Posts tagged with "New York City":

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Times Square will host a three-minute psychedelic wonder all this month at midnight

Times Square can leave your head spinning at the best of times, but come the final minutes of each day this month, visitors can witness a psychedelic show on the square's famous advertising boards. Known as Convolution Weave~Lattice Domain and created by MSHR—a collaborative composed of Portland, Oregon–based artists Birch Cooper and Brenna Murphy—the work is a highly colorful virtual landscape of spinning objects. The complex sculptures represent objects that would be impossible to create in reality, as well as more conventional forms, that creating dazzling patterns. "We construct hypershapes that reflect consciousness, just as the content in Times Square reflects the psychic structure of our culture. There are many possible shapes of reality," MSHR said in a press release. "We aim to warp the frayed edges of this media node, minding the intentions behind mental influence through imagery. Our intention is to inject the light stream with objects sculpted for presence of mind." The installation is part of the Midnight Moment, a monthly showing provided by The Times Square Advertising Coalition and presented in partnership with Upfor Gallery and Times Square Arts. Convolution Weave~Lattice Domain can be viewed from 11:57 p.m.-midnight every night this August. Despite hailing from the West Coast, more of MSHR's work can be found in New York—in particular, Queens, where Cooper and Murphy's art is featured in the Past Skin exhibition at MoMA PS1 where it is on view through September 10, 2017.
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How to solve NYC’s most awkward developer feud

Terreform is a nonprofit center for urban research and advocacy, founded in 2005. We’ve long taken an interest in the fate of Pier 40 (our studio is a few blocks away) and the development of the Hudson River waterfront. We were involved in doing analysis and design in response to the recent air rights transfer across West Street and the funding it brought for vital repairs to the pier. We’d previously offered a proposal for relocation of a portion of the NYU expansion to the site. We’ve been closely observing the ongoing contretemps over Barry Diller’s proposal to build a new entertainment pier on the site of the largely vanished Pier 55 at a project cost of $250 million. While we greatly admire the work of Thomas Heatherwick (the scheme’s imaginative designer), have no issue with generous philanthropy, and ardently wish to see the Hudson River Park become ever more splendid and capacious, we do wonder at the logic of this particular investment in the context of a public space obliged to financially fend for itself and monumentally strapped. More specifically, we wonder whether this enormous investment—and the program it will support—might be directed to a place where it is far more urgently needed and appropriately housed: Pier 40. Pier 40 has represented a frustrating combination of problem and opportunity for years, somehow stymying all efforts to realize its full public potential. At present, it provides invaluable and beloved sports fields to the community but its primary “service” is as a huge parking lot. This may be a cash cow for the Hudson River Park Trust but it’s surely the least appropriate possible use for such a vast and charismatically-sited facility. Likewise, most of the proposals that have been floated for Pier 40’s renewal over the years have been over-focused on two private styles of reconstruction, on luxury housing or office space, rather than on realizing its truly remarkable potential as a scene of pleasure and recreation. Our idea is simple: invest the $250 million earmarked for Pier 55 in Pier 40. Build facilities—theaters and a park—of exactly the same size and capacity as planned for the uptown site. Then add as much additional fabulousness as possible. The attached sketches show expanded recreational and sports facilities (including indoor tennis courts and gyms and a pool), more theaters and performance spaces (featuring a large amphitheater with a floating stage that might migrate around the city), a vast forested rooftop and sculpture garden, a marina, a complex of waterside restaurants, a school, community offices, a small hotel, ample opportunities for strolling and sitting along the water, and dock space for a variety of ships and boats. The whole might not generate quite the revenue as parked cars but the stream could be ample and the initial subvention would take care of the expense of construction. Thomas Heatherwick would be great choice for architect! We look forward to the handshake between Barry Diller, Douglas Durst, Bill de Blasio, and Andrew Cuomo that seals this win-win deal!
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Terra-cotta fins flank BKSK’s gatehouse to One Madison Park

