Despite its drastic evolution in the past 50 years, New York’s historic Garment District remains one of the most authentic neighborhoods in the city. From August 5 through October 31, The Skyscraper Museum is presenting a free exhibition on its architecture and urban history in a pop-up space at 1411 Broadway. The installation reprises the exhibition The Skyscraper Museum originated last year in its lower Manhattan gallery. This exhibition is a great opportunity to explore a place that was once known as having the largest concentration of skyscraper factories in the world with more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs. For more information, please visit here.
Beginning with Charles McKim, William Mead, and Stamford White and concluding with Michael Arad, Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II examines the people behind the work at the forefront of 20th and early 21st century architecture. Critic Martin Filler masterfully integrates each person’s unique biography and distinctive character into the architectural discussion. Here is his revealing profile of Michael Arad, the young architect whose design for the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero brought him into the national spotlight. It was originally published on Metropolis Mag’s Point of View Blog.
I wept but about what precisely I cannot say. When I first visited Michael Arad’s newly completed National September 11 Memorial of 2003–2011 at Ground Zero, which was dedicated on the tenth anniversary of the disaster—the ubiquitous maudlin press coverage of which I had done everything possible to ignore—it impressed me at once as a sobering, disturbing, heartbreaking, and overwhelming masterpiece. Arad’s inexorably powerful, enigmatically abstract pair of abyss-like pools, which demarcate the foundations of the lost Twin Towers, came as an immense surprise to those of us who doubted that the chaotic and desultory reconstruction of the World Trade Center site could yield anything of lasting value.
Yet against all odds and despite tremendous opposition from all quarters, the design by the Israeli-American Arad—an obscure thirty-four-year-old architect working for a New York City municipal agency when his starkly Minimalist proposal, Reflecting Absence, was chosen as the winner from among the 5,201 entries to the Ground Zero competition—became the most powerful example of commemorative architecture since Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial of 1981–1982 in Washington, D.C.
Architects: TEN Arquitectos
Location: New York, NY, USA
Design Team: Enrique Norten, Tim Dumbleton, Hale Everets, David Maestres, Mark Dwyer, Dieter Schoellnberger, Florian Oberhueber, Pedro Hernandez, Jeffrey Goldberger, Joyce Chang, Angela DeRiggi, Yu-Ju Lin, Jong Seo Lee, Veronica Kan, Yi-Ling Teng, Manta Weihermann, Enrique A. Gomez, Giovanni Sidari, Shai Turner, Daisuke Nagatomo, Masako Saito, Devin Keyes, Paola Morales, Jose Castañeda, Armando Rodríguez
Area: 120,000 m2
Photographs: Alexander Severin, Evan Joseph
Taking place at the Hartell Galley at Cornell University, ‘Vers un climat: Building (with) the Unstable‘ is an exhibition by AWP Architects focusing on the nocturnal face of architecture – how buildings contribute to the urban nightscape. From August 26 – September 16, the exhibit features both realized and proposed projects by AWP while revealing the practice’s in depth research on the many ways in which the intangible dimensions of architecture – such as atmosphere, climate, and light – materialize in buildings. Part of AWP ’s ongoing challengeis to translate recurrent themes of impermanence, evolution, and the uncontrollable into design. More architects’ description after the break.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced ten shortlisted teams to compete in the multi-stage regional design competition “Rebuild by Design.” Each team will aim to “promote innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region, and to implement selected proposals with both public and private funding.”
The 10 multidisciplinary, shortlisted teams are:
nycobaNOMA (New York Coalition of Black Architects and New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects) is inviting all to come out and join professionals in the design, architecture, development, real estate, and construction fields for an evening of networking at the Urban Office Showroom in New York City. Taking place Tuesday, August 20th, from 6:30-8:30 EST, participants can expect not just networking, but good spirits at the beautiful midtown showroom. Fore more information, please visit here.
Before he leaves office at the end of this year, Mayor Bloomberg has high hopes that his Post-Sandy plans will get off the ground. Most of his ideas have been met with consensus, however, one has stirred quite a bit of controversy: adding acres of land to Lower Manhattan in order to create apartment/office towers-cum-levees.
Critics have launched a variety of arguments against the “Seaport City”: (1) practical feasibility – beyond the “tough regulatory hurdles,” the unpredictable nature of rising sea levels makes it difficult to predict how high these levee towers will actually need to be for them to safely withstand future storm surges; (2) economic feasibility – the plan would cost a whopping $20 billion dollars ($5 billion of which has yet too be accounted for); and (3) local character – local businesses are unlikely to care for their waterfront property suddenly becoming inland property, a transformation that would alter the character of the neighborhood entirely.
Bloomberg, on the other hand, maintains that Seaport City, a kind of Battery Park City for Lower Manhattan, will not only provide storm protection, but (unlike many other proposals) actually generate income, thus offsetting the project’s considerable price tag: “this approach would provide the protective value of a traditional levee while also providing new land on which commercial and residential buildings could be constructed, both to accommodate the City’s growth and to help finance the construction of the multi-purpose levee.” To really understand the feasibility of the project, however, the city of New York has just released a request for proposals from architects, planners and developers. More info, after the break…
Taking place at The Center for Architecture in New York, ‘Practical Utopias’ presents a body of recent work by American and other international firms in five cities across East Asia. Conceived as extensions or embellishments of existing capitals of finance and culture, these new cities within cities serve as focal points for future visions and global ambitions. Over the past twenty years the pace and scale of urbanization in Asia has been unprecedented in both the emerging and maturing economies of the region. Curated by Jonathan Solomon, this exhibition provides a framework for education and cultural exchange between New York and the global cities of Asia. The exhibition runs October 1 – January 18. For more information, please visit here.
