Posts tagged with "New York City":

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In Construction> Bjarke Ingels’ “court-scraper” tops out on 57th Street

When we talk about the batch of luxury towers coming to 57th Street, we’re typically talking about very tall, very skinny, very glassy buildings. But not, of course, when it comes to W57—Bjarke Ingels' very pyramid-y addition to the street he calls a "court-scraper" for its combination of the European courtyard building with a New York skyscraper. Last time we checked in on Bjarke's pyramid—sorry, Durst would prefer we all call it a “tetrahedron”—it was only a few stories high. That was back in June, and since then, the sure-looks-like-a-pyramid has topped out at 450 feet and crews have begun installing its facade. Field Condition, a site that tracks construction projects around New York City, recently visited the tower and documented all that progress. When W57 is completed next year, it will contain 709 rental apartment (20 percent of which will be below market-rate) and 45,000 square feet of commercial and retail space. The structure will also have a massive courtyard cut into its sloping side.
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Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo lead nation in growth of bicycle commuters

Portland still dominates the American Community Survey ranking the 70 largest cities with the highest share of bike commuters, but the list shakes up some preconceptions when you count which cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013. The League of American Bicyclists runs the numbers every year, pulling data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. This year's bike culture report card, as it were, has Portland, Washington, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and New Orleans topping its list of bicycle commuters as a percentage of total population. In total 13 cities report more than 2 percent of their population biking to and from work. Growth in that number is more startling. They're small overall numbers, perhaps inflating the percent change figure, but the growth since 1990 for eight cities is over 100 percent. The following cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013:
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Pictorial> One World Trade Center officially opens its doors

After years of delays and nearly $4 billion in costs, One World Trade Center is officially open. Earlier today, about 175 Condé Nast employees walked past a scrum of reporters and into the SOM-designed tower where the media company has leased 24 floors. By early next year, Condé Nast is expected to have all of its 3,400 employees within the building. Still, less than 60 percent of the 1,776-foot-tall tower has been leased. A few hours after the Condé Nast employees arrived for work, AN went down to the World Trade Center site to check out One World Trade's lobby. The multi-story space is clad in white marble, which according to the New York Times, comes from the same quarry that was used when constructing the original Twin Towers. These expansive white walls are partially covered with artwork and colorful columns of light caused by sunlight passing through the lobby's translucent glass fins. The lobby connects to Calatrava's $4 billion Transit Hub through a subterranean passageway, and to the September 11 Memorial through a street-level entrance. One World Trade's observation deck, known as the One World Observatory, is expected to open this spring and will be accessible through a separate entrance on the lobby's western side. That entrance comes with a small public plaza which, as of today, looks like an afterthought as it is just an expanse of concrete and a few trees. The opening of One World Trade comes as the long-delayed, over-budget, 16-acre World Trade Center redevelopment continues to grow and connect into the city grid. The Maki-designed 4 World Trade Center is officially open, the final wings are being welded onto the Transit Hub, and Richard Rogers' stalled 3 World Trade Center is restarting its climb. At the same time, construction shedding is coming down and sidewalks are reopening, making the entire complex feel a little more concrete.
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Vote for your favorite “Irrelevant” costume from Storefront’s Critical Halloween!

The New York City architecture community was never more colorfully "irrelevant" than last Friday on Halloween as they responded to the Storefront for Art and Architecture themed party, I-RELEVANCE. There were nearly 600 designers and friends in all sorts of passé and outmoded theme costumes. They competed for three awards: Best Critical Costume, which was won by "Pure Shit" from Robert A.M Stern Architects; Best Group Costume, which went to to "The Money Shot" by SO-IL; and Best Individual Costume went to "Landscape Urbanism" by Matt Choot. One more award, the "People's Choice" award, is still pending an online vote. Head over here to view the costumes and vote for your favorite through November 7 at 5:00p.m. EST. I served as costume juror along with Roddy Schrock, Campbell Hyers, Sebastian Errazuriz, and Eva Franch. For a look at the colorfully irrelevant costumes photographed by Yuko Torihara, go here or check out Storefront's Facebook page.
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Tonight> AIANY presents A Changing Landscape: Public Space and the New Administration

What is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's position on design and public space? Does he care about design or think it is simply a prerogative of the city’s middle class populations? It is one the conundrums of the current administration that it wants to create 200,000 units of affordable housing but does not seem to care about the architecture of the buildings or or how they might affect their surrounding neighborhoods. There is much that is laudable in the mayor's push for new affordable housing, but will all this new construction be a step back from the progressive attitude of the Bloomberg administration concerning the physical and spatial aspects of the city? These issues—and others of great concern to the city's design community—will be the topic of discussion tonight at the AIANY's Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place in a panel discussion called "A Changing Landscape: Public Space and the New Administration." The principal presenters are all architects and landscape designers closely involved in current city projects and proposals for the future: —Susannah Drake of dlandstudio. —Gonzalo V. Cruz of AECOM Landscape Architecture Studio. —Adam Yarinsky of Architecture Research Office. They all have their own positions and thoughts on city government, public policy, and urban design so the roundtable will be a highly entertaining event. I will be moderating the panel and keeping it lively and on point. It starts at 6:00p.m. (More info here.) See you tonight!
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Archtober Building of the Day #31> Starlight at the Museum of the City of New York

