Posts tagged with "New York":

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Kohn Pedersen Fox plays Jenga with this Madison Avenue building, pulling mass away and stacking it on top

It's addition by subtraction on Madison Avenue, where Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is playing real-life Jenga with a 24-story office building between East 46th and 47th streets in Midtown Manhattan. The architects are removing select floors of 380 Madison Avenue, and stacking them on top of each other to make a taller building. In all, 18 percent of the building will be removed and re-stacked, nudging the building up to 32 stories from its original 24. Amazingly, the rearranged tower, to be renamed 390 Madison Avenue, will have the same amount of square footage as its squatter self, YIMBY reports. Construction is expected to be complete by early 2017. There will be 663,419 square feet of commercial space (mostly for offices), and the first two floors will be double-height, for retailers looking for a swanky address on one of the city's most prestigious shopping streets. The current facade, 1980s dark glass, will be replaced by floor-to-ceiling clear glass panels. The video below, fashioned after an action movie trailer, shows exactly how the building gets taller and leaner. https://vimeo.com/110394303 390 Madison Avenue is not the only recent tower to get Jenga'd. Last June, Büro Ole Scheeren released plans for a residential tower in Vancouver with boxy massing. Two months later, Pritzker Prize–winning architect Eduardo Souto de Moura unveiled plans for a mixed-use tower in Washington, D.C. with a similar profile, while NBBJ's tower, announced last September, promises to topple expectations for Cleveland's skyline. Though AN did not make the comparison initially, BIG's new police station in the Bronx could fall under this emerging typology.
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WXY steps up design on one of New York’s long-neglected stair paths

Although step-streets—pedestrian corridors that replace auto-centric streets in hilly neighborhoods—are more often associated with San Francisco, New York City has 94 step-streets of its own. WXY Architecture + Urban Design partnered with AECOM to revamp a full-block step-street in Inwood, Manhattan's northernmost neighborhood. The so-called "step-stair" connects busy Broadway with a residential complex, Park Terrace East. The New York City Department of Design & Construction (DDC) chose Brooklyn–based WXY to rehabilitate the 215th Street right-of-way's crumbling surfaces and worn planted areas. The passage, which officially opens to the public on February 3rd, hews closely to the original design. In addition to improving the stair condition, WXY encircled newly planted trees between the two staircases with cobblestone pavers. Historic lampposts that flank the landings remain intact, though the fixtures are swapped out for more original-looking globes, as in the 1915 photograph below. A bike channel on both sides eases the schlep up and down the 50 foot incline. "The Inwood community deserves a safe stair path," said Claire Weisz, founding principal at WXY, in a statement. "But they also deserve a beautiful public space they can feel proud of, where neighbors can greet one another as they pass on their daily commute." The step-street was on the city's repair radar for years. In April 2012, The Daily News reported that Inwood residents had been petitioning for spruced-up stairs since 1999. The rendering in that piece is identical to the one re-released today, though there's no word on what's held up the project for almost four years.
