Last week, Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn announced an $8 million achievement of capital funding for the East River Blueway proposal for redevelopment of the Brooklyn Bridge Beach. The proposal, set by President Stringer and Assemblyman Kavanagh in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design, will redesign and improve the stretch of East River greenway in Lower Manhattan from East 38th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge. At a press conference on the esplanade underneath the bridge itself, Council Speaker Quinn declared that the City Council of New York had matched Borough President Stringer’s $3.5 million allocation, realizing their $7 million monetary goal for the creation of salt marshes, access to the natural beach, an improved esplanade, and reconstruction of piers for fishing and boating in the 11,000 square foot area they call Brooklyn Bridge Beach. The officials also announced that Council Member Dan Gardonik provided an additional $1 million in funding to go toward the construction of a kayak and canoe launch on the East River at Stuyvesant Cove, which stretches from East 18th to East 23rd Streets. "New York has always been a city of water, and this project will re-connect us to one of our greatest resources," Council Speaker Quinn said in a statement. "The waterfront is an asset to New York City—we must embrace it." These plans, however, are only a small part of the extensive, 82-page East River Blueway proposal. As Stephen Miller of Streetsblog points out, the conference presented no specific plan for development besides the previous WXY conceptual renderings, no timeline for construction, and no indication of the cost of the entire project. Several companies are attempting work along the same East River front in hopes that a continuous greenway is achieved. Mayor Bloomberg's "Seaport City," a Manhattan landfill extension on levees planned as protection from storms similar to Hurricane Sandy, is proposed adjacent to Brooklyn Bridge Beach but Borough President Stringer avoided the question when asked to comment.
Posts tagged with "WXY":
WXY architecture + urban design has been adding to Lower Manhattan's Battery Park over the years, designing concession stands, a variety of benches, and a fountain, but their latest addition is adding a twist on the usual urban carousel. AN began watching the ocean-themed SeaGlass carousel back in 2006 when it was announced and the Battery Conservancy will be hosting a topping off ceremony for the structure on April 18. The carousel's frame is made of stainless steel, evoking the spiral of a giant sea shell or the ornate ceiling of a cathedral. WXY principal Claire Weisz said the part of the facade now covered in plywood sheathing will be clad in metal panels while other portions will include "smart glass" that can change from transparent to a dark blue tint. The solid areas serve as projection surfaces on the interior where underwater scenes will add to the enchanted effect of riding atop larger-than-life sea creatures like dolphins, clown fish, and turtles. Watch Weisz and co-principal Mark Yoes describe the carousel and other WXY projects in their Emerging Voices address from March 16, 2011. SeaGlass is the the latest in a line of high design carousels in New York, joining Jean Nouvel's Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
[beforeafter] [/beforeafter] WXY architecture + urban design has a game plan to revive Manhattan's East River waterfront, softening its hard edges with wetlands, beaches, and new pedestrian and cyclist amenities to create a model city based on resilient sustainability and community-driven recreation. AN spoke with WXY principal Claire Weisz about her firm's East River Blueway plan to find out a new waterfront can help New York stand up to the next major storm. Below, slide between the current views of the East River waterfront and the proposed changes under the Blueway plan. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, wetlands will calm the East River's choppy waves and a newly-accessible beach would allow recreational access to the river. Water-filtering tidal pools allow a cleaner option than swimming directly in the East River itself. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Where pedestrian and cyclist paths are crowded against the FDR highway, WXY proposes building elevated platforms to pull away from the highway and make room for a landscaped waterfront. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Beneath the FDR, a tray system holds freshwater marshes that filter rainwater runoff before it enters the saltwater wetland system in the East River. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] Stuyvesant Cove just above 14th Street includes more tidal pools and wetlands and a more dramatic network of paths elevated over the water. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] WXY is exploring building a park atop a parking garage on the waterfront and separating motorized and human-powered watercraft on separate piers to minimize conflift. [beforeafter] [/beforeafter] A bowtie-shaped pedestrian and cyclist bridge would offer security and flood protection to the power substation that exploded during Hurricane Sandy while greatly improving neighborhood access to the waterfront.
