The six winners of this year’s Architectural League prize will display installations in Objective at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design opening June, 21st. As visitors approach the entrance of the gallery, they’ll be greeted by an installation stretched across the window by Kwong Von Glinow partners Lap Chi Kwong and Alison Von Glinow. The pair is reproducing a scale, plywood model of their Table Top Apartments, a conceptual project of four-story modular apartments designed to address housing in New York City. Along with a survey of past projects, Bryony Roberts of Bryony Roberts Studio will display a site-specific installation—a patterned wall vinyl that creeps from the wall onto the floor, continuing the work of her Marbles project which featured geometries inspired by the patterned stones of central Italy, such as medieval Cosmati floors. Dan Spiegel of SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop and Coryn Kempster of Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster will each present new installations, while Anya Sirota of Akoaki and Cadaster partners Gabriel Cuéllar and Anthar Mufreh will present various models and studies from their respective projects. The Architectural League Prize has been recognizing young architects since 1981. This year, entrants were tasked with considering the contemporary state of objectivity in a post-truth world. Objective Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons School of Design 66 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011 Through August 4.
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For architecture enthusiasts with an artistic streak, there are a number of art exhibitions inspired by architecture and design on view across the U.S. Of course, there is Bodys Isek Kingelez: City Dreams at MoMA, already announced in AN, along with gallery shows in New York and Los Angeles worthy of a visit, featuring drawing, sculpture, installation, animation, and more. Serban Ionescu: A Crowded Room and Serban Ionescu and Anjuli Rathod Artist Serban Ionescu, who previously studied architecture, presents an immersive installation of drawings, sculptures, and animations in A Crowded Room at New York’s Larrie. The title and work in part references his experience as an immigrant and his father’s 2006 deportation, while still creating a narrow space touched with color and levity. The animations were made in collaboration with Narek Gevorgian. Ionescu’s work is also part of a two-person exhibition at Safe Gallery in East Williamsburg along with paintings by Anjuli Rathod. Serban Ionescu: A Crowded Room Larrie 27 Orchard Street, New York, NY Through June 17 Serban Ionescu and Anjuli Rathod Safe Gallery 1004 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY Through July 15 Vernacular Environments, Part 2 Vernacular Environments, Part 2 is the second iteration of the now annual group show at Edward Cella Art and Architecture that explores the diverse ways artists figure and engage with the environment and built world. Featured artists include Shusaku Arakawa, R. Buckminster Fuller, Rema Ghuloum, Hans Hollein, Jill Magid, Alison O’Daniel, Aili Schmeltz, Paolo Soleri, and Lebbeus Woods, working across a wide array of media. Ruth Pastine has created “Color Zones” to engage with both the architecture figured in the artwork, as well as the architecture of the space itself. Vernacular Environments, Part 2 Edward Cella Art and Architecture 2754 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA Through July 14th Escher: The Exhibition and Experience Taking up a large swath of Industry City in Sunset Park is a retrospective of the eminent Dutch artist M.C. Escher, whose vertiginous drawings are rich with architectural references. Not relegated merely to lithographs, drawings, or other two-dimensional forms, the exhibition, presented by Italian organization Arthemisia,also features installations that place you in the midst of the artist’s illusionary drawings and disorienting spaces. Escher: The Exhibition and Experience Industry City 34 34th Street, Building 6, Brooklyn, NY Through February 3, 2019
Makeup brand Il Makiage has opened up a new Soho pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid Architects to coincide with the launch of their new 800-product collection. The pavilion’s angular tunnel of ribbons with alternating gloss and matte finishes mimics the makeup’s packaging in exploded form. Each of the ribbons is slightly different and lighting is installed in them and around the mirrors, helping shoppers accurately choose the right color and tone. Kar-Hwa Ho, head of interiors at Zaha Hadid Architects, said that they “wanted to create an environment defined by the woman celebrated by Il Makiage,” adding that the pavilion is intended to be a “personal space that’s all about her.” The mobile pavilion will be open in Soho for six months and a second New York City pavilion will be opening in Flatiron this summer. Zaha Hadid Architects is also developing the permanent Il Makiage New York boutique, as well as locations in D.C. and Miami.
