Posts tagged with "New York":

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LPC approves faux-classical Upper East Side mansion; many see a lost architectural opportunity

Manhattan-based firm HS Jessup Architecture has been given the green light for a five story faux-classical apartment on 34 East 62nd Street. The design, which is for the Woodbine Development Corporation, was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and will rest on the site where Dr. Nicholas Bartha blew up his own house in 2006. Only days more than a decade ago, Bartha had become embroiled in a marriage dispute that forced him to sell the house. However, Bartha wasn't budging. The New York Times reported the incident on July 11 2006:
The graceful town house on East 62nd Street was more than a home to Nicholas Bartha. It was the culmination of his life’s work, proof that he had realized the classic immigrant’s dream. In court papers, [Bartha's former wife] said he had repeatedly vowed in ominous tones that he would die in that house and that she would never get it. Now there is no house.
Shortly afterward, the 20 by 100 foot plot was available for $8.35 million and marketed by Brown Harris Stevens as an “opportunity to build your dream house” on a “quiet, lovely tree-lined street.” A year on from this, Bridgehampton-based architect Preston T. Phillips was touted to design a slender, modern replacement for Bartha's town house, though the 2008 crisis proved to fatal stumbling block for the project. Fast forward ten years ten years and now it looks like there will be a house on East 62nd Street once again. Employing a limestone and red brick on the North and South facades respectively, the 7,800-square-foot Manhattan mansion seeks to fall in line with its adjacent typologies adding a contemporary edge. The Historic Districts Council (HDC) however, had other ideas. At a hearing on July 12 the council said:
HDC finds that while the proposed design is not offensive and would be constructed of appropriate materials, it raises the question of whether it is appropriate to construct faux historic houses in historic districts. Introducing a design that is of our time or replicating the house that originally stood here would be acceptable strategies, but this house, while thoughtfully picking up details found in the neighborhood, does neither. The house might look like it has always been here, but we are not sure that would be an honest approach.
They weren't the only group to raise their concerns too as Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts voiced their issue with the facade's design:
While the proportions and scale of this building are appropriate for its setting, our Preservation Committee can’t help but feel that this project may be a missed opportunity for a more creative design.
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New York’s W Hotel offers one-of-a-kind glamping experience on 17th floor terrace

Interior design studio Laurel & Wolf have joined forces with New York's W Hotel to repurpose the Hotel's Extreme Wow Suite (the name says it all) on the 17th floor into a "urban glamping adventure". Available to be booked through November, the suite offers a full-sized Yurt—a collapsable circular tent made from felt or skins that originated from Turkey, Siberia, and Mongolia. Also in the package is a "city friendly" fire pit, a lounge area that boasts rattan hanging chairs and an array of glowing lanterns complimented by a canopy of twinkling café lights that sets an idyllic nighttime ambience. Meanwhile, the Yurt itself comes kitted out with a variety of furnishings in numerous fabrics, shapes, and sizes to create a cozy urban retreat. “In New York, the ultimate luxury is having your own outdoor space. We wanted this to feel really lush, like a green outdoor oasis,” said designer Kimberly Winthrop. “Instead of your typical tent or teepee, we decided to install a yurt on the balcony. Because they’re round, they feel more inclusive and are better for socializing.” “We like to work hard but play even harder — our designs are usually very conducive to this type of lifestyle,” said W New York Marketing Manager Pablo Andres-Lopez. “The glamping setup creates this unique escape in the middle of the city. It’s perfect for intimate parties, a morning yoga session, or a night cap under the stars.” In an ongoing poll by 6sqft, voters appear skeptical of the idea with more than 60 percent (at the time of writing) saying "Heck no" to "Drop $2,000 to 'Glamp' in a Yurt on a NYC Terrace?"
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New York City to get 50 new soccer pitches as part of $3 million plan

New York City's five boroughs are in line to take a share of 50 new soccer fields over the next five years courtesy of the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Adidas, city government, and New York City F.C. The project, with an expected cost of $3 million, aligns with the aims of the U.S. Soccer Foundation to boost participation in healthy activities among youths.

According to the New York Times, Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to name Millbrook Playground in the South Bronx as the location for the first of eight fields. Here, a rundown play area will make way for an artificial pitch comprised of synthetic fibers which will be able to be used all year round. Other fields will also be placed in and around various depressed neighborhoods as the projects hopes to reach out to up to 10,000 children.