Archtober Building of the Day #31 Starlight at the Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue Cooper Joseph Studio Starlight, the aptly named chandelier in the neo-Georgian rotunda of the Museum of the City of New York, was a marvelous termination to our fourth Archtober. Wendy Evans Joseph, principal at Cooper Joseph Studio, described the light fixture with meticulousness equal to the design itself. Fifteen feet in diameter, the display is a three dimensional grid of paired LED lenses fixed within three wires and suspended from the ceiling. The visual effects are stunning, ranging from infinite reflected vistas of tiny lights, to starbursts, and pixelated moire patterns. Executive Director Susan Henshaw Jones joined the tour and called the piece “the most successful thing ever!” and “everybody’s favorite thing!” Demonstrating the extraordinary craft of Studio 1 Thousand and RUSHdesign, Starlight provides a dynamic experience enhancing the trip up the swell old marble stair. It received a 2014 AIA New York Chapter Design Award in the catch-all “Projects” category. So Archtober 4 comes to a close, and the ghosts and ghouls have mustered down here in Greenwich Village for the after the annual Halloween parade. See you next year!
Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober:  Architecture and Design Month NYC.  She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell.  After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson,  held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. ckracauer@aiany.org 
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Archtober Building of the Day #30> Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility

Archtober Building of the Day #30 Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility 472 2nd Avenue, 29th Street Pier, Brooklyn Selldorf Architects Eadaoin Quinn, the education and administrative coordinator at the SIMS Municipal Recycling Facility presented a classroom full of Archtober enthusiasts with a detailed and informative presentation of the automated process of material sorting and recovery that is recycling. Quinn told us about the machinery of sorting, starting with the “liberator shredder,” which opens the large garbage bags that recyclables arrive in by truck or barge. Each step of the almost entirely automated process has a purpose-built system of conveyor belts and sorting machines that transform bags of trash into re-sellable bales of like material. The sorting processes themselves are interesting: the Ballistic Separator is comprised of rotating planes that push flat plastic bags up an inclined plane while, at the same time, glass is broken and sent downward to another conveyor. The Eddy Current separator can distinguish between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Optical sorters can “see” what kind of plastic is passing by on the belt, and signal a puffer to blow the lighter material out of the line onto another conveyor. Today was cleaning day, so we did not get to see all of these machines in action. But we did see 400 tons of trash waiting to make its way into the process. Selldorf Architects received an AIANY 2014 Merit Award in Architecture for the structure that houses the piles of trash and the machines that sort and bale them. The Design Awards jury stated: “Extraordinary project. Not many people are capable of recognizing how construction to cover garbage can be nice.” Alas, none of the building’s architects attended the tour. Too bad, because it was a spectacular day out there on the Gowanus waterfront. There was a good sized crowd, and a couple of really smart kids asking intelligent questions.
Cynthia Phifer Kracauer, AIA, is the Managing Director of the Center for Architecture and the festival director for Archtober:  Architecture and Design Month NYC.  She was previously a partner at Butler Rogers Baskett, and from 1989-2005 at Swanke Hayden Connell.  After graduating from Princeton (AB 1975, M.Arch 1979) she worked for Philip Johnson,  held faculty appointments at the University of Virginia, NJIT, and her alma mater. ckracauer@aiany.org 
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Archtober Building of the Day #29> Green-Wood Cemetery Columbarium, Tranquility Gardens, and Chapel/Crematorium

