Posts tagged with "New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation":

Handmade bricks clad SoHo infill, merging past and present

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Completed this year, 150 Wooster is an eight-story, mixed-use infill project for KUB Capital that offers a contemporary version of Soho loft living in a historic district. HTO Architect worked with the New York City Planning Commission and the Landmarks Preservation Commission to deliver the project, which features a custom-detailed brick facade articulated with limestone and painted steel ornamentation. Daniel Schillberg, managing director of design and architecture at KUB Capital, said this infill project is located on one of the last developable lots in Soho. “This was one of the last ground-up buildings in Soho and will probably be the last,” he said.
  • Facade Manufacturer Petersen Tegl (brick); Optimum Windows (windows); Diversified Glass and Storefronts INC (cornice fabrication)
  • Architects Daniel Schillberg, KUB Capital; HTO Architect (associate architect)
  • Facade Installer Structure Tech NY (masonry installer); Adler Windows (window installer); Diversified Glass and Storefronts INC (cornice installation)
  • Facade Consultants McNamara - Salvia Structural Engineers (structural consultant)
  • Location New York, NY
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System reinforced concrete frame with masonry infill
  • Products Petersen Tegl “Kolumba” brick; RTS-430 thermally broken steel windows by Optimum; Indiana Limestone
Soho’s predominantly cast iron structures date from 1830s to the 1850s, the surprisingly narrow spectrum of time when the majority of construction occured. The speed of construction in this neighborhood and others like it was achieved by means of prefabrication and a “kit of parts” mentality that was made possible due to advances in cast iron technology that paralleled mass industrialization. KUB said the project was inspired by this context, along with masonry structures that surround site. Depth of the facade was a key consideration in the design. The facade arranges a large operable window unit measuring over four by eight feet into eight bays, finding a sweet spot between energy code's permitted window-to-wall ratio, historic compositional proportions, and window manufacturer fabrication limitations. The resulting design, which received unanimous Landmarks approval, was approximately a year-long process.
To achieve the desired effect, the architects looked to materials common to the area—brick and limestone—but sought out detailing methods that produce a refined contemporary aesthetic to, in their words, "push the building into our modern times." This led to the refinement of a limestone trim detail that projects four inches beyond a primary facade of Petersen Tegl Kolumba brick. The masonry veneer is a long and thin proportion arranged in a stack bond with a tight 3/8" mortar joint to privilege the color of the brick over the mortar color. "These Petersen bricks have a lot of texture. They're essentially hand made which lead to a lot of ridges and good imperfections," said Schillberg. Window units are defined by a dark metal frame set 16 inches back from the face of the building, exposing Indiana limestone, which swells to meet the window frame assembly in one precise angular taper. The masonry installers built a single window bay mockup by looking at the detailing of the spandrel bricks, limestone trim, and the primary facade bricks. One of the constructional challenges was the weight of the limestone trim, which required complex drop beams with specific edge detailing for the concrete superstructure. The limestone, which is pinned back to these moments in the structure of the building, acts as a modified custom brick lintel to support the masonry veneer. Another key detail of the project is the custom metal work on the storefront and cornice. Both elements were inspired by traditional cast iron detailing involving prefabricated modules of profiled galvanized steel sheets. The cornice essentially functions as a miniature brise-soleil, and is composed of custom-profiled metal fins. "I loved the idea of having a cornice where, as you approach the building, it evoked the sculptural shaping of a cornice, but as you get underneath it, it actually disappeared into thin elements that allow light through," Schillberg said. The brick manufacturer, Petersen Tegl, is a small family-run Danish brickworks company founded more than 200 years ago. Their products are still handmade through a carefully crafted traditional process of hand-pressed, coal-fired production. This produces authentic bricks with a variety of signature light and dark shades. In addition to helping new buildings meld with older and more classic surroundings, Petersen Tegl’s handmade bricks are also helping to revive the idea of the skilled artisan and masonry construction. They’re popular in New York: A developer on Manhattan’s Upper East Side working on the tallest building in the neighborhood north of 72nd Street is utilizing nearly 600,000 Petersen Tegl bricks to connect the structure to its art deco context. Across the river in Brooklyn, two developers have launched luxury condo projects, 145 President and 211 Schermerhorn, each featuring the handcrafted aesthetic of a Petersen Tegl brick facade.