The fields are due to come to $750,000—a figure that will be offered by the four partners—meanwhile the rest of the total amount will go to maintaining the fields and extracurricular activities that will take place there.

“The city and public have skin in the game, and the private companies have skin in the game, so it’s a way to build bridges throughout our city that is very significant,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, the director of the New York CityOffice of Strategic Partnerships, told the Times. “When you couple those private resources with the scale and breadth of our city agencies, innovative solutions can happen in a way that public systems can’t do by themselves.”

With underserved communal spaces, having been identified for soccer field placement, first in line are Cypress Hills Houses in Brooklyn, the Eagle Academy on Staten Island, Public School 83 in Manhattan, and Millbrook Playground.

New York City F.C., Major League Soccer's most recent franchise, is still on the hunt for a soccer field of their own. Currently ground sharing with the New York Yankees, president of the club, Jon Patricof, said the team were still looking in all five boroughs for a new place to call home. “For us, this is not about what happens on our match days,” Patricof said. “For us, this is about our commitment to the sport and all the positive things soccer can do for kids and their families.”
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Deborah Berke Partners will redesign a former Chelsea prison into home for women’s rights advocacy

New York-based Deborah Berke Partners has been announced as winners of The Women’s Building International Design Competition by The NoVo Foundation and Goren Group. The competition saw 43 teams submit designs to repurpose the former Bayview Correctional Facility into The Women’s Building, which will be home for girl's and women's rights advocacy in New York.

A 1931 project by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, the structure sits on the south corner of West 20th Street and 11th Avenue. It served as a medium-security women's prison until 2012. At the time of closing, the facility held 153 inmates; the prison was forced to shut-down after incurring heavy maintenance costs post Hurricane Sandy. The building was then acquired by Empire State Development, who later sold it to The NoVo Foundation and Goren Group in fall of last year. Back then, executive director of the non-profit NoVo Foundation Pamela Shifman said, “We are envisioning a sort of vertical neighborhood where women leaders can connect with each other in very powerful ways.”

“We are deeply honored by the opportunity to be design partners in this important work,” Deborah Berke said in a press release. “In my more than 30 years of practice, few projects have resonated with me as personally as this one has. The idea of turning the old correctional facility into a place of hope and action, and the transformational nature of the project’s mission, are an inspiration for my team.”

“Over the last several months, we have met with and heard from hundreds of leaders and activists, including formerly incarcerated women, about what they hope to see in this building,” said Pamela Shifman. “Deborah Berke and her team are the perfect partners to join us as we continue this journey, turning a shared vision of a space for liberation, equality, and justice for all girls and women into a concrete reality.”

Lela Goren, founder and president of Goren Group also added, “As we think about all The Women’s Building stands for and all we hope it will be, Deborah Berke Partners truly embodies the essence of that vision. Berke leads a team that’s not only incredibly skillful, but which we believe has the collective expertise, creativity, and collaborative spirit necessary to breathe renewed life into this space.”

The 100,000 square-foot building is due to reopen by 2020, with ground breaking sometime next year.

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Exhibition on Architectural League of New York’s League Prize for Young Architects + Designers opens

The 2016 Architectural League of New York's League Prize for Young Architects + Designers focused on the theme of (im)permanence. As the League's website says, this year's competition "asks how time affects architecture’s assertion of style, methods of assembly, and relationship to program." The exhibition, open until July 30, showcases the drawings, models, and research of the winners at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries at Parsons School of Design at The New School. As The Architect's Newspaper reported in May, this year's diverse group included: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, DESIGN EARTH, Cambridge, MA and Ann Arbor, MI Juan Alfonso Garduño Jardón, G3 Arquitectos, Querétaro, Mexico Neyran Turan and Mete Sonmez, NEMESTUDIO, San Francisco, CA Neeraj Bhatia, The Open Workshop, San Francisco, CA Hubert Pelletier and Yves de Fontenay, Pelletier de Fontenay, Montreal, Canada Yasmin Vobis and Aaron Forrest, Ultramoderne, Providence, RI Three of the winners will also discuss their responses to the theme of (im)permanence in a June 30 lecture; the event can also be streamed live through the Architectural League of New York. The 2016 League Prize was organized by the Architectural League and its Young Architects + Designers Committee.
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A new exhibit explores the construction and preservation of the New York Public Library main branch building

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has opened a new exhibition, Preserving A Masterpiece: From Soaring Ceilings to Subterranean Storage, that documents the history of the 105-year-old Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Carrying significant historical pedigree, the building currently has three rooms that have been granted NYCLandmark protection: Astor Hall, the main stairway and the McGraw Rotunda. Running through September 18, the exhibition will focus on the ongoing restoration of the Rose Main Reading Room.

