Posts tagged with "Van Alen Institute":

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Young Love in Times Square

Brooklyn-based Young Projects have been announced as the winner of the annual competition to design a Valentine's Day themed installation in Times Square. Times Square Arts, the wing of the Times Square Alliance responsible for public art programs, worked with the Van Alen Institute to select this year's design, which will go on display in early February. In the proposed scheme, dubbed Match-Maker, visitors position themselves at one of the twelve distinct viewing points corresponding to their own zodiac sign.  By peering into the pink periscopes that create the heart-shaped structure the viewer is visually connected to the four most ideal mates amongst their fellow participants as dictated by astrological correspondence. Fittingly for a holiday that often produces drastically different emotional reactions, the installation's form is elusive and shifting.  At times it reads as a fully-formed heart while from other vantage points it appears to be a jumbled mass. Young Projects join Situ Studio (2013); BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) (2012); Freecell (2011); Moorhead & Moorhead (2010); and Gage / Clemenceau Architects (2009) as firms to have won the competition.  The heart will remain installed through mid-March.
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Getting in on the Ground Floor: Collective-LOK Wins Van Alen’s Ground/Work Competition

The Van Alen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to public realm improvements in New York City, has announced Collective-LOK as the winner of its Ground/Work competition. The winning team—a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under)—was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants, and beat out two other finalists: Of Possible Architectures and EFGH. The competition called on designers to re-imagine the ground floor level to accommodate new offices, bookselling platform, galleries, and event and programming space. Collective-LOK’s proposal uses a variety of screens to keep the space flexible and open: “To accommodate this range of possibilities within a limited square footage, we propose a Screen Play; a mechanism to order these spatial, curatorial, and temporal scenarios through a subtle interplay of surfaces that creates a complex and ambiguous presence in the city.” Next year marks the 120th anniversary of the institute, which has a long history of research, competitions, and programming, and will now gear up to refocus its efforts on consulting and implementing public realm programs.
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Three Finalists Reveal Designs for an Activated Van Alen Institute

New York City's Van Alen Institute (VAI) is turning 120 next year, and to celebrate, the institute is taking its message of inspired architecture and urbanism to the street. The storefront space on West 22nd Street has been home to the institute's popular LOT-EK–designed bookstore and event space, organized around a stack of bleachers made from reclaimed wooden doors painted highlighter yellow. VAI's new director, David van der Leer, is tackling the redesign and expansion of the sidewalk space to maximize the organization's public visibility as it evolves its mission into the 21st century. Three finalists—Collective-LOK, EFGH Architectural Design Studio, and Of Possible Architectures (OPA)—were selected from over 120 respondents to VAI's "Ground/Work" competition earlier this year, and now their schemes have been revealed. EFGH Architectural Design Studio Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova. Project statement from the Van Alen:
A microcosm of the space of the city, the new Van Alen Institute is imagined as a container for dynamic life. As an institution committed to the expansion of the definition of “public architecture” and the processes that shape the public realm, the VAI needs a home that embodies that ambition. Recognizing the dramatic proportions of the existing site as an opportunity, the proposed new Ground/ Work space turns a long skinny ground floor volume into a virtue: it maximizes the street level space, creating a single room - a large “grand hall” - that strives to reach the scale of the street, and extend the life of 22nd Street into the heart of the Institute. Through the easy manipulation of three mobile components in the space, The Media Wedge, The Bleacher and the Hinge Table, the VAI can be radically transformed by a few employees in a short amount of time.   When one asks “What is the new space of the Van Alen Institute; A Workspace, Exhibition space, Lecture Hall, Book/ Media Outlet, Public Forum, Conference space, Performance Space or Party space?” The only suitable answer is All of the Above.
View more information on the proposal at the Van Alen website. Collective-LOK Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo Project statement from the Van Alen:
The new institutional home of the Van Alen has to be many things at once. The brief requires curatorial flexibility for a breadth of public programming including exhibitions, lectures, reading groups, and book launches; a comfortable and efficient office environment for different scales and modes of work ranging from formal to casual; a framework that can grow to include the second floor and basement as the institution expands in the future; and a mobile street seat that will bring the Van Alen’s mission into the urban realm. To accommodate this range of scenarios within a limited square footage, we propose a Screen Play: a mechanism to order these spatial, curatorial, and temporal scenarios through a subtle interplay of surfaces that creates a complex and ambiguous presence in the city. The project proposes five strategies of screen play to enable and give shape to the broadest possible range of uses.
View more information on the proposal at the Van Alen website. Of Possible Architectures Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., and Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton. Project statement from the Van Alen:
The VAI has developed a legacy of architectural projects through competitions and commissions. The Van Alen Stairs, inspired by the TKTS Steps, capture this legacy most succinctly. The Stairs achieve an architecture of relational tectonics. We have identified relational tectonics as the dimension of architecture which intentionally provokes relationships between people, their behavior, and their environment...For the next iteration of the Van Alen Institute, we propose a translation of the Van Alen Stair into the Van Alen Table. The dimensions of the Table are precisely calibrated to the VAI's space. The Table allows for the full gradient of programs to easily expand and contract along, around, and in between its 70' length. This table presents those using it — whether reading, lounging, working, etc. — in a way that is both comfortable, natural, and uncanny. The experience is just off-center from typical expectations.
View more information on the proposal at the Van Alen website. The public is invited to weigh in on their favorite designs through September 10, which will be evaluated by a jury later this month. The competition jury includes Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office), Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-tectonics), Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects), Mark Robbins (International Center of Photography), Ada Tolla (LOT-EK), Marc Tsurumaki (LTL Architects), David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute), and Marc Kushner (Hollwich Kushner). The winning design team will be announced in late September and construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.
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Van Alen Insitute Announces Ground/Works Competition Finalists

