Urban planning is delicately intertwined with government. As much as architects and designers try to avoid the overwrought laws and codes and prescriptive government policies that guide the construction and development of the urban landscape, they are very much a shaping force in cities such as New York. Ask any architect working in a such as NYC and they will likely describe the bureaucratic hassles of working with outdated zoning regulations and restrictive building codes. In this NPR segment Leonard Lopate interviews New York Magazine’s architecture critic Justin Davidson to discusses the impact of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s planning policies on New York City’s urban development.
Join us after the break for the link.
The New York Time’s Michael Kimmelman described it as an “ennobling experience, a gift,” a lesson on what architecture, at it’s best, can be.
Indeed, entering the Main Concourse of Grand Central Terminal is a pleasure that rivals few others. For me, it took me by surprise: walking, as New Yorkers do, in a determined beeline through an undistinguished tunnel, I was suddenly struck by light. I stopped, as New Yorkers never do, to observe a vaulted, starry ceiling, the changing light, and multitudes of people whipping by.
Grand Central is one of New York’s most beloved icons, one of the few which tourists and natives share alike. Which is not to say, of course, that it isn’t in need of a face-lift.
The Terminal’s upcoming centennial, which corresponds with proposed re-zoning laws that would completely change the face of Midtown, makes now the perfect moment to consider how Grand Central’s grandeur can be preserved and its neighborhood reinvigorated. Last week, the Metropolitan Art Society (MAS) invited three firms to share their visions – and while SOM’s gravity-defying “halo” may have stolen the show, only one truly captured the spirit of Grand Central, and explored the full potential of what it could – and should – one day be.
Lattice Lab is a two-day workshop put on my modeLab, which takes place November 10-11. The lab will focus on the topic of topological/subdivision modeling with paneling tools and weaverbird. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, they will cover fundamental concepts related to working with mesh geometry, high-order topological smoothing, and grid-based modeling. Drawing inspiration from the patterns found in 3-dimensional lattice structures, they will create geometrical units capable of responding to a range of dynamic contexts. Additionally, they will explore the limits and opportunities of 3D printing while testing the visual and structural effects of their lattices. For more information, please visit here.
All three architects, asked by MAS to present at their 2012 summit in honor of Grand Central’s approaching centennial, considered not only how to improve and renovate the aging station (suffering from acute overcrowding) but also how to best adjust the surrounding neighborhood for upcoming changes in New York’s zoning laws (which will increase Midtown’s population density).
Much like the other two plans, WXY’s vision expands access points and public space, making the terminal far more pedestrian-friendly. However, the plan differs in that it focuses on harnessing the “untapped potential” of a few key locations along the station’s edge and proposes a tower with “sky parks” (to symbolize New York City’s commitment to green and healthy spaces). As Claire Weisz, Principal at WXY, said of the project, it would “make the Grand Central neighborhood a place people enjoy being in [and] not just running through.”
Check out WXY’s description of their plan for Grand Central Station, after the break…
If you are considering turning your designs and business practices into a more eco-friendly, deeper shade of green, then we strongly encourage you to attend the ‘Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs’ free event as part of the How to Make it series. Hosted by UncommonGoods, a brooklyn-based online retailer of unique gifts and creative designs, the event includes a panel of design professionals sharing their advice on how to source more eco-friendly materials and how to set up a studio or workspace with little environmental impact. Taking place October 29th from 6:30pm-9:00pm, attendees will also have the opportunity to discuss their product ideas and designs with the buyers and panelists. For more information on the event, please visit here.
While Foster + Partners’ plan emphasized the need to alleviate the Terminal’s acute overcrowding (“designed to support 75,000 people a day, Grand Central, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, routinely handles about ten times that much ”), SOM’s contemplates the potential for new zoning laws to increase population density, and thus sees itself as an answer to the future demand for public space.
The plan highlights three solutions: pedestrian corridors to alleviate circulation; additional levels of public space; and, most provocative of all, a circular pedestrian observation deck, which rises/lowers above Grand Central for a 360-degree panorama of the city.
More images and info from SOM, after the break…
Co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union as part of the program put on by the Architectural League, Mike Taylor of Hopkins Architects will be delivering a lecture on his current work at the Cooper Union in New York. Taking place on Tuesday, October 30th, the leader of the design team for the London 2012 Velodrome, and a senior partner at Hopkins Architects is “guided by deeply-rooted architectural, environmental, and social convictions.” Widely lauded for its elegant carefully engineered form, the Velodrome’s sustainable and flexible design has won awards for its architecture and engineering, as well as its civic presence from the RIBA, the Architects Journal, and the BCI, among others. For more information, please visit here.
As an entry for the Land Art Generator Initiative Competition 2012 – Freshkill Park New York, ‘Wind Fountain’ is based on an adaptation of the piezoelectric effect – a well known property of certain materials to produce electrical power when they undergo strain and stress. Designed by Gembong Reksa Kawula, the project is shaped as an artificial tree, with each unit consist of 450 flexible thread 30 meters high made of carbon fiber reinforced resin pole that will sway in the wind. More images and architects’ description after the break.
