Before all eyes and ears were focused on the mayor's announcement about Cornell and their EDC project upriver, AN was downtown for a much quieter opening of yet another EDC project. Without fanfare, the SHoP-designed Pier 15 opened to the public today. With the exception of another photographer and a family visiting from Spain, we were the only ones at the pier when the security guard unhooked the chain. Across from Maiden Lane, the new pier is an exercise in restraint with two reflective glass pavilions supporting the top half of a bi-level pier. Once common in the Victorian era, bi-level piers are rare today. The upper-level of this pier sports three small rolling lawns, slightly arched in profile, that overlook the East River. The pier adds 50,000 square feet of public space to the East River Waterfront Esplanade. The project, a joint effort with City Planning, stretches from the Battery Park Maritime Building (the Governors Island ferry) to Pier 35, just north of the Brooklyn Bridge. Of the two lower level pavilions, one will become a restaurant, to be run by the same company that operates as a smaller restaurant nearby in a pavilion on the East River Esplanade. The second lower level pavilion will accommodate a maritime museum. The RFP for the restaurant and marina have yet to be announced. With the work complete, South Street Seaport's Pier 17 appears all the more needy. As AN's Eavesdrop column reported back in July, the city is still in the midst of negotiations with the Howard Hughes Corporation to revamp the dated pier/mall. SHoP's Gregg Pasquarelli recently told New York magazine that the firm relishes tackling the next stop north.
Posts tagged with "SHoP Architects":
On Thursday, the East River Waterfront Esplanade officially opened to the public. Last week, while the paint on the new bike lanes was still drying, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden took AN on a walk through of the first section. The commissioner barely contained her excitement while showing off design details by landscape architect Ken Smith and SHoP Architects. Follow the commissioner as she takes us through the dog run and points out clever details like the "Get-Downs," the riverside bar stools, and "seat walls."
With the exception of the World Trade Center, there's probably no better place to call a press conference dealing with construction issues than Atlantic Yards. At the moment the controversial project practically guarantees a large press turnout. On Tuesday, the Department of Buildings used the site as a backdrop to launch a new safety campaign for the 7th Annual Workers Safety Week with a particular focus on getting workers to wear harnesses. Sixteen workers have fallen to their death since 2008, prompting the agency to call the campaign "Experience is Not Enough." In addition to covering the initiative, the press also got a chance to check out progress at the stadium site from "court level." But while DOB officials talked safety on the site, off site Dean Street Alliance president Peter Krashes complained that there were still problems for workers and neighbors. "If the community is affected, then the workers must be, too," he said of dust and noise. "The problem with Atlantic Yards is there are holes in oversight by the Empire State Development Corporation." Still, Krashes did not hold the DOB directly accountable. "This is not a criticism of DOB, in many respects they've been responsive to us." DOB's Acting First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fariello said they chose the site for the safety-themed event because DOB wanted to highlight "the guys that are doing it right." He added they wanted to get the message out to some of the old timers who have been on the job for 20 to 30 years. "We're trying to report any incident that happens on a site," he said. "It doesn't matter if its union or non union." To that end, thousands of campaign posters will be distributed to sites throughout the city translated into Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Polish. Also on hand was Linda Chiarelli, deputy director of construction for Forest City Ratner. She stopped by to check on progress and talked about the rusted steel curtain wall designed by SHoP Architects. Chiarelli was on her way to Indianapolis, where the steel panels are being produced, then shipped to New York as assembled units and fastened to the building frame. She said they hope to have a mock-up unit two blocks away within two months. She described the appearance of the wet and dry cycle machine being used to accelerate panel rust as looking like "a giant dry cleaning machine." With over 11,000 distinct panels to process, one hopes they don't lose any tickets.
Shigeru Ban's Tokyo office is developing temporary housing structures for those displaced by the natural disaster in Japan, reports Archinect; click here to help support the project. Stateside, AIA president Clark Manus issues a statement encouraging U.S. architects to do all they can to support Japanese recovery efforts. The New York Times covers Forest City Ratner's plan to use prefab building components for a 34-story apartment building at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Engineered by Arup and designed by SHoP, the units should be pretty high-end as far as modular housing goes, but construction workers argue that the prefab approach will mean less jobs. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy trumpets the news that twelve of the master's houses are currently on the market (starting at $800k for the Arnold and Lora Jackson House in Beaver Dam, WI), via Design Crave. Acorn Media announces that the acclaimed BBC "Genius of Design" series is available on DVD. The five part documentary focuses on the highlights of industrial design throughout the twentieth century and beyond.