Lord Richard Rogers discusses continuity and change at landmarks lunch

On October 5, the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation hosted its annual Lunch at a Landmark at a historic building in midtown Manhattan. As always, the event was well attended by prominent architects, preservationists, and designers, as well as experts, supporters, and enthusiasts of those fields. New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik introduced Lord Richard Rogers warmly—so much so that when Rogers took the microphone, he joked that “we should all just go home now.” Gopnik focused on Rogers’s approach to human-centric design, saying, “The core idea of liberal humanism is not that man is the measure of all things, but that all things can be measured by man and by woman.” This focus was in conjunction with Rogers’ new book A Place for all People, which further explains the architect’s approach to modernism, civic value, and urban design. Modernism is a funny word, artistically and architecturally speaking. Once the modernists dubbed themselves as such, either in a stroke of hubris or marketing genius, the rest of us were stuck with postmodernism, and even post-postmodernism. In his talk at “Lunch at a Landmark,” Rogers reframed the word, explaining: “Modernism is good architecture of its time, advanced by technology, by changes in economics, and by changes in sociology. What is happening at that time? What is the zeitgeist?” He proceeded to walk through a brief timeline of architectural works, from the primitive hut and Brunelleschi’s dome, to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and Piazza San Marco in Venice, citing the different styles and renovations along the way. Through these examples he identified two types of architecture: “Architecture that is challenging, that is different, and architecture that just disappears within its current state,” Rogers said. “I’m not saying one is better than the other, but it is important to concede the two differences.” In particular, he focused on the five main iconic buildings in the Piazza San Marco, highlighting how the Renaissance elements set off Medievalism and how each building relates to the others, despite the many elements at play. In his own work, he initially found some difficultly relating architecture to its surroundings. When designing the Lloyd’s building and thinking about how it would fit in with its neighbors, Rogers was concerned. “Fifty percent of the City of London has been rebuilt in the last forty years, so what am I meant to be relating to? How do you relate to the existing conditions when you are aware that they might not be there in a few years’ time? And you mourn the fact that the buildings do not fit their purpose for any length of time—it’s about sustainability, it’s about energy, and it’s about waste of energy. One of our goals was to make the Lloyd’s building last into the next century (which we accomplished). We wanted a building that could change, that could adapt—a big flexible space. When we started designing Lloyds the height of technology was the Xerox machine. We have to interpret, or try to interpret the conflict of continuous change.” He faced a similar quandary with the Centre Georges Pompidou he did with Renzo Piano, which partially informed the building’s open layout, external structure, and the revered piazza that Rogers described as “a cross between Times Square in the 1970s and the British Museum…. A place for people, a place for all people.” Now, it is undergoing renovations to update the HVAC systems and such, but still remains a relevant structure. Rogers touched on other projects as well, from Las Arenas in Barcelona to Three World Trade Center in New York. He concluded by good-naturedly hoping that at the very least, it won’t earn a moniker of 'cheese grater,' like the Leadenhall. “Londoners are very creative with their nicknames,” he quipped. He doesn’t take it too personally though, as this is just one of many jabs at modernism endured by all top architects. “Prince Charles once said the Luftwaffe did less damage than I did…. He might be right.” We have a hunch that Rogers won’t let the royal architecture criticism affect him, or his modern buildings, too much.

