In 2012, Pratt Institute purchased a property at 135 Emerson Place for $13 million. That's where the school now plans to build a 10-story, 57,000-square-foot dormitory, reports The Real Deal. The 124-room dormitory will be located a block from Pratt’s Clinton Hill campus. However, marketing materials of Massey Knakal Realty Services have indicated that the property’s zoning actually permits 97,000 square feet of residential space. The lot, between Myrtle and Willoughby avenues, was purchased from Cara Development. Cara Development had intended to build a new 16-story, 95,000-square-foot residential building with David Kramer’s the Hudson Companies in 2008. Hudson Companies is currently involved in an alleged fixed bidding process for the Brooklyn Heights Library development plan. The financial crisis and recession prevented Hudson and Cara's joint project from being pursued.
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Designer Constantin Boym has been named as the Industrial Design Chair within the School of Design at the Pratt Institute. Boym founded the award-winning design studio, Boym Partners, which he runs alongside Laurene Leon Boym, and was a professor and director of graduate design studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar from 2010–2012.“Professor Boym has an impressive history as a designer in the industry and within academia, and I look forward to him bringing his wealth of experience to Pratt,” said Pratt Institute Design Dean Anita Cooney in a statement. “I am confident that his critical, experimental approach to design will build upon the Department’s history of excellence and innovation.” Boym will assume his new role on July 13.
Installation inverts conventional relationship between architectural models and images.Each year, a group of Pratt Institute graduate students is challenged with pushing the boundaries of exhibition design as they curate the student work from the previous year. "The basic brief is for it not to be a show where it's work on white walls, but that there's an installation component," said Softlab's Michael Szivos, who co-taught the 2014 exhibition course with Nitzan Bartov. The spring show coincides with the publication of Process, a catalog of student projects. "The book shows it in that more normative condition, year by year," said Szivos. "The installation works in tandem with that. The hope is that the students come up with something different." This year Szivos' students passed the test with flying colors, constructing a floating display out of Mylar, medium-density fiberboard, cardboard, and Tyvek that upends the conventional relationship between architectural models and two-dimensional images. Most of the students' initial concepts had to do with producing a cloud-like space, a display surface that would have an interior as well as an exterior. They eventually translated the cloud into a Mylar net that acts as both surface and structure. Architectural models, typically relegated to podiums on the fringes of an exhibition, are given pride of place on integrated MDF platforms perforated with attenuated cardboard tubes. The visual work, in turn, is placed on the ground, positioned as if it is being projected from the suspended tubes. Conventionally, said Szivos, "the hard layer is usually resting on the ground; then you have the visual layer above it. Here, the hard surface is flipped upside down and floating." Visitors access the models by ducking underneath the Mylar cloud, then standing within one of several holes in the bottom surface. "The goal was that the models would actually be seen at eye level," said Szivos. "In this case, it's almost as if it's a city of models. Each zone is a place where the models can be viewed on real architectural terms." A second goal was surprise, which the students achieved by concealing the models behind diamond-shaped Tyvek panels attached to exterior of the net. "You don't know what's inside until you engage," said Szivos. The students engineered the cloud structure using Rhino and Kangaroo. In just two months—the exhibition is timed for Pratt's spring open house—the students finalized the design and decided how to fabricate it. The bulk of the cloud is made of laser-cut Mylar panels fastened together with grommets. Loops at the bottom of the panels secure platforms made of CNC-cut MDF scattered on a sea of sawed-off cardboard tubes, while the Tyvek panels (also laser-cut) are held in place with fashion snaps. The entire installation hangs from a tube frame of galvanized pipe clamped to the gallery's ceiling beams. Time constraints led to a few shortcuts. The students initially intended to develop a projection component, but in the end simply printed most of the two-dimensional images and placed them on the floor. They had also hoped to cover the entire Mylar net in Tyvek, but eventually limited themselves to the lowest rows only. Nevertheless, the project effectively demonstrates the architectural potential of surface-as-structure—in this case, a net weighing under 20 pounds that suspends over 500 pounds of weight. "The surface is a structural skin," said Szivos. "What's nice is that even though it's only attached on the outside, there are still interior spaces."
