Posts tagged with "NYC Parks":

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Meet Fleurt, New York's most anticipated chair of the fall season

Fleurt, the winning design for the Battery Conservancy America's "Draw Up a Chair" competition, has been described as an “archetypal floral form” and even a “whimsical suggestion of sun-loving flowers floating in a field.” But it is much more than that. Fleurt “announces openness and photogenic warmth” and creates a “memorable, diaphanous landscape.” Fleurt “stretches out” with its “lounging curves.” Fleurt is, yes, fine, technically a chair. Fleurt comes to us from the mind of Canadian designer Andrew Jones who just won New York’s first-ever, open-call competition to create a moveable chair for a city park. The contest, which was launched in 2012 by the New York City Parks Department and the Battery Conservancy, received 679 submissions from across the Americas. From there, a jury selected 50 finalists and then prototypes of five of those designs were fabricated and exhibited to the public. And then, after 4,000 comments were collected, the jury picked Fleurt as the winner. And if it wasn't clear from the above descriptions of said chair, the competition organizers were very, very excited to announce that. Very excited. If you can slice through all the adjectives surrounding Fleurt, it is possible to get a sense of just the basics. The chairs are made of perforated steel and will be fabricated in varying shades of blue. The floral aesthetic is realized through petal-shaped armrests that may or may not be comfortable. “I don’t like the way it forces you to make a decision with your arms,” one  sitter told the New York Times after trying out the Fleurt. To be fair, his wife disagreed with that assessment, saying “I’m not bothered by the arm rests." Soon enough you, too, can weigh-in on the Great Fleurt Armrest Debate of 2014 as the chairs are expected to arrive on the Battery Oval in Lower Manhattan by the end of the year.
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New York City allocates $5.8 million to stabilize Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion

After decaying for years, the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair is getting some TLC. The New York Times reported that $5.8 million was allocated in New York City’s budget to stabilize the Philip Johnson–designed pavilion in Queens. A NYC Parks Department spokesperson told the Times that the exact use of the money has not yet been determined yet, but it will likely go toward electrical and structural work at the site’s iconic towers. The decaying Tent of Tomorrow will be getting some love as well. According to engineering studies from the Parks Department, it would cost an estimated $14 million to raze the pavilion, $43 million to stabilize it, and $52 million to restore the towers' elevators. Any attention to the park is a good sign, but considering the high cost of doing just about anything to the pavilion, this is a relatively small investment. But it is a start.
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Grocery Store Tycoon John Catsimatidis Wants to Save Philip Johnson's New York State Pavilion

John Catsimatidis, the billionaire-grocery-store-tycoon-turned-failed-mayoral-candidate said he will write a check to save Philip Johnson’s iconic New York State Pavilion in Queens, New York. That is, if someone presents him with the right “visionary” plan.             At a recent event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair, Catsimatidis told the New York Daily News he wants to see another World’s Fair in Queens in the near future. “I can make it happen,” he told The News. “But you need people who have dreams.” It, of course, will take more than dreams alone, and, as the publication notes, Catsimatidis does not have “a specific plan, timeline, or strategy” behind his offer. Oh, the little things. But, if Cats—as he was known during his unsuccessful, but entertaining, mayoral campaign—is true to his word, then he can expect to write a pretty hefty check. A study by the New York City Parks Department found that preserving the structure as-is will cost about $50 million, and renovating it for new use would set someone like Catsimatidis back $70 million.
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Top 5 Entries Announced for "Draw Up a Chair" Battery Green Seating Competition

