CTBUH Crowns One World Trade as Tallest Building in US

Center as seen from the Hudson River. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has official ruled Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s One World Trade Center (1WTC) as the tallest building in the . The decision comes after a long debate questioned whether or not the tower’s 408 foot spire should count towards its overall height.

As CTBUH explained: “Due to design changes that resulted in the removal of the architectural cladding around the mast at the top of the structure, it became unclear whether the structure was in fact a ‘spire’ – a vertical element that completes the architectural expression of the building and is intended as permanent, or whether it was an antenna – a piece of functional-technical equipment that was subject to change.”

Green Infrastructure: Not Enough For Storm Protection

WXY Studio’s East River Blueway Plan. Image Courtesy of WXY Studio

Since Hurricane Sandy struck New York, much has been made of “green infrastructure” and its potential to defend against waves and floods. Now though, two articles, from the New York Times and Grist, claim that green infrastructure would actually protects us very little. But, since engineered “gray” solutions, such as storm-walls, also have their limitations (namely just moving the surge elsewhere), it seems the solution is a combination of both “gray” and “green” (moving the surge to where it can safely release its energy). Read the original articles here and here.

First Section of Santiago Calatrava’s PATH Station Opens in NYC

Image via New York Daily News © Mark Bonifacio

A portion of Santiago Calatrava’s $4 billion station has opened. According to NY Daily News, the Western Concourse will now relieve New Yorkers from “cramped sidewalks and temporary bridges” crossing West St. with a 600-foot underground passage lined in “bright white marble” that connects the World Trade Center to the neighboring office complex formerly known as the World Financial Center. Once complete in 2015, the controversial transit hub will double as a massive shopping and retail complex, which aims to “transform” the cultural experience of lower Manhattan. 

Heatherwick Tapped to Design $75 Million Icon for NYC

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Heatherwick Studio. Image © Daniele Mattioli

Related Companies founder Stephen Ross has commissioned London designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick to design what could be, according to the Wall Street Journal, “one of the most expensive works of public art in the world.” Planned to be the centerpiece of Related’s Hudson Yards project in ’s West Side, the estimated $75 million artwork and its surrounding 4-acre public space aims to become “new icon for the city.”

Banksy Critiques One World Trade as “Shyscraper”

One World Trade Center as seen from the Hudson River. Image © Joe Mabel via Wikipedia

Banksy, the pseudonymous United Kingdom-based graffiti artist who is currently making his rounds in New York City, has proclaimed the One World Trade Center as the city’s “biggest eyesore.” In a brief op-ed piece, Banksy describes the SOM-designed tower as a “shy skyscraper,” one that declares New York’s “glory days” are gone.

“You really need to put up a better building in front of it right away,” stated Banksy. “… because you currently have under construction a one thousand foot tall sign that reads, New York – we lost our nerve.”

Criticism of the One World Trade isn’t new, as many leading critics have bashed its design for being “meh” - a watered-down version of Daniel Libeskind’s original proposal

Read ’s full op-ed, after the break.  

Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects Design Ice Rink for NYC

Courtesy of / Dbox

After sitting derelict for years, the Kate Wollman Memorial Rink in Brooklyn’s is poised for something of a rebirth. Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s plans for a sports complex, known as Lakeside, is expected to restore the rink’s role as the park’s chief attraction. Michael Kimmelman recently stopped by the site to explore the project as it nears completion – click here to read his thoughts on what he calls one of the last “parting gifts of the Bloomberg era to the city.”

White Arkitekter Wins FAR ROC Design Competition

View from Pier. Image © White Arkitekter

Stockholm-based White Arkitekter, along with partners ARUP and Gensler, has been announced as the winner of the two-phase “For a Resilient Rockaway” (FAR ROC) design competition in New York. Selected from a shortlist of four and an international pool of 117, White Arkitekter’s “untraditional” proposal aims to transform an 80-acre shoreline site in into a resilient and affordable community through a series of small interventions that can be tested, adjusted, or redesigned overtime during the development process.

100 Urban Trends: A Glossary of Ideas

Courtesy of

The BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile think-tank focused on the study of urban life, has returned to New York City for its homecoming exhibition currently on view at the Guggenheim Museum till January 5, 2014. After two years of research and touring Berlin and Mumbai, the lab aims to present major urban themes in art, architecture, education, science, sustainability and technology.”100 Urban Trends: A Glossary of Ideas” is a compilation of definitions of the most pressing issues in urban centers today, contextualized to reflect how different cities interpret them. Architects, planners and students take note: From street facades to bailouts, gentrification to trash mapping, this resource archives years of discussion into one user-friendly interface. Explore the glossary, here.

Historic New York City House Seeks Permanent Home

Courtesy of Flickr User jenosale

After being relegated to storage facilities for much of its lifetime, proposals to relocate the Aluminaire House seem to be picking up steam. The project, which was the first all-metal house in the , originally stood as a symbol for architectural modernism in a rapidly urbanizing .

Could Libraries Offer More in the Aftermath of Storms?

