Posts tagged with "Van Alen Institute":

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SOFTlab’s “Nova” pavilion brightens cold New York nights with psychadelic light

Suburban folk mark the change of seasons with spring peepers, the sound of leaf blowers, and first frosts. City dwellers rely on other environmental cures: pumpkin spice lattes, heat season, and festive public art installations. Last week, the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) and the Van Alen Institute welcomed crowds to SOFTlab's Nova, the 2015 winner of the Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design Competition. Perched inside North Flatiron Public Plaza at the intersection of Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and 23rd Street, Nova invites passersby into a kaleidoscopic interior to view area landmarks—the Empire State Building, the Flatiron, and the Met Life Tower—on its mirrored surfaces and through its many exposures. When activated by sound, LEDs pulse to intensify the psychedelic visuals. The design has definite antecedents in SOFTlab's pavilion at this year's SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas. Here too, the firm partnered with 3M to create a multicolored neon canopy that showcased the company's products. Van Alen and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership invited New York–based architecture and design firms Bureau V, Method Design, Sage and Coombe, Studio KCA, and SOFTlab to submit proposals for the competition. Competition jurors included Van Alen and the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership directors and board members; Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram; Aleksey Lukyanov, partner, Situ Studio; and Wendy Feuer, NYC Department of Transportation's Assistant Commissioner of Design + Art + Wayfinding. "The installation illustrates how interactive public art can change the perception of an environment thereby allowing people to experience it in a new way," Feuer explained in a statement. "We count on organizations like the Partnership to commission these exciting installations making NYC streets ever more inviting." This is the holiday design competition's second year. Last year, INABA won the competition with their installation, New York Light. See the gallery below for more images of Nova.  
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Spatial Poetics: Vale of Cashmere – Walking Tour and Writing Workshop

Presented with Prospect Park Alliance Join us for an afternoon at the Vale of Cashmere, an overgrown Beaux-Arts garden on the northeast fringe of Prospect Park that is slated for future restoration. Following a tour of this lush and storied section of the Park withProspect Park Alliance chief landscape architect Christian Zimmerman, engage in a writing workshop and discussion exploring disappearing and reemerging landscapes in the Vale and city beyond, led by Wendy S. Walters, author and New School professor. This event is open to participants at all levels of writing experience.
Wendy S. Walters is the author of a book of essays Multiply/Divide (Sarabande Books, 2015) and two books of poems, most recently Troy, Michigan(Futurepoem Books, 2014).  She was a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, and her work appears in The Iowa Review, Bookforum, FENCE,Harper’s Magazine, and elsewhere.  She has won a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a research fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution.  She is a Contributing Editor at The Iowa Review and Associate Professor of creative writing and literature at the Eugene Lang College of The New School University in the city of New York.
Since 1990, Christian Zimmerman has been the guiding hand for one of the most respected ongoing park restorations in the country. He oversees capital design, construction and landscape management at the Prospect Park Alliance, leading a team of architects, landscape architects, horticulturists, arborists and ecologists. Christian is nationally recognized for his historic preservation work, and has been a consultant to the National Parks Service and other parks around the country. In 2010, he was named a American Society of Landscape Architects Fellow.
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Archtober Building of the Day 25> Van Alen Institute