At the tip of Lower Manhattan, a three-acre green space in the 22-acre Battery Park may soon be home to a field of flower-shaped seats, a sea of brightly colored rocking chairs, or a plethora of pivotable chaise lounges. Last summer, the Battery Conservancy Americas launched the "Draw Up a Chair" design competition, the first of its kind from the New York City Parks Department, calling for a moveable, outdoor chair to fill the oval lawn of Battery Green. The new park is currently under construction as part of rebuild efforts after last year’s Hurricane Sandy devastated the area. From a previously condensed pool of 50, the Conservancy has chosen the top five proposals, from firms spanning four countries. Each unique design is stackable, weatherproof, and made of recycled materials. Full-scale prototypes of each Top 5 chair design will be on display for public examination and comfort testing in Battery City’s Castle Clinton National Monument from April 2014 through June 2014. The winner will be announced next June and awarded a $10,000 prize. U Rock Team Project by Davi Deusdara, Érica Martins, Tais Costa, Rafael Studart, and Alencar Falcão Brazil “The U Rock chair gives you the choice of sitting straight in a comfortable and beautiful chair or to rock it out in a fun, cool new take on the classic rocking chair. You just have to flip it over. Its design is friendly to all ages and being light, stackable and easy to carry around, it also contributes to many different social arrangements and situations.” The chair is made of PETE plastic bottles in combination with glass fiber for a lightweight, recycled material seat. Pivot Chair Simon Kristak and Aiden Jamison of Independent Design Group United States "The Pivot Chair is a study in dualities, ripe with qualities that encourage and accommodate different programs one finds at Battery Park. Lightweight yet durable, static yet moving, neutral yet specific, the Pivot Chair has two physical phases: upright and reclined, and the chair is set in these two positions by “pivoting” about a central leg. This allows the user to define their mode, passive or active, while within Battery Park." Its bent tube frames with metal slats or extended metal mesh infill are cost effective and can be manufactured locally. Fluert Andrew Jones of Andrew Jones Design Canada "The design impulse for Fleurt came from imagining how a field of chairs could poetically respond to the lawn of Battery Park. Using a single chair in repetition, the view across the lawn is transformed by the whimsical suggestion of sun-loving flowers floating in a field. The chair is conceived as an open blossom; seat, back and arms are abstracted as petals and synthesized into an archetypal floral form. Constantly rearranged by visitors to the park, the chairs create a memorable, diaphanous landscape." Fluert chairs are made of a thin steel shell, welded and then powder coated and its base is a single bent tube. In soft blues and mauves, the chair’s colors are representative of the first blooming bulb flowers. South Chair Jason Bird, Designer United States "The South Chair concept for the Battery Park Conservatory has been designed as a unique, contemporary form for outdoor movable seating. Robust construction and marine grade, exterior materials makes this design not only a long term proposition, but the soft curves, flexible backrest and color options provide a playful aesthetic and comfortable seat for a large percentage of the public." A single tube frame creates an "infinite loop" and the seat and backrest are fabricated of recycled milk cartons. This material is also used for boat decking, making the South Chair resistant to salt spray and sun damage. Maple Chair Maria Camarena Bernard of Maria Camarena Design Mexico "For manufacturing three Maple Chairs a sheet of aluminum of 0.2 x 96 x 48 inches is used. The entire chair is a single piece, which with cuts and folds acquires the desired form. This will make greater use of the materials and the waste is recyclable. ...The leaves on the seat and back are pictures of Silver maple leaves, a common tree in the region. The white aluminum, the pattern of the leaves and the soft and subtle shape claim to be a mantle, which instead of be placed in the grass for a picnic became a chair." View more details on each design here.
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New York City Asks For Help Redesigning the Hurricane-Ravaged Boardwalk in the Rockaways

Even as New Yorkers throng to the beaches in the Rockaways, the remnants from Hurricane Sandy still linger. One such vestige is the damaged boardwalk that once stretched from Far Rockaway to Rockaway Park in Queens. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation with the help of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in July seeking designs for the 4.7-mile boardwalk, and now the August 14th deadline is nearing. The RFP calls for a multifaceted approach that incorporates a range of flood protection measures such as seawalls and dunes: "The design shall provide for protective structures that are more resilient and able to withstand storm and tidal forces that may impact the coastline in future years." The proposals will focus on the coastal area from roughly Beach 20th to Beach 126th. The Parks Department anticipates that they will select a group of finalists within the next several weeks, and present the designs to the public and Community Board 14 sometime in September.
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Temporary Installation in East Village Park is an “Urban Forest”

New York City-based artists and architects Jieun Yang and Ji Young Kim have secured a spot in First Park, located between East First and Houston Streets near Second Avenue, for a futuristic Urban Forest as part of the 2013 Public Summer installation program, overseen by contemporary architecture group SUPERFRONT. According to the group, "This program is sponsored every year by SUPERFRONT to provide an opportunity for young and emerging designers to produce a temporary installation in New York City while also fostering a community conversation about architecture and design." On May 19, SUPERFRONT in partnership with First Street Green hosted a competition to decide which artwork would occupy the space this summer. Although still awaiting approval from the Parks Department, the winning design will likely be installed from July through August and will be open to the public on the weekends. Urban Forest replaces tree trunks with mirrored poles and leaves with transparent panels to represent and reflect the movement and public exchange of the park’s visitors. First Street Green co-director Silva Ajemian explains that there is a “piece at the very top of each pole that is lightly held to the post so it waves a little bit with the air and atmosphere.” The project emphasizes the intimacy of physical contact and draws attention to the urban and community context. Yang and Kim’s installation will serve as a stage for events such as workshops, lectures and meetings managed by First Street Green. The temporary art project is flexible in that it can be raised to different heights. The site of First Park was, up until a couple years ago, an unused lot inhabited by rats. In 2011 the Guggenheim Museum brought its traveling “lab” to the park and the space has been transformed into a functional public space that serves the Lower East Side community. SUPERFRONT will plan events themed to the artwork and the concept of “urban movement.” The installation will be presented to Community Board 3 on June 13 and will require final approval from the New York City Parks Department.
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On View> Tracey Emin's Roman Standard Alights in Petrosino Square

