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Construction Begins on NYC's First Prefab Steel and Concrete Residential Development

Prefabrication has long been heralded as a possible way to infill New York's vacant sites, however it is only in recent years that it has become a solid practical solution rather than an experimental concept. Riding the crest of the wave of new prefabricated housing is GLUCK+ (formerly Peter Gluck & Partners), in collaboration with developers Jeffrey Brown and Kimberly Frank. Together they have began construction on one of New York's first prefabricated steel and concrete residential buildings.

Read more about this and New York's recent wave of prefabricated buildings after the break...

Report Suggests Demolishing Unsustainable Mid-Century Skyscrapers in New York

Mayor Bloomberg's controversial plans to rezone midtown New York, allowing for bigger and bolder skyscrapers, has found an unlikely ally in the form of environmentalists.

Re-zoning midtown would ultimately lead to the demolition of the corporate steel and glass skyscrapers, which preservationists argue are emblematic of the cutting edge modernism that swept 1950's America. However, landlords contest that - for the most part - they are poorly built copycats of seminal landmarks such as the Seagram and Lever buildings and are not particularly significant or suited for modern needs. 

More information after the break..

Emerging Voices 2013: PRODUCTORA

Selected for this year's Emerging Voices of the Architectural League of New York, PRODUCTORA of Mexico City will be delivering a lecture this Thursday, March 28th, at 7:00pm at the Scholastic Auditorium. PRODUCTORA was selected for their distinct design voice and their potential to influence architecture on a global scale. Being named an Emerging Voice is one of the most coveted awards in North American architecture, and the program has an excellent thirty year track record of identifying and nurturing firms that go on to have influential practices.

Other winning firms included in this year's selection are Cao-Perrot Studio of Los Angeles and Paris, DIGSAU of Philadelphia, dlandstudio of Brooklyn, Gracia Studio of Tijuana and San Diego, MASS Design Group of Boston and Kigali, Rwanda, Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects of San Francisco, and SO-IL of New York City. For more information on the event, please visit here.

Wyckoff House Museum / nARCHITECTS

nARCHITECTS is designing a cultural education complex for the Wyckoff House Museum in Brooklyn on the site of New York's oldest house. The Wyckoff House has an immense history as it was the first landmark designated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1968. nARCHITECTS’s educational complex will act as a portal between its present day environment and historical site. Due to its exceptional spatial and temporal intervention, the design was recently awarded an AIA New York Design Merit Award.

The Woolworth Building @ 100 Exhibtion

The Woolworth Building @ 100 Exhibtion, taking place at the Skyscraper Museum in New York City until July 14, 2013, celebrates its centennial year in the process of conversion, with office space remaining below and luxury residences planned for the upper tower. Still radiant on the lower Manhattan skyline, the landmark heralds both the past and future of New York as it became the preeminent silhouette on the New York skyline and took the title of world's tallest office building in 1913 when eighty thousand incandescent bulbs illuminated the New York night. The brilliant spectacle was a career-crowning achievement for the tower's owner, the five-and-dime store king Frank W. Woolworth, who paid for the skyscraper with his personal fortune and took a hands-on role in every decision of its design. For more information on the event, please visit here.

Request for Proposals: QueensWay Project

The New York office of The Trust for Public Land recently issued an RFP for a feasibility study, framework plan, and conceptual design for the QueensWay--a potentially transformative 3.5-mile project which will enhance quality of life in central and southern Queens, New York by reclaiming the abandoned Rockaway Rail Line, a largely elevated rail corridor. The project, which includes a pedestrian and bicycle pathway connecting the communities of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, and Ozone Park, will provide a new public green space, celebrating the cultural diversity of Queens with art, sculpture, and food from around the world. 

There is a m
andatory Pre-Submittal Meeting March 28, and the proposal submittal deadline is April 23. For more information, please visit here.

Predictions from the Past: New York 2012 and LA 2013

New York in 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner's Predictions; and LA's predictions from 1988 for 2013
New York in 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner's Predictions; and LA's predictions from 1988 for 2013

Throughout history, people have spent a great deal of time pondering what the future holds.  Scientific discovery, technological innovation - along with rebellious androids, zombies, flying cars, hover crafts, visiting aliens - have been consistently used as stereotypes that emerge in predictions for our imagined future.  And while Hollywood was busy exploring dystopian scenarios of this near-future, architects were composing utopian images of an optimistic vision for cities. Architects have built careers upon predicting what cities can potentially become - developing forms, functions, plans and visions of possibilities in the social, political, economic and cultural realms through architecture.  In 1962, Mayor Robert Wagner of NYC predicted a culturally diverse, economically viable, global city for New York in 2012.  In 1988, Los Angeles Times Magazine gave its 25-year forecast for Los Angeles in 2013, predicting what a life for a family would be like, filled with robots, electric cars, smart houses and an abundance of video-conferencing.  Find out how their predictions fared after the break.

Lecture: Designing an Institute for Performance Art / Marina Abramović and Shohei Shigematsu

Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) recently held a lecture featuring performance artist Marina Abromović alongside OMA principle Shohei Shigematsu in the anticipation of the Marina Abromović Institute for the Preservation of Performing Art (MAI) 2014 opening. In the lecture, Shigematsu speaks about the process in which they transformed a former theater in Hudson, New York, into a structure that's capable of assisting the institute's mission to develop new kinds of performance, while functioning as a space for preserving and hosting historic performance pieces. Shigematsu references OMA’s history of designing spaces that combine architecture and art, such as the Quebec National Museum and a recent collaboration with Kanye West.

More on this discussion after the break...

