Posts tagged with "New York City":

Emerging Voices 2018 Night 4: LA-Más & Estudio de Arquitectura

Emerging Voices 2018

Helen Leung, Elizabeth Timme, LA-Más, Los Angeles Luis Aldrete, Estudio de Arquitectura, Guadalajara Introduced by Paul Makovsky 1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs The fourth evening of the annual Emerging Voices lecture series. Emerging Voices spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

Nonprofit urban design group LA-Más focuses on underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods. It collaborates with community members, government agencies, and developers with a goal to grow cities equitably through design projects and policy initiatives. Recent work includes Go Avenue 26, enhanced public transit access near a major highway overpass in East Los Angeles; and “Backyard Basics: An Alternative Story for the Accessory Dwelling Unit,” a conceptual proposal exploring how collectively developed accessory dwelling units could serve as a model for affordable housing along the LA River.

Since establishing Estudio de Arquitectura in 2007, Luis Aldrete has designed residential, hospitality, and cultural facilities, where he works with local craftspeople to employ construction techniques developed over generations. Recent projects include BF Residence, a Guadalajara house whose program nods to the traditional Mexican hacienda; Rinconada Margaritas Residential Complex, a high-rise development in Guadalajara that responds to an adjacent ravine; and Pilgrim Route Shelters, an infrastructural network of shelters designed with other collaborators to support an annual Jalisco pilgrimage.

Paul Makovsky is Vice President of Design at Metropolis Magazine. He served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.
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New York State Assembly to vote on lifting city's density caps

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.
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For New Affiliates, an aesthetic of imperfection and openness

Although design studio New Affiliates has only been in existence a short while, its list of bona fides is long: Jaffer Kolb recently worked on major exhibitions at the Jewish Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Ivi Diamantopoulou spent time as an associate at MOS designing off-the-grid residences and a number of high-design interior projects—including, notably, the short-lived design gallery Chamber. These experiences set them up well as one of the most promising up-and-coming New York architecture studios and one of AN Interior’s top 50 interior architects. Jesse Seegers visited the duo in their NoHo, Manhattan, studio. New Affiliates officially started in August 2016, and yet you’ve already completed a house in Vermont, the Tunbridge Winter Cabin. How did that happen? Jaffer Kolb Well, we really started designing that in March 2016, and it was done nine months later. It was very fast. It was in this empty field, on a 65-acre property, and there was no infrastructure, so we had to build a 2,000-foot-long road, install phone lines, septic, etc. Ivi Diamantopoulou As we were about to finish Tunbridge, we got our client for the Bed-Stuy loft. A fashion designer came to us through her real estate broker and asked, “What does your work look like?” At the time, the cabin was mostly finished, so we thought it would answer the question. But the finishes were not in yet. As soon as it was completed and photographed, she said, “OK, yes, let’s do it.” Kolb But it’s true the clients that we’re working with now primarily want to know about a level of aesthetic taste. They’re less interested in the form of the cabin, so while someone might find these two intersecting volumes interesting in an architectural context, they’re just like, “What are the floors? What kind of counters are you using?” Fortunately for us, she liked them. That’s pretty funny because I was noticing that there is a real attention to light in a lot of the photographs, which really makes the interior seem much bigger and accentuates the carefully considered material palette. Also, it helps that your photographer, Michael Vahrenwald, is great. Diamantopoulou Yes! Michael is a gem. But we also studied how light would hit these two angled volumes and deliberately oriented elevations in all directions. The vignettes of the cabinet-handle detail and the baseboard seem like particularly important moments. Kolb It was one of many instances where we really tried not to reinvent the house and its parts, but instead to twist inherited details into something strangely simple yet fun. You know, we get it—we designed a dumb form that looks like a Monopoly block. The plan is basically two squares, and then two angles where the two squares meet, but playing with a pitched roof is the thing that makes it really interesting. Diamantopoulou What we worked toward with this project is a general idea of asymmetry and imperfection. It does come from two identical parts, but the way the interior is organized, it’s never a perfectly mirrored plan. You don’t stand in the middle of the space and see the same thing on both sides. There’s always something that’s off, and even with the cabinet pulls you mentioned: They’re not circles, they’re kind of a circle. Kolb This was Ivi’s idea, which I think is a brilliant one, because we didn’t want hardware. We drew it out on the actual, original cabinets for the contractor and he immediately started to plan uninstalling them to take them to his shop. Diamantopoulou And we stopped him and told him to do it on-site! Kolb He warned us he wasn’t going to be able to make a perfect circle, and we said we would much prefer a wobbly, funny, quasi-crafty thing than something that looks like it came from a catalogue. Not only were we fine with that, but we think it contributes a lot to the design. Diamantopoulou The exposed steel pipes are similar: They are not aligned with one another; they are not centered. Nothing in this project is trying to be at a specific location; everything is kind of relaxed. Kolb Yeah, it’s loose. We try to keep things informal. Diamantopoulou Designed but not design-y. There’s something refreshing about that attitude of open-endedness and relaxed acceptance of quote-unquote “imperfection.” Kolb It’s funny you say that, because we’re writing a text on imperfection and openness, and it’s not about the openness we took from the ’60s—let’s just make an open field and we can occupy it. It’s more like, “Why don’t we just make a thing and leave enough that is unsettled?” Diamantopoulou There’s this idea of an economy of means that comes from the world at large. I think also particularly our generation, living through the aftermath of 2008 and having to just do whatever you can with what you have. Kolb But there is a practical value to this. I think fussiness is out. I really do think that everyone we know works hard, but everyone we know also rejects the idea of working hard at the same time. I think it’s a new kind of labor politics around trying to resist the 24/7 work cycle we have been taught by the generations that preceded us—to let go a little, to engage architecture without trying to overly control it. Diamantopoulou And that inevitably translates into an aesthetic project—the implications of which become “making it work” with things we’ve inherited, from shapes to construction techniques. Kolb In some ways, the easiest thing to do is to make everything out of these inheritances. Design with circles and squares, but not even difficult circles and squares! Easy, flexible ones! Diamantopoulou Kind of flexible. Kind of… The art of the kinda.
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Cooper Union will be tuition-free again...by 2029

