Posts tagged with "New York":

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New York’s angled icon, the Citicorp Center, in line for a 200,000 square foot renovation

601 Lexington Avenue, widely known by its former title as the Citicorp Center, may be the subject of a revamp totaling 200,000 square feet, courtesy the New York office of global architecture firm Gensler. The recently landmarked building (designated in December) could see a new exterior plaza and array of terraces added if the design is approved by the Landmarks Preservation Committee (LPC) next week. Further changes include an atrium located inside (and thus exempt from LPC endorsement) that will house a coterie of retail outlets and dining facilities. Speaking to The Architect's Newspaper, a spokesperson for Gensler clarified that the plaza is indeed "being redesigned" as renderings suggest. 601 Lexington Avenue was designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates in 1977 and completed the following year. The resultant angular apex created a silhouette that has become an icon of the Manhattan skyline and was a feature that led the building's landmark designation last year. It's at the other end of the building, at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street, however, where the changes will be made. Critic Paul Goldberger was complimentary of the existing ground-level features at the time of Stubbins's death in 2006: “[It is] probably the most important skyscraper built in New York in the 1970s because of its elegant and memorable shape, but also because of its engagement with the city at the base," he said. According to Gensler, the building's owners, Boston Properties is "focused not on increasing rents, but on increasing the value of the entire neighborhood by making a distinctive plaza and atrium space." The firm continued: "To this end, the new outdoor plaza and terraces make room for more dining and retail options, while enlivening the staid office component. The resulting 200,000-square-foot redevelopment transforms an internally focused space into a bustling urban oasis for Manhattan’s Midtown East neighborhood." 601 Lexington (c) Gensler_4 Changes date back to as recently as 2010 when a new office lobby was installed. Twenty years ago, the existing atrium and open-air concourse were renovated. The LPC hearing for the changes will be on Tuesday, March 21.
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Find out one reason why this year’s Armory Show had record-breaking attendance

The result of seven month’s work, involving copious amounts of organizing, planning, scheduling, revising, assembling, testing and eleventh-hour tweaking, culminated in a five-day art frenzy: The Armory Show 2017. Held on Piers 92 and 94 in New York City, this year's fair hosted 200 galleries from 30 different countries—a significant reduction from the previous year's showing (230). However, Bade Stageberg Cox Architects (BSC) designed the layout of the show and the New York firm was on hand to remind visitors how effective the Miesian principle, "less is more" can be.

"We're always playing with scale," said Jane Stageberg, a principle at BSC who showed The Architect's Newspaper around. "The art is big, so the space must be big!" One way to get more space is to have fewer galleries, argued Stageberg, who added that on the flip side, this afforded galleries more floor space to work with themselves. The result was a more fluid and dynamic experience of The Armory Show.

In 2016, Pier 94 had three aisles of circulation, whereas this year two were employed, facilitating a much smoother and more logical route up and down the pier. This also allowed BSC to create what Stageberg called "town squares." For an experience that had the potential to feel like a head-spinning cavalcade of art, the open spaces offered visual relief and acted as convenient meeting points. They also housed "big" public art, making them handy tools for way-finding. Saying "meet by the red and white polka-dotted mushrooms" (or to the more sophisticated "Yayoi Kusama's 2016 work, Guidepost to the New World") made for an easy-to-find reference point. Or, if that didn't take your fancy: the champagne bar by the hanging piano (Sebastian Errazuriz's 2017 piece, The awareness of uncertainty).

"Our goal was to open up the plan and create sight-lines, carving away corners to create diagonal views," Stageberg explained. "The galleries realized that this was good for them too as it meant more exposure. Their goal is to sell art and that's our goal too." The risk paid off, though, as galleries did well. “We sold an enormous amount,” said Sean Kelly, whose Chelsea gallery can be found on 475 10th Avenue.

