How Cutting Edge Technology Helped Recreate the Stella Tower’s Concrete Crown

Screenshot from video by JDS Development Group

In some projects, preservation isn’t just about retaining what’s there, but also about putting back an element that has been forgotten to history (not always, though). This was the case at the Stella Tower in Manhattan, where as part of the building’s recently completed condo conversion, JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group, along with architects CetraRuddy have reinstated the dramatic Art Deco crown of Ralph Walker’s 1927 design.

Stereotank Designs Heart-Beating Urban Drum for Times Square

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Come February 9, will be celebrating the opening of its seventh annual Valentine’s Day installation in Times Square. As part of Times Square Alliance’s heart design competition, Brooklyn- based and Venezuelan-born firm Stereotank will be constructing a heart-beating urban drum in hopes that it will bring together New Yorkers through music. 

Studio Gang Tapped to Extend American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects have been selected to design a new Center for Science, Education and Innovation for the American Museum of Natural History in . Named after its largest donor, the $325 million Gilder Center will include 218,000-square-feet of existing and new space. It is slated to open on Columbus Avenue at 79th Street on the west side of the Museum campus, in conjunction with its 150th anniversary in 2019–2020.

SHoP Architects Reveal Restoration Plan for New York’s Seaport District

© SHoP Architects

SHoP Architects have revealed a proposal to pedestrianize City’s historic Seaport District. Extending the Manhattan grid out into the waterfront, the scheme seeks to harmonize pedestrian infrastructure and increase access to the shoreline, while proposing a 500-foot luxury residential tower by developer Howard Hughes Corporation that would jut out into the harbor. More about the proposal, after the break.

2014: A Great Year for Landscape Architecture

East 70th Street Garden at The Frick Collection designed by Russell Page. Image © 2014 Navid Baraty, courtesy

By all accounts 2014 has been a great year for landscape architecture, and not just because of the completion of the final phase of the High Line by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and James Corner Field Operations. Previously published by the Huffington Post as “2014′s Notable Developments in Landscape Architecture,” this roundup of the year by the President of The Cultural Landscape Foundation Charles A Birnbaum finds plenty of promising developments, marred only slightly by some more backward-looking descisions.

This year there was a cultural shift that saw landscape architecture and its practitioners achieve an unprecedented level of visibility and influence.

This year the single most notable development came courtesy of the New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman who wrote: “Great public places and works of landscape architecture deserve to be treated like great buildings.”

Landscape architecture and architecture on equal footing. Let that sink in.

Why New York Shouldn’t be a City for the One Percent

View above Central Park looking south towards “Billionaire’s Row” towers, with Midtown towers in background and various Financial District and Downtown Brooklyn Towers in far background. Image Courtesy of CityRealty

In recent years, it’s been difficult to miss the spate of supertall, super-thin towers on the rise in . Everyone knows the individual projects: 432 Park Avenue, One57, the Nordstrom Tower, the MoMA Tower. But, when a real estate company released renders of the New York skyline in 2018, it forced New Yorkers to consider for the first time the combined effect of all this new real estate. In this opinion article, originally published by as “On New York’s Skyscraper Boom and the Failure of Trickle-Down Urbanism,” Joshua K Leon argues that the case for a city of the one percent doesn’t stand up under scrutiny.

What would a city owned by the one-percent look like?

New renderings for CityRealty get us part way there, illustrating how Manhattan may appear in 2018. The defining feature will be a bumper crop of especially tall, slender skyscrapers piercing the skyline like postmodern boxes, odd stalagmites, and upside-down syringes. What they share in common is sheer unadulterated scale and a core clientele of uncompromising plutocrats.

10 Points of a Bicycling Architecture

© Steven Fleming and Charlotte Morton

A revolution is occurring in street design. New York, arguably the world’s bellwether city, has let everyday citizens cycle for transport. They have done that by designating one lane on most Avenues to bicyclists only, with barriers to protect them from traffic.

Now hundreds of cities are rejigging to be bicycle-friendly, while in there is a sense that more change is afoot. Many New Yorkers would prefer if their city were more like Copenhagen where 40% of all trips are by bike. But then Copenhagen wants more as well. Where does this stop?

