Archtober Building of the Day #24 Mariners Harbor Branch Library 206 South Avenue, Staten Island A'PT Architecture In Mariner’s Harbor in Staten Island, Ana Torriani, AIA, and Lorenzo Pagnamenta, AIA, of A*PT Architecture (formerly Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani) have harvested an oyster intended to produce many pearls of wisdom. Mariner’s Harbor Branch Library, with its luminous, asymmetric zinc roof “cracked open” by a glass spine, resembles an open bivalve, referring back to the neighborhood’s history as an oyster farming community while inviting its current residents inside. Except for support spaces and a conference room, the entire library is a single, open volume. With its glass facades to the east and west and a series of skylights above, the interior glows with natural light, even on a grey fall day – an atmospheric mother of pearl. It looks effortless, but A*PT’s detail-oriented partners carried out countless studies to get everything just right. Part library, part community center, Mariner’s Harbor is certainly not your traditional stuffy library with dusty books and shushing librarians. Local organizations use the conference room to hold board meetings; a white board by the entrance announces the day’s varied activities. Today’s events included a morning yoga class and belly dancing. A sundeck leads to a yard where children learn to garden during the summer. A project of Department of Design + Construction’s Design Excellence program, the library provides much-needed resources (including shiny, new Apple computers) to an underserved community, serving as a sincere example of how good design can be used to fight inequality. And, while working for a public agency can be challenging, for Torriani and Pagnamenta, seeing the space brought to life by its patrons (who have doubled in number just one year) makes it all worthwhile. Tomorrow, we'll visit the Van Alen Institute.
Posts tagged with "Staten Island":
Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor 1000 Richmond Terrace, Snug Harbor Campus, Building A Staten Island Gluckman Tang Architects The recently reopened Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, housed in a former dormitory for aged and decrepit sailors, has a renewed vitality in a historic setting. “When restoring historic buildings, make interventions as quietly as you can,” Richard Gluckman told Archtober enthusiasts gathered at the museum today. The neoclassical building, originally designed by Richard Smyth in 1879 and landmarked in 1965, is part of a complex of historic buildings occupying the bucolic 83-acre Snug Harbor area of Staten Island. Gluckman Tang Architects was responsible for breathing new life into the building to better showcase the museum’s diverse collection spanning the arts, natural history, and local history objects. Over the past ten years, Gluckman Tang has been responsible for undoing previous—and precarious—restorations of the building, redoing the shell, restoring original elements, including the staircase and windows, and adding contemporary interventions to bring the building up to American Museum Association and LEED standards. The museum building serves as an important link between the local history and the museum’s mission. Gluckman Tang introduced geothermal well fields, paying tribute to the Staten Island Museum’s conservationist history. The auditorium and education space has linoleum floors, a functional choice by the architects, but also a reference to Staten Island’s Linoleumville, the location of first linoleum factory in the United States. Gluckman and his colleague James Young-Sik Lim discussed the “congenial relationship” between the historic and the contemporary that they nurtured during the renovation process. Visitors feel elements of the historic structure underfoot—the wood floors were repurposed from the building’s original pine beams. Gluckman also emphasized the importance of maintaining a sense of the historical usage of the building. He pointed to a compass rose inlaid in the wood floors—a contemporary interpretation of a historic detail that serves as a nod to the nautical history of the space, and as a centralized orientation point for visitors. Upstairs in the Treasure Box Gallery, the museum’s eclectic collection is displayed in a room flooded with natural light. The architects focused on flexibility within the exhibition spaces, a crucial aspect of the redesign, given the museum’s mission as a general interest cultural institution covering art, science, and history. The tour ended in the Mastodon Room, housing a life-sized replica of the now-extinct mammal. The mastodon (for which the museum is currently in the process of naming) serves as an elegant metaphor for the museum’s mission and Gluckman Tang’s renovation—history comes alive here, whether in the form of a giant-tusked creature or a beautifully restored cast-iron neoclassical staircase. Next up, Archtober-ites will venture to the Goethe-Institute. Alex Tell is the Committee's Coordinator for the AIANY | Center for Architecture.
