Posts tagged with "West 8":

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Tower Implosion Makes Way For Mountains on Governors Island

[beforeafter] gov_imploded_01 gov_imploded_02 [/beforeafter] It took only a few seconds for Building 877 on Governors Island—dynamited at various key points—to come crashing down in a pile of sand-colored dust (hopefully with no asbestos)! A group of about 150 lucky New Yorkers, including Raymond Gastil (heading back to his home in Seattle), Margaret Sullivan (H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture), Jonathan Marvel (Rogers Marvel Architects and one of the architect's of the new Governors Island), Lance Brown, and The Guy Nordenson family, were invited to witness the "implosion" at 6:37a.m. on Sunday, June 9. Leslie Koch, President of The Trust for Governors Island pushed plunger down and the explosion (which could be felt in the stomach of everyone on the island) brought the building down in a dramatic flash and applause. The scrubbed remnants of the structure will become the base for a tall rise in the center of the West 8 designed park that Marvel claims wil be over 135 feet in height. Renderings of the new hill by West 8 (see below) show a wooded hill through which an open cut creates a dramatic frame for the The Statue of Liberty. gov_imploded_03 gov_island_update_01
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LPC Approves Plans for Governors Island

Pentagram's Welcome Wall at Soissons Landing. (Courtesey West 8) In a unanimous decision, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the first phase of plans by the Trust for Governors Island to restore and revamp the island. The vision includes a paisley-like landscape by West 8 on the terrace in front of McKim, Mead and White designed Liggett Hall. Way-finding by Pentagram and lighting by Susan Tillotson also made the cut. For a detailed breakdown of the designs click here.
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Maltzan, BIG, and West 8 Shortlisted in St. Pete

The city of St. Petersburg, Florida has chosen a blockbuster group made up of Michael Maltzan Architecture, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Design) and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture as the three finalists to redesign its famous pier. Taking a leap of faith, in 2010 the city voted to demolish the current iteration, a 1970’s inverted pyramid structure and 1980’s “festival market” that St. Petersburg’s web site refers to as “the most visible landmark in the history of the city.” But the pier’s market has fallen on hard times and the city was ready to redefine both the pier itself and the city at large. As their proposals show, any one of these three architects will give St. Pete a sculptural design that will become a new landmark, to say the least. The winner will be chosen in late January. West 8's plan, called “The People’s Pier,” would be  highlighted by a large circular pavilion inspired by a sea urchin called “The Eye” sitting on a new shoal in the bay. It would also create new preserved habitats, a public marina and would include a new plan for ecological waterfront development. Maltzan's ambitious plan would create a new tidal reef, a civic green, raised walking paths, an amphitheater, a watermark and other leisure activities. BIG's spiralling scheme would rethink what a pier is. It would be made up of three parts: a park, a walkway and  “the wave,” a large spiral-shaped structure containing several programs. According to BIG the structure would be made up of the pier itself folding in on itself. Closer to shore the plan would contain contain a large swimming beach and a small forest.
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Quick Click> Islands, Dykes, Riverside, Stateside

Double Dutch. First Manhattan, now Governor's Island--the Dutch just can't get enough of New York Harbor. Adriaan Geuze of West 8 talks with author Brian Davis about West 8's proposal for a new public park on "the island next to the island at the center of the world," via Design Observer. No more Jersey Shore? Speaking of the Dutch, oceanography professor Malcolm Brown told WYNC that residents of the New York-New Jersey area should brush up on their dyke-building skills, warning that higher sea levels may come sooner than we think, via Transportation Nation City Center. Planetizen pointed us to a fascinating post on Per Square Mile about Cahokia, a pre-Columbian settlement on the Mississippi, which, until Philadelphia surpassed it ca. 1800, was the largest city in North America. Start Spreading the News. New York: If you can make there...well, it doesn't guarantee you'll make it in Moscow. For whatever it's worth, New York now ranks as the most affordable of the four cities that the world's wealthiest citizens are likely to call home. New York beats out Moscow--yes, Moscow--as well as Hong Kong and London. The Real Deal quotes a study conducted by Savills PLC, an affiliate of Stribling.
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Pictorial: Le Monolithe by MVRDV

