A 68-story, mixed-use tower set to rise in East Harlem between 96th and 97th Streets on Second Avenue is facing renewed pushback from community groups, even as the New York City government seem to be in unanimous agreement over its development. While the massive, 1.3 million-square foot complex would replace the existing Marx Brothers Playground, developer AvalonBay has promised to rebuild it “piece by piece” nearby; a compromise that preservationists have found unacceptable. As the New York Times reports, the battle over 321 East 96th Street hinges on whether the Marx Brothers Playground is, as the name suggests, a playground or a park. While the distinction might seem small, developing on parkland requires approval from governor and State Legislature. Despite the name, the playground has been maintained by the city parks department since 1947 and bears a plaque on the gates stating the same. Once completed, the new development at the site would yield 1,100 residential units, with 330 of them affordable, 20,000 square feet of retail space, and 270,000 square feet for three schools. One space will be for the School of Cooperative Technical Education, a vocational school, and the other two will be extension spaces for the nearby Heritage School and Park East High School. The educational component is integral to the project, as the New York City Educational Construction Fund (ECF) is a development partner. Pushing back on what they see as the city ceding public land for a private tower, the Municipal Arts Society, along with several preservation groups and the backing of the Trust for Public Land, have filed a lawsuit on December 22nd meant to block the development. Replacing the 1.5-acre playground has the backing of the local community board, City Council, Parks Department, borough president, and former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, all of whom have argued that the additional housing and education facilities are sorely needed. “That is not your typical set of approvals,” said Alyssa Cobb Konon, one assistant commissioner at the parks department. “And I think it speaks to broader support for the project.” Still, Governor Andrew Cuomo has agreed to look into whether the Marx Brothers project would be replacing parkland, and will appoint the commissioner of the state parks department, Rose Harvey, to determine the legal status of the playground. However, as the Times notes, Governor Cuomo has preemptively given his go-ahead to the development, having signed a bill granting AvalonBay the right to begin construction if the site’s legal challenges are found to be without merit. The lawsuit comes at a contentious time for East Harlem, as the recently passed rezoning has already begun changing the neighborhood and creating more parkland.
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Stop by the latest outpost of Sant Ambroeus for your morning coffee and you may not notice all of the design at play. But you’ll certainly feel it, as you enjoy an espresso, Italian-style, at the counter. Your leg will sink into the angle of the Dark Emperador marble slab, and suddenly you’ll feel anchored, calm. That’s because visitors to the Upper East Side coffee shop are in the competent hands of Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture, who used mock-ups to convince their client to place the glowing pastry case at the back and allow generous room for flow. “There’s always a leap of faith from the client, but the shorter you can make it and the more you can show the reasons, the better,” said Enrico Bonetti, the project’s principal in charge, whose firm lead the renovation of the entire building, now called the Hanley. A native of Bologna and a self-professed coffee obsessive, Bonetti looked to the brand’s heritage, “like a producer,” to create a space that would feel both fresh and within the visual language established since the first Sant Ambroeus opened in 1936. “We adjusted what they had, fine-tuned it, and tried to bring some level of quality that you don’t see, but you feel,” Bonetti said. Every element, down to a brass niche precisely proportioned to hide the requisite box of latex gloves, was carefully considered. “You don’t find places like this in Italy,” Bonetti said, settling into a coffee-colored Thonet chair. “The level of refinement is very New York.” Behind the counter, rounded tiles of Marmo Rosa di Verona were glued to the walls by “two very old installers” imported, like the stone, from Italy. The tiles’ shape mirrors the oiled American walnut tambour that clads the remaining walls, while their shade references Sant Ambroeus’s signature peachy-pink hue. Even the ceiling is painted with purpose, nearly imperceptibly, in Benjamin Moore’s Burlap, a neutral take on the color. While it’s unlikely anyone would notice the hue, the entire space glows warmly thanks to layered lighting with metallic-capped LED bulbs in simple ceiling-mounted Schoolhouse Electric fixtures as well as architectural cove lighting combined with a pair of vintage 1950s Paavo Tynell sconces and brass Alvar Aalto pendants. The same care was given to details like the matte black paint that makes the tables’ legs seemingly disappear, the wood newspaper holders sourced from Germany, and even the height of the custom leather bench, which puts sitters at eye level with those across from them. “These are not things that anybody notices, but at the end, they stay with you if not properly treated.” The team also worked with kitchen consultants Clevenger Frable Lavallee to make the space as functional for those working behind the counter as it is beautiful for those waiting in line. But, Bonetti had more than just his clients to please. “It’s mostly thinking selfishly,” the architect joked, “because I want to come back and have a really good cup of coffee.”