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Escobedo Solíz Studio wins 2016 MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program

Mexico City–based Escobedo Solíz Studio is the winner of the 17th annual MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP) in Queens, New York. Escobedo Solíz Studio, beat five finalists to design a temporary urban landscape for the courtyard of the 2016 Warm Up summer music series. Weaving the Courtyard, will open at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City in early June. According to the architects, the installation will be “neither an object nor a sculpture standing in the courtyard, but a series of simple, powerful actions that generate new and different atmospheres.” The canopy departs from the last few object-based interventions, such as Wendy, Hy-Fi, and COSMO. A vibrant, colorful landscape will be created by using the formwork holes in the walls to anchor colored bands. Water will again be an experiential component, as a wading pool will allow visitors to cool off in fresh water. “This year’s finalists of the Young Architects Program explored a range of approaches, materials, and scales to effectively question the MoMA PS1 courtyard as an arena for escape. Escobedo Solíz’s ingenious proposal speaks to both the ephemerality of architectural imagery today but also to the nature of spatial transactions more broadly. From the evocative woven canopy that will engage visitors overhead to a reflective wading pool, Weaving the Courtyard sensitively brings together elements of MoMA PS1’s Warm Up Series with an exuberant collection of zones and environments,” said Sean Anderson, Associate Curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design, in a statement. Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 Director and MoMA Chief Curator at Large added, "This year marks the 40th anniversary of MoMA PS1 and the 17th joint annual competition brought together by the Architecture and Design Department at MoMA and MoMA PS1. The Mexico City-based team will work on a colorful, celebratory intervention that takes its point of departure to be the existing geometric concrete forms in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 simultaneously creating an urban beach of sand, water, and vibrant colors.” https://youtu.be/aH72lU4AGpU The other finalists for this year’s MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program were First Office (Andrew Atwood and Anna Neimark), Ultramoderne (Yasmin Vorbis and Aaron Forrest), COBALT OFFICE (Andrew Colopy and Robert Booth), and Frida Escobedo. An exhibition of the five finalists' proposed projects will be on view at MoMA over the summer, organized by Sean Anderson, Associate Curator, with Arièle Dionne-Krosnick, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA.
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Rumored Financial District supertall by FXFOWLE gets a trim, but will the views make up for it?

Rumor had it that the Financial District would be getting a 1,000-foot-tall tower on Trinity Place. This week, renderings were revealed for the FXFOWLE-designed building, and, at 500 feet, it's considerably shorter than anticipated. As a consolation to supertall lovers out there, every unit will have water views. Seventy Seven Greenwich Street, a 285,000-square-foot mixed-use building in the Financial District will rise 35 stories, the New York Post reports. The 500-foot-tall project will include 7,000 square feet of retail and 85 condominiums, as well as a 476-seat elementary school on floors one through nine. The glass facade design may change, as the architects have not yet decided on the precise tint and configuration of the glass panels. Deborah Berke Partners will take the lead on designing apartment interiors and amenities spaces. In addition to standard offerings like bike storage, the tower will also include a dog spa. The project's completion date is set for 2019. Renderings show 77 Greenwich Street, with a street address at 28–42 Trinity Place, squatting over the landmarked Robert and Anne Dickey House, a federal style townhouse at 28–30 Trinity Place that dates from the early 1800s. Plans call for the interior to be repurposed and the facade restored, though it looks like all other buildings on the block will be demolished. Though this building has a prime location, it is hardly FXFOWLE's biggest New York project. This month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the firm will spearhead the one billion dollar Javits Center expansion and renovation.
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AIA New York’s New Practices Committee Chooses Six Emerging Firms as Winners

New Practices New York, a distinguished competition that’s part of the AIA New York chapter, announced the six winners of its 2016 biennial competition on January 28. To qualify, the practices had to be located within New York City and founded since 2006; the competition was open to multidisciplinary firms, widening the talent pool. The winners are MODU, SCHAUM/SHIEH, stpmj, Studio Cadena, Taller KEN, and Young Projects. The panel of jurors selected the winners from 53 entries, the members are William Menking, AN’s editor-in-chief, Julian Rose, principal of Formlessfinder, Jane Smith, partner at Spacesmith, Martino Stierli, Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design at MoMA, and Ada Tolla, partner at LOT-EK. This year’s theme was Prospect and the jury evaluated the firms based on their ability to leverage multiple aspects of their projects and practices and the architecture profession as a whole. The firms will receive a stipend for an installation and exhibition at the Center for Architecture, which will open May 12, 2016, and will participate in symposia and lectures at the Cosentino Showroom, as well as travel to Spain with underwriter Cosentino. About the winners: MODU Codirected by Phu Hoang and Rachely Rotem, MODU is an interdisciplinary firm that focuses on directing people to their environments. The practice has won numerous awards and was given a commendation for “21 for 21” an award that recognizes “the next generation of architects for the 21st Century.” SCHAUM/SHIEH Founders Rosalyn Shieh and Troy Schaum established their firm in 2009 with an emphasis on the city at the scale of a building and the dialogue between projects and urban plans. They operate between Houston and New York City. stpmj Based in New York and Seoul, Seung Teak Lee and Mi Jung Lim founded their firm to explore new perspectives on material and structure with regard to our current social, cultural, environmental and economic fabric. Studio Cadena Benjamin Cadena founded his eponymous studio in Brooklyn; projects range from city planning and commercial projects to exhibitions, houses, and furniture. Taller KEN Part of the design team for the Whitney Museum of American Art, Gregory Melitonov and Ines Guzman founded their studio in 2013. The New York– and Guatemala-based firm’s work includes mixed-use development, residential projects, and installation design. Young Projects Bryan Young founded multidisciplinary design studio Young Projects in 2010 and projects include a retreat in the Dominican Republic, a townhouse in Williamsburg, and a Hamptons bungalow. The firm received the Architectural League Prize in 2013. The New Practices New York 2016 exhibition will be on view at the Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York City from May 12, 2016.