Van Alen Institute announced just last week the finalists for Ground/Work: A Design Competition for Van Alen Institute’s New Street-Level Space. Continuing the Institute’s more than century-long legacy of supporting architectural innovation through design competitions, research and public programs, Ground/Work called on emerging architects to take on the task of designing an engaging and accessible venue for the Institute as it reimagines both its physical space and intellectual agenda at its New York City headquarters.
The selected finalists are Collective-LOK (Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo); EFGH (Hayley Eber, Frank Gesualdi, Spencer Lapp, Pat Ruggiero, and Ani Ivanova); and Of Possible Architectures (Vincent Appel, Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Jaime Magaliff, Paul Miller, Heather Murtagh, Franklin Romero Jr., and Emily Ruopp, in collaboration with Jay Atherton). More images and information after the break.
Marina Abramovic, one of the most seminal performance artists of our time, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the transformation of an abandoned New York theater into an interdisciplinary performance and education center: Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI).
The institute, designed by Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas of OMA, will be dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work. Visitors will spend a minimum of six hours partaking in the Abramovic Method, a method that helps participants “develop skills for observing long durational performances through a series of exercises and environments designed to increase awareness of their physical and mental experience in the moment.” Needless to say, MAI will be unlike any other institute in existence.
A virtual tour of OMA’s design and more information after the break…
A recent study by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) concluded that by preserving 27.7% of buildings in Manhattan, “the city is landmarking away its economic future.” REBNY is challenging the Landmarks Preservation Commission, arguing it has too much power when it comes to planning decisions, and that by making business so difficult for developers it is stifling the growth of the city.
Yet not three days before releasing this study, president of REBNY Steve Spinola said in an interview with WNYC that “if you ask my members, they will tell you [the twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg's tenure] has been a great period of time for them”. The conclusion of WNYC is that the past decade has actually been a period of increased growth for developers, rather than a period of stagnation.
It would be easy to echo the opinion of Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, who believes the actions of REBNY come down to greed, even comparing its members to Gordon Gekko, the anti-hero of the film Wall Street. But is greed really what’s behind this attack on the Landmarks Preservation Commission? Find out after the break.
From the architect. MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab has exhibited the Fluid Crystallization project as part of the 2013 Architectural League Prize Exhibition at the Parson’s Gallery in New York. The Fluid Crystallization installation – a collaboration between MIT Self-Assembly Lab director Skylar Tibbits and The Molecular Graphics Lab director Arthur Olson - investigates hierarchical and non-deterministic self-assembly with large numbers of parts in a fluid medium.
As part of the 2013 AIA Global Dialogues, (un-covered) Connections, ‘Leaning Out: Women in Global Practice‘ will discuss what it means to be a woman in the construction industry practicing globally in our time. Taking place this Thursday, July 25th, from 6-8pm EST at the Center for Architecture in New York, key speakers include the most significant women in their field – over 3 generations, which will be moderated by Cathleen McGuigan – Editor-in-chief at Architectural Record. Organized by AIA NY Global Dialogues and AIA NY Women in Architecture, the main question of the event is,’What are the challenges and the opportunities that women who choose this path face and how do their successes and shortcomings affect the next generation?’ For more information, please visit here.
Next City, in collaboration with AIA New York, will be presenting a series of three short films this coming Monday, July 22, about the role of informal settlements, economies and networks in rapidly urbanizing cities. As part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Informal City Dialogues, these films take viewers to Accra and Bangkok where locals are finding solutions to poverty and slum eviction. There will also be a discussion with the filmmakers at the event. The video above is one of three films that will be shown at the event, which takes place from 6-8pm EST. For more information, please visit here.
+ POOL, the project (initiated by a duo of young architects) to float a public swimming pool in New York’s Hudson River, has reached its latest kickstarter goal - making it the largest civic project to ever be crowdfunded online. As Architizer’s Karen Wong reports, it’s a remarkable gamechanger for architects (a profession where success often comes well into one’s golden years) as well as public space in general: “It’s a resounding demonstration of the public’s belief in young architects to rethink public space and manifest the untapped capital of waterways to benefit the common good.” Read the full article here.
Taking place at the Center for Architecture July 11-October 26, the ‘Colombia: Transformed/Architecture=Politics‘ exhibition traces significant new projects that exemplify innovative architectural forms and spaces while serving as conduits for social inclusion. With measurable results, Colombia’s largest cities—most visibly Medellin—have demonstrated how visionary approaches to urban planning and architecture can improve circumstances for the lower classes, enhance the quality of life for all, and attract business and tourism. A brief review of significant recent projects reveals an overarching commitment to design as well as a sensitivity to the role of context and the immediate needs of a population. More information on the exhibition after the break.