On March 15, Cooper Union announced its intention to return to a tuition-free model for all undergraduates in the next ten years. The prestigious design and engineering school has been mired in controversy since 2012, when the discussion to introduce student fees began. In 2014, after two years of debate and student protests (including a lock-in of the school’s Foundation Building), the school’s board of trustees had announced it would begin charging tuition, with some students responsible for as much as 50 percent of the tuition, estimated at $38,500 a year at that time. In a statement reported by the New York Times, Laura Sparks, Cooper Union’s president, stated that the return to tuition-free education could be accelerated if the institution exceeds its financial targets in any given year. Strengthening the school’s financial health relies on greater fundraising outreach and what are for now unspecified cuts in expenses. The precarious financial health of the educational institution primarily derives from a non-diversified endowment and an insufficiently developed donor network. While the industrialist Peter Cooper founded the institution in 1858 to provide first-rate, higher education for the working class of New York City, the establishment of an endowment in 1902 by Cooper's heirs insured that the school remained tuition-free for over a century. The reversal towards this former model will bring to a close a contentious and tumultuous period in Cooper Union’s history.

Emerging Voices 2018 Night 3: Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura & Davidson Rafailidis

Emerging Voices 2018

Jesica Amescua and Mariana Ordóñez Grajales, Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura, Mexico City Stephanie Davidson, George Rafailidis, Davidson Rafailidis, Buffalo Introduced by Stella Betts 1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs The third evening of the annual Emerging Voices lecture series. Emerging Voices spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

Founded in 2015, Mexico City-based Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura provides design services to underserved communities. Their work centers around five methodological axes which they feel are fundamental to “developing inclusive, participatory, and contexutal projects.” Recent work includes Childbirth Houses, designs for midwife workspaces informed by extensive dialogue with an indigenous Chiapas community; and Territory and Inhabitant, a research project for a house that could be built in Yucatán for less than $10,000.

Stephanie Davidson and Georg Rafailidis established Davidson Rafailidis in 2008. Both are members of the architecture faculty at the University of Buffalo and have also taught at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany and the University of Toronto. Recent projects include He, She & It, a structure with three distinct workspaces for a Buffalo couple; Café Fargo (Tipico Coffee), a coffee shop in a former corner store also in Buffalo; and Mirror, Mirror, the winner of a competition aimed at reimagining the street festival tent.