Additionally, Stageberg said that the bones (especially the roof) of Pier 94 itself were also exposed to acknowledge the site's industrial past. In a refined environment predominantly comprised of white gallery walls, the juxtaposition of evident decay seen on the roof and odd bits of wall was a welcome sight.

On Pier 92, this was less the case, but the inclusion of generous amounts of daylight made possible by numerous windows, supplemented the sense of place BSC strove for. Around these areas of fenestration was more "public space." (This year, public space made up more than a third of the square footage allocated to galleries.) In a setting where square footage and wall space are prime real estate for galleries, the decision to do so was justified as visitors came in record numbers (65,000 over five days—the most ever). In addition to this, the show's busiest days over the weekend were gloriously sunny. Light shimmered off the Hudson and the pier—which is roughly 30 feet narrower than its neighbor—felt open and breathable.

Another advantage of this was simply being able to see where you were in the scope of the city. Be it views of BIG's Via 57 or simply Pier 94, the windows aided orientation and provided a pleasing change of focus. This was particularly the case in the VIP Lounge on Pier 92 where a large window punched through the end of the pier was the highlight of the show’s premium venue.

BSC has been working The Armory Show since 2011 when the firm began designing the 2012 edition of the fair. Between then and now, two directors (Paul Morris and Noah Horowitz) have come and gone, but this year marked the second year BSC had been working with its current director, Ben Genocchio.

For the 2017 show, Genocchio wanted Piers 92 and 94 to be in greater unison. Curatorial programming at previous shows had created a disconnect between the two piers, a phenomenon amplified further due to their differences in elevation (Pier 92 is almost one story higher than its neighbor) resulting in tricky circulation. To challenge this, both modern and contemporary galleries could be found on the two piers and emphasis was placed on the corridor that linked them.

It wasn't all smooth sailing on the water, however. While an oversized floating concrete block (Drifter, by Studio Drift) did well to draw visitors to the connecting stairwell, traveling between the two piers was still awkward. This problem, though, may be impossible to solve. Stageberg was disappointed in the food outlet "Mile End" at the end of Pier 94. "It felt like a dead-end space," she said. Likewise, it's hard to see how such an issue will be resolved without sacrificing more gallery space.

Stageberg, though, took this as a positive. "We're learning what we can do next year," she said. “We’re very pleased with how the public spaces in general turned out, they were really needed.” In the end, it's the piers' quirks that make The Armory Show what it is. There are few, if any, places where you can gaze over millions of dollars worth of art amid expertly organized chaos, all under one, slowly dying roof in the middle of New York.

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Port Authority approves $32 billion capital plan with funding for new tunnels and terminals

After months of planning, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has approved a $32.2 billion capital plan, the largest in the agency's history. The 10-year plan is bullish on public-private partnerships to support the costs of its projects at the region's airports, bridges, tunnels, and terminals. Although some big-ticket items, like the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan, are new construction, much of the budget goes towards repairing or upgrading existing infrastructure. See the highlights from the plan, below:
Planes This $11.6 billion segment allocates $4 billion for a LaGuardia Terminal B replacement and puts funds toward the revitalization of John F. Kennedy International Airport. In New Jersey, work will move forward at Terminal A at Newark Liberty International Airport. Trains The agency is putting $2.7 billion towards debt service on to-be-borrowed money for a new and sorely needed trans-Hudson rail line between New York and New Jersey. In Jersey, the PATH's older stations will be rebuilt, as well, and new infrastructure will enable PATH trains to run from Newark Penn Station (the current terminus) to Newark Liberty's AirLink station. Additional dollars will support an AirTrain to LaGuardia, a sister link to the line that already serves JFK. Automobiles Another $10 billion will go towards the Goethals Bridge replacement, the rebuilding of the Bayonne Bridge, renovations to the George Washington Bridge, and the planning and construction for the new Port Authority Bus Terminal. The capital plan puts $3.5 billion towards this item, but stakeholders are still discussing where, exactly, the new terminal should go. Proposals from a September design competition pegged the cost of a new terminal at $3 billion to $15 billion, so the agency's allocation may be too low. “This region needs state-of-the-art airports, new mass transit infrastructure and bridges designed to handle 21st-century traffic levels if we are to meet growth projections,” said Port Authority executive director Pat Foye, in a statement. “This 10-year plan provides a record level of investment in all of these areas that will meet and support the region’s growth and serve as a major job creator for the next decade.”
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Marpillero Pollak Architects masterfully designs new library in Elmhurst, Queens