MVRDV just completed "Le Monolithe," a mixed-use project in Lyon, France featuring social housing, apartments, disabled residences, offices, and retail organized along a central exterior axis of courtyards. The 350,000 square foot structure overlooks the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers and represents a collaboration of several architects and landscape architects. The MVRDV-designed portion of Le Monolithe includes aluminum sun screens, drawing on Lyon's vernacular architecture. Each shutter carries a letter, and when closed, the building facade reveals the first article of the European Constitution:
The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
Le Monolithe was designed with sustainability in mind. The complex features environmentally sensitive rainwater management practices and uses renewable energy for 80% of the total energy consumed, including the use of photovoltaics. MVRDV designed the project master plan and the front portion of the building, but subsequent layers were each designed by different architects, lending a variegated feel to the overall design commonly achieved through the organic addition of architecture over time. Participating designers include Pierre Gautier, Manuelle Gautrand, ECDM and Erik van Egeraat. Landscape architects West 8 designed the public plaza.
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!melk in Milan

!melk, a brand new landscape architecture and urban design firm, is set to join Arata Isozaki, Daniel Libeskind, and Zaha Hadid, among others, for CityLife, an enormous development planned for the historic Fiera di Milano neighborhood in Milan.  The New York-based !melk, which was founded less than a year ago when Jerry van Eyck left West 8 and teamed up with Evan Rose, won an international competition to design a multi-level piazza, sculpture park, and butterfly garden/pavilion situated within Libeskind’s master plan.  CityLife will include skyscrapers by Isozaki, Libeskind and Hadid, as well as a museum of modern art, commercial center, housing complexes, and a new subway station.  !melk collaborated on its submission with the London-based landscape architect Gustafson Porter as well as One Works and Arup in Milan. Though !melk is a new venture, its principals have plenty of experience.  Jerry van Eyck was a partner at the award-winning Dutch firm West 8 for 17 years.  Most recently he was the project manager for development on Governor’s Island, but left the firm, in part, to pursue more US-based projects.  Ironically, !melk’s first big endeavor puts him back across the pond.  Urban designer Evan Rose is a former partner of San Francisco-based SMWM (recently merged with Perkins + Will) who built up their New York office. The CityLife project, under development by a handful of companies, is one of the largest urban interventions underway in Europe, of which more than 50% will be park space.  Isozaki’s skyscraper, Il Dritto (the Straight One), will be the tallest structure in Italy.  The project will also include waterways that suggest the canals of Lombardy.  Milan Mayor Letizia Moratti, announced !melk’s victory on October 27.   The other finalists were Agence Ter (France), Latitude Nord (France), Proap (Portugal), Latz + Partner (Germany), Rainer Schmidt (Germany), Atelier Girot (Switzerland) and Erika Skabar (Italy).
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Taming Governors Island

Even with last week's heat wave making it feel like July in the city, it will still be seven weeks before that oasis in New York Harbor, Governor's Island, opens for the season on June 5. But there's still plenty of reason to celebrate like summer's here, as the city reached its anticipated deal with the state for control of the 172-acre island yesterday. The city will now be responsible for the development and operation of all but 22 acres of the former Coast Guard base purchased for $1 from the federal government in 2003, whose National Parks Service remains responsible for a small historic district on the northern section of the island. This paved the way for the rather quiet unveiling today of the 87-acre final master plan designed by West 8, Rogers Marvel, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Mathews Nielsen, and Urban Design+, which had been under lock in key since last spring, when the proposal was completed but held up by all the fighting over the island's, uh, governance. The thrust of the problem was largely a disagreement about how to best spend dwindling state funds, which led to upstate ambivalence toward the flashy park project—Governors Island almost didn't even open in 2009 after Governor Paterson initially withheld about a third of the $18 million annual operating budget. At the time, the design team had put in more than a year of work, with an expected unveiling in May that never came. In a wide-ranging piece in The New Yorker last August, Nick Paumgarten revealed that the designs had actually been under lock and key since then on the island, and now they've finally been unveiled online at a new-ish site. New-ish because they're are posts dating from May 8, 2009, confirming the presumed unveiling, along with another from April 8, 2010, suggesting that yesterday's announcement may have been worked out in advance, though we had also heard it was a rather abrupt agreement, hence the press conference scheduled for 6 o'clock on a Sunday night. As for the plan itself, in the past it was expected to cost upwards of $100 million to execute, though it will no doubt be higher in the end, plus another $30 million annually to operate, though that money would come from an outside source, quite possibly NYU dorms or biotech labs, though an agreement with the feds stipulates no residential development or casinos. All this for a 40-acres of park land plus the 90-acre historic island to the north, all encompassed in a 2.2-mile promenade. We'll have more to say about the designs in a day or two, but until then you can kick around the aforementioned website, which is almost as impressive as the place itself.
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Gov’s Island: I’m Not Dead Yet