Inverted facade pays tribute to history of cast iron architecture

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"How can cast-iron architecture be relevant, but not literal?" This is the question that Morris Adjmi's office asked when approaching the design of 83 Walker Street, a 9-story 19,000-square-foot residential building slated for completion later this year. In response, the architects designed an articulated wall surface of abstracted cast iron elements—posts and beams—that were cast into thickened pre-cast concrete wall panels. This "inverted" effect, the architects said, help to "evoke how cast iron was historically produced and assembled."
  • Facade Manufacturer BPDL (pre-cast concrete); Panoramic USA (windows); Guardian Industries (glass)
  • Architects Morris Adjmi Architects
  • Facade Installer Abra Construction (Owner/GC)
  • Facade Consultants n/a
  • Location New York City, NY
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System Reinforced concrete frame with pre-cast concrete facade
  • Products Wood+ Mahogany Landmark Windows and Doors: W+1300 Fixed Windows (Sightline Construction); W+2600 Hopper Windows; W+2800 Tilt Turn Faux Double Hung Windows; W+3600 Awning Windows; 1-5/32" double pane low iron insulating glass with low E coating.
Morris Adjmi, principal at Morris Adjmi Architects (MA), said the lot width—at approximately 25 feet—was a common dimension for cast-iron loft buildings in the district and helped his project team in defining the composition of the facade. Despite a continuous program of residential units throughout the nine-story building, a "base-middle-top" composition strategy was employed to reference historic structures in the neighborhood. This equated to variation at the ground floor, a three-bay window subdivision in the middle floors, and a four-bay subdivision at the upper floor. This bay spacing acted as an organizational grid, informing window heights, proportions, and detailed articulation of the facade. The floor-to-floor pre-cast panels were initially designed as individual window bays but ended up being designed to the full width of the building. This allowed the structural reinforcement of the panels to be more efficient while also reducing the need for vertical joint lines between panels. Large window openings were infilled with mahogany wood units and configured as faux double hung tilt turn windows to satisfy historic appearance concerns. These special windows feature a fixed unit above with an in-swing awning below.   Adjmi says he has had extensive experience in working with pre-cast concrete and finds it to be a useful material due to the range of shapes and articulation that can be produced. He says an understanding of waterproofing techniques and the mold-making process of pre-cast panels helps to determine effective panel shapes and detailing strategies. The soft stone finish of the concrete, evocative of adjacent buff limestone facades, was carefully specified after a close collaboration between the architects and concrete panel manufacturer through studying various samples and finishes. The integral colored concrete was sandblasted to produce a subtle variation in texture and color for a more natural appearance. The resulting front elevation, composed of only nine panels, produces enough depth to cast generous shadow lines into deep recesses of the facade, a key feature that Adjmi attributes as one of the most successful features of the project. "The depth of this facade really works well in the streetscape. A lot of our projects try to do this. When you first see the building you don't notice anything, and then the more you look at it the richer it becomes." He concludes, "I think that it is both very modern and respectful of the neighborhood. It doesn't feel like trying to copy the immediately surrounding buildings too literally but at the same time it questions and highlights how these buildings came together."

Bjarke Ingels and Thom Mayne discuss architecture, cities, and public space

At a forum hosted by the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation on May 5, Bjarke Ingels and Thom Mayne discussed the theme “Public Works” with architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff. Ingels and Mayne approached the topic from disparate perspectives: At 41, Danish architect Ingels is on a career high and bursting with projects on a variety of scales that he hopes will greatly impact their cities; Pritzker Prize­–winning Mayne, at 72, has an additional 30 years of experience that seems to have left him weary of making overarching, glowing promises. Mayne spoke first, discussing the trajectory of architecture over the course of his career: “Twenty years went by [in the industry] and the series of questions I was engaged with on large scale of public projects and the criteria changed: I was now allowed to operate in a world where the project had social, cultural, political, ecological, and infrastructural consequences,” he said. “It moved from thinking as a designer to thinking in terms of thought leadership and moving toward something more strategic.” However, Mayne concluded later in the lecture, current projects have been reduced back to an architectural scale rather than a civic one. He lamented the loss of his “client,” the public, and the ability of the city and developers to understand the public in terms of city making. Mayne, in particular, slammed the One World Trade Center, “What was ultimately built there was absolutely tragic, it was an embarrassment. The opportunities for rethinking what that space could be were enormous. [The Port Authority] never even looked at the all of the ideas that were available to them,” he said. Instead, Mayne turns to Europe for inspiration in the public space, the piazza concept in particular, and cites Dallas and Los Angeles as examples of modern American cities in terms of broadening work sites to connect with their surroundings and considering public spaces. He focused on fostering the “connective tissues” of a community and replacing starchitect-designed “disconnected icons” with continuous, thoughtful architecture. By contrast, Ingels discussed his U.S. public works in the greater context of contemporary architecture in a more positive light. “Social infrastructure was a term from the 70s that mostly referred to kindergarten, but now we mean it much more literally in terms of positive social side effects,” said Ingels. He discussed incorporating a Copenhagen-style courtyard into his W57 tower to introduce a much-needed oasis in Hell’s Kitchen and researching the Dry Line (A concept he likens to the “love child of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs”), which will be 12 miles of contiguous waterfront protection to protect New York from storm damage while remaining “in close dialogue with community.” “The fact that privately-funded buildings and projects [in the U.S.] are taking responsibility is not a bad thing,” Ingels mused in response to Mayne's critique of the lack of city support for public works. Abroad, Ingels frequently referred to his Amager Bakke Copenhagen power plant, with its ability to transform waste into power, as one of his most socially oriented projects—not to mention the fact that it will also moonlight as a ski slope and emit non-toxic rings of smoke to raise awareness of carbon dioxide emissions. “If we can’t make a difference with our vote, then what we can do is move the world forward to something we believe in with what we do,” Ingels said. “Of course, I would love to only have philanthropic clients or well-funded states, but we can try to tackle the problems that we have through other means.”