If you think public libraries are an institution with a proud past but a problematic future you have to visit the new Elmhurst Public Library by Marpillero Pollak Architects. Commissioned in 2004 by New York’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC), it’s not just a triumphant work of civic architecture, but one that creates community and celebrates what it means to be a public institution in 2017.

The building is entered through a small community park on the corner of Broadway and 51st Avenue and transforms this amorphous Queens corner adjacent to Queens Boulevard into a centralized urban core. Its primary envelope is a terra-cotta rainscreen facade with aluminum inserts that mark the floor slabs and act as a connector to front and back double height glass cubes. These two structural glass spaces position patrons in the larger environment: a rear community park and the urban thoroughfare of Broadway. The Cubes, which glow as luminous beacons after dark, are calibrated to relate to the scale of the existing historical fabric, including the landmark 1760 St. James Episcopal Church Parish Hall across Broadway. They announce the library’s presence and the front cube floats above the main entry’s “memory wall,” which is made of bricks salvaged from the original Carnegie building. The interior of the Broadway cube is covered by a relief in elm wood from the artist Allan McCollum and is visible through the glass walls from the street.

Elmhurst badly needs this new facility, as it is one of the most diverse residential neighborhoods in the world and home to mostly poor immigrants from 80 countries. It had long been served by a vaguely classical Lord & Hewlett–designed Carnegie library that was built to house 3,000 volumes in 1904, and has had to adapt to changing populations with major renovations and additions in 1920, 1926, 1949, and 1965. These changes led to an interior that was broken into small, fragmented spaces that were insufficient for what had become the second busiest location in the Queens library system.

The original library was centered in a small park, but over time a large adjacent residential building put the space in permanent shadow. In addition, circulation through the old building spilled over into reading and stacks, limiting reading space and other program requirements. The Carnegie library design emphasized the visual control of the library, but this can be intimidating for immigrants and even the ground floor windows were permanently covered. All of these were inadequate to serve a huge population that requires new and different services. The architects were hired to design a modern library able to accommodate the branch’s enormous number of patrons and make it an open, transparent, and welcoming center for the community.

The interior of the new library is color-coded by use: children, teen, media, etc. It is also full of every imaginable representative of this diverse community, who are not just reading books, but doing school homework, playing games on computers, and seeking help from the librarians. The architects intend for the glass structure to open the library up to the side parklet and rear garden, which serves as an outdoor learning center for this dense urban community. Commissioned by the DDC, this design delivers on nearly everything promised by the agency’s Design and Construction Excellence program created under Commissioner David Burney.

Elmhurst Library 86-07 Broadway Elmhurst, NY Tel: 718-271-1020 Architects: Marpillero Pollak Architects

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Witness the beginning of high-rise Manhattan with this online interactive map

