Reimagining the Waterfront Ideas Competition

First Place / Joseph Wood; Courtesy of Civitas - Reimagining the Waterfront

CIVITAS, the organizer of the Reimagining the Waterfront, has announced the winners of the ideas competition for the design of the East River Esplanade between 60th and 125th in bound by the East River to the East and the FDR Drive to the west.  Joseph Wood of New Jersey, ;  Takuma Ono and Darina Zlateva of New York City, USA and Matteo Rossetti of Italy claimed first, second and third prize respectively.  The competition aspires to bring to new and fresh ideas to the conversation about this waterfront, which over the years has had many issues of disrepair.  Anyone who has attempted to bike down this path can appeal to just how unpleasant it can be – massive potholes that take up the whole path, traffic rushing by just a foot away just beyond a shoulder (which is not provided everywhere) and cobbled paths that create a bumpy ride.  The proximity to the East River, and the views of Randall’s Island, Queens, Roosevelt Island and the Queensboro Bridge are its saving grace.

There have already been many talks about the state of the East River Esplanade, particularly that it stops abruptly at East 53rd street at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge and starts up again around East 38th street.  Last summer MAS, an organization in NYC that advocates for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation, hosted a day-long charette to design an esplanade along the ConEd piers located between East 38th and East 41st Streets. MAS appealed to the community for ideas for “The Next Great NYC Waterfront” and worked alongside W Architecture and Landscape Architecture to produce a report, which can be found here.  With CIVITAS’s competition, the issues are again acknowledged to continue brainstorming the future of the waterfront.

The Architect’s Newspaper reviewed the competition winners in an article by Tom Stoelker, which are imaginative and considered.  The proposals of the winners and honorable mentions will be exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York between June 6th and September 2012 which will give the public access to some possibilities for the future of the East River Esplanade.

Join us after the break for more on the proposals.

Developer Plans for New York’s Next Iconic Building

425 Park Ave. © John W. Cahill / CTBUH

Boxy replicas of high-end offices dominate ’s Park Avenue skyline, with only two modernist exceptions breaking the mold – Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Lever House. As the static skyline has remained largely untouched for nearly four decades, New York City developer L&L Holding Co. has announced plans to replace the aging tower of 425 Park Avenue with a new state-of-the-art, LEED-certified skyscraper. Norman Foster, , Zaha Hadid and Richard Meier are just a few of the eleven distinguished architects that L&L has invited to join in a competition for the redevelopment of the 65 year-old tower.

Continue reading for more.

2012 Architectural League Prize Winners Announced

TSUTSUI - "Inbetween House," Koji Tsutsui, Koji Tsutsui & Associates

The Architectural League just announced the winners of No Precedent, the thirty-first annual Prize for Young Architects + Designers (formerly known as the Young Architects Forum). The League Prize is one of North America’s most prestigious awards for young architects. The program exemplifies the League’s longstanding commitment to identifying and nurturing the development of talented young architects and designers. This year’s winners are: Jorge Arvizu, Ignacio del Rio, Emmanuel Ramirez, and Diego Ricalde, MMX Studio, Mexico City; Jimenez Lai, Bureau Spectacular, Chicago; Sean Lally, WEATHERS / Sean Lally, Chicago; Seung Teak Lee and Mi Jung Lim, STPMJ, ; Michael Szivos, SOFTlab, New York; and Koji Tsutsui, Koji Tsutsui & Associates, San Francisco and Tokyo. More information on the awards, including exhibition and lectures, after the break.

19th Annual Canstruction® Raises Hunger Awareness with Food Drive Exhibit

Courtesy of World Financial Center

At this year’s 19th annual Canstruction: Exhibition, a Food Drive and Design Contest at the World Financial Center in , 26 design and architecture firms have built gigantic, gravity-defying sculptures from thousands of cans of food. Over 100,000 cans were turned into works of art to help City Harvest feed hungry New Yorkers. The exhibition, free to the public, is up now until November 21, and encourages visitors to donate high-quality non-perishable foods, such as tuna, beans, and canned vegetables. More information on the exhibition can be found here. More images after the break.

Kickstarter: Cosmic Quilt – Interactive Installation + Student Workshop / The Principals

The Principals, a Brooklyn-based practice that work on industrial design and interactive environments, are posing a question to the design community: What would it be like if the environment we inhabit responded to our present in an active way? What if we shift the scale of the way in which our devices operate to the way our buildings function? The questions posed by The Principals are the considerations of a project called Cosmic Quilt that is planned to be exhibited on Design Week 2012 on May 19-21. In order to create a mock-up of this type of space, the group is enlisting the help of 20 students from the Art Institute of and the help of financial backer’s through Kickstarter.

More on the planned project after the break.

