After countless delays, plenty of controversy, and a few lawsuits, Brooklyn's Pacific Park mega-development (formerly Atlantic Yards) is starting to take shape. The Barclays Center's green roof is showing progress, SHoP's long-delayed modular tower is rising again next door, and a pair of COOKFOX-designed residential buildings are underway at the development's eastern edge. And now, the project's new namesake, the 8-acre Pacific Park, has finally been unveiled. The New York Daily News has posted the first renderings, and a master plan, of the Thomas Balsley-designed green space which replaces a street-level parking lot and will stretch through the development's crop of new towers. Besides the requisite grassy lawns and planted areas, Pacific Park is packed with cruise-ship-like amenities including a bocce court, basketball court, maisonette court, water garden, and play areas for kids and toddlers. There is also cafe seating, lanterns, and a "gateway portal" with graphic signage. The green space is a major amenity for the development's new tenants, but will also be open to the public. The first piece of Pacific Park will run between COOKFOX's two under-construction buildings and be completed next summer. The full eight acres will be built out over the next 10 years, along with the rest of the development.
Posts tagged with "Thomas Balsley":
Thomas Balsley's geometric pedestrian plaza reclaims roadway for neighbors in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
After years of planning and workshops, Brooklyn's Community Board 2 recently approved a redesign of Putnam Triangle Plaza in Clinton Hill. The $3.75 million project, led by Thomas Balsley Associates, will significantly upgrade and expand the existing plaza that opened in 2011. The new space comes with a gray geometric paving pattern, new lighting, benches, tables, chairs, and bike racks, along with twice as many plantings and trees. There will also be new space for public art and events. The green light for the project comes months after Thomas Balsley Associates presented four options for the site to community members. That was the final stage in the plaza's public review process that had become notably heated; some local stakeholders decried the current plaza and the expensive plan to expand it. DNAinfo reported that the project will be primarily funded by the federal Transportation Enhancement Program with money also coming from New York City's PlanNYC and some local officials. Construction on the plaza is slated to start summer 2016 and last about one year.
While architecture and design firms across the country and around the world gear up to register (the deadline is November 3) for The Architect's Newspaper's 2015 Best Of Design Awards, we'd like to take the opportunity to introduce this year's jury. As with last year, we invited a group of prominent design professionals whose expertise covers the nine categories in which we are giving awards. Collectively, they will lend their broad experience and individual perspectives to what is certain to be the very difficult task of choosing the best of many sterling projects. Thomas Balsley is the founder and design principal of New York City–based landscape architecture, site planning, and urban design firm Thomas Balsley Associates (TBA). Founded in the early 1970s, TBA has completed a range of work from feasibility planning studies to built urban parks, waterfronts, corporate, commercial, institutional, residential, and recreational landscapes. In New York City alone, the firm has designed more than 100 public landscapes, including Peggy Rockefeller Plaza, Chelsea Waterside Park, Riverside Park South, and the Queens West parks Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point Community Park. Winka Dubbeldam is founder and principal of Archi-Techtonics and the Chair of the Graduate Architecture School at PennDesign, Philadelphia. Since 1994, Archi-Techtonics has completed multiple ground-up buildings and renovations, including 497 Greenwich in New York City's Soho neighborhood, which combines the renovation of a 19th-century warehouse with the construction of an 11-story "smart loft." The firm has also received many awards, including The Architecture League of New York's 2011 Emerging Voices award. Kenneth Drucker has been director of design in HOK's New York City office since 1998. During that time he's lead the design process on all kinds of projects around the globe, including the Harlem Hospital Modernization in New York, the Sheraton Incheon Hotel in South Korea, and the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in Buffalo, New York. He is also a member of HOK's board of directors and design board. Chris McVoy has been with Steven Holl Architects since 1993. He made partner in 2000. He has been the partner-in-charge and co-designer for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park, the Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University, and the Glasgow School of Art. He is currently partner-in-charge for the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, and the new Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa. Craig Schwitter founded Buro Happold's first North American office in 1999. With more than 20 years of experience, he has led the multi-disciplinary engineering process on multiple project types, including educational, performing arts, cultural, civic, stadia, transportation, and master planning projects. Under his direction Buro Happold has developed the Adaptive Building Initiative and G. Works, both related industry efforts that address today’s critical low carbon and high performance building design issues. Annabelle Selldorf is principal of Selldorf Architects, which she founded in 1988. The firm has worked on public and private projects that range from museums and libraries to a recycling facility; and at scales from the construction of new buildings to the restoration of historic interiors and furniture design. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an Academician of the National Academy Museum, and seves on the Board of the Architectural League of New York and the Chinati Foundation. Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon founded digital design and fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon in 2007. The studio has realized custom architectural elements and installations for a broad spectrum of clients that range from Asymptote Architects and Belzberg Architects, to Tiffany & Co. and The Museum of Modern Art. The firm works on every stage of a project, from conception to prototyping to fabrication and installation.
