Posts tagged with "Quennell Rothschild & Partners":

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World’s Fair fountains to become fog garden and water park

The renovation of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens continues apace, with a recently announced renewal of the World’s Fair fountains surrounding the iconic Unisphere. Landscape architecture firm Quennell Rothschild & Partners (QRP) has been selected to spearhead a $5 million renovation of the Fountain of the Fairs within the park, and will link the neglected fountains with an interactive “fog garden”. The Fountain of the Fairs, an axis of long, rectangular pools designed by Robert Moses for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, connects the Unisphere to the Fountain of the Planets to the east. Instead of returning the three fountains to their original conditions, QRP will be updating each of them to allow community access as well as save water. In the first phase of the plan, the western pool in front of the Unisphere will be filled in with Art Deco-inspired pavers and converted into a fog garden. The walkway’s fog will be generated by a series of 500 hidden sprinklers, and NYC park officials can either create a four-foot-tall fog wall or release the mist in waves to improve the visibility. As the children play in the garden, parents will be able to watch from the new concrete benches lining the play area. Phase II will see the middle fountain converted into a sunken amphitheater, and the final phase will create a children’s water park in what is currently the easternmost fountain. QRP will also be replacing the massed Yew trees along the fog garden area with maple trees, short evergreen plants, and grasses to improve the views across the park. The new sightlines will also allow food trucks to park in the newly softened plaza in front of the Fountain of the Planets. The renovation is a welcome respite for the Fountain of the Fairs. Although all three fountains were repaired and flowing after a renovation in 2000, the pools have been dry since 2012 due to flood damage from superstorm Sandy. Any visitor to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park might spot children cooling off in the fountain below the Unisphere, although the basin is meant to be purely decorative. “It’s a decorative fountain, it’s not supposed to be used for water play,” Janice Melnick, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park administrator, told amNewYork. “People try to climb up on the Unisphere base; the jets are powerful.” The fountain plans comes on the heels of the revitalization of the Philip Johnson and Richard Foster-designed Tent of Tomorrow, which was restored to its original color in 2015, and which recently won $14 million for structural upgrades. Construction on the first phase of the fountain conversion will begin in the fall of this year.
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New renderings emerge for Statue of Liberty museum

Each year, 4.3 million visitors descend onto Liberty Island, most of them with one goal: To get up close to Lady Liberty herself. Notably, few have access to the island’s museum and even less to climb into the statue.

Since September 11, 2001, accessibility to the museum has diminished as security tightened. That, however, has not deterred tourists, as visitor numbers continue to climb. Fortunately, a new, bigger museum building is on the way on the western side of Liberty Island and will add 26,000 square feet to the museum’s space.

Designed by New York–based studio FXFowle, the 26,000-square-foot building will offer better circulation to accommodate the rush of tourists that disembark from the ferries, which arrive two or three times an hour. Fifteen thousand square feet will be dedicated to exhibitions showcasing the statue’s history, legacy, and construction details. Additional spaces will house a gallery, immersive theater, bookstore, and offices. The museum will be able to accommodate up to 1,200 visitors per hour, double the current capacity.

With an estimated budget of $70 million and slated to open in 2019, FXFowle’s design won’t detract from Lady Liberty herself. “Some people will say, ‘Why aren’t you building a much grander building?’ I say, we didn’t need a much grander building—the grander building is already there,” said Stephen Briganti, the president and chief executive of the private The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation in The New York Times.

A green roof sown with native meadow species and spanning 20,000 square feet will double as a viewing area looking onto Downtown Manhattan and (of course) the Statue of Liberty. Quennell Rothschild & Partners will carry out landscaping for this and the rest of the site.

Interactive displays from ESI Design will be on view inside the museum in addition to the statue’s original torch, which was replaced in 1986 on Lady Liberty’s centennial. Thirty-three years later, that original torch will be housed in a glass-walled space—a welcome change from its windowless home in the current museum.

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Building of the Day: The Battery