Archtober Building of the Day #25 Van Alen Institute 30 West 22nd Street, New York Collective-LOK Three friends from architecture school, Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (pinkcomma gallery), joined forces to form Collective-LOK in 2013. Together, they entered the Van Alen Institute’s Ground/Work competition to redesign the organization’s office and programming space on West 22nd Street. Their proposal, Screen Play, linked the institute’s headquarters with the surrounding urban realm using screens to bracket the front and back facades: one just beyond the sliding glass door in the back wall, and the other, ultimately unrealized, that would have expanded into the street as part of a Department of Transportation initiative to transform and activate parking spaces. Those who recall the Van Alen Institute’s brief foray into the world of book selling might be disappointed to see this domain relegated to a single bookshelf at the entrance and a mini-library in the smaller of two conference rooms. This was an intentional decision, however, because the retail activity was distracting from the organization’s programmatic mission. Now, books on display at the front are carefully curated, and a book club continues to engage design-oriented bibliophiles. Screens of all types in the interior provide flexible pockets of space within a small footprint. The “bulge,” an enclosed area that houses fixed programs, including bathrooms, a kitchen, and conference rooms, faces a content wall that, when in use, draws passersby into the multipurpose space. This wall, which was given a subtle dado of glossy paint to protect it from the constant activity, will display a continuous projection along its upper matte section. Wiring for this projection is already in place in yet another screen, in this case a ceiling composed of oblique metal coffers that shield, but do not completely mask, the lighting and audio-visual systems. The acoustical insulation above was left in its original, textured state, and will eventually be touched up to blend more seamlessly into its surroundings. Lott mentioned that some items on the punch list are still being resolved. As one visitor remarked, “This is the most beautiful popcorn ceiling I’ve ever seen.” We can’t wait to come back and see the space transformed during the Van Alen’s fall events, when the office desks and chairs will be relegated to the basement to make way for screenings, cocktail hours, and performances. Tomorrow, we’ll visit El Barrio’s Artspace PS109.
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AECOM Urban SOS: All Systems Go Competition winners announced

Three graduate design students at the University of Pennsylvania—Daniel Lau, Joseph Rosenberg, and Lindsay Rule—have claimed the top spot in AECOM’s sixth annual Urban SOS competition. Their project, called The THIRD Reserve, is an urban landscape concept that would, in theory, allow Singapore's food production system to become self-sufficient. The team takes home $7,500 in prize money and has access to up to $25,000 to support the project. Encouraging cross-disciplinary thought to deal with contemporary urban issues, the Urban SOS program aims to provide design education and strives to help communities in need.   Co-organized by AECOM, Van Alen Institute, and the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), this year’s “All Systems Go” brief asked students to develop site-specific ideas to solve urban food/water systems in one of the 100 Resilient Cities locations. With juries in twenty offices worldwide, AECOM chose three finalist teams, later ordered by a final jury comprising design leaders from AECOM, Van Alen Institute, 100 RC, and AN's own West Coast Editor Mimi Zeiger. “Making cities more resilient to change is core to what we do at AECOM," Michael S. Burke, AECOM chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We believe that tomorrow’s cities will require holistic, integrated thinking—like that advanced by UrbanSOS participants in this competition—to prepare for the challenges ahead and to prioritize for the long-term what projects they pursue, develop and fund." In second place, Bennett Lambert and Elizabeth Reed Yarina from MIT took home $5,000 for their scheme, WATERPOWER, in Quito, Ecuador. Third prize went to Michel Liang from Berkeley City College, Pin Udomcharoenchaikit from University of the Aegean, and Sunantana Nuanla-or and Jacky Wah from Louisiana State University. Their proposal for CANAL SOS in Bangkok, earned $2,500. “This year’s entries were particularly strong and deep, coming from universities around the world,” Bill Hanway, competition chair from AECOM, said in a statement. “We commend all of the finalists and all of the entrants for their efforts and innovative thoughts on improving urban communities and their commitment to practice cross-disciplinary design.”  
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Van Alen Institute announces winner of National Parks Now competition