The Van Alen Institute has announced three finalists for its competition Ground/Work, which called on emerging designers and architects to reimagine the institute’s New York storefront. In celebration of Van Alen’s 120th anniversary, the competition furthers the institute’s ambition to bring innovative architectural ideas into the public dialog by reframing the organization’s relation to the street. Young designers were invited to consider the Van Alen's shifting role within New York City through the redesign of its physical space, integrating all of its functions and creating a more visible and accessible presence on the ground floor of 30 West 22nd Street. From over 120 teams, representing more than 350 young designers up to ten years out of school, three finalists were selected: Collective-LOK, EFGH, and Of Possible Architectures. “We are thrilled by the jury’s selections, and look forward to the finalists’ imaginative visions for Van Alen as a center for innovative projects and public programs,” said David van der Leer, Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, in a statement. “Ground/Work is an opportunity to recognize emerging talents in architecture while bringing fresh creativity to the Institute during an exciting period of change.” Finalists were selected by a jury consisting of Stephen Cassell (Architecture Research Office, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Winka Dubbeldam (Archi-tectonics, and University of Pennsylvania), Mark Gardner (Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects), Mark Robbins (International Center of Photography, and Board of Trustees, Van Alen Institute), Ada Tolla (LOT-EK), Marc Tsurumaki (LTL Architects), and David van der Leer (Van Alen Institute). The three chosen teams will present their proposals to the jury in September, following which the finalist will have four months to finalize their design before construction is set to begin this winter. The three winning teams each present innovative, interdisciplinary approaches that diverge from the traditional architectural practice, reflecting Van Alen’s mission to support and promote pioneering young designers. Below are self-descriptions of the three firms. Collective–LOK is a team formed by Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O'Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under). Our approach is shaped by an architectural mindset, but draws on a broad range of interests — historical, conceptual, curatorial, and cross-disciplinary — in order to shape discourse on design in the public realm. Our interest in the potentials of collaboration is rooted in an engagement with the history and methods of architectural practice as scholars, educators, and practitioners. We take inspiration from the rich legacy of firms that have shared a commitment to collaboration as the means to create a socially and culturally progressive architecture. EFGH (Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova) is a New York-based architectural design practice founded in 2007 by principals Hayley Eber and Frank Gesualdi. The studio actively engages projects across scales: from the projective design of large urban sites to innovation at the scale of custom furniture, and everything in between. We explore design as an extensive network of interrelated and often competing issues, interrogating them along the way. Our design process reflects an intense curiosity mixed with a drive for experimentation. Of Possible Architectures (OPA) (Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton) is a creative practice working across spheres of architecture, social sculpture, large scale public art, and urbanism. OPA is committed to architecture as an act of cultural production and focuses on radically innovative, often self-initiated, cultural projects. What we do is based on optimistic speculations for how people and the built environment affect one another.
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Van on Van: Guggenheim Curator to Lead Van Alen Institute

