Urban Fabric: Building New York’s Garment District

URBAN FABRIC: Building New York’s Garment District; Courtesy of the Skyscraper Museum © 2012

New York’s Garment District, consisting of 18 blocks in the west side of midtown, was the city’s most well known industries in the boom of the 1920s through the early 50s.  The influx of immigrants and the geography of made it a natural hub for manufacturing and trading activity.  The work began in small workshops and at home in crowded tenements and eventually grew out of these crammed space into factories and warehouses.  The industry inadvertently transformed Seventh Avenue into rows of skyscraper factories that faithfully abided to ’s zoning regulations.  The 125 loft buildings all shared the pyramidal forms due to step-back laws governing design.

Now, The Skyscraper Museum in New York City is celebrating this neighborhood and its influential development of business, industry and architecture and the mark that it left on the city with an exhibition called URBAN FABRIC.  It is curated by Andrew S Dolkart, the Director of the Program, and will be running through February 17th.

Learn more and watch the curator’s lecture after the break.

In Progress: The New School University Center / SOM

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Quickly rising on the corner of 14th Street and 5th Avenue in , 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.

High Line-Inspired Park proposed in Queens

Rockaway Rail Branch of the LIRR; Photos Courtesy of Friends of the Queensway © 2012

When plans for the High Line were first revealed it made quite an impression on the design community. The converted elevated rail line, long abandoned by New York City, was threatened by demolition until a group of activists fought for its revival and helped transform it into one of the most renowned public spaces in Manhattan. Now Queens, a borough with its own abandoned infrastructure is on its way to redeveloping the land for its own version of the , to be known as the .

In late December, the Trust for Public Land announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has awarded a $467,000 grant to the organization to begin a feasibility study on the 3.5 mile Long Island rail line. Early proposals reveal a new pedestrian and bike path, public green space and a cultural gateway that will celebrate Queens’ diversity in art, sculpture and food, serving the 250,000 residents that live in the neighborhoods along the route, which include Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Forest Park.

Join us after the break for more.

North Brother Island School for Autistic Children / Ian M. Ellis & Frances Peterson

Courtesy of & Frances Peterson

Designed by architecture students, Ian M. Ellis and Frances Peterson, their proposal for the North Brother Island School for Autistic Children in City aims to provide a necessary resource for the Bronx, which is heavily underserved in terms of school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The project is also designed with the intention that it will dissolve the negative stigma of the island, stabilize its naturalized growth as habitat for the birds, and introduce research and education programs to provide a cutting edge learning environment for the public, parents, and children. More images and architects’ description after the break.

BIG Update: Planning Commission approves West 57th

After months of an “arduous” public reviewing process, BIG’s eye-catching West 57th apartment building in has been approved by the City Planning Commission. The atypical design quickly gained international attention with its abruptly sloped, tetrahedral shape that rises from three stories to thirty-eight stories on an awkwardly sized single block site. Cleverly titled W57, the unique project was “born of logic”, as Magazine’s Justin Davidson would describe. It features a massive, football-sized courtyard with stunning Hudson River views and outdoor terraces for all 753 residents, along with a vibrant street life and close proximity to the Hudson River Park.

“Our approval will facilitate development of a significant new building with a distinctive pyramid-like shaped design and thoughtful site plan that integrates the full block site into the evolving residential, institutional, and commercial neighborhood surrounding it,” stated City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden before voting in favor of the project.

Find out what it took to get W57 passed, after the break…

“Ruins of Modernity: The Failure of Revolutionary Architecture in the 20th Century”

Courtesy of The Platypus Affiliated Society

Including well-known speakers such as Peter Eisenman, Reinhold Martin, Joan Ockman, and Bernard Tschumi, the “Ruins of Modernity: The Failure of Revolutionary Architecture in the 20th Century” event will be taking place in City February 7th from 7:00pm-10:00pm. Free and open to the public, the event is part of a larger series of panels and events centered around the theme of the death of art that will take place during the month of February 2013 in NYC. The modernists’ project consisted in giving shape to an inseparable duality, wherein the role of architecture was deduced as simultaneously a reflection of modern society as well as an attempt to transform it. The event highlights and debates the thoughts proposed by architectural theorists such as Victor Hugo, Colin Rowe, and Reyner Banham while looking at how the the last century influences architecture today. For more information, please visit here.