Stella Betts is a co-founding Principal of the New York-based LEVENBETTS and a past Emerging Voices winner in 2009. She has taught at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, The Cooper Union, and Cornell University’s College of Art, Architecture, and Planning, among other institutions. She served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.
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Ten temporary public art installations coming to ten New York City parks in June

In June 2018, the Department of Parks & Recreation is launching its Art in the Parks: UNIQLO Park Expressions Grant initiative. The initiative will deliver the work of ten emerging New York-based artists across ten city parks designated as in need of more cultural programming. The artists were awarded their grants in February, and are tasked with temporarily transforming these parks into cultural destinations attracting residents from across the city. This is the second year of operation for the Park Expressions Grant, which in total has provided $200,000 in funding for the Arts in the Park program. The initiative builds off of the NYC Parks’ longstanding Art in the Parks program that invests in the installation of temporary and permanent installations throughout the city’s public park system. Notable past installations of the decades-long initiative include the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Robert Indiana and Tony Smith. The locations of this year’s art installations are evenly distributed across the five boroughs, and are listed below. Bronx: Dionisio Cortes Ortega, Sitting Together Joyce Kilmer Park Located adjacent to the Bronx Supreme Courthouse, Sitting Together is an interactive and sculptural critique of the status quo of proceedings in courtroom cases. Cara Lynch, I’m So Happy You’re Here Virginia Park I'm so Happy You're Here will transport a gradient of interior parquet flooring patterns, with a broad color palette, to the public ream. Brooklyn: Tanda Francis, Adorn Me Fort Greene Park Tanda Francis' Adorn Me questions the lack of African-American representations in American public space, and draws upon African sculptural tradition and Ife portraiture. Roberto Visani, (x)ofmanychildren Herbert Von King Park  Visani's (x)ofmanychildren utilizes 3-D modeling software and is inspired by West African figurative sculptures. Manhattan: Karla & James Murray, Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S. Seward Park Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S consists of four-life sized mom-and-pop businesses that have recently disappeared from the Lower East Side streetscape due to rising gentrification. Harumi Ori, I am Here Thomas Jefferson Park I am here consists of folded and sewn orange industrial mesh depicting snapshots of Thomas Jefferson Park taken by Harumi Ori.

Queens:

Zaq Landsberg, Islands of the Unisphere Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Landsberg recreates several islands from the adjacent Unisphere, which will form a publicly accessible archipelago representing the diversity of Queens. Rose DeSiano, Absent Monuments Rufus King Park These mirrored obelisks will stand upon blue and white Dutch Delft photographic tiles which interact with Native American pattern work. Staten Island: Jackie Mock, The Pencil Museum Faber Park The Pencil Museum is a collection of antique writing instruments, located on the former grounds of Johann Eberhard Faber's Mansion. Faber was the owner of the Johann Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory, the first of its kind in America. Adam Frezza & Terri Chiao, Stick Stump & The Lawn Lumps Tappen Park Frezza & Chiao's exhibit is a collection of playful forms meant for public interaction.

Michael Sorkin Studio and Terreform: Metrophysics

Architecture lives as both object and aggregation: buildings and cities. If the pursuit of an environment that is sustainable, equitable, beautiful, and rich with difference is common at every scale, the valence of these values varies by situation. Metrophysics foregrounds projects rooted in the urban, including buildings and sites designed with both practical and polemical intent. The work is from a team that operates as a “traditional” architectural studio responding to clients and as a research practice that formulates its own agenda of investigation and intervention. In 2005, Michael Sorkin Studio underwent a mitosis with the founding of Terreform. Given a long history of activist work in a variety of registers—including design, advocacy, and writing—there’d been a long simmering desire to find a form of practice that was more transparent with the non-commercial—even utopian—projects and ambitions that engaged us. Not wanting to give up the prospect of “ordinary” building, however, we formalized the conceptual split into a “straight” architectural practice and an organization doing research, unsolicited interventions, publishing, and propositions. The studio works in a single spirit with a focus on questions of city, on its morphology, systems of equity, and metabolic behavior. What Terreform has learned over the years from New York City (Steady) State—an elaborate speculation meant to determine just how autonomous our city can become—informs “official” projects Sorkin Studio has undertaken in Wuhan, Xi’an, or Istanbul and vice versa. Each side serves as the lab for the other but we’re all on the same page: the iron fiscal curtain between the two entities is a membrane that’s completely porous to ideas. Michael Sorkin is a distinguished professor and director of the Graduate Urban Design Program.

