Posts tagged with "New York City":

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South Street Seaport Preservationistas: Oh no! PoMo Don’t Go!

The PoMo aficionados were out in force at yesterday’s Landmarks Preservation hearing for the new proposal for South Street Seaport’s Pier 17. It would seem that just as debate on the value of 1970s Brutalism shifts into high gear, the 1980s PoMo crowd is revving its engines. As preservationists and developers whacked it out, some larger questions about context and neighborhood integration arose. The SHoP-designed tectonic glass response to Ben Thompson’s wood-clad gables of the exiting 1985 Pier 17 building is a clear break from the past, both literally and figuratively. SHoP’s Gregg Pasquarelli didn’t mince words when he told the New York Times “We’re taking away the po-mo and making it a real waterfront market building.” But Thompson, who died in 2002, had plenty of defenders on hand yesterday, including a statement from his wife Jane Thompson, who warned that real estate in the new plan “will inevitably rise to premium rates; privatization will intensify, which forces a turn to luxury retail.” Elise Quasebarth, of the preservation consultancy group Higgins Quasebarth, testified on behalf of Howard Hughes Corporation, the developer, that many of the upland elements planned in conjunction with the 1980s "festival marketplace" are still fundamentally robust. The SHoP worked with James Corner Field Operations to further integrate the street grid through a north-south connection to the East River Waterfront Esplanade and east-west connections to Beekman and Fulton streets. But the deal between NYC Economic Development Corporation and Howard Hughes has a distinct cutoff point at the so-called Tin Building. The empty 1907 structure, which formerly housed a market, sits at the river’s edge where the pier juts into the river. Though the plan has the support of Community Board 1, the board did encourage a master plan that carries through the entire South Street Seaport Historic District. Further complicating matters, the district actually cuts through half of Pier 17. The board resolved the districting by extending the boundary to incorporate the north section of the pier as well. The concern was driven home by local wine merchant Marco Pasanella who testified that the uplands should be considered as part and parcel pier plan and that only a “holistic” approach would work, particularly while the pier is under construction. Pasanella said the big picture should ensure that the plan attract similar tenants and “the right sort of visitors." Speaking on behalf of the Howard Hugh’s Corporation, senior executive vice president Chris Curry said the taking the nearby elements into account, particularly the Tin Building, would require a separate ULURP.  He added that the company wants to make an immediate investment, though that wouldn't preclude additional investments down the line. For the time being however, the cutoff point leaves a few of Thompson’s gables left at the back of the pier. Pasquarelli said they would be painted a uniform color to visually drop away. The gables would still function as a mask for mechanical equipment. If all goes as planned, a little slice of PoMo might survive after all.      
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Kimmelman Delivers at Barnard Tonight

Forget for a moment that President Obama bumped the New York TimesJill Abramson from the dais to deliver this year’s commencement address at Barnard and not his alma mater, Columbia College. Tonight, the Times’ architecture critic Michael Kimmelman will be delivering a lecture at Barnard's Diana Center, titled Public Space and Public Consciousness. However, a busy Kimmelman also appeared last night at GSAPP, for a conversation with Columbia Professor Gwendolyn Wright. Kimmelman addressed growing criticism of his focus on the city as a whole as opposed to addressing architecture as buildings, by reminding the audience that he’s only been at the gig for four months and still had plenty to address. He said he had hoped to create a more porous and fluid forum for debate about the city and architecture, through blogs and reader commentary—but that the resources to edit and filter comments at the newspaper are thin, and there was a concern that the blog could be “taken over by crazy people.” He added that Ada Louise Huxtable remains the model for dealing with citywide and policy issues alongside architecture. “A false dichotomy has been set up; there’s this idea that writing about urban affairs and architecture are separate,” he said. “They’re part of the same world.” He acknowledged the criticism. “When is he going to write about…” he parroted an oft-asked question. “...architecture,” Wright finished—before concurring that the same problem exists in academia where a distinct line is drawn between social history and architectural history. Unsurprising for a former European corespondent, he invoked Rome and suggested that rather than looking at Zaha Hadid’s MAXXI as a sculptural object, he could address its Bilbao-esque  intentions. MAXXI may have been positioned as a game changer for an underdeveloped Roman neighborhood, but infrastructural changes needed to be in place to make any real difference. The same thing goes, he contended, at the High Line, whose success now has James Corner getting calls from far flung cities to order up their own High Line that will transform the neighborhood. Kimmelman said such high-profile works of architecture and landscape design are but capstones to what was essentially a very long haul addressing infrastructural and government processes that have little to do with architecture. “It creates the illusion that architecture alone can make a change,” he said said of Gehry's Bilbao. “There was lots of structural and social engineering that preceded the building.” After the event, he spent almost an hour talking with students about sites and projects in New York Public Space and Public Consciousness will be delivered at 6PM tonight at the Event Oval in the Diana Center.
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Slideshow> A New York Year in A New York Minute

