Inside the Cool Offices of Manhattan’s Tech Companies

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With an emphasis on collaborative environments, relaxing atmospheres, and quirky branding, it’s always interesting to take a peek into the offices of tech companies, often found in the sprawling, multi-colored campuses of Silicon Valley. But how does this particular brand of interior design transfer to the more cramped spaces of a Manhattan office block? This video by Internet Week NY takes us behind the scenes at Tumblr, About.com and Fueled Collective to find out.

A Mini Marble Manhattan

Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

You’ve never seen Manhattan quite like this: Metropolis Magazine‘s Komal Sharma takes a look at “Little Manhattan“, a sculpture by Yutaka Sone which renders the famous island in 2.5 tons of solid marble. The power of the artwork lies in the play with scale: the initial impression of a huge marble block contrasts with the tiny, intricately detailed skyline forming a mere skin on top; the subsequent realization that this skin corresponds to the familiar vertical city brings you to a more complete understanding of ’s scale. You can read the full article here.

TED Talk: Manhattan’s Past, Present and Future

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When it comes to global cities, New York City may be one of the most prominent – but it is also relatively young. Just 400 years ago, Manhattan island was mostly covered in forests and marshes. In his talk at TEDx Long Island City, Eric Sanderson discusses the city’s radical changes in land use over the past four centuries, and begins to contemplate what the next four might look like. How can we take a city like New York and make it as efficient as the forest it replaced? In a bid to uncover the ideas that might make this possible, he introduces Manhatta 2409 – an online tool which maps/compares the historic and current land use of Manhattan and allows users to propose new uses. Learn more in the video above.

Columbia University School of Nursing / CO|FXFOWLE

© CO|

FXFOWLE and CO Architects (CO|FXFOWLE) have teamed up to design a seven-story School of Nursing building for the Columbia University Medical Center campus in upper Manhattan. The result of an invited design competition, the design will provide 65% more space than the school’s current location and will be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Heatherwick Tapped to Design $75 Million Icon for NYC

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Heatherwick Studio. Image © Daniele Mattioli

Related Companies founder Stephen Ross has commissioned London designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick to design what could be, according to the Wall Street Journal, “one of the most expensive works of public in the world.” Planned to be the centerpiece of Related’s Hudson Yards project in Manhattan’s West Side, the estimated $75 million artwork and its surrounding 4-acre public space aims to become “new icon for the city.”

Foster + Partners Designs Luxury Residential Tower in Manhattan

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners have just revealed a new design for a 19-story luxury condominium building at 551 West 21st Street, on the western side of Manhattan. The design features a cast concrete frame surrounding windows with a warmly colored metal trim that cover the full 11-foot floor to ceiling height.

AD Classics: The Museum of Modern Art

View of the gallery complex from the Sculpture Garden. Image © Timothy Hursley

The entrance to the Museum of Modern Art is tucked beneath a demure facade of granite and glass in Midtown Manhattan. Its clean, regular planes mark Yoshio Taniguchi’s 2004 addition to the ’s sequence of facades, which he preserved as a record of its form. Taniguchi’s contribution sits beside the 1984 residential tower by Cesar Pelli and Associates, followed by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone’s original 1939 building, then Philip Johnson’s 1964 addition. Taniguchi was hired in 1997 to expand the Museum’s space and synthesize its disparate elements. His elegant, minimal solution presents a contemporary face for the MoMA while adhering to its Modernist roots.

Is NYC “Landmarking Away” Its Future?

Midtown West; Courtesy of Flickr User David Boeke, Licensed via Creative Commons

A recent study by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) concluded that by preserving 27.7% of buildings in Manhattan, “the city is landmarking away its economic future.” REBNY is challenging the Landmarks Preservation Commission, arguing it has too much power when it comes to planning decisions, and that by making business so difficult for developers it is stifling the growth of the city.

Yet not three days before releasing this study, president of REBNY Steve Spinola said in an interview with WNYC that “if you ask my members, they will tell you [the twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg's tenure] has been a great period of time for them”. The conclusion of WNYC is that the past decade has actually been a period of increased growth for developers, rather than a period of stagnation.

It would be easy to echo the opinion of Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, who believes the actions of REBNY come down to greed, even comparing its members to Gordon Gekko, the anti-hero of the film Wall Street. But is greed really what’s behind this attack on the Landmarks Preservation Commission? Find out after the break.

‘Pop-Up Hotel’ Winning Proposal / PINKCLOUD

Courtesy of

Designed by PINKCLOUD, their ‘Pop-Up Hotel’ proposal was recently selected as the winning entry in the 2013 Radical Innovation in Hospitality competition. Their concept focuses on the transformation of empty Class A office spaces into hospitality spaces through a simple setup. They intend to partner with various owner/leasing agencies around Midtown in Manhattan to identify buildings in need of revitalization. A uniquely urban experience, the Pop-Up hotel will feature a variety of amenities and rooms catering to a wide diversity of clientele. More images and architects’ description after the break.

One World Trade Center Will Soon Top Out at 1,776 Feet

After weather conditions refused to cooperate on Monday, the final two sections of Freedom Tower have been lifted to the summit of the One World Trade CenterConstruction of the gargantuan 758-ton, 408-foot spire – a joint Canadian-U.S. venture – began in December 2012, when 18 separate pieces were shipped to Manhattan from Canada and New JerseyThis final addition, including a steel beacon, means that the height of the building will soon rise from 1,368 feet to a more patriotic 1,776 feet once the segments are permanently installed within the next few weeks. However, it’s not yet certain that the building will officially be the tallest in the U.S.

