The Rockwell Group and NYC Parks unveiled their plans last week to turn a 1.5-acre section of Betsy Head Park in Brownsville into a lush and active playground. When designing Imagination Playground, the firm looked to treehouses for inspiration. The site will feature a winding ramp that snakes around London Plane trees and connects to slides and a series of jungle gyms that spill out into an open area with sand, water, benches, and plantings. In collaboration with landscape architecture firm MKW + Associates, the Rockwell Group has taken on this project pro-bono and will donate a set of Playground Blocks to the Brownsville Recreation Center. The $3.92 million playground was funded with the help of government subsidies from Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz, and Council Member Mealy. Partner David Rockwell founded Imagination Playground in partnership with NYC Parks and KaBOOM, a non-profit organization, to encourage activity and unstructured play for children at nominal cost by providing loose building blocks in outdoor recreational spaces. Right now the project is slated to break ground in spring of 2014 and open in 2015.
Posts tagged with "Rockwell Group":
Diller Scofidio + Renfro is climbing ever higher near the High Line with their first ever skyscraper. The Wall Street Journal reports that the firm was selected by Related Development to work with the Rockwell Group on an 800 foot tall, 700 unit residential building that will play well with its architectural cousin next door. Elizabeth Diller tells the paper the architects are “very conscious of the adjacency to the High Line.” Indeed. DS+R, along with Field Operations, will be unveiling plans for the third and final section of the High Line at a community meeting tonight. Public School 11 Auditorium 320 West 21st, RSVP to email@example.com.
Thursday was a great night for New York showroom events. AN took advantage of the beautiful fall weather and made the rounds. Here are some highlights: Moroso Traveling Show Moroso celebrated the NYC launch of its traveling show commemorating 60 years of great furniture-making history. Designed by Rockwell Group, the pop-up exhibition will tour New York through November 26, then continue on to Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, and Vancouver. The show features 25 pieces from the Moroso oeuvre, many positioned on raw wood displays next to a timeline illustrated with images and drawings from the company’s archives. New Marazzi Tile Showroom NY Stone Manhattan unveiled its new second-floor showroom dedicated to products from Italian tile manufacturer Marazzi, which will be NY Stone’s only tile supplier. Oysters and appetizers from Le Cirque helped the tiles make a swanky splash in the high-ceilinged space, which features architectural tile and interior porcelain stoneware. DDC’s Venini 90th Birthday Celebration The DDC Gallery celebrated Venini’s 90th anniversary with an installation of the Italian glass-makers work, including recent pieces designed with Dutch design team Studio Job. In addition to the presence of Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel, dazzling Arnolfini chandeliers and whimsical standing lamps lit up the DDC’s Madison Avenue showroom.
There's a tempest brewing at the Trump Soho, which isn't towering quite so high over Manhattan these days. The Real Deal reported this week that developers behind the luxury hotel-residence, Bayrock/Sapir, have filed a lawsuit against the building's architects, the Rockwell Group. Among the allegations are too-small bathtubs and closets that can't fit hangers. But the fight started much earlier with a complaint from the architect. From the Real Deal: "The developers of Trump Soho have entered a legal imbroglio against the Rockwell Group, alleging in a new lawsuit that the interior design firm failed to meet building codes and cost the property more than $1.5 million in damages for delays and replacement costs to complete their work." Two days prior, the Rockwell Group, a full-service firm led by David Rockwell, filed their own suit alleging that the developers failed to honor a contract and disburse payment for services rendered. Rockwell Group spokesperson Joe DePlasco responded to a request for comment from AN: “The Rockwell Group filed a suit last week seeking over a million dollars in unpaid fees. They have been trying to collect payment for over a year at this point. Although the Rockwell Group tried to resolve this issue, Bayrock’s counter suit appears to be an attempt to avoid paying what they owe.” Meanwhile, the Trump Soho also remains embroiled in a series of lawsuits from unhappy buyers.