Chelsea Market Upzoning Approved by NYC Council

Plans for along 10th Avenue; Courtesy of Jamestown Properties. Via Architect’s Newspaper

Construction has exploded along the High Line ever since it opened: condos hover over the rehabilitated track and look out onto the Hudson, while the new location of the Whitney Museum is making headway on the southern end of the park as Google moves into its NYC headquarters to a building just a few short blows away.  Now, the historic Chelsea Market may be looking at a facelift following approval from the City Council for increasing density in the building by developers, Jamestown Properties. The proposed vertical extension, which has made a brief appearance on a few architecture blogs, will provide the additional in demand office and retail space in the Chelsea neighborhood.

NYC Developers Race to the Top

© Adam Jackson

It’s a race to the top as developers are reaching higher and higher with impressive glass skyscrapers that house exclusive apartments and panoramic views across , level with some of the city’s tallest buildings.  Gary Barnett of Extell Development Co. is the man behind the 1,005 foot high One57 tower in Midtown Manhattan.  He announced last month that he would be developing the tallest residential building in New York City (without the help of a spire).  Adrian Smith, chosen as the architect for the job, is best known for his work on the Burj Dubai.  The new building, still in its early stages of design planning and financing, will tower over the Empire State Building at a planned 1600 feet, that’s just 176 feet shy of World Trade One, the tallest building in Manhattan.

Foster’s Design for the New York Public Library Unveiled

The ’s (NYPL) main building on Fifth Avenue, is a Beaux-Arts masterpiece designed by architects Carrère & Hastings. Image via Flickr User CC wallyg.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has unveiled the details of their controversial plan to renovate the 20th century, Carrère and Hastings “masterpiece” on 5th Avenue. Designed Foster + Partners, the $300 million dollar proposal is a response to the cultural shift from traditional stacks to online resources, as the library has experienced a 41% decrease in the use of collections over the last 15 years.

Sensitive to concerned critics, the renovation promises to preserve the building’s legacy as it integrates a new, state-of-the-art Circulating Library into its flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street. Foster’s “library within a library” will transform seven floors of stacks, currently occupying the back of the building, into an aesthetically, technologically and environmentally advanced public space that meets the needs of our 21st century society.

“We need to be respectful of the beloved, iconic building and to create a new inspiring space,” Anthony W. Marx, the library’s president, said in an interview with the New York Times. “At a time when people wonder about the future of libraries, we’re going to create the greatest library the world has ever seen.”

Learn all the details and see the renderings after the break…

Films & Architecture: “Batman”

This week we’re going to spotlight one of our greatest contemporary filmmakers, Tim Burton. In the 1989 film Batman, Burton generates a whole gothic environment, full of art deco and art nouveau buildings within . Locations were inspired by urban spaces from City, Los Angeles, West London, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Tokyo, to Hong Kong (even though Gotham City was a well-known nickname for City, before Batman was ever written).

If you didn’t check out our article on Architecture & Batman, do so now – and let us know which Director you think does Gotham best in the comments below…

‘Hong Kong at 15: Redefining the Public Realm’ Exhibition

Courtesy of AIA

The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office are opening the “Hong Kong at 15: Redefining the Public Realm” exhibition this Monday, December 10th at 7:00pm and will be on exhibit until January 23rd. Taking place at the Center for Architecture in , the exhibit features architectural projects built in Hong Kong designed by architects, and highlights the 15 year milestone of Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty and highlights the contribution of architects to the design of Hong Kong. Fueled by a famously free economy, and reputation as a gateway to China, Hong Kong has continued to grow over the past 15 years with the city’s architects and engineers producing highly sophisticated solutions to the challenged faced in the city. For more information about the event, please visit here.

‘Time Light’ Steven Holl Lecture at the Cooper Union

Courtesy of

Hosted by the Architectural League and co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union, Steven Holl will lecture in the Great Hall at The Cooper Union on November 28 at 7:00pm. Holl’s architecture and writing has undergone a shift in emphasis, from his earlier concern with typology to his current interest in phenomenology. This “Time Light” lecture is dedicated to Lebbeus Woods and will show both early and recent works by Architects. Following the lecture, will be joined in conversation by Sanford Kwinter. For more information on the event, please visit here.

