Event: Buell Center at Columbia University presents “Comments on Comments”

Courtesy of The Buell Center

How do we talk about architecture? Housing? Cities? Culture? Politics? And, equally important, how don’t we talk about them? Comments on Foreclosed, a forthcoming book and online archive of public reactions to Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, a 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that was co-curated by the Buell Center, has been produced to document just this kind of public discussion and the various platforms that shape it.

On February 18th, The Buell Center will mark the completion of the book and website, www.commentsonforeclosed.com, with a public event, “Comments on Comments”.  A performance of excerpts from the archive will open a multimedia panel discussion and Q&A.  In so doing, certain gaps in the public conversation on American housing and urbanism will be identified, and systemic deficiencies called out.

Ezra Stoller: Beyond Architecture

McMath Solar Telescope, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Kitt Peak, AZ, 1962 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Now on view at the Yossi Milo Gallery through March 2, rarely-seen images by modernist architectural photographer Ezra Stroller (American, 1915-2004) captures a Post-War American with stunning images of industry, technology, transportation and working class Americans. 

Beyond Architecture covers the full range of Stoller’s work, including photographs commissioned by Fortune, Architectural Forum, and House Beautiful magazines in the 1940s and for commercial projects for IBM, Upjohn Pharmaceuticals and CBS in the 1940s and 1950s. Included are photographs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s John Hancock Building, Chicago, and the United Nations Headquarters, designed by an international team of architects led by Wallace K. Harrison and including Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier.

A selection of these images after the break…

100 Norfolk Street / ODA

Courtesy of ODA

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 , 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 New York 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 Borough President Scott Stringer, Community Boards 3 and 6, State Assembly Member Brian Kavanaugh, and New York’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 ”.

More images after the break…

Preservationists Prevail: Paul Rudolph’s Brutalist Landmark Spared from Destruction

by Paul Rudolph © New York Times – Tony Cenicola

Although preservationists continue to mourn the seemingly inevitable demise of Chicago’s Prentice Women’s Hospital, a solid victory for Brutalism has finally been confirmed. Lawmakers in , New York, have passed a proposal to renovate Paul Rudolph’s iconic Orange County Government Center, authorizing $10 million in design funding. The 15-6 vote was secured by the overwhelming evidence that an upgrade would be more cost effect than County Executive Ed Diana’s fallback plan to replace two-thirds of the building and preserving only the court section. In addition, lawmakers felt the pressure of a March 12 deadline that would risk losing up to $2.7 million in federal funds to repair water damage caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011.

More 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 Hurricane Sandy 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 housing, ’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 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 Norman Foster, as the legendary British architect has been receiving intense backlash from New York’s toughest critics for his proposed renovation to the . First, the late Ada Louise Huxtable exclaimed, “You don’t “update” a masterpiece.” Now, the New York Time’s architecture critic Michael Kimmelman 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 . The one day event will use the current economic and housing 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, , 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.

Oiio Reveals Proposal for Guggenheim Expansion

Courtesy of Oiio Architecture Office

With many museums worldwide seeking to extend to accommodate larger collections, Athens-based Oiio Architecture Office has asked: “What if we decided we needed a little more of Guggenheim?”

Their solution is to stretch ’s original building skywards, by continuing its iconic ramp, creating an additional 13 floors. 

More on the design after the break…

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 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 History & Urban Design and Architecture Studies with Czech House NYU. For more information, please visit here.

 

Sushi-teria / form-ula

© Barkow Photo

Architects: form-ula
Location: 601 Lexington Avenue, , NY,
Design Team: Ajmal Aqtash, Richard Sarrach, Tamaki Uchikawa
Fabrication Team: Tai-Li Lee, Brian Chu, Zack Fine, Arianna Lebed, Andrew Reitz, David Kim
Collaborators: Sebastian Misiurek
Contractor: John Gallin & Son
Area: 1,000 sq ft
Year: 2012
Photographs: Barkow Photo

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Winner of adAPT NYC Competition

“My Micro NY” Winter © nycmayorsoffice/Flickr

New York City Mayor 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 housing 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 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

City’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.

The Reyner Banham Symposium: ‘On Error’

Courtesy of University at School of Architecture and Planning

Taking place January 23rd from 2:00pm-7:oopm EST, the Reyner Banham Symposium, ‘On Error’, focuses on how error can be many things. In its most common display, however, it is something we are taught to avoid. It is often characterized by mannerisms that were once trends but are now condemned or qualified by a lack of command over formal logic, material tolerances, construction techniques, and space planning, to name but a few. The accepted belief is that by avoiding error we promote progress. It seems only fitting to surrender to this logic as it is much easier to agree on what constitutes a mistake than it is to admit to a measure of success. The event is organized by the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning and will be held at the Darwin Martin House’s Greatbatch Pavilion. For more information, please visit here.

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.

Whitney Studio / LOT-EK Architecture & Design

© Danny Bright

Architects: LOT-EK Architecture & Design
Location: Madison Avenue, , NY,
Design Team: Ada Tolla, Giuseppe Lignano
Project Architect: Virginie Stolz
Area: 700 sqft
Photographs: Danny Bright