The neighborhood around Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal is about to undergo monumental change as the Bloomberg administration pushes to upzone areas around Park and Madison avenues. Already, Norman Foster recently unveiled his plans for a new 425 Park tower, viewed as a precursor to what's bound to be a taller neighborhood and the NYC Department of Transportation announced intentions to close Vanderbilt Avenue to automobile traffic to help with already-overflowing sidewalks. But in anticipation of Warren and Wetmore's Grand Central celebrating its centennial next year, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) asked three firms—SOM, WXY, and Foster+Partners—to re-envision the Beaux-Arts masterpiece and its surrounding midtown neighborhood with an eye toward the train station's next 100 years. The results of the Grand Central…The Next 100 project were unveiled at this year's MAS Summit for New York City, which wrapped up on Friday and included both down-to-earth and fanciful visions for the future of Manhattan. Each of the three firms used the existing Grand Central as a springboard to create infrastructure that stimulates and interacts with the public realm, connecting the terminal to the street and larger neighborhood. These connections are vital considering the terminal handles up to a million visitors on peak days. Foster & Partners put it succinctly in a statement:
The result is acute overcrowding; connections to the rail and subway lines beneath the concourse are inadequate; and the arrival and departure experience is poor. Added to that, the surrounding streets are choked with traffic and pedestrians are marginalised. The rapid growth of tall buildings in the vicinity has all but consumed the Terminal.All three proposals recognize the importance of the pedestrian realm and push for expanded public space, not only along Vanderbilt Avenue, but also along the terraced Park Avenue weaving around the terminal and along diagonal corridors carved through surrounding buildings. The three teams also proposed different ideas of layering spaces, connecting the street level with a terraced viaduct surrounding the terminal and connections to the activity happening underground. WXY peeled away portions of Vanderbilt Avenue to reveal the subterranean infrastructure that makes Grand Central tick, providing both interesting view corridors and easier access to the train station. The new pedestrian plaza is bookended by an proposed new super-tall tower at its southern terminus and a reimagined MetLife building planted with trees and repurposed as residential, office, and hotel uses with an ambitious cultural anchor at its base. The Park Avenue viaduct has been divided to provide separate automobile and pedestrian / bike access. In addition to turning Vanderbilt Avenue over to pedestrians, Foster reimagined the streets surrounding Grand Central as shared spaces where pedestrians, cyclists, and automobiles share space in a slow-moving environment with faster traffic bypassing the area through an underpass. Through a series of small-scale interventions, Foster sought to provide "breathing room" around the terminal that allows visitors to linger and experience that place rather than simply rush through, accomplished in part through a series of cuts in the pedestrian plaza leading to retail zones. SOM similarly addresses the ground plane with more nuanced pedestrian space, also turning over the entire Park Avenue viaduct to pedestrian use. Their plans turned monumental with several large towers proposed flanking Grand Central with a moveable ring connecting the two floating over the station. SOM also reached out into midtown with a series of POPS, privately owned public spaces, forming diagonal pedestrian streets modeled after the recently opened Holly Whyte Way that connect to surrounding landmarks like the New York Public Library. As a major transportation hub, a historic building, and a commercial space, Grand Central is among the most important anchors in all of Manhattan, and MAS President Vin Cipolla emphasized the need to acknowledge the public experience in the midst of the ongoing rezoning initiatives. Foster added that MAS’s focus on the next century of Grand Central “represents an important and welcome debate that will help shape the future form of the city. The quality of a city’s public realm reflects the level of civic pride and has a direct impact on the quality of everyday life.” The results of The Next 100 will help the MAS is compiling its forthcoming report,The Future of Midtown.
The Municipal Arts Society is celebrating Grand Central's upcoming centenial, by holding a design challenge to reimagine the grand dame for the next 100 years. Foster & Partners, SOM, and WXY have each been invited to revamp public spaces inside and outside the terminal. More DOT pedestrian plazas anyone? The results of will be shown at the society's third annual Summit for New York City on October 18. (Photo: Tom Stoelker/AN)
As part of Quennell Rothschild's master plan for the Rockaways, WXY Architects was tapped to design the beach pavilion and two shade shelters. The pavilion will be open to the public tomorrow, Wednesday, July 18, with a ribbon cutting set for later this month. A wave-like roof flows from a utilitarian box enlivened by glazed brick stripes arranged in muted shades of mint, lime, and hunter green. Circular openings are punched into the roof covering a large outdoor boardwalk made of recycled plastic. The structure servers as a comfort station, park maintenance station, and an outdoor classroom. Kids can kick back on precast concrete seating that conjure up a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The flowing rooftop is cast-in-place concrete painted with tank liner VersaFlex. The end of the structure culminates in a 15-foot cantilevered sweep upward, giving the appearance of a towel flapping in the wind.
WXY appointed Adam Lubinsky as principal. Lubinsky received a Ph.D. in Planning and Urban Design from the University College London, where he also has been teaching. Ben Bischoff is taking over operations at MADE as the sole principal of the company. Bischoff co-founded MADE with Oliver Freundlich and Brian Papa, who are both departing to "pursue individual interests." Ray Huff has been named director of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston. Huff was the founding director of the Charleston program when it was initiated in 1987 and has served as an instructor there for much of the time since. J. Scott Kibourn has been appointed Principal and Chief Operating Officer of Perkins Eastman's international operations. CENTRIA Metal Architectural Systems has named Tom White Design and Development leader. White was previously Corporate Director for Business Development at the architectural firm Burt Hill. HR&A is opening an office in Washington, D.C. and welcoming back Lionel Lynch as the principal leading the effort. SmithGroup has tapped Paul Johnson, FAIA, who has been with the firm since 1986, to lead the firm’s Building Technology Studio in Detroit. Have news on movers and shakers in the architecture & design universe for SHFT+ALT+DEL? Send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org!
