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'NAWT Balloons' Land Art Generator Initiative Competition Entry / Norman Kelley

Courtesy of Norman Kelley
Courtesy of Norman Kelley

Designed for the Land Art Generator Initiative competition, the ‘NAWT Balloons’ concept, which was recently shortlisted in the competition, aims to couple the image of an oversized helium-filled teardrop with a nuanced application of wind energy technology. While the balloon’s image and subsequent geometry are the primitives to the proposal, the deployment on the Fresh Kills site ignites an interest in the oversized and the attenuated. Designed by Norman Kelley, through its multiplication and reconfiguration, this design may be able to produce new, yet familiar, collections of iconicity. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Foster+Partners' First US Residential Building Breaks Ground

Courtesy of dbox branding & creative for Foster+Partners
Courtesy of dbox branding & creative for Foster+Partners

50 UN Plaza, Foster+Partners' first residential building in the U.S., broke ground this morning. With the Hearst Tower long finished, Tower 2 at Ground Zero near complete, and a new iconic building planned for 425 Park Avenue, 50 UN Plaza will only further solidify Lord Foster's mark on New York City. 

The 44-story luxury tower's privileged spot at the United Nations Plaza will give it remarkable views of the UN Building, the East River, and the Manhattan skyline. According to Foster, the building's deep bay windows (which line each of the tower's 3 volumes) will maximize that view and, along with its steel and glass facade, give the tower a distinctive, "jewel-like quality": “The slender proportion of 50 United Nations Plaza is attenuated by the vertical stacks of bay windows, which give it a distinctive identity[...] The polished stainless steel detailing of the facade is in the sprit of earlier historic towers in the city and it reflects the sharp quality of light which is special to New York." 

The building, whose construction will incorporate recycled materials, also has a strong environmental agenda, combining active and passive energy strategies.

According to the New York Observer, the tower's 87 units will range in size from 1,100 square feet one-bedrooms; three bedrooms as big as 3,000 square feet; full-floor residences; and a penthouse duplex, measuring about 10,000 square feet. One of the marquee features will also be a private driveway. The tower is expected to cost $500 million and be completed in 2014. 

More images and Foster+Partner's description of 50 UN Plaza, after the break...

'Solar Loop' Competition Entry / Paolo Venturella & MenoMenoPiu Architects

© +imgs
© +imgs

Designed by Paolo Venturella & MenoMenoPiu Architects, their ‘Solar Loop’ finalist entry for the Land Art Generator Initiative competition aims to expose more surface as possible to the southern solar rays. Sited in FreshKills Park in New York City, the shape comes directly from the solar diagrams, and deals easily with the sun following it with the best angle almost like a frozen artificial sunflower.bThe aesthetic of the sculpture is the result of this dialogue that becomes synthesis between the solar power and the park. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Photography: The Rockaways, Post-Sandy / Amanda Kirkpatrick

© Amanda Kirkpatrick
© Amanda Kirkpatrick

Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, but the destruction she left in her path remains a stark reminder of her strength. 

Photographer Amanda Kirkpatrick has shared with us her images of The Rockaways in Queens, an upper-class beach neighborhood that was one of the areas hit hardest by the storm. Kirkpatrick's objective eye documents the twisted boardwalks and unrecognizably distorted homes in an almost "clinical" way, honestly portraying the damage from the perspective of the broken structures themselves.

If you're interested in getting involved with Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts, you can get more information here. For more images from Amanda Kirkpatrick, read on after the break...

© Amanda Kirkpatrick © Amanda Kirkpatrick © Amanda Kirkpatrick © Amanda Kirkpatrick

MoMA: Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde

Tokyo 1955–1970 A New Avant-Garde; Courtesy of MoMA
Tokyo 1955–1970 A New Avant-Garde; Courtesy of MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art in NYC is launching an exhibit called Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde, that investigates the transformation of Tokyo from a war-torn nation into an international center for arts, culture and commerce.  The exhibition will run from November 18 through February 25, 2012 and includes over 200 works of various media including painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, drawings, graphic design, video and documentary film.

More after the break.

'The City That Never Was' Symposium

Courtesy of The Architectural League of New York
Courtesy of The Architectural League of New York

Co-organized, in cooperation with the Architectural League, by Christopher Marcinkoski and Javier Arpa, The City That Never Was symposium is a day-long event that uses the current crisis in Spain as a lens to reconsider patterns of urbanization and development around the world. Taking place November 9th from 9:00am-5:00pm at the Scholastic Building in New York, the event will reconsider how planners, designers, politicians, and financiers conceive of and realize large-scale contemporary urbanization and settlement. This event seeks to better understand the systems that have produced certain imbalances resulting from this urban growth and explore new models and approaches for urbanization and development. For more information, please visit here.

Iwan Baan vs. Sandy: The Story Behind That Iconic NYC Shot

Photo: Iwan Baan for New York Magazine
Photo: Iwan Baan for New York Magazine

We got in touch with Iwan Baan to ask him how on earth he got that incredible aerial shot of a Sandy-struck New York City for New York Magazinehe told us what it was like to face the frenzy and fly into the storm itself. Read his incredible story, after the break... 

Winners announced of the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative Competition for Freshkills Park

Scene-Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows / James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze; Courtesy of LAGI
Scene-Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows / James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze; Courtesy of LAGI

Winners of the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative Competition for Freshkills Park in Staten Island, NYC are out.  With 4 placed winners and a long list of shortlisted projects, the range of ideas shows how designers are exploring many different options for sustainable energy infrastructure.