After a ten-month competition in which four teams proposed schemes in Northeastern national parks: Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (Paterson, NJ); Sagamore Hill (Oyster Bay, NY); Steamtown National Historic Site (Scranton, PA); and Weir Farm (Wilton, CT), the Van Alen Institute has finally announced the winner. Each submission, as outlined by the competition, had to focus on attracting new audiences and engaging younger generations with natural landscapes and historical contexts. With funding from the National Parks Service, the teams were able to realize their ideas. The victors, "Team Paterson" who submitted their proposal for Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, presented a plan that connected immigrant communities and their restaurants to Great Falls. The project, called "Great Falls, Great Food, Great Stories," used food as a vehicle to bridge the history and environment of Great Falls with modern day life in Paterson. The project finishes with a tour from park staff, eventually leaving the park and entering local restaurants for a communal meal. Such was the success of the competition that the Van Alen Institute was able to draw "Six Great Ideas for Connecting Parks to New Audiences" using each project. The institute claims that "these ideas can be used by NPS for similar sites across the country as well as municipalities, advocates, and others who are invested in the future of parks, historic sites, managed landscapes, and many other types of landscapes." "We're thrilled with the wide range of proposals for visitor experience strategies that the four teams developed," said Shaun Eyring, Northeast Region Chief of Cultural Resources, National Park Service. "This competition has helped the National Park Service assemble a toolkit of design and programming solutions that can highlight the rich resources all of our parks have to offer in a way that attracts a much broader, more varied audience." "Van Alen Institute competitions explore unconventional ways that people can engage with their environments," said David van der Leer, executive director of Van Alen Institute. "National Parks Now pushed both designers and park staff to break from their traditional understanding of parks and reimagine what types of experiences a park could provide for the visitor of the future."
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Hot Tub Design Machine: New York’s Van Alen Institute launches its annual auction of out-of-the-box architectural experiences

If you have ever longed to explore nature with your favorite architect or discuss the built environment in your bikini, now you'll have the chance. Well, for a few bucks, but in the good name of architecture. The Van Alen Institute has launched its online auction of Art + Design Experiences to coincide with its Spring Party, going down this Wednesday in Lower Manhattan. The auction list boasts exclusive and out-of-the-box experiences with top critics, famed architects, and professionals in the arts and design fields. Some of the more compelling items, or activities, to bid on, include: —A Fire Island hot tub roundtable with architect Charles Renfro at his mid-century modern beach house. —Testing the smoke ring generator at Copenhagen’s new waste-to-energy power plant with Bjarke Ingels. —A helicopter ride on Norman Foster's personal helicopter through London’s skyline, including the architect’s own icons. —A bird watching expedition in an iconic urban park with Jeanne Gang. —Joining Sotheby’s chairman Lisa Dennison for her daily salon blowout ritual as she offers tips on building a blue-chip art collection, followed by a personalized tour of MoMA's permanent holdings. Visit the auction site to check out and bid on the offerings. Bidding closes on Wednesday, May 20. Get your digital paddles ready.
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Van Alen and National Park Service select finalists to re-imagine visitor experience at national parks

The Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) have announced four finalists in their competition to modernize visitor experience at four national parks. While the National Parks Now competition aims to "[design] the 21st Century National Park experience,” it’s about more than launching an app or two and boosting WiFi signals. Each interdisciplinary team—which is comprised of young architects, landscape architects, graphic designers, urban planners, branding experts, engagement specialists and educators—was handed a $15,000 stipend to develop strategies to connect national parks with a new generation of visitors. This includes launching hands-on workshops, self-guided tours, interactive installations, engagement campaigns, and developing tools to give the parks a larger, and more diverse, audience. The strategies would be implemented at one of four New York City-area parks: Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, New York, the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt; Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, a monument to the steam locomotive; Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park in Paterson, New Jersey, a birthplace of American textile manufacturing; and Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the summer estate of artist Julian Alden Weir. Next spring, one team will be crowned the winner and be given an additional $10,000 to implement one of its strategies over the summer. That prototype will serve as a model for the NPS as it celebrates its centennial in 2016. “As we look back at the 100-year legacy of the National Park Service, it’s also a perfect time to look creatively at the visitor experience at several select park units and consider new ways to share park stories and respond to audience needs," Gay Vietzke, the deputy regional director of the NPS Northeast region, said in a statement. “National Parks Now is a truly innovative—and necessary—effort to ensure national parks are relevant in the 21st century.” More on each team, and their individual proposals, courtesy of the Van Alen Institute.   Sagamore Hill:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Team Wayward / Projects is led by Putri Trisulo with Prem Krishnamurthy, Katie Okamoto, Alfons Hooikaas, Ben DuVall, Heather Ring, Amy Seek, Thomas Kendall, and Jarred Henderson. Their project, OKParks!, will create a symbiotic partnership model capitalizing on the existing audiences and curatorial resources of prominent cultural institutions to reinterpret histories and reinvigorate Sagamore Hill.
Steamtown:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Abigail Smith-Hanby of FORGE with Ashley Ludwig, Andrew Dawson, Max Lozach, and CJ Gardella. Team FORGE proposes to weave together stories and information in order to root Steamtown within the larger American cultural landscape.
Paterson Great Falls:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Manuel Miranda of the Yale School of Art with Frances Medina, Mariana Mogilevich, Valeria Mogilevich, June Williamson, and Willy Wong. The team will explore retrofitting the park to engage the city, retelling the site’s history to engage contemporary audiences, and representing the site to new publics.
Weir Farm:
According to the Van Alen Institute: Led by Aaron Forrest of the Rhode Island School of Design and Principal of Ultramoderne with Yasmin Vobis, Suzanne Mathew, Noah Klersfeld, Dungjai Pungauthaikan, and Jessica Forrest. The team will look at introducing site-specific, contemporary artistic practices to Weir Farm in order to develop new perspectives on the site and the region’s history and ecology.
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Collective-LOK’s stunning Van Alen storefront to open next week in New York City