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Ever-growing MoMA splits its controversial expansion plans into three phases

When MoMA debuted its Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R)–led expansion and renovation plans in 2014, the reaction from the public was overwhelmingly negative. Those plans called for demolishing the Tod Williams and Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum and creating a glass curtain wall that would open MoMA's entire first floor to the public, for free. It's not the free part critics took issue with: It was the perceived chaos of the museum-goer experience and wholesale destruction of the folk art museum. MoMA took note, and pulled plans back. This week, revised plans were revealed. DS+R is still the architect (with Gensler), and the original objective—to create unfettered movement between galleries—remains. But a lot has also changed. Plans call for connecting galleries in Jean Nouvel’s planned residential tower at West 53rd Street, the new DS+R addition, galleries in the site of the former American Folk Art Museum, and the current MoMA building to broaden public access and accommodate skyrocketing attendance. Renovations and new construction will add 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, and expand the lobbies. When construction is complete, MoMA will be 744,000 square feet, or 17 percent, larger than it is today. The fluidity of the program, museum officials and observers contend, signal MoMA’s move away from traditional departmental categories towards more interdisciplinary collaboration. Martino Stierli, the museum’s chief curator of architecture and design, told the New York Times that MoMA is “really using this moment of renovation to explore other ways to see our collection—looking at how media can interact. We want to make use of this time to try new things.” Given the museum's increasing popularity, more people will see these new concepts in practice. Since 2004, the year that Yoshio Taniguchi's $858 million addition opened to the public, the collection has grown by 40 percent, the number of yearly exhibitions has increased from 15 to 35, membership has reached 150,000, and attendance has doubled to three million annual visitors. The project is being split into three phases so the museum will not have to close completely. DS+R’s structure will be the last of the three: The first phase will be changes to the Lauder Building, where audiences now enter for film screenings, followed by renovations to the Taniguchi building. The Lauder building's east lobby will be expanded to improve crowd flow to the main lobby, and the gift shop and bookstore will be moved below ground to facilitate the expansion. Broadening public access will be achieved by different means than those put forth in the plan's first iteration. A new public entrance to the 54th Street sculpture garden was nixed due to security concerns. The “Art Bay," a retractable glass door would have allowed museumgoers to enter ground-floor galleries straight from the street, has also disappeared from plans. Instead, the first floor will have a free gallery with two exhibition spaces (one double height, for MoMA's Project Series) that's open to the public, but accessed through the museum lobby. A new canopy and a double height ceiling at the 53rd Street entrance will give extra visibility to the museum's main entrance. The double height ceiling will displace the media gallery, whose contents could be moved to a fourth floor gallery for media and performance. To accommodate larger pieces, or pieces of the future whose spatial requirements cannot yet be determined, none of the new galleries will have permanent walls, and collections galleries will be almost column-free. The four third-floor galleries (including galleries for architecture, photography, drawings, and special exhibition) will be merged into two galleries of 10,000 and 5,000 square feet. Glass, steel, and stone will be traded for a warmer palette to unify the changes. Construction on the $390 to $400 million project will begin next month. Although completion is contingent on the project timeline of the Nouvel building, all construction is expected to be complete by 2019 or 2020.