Unveiling Exhibition of VCU Institute for Contemporary Art / Steven Holl Architects

Courtesy of

Steven Holl Architects invites you to join them in the unveiling exhibition of their Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. The event will take place at the Meulensteen gallery in on April 26 from 6-8pm. The 32,000 square-foot building will provide gallery spaces for traveling and school exhibits, classrooms, offices, art storage spaces and an auditorium, and accommodate a sculpture garden and a café. Joseph H. Seipel, Dean of the VCU School of the Arts, exclaimed, ”We are honored to have Steven Holl, internationally recognized as one the most inspired and significant architects of our time.”

modeLab Parametric Design Workshop

Courtesy of

In response to the overwhelming interest in the April Parametric Design Workshop, this workshop, another intensive parametric design workshop, will be held in during the weekend of April 28-29, 2012 by Studio Mode / modeLab. It will consist of a series of instructional lectures, open work sessions, and guided exercises, beginning with an introduction to Algorithmic Processes and Computational Geometry.

In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, this workshop will engage both the conceptual as well as technical domains of applied parametric design. Rhino, in conjunction with the parametric modeling plug-in Grasshopper, offers the possibility to explore parametric and computational design with unprecedented fluidity. Leveraging this capacity, we have structured this workshop around a series of design strategies and case-study exercises with the capacity to generate and control degrees of variation within fields of entities. Emphasis will be placed on workflows that utilize constraint-based design, visualization techniques, and environmental influencers to discover novel and inventive design solutions. For more information, please visit here.

New York City’s Green Infrastructure Plan

Skokie Public Library Green Roof © Skokie Public Library

As Larry Levine and Ben Chou discuss in their NRDC blog post ”New York and Pennsylvania: Among the Best at Planning for the Inconvenient Truths of Climate Change”, we have already seen what the progress of climate change has done to the most recent weather patterns and the harm it has caused to our infrastructure.  Rising temperature throws off climate balances making some areas wetter and others drier, complicating water supplies, farmland and infrastructure.  In the post, they point out the specific affects on densely populated urban areas and outdated infrastructure that cannot support heavy rains and increased runoff, which inevitably ends up in our waterways: City, Albany, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  While many parts of the country lack a comprehensive strategy to respond to these mounting threats, nine states have created detailed reactionary and preventative measures to deal with climate change (see the NRDC report).

However,  public policies, regulations and reports are not always in sync with what people choose to construct or what actually gets built.  New York’s 2012 Green Infrastructure Grant Program is promising in that respect; it is a step towards bridging that gap that exists between building purely for utility versus building to keep cities livable, functional and safe.  The program focuses on storm water management, giving private enterprises the incentive to make responsible decisions that will alleviate the burden on the NYC sewer system. The grant has set aside $4 million for projects, which include green roofs, blue roofs, combined roofs, bioswales, permeable pavers and perforated piping.  This money is open only for use on private properties and businesses, or along streets that abut privately owned properties and are located on sites that drain into a combined sewer.  The full report is outlined here.

Follow us after the break for more.

‘Manta’ Installation for SmartGeometry 2012 Conference / Guillermo Bernal, Eric Ameres, Zackery Belanger, Seth Edwards

© M. Leo Villardi

Drawing from creative minds of Guillermo Bernal, Eric Ameres, Zackery Belanger, and Seth Edwards, and with the support of Smartgeometry, Grimshaw Architects, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute‘s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Manta represents the potential of multidisciplinary design. that required expertise in architecture, fabrication, interactive technology, and acoustics. This combination drove the assembly of the design team, who came together for the first time from disparate careers and backgrounds. The result could only be achieved with a holistic design approach: all team members worked together on all aspects of Manta. More images and the team’s description after the break.

modeLab Material Matters Workshop

Courtesy of Studio Mode /

Studio Mode / modeLab is putting on Material Matters II, a two-day intensive design, prototyping, and fabrication workshop to be held in during the weekend of May 12-13. As the next installment in the modeFab series and building upon the research developed in Material Matters I, this workshop will examine the procedural distinctions between two modes of design production: the first relying primarily on cerebral processing (a conceptual domain isolated from the wildness of matter and energy) and the second motivated by material’s capacity to act as an agent in the discovery of form.

The workshop will operate through a framework of computational and fabrication strategies that hinge on the peculiarities of material and the emergent set of knowledge associated with the work of the hand. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, they will iteratively develop digital and fabricated prototypes utilizing Grid-Based Modeling techniques via Paneling Tools and Machining Strategies with RhinoCAM. Furthermore, the workshop will provide participants with instruction in digital fabrication techniques and direct access to CNC equipment. For more information, please visit here.

Documenting Your Work in a Digital Age: An Interactive Discussion

Taking place at the Center for Architecture in April 16 from 6-8pm, the ‘Documenting Your Work in a Digital Age: An Interactive Discussion’ will be an informal panel discussion put on by AIA New York focused on the range of digital tools currently in use to describe and define architecture. The discussion will range from architectural photography to other forms of digital communication, 3D display, and user experience design. Presenters, including Peter Aaron, Sam Travis Ewen, and Matthew Bannister, will integrate ideas about how to optimize digital content so that it can be easily found and viewed online by target audiences. To register and for more information, please visit here.