Of all the tools designed to provoke urban compliance, the most effective, it seems, is the old-fashioned letter grade. That’s the tool New York City restaurants have to use, for instance, to communicate their health department ratings to would-be diners. Thanks to newly-passed legislation, New York is becoming the first city in the country to require that "energy grades"—A to F ratings based on federal Energy Star energy efficiency scores—be posted at the public entrances of commercial and residential buildings over 25,000 square feet. Currently, the city collects energy and water usage data on private buildings over 50,000 square feet and public buildings over 10,000 square feet and posts the results for these 11,000-plus properties online. The new rules will broaden energy reporting requirements to owners of eligible private buildings, too, and cover around 20,000 structures total. On December 19, the New York City Council passed the bill, 1632A, authored by Council Member Dan Garodnick. If the mayor signs off on the bill, its first provisions will go into effect immediately, but owners won't have to post letter grades in 2020. To get their scores, building owners will need to fill out an online assessment of their property's performance, and the results will be available in a searchable database, in addition to being posted on the building's public entrances. “As the federal government shirks its stewardship of our environment, it is up to cities to step in,” said Garodnick. Despite the US's recent withdrawal from several global sustainability pledges, the city is still aiming, per the 2015 Paris Agreement, to reduce its greenhouse emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. Efforts to do so include transitioning to a renewables-based electric grid, achieving Zero Waste landfills, and replacing fossil-fuel based heating and hot water systems with high efficiency systems. "Nearly 70 percent of greenhouse gas pollution in New York City comes from buildings,” said Rory Christian, director of the New York Clean Energy Environmental Defense Fund, in a prepared statement. “Requiring large buildings to post their energy efficiency grades is a natural next step in the evolution of the city’s energy policies.”
It takes a lot to get a walking New Yorker to look up. Entranced by a phone, or scanning the sidewalk for the fastest way forward, only an explosion, a gunshot, or a really cute puppy can grab one’s attention. So it was with surprise that this writer witnessed, on a recent summer morning, a gaggle of people surrounding a new shoe store on Broadway, in Soho. That store is Galeria Melissa NYC, and the people were staring at feminist video art on two really large screens. Inside, the boutique, by Brazilian designer Muti Randolph, is a footwear paradise in a gallery. This is not the first New York store for Melissa, nor is it the first time the brand, also from Brazil, has worked with the designer. Though Randolph’s vision guided the design of this space, Melissa’s parent company, Grendene, enlisted a local firm to make it all happen. Grendene chose Mancini Duffy for its deep roots in the city and for its retail expertise. Perhaps best known for corporate interiors for clients NBC Sports Group and A+E Networks, the firm has also redesigned one floor of Saks Fifth Avenue, and remade multiple Bloomingdales. So what’s the difference between designing for a department store versus street-level retail? Here, Mancini Duffy did almost nothing to alter the landmarked cast-iron facade, and the store is impossible to miss from the street. In the triangular vestibule, two giant LED screens reflect infinitely off of mirrored flooring. On a recent visit, the screens displayed work by artist Sam Cannon as part of The Future of Her, an in-house exhibition curated by sisters Kelsey & Rémy Bennett. Cannon’s video, a pastiche of mildly subversive candy-colored women’s bodies coated in fluid, heralds the shiny smooth plastic shoes on the main sales floor, just up a metal-lined ramp. The aesthetic is futuristic, if your vision of the future includes lots of lasers. Plastic shoes shine like wet Barbie feet, and the merch looks even more vibrant thanks to white LED ceiling lights. The ribboned overhead lighting is rigged to an MDS lacquered box, which beams out light across at least three walls of mirrors (four if you count the shoes displayed, Hall of Minerals–style, behind a two-way mirror). Melissa’s second life on social media, particularly on Instagram, played no small role in the store’s design. Thanks to online shopping, “there’s been a paradigm shift in how retail works,” said Ali Aslam, designer at Mancini Duffy. Though some decry the death of brick-and-mortar retail, the proliferation of images on the internet is transforming real-life stores into “boots-on-the-ground marketing for brands.” To do this effectively, the team employed eye-catching everything to make the space stand out in that sea of hashtags. In a nod to the structural cast iron columns that dot the main floor, shoes are set out on mini millwork-and-plaster columns, painted a shiny black. While the smaller, movable white displays are lacquer-painted medium-density fiberboard (MDF), the larger, central ones arranged around the structural columns are fabricated in Corian. Though it’s tempting to linger in the main area Instagramming, there are two more rooms to explore. Near the cashier’s desk, a lush green wall beckons from the rear of the space. The architects worked with plantwalldesign, which also did the green wall at Lincoln Center, for this project; the plants can live for decades under (carefully calibrated) light and irrigation systems. The cashier’s desk, Aslam said, exemplifies the collaboration between Randolph and Mancini Duffy. The artist rendered a piece with a long cantilevered edge that looked cool, but would be almost impossible to build. The architects worked with him from the ground up, using the firm’s in-house design lab to 3-D print a model. That model was sent to a millworker in Brazil to create a desk that was “almost to a T the exact thing we agreed on,” Aslam said. Another mini-room, kitty-corner from the cashier’s desk, contains shoes, but the main focus is an immersive video artwork by Signe Pierce, a self-described “reality artist.” The store will host four exhibits annually, a figure that handily coincides with the four best shoe-buying seasons (all of them).