Installation investigates the future of facade design and fabrication.Unlike some student projects, AAC Textile-Block v2.0 was shaped by both practical and speculative concerns. In back-to-back courses at Pratt, undergraduates designed and fabricated a prototype section of a screen wall system made from autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC). Co-taught by Lawrence Blough and Ezra Ardolino, the design studio and prototyping seminar encouraged students to look beyond their computer screens to real-world constraints including block size and light and air circulation. "The idea was that we wanted to make something that has an application later on," said Blough. "It was more than a run-of-the-mill digital fabrication project," added Ardolino. "It was really a comprehensive fabrication project." Each student in the design studio created a scheme for a four-story facade comprising modules cut from standard 8-by-8-by-24-inch AAC bricks donated by Aercon AAC (additional funding was supplied by the Office of the Dean of the School of Architecture). All of the assemblies were required to be self-supporting; some students designed them to be structural or to act as a weather barrier as well. With help from structural engineer Robert Otani and facade consultant Erik Verboon, both of whom teach at Pratt, the students explored their designs using Rhino and wire-cut foam models before CNC-milling prototype wall assemblies from high-density foam. During the following semester, Blough and Ardolino's seminar moved into design-development. Again with Otani's assistance, the class modified one of the designs generated in the studio for fabrication. Among the issues the seminar students addressed was the balance between uniqueness and repetition in the final assembly. "Every block could have been unique, but then there's a question of whether or not it's more efficient to incorporate repetition," said Ardolino. "The students solved that one: they figured out how they could set up the system to be somewhat repetitive." The assembly as built contains 96 blocks of 20 different types. "The earlier stuff I'd done was trying to use as much off-the-shelf material as I could," said Blough. "Here we decided to really push it, and to take on more of the ideas of mass customization." Students milled the AAC modules from 8-by-8-by-12-inch half-bricks using a reconditioned auto-industry robot at Timbur, Ardolino's computer-aided design and fabrication studio. After considering their options, the team settled on an "in the round" strategy, in which the tool makes parallel passes around the Z axis of each block. The blocks were held to the table using custom-milled high-density urethane foam jigs. By working from the largest module to the smallest module, the students required only two jigs. "As the block got smaller, more and more of the jig got eaten away during milling—like a palimpsest," observed Ardolino. While Ardolino managed the off-site fabrication, Blough oversaw assembly in the School of Architecture lobby. Students volunteered their time between classes to lay courses of the milled blocks, using a high performance polyurethane construction adhesive in place of mortar. Slotted steel plates located two courses from the top and bottom of the 10-foot 8-inch by 4-foot prototype accept 1/4-inch rods, which also pass through channels milled into the faces of pairs of blocks. Thinner, staple-like steel rods provide horizontal reinforcement every fourth course. When the installation was up, the assembly team, realizing the floor was uneven, pushed it into plumb before shimming it and re-adjusting the tension on the rods. Though the installation is presently unsealed, Blough and Ardolino are investigating an epoxy-like coating that would protect the blocks from contact damage without obscuring the tool paths. "We like the tool paths—they make it look like dressed stone," said Blough. Though the multi-semester project was designed as a hands-on learning experience for the undergraduates, the professionals involved benefited as well. "I like the idea of this cross-pollination between what goes on in my office and in Ezra's office, and that we can then bring it back to the studio and really push it," said Blough. "It was really liberating for me to take it to this whole other level with Ezra and the students, because you have all these great minds working on it."
It's the end of summer and again time for architecture students and faculty to return to studios and classrooms all over the country. There are several new high profile architecture Deans facing their first week of dealing with academic regulations, nervous students, and lack of classroom space. In addition young new faculty are preparing for their first lectures and several well known senior faculty have transferred institutions. Pratt Institute for example, has just announced two high profile additions to its faculty. Pratt announced two high profile "signings" that are big news for the design institute. First, David Burney, former Commissioner of the City’s Design and Construction agency,will become a full time member of the faculty, but, more importantly, will became the first coordinator of a new design program called Urban Placemaking and Management. It will become the first in the nation, focusing, Pratt claims, on "public space creation and management based on community planning." Pratt also announced that theorist Sanford Kwinter will join the institute as a Professor of Science and Design in the School of Architecture this fall. Kwinter is co-founder and editor of the influential journal, ZONE, and Zone Books for 20 years. Trained in philosophy and literature, he has written extensively on philosophical issues of design, architecture, and urbanism, as well as art and aesthetics. In addition to continuing his research and writing, Professor Kwinter will teach seminars and lecture courses in the graduate and undergraduate architecture programs. Architecture Dean Thomas Hanrahan states, “Professor Kwinter is one of the world’s most important voices in architecture today because of his broad, interdisciplinary interests in art and science as they apply to design.” Kwinter most recently co-directed the Masters in Design Studies programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He wrote that Pratt's "historical and urban context allows for a broad engagement with local social and political conditions as well as with the wider discipline of architecture as it relates to game-changing practices at a truly cosmopolitan scale. I am, as a theorist, greatly looking forward to coming to Pratt.”
Parks for the People The Octagon Museum 1799 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Through November 30 Parks for the People presents student ideas of how to reimagine our national parks as natural, social, and cultural destinations. Teams from City College of New York, Rutgers, Cornell, Florida International University, Kansas State, Pratt, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington competed in a semester long studio, engaging questions of the preservation, sustainability, accessibility, and technology in 21st century national parks. The National Parks Service, Van Alen Institute, and the National Parks Conservation Association sponsored the competition, which ultimately declared the teams from City College, for their work on the Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas, and Rutgers, for their project at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania (above), the winners. All seven entries, each representing a different region of the country, will be on view at the Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C.
