There are 207 branch libraries in the city of New York, each providing a number of services to city residents. From the simple lending of books to adult technical literacy classes, these institutions are as vital as they were before the advent of the internet, and their attendance numbers prove it. Between the years of 2002 and 2011, circulation in the city’s library systems increased by 59%. Library program attendance saw an increase of 40%. In spite of this, library funding was cut by 8% within this same timeframe, which has made it difficult to keep many of the system’s buildings in good repair. To spark interest and support from city leaders, The Architectural League, in collaboration with the Center for an Urban Future, instigated the design study Re-Envisioning New York's Branch Libraries.
Sponsored by the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the study is the effort of five design teams chosen by the League. These teams - including MASS Design Group and SITU STUDIO - were charged with proposing exciting new library designs that follow the League’s themes of “integrating libraries into the city’s housing and community development goals, reconfiguring libraries to meet community needs, and developing new ideas for expanding the impact of branch libraries.” The teams presented their work at a January 4th symposium. See each of the proposals, as well as video footage of that symposium, after the break.
In a film for the BBC Magazine, Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava talks through his designs for the new St. Nicholas Church - the only non-secular building on the 9/11 Memorial site. The building, which broke ground last year, has been described by Calatrava as a "tiny jewel" for lower Manhattan, comprising of a white Vermont marble shrine sat beneath a translucent central cupola that is illuminated from within. The new church, of Greek Orthodox denomination, replaces a church of the same name which was destroyed during the attacks of 9/11. It is sited close to its original location on 130 Liberty Street, overlooking the National September 11 Memorial park and museum. With the building set to open in early 2016, Calatrava discusses the key conceptual ideas and references behind its unique, controversial design.
On the occasion of Ideas City 2015, the biennial Festival created to explore the future city and to effect change, Storefront for Art and Architecture, along with the New Museum and the New York City Department of Transportation, is launching a competition for the design and construction of an outdoor structure—a work of "Street Architecture" that facilitates new forms of collective gathering and engagement with the city.
For many architects, the chance to make an impression on the landscape of New York City is a sign of distinction, an indication that they have "made the big time." But it's not just architects who have this desire: for decades, the city's big industrial players have also striven to leave their mark. However in this article, originally posted on New York YIMBY as "How New York City is Robbing Itself of the Tech Industry’s Built Legacy," Stephen Smith examines where it's all gone wrong for the city's latest industry players.
Strolling through the streets of Manhattan’s business neighborhoods, you can pick out the strata of the city’s built commercial heritage, deposited over generations by industries long gone. From the Garment District’s heavy pyramidal avenue office towers and side street lofts, dropped by the garment industry in the 1920s, to the modernist towers like Lever House and the Seagram Building, erected on Park and Fifth Avenues during the post-war years by the country’s giant consumer goods companies, each epoch of industry left the city with a layer of commercial architecture, enduring long after the businesses were acquired and the booms turned to bust.
But 50 or 100 years into the future, when our grandchildren and great-grandchildren stroll through the neighborhoods of Midtown South that are today thick with technology and creative firms, they are not likely to find much left over from the likes of Facebook or Google. There will be no equivalent of Grand Central or Penn Station, Terminal City or the Hotel Pennsylvania, left over from the early 20th century railroad tycoons, or SoHo’s cast iron buildings, developed by speculators seeking to feed the growing textile and dry-goods trades of the late 19th century. Perhaps unique among New York’s large industries, the tech and creative tenants that have become the darlings of the current market cycle are leaving very little behind for future generations to admire.
Robert A.M. Stern‘s 520 Park Avenue has already been called “the next 15 Central Park West,” and like its Stern predecessor, 520 is an ultra-luxury development with a stately façade wrapped in stone. Set to be completed in 2016, it will rise 51 stories high, but contain just 31 units, one of which is the $130 million penthouse, the city’s most expensive apartment. And though most of the attention has been on “the greatest apartment on the Upper East Side,” the fanfare has now shifted to the first batch of interior renderings for the building.
520 Park’s full website is now live, and not surprisingly, the residences have classic layouts, impressive Central Park views, and a host of high-end amenities.
Come February 9, New York City 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.
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 New York. 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 have revealed a mixed use proposal to pedestrianize New York 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.
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.
http://www.archdaily.com/577280/2014-a-great-year-for-landscape-architectureCharles A Birnbaum
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.
http://www.archdaily.com/577034/why-new-york-shouldn-t-be-a-city-for-the-one-percentJoshua K Leon
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 New York 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.
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, New York'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.
Billionaire Barry Diller, chairman of IAC/InterActiveCorp and former head of Paramount Pictures and Fox, has commissioned Thomas Heatherwick to design a $170 million “futuristic park” on Manhattan’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.
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 New York 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 Postmodernism has come at a high cost, citing the recladding of Takashimaya Building on Fifth Avenue as a "wake-up call" for the Commission.
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."
Affordable housing 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.