David van der Leer, an associate curator of architecture and urban studies at the Guggenheim, has been appointed executive director of New York's Van Alen Institute. He will take over in May. The Institute, which has existed for more than 100 years in various forms, is dedicated to improving the public realm through exhibitions, competitions, and programming initiatives in New York and beyond. Reached by email, van der Leer declined to elaborate on his plans for the Institute. Van der Leer, 33, has been at the Guggenheim since 2008. He helped curate the landmark exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward and Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum. He was also active outside the walls of the museum, initiating stillspotting nyc, a series of site specific events and installations across the five boroughs, as well as the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a traveling pavilion that serves as a forum to investigate the future of cities. Prior to the Guggenheim, van der Leer worked in the publications departments at Steven Holl Architects, OMA, as well as 010 publishers, as well as a contributor to AN and other design publications. The Van Alen Institute is named for William Van Alen, the architect of the Chrysler Building, and one of the organization's biggest benefactors.
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On View> Parks for the People Reimagines Our National Parks as Social & Cultural Destinations

Parks for the People The Octagon Museum 1799 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Through November 30 Parks for the People presents student ideas of how to reimagine our national parks as natural, social, and cultural destinations. Teams from City College of New York, Rutgers, Cornell, Florida International University, Kansas State, Pratt, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington competed in a semester long studio, engaging questions of the preservation, sustainability, accessibility, and technology in 21st century national parks. The National Parks Service, Van Alen Institute, and the National Parks Conservation Association sponsored the competition, which ultimately declared the teams from City College, for their work on the Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas, and Rutgers, for their project at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania (above), the winners. All seven entries, each representing a different region of the country, will be on view at the Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C.
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New Design Trends and Policies Help City Dwellers Touch Water

An interesting trend to hit landscape architecture in recent years is borderless fountains, where water flows flush with the pavement. If so inclined, visitors can kick off their shoes and stroll though damp pavers. Such fountains can be found by Field Operations with Diller, Scofidio + Renfro on the High Line, Digsau’s Sister Cities Park in Philly, and Field Operations’ recently completed plaza fronting New York by Gehry. The trend seems to speak to city dwellers need to touch water. But borderless access is hardly limited to pocket parks and plazas. Several of New York’s riverfront parks are beginning to incorporate high tide into their design. SHoP’s design with Ken Smith for the East River Waterfront Esplanade use “getdowns” to the water, where the East River gently spills onto the bottom of a series of steps. But the most “radical” design comes from Michael Van Valkenburgh for Brooklyn Bridge Park where rip rap pavers gently follow snakelike access to the actual river. Yes, you can walk down into the river! The designs speak to water access issues that will be among many topics explored this fall at the Van Alen Institute to compliment River City: Waterfront Design for Civic Life, a series of exhibitions and public programs. The first exhibition, Immensity and Intimacy: Brooklyn Bridge Park, explores the convergence of new development with recreation. An October 4th debate between Fred Kent (Project for Public Spaces) and Michael Van Valkenburgh will be moderated by the soon-to-be-former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. The debate promises to be an all-out brawl on the public versus private control over the riverfront. The fact that folks want to touch the water shouldn’t surprise anyone in mid-August, and somehow all the aforementioned designs manage to astonish. But what’s really astonishing is that access to the water is such an oddity at all. “The whole thing is a miraculous joke, considering we’re on an island,” said Roger Meyer, chair of ConservancyNorth, a nonprofit public advocacy group in Northern Manhattan. Meyer navigated the treacherous waters of Northern Manhattan’s waterfront access during debates spurred by development at Columbia University’s Baker Field. As part of the deal to build their new Steven Holl-designed athletic building, the university promised a marshland park designed by (surprise!) Field Operations with waterfront access at Manhattan's northernmost tip. Nearby, a city-owned boathouse and dock in Inwood completed in 2006 sit unused, in part because the dock was placed in a marsh that becomes a mud flat twice a day during low tide. Whether the public will be able to use the boathouse for the new park is anyone's guess. Meanwhile, Council Member Robert Jackson's office confirmed that his office has allocated $350,000 toward $700,000 Eco Dock. The balance will come from Borough President Scott Stringer’s office and the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance will receive the money to build the pier. Both of the planned access points in Inwood do not yet have community programming plan in place.In the rush to fulfill recreation goals of Vision 2020, the city’s comprehensive waterfront plan, few have thought about the upland programming needed to support the new docks and waterfront access.  “The whole idea is to have an authentic use of the waterfront, genuine activity touching the water,” said Meyer. “It’s useless if you don’t have upland infrastructure, access is just a fraction of the picture.” It wouldn't be the first time that Parks has built before programming was in place. Nevertheless, access is coming and upland programming sounds like good fodder for further debate. For more on Van Alen's "River City" programing click here.
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Kazi Leaving Van Alen