While it is well known that the recession has hobbled both the city and state's budgets for the coming fiscal year, one project has already been left for dead by certain press outlets. Which seems strange because one of the designers behind the recreational magnet that will one day become Governor's Island works in the same building as us, and they seem as busy as hell. So is it really sink or swim time? That depends. It all started back in January, when the Observer reported that there was no money in the state budget for Governor's Island. Then, on Friday, Curbed, cribbing from a story in Downtown Express, warned that Governor's Island might not even open this year. The Observer's take was a bleak one:
The island serves as an emblem of the cyclical nature of government planning, when grand amenities and far-reaching developments are drawn up during good times and canceled or scaled back in bad.
The confusion in the press, it seems, stems from the usual fiscal shell games Albany so enjoys. As Leslie Koch, president of the Governor's Island Preservation and Education Corporation, explained in a phone interview Friday, there's no money in GIPEC's operating budget for FY09, though the capital budget remains intact. Thus the hive of activity two floors down. Furthermore, the GIPEC budget line the Observer points to as missing was in the proposed, and not the final, budget. Put another way, the future is actually more secure than the present remains in doubt. Meanwhile, Koch is keeping her fingers crossed. "There's still time and we're still hoping there will be funds," she said. Should the state re-instate its 50-percent share of GIPEC's budget come April 1, when the state's is due, the city is expected to follow suit. (Last year's budget was $22 million, up from $16 million the previous year.) Mayor Michael Bloomberg seems happy to oblige, according to the aforementioned Express article, even proposing the state temporarily shunt capital money from Hudson River Park to fund the island's operating costs this year. Another determined, if far more skeptical advocate, is Ken Fisher, chair of the Governors Island Alliance, who said in a recent interview that there has been little movement on the issue at the state level. "My assement is this is one of those situations where everyone thinks it will get worked out because it ought to get worked out," Fisher said. "But it won't." "It's one of those things that could wind up without a chair when the music stops." Undeterred, the alliance has launched a public outreach campaign, Keep the Island Afloat, which implores New Yorkers to write and call Governor David Paterson, telling him to, as Fisher put it, "Put the governor back in Governor's Island." Koch may have an even better weapon at her disposal: the uber-design team--West 8/Rogers Marvel/Diller Scofidio + Renfro/Quennell Rothschild/SMWM--behind the project. One of their number recently told us that they were rushing to complete the project for a big public unveiling before the state budget is due, thereby helping GIPEC's lobbying efforts with some flashy new renderings. "We're busting our butts to get it out there," the designer said. Koch insists that the official unveiling is still scheduled for May, as it has always been, but she did admit that the design team would be previewing ideas to the alliance and other stakeholder groups in March, the first time new plans will be publicly unveiled.  Asked if this was meant to entice lawmakers, Koch replied, "I don't really think of it as P.R. It's really public outreach." Still, Fisher thinks any such efforts could be a big help, especially as his efforts continue to be stonewalled. "The more real the project is, the easier it is to sell," he said. GIPEC has already had one setback this year--it was forced to sell a prized but derelict ferry it bought last year for $500,000, which fetched only $23,600 on eBay when the auction closed Monday, a 95-percent markdown. Should GIPEC go broke this year, it could truly be sour one. Not only will all that fancy design work be for naught, but GIPEC has also spent this off-season preparing the once off-limits southern portion of the island for public access. There just has to be more to Governor's Island than another Water Taxi Beach.