100 Urban Trends: A Glossary of Ideas

Courtesy of BMW Guggenheim Lab

The BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile think-tank focused on the study of urban life, has returned to 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.” Michael Kimmelman 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”

New York 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 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 SHoP Architects

UPDATE: SHoP Architects’ ultra-thin, 100-unit apartment tower has now won approval from the New York City Landmarks Commission. Once complete in 2016, the 1,350-foot structure will offer luxury apartments that peer down at the 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 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 ©

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 Manhattan. See who else was honored, after the break.

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

Mark Wigley with Kenneth Frampton, 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 ’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 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.

Watch TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real.

Live Stream

Calling all urban innovators, organizers, stewards and builders: Today, September 20th, from 9am to 5pm EST, curators Chris Anderson, John Cary and Courtney Martin will kick off TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real. The day-long event, which will be live-streamed for free, will share stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe, while featuring an unexpected mix of over 20 speakers, including walkability expert Jeff Speck, world renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan, and several 2012 City 2.0 Award winners. View the event program for more details.

Fumihiko Maki Unveils New United Nations Tower

Courtesy of DNAinfoNY

Almost sixty years after Wallace K. Harrison was invited to design the United Nations Secretariat Building in New York City, plans have been unveiled for another UN skyscraper designed by Fumihiko Maki which would “consolidate currently scattered operations into a single structure that would rise on the western portion of the Robert Moses Playground, on First Avenue between East 41st and 42nd streets.”

Kickstarter Campaign to Activate Vacant Storefronts in New York City

‘Play’. Image Courtesy of Architecture Commons

In an attempt to activate a vacant storefront in ’s , the miLES Storefront Transformer – a 6ft cube designed to “program any storefront” – is a versatile, movable set of furnishing and amenities designed by Architecture Commons. Seven individual pop-up interventions, curated by a collection of creative minds, would inhabit empty shops between November 4th and December 22nd 2013 if their Kickstarter campaign is successful.

BIG Designs Pier 6 Viewing Platform for Brooklyn’s Waterfront

Courtesy of

Following the news that Studio V Architecture has been commissioned to convert the 19th century Empire Stores, next to Brooklyn Bridge, into 380,000 square-feet of office, restaurant and commercial space, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled designs for “a flowering meadow with seasonal grasses, a sprawling field and a triangular wooden viewing platform” close by.

Time-Lapse: One World Trade Center

On the twelfth anniversary of September 11th, we would like to share with you this incredible capturing the progress of the Center between October 2004 and September 2013. The 1,776 foot tall skyscraper, which is expected to be the tallest in Western Hemisphere, topped out earlier this year and is slated for completion in 2014.

The Penn Station Proposals: Vanity Projects?

Courtesy of SHoP Architects

In this article in the New York Observer, Stephen Jacob Smith discusses the of Penn Station, now that Madison Square Garden’s permit has been extended by just 10 years. Smith thinks that the grand redesigns of the station itself are pure vanity – considering the poor organization of the current station and the competing interests of the stakeholders involved – and proposes that there are better improvements to be had in unseen infrastructure improvements rather than show-stopping architecture. Read the full article here.

Brooklyn to Transform Canal Into “Sponge Park”

© dlandstudio

One of the ’ most polluted bodies of water is about to receive a much needed make-over: In early 2014, construction will begin on a pollution-preventing greenscape that will run alongside Brooklyn’s . The proposal, dubbed Sponge Park, was envisioned more than five years ago by Susannah Drake of dlandstudio and has just now “soaked up” enough funds to move forward.