NYC’s Union Square in 1828

‘Painting the Town’ via Business Insider

Can you imagine the intersection of Broadway and the Bowery in lower as sparsely populated “Uptown” used as a burial ground for indigent people? Well, according to the the book Painting the Town by The Museum of the City of New York (via Ephemeral New York), this scene painted from memory by Albertis Del Orient Browere in 1885 depicts what Union Square used to look like back in 1828 – just 20 years before this area started to transform into the bustling, concrete jungle we know today. 

Compare it to an updated photo of Union Square after the break. 

‘White Noise’ YAP MoMA PS1 Proposal / French 2Design

Courtesy of

White Noise (or The Buzz) reveals the latent potential of the community. It is the sound of the talent and value around us. The installation harnesses this latent value with an interactive sound environment (a collaboration with ARUP Acoustics) embedded in a playful series of figural abstractions, clad with white synthetic turf. The foregrounded backdrop of the architecture highlights the project’s main event, sharing and exchange among the people in the space, and manipulates readings of scale.

100 Norfolk Street / ODA

Courtesy of

Designed by ODA, 100 Norfolk Street expresses the unlimited potential and ambition hidden in the Block as it stands significantly taller than its neighbors. Located within the Lower east side Manhattan, the design creates a rather unusual condition, a mid-block – freestanding building overlooking the area, offering strong light exposure for the interior residential spaces and direct views of Downtown, Midtown and the Williamsburg Bridge. More images and architects’ description after the break.

East River Blueway Plan / WXY Studio: New York City’s Plan for Flood Barrier Along East River

East River Blueway Plan / WXY Studio

The City of has long awaited renovations to the East River Greenway. Squeezed between the FDR Drive to the west and the river to East, there are a few scattered public parks connected by a path that has been weathered and torn apart over the years. The proposed “Blueway” is a coordinated collaboration – between Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 3 and 6, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanaugh, and ’s WXY architecture and urban design - that takes suggestions from the general public to develop a scheme that works within the framework of the existing Greenway and provides specific sites waterfront access, development of wetlands and greater connectivity to the city and its waterways.

The stretch along the Greenway, which is the focus of WXY’s scheme, runs from Midtown East at 38th street to the Brooklyn Bridge. Running along the FDR, this area expands towards the river and finds its way under the highway’s overpass. Unlike the Hudson River Parkway along the West Side Highway, the East River Greenway has meager waterfront access and few piers to facilitate its development.  A study, executed by several city departments in 2011, determined ways to improve amenities along the Greenway and proposed incorporating elements such as ambient lighting and street furniture.  Now the focus has shifted to the river itself to determine ways in which to increase its usability and accessibility   After revealed the vulnerability of the hard edge of the East River, these same design considerations are now being used to create a resistant and effective buffer against future storm surges.

See what’s happening at the East River Blueway Plan after the break.

Situ Studio’s ‘Heartwalk’ Opens in Times Square

© Ka-Man Tse, Times Square Alliance

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Situ Studio has unveiled the fifth edition of Times Square’s annual Heartwalk – a heart-shaped “room within the city” made of salvaged Sandy debris. Inspired by the “collective experience of Hurricane Sandy and the love that binds people together during trying times,” Heartwalk begins as two weathered ribbons of wooden planks that gradually lift to form an illuminated heart enclosure in the middle of Duffy Square.

People are already falling in love, as you can see Instagram’s #heartwalktsq is filling up with images of elated New Yorkers standing within the “heart of City”.

More images after the break…

Governor Cuomo’s Solution for Ravaged Homes in NYC’s Coastal Region

© Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

After months of debate, the United States Congress has passed a bill that will allocate $51 billion to Hurricane Sandy relief helping the thousands who lost their homes and businesses to the devastating storm last October.   Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that $400 million of the aid will be used to fund ’s buyout program, an initiative to help address the damaged homes and coastline.  The program is two-fold; in part it will help reimburse the property damage caused by the storm, but the initiative has a larger goal, which is to address the nature of coastal flooding and create a barrier that would mitigate the damage created to the coast by storm surges in the future.  Since the storm, there have been many suggestions as to how to prepare for the type of damage brought on by of 2012 and Hurricane Irene of 2011.  These suggestions range from flood gates to barrier reefs. Cuomo’s buyout program, as reported by the Architect’s Newspaper Blog, hopes to encourage residents along vulnerable flood zones to sell their land to the city for the development of a natural coast that would absorb the impact of strong winds and storm surges.

More 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 , 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.

Foster Responds to Kimmelman’s “Offensive” Diatribe Regarding the New York Public Library

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

When applying “major surgery” to a beloved, 20th century “masterpiece”, you’re going to face some harsh criticism. Such is the case for , as the legendary British architect has been receiving intense backlash from New York’s toughest critics for his proposed renovation to the New York Public Library. First, the late Ada Louise Huxtable exclaimed, “You don’t “update” a masterpiece.” Now, the New York Time’s architecture critic claims the design is “not worthy” of Foster and believes the rising budget to be suspect.

More on Kimmelman’s critique and Foster’s response after the break…

‘The City That Never Was’ Symposium

© Ricardo Espinosa

Organized by Christopher Marcinkoski and Javier Arpa, in cooperation with the Architectural League of New York, ‘The City That Never Was’ symposium will be taking place Friday, February 22, from 9:00am-5:30pm EST at the Scholastic Building in New York. The one day event will use the current economic and crisis in Spain as a lens to reconsider how planners, designers, politicians, and financiers conceive of and realize large-scale contemporary urbanization and settlement. It will be organized through four primary themes — infrastructure, waste, landscape, and instant urbanism – in order to explore new possibilities for how future patterns of urbanization can be conceived, financed, planned, deployed, and inhabited. For more details, including the complete itinerary and speaker information, please visit here.

