The construction-watching site Field Condition recently toured phase one of the Hunters Point South development in Long Island City, Queens where a pair of SHoP-designed towers are wrapping up construction. The taller of the two buildings, Building A, stands 37 stories and has a primarily gray facade with pops of color from PTAC units that have been tinted orange. Building B has a much darker presence, with a primarily glassy black exterior. Field Condition noted that work is currently focused on finishing interior spaces before tenants start moving in this spring. In December, DNAinfo reported that 92,700 applicants had been received for the development's 924 affordable units. Check out the buildings—and their views—below.
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This year's Folly installation in New York City bends and twists spheres into an innovative plywood pavilion
The winning proposal for this year's Folly installation at New York City's Socrates Sculpture Park rethinks social interaction in public spaces with a sculptural installation resembling cross-sections of basketballs protruding from a horizontal plane. Torquing Spheres comprises sculpted, intertwined forms whose voluminous curves represent new feats in material techniques: bending plywood in a way that has been common in bending plastic panels. "By cutting out a fold line as well as a hole in the center of the panel, the material edges can be overlapped and mechanically fixed in place by simple bolts," the architects explained in their proposal. Best viewed from above for its juxtaposition of straight lines with complex spheres, the design riffs off the traditional geometry of domes, squinches, and pendentives to make standalone units. "The result is a doubly curving membrane but made by a simple construction technique that creates a monocoque shell that is self-supporting without a structural frame." Each half sphere is a pod resembling a futuristic, design-conscious take on the humdrum and far-from-plush park bench. The proposal is the brainchild of architects Mariana Ibañez and Simon Kim of IK Studio, a Cambridge and Philadelphia-based design and research practice that dabbles in material performance, adaptable tectonics, spatial interaction, and robotics within architecture and urbanism. Torquing Spheres won first place out of 126 submissions from around the world in the annual Folly program, a juried competition held in recognition of exceptional early-career architects and designers. The innovative proposal was selected by a five-person jury of big-name architects and artists, including David Benjamin (The Living), Leslie Gill (Architect), Sheila Kennedy (Kennedy & Violich Architecture), Alyson Shotz (Artist), and Socrates Sculpture Park Executive Director John Hatfield. Torquing Spheres is presented by the Architectural League of New York and Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, and will be unveiled at the park on May 17 from 3:00–6:00p.m.
As AN reported, it will be quite difficult for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to pull off his plan to launch a five-borough ferry system. There are, of course, the obvious issues surrounding subsidies, ridership, operators, and dock placement that could all cause major headaches down the road. While the mayor starts charting his path through these details, another potential problem came to the fore: winter weather. https://vimeo.com/119709319 Specifically, a partially frozen East River. Just weeks after de Blasio announced his five-borough ferry plan, Gothamist reported that the East River Ferry had to discontinue service at least once because boats could not make it through the ice. On its website, New York Waterway, which operates the East River Ferry, explained that the river (technically an estuary) is extremely unpredictable over the winter and that conditions can change within minutes. This, it said, can disrupt the schedule and lead to the temporary closure of certain stops. “We hope that you can understand,” it wrote on its site, “and won’t hate us forever.” It is not you we hate, East River Ferry operator, it is this never-ending winter. https://twitter.com/eastriverferry/status/567044595859869696 https://twitter.com/eastriverferry/status/569922481802375168
Yet another tower could rise in Long Island City, Queens. Citigroup is expected to sell a prime development site next to its SOM-designed, 51-story turquoise office tower that dominates the neighborhood’s skyline. The New York Times reported that when Citi built the structure in 1989, the city expected Long Island City to blossom into a major commercial hub. That hope did not pan out. But the neighborhood has seen a boom in residential development in recent years and now Citi wants to take advantage of it. The bank will reportedly sell the development site for $150 million, likely giving way to an apartment or hotel high-rise.
New York City's MTA has posted another collection of East Side Access construction photos to remind New Yorkers that its majorly delayed and hugely over budget project is still actually chugging along. When East Side Access is ultimately completed, at the cost of nearly $11 billion, it will connect Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central making life easier for about 80,000 commuters. But that's a long ways off—last we heard, the project will not be completed until 2023. As for where the project currently stands, the MTA explained in a statement, "Work continues on the Manhattan side of the East Side Access Project below Grand Central Terminal with waterproofing, rebar arch installation and drilling for couplers. In addition, temporary shoring for concrete slabs that will make up track and room levels can be seen." To see for yourself, take a look at the photos below which were captured by the MTA deep beneath city streets.
Overcrowding on New York City subway trains is becoming a major problem for commuters. According to new data from the MTA, there were 14,843 weekday delays caused by overcrowding in December alone. The New York Post found that the number is up 113 percent from the same period a year ago. Fixing the overcrowding will not be easy for the MTA as it is trying to accommodate record ridership and still dealing with damage from Superstorm Sandy.