Exhibition for Frank Gehry Prints and Sculpture

On view now until April 13, is the Stamberg Aferiat + Associates designed exhibition for Frank Gehry prints and a sculpture for the Los Angeles-based artists’ workshop Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl in New York City. The exhibition celebrates architecture, a more than ten-year collaboration with the renowned architect, and their one-year anniversary in a designed space by architects Peter Stamberg and Paul Aferiat. The exhibit features a newly editioned sculpture and an enlarging of Gehry's Marques de Riscal Winery image. More images and description of the exhibition after the break.

Postcard from Roosevelt Island, New York

© Hassan Bagheri
© Hassan Bagheri

This text was provided by San Francisco-based writer Kenneth Caldwell

One friend said, “It looks a bit austere.” At first glance, it probably is. But like so many great minimal environments, it asks for patience and generosity. You give, and in turn it gives back.

This is also what the artists Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, Donald Judd, and, more recently, Olafur Eliasson ask. Trust them with your time and you may be rewarded with a small measure of serenity—perhaps even with the connection between art and the divine that Dominique de Menil was so focused on. 

Designed by Louis Kahn, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park is an outdoor sanctuary at the southern tip of what is now called Roosevelt Island, created as a memorial to FDR. The park opened last fall. Kahn’s gift took 40 years to be realized, but it presents a path for human beings to treat each other to peace.

Continue reading after the break...

Domino Sugar Factory Master Plan Development / SHoP Architects

© SHoP Architects
© SHoP Architects

Last Summer, Two Trees bought the Domino Sugar Factory site in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn to be developed into a new mix-use master plan. The previously proposed scheme by Rafael Viñoly Architects (seen here) consisted of four large towers along the East River water front, but the design was largely disliked by the community, and as a result Two Trees hired SHoP Architects along with James Corner Field Operations to have a go at the design. The result is a wildly different scheme, consisting of five towers with 60% more open space along the water front, 631,000 square feet of new office space (versus the previous 98,000 square feet), and over two-thousand new apartments. This marks a huge change for what could be considered as the most important waterfront real estate in Brooklyn, and potentially become the new image of Brooklyn for the whole world.

'Frank Gehry At Work' Exhibition

On display at Leslie Feely Fine Art in New York from April 11 to June 30, 2013, the Frank Gehry At Work exhibition features a selection of over 30 diverse process models by Gehry, which are drawn from significant constructions and concepts of the architect’s prolific career. These organic forms, which consist of a wide array of materials, stand as testament to Gehry’s tactile approach, enhancing our perception of this sculptural architect and his work,  illuminating the subtleties of Gehry’s thought—and working—process. More images and information on the exhibition after the break.

Queens Museum of Art Expansion / Grimshaw Architects

Originally constructed for the 1939 World’s Fair, the resilient structure of New York’s Queens Museum of Art has been undergoing its fourth and most ambitious renovation since April 2011. This $68 million renovation, designed by Grimshaw Architects, will double the institution’s size, expanding the museum to a total of 105,000 square feet upon its completion in October 2013. 

Beyond New York: Organic vs Geometrical Context Lecture

Coming up this Friday, March 8th, at the Center for Architecture in New York, the 'Beyond New York: Organic vs Geometrical Context' lecture is part of the Architecture Dialogue Committee’s on-going series to introduce the next generation of architects not practicing in New York City. For this event, they have invited Spela Videcnik from OFIS arhitekti of Ljubljana, Slovenia to share insights about architectural and urban design from 6:00pm-8:00pm. Videcnik will present OFIS’s design approach through their most recently built projects, such as the Basket Apartments (Paris) and The Cultural Centre for Space Technologies (Slovenia), and how these different geometries inform their current work. For more information, please visit here

MoMA PS1 Call for Ideas: Rethinking Post-Sandy Rockaway

Architects, artists, and designers are invited to participate in the competition to Rethink the Post-Sandy Rockaway.  MoMA PS1’s Young Architects program is seeking ideas for alternative housing models, creation of social spaces, urban interventions, new uses of public space, the rebuilding of the boardwalk, protection of the shoreline, and actions to engage local communities and to aid in the effort to rebuild from Hurricane Sandy. Judges will be selecting 25 proposals to be displayed on Rockaway Beach in April. The deadline for submissions is March 15. For more information, please visit here.

Films & Architecture: "The Fifth Element"

Last week, our latest featured film showed New York in the ’60s - this time we move to the future, about 200 years from now. This film, directed and co-written by Luc Besson, shows a New York City with flying cars and technological systems applied all around the human environment.

Enjoy and let us know your thoughts of how our cities will look in the next century!

Pratt Explores the Importance of Cold War Era Pre-Fabricated Building Systems

Pratt Institute's School of Architecture will present "COLD war COOL digital," an exhibition of 20 scaled prototypes of modernist, pre-fabricated, and globally-distributed Cold War era housing systems that were created using contemporary 3D printing technologies (opening reception 2/18 at 6:15, details below). The exhibition will investigate architectural modernism and its global influence and will connect with contemporary prototype pre-fabrication methods and digital research in housing and skyscraper design. A symposium that explores the technical, aesthetic, and political aspects of prototyping and pre-construction in architecture will be held tonight in conjunction with the exhibition.

NYC’s Union Square in 1828

Can you imagine the intersection of Broadway and the Bowery in lower Manhattan as sparsely populated “Uptown” used as a burial ground for indigent people? Well, according to the the book Painting the Town by The Museum of the City of New York (via Ephemeral New York), this scene painted from memory by Albertis Del Orient Browere in 1885 depicts what Union Square used to look like back in 1828 - just 20 years before this area started to transform into the bustling, concrete jungle we know today.