Busybodies and neighborhood know-it-alls rejoice: today, New York City, in partnership with civic data managers Vizalytics, launched a beta version of neighborhood.nyc, a new website that maps street-level information derived from 311 calls and city agencies. While this information was and is available in the NYC Open Data Portal, it often required time and high-level sleuthing to sort through mounds of data. The city's new website, neighborhood.nyc, pulls from open data feeds to streamline and map information in the data portal, allowing residents to filter results by neighborhood, or categories, including: MTA, traffic, public health, and quality of life. A search of Tribeca (AN's home neighborhood) revealed markers for noise complaints, street closures, restaurant inspection reports, and contact information for police, fire, and elected officials. In the coming months, the city will invite community leaders to become page administrators, allowing them update their neighborhood's home page images, post community events, or promote local business. To ensure broad access, the site is available in 13 languages. Each neighborhood has its own searchable URL. The index lists over 400 districts famous and obscure, including the twee portmanteaus that are definitely not a thing.
Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure 614 Broadway, Staten Island Slade Architecture Our intrepid Archtober team ventured across the New York Bay to usher in the weekend with a visit to the Staten Island Zoo. After a breezy ferry ride (along with some time on the subway, bus, and our own two feet), we met up with James Slade, who, together with his wife and partner Hayes Slade, designed the Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure. Ken Mitchell, zoo director, stopped by to give us some information about the zoo, which opened in 1936 and had 190,000 visitors last year. A master plan developed by Gruzen Samton had called for the carousel to be located near one of the zoo’s entrances, but James and Hayes decided instead to site it closer to the central building and facilities, near the children’s zoo and reptile house, two highlights of the facility. The Department of Cultural Affairs manages the buildings and zoo, while the Parks Department owns the land. All parties involved agreed that it was important to minimize impact on the landscape, which includes many mature trees. They avoided deep excavation work by setting the carousel enclosure on a diamond pier foundation system in which metal pins are hammered into a base to create a pincushion effect. Only one tree was lost to the carousel, leaving a verdant canopy above. Young riders can look up and see the sky through the ETFE roof, which lets in light so that passersby can admire the fine craftsmanship that went into the hand-carved and hand-painted wooden animals. An ingenious system of sliding glass panels allows the carousel to be used year-round. Mark Lombardi, facilities director at the zoo, is especially pleased with its design. He appreciates that in addition to being beautiful, the system is also easily maintainable. The panels slide into place with little effort, and they help keep the environment comfortable in all weather conditions. A playful custom frit pattern alerts visitors to the presence of the enclosure, which might otherwise fade from view, which is exactly the structure’s purpose. As Slade remarked, “it’s a building, but it’s really about having the building disappear to highlight the carousel inside.” The leopards looked like they wanted some attention, so Slade took us over to see the enclosure that his firm had also designed. After spending most of their lives in an indoor exhibit, the leopards are finally free to roam outside in their spacious new home, which was created with environmental enrichment in mind. Climbable trees and deadfall encourage mental stimulation and physical health, while a heated rock by the observation area provides a cozy spot in cold weather. When the leopards want to get away from human eyes, they can retreat to hiding places that were designed into the space. We’ll be back in Staten Island next week to see the newly-opened Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor. Join us tomorrow for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle by Steven Holl Architects Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
Ten years in the making, the renovation of one of Staten Island's oldest buildings—part of the Staten Island Museum expansion—is finally complete. Well, almost. Stepping into the refurbished Cultural Center building just off of Staten Island's seafront, the smell of fresh paint still hangs lightly in the air as designers and the team behind the project apply the final touches to Gluckman Tang Architects' (formerly Gluckman Mayner) design. Originally used by sailors, the 1879 landmarked 'Building A' at Snug Harbor follows the Greek Revival style of the adjacent structures. So far, it has taken ten years from proposal to opening, and four years to construct, at a cost of $24.4 million. Speaking to AN, James Young-Suk Lim, of New York–based Gluckman Tang, told of the difficulties they had in creating "acceptable climate conditions" for the galleries. "The project was unique as we had to keep so much due to the building's status as a national landmark," he said. The building was actually one of the first to be given landmark status by New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). Despite gutting the 18,000-square-foot building, opening it up for gallery use, Gluckman Tang appropriately employed a subtle design approach to the interior. During this process, load-bearing walls were replaced by structural columns, creating an open feel and giving visitors more space to explore. Much of the inside is white meanwhile fire-proof doors use frame