While most design students are starting the scramble for plum summer internships, Tina Uznanski can rest easy, knowing a desk with her name on it will be waiting at Gensler's London office. Uzanski, an interior design student at the Pratt Institute, has received Gensler's annual Brinkmann Scholarship, winning a paid summer internship at the Gensler office of her choice and a cash prize to be put toward her final year of study at Pratt. The award was established in 1999 as a memorial to interior designer and former Gensler partner Donald G. Brinkmann. Uznanski won the competition with her clever concept for a renovation of her neighborhood library in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, that creates a flexible room through "shifting stacks."
If you’re an architect interested urban planning issues or a city planner interested contemporary architecture relationship to the city this is a lecture series for you! Created and organized by the Pratt Institute’s Program for Sustainable Planning and Development features planners and architects engaged in rethinking contemporary Preservation, sustainability, and urban design. Invited lectures include; Jirge Rigau a Puerto Rican preservationist, Andrew Genn project director of New York’s comprehensive waterfront plan and a young Mississippi architect Whitney Grant who founded the Jackson Community Development Center. They will all be addressing the fundamental questions facing today’s cites and attendees will be encouraged to ask questions of the lecturers. It takes place in room 213 of Pratt’s Manhattan campus at 144 West 14th Street and it starts with drinks at 5:30. The lectures are free and open to the public. SUSTAINABLE WATERFRONT Andrew Glen Waterfront Action Plan; Maritime and Industrial Uses and Areas February 25, 2011 Mike Marrella Vision 2020 Comprehensive Waterfront Plan April 1, 2011 Alan Belensz New York State Climate Action Plan April 29, 2011 PRESERVATION: A GLOBAL STORY Jorge Rigau The Problems of Preserving Paradise March 4, 2011 Castern Paludan-Müller Cultural Heritage: Roots, Relations, Rationales, Rights, Redemption April 8, 2011 VISIONARY URBAN DESIGN Jonathan Kirschenfeld Typologies of Social Engagement March 11, 2011 Paul Guzzardo New Ways to Smear the Street with Our Extended Epistemology March 3, 2011* Whitney Grant Suspended Mid-City March 25, 2011 Aaron Levy Redefining Artistic Advocacy April 15, 2011
Famed architect Frank Gehry enthralled a packed auditorium of students and community members at Pratt Institute yesterday afteroon. Speaking with The Architect's Newspaper’s own executive editor Julie V. Iovine and Yael Reisner, author of Architecture and Beauty: Conversations with Architects about a Troubled Relationship, Gehry reminded the budding architects in the audience that his job involves more than just sitting around and creating curvy buildings from crumpled paper--it’s about delivering a finished product to a client, albeit a unique one. Though creativity and the language of the architectural past are not absent from Gehry’s design equation, the architect admitted that he’s often driven by the desire to not repeat what’s already been done. He also feels that it’s important to recognize that inspiration can come from many different places, and that it’s good to “grab ideas as you can get them.” For Gehry, this happens to include the Talmud--studying the age-old Jewish texts is where Gehry learned to ask “why?”, and where he learned that questioning the status quo was okay. Architecturally, that translated into asking himself why chain link fence is considered by many to be a "throwaway" material and made him wonder how he might use it--a move that worked out pretty well for the architect. Sometimes a little tweak can make a building distinctive, like the new 8 Spruce Street building (formerly known as Beekman Tower) in Lower Manhattan. Gehry said that the only change he made from the typical New York City apartment pro-forma was that many of the apartments will have bay windows--a feature often found in historic buildings on the Upper West Side--and that those bay windows help give the skyscraper its distinctive shape. Taking his audience into account, Gehry reminded the students that they have to understand and accept the practicalities of being a working architect: “Be real about your responsibilities,” he said, even if you don’t like them. In light of that, Gehry's most important lesson of all for those in the audience was, “Be yourself, and you’ll like what you do.” When a student in the audience asked a question about materials, Gehry said that he doesn’t necessarily begin a project with materials in mind, but he does like to explore material possibilities (an agenda also promoted by the lecture's sponsors, the Steel and Ornamental Metal Institutes of New York). He also pointed out that aesthetics can relate to budget, and that he often uses what’s available because he still has to deliver a finished product to his client. He was honest about the realities of the job; the everyday stuff one doesn’t always hear architects of this caliber mention--the budget, the client, and that client’s agenda; the construction managers and their often-changing crews; and the cost per square foot (Bilbao came in at $300 per square foot, surprising many in the audience). Despite all of those difficulties, Gehry showed that there is still evidence of all the things that architecture can be--beautiful, awe-inspiring, majestic, and sometimes even formidable--around us every day.