Archtober Building of the Day #29 Green-Wood Cemetery Columbarium, Tranquility Gardens, and Chapel/Crematorium 500 25th Street, Brooklyn PBDW Architects The trend in burial at Green-Wood Cemetery is decidedly toward cremation. Built in 1838, and the final resting place of 570,000 people, it is “literally running out of space,” according to Green-Wood President Richard J. Moylan. He estimated they’ll run out of space for in-ground burials in the next five years. “We could pack them in tighter, but that would ruin it,” he said. Anne Holford-Smith said her firm consulted a feng shui expert when designing the gardens and columbarium. “To make sure we don’t commit too many sins,” explained Moylan. The “qi” flows well through the garden, which is dominated by a shallow pond, complete with koi fish. A footbridge over the pond supports a striking glass obelisk whose interior offers a place for contemplation. The path leads to the columbarium, Latin for dovecote, a building filled with niches to house urns of cremated remains. “We really fell in love with the glass,” said Holford-Smith, explaining the dominant motif of the horseshoe-shaped columbarium that circles one end of the pond. PBDW wanted to bring “the outside inside, and the inside outside,” she said. Although they are somber and richly textured, the rooms have an airy openness, with floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the rolling hills of the old-fashioned cemetery beyond. Intimate spaces have curved walls of niches and discrete seating areas with upholstered furniture and soft carpeting. Orchids sit on coffee tables. The only sound is the rushing of air. PBDW worked in several different materials, which Green-Wood offers at different price-points for its “niche” customers. Transparent glass is the most popular, followed by opaque granite. Frosted glass is not a big seller, and no one seems to want the wooden niches with folding doors and little locking compartments. Apparently the columbarium’s customers want their jade urns, complete with small pictures of their deceased loved ones, visible to all passersby. Moylan explained that niches at eye- or heart-level are the most expensive. “It’s all location, location, location,” he said.
Tyler J. Kelley is a freelance journalist living in New York City. His documentary film Following Seas will be out this spring. See a trailer and more of his work at the-jetty.com
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Over $129 billion worth of New York City property at risk from flooding

The New York City Comptroller's office marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a dire report on the expected costs of the next big storm. Based on updated flood insurance maps from FEMA, the report finds that over $129 billion worth of property sits within the city’s 100-year floodplain – an increase of more than 120% from earlier maps. (100-year flood zones cover areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.) “In short, FEMA’s revised maps depict a greatly expanded floodplain that places almost three and a half times as many structures in high-risk zones and anticipates greater severity of flooding for those buildings already in the flood zone,” reads the report. “This new landscape holds important implications for resiliency investments, flood insurance, and the role of government in protecting homeowners from the next great storm.” To protect the city, the comptroller suggests significant investments in resiliency projects like HUD’s Rebuild By Design competition. These types of large-scale projects would protect property and, ideally, control flood insurance insurance premiums which are expected to spike when FEMA's proposed maps take effect in 2016. But that will only happen, explains the comptroller, if FEMA becomes a more agile and responsive agency: “FEMA is under no obligation under current rules to regularly review and update premiums despite the fact that the installation of costal protections—including surge barriers, artificial reefs, dunes, jetties, living shorelines, and floodwalls—are proven to help stem the effects of localized flooding and substantially lower flood risk." [h/t Vice]
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Pratt Floats Student Work on a Mylar Cloud

Installation inverts conventional relationship between architectural models and images.

Each year, a group of Pratt Institute graduate students is challenged with pushing the boundaries of exhibition design as they curate the student work from the previous year. "The basic brief is for it not to be a show where it's work on white walls, but that there's an installation component," said Softlab's Michael Szivos, who co-taught the 2014 exhibition course with Nitzan Bartov. The spring show coincides with the publication of Process, a catalog of student projects. "The book shows it in that more normative condition, year by year," said Szivos. "The installation works in tandem with that. The hope is that the students come up with something different." This year Szivos' students passed the test with flying colors, constructing a floating display out of Mylar, medium-density fiberboard, cardboard, and Tyvek that upends the conventional relationship between architectural models and two-dimensional images. Most of the students' initial concepts had to do with producing a cloud-like space, a display surface that would have an interior as well as an exterior. They eventually translated the cloud into a Mylar net that acts as both surface and structure. Architectural models, typically relegated to podiums on the fringes of an exhibition, are given pride of place on integrated MDF platforms perforated with attenuated cardboard tubes. The visual work, in turn, is placed on the ground, positioned as if it is being projected from the suspended tubes. Conventionally, said Szivos, "the hard layer is usually resting on the ground; then you have the visual layer above it. Here, the hard surface is flipped upside down and floating."
  • Fabricator Mike Szivos/Softlab, Nitzan Bartov, Pratt graduate students
  • Designers Mike Szivos/Softlab, Nitzan Bartov, Pratt graduate students
  • Location Brooklyn
  • Date of Completion 2014
  • Material Mylar, MDF, cardboard, Tyvek, grommets, fashion snaps, galvanized pipes, pipe clamps
  • Process Rhino, Kangaroo, laser cutting, CNC milling, sawing, snapping, hanging
Visitors access the models by ducking underneath the Mylar cloud, then standing within one of several holes in the bottom surface. "The goal was that the models would actually be seen at eye level," said Szivos. "In this case, it's almost as if it's a city of models. Each zone is a place where the models can be viewed on real architectural terms." A second goal was surprise, which the students achieved by concealing the models behind diamond-shaped Tyvek panels attached to exterior of the net. "You don't know what's inside until you engage," said Szivos. The students engineered the cloud structure using Rhino and Kangaroo. In just two months—the exhibition is timed for Pratt's spring open house—the students finalized the design and decided how to fabricate it. The bulk of the cloud is made of laser-cut Mylar panels fastened together with grommets. Loops at the bottom of the panels secure platforms made of CNC-cut MDF scattered on a sea of sawed-off cardboard tubes, while the Tyvek panels (also laser-cut) are held in place with fashion snaps. The entire installation hangs from a tube frame of galvanized pipe clamped to the gallery's ceiling beams. Time constraints led to a few shortcuts. The students initially intended to develop a projection component, but in the end simply printed most of the two-dimensional images and placed them on the floor. They had also hoped to cover the entire Mylar net in Tyvek, but eventually limited themselves to the lowest rows only. Nevertheless, the project effectively demonstrates the architectural potential of surface-as-structure—in this case, a net weighing under 20 pounds that suspends over 500 pounds of weight. "The surface is a structural skin," said Szivos. "What's nice is that even though it's only attached on the outside, there are still interior spaces."
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With deal in place, Citi Bike system set to expand in 2015

