Karen Cilento

Summer Streets in NYC

via NYC.gov

This past Saturday, we joined in the fifth annual Summer Streets opening weekend.   About 7 miles of city streets were free of cars, allowing scores of bicyclists, runners and pedestrians to occupy the entirety of the pavement.    And, at designated rest stops, participants enjoyed a variety of activities, such as zip lining above Foley Square, rock climbing at Spring Street while hearing how to fix a bike flat from REI volunteers, and Salsa lessons at 51st Street.  Although the streets were full of life with bikes whizzing passed and the pavement buzzing with the sound of runners’ feet,  we were struck by how quiet the streets were without the sounds of cars.   In some spots, it was actually quite eerie to notice which cross street was just passed; for, even the busiest of intersections, typically filled with the all too familiar beeps and screeches, can transform into an entirely different environment with the elimination of cars.   It makes one realize how much of our urban environment has come to be defined and dominated by the vehicle, and makes one wonder the possibilities of what major cities could be like without cars.

More about after the break.

V on Shenton / UNStudio

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Architect: UNStudio, Ben van Berkel Principal-in-Charge
Location: No. 5 Shenton Way, UIC Building,
Client: UIC Investments
Building surface: 85.507 m2
Project Team:  Astrid Piber and Nuno Almeida with Ariane Stracke, Cristina Bolis; Derrick Diporedjo, Florian Licht, Gustav Fagerström, Hal Wuertz, Jaap Baselmans, Jaap-Willem Kleijwegt, Rob Henderson, Patrick Kohl, Juliane Maier, René Rijkers, Martin Zangerl, Zhongyuan Dai, Jeong Eun Choi, Wing Tang, Stefano Rocchetti, Sander Versluis, Jay Williams, Jae Young Lee
Local Architect: Architects 61 Pte Ltd
Building volume: Residential tower 237m height; office tower 123m height
Building site: 6778 m2
Status: Finalize design development in 2011

Our friends at UNStudio have shared the firm’s latest urban regenerative project, a new UIC building which will help rejuvenate the area of Shenton Way in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District.   Entitled ‘V on Shenton’, the part-residential part-office tower maintains a strong 15+ meter wide view corridor as the programmatic elements split and respond to their seperate demands.  ”V on Shenton will have an incredible presence within the whole organization of the city and is in that respect a very public project. But we see it also as a sculptural object, where the continuous line of the chamfer highlights the form and where the different textures are not purely related to program, but also ‘dress’ the building”, explained van Berkel.

More about the project after the break.

London 2012: Thinking Past Day 17 / Part II

Photo by Karl Mondon/L.A. Daily News

In our second segment of Thinking Past Day 17 – our series examining the larger implications of hosting the Olympic Games – we explore social issues must address while creating the necessary infrastructure for the Summer Games.

The forty-five minute proposal London presented to the International Olympic Committee in Sinagpore was filled with amazing flyovers of natural terrain depicting the most challenging obstacles, walk-throughs of state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and planning overviews of accommodations for athletes amidst a city speckled with old and new cultural offerings.  When the final votes were counted and London won the bid, it was time to turn those glossy virtual images into reality.

Of course, we are accustomed to the blankness of a site transforming into the awesomeness of a dynamic rendering, but an entire city?  Where is all the available space coming from as London is the most populated municipality in the European Union with 8.17 million residents? And, more importantly, what was on the land before the Olympic transformation?

More after the break.

Video: Yoyogi Olympic Arena / Kenzo Tange

Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi Olympic Arena from Yoyogi GSD on Vimeo.

Special thanks to Emmet Truxes, from Harvard GSD, for sharing this animated video of ’s Yoyogi Olympic Arena with us.  Check out the amazing visualizations set to music by Gray Reinhard (we particularly love the build-up of the magnificently suspended roof around minute 5, which is then further detailed a few minutes later) which was created by a team of six students - Emmet Truxes, Nathan Shobe, Julian Bushman-Copp, Mijung Kim, Jeffrey Laboskey, Misato Odanaka - to understand the  construction of the building’s innovate tensile structure.

More about the project after the break.

Rio 2016 Olympic Park Master Plan / LCLAOFFICE, Una Arquitetos, Grupo SP e Republica Arquitetura

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Architect: LCLAOFFICE, Una Arquitetos, Grupo SP e Republica Arquitetura
Location: 
Size:  1000 000 square meters
Status: Competition Entry

In keeping with the Olympic spirit, today we share a competition master plan entry for Rio by Colombia-based architect Luis Callejas, Una Arquitetos, Grupo SP e República Arquitetos.  Although Callejas has been practicing professional for four short years, he has already made quite an impression on the architecture world.  In that time, Callejas has designed and realized two of the most relevant recent projects in Latin America for public sports infrastructure: The aquatic center for the South American Games of 2010, and the complete renovation of the main soccer stadium in Bogota, Colombia.  For his scheme for Rio’s Olympic Park master plan,    the park functions sectionally as the sporting functions – both the main areas and the support spaces – are organized in a stacked manner rather than pulled apart in plan.  This allows for a fluid and open space for audiences, and creates “No icons but one big vital scenario halfway between a small city and a big park.”