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Jeanne Gang’s fire station brings civic design to deep Brooklyn neighborhood

Chicago-based Studio Gang is designing a modern fire station for the Brownsville community in Brooklyn. The two-story, precast concrete structure, to be built on a vacant lot at 1815 Sterling Place, includes bright red accents as the facade pulls away from the street plane. The so-called Fire Rescue 2 facility "is intended to become a tool for training, enabling FDNY Company 2, an elite force of firefighters and specialized rescue workers serving the people of New York for nearly a century, to stage and simulate a wide range of emergency conditions in, on, and around the building," according to a project description from Studio Gang. This training program inspired Jeanne Gang, the firm's principal, in designing the building. "During emergencies, the Company must often utilize voids in buildings," the firm stated, "whether creating them to let heat and smoke out of a structure or locating them as a means of escape." The structure's design responds with its own voids demarcated in red that reveal windows, staircases, and a second-floor terrace. The facade of the 19,000-square-foot structure will be built of precast concrete and red glazed terracotta tiles. The 46-foot-tall structure is meant to respond to the scale of neighborhood buildings. Gang organized the fire house around a central interior that "enables the team to practice rescue scenarios that mimic conditions common to the city." The space is a sort of modern recreation of balconies, bridges, doorways, ladders, and stairs that the firefighters might encounter in the city. The void dually allows air and light to penetrate deep into the structure, enhancing the living quarters for the firefighters. While the facade's jagged geometry and bright color conveys the structure's purpose and sense of urgency, the interiors are designed to help firefighters cool off. Inside, a kitchen forms the hub of social life for the firefighters, adding another layer of heat to the project's design. Plenty of green space, including a backyard and open-air porches, allows the firefighters to cool off when not on duty. Studio Gang is working with SCAPE / Landscape Architecture on the project. The building also includes several sustainable gestures such as a green roof, geothermal HVAC system, and a solar hot-water system. Fire Rescue 2 is programmed to include office space, dormitories for firefighters, a kitchen, exercise rooms, training space, and storage. "With its adaptable spaces, environmental approach, and civic scale, the new Rescue 2 firehouse is both a neighborhood fixture and important piece of infrastructure, supporting a highly trained corps who safeguard those who call New York home," Studio Gang stated. Permits for the project were filed in October 2015, according to real estate watch-blog New York YIMBY. The project is estimated to be complete in 2017. In July 2015, the design was honored with an Award for Excellence in Design from the New York City Public Design Commission. Elsewhere in New York, Studio Gang is working on a major expansion to the American Museum of National History and an embattled condo tower along the High Line called the Solar Carve. The firm has opened a New York office to handle the increased workload. Also, don't miss AN's exclusive interview with Jeanne Gang while kayaking the Chicago River here.
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The scaffolding comes off Carmel Place, New York’s first modular micro-apartment building

The scaffolding just came off of Carmel Place, the 10-story, 55-unit micro-apartment building designed by Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS. The project, formerly known as My Micro NY, has diminutive units designed to serve the "small household population." The project sits at One Mount Carmel Place, a looping side street boxed in between 28th Street, First Avenue, 27th Street, and Second Avenue in Kips Bay, Manhattan. The towers are vertically striped in four shades of grey brick (as seen in the renderings below), though in some of Field Condition's photographs the brick takes on a brownish hue. The tower is constructed of 92 modular units, which were themselves built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The massing somewhat reference's BIG's Two World Trade Center, whose irregularly stacked upper stores are smaller-but-wider to accommodate terraces. The interiors are meant to make the Lilliputian apartments feel as spacious as possible. The ceilings are nine-and-a-half feet tall, and exterior doors slide, rather than swing. Seventy cubic feet of storage spaces over the bathrooms and 70-square-foot kitchens with extra fold-out counter space reduce clutter and allow for full scale movement in the space. Juliet balconies, with a comparatively generous 63 square feet of floor area, allow access to the outdoors. Each of the six different types of units, ranging in size from 273 to 360 square feet, come equipped with interior furnishings. The architects collaborated with New York–based Resource Furniture on the built-ins (like the bed-couch), and other furnishings from Stage 3 Properties through Ollie. Ollie decorates rental apartments, organizes community events in-building, and offers amenities packages that include housekeeping and wifi. Carmel Place offers a standard range of amenities: bike storage, lounge, fitness room, public roof terrace, and community room. 525 square feet of ground-floor retail, plus the glassed-in, street-facing gym, anchors the development to the outside. Here as everywhere, competition for the building's affordable units is intense, with 60,000 applications submitted for the 14 apartments. All tenants could be moving in as early as March 2016.  