New York-based ODA Architects and developer All Year Management have released renderings for their latest project in Brooklyn, a five-story, 100-key hotel already under construction in Crown Heights. Reminiscent of M.C. Escher’s Ascending and Descending, the hotel at 1550 Bedford Avenue will feature a looped, sloping roof that encircles a central courtyard at ground level. The most prominent feature of the 38,000-square-foot project, christened the Bedford Hotel, will likely be the ring of archways that completely wrap around the building’s base. In creating a porous entryway, ODA tried to encourage curious passerbys to enter and make use of the public plaza, as well as openly explore. Outside of the hotel portion of the building, a banquet hall, retail options, and restaurants will all be publicly accessible. A rooftop bar and several “floating gardens” are also planned for the cascading roof. While the hotel’s defining arches may seem out of place in a neighborhood filled mainly with brownstones, row houses, and historic brick apartment buildings, ODA has tried to nod towards the masonry-heavy vernacular of the surrounding area by cladding the building in dark stone. Inside, the suites are more in line with what might be expected of a trendy hotel, as lightly colored wood wraps the sinuous interiors of the seemingly smaller hotel rooms. ODA explained that this is to "hug residents and guests with curved edges that allude to the building’s bent shape." ODA is on a tear lately, and 1550 Bedford Avenue recalls their similarly shaped 10 Montieth Street project in Bushwick. Although the circuitous, tweaked roof is similar, the Bedford Hotel will hopefully prove more open to the rest of the neighborhood than its hulking predecessor. As CityRealty noted, this section of Brooklyn is lacking in hotel space, and the previously vacant plot that the hotel is rising on was only zoned for commercial development. Although permits for the project were initially filed in July of last year, construction has only recently begun. Owing to the area’s proximity to Prospect Park and several subway lines, the neighborhood has become a hotspot for development in recent years, and the Bedford Hotel will ultimately sit across the street from the controversial Bedford-Union Armory.
With the announcement of a new $1 billion arena "village" in Nassau County, Long Island, the New York Islanders will be leaving Barclays Center in Brooklyn and returning to their namesake island. Not only will the Belmont Park arena hold 18,000 seats, but it will be accompanied by an adjacent 435,000-square-foot, mixed-use development. The Islanders had been looking to return to suburban Long Island since they first moved to Brooklyn. Plagued by complaints about poor seating arrangements and the technical limitations of converting Barclays Center from a basketball venue into a hockey arena, the team has now officially settled on the New York State–owned parking lot next to the Belmont Park Racetrack, home of the famous Belmont Stakes. After their proposal to Empire State Development was accepted yesterday, team owners and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the details of the new venue in a joint press conference. While no information was given on the cost of the arena itself, the team’s majority owner, Jon Ledecky, has said that it will be built using private funds. Sterling Project Development has signed on as a development partner, with the New York branch of Populous listed as the architect for the project. This isn’t the first time the two have worked together, as the duo previously teamed up to build Citi Field in Queens, and Minneapolis’s Target Field. Renderings and plans released for the project show that the development will connect directly with the Long Island Railroad’s Belmont Park station, which will become a full-time stop after the arena’s completion; previously the station was only active during the horseracing season. Because that season runs from May to October, there wouldn’t be much overlap with the hockey season, although one of the included renderings proposes converting the arena into a concert hall during the off-season. Other than the luxury hotel, retail and dining options proposed for the “village” section of the project, a large grandstand area has been laid out to the north of the arena that looks down on the neighboring horse paddock and racetrack. More intriguing is how the plans have set aside an “innervation/incubator community space” to the far south. It remains to be announced how that area will be used, or whether Populous will also be designing the non-arena portions of the site, as well. Although the Islanders have given a 2020 completion date for the project, the team might glide back to Long Island before then. Governor Cuomo has urged the National Hockey League to allow the Islanders to play at Nassau Coliseum in the interim after this season, although Barclays Center officials are hoping that the team will renew its lease with them instead.
