The landmark Aluminaire House is homeless yet again. The situation is not so out of the ordinary, however, as preservationists and communities have recently been confronted with the futures of these pioneering modernist structures. In this particular battle, a team of architects is hoping to relocate the historic house, which has already been disassembled and rebuilt three times, to a vacant lot in Sunnyside Gardens, a landmarked district in Queens. The proposal to reassemble the house as part of a low-rise residential development at 39th Avenue and 50th Street is facing uncertainty from residents who would prefer the site be turned into a community park. Architects A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey designed Aluminaire as a case study in 1931. Constructed of donated materials and built in ten days, the first all-metal, prefabricated house in the country debuted at the Allied Arts and Industry and Architectural League Exhibition. Subsequently, the house was sold to architect Wallace K. Harrison who disassembled and moved it to Long Island. New York Institute of Technology then reassembled the structure on its campus, which has since closed, leaving the structure to the Aluminaire House Foundation, which has disassembled and stored it. The Foundation now seeks a low-rise, high-density New York neighborhood to display the building as it was initially intended – as a low cost urban home prototype. Residents are concerned that the house’s design does not belong with the area’s traditional brick housing scheme. Still, Sunnyside Gardens and Aluminaire have a history together—they were both featured in a 1932 MoMA modern architecture exhibit. Reconstructing the house in Sunnyside would actually place Aluminaire within its planned context. The project embarked on its lengthy journey through the public approval process at Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting last month. The foundation is scheduled to present to the commission in September. For now, the house is in storage.
Posts tagged with "Queens":
While it certainly won't be as terrifying as a Godzilla or King Kong tearing through city streets, what you might call Kitty Kong will be pawing through a model of an imagined ideal city at the Flux Factory in Long Island City, Queens, beginning Saturday. Developed by a team of children, artists, and city planners, the Flux Factory's Kitty City project is an intergenerational experiment in collaborative urbanism, designed to teach kids the way cities get built, encourage democratic decision making, and challenge the opacity of urban planning processes. Throughout the past month, a group of children, ages 7-12, participated in a series of workshops in which they designed the many components of their meowtropolis, including buildings and parks, water, transportation, and sanitation systems, housing, commercial, and cultural districts, and even a Museum of Natural Cat History. Their proposal then had to pass through a rigorous approval process before the kids could begin construction. Tomorrow their 1,7000 square foot city, equipped with waist-high condos, cat-houses perched upon giant mushrooms, cardboard residential towers, and kitty-hammocks will open up to 30 eager kittyzens. Aside from introducing children to participatory urbanism, civic engagement, and urban design, the project will also provide homes for dozens of orphaned cats. For tomorrow’s ribbon cutting, Flux Factory has partnered with For Animals, Inc., a South Ozone Park-based, no-kill animal shelter that will provide the city with its first residents. Once the cats get the chance to explore their custom-made urban environment, you can adopt them on-site free of charge. Stop by between Flux Factory in Long Island City noon and six tomorrow to see the Kitty City in action and maybe bring home a feline friend of your own.
do it (outside) Socrates Sculpture Park 3205 Vernon Boulevard Astoria, NY May 12 to July 7, 2013 Socrates Sculpture Park, in collaboration with Independent Curators International (ICI), presents do it (outside), an exhibition curated by art critic and historian Hans Ulrich Obrist. The exhibition is a selection of 65 artist instructions interpreted by other artists, performers, and the public. The results will be displayed in a site-specific architectural pergola by Christoff : Finio Architecture, a New York based architecture and design studio. do it (outside) connects a diverse group of people who craft remarkable works originally created by internationally acclaimed artists. The outcome ranges from sculptural, to performance-based, to the simply bizarre, and raises questions about and transforming ideas. do it began in Paris 20 years ago as a discussion between Obrist and artists Christian Boltanski and Bertrand Lavier. Each do it exhibition is site-specific and seeks to engage local communities. Adaptations of the progressive exhibition have been conducted in more than 50 locations worldwide. The twentieth-anniversary show will be the first presentation of the exhibition in New York City and the first to be situated completely outside in a public art venue. The opening coincides with the release of do it: the compendium, a publication that provides the instructions from the exhibition, co-published by ICI and D.A.P.
