Posts tagged with "New York City":

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Letter to the Editor> Sitting on the Dock

[ Editor's Note: The following letter was left in the comments section of archpaper.com in response to Alan G. Brake’s editorial “The Seaport Adrift” (AN 09_07.23.2014), which argued for more programming at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport, such as housing. Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com] How would adding housing help connect the building to its surroundings? The seaport is inherently a destination for most of the people who use it. The pop-up food market was perhaps the best-suited program for the site. New York needs places where we feel we can escape the jungle and design doesn’t necessarily help. Why would I need a modern esplanade or a tower on the waterfront? All people really want to do is sit by the dock, look at the boats, and eat something of questionable nutritional value. Andrew Wild Card CUNY Macaulay Honors College
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Grimshaw’s transit-oriented public plaza breaks ground in the Bronx

The New York City Department of Transportation recently broke ground on the second phase of Fordham Plaza's reconstruction in the Bronx. The revamped space will have all the standard-issue pieces of a New York City pedestrian plaza—the planters, benches, seating, trees, lights, and kiosks—but, ultimately, the plaza represents a significant investment in existing transportation infrastructure. Along with the new seating and the new café, the renovation of Fordham Plaza also includes a new canopy and ticketing machines for the adjacent Metro North station, as well as a new bus loop, seating, and shelters for commuters. The project also incorporates elements of Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero agenda through shortened pedestrian crossings, new direct crossings, and an overall increase of pedestrian space by 25 percent. “This project will significantly improve transit riders’ access to the area’s 12 bus lines and rail transportation while also taking advantage of the more than 80,000 pedestrians and potential customers that walk through the area daily,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement. Streetsblog reported that WXY completed a conceptual design for the plaza in 2010, but documents from the Department of Design and Construction show that Grimshaw, with Mathews Nielsen, is behind the updated site plan. The $10 million project is funded through a TIGER Grant from the federal Department of Transportation and is expected to open next fall. According to the NYC DOT, there are currently 46 pedestrian plazas in the city with 18 more in the works. Four of those already-open plazas are in the Bronx and there are three more on the way.
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Reminder: Registration ends soon for the vision42design competition

The vision42design competition to rethink and redesign the entire length of New York City's 42nd Street was launched last April by AN and The Institute for Rational Urban Mobility. Entrants in the competition have the opportunity to not only rethink this important street but transform Manhattan at its core and become a model for major urban thoroughfares worldwide. The competition has generated wide interest from architects, urban designers, transportation planners, landscape architects, and other professionals and academic design studios from around the world. The date for submission of digital design materials for the competition is midnight EST on October 1, 2014, but the digital registration deadline is September 8 at midnight. In order to register, go to the competition website and then click "Registration." We will announce a short list of phase one winners on October 6, 2014.
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Eavesdrop> Dust off your white leather jacket, Karim Rashid is back in town

Warmed over designer from the early 2000s, Karim Rashid, is back! The man in white is designing three new residential properties in upper Manhattan, “HAP FOUR N.Y.” in West Harlem, "HAP FIVE N.Y." in East Harlem, and “HAP SIX N.Y.” in Inwood. Known for curving forms, extensive use of plastics, and bright colors, Rashid has designed numerous products and interiors, such as the bulbous bottles for Method cleaning products. As Rashid steps into the world of architecture, his—let's say, expressive—approach has come under fire. But there's no stopping him now... The city recently  approved, HAP 5—Rashid's 8-story residential project that has fluorescent turquoise and pink balconies. But here's the thing: in April, HAP Investment Developers, the developer behind the project, told the Daily News that it would circulate a public poll so local residents could weigh-in on the design. But as you may have guessed, that never happened. Now building permits have been issued. The design could potentially be tweaked, though, as HAP's chief executive told the News that the design is still being finalized.
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Thomas Gluck designs a glassy, modern retreat in the trees of Upstate, New York