Neither blizzards, an earthquake, or Hurricane Irene slowed down work here at 21 Murray Street. Nor did any of these disrupt work down the street at the World Trade Center. The demonstrations at Zuccotti Park did not get in the way, nor the spontaneous turn out following the death of Osama bin Laden. Construction only paused for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Some of the year's biggest stories sat at our doorstep, and quite often, we only had to go downstairs to capture their images. Here are a few photos of the news and news-makers taken downtown, as well as a few from uptown, across town, and over the river...
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AN Video> DDG’s Bluestone Clad 41 Bond

DDG Partner's latest project uses a material often found under foot and gives it a hard-earned respect long deserved. New York State bluestone clads the entirety of 41 Bond's facade, a condo with four full floor units, a ground floor townhouse, a duplex, and a penthouse duplex. Over the past few months usual Bond Street soundscape of tires rumbling over cobblestone has been interrupted by the clangs of the quarry, as masons fit the stone into place. All of the stone carving was done on site. DDG's CEO Joseph McMillan, Jr. and chief creative officer Peter Guthrie give AN a tour...
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Coach Seated Business Class at Hudson Yards

Mayor Bloomberg and top city officials joined executives from the Related Companies, Oxford Properties, and fashion label Coach underneath the northernmost spur of the High Line on Tuesday to announce the first anchor tenant at Hudson Yards on Manhattan's West Side. "Today we announce Coach as the anchor tenant at Hudson Yards," said Related CEO Stephen Ross. He told the crowd that construction could start in a few months. Coach will relocate 1,500 employees currently scattered across three buildings nearby into a sleek glass and steel KPF-designed tower overlooking the High Line, occupying about a third of the planned first tower. Covering 26 acres along the Hudson River and spanning a LIRR train storage yard, Hudson Yards will mix residential, commercial, retail, and cultural space to create what Ross described as the "Rockefeller Center of the 21st century." Two tapering buildings on the eastern edge of the site—the first to be built—tilt away from each other, appearing to peek overtop of their neighbors. They are joined by a seven-story glass-enclosed retail podium, forming a twin-towers-over-a-mall typology that Related made famous at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. At 5.5 million square feet and three city blocks long, Related says the "superblock building" will be the largest commercial building in New York. "Finally you're going to get a building as nice as your pocket books," said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The neighborhood is poised to become  a center of fashion and culture in Manhattan, a point Bloomberg made in declaring that Fashion Week will someday take place at the Culture Shed, an arts center designed by Diller, Scofidio & Renfro with Rockwell Group planned at Hudson Yards. While not on stage for the announcement, Bill Pedersen of KPF remarked on the mega-project's design in a statement. "Hudson Yards must link to the prevailing industrial character of the West Side, while also summarizing this context with a fresh visual dynamic. As a time when extraordinary urban projects are arising around the world, Hudson Yards will be an important symbol of New York's continued leadership in global urbanism." The development of Hudson Yards is aided by the extension of the number 7 subway line from Times Square that officials said is on schedule to open at the end of 2013. New glass-canopied subway entrances designed by Toshiko Mori Architect will be located in Hudson Park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh north of the site. The announcement is also a boon to the third and final segment of the High Line, which wraps around the Hudson Yards site. Coach's new global headquarters is located in the shorter, southern tower straddling a section of the elevated park and a large glass atrium will eventually face the park. All parties involved—Related, Coach, and the city—agreed that the High Line should play a prominent role in Hudson Yards. "We at Related look forward to continuing to work with the city, and the Friends of the High Line to transform segment three, and make it a very special place," said Ross. Bloomberg noted that the city is working with CSX to transfer the final segment of rail to the city.