Olympia Kazi has resigned as executive director of the Van Alen Institute one year and a day since the opening of Van Alen Books, possibly her most visible contribution to the 100-year-old organization known for its engagement with pressing urban issues through competitions, exhibitions, research, and public programs. Van Alen Books has given the Chelsea institution a lively storefront presence on 22nd street where its acid yellow interior with stadium-step seating designed by Lot-EK architects never fail to attract curious passers-by in addition to avid attendees to the frequent lectures and lively panel exchanges that have been the hallmark of Kazi’s direction, while completing the "Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park" competition and book initiated in collaboration with the National Parks Service in 2007. Kazi came to the Van Alen in January 2010 from the Institute for Urban Design that she directed since 2007 organizing its inaugural “Urban Design Week” with an award from the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2009 Cultural Innovation Fund. Trained as an architect at the University of Florence, Kazi has worked as a critic and curator of architecture in Milan and New York. Before moving to New York, she served as a junior curator at the Milan Triennale and as an editor of Wound magazine. Stepping in as Interim Executive Director will be Jeff Byles, most recently the Van Alen’s director of research. “I want to thank Olympia for her leadership in making Van Alen a vibrant platform for research and debate about the public realm,” said Stephen Cassell, Chair of the Institute’s Board of Trustees.
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Wednesday! The Institute as the Women Saw It

Courtesy Author House Publishing Wednesday night at Van Alen Institute, AN’s own Julie Iovine will moderate a panel discussion on the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The IAUS, at first affiliated with the MoMA and Cornell University, was dedicated to research, education, and discourse on architecture and urbanism. Artists, architects, and historians collaborated on projects that would shape architectural discourse for decades—Koolhaas’ Delirious New York was born out of his time at the Institute. The discussion will center on Suzanne Frank’s new book IAUS: An Insider's Memoir, with fellow Institute alumni Diana Agrest, Suzanne Stephens, and Frederieke Taylor.
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SHFT+ALT+DEL: January 27

Stephen Cassell, principal of Architecture Research Office, has been elected Chair of the Van Alen Institute Board of Trustees. Cassell takes the reins from Abby Hamlin, president of the real estate development company Hamlin Ventures. Gretchen Bank, who currently serves as the Marketing & PR Committee Co-Chair at AIA New York, steps into the position of Director of Business Development & Marketing at Cosentini Associates, effective February 6. Architect and New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) alumnus Peter J. Romano has joined NYIT's Board of Trustees. With his wife, Jane, Romano established an endowed scholarship fund for students attending NYIT’s School of Architecture and Design. The bathroom fixtures company Duravit has appointed Frank Richter to succeed Franz Kook as  Management Board Chairman; Kook has retired after 41 years with the company.  Have news on career moves in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to people@archpaper.com!
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Zaha the Lioness

It felt a bit like the Decoration & Design Building at the Architecture and Design Film Festival last night for the U.S. premiere of Lioness Among Lions: The Architect Zaha Hadid, thanks in part to a smattering of East Side stylings in the crowd at the Tribeca Cinemas and the clever addition of Potterton Books to the festival. Waiting for the theater doors to open, we swigged wine provided by event sponsor Resource Furniture and perused shelves filled with a fantastic collection  of both old and new books; Loos and Gio Ponti pressed up against Studio Gang. As we raved about Van Alen's new bookstore, Potterton's book buyer Beth Daugherty admitted she still mourns the loss of Urban Center Books. Once inside the theater, a sexy little short by photographer Dave Burk cast Studio Gang's new Columbia College Media Production Center in Chicago in soft light and perfectly realized cross-fades. And so it was a bit of disappointment to see the feature film's production values were slightly less than the opener. But the problem with Lioness, which was released in Germany last year, isn't entirely the production. The buildings are handsomely handled by director Horst Brandenburg, though they're not choreographed in a manner that makes one truly feel the flow. No, the main problem is in the fawning tenor of a voiceover that sounds like it's intended for the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." The oversimplified narration will make architecture fans understand what historians must feel watching the History Channel. The saving grace, not surprisingly, is when Hadid weighs in. Only then does the film delve slightly into the technology and offer any deep analysis. But here the editing keeps the focus on the fabulous: Here's Zaha fanning herself in Spain with a Spanish fan; here she is in Hong Kong at a Chanel opening wearing Prada, there she is in ripped jeans... you get the picture. Of course, it's understood that the film is for a general audience, but general audiences dig details, too. Throw in a foundry, a glass manufacturer, and a computer program for good measure. Explain how the buildings work in layman's terms. Only then will the audience understand why she's fabulous.
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Competition Winners Imagine Life at the Speed of Rail

