentivize denser development. The city partnered with researchers at New York University and Columbia to study the city's housing market intensively at the neighborhood level. According to Ryan Jacobs, Jersey City's Director of Communications, Jersey City operates under the philosophy that "any improvement to [the] land is a good idea." Jacobs critiqued the "tale of two cities" dichotomy that prevails in many discussions around balancing affordability and development. In Jersey City, he states that "that choice is a false choice, it's more communal than that. It's not healthy to have one part of the city that is growing and one part that isn't." PILOT divides the city into four tiers, each with a different tax incentive. Tiers 1 and 2, highly developed areas, receive property tax abatements for a shorter amount of time. Tier 1, for example, has a 10 year property tax abatement, and a mandate that 10 percent of newly constructed units be affordable housing. Tier 4, by contrast, has a 15 percent affordable housing mandate and a 30 year property tax abatement. The city wants to attract concentrated investment in Tiers 3 and 4. Consequently, these zones have longer tax abatements. Regardless of their designation, there is a mandate in each tier to build affordable housing. Jersey City adopted HUD's standards of affordable housing to encompass individuals making 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and below. Tax abatements are tailored to individual neighborhoods. A special target is the revitalization of Journal Square, once the commercial heart of the city, and now a neighborhood in need of reinvestment. Currently, downtown and waterfront districts, like the 1980s New Urbanist Port Liberté, attract new residents who can afford median monthly rents greater than $2,000, while inland neighborhoods garner comparatively less investment. According to the 2010 Census, approximately 19,000 Jersey City units (29 percent) rent for greater than $1,500 per month. Port Liberté, with its canal, bike paths, and dense residential clusters, has a median household income of $100,000, compared to the citywide median of $46,813. The city intends to make the affordable housing application process as transparent as possible. Per state law, developers of market rate housing that receive tax abatements must contribute $1,500 per residential unit to the city's affordable housing fund. The fund has received $15 million dollars since 2003. These proposed developments pictured here serve as examples of projects that could be executed under PILOT. The two images at top are of a waterfront development that received an abatement (though not through PILOT). The complex is 80 percent market rate and 20 percent affordable, and the first mixed income development in that district in 30 years. On Montgomery Street, 116 new affordable units are planned (an additional 10 units will be market rate). The complex is designed by Wallace Roberts and Todd (WRT).
A team of architects will transform a 1.25-mile stretch of Asbury Park in New Jersey as part of a massive mixed-use redevelopment plan recently unveiled by iStar. The multibillion-dollar scheme includes 20 individual projects (primarily a mix of residential buildings and hotels) as well as infrastructure upgrades, and “beach-themed landscaping.” The developer says that its significant investment in the area, which was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, will “nurture the maverick spirit and indie attitude that make Asbury Park one of the unsung capitals of cool in the United States.” Anda Andre, the former Director of Design for the Ian Schrager Company, is overseeing the project and hand-picking its designers and architects. The team includes Chad Oppenheim, Handel Architects, Madison Cox, Stonehill & Taylor, and Melillo + Bauer Associates. Three new developments are expected to to open next summer: “The Monroe,” Oppenheim’s 34-unit condominium building; 1101 Ocean, a glassy hotel, condominium, and retail project by Handel Architects; and the Asbury, a 110-key hotel in a former Salvation Army building that was repurposed by Stonehill & Taylor. The full build out of the development includes 2,100 residences and 300 hotel rooms.
