The Shard: A Skyscraper For Our Post-9/11 World?

, by , towers over the London skyline.

When the Twin Towers came down 11 years ago (almost to the day), the world was struck numb. Even New Yorkers, who felt the trauma rumble through their veins, couldn’t get past the initial disbelief: how can this be happening? How can something so big, so invincible, actually be so vulnerable?

Hundreds of comments have been hurled at Renzo Piano’s “Shard,” the massive, reflective skyscraper that hulks over the London skyline – it’s big, no, huge; it’s out of the context of its Victorian neighborhood; its exclusive price tag could only be footed by Qatar royalty (as it is) – but few, beyond writing off the tower as a symbol of arrogance or hubris, have stopped to consider its impetus.

For that, we must look at the Shard in the context of 9/11. Only then can the Shard be understood for what it is: the amplification and perfection of the glass tower Piano began in post-9/11 New York, a utopian vision that stands defiantly in defense of the city itself.

Robins Way / Bates Masi Architects

Courtesy of Bates Masi Architects

Architects: Bates Masi Architects
Location: Amagansett, ,
Photographs: Courtesy of Bates Masi Architects

modeLab Data Lab

Courtesy of

Taking place September 29-30, Data Lab is a two-day workshop, put on my modeLab in , on advanced topics and data structures in Grasshopper for Rhinoceros. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, they will cover the fundamental concepts of data structures as well as strategies for working with lists, sequences, and data trees in the newly released version of Grasshoppper 0.9. They will engage a series of design problems which highlight the limitations of standard parametric design workflows and serve as catalysts for discussions related to best practices, linear versus non-linear design processes, and the re-use of files. Each design problem will require either the specific use and manipulation of data structures or the extension of Grasshopper through add-ons. For more information, please visit here.

 

Todd Saunders Lecture at Cornell University

Fogo Island, Long Studio © Saunders Architecture

, founder of Saunders Architecture, will be delivering a lecture at Cornell University on the topic of ‘Architecture in Northern Landscapes’ on October 15. Bringing together dynamic building and material experimentation with traditional methods of craft, the Bergen, Norway–based practice has worked on cultural and residential projects in Norway, as well as England, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, and Canada. Led by a strong contemporary design sensibility, the studio believes that architecture plays an important role in creating place, using form, materials, and texture to help evoke and shape memory and human interaction. Fore more information on the event, please visit here.

National September 11 Memorial Museum / Davis Brody Bond

WTC Memorial & Museum © Joe Woolhead

To honor the memory of those who tragically lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, -based has been commissioned to design the National September 11 Memorial Museum at the heart of the former World Trade Center site in New York. Serving as a complement to the National September 11 Memorial, the museum will tell the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental artifacts, while commemorating the life of every victim of the 2001 and 1993 terrorists attacks.

Continue after the break to learn more.

National September 11 Memorial / Handel Architects with Peter Walker

North Pool looking South © Joe Woolhead

Today in Lower Manhattan, thousands of visitors are crossing a landscaped plaza of oak trees towards two black granite, sculptural voids, carved deep into the earth, to commemorate the victims of September 11, 2001. Designed by Michael Arad of Handel Architects, the National September 11 Memorial has transformed the last remnants of the former World Trade Center (WTC) towers into a power civic space for contemplation and healing. Here, the painful memory of is preserved and honored, while the necessary bustle of everyday life is able to move forward.

Continue after the break for more images and information.

9/11 Retrospective / A Family Picture of the Freedom Tower

September 2001 © R. Cilento

The Twin Towers had a profound presence in my life.  I would greet them every morning, watching the sunlight dance across their facades, and, in the evening, I would search for patterns in the office lights that never seemed to fade.  As a child, I would stand at the base of the towers and crane my neck in an effort to see the very top where the towers met the sky, trying not to stumble backward onto the stone of the plaza, mesmerized by their dizzying height and stoic duality.

I was in science class in the 6th grade when the towers were hit.

And, so began the quest of what would fill the emotional and physical gap left in my city.  But, my focus today, on this day of remembrance, is the progress that has been made at the site and the promise for its future.

Video: Darwin Martin House / Frank Lloyd Wright

based artist and director Jonathan Turner highlights the details of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin D. Martin House (1903-05) in Buffalo, New York. Part of a multi-structure estate, the Martin House serves as a prime example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie House ideal, with strong horizontal lines and planes, deeply overhanging eaves, a central hearth, prominent foundation, and a sheltering, cantilevered roof. Although the complex suffered considerable damage over the decades, the Martine House Restoration Corporation (MHRC) has raised funds for a complete restoration of the complex, which began in 1997 and continues on today.