Read more after the break…

Construction Begins on NYC’s First Prefab Steel and Concrete Residential Development

© GLUCK+

Prefabrication has long been heralded as a possible way to infill New York’s vacant sites; however, it has only recently become a solid practical solution rather than an experimental concept. Riding the crest of the wave of new prefabricated housing is GLUCK+ (formerly Peter Gluck & Partners), in collaboration with developers Jeffrey Brown and Kimberly Frank. Together they have begun construction on one of New York’s first prefabricated steel and concrete residential buildings.

Read more about this and New York’s recent wave of prefabricated buildings after the break…

Pier 40 Parks and Housing Development Proposal / WXY Architecture + Urban Design

Courtesy of WXY Architecture + Urban Design

In an effort to saving the crumbling 15-acre Pier 40 on Manhattan’s Lower West Side waterfront, seven downtown youth sports groups have released a concept plan prepared by WXY Architecture + Urban Design to open up 40% more space for more fields and park space on the pier, mainly by creating a new development site for two new, 22-story residential buildings in an area along West Street directly in front of the pier. The development approach would open the existing 800-foot-long pier shed building that encloses the park fields to improve connections and access between the Hudson River, the pier, and the park. The result knits together leisure and recreation amenities with a premier waterfront destination. More images and architects’ description after the break.

BIG’s West 57th “Pyramid” Wins Final Approval

Courtesy of BIG

After an “arduous” public review and a heated debate over affordable housing, New York’s City Council has unanimously awarded final approval to BIG’s tetrahedral-shaped West 57th apartment building in . As reported by Crain’s New York Business, a compromise has been made to include 173 affordable housing units within the 32-story, 750-unit residential building and the neighboring industrial building that will be converted into 100 additional rental apartments. As you may recall, the community board and Councilwoman Gail Brewer initially threatened to “torpedo the project” if the apartments were only made affordable for a 35 year period. However, Durst apparently won them over by contributing one million dollars into an affordable housing fund.

“The good news, which is the mantra of my office and community board No. 4, is there will be, yes, by law, 35 years of income-restricted affordable housing,” stated City Councilwoman Brewer, who represents the area.

In Progress: The New School University Center / SOM

© SOM

Quickly rising on the corner of 14th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan, this new, multipurpose facility will soon become the “heart” of The New School – an avant-garde university in New York City. The University Center, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), combines all aspects of a traditional campus into a single, 16-story building, offering 200,000 square feet of academic space on the first seven floors and 150,000 square feet for a 600-bed dormitory on the levels above.

The brass-and-glass structure, which is the largest construction project in the university’s 91-year history in Greenwich Village, is scheduled for completion in 2014.

In progress images and more information after the break.

Masterplan for Hudson Square Streetscape Improvements / Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

© 2012 Hudson Square Connection Rendering by

Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects shared with us their design for the streetscape masterplan for Hudson Square in Manhattan, . Designed to transform the district’s public realm into a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable neighborhood, the project will serve area workers and, eventually, residents. The masterplan creates a pedestrian-focused district accessible from all directions and adjacent neighborhoods—including SoHo, TriBeCa, and Greenwich Village—that coordinates the needs of the Holland Tunnel, a regional transportation facility, with those of the re-imagined neighborhood. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Form of Public Control / Co-De:CounterDesign

© Jae K. Kim/Co-De

Designed by Jae K. Kim of Co-De:CounterDesign, the Form of Public Control project is aimed at being the 20th century’s notion of a skyscraper in Manhattan. As a symbolic individual in the city, it should be redefined due to the reinterpretation of the grid to accommodate more public amenities and facilitate the cultural contexts of Manhattan. Currently, the project is exhibited for the collateral event of the Venice Architecture Biennale, at Palazzo Bembo, which was invited from the Global Affairs Foundation. More images and architect’s description after the break.

425 Park Ave Competition Finalists Announced

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

L&L Holding just unveiled an exhibit of conceptual designs created by the four finalists in its recently-concluded international architecture competition to design a new 425 Park Avenue tower in Manhattan’s prestigious Plaza District. The exhibit is running as part of the Municipal Art Society’s 2012 MAS Summit for being held at Jazz at Lincoln Center on until today, October 19.

The two-day exhibit includes brief narratives and a host of visuals that were included as part of each finalist’s submissions, which were first presented to L&L Holding in July. The submissions on display are from the following international firms, each led by a Pritzker Prize-winning architect: competition winner Foster + Partners (Lord Norman Foster), Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners (Lord Richard Rogers), OMA (Rem Koolhaas) and Zaha Hadid Architects. More images and information on the finalists’ proposals after the break.

Foster + Partners to design Manhattan’s next ‘Iconic’ Building

425 Park Avenue; Image by dbox branding & creative for Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners is about to break the mold of New York’s static Park Avenue skyline, as they have been announced as winner of the highly publicized competition to replace the aging tower of 425 Park Avenue with a new world-class, sustainable office tower.

Lord Foster said: “I have a personal connection with New York, which has been a source of inspiration since my time at Yale, when the new towers on Park Avenue and its neighborhoods were a magnet for every young architect. Seeing first-hand the works of Mies van der Rohe, Gordon Bunshaft, Eero Saarinen and was tremendously exciting then – I am delighted to have this very special opportunity to design a contemporary tower to stand alongside them. Our aim is to create an exceptional building, both of its time and timeless, as well as being respectful of this context – a tower that is for the City and for the people that will work in it, setting a new standard for office design and providing an enduring landmark that befits its world-famous location.”

Continue after the break to learn more about Foster’s winning proposal and to review the existing condition of 425 Park Ave.