SPURA is one of the many adopted acronyms used to describe New York City’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.
As reported by David W Dunlap for the NYTimes, the safety-restoration applied to Philip Johnson 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.
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 zoning restrictions with an air of optimism. ODA explained, “We embrace those parameters (zoning ordinances) and use them as the DNA of our buildings. If carefully studied, NYC’s zoning allows for many interpretations that follows logical principals.”
More about the residences after the break.
In conjunction with its current exhibition The Landmarks of New York, the Parrish Art Museum will host an illustrated presentation by multi-talented, award winning architect David Rockwell titled “Untold Stories from an Eclectic, Exceptional Practice.” A brief discussion between Rockwell, who founded Rockwell Group in 1984 to focus on a diverse array of projects that range from hotels to hospitals, restaurants to airport terminals, and Broadway set designs to consumer products, and exhibition curator Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel will follow the talk. The program will take place Thursday, August 23, at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $5 for Parrish members, $10 for nonmembers. Reservations are strongly recommended. For more information on the event, please visit here.
The OpenAEC Challenge is an architectural competition where the criteria for winning is based on how well you collaborate with others and not on how well you design in isolation. In that sense, it’s less a competition, and more a challenge. The sole purpose of this Challenge is to abolish a pervasive myth undoubtedly shared by a vast majority of architectural students around the world: That real-world buildings are designed by a sole, mastermind architect, working in isolation. This Challenge will be centered around a real project—a 48 acre (19.5 ha) sustainable, agro-tourism farm, called Flocktown Farm, located an hour outside of New York City. It will be broken down into eight, two-week long phases or charrettes, over the length of the Fall semester, 2012. For more information, please visit their website here.
Staten Island, arguably New York’s most often forgotten borough, may finally be getting its moment in the spotlight. Talks are in the works of creating a giant 600 ft Ferris wheel near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to generate activity for the waterfront. To put 600 feet in perspective, think bigger than the Singapore Flyer at 451 feet and the London Eye’s 450 ft marker, and much bigger than Coney Island’s Wonder Wheel at 150 feet. While millions enjoy the free trip across the harbor on the ferry every year, few venture far from the boat. The Ferris Wheel is intended to capitalize on the Island’s amazing views of Manhattan and build up the Island’s visitor flow. “It’s the greatest thing that has been proposed for Staten Island, especially on the waterfront. This could landmark us. We have 2 million tourists a year on the ferry, so we have a built-in audience to use it, and it’s a different audience every day. Once you can attract them off that boat, you got them here,” James Molinaro, the borough president, stated.
More after the break.
The Non-Linear Lab, a two-day workshop by modeLab September 8-9, will focus on growth systems, parametric detailing, and digital fabrication. This lab is the next installment in their coLAB series and is the result of collaborative research undertaken by Skylar Tibbits [SJET + Previous coLAB Instructor] and Ronnie Parsons + Gil Akos [Studio Mode/modeLab]. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, they will cover fundamental concepts of programming and parametric design as well as an introduction to laser cutting constraints and best practices. Emphasis will be placed on iterative prototyping, allowing for a thorough investigation of a series of growth, unit, and detailing scripts while working directly with their CNC equipment. For more information, please visit here.
Architects: 1100 Architect
Location: Jamaica, NY, USA
Architect In Charge: Juergen Riehm
Design Team: Jessica Spiegel, Texer Nam, Chen-Whei Su, Joanna Chen, Sebastian Kaempf, Peter Heller
Principal: David Piscuskas, FAIA, LEED AP
Project Architects: Heather Braun, RA; Christine Harper, RA
Project Captain: Ersela Kripa, RA
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Michael Moran / ottoarchive
Now through November 5th, the Museum of Modern Art will be running Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900-2000, a new exhibit that surveys modern design and innovation through the exploration of childhood development and well-being. Prior to the 20th century, childhood was not considered a time of development for the human brain. As Ken Johnson points out in his reviewof the exhibit, “children were considered small adults to be put to work as soon as possible”. The 20th century changed all that and modern psychology bore a great deal of influence on investigations into childhood and development. Modernist design followed, creating a whole new set of tools that children could interact with, learn from, and be entertained by. The exhibit has an assortment of furniture, toys, books, games and posters all designed for the child.Read on for more after the break.
Check out these new renderings of One World Trade Center from the Port Authority and the Durst Organization. The images were released to illustrate recent design modifications – such as a treatment for the tower’s first 20 stories and the elimination of the casing around the antenna. These fresh thirteen visuals offer a look at the tower from perspectives taken around the boroughs and New Jersey. While these renderings offer a taste of what can be expected, it is great to physical progress being made and how close we are to a completed tower.
More after the break.
modeLab is putting on a two-day workshop August 18-19 on the topic of Parametric Patterns with Grasshopper for Rhinoceros. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, we will experiment with the materiality, craft, and effects of patterning through the distribution of simple and repeatable material events (the cut, the fold, and the perforation). Coupling Parametric Design and Digital Fabrication workflows, we will iteratively test our patterns while learning best practices for use of a large-format Laser Cutter. Prototypes will range in material palette (fabric, paper, plastic) based on participants’ interests and will be used to discuss issues of craft, detailing, and the assembly process. For more information, please visit here.
This past Saturday, we joined in the fifth annual Summer Streets opening weekend. About 7 miles of city streets were free of cars, allowing scores of bicyclists, runners and pedestrians to occupy the entirety of the pavement. And, at designated rest stops, participants enjoyed a variety of activities, such as zip lining above Foley Square, rock climbing at Spring Street while hearing how to fix a bike flat from REI volunteers, and Salsa lessons at 51st Street. Although the streets were full of life with bikes whizzing passed and the pavement buzzing with the sound of runners’ feet, we were struck by how quiet the streets were without the sounds of cars. In some spots, it was actually quite eerie to notice which cross street was just passed; for, even the busiest of intersections, typically filled with the all too familiar beeps and screeches, can transform into an entirely different environment with the elimination of cars. It makes one realize how much of our urban environment has come to be defined and dominated by the vehicle, and makes one wonder the possibilities of what major cities could be like without cars.
More about Summer Streets after the break.
As part of the ‘Valtari’ Mystery film experiment of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós, the video for Varúð was released few days ago. Directed by Ryan McGingley, it shows New York in a magnificent way as we architects would like to move around.
In his own words… “this piece is my poem to New York City. I wanted to bring a childhood innocence to the streets, through a character whose own light and wonder effects the world around her. I’m always interested in an atmosphere where dreams and reality mingle on equal terms.”
Taking place August 17 from 10am-6pm in Brooklyn, Intro Lab is a one-day workshop put on by modeLab on the topic of Parametric Design with Grasshopper for Rhinoceros. In a fast-paced and hands-on learning environment, we will cover introductions to Algorithmic Design, Computational Geometry, and Parametric Modeling. Additionally, participants will explore concepts such as Object Attributes/Parameters, Part to Whole Relationships, and Data Flow. Emphasis will be placed on consistent organization of data through Lists and Data Trees and best practices for Creative Project Workflow Integration, File Modularity, and Data Visualization. For more information, please visit here.