With all the NYU real estate hubbub going on around LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village, it’s refreshing to hear of a quiet transaction between two locals. This week, the AIANY signed the lease for 532 LaGuardia, an empty retail space owned by local lumber magnate Guy Apicella just one door south of the AIANY's current home, the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia. AIYNY will take occupancy as of August 1, and plans are already afoot to nail down design concepts. “We’ll benefit from the best design advice in the city,” said AIANY executive director Rick Bell. Rogers Marvel has been hired as the architect and Mary Burke will head up AIANY's Premises Committee. The floor plate of the new building is about 1,200 square feet with about another 800 square feet available in the basement. All three levels at the Center’s current space net about 12,000 square feet, so the extra 2,000 will add about 10 percent more space, helping ease the strain of hosting more than a thousand programs each year. Also included in the deal is small garden space out back, on which the director hopes the Horticulture Society of New York will leave their green thumbprint. Bell jokingly compared the growing horizontal street presence to that of Uptown's Zabar's or Downtown’s J&R Music, both of which expanded storefront by storefront, eventually claiming an entire block. Perhaps NYU's gallery space at 528 LaGuardia will be next? An architects' row perhaps? But for all the extra sidewalk frontage, Bell said that the organization has no intention of bringing in any retail. “If Olympia (Kazi) were to get out of the business, maybe we’d reopen the discussion, but we don’t have plans for any,” he said, reiterating AIANY's steadfast support of VanAlen’s recently opened architecture bookstore. This is not to say that the Center will eschew commercial endeavors altogether, quite the opposite, actually. Bell said the “robust conference center” would be very attractive for corporate rentals—to say nothing of weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.
Posts tagged with "NYU":
It happened suddenly, as if out of nowhere: NYU’s Gallatin opened Global Design/Elsewhere Envisioned, an exhibition that comes with two symposia, is described as an initiative, and some hope might just morph into a new school of architecture. A large crowd was on hand for Jesse Reiser of Reiser/Umemoto’s keynote about four far-afield projects. At the reception afterwards, the crowd milled around an installation of some 20 models sitting atop a pile of cleverly laser-cut white poly-foam pieces stacked in interlocking massifs shaped as Manhattan; the bio-paisley pieces can be unlocked and used as package peanuts when the models are shipped on to NYU satellites around the world. Open through June 15, the diverse display included BIG’s 57th Street condo; Reiser Uemototo’s 0-14 in Dubai, mercury-colored droplets by Evan Douglis; 3D-printed green mystery blocks from Urban Future’s The VeryMany, video demonstrations of Decker Yeadon’s Homeostatic Façade System enabled by artificial muscles, WORKac's infrastructure-containing Plug-Out housing proposal, and others, all requiring more focus than possible with a glass of wine in hand. The show was variously referred to as a marvelous and all-too-rare look at assorted contemporary efforts or as the friends-of-Mitch collection. Mitch being Mitchell Joachim, co-fonder of Planetary One who was appointed in the past year together with Louise Harpman of Specht Harpman in New York and Texas and Peder Anker, historian of ecology to get “leading-edge architects, designers, and theorists to address design issues that affect global ecology and the environment.” (More professorship appointments are expected. Hopeful contenders were in the crowd.) Joachim contributed several pieces to the show including a myco-model of the New Museum made from a mushroom grown in seven days under Plexiglas. Stay tuned for Symposium 2 on June 10 when BIG’s Bjarke Ingels is supposed to talk about individual responsibility in the face of climate crisis, presumably against a backdrop of slides of his work.
Sustained resistance from their Village neighbors has not thwarted NYU’s 2031 expansion plans; they’ve just looked to other neighborhoods. The university has leased 120,000 square feet at Brooklyn’s MetroTech Center and also retained Kohn Pederson Fox to design a 170,000-square-foot campus on their hospital grounds along First Avenue. This is not to say that they’ve abandoned expansion plans in the Village or wooing the neighbors. A storefront gallery space called NYU Open House designed by James Sanders & Associates invites the public in to view new 3-D models of revamped plans for the Silver Towers and Washington Square Village.