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When creating the gatehouse to the CetraRuddy-designed One Madison Park on 23rd Street, BKSK partners and architects Harry Kendall and Joan Krevlin begged the question, “How do you design something that is as much about being a gateway as it as about being a building unto itself?”
  • Facade Manufacturer Boston Valley Terra Cotta
  • Architects BKSK Architects (design architect); CetraRuddy (architect of record)
  • Facade Installer Boston Valley Terra Cotta; Lend Lease (general contractor & construction manager)
  • Facade Consultants
    Vidaris
  • Location New York City
  • System Rain Screen System: Custom Glazed Terra Cotta Fins by Boston Valley Terra Cotta
  • Products Coordinated Metals Inc/ YKK AP Custom Storefront System; Dorma (entry doors); Glasswall (windows)
The task was to create a five-story building to house the entry lobby and two duplexes. The two firms worked as a team: BKSK was brought in by Related, who purchased the building after it was fully complete, with CetraRuddy acting as the architect of record and production architect for the residence. Kendall and Krevlin ultimately imagined the entry structure as a giant front door. “22nd Street is a beautifully scaled block that has lovely stone and terra-cotta buildings. We wanted to do two things—design a building that actually felt as much like a gateway as a building, and we wanted to do something that was respectful of the nicely textured and well-scaled block.” The team began to consider a contemporary material that would allow for such a combination and considered it a good opportunity to use terra-cotta because of its malleability. “We looked at the block and the body material of most of its buildings,” said Krevlin, the partner-in-charge on the project. “We were pulling out the more decorative elements and having that act as the whole facade.” Krevlin and Kendall wanted some shimmer and reflectivity to the material to catch the morning and Western light and knew that terra-cotta could be glazed to their specifications. The custom fins, manufactured by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, are comprised of three pieces: The pointed piece is extruded and has a joint with two other flat elements. The fins are then hung on an aluminum substrate that cantilevers off the building and attaches to the slabs so that they float in front of the glass. The fins were intentionally staggered to give the building rhythm, and a custom bronze and glass storefront with sliding glass doors sits behind them.
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Morris Adjmi’s 10 best new buildings around New York City

New York–based Morris Adjmi Architects is having a moment.

The buildings coming from Adjmi’s firm look nothing like the tall, boxy glass skyscrapers proliferating around the five boroughs. Instead, contextual designs and subtle nods to history lead the way, allowing the buildings to integrate into their surroundings while distinguishing themselves with modern touches.

With projects coming up left and right, here are ten examples of Morris Adjmi’s buildings around New York, ranging from the already built to the up-and-coming.

Sterling Mason, 71 Laight Street, Manhattan 2016 This condominium building in TriBeCa is composed of two joined buildings: one renovated brick warehouse from 1905, and a newly built metallic duplicate immediately adjacent to it. 70 Henry, Brooklyn 2017

Located in Brooklyn Heights, Morris Adjmi’s three-story addition to an existing 19th-century masonry structure is distinguishable by its contrasting brick cladding and projecting metal-framed windows.

138 North 10th Street, Brooklyn 2017

One of Morris Adjmi’s more modern buildings, this six-story residential building in Williamsburg has a broad-formed concrete base and a white brick facade punctuated with projecting warehouse windows.

83 Walker, Manhattan 2017 

In a nod to the historic architectural style that has shaped New York’s buildings, 83 Walker's concrete facade appears to be imprinted with the image of a traditional cast-iron building.

465 Pacific, Brooklyn 2017

One of the largest condominium developments in Boerum Hill, 465 Pacific uses scale, massing, and materials to balance the site’s location in a historic neighborhood that's also a commercial corridor. The exteriors are clad in red brick with large, deeply-inset windows. The ground floor and two upper stories are finished in dark steel in reference to the Mohawk ironworkers that lived in the neighborhood during the 1940s and 50s.