The New York City and Madrid-based architecture firm Andres Jaque Architects/Office for Political Innovation has released a wonky video explaining its mobile, water purifying installation which recently won MoMA PS 1's Young Architects Program. The futuristic-looking structure, called COSMO, is comprised primarily of suspended hoses that will filter 3,000 gallons of water over the course of four days. Check out the video above to see how COSMO will work its magic. But before you do, just a quick heads up that there are some black-and-white photos of naked people hanging out on a beach at the top of the video. (Honestly, it's probably pretty SFW so don't worry.) [h/t The Dirt]
MoMA and MoMA PS 1 have announced the winner of the 2015 Young Architects Program from a shortlist of five firms: Andres Jacque Architects/Office for Political Innovation. Based in Madrid and New York, Jacque's firm will build COSMO, a large structure made of irrigation tubes and planted zones, which will make the process of water filtration visible to PS 1 visitors. The structure will contain 3,000 gallons of water which will take four days to complete the cycle of purification through the structure. Seating and performance areas will be located underneath the suspended structure, which, when illuminated at night, will become a beacon in the neighborhood. The project is intended as a prototype, which could be recreated anywhere in the world to create fresh drinking water. "This year's proposal takes one of the Young Architects Program's essential requirements—providing a water feature for leisure and fun—and highlights water itself as a scarce resource," said Pedro Gadanho, a curator of architecture and design at MoMA, in a statement. "Relying on off-the-shelf components from agro-industrial origin, an exuberant mobile architecture celebrates water-purification processes and turns their intricate visualization into an unusual backdrop." COSMO will open in late June as a part of the annual Warm Up summer party series at MoMA PS 1. The Young Architects Program has become on the world's leading showcases for emerging architectural talent.
5 Pointz, the Long Island City, Queens graffiti mecca, might not have been lucrative enough for developer G&M Realty to keep on its property, but it sure makes for a nifty marketing ploy to attract potential renters to its soon-to-be constructed pair of residential towers. Jerry and David Wolkoff, the father-and-son owners of G&M, filed an application last spring to trademark the street art name for the new development. The application has been denied twice, but the Wolkoffs are still determined to figure out a way to capitalize on the 5 Pointz name. The artists whose work once covered the walls of the demolished warehouse are none too pleased. 5 Pointz curator and artist Jonathan Cohen (a.k.a. MeresOne), has launched a petition on MoveOn.org, seeking to fight the trademark. (As of this publishing, the petition had nearly 2,500 names.) According to the New York Daily News, the developers, who’ve pledged to dedicate 12,000 square feet to artist studios and exhibition space, are befuddled by the protests. Well, why would the artists take issue with the condo building using the beloved 5 Pointz name? All G&M did was surreptitiously whitewash the building in the middle of the night, erasing any trace of art.
Day One: New Yorkers rejoice as their governor, Andrew Cuomo, announces his intent to bring AirTran service to LaGuardia Airport. Day Two: Well-respected transportation blog The Transport Politic digs into the $450 million plan and shreds apart some of its ambitious goals, namely the time savings it takes to get to the airport. Using the LaGuardia AirTran would actually be a less convenient way to get to the airport than the slow and unreliable options that currently exist. The plan, which is in its early stages, would mean building an AirTran station by Citi Field, between an existing Long Island Rail Road stations and a 7 line subway station; the elevated train would then connect to LaGuardia via the Grand Central Parkway. The Cuomo Administration says the distance traveled is 1.5 miles, but Transport Politics puts it closer to 2.3. Since the new rail line would travel alongside a highway, it would cause minimal disruptions for existing neighborhoods, making this whole thing a much easier pitch for Cuomo, at least politically and financially. Cuomo says the state has the money to pay for the plan through existing funds. But if the LaGuardia AirTran is built as currently proposed, it would actually mean a longer ride to the airport from many major population centers. Travelers heading to LaGuardia from Midtown, Downtown Brooklyn, Central, Queens, and the South Bronx would be better off taking one of the bad public transit options that already exist. The new AirTran would, of course, be faster for anyone living near Citi Field, and would shave a few minutes off the ride from Penn Station for those taking the Long Island Rail Road. This is not the first time that the city has looked into ways to make New York City’s closest airport not feel so far, far away. A 1990's plan, for example, would have extended the N subway line from Astoria, Queens right to LaGuardia. But as Transport Politic noted, the extension was squashed by neighborhood opposition because people apparently didn't want an elevated rail line cutting through their neighborhood. Check out Transport Politic's handy chart below that compares travel times of that 90's plan, Cuomo's plan, and an alternate plan for a connector from Jackson Heights, Queens.
We know, we know, we know—the internet is being overrun with drone-photographed, time-lapse videos of cities and ruins. They are like cat videos, or BuzzFeed quizzes, or thought-pieces on Hillary Clinton's ground game in 2016: they're everywhere and they're unavoidable. But sometimes they're pretty great. This five-minute video by Victor Chu is called “Ultimate Aerial Video of NYC!," and, well, yeah, it kind of is! The video starts with a quote from (who else?) F. Scott Fitzgerald and then finds its way through the five boroughs with the help of an agile drone. Some architectural highlights include Four Freedoms Park, Hunters Point South Waterfront Park by Thomas Balsley Associates, and pre-demolition 5Pointz. The drone also travels directly through the Unisphere, which is known best from the 1964-65 World’s Fair and second best from Men In Black. [h/t Gothamist]
The Louis Armstrong House Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Corona, Queens, has received the green light from the city to start construction on its long awaited expansion plans. Located across the street from the renowned jazz trumpeter and singer’s restored home, the new $20 million addition, designed by Long Island City-based firm Caples Jefferson, will house exhibition space, designated research areas, and a “Jazz Room” for musicians. The center, featuring a gently undulating glass facade, will be roughly 9,000 square feet and is designed to respect the scale of the neighborhood while providing views of the musician’s home from inside the building. The firm plans on seeking LEED Gold certification for the structure by employing green strategies such as a green roof and the use of sustainable materials. Louis and Lucille Armstrong moved into the house as newlyweds in 1943, and lived there for nearly three decades before the musician’s death in 1971. Caples Jefferson has designed several local cultural institutions, including Queens' Theatre-in-the-Park, the Queens Museum of Art, and the recently completed Weeksville Heritage Center.