To commemorate its 120th anniversary, the Van Alen Institute is opening a new street-level space in New York City next Tuesday. The space, designed by Collective–LOK and located at 30 West 22nd Street, functions as a programming hub, event space, and gallery. Collective–LOK is a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under). The team's proposal, called "Screen Play," won the Institute's  2013 Ground/Work competition, which received over 120 design submissions. "Titled Screen Play...is a highly flexible space utilizing a subtle interplay of surfaces and screens to allow for the diverse range of uses demanded by the activities of the Institute, from multimedia exhibitions and lectures to workshops and private meetings," Van Alen said in a statement. "Each changing function of the bowtie-shaped floor plan will be partitioned by silver accordion walls and a series of four semi-transparent curtains that descend from discreet tracks embedded within the perforated metal mesh ceiling." The opening of this street-facing space comes as the non-profit works to broaden its audience in New York City and build its online presence. The Institute has recently adopted a new visual identity designed by Bruce Mau Design and is set to launch a new website by Helios Design Labs and Laurel Schwulst. The new space kicks off with Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape, a multi-year initiative that will explore "escape in the urban environment." A public celebration for the opening will be held on December 12 at 10:00p.m.
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Bright public art installation to light up New York City’s cold, dark winter

The summer is officially over, folks. The beaches are closed, the sun is switching to its seasonal, part-time schedule, and your coworkers are drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes again. There is no ignoring an inevitable truth: winter is coming and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, if you live up north that is. You could move to Florida, but beyond that, there is nothing you can do about it. For those of us stuck in New York City this holiday season, it's not all bad news. We will soon be able to feast our frostbitten eyes on a new public art installation in front of the Flatiron Building. Today, the Flatiron Partnership and Van Alen Institute announced that New York Light, an installation by architect and designer INABA, has won their first-ever Flatiron Plaza Holiday Design Competition. INABA’s angled structure, which is made of mirrored panels and steel tubes, will frame the Flatiron Building on the south and open up to the Empire State Building to the north. At night, New York Light, it will be illuminated by LEDs. “The Flatiron Plaza is one of the few places where it’s possible to truly experience the magnificence of Manhattan’s urban plan. And it’s a unique spot in the heart of the city where the sky and skyline can be seen from street level,” said Jeffrey Inaba, the founder of INABA, in a statement. “The installation is meant to be a place to take in these qualities, as well as to appreciate all of the street activity day and night through its many reflective panels.” New York Light will open before Thanksgiving and run for one month. Tillotson Design Associates, Ben Gal Fierro, and Buro Happold collaborated with INABA on the project.
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Van Alen Institute Launches Competition Seeking Land Reuse Strategies for New Orleans