In an exit interview with the Yale University School of Architecture student newspaper Paprika!, former dean Robert A.M. Stern said, “Once I became the dean, I stopped going on any kind of a regular basis to live theater in New York, which I used to be quite an habitué of… I was usually so exhausted that at the end of the day I would go and sit in my one hundred dollar seat and have the most expensive snooze ever known to man… I’m looking forward to catching a few plays after June 30.” AN Senior Editor Matt Shaw caught up with Mr. Stern to talk about his life after deanship, his new office, and what else he has been up to in his newfound free time. Matt Shaw: This is my first visit to the new office. It has a similar feeling to the old one. Robert A.M. Stern: Well I don’t like too much change. The new office here on One Park Avenue is a reflection of the previous office on West 34th Street, which was a reflection of its predecessor on West 61st. Also, after being in an office for roughly 20 years, people forgot to throw things away, so the cleansing experience of coming over here—archiving things and so forth—has been great. But we kept the library. I remember that drawing. When we moved here, we just moved the drawing. The clients in Aspen have been friends of mine for a long time, and so I keep it there. I have a sentimental side, which people don’t actually know. They think I’m a man of steel and I’m really Clark Kent at heart. Well, congratulations on the move. So, what are you up to now that you are finished being dean at Yale? You must have lots of free time. Well, that’s not true. To begin with, I’m on sabbatical. I am preparing a new seminar that I will give this coming academic year. For a long time at Yale, I’ve given one seminar called “Parallel Moderns,” which says that what is commonly called “modern architecture”—in cocktail party chatter—is really only the International Style of the modern movement. However, there were many different kinds of modern architecture that ran parallel in the 20th century. I’m also working with Jake Tilove and David Fishman on my New York 2020 book, which I swore I would never do, but here I am. I was hoping to talk about what you do outside the office. What do you enjoy doing in the city? Do have more time to see shows at the theater now that you aren’t back and forth from New Haven? I had a kind of orgy of shows. The last one I saw was the one with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, War Paint. I saw Dear Evan Hansen—I actually saw that before it opened. I knew it was going to be amazing and it was amazing. I saw Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, and the Kevin Kline thing, Present Laughter. I love musicals, as you can tell. There is a series at the City Center where they revive old shows. I saw The Golden Apple and it went in one ear and out the other. What are some of your favorite restaurants? Oh, you sound like a client who’s come in from Oshkosh. I used to love going to the Four Seasons and now… I don’t know, it’s not the same. They kind of sexed it up in a way. We’ll see what happens when it reopens in the fall. But, for me, the Four Seasons was very special. I had many lunches with Philip Johnson in the Grill Room and I kept going there afterward, once or twice a year. I still think it’s a beautiful experience to be there. What about public spaces? Where do you like to take a walk? Obviously from my books, I’m a complete enthusiast for New York. There’s no greater enclosed space in New York—or maybe the world—than the great hall of Grand Central. Central Park is another of the great rooms—and it is a room. There’s a difference between Central Park and Prospect Park. Prospect Park is not a room. You go in there and you get lost, whereas Central Park is a completely defined rectangle with walls of buildings on all four sides, so it’s a great room and I love that. I find Times Square amazing. They’re all kind of clichés because they’re so great. Everybody will say, ‘Oh, doesn’t he know some surprising place?’ No.