The Winners:

  • First: Scene-Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows byJames Murray and Shota Vashakmadze
  • Second: Fresh Hills by Matthew Rosenberg, Structural Engineering Consultant: Matt Melnyk, Production Assistants: Emmy Maruta, Robbie Eleazer
  • Third: Pivot by Yunxin Hu and Ben Smith
  • Fourth: 99 Red Balloons by Emeka Nnadi, Scott Rosin, Meaghan Hunter, Danielle Loeb, Kara McDowell, Indrajit Mitra, Narges Ayat and Denis Fleury

Check out the projects after the break!

Solar Carve Tower / Studio Gang Architects

Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects
Courtesy of Studio Gang Architects

Jeanne Gang is about to make her New York debut, as the Chicago-based architect just unveiled the latest project planned to border New York City’s beloved High Line. The 180,000 square-foot office tower with ground level retail will replace an existing, disused meatpacking plant along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets. It will feature a “gem-like”, glass facade that is intelligently shaped to avoid the disruption of light, air and views from the High Line.

Dubbed the Solar Carve Tower, the mid-rise structure is currently pending city approval and is planned for completion in 2015.

Continue after the break for the architects’ description.

Wave Dilfert / The Principals

© The Principles
© The Principles

Wave Dilfert: Wave (moves in wave-form oscillations) + Dilfert (geek-like intelligence, absorbs information like a sponge).

Wave Dilfert is a new kind of space that reads the changes in light and shadow occurring within it, catalogs and calculates them, then pulses, contracts or expands in reaction. The installation was inspired by the work of Ushahidi; a non-profit, crowdsourcing disaster relief, tech innovator. Much how Ushahidi de-mystifies the complexities of war-torn or disaster ridden locales, The Principals developed a system that could de-mystify the complexities of space through sourcing the information of its users and making it accessible through interaction.

Joe Fresh New York flagship / Burdifilek

  • Architects: Burdifilek
  • Location: New York, United States
  • Project Team: Diego Burdi, Paul Filek, Jeremy Mendonca, Jacky Kwong, Daniel Mei, Edwim Reyes, Anna Nomerovsky, Anthony Tey, Daniela Cerchie, Tom Yip; Callison Architecture, Inc.: David Curtis
  • Design Team: Joe Fresh Design Studio
  • Design Firm: Diego Burdi, Creative Partner; and Paul Filek, Managing Partner
  • Consulting Architect: Callison
  • Base Building Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
  • General Contractor: Richter Ratner
  • Engineer: Highland Associates
  • Lighting consultant: Lighting Workshop
  • Area: 17,783 ft2
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Ben Rahn A-Frame, Courtesy of Burdifilek

© Ben Rahn A-Frame © Ben Rahn A-Frame © Ben Rahn A-Frame © Ben Rahn A-Frame

Will Sandy Finally Convince New York to Re-Design Its Waterfront?

On Avenue C and 14th. Instagram User megetz: "The water came up to my knees when I joined my neighbors on the front stoop."
On Avenue C and 14th. Instagram User megetz: "The water came up to my knees when I joined my neighbors on the front stoop."

Maybe Sandy, the colossal hurricane that has barreled across the East Coast this week, will finally get the message across:  "We are all from New Orleans Now." 

Thanks to climate change, America's coastal cities, and particularly New York, have become increasingly vulnerable to nature's wrath. Over two years ago, MOMA asked five architects to come up with a redesign of lower Manhattan that would prevent damage in the event of major flooding. Barry Bergdoll, the Curator of the "Rising Currents" exhibit, put it to the architects this way: “Your mission is to come up with images that are so compelling they can’t be forgotten and so realistic that they can’t be dismissed.” 

Unfortunately, they were. As the many images from traditional news sources and social media users reveal, Sandy's damage has been extensive - and perhaps, in many ways, preventable. 

It often takes tragedy to instigate change. Let's hope that Sandy will finally get the conversation of New York's vulnerable urban landscape on to the table.

More images of Sandy's damage, as well as plans from MOMA's "Rising Currents" Exhibit, after the break...

Which Grand Central Vision Is the Best for New York?

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. 

© Foster + Partners Courtesy of WXY Architecture + Urban Design Courtesy of WXY Architecture + Urban Design Courtesy of 2012 SOM

Final Vision for Grand Central Station, by WXY Architecture + Urban Design

Courtesy of WXY Architecture + Urban Design
Courtesy of WXY Architecture + Urban Design

We showed you grand central plan" href="" target="_blank" data-mce-href="" style="font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 19px; ">Foster + Partners' vision, then SOM's - now we bring you the third and final re-imagining of New York's iconic Grand Central Station, by WXY Architecture + Urban Design

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...

How to Make It: Implementing Green Practices in Your Designs

Courtesy of UncommonGoods
Courtesy of UncommonGoods

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.

Mike Taylor: 'Track Record' Lecture

London 2012 Velodrome by Hopkins Architects / © Anthony Palmer
London 2012 Velodrome by Hopkins Architects / © Anthony Palmer

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.

SOM's vision for New York's Iconic Grand Central Station

Courtesy of 2012 SoM
Courtesy of 2012 SoM

In honor of Grand Central Station's upcoming centennial, three architects were asked to present how they would re-imagine the iconic New York terminal at the MAS 2012 Summit earlier this week. 

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...

'Wind Fountain' Competition Entry / Gembong Reksa Kawula

Courtesy of Gembong Reksa Kawula
Courtesy of Gembong Reksa Kawula

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.