I.M. Pei speaks and NYU listens. The university announced this week that plans for a Grimshaw-designed residential highrise planned for Pei's landmarked Silver Towers block will be scrapped after the architect expressed disapproval over the project. The proposed 400-foot tower set amid three original concrete structures had been a point of conflict between NYU and its neighbors. Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, led an effort to landmark Pei's Silver Towers site and has been vocal in his opposition to the proposed fourth tower. "This arrangement of three towers in a pinwheel fashion, with one side left open around a central space, was a motif you see throughout [Pei's] works,” Berman told AN earlier this month. “It was not an accident or an incomplete design awaiting a fourth element.” While neighbors in Greenwich Village repeatedly battled the fourth tower, the final blow came from Pei himself. “From the beginning, we sought a design for the Silver Towers block that was most respectful of Mr. Pei’s vision. Some people disagreed with our proposed approach; others agreed. We believed that among those who agreed was Mr. Pei himself, who expressed no opposition to the concept of a tower on the landmarked site when we spoke with him directly in 2008,” said Lynne Brown, NYU’s Senior Vice President, in a release. “Mr. Pei has now had a change of heart. The clarity Mr. Pei has now provided--that the Morton Williams site is ‘preferable’--is helpful to us in understanding how to proceed with our ULURP proposal.” Now, plans call for a return to the adjacent original building site where a Morton Williams grocery sits. That location had been passed over in favor of the Silver Towers site to preserve sight lines, the University said at the time. Berman has also expressed concern about the Morton Williams site. “The fact that building on the supermarket site would also be bad doesn’t make building on the landmark site any less terrible,” Berman said earlier in November. He suggested at the time that NYU explore building opportunities in the financial district, where community boards have actively invited such development. New York University has begun preparing a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) application for submission next year to build on the Morton Williams site. New plans must undergo full review before construction can take place.
Curbed directed us to a travesty in the Village today, albeit an unsurprising one. It appears NYU, in constructing a new building for the law school, damaged the shell of the Provincetown Playhouse, which it had promised to preserve. We say this is unsurprising because, as we recall and Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation again confirmed, this is precisely what preservationists feared would happen. You see, a lot of people assume, that like the rest of Greenwich Village, that NYU's Washington Square Park campus is also landmarked, and therefore protected from overdevelopment, especially from the at-times over-zealous educator. Trying to improve its image and community relations, however, the school sometimes agrees to preserve buildings it technically would have to, though with little oversite. In the case of the Provincetown theater, which we covered last June, NYU declined to save the entire building on MacDougal Street—it's being replaced by Morris Adjmi—but they would retain the shell of the Provincetown Playhouse, the launchpad for Eugene O'Neill and Off Broadway theater. Berman and other preservationists were suspicious of the deal, however, because a similar one had been cut at the start of the decade, when NYU promised to save the facade of Edgar Allan Poe's home on nearby West Third Street as part of another law school building, Furman Hall. After a long court battle to save the building, with such bigs as E.L. Doctorow and Lou Reed weighing in, NYU was told it could demolish the "non-contributing" building, but it agreed to incorporate pieces of the original into the new building. But just as happened earlier this month at the Provincetown, the Poe house was damaged during construction, and had to be replicated from scratch. Berman, in an email, called it "classic NYU:"
This is exactly what happened with the Poe House, and it's classic NYU. I have some pictures from the early stages of their doing this (see attached—I don't know if they've done more since then). There is no recourse with LPC because the building is not landmarked (the city refused to). Our hope is that this will make city and local elected officials take a closer look at NYU and their lack of honesty and willingness to abide by their own commitments, and in the future will not support such plans as happened in this case.NYU told The Villager the damaged wall "was found to be made partly of rubble and unstable." The school says it has put construction on the south side of the building on hold—it will continue on the north side—while a report is prepared. Among other unsurprising surprises is that NYU did not know about the damage until last week, weeks after the damage was done, as though preserving that wall were somehow not one of the prime directives for the contractors on the site. Apparently, NYU's priorities remain their own and no one else's.