Dia Art Foundation is undergoing major changes at all its locations, overseen by New York-based architects Architecture Research Office (ARO), with partners Adam Yarinsky and Kim Yao taking the lead. The plan is to upgrade and expand the flagship New York City and Beacon locations, reactivate a programming space in Soho, and revitalize two New York exhibitions of Walter De Maria, The New York Earth Room (1977) and The Broken Kilometer (1979), which have been in Dia’s care since the 1970s. Dia, which has been around since 1974, has exhibited primarily in former industrial sites, such as a converted Nabisco factory in Beacon, NY. As director Jessica Morgan told The New York Times, “The idea of new architecture is so antithetical to Dia.” ARO was chosen for its notable sensitivity to existing spaces and its experience in renovating art spaces, such as the Judd Foundation and the Rothko Chapel. In Beacon, ARO will redesign the former factory’s lower level to open up 11,000 square feet of exhibition space. Dia’s Chelsea location will also see an expansion. Walter De Maria’s The New York Earth Room and The Broken Kilometer Beyond will be getting climate control to keep them open through the summer. Beyond renovations and improvements of existing sites, the project also includes the reclamation of a 2500-square-foot gallery in Soho that had previously served as a retail space. Renovating existing spaces rather than engaging in new construction also aligns with Dia’s financial mission. These renovations are made possible in part by a $78 million campaign, which Dia is hoping to mostly direct to their endowment and to operating finances, rather than to construction. As Jessica Morgan, the Nathalie de Gunzburg Director of Dia, puts it, “Our work with ARO builds on Dia’s history of repurposing and activating found architectural spaces and will help us reinvigorate our mission and program across the range of sites that make up Dia today.”
For New Yorkers, it’s no secret that the MTA is rapidly deteriorating. Practically defined by delays and diversions—and not to mention the impending L train shutdown—the financial and political behind-the-scenes of the subway system has come under increasing scrutiny. While numerous articles, commentaries, reports, and angry tweets have been published on the state of the MTA and its causes, Everyday Arcade has released what might be the first video game on the crumbling system, MTA Country. Styled after a classic Nintendo-style platformer (its name references the 1994 SNES game Donkey Kong Country), MTA Country is a ride through a roller coaster of subway tunnel. For players, the goal of MTA Country is to get its main character, Gregg T (Gregg Turkin, a lawyer, NYPD Legal Bureau member, and much meme-ified face of the NYPD’s “If You See Something, Say Something” subway campaign) to work. Luckily, he has help from his friends Bill (de Blasio) and Andrew (Cuomo). After watching the trio be launched from a trashcan, gamers can ride down tracks collecting coins as they leap over track fires, stopped trains, broken rails, the notorious Pizza Rat. Graffiti in the background reads “Giuliani was here,” among other commentary. Without giving away any spoilers, users skilled enough to collect all the letters that dot the tracks will be in for a special high-speed transformation à la Elon Musk and rocketed off to a new destination. Luckily for New Yorkers, MTA Country also works on your phone, making it an ideal way to pass time when your train inevitably gets stuck.
Pratt Institute has selected Allied Works to complete a new building to house its Master of Fine Arts and Photography programs on their 25-acre Brooklyn campus, providing the School of Art “a distinct...identity on campus for the first time.” The project will feature flexible classroom, studio, and tech lab space, as well as room for public galleries. The new School of Art is designed to be a “cultural anchor” for Brooklyn and for the broader New York art world. The project intends to “catalyze both the campus and community, [and become] a wellspring of art and creative energy,” according to Allied Works founding partner Brad Cloepfil. Allied Works, which was founded in 1994 and has offices in Portland, Oregon and New York City, has completed a number of other cultural and educational commissions, including the National Music Centre of Canada in Calgary and a creative arts center for Portland’s Catlin Gabel School. While they have completed an array of projects in New York, including the 2008 transformation of the Museum of Arts and Design, this will be the firm’s first foray into Brooklyn.
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A different conversation about the capabilities of 3D-printing is happening at edg, a New York architecture and engineering firm which focuses on technology-driven design and the restoration of buildings. For the past five years, edg has been engaged with research into the combination of 3D-printing technologies and methods of casting in concrete.