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Breaking: World War I Centennial Commission names winner in memorial competition

The World War I Centennial Commission in Washington D.C. has announced Chicago–based designer Joe Weishaar and New York–based sculptor Sabin Howard as the winners of the World War I Memorial Competition. The-Weight-Of-Sacrifice-presspacket-aerial The two stage competition solicited proposals to design a national WWI memorial for the Pershing Park, which currently contains a memorial to WWI General John J. Pershing. The park was designated a National WWI memorial by the federal government in late 2014, but the park was not been redeveloped to reflect this new designation. Joe Weishaar & Sabin Howard’s design entitled "The Weight of Sacrifice", was picked from five shortlisted finalists after an open competition in 2015. The winning design is comprised of a 137’ long gradually slopping wall which surrounds a grass lawn and singular sculpture. The wall, constructed of darkened bronze is animated with reliefs depicting the various roles of soldiers throughout the war. The cubic space encapsulated by the wall is also equal to that of the number of U.S. Soldiers lost in the war – one cubic foot for each of the 116,516 lost. At the heart of the project is an intent to keep the site as a public park space. The project narrative reads, “The allegorical idea that public space and public freedom are hard won through the great sacrifices of countless individuals in the pursuit of liberty provides the original design concept for this project.” The four other shortlisted offices included proposals ranging from contemporary rectilinear concepts to a neo-classical design reminiscent of a triumphal arch design. Each of the designs was guided by 10 design goals set forth by the World War I Centennial Commission. These included guidelines addressing enclosure, access, contextual considerations, and sustainability. The negotiation of what to do with the current park amenities and memorial was left up to the participants to address. The winning design proposes to keep the current General Pershing monument as it stands. Though the park has already been designated as the National WWI Memorial, the park itself has also recently been named as being eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. If the park achieves this designation, there would be a foreseeable conflict of redevelopment as the project attempts to move forward. The parks current configuration was designed by landscape architects M. Paul Friedberg and Oehme van Sweden.