Update: The Hegeman / Cook + Fox

© Architects

Architects: Cook + Fox Architects
Location: , NY
Project Name: The Hegeman
Client: Common Ground Comunities
Completion: 2012
Size: 64,469 SF

  

‘Past Futures, Present, Futures’ Exhibition

Visionary Palimpsest, . Past Futures, Present Futures, , 2012

Storefront for Art and Architecture is opening up its fall exhibition season starting September 25th with ‘Past Futures, Present, Futures’. The exhibition, which will be up until November 17th, presents 101 unrealized proposals for New York City, with 101 reenactments by invited artists, architects, writers, and policy-makers to create alternative visions for the present and future of the city. The exhibition is curated by Eva Franch and designed by Leong Leong. An opening reception will take place on September 25, 2012 from 7pm to 9pm. For more information, please visit here.

nycobaNOMA ‘Crafting the Interview 3.0′ Event

Courtesy of

The New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (nycobaNOMA) will be hosting the ‘Crafting the Interview 3.0′ event, which has been postponed to take place October 13 at FXFOWLE from 11am – 5pm. In order to provide the necessary tools to craft a successful interview, they have planned a Portfolio + Resume Review Day for graduating college students and young professionals seeking feedback on their portfolio. A panel presentation will provide information about the job hunting process and current market trends. The event will offer constructive one-on-one feedback to participants and a panel discussion comprised of professionals representing different sectors of the architectural + design community. To register for the event and for more detailed information, please visit here.

TR Residence / Robert Siegel Architects

© Paul Warchol

Architects: Robert Siegel Architects
Location: Bedford Hills, NY,
Project Team: Robert Siegel, Brad Burns, Julien Leyssene, Wayne Walker
Project Year: 2009
Project Area: 2,500 sq ft
Photographs: Paul Warchol

Imagining the Lowline

Courtesy of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch

Mark your calendars – the Lowline is going public! After a great gallery exhibition and tons of international support, the Lowline founders are launching a public exhibition to showcase their innovative technological approach to creating the world’s first underground park on the Lower East Side of . The full scale exhibition will take place in the Essex Market Building D, an abandoned warehouse just above the proposed Lowline Park, from September 15-27.

More after the break.

Community Board Approves SPURA Redevelopment Plan, What’s Next?

Courtesy of NYC EDC

is one of the many adopted acronyms used to describe ’s division of neighborhoods. But unlike SOHO, NOHO, or Tribeca, SPURA is actually the name of a development site in Lower Manhattan, the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, to be exact. The history of the site is a story of politics, economics and social pressures. After fifty years of debates between community leaders, activists and designers, the City Planning Commission has given a proposed development plan the green light. That means that following a land-use review process called ULURP, a city council vote and the Mayor Bloomberg’s final approval, the site may finally transition from a street level parking lot into a mixed-use development full of retail stores, offices, community facilities, a new Essex Street market, a hotel, a park and 900 apartments that will occupy 1.65-million-square-feet.

Join us after the break to read more on the development and to see other alternative creative proposals that this site has inspired over the years.

115 Norfolk / Grzywinski + Pons

© Floto + Warner/OTTO

Architects: Grzywinski + Pons
Location: New York, NY,
Design Team: Matthew Grzywinski, Amador Pons
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 27,000 sq ft
Photographs: Floto + Warner/OTTO

NYU Bobst Library Renovation / Joel Sanders Architect

© NYU

As reported by David W Dunlap for the NYTimes, the safety-restoration applied to and Richard Foster’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on the NYU campus near Washington Square is close to completion.   While the library, which was constructed in the early 1970s, remains intact, the tremendous atrium space – a soaring 150 ft void – is proving to be more of a safety hazard than the magnificent architectural experience the architects intended.  Since 2003, the library has been marred by claiming the lives of three students who leaped to their deaths (even after the university installed 8ft polycarbonate barriers).   Charged with the task of eliminating the possibility for such a future occurrence, Joel Sanders Architect responded with a perforated alumium screen that completely walls off the atrium from the library’s levels.

More after the break.  

The Nolitan / Grzywinski + Pons

© Floto + Warner/OTTO

Architects: Grzywinski + Pons
Location: , NY,
Design Team: Matthew Grzywinski, Amador Pons
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Floto + Warner/OTTO

West 18th Street / ODA

©

Recently, we shared ODA’s honorable mention proposal for the National Library of Israel which fosters an open haven for learning and activity.  The New-York based firm is also working on projects a bit closer to home in Manhattan that approach restrictions with an air of optimism.  ODA explained, “We embrace those parameters ( ordinances) and use them as the DNA of our buildings. If carefully studied, NYC’s allows for many interpretations that follows logical principals.”

More about the residences after the break.