Inspired by the initial buzz surrounding 3D-printing within architecture, Founding and Managing Partner John Meyer and his team began prototyping with a small MakerBot Replicator Z18. The desire was to move the conversation beyond small, fragile parts and into real-world implications of methods in additive manufacturing. Rather than focusing on solid 3D-printed parts, which are usually expensive but aren’t durable or aesthetically pleasing, edg’s research team began investigating the potential of 3D-printing as a method of complex concrete mold-making. The research implications were amplified once edg understood how to apply it. When it learned of the impending demolition of 574 Fifth Avenue, a 1940 building with intricate ornamentation, edg turned the project into a case study, a perfect prompt for thinking of alternative ways to restore and maintain deteriorating ornamentation. Conducting its fabrication work on a rooftop near its New York office, edg exhaustively explored materials and mold thicknesses until the team arrived at what it considered to be the right combination of material cost efficiency and strength. As seen in the firm’s prototypes and its diagram of the assembly, the 3D-printed plastic form is inlaid with a laser cut wire mesh as well as stirrups to provide reinforcement for the cast. Edg also designed a simple plate connection system which is formed into the printed area to facilitate easy attachment to the facade. The final prototypes were manufactured by VoxelJet using their VoxelJet VX1000 printer for the casting molds and were fabricated in-house with Sika concrete. This project has far-reaching implications for historic preservation, but this research isn’t nostalgia for lost fabrication techniques: it has broader possibilities within facade construction and design. As edg stated in a press release, designers are allowed to “shape and ‘mold’ building elements in unprecedented detail.” edg plans to move forward with this technique through two projects in the works. The first is a multi-family project in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, pictured in renderings [TK - above/below]. These projects will apply the same methodology but through a more contemporary lens. “This technique allows for more textures, finishes, flowing shapes, and unique patterning which you can only get when you're not paying for a precast form,” Meyer told AN. To complete this and other projects, he and his team are building a customized 3-D printer suited for their size and material constraints. Furthermore, edg is planning a design competition for the potential uses of this technique on architectural facades, in part to open up the facade design process to professions beyond architecture.
The New York City Public Design Commission (PDC) has released new guidelines for designing affordable housing, painting quality of life as an integral part of any such development. Quality Affordable Housing in NYC, a case study of affordable housing throughout the city, was released at a roundtable presentation at the Center for Architecture last night. Innovative housing is nothing new in New York, but with Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to build or preserve 300,000 units of affordable housing by 2026, a cohesive plan was needed to standardize the new buildings being designed. Quality Affordable Housing pulls together the best aspects from its seven case studies and presents eight guidelines for building more resilient, contextual low-income developments. According to the findings, infill developments that favor pedestrian circulation and an integration with the existing community fabric should be given preference over cloistered, standalone projects. The massing should visually connect the new building with its surroundings, and materials should complement the project’s neighbors. Circulation, both air and pedestrian-related, should be maximized, and the ground floor condition should be inviting to the rest of the neighborhood. All of these suggestions seem like common sense improvements, but tight budgets, strict deadlines, and site constraints often tamp down ambitious social housing projects. Thankfully, Quality Affordable Housing uses its case studies to put projects that have met these goals on display for reference. The PDC has collected projects large and small, from the 16-unit Prospect Gardens, a pilot infill prototype in Brooklyn designed by RKTB Architects in 2004, to 2015’s massive 911,000-square-foot Hunter’s Point South Commons and Crossing in Queens from Ismael Leyva and SHoP. What connects all seven projects is their integration with the surrounding community, attention to landscaping, and most importantly, that people want to live in them. As presenters at the Center kept coming back to, neighborhood residents were overjoyed to move in, and winning the housing lottery often felt like a dream come true. The full PDC guide and breakdowns of all seven case study projects can be found in full here.
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Bjarke Ingels Group’s twin rotating towers are under construction along the High Line in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The Eleventh (also known as the XI) will include luxury residences, multiple restaurants, retail, an art area and a new public promenade adjacent to The High Line. The project joins nearby buildings by Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, and Renzo Piano, among others.