540 Hudson, Manhattan 2018

This site used to be an old gas station in the West Village but has been left largely vacant; Morris Adjmi’s proposed mixed-use building is expected to bring residential apartments, retail space, and community facility space. The brick facade undulates and has embedded corner turrets and projecting bay windows. The Landmarks Preservation Committee ruled that the design needed revisions; the final design will be slightly different than the image above. 

520 West 20th Street, Manhattan 2018

Known as “The Warehouse,” the Carolina Manufacturing Company’s former distribution facility and apparel-manufacturing space right next to the High Line is getting a new three-story, glass and steel addition. There is a fifth-floor “neck,” a wrap-around terrace on top of the original structure, and unnecessary columns have been eliminated to create an open floor plan.

30 East 31st Street, Manhattan 2018

This site used to be the Romanesque Revival parish house of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church, but that building was demolished in 2015. This new 40-story tower will reference the church’s Gothic details with six columns whose diagonal grid pattern will resemble barrel vaults.

363 Lafayette, Manhattan 2018

Following a couple of tweaks to gain the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval, 363 Lafayette’s design is now approved and the NoHo building is on its way toward construction. The revised design has floor-by-floor setbacks angled towards Bond Street, and terra cotta will be one of the main materials used.

42 West 18th Street and 43 West 17th Street, Manhattan 2020

Two distinct towers comprise this residential complex, which is meant to evoke the history of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District. One building has a translucent screen depicting the image of a traditional facade; the other building (which ) has a masonry facade with a curtain wall.

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Midtown East rezoning gets unanimous approval from land use and zoning committees

Following several key revisions, Midtown East’s rezoning plan was unanimously approved by both the City Council Land Use Committee and the subcommittee on zoning and franchises today.

The rezoning of Greater East Midtown has been in the works for five years and has been making its way through the public review process. The plan, which hopes to rejuvenate and attract businesses back to the area, will pave the way for more than six million square feet of new office buildings. It allows developers to increase the floor-to-area ratio (FAR) of their buildings, provided that they either make specific transit infrastructure improvements or buy landmarked air rights.

Several amendments were made to the proposal during the zoning committee meeting before it was approved.

A hotly contested topic, the sale of air rights from landmarked buildings, was one of the main changes. The mandatory public contribution decreased to $61.49 per square foot, down from $78.60 since it was last presented to the City Council, according to The Real Deal. The money from those sales will go towards a public realm improvement fund that will deal with aboveground infrastructure, and the city has committed $50 million to kick-start the fund.

“This is what we call a fair compromise,” Councilman David Greenfield said at the land use meeting, defending the decision to lower the air rights minimum. “When everyone around the table is not happy, it means we probably got it right.” The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) had asked for a much lower minimum, claiming that even with the new minimum, the price point was too high to attract and induce deals.

Under the revised plan, five blocks from 46th to 51st streets along Third Avenue will be left out, following opposition from Turtle Bay residents who said that their neighborhood was mainly residential and should be excluded. Other changes include the requirement that for any building larger than 30,000 square feet, developers must improve Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). This will bring an estimated 16 new POPS to the area.

Transit infrastructure improvements were specified in this new proposal as well—if developers choose to go this route, they will have to create new street-level exits and widen staircases for subway stations in the area. The city estimated that $500 million will go towards these improvements.

Councilman Daniel Gardodnick, one of the project’s main supporters, proclaimed “East Midtown is back,” on the steps of City Hall after the subcommittee approved the vote. "This is a plan that will re-establish East Midtown as the crown jewel of our business districts, as an economic engine for our city and and will strengthen its future for many years to come.”

The full council, which usually adheres to the committee’s decision, is expected to meet for the final vote on August 9.

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Facing soaring costs, the world’s skinniest skyscraper is facing foreclosure

Faced with enormous budget costs, the world’s skinniest skyscraper on Billionaire’s Row in New York City could be headed towards foreclosure, the New York Post first reported.

The SHoP-designed building on 111 W. 57th Street has only been built up to 20 stories and is already $50 million over budget. Real estate investment corporation AmBase filed a lawsuit in the Manhattan Supreme Court against the project’s developers and the lender over construction cost overruns.