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Letters to the Editor> Readers respond to AN’s Municipal Art Society editorial

Editor's Note: In The Architect’s Newspaper’s December issue, editor-in-chief William Menking published the editorial, “What Happened to the Municipal Art Society?” In it, he questioned MAS’s commitment to architecture and New York City, saying: “What was once one of the fiercest and most devoted New York City organizations that would litigate when it thought the best interests of the city were threatened, has now become a de-fanged developer and real estate–led organization that serves as a cheerleader for major development projects…” Many of you responded and we are sharing a few letters below. 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. I was the executive director of the Municipal Art Society (1975 to 1984) when the idea of locating a space where we could have our offices and also be able to have public programs was suggested by board member Fred Papert in 1976. The MAS Board at that time was chaired by Brendan Gill with Doris Freedman as president and, immediately seeing the possibilities of bringing our urban design and preservation concerns to a broader public, they got behind the idea enthusiastically. The MAS was founded in 1893 and had always been a group of enthusiasts inspired by the City Beautiful movement. For decades it didn’t have a full-time staff, and its projects were led by board members who were architects, lawyers, philanthropists, civic activists, and people who had influence with government agencies. At the time, our offices were located on the remote 45th floor of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. We were looking for a new home that would be as different as possible. There was a real estate depression in Manhattan, so there were endless possibilities available. I looked at about 50 East Side locations from 35th to 65th streets. We could even have bought a whole—semi-decayed—building in Midtown for $650,000. Then we learned that the North Wing of the Villard Houses might be available and were excited by its possibilities. At 51st and Madison the location was at the crossroads of the city. We approached the Helmsley Organization, which owned the buildings (on land owned by the Archdiocese of New York). What emerged after a period of negotiation was an initial lease for approximately 25 years, with relatively small escalations, starting at about $2.00 a square foot, and another 25 years of optional extensions with periodic escalations to market rents. I signed the lease for the space in 1977 with Harry Helmsley, who evidently didn’t think it had much potential. While searching for the real estate, I did a survey of all of the citywide land-use organizations to determine which ones would be compatible with MAS in housing their offices in the building and sharing the public spaces for gallery exhibitions and public meetings. There were more than ten such nonprofit organizations, but some were far too large to fit, while others did not want to leave where they were. We finally ended up with the Architectural League, the Parks Council, and the New York AIA, which acted as an umbrella for the planning and landscape organizations. Then, as a way to keep the relationships open with all of these organizations, Doris Freedman suggested that MAS create an informal breakfast club to which only the top official of each of them was invited to meet monthly and share intelligence on development proposals before various city agencies. When the Urban Center project started, the MAS was raising its funding month by month. It had no endowment and almost no cash on hand. On the strength of the concept of an Urban Center (totally original at the time) we raised the funds (nearly a million dollars) for the renovation for programming. We finished the work in the fall of 1979 for the offices, the public spaces, and Urban Center Books (which was funded entirely by Joan Davidson and the J.M. Kaplan Fund.) We and our nonprofit sub-tenants were all subsidized by our commercial tenants. The National Trust for Historic Preservation held its annual meeting in New York in late 1979, and we were able to open the doors of The Urban Center in time to welcome them. It is interesting that MAS, an organization with a passionate, involved board, a tiny staff and no financial strength at the start, could carry off such a grand plan. It was the only organization that perceived the vacuum in unified civic leadership and undertook to fill it. The pioneering donors like CBS, Brooke Astor, Mobil Oil, and the National Endowment for the Humanities took a big leap of faith to back the effort at the beginning. In its time, The Urban Center did much to balance the combined strength of the real estate community and the public agencies with the concerns and desires of local citizens and enlightened professionals. The MAS organized and managed The Urban Center in its thirty years of existence with a lively program of exhibitions, presentations, bookstore, and celebrations, as it became a destination and meeting place for design professionals and students from all over the world. It is still missed by many. Margot Wellington, Urbanist I did not recognize the Municipal Art Society described in the December 11th Editorial. As a partner for the past three years in improving the safety, health, and prosperity of Brownsville, Brooklyn, MAS has brought attention to preservation, livability, and resilience concerns that it and other outer borough neighborhoods, particularly those with the highest rates of poverty, have long needed. In its work with residents and organizations in Brownsville, MAS