Lunch at a Landmark: Norman Foster explains the creative process behind his iconic structures

On October 7, the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation hosted its annual “Lunch at a Landmark” at the top of the Hearst Tower. Guests, New York’s elite architectural, design, and preservation cognoscenti, were offered a rare insight into the building—one from Norman Foster himself. To best explain his old-meets-new approach to the Hearst Tower, Foster revisited five of his past projects: the Reichstag in Berlin; the Millennium Bridge over the Thames; the Millau Viaduct in Millau, France; La Voile in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France; and the Château Margaux in Bordeaux. The original Art Deco Hearst building by Joseph Urban was always intended to have a tower rising from its base. However, due to complications like the Great Depression, it was nearly 80 years before that tower came to fruition. To build the 46-story-tall skyscraper, Foster scooped out the building’s interior to introduce light and create a kind of “town-square.” This move was initially contested on the grounds of “facadism” but Foster persisted. “When someone says I can’t do something, that is when I get really excited about it,” he said. Now, the dynamic lobby with its dramatic entrance that takes pedestrians over an indoor waterfall to enter is one of the building’s most iconic design moments. Of course, Foster could make an educated guess that this would be the case. He took a similar approach to Berlin’s Reichstag in 1999. In that instance, the hollowed-out core was a historically sensitive move that visually helped to give the building back to the people. Even as he preserved the Russian graffiti and other emblems of the building’s past, the clear dome in the tower physically placed the people above the government as a bright symbol of democracy. Although bridges are markedly different from buildings, Foster also connected past and present with the Millennium Bridge and the Millau Viaduct, quite literally. Taking cues from St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tate Modern in London, the Millennium Bridge’s thin, steel profile frames picturesque views of the city for the approximately 4 million people per year who walk across it. While France’s Millau Viaduct didn’t have to contend with any historic buildings, it presented a similar challenge in that its location, the Massif Central Region, is a National Heritage Site. Using tall piers to support the slender bridge, Foster and Michel Virlogeux (the lead engineer at Eiffage, the same company responsible for the Eiffel Tower), created a structure that only lightly touches the land and enhances the landscape for everyone driving across it. These three projects illustrate Foster’s concept of a design “marriage,” a relationship that he likens to a family, where there is a new generation that may have a distinct style, but it has very strong ties to the older generation. In two other projects he discussed, La Voile in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France, and the Château Margaux in Bordeaux, Foster opted for a different approach. For La Voile, Foster ran up against a well-intentioned law in the South of France that protected the coastline. Unfortunately, this meant that a nondescript house on his client’s property was also protected. But, by hollowing out an old stone tower from the center, Foster created a new “skin,” a design that totally swallows the original home—perfectly preserving it without compromising the new design. In fact, the fit was so perfect, that the local police raided the house once to make sure the original one was accessible underneath (it was). Along similar lines, but less dramatically, Foster integrated a new structure for making white wine at the Château Margaux winery with an 1815 building by Louis Combes. Pulling inspiration from trees and farm structures, the resulting building appears to grow both organically from the site and from its 19th Century counterpart. These five projects offer a survey of Foster’s innovative and varying approaches to melding old and new architecture in ways both familiar and unique to each site. It will be exciting to see how these approaches unfold as he turns to more radical projects such as the drone port in Rwanda and beyond.