Preserving A Masterpiece will be located on the third floor of the Schwarzman Building and boast more than 75 photos, most of which have never been revealed in public. The images—which go all the way back to 1902—will shed light on the building's past as well as current preservation efforts. The structure makes use 530,00 cubic feet of marble and the massive scale of its structure is on full display in early images.

Behind the scenes photography will explore the two-year restoration of the ceilings in the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room and Rose Main Reading Room, as well as the 50 foot scaffolding that was used to carry out the work. Further images will show the construction of a second level of collection storage underneath Bryant Park and the new 55,700-square-foot level of the Milstein Research Stacks, which is due to bring the library's capacity to approximately 4.3 million volumes.

In addition to this, two ornate plaster rosettes from the Rose Main Reading Room ceiling will be on display. Interestingly, when one was pulled down during an inspection to test the ceiling's strength, more than 430 pounds of weight was required, proving that the ceiling has maintained its structural strength during its 100-year lifetime. 

“The Library is proud to be a dedicated, great steward of all of its buildings, including and especially the iconic and historic 42nd Street Library and its beloved reading rooms,” said NYPL President Tony Marx. “Looking at photographs of this building from its beginnings to its current state is a powerful reminder of what makes it so special, so extraordinary, and so important.”  

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Cost of Second Avenue Subway continues to rise as planned December open approaches

In order to finish the Second Avenue Subway by its December deadline, the MTA requires an additional $10 million per month on top of the $39 million per month that is currently being spent, Kent Haggas, the project's independent engineer, has told DNAinfo. About seventy-percent of the project goals set forth by the MTA in March have been reached, according to the project's contractors. According to another engineer, a pileup of changes that arose during construction have also heightened the stress to complete the subway on time. In February, the MTA’s full board voted to use $66 million from its existing contingency budget to stay on schedule, leaving $50 million left to finish the project. On Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced the Capital Plan Review Board’s approval of the MTA’s $25 billion repair and upgrade plan, according to an article from the Daily News: “The money covers everything from track and station repairs to new train cars and buses.” Included in that range is the next phase of the Second Avenue Subway project into East Harlem. The Daily News article quotes a statement from Governor Cuomo: “By investing in the most robust transportation plan in state history, we are reimagining the MTA and ensuring a safer, more reliable and more resilient public transportation network for tomorrow.” The state will contribute $8.3 billion while the city will contribute $2.5 billion but the funding will not be available until the MTA has exhausted its own $50 million slotted for the subway.
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Explore this interactive map of the Gowanus Canal’s slightly scary microbiology

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is notorious for its filth. Normally a sure fire way to contract dysentery, cancer and arsenic poisoning, the canal is now the subject of study from a diverse collaborative effort: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, biotech nonprofit GenSpace, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and data visualizers Landscape Metrics. Called the BK BioReactor, the undertaking employs a small autonomous watercraft that samples waters throughout the infamous canal (an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund site). The researchers set out to catalog its microbial communities before the canal undergoes dredging and sub-aquatically capping as part of the Superfund cleanup later this year. https://vimeo.com/156573571 Why the Gowanus? The team aims to discover new microorganisms "unique to the urban realm." With many urban areas facing similar pollution challenges, there may be important lessons to be learned. "The Gowanus Canal is an incubator for the evolution of such bioremediating functions, attesting to its industrial past and its capacity for self-renewal," they stated. To carry out the task, the group are using the BK BioReactor: a mobile watercraft that takes samples and stops at 14 "Smart Docks" throughout the canal. The craft measures "water temperature, pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen; and most importantly grant researchers and citizen scientists access to the microbiome below the cleanup cap. Subsequently, an interactive microbiological map has been produced, locating all the different microorganisms, the vast majority of which are bacteria. However, in some parts of the canal, large quantities of the siphoviridae virus family can be found. For those wondering, this is not linked to syphilis (which the canal has been associated with). That's not to say the findings were in any way healthy however. "Many of the species identified in preliminary samplings are also found in the human gut (a result of raw sewage) while other species reveal influence of the canal’s proximity to the ocean," the group said. "Regardless of their source, the microbial melting pot of the canal has fine-tuned its metabolism, swapping genes with neighboring communities and evolving novel functions to develop real-time strategies for the unique state of the canal." https://vimeo.com/156590188 Other substances discovered included:
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In latest push to clear backlog, NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designates nine new landmarks

