Archtober Building of the Day #22 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center 655 West 34th Street FXFOWLE Epstein Designed by Pei Cobb in the early 1980s, the Jacob K. Javits Center had fallen into a considerable slump in the years following its debut. Plagued with structural problems, today’s Archtober tour leader and head of the building’s extensive overhaul, Bruce Fowle, began in the center’s Crystal Palace by showing photos of the space before his firm’s massive undertaking. He highlighted two of the worst features of the original structure—the dirty, impossible-to-clean glass and extensive water damage. Almost immediately after opening, large canvas “diapers” were constructed to catch the ever-leaking roof, costing the center nearly one million dollars a year to alleviate the constant influx of water. Bruce Fowle further explained that the original Javits' glass was too highly reflective, creating either a problematic glare or a dark, “Darth Vader” appearance. Later, the NYC Audubon Society identified the structure as the number one bird killing structure in New York City. To mitigate both the aesthetic and environmental problems with the existing glass, FXFOWLE Epstein reviewed many glass mockups before deciding to apply a “frit” or glazed dot pattern to the panes, reducing the avian death rate by 90 percent and giving the space a significant solar energy reduction. Another problem with the old structure was the fact that the original building plan did not include a viable way to clean much of the glass. As a result, some of the panes went without cleaning for more than twenty-five years. FXFOWLE Epstein solved this problem by installing catwalks throughout most of the Crystal Palace, both inside and outside of the building, so that repairs and cleaning could take place on a regular basis. As the tour proceeded to the North Concourse, Bruce Fowle pointed out the renovation to the concrete exposures. Cracked and yellowed after years of layering convention signage, FXFOWLE Epstein brought in experts to create a repair formula. The result was a ceramic material that brightened the concrete but allowed it to retain its original look. The tour concluded with a behind-the-scenes look at the new green roof. As the second largest green roof in the United States, tour participants happily traded a few very windy and drizzly moments for stunning view of the city and its surroundings. Looking toward the future, FXFOWLE Epstein has partnered with Drexel University to install a climate monitor that measures the roof’s water and soil content, and examines the impact of the roof on the building’s energy load. Future testing will determine how much FXFOWLE Epstein’s reimagining of the Javits will impact the ambient temperature in the entire neighborhood and possibly serve as a catalyst for green retrofitting for New York City’s future. Hit the books tomorrow with a visit to New York University’s School of Professional Studies!
Posts tagged with "New York City Planning Commission":
This afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Carl Weisbrod, a real estate consultant and co-chair of the mayor’s transition team, will be the city’s next planning commissioner. De Blasio said Weisbrod “understands exactly how the city can shape development to stoke the most growth, the strongest affordability, and the best jobs for New Yorkers. He is ready to take these challenges head-on.” Weisbrod is currently a partner with the real estate consulting firm HR&A and has a long history in the city’s real estate scene, dating back many mayors. Weisbrod was born and raised in New York City, and, according to the New York Times, upon graduating from NYU Law School, he started advocating on behalf of the city’s squatters and families in welfare hotels. Under Mayor Ed Koch, Weisbrod is widely credited for successfully cleaning up Times Square in the 1970s. In 1991, Weisbrod became the founding president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation—and in 1995 he held the same title at the Alliance for Downtown New York. In the latter role, Weisbrod was tasked with transforming Downtown Manhattan into a mixed-use neighborhood. De Blasio said Weisbrod “led the way” in revitalizing the neighborhood after September 11th. Before joining HR&A in 2011, Weisbrod spent five years as the president of the real estate division for Trinity Church—an organization which oversees six million square feet of property. All of this experience—and this is an abbreviated resume—will be critical as Weisbrod steps into an exceptionally complex role in determining the future of New York City. There will be many challenges ahead—from the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar Factory to the possible re-zoning of Midtown East, to creating a more storm-resistance city, to micro-apartments—all of which will fall within de Blasio’s ambitious push to create more affordable housing. At the press conference, de Blasio said that his administration would look at projects like Midtown East Rezoning and a proposed Major League Soccer stadium in the Bronx “with fresh eyes.” The mayor added that he is approaching development projects like these with “an entirely different set of goals” than his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.
After Hurricane Sandy swept through the east coast, it left Water Street, a sleepy corridor in lower Manhattan, even more deserted. But now, Department of City Planning (DCP) has proposed a zoning text amendment to enliven the quiet downtown stretch by allowing for seating, art installations, food trucks, concerts, and other such events and amenities on privately owned public spaces (POPS). Sprinkled throughout the city, POPS are unique public areas that are maintained by developers for public use in return for more floor space in their development. This slice of downtown is a mix of commercial and residential buildings, and has a shortage of amenities to offer residents and employees in the area. DCP hopes to change this and turn Water Street, extending from State to Fulton Streets, into a “Public Space Activation Area” for a variety of activities such as farmer markets, concerts, food tastings, festivals, cultural exhibitions, and performances for this coming summer, spring, and holiday season. The City Planning Commission green lighted the proposal back in April, and next City Council will make the final decision by June 29th.