The two towers, one each on the east (No. X) and west (No. I) portion of the site, will rise to 300 feet and 400 feet, respectively. Each are clad in a travertine composite facade expressive of the underlying concrete structure behind it, with expansive punched windows with a bronze finish. “With its punched windows and gridded structural facade, The Eleventh echoes the pragmatic rationality of the neighborhood’s historic warehouses, while its sculptural geometry gives it a kinship to the local arts community,” Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of BIG, said in a statement. “The past and present of Chelsea [are] merging in a new hybrid identity.” The choice of materials helps the pair stand out among the surrounding concrete and steel structures. The facade combines high-performance composite technology with the durable travertine to reduce the dead load on the structure. The panels are composed of a thin layer of travertine with an aluminum honeycomb core which provided a lightweight solution and an easier fabrication and installation as an alternative to hand-cut travertine. The design contains multiple ruled surfaces which resulted in challenges in the process of detailing the facade system. The travertine is flat, rigid material and, as such, the facade required the ruled surfaces to be panelized with a roughly four-by-eight-foot grid. This arrangement resulted in a number of unique panel shapes and sizes. To follow the geometry, the panels are offset to one another and scaled. Since the travertine is one inch thick, the scaled panels require a travertine return to avoid any open gaps. During the design process, BIG and the facade consultants were forced to evaluate the travertine panel variation versus the window module size variation and, for various reasons, the window modules became the organizational device for the facade. Sitting within the geometry of the building is a series of unitized curtain wall windows that punch through the facade. While designing these apertures, BIG, alongside architect of record Woods Bagot and building envelope consultant GMS, looked at a unitized system which would be suspended in front of the floor slabs but, due to the complexity of the structure, the curtain wall will span between each slab. The unitized system is a structurally glazed, aluminum and glass curtain wall system with a bronze finish. As the renderings of the project show, the unitized system is met with an aluminum metal composite panel enclosure with the same bronze finish as the curtain wall. Due to the complexity of the facade, all elements were custom engineered and fabricated.
Chair of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) Meenakshi Srinivasan is stepping down effective June 1, and tomorrow AN will present an exclusive interview with Srinivasan on what her next steps will be. As first reported by the Times Ledger, Srinivasan will be leaving a position she’s held since her appointment by Mayor de Blasio in July of 2014. “I am honored to have served as chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission for the past four years and to have had the opportunity to serve the city for the past 28 years,” said Srinivasan in a statement. “I am proud of what we have accomplished—promoting equity, diversity, efficiency and transparency in all aspects of LPC’s work, and working with the administration to make preservation a critical part of the city’s planning process. “It’s been an intense, challenging, and incredibly rewarding experience. I’ve been very fortunate to work in three agencies and chair two commissions involved with the city’s land use and built environment, and to have played a role in shaping this incredibly diverse and dynamic city. I would love to do more hands-on project-based work related to land use planning and zoning and will be transitioning to the private sector.” The move comes during a tumultuous time for the LPC, as the commission has been roiled by criticism of a proposed rule change meant to improve efficiency and streamline the approvals process. The changes, discussed further in-depth here, drew charges that they lower the agency’s standards from preservation groups like the Historic Districts Council. AN will follow this announcement with an interview on Friday.