has combined the best of its advocacy tradition with emergent tools and smart urban strategies aimed at helping local residents thrive. It’s an impressive evolution for an organization that continues to stand fundamentally for a more inclusive city. Rosanne Haggerty, president of the Community Solutions/Brownsville Partnership I worked up there. I learned about “social loafing,” which I teach in my management courses. Val Ginter, former MAS Tour Guide I worked, consulted, and partnered with the MAS for many decades and think you may have underestimated the value of the work it has been doing over the past years. For credibility, I was the professional advisor to the legendary MAS Time Square Competition recently revisited at the Skyscraper Museum. More recently, during my term as president of the AIA New York Chapter, I partnered with the MAS and the Architectural League on a public forum addressing the then immediate and contentious future of the American Folk Art Museum. But the most important work the MAS has been doing is related to the future of the city, the region, and the globe starting with its immediate and intimate involvement with the post-Sandy activities. The MAS was present at the 20 agency meeting at the AIA NY Chapter and was central to the HUD/RBD activities and runs right up to the recent Urban Thinkers Campus and organizing of programs like the critical multi-agency, multi-institutional one held recently at the National Museum of the American Indian dealing with the ever more critical issues of Climate Change. Not to recognize the importance of these activities is not giving credit where credit is due. Yes, we all look forward to a new home for the MAS and to robust new leadership, but this should not eclipse the contributions MAS is making while these new opportunities are being addressed. Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, Architect Your article is on target. The MAS is currently a sad situation given its long and distinguished history. For more than a century, MAS acted as advocate for zoning, planning, and historic preservation. It has since the 1950s provided first-rate public programs and tours to help the public reach a greater understanding of both planning and preservation issues. The Historic Districts Council has filled the preservation advocacy vacuum for the entire city and is more in touch with the issues and concerns all residents than MAS, which is generally perceived as “Midtown Manhattan- centric” and a “blueblood” organization. The HDC is responsible for so much fine work, but lacks the high profile of MAS. However on other issues such as planning and zoning, there is still is an important gap to be filled by MAS which was able to make the transition over the decades from a “City Beautiful Movement” organization of the 19th century concerned with “Municipal Art” to a dynamic advocate for rational zoning, planning, and preservation and the education of the citizenry in these issues through the 20th Century. I truly hope MAS can continue and find their way in the 21st. John Kriskiewicz, Architectural Historian Points well taken. We need a watchdog and you remind of us of the former and important role played by the MAS. Anthony Alofsin, Architect I joined MAS in the past year, and was asked to serve as chair of the preservation committee in the last six months. I feel the responsibility to respond to your article. This committee’s focus is the basis for the formation of MAS nearly 125 years ago, so the weight of the position was not lost on me. In taking stock of our preservation activities I came away with an external view, which was consistent with what you are saying. However, the internal evaluation yielded a different result. From an outside perspective, MAS had stepped away from the active preservation forum. We were not walking the halls nor shouting out loudly or early enough. We had lost direct touch with our constituents when the Urban Center was closed. However, in my internal research I learned that MAS became spread thin, overcommitted financially, and carried hefty legal bills to fight these fights. The outgoing director dedicated much of his tenure to streamlining programs, reducing costs and creating a fiscally viable organization. He focused on organizational health and moved us from reactive battles to proactive planning. If there was a loss of voice, I do stand by a leader who created focus and organizational health. My recommendations were to increase our financial commitment toward staff in preservation; to get into the fight earlier; to use new tools to engage a broader audience; and to support the broad array of smaller preservation organizations. Those recommendations were supported by the Board. And so, this fall we hired an experienced, highly respected preservation professional to support our efforts. We have formalized our areas of focus—Penn Station, supertalls, East Midtown, landmarks, and loss of character in neighborhoods across our five boroughs. Considerable planning has gone on in these core areas for the past three years. As we appoint a new president, MAS has a huge opportunity to be owned by all who care about its work. Many of the most frustrated voices are also those who have been a part of our history and care deeply about the Society. The sweep of a century has moved from no preservation to our first preservation policy, to tools that allow us to merge preservation with design planning. Through the leadership of a new President, the Board, our staff, and members, MAS is committed to an ambitious future for the city, which includes the fundamental importance of preservation. MAS has a huge opportunity to become owned