Emerging Voices 2018 Night 2: AGENCY & Fernanda Canales

Emerging Voices 2018

Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller, AGENCY, El Paso Fernanda Canales, Mexico City Introduced by Sunil Bald 1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs The second evening of the annual Emerging Voices lecture series. Emerging Voices spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

AGENCY was founded in 2010. Partners Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller use research, publication, and design to explore broad-ranging issues such as material ecology, government policy, and ethics. Recent projects include Fronts, a research project and book focusing on the relationship between military doctrine and informal urbanism; Breach, which explores the simulated environments developed to train military and security forces; and Border Dispatches, a series of Architect’s Newspaper articles about the U.S.–Mexico border.

Fernanda Canales grew up in Mexico City, where her eponymous firm was founded. She believes “architecture is about creating connections between people, territories, and history.” Recent projects include Bruma House (with Claudia Rodríguez), a residence divided into different modules organized around a central patio, with each location based on views, orientation, and vegetation; Reading Rooms, flexible community spaces that can be built by residents of low-income neighborhoods; and The Monterrey School of Higher Learning in Design, a new campus on the city’s outskirts.

Sunil Bald is a co-founding Principal of the New York-based studioSUMO and a past Emerging Voices winner in 2010. After an initial term as Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale, Bald has continued to teach design studios and visualization at the School. He served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.
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Trump administration vows to block Gateway tunnel funding over political rivalries

The acrimony between the Trump administration and New York and New Jersey officials has reached new heights, as President Trump is reportedly pushing congressional Republicans to block funding for the Hudson River-spanning Gateway tunnel project. AN had previously reported that the administration had pulled federal funding from the $12.7 billion project, but it seems that the move was made to punish New York State Senator Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders in those states. Although Trump’s predecessor had once called the Gateway tunnel, part of a $30 billion revitalization plan for the area, a top priority and promised that the federal government would contribute half, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has called Obama’s promises “a throwaway rally line.” Even after the states upped their combined contributions in the tunnel to $5 billion, the Trump administration turned up their nose at financing the rest. Now, as both the New York Times and Washington Post have reported, President Trump has been personally lobbying House Speaker Paul Ryan to shoot down any chance of Gateway funding making its way into the next spending bill. According to sources in the administration, this is in retaliation to Senator Schumer for supposedly corralling Senate Democrats into delaying or blocking the confirmation of President Trump’s nominees to key positions. It’s unlikely that any money from a future infrastructure bill would find its way to the Gateway tunnel either. In the $1.5 trillion version pitched by President Trump, Gateway would simply be too expensive, owing to contribution limits imposed on the federal government, and would be too old to qualify for much money anyways–projects approved after the bill’s passage are weighted to receive more funding by default. The 105-year-old, two-track rail tunnel that currently runs under the Hudson River is owned by Amtrak, and the company has repeatedly warned that saltwater intrusion from Hurricane Sandy means that one of the tracks will need to be repaired sooner rather than later. Closing one half of the tunnel, intentionally or otherwise, without a backup would reduce train traffic, approximately 200,000 riders daily, under the river by up to 75 percent. Of course, it’s possible that Trump could change his mind yet again down the line; the Gateway project was listed as the administration’s number one priority in the 2016 transition plan.
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Architect and planner Richard Weinstein passes away at 85