This is the twenty-seventh in a series of guests posts that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours! On today’s Building of the Day tour, Beth Franz, RLA of Quennell Rothschild & Partners (QRP) walked us through the past, present, and future of The Battery. The Battery is built on the site of what was once Fort Amsterdam, later renamed Fort George once the British took over. One of the first things Franz pointed out to us is an original stone placed at what was the corner of the fort. During the redesign process—a collaboration between QRP, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, and WXY architecture + urban design (WXY) with the Battery Conservancy and the Parks Department as clients—QRP decided to completely expose the stone, which made it vulnerable to damage, but it enabled visitors to the park to have a connection to the old fort. We then walked to Castle Clinton, passing by The Battery Oval. The two-acre site acts as a connection from the main entrance to the park at Battery Place and State Street to Castle Clinton. During the Robert Moses era, this portion of the park was a two-lane pathway, mostly devoid of greenery. The oval is mounded, which helps it to act as an amphitheater and inside the oval there are 300 blue plastic chairs that have proven to be very popular with visitors. So popular in fact that they are being mass produced for anyone to buy. Franz then led us to the waterfront promenade, where she explained to us the different design phases of The Battery. After the dire financial times of the 1970s and 1980s when New York’s parks were suffering from neglect, The Battery Conservancy was established to ensure the park was kept in good shape for all New Yorkers to use and enjoy. In 1982, Philip Winslow led the first major redesign of the park with the goal of putting the landscape first and getting rid of the broken landscapes designed during the Moses era. The park is outlined with enormous 7,000-pound granite blocks that serve as a demarcating line between the busy public streets and the quiet garden-like atmosphere of the park. Along the perimeter are various monuments to different people and events. QRP restored these monuments to their original design and placed them at the end of streets that terminate at The Battery. These are designed to help bring visitors into the park and capture their attention. Walking along the bike path, Franz told us how integral it was in the design process. With safety for bikers and pedestrians in mind, QRP added visual cues for pedestrians that they are entering the bike path. They also wanted cyclists to be aware of those who might be in the path: There is granite striping on the paths and rumble strips to alert cyclists as well. Additionally, the path gets quite narrow in portions, which forces cyclists to slow down and be aware of their surroundings. Along the bike path is The Battery woodland, which consists almost entirely of native grasses and plants. The vision is that this will resemble a meadow that Europeans might have found on Manhattan Island when they first arrived. This area does not need to be mowed and it does not use fertilizers or chemicals to maintain the trees and grasses. We ended our tour at the Tiffany Gardens. These gardens also consist of native plants and are mounded, much like the oval. The mounding serves two valuable purposes. Firstly, since the subway tunnels are just inches below the park, the mounds provide enough soil for the plants to take root. Secondly, Franz explained that they create something called “conceal and reveal.” If the landscape is totally flat, a viewer can see the entire park and not be as enticed to enter. If a mound is partially blocking their view, they become interested in what lies beyond and enter to explore the area. The new SeaGlass Carousel designed by WXY is located next to the Tiffany Gardens. Across from the carousel is the last unfinished part of the park, which will be a playground, meant to encourage imaginative play for children of all ages. Among the hustle and bustle of the Financial District, The Battery offers a wonderful respite and it truly is one of New York’s most beautiful parks. About the author: Jacob Fredi is the Public Programs and Exhibitions Coordinator at the Center for Architecture. When he’s not on Building of the Day tours, you can find him playing board games (Class Struggle!) and brewing his own beer.
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Landscape architect Nicholas Quennell shares life-work insights in video

The Cultural Landscape Foundation just released the latest installment in their Pioneers Oral History series with a 64-minute interview-style documentary with landscape architect Nicholas Quennell. https://youtu.be/5oFxzw1DfbA?list=PL6K1HBuaqHQRI5ZKCzqxgQ5qQZlbBpcyZ Quennell recalls his evolution as a landscape architect, from his beginnings as an architect working with Lawrence Halprin and creating the now-iconic Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco, to establishing his firm, Quennell Rothschild & Partners in New York in 1968. Although best known for his projects such as the Central Park Children’s Zoo, Fort Tryon Park, Lighthouse Park, East River 60th Street Pavilion, and Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art, Quennell also had a brief stint as a pop artist, taught at Columbia University, and served as president of the New York City Art Commission, among other colorful experiences, such as living in the Chelsea Hotel in the 1960s. Drawing from his over 50 years of experience in the field, Quennell offers valuable insights not only on the past several decades of landscape architecture, but also the future of where it is headed. The 64-minute video is divided into one to two-minute segments which can be watched here.
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Astor Place’s Current Residents A Slight Impediment for Ongoing Redesign

Drastic architectural overhauls often require the eviction or removal of those living in the area that has been designated for revamping. The ongoing redesign of Manhattan's Astor Place and Cooper Square is no exception, though in this case, authorities are looking beyond mere eviction in favor of extermination. The rodent residents of the area have proven a recent set-back for a project that was first revealed over three years ago. Following its 2011 debut, the plan for the block by WXY architecture + urban design has undergone slight revisions. The goals of creating extra public space, improving storm drainage, and making the area more pedestrian-friendly remain in place. Towards this end Cooper Square Park will be expanded and the surrounding street-grid will be altered. Quennell-Rothschild & Partners will adorn the newly formed plazas and walkways with trees and other vegetation. Updated renderings released at the end of 2013 show additional seating added to the area immediately surrounding the Astor Place Subway station and the creation of a new Alamo plaza, formed by an expansion of the sidewalk that currently houses the rotating public sculpture. Construction began in the fall of 2013 on new drainage systems at East 4th Street and is slated to progress northward over the two years that are said to be required for its completion. In December, however, the steadily growing rat population living underneath Cooper Square became problematic enough that the park needed to be shut down for three weeks to allow for a large-scale poisoning operation. New York Department of Design and Construction spokesman Craig Chin sees the WXY design itself as a more long-term means of addressing the infestation: "The actual reconstruction of the park helps address the issue at the root...with construction removing the burrows and subterranean rodent habitats that formed in the vaulted spaces underground."
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WXY’s Beach Pavilion Catches a Wave in the Rockaways

As part of Quennell Rothschild's master plan for the Rockaways, WXY Architects was tapped to design the beach pavilion and two shade shelters. The pavilion will be open to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18, with a ribbon cutting set for later this month.  A wave-like roof flows from a utilitarian box enlivened by glazed brick stripes arranged in muted shades of mint, lime, and hunter green. Circular openings are punched into the roof covering a large outdoor boardwalk made of recycled plastic. The structure servers as a comfort station, park maintenance station, and an outdoor classroom. Kids can kick back on precast concrete seating that conjure up a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The flowing rooftop is cast-in-place concrete painted with tank liner VersaFlex.  The end of the structure culminates in a 15-foot cantilevered sweep upward, giving the appearance of a towel flapping in the wind.