The Architect's Newspaper is proud to announce its second annual Best Of Design Awards. This year we are accepting submissions of completed works from students and design professionals in nine different categories. The categories showcase building typologies and building elements that reflect the interests of our readership, including residential work, landscape and facade design, fabrication projects, built student work, interiors, and the much coveted Building of the Year. Submissions will be judged by a blind jury made up of AN editors, prominent architects, and members of allied fields, including Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects, Craig Schwitter of BuroHappold, Kenneth Drucker of HOK, Thomas Balsley of Thomas Balsley Associates, and Erik Tietz of digital design and fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Registration opens today and will close on November 3. Submissions are due by December 7. The jury will convene on December 12. The winners will be published in AN's January 2015 print issues. For full details on the 2015 Best Of Design Awards, as well as to register and submit your projects, visit our Best Of Design Awards website. Last year AN accepted submissions in six categories.Check out all the winners and honorable mentions here: Building of the Year, Best Fabrication, Best Facade, Best Interior, Best Landscape, and Best Student Built Work.
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Aerodynamics of transit inform the design for new public seating in busy pedestrian areas like train platforms.Landscape architect Thomas Balsley has been shaping public spaces in urban settings for more than 35 years, from the Bronx to Dallas to Portland. Even at large scales his work underscores attention to detail, all the way down to the furniture that adorns his sites. As a resident of New York since the 1970s, Balsley is all too aware of the way public benches and seating function in densely populated cities. For Transit Bench—fabricated by Landscape Forms custom project team at Studio 431—he designed a seating option for busy pedestrian areas, like train platforms and street-side parklets, where movement engulfs stationary seating. “I started thinking of the aerodynamic aspects of transit and airline design, where the skin of the plane is an important structural component,” Balsley told AN. “I had the idea that this folded piece of skin could be the structure.” The bench, which rests on two sled base legs, is one solid form, made from a single sheet of stainless steel with laser cut perforations that suggest motion. Based off his design for the Redline Bench (one of many products Balsley has designed for Landscape Forms), Transit Bench hones in on efficiency of form and material, something he hopes will become hallmarks of 21st century design. Wrestling to rectify an ongoing inconsistency in bench design—“Why isn’t the back as attractive as the front?” pondered Balsley—Transit Bench’s back extends 1/3 of the way down for a more balanced aesthetic. A skirt folds down to conceal the legs at the front of the bench. On the backless version of the design, the skirt wraps down over the backside as well. Rob Smalldon of Studio 431 took the Rhino design files supplied by Balsley and worked on them in SketchUp and SolidWorks. A sheet of stainless steel was laser cut in flat form, and sent to a press break to achieve its three defining bends. For simplicity and consistency, the same dye was used for all three bends. The legs are also made from one band of steel, as are the arms, which are bent to their preferred shape. “I believe some of the best designs are pretty simple,” said Smalldon, “but there’s usually twice as much effort to make it work.” The legs are bolted to the seat panel to avoid heat deformations and ensure safety and stability. “With the bolted connection, you see rounded bolt heads but no warpage,” explained Smalldon. “It looks and performs better.” In all, the bench is made from four pieces. Transit Bench was designed in New York and fabricated in Michigan. Balsley was pleased with the outcome. “If it was a fabricator I wasn’t familiar with, I would have been there. But Landscape Forms is a top shelf company,” he said. “Our other stainless pieces with them have been extraordinary.”