Thomas Gluck, of GLUCK+, has built himself one heck of a vacation home in upstate New York. The glassy residence, known as the Tower House, is separated into two main volumes: a transparent, three-story vertical column that is defined by a bright, yellow stairwell, and a horizontal living space that cantilevers 30 feet above the ground. The firm described the project as “a stairway to the treetops.” To minimize the home’s footprint, Gluck kept the vertical column narrow quite narrow, only allowing space for a small bedroom and bathroom on each floor. The larger living area is placed up within the horizontal section, which offers panoramic views of the Catskills. To further camouflage the structure within the surrounding environment, its exterior is partially clad in a “dark green enameled back-painted glass” that reflects the trees. “Tower house is part of the canopy,” explained the firm in a video about the project. "A gesture as whimsical as it is rational.” [ht 6sqft.]
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New Queens Public Plaza Shows Public Space Doesn’t Take All That Much

A new public plaza in Sunnyside, Queens proves that creating inviting public space doesn’t require lots of money and a lengthy design process – especially in a crowded city like New York. That’s certainly the case with Bliss Plaza, a recently-opened plaza tucked underneath the tracks of the 7 train. Frankly, there’s not all that much to it – save for a new sidewalk, some planters, and a handful of bright bistro tables and chairs. But here’s what Bliss Plaza does have: People. And that’s the key. According to Streetsblog, the space was already closed-off to cars, but recently revamped by Sunnyside's Business Improvement District (BID) and the city’s public plaza program. The same approach is being taken for nearby Lowery Plaza, which  is expected to open this fall. If both plazas are successful, then there are are plenty of opportunities for the city to keep going. The vacant spaces and parking lots under the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, for example, could be similarly activated with some planters, chairs, and, of course, people.
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Amale Andraos named dean of Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation

Amale Andraos, principal of New York–based architecture firm WORKac, has been named dean of Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), succeeding Mark Wigley. Currently on faculty at GSAPP, she has also taught at Princeton, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the American University in Beirut. "Columbia is just an incredibly exciting place that's always been on the forefront of the profession," Andraos told AN. "It's an incredibly diverse and experimental place. I want to maintain and expand its role as a think tank for global practice." “An inspiring teacher, a respected colleague, and a pioneering practitioner whose innovative commissions in cities around the world have earned widespread admiration, Amale is a new leader among a rising generation of creative architects and designers of our physical environment,” said Columbia president Lee Bollinger in a statement. “She is just the kind of person who can further expand the role of the School as a center of interdisciplinary thinking across Columbia about how to develop a more just and sustainable society.” While Wigley was best known as a theorist, Andraos has balanced both teaching and practice. "We think of ourselves as a design research firm. For us teaching and practice inform one another," she said. WORKac has completed numerous projects including the Blaffer Museum in Houston, the Children's Museum of Arts in Manhattan, and the Edible School Yard project at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn. They won the MoMA P.S. 1 Young Architects Program in 2008. The firm is currently working on a conference center in Libreville, Gabon and they recently completed a master plan for seven new university campuses in China. In a profession that is still plagued by diversity issues and gender disparities, Andraos is one of an increasing number of women deans and directors. Running a school as prominent as Columbia, though, she will arguably be one of the most influential women in American architecture.
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Governor Cuomo Signs Bill Allowing NYC to Lower Speed Limit to 25MPH

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that allows New York City to lower its default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. The legislation, which is expected to go into effect within 90 days, is part of the city's ongoing effort to reduce traffic fatalities. Specifically, reducing the city's speed limit has been one of the central pieces of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero agenda. "This is another vital step toward making New York City streets safer for every family," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. "Our Vision Zero initiative’s mission is to save lives, and that is precisely what this legislation accomplishes."         
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Regional Plan Association’s Bob Yaro steps down as leader of New York planning group