Next up in a series of demolitions in the historic Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital campus: the Kirkbride
The New Jersey Treasury Department has levied the wrecking ball on the iconic Kirkbride building of the historic Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital. Demolition began on April 6, with heavy-equipment operators from Northstar Contracting targeting 26 structures on the campus as part of a $34.4 million contract from the state of New Jersey. The latest to go is the 673,000-square-foot, 19th-century landmark which, like most of the buildings in the complex, had dangerously deteriorated. Greystone was built in 1876 as part of a national initiative to improve medical treatment for the mentally ill. At its peak, the hospital housed over 5000 patients. However, the neglected facility deteriorated over the last 50 years and was replaced with a new Greystone Hospital next door in 2007. USA Today reported that Randolph resident and drone pilot Jody Johnson has been documenting the demolition on her DJI Phantom 3 Pro drone. She posts the videos to YouTube, Instagram and Facebook to keep residents abreast of the otherwise fenced-in takedown. “Of course, it’s upsetting to see the footprint of the building slowly fading away,” she said. “[People] say it’s terrible to see it coming down. They are concerned about the environmental impact.” Nonprofit group Preserve Greystone has rallied doggedly for conservation of the 26 buildings and their connecting tunnels, the removal of which requires thorough extraction of toxic substances such as lead paint, asbestos, and mold. Once the demolition is over, the remaining 165 acres of Greystone will be bequeathed to Morris County in order to be preserved as open space. Although all tangible traces of the Kirkbride will be gone, the New Jersey Treasury Department is planning to document and preserve the history through a dedicated website, documentation and on-site interpretive signage. “All the markers and websites in the world won’t undo what they’ve done,” retorted John Huebner, president of Preserve Greystone. The Treasury is also working with the Morris County Park Commission to save physical mementos of Kirkbride, including two marble columns from the front of the building and two cast-iron light poles, according to USA Today.
Once a week, Richard Meier can be found at his model museum in the expansive Mana Contemporary arts complex in Jersey City. This is where he comes to work on collages, collaborate with screenprinter Gary Lichtenstein, and visit with his daughter Ana, who runs a furniture showroom next door. https://vimeo.com/131434676 The 15,000-square-foot Richard Meier Model Museum is filled with some 300 models of the architect’s work—from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles to his proposal for the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. The museum also includes exhibition space for Meier’s sculptural work and a library with 1,000 books and magazines from his personal collection. The Architect’s Newspaper recently toured Mana Contemporary (a former tobacco factory) with its founder and director Eugene Lemay, and sat down with Meier himself to learn about the model museum and how his design process has changed over the years. More from our conversation with the architect is posted below. AN: Describe your typical day at the model museum. Richard Meier: First I have some coffee and sometimes I read the newspaper and then I start working on collages. I come out here—it’s nice and peaceful and quiet. It is very different from working in the office. Next door is Gary Lichtenstein’s studio—he is a print maker—and I make prints with Gary. We do things together that would not be possible if we did not have this space. Today, so much of architecture and design work happens on computers. To you, what is the importance of craftsmanship, drawing, and model making in a digital age? One augments the other. All of our drawings are done on a computer, but that does not mean that models are not also helpful. We continue to make models of every project as part of the process. What do you hope to do next? If I had my druthers, I would do more things in New York. It is a lot easier to get together, to meet, to talk about what we are doing. But today things happen and you never know where the next project might be coming from. Anything else people should know about the model museum or Mana Contemporary? It is an amazing sort of area. Within the building, there is a dance company, there are other artists, it is sort of a place to visit in the same way people visit galleries in SoHo or Chelsea. It is nice and quiet, and for me just a great place to work outside of the office. I can do things here that I would not be able to do in the office.
If a billionaire New Jersey investor gets his way, it will be a lot harder for lazy headline writers to call Jersey City the “New Brooklyn.” That's because wealthy person Paul Fireman wants to bestow upon the city a very non-artisanal $4 billion sky-scraping casino and resort complex. The Wall Street Journal reported that the massive project includes a "90-story hotel, 14 restaurants, a theater and a complex of pools on a 200-acre site.” It is being called "Liberty Rising," which sounds more like a Hollywood blockbuster or covert military operation than a mixed-use development, but, hey, what can you do. For "Liberty Rising" to actually, well, rise, New Jersey lawmakers will need to pass a referendum to expand gambling into the northern part of the state. The Journal reported that Garden State lawmakers are split on when to bring up the referendum, and how new gambling revenue would be spent. It seems that a portion of the revenue would go toward boosting Atlantic City's tourist economy. (This would be a good time to mention that at the end of last summer four of Atlantic City’s 12 casinos had closed, costing 8,000 people their jobs. ) If New Jersey voters ultimately vote in favor of the plan, then Liberty Rising, and other projects like it, could take shape just outside of New York City. This specific project was designed by the Las Vegas–based Friedmutter Group Architects and, expectedly, has a Las Vegas vibe going for it. The complex rises from a multi-tiered podium that is topped with waterfalls, pools, and green space. Below, there's a place to park your yacht. Along one of the two glass towers appears to be landscape terraces that jut out of the main structure. Liberty Rising is obviously a massive project, but just one of the many new developments reshaping Jersey City. As AN reported last year, the city is taking advantage of its close proximity to Manhattan and trying to entice New Yorkers being priced out of the five boroughs with new residential buildings—many of them rising to supertall heights.