In 1874 The New York Tribune Building, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, topped out at 260 feet (including the clock tower) on 154 Printing House Square (Nassau Street and Spruce Street) in Manhattan. Though demolished in 1966, the building lives on in TEN & TALLER: 1874-1900, an exhibition at the Skyscraper Museum in New York City. But if you can't wait to delve into the TEN & TALLER, an online interactive map is available below. TEN & TALLER documents all 252 Manhattan buildings erected before and 1900 that, as its name suggests, were ten stories or taller. The museum's online interactive map plots the 252 structures on both historic and contemporary maps of Manhattan. A timeline feature starting at 1874 (the year Manhattan's first ten story building went up) allows users to toggle through the years, revealing ten-story-plus buildings all color coded by typology ("office, hotel, apartment, loft," and "other") in the process. In addition to zooming in and out, users can also appear and disappear the historic/contemporary Manhattan grid. The historic grid is comprised of 101 plates from 1909 Bromley’s Atlas (updated to 1915). The result of more than 1,500 hours of work—stitching individual files together and aligning them with the modern-day grid of Manhattan—the map (according to its creators) is the only one of its kind that covers such a wide geography of Manhattan and can be examined in such detail. Upon this mega-map, the footprints of the buildings appear as users alter the date. Buildings can be clicked on too, in order to find out more information on the building such as: when it was built; its status; height, width and slenderness (height divided by width); depth; architect; building use; framing; type of walling used (and their material composition) and cost. As to why the study only looks at 26 years of New York's high-rise development history, The Skyscraper Museum said in a press release that the early development of skyscrapers was a narrative which they felt deserved more attention. By 1900, the standard method of construction was skeleton construction and thus the technology to allow towers to rise skyward paved the way for an influx of high-rise development. At the museum's gallery, the exhibition features models, maps, historic photographs, and original architectural drawings to depict this narrative. The exhibition is now on show at 39 Battery Place runs through April this year. [Warning: This map will not scale on a mobile device or small screen. You can also access it on the Skyscraper Museum's website here.]
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GSAPP is taking its students out of New York and up the river for innovative urban design

Many New Yorkers know the Hudson Valley from weekend trips to Hudson or Beacon, but the urban designers at Columbia University want to introduce new ways of thinking about the diverse and complex region. Famous for rolling hills immortalized by the Hudson River School, the mostly rural five-state region is home to prisons, 19th-century asylums, back-to-the-land hipsters, art museums, and 13 cities, too. Tomorrow, students and faculty from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University will join community leaders in Poughkeepsie to celebrate the opening of a pop-up exhibition featuring urban design proposals for a more resilient and just Hudson Valley. Justice in Place is the culmination of student projects that explore how equity and justice can be fostered spatially. Student projects explored these themes through incarceration and education; health; historic preservation; landscape; and food systems. The work will be on display through January 31 at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center. The projects are part of GSAPP's Hudson Valley Initiative (HVI), a research platform and archive that combines the strengths of GSAPP's programs to build partnerships and projects in the region, as well as facilitate inquiry into the American landscape more broadly. "Central to the whole urban story of the region is the story of the river itself. Thinking about water as the economic driver provides rich ground in which to think about urban design," said landscape architect and HVI director Kate Orff. "The Hudson Valley is extraordinarily beautiful, but there's also this dramatic inequality," added HVI assistant director David Smiley. "This is out backyard, and we need to take the research here to another level." Through the HVI, GSAPP has extended and deepened its relationship to the region. The projects, Orff and Smiley said, aim to benefit both students and the community: Using an applied research framework, students incorporate community feedback with what they've learned in class into activist proposals for the study area. In building longstanding regional ties, the HVI also counteracts a common problem with ostensibly community-engaged projects—students parachute in for a semester, create a project with little follow-up, and leave the community once they've earned their credits. In contrast to this method, work through the HVI from previous semesters informs current projects. Since the end of World War II, the once-prosperous region has experienced a slow and steady slide in its economic fortunes. Although recent migrants and investment have revived towns like Cold Spring and Hudson, but left others behind. The videos here showcase work from past urban design studios centered on Newburgh and Beacon. Orff and Smiley said GSAPP is adding an optional fourth semester onto the three-semester urban design program, so the "same projects hit the ground running," said Orff. "We need to dig deeper in these places." The Justice in Place: Design for Equity & Regional Currents opening party is tomorrow, January 28, at the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. More information can be found here.
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Buffalo, New York gears up for denser urban development