Tasked with clearing its 95-item backlog, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is moving swiftly to shape the future of historic structures in the Big Apple by clearing its docket. On Tuesday, the LPC voted to designate nine items—eight individual structures and one historic district—as New York City Landmarks.
Perhaps the most recognizable item on the list was the Pepsi Cola Sign, which has graced the shores of Long Island City, Queens, since 1936. The sign is not a typical landmark. It's an ad for a beverage conglomerate, albeit a charming, retro ad. A debate arose around the nuances of the designation at a meeting in February to present evidence in favor of preservation. Supporters' eyes ping-ponged anxiously as LPC members brought up possible obstacles objections: Would designation cover the metal scaffolding that the bottle and logo are attached to, or would designation encompass just the signs' iconic appendages, leaving a loophole to alter the sign's arrangement?
The LPC decided to landmark the Pepsi sign, noting in its recommendation that the sign was preserved once before, as the factory it flanked was sold in 1999. The LPC's decision recognizes the city's manufacturing heritage, and preserves the spirit of place that's otherwise the face of bland waterfront luxury condo development. The grassroots Historic Districts Council (HDC) recommends that the LPC "investigate additional preservation protections, such as an easement or some other form of legal contract to help ensure this landmark’s continued presence."
In all, there were ten items recommended for designation, including two whose eclecticism and allure rival the Pepsi sign (the commission delayed a vote on Immaculate Conception Church in the South Bronx.). One residence is a Gravesend landmark: The Lady Moody-Van Sicklen House, a stone, 18th-century Dutch-American-style farmhouse, is a rare survivor from Brooklyn's agrarian past. Local lore holds that the house belonged to Lady Deborah Moody, one of the area's first European women landowners.
New Yorkers thrilled by the Neoclassical flourishes of the Fifth Avenue facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be delighted by the LPC's recognition of the Vanderbilt Mausoleum, a diminutive-by-comparison and little-known work by the same architect. École des Beaux Arts–trained Richard Morris Hunt designed the Romanesque Revival final resting place for the titans of industry, located in Staten Island's Frederick Law Olmsted–designed Moravian Cemetery. The Vanderbilts were so impressed by the meeting of minds that they hired Hunt and Olmstead to collaborate on the clan's low-key country house in North Carolina.
With that memento mori, the LPC voted to designate a few 19th-century structures within Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. Although the entire cemetery, a National Historic Landmark, was up for local designation, even ardent preservationists advocated against the designation, noting that landmark status could place onerous restrictions on the 478-acre cemetery's operations: The plots, headstones, and mausoleums are owned by individuals, with 1,200 new "permanent residents" added annually, potentially complicating the regulation process.
The largest rural cemetery in the U.S., Green-Wood was designed by David Bates Douglass under the guiding landscape principles of Andrew Jackson Downing. The Gothic Revival entrance on Fifth Avenue, designed by Richard Upjohn and home to a vigorous parakeet colony, was declared an Individual Landmark in 1966. A chapel in the same style by Warren & Wetmore (the same firm behind Grand Central Terminal) received designation this time around, as did the Gatehouse and Gatehouse Cottage at the Fort Hamilton Parkway entrance.
For more information and updates on the extension of a Park Slope historic district, St. Augustine’s Church and Rectory, New England on City Island, and other newly-landmarked items, check out the LPC's website.
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New York armory could one day be home to massive ice hockey complex