New zipper benches designed by WXY are in place at Peter Minuit Plaza. The skateboard-proof benches in front of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal got a proper workout yesterday, despite the cold. The sinuous design begins as two benches facing opposite directions before zipping up and melding into one surface offering the sitter a choice of two views. Morphing benches seem to be making statements in more places than just New York as well. Last week's AN Fabrikator story spotlighted subway benches in Philly that scrunch up to discourage people from lying down. It would seem that firms are taking on bad behavior by pushing the design envelope.
The Architectural League of New York's Emerging Voices program is one of the country's most prestigious venues for showcasing significant design talent. This years list is no exception, with a mix of young and more established firms, working in a variety of scales and formal and social approaches. The lecture series will begin on Wednesday, March 9 with Brooklyn's Interboro Partners and Lateral Office of Toronto. Wednesday, March 16: de leon + primmer architecture workshop of Louisville, Kentucky and WXY architecture + urban design of New York. Wednesday, March 23: Ruy Klein of New York and Taylor and Miller Architecture and Design of Great Barrington, MA. Wednesday, March 30: Ball Nogues Studio of Los Angeles and P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S also of Los Angeles.
Following 9/11 many locations around the city were walled-off with Jersey barriers. In the years since, better urban design has sometimes prevailed. Such is the case with the new bollards and security booths that replaced the Jersey barriers at Metrotech in downtown Brooklyn. Designed by WXY architecture + urban design, the prefabricated security booths--six in total--have a subtle, trapezoidal shape that makes them appear thinner than they are. They also feature laminated glass cladding with a varied pattern and subtle visual depth. The booths, which are now a standard that could be used on other city projects, can be adapted with different skins.
While it was nearly hot enough to fry in egg in Times Square Tuesday, things have since cooled off a bit, and not simply because the temperature dropped back into double digits. Today the city's Department of Transportation began installing in the public plazas Molly Dilworth's 18-month installation, "Cool Water, Hot Island," which will not only prettify the eight newish plazas with an abstracted heat map of the city but also reflect some sunlight, making for a more comfortable experience. Meanwhile, DOT along with the Department of Design and Construction announced that it had selected Nordic knockouts Snøhetta as the lead designer for the long-term transformation of the square. The selection of Snøhetta is not exactly a surprise, as it is one of the eight firms in the city's Design + Construction Excellence program, from which DOT had already said it would make its choice because it streamlines the design process as the firms are prequalified. Yet it was Snøhetta's experience outside the city that helped win it the commission. “It is a classic New York story that reconstruction of the ‘Crossroads of the World’ will be led by a firm with an international reputation for creative vision and excellence,” DDC commissioner David Burney said in a statement. Snøhetta's preference for public art, landscape design, and sustainability may have played a role in its winning the commission. Still, the nature of the project is rather new to the firm, most of its successes having come through buildings such as the Library of Alexandria and Oslo Opera House, though both are incredibly public in their nature, so Snøhetta should prove a good, and certainly interesting fit, as its work at Ground Zero has shown. Joining the Oslo- and New York-based firm on the design team are WXY Architecture and Design, Weidlinger Associates (engineers), Mathews Nielsen (landscape), Billings Jackson Design (industrial), and Bexel (audio-visual), all of whom are Excellence program participants. The design work is just beginning, with no time line or budget yet set for its unveiling, according to a DOT spokesperson, though the plan remains to begin construction in 2012. The firms will be responsible for improving the pedestrian experience in the plazas as well as the infrastructure for the various events held in Times Square throughout the year. "Our goal is to improve the quality and atmosphere of this historic site for pedestrians and bicyclists while also allowing for efficient transportation flow for the betterment of the city,” said Craig Dykers, head of Snohetta's New York office and its co-founder. And in more Molly Dilworth news, online art gallery Art We Love is selling a series of seven prints for 15 bucks a pop.
The downtown glitterati are upset about the planned sanitation and salt storage facility planned at Canal Street and the West Side highway. Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed along with celebrity friends Kirsten Dunst, Michael Stipe, James Gandolfini, Jennifer Connelly, Casey Affleck and others are throwing a "Hudson Rise Picnic" tonight at Saatchi & Saatchi at 375 Hudson Street to protest the two-acre facility, designed by Dattner Architects and WXY. The stars are pushing an alternate plan, called Hudson Rise, designed by Zakrzewski + Hyde Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects. See the above invitation. We'll have a full report of the event tomorrow. It's the greatest meeting of celebrity and architecture since Edward Norton and Diane von Furstenberg saved the Highline!