"Throughout the architectural selection process, REX presented us with an inspired vision. Joshua [Prince-Ramus] totally blew us away with his innovative ideas about how to present cutting-edge culture, but also about how to make the PAC relate to everyone who comes to the WTC site," said PACWTC director and president Maggie Boepple.
Inspired by the recent trend for super-skinny, super-tall skyscrapers currently dominating the Manhattan luxury residential market, ODA New York has developed a design for 303 East 44th Street which they describe as "a new urban reality" for the city. By taking a prototypical, modestly-sized tower building and stretching it skyward, the firm has inserted sculptural skygardens in the voids opened up between the floors to create a tower that combines the advantages of urban living with the spatial benefits of the suburban home.
"340 Flatbush," as it's known, is being developed by JDS. Upon its (tentative) completion in early 2019, the building will offer 466,000-square-feet of residential space, forming 550 units, and 140,000-square feet of commercial space.
In the mid-1980s, after literature had long been held hostage by postmodernist irony and cynicism, a new wave of authors called for an end to negativity, promoting a "new sincerity" for fiction. Gaining momentum into the 1990s, the movement reached a pinnacle in 1993 when, in his essay E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction, pop-culture seer David Foster Wallace, a proponent of this "new sincerity," made the following call to action: “The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles... These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal.'"
Architecture, ever in debt to the styles and ideas of other art forms, could learn a thing or two now from the resuscitation of American fiction at the turn of the millennium. It too is enduring an identity crisis, mired by pessimism and uncertainty - a reality made painfully clear this past January when a New York Times Op-Ed by Steven Bingler and Martin C. Pedersen, How to Rebuild Architecture, divided camps and made the design world fume. In the editorial, the authors spoke vehemently of an architectural profession that has become mired by egos and been disconnected from public needs. Things quickly got ugly, critics wrestled with critics and subsequently the public got involved. What no one seemed to take into account is that this type of hounding is at the core of the problem. In its current landscape the discipline has struggled with its past, been deferential to its present, and wrestled with the uncertainty of its future. In a moment when we have become addicted to despondency, can anyone win?
A conceptual design by Studio Gang was unveiled today as the preferred expansion to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York. The proposed building, named the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation, aims to host an array of public exhibition space as well as become a premier "active scientific and educational institution" that enhances connections with the existing Museum and encourages exploration amongst its users.
“We uncovered a way to vastly improve visitor circulation and Museum functionality, while tapping into the desire for exploration and discovery that are emblematic of science and also part of being human,” said Jeanne Gang, founder of Studio Gang. “Upon entering the space, natural daylight from above and sightlines to various activities inside invite movement through the Central Exhibition Hall on a journey towards deeper understanding. The architectural design grew out of the Museum’s mission.”
In discussion with Calvin Tomkins for a 2013 profile in The New Yorker, David Adjaye spoke intensely on the significance of his Sugar Hill Development. “Context,” said Adjaye, “is so important, not to mimic but to become part of the place. I wanted a building that acknowledges its surroundings.” The recently-completed project is the brainchild of Ellen Baxter, leader of Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), a non-profit that has made strides to create innovative housing schemes in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. In an era where mixed-used developments are routine, Sugar Hill adds new dimensions to the typology by uniting affordable apartments, an early childhood education center, offices for the BHC, and the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling.
In conjunction with their full building review written by Rob Bevan, The Architectural Review has produced this video which introduces the broader public to the tenants, allowing us to better understand the building’s use, intentions, and the design philosophy.
Last summer, when Brooklyn Bridge Parkunveiled 14 proposals as finalists for two residential towers at the park's controversial pier 6 site, you could be fooled into thinking that design is alive and well. A caveat of the park’s General Project Plan (GPP) was to set aside land for retail, residential and a hotel development, in order to secure funding and achieve financial autonomy. The plans had already fueled a decade of legal battles and fierce opposition from the local community, with arguments ranging from the environment, to park aesthetics, to money-making schemes, but last year a bright outcome appeared a possibility, when the park unveiled the competing plans including those by Asymptote Architecture, BIG, Davis Brody Bond, Future Expansion + SBN Architects, WASA Studio, and of particular interest, O’Neill McVoy Architects + NV/design architecture (NVda).
The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has released a new research study called New York: The Ultimate Skyscraper Laboratory, which utilizes data to “develop graphic features showing the progression of tall building development in New York City.”
Performa has selected the office of Christoph A. Kumpusch, Forward Slash ( / ) ARCHITEKTUR, as the winner of the competition to design the Performa 15 Hub. Held in New York City, Performa is a Biennale dedicated to live performance across artistic disciplines. This year’s Biennial, Performa 15, will take place November 1 -22, and the Performa Hub serves as the biennial's headquarters, offering a venue for special performances, screenings, panel discussions, artists’ seminars, a lounge, a shop and a visitor information center. Read more about the winning entry and Performa after the break.
A 1,200 square-meter "test lab" of what aims to be the world's first underground park has opened its doors to New Yorkers. View a sneak peek above, shared with ArchDaily by The Spaces, to see just how the Lowline (as the project's known) plans to "plumb" sunlight into an abandoned trolley terminal beneath the city's Delancey Street in an attempt to transform the forgotten space into a sun-lit, subterranean public garden.
"SU+RE HOUSE powers itself with clean solar power, and uses 90 percent less energy than its conventional cousins," says the winning team. "In the aftermath of a storm, SU+RE HOUSE can become a hub of emergency power for surrounding neighborhoods."
October has become a busy month in the design world. If you’re living in the United States, New York specifically, it means Archtober: a portmanteau that means the city is flooded with architecture activities, programs and exhibitions, piled onto an already rich design calendar. One of these events is the New York Architecture & Design Film Festival, which started on Tuesday night and runs through Sunday October 18th, and will screen 30 films from around the world in 15 curated, themed programs.
This week, I was able to visit the festival to absorb the atmosphere and speak to the festival's director Kyle Bergman, to learn the ins and outs of this year’s festival, how things got started, and where it will go in the future.
In a culture dominated by smartphones and Instagram, with estimates that over one trillion photographs will be taken this year alone, it might seem impossible for photographs to make and shape issues in the ways they once did. Despite this, images still steer debates with shocking resiliency and, with luck, become iconic in their own right. As architecture is synonymous with placemaking and cultural memory, it is only logical that images of the built environment can have lasting effects on the issues of architecture and urbanism. It's never been easier for photographs to gain exposure than they can today, and with social media and civilian journalism, debates have never started more quickly.