In a joint statement by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last week, both states pledged a combined total of $5 billion towards $12.7 billion Gateway Hudson Tunnel Project. The announcement fulfills a promise that half of the project be funded at the state level and half at the federal level, but the Trump administration has called the proposal "entirely unserious." The Hudson tunnel has been contentious for years. Only one rail tunnel currently runs under the Hudson River and between New York and New Jersey, and lingering damage from Hurricane Sandy threatens to close one of the two train tubes. According to Amtrak, which owns the rail tunnel, 200,000 riders pass through daily and closing just one of the tubes for necessary repairs would reduce train traffic between New York City and cities to the west by 75 percent. An earlier, $8.7 billion iteration of the proposed Gateway tunnel would have doubled train traffic between New York and New Jersey, but was canceled by Governor Christie in 2010 over rising costs. The tunnel is also only one part of the larger, $24 billion Gateway Plan that, if fully realized, would expand Penn Station and build new bridges to connect Newark, New Jersey, and New York City. Now that the New Jersey governor is on his way out, Christie seems to have no qualms about recommitting to the now more expensive version of the project. New Jersey has pledged $1.9 billion in funding, with New York agreeing to contribute $1.75 billion, both financed through a 35-year, fixed-interest loan from the Department of Transportation's Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing program. Under the agreement, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey would also contribute $1.9 billion through a similar loan. Despite both states offering to take loans and pay them back with interest, a common method of financing for large infrastructure projects, the Trump administration has refused to accept this deal. While the Obama administration viewed Gateway as an important part of modernizing transit infrastructure in an area that’s vital to the American economy, the current administration has relegated it to a local project. As the Department of Transportation (DOT) spokeswoman told Crain’s, "The plan now seeks 100% of its funding from federal sources." "No actual local funds are committed up front. They propose the project is funded half in grants and half in loans. This is not a serious plan at all." It remains to be seen how the DOT’s shift in attitude will affect similar transit projects nationwide, or how the $1 trillion infrastructure bill proposed by President Trump will impact the Hudson tunnel. Unlike the traditional 50/50 funding model used in the past, Trump’s bill would be funded through public-private partnerships.
Following the city council’s approval of a comprehensive, sometimes contentious East Harlem rezoning earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced yesterday that the city will be committing $83 million towards creating a new waterfront park in East Harlem. The seven-block-long, seven acre-park will feature new bicycle and pedestrian paths, connect the East River Esplanade from East 125th to East 132nd Street, and create an unbroken greenway from East 51st Street to East 145th Street. On top of the newly pledged $83 million in capital, the city had already promised $18 million to restore that same area and another $15 million to fix up the section of the esplanade between East 96th and East 125th Street. All of this follows an announcement by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) that the $100 million riverfront stretch between East 53rd and East 60th Streets was inching towards a construction date. The greenway, a 32-mile-long strip that runs around the edge of Manhattan, will eventually become both an unbroken loop for both bikers and pedestrians, as well as a buffer from coastal flooding. “The East River Esplanade is a major public open space asset that offers wonderful views and a chance to relax for New Yorkers up and down the east side of Manhattan,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in a press release. “As El Barrio/East Harlem neighborhoods have witnessed, however, part of this greenway has been neglected for far too long. That’s why the Council prioritized investing in this important open space as part of the recent East Harlem Rezoning. We are proud to welcome this $101 million capital investment for the construction of a brand new waterfront promenade.” The EDC, in conjunction with the Parks Department, will also be responsible for designing and permitting the revitalized section of East Harlem Esplanade, while Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architecture is the prime consultant for this section of the greenway link. A renewed investment of capital and attention in the upper half of the East River Esplanade has been sorely needed. This year, sections of the promenade’s seawall have sloughed off into the river, shipworms continue to eat away at the wooden piles underneath, and sinkholes keep forming as a result of gaps between the underlying concrete slabs, according to the Parks Department. Construction on the new park is expected to begin in 2020, when work on the adjacent the Harlem River Drive is completed. The EDC is expecting that the work will take approximately three years, and finish in 2023. As for the section between East 96th and East 125th Street, the EDC is expected to re-survey the area in 2018 and present their recommendations afterward.