fitting glass panes. The technique visually invites people into the galleries and continues to open up circulation spaces that would otherwise be empty voids. This minimalist approach also gave the museum and exhibition designers greater freedom and flexibility to adapt the space. In this instance, the exhibition design by Ralph Appelbaum Associates (also from New York) employs a similar minimalist glass strategy and complements the work by Gluckman Tang. Walls have been painted pastel green, creating an air of calmness and tranquility, with the subtle color change acting as a visual threshold between the gallery and circulation spaces. Keeping the temperature at 70 degrees and at 50 percent relative humidity (a museum requirement) was always going to be a tough task given the mandate to maintain certain historical elements of the building, notably the 19th century windows and window frames. Consequently, a new building envelope was created inside the existing structure. The architects installed floor-to-ceiling windows with Low E soft coatings that were recessed from the original bays. The windows act as a "vapor barrier," yet allow users to still view old windows. Translucent pull down blinds shade the art from damaging sunlight, while soft interior lighting modules placed along rails in the ceiling enhance the display. This feature allows the circulatory spaces that are not bound by daylight regulations to become brighter, amplifying the threshold existing between the spaces. In addition to this, the building is also a LEED Gold project. Some 18 geothermal energy piles were drilled 499 feet (500 feet requires mining permission) to provide energy to the building, of which the majority will be used for climate control. The latest addition to the Staten Island Museum will feature a diverse range of cultural and historical artifacts ranging from fish fossils to art from the island. The inaugural exhibitions will be open to the public on Saturday, September 19 at 10:00a.m.
Architecture firm S9, a division of Perkins Eastman, is moving ahead with plans for the New York Wheel, what will soon take shape as an enormous Ferris wheel on the Staten Island waterfront. https://youtu.be/eeIobTnXp-4 According to development watch-blog Yimby, construction cranes have appeared on the Staten Island site of what will one day be the largest Ferris wheel of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Perkins Eastman says the wheel is "designed as a composition of geometric forms clad with vertical terracotta fins, strategically interrupted by terraces, ramps, and stairways that are inspired by the juxtaposition of the surrounding foliage and the rock formations at the Palisades Sill" The wheel design and manufacturing will be fronted Mammoet-Starneth, which specializes in giant wheel construction. The company also worked on the London Eye, built along the River Thames in 1999. Additional plans for a similar project in Dubai are also in the pipeline. In 2012, the London Eye was, according to David Marks of Marks Barfield Architects, "the most visited paid-for attraction" in the UK and third in Europe after the Eiffel Tower and Disneyland Paris. The New York Wheel has similar aspirations, but its success hinges on whether visitors will opt to take the five-mile, free ferry ride from Lower Manhattan. Keeping tourists on Staten Island has been a long standing issue for New York City officials, according to the New York Times. "Every year, two million tourists ride the Staten Island Ferry, and yet most of them never leave the terminal," the newspaper reported. Aiming to be open seven days a week and 350 days a year, the wheel would operate from 10:00a.m. through 10:00p.m. or midnight, staying open until 2:00a.m. on special occasions. It can also accommodate up to 1,440 people per ride which the New York Wheel website equates to over four million rides a year. This will be made possible by the deceptively large "pods" that will carry up to 40 passengers each up 630 feet into the sky giving them an uninterrupted view onto manhattan and over the island. The pods will be predominantly glass which should facilitate sweeping panoramic views and be safely secured to the wheel itself by what looks to be a steel structure. Similar to the London Eye, the New York Wheel will resemble that of a bicycle wheel when viewed from distance. Though it is not known yet, Starneth is likely to emulate the ever-moving structure in London which traveled at a leisurely 0.6 mph. During the London Eye project, Marks told WNYC that getting financial backing was the toughest part of the project. However, Rich Marin, president and chief executive of the New York Wheel, told the New York Times that this will not be an issue for the wheel. Goldman Sachs is funding the project with $130 million in capital. The landmark wheel isn't the only project set to adorn the island's North Shore Waterfront. Covered by AN in 2012, the wheel will be accompanied by a 1,100 square foot space for Empire Outlets by SHoP Architects in collaboration with Lee Weintraub Landscape Architects. According to New York Daily News, the outlet will be home to household names such as "Nordstrom Rack, H&M, Gap Outlet, Banana Republic Factory Store, Guess Factory Store and food options such as Starbucks, Nathan's and Applebee's." At a ceremony in April, Donald Capoccia, principal at BFC Partners, the developer behind the outlet project said, "Empire Outlets is a well-timed catalyst that will trigger the transformation of the North Shore and position Staten Island for sustained growth into the foreseeable future." The New York Daily News reported that developer BFC Partners and the New York Wheel will be required to cough up "$2.5 million a year in rent to the city for the land and pay $300,000 to maintain the area, including the waterfront esplanade."
