New York City’s Midtown East will be facing a rezoning in the near future, bringing a dozen office towers into the already crowded neighborhood. To help the Bloomberg Administration address the issues that may arise with this move, the city has hired sustainable real estate development firm, Jonathan Rose Co.; Dutch Urban Planning firm, Gehl Architects; and the global civil engineering firm, Skanska. The different firms will be working to develop the streetscape to be known as the East Midtown Public Realm Vision Plan, which is scheduled for release later this year.
In a neighborhood of high-end retail and luxury residences, this new branch library will fulfill a much needed role as a public space and touchstone for the local community and visiting tourists across from the Museum of Modern Art. Despite the library’s site being predominantly below grade and set at the base of a new 40-story hotel, this design proposal transforms the dark, subterranean space into an inviting, open and light-filled civic landscape in the heart of Manhattan.
In the early years of the New York City subway system, natural light played a dominant role in the illumination of subterranean spaces. The architecture emphasized a connection to the sky, often through skylights planted in the median of city avenues above — lenses in the concrete sidewalks.
However, it proved extremely difficult to keep the skylights clean, and light eventually stopped passing through. Subway authorities moved toward an almost exclusive reliance on electric lighting. While this allowed for greater flexibility in station design, permitting construction at any location and depth, it also created a sense of disorientation and alienation for some passengers.
Read more about this “enlightening” subway station, after the break…
Caution: This video may induce vertigo.
As the final segment of the One World Trade Center was hoisted into position – topping the structure out at a patriotic 1,776 feet – Curbed NY captured its journey via a small Go-Pro camera to reveal its fascinating, and somewhat nauseating, view of Manhattan.
While the US rejoices this monumental feat, a debate amongst architects, engineers and city officials lingers on whether or not the 408-foot spire will count towards the One WTC’s overall height and allow it to officially claim its title as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Although the Port Authority argues that the spire doubled as a radio antenna is considered as non-essential telecom equipment and therefore should not be considered as part of the “architectural top”, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat will make the final call in October.
Location: New York, USA
Inaba Principal In Charge: Jeffrey Inaba
Inaba Project Architect: Ostap Rudakevych
Inaba Project Team: Yoichiro Mizuno, Alan Kwan, Sean Connolly, Steven Tsai, Shuning Zhao, Allyn Hughes, Stephanie Lee, Richard Yoo
Architect Of Record: SLAB Architecture
Area: 38200.0 ft2
Photographs: Greg Irikura
Architects: Steven Holl Architects
Location: Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Design Architects: Steven Holl, Chris McVoy
Partner In Charge: Chris McVoy
Associate In Charge: Olaf Schmidt
Project Team: Marcus Carter, Christiane Deptolla, Peter Englaender, Runar Halldorsson, Jackie Luk, Filipe Taboada, Dimitra Tsachrelia, Ebbie Wisecarver
Area: 4,459 sqm
Photographs: Iwan Baan, Chris McVoy
The Museum of Modern Art has commissioned Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) to design its controversial expansion that will overtake the former American Folk Art Museum in New York. This news comes after an intense backlash from prominent architects, preservationists and critics worldwide pressured MoMA to reconsider its decision to raze the iconic, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien-design museum in order to make way for its new expansion.
In response, DS+R has requested that MoMA gives them the “time and latitude to carefully consider the entirety of the site, including the former American Folk Art Museum building, in devising an architectural solution to the inherent challenges of the project,” as stated by Glenn D. Lowry, MoMA’s director, in a memo sent on Thursday to his trustees and staff. He added, “We readily agreed to consider a range of options, and look forward to seeing their results.”
More on the DS+R’s commission and the fate of the Folk Museum after the break…
City Council has approved Cornell’s two-million-square-foot tech campus planned to break ground in 2014 on New York’s Roosevelt Island. Masterplanned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the ambitious carbon positive campus will offer housing for 2,000 full-time graduate students, world-class education facilities, a hotel, a corporate co-location building, and more than an acre of public open space. Construction will commence with the first, state-of-the-art academic building that will be designed by Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, who will incorporate the latest environmental advances, such as geothermal and solar power, to achieve net-zero energy for the landmark structure.
Taking place at Trespa Design Centre in New York, the ‘Visionaries: The New York Wheel’ event welcomes Richard Marin, President +CEO, New York Wheel LLC; Navid Maqami, Perkins Eastman; Rick Parisi, M. Paul Friedberg + Partners; Penny Knops, Design + Sustainability Management, for one of the first-ever presentations on the proposed New York Wheel project. Located on the north shore of Staten Island (St. George), the 630-foot, or roughly 60-story attraction, promises to become one of the City’s great landmark attractions. The event takes place 6:30-8:00pm EST. For more information, please visit here.