More about the competition entry after the break. 

Parrish Art Museum Sets Opening Date / Herzog + de Meuron

New . Photo by Cully/EEFAS © Herzog & de Meuron

After a long design process, Herzog & De Meuron’s Parrish Art Museum is set to open the 10th of November.  The project marks the first art museum to be built on the East End of Long Island in more than a century, and intends to become a cultural centerpiece as one of the most recognizable architectural landmark in the region.   “We could not be prouder of this amazing accomplishment,” Director Terrie Sultan said. “The new building is a beautiful embodiment of the creative legacy of the East End…The Parrish will take its place as a real center for cultural engagement for the entire East End.”

More about the museum after the break.

London 2012: Thinking Past Day 17

Photograph courtesy AFP

In just a few hours, the world will be watching the opening ceremony of London’s third Summer Olympic Games. For 17 high intensity days, more than 10,000 athletes from over 200 countries will battle for the most prestigious awards in the athletic world.   However, what will remain hidden in the shadows during the excitement and energy of the opening ceremony will be the story behind the Games – the larger implications of hosting the world’s biggest sporting event, and its stresses at the financial, societal, and environmental level.  This story – which lasts long beyond the 17 days – remains unwritten as the after effects of hosting the London Games will not be felt for years to come.

In this three-part series, we will delve into the effects of hosting the Olympic Games.  Our first segment will share background about London’s hope for “legacy” during and after the Games, plus, a look into the financial challenges incurred from hosting such massive festitivies.

Stay tuned for our second and third segments which will address London’s Games with regard to social issues and sustainability.

More after the break.

Pulse Park / CEBRA

Zen Zone ©

Architect: CEBRA
Client: KildebjergRy, Skanderborg Municipality
Location: Ry,
Project Year: 2011-2012
Size: 24.057 ft²

CEBRA’s latest landscape project situated in Kildebjerg Ry near Arhus, Denmark, is a bit out of the ordinary.  Moving beyond providing flora, walkways and simple playground amenities, the Pulse Park will feature three distinct activity zones that will provide a place for fitness, meditation and play to benefit the residential and business areas nearby.  These zones create an activating framework for physical activities and exercise while forming an integrated part of the surrounding landscape.

More about the park after the break. 

AIDS Memorial Receives Approval / studio a+i

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Designing a memorial is a challenge of crafting a moment of pause – a slight change in one’s daily activity to experience a sense of place to respectively reflect and acknowledge.   While memorializing a historical event, such as a war or a cultural achievement, has a definitive beginning and end – a set number of deaths, or a memorable proclamation declared on a set date – the act of memorializing the AIDS epidemic has no such tangible point in history.  ”AIDS is not a war, nor a disease conquered. In our design process, we emphasize the changing and varied ways through which AIDS affects us personally and as a society. It is important to create a space that conveys our sense of solemn respect, remembrance and loss, without resorting to symbolism around a date, image, or names, ” explained Mateo Paiva and Esteban Erlich of the Brooklyn-based firm studio a+i, the winners of an international design competition for an AIDS memorial at St. Vincent’s Hospital Park.

Set within the western tip of a triangular-shaped plot of land created by Seventh Avenue, 12th Street and Greenwich Avenue, the memorial will honor not only the city’s 100,000+ men, women and children who have died from AIDS, but also the efforts of the caregivers and activists who respond to the crisis.   After drastically transforming the design to address community concerns about safety and to fit within the confines of a downsized site,  studio a+i ’s new design has just received approval from Community Board 2 and will proceed to the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission.

More after the AIDS memorial after the break.

Update: ABI June

© ArchRecord

The June has proven that we still have not been able to shake the weak activity of May - the score capped out at 45.9 from 45.8, marking the third month in negative territory.  The market continues to show a drop in demand across all design services, in all regions.  The poor conditions suggest upcoming weakness in spending on nonresidential construction projects, as each sector of construction shows negative growth commercial/industrial 46.9, institutional 46.0, and mixed practice 45.9.   “The downturn in design activity that began in April and accelerated in May has continued into June, likely extending the weak market conditions we’ve seen in nonresidential building activity ,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA.  “While not all firms are experiencing negative conditions, a large share is still coping with a sluggish and erratic marketplace.”

Sorry for such harsh news to start the work week – but if it is any consolation, there’s always next month….and, the begin Friday.

401 W 14th Street / Cook + Fox Architects

© Cook + Fox. Photo by Rob Cleary during Manhattanhenge

Architect: Cook+Fox Architects
Location: 401 West 14th Street
Client: Taconic Investment Partners
Size: 37,030 sqf
Completion Date: 2008

When we received an amazing photo from our friends at Cook + Fox of their 14th Street project during the Manhattanhenge sunset, we just had to share it with you.  A few years ago, Cook + Fox completed the renovation of this industrial mercantile warehouse situated in the Meatpacking District, turning the badly-weathered structure into viable commercial space (currently the space functions as an Apple retail store).    In order to retain the building’s historic Arts and Crafts character, Cook + Fox worked to replaced every element while preserving the integrity of the whole.

More about the project after the break. 