If these five architecture teams get their way, the library of the future will look a lot different than today
New York City’s public libraries need cash—and they need it fast. Over the years, the city's three library systems—the New York Public Library (serving Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island), the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Public Library—have racked up over one billion dollars in capital needs. And that's not money needed for new educational tech tools, like iPads and laptops, but for renovations just to keep the old buildings in a state of good repair. Making things more challenging is that over the last decade, as the city's libraries continued to fall into disrepair, circulation through the city's three systems increased by 46 percent and program attendance shot up 62 percent. That's all according to the Center for an Urban Future, which published a report on the dire state of New York City’s public libraries back in September. But the Center didn’t just drop the bad news and see itself out the back door. It partnered with the Architectural League and launched a design study to find architectural, financial, and programmatic tools to get the libraries out of the red. Now, five interdisciplinary teams have proposed a wide range of ideas that would supposedly do just that. To the team led by Andrew Berman Architect, the city's libraries must become more useful and accessible tools for the people they serve. So, for example, just keeping community rooms open later in the day could go a long way. The team also proposes creating 24-hour vestibules at libraries that function like the ATM room at your bank. The keycard-accessible space would have plugs for laptops, book drop-off, and information kiosks. Essentially, just a place to hang out and work. A proposal called L+ from the team led by SITU Studio has two main goals: to make library community rooms "register as an accessible and useful neighborhood asset" and to create an entirely new service model for the 21st century library. To Team Situ, this means creating library "retail" outposts that become an extension of the existing library system. These flexible and architecturally distinct structures would have strong graphic identities, and be built within existing library buildings, storefronts, and transit hubs. The proposal from Marble Fairbanks with James Lima Planning + Development, Leah Meisterlin, and Special Project Office is rooted in the weeds of city data. After overlaying existing branch locations with flood zones, development potential, and information about communities (population growth, diversity, age range, etc), the team proposed a mixed-use tower for Brighton Beach that has stacks, ground-floor retail, and a mix of affordable and market-rate apartments. To understand the pitfalls and potential of the city's library system, the MASS Design Group investigated all aspects of a few specific branches in south Brooklyn. The team concluded that the libraries' programmatic possibilities were limited by the physical form of the buildings—so what did they do? They changed the buildings. In Sheepshead Bay, for example, MASS creates a branch with flexible space for cultural events. And in Coney Island, they turn the second floor of a library into a food, health, and educational center. Team UNION takes a less architectural approach, focusing instead on how to make public library more recognizable as civic institutions. To boost the the systems' profile, UNION proposes a new identity system that has a more recognizable library icon and clearer signage. This strategy also includes a marketing campaign and a new library card that could “unlock services far beyond libraries.” The team would also use "architectural strategies that leverage needed investments in roof and facade repairs to create more distinctive, open and flexible facilities."
The planned giant Ferris wheel in Staten Island—one of kookier of the Bloomberg-era megaprojects—is apparently still happening. Eavesdrop always thought the step-Borough deserved more than a tourist trap wheel and a giant outlet mall, but hey, apparently Amanda Burden thought differently. According to the Associated Press, New York Wheel CEO Rich Marin said the project will include a thrill ride that will “simulate a ride in a subway car.” Here’s a better idea: buy a MetroCard.
Living Breakwaters—SCAPE's proposal to protect to the South Shore of Staten Island with a reef of living oysters—has picked up another accolade. First, the plan scored federal funds in the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Rebuild By Design competition, and now it has won the 2014 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. The competition was launched in 2007 to honor ideas from architects, engineers, scientists, designers, activists, planners, and entrepreneurs that addresses "humanity’s most pressing problems." In a statement, Kate Orff, the founder of SCAPE, said "Living Breakwaters hopefully represents a paradigm shift in how we collectively address climate risks, by focusing on regenerating waterfront communities and social systems, and enhancing threatened ecosystems." A $100,000 grant is provided to help develop and implement the winning proposal. For more on SCAPE's design, and to learn about what's next for Rebuild By Design, see AN's coverage of the competition. [h/t The Dirt.]