Richard Weinstein, an architect whose contributions helped to rethink traditional zoning and urban planning in both New York and Los Angeles, passed on February 24 at the age of 85 from complications related to Parkinson’s disease. Weinstein, a proponent of public-minded urban planning, was known for crafting zoning regulations that were specific to the context of individual neighborhoods rather than conform to a universal template. Weinstein began his academic career in the field of psychology, receiving his B.A from Brown University and an M.A from Columbia. As reported by the New York Times, Weinstein’s professional tenure as a psychologist based in Washington D.C exposed him to the works of Frank Lloyd Wright that dot the capital’s landscape. Spurred by this exposure, Weinstein enrolled in Harvard’s architecture program but ultimately transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his master’s in 1960. The architect’s planning career began following John V. Lindsay’s successful campaign for mayor in 1965. Under the Lindsay administration, Weinstein served as the director of the Office of Planning and Development for Lower Manhattan and was a founding member of the Urban Design Group, a revolutionary body that embedded architects and planners within city governance and decision-making. With the authority of the mayor’s office, the Urban Design Group negotiated directly with the development community to guide New York towards an inclusive and pluralist policy of urban design. Prior to his involvement with the Lindsay administration, Weinstein worked for the firms of Edward Larrabee Barnes and I.M Pei. Weinstein’s approach to planning is described by UCLA as grounded in the belief that “the city’s mandate was to preserve and enrich the life of the public and cultural street as the city grew taller with private investment,” increased tax revenue was not to be considered a valid exchange for building variances. While working for the Lindsay administration, Weinstein was crucial in the protection of Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, Cass Gilbert’s United States Custom House, and pushed for the creation, and expansion, of the Times Square Historic District. His knowledge of New York's complex system of air rights facilitated economic self-sufficiency for the city's landmarks and simultaneously guided development along predetermined channels Weinstein took up the post of dean of UCLA’s Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1985, a post he held until 1994. He remained at UCLA as a professor of architecture and urban design until 2008. There, his influence on a generation of architects was immeasurable. As Thom Mayne, founder and principal of Morphosis, and a professor of architecture at UCLA, stated, "Richard saw architecture/urbanism as a noble profession with immeasurable potential to shape everyday life, inextricably linked to its social, political and cultural circumstance. We often discussed the seemingly unknowable nature of our profession which only propelled us to stubbornly attempt to achieve the impossible — in every project.” Weinstein is survived by his wife, Edina, and two sons – Nikolas and Alexander.

Emerging Voices 2018 Night 1: modus studio, Future Green Studio

Emerging Voices 2018

Chris Baribeau, modus studio, Fayetteville David Seiter, Future Green Studio, Brooklyn Introduced by Jing Liu 1.5 AIA and New York State CEUs The first evening of the annual Emerging Voices lecture series. Emerging Voices spotlights individuals and firms based in the United States, Canada, or Mexico with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism.

Established in 2008, modus studio works across a variety of scales, from furniture design to master planning. The studio is founded on the idea that “relevant and inspiring architecture can be sourced from simple, everyday experiences.” Recent projects include Green Forest Middle School, a reinterpretation of traditional school design for a small agricultural community; Eco Modern Flats, a renovation of four dated Fayetteville apartment buildings to improve aesthetics, performance, and sustainability; and a transformation of a warehouse on a brownfield site into a University of Arkansas sculpture studio.

David Seiter established Future Green Studio in 2008 as a landscape architecture firm that recognizes a “deep integration” between architecture and landscape with an emphasis on research, fabrication, and horticulture. Recent projects include Nowadays, a Queens performance venue with a laid-back, parklike atmosphere; Spontaneous Urban Plants: Weeds in NYC, a book promoting the aesthetic and ecological benefits of weeds; and Half Street, a block-long pedestrian plaza in Washington, D.C. that uses green infrastructure to manage stormwater runoff.

Jing Liu is a co-founding Principal at New York-based SO-IL and is a past Emerging Voices winner in 2013. She has been a faculty member at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation since 2009 and advises the Master’s thesis at Parsons The New School of Design. Liu served on this year’s Emerging Voices committee.
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Architect Lee Harris Pomeroy passes away at 85

Lee Harris Pomeroy, founder of the eponymous architecture studio based in New York City, passed away Sunday night at the age of 85. His firm, Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects, is well known around New York City for its focus on adaptive reuse and its restorations of historical subway stations, including the Bleeker Street stop, which holds the iconic honeycombed light installation by artist Leo Villareal. Pomeroy was born on November 19, 1932, and received his Bachelor’s of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1955, followed by a Master of Architecture degree from Yale in 1961. He founded the studio only three years after that, leading the firm for 52 years until his death. Pomeroy had been recognized for his distinguished career by an AIA New York Fellowship, and as a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The studio has branched out in recent years, completing towers, rail systems and entire mini-cities in both China and India; still, New Yorkers will likely remember Pomeroy most for his tireless advocacy for the creation of the eventual Broadway Theater District.