Martin Barry: Collaborative Ideas for More Livable Cities Lecture

Courtesy of NYU

Martin Barry, founder and director of reSITE in Prague and associate at W Architecture and Landscape Architecture in , will give an evening lecture at 6:30pm EST on February 7th. Taking place at the NYU Silver Center, his lecture will focus on how organization is advocating for more transparent, contemporary and sustainable urban planning in Czech cities. Martin will discuss the outcomes of reSITE 2012 and describe their plans for reSITE Festival and Conference to take place in June 2013. The event is presented by NYU Department of Art & Urban Design and Architecture Studies with Czech House NYU. For more information, please visit here.

 

adAPT NYC Competition Announces Micro Apartment Winner and Finalists

Winner / Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, and nARCHITECTS; Images via CURBED

In an effort to address housing concerns throughout the city, City held the adAPT NYC Competition in search for a micro-unit apartment building that would be developed into a new housing model for the “small household population”.  The winner and five finalists were announced earlier this week, revealing a sharp focus on consolidating various living areas to save space and resolving to give multi-functionality where ever possible.  There is also an emphasis on community in each of the proposals, making up for the small units with more public amenities within the building.  Join us after the break to take a closer look at the projects.

What Cities Can Do with Vacant Lots

Glenwood Green Acres; © Tony Fischer Photography

The bursting of the bubble wreaked havoc on cities across the United States causing widespread blight in once-thriving community economies.  Foreclosed, abandoned and condemned homes continue to pockmark neighborhoods and communities, adding to the vacant lots of populous but affected cities like Philadelphia.  The Mayor’s Office of Philadelphia approximates that there are nearly 40,000 vacant lots throughout the city of brotherly love, about 74% of which are privately owned, making them virtually inaccessible to rehabilitation.  But the city has a strong drive to amend these conditions.  With organizations like DesignPhiladelphia’s “Not a Vacant Lot” and the city’s Redevelopment Authority, some of this land is being put to good use. 

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Winner of adAPT NYC Competition

“My Micro NY” Winter © nycmayorsoffice/Flickr

City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced the winner of adAPT NYC - a city-sponsored competition that challenged developer-led teams to design an innovative micro-apartment that responds to 21st century problems. With an all time high of 8.4 million people, and an expected million more by 2030, New York City’s shortfall of affordable one and two person apartments is continuing to grow at a staggering rate. In an effort to solve this imbalance, the winner of adAPT NYC will build an experimental project on a piece of city-owned land in Kips Bay, Manhattan, that has been alleviated from the 1987 density restriction that requires all new apartments to be greater than 400 square feet.

“The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations,” said Bloomberg.

So, who won adAPT NYC? Find out after the break!

Brookfield’s Manhattan West Breaks Ground

; Courtesy of Brookfield Development

’s Midtown West will be experiencing a large makeover over the coming years.  Shortly after Hudson Yards broke ground in late 2012, Brookfield Properties initiated the first phase of its 5.4 million-square-foot master plan for Manhattan West on the corner of 33rd Street and 9th Ave.  Hovering over Penn Station’s Railroad tracks, an engineering feat will support two 60-story towers that will encompass residential and commercial functions, as well as public and community space.

CODA wins P.S.1 with Skateboard Scrap ‘Party Wall’

Courtesy of

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has selected CODA’s (Caroline O’Donnell, Ithaca, NY) large-scale, self-supporting Party Wall, made from leftover shreds of skateboard material, as winner of the 2013 Young Architects Program (YAP). Drawn from five finalists, the porous skin of CODA’s temporary urban will shade visitors of the Warm Up Summer Music series with its reclaimed woven screen, while providing water in refreshing cooling stations and seating with its detachable wooden skin on the lower half of the linear structure.

“CODA’s proposal was selected because of its clever identification and use of locally available resources – the waste products of skateboard-making – to make an impactful and poetic architectural statement within MoMA PS1′s courtyard,” said Pedro Gadanho, Curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design. “Party Wall arches over the various available spaces, activating them for different purposes, while making evident that even the most unexpected materials can always be reinvented to originate architectural form and its ability to communicate with the public.”

Continue after the break for the complete project description.

Artist Antonio Pio Saracino & Salt ‘N Pepa to Unveil Arches of Hope Installation

Courtesy of Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS

Created and conceived by Patrick Duffy, the creative director of the OUT NYC, and designed by award-winning Italian designer and architect Antonio Pio Saracino, the Arches of Hope will be launched at its opening reception on Thursday, January 17, from 6:30pm-8:30pm at the OUT and be on display until January 24. In collaboration with Lifebeat: Music Fights HIV/AIDS and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, the stunning and inspiring interactive art installation will be unveiled on the eve of President Obama’s second inauguration as part of a multi-faceted campaign aimed at raising awareness of the rise of HIV and AIDS in young people. More images and information after the break.

Situ Studio to Construct Valentine’s Day Installation with Salvaged Sandy Debris

©

Situ Studio has been selected from eight competitors as winner of the fifth annual Times Square Valentine Heart Design, cosponsored by Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, along with Design Trust for Public Space. The young, Brooklyn-based practice won the jury over with their Heartwalk proposal made of New York and New Jersey boardwalk boards that were salvaged from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The will be unveiled on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, and remain on view until March 8, 2013.

Learn more about Situ Studio’s winning proposal after the break.

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 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 Historic Preservation Program, and will be running through February 17th.

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