Van Alen and National Park Service select finalists to re-imagine visitor experience at national parks
The Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) have announced four finalists in their competition to modernize visitor experience at four national parks. While the National Parks Now competition aims to "[design] the 21st Century National Park experience,” it’s about more than launching an app or two and boosting WiFi signals. Each interdisciplinary team—which is comprised of young architects, landscape architects, graphic designers, urban planners, branding experts, engagement specialists and educators—was handed a $15,000 stipend to develop strategies to connect national parks with a new generation of visitors. This includes launching hands-on workshops, self-guided tours, interactive installations, engagement campaigns, and developing tools to give the parks a larger, and more diverse, audience. The strategies would be implemented at one of four New York City-area parks: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, New York, the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt; Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a monument to the steam locomotive; Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in Paterson, New Jersey, a birthplace of American textile manufacturing; and Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the summer estate of artist Julian Alden Weir. Next spring, one team will be crowned the winner and be given an additional $10,000 to implement one of its strategies over the summer. That prototype will serve as a model for the NPS as it celebrates its centennial in 2016. “As we look back at the 100-year legacy of the National Park Service, it’s also a perfect time to look creatively at the visitor experience at several select park units and consider new ways to share park stories and respond to audience needs," Gay Vietzke, the deputy regional director of the NPS Northeast region, said in a statement. “National Parks Now is a truly innovative—and necessary—effort to ensure national parks are relevant in the 21st century.” More on each team, and their individual proposals, courtesy of the Van Alen Institute. Sagamore Hill:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Team Wayward / Projects is led by Putri Trisulo with Prem Krishnamurthy, Katie Okamoto, Alfons Hooikaas, Ben DuVall, Heather Ring, Amy Seek, Thomas Kendall, and Jarred Henderson. Their project, OKParks!, will create a symbiotic partnership model capitalizing on the existing audiences and curatorial resources of prominent cultural institutions to reinterpret histories and reinvigorate Sagamore Hill.Steamtown:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Abigail Smith-Hanby of FORGE with Ashley Ludwig, Andrew Dawson, Max Lozach, and CJ Gardella. Team FORGE proposes to weave together stories and information in order to root Steamtown within the larger American cultural landscape.Paterson Great Falls:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Manuel Miranda of the Yale School of Art with Frances Medina, Mariana Mogilevich, Valeria Mogilevich, June Williamson, and Willy Wong. The team will explore retrofitting the park to engage the city, retelling the site’s history to engage contemporary audiences, and representing the site to new publics.Weir Farm:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Aaron Forrest of the Rhode Island School of Design and Principal of Ultramoderne with Yasmin Vobis, Suzanne Mathew, Noah Klersfeld, Dungjai Pungauthaikan, and Jessica Forrest. The team will look at introducing site-specific, contemporary artistic practices to Weir Farm in order to develop new perspectives on the site and the region’s history and ecology.
Michael Graves: Past As Prologue Grounds for Sculpture 19 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, NJ Through April 5, 2015 Celebrating 50 years of practice in art, architecture, and design, Michael Graves is the subject of a pair of exhibitions and an upcoming symposium at the Architectural League of New York. The largest of the shows is Past is Prologue, at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. It presents lesser-known early works from the mid-1960s, his blockbuster works from the 1980s, to his current work, which ranges from architecture, to product design, to leading edge-work on accessibility issues. Uniting all these works is Graves’ interest—sometimes reverent, sometimes irreverent—in the images and forms of the past, and how he continuously reinterprets them for the future. A companion show, Michael Graves Paintings: Landscapes and Still-Lifes, will be on view at Studio Vendome in Manhattan.