New York’s Garment District, consisting of 18 blocks in the west side of midtown, was the city’s most well known industries in the boom of the 1920s through the early 50s. The influx of immigrants and the geography of New York City made it a natural hub for manufacturing and trading activity. The work began in small workshops and at home in crowded tenements and eventually grew out of these crammed space into factories and warehouses. The industry inadvertently transformed Seventh Avenue into rows of skyscraper factories that faithfully abided to New York City’s zoning regulations. The 125 loft buildings all shared the pyramidal forms due to step-back laws governing design.
Now, The Skyscraper Museum in New York City is celebrating this neighborhood and its influential development of business, industry and architecture and the mark that it left on the city with an exhibition called URBAN FABRIC. It is curated by Andrew S Dolkart, the Director of the Historic Preservation Program, and will be running through February 17th.
Learn more and watch the curator’s lecture after the break.
When plans for the High Line were first revealed it made quite an impression on the design community. The converted elevated rail line, long abandoned by New York City, was threatened by demolition until a group of activists fought for its revival and helped transform it into one of the most renowned public spaces in Manhattan. Now Queens, a borough with its own abandoned infrastructure is on its way to redeveloping the land for its own version of the High Line, to be known as the Queensway Cultural Gateway.
In late December, the Trust for Public Land announced that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has awarded a $467,000 grant to the organization to begin a feasibility study on the 3.5 mile Long Island rail line. Early proposals reveal a new pedestrian and bike path, public green space and a cultural gateway that will celebrate Queens’ diversity in art, sculpture and food, serving the 250,000 residents that live in the neighborhoods along the route, which include Rego Park, Forest Hills, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Forest Park.
In response an outrage that broke out amongst Democrats and Republicans, after House Speaker John Boehner failed to vote for Sandy relief before the end of the Congressional session two days ago, the House of Representatives have approved a $9.7 billion relief measure to aid flood victims of Hurricane Sandy. This is good news, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recently warned that it would soon run out of funding if no measures were taken. Senate approval is likely to come later in the day and a second congressional vote is scheduled to take place on January 15 for a larger $51 billion request.
Understanding the importance of issuing this federal support, AIA President Mickey Jacob has offer Congress three key objects for helping these communities recover.
Read AIA President Jacob’s letter to congress and his three objectives after the break…
The Principles just recently completed an interactive project, titled the “Workshop”, for the clothing brand Everlane in the Meatpacking district of New York. As part of the Everlane’s “Not-a-Shop” series, which focuses on selling only online, “the space was a physical manifestation of their primarily digital presence; replacing coded interaction with physical interaction,” described The Principals co-founder Drew Seskunas.
Construction has exploded along the High Line ever since it opened: condos hover over the rehabilitated track and look out onto the Hudson, while the new location of the Whitney Museum is making headway on the southern end of the park as Google moves into its NYC headquarters to a building just a few short blows away. Now, the historic Chelsea Market may be looking at a facelift following approval from the New York City Council for increasing density in the building by developers, Jamestown Properties. The proposed vertical extension, which has made a brief appearance on a few architecture blogs, will provide the additional in demand office and retail space in the Chelsea neighborhood.
The New York Public Library has a plan to save millions of dollars, improve efficiency, and reverse the cutbacks that have been plaguing it. How? By sending little-used resources off-site (after all, most people use the library for its online resources these days), the Library will consolidate three libraries into one Mid-Manhattan branch, renovating the building with a streamlined, efficient design - courtesy of Foster + Partners - to create "the largest combined research and circulating library in the country."
It sounds like a wonderful, modern solution. Ms. Alda Louis Huxtable would beg to differ.
The former New York Times architecture critic and current critic for the Wall Street Journalhas come out swinging against the plan. First, she builds on the critique that others have made, that by moving volumes off-site (to New Jersey, or "Siberia, as she puts it) to make room for more modern amenities, the library will devalue its primary purpose (making resources readily accessible). To put it another way, as Scott Sherman did in his article for The Nation, it would turn the library into “a glorified internet café.” Then, Huxtable makes her own argument: that removing the current, intricate system of stacks would be an enormously complex, expensive, and hopelessly misguided structural challenge.
But, ultimately Ms. Huxtable’s argument comes down to the intrinsic architectural and cultural value of this Beaux Arts Masterpiece: “You don't "update" a masterpiece.”
More on the Ms. Huxtable incendiary critique of The New York Public Library’s Central Plan, after the break...