Steven Holl: ‘Scale’ Lecture

Museum of Ocean and Surf by Architects

Taking place at Cooper Union in , the Steven Holl: ‘Scale’ lecture focuses on the firm’s current work in exploring new ways of integrating an organizing idea with the programmatic and functional essence of a building, “always using the unique character of a program and a site as the starting point for an architectural idea.” Steven Holl was the recipient of the 2012 AIA Gold Medal. His firm has been honored with many awards, publications, and exhibitions for excellence in design, most recently, their Cité de l’Océan et du Surf Museum (pictured in the slideshow above) won the Emirates Glass Leaf Award, the Annual Design Review, and the American Architecture Award. In 2001, Holl was named America’s Best Architect by Time. The event is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union as part of the program put on by the Architectural League, and takes place Wednesday, November 28th at 7:00pm. For more information, please visit here.

Hudson Yards’ Long Awaited Makeover

Photo: Rendering by Visualhouse

The west side of midtown Manhattan is probably one of the more unexplored areas of New York City by residents and tourists alike. Aside from the Jacob Javits Center, and the different programs off of the Hudson River Parkway that runs parallel to the waterfront, there is very little reason to walk through this industry – and infrastructure – dominated expanse of land full of manufacturers, body shops, parking facilities and vacant lots. The government and various agencies, aware of the lost potential of this area, began hatching plans in 2001 to develop this 48-block, 26-acre section, bound by 43rd Street to the North, 8th Ave to the East, 30th Street to the South and the West Side Highway to the West.

The new Hudson Yards, NYC’s largest development, will be a feat of collaboration between many agencies and designers. The result will be 26 million square feet of new office development, 20,000 units of housing, 2 million square feet of retail, and 3 million square feet of hotel space, mixed use development featuring cultural and parking uses, 12 acres of public open space, a new public school and an extension of a subway line the 7 that currently terminates at Times Square-42nd Street, reintroducing the otherwise infrastructurally isolated portion of the city back into the life of midtown Manhattan.  All this for $800 million with up to $3 billion in public money.

Join us after the break for details and images.

425 Park Avenue / Foster + Partners

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

As we announced in early October, British powerhouse Foster + Partners have been declared as winner of the six-month long, all-star competition to design the next “landmark” high rise on the prime site of 425 Park Avenue in . The tapered, steel-frame office tower is planned to rise 687 feet to claim a spot on the skyline by 2017. Upon competition, the world-class high rise is expected to achieve LEED Gold status and serve as an exemplar for sustainable office design.

Foster’s concept succeeded visions from Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers (view all the proposals here). Construction is expected to begin in 2015, shortly after the completion of Foster’s first U.S. residential high rise, which broke ground this week in New York.

Details of 425 Park Avenue after the break…

Extended Deadlines – Battery Conservancy Americas Design Competition 2012: Draw Up A Chair

Courtesy of The Battery Conservancy

The Battery Conservancy Americas Design Competition 2012: Draw Up A Chair, which we published a couple months ago here, has received an impressive number of registrations to-date and continue to receive wonderful design submissions. Due to the impact of SuperStorm Sandy on many of their registered and would-be participants, they recently announced that they have extended the competition submission deadline to Monday, November 19. For more information, please visit here.

‘NAWT Balloons’ Land Art Generator Initiative Competition Entry / Norman Kelley

Courtesy of

Designed for the Land Art Generator Initiative competition, the ‘NAWT Balloons’ concept, which was recently shortlisted in the competition, aims to couple the image of an oversized helium-filled teardrop with a nuanced application of wind energy technology. While the balloon’s image and subsequent geometry are the primitives to the proposal, the deployment on the Fresh Kills site ignites an interest in the oversized and the attenuated. Designed by Norman Kelley, through its multiplication and reconfiguration, this design may be able to produce new, yet familiar, collections of iconicity. More images and architects’ description after the break.

‘Solar Loop’ Competition Entry / Paolo Venturella & MenoMenoPiu Architects

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Designed by Paolo Venturella & MenoMenoPiu Architects, their ‘Solar Loop’ finalist entry for the Land Art Generator Initiative competition aims to expose more surface as possible to the southern solar rays. Sited in FreshKills Park in , the shape comes directly from the solar diagrams, and deals easily with the sun following it with the best angle almost like a frozen artificial sunflower.bThe aesthetic of the sculpture is the result of this dialogue that becomes synthesis between the solar power and the park. More images and architects’ description after the break.