On Tuesday, December 27, New York’s Buffalo Common Council unanimously passed the United Development Ordinance, also known as the Buffalo Green Code. The code aims to shift the city's transportation focus from cars to walkability. It eliminates minimum parking standards and aesthetic standards for parking lots, as well as making provisions for broadening sidewalks, and adding green spaces, all with the aim of creating a more enjoyable experience. The Buffalo Green Code website states it was “designed to reinforce the City’s walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and strengthen its economic centers.” Brendan Mehaffy, executive director of the Office of Strategic Planning, told The Buffalo News "There was little appreciation of our historic neighborhoods and even buildings. This code adjusts to the city's historic form." Buffalo hopes to move from a suburban model of development to a progressively urban model. “Sprawl is, in fact, the legally required outcome under our current zoning code, and under the new code, mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods will be the default development option,” said Chris Hawley, a city planner in Mayor Byron Brown’s Office of Strategic Planning, to the Sustainable City Network. In addition to reducing light pollution, bringing older structures back into code, and protecting old trees, the code makes a wide range of new elements permissible, including chalkboard signs on sidewalks, residential wind turbines, open-air markets, artisan industrial programming, and rooftop-mounted PV panels.
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New renderings emerge for Statue of Liberty museum

Each year, 4.3 million visitors descend onto Liberty Island, most of them with one goal: To get up close to Lady Liberty herself. Notably, few have access to the island’s museum and even less to climb into the statue.

Since September 11, 2001, accessibility to the museum has diminished as security tightened. That, however, has not deterred tourists, as visitor numbers continue to climb. Fortunately, a new, bigger museum building is on the way on the western side of Liberty Island and will add 26,000 square feet to the museum’s space.

Designed by New York–based studio FXFowle, the 26,000-square-foot building will offer better circulation to accommodate the rush of tourists that disembark from the ferries, which arrive two or three times an hour. Fifteen thousand square feet will be dedicated to exhibitions showcasing the statue’s history, legacy, and construction details. Additional spaces will house a gallery, immersive theater, bookstore, and offices. The museum will be able to accommodate up to 1,200 visitors per hour, double the current capacity.

With an estimated budget of $70 million and slated to open in 2019, FXFowle’s design won’t detract from Lady Liberty herself. “Some people will say, ‘Why aren’t you building a much grander building?’ I say, we didn’t need a much grander building—the grander building is already there,” said Stephen Briganti, the president and chief executive of the private The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in The New York Times.

A green roof sown with native meadow species and spanning 20,000 square feet will double as a viewing area looking onto Downtown Manhattan and (of course) the Statue of Liberty. Quennell Rothschild & Partners will carry out landscaping for this and the rest of the site.

Interactive displays from ESI Design will be on view inside the museum in addition to the statue’s original torch, which was replaced in 1986 on Lady Liberty’s centennial. Thirty-three years later, that original torch will be housed in a glass-walled space—a welcome change from its windowless home in the current museum.

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New York unveils flashy upgrades for disaster-proof bridges and tunnels