AmBase, which had invested over $70 million into the building, blamed sponsors Kevin Maloney and Michael Stern, as well as Spruce Capital Partners.

“Apparently they omitted some very significant items in their budget including cranes, which are very expensive in New York and can run into the millions of dollars,” AmBase’s attorney Stephen Meister said to the Post.

Maloney, Stern, and AmBase had defaulted on a $25 million mezzanine loan from Spruce Capital Partners in June, according to the Post. The proposed mezzanine loan would allow the lender (Spruce) to take control of the asset in a default situation.

But on Wednesday, a judge enforced a strict foreclosure procedure, blocking Spruce from taking ownership of the project. If Spruce puts the building up for foreclosure, however, AmBase could potentially get back some of its $70 million investment.

An earlier report by The Real Deal revealed that the developers were facing a $100 million cash deficit and that AmBase already sued the developers last year, alleging that they were trying to “dilute its stake” in the project.

The building was meant to rise 1,400 feet, or 82 stories. It made headlines as the world’s most slender building, with a height-to-width ratio of 24:1 and a floor plate measuring 60 feet by 80 feet.

111 W. 57th Street is not the only building on the oversaturated Billionaire’s Row in trouble. A penthouse apartment at One57 on 157 W. 57th Street, the supertall that started it all, is awaiting its foreclosure auction.

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With new plan, NYC seeks to revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway

In a nearly unanimous vote, on July 10th the City Planning Commission approved the rezoning and revitalization plan for Downtown Far Rockaway in Queens, as first reported by CityLand. The plan aims to re-establish Downtown Far Rockaway as the peninsula’s commercial and transportation hub through new zoning that encourages mixed-use development, new public spaces, improved pedestrian walkways, and better access to community services. It's also one of several neighborhood rezonings in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s push to build more affordable housing. Downtown Far Rockaway is the historic commercial core of the peninsula: located near Rockaway Beach and Jamaica Bay, it's serviced by stops on the A train as well as the LIRR. The area has not been rezoned since the 1961 Zoning Resolution that subsequently prevented residential developments in the commercial and manufacturing zones that feature extensively in the area. Downtown Far Rockaway also has few local employment opportunities, little open space, and poor pedestrian access. Rezoning, which is the plan’s backbone, would foster new residential and mixed-use developments, especially on the area's larger streets. One part of Far Rockaway would also be designated an Urban Renewal Area, which would enable the City to purchase and transfer properties to developers. The “roadmap for action” plan also aims to incorporate the current community by improving existing commercial spaces and local businesses as well as increasing accessibility to job training, education, and community services. According to CityLand, the city is already investing $100 million in the area, with improvements including "streetscape reconstruction, sewer upgrades, park improvements, storefront improvement, and library upgrades." The plan was passed with conditions that include community-based project labor, a new school and park, and limits on up-zoning. Additionally, a 22-block area (bounded by Caffrey Avenue, Redfern Avenue, Nameoke Avenue, Beach 22nd Street, and Gateway Boulevard) would be designated for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. The final vote will be made by Major de Blasio, who has already indicated his support of local neighborhood rezoning and revitalization plans.
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Urban farming in New York could get easier with this new bill

For all of its concrete buildings, New York City actually has the largest urban agriculture system in the country thanks to its community, rooftop, and vertical gardens. The city has no shortage of prime roof real estate—14,000 acres to be exact.

Despite this a wealth of potential for the city’s urban agriculture future, restrictions in zoning and a lack of regulation have stymied the growth of the practice. A new bill submitted to City Council last Thursday by Councilman Rafael Espinal and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams hopes to change that, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Calling for updated zoning and building codes, they are pushing for a comprehensive plan that will do more than increasing food production: the bill aims to help create more jobs, improve access to fresh produce, and fight climate change by reducing the need for food transport.