AN Video> Performer: An Auto-Affirmation for Everyone

Next time you are in Times Square, don't be shy when you see a spotlight-- no matter how lame your dance moves are, you are guaranteed an explosive roar of applause from an invisible, enthusiastic crowd of people as long as you are moving. (What a refreshing departure from the notorious American Idol jury.) This location-appropriate spotlight installation is an interactive public art work by Adam Frank, an installation artist and a product inventor, whose body of work "represents an ongoing investigation of light and interactivity." His shadow-casting oil lamp, LUMEN, is one of the MoMA Store’s best-selling items. Frank's Performer installation near Times Square--a spotlight, speakers, and an "auto-affirmation" machine--provides a virtual 500-person audience culled from hundreds of live recorded reactions, such as clapping, whistling, hooting, and mumbling. Unsuspecting visitors passing by will only see a spotlight, while speakers, motion sensor, and wiring are cleverly hidden in the semi-enclosed breezeway, a location that effectively provides an open acoustic environment that can make the mechanics of the installation invisible. While the recorded enthusiasm begins when someone walks into the spotlight, it will increase or decrease depending on the performer's motion. There are even uncomfortable coughs and awkward throat-clearings if you stop being charming by standing still. "Performer flips the typical viewer-and-artwork relationship: the viewer's performance is necessary to activate and control the work," said Frank. This reversal of roles is especially potent against the backdrop of the flashy Theater District, where normally a passive, receptive role is expected. "Over a year ago, we got over 400 responses to our open call for art projects in Times Square--the second we saw this, we knew we wanted to do it, " said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. "For over 100 years, Times Square has been a magnet for people who love being in the spotlight, and that particular phenomenon has only intensified, with technology's help, in recent years." While Tompkins rightly points out the relationship between technology and stardom--what with all the Youtube fames, blog stardom and whatnot--what modern technology enabled us to do may not be true to the classic concept of being a star, a performer--a light-and-stage kind, a la old Broadway. Instead, more and more "stars" are born off-stage, often secluded in their dark room with a brightly-lit Macbook. Frank's Performer, then, is a classic throwback, demanding a public performance with a physical spotlight (but with a forgiving audience). So next time you want to practice for that dreaded final review or presentation, bring your architectural models to the most easygoing 500-people panel of all. WHEN: Open to the public Oct 13th to Nov 22nd WHERE: Anita's Way at the Bank of America Tower, One Bryant Park (Passageway connecting West 42nd and West 43rd St.) Photos by Ariel Rosenstock.
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Reflecting the Stars on the Hudson

With the High Line getting the lion's share of attention lately, Hudson River Park feels more neighborhoody then ever. Last night's opening of public art installation by artist/performer Jon Morris of Windmill Factory felt pretty down home with everyone sprawling out on the grass around Morris, who explained the inspiration for his light show which sits out in the water. Growing up in Beria, Kentucky, Morris could see the stars, but in New York light pollution made the experience impossible.  His idea was to sprinkle a little stardust onto the Hudson in the form of solar powered LEDs attached to the tops of pilings from a long departed pier. New Yorkers are in the midst of a deep infatuation with their industrial past. Call it nostalgia, call it reappropriation, call it what you will, but nowhere is it better exemplified than in the High Line. And so there's probably no one better to comment on new art using old infrastructure than Charles Renfro, of High Line-designers Diller Scofidio+Renfro. Renfro recalled how Morris approached him with the idea of placing lights on the pilings about two years ago. Renfro asked him a few key questions: Have you contacted anyone at the Army Corps of Engineers? (No.) Do you know anyone from Hudson River Park? (He did, a friend of a friend who knew somebody.) What about the technical logistics? (He knew someone who worked at Google.) The friend from Google became one of the key players in the installation. Adam Berenzweig is used to dealing with rooms full of computer power, but here he was dealing kilobytes and radio technology, that go under water twice a day at high tide. "It was pretty thorny," he said. The biggest surprise about the project is the relatively low cost, around $25,000. And that it was completed in two years, from concept to execution. Renfro said he was surprised that the project got past Riverkeepers, the the Hudson's ever-vigilant oyster bed protectors. At the river's edge a panel overlooking the pier sends a signal out to the lights, which respond by forming a constellation. When not acting as Orion, the lights dim and flicker gently, shifting from cobalt blue to white. The scene is quiet and subtle, perhaps best happened upon rather than sought out.
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Quick Clicks> Fun in the Sun, Sun-Filled Fast, Transit Trending, and LEGO Gate

