8 Influential Art Deco Skyscrapers by Ralph Thomas Walker

The Barclay-Vesey Telephone Building (now the Verizon Building) in New York. Image © Flickr user Wally Gobetz

No architect played a greater role in shaping the twentieth century skyline than Ralph Thomas Walker, winner of the 1957 AIA Centennial Gold Medal and a man once dubbed “Architect of the Century” by the New York Times. [1] But a late-career ethics scandal involving allegations of stolen contracts by a member of his firm precipitated his retreat from the architecture establishment and his descent into relative obscurity. Only recently has his prolific career been popularly reexamined, spurred by a new monograph and a high-profile exhibit of his work at the eponymous Walker Tower in New York in 2012.

Pratt Institute to Host 2 Free Symposiums in April

Courtesy of

Pratt Institute is presenting two architectural symposiums that are free and open to the public: “An Inventory of What’s Possible“ on April 10 and “The Language of Architecture and Trauma” on April 11, 2015. “An Inventory of What’s Possible” will focuse on the history of America’s affordable housing emerging from the research, architectural prototypes, and financing that occurred in New York, as well as the city’s future potential in response to Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan.

The second event, “The Language of Architecture and Trauma,” will observe modern responses to trauma including disaster relief, today’s “crisis culture,” and the role of writing in addressing trauma. Through the combined lenses of architecture, fine arts, anthropology, and poetics, the program will create a dialogue examining the role of writing in architectural production, and more broadly in affecting the world. For more information on either of these events, visit www.pratt.edu.

Álvaro Siza to Design 122-Meter Condo Tower in New York

© Fernando Guerra via Instagram

Álvaro Siza has been commissioned to design his first ever US project. Planned to rise 122-meters on the corner of West 56th Street and Eleventh Avenue in New York City, the Siza – designed condominium tower will be developed by Sumaida and Khurana – the same firm who just released designs for Tadao Ando’s first New York City tower: 152 Elizabeth Street. Stay tuned for more details.

Spring Studios / AA Studio

© Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA

Architects: AA Studio
Location: 50 Varick Street, , NY 10013, USA
Collaboration: MA Architects
Area: 12000.0 ft2
Year: 2015
Photographs: Alexander Severin/RAZUMMEDIA, DaVinci Stairs

First Look Inside BIG’s W57 Manhattan Pyramid

South Facade. Image © Field Condition

Field Condition has published a photographic tour through BIG’s first New York project, two months after W57 topped out. A “courtscraper,” as the Danish practice affectionately calls it, the 32-story, 709-unit tower is a hybrid of the European courtyard block and City skyscraper. It’s tetrahedral shape, “born from logic,” is designed to provide every resident in the building’s North Tower to have views of the Hudson River, while allowing sunlight deep into the building’s interior space. View the project from within, after the break. 

Video: How Clive Wilkinson Architects’ Activity Based Working is Revolutionizing the Office

The latest innovation in workplace design, Clive Wilkinson Architects’ “Activity Based Working” (ABW) has revolutionized the way people go about their daily activities at the GLG Global Headquarters in New York. Broadening the idea of workable area to a number of specialized environments, ABW fosters a new dynamic in office relations, providing spaces for both individualized activity and collaboration. Experience this through the Spirit of Space-produced video above.

“In this film, we hear various viewpoints about how ABW impacts the work environment at GLG,” explains ’s Adam Goss. “How technology enables the user, the psychology behind seating choice, how this new style of working helps achieve the company goals, and how, above all, the architectural design fosters all of this in an efficient and choreographed manner.”

Images Released of Tadao Ando’s First NYC Building

© Noë & Associates and The Boundary

Tadao Ando has unveiled his first New York building. An “ultra-luxury” project known as 152 Elizabeth Street, the 32,000-square-foot building will replace an existing parking lot with a concrete structure comprised of seven residences – all of which will be “treated as custom homes” and “individually configured.”

“Part concrete, part jewel box, the building makes a strong yet quiet statement with a façade comprised of voluminous glass, galvanized steel and flanked by poured in-place concrete and a living green wall that rises the height of the building,” says the architects. The green wall, measuring 55-feet-high and 99-feet-wide and spanning the entire southern façade, is expected to be one of the largest in New York and will be designed by landscaping firm M. Paul Friedberg and Partners.

Never Built New York: Projects From Gaudí, Gehry and Wright that Didn’t Make it in Manhattan

Sketches by Gaudí on the left, with Joan Matamala’s drawing of the building on the right. Image Courtesy of 6sqft

Ever since its unprecedented skyward growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Manhattan has been an icon of construction all over the world, with recent estimates concluding that the island contains some 47,000 buildings. However, as with all construction, completed projects are just the tip of the architectural iceberg; Manhattan is also the home of many thousands of unloved, incomplete, and downright impossible proposals that never made it in the Apple.