Staten Island’s abandoned, graffiti-covered, New York Farm Colony is poised to become “Landmark Colony”—a mixed-use development with retail and 350 units of senior housing. Curbed reported that plans for the 45-acre project were unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) after updated designs were unveiled by Vengoechea + Boyland Architecture late last month. The sprawling site has been abandoned for decades, but has a fascinating history that dates back hundreds of years. "Back in the day, the New York City Farm Colony was really a poor farm. That meant an able-bodied indigent could live there in exchange for their labor," explained Curbed. "The sprawling site also housed rehabilitation facilities for the needy. The site's use as a farm dates back to the 1600s, but the County of Richmond look over operations in 1830. It was managed by the consolidated city government until 1975, when the last residents were moved to Seaview Hospital." Based on a site plan presented to the LPC, the development team would stabilize and reuse five historic structures, dismantle four and reuse their parts, remove one, and stabilize another. Included in the plan is a network of open spaces and parks designed by Nancy Owens Studio. While the overall plan was approved by the Commission, some members weren't thrilled with the new Flats Buildings (pictured below) which was described as "generic." That part of the project will get updated and could be brought back before the Commission. The project is being developed by NFC Associates and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Archtober Building of the Day #4 Stapleton Library 132 Canal Street, Staten Island Andrew Berman Architects Libraries, according to architect Andrew Berman, principal of Andrew Berman Architect, do not age gracefully. As technological innovations and transforming communities change the role of these public institutions, fixed programmatic layouts become obsolete. During a tour of Stapleton Library in Staten Island, Berman explained that flexibility and openness became two key components that guided its renovation and expansion. Originally designed by Carrère and Hastings, fathers of the main New York Public Library on 5th Avenue, the Stapleton Library was suited to its small community. High ceilings and lofty proportions imbued the small structure with dignity, while varnished oak molding gave it a decidedly more rustic feel than its Manhattan relative. However, as Stapleton’s population increased and diversified, the Staten Island neighborhood outgrew its library, which became cluttered and poorly lit. Berman’s firm has carefully renovated the original 1907 building that now serves as a playful children’s area. The size of this space, he believes, is ideal for kids: large enough to create discrete areas for different programmatic needs. The new expansion has also doubled the space available to adult and young adult users. Afraid of compromising the building’s integrity through mimicry, Berman opted to handle the expansion as a separate structure, but one that remained in dialogue with the old. From the outside, the original masonry construction contrasts with the sleek transparency of the new space. However, Berman’s careful use of proportion allows the two structures to harmonize. Meanwhile, the library’s interior is unified through the use of wooden structural beams, which reference the moldings and shelving in the original space. Books line the walls, freeing up corridors for study tables and computers. In addition, the central mechanical core is clad in translucent polycarbonate, adding to the sense of openness. A community room is used for group study sessions, and also houses programs from arts and crafts to aerobics classes. Today, Stapleton Library is, quite literally, a beacon for its community. Berman’s expansion glows like a lantern at night, welcoming neighbors who often hang around outside even after closing hours to use the library’s Wi-Fi network. The architect hopes that the warmth, openness, and accessibility of the building will make it an inviting community space. Camila Schaulsohn is Communications Director and Editor-in-Chief of e-Oculus. She was born and raised in Santiago, Chile.
The 82-year-old Bayonne Bridge is getting some work done. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has begun the $1.3 billion process to raise the bridge's roadway by 64 feet. Why, exactly? Well, to keep up with the times of course. To accommodate larger shipping container–laden boats, the authority decided that the structure, which connects New Jersey with Staten Island, had to be raised. "The expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to result in a shift to larger, cleaner, more-efficient ships servicing our region and other East Coast markets," explained the Port Authority on its website. "In order to ensure these new ships can reach our ports, the clearance limitation must be addressed." And, apparently, the quickest and most cost-effective way to address that is to keep the main structure intact and just raise the roadway itself—hence the "Raise the Roadway" project. When all is said and done, the road's surface will be 215 feet high and include a 12-foot-wide shared bike lane and pedestrian path. According to the authority, this design also "allows for future mass transit service." The project is slated to take four years, but the Port Authority is running things, so go ahead and tack on a few more years to that. In the meantime, check out the authority's strangely mesmerizing video on the construction process to get a sense of how this will all go down—or, rather, up.