2017 Best of Design Award for Unbuilt – Commercial: The Ronald O. Perelman Center at the World Trade Center Architect: REX Location: New York On one of the most significant sites in New York City, the Ronald O. Perelman Center at the World Trade Center will feature works of theater, dance, music, film, and opera. It is a pure form, wrapped in translucent, veined marble, laminated within insulated glass. The performing arts center includes three auditoria, which can combine to form seven additional configurations and a rehearsal room—all can adopt manifold stage-audience configurations with flexible patron flow—as well as offices and recreational spaces. The keystone and final piece of the World Trade Center master plan, the Perelman Center embraces creation and memory with respectful individuality. “A respectful addition to a complicated site, with an especially elegant, thin marble skin that is sure to transform the surrounding public space, day and night.” —Irene Sunwoo, Director of Exhibitions, GSAPP (juror) Architect of Record: Davis Brody Bond Theater Consultant: Charcoalblue Facade Consultant: Front Structural Engineers: Magnusson Klemencic Associates with Silman Acoustics + Vibration: Threshold Acoustics with Wilson Ihrig Honorable Mention Project: Lima Art Museum (MALI) Architect: Young Projects Location: Lima, Peru This proposal for the New Contemporary Art Wing at Lima Art Museum inverts two mirrored ellipses, creating a structural and conceptual grid. The geometric orientation of the ellipse, its curve orbiting two focal points, contrasts the rectilinear logic of the existing historic Palacio de la Exposición.
2017 Best of Design Award for Infrastructure: The Regional Unified Network Designer: ReThinkStudio Location: New York
The Regional Unified Network (RUN) is a multistage proposal to unlock the full potential of the Tri-State area’s mass transit system by making a few crucial investments at key choke points. With the creation of new transit hubs and more useful service patterns, RUN will allow the region to develop as a connected whole rather than a series of parts. RUN repurposes existing infrastructure, reallocates or redirects proposed spending, and fits within the overall funding commitments already made. When fully built, RUN will enable travelers to get to any point in the region via mass transit, either directly or with seamless and easy connections just like London’s Crossrail or the Paris RER. “The idea that this is a game changer for New York is obviously an understatement. This city needs bold and big ideas to wrestle with its failings in infrastructure.” —Nathaniel Stanton, principal, Craft Engineer Studio (juror) Honorable Mention Project: Houston-Galveston Area Protection System Designer: Rogers Partners Location: Galveston Bay, Texas The Houston-Galveston Area Protection System (H-GAPS) is a regional surge protection system. The H-GAPS strategy involves multiple lines of defense, combining a coastal spine-type barrier system with an in-bay barrier system. Once complete, HGAPS will contribute 9,000 acres of publicly-accessible waterfront destination for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.
2017 Best of Design Award for Representation – Digital: Three Projects Designer: SPORTS Location: New York Three Projects is a series of 3-D-printed model-drawings that represent three built projects by SPORTS. As hybrid representations, they are a collection of artifacts that unpack the layered and latent nature of the work. Each project—“Runaway,” “Rounds,” and “Stay Down, Champion, Stay Down”—is represented in multiple, highlighting the various layers of visual effects, formal details, and hidden programmatic potentials. The three projects represent a larger design campaign that embraces novelty and discovery in architecture, balancing precision and provocation. “It’s easy for architects to fall into old representational tropes or rely on computer-produced images. I like how the entrants are reimagining what a drawing can be and what it can do. Drawing and thinking are so related that radical representation techniques like this can really transform how we think about what we’re building. ” —Morris Adjmi, principal, Morris Adjmi Architects (juror) Design and Fabrication: Greg Corso + Molly Hunker Honorable Mention Project: MIDDLE EARTH: DIORAMAS FOR THE PLANET Designer: NEMESTUDIO Location: Conceptual Middle Earth: Dioramas for the Planet explores the role of architectural representation in relation to climate change through dioramas depicting nature. The project is a speculative architectural proposal situated at the exact location on Earth where the equator crosses the prime meridian near the Gulf of Guinea, Africa. Each diorama displays a specific problem brought by climate change taking place at the "middle of the earth." Honorable Mention Project: New Cadavre Exquis Designer: NEMESTUDIO Location: Conceptual New Cadavre Exquis speculates on architecture’s materiality in the context of digital accumulation, a critical reflection of global culture. The project consists of four architectural assemblies, which are created via a sampling process of digital ready-mades ranging from everyday objects and building elements to primitive forms and natural features culled from the 3-D Warehouse, an online open-source digital library of more than two million 3-D models.