If you consider that we are talking about a mode of transport that whips our hearts into shape, funnels many more people down streets than can be funneled in cars, has no pollution, and costs governments and individuals an absolute pittance, you wont ask where it stops, but how close to 100% the bike modal share can possibly go and what we must do to achieve that.

Kimmelman Reviews the One WTC: An Emblem of New York’s “Upside-Down Priorities”

One WTC. Image © James Ewing OTTO

Nearly a month since the official (and somewhat mundane) opening of ’s One World Trade Center, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman has published a scathing review of the SOM-designed tower, claiming it to be a “flawed” emblem of the city’s “upside-down priorities.”

“Replacing the twin towers with another giant office building was somehow supposed to show New York’s indomitable spirit: the defiant city transfigured from the ashes. To the contrary, 1 World Trade implies (wrongly) a metropolis bereft of fresh ideas. It looks as if it could be anywhere, which New York isn’t.” You can read Kimmelman’s complete review, here.

Thomas Heatherwick Opens Up About His Design For Pier 55

© Pier55, Inc. and

Last week, Thomas Heatherwick unveiled his fairytale-like designs for what will hopefully be New York‘s latest and most ambitious park, Pier 55 (with apologies to the High Line, ’s last ”next big thing” in the public park arena). Envisaged as an undulating artificial landscape on a cloud of mushroom-like supports, Pier 55 has the internet buzzing. In this interview with FastCo Design, Heatherwick discusses the inspirations behind his latest project, explaining how everything including New York’s street grid, the ruins of Pier 54 and yes, even the city’s other recent global green space phenomenon, have manifested themselves in his latest madcap creation. Read the full article here for more.

Check Out These Images of New York’s Skyline in 2018

View looking south above Central Park showing “Billionaires Row” towers visible in foregorund, midtown towers in background, and various Financial District and Downtown Brooklyn Towers in far background. Image © CityRealty

If New Yorkers thought that construction during Michael Bloomberg’s tenure as Mayor was frantic, then what’s coming next might be quite a shock: courtesy of CityRealty, these images show the New York skyline in 2018, when many of the city’s current projects will be complete. Produced from building models by TJ Quan and Ondel Hylton as a marketing ploy for Jean Nouvel‘s 53 West 53rd street which recently (finally) began construction, the images include all of Nouvel’s illustrious future neighbors: the “Billionaire’s Row” including 111 West 57th Street, 220 Central Park South, 225 West 57th Street (Nordstrom Tower) and One57; new Midtown developments such as 432 Park Avenue, 520 Park Avenue425 Park Avenue, One Vanderbilt, 610 Lexington, 15 Penn Plaza, and the Hudson Yards towers; and even the latest financial district towers, 1WTC, 30 Park Place, 125 Greenwich, and 225 Cherry Street.

Heatherwick to Construct $170 Million “Pier 55″ Park Off Manhattan’s Hudson River Shoreline

Pier 55 from the esplanade looking west. Image © Pier55, Inc. and Heatherwick Studio

Billionaire Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, has commissioned to design a $170 million “futuristic park” on ’s lower west side. Replacing the deteriorated Pier 54, the new “Pier55” will be a lush undulating landscape, raised atop 300 mushroom-shaped concrete columns placed 186 feet off of the Hudson River shoreline, that will host outdoor performances, act as a marine sanctuary for striped bass and guard the city against storms.

Heatherwick will be collaborating with landscape architect Mathews Nielson. Read on to learn more about the project.

Are Postmodern Buildings Worth Saving?

New York City is home to a plethora of Postmodernist designs — from the impressive Sony Tower to the diminuative Central Park Ballplayers’ House — but most remain unprotected by traditional heritage registries. The City Landmarks Preservation Commission is at the threshold of its 50th anniversary but has yet to recognize the architectural successes of 1970 up to the most recent eligible year for landmarking, 1984. The commission has been unnecessarily slow to recognize Postmodernist structures in New York City, say Paul Makovsky and Michael Gotkin writing for Metropolis Magazine, who argue that the absence of historical recognition for has come at a high cost, citing the recladding of Takashimaya Building on Fifth Avenue as a “wake-up call” for the Commission. 

The Other “Green Way”: Why Can’t New York Build More Quality Affordable Housing?