What: Tracey Emin’s Roman Standard Where: Petrosino Square (Spring and Lafayette Streets, NYC) When: May 10 to September 8, 2013 This summer, Nolita’s Petrosino Square in New York will feature Roman Standard, a thirteen-foot-tall pole with a solitary bronze bird perched at the top. From the ground, the towering sculpture by Tracey Emin, sponsored by Art Production Fund, White Cube, and Lehmann Maupin in collaboration with NYC Parks & Recreation, is so lifelike that onlookers may mistake it for a real bird. According to the artist, the figure is a sign of “hope, faith, and spirituality” that should serve as a source of reflection. The showcase will be on view from May 10 to September 8, 2013. Emin pulls inspiration from the militaristic representations of traditional Roman Standards and desires to demonstrate the power that an outwardly unimportant creature can personify through stature and space. In an attempt to design a public display full of magic and mystery instead of oppression and supremacy, the artist suggests that successful works of this variety can be inspiring without being monumental. Roman Standard is Emin’s first public art project and was commissioned by BBC in 2005 as a part of the art05 festival. Following a lucrative Times Square appearance in February, the Petrosino Square exhibit marks her second public project in the New York City. She is a renowned contemporary artist and is globally recognized for her brutally honest approach to art. In concurrence with Roman Standard, Lehmann Maupin will host the two-part installation, Tracey Emin: I Followed You To The Sun. Highlighting more than 100 original works, the exhibition will be on view through June 22, 2013 at both of its New York galleries. The show will expose Emin’s most personal tales.
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Rockwell Group Designs A Treehouse-esque Playground for Park in Brownsville

The Rockwell Group and NYC Parks unveiled their plans last week to turn a 1.5-acre section of Betsy Head Park in Brownsville into a lush and active playground. When designing Imagination Playground, the firm looked to treehouses for inspiration. The site will feature a winding ramp that snakes around London Plane trees and connects to slides and a series of jungle gyms that spill out into an open area with sand, water, benches, and plantings. In collaboration with landscape architecture firm MKW + Associates, the Rockwell Group has taken on this project pro-bono and will donate a set of Playground Blocks to the Brownsville Recreation Center. The $3.92 million playground was funded with the help of government subsidies from Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz, and Council Member Mealy. Partner David Rockwell founded Imagination Playground in partnership with NYC Parks and KaBOOM, a non-profit organization, to encourage activity and unstructured play for children at nominal cost by providing loose building blocks in outdoor recreational spaces. Right now the project is slated to break ground in spring of 2014 and open in 2015.    
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Parks & Relocation: NYC's Adrian Benepe Bows Out to Veronica White

With just a year and a half left of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's tenure remaining, the first of his major appointees, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, is moving on. Under Benepe, the Parks Department was transformed on a scale that approached the early tenure of Robert Moses. Since his appointment in 2002, the commissioner oversaw the largest expansion of waterfront parks like Brooklyn Bridge Park, embraced public-private partnerships as seen on the High Line, and distributed more than $250 million in Croton Water Filtration funds to small pocket parks throughout the Bronx. In his ten-and-a-half years, 730 acres of new parkland was added—significant considering Central Park is 843 acres—and 2,000 lie ahead at Fresh Kills on Staten Island. Benepe will be moving on to take on a leadership role at the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit land conservation organization based in San Francisco, in a newly created position titled Senior Vice President for Park Development. Benepe will work out of Lower Manhattan and Washington D.C., taking Bloomberg's signature program to guarantee a park within a ten-minute walk of every city citizen to a national level, under the "Parks for People" program. TPL recently highlighted walkability of parks in cities across the country with their ParkScore analysis. Veronica M. White, director of the the Center for Economic Leadership, will take the helm of Parks in September. "I couldn't be prouder that he's going to lead the Trust for Public Land's new initiative to replicate our work in cities across the country," Mayor Bloomberg said this morning at a groundbreaking ceremony at Soundview Park in the Bronx. What the new commissioner may lack in landscape design experience she will likely make up for in fund raising. The mayor noted that White has an "exemplary record of exploring innovative partnerships and attracting private funds."
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School + Pool: Parsons Makes Waves with Splash House