The Knightsbridge Armory in the Bronx, owned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has been in limbo for some years now. Back in 2012, developers battled over the space becoming a Latin-infused marketplace or an ice skating rink backed by former Rangers captain Mark Messier and his firm, Kingsbridge National Ice Center. Now, Messier's proposal seems to have gained traction as the NYCEDC has given Messier and co. a month to show it has the $138 million required for the first phase of the project. Originally constructed in 1917, the Armory was built  to house a regiment of New York’s National Guard. If Messier's plan is realized, the Armory would be transformed into a 750,000-square-foot ice complex, complete with nine rinks, a 5,000-capacity arena, community center and retail area. Rinks would be used for all forms of ice skating, curling and cater for those with disabilities. In total, the scheme is touted to cost $350 million, however, funding remains to be an issue after former State Senator Dean Skelos was convicted for corruption. Prior to this, Skelos had pledged all the money to come from a fund. Despite the financial issues, the scheme has already been approved by the New York City council. Initially put forward in 2012, the arena would be used to host international ice hockey events, fitting considering it's listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places and is an official New York City Landmark. Behind the project are Canadian firm BBB Architects. Coincidentally, Messier himself is also Canadian. Speaking to Politico New York, William Brewer, a partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors spoke of the projects progress. "Delivery of the lease is all that remains before Kingsbridge can move forward with construction," he said. Seven years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg put forward the idea of the Armory being turned into a mall, however City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz both opposed it. According to Curbed New York, Diaz supports the ice center plan.  
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Sight Unseen to curate second exhibition at Collective Design fair

Design and visual arts magazine Sight Unseen will stage a second exhibition at New York's Collective Design fair on May 4 to 8. Curated by founders Monica Khemsurov and Jill Singer, the show features work from four emerging American design firms: Bower x Studio Proba, Chris Wolston, Fort Makers, and Only Love Is Real. The latter will show, for the first time, a collection of lighting and furniture, displayed against custom wall paper by Designtex. As a go-to space for emerging trends in contemporary design, Sight Unseen's exhibition delivers on the promise implicit in its name. See below for details on each studio's presentation: Bower x Studio Proba Studio Proba and Bower teamed up to unleash Zendo, a furniture collection that draws on the themes of water, transcendence, and reflection to ensconce users in a "multi-sensory," but calm, environment. Users can listen to the gurgling Pivot fountain while lounging on the Nirvana rug, or the Waterline chair, and contemplating the meaning of life in the multicolored Water mirrors. Chris Wolston Brooklyn- and Medellin-based designer Chris Wolston combines traditional production technique with contemporary, high-tech materials. For the Collective Design fair, Wolston sand-casted aluminum foam sheeting that's typically used in architectural sound-proofing to create sculpted lighting, tables, and seating. Only Love Is Real OLIR founder Matthew Morgan synthesizes the geometry of Sol LeWitt and Milo Baughman’s 1980s-era étagères to create shelving units that reference the precision of the latter with the glam but barely functional nature of the former. Every angle of his pieces is divisible by three, a comment on harmony, consistency, and structure.   Fort Makers Fort Makers will showcase a new group of usable, riotously colorful, geometric sculpture. The wallpaper mural dialogues with the maple furniture, like a desk with an oval glass top and accompanying modular shelving unit. Hand-painted canvas, in the same pattern as the mural, is incorporated into square and rectangular seating units.  
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FLUX Factory offers a primer on seamless modeling data transfer

The proliferation of digital modeling platforms can sometimes seem like too much of a good thing, particularly when transferring data from one environment to another requires complicated back-end manipulations. For those of us without a background in coding, FLUX Factory's Charles Portelli and Karl Garske are offering hands-on instruction in "Seamless Exchange of Geometry & Data: Analysis & Modeling via Flux" in a lab workshop at this month's Facades+ NYC conference. The workshop "deals with interoperability between multiple modeling applications," explained Portelli. Flux facilitates data exchange among applications including Grasshopper and Excel using native plug-ins, putting users "in an environment they're familiar with, so they can just start transferring data and geometry," he said. In addition to helping participants manipulate geometry and data across platforms, Portelli and Garske will also introduce cloud processing features. Cloud compatibility means that users "don't have to use desktops to run time-consuming tasks" including view analysis (sky exposure, solar radiation, shadow study) said Portelli. Workshop attendees will model a building from scratch using Grasshopper, Excel, Flux, and Revit. Portelli, who has attended previous Facades+ conferences but is serving as a workshop instructor for the first time, is hoping "to have people be enthusiastic" about the seamless data transfer enabled by Flux. More generally, he also looks forward to hearing "people's feedback and comments with regard to the AEC industry, including what it's lacking." "Seamless Exchange of Geometry & Data" is just one of several lab workshops on offer at Facades+NYC. Others include:
  • "Advanced Facade Analysis, Rationalization, and Production," with Daniel Segraves of Thornton Tomasetti CORE Studio
  Workshops are limited in size—sign up today to reserve your spot.