New Yorkers will soon be traveling through flood-resistant tunnels and over earthquake-proof bridges, complete with jazzy, customized LED installations. Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled plans this week for infrastructure upgrades geared towards maintaining the safety, efficiency, and security of the MTA's bridges and tunnel. "By investing in New York's transportation network today and equipping it to meet the challenges of tomorrow, we are cementing our state's position as a national leader in 21st-century infrastructure and cutting-edge innovation," Governor Cuomo said, in a statement. "From speeding up commutes and reducing emissions on key roadways with automatic tolling to bolstering resiliency on our bridges and tunnels and increasing security at key checkpoints, this transformational project will revolutionize transportation in New York and ensure that our state is built to lead for generations to come." The governor's initiative covers travel routes high and low: On the ground, the New York Crossings Project will bring flood-control barriers to tunnels to prevent the catastrophic water damage unleashed on underground infrastructure by Hurricane Sandy. Previously built to prevent the impact of 100-year floods, the new barriers are capable of withstanding those 500-year deluges. The plan also calls for the bearings on all bridges to be replaced with seismic isolation bearings to protect against earthquakes and other adverse natural events. Bridge columns and piers will be reinforced, while concrete armor units will be installed to on the underwater part of bridge piers to provide further protection. On those seven bridges and two tunnels, the state will install automatic toll booths to boost traffic flow and decrease congestion, saving commuters an estimated 21 hours of driving and a million gallons of fuel each year. Sensors and cameras will be installed on gantries above the road so monitors can record passing cars and bill E-Z Pass or invoice drivers of non-E-Z Pass vehicles. The cameras won't be watching license plates alone: In an effort to ramp up security, Albany plans to test emerging face-recognition software on drivers. (The Orwellian technology will also be used at the just-announced Penn-Farley Complex.) Invoking civic buildings—Grand Central Terminal, the original Penn Station—that are also nice to look at, the governor aims to create "modern transportation gateways" from the humble toll plaza. Tunnel plazas will be redesigned with LED-enabled "veils," while gantries for the new toll booths will sport "wave" designs that also provide soundproofing. An all-day light spectacle on the George Washington Bridge, the governor explains, will provide a festive, Instagram-ready tableaux for visitors (and boost the sale of blackout shades for anyone living in a 10-block radius of the bridge). The first phase of the installation will begin this January, with all project being funded through the MTA's $27 billion capital plan.
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Explore the midcentury modern masterpieces of Fire Island Pines with these virtual tours

Fire Island Pines off Long Island may not be many people's first port of call as a source for midcentury modern dwellings, but for New York-based architect Christopher Rawlins, it is exactly that. Known as a summer getaway popular among New York's gay community, Fire Island Pines's architectural heritage is now accessible via the website Pines Modern's  audiovisual tours. The tours also explore the island's social and cultural history as a “safe space” and a premier resort for tastemakers in the 1960s and 70s. As the website says, "AIDS took a terrible toll on the population here, which in turn led to a “dark age” in which so much history and culture was lost. Pines Modern is a non-profit endeavor dedicated to the rediscovery of all that the Pines has created, particularly its mid-century architectural and cultural heritage. These are assets that, properly nourished, will ensure that the Pines remains a meaningful and relevant destination for generations to come."

Pines Modern President Christopher Rawlins spoke to The Architect's Newspaper (AN) about his relationship to the island, its architectural scene, and why he created the website. "My book, Fire Island Modernist: Horace Gifford and the Architecture of Seduction, gave Fire Island’s most prolific modernist his due," said Rawlins. Fire Island Modernist focuses on the architect Horace Gifford—who died from AIDS in 1992—and how homosexual liberation was portrayed through architecture. "The guided midcentury house tours that I lead broadened the cast of characters but serve a limited audience," continued Rawlins to AN. "Pines Modern’s website is intended as the most accessible platform yet to share my research, and will hopefully serve as a model for other communities with a rich architectural legacy."

"On my initial motivations: The architecture of the Pines combines my interests in modernism and LGBT history, and the homes are intimately linked to the Stonewall generation that built them. The diminutive proportions of these houses—abetted by the ravages of nature on this glorified sandbar—often mark them as tear-downs. Meanwhile, the loss of most of these architects, and their audience, during the AIDS crisis has ironically conspired with recent civil rights triumphs to threaten Fire Island’s relevance. As it becomes safer for gay people to venture to any number of leisure destinations, my hope is that Fire Island Pines retains its status as a homeland and a rite of passage, a place where one finds community and a connection to LGBT history. We cannot bring back a lost generation, but we can preserve their most salient artifacts and the environment in which they flourished."

You can access the website here.