The Regional Plan Association has announced that its president Bob Yaro is retiring and will be succeeded by its executive director Tom Wright. Yaro has been with the association for 25 years and served as its president since 2001. “I have been privileged over the last quarter century to guide RPA and help address some of the New York metropolitan region’s most pressing challenges,” Yaro said in a statement. “While I will miss working with the extraordinarily talented researchers and policy experts at RPA on a daily basis, I am thrilled to be leaving the organization in the hands of someone as accomplished and visionary as Tom Wright." 
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Slideshow> The Manhattan Tunnels of East Side Access

The MTA has released a new batch of images of the under-construction tunnels for its “East Side Access” project. For the uninitiated, East Side Access is the agency's $10.8 billion plan to connect the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Terminal. The project was initially scheduled to be completed by 2009, but, like so many large infrastructure projects, the East Side Access has been delayed. The project is now scheduled to open in 2023. All told, the project is expected to be $6.5 billion over budget. That was where things stood as of January. Just a few months later, though, there was more bad news for East Side Access. Newsday reported that  11 sinkholes were discovered by the MTA as it was digging in Long Island City.  The holes, which seem to be caused by heavy rain and loose soil, apparently didn't mess things up too much, however. A spokesperson for the MTA told Newsday that filling the sinkholes did not have a "measurable" impact on the project's budget or timeline. That's the good news. The bad news is that more sinkholes could form. In the meantime, construction is moving forward deep underneath New York City. Check out the MTA's latest photos of the project's Manhattan tunnels taken on July 29th.
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Brooklyn Bridge Park unveils 14 tower designs amid community debate

All the top names in New York City architecture are vying for a piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park, but whether any of their designs will be realized still remains to be seen. As community groups try to block Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plans to bring affordable housing to Michael Van Valkenburgh's celebrated park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation has unveiled 14 design proposals for two coveted development sites on Pier 6. Those proposals were unveiled just hours before a Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation meeting that was packed with community members voicing their strong opposition to any new development in the park. The RFP that the corporation issued in May called for two towers—one 315 feet and the other 155—that are 30 percent affordable. This plan has been met with plenty of opposition, and even a lawsuit, from local groups who claim the towers will block views, eat up green space, and not provide appropriate funding for the park. Under a Bloomberg-era deal, revenue from private development at the park is intended to cover its upkeep and maintenance costs. At the meeting, local residents asked the corporation to reevaluate that plan and pursue other forms of funding. Most were adamantly opposed to new residential towers at the 85-acre park. "This is about developer's greed," shouted one woman during the meeting who was quickly met with applause. There were two individuals with signs that read "Parks for All / Not Condo$ for a Few" and even kids stationed right in front of the corporation's members with homemade signs that read "Save Our Park" and "We Love Our Park." Ultimately, the corporation voted 10-3 not to revisit the funding plan. It will, however, complete a new environmental review of the site. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, if the lawsuit can be resolved, a decision on the site should be made by the end of the year and construction could start about year after that. The proposals for the pier, which were barely mentioned at the meeting, came from architects including Morris AdjmiPelli Clarke Pelli,Bjarke IngelsDavis Brody Bond, and Selldorf Architects, among others. You can check out all 14 proposals in the slideshow below, which reveal a wide variety of tower aesthetics rendered with most of the standbys we've come to expect in modern visualizations—hot air balloons, regular balloons, and plenty of birds. Surprisingly, not a single kayak.    
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Improv Everywhere Turns Humid Subway Station into a Relaxing Spa

Between June and August, a New York City subway platform is a pretty awful place to find yourself. Over those summer months, the subway has all the smells, crowds, and delays you're used  to with the unwelcome addition of a shockingly stubborn heat that couldn't care less that you're on your way to a job interview. The temperature below ground is often ten or more degrees warmer than on the sidewalks above. And there is nothing you can do about it—getting around the subway heat is like getting around that tourist family trying to find their way to an AirBNB apartment in Carroll Gardens. It's impossible. The only good thing to ever come out of these hot and humid stations is the latest video from the geniuses over at Improv Everywhere. The folks who brought us the "No Pants Subway Ride" recently turned the Herald Square subway station into a full-service "34th Street Spa." The summer brought the heat, they brought everything else. [h/t Gothamist]