Practice makes perfect, and for some Parsons students, the Splash House at Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center is a jumping off point for becoming better architects. Parsons’ Design Workshop, a design-build studio set up 15 years ago to offer practical training to students, has partnered with New York Parks and Recreation Department to instigate a five-year initiative to identify and implement improvements in public spaces across the city. “The architecture students get a more holistic understanding of process,” said Kate McCormick, Press Officer at Parsons. “They actually learn how to make and engage the community, by finding out what it needs.” Although it usually collaborates with public organizations both inside and outside Manhattan, this is the Workshop’s first long-term municipal partnership within New York City. The first assignment: Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in Upper Manhattan. The Splash House outdoor pool pavilion includes new lockers, changing rooms and brings the circulation right up to the poolside. This design means that the recreation center can stay open year-round and allows for the center to fulfill its dual functions simultaneously. “This is a community that needs recreation space for the 100,000 to 150,000 community members that use the center,” said Alfred Zollinger, director of Parsons Design Works in a recent interview. The extension, whose wooden ribs rise and fall to form a wrap of segmented spaces around the pool, has been designed to be flexible and deal with the increased number of pool-goers over the summer with sliding doors fitted in the locker areas to help facilitate more changing rooms. A translucent polycarbonate corrugate rooftop will allow natural light to shine through while providing a sheltered area and, at one end, a water curtain eschews the design as purely functional. Indeed, the design’s playful and porous nature is also a response to the pool’s historical context. As one of 11 city pools built in 1936—a project commissioned by Robert Moses as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administrationthe center represents a wider effort to stimulate and improve the quality of life for local communities. The Design Workshop’s 10 graduate students will be working to complete the pool-side pavilions this summer, which means Splash House will remain a dry house until summer 2012.
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Quick Clicks> Lifted Forts, A New Leaf, Walking the Line, and LA Light Rail

Guy Maunsell's Sea Forts. Standing above the sea, these Maunsell fortifications were originally built as British defenses during World War II. They remain lifted as a symbol of protection. As industrial creatures, the towers take expressive portraits. Oh, Pentagram. New York City paired with Paula Scher of Pentagram to create a new symbol for the iconic NYC Parks Department leaf. Although excellent in traditional green, the paired down logo can also be used as an elegant silhouette for programming and public events. Or perhaps wrapping paper. Parasol Unit in red, in public. New York-based performance artist Kate Gilmore and the Parasol unit foundation collaborated to start a new program entitled parasol public. Gilmore's red structure is the centerpiece of  Walk the Line, a small two story space designed upstairs for pacing and downstairs as a passageway within Exchange Square, London. Downtown to Santa Monica. The new Los Angeles county Expo Line light rail system expects to bring a bit of green speed to transportation across the city. With a plan to partially open in the fall and to unveil completely in 2015, the rail line is already underway. Just about everybody is looking forward to the new light rail, especially those who will benefit directly as part of their commute to work.
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Quick Clicks> Icelandic Sculptures, Painted Trees, Carnegie, and Parklets

Icelandic Borders. Today at 5PM, "the largest temporary public art exhibition... in New York City Parks history," titled BORDERS, will be unveiled at Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza. The UN-conscious installation is a collaboration between the Parks Commissioner, an Icelandic Ambassador, and Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, consisting of 26 androgynous, life-size sculptures. Painted Trees. Gerry Mak of Lost at E Minor adoringly shares the curious images of the vibrantly painted trees around Colorado by artist Curtis Killorn. Because of the unexpected colorings, these trees do not look like they came from land, but from the sea. Green Carnegie. We were worried when gbNYC reported that the good ol' Carnegie Hall is planning to undergo a massively ambitious, full-spectrum retrofit this year. But don't worry, the architecture firm Iu + Bibliowicz, which is in charge of all this, swears to preserve "the building’s distinctive 19th-century architectural grace notes" while making dramatic green building improvements. Parking to parkletting. The SF Examiner reports that more temporary public spaces, called 'parklets,' are exploding throughout San Francisco parking spots. The public battle between those who want to park cars and those who want to seat customers out on the sidewalk seems to have a clear winner-- the Department of Public Works is stamping out countless approvals for businesses to have their own parklets despite complaints.