Espinal, who recently co-sponsored a bill to abolish the city’s cabaret lawsaid that the city “must create a comprehensive urban agriculture plan in order to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow.” He also said that urban farming has the potential to address the relationship between climate change and social inequality, where food deserts in low-income communities can be transformed into food farms.

The city’s current zoning codes largely ignore farming practices in the city and do not mention hydroponic systems (where plants grow in a water-based solution as opposed to soil), according to the WSJ. Only nonresidential districts are allowed to have rooftop gardens and the fragmented regulation is a “barrier to entry,” said Jason Green, co-founder of EdenWorks, an aquaponic company in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to the WSJ.

By growing crops on roofs, the sides of buildings, or in vertically stacked layers indoors, food can be mass produced in a way that helps save energy and time, all while accommodating to the city’s increasing population. ‘Traditional’ farming (on the ground) faces growing challenges due to climate change, and urban agriculture is “the wave of the future,” according to Adams.

Neighboring Newark, New Jersey is already one step ahead, having changed its zoning code to include urban agriculture language. The city is now home to AeroFarms, the world's largest indoor vertical farm.

Espinal and Adam's bill will also feature an urban agriculture plan—to be developed by the Department of City Planning—that addresses land use policy. The plan will be submitted next year. The pair have also raised the possibility of developing a separate office of urban agriculture.

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Governor Cuomo’s bridge lighting plan draws criticism amid MTA stalls and shutdowns

Last year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo excitedly discussed plans to illuminate seven bridges across New York City with multicolored LED lights choreographed to music. Those bridges, along with the Empire State Building and One World Trade, were first slated for installation in winter 2017. Now, among massive stalls and shutdowns at MTA stations across the city—dubbed “the summer of hell” for commuters and tourists alike—critics are gearing back up to question how the city is spending on public infrastructure. A spokesperson for Governor Cuomo, Jon Weinstein, emailed Politico to say the bridge lighting project “is definitely NOT being paid for by the MTA,” indicating the costs could be split between the New York City Power Authority and Empire State Development. The MTA and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) seem to think otherwise: In March, the NYPA’s Board was shown a $216 million estimate for the plan with the MTA picking up the tab, although this was an unaudited financial plan with the project cost as a placeholder. Critics have been quick to distinguish cosmetic from reparative lighting—for instance, bridge and tunnel fixtures repaired after Hurricane Sandy. For example, recent upgrades to one of these post-Sandy projects, the rehab of the tunnel and exit plaza on the Manhattan side of the Queens Midtown Tunnel, included $7.3 million in additional funds to create a decorative blue-and-gold tiling pattern that reflects the state's official colors. Additionally, the Port Authority has officially withdrawn the George Washington Bridge from the lighting portion of the collective plan, which has been dubbed New York Crossings. However, that initiative doesn’t end with its lights. The governor's office has framed New York Crossings as a public art project that would address a number of other civic concerns: incorporating automatic tolling designed to reducing commute times, increasing checkpoint security (through facial recognition software at these stations), seismic updates to each bridge (the plan also incorporates reinforced concrete armoring units underwater), and sustainability (introducing LED units wherever possible). The projected end date for New York Crossings is currently May 2018, even as the governor's office claims the MTA is spending no money on the initiative. An independent review by watchdog group Reinvent Albany estimated the agency has spent roughly $40 million on the decorative towers and LED lighting so far.
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The (Un)Affordable Housing Fair will change how you see gentrification

In response to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Housing New York plan, Syracuse University’s Gentrification Lab is exhibiting its (Un)Affordable Housing Fair, a show of six provocative ideas that challenge the idea of an affordable city.

The fair will present six imaginary agencies and their housing proposals for the Bronx, Harlem, and Midtown Manhattan. The work is the result of Syracuse’s annual summer architecture studio, which is based in Manhattan.

Propelled by de Blasio’s commitment to build 200,000 units of new affordable housing, the exhibition's works form a manifesto of architectural prototypes that serve as a counter proposal to normative gentrification. The designs are meant to rethink the relationship between public and private space, addressing questions like: Can public space and public housing be used as an antidote to practices of exclusion? What is the relationship between the size of an apartment and the rate of gentrification?