Iron skillet meets iron fist. Some of the most striking visuals to come out of this year's TED conference weren't made for the stage but for the street: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution truck, an 18-wheeled kitchen classroom designed pro bono by Rockwell Group, launched last week and represents just one of the outcomes of Oliver's 2010 TED Prize wish to make kids healthier. The wish of this year's TED Prize winner, the artist currently known as "JR," is that people will participate in his global art project INSIDE/OUT and help paper streets with gigantic portraits of themselves. Step 1: set up photo booths that print poster size pics of conference participants--quite a surreal experience, writes Guy Horton for Good. Get over it. So says the New Republic to New Yorkers who complain that New York DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has stepped on some toes in her quest to make streets slimmer, bike lanes fatter, and pedestrians safer. The griping was highlighted in a March 4 profile of the commissioner in the New York Times. Leaky legend. The Economist reports that Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin, is banking on this year's 100th anniversary of the site to raise money for much-needed restoration work: the roof is leaking, the wood beams are sagging, and families of bats keep trying to settle down in the rafters. Urban archaeology, armchair edition. Yurbanism rounds up new apps that are sure to appeal to urbanists, like "Abandoned," which uses GPS to identify abandoned buildings near your location, complete with links to pics: “Explore modern day ruins from empty mental asylums to shipwrecks under the Great Lakes. Discover the history and location of dead amusement parks, overgrown hospitals, forgotten hotels and creepy ghost towns.”
“It doesn’t seem like it, but everything connects with each one perfectly,” said Gabrielle Sunderland, 12, squinting happily toward the hot July sun. Around her were piles of weather- and germ-resistant foam blocks in sundry shapes and sizes. The blue pieces are the signature element of David Rockwell’s Imagination Playground, which opened Tuesday on Burling Slip near the South Street Seaport. A designer of theaters, high-end restaurants, and Broadway stage sets, Rockwell found his own children bored by the playgrounds of Lower Manhattan. So he set out to create a playspace where kids could use their own imagination, just as he once did. “Playgrounds are the places where kids can learn how to be a community and create their own worlds, but the ones we visited were all too linear,” he told AN at the opening. “That gave me the idea of a different kind of playground.” Gabrielle and her friend Ajda Celebi, 10, were industriously showing off Rockwell’s central strategy: providing kids with loose pieces that promote unstructured play. The girls set two rectangular blocks together with a noodle on the side and a ball on top, creating something like a giant teapot. They liked the fact that the playground allows them to make structures entirely “out of your own creativity,” as Ajda put it. The project got its start after Rockwell persuaded Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe with a drawing on a lunch napkin, and then spent five years researching progressive learning theory and child development. He also helped round up funds for the $7.5 million project, which included a $4.5 million grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and $3 million from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for the relocation of two water mains and a sewer line into the adjacent street. Rockwell also teamed with nonprofit playground designer KaBOOM! and together they developed Imagination Playground in smaller portable versions, tested and tweaked after trial tours in Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Miami, and New York. But the first permanent site for the concept is designed pro-bono on a former parking lot at Burling Slip. Comprised of a large multi-level deck in the shape of a swooping figure eight of reclaimed Indonesian teak, the new playground is essentially an empty space for the array of 350 props. Situated in a landmark district, the landscape does include some features that recall the surrounding area’s nautical past, including reused benches from Coney Island, barrels, and burlap bags. The west end is the sand pit, consisting of sloping wooden ramps and four wooden masts made by a shipbuilder, each connected by ropes and pulleys. In the center stands a crow’s nest atop a red, circular structure housing bathrooms and a storage space for the blocks. At the east end, a rounded amphitheater for storytelling overlooks an ankle-deep pool with pipes and canals that enable the control of cascading water. A staff of city workers trained as “play associates” oversees the action, as with all Imagination Playgrounds. According to Benepe, Burling Slip is the start of a new era of New York City playgrounds, where Rockwell’s sponges will replace worn-out monkey bars, swings, and jungle gyms. “The next step is to look at playgrounds that are underperforming and need renovation in central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, and apply the concept,” he told AN, adding that these might come with a different set of materials. “Here we had a flexible budget, but we could take a traditional Parks Department playground budget, and use these approaches.” For his part, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg described the project as a tremendous success. “It is always amazing to see what children choose to create when they are fully using their imagination,” he declared. As for the little pirates, they too gave the playspace top grade. “It’s all big and blue and bendy,” Gabrielle said, while balancing a cog on top of a cube tower. “It’s a lot of fun!” And Ajda added, “The new West Thames playground where I live is really cool, but this one is more fun, because you can do anything here.” With that, she eagerly returned to helping the other kids dam a cascading water flow in the pool area. To everyone’s joy, the jets of water created unexpected rainbows against the blue afternoon sky.