Hurricane Sandy not only caused considerable damage to the Rockaways, but it also exposed the vulnerability of New York City’s waterfront communities to future storms and changing weather patterns. Today, the American Institute of Architects New York, along with NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development, L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization, Triangle Equities, and Enterprise Community Partners, announced a new design competition for "resilient and sustainable development in the Rockaways." The group called on architects to come up with different strategies for how cities can build more thoughtfully in areas prone to flooding. Following the June 14th deadline for submissions, a jury will preside over the proposals. The jury will announce four finalists in July—each of which will receive a stipend of $30,000 to continue to hone their ideas. The winner will be revealed on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and will be granted an additional $30,000 for their work. The Rockaways have been the focus of a number of competitions, including MoMA PS 1's EXPO 1: NEW YORK, that asked artists, designers, and architects to submit 3-minute videos that provide ideas for making the Rockaways more sustainable.
Gotham Greens, the company that currently operates a 15,000-square-foot greenhouse on top of the Greenpoint Wood Exchange in Brooklyn—is bringing its green thumb to roofs across New York City with three massive new rooftop farms in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens. Soon, the biggest of the three planned farms at 60,000 square feet—among the largest rooftop farms in the country—will be built atop an industrial facility in Jamaica, Queens. The New York Daily News reported that Gotham Greens received a $900,000 grant last year from the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) to cultivate the sprawling new hydroponic farm on a rooftop in Jamaica. The three urban farmers behind the venture anticipate an opening as soon as 2014. The company has several new projects germinating in Brooklyn and the Bronx as well. In Gowanus, Brooklyn, Gotham Greens have been selected to operate a 20,000 square foot greenhouse atop a new Whole Foods grocery store slated to open in the fall. According to Whole Foods, the new facility will be "the nation’s first commercial scale greenhouse farm integrated within a retail grocery space." Gotham Greens will grow produce to be sold in Whole Foods stores across New York City, a move that's expected to reduce emissions from transportation and provide the freshest produce possible. In the Bronx, the company has also set in motion plans to build another rooftop farm on top of the future Oak Point food distribution facility in Hunts Point with $400,000 in funding it received from the REDC initiative. In dense cities where buildings are plentiful and land is scarce, rooftop farming is growing in popularity. Such operations provide a number of community benefits from employment to access to fresh produce. And for landlords, it comes with its perks: it is revenue producing while also reducing a building's energy consumption and rain run off. Across New York City, a number of other independent urban farms have sprung from the roofs of buildings such as Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn; the Brooklyn Grange in Long Island City and the Brooklyn Navy Yard (currently the city's largest at 65,000 square feet), and the Sky Vegetables-run farm on top of Arbor House in the South Bronx. According to the Daily News, current rooftop space in Queens could support up to 1,100 acres of rooftop farms, with Brooklyn and Manhattan coming in at 940 acres and 400 acres respectively.
A new permanent work by Berlin-based artist Aram Bartholl at the Thomas Leeser-designed Museum of The Moving Image in Queens, New York bridges the gap between digital and physical space, challenging the intangibility of today’s world of cloud computing and instant downloads by adding a sense of materiality to data-transfer. Engaging a medium that is quickly becoming as outdated as the Laser Disc, DVD Dead Drop, a slot-loading DVD burner embedded in the exterior wall of the museum is ready to burn you a hand-picked digital art exhibition, media collection, or another piece computerized content curated by Bartholl. Just insert a blank DVD-R, and let the art begin. DVD Dead Drop is a continuation of Bartholl’s original Dead Drops series, which brought peer-to-peer, offline file-sharing to public spaces around the world through unauthorized USB drives cemented into walls, poles, curbs and houses. While Dead Drops was a read-and-write system, allowing users to upload and download content to the drives, DVD Dead Drop is a one-way street, curated, automated, and prone to technical problems. (The museum notes that if your DVD does not burn properly, don’t worry, a fragile piece of machinery like a DVD burner is bound to run into some problems when it is kept outdoors 24-7.) Through May 7, the installation offers "Vertical Video," a one-hour collection of amateur videos taken with a vertical aspect ratio. Check here to see what may end up on your DVD, and here to find out where you can find a Dead Drop near you.