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath. Image © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

Zadie Smith recently suggested that libraries are “the only thing left on the high street that doesn’t want either your soul or your wallet.” has put forward the argument in the New York Times that local libraries could be far more important than we think in the aftermath of large storms, suggesting that “places that serve us well every day serve us best when disaster strikes” by fostering congregational activity and offering well-needed warmth, power and friendly faces. You can read the full article here.

Kimmelman Drafts To-Do List for Next NYC Mayor

© Richard Perry/The New York Times, via “Building a Better City”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 12-year reign has left an undeniable impression on the built environment, which transformed “whole swaths of the city” but also made it “increasingly unaffordable to many.” According to architectural critic Michael Kimmelman, “The next mayor can keep architecture and planning front and center or risk taking the city backward.” Understanding that “the social welfare of all cities is inextricable from their physical fabric,” Kimmelman has laid out a comprehensive, mayoral “to-do list” to “building a better city.” Read it here on the New York Times.

SHoP Architects’ Super Tall Tower Approved, Sets Precedent for NYC

Courtesy of Architects

UPDATE: SHoP Architects’ ultra-thin, 100-unit apartment tower has now won approval from the  Landmarks Commission. Once complete in 2016, the 1,350-foot structure will offer luxury apartments that peer down at the Empire State Building and rise just above the One World Trade Center’s roofline.

When Vishaan Chakrabarti, principal at ShoP Architects, spoke recently of building high-density cities, he meant it.

Renderings from the architecture firm show Manhattan‘s skyline will soon welcome its newest “super tall” building, a strikingly skinny residential tower rising 411 meters (1,350 feet) on a puny 13 meter (43 feet) wide site just two blocks south of Central Park.

Janette Sadik-Khan: NYC’s Streets Are Not So Mean Anymore

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Janette Sadik-Khan demonstrates how paint, lawn chairs and a bit of imagination can quickly transform city streets, creating immediate public and commercial vitality. Sadik-Khan, listed as one of Business Insider’s “50 Women Who Are Changing the World,” is responsible for re-purposing 26 acres of dense New York City car lanes into pedestrian-friendly space. “More people on foot is better for business,” she says. Despite commanding a two billion dollar budget, her economical approach as commissioner of NYC’s Department of Transportation are testaments to her design sensitivity, relying on rapid-testing and regular iteration to expand the city’s public domain.

2013 MASterworks Awards

Campbell Sports Center / Steven Holl Architects. Image © Iwan Baan

To celebrate excellence in architecture and urban design in City, the Municipal Art Society has announced the winners of this year’s MASterworks Awards. Starting with “Best New Building,” Steven Holl was awarded for his Campbell Sports Center in . See who else was honored, after the break.

Mark Wigley Steps Down as Dean of Columbia University’s GSAPP

with , during the filming of The Glass House: “Conversations in Context”. Image Courtesy of http://vimeo.com/44405886

Mark Wigley announced Monday that he will be stepping down as dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at the end of the academic year in 2014. 

“In every context, he has represented the School and the institution in ways that make us all proud to be part of such a vibrant place,” wrote Columbia President, Lee Bollinger, “And to all of it he has brought his unique humor and made us laugh.”

Koolhaas Revamps UN Building’s Modernist-Era Lounge

Courtesy of Frank Oudeman

Dutch designers, Rem Koolhaas and Hella Jongerius, have revamped the delegates’ lounge in the United Nations building just in time for the 68th General Assembly this week. The “workshop of peace” lounge space, originally designed in 1952 by Wallace K. Harrison in collaboration with renowned modernists Le Corbusier and Oscar Neimeyer, now sports a range of pastel-colored sofas and lounge chairs, opting for minimal intervention in attempts to maximize the social space. Read more about the UN North Delegates lobby on Gizmodo.

Bloomberg to Announce Mega-Redevelopment of NYC’s Lower East Side

The planned “Essex Crossing” complex by SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle. Image Courtesy of SHoP Architects

After decades of contention between residents and politicians, the Bloomberg administration will announce on Wednesday plans of constructing a six-acre complex by SHoP and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects over a ten year period. Nine vacant lots in New York City’s Lower East Side will be erected into a mega-development of retail, office, entertainment, cultural and housing units. The complex will be located in rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, once home to working-class Italians, Jews, Puerto Ricans and Ukrainians, and has struggled to preserve affordable housing against an encroaching luxury market. In response, developers have collaborated with local community groups agreeing that half of the projected 1,000 apartments will be for low-, moderate-, and middle-income families.

However, is this enough to sustain a balance of varying incomes? 

A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America

Vishaan Chakrabarti. Image © Tina Gao, Columbia University GSAPP

Last monday, Columbia University’s Avery Hall was buzzing.

The Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) hosted a highly attended event that welcomed respected academics and professionals from architecture and real estate to what the dean, Mark Wigley, warned might take the form a a celebrity roast. Vishaan Chakrabarti, a partner at SHoP Architects and director of the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia, was on deck to deliver an abridged, more “urban version” of a longer lecture on his new book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America. Proceeding the twenty minute lecture, an “A-list” panel of architects and historians -  that included Kenneth Frampton, Gwendolyn Wright, Bernard Tschumi, Laurie Hawkinson and Reinhold Martin – lined up to discuss Chakrabarti’s work.