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Get the XXX experience in Times Square with Jürgen Mayer H.’s new street furniture

Few New Yorkers would consider Times Square a place where they could lay down and stay awhile. But this could change come August 24: German artist and architect Jürgen Mayer H. has designed a public lounge, XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE, at the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets. The three bright pink loungers will sit four people apiece, allowing users to lay back and view Times Square from an entirely new perspective. Modeled after the “X” shaped intersection at Broadway and 7th Avenue, and inspired by Times Square’s rather nefarious history, they will be the first specially commissioned ongoing street furniture for the plaza. “Jürgen’s amazing design required the fabrication of comfortable, precise elements, that people could lay in, while being suitable for the Times Square environment. Durability and beauty go hand in hand and cannot be compromised,” Kevin Davey, principal, creative strategies of UAP North America, said in a press release. Mayer H. is well known for his architecture and installations, including other public urban works such as the Metropol Parasol in Seville, Spain, and the more recent KA300 Pavilion in Karlsruhe, Germany. XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE errs on the more playful side of the architect’s oeuvre and the benches are expected to add a new dimension to the Times Square experience. "Lying down on XXX allows for a completely different perception of Times Square and its media presence. The view goes vertical while you are broadcast via many of the public webcams of Times Square looking down on you,” Mayer H said in a press release. According to Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, photos of Times Square are posted to Instagram “no fewer than 17,000 times a day.” Naturally, XXX TIMES SQUARE WITH LOVE will have its own hashtag: #TSqXXX. The installation’s unveiling will take place on Wednesday, August 24, at 11:00 a.m. on the Broadway Pedestrian Plaza between 43rd and 44th Streets.
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Get the lowdown on how to tackle New York’s latest energy code changes

Due to be enforced on October 3, updates to New York State and City's energy codes will impact the way architects, engineers, and contractors approach and execute projects. With this date less than two months away, The Architect's Newspaper (AN) spoke to the Director of Education Development at Urban Green Council (UGC), Ellen Honigstock, and Policy Manager at UGC, Christopher Halfnight, to see what's in store.

By adopting the new energy code, New York will join a group of only six states that meet federally certified commercial and residential energy requirements. In an article outlining the changes to the code, Halfnight said the update "represents a big step forward for the city’s 2050 carbon reduction goals, with projected energy savings compared to the current code clocking in at nearly nine percent for commercial buildings and up to an impressive 32 percent for residential buildings."

Honigstock walked AN through the highlights of the code change. She was quick to note how the biggest changes regard a building's air tightness as well as a significant increase in insulation for residential buildings. Subsequently, builders will be required to conduct a blower door test to ensure air leakage does not exceed three air changes per hour. This new air-leakage requirement will be implemented state-wide, encompassing New York City. The new insulation requirements apply across the state but are particularly stringent in New York City, where the code is set to demand doubling of insulation for residential buildings.

"We don't think the industry is ready," said Honigstock, who noted that this was a big change considering that no testing is currently required. Honigstock also pointed out that the biggest difference for contractors will be that this testing would most likely be done during construction—a problem when you have open walls. Halfnight added how the test will now mean that penetration through the building envelope, such as air-conditioning units for example, will have to be carefully considered.

Keeping on the theme of air tightness, but moving on to changes in commercial code, open combustion fuel-burning appliances can no longer be housed inside of a building's thermal envelope. As Honigstock specified, this was due to the fact that open combustion could greatly affect the quality of breathable air within an envelope. Back to residential code: new dwellings must be “solar ready” with roof space allocated for panels. In an email to AN, Halfnight outlined how the requirement will only impact new detached one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) that have at least 600 square feet of roof space and a desirable solar exposure. For houses that fall under this criteria, a "solar-ready" area of at least 200 square feet (exclusive of fire code setbacks) is mandated. This area will be halved for townhouses under four stories or below or equal to 2,000 square feet. Construction documents must also display "solar-ready" zones along with the pathways for plumbing and electrical infrastructure. Rounding off the implications of these changes, Honigstock was eager to iterate that the new code means that architects, engineers, contractors and builders will have to "communicate more and work closer together" to ensure that "projects move along quicker." Read up more on the new code here.