Shipping container architecture has gained a lot of ground over the past few years for its simplicity, affordability and flexibility. Yes the very same containers that make transatlantic voyages and are carted around hitched to trucks have become a tool for architects to design restaurants, to serve as retail or pavilions and even homes. According to an article by Matt Chaban on the New York Observer, NYC plans to prepare for the next disaster with apartments built out of shipping containers to be used as disaster relief shelters.
Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) just announced that they will be partnering with Skanska, one of the world’s largest construction and development groups, for the B2 project. This project is making headlines because it will be the first residential tower that is part of the Atlantic Yards Development in Brooklyn using modular construction. FCRC plans to break ground on the 32-story building on December 18th and anticipates that the building will open in 2014. While high-rise modular technology has been initially developed for use at Atlantic Yards, this new industry has the potential to create modular components for construction projects across New York City and worldwide, becoming the first major manufacturing expansion in New York City since manufacturing began its decline over a generation ago. More information after the break.
After Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic failed to raise the $300 million they needed to cover construction costs, and due to concerns that displacing the orchestra would jeopardize potential revenue, Foster+Partners' plans languished. However, the Philharmonic is now under new leadership, and its young directors are anxious to transform the conventional music hall, hence why they've decided to solicit new proposals for the building.
As the Orchestra's new executive eirector, Matthew VanBesien, told theNew York Times: “If you’re not thinking about the way in which our art form and music and audiences are evolving, you’re not serving the art form long term. You really want to build this next great hall in a new way, to do the kinds of things you maybe are doing but want to do in a more compelling way or maybe can’t even imagine yet.”
More info about the proposal for the new Avery Fisher Hall, after the break...
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates were recently selected to design a giant office building the landlord hopes to build next to Grand Central Terminal. Selected by SL Green Realty Corp., the architects’ design would be one of the largest Midtown towers on the East Side in a generation. While building in New York is a challenge, SL Green is moving ahead full steam with planning. The company is in discussions with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to obtain additional development rights by building pedestrian improvements including underground connectors to Grand Central, according to executives informed of the planning. More information after the break.
Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects shared with us their design for the streetscape masterplan for Hudson Square in Manhattan, New York. Designed to transform the district’s public realm into a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable neighborhood, the project will serve area workers and, eventually, residents. The masterplan creates a pedestrian-focused district accessible from all directions and adjacent neighborhoods—including SoHo, TriBeCa, and Greenwich Village—that coordinates the needs of the Holland Tunnel, a regional transportation facility, with those of the re-imagined neighborhood. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The west side of midtown Manhattan is probably one of the more unexplored areas of New York City by residents and tourists alike. Aside from the Jacob Javits Center, and the different programs off of the Hudson River Parkway that runs parallel to the waterfront, there is very little reason to walk through this industry – and infrastructure – dominated expanse of land full of manufacturers, body shops, parking facilities and vacant lots. The NYC government and various agencies, aware of the lost potential of this area, began hatching plans in 2001 to develop this 48-block, 26-acre section, bound by 43rd Street to the North, 8th Ave to the East, 30th Street to the South and the West Side Highway to the West.
The new Hudson Yards, NYC’s largest development, will be a feat of collaboration between many agencies and designers. The result will be 26 million square feet of new office development, 20,000 units of housing, 2 million square feet of retail, and 3 million square feet of hotel space, mixed use development featuring cultural and parking uses, 12 acres of public open space, a new public school and an extension of a subway line the 7 that currently terminates at Times Square-42nd Street, reintroducing the otherwise infrastructurally isolated portion of the city back into the life of midtown Manhattan. All this for $800 million with up to $3 billion in public money.
The Battery Conservancy Americas Design Competition 2012: Draw Up A Chair, which we published a couple months ago here, has received an impressive number of registrations to-date and continue to receive wonderful design submissions. Due to the impact of SuperStorm Sandy on many of their registered and would-be participants, they recently announced that they have extended the competition submission deadline to Monday, November 19. For more information, please visit here.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as communities band together to clean up the devastation and utility companies work tirelessly to restore the infrastructure that keeps New York City running, planners and policy makers are debating the next steps to making the city as resilient to natural disaster as we once thought it was. We have at our hands a range of options to debate and design and the political leverage to make some of these solutions a reality. The question now is, which option or combination of options is most suitable for protecting New York City and its boroughs? Follow us after the break for more.