In just one short year the Folly competition, co-sponsored by the Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park, has become vastly popular among members of the architecture and design community, receiving 40 percent more submissions than last year. This year a jury examined 150 innovative submissions but selected only one winning entry. The prize? The winner, with the help of a $5,000 grant, gets to see the proposed design come to life in the Socrates Sculpture Park. Toshiro Oki, Jen Wood, and Jared Diganci of Toshiro Oki Architects were selected as the winners of this year’s competition for their design called tree wood. Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City first established the competition in 2012, asking emerging architects and designers to submit their ideas for a “folly,” a traditional architectural structure or pavilion, typically found in 18th and 19th century gardens. At first glance the folly may seem fanciful, it’s existence nonsensical, but careful observation reveals that the structure was intentionally built and precisely positioned to frame a particular view. This decorative installation not only embellishes an outdoor space, but also shrewdly allows the occupant to enter into a dialogue with his natural surroundings. Toshiro Oki Architects' contemporary interpretation of the traditional architectural folly consists of a simple geometric wooden-framed structure placed in the midst of a verdant thicket of trees. The minimalist man-made structure, made completely of wooden beams held together by 2x4 nails, will be built around the trees and flourishing branches occupying the site, therefore coexisting with, but never disturbing nature. The most enchanting design element of tree wood is the elaborate chandelier that will elegantly dangle from the center of the structure and exist in harmony with the leaves around it. Passersby may occasionally hear the serene musical chiming of the chandelier as the wind softly whistles through the trees, lending a very poetic nature to the folly. In addition to a winner four finalists were selected as well: Pier by Keefe Butler, Elenchus by Julien Leyssene, Curtain Spolia by Georg Rafailidis & Stephanie Davidson, Guesthouse Belvédère by Marc Maurer and Nicole Maurer-Lemmens.
Rockaway Beach, the waterfront community severely battered by Hurricane Sandy, is now the site of MoMA PS1's geodesic dome, a temporary cultural center offering lectures, exhibits, performances, and community events. PS1 kicked off the opening of the VW Dome 2 last Friday with a performance by singer Patti Smith, a fellow Rockaways resident. The museum will collaborate with local organizations in Queens to provide a range of programming over the next few months. The VW Dome 2 is part of a larger upcoming exhibit, EXPO 1: NEW YORK, that will present a variety of ideas and strategies to create a more sustainable waterfront. Last month, MoMA PS1 called on artists, architects, and designers to submit 3-minute video proposals that address relevant issues such as shoreline protections, community engagement, and climate change. The 25 winning submissions will be on view within the next month. Of course, this discussion would be incomplete and shortsighted without the feedback from the local community. Kevin Boyle, editor of The Wave, and Ideas Wanted-columnist Rick Horan have set up a video camera inside the VW Dome 2 and invited residents to participate in a conversation about the recovery efforts and needs of the Rockaways. The first Open Camera Session took place on Saturday, but locals will have another opportunity to offer their input tonight between 6:30 and 8:30 PM. The VW Dome 2 is located at the southern end of the parking lot between Beach 94th and Beach 95th Streets.
The debate over the future of the abandoned Rockaway Long Island Railroad (LIRR) line is heating up, and while a proposal to convert the viaduct into a version of the High Line called the QueensWay has gained early momentum with support from the likes of Governor Cuomo, it looks like an alternative proposal to restore the long-defunct rail line is picking up steam as well. According to the Queens Chronicle, a source revealed that Representatives Hakeem Jeffries and Greg Meeks will call for for federal transportation subsidies to return the line to rail service. For residents, the reactivation of the railroad could mean a significantly faster commute into Manhattan. Restoring the 4.2-mile Rockaway Beach Line, abandoned in 1962 and running from Rego Beach to the Rockaways, would cut commute times between Penn Station at the peninsula on the edge of New York City in half—from 80 minutes on a subway to 40 minutes. New signals, tracks, and a third electrified rail would need to be installed as well as major repair or replacement of spans along the route. An estimate by the Rockaway Subcommittee of the Regional Rail Working Group put the project cost at $400 million. Recently though, the QueensWay plan to transform the railway into 3.5-miles of a High Line-esque parkland, has been garnering a fair amount of attention. In the New York Times opinion page last week, Eleanor Randolph endorsed the linear park plan saying that it "offers far more promise than a forest that only thickens while people nearby yearn for places to walk, ride, snack and play." In December, Governor Cuomo donated nearly half-million dollars to the Trust for Public Land to conduct a feasibility study for the Queensway conversion, which got underway on Thursday. But then, there are a number of residents who would like to see the rail line left alone. Neil Giannelli, a Woodhaven resident whose house borders the tracks, founded the group "NoWay QueensWay" which is trying to derail both plans and leave the route as is. According to the group, a survey of 230 residents along a portion of the route resulted in 98 percent preferring no change.