© Flickr CC User Jules Antonio

This article originally appeared on uncube magazine as An Affordable Housing Complex in the Bronx Revisited.

Two years after the completion of Grimshaw and Dattner’s acclaimed Via Verde (“Green Way”), no successors have even been proposed for this supposed model for the design and construction of new affordable housing. In this article, David Bench returns to the site, finding that the sustainable project’s lack of impact is caused by a completely different type of ”green.”

is the quest of every New Yorker. The routes to finding it are mysterious and widely misunderstood, as they are made up of a myriad of buildings, programmes, and rules that have failed to keep pace with the production of luxury housing and gentrification of middle class neighbourhoods in the city. This apartment anxiety has led to such amusing and fateful reactions as the creation of the Rent is Too Damn High political party – whose name speaks for itself – and an economic narrative that propelled Bill de Blasio from a long-shot mayoral candidacy to an overwhelming majority on election day in 2013. Soon after taking office, de Blasio unveiled the most ambitious affordable housing program in generations, which aims to build or preserve 200,000 units in the next decade.

Video: Daniel Libeskind on Masterplanning Ground Zero

“Its an adventure, because it’s a highly political, highly emotional, highly complicated process, to get something built on the site which is about memory,” explains Daniel Libeskind. “It’s a day that changed the world… and architecture responds in constructing something that has sense for people, that has spirit.”

In this latest installment by the Louisiana Channel, Daniel Libeskind recounts his involvement and intentions behind the Ground Zero master plan. Rejecting the idea of building mega structures and exploiting the site’s real estate, Libeskind focused his efforts on the people of and using architecture as a means for healing.

Watch the video about to hear Libeskind’s story.

Images of SOM’s Completed One World Trade Center in New York

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The first tenant has moved into the One World Trade Center, making Monday, November 3, the official opening of the (arguably) tallest building in the Western hemisphere 13 years after the tragedy of 9/11. The “extraordinary moment was passed in the most ordinary of ways,” described the New York Times, as employees of Conde Nast entered into the white marble lobby (taken from the same quarry that produced marble for the original twin towers) and headed straight to the elevators to start their work day.

To celebrate its completion, renowned architectural photographers Iwan Baan and James Ewing took it to the sky to capture the One World Trade Center in all its glory. The images, after the break.

Drawing and Reinventing Landscape: A Conversation with Diana Balmori and Barry Bergdoll

Courtesy of Strand

On Wednesday, November 5, Diana Balmori will visit the Strand to chat about Drawing and Reinventing Landscape with the MoMA’s architecture curator, . Diana’s book examines digital, analog and hybrid methods of representing landscape and places the contemporary landscape architecture within its fascinating historical context. This exclusive Strand chat will investigate crucial aspects of the design process. Join as these two experts discuss this important design topic at a moment of increasing global environmental change. More information here.

Santiago Calatrava Breaks Ground on Church at 9/11 Memorial Site

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Construction has begun on Santiago Calatrava’s Saint Nicholas National Shrine on the World Trade Center site in New York. A “tiny jewel” for lower Manhattan, as referred by Calatrava, the white Vermont marble shrine will be based around a translucent central Cupola that illuminates from within. 

More images and an updated construction image of Calatrava’s neighboring transportation hub, after the break.

Woods Bagot’s Alternative Penn Station Solution Would Keep Madison Square Garden

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Invited by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and the Regional Plan Association (RPA), Woods Bagot has created an alternative design for the future of New York‘s  Penn Station which would allow Madison Square Garden to remain in its current location above the station’s entrance. The design, produced as part of MAS and RPA’s report into the future of the station, the design was unveiled yesterday at Penn 2023: Where will the Garden Go?, the first session of the Municipal Arts Society’s 2014 Summit for New York City, which discussed the possible options for the site at the end of ’s current 10-year permit.

Though the report by MAS and RPA favors the idea of moving Madison Square Garden – identifying Farley Post Office’s Western Annex and the Morgan Postal Facility and Annex as potential new sites – it also says that “there needs to be a Plan B… In the event a deal between the state, city, railroads and Madison Square Garden does not get done in the next eight years, there needs to be a plan for improving Penn Station and the surrounding district with the Garden still in place.” This is where ’s designs come in.

Read on after the break for more on Woods Bagot’s proposal