In their second prize winning design in the international competition, ZA Architects aimed at developing a few new principles of hotel organization. Instead of separating visitors from the environment, the architects intends to embed peoples’ lives in local city life. For this reason, there is no hotel building itself, instead they propose hotel rooms placed in existing buildings (offices, residential) connected with web of hung pathways. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Only weeks after revealing their designs for 425 Park Ave., soon to be New York’s latest “Iconic” Building, Foster + Partners have now taken a stab at one of New York’s oldest iconic buildings: Grand Central Station.
Yesterday, at the MAS 2012 Summit, Norman Foster was one of three architects to present his re-imaginings of the station, which turns 100 this February. Unfortunately, it hasn’t borne its age well. Designed to support 75,000 people a day, Grand Central, one of the world’s busiest transport hubs, routinely handles about ten times that much (and even a million on peak days). With the upcoming LIRR East Side Access and plans to re-zone the area, now is the time to re think this building’s future.
Foster + Partners has developed tremendous expertise in transit programs, having designed some of the world’s largest airports, viaducts, subway stations – even a spaceport (perhaps there’s no better example of their facility for tackling enormous infrastructure challenges than their proposal for the Thames Hub). That expertise shows in their vision for Grand Central, which eases accessibility and mobility by widening concourses, improving entrances, enlarging public spaces, and reconfiguring streets in favor of pedestrian traffic – bringing, in their words, “clarity back to Grand Central Terminal.”
More about this project from Foster + Partners after the break:
L&L Holding just unveiled an exhibit of conceptual designs created by the four finalists in its recently-concluded international architecture competition to design a new 425 Park Avenue tower in Manhattan’s prestigious Plaza District. The exhibit is running as part of the Municipal Art Society’s 2012 MAS Summit for New York City being held at Jazz at Lincoln Center on until today, October 19.
The two-day exhibit includes brief narratives and a host of visuals that were included as part of each finalist’s submissions, which were first presented to L&L Holding in July. The submissions on display are from the following international firms, each led by a Pritzker Prize-winning architect: competition winner Foster + Partners (Lord Norman Foster), Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners (Lord Richard Rogers), OMA (Rem Koolhaas) and Zaha Hadid Architects. More images and information on the finalists’ proposals after the break.
OMA has shared with us their proposal for the 425 Park Avenue competition, organized by New York City developer L&L Holding Co to replace the existing, ageing tower with a new state-of-the-art, LEED-certified skyscraper. The competition was awarded to Foster + Partners, as reported earlier.
The competition also included Atelier Christian de Portzamparc, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, KPF, Maki and Associates, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Richard Meier, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects; and all the projects will be presented today at the MAS NY Summit.
OMA’s project was led by partners Shohei Shigematsu and Rem Koolhaas. Shohei is in charge of the NY office, where he has been researching strategies for towers in NY and other areas, including a skyscraper in Madison Park, a mixed-use project in Jersey and the Bicentennial Tower in Mexico.
More information after the break:
The Municipal Art Society of New York is preparing for their third annual Summit which will feature nearly 100 talks pertaining to architecture and urbanism. Beginning October 18th, the two day event at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall will bring together elected officials, designers and innovators to share their thoughts on how New York can maintain its global-leadership position while remaining a livable environment for all its inhabitants.
More after the break.
Taking place Wednesday, October 24th, at Cooper Union in New York, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien will be delivering their ‘Head/hand’ lecture highlighting their current work. Co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union as part of the program put on by the Architectural League, the body of work presented ranges from large cultural institutions to new skating rinks for Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment at Princeton University, and the recently awarded commission to design the New Embassy Compound in Mexico City. “To see architecture as profound optimism” is the foundational principle behind the work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. The husband-and-wife firm began working together in New York in 1977, establishing their firm nine years later in the same Central Park South studio where they work today. For more information, please visit here.
To celebrate the start of a seven-month land use review process, Cornell has released preliminary renderings of the first academic building planned for Cornell Tech – the new world-class technology and entrepreneurship campus in New York City that was masterplanned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).
The modern campus strives to rethink academic workspace, prioritize environmental performance, and exploit the unique urban condition of Roosevelt Island. In May, Pritzker Prize laureate Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, was appointed as architect of the first landmark building, which will set the stage for the carbon positive campus.
Continue after the break to learn more.
Taking place now until October 25, the Slocum Gallery at Syracuse University School of Architecture is displaying “Investigations,” an exhibition of the work of Syracuse visiting critic Stephan Jaklitsch and Marc Gardner, Principals of the New York-based firm Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects. The exhibit includes the work and design process of the firm through sketches, models, renderings, construction drawings and photographs of six projects. The work addresses specific conditions of site, use, the psychology of experience, sustainability, techniques of construction, craft in detail, and materiality of building. For more information, please visit here.