With over 270,000 square feet and costs projected at $50 million, the Botswana Information Hub is ambitious on many levels, both literally and figuratively. The winner of an international competition, the SHoP-designed research campus brings green technology to the Gaborone, Botswana. The sinuous structure merges into the landscape, with various levels seeming to kinetically lift from the earth. An "energy blanket" roofscape blends solar and water re-use systems into the sweeping composition. Gregg Pasquarelli tells AN all about it. AN Mixed Media> SHoP in Botswana from Architect's Newspaper on Vimeo.
Barrios with Altitude. A poetic study of the organically evolving perimeter of Bogotá, via Lebbeus Woods. Atlantic Aspirations. Forest City Ratner is still on the hunt for Atlantic Yards funding, but has sweetened the deal by tapping SHoP--who is already spiffing up the stadium and public plaza--to design B2, the first apartment building in the complex, says The Observer. Sterile Street. Blair Kamin calls out developer Joe Sitt for obliterating "bracing history" in exchange for "bland consistency" on State Street, in The Chicago Times. Impromptu Planning. In Egypt, protesters have organized a mini-city in Tahir Square, complete with urban planners. Listen to an NPR audio clip or read the related transcript.
Last weekend in Washington, D.C. the American Architecture Foundation (AAF) presented New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden with its 2011 Keystone Award. The annual accolade is bestowed upon an individual or organization from outside the architectural discipline for exemplary leadership in design, specifically design efforts focused on improving lives and transforming communities. Burden, who has served as chair of the City Planning Commission and director of the Department of City Planning since 2002, recently returned from travels abroad, and AN caught up with her just before the awards ceremony to hear what she thinks New York can learn from cities like Barcelona and other street smarts. “To be a dynamic, competitive global city, you have to grow and attract both talent and investment. It’s not just about architecture, but public space and the design of the streetscape. It comes down to how the city feels at street level. It has to be walkable and human scale, with trees, amenities, and vitality,” said Burden. “Barcelona, for example, is a city that is doing this brilliantly. Its mayors and its urban design prioritize the primacy of the public realm.” Over the past few decades Barcelona has enlivened its public plazas with sculpture and painting of both Spanish and foreign artists. Burden’s curbside view stands in contrast to that of her most (in)famous predecessor, Robert Moses, who, ruled planning in New York City from the mid-1930s through the mid-1960s. “In that era, there was emphasis on large-scale connectivity. Design plans were drawn from a helicopter range, 400 or 500 feet in the air. But you have to go from the grand scale down to the neighborhood, the pedestrian scale, and even think about the speed at which pedestrians walk,” said Burden. Burden cites the redesign of Columbus Circle as successful public space in the city, noting its variety of seating, and she is eagerly anticipating the completion of the East River Esplanade (see more on SHoP’s plans here), where park-goers will have seating options galore: they can stretch out on lawns, sunbathe on chaise lounges, or contemplate river currents from bar seating and swings at the waters edge. Thinking of traffic in terms of people, rather than cars, is something Burden attributes to her mentor William H. ("Holly") Whyte, the urbanist and journalist known for his seminal studies of how people use urban public spaces. Whyte, who died in 1999, the same the year the AAF founded the Keystone Awards, surely would have been a contender for the honor himself. Since 1999, Keystone Award recipients include Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, S.C., the Museum of Modern Art, Save America’s Treasures, and the Pritzker Family of Chicago.
One of the many flashy architecture projects believed to have been killed off by the recession was SHoP's highly impressionistic proposal for the waterfront portion of the South Street Seaport. The bankruptcy of mall owner and would-be developer General Growth Properties seemed to scuttle plans for the sail-and-net-inspired complex, but having emerged from court protection, GGP is evaluating what to do with its remaining properties and it appears SHoP may once again be in the mix. The company is being spun off into two pieces following its bankruptcy, with the one made up of mixed-use and development-worthy projects getting a $6.55 billion infusion from three outside investors. It remains up to this new person what to do with the Seaport, but a GGP spokesperson tells Downtown Express, “Presumably the new company would continue to pursue the highest, best use of that property, which we felt was the proposal we put out." Should the project return, there is still the issue of appeasing the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which saw it as more barnacle than beautiful.