Syracuse University Practice Football Facility / Bernheimer Architecture

Courtesy of

Designed by Bernheimer Architecture for University, the football practice facility along with a larger strategic masterplan for the Lampe Athletic Campus situated about 3 miles south of the Main Campus seeks to create an identity for this new “middle campus” by making an assemblage of disparate buildings into a strong collection. By creating an environment that would enhance the practice session, the architects stay true to one of Vince Lombardi’s favorite quotes, “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect”. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Video: Matthew Grzywinski of Grzywinski + Pons on Hotel on Rivington


Architect Matthew Grzywinski gives Crane.tv a tour of the Lower East side boutique establishment, Hotel on Rivington. Offering panoramic views of ’s skyline through its floor-to-ceiling windows, this chic hotel plays part in the gentrification of the district du jour, the Lower East Side, once the city’s poorest and grittiest of areas.

2012 President’s Medal / Amanda Burden

Film still courtesy of Courtesy Swiss Dots Ltd.

has been making a big impact on the City.  As Chair of the Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning, Ms. Burden’s efforts to revitalize New York have resulted in the preservation of the High Line, the creation of the East River Waterfront Esplanade, and the future development of Freshkills Park – a former landfill in Staten Island, to name a few.  Both on an architectural and urban level, and also from a sustainability policy viewpoint, Ms. Burden’s years as Chair has effectively “raised the quality of design in our city and our expectations about design and city life.”

This week, Ms. Burden has been recognized by the Architectural League of New York and has been awarded their highest honor, the President’s Medal.  Such an award is rightly deserved as Ms Burden’s impact on architecture and planning initiatives has shaped the public spaces that have grown to define New York.  The President’s Medal is an honor that is awarded by peers from an organization that is independent of any professional or policy agenda, and with this recognition, Ms. Burden joins recent recipients such as Massimo and Lella Vignelli, Hugh Hardy, Richard Meier, Ada Louise Huxtable, Robert A.M. Stern, Kenneth Frampton, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

More about the award after the break. 

World of Chlorophyll / IAMZ Design Studio

Courtesy of

World of Chlorophyll, a project by IAMZ Design Studio, is an idea for a conceptual skyscraper containing the form of residential units in the near future. Their main concept involves the units taking the form of leaves, stemming mainly from the columns, based upon all residential units. This way, the building mimics nature, and in conformity with it, also makes for an easy configuration. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Largest Rooftop Farm Coming to Brooklyn, NY

© BrightFarms

BrightFarms CEO, Paul Lightfoot is obsessed with efficiency.  Spending most of his career improving market supply chains he has now turned his attention to the market supply chains of America’s produce.  BrightFarms is an innovative and straight forward program whose goal is to eliminate the wasted energy expended on travel times between the farm and the shelf, to provide more nutritious and safer produce that is grown for the table and not for the endurance of days and weeks of transport, and to create a local market where consumers know their farmers and where the food is coming from and who is responsible for growing it.  Littlefoot describes the blatant problems with the food industry today – efficiently factory farming and preserving produce that moves from one and end of the country to the other and inefficiently providing nutritious and tasty produce.

The challenge is to create a model that ensures quality while keeping costs down and BrightFarms appears to have found a strategy that works: hydroponic rooftop gardening near supermarket distribution centers or local markets.  The newly renamed Federal Plaza #2, soon to be known as Liberty View Industrial Plaza to be developed by Salmar Properties, in , NY is set to be the world’s largest rooftop garden which will reportedly grow “1 million pounds of local produce per year, including tomatoes, lettuces and herbs”.  Find out how it works after the break!

Schools in the Sky / Filipe Magalhaes, Ana Luisa Soares, André Vergueiro

Courtesy of Filipe Magalhaes, ,

The proposal, Schools in the Sky, by Filipe Magalhaes, Ana Luisa Soares, and André Vergueiro for the ‘Rooftops, Why Not?’ competition asks the question, ‘What if suddenly the education would become the highest, most visible value of a society?’ The American education system is sustained by the private sector. As a result, many colleges and schools have become, over time, ghettos for rich people, leaving a huge part of the students out of options. Assuming the will to fix, or at least to discuss, a biased system, it is proposed to offer public schools in places that are usually closed to society. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Rockefeller Arts Center Expansion / Deborah Berke & Partners Architects

Render - Courtesy of Deborah Berke & Partners Architects

Deborah Berke & Partners Architects have released their plans for the expansion and renovation of I.M. Pei’s 1969 Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center (RAC). Located at ’s State University College in , the visual and performing arts complex has served as a major cultural center for western and northwestern Pennsylvania. Continue reading after the break for more.