A 1970 graduate of Cooper Union‘s architecture program, world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind will be delivering ‘The Art of Memory’ lecture, a free event, on Tuesday, April 30th, at 6:00pm. The master planner for Ground Zero and the architect of one of Europe’s most visited museums, the Jewish Museum Berlin, will discuss the role that memory played in his work on those projects and others, such as the Danish Jewish Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Imperial War Museum in Manchester, England; the Military History Museum in Dresden, Germany; and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. He will also talk about the acute sense of responsibility he feels, when accepting commissions for projects addressing Jewish history, to create work that honors not only the harsh realities, but also the resilience of the Jewish spirit. For more information, please visit here.
Claire Weisz, AIA, founding principal of WXY and a frequently cited expert source on waterfront design, will be speaking on the topic “Ecological Barriers: Holding Sea Levels at Bay” with a panel at 6:00pm on April 25 in New York City. A leading advocate for post-Hurricane Sandy infrastructure design, Weisz’s firm is known for such waterfront projects as the East River Blueway, a planned reconstruction of miles of Manhattan water’s edge, as well as Transmitter Park, Rockaway Park, Sherman Creek Waterfront, and Battery Park.
Sponsored by Urban Green Council and hosted by The Mohawk Group, panelists will discuss paradigms and solutions for rising global sea levels, including barriers and heavily engineered infrastructure vs. “soft” coastal edges, such as restored wetlands. For more information, please visit here.
An interesting phenomenon is taking place in London: the priciest tiers of its housing market are increasingly being driven by overseas investment, primarily from the Far East. The most interesting – and perhaps most concerning – aspect of these investments is that at least 37% those who buy property in the most expensive neighborhoods of central London do not intend to use that property as a primary residence. This results in upscale neighborhoods and residential properties that are largely abandoned and contribute almost nothing to the local economy of the city. Parts of Manhattan are experiencing similar behavior, leading us to ask the question “what is happening to our cities as they become more and more globalized and how will this trend affect city economies around the world?”
Read more after the break…
Socrates Sculpture Park and The Architectural League of New York recently announced the selection of Toshihiro Oki architect for tree wood as the winner of this year’s “Folly” competition – an extraordinary opportunity for emerging architects and designers to experiment and build large-scale projects for outdoor exhibition. tree wood will be a rigid yet airy geometrical wooden structure placed within a grove of trees – a lush and dense area at Socrates Sculpture Park. Visitors will peer into the structure through the floor beams where a formal, ornate chandelier will be suspended. The installation creates a dialogue between built structures and systems with the irregular and organic. This winning project will open at Socrates Sculpture Park on Sunday, May 12th from 2-6pm. More information after the break.
Taking place April 11-12 in New York, the Facades+ Performance Symposium will focus on cutting through the jargon to consider the heart of high performance building envelopes. Presented by The Architect’s Newspaper and enclos, they recently announced that an additional workshop will take place on Friday, April 12. This workshop will focus on the fundamental concepts and workflows for creating performance-based design models with the parametric design tool, Grasshopper for Rhino3D. Using Grasshopper, participants will be guided through a series of exercises designed to emphasize the relevant applications of parametric design for professional practice. To sign up, and for more information on the two-day event, please visit here. A video can be viewed after the break.
Whole Foods has teamed up with New York’s local organic grower, Gotham Greens, to build the first commercial-scale greenhouse attached to a supermarket. The 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, expected to open in Brooklyn this Fall, will provide locally grown produce year-round to nine Whole Foods stores in New York City area.
Organized by New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (nycobaNOMA), lighting designer Abhay Wadhwa, founder and design principal of AWA Lighting Designers, will speak about Contextualizing Light: The Impact of Culture and Climate on Lighting Design at the 2013 Design Talk. AWA Lighting Designers are known for their architectural lighting designs nationally and internationally and were just featured in the Index Furniture Journal’s January-February 2013 issue. The event will take place at the Mohawk Showroom in New York City on April 18th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. For more information, please visit here.
In an effort to “unlock people’s imaginations” about Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has challenged Santiago Calatrava, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects and SOM to propose four new visions that exemplify the potential of the highly disregarded area.
The challenge comes amidst a heated debate on whether or not the city should restrict Madison Square’s recently expired special permit to 10 years, rather than in perpetuity as the arena’s owners – the Dolan family – has requested. This would allow time for the city to “get it right” and come up with a viable solution for the arena and station that, as NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman states, would not only “improve the safety and quality of life for millions of people but also benefit the economy”. Think Kings Cross in London. With a thoughtful mix of public and private investments, the crime-ridden station was transformed into a thriving cultural destination that benefited all parties.
More after the break…
As part of Season of Cambodia, a multidisciplinary arts festival taking place this spring in New York City, Parsons The New School for Design and Cambodian Living Arts will be presenting a two-day colloquium titled, ‘Living Arts City: Art and Urbanism in Phnom Penh and New York’. Taking place April 6-7, the event will bring together artists, performers, curators, arts managers, scholars and students in a series of facilitated workshops and discussions on how to make the arts central to a sustainable future in Cambodia, in the face of rapid growth and urban development. For more information, including a complete schedule of events, please visit here.