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Completed this year, 150 Wooster is an eight-story, mixed-use infill project for KUB Capital that offers a contemporary version of Soho loft living in a historic district. HTO Architect worked with the New York City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to deliver the project, which features a custom-detailed brick facade articulated with limestone and painted steel ornamentation. Daniel Schillberg, managing director of design and architecture at KUB Capital, said this infill project is located on one of the last developable lots in Soho. “This was one of the last ground-up buildings in Soho and will probably be the last,” he said. Soho’s predominantly cast iron structures date from 1830s to the 1850s, the surprisingly narrow spectrum of time when the majority of construction occured. The speed of construction in this neighborhood and others like it was achieved by means of prefabrication and a “kit of parts” mentality that was made possible due to advances in cast iron technology that paralleled mass industrialization. KUB said the project was inspired by this context, along with masonry structures that surround site. Depth of the facade was a key consideration in the design. The facade arranges a large operable window unit measuring over four by eight feet into eight bays, finding a sweet spot between energy code's permitted window-to-wall ratio, historic compositional proportions, and window manufacturer fabrication limitations. The resulting design, which received unanimous Landmarks approval, was approximately a year-long process.To achieve the desired effect, the architects looked to materials common to the area—brick and limestone—but sought out detailing methods that produce a refined contemporary aesthetic to, in their words, "push the building into our modern times." This led to the refinement of a limestone trim detail that projects four inches beyond a primary facade of Petersen Tegl Kolumba brick. The masonry veneer is a long and thin proportion arranged in a stack bond with a tight 3/8" mortar joint to privilege the color of the brick over the mortar color. "These Petersen bricks have a lot of texture. They're essentially hand made which lead to a lot of ridges and good imperfections," said Schillberg. Window units are defined by a dark metal frame set 16 inches back from the face of the building, exposing Indiana limestone, which swells to meet the window frame assembly in one precise angular taper. The masonry installers built a single window bay mockup by looking at the detailing of the spandrel bricks, limestone trim, and the primary facade bricks. One of the constructional challenges was the weight of the limestone trim, which required complex drop beams with specific edge detailing for the concrete superstructure. The limestone, which is pinned back to these moments in the structure of the building, acts as a modified custom brick lintel to support the masonry veneer. Another key detail of the project is the custom metal work on the storefront and cornice. Both elements were inspired by traditional cast iron detailing involving prefabricated modules of profiled galvanized steel sheets. The cornice essentially functions as a miniature brise-soleil, and is composed of custom-profiled metal fins. "I loved the idea of having a cornice where, as you approach the building, it evoked the sculptural shaping of a cornice, but as you get underneath it, it actually disappeared into thin elements that allow light through," Schillberg said. The brick manufacturer, Petersen Tegl, is a small family-run Danish brickworks company founded more than 200 years ago. Their products are still handmade through a carefully crafted traditional process of hand-pressed, coal-fired production. This produces authentic bricks with a variety of signature light and dark shades. In addition to helping new buildings meld with older and more classic surroundings, Petersen Tegl’s handmade bricks are also helping to revive the idea of the skilled artisan and masonry construction. They’re popular in New York: A developer on Manhattan’s Upper East Side working on the tallest building in the neighborhood north of 72nd Street is utilizing nearly 600,000 Petersen Tegl bricks to connect the structure to its art deco context. Across the river in Brooklyn, two developers have launched luxury condo projects, 145 President and 211 Schermerhorn, each featuring the handcrafted aesthetic of a Petersen Tegl brick facade.
New York State’s legislature is set to vote on a budget resolution that would lift the floor area ratio (FAR) caps in New York City for residential development, a proposition that the de Blasio administration seems to be onboard with. In a major budget bill for 2018-2019 working its way through the State Senate (S7506A), legislators have included a provision that would nullify the FAR cap installed in 1961. Floor area ratio is determined by dividing a building’s usable floor area by the overall lot’s square footage and is capped at 12 in the city’s highest density districts; therefore, indirectly influencing the height and bulk of new developments. The bill still has to pass a State Legislature vote on the clause (S6760) in two weeks before the Senate’s version can advance, though a similar proposal failed to pass in the 2015-2016 session, likely due to public backlash. The Municipal Art Society (MAS) has continually lobbied against such efforts, and this attempt is no different. MAS and the New York Landmarks Conservancy have decried the move, claiming that it would only lead to taller, bulkier glass towers that would displace existing residents. Not everyone feels the same way. Lifting the FAR cap would benefit Mayor de Blasio’s affordable housing agenda, according to the city, as it would provide more space in market-rate developments for affordable housing. Building taller has been a core pillar of the mayor’s sometimes contentious Mandatory Inclusionary Housing plan, and as City Council member Rory Lancman argued in a recent op-ed, building taller is the only way out of the city’s affordable housing crisis. The Regional Plan Association (RPA) also agrees with the move, and recently put out a report highlighting how lifting the FAR cap would bolster income and increase diversity throughout the city’s lower-slung neighborhoods. Any removal of density caps would have to align with New York City's current city planning principals, which use FAR to guide development, so it's uncertain how quickly the impact of such a change would be felt. Of course, the RPA plan presumes that any changes would be accompanied by design guidelines and mechanisms to prevent real estate speculation. It remains to be seen whether the city or state government would enact such procedures if the budget manages to pass. New York residents interested in letting their voice be heard (on either side of the issue) can email or call their local Assembly Member before the vote, using the directory found here.