Sugar Hill Breaks Ground / Adjaye Associates

© David Adjaye

Two years ago, we featured David Adjaye’s affordable housing project for Harlem which was designed as a way to integrate urban and cultural offerings alongside 120+ units of affordable housing.  Construction began on the building yesterday, and was celebrated by a ceremony attended by City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.  “Sugar Hill represents a new social engagement, which is at the heart of my practice. It is a symbol of  regeneration for the community of Harlem that will integrate housing with a cultural and educational  element – this is a real reinvention of the traditional model and I am thrilled to see the project break ground,” explained Adjaye.

More about the project after the break.

The Tanks Open / Tate Modern / Herzog + de Meuron

© Iwan Baan

With the success of the Tate Modern (the museum hosts approximately 2 million visitors a year), in 2005, the museum selected Herzog and de Meuron to expand its gallery space by nearly 70%.  Since that time, we have shared the transformation of the design which began as an irregularly stacked pyramid of glass boxes to a geometric faceted volume clad in perforated brick.   Yet, the expansion plans also include a vital component that is buried underground – the Tanks – which opened earlier this week.

More about the Tanks after the break.

Screenplay / Oyler Wu Collaborative

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Utilizing the simplest of materials – a lightweight steel frame and rope - Oyler Wu Collaborative have crafted a dynamic 21-foot long screen wall conceived of as a ‘play’ on one’s visual perception.  The geometry of the composition, strengthened by the care with which the 45,000 linear feet of rope is strung through the frame, results in a thick undulating screen that, although derived from technical complexity, is manifested in an elegant visual.  The wall was displayed at the LA Convention Center during Dwell on Design this summer, and, as illustrated by the video, provoked the curiosity of the viewer to physically and visually engage with the work.

More about the wall, plus great photos, after the break.

Ulm Surgical Center / KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten

© Jean-Luc Valentin

Architect: KSP Jürgen Engel Architekten, Munich
Location: Ulm,
Client: Universitätsklinikum Ulm
Competition: Awarded First Prize
Construction Date: April 2008
Completion Date: June 2012
Project Area: 68,500 m²
Photographer: Jean-Luc Valentin

 has recently finished a new surgical center in Ulm, Germany, which marks the largest hospital construction in the state of Baden Würtemberg.  Opening this month, the building seeks to blend into the surrounding landscape, while catering to the demands and offering the functionality of a state-of-the-art medical facility.

More about the hospital design after the break. 

Update: South Kilburn Regeneration / Alison Brooks Architects + Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands

Kilburn Park Road. Courtesy ABA.

For the redevelopment strategy for South Kilburn, Alison Brooks Architects have collaborated with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands to design better homes, in a more sustainable environment, for the existing and future residents. About a year ago, we shared the firms’ vision for Ely Court, a collection of three varied typologies that line a ‘spine’  of shared surfaces – play areas, gardens and public and private spaces – along Cambridge Avenue.  Now, the duo has been granted approval for a new residential quarter of Mansion blocks which frame private communal gardens in the spirit of neighboring Maida Vale.  ”We are really pleased that we are continuing to help Brent transform  South Kilburn from an isolated Estate into a familiar and desirable residential neighbourhood. Our team’s scheme is as much about re-creating great streets as providing great family homes,” explained Brooks.

More about the project after the break. 

Manhattanhenge 2012

Manhattanhenge 2012. Photo by John Makely of msnbc.com


 It happens just four times a year (two full suns, and two half-suns) but you can bet New Yorkers make the most of it…Manhattanhenge, that is.  Coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the merge of Manhattan and Stone Henge is used described the phenomen when the sun perfectly aligns with the east-west streets of Manhattan. “Manhattanhenge comes about because the Sun’s arc has not yet reached these limits (of the solstice), and is on route to them, as we catch a brief glimpse of the setting Sun along the canyons of our narrow streets,” explained Tyson.

Standing far to the east side, the ArchDaily team stood shoulder to shoulder with dozens of anxious observers in Tudor City, an elevated niche that offers a clear shot down 42nd Street and is graced with the beautiful profiles of the Chrysler Building and the Bank of America Tower.   Although the cloudy skies of Thursday only allowed a few red rays to run across the sides of the buildings, Wednesday’s crystal clear evening showed the red fireball in all its glory sitting between the grided streets.

More about Manhattanhenge after the break. 

What’s in a Number?

Amanda Burden, Department of City Planning Director, and Mayor Bloomberg examine a mock layout. Photo: Benjamin Chasteen for The Epoch Times

What do you think of the number 300?  Mayor Michael Bloomberg found the number to be just the right amount of square feet necessary to attract a younger demographic to live in the city.   In a city-sponsored competition entitled adAPT NYC, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is inviting developers to submit proposals for a new construction project in Kips Bay, Manhattan.  The challenge is to design what Bloomberg calls “micro-units”, between 275-250 sqf of living space, complete with a place a kitchen and a bathroom, but no closet is necessary. “Developing housing that matches how New Yorkers live today is critical to the City’s continued growth, future competitiveness and long-term economic success,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “People from all over the world want to live in City, and we must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs.”

More about the competition after the break.