It's happening. After years of talks and reports, it's actually, finally, in-paper, happening—Citi Bike is expanding. Tuesday, at the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the system of 6,000 bikes will double by the end of 2017—putting 2,000 more bikes on the streets than initially envisioned when the program was launched. The news comes as Bikeshare Holdings, a private investment company headed by the CEOs of Equinox and Related Companies, acquires Alta Bicycle Share, which oversees Citi Bike, and other bikeshare programs around the world. As the Daily News first reported, former MTA Chairman Jay Walder will serve as Alta's new CEO. Starting next year, a new fleet of blue bikes will arrive in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, and in Long Island City, Queens. As Citi Bike noted on its blog, all of these stations were intended to be part of the program's "initial deployment." Based on a map provided by Citi Bike, the second phase of expansion will include Upper Manhattan, Astoria, Queens, and more Brooklyn neighborhoods. But the system won't just be expanded, it will be entirely overhauled. Anyone who has been on a Citi Bike recently knows why—seats are torn, bikes are broken, docks are out-of-service, and the credit card system is glitchy. To pay for all of this, and to keep the program solvent moving forward, Citi Bike will raise the annual membership fee from $95 a year to $149. The $60 annual membership New York City Housing residents will not change. According to the NYC DOT, Bikeshare Holdings has invested $30 million into the program, the Partnership Fund for New York City pledged $5 million, the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group is lending $15 million for a credit increase, and Citigroup has increased its sponsorship commitment by $70.5 million and has extended it through 2024. (Citi initially paid $41 million for a five-year sponsorship contract). “We believe in Citi Bike’s potential as a fixture of New York City’s public transit system," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "It can make our neighborhoods more accessible, help us achieve our sustainability goals, and bridge inequities in our transportation network. To achieve all that, bike share has to be reliable and responsive to community’s needs. Today, after tremendous efforts across our administration, we can say we have the management and the support in place to fulfill that mission."
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Archtober Building of the Day #28> Snøhetta’s Times Square Reconstruction

Archtober Building of the Day #28 Times Square Reconstruction Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets) Snøhetta “Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children. Snøhetta’s plan for Times Square is successful because it doesn’t assert itself as a piece of architecture or design. Instead, it serves as a foil for the craziness around it. At one of the brightest and loudest intersections in the world their goal was to create a space, “that’s open and flexible and can be used by a lot of different user groups for a lot of things,” said Koster. Broadway and 7th Avenue form a bowtie-shaped, four-acre space as they cross between 42 and 47 streets. Snøhetta’s challenge was to design a public space along the closed two-acre portion of Broadway. The constraints were many and various, from the “guests of the street,” as the city calls the utilities like Con Edison and Verizon whose cables lie beneath Broadway, to the Shuttle Train subway tunnel, which at some points is just three inches below the sidewalk. To unify the new public space the firm chose an iconic paving scheme anchored with fifty-foot stone benches, which are not yet installed. The dingy gum-covered sidewalk was demolished. What was once the street was raised to sidewalk level, and separated from the cross streets with a new granite curb. The former street and sidewalk were covered with a pattern of quartz-finished pavers punctuating by stainless steel bolts. “We wanted something really subtle that captures the light,” said Koster. Claire Felman, of Snøhetta, explained that the bolts are reminiscent of the marquis lights of “the great white way,” an older iteration of Times Square. Koster said a major objective was “the act of de-cluttering.” Events and vendors who use the plaza need electricity, but Snøhetta wanted to do away with the droning generators and wires that line the pavement. The solution was subterranean wiring built into the benches. The monolithic benches are also intended to direct the flow of pedestrian traffic and create quieter sub-spaces, as Koster put it, “a place of rest that people need.”
Tyler J. Kelley is a freelance journalist living in New York City. He also teaches printmaking at Parsons The New School for Design. Find more of his writing at the-jetty.com