The Gentrification Lab is a multi-year design and research studio that examines architecture’s role within economic, social, and political forces in the contemporary city. Presentations from previous years' labs looked at real estate development along the L-train and the subway's 4/Lexington Avenue express line.

The studio is led by Syracuse Architecture Visiting Professors Elma van Boxel and Kristian Koreman of Rotterdam and New York–based architectural firm ZUS. Hilary Sample from MOS Architects will give the keynote speech at the opening reception on August 3rd.

(Un)Affordable Housing Fair will run from August 3 to 4 at Syracuse University's Fisher Center. To attend, RSVP through Eventbrite.

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The Port Authority is seeking bids for JFK airport’s $10 billion overhaul

The latest stage in John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)'s renovation began on Tuesday as The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey started seeking proposals for a new master plan. JFK is the busiest international airport in the U.S., serving 59 million passengers in 2016, and is expected to reach capacity in the next decade as it continues to grow. According to DW, the renovation addresses this rapid growth through connected and expanded terminals, improved road and parking access, a ring road to reduce congestion, increased AirTrain capacity, and new, updated amenities. The project is expected to cost $10 billion, of which $7 billion will come from a private investment, according to Bloomberg. The Port Authority is only considering firms that have, within the last ten years, completed a master plan worth at least $5 million for a major airport serving a minimum of 15 million passengers. This would include firms such as KPF, HOK, and Gensler, which have all done large-scale airport projects. While this project has been moving ahead, not all the Governor's infrastructure projects have been progressing without criticism. Governor Cuomo recently caught some flack for funding road and bridge projects while ignoring much-needed subway improvements. Additionally, JFK has already been in the news this year as construction began on the adaptive reuse of Eero Saarinen’s iconic terminal.
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Mayor de Blasio unveils New York City’s first cultural plan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled the city’s first ever cultural plan, CreateNYC, which has been in the works for months.

CreateNYC is a blueprint for expanding the Big Apple's cultural sector; it mainly focuses on increasing diversity across museum boards and addressing historically underserved communities.

The plan was built on feedback from nearly 200,000 New Yorkers and focuses on growing the cultural community across all five boroughs. 97 percent of respondents said that arts and culture are vital to the overall quality of life in the city, and 75 percent of New Yorkers said that they wish they could attend arts and cultural activities more often.

“New York City is the world capital of art and culture,” said de Blasio in a press release. “If we are going to continue to live up to that title we must use every tool we have to ensure that every resident, in every neighborhood, has the same access to cultural opportunities. CreateNYC is the first comprehensive roadmap to lifting up arts and culture across the city.”

Speaking at a news conference today, de Blasio also emphasized the city’s cultural institutions need for diversity and inclusion, according to the New York Times. “There is still the assumption among New Yorkers about where they belong and where they don’t belong,” he said. Sixty-seven percent of New York City residents identify as people of color, but only 38 percent of employees at cultural organizations are people of color, according to the press release.

Funding will come from the mayor’s office, with an additional $5 million from City Council to be allocated. The majority of it will go towards less prominent arts groups—especially those that lay outside of Manhattan. Approximately $1.5 million will be directed towards increasing support for low-income communities and underrepresented groups, while $4.5 million will be used to support the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) in low-income communities.

A long-term goal of CreateNYC is the inclusion of public art in both public and private spaces, as well as increased support for the Percent for Art program. Again, the plan emphasized arts programming in public spaces in underrepresented communities.

A fair chunk of the funding—$5 million—will be used to help the cultural institutions achieve OneNYC sustainability goals of an 80 percent reduction of all emissions by 2050. The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) will create a new position specifically to work with cultural organizations to help them reduce their energy consumption.

“It may be the least sexy of all the recommendations,” Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said to the Times, “but it could be the most significant.”

CreateNYC's full plan can be read on their website.