Sooner or later, aerodynamic trains will be zipping across the farm fields of the heartland and the Van Alen Institute wondered what cultural, environmental, and economic implications such a novel technology would bring. After revealing ten winners of its Life at the Speed of Rail ideas competition, it appears that high speed rail could one day mean larger-than-life mechanical farm animals roaming around the countryside. At least that's the vision of Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer of Urbana, IL whose project, Animal Farmatures, reimagines farm implements as entertainment for passing riders. Winners were announced today at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and soon, the Van Alen will be taking Life at the Speed of Rail on the road (although unfortunately not yet by train). Stops include St. Louis' Museum of Contemporary Art at 7:00p.m. on June 28, Houston's James Baker III Institute at Rice University at 6:00p.m. on July 7, and Los Angeles' Caltrans District 7 Headquarters at 4:00p.m. on July 12. Animal Farmatures Stewart Hicks and Allison Newmeyer (Design With Company) / Urbana, IL From the project statement:
As a human/machine/animal hybrid, the “iron horse” locomotive captured the imagination of Americans during the middle of the 19th century by subjugating the pastoral landscape to the ingenuity of human invention. In addition to “conquering space and time,” the train was a new viewing mechanism that transformed the environment into a moving picture show through isolation, speed and framing. Today we have come full circle. Threading high-speed rail through the fabric of the American Midwest stands to recover the demand for mixing humans, commerce, technology and the rural landscape in new spectacular combinations. Which poses the question: what are the techno-natural hybrids that will capture the imagination of today’s rail riders?
What Will You Do? Rael San Fratello Architects / Oakland, CA From the project statement:
LA to San Francisco in 160 minutes—GREAT! But ironically, as the size of cities and the speed in which we are able to travel great distances increases, we are increasingly more sedentary. In fact, we are sitting down more than ever before—9.3 hours per day, which is more time than we spend sleeping. And the amount of time we spend sitting today increases the risks of death up to 40 percent. Instead of sitting for 160 minutes, why not create a high-speed rail that allows us to choreograph a set of experiences that make us productive, healthy and social individuals. Exercise, dance, shop, tan, eat, do laundry, play, take art classes and even sleep (ok, sometimes we need a break too!).
parallelogrammic HOU(S)TATION SEUNGTEAK + MIJUNG / Brooklyn, NY From the project statement:
HOU(S)TATION confronts the negative impact of 20th-century suburbia issues driven by automobile, such as heavy highway interchanges, traffic, parking spaces and sharply increasing CO2 emission. This project looks for a new housing or town type driven by high-speed rail as an alternative which addresses these issues as well as combines benefits from city life and suburbia. HOU(S)TATION is located in the middle of two major cities within one-hour distance by high-speed rail. Thus residences have opportunities to commute and experience both cities.
The Beacon MANIFESTO Architecture P.C. / New York, NY From the project statement:
Compared to 20th-century infrastructure, the new high-speed rail network will allow people to travel far greater distances in a greatly reduced amount of time. This phenomenon can be described as an expansion of the realm of daily life, or rather, a shrinkage of the perceived scale of the entire Midwest region. In effect, through the new rail networks urban nodes will be pulled closer together, and industries, commerce, and most importantly, people will be connected more intimately than ever before. The Beacon, a proposal for a renovation of Chicago’s Union Station will be at the center of this new age, and our design proposal symbolically represents this new paradigm.
Permeable Response Annie Kurtin and Laura Stedman / Tucson, AZ and San Francisco, CA From the project statement:
The Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta located east of the San Francisco Bay in Northern California, has long been an important resource providing agricultural and recreational uses, wildlife habitat, infrastructure pathways, and water supply services throughout the state. This delta region is currently in crisis, with weakening levee structures and a deteriorating ecosystem due to rapidly increasing pollution levels. Our proposal for a high-speed rail network in the region will rethink how architecture can become better integrated with large-scale infrastructure to improve the environment and people’s lives.
Check out the other five projects as well at Life at the Speed of Rail's web site: ChiLand Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative / Cleveland, OH The Effect of High-Speed Rail on Six Lives Drew Bly, Brandon Souba, and Steven Vance / Chicago, IL The Expanded Civic Center Rebecca Sibley / Houston, TX Switch Space Karen Lewis / Columbus, OH VPL Rustam Mehta and Thom Moran / New Haven, CT and Ann Arbor, MI