Solar-Powered Fun. New York City’s first solar merry-go-round just opened at the South Street Seaport, offering free rides to kids through September 7th. GE's Carousolar is powered by 100 solar panels made of ultra thin semiconductors able to withstand extreme humidity and UV ray exposure. The green fun isn't just for kids—GE also provided solar-powered cell phone charging stations for adults around the carousel, reported Inhabitat. Sun-Filled Fasting. According to Dubai’s top cleric Mohammed al-Qubaisi, residents of the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest skyscraper, will have to wait a few extra minutes to break their fast during Ramadan. Muslims living above the tower's 80th floor should fast two additional minutes after dusk while those above the 150th floor wait an additional three minutes, The Guardian reported. Al-Qubaisi explained that just like early Muslims living in the mountains, the residents of the highest floors must adjust their fast due to the extended visibility of sunlight. #ThingsNotToDoOnPublicTransportation. Public Transportation is trending on Twitter and the end result is a humorous user guide to transit etiquette. Transportation Nation rounded up some of their family-friendly favorites. LEGO Gate. While not yet officially announced, European blogs have been abuzz that the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin will be the next in LEGO's Architecture line of miniature real buildings. Unbeige revealed the series’ designer Adam Reed Tucker developed the Brandenburg model, representing the 2nd building outside of the US (the first was SOM’s Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai).
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Quick Clicks> Vertical Farming, Hadid in Paris, Stirling Shortlist, Bored to Death

Farming Right Side Up. Spiegel Online reported on vertical farming research in South Korea as an innovative means of remedying food shortages on an increasingly urban planet. For the time being, agricultural scientist Choi Kyu Hong conducts his own version of Dickson Despommier’s Manhattan urban gardening project in an unexceptional 3-story industrial building, but Hong and his team have outfitted the farm with solar panels, LED lighting, and recycled water infrastructure hoping to attract enough attention to bring vertical farming to the global market and city skyscrapers. Hadid Stands Still. After touring New York, Tokyo, and Hong Kong, the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion designed by Zaha Hadid claims its permanent home in the front plaza of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, France. A Daily Dose of Architecture noted that the pavilion now features the Zaha Hadid Une Architecture exhibition, creating a thematically coherent viewing experience inside and out. Stirling Search. Bustler posted the Royal Institute of British Architects' (RIBA) shortlist for this year’s £20,000 ($32.5K) RIBA Stirling Prize. The list includes previous prize winners Zaha Hadid and David Chipperfield, as well as O’Donnell + Tuomey, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, Bennetts Associates Architects and Hopkins Architects Partnership for the 2012 London Olympic Park. Bored to Death. After tunneling through the subterranean rock of Midtown Manhattan for the new Grand Central Terminal train station, the 200-ton serpentine drill will be left to decompose 14 stories underneath Park Avenue. The New York Times revealed that the Spanish contractor in charge of the 4-year excavation ensured the MTA that this internment is both practically and economically preferable to dismantling the drill. Going to the Chapel. Curbed posted the two winners of a pop-up chapel competition celebrating gay marriage in New York. ICRAVE's entry calls for a pavilion of colorful ribbons while Z-A Studios design forms recycled cardboard into a curving tulip. Both designs will built in Central Park this weekend where they will host 24 weddings.
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Architects Offer a Glimpse into the Future

Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040 at the Center for Architecture (through September 10) is a clarion call for designers to redefine sustainability in architecture. Though it didn’t start with this intention, the visions of 10 young architecture firms imagining future landscapes of New York and Amsterdam raise questions about what changes are imminent for urban development and what part architects can play. The projects suggest both practical and fantastical interventions to improve the prospect of urban growth in the face of ecological, geographic, and demographic shifts. The program comes hot on the heels of the announcements of Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan and the similar strategy-based Structural Vision: Amsterdam 2040. Curators Luc Vrolijks, Rosamond Fletcher, and Marlies Buurman’s collective ambition has been to use design and debate to link the two cities in the context of these new directives. This month, the Center for Architecture hosted a series of talks and presentations of the work by the architects and the exhibit is also at the ARCAM site in Amsterdam until August 13, which will raise new questions about potential futures. The projects responded to one of five headings: Breathing, Eating, Making, Moving, Dwelling. Breathing: Both Delva with Dingeman Deijs and W Architecture and Landscape Architecture take water as their starting point. While Delva takes the IJ estuary as a generator for energy, W Architecture’s Hudson archepelagos, made using dredge from the port, provide habitats as well as landing banks. Eating: Here, WORKac focuses on the ‘food desert’ in the Bed-Stuy and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn and maps the potentially resourceful ways of re-appropriating the streets to harvest food, from future transportation (gondola-type links) to a hybrid fish farm and greenhouse-grown plants (Aquaponics). Van Bergen Kolpa Architects imagines a Landscape Supermarket, where varieties of food can be grown and sourced in park-like environments run by city dwellers. Making: In The Refinery, Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) imagined a floating market place where robotic arms compartmentalise waste materials to mend a broken landscape. Barcode Architects on the other hand has developed a contained mega science park from which to export knowledge - “the most valuable commodity of The Netherlands in 2040” said Caro van der Venne of Barcode. Moving: Dlandstudio responds to the future need for water transportation and how this can be an opportunity to also positively affect public wellbeing as well as environmental health. Fabric’s interpretation considers a new urban fabric based on mixing uses to produce “a more complete urban program, so that our daily needs are always near.” Dwelling: The Newark Visionary Museum by Interboro Partners and Space & Matter’s We is the New I both approached the idea of sustainability as social concerns. Interboro’s projection showed a colourful scene of failed plans and possible future solutions to Broad Street’s transportation, entertainment, sports and communication demands. Similarly practical was Space & Matter’s solution to increasing diversity and social cohesion by harnessing and building around common interests.
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Quick Clicks> Architecture in Store, Meier is Gilt-y, Clean Air Square, and Suburban Slums

Just Architecture. The Van Alen Institute announced that NYC is about to welcome its first bookstore and reading room singularly devoted to architecture, Van Alen Books, located on 30 West 22nd Street. Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects (and one of the two candidates for the next PennDesign Architecture Dean) and architectural historian Anthony Vidler will be presenting their latest books at the opening party scheduled for next Thursday, April 21. Flash Sale Curator. Curbed shows today that there is no boundary for what architects can do. A popular flash sale venue, Gilt Groupe, is having a home products sale today at noon, curated by an architect, Richard Meier. Items up for sale include "a signed copy of Taschen's Meier, a mezuzah he designed for The Jewish Museum of New York, and his Architectonic Menorah," normally sold for $1K! Breathing Times. According to Streetsblog, New York's Times Square, visited by 250,000 pedestrians each day, has become much more breathable since the 2009 installation of pedestrian plazas (find out why Bill Clinton is a fan) on Broadway. Concentrations of two traffic-related air pollutants, nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide, have gone down by 63% and 41%, respectively! Suburban Slumification. Business Insider identifies 18 cities (including a less-than-expected Minneapolis) where suburbs are rapidly turning into slums. In the past, cities suffered crimes and poverty during recessions, while the rich stayed away in their safe suburban havens. But not anymore. Suburban slums are growing five times faster than cities.
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Hyatt Takes It Higher in Union Square

Gene Kaufman is putting the finishing touches on designs for the new Hyatt Hotel intended for the southwest corner of 13th Street and Fourth Avenue. Though its interior will be gutted, a century old limestone face will remain to sheath a two-story atrium/lobby. Just behind the facade the building sets back to form a large terrace holding a hydroponic bamboo garden, then continues to climb another eleven stories. Kaufman said the historical context of the old façade is not of particular importance, but Andrew Berman, executive director of Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, disagreed. “We are glad that they re-used the facade of the two-story building,” he said. “But the 11-story addition seems woefully out of place.” “Nostalgia is something that’s transient. It’s in people's nature to resist change,” said Kaufman. Though his daughter once took dance classes in the old building, he insists that he didn’t keep the facade for sentimental reasons. He said there were practical as well as aesthetic attributes to consider. The old structure forms a retaining wall that allowed the construction to continue unimpeded by regulations for buildings next to a subway line (in this case, the number six running along Fourth Avenue). Also, the street level structure allowed for Kaufman to conjure a 27-foot high lobby interior, which he foresees serving an amalgam of hotel, bar, and restaurant functions. The tower doesn’t veer stylistically far from its base, a lá Norman Foster atop Joseph Urban. Nor does it rest within a historic district,  so it did not have to undergo landmark scrutiny. The aluminum panel clad tower pierced with square widows is capped by a two-story glass curtain wall.  An open circular ring supported by six thin posts finishes the corner suggesting an iconic flourish. The architect is also at work on a boutique hotel on the Bowery and another on 13th Street at 6th Avenue. He said that there is no set house style for the firm, instead they respond to the neighborhood. Kaufman remains nonplussed by historic naysayers. “For us the primary relationship is to the avenue.”