by all who care about its work and thus drive the agenda. It is a membership organization and ownership should grow to encompass ALL New Yorkers. Christy MacLear, executive director at Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Has MAS lost its fight? An important question, but we could equally ask: “Have we lost our fight?” William Menking’s editorial poses a question that the media, advocacy organizations, and the profession itself should be asking. As an example, AN itself used to be known for publishing the latest gossip from the upper boardrooms of design and architecture, aiming to break down walls. But controversy is hard to sustain. For both not-for-profit and for-profit concerns, the fight seems to be for relevance. The many organizations that are committed to what makes New York New York, struggle with how to inspire New Yorkers to fight the continuing loss of variety in our city and its places. The struggle plays out through individual fights for buildings and larger fights for policy change, but what remains lacking is investment in and support of a platform to coordinate, combine, and focus these efforts, large and small. In our own experience, MAS sponsored The Next 100 initiative to communicate what was at stake for Grand Central. Since the teams presented these architectural visions in 2013, there has been almost no reaction and certainly no sign of a larger movement galvanizing interest around campaigning for any of the elements of the visions proposed for Grand Central and its district. Is this because we don’t see projecting a vision and building excitement about the future as a critical part of the preservation battle? Or maybe it is too hard to accept, that we need to work on the battles you cite, as civic issues that bring together organizations and their resources. Claire Weisz, FAIA, principal, W X Y architecture + urban design
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Staten Island’s eerie, abandoned Farm Colony to be transformed into senior housing

Staten Island's abandoned New York City Farm Colony is being redeveloped into Landmark Colony, a $91 million residential community for seniors 55 and older. The architect is Staten Island–based Vengoechea + Boyland Architecture/Urban Planning. The Farm Colony was founded in 1829 as a government-run poorhouse for indigent New Yorkers. Enrollment declined with the introduction of government-run antipoverty programs like Social Security in the 1930s and the Great Society programs of the 1960s. The colony closed for good in 1975. Vacant since then, the Dutch revival–style buildings have decayed and now provide canvases for graffiti artists. In 1982, some of the land was annexed to the NYC Parks Department and added to the Staten Island Greenbelt, which runs adjacent to the property. The site, along with neighboring Seaview Hospital, was designated a New York City historic district in 1985.
With last week's City Council approval, Landmark Colony's opening is set for 2018. Plans call for constructing 344 units, a mix of medium-rise condos and low-rise townhouses, on the 43-acre site, the Staten Island Advance reported.
The complex will include 18,500 square feet of retail, a community center with an outdoor swimming pool, and 17.6 acres of green space. The colony's pond will be refurbished, and a hill with seating will surround a stage for concerts and events. 90 percent of the existing roads will be converted into bike and pedestrian trails.
Some of the ruins will be left standing, and, per the Landmark Preservation Commission approval process, new buildings must be compatible with the architectural heritage of the Farm Colony. Former dormitories will be converted into loft-style condos, while the design of the townhouses will reference the shop building on-site.
With construction expected to take less than two years, urban explorers have a only a few months left to explore the Farm Colony's ghostly ruins.
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Woody and The Donald

Here is a story to file under the Republican presidential primary, celebrity, radical American politics, and affordable housing policies in New York City. The Conversation writer Will Kaufman reports that the "This Land is Your Land" folk singer Woody Guthrie lived in Federal Housing Authority–financed housing in Coney Island's Beach Haven. Those residences were constructed by non other than Fred Trump, Donald’s father. Guthrie despised his landlord, the elder Trump, and wrote several ditties (a reprise of his "I Ain’t Got No Home") about him:

Beach Haven ain’t my home! 
I just cain’t pay this rent! 
My money’s down the drain! 
And my soul is badly bent! 
Beach Haven looks like heaven 
Where no black ones come to roam! 
No, no, no! Old Man Trump! 
Old Beach Haven ain’t my home! Trump’s involvement with and creation of (racially exclusive) affordable Beach Haven housing for the hundreds of thousands of returning servicemen to New York after World War II is a sordid tale. Kaufman unearthed the story after going through the Guthrie archive in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He reports that “when the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) finally stepped in to issue federal loans and subsidies for urban apartment blocks, one of the first developers in line, with his eye on the main chance, was Fred Trump. He made a fortune not only through the construction of public housing projects but also through collecting the rents on them." Its a fascinating story of housing policy in New York that becomes more pointed “in the wake of Donald Trump, who says, 'My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy.'” (via Gawker)