Earlier this month, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, an international design competition that is hoping to attract fresh strategies for reusing the many vacant lots that dot New Orleans. The competition is seeking submissions from landscape designers, architects, planners, public policy wonks, and pretty much anybody in the business of shaping urban environments and is supported by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which owns more than 2,000 vacant lots. There are somewhere around 30,000 empty lots and abandoned structures throughout New Orleans today, most of them left by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. As the 10-year anniversary of the storm approaches, Future Ground is looking to create design and policy strategies capable of adapting to changes in density, demand, climate, and landscape in New Orleans over the next half-century in an effort to turn these abandoned landscapes into lasting resources. NORA is currently working with New Orleans–based landscape architecture firm Spackman Mossop Michaels to develop land use strategies to reduce maintenance on many of its vacant lots. The firm's principals, Elizabeth Mossop and Wes Michaels—along with Richard Campanella of Tulane University, Renia Ehrenfeucht and Marla Nelson of the University of New Orleans, and Allison Plyer of The Data Center—are serving on the competition's Futures Team. "Some of this land might not be developed for a long time. It's important that the teams we select are not just looking at solutions for now, but for 10, 20, 50 years from now," said Jerome Chou, director of competitions, Van Alen Institute. "They need to be flexible, accommodate future needs, changes in the climate, and shifting development pressures. That's what the Futures Team is going to help us do. They will be working on potential scenarios of how the city might change over the next half century. It's obviously not set in stone, but thinking through those scenarios can help us tell residents, government officials, and philanthropists 'here's what's possible.'" Winning teams will be selected from an international open RFQ process. Applications are due by September 29, 2014, and will be evaluated by a jury of local design and policy leaders, as well as representatives of other cities with land reuse problems of their own, including Dan Kinkead of Detroit Future City, and Terry Schwartz of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Each winning team will be given a $15,000 stipend and will be asked to work closely in a six-month collaborative process with local stakeholders and national leaders. The goal is to bring small, incremental improvements to individual neighborhoods as well as the city as a whole; to develop policy that bolsters beneficial design strategies; and to make these strategies good enough to be sustained into the next generation. The Van Alen Institute will help out the selected teams to make up for the modest figure of the stipend by promoting their work nationally and internationally and developing networks.
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New York City Mayor de Blasio announces latest round of picks for agency heads

There's a game of musical chairs and commissioners happening in New York City politics right now. With former Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) chair Meenakshi Srinivasan now heading the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Mayor de Blasio has nominated Margery Perlmutter to fill the vacant role. Perlmutterwho would go to the BSA from the LPC where she is a commissioneris a registered architect and a lawyer who focuses on land-use issues. The mayor also announced two new picks for LPC commissioners including Adi Shamir Baron, the former executive director of the Van Alen Institute, and John Gustafsson, chairman of the Board of the Historic House Trust of New York City.
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Van Alen Institute Convenes International Council of Architects in Venice

This week in Venice, the New York–based Van Alen Institute convened a group of leaders at 13 top architecture firms to brainstorm ideas that will guide the non-profit institution with an increased international perspective. The group will meet twice a year "to identify and investigate issues facing cities internationally, and to guide the impact of the Institute’s public programming, research, and design competitions," according to a press release from Van Alen. The goal is to find topics that the institute can explore more deeply in its ongoing efforts such as Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape exploring our relationship with urban life. "We are excited to elevate our work to an increasingly global perspective with the rigorous thinking and participation of the International Council," David van der Leer, executive director of Van Alen, said in a statement. "I’m honored to begin with such a stellar list of participants, and I look forward to watching this community strengthen as a meaningful international network over the coming years." The list of firms participating this year includes: Chris Bosse, Tobias Wallisser, and Alexander Rieck of LAVA; Andrew Bromberg of Aedas; Carl Bäckstrand and Monica Von Schmalensee of White Architecture; Jay Berman of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Craig Dykers and Elaine Molinar of Snøhetta; Jonas Edblad and Gert Wingårdh of Wingårdhs; Christophe Egret and David West of Studio Egret West; Johanna Hurme and Sasa Radulovic of 5468796 Architecture; Tom Kundig and Alan Maskin of Olson Kundig Architects; Brent Linden of Allied Works Architecture; and Kim Herforth Nielsen of 3XN. The council is chaired by Kai-Uwe Bergmann of BIG. "The International Council is a great platform to generate conversation around key urban questions with a truly global perspective, and I’m glad to see Van Alen bringing together expertise at this scale," said Bergmann in a statement. "I’m pleased to have the opportunity to push it forward as Council Chair."