There may be a few hoops left to jump through before Bruce Ratner can begin construction of his SHoP- and Ellerbe Becket-designed arena for the Brooklyn, né New Jersey, Nets, such as completing a partial sale of the team to a Russian oligarch, prevailing in some outstanding lawsuits, and going ahead with eminent domain against the area's remaining holdouts. But the developer appears to have cleared the final major hurdle standing in his way with the successful sale of $511 million in tax-exempt bonds today for his $900 million arena. (There are still taxed bonds and an equity stake to be taken care of, but they lacked the December 31 deadline.) Yes, those hoops may still present challenges, but none had the same drop-dead, end-of-the-year deadline the bonds did, and they seemed the likeliest chance for the project's opponents to succeed. Instead, they sold briskly in a matter of hours, or, as Ratner put it in a release, "The interest in the arena bond offering was beyond our expectations," expectations that have always been highly optimistic, though also always on the money. Perhaps this is why they are already preparing to divert traffic starting next Monday to make way for construction.
Or so they like to say, when referring to the Cooper Hewitt’s National Design Awards, or more accurately, the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum’s National Design Awards. And that’s exactly what it was like: a little too much of a mouthful of an event. But it was also an undeniably bounteous banquet of everyone Who’s a Who in architecture and design of all stripes. The party was held last night not in the backyard tent as of old, but in the marbled bank hall palace of Cipriani 42nd Street. The stars were all out and too many to name as this year the museum was also celebrating its tenth year anniversary for the awards. Herding everyone to table was not easy but a hush spread as gala chair Richard Meier passed the podium to Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary who expounded on our nation’s children and the great role modeling that designers/architects could provide. Everyone was impressed with themselves as next up was broadcast princess Paula Zahn, the evening’s tirelessly beaming emcee. And for the next three hours great awards were dished out (along with some seriously thick slabs of prime beef) to the very deserving and, among them, our especial friends SHoP Architects (winsomely introduced by Reed Kroloff) who received the Architecture Design Award; Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown (nicely roasted by Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti who recalled days when the four sculpted the great women’s hairdos of the 20th Century in the Long Island sands) who received the Interior Design Award; Constantin and Laurene Boym who gamely shared the mic just like Julia Roberts and Clive Owens might at the real Academy Awards; and Walter Hood of HOOD Design whose urban landscapes we want to know much more about. As often happens at the Design Awards, the presenters outshone the winners in matters only of sheer star dust: Chuck Close presented the Corporate Award to the Walker Art Center (the first museum ever to get one); John Waters riffed hilariously through the Boym’s disaster building paperweights; actress Eva Longoria had trouble with the teleprompter (everyone else handled their 4x5s or 8x11s adroitly enough) when awarding Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein the Fashion Award; Charlie Rose was so smooth I have forgotten which award he presented, but Armory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute was surely the bravest and coolest of them all when he bared his Pocket Protector & Pens when accepting the Design Mind Award for among very many other things, his Passive-solar Banana Farm.
SHoP's new designs for the Barclay's Center at Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards site has probably gotten the firm more attention than any of its previous ones, including its rather controversial plans for Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport. Today, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn penned an open-letter to the firm, calling out "Mr. Sharples, Mr. Sharples, Ms. Sharples, Ms. Holden, and Mr. Pasquarelli" for signing on to "a very contentious and troubled project that faces widespread resistance from the communities it would impact—and well beyond." Meanwhile, "Mr. Pasquarelli" sat down with the Observer to, uh, talk shop on the project and defend his firm's involvement in the project: "We gave serious consideration as to whether we wanted to do it. And I think the thing that convinced us was, after speaking with Bruce, we were convinced he really wanted to make a great building." SHoP and Barclay's collaborator Ellerbe Becket will be discussing their new designs at a special hearing in Brooklyn tonight at 6 o'clock, as will DDDB, no doubt—and us. If you can't make it for the fireworks, we'll recount them here for you tomorrow. Or follow us on Twitter, where we'll be live-blogging the main event.
When I bumped into Gregg Pasquarelli at the LPC on Tuesday, I asked him about a certain map that had been floating around the Internet a day or two before. The SHoP principal began to fulminate. "That was totally taken out of context," Pasquarelli said. Turns out it's a SHoPping map. "It was one of a series of maps we had made to illustrate the retail landscape in New York and why an anchor store would work so well down there," he continued. "It has nothing to do with New York as a whole." He added that, yes, obviously, it's an omage to Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz. And he couldn't help but wonder how anyone got a hold of the map since it was the property of General Growth. Granted, they don't own much anymore, now do they?