Caroline O'Donnell's Ithaca-based studio, CODA, is preparing to build a towering pavilion in the courtyard of MoMA PS1 in Queens out of scrap from the manufacture of skateboards. O'Donnell talked to AN when the pavilion, called Party Wall, was unveiled in January, saying, "There are eight different kinds of skateboard forms, and each board has its own errors, which produce surprising effects." CODA has now released a stunning video rendering showing Party Wall peeking over the walls of the PS1 courtyard adjacent to landmarks like the graffiti-covered Five Pointz building across the street. It suggests how the crowds that flock to MoMA PS1 each summer might interact with the structure showing benches also made from scrap wood. (Plus, an easter egg: check out what the pavilion's shadow spells at the 1:40 mark!) Party Wall will open in late June and we'll be sure to see you there! All renderings courtesy MoMA PS1. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow.
Last year, plans were floated to build a new $300 million, 25,000-seat, Major League Soccer stadium in Queens' Flushing Meadows Corona Park, to be designed by SHoP Architects. Because of the contentious nature of using public park land to build a stadium, the project had remained out of public view, but early conceptual renderings were leaked by the Empire of Soccer blog following a lecture by SHoP principal Gregg Pasquarelli at Columbia University. According to Empire of Soccer, in a video of the lecture posted and since removed from Youtube, Pasquarelli is heard saying, "The project I’m not supposed to show (you) so I am not going to tell you where it is or what it is but it’s a new stadium that should be announced in the next couple of months." He described the facility as a new type of stadium without walls. According to Capital New York, MLS president Mark Abbott denied that the proposed stadium would look like the renderings and that SHoP may not be designing the final stadium, stating: "These drawings do not represent what they stadium will look like. In fact, we haven't selected an architect yet and will not start the design process until we have an owner for the club. This was simply a concept drawing that was done only to help determine the potential height and footprint. Any assertion that these drawings represent what a stadium will look like in Queens is wrong.
While everyone is transfixed on SHoP's dramatic unveiling of its new plan for the Domino Sugar Factory on the Brooklyn waterfront, another SHoP-designed project began construction to the north on the Queens waterfront. The first two towers of the Hunters Point South development, what will be New York City's largest affordable housing project since the 1970s, broke ground, and the $332-million first phase could accept its first residents as soon as 2014. The first phase includes 925 permanently-affordable housing units, 17,000 square feet of retail space, an already-under-construction 1,100-seat school, and a new five-acre park. The first 619-unit tower at 1-50 50th Avenue will stand 37-stories tall and the adjacent 306-unit second tower at 1-55 Borden Avenue will be 32-stories tall. Both will feature breathtaking views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline including the United Nations Secretariat and the Chrysler Building. The project, developed by Related Companies with non-profit Phipps Houses, was designed by SHoP Architects with Ismael Leyva Architectsand is aiming for LEED Silver certification. The two towers will have distinct designs. During the initial design process in 2011, SHoP's Vishaan Chakrabarti told AN, "We asked, should they be twins, sisters, cousins, friends or strangers? And I think we ended up with friends." "After years of planning and partnership, we’re breaking ground on the first large-scale middle-class development to be built in our city in more than three and a half decades," said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. "In just a few years, Hunter’s Point South will have all the makings of a great community – affordable homes, new transportation links, beautiful parks with sweeping views, and a brand-new school." To mitigate potential flood damage from storm surges in the future, the project's mechanical systems are elevated on upper floors with emergency generators on the roof. A concrete base serving as a flood wall line's the towers frontage facing the flood plain and entrances are designed so flood gates can be attached if necessary. Residents are expected to move in as early as 2014, with the entire first phase complete by 2015. Bloomberg also announced at the ceremony that the RFP for the second phase of Hunters Point South will be issued next month, calling for another 1,000 residential units and 28,000 square feet of community and retail space. When complete, the entire Hunters Point South development will house 5,000 new housing units on the 30-acre site.