Of course, the challenges of New York are indiscriminate, and even world-renowned architects often have difficulties building in the city. After the break, we take a look at just three of these proposals, by Antoni Gaudí, Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry, courtesy of 6sqft.

Renzo Piano’s Columbia University Science Center to Open Next Year

Northeast corner. Image Courtesy of Field Condition

The first phase of Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) and Renzo Piano Building Workshop‘s (RPBW) expansive Manhattanville Campus plan for Columbia University is making significant progress; completion is nearing on a highly-anticipated portion of the project – RPBW’s LEED platinum Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which is scheduled to open in Fall of 2016 just six miles North of the practice’s soon-to-open Whitney Museum

More on the mixed-use structure after the break.

Tribeca Loft / Andrew Franz Architect

© Albert Vecerka/Esto

Architects: Andrew Franz Architect
Location: , NY, USA
Area: 3000.0 ft2
Year: 2013
Photographs: Albert Vecerka/Esto

Perkins+Will’s “Sleek” Manhattan Tower to Feature Five Open-Air Gardens

© / MIR

Conceptual plans of Perkins+Will’s East 37th Street Residential Tower in New York City have been unveiled. Debuted in Cannes, France, during MIPIM, where the high-rise received a “Future Projects Award,” the 700-foot-tall Manhattan tower boasts a “shimmering, angled curtain wall” organized by five clusters of shared amenities and open-air gardens.

More about the 65-story, 150,000-square-foot condominium tower, after the break. 

Izaskun Chinchilla Turns to Kickstarter to Realize “Organic Growth” Pavilion

Courtesy of

A few months ago, we announced that Izaskun Chinchilla Architects emerged as one of two winners of FIGMENT’s international “City of Dreams” pavilion competition in New York. Their proposal entitled “Organic Growth” is slated for assembly on Governors Island this summer, but they need your help! Due to the split funding of selecting two winners and FIGMENT’s non-profit status, the design team has launched a kickstarter campaign to make their proposal a reality through public contributions.

Learn more about how you can get involved, after the break.

AD Classics: AT&T Building / Philip Johnson and John Burgee

© David Shankbone

It may be the single most important architectural detail of the last fifty years. Emerging bravely from the glassy sea of Madison Avenue in midtown Manhattan, the open pediment atop Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s 1984 AT&T Building (now the Sony Tower) singlehandedly turned the architectural world on its head. This playful deployment of historical quotation explicitly contradicted modernist imperatives and heralded the mainstream arrival of an approach to design defined instead by a search for architectural meaning. The AT&T Building wasn’t the first of its type, but it was certainly the most high-profile, proudly announcing that architecture was experiencing the maturation of a new evolutionary phase: Postmodernism had officially arrived to the world scene.

Brooklyn Row House / Office of Architecture

© Ben Anderson Photo

Architects: Office of Architecture
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Year: 2014
Photographs: Ben Anderson Photo, Courtesy of

Frederic Malle / Steven Holl Architects

© Susan Wides

Architects: Steven Holl Architects
Location: 94 Greenwich Avenue, , NY 10011, USA
Architect In Charge: Steven Holl
Associate In Charge: Olaf Schmidt
Area: 37.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs: Susan Wides, Aislinn Weidele

David Chipperfield Chosen to Expand New York’s Met Museum

The Met. Image Image via Wikipedia

The in New York has tapped British architect David Chipperfield to design its new Southwest Wing for modern and contemporary art. The commission, a result of an international competition, aims to increase gallery space, double the size of the museum’s popular roof garden, and establish accessible on-site storage. “The new design will also enhance gallery configuration and visitor navigation throughout the Southwest Wing, and support a more open dialogue between the Museum and Central Park,” says the architects.

MoMA PS1 YAP 2015 Runner-up: Roof Deck / Erin Besler

Courtyard during warm-up. Image Courtesy of Erin Besler

Despite Andrés Jaque of Office of Political Innovation emerging as the winner of the 2015 MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program (YAP), his competitors put up quite a fight. One of this year’s five shortlisted proposals, Erin Besler’s Roof Deck breathes life into arguably the most overlooked aspect of architecture – the roof – by injecting it with an active public program and making it a vessel for summer celebration. 

Read on after the break for more on Besler’s proposal.

Preservationists Lose Battle to Save Orange County Government Center

© Matthew Carbone for Architect Magazine

Yesterday Orange County legislators decided to “take no action” against blocking the “destructive” rebuild of Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center. The plan, deemed by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman to be “vandalism,” will remove one of the building’s three sections and replace it with a “big, soulless glass box.”

The 44-year-old brutalist landmark has been the center of a preservation debate for years; lawmakers argue that the building is “not easy to love” and expensive to maintain, while preservationists declare the building is an important piece of modern history and blame its state of disrepair on neglect. The council vetoed an offer last summer to allow a architect to purchase the property and transform it into artist studios. More on the decision, and more of Matthew Carbone’s images for Architect Magazine, after the break.