Set to open to the public on Wednesday after a highly controversial and contested journey from idea to reality, the September 11 Memorial Museum has inevitably been a talking point among critics this week. The museum by Davis Brody Bond occupies the space between the Memorial Plaza at ground level and the bedrock below, with an angular glass pavilion by Snøhetta providing an entrance from above. A long ramp, designed to recall the access ramp with which tons of twisted metal was excavated from the site, descends to the exhibits which sit within the perimeter boundaries of the twin towers’ foundations, underneath the suspended volumes of Michael Arad‘s memorial fountains.
The content of the museum is obviously fraught with painful memories, and the entrance pavilion occupies a privileged position as the only surface level structure ground zero, in opposition to the great voids of the memorial itself. The discussion at the opening of the museum was therefore always going to center on whether the design of the museum – both its built form and the exhibitions contained – were sensitive and appropriate enough for this challenging brief. Read the critics’ takes on the results after the break.
In response to New York City’s rapidly expanding population, NBRS + Partners has proposed a 40 story tall skyscraper that could help the city embrace its rapidly shifting demographics and size. Entitled “VIVO on High Line,” the adaptable steel-frame tower is essentially the vertical extension of the city’s beloved High Line park.
“The podium screen engulfs the High Line folding it in and extending the lifeblood into the building base, like capillary action drawing it vertically,” described the team.
The New York Public Library (NYPL) has abandoned Norman Foster’s controversial plans to transform part of its 20th century Carrère and Hastings “masterpiece” into a circulating library. The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering the city’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio expressed skepticism towards the $150 million renovation earlier this year.
According to a report by the New York Times, Blasio does not intend on reducing the NYPL funding, however the money will now be allocated to other purposes.
Several library trustees have stated that in order to keep up with the cultural shift from traditional stacks to online resources, they now intend on completing the renovation of the library’s mid-Manhattan branch on Fifth Avenue.
A response from Norman Foster, after the break…
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has addressed the “crisis of affordability” by implementing a five-borough, ten-year plan that will build and preserve 200,000 affordable units over the coming decade. Believing affordable housing to be part of “the bedrock of what makes New York City work,” Blasio hopes the plan will make New York, once again, “a place where our most vulnerable, our working people and our middle class can all thrive.” Review the plan in detail and check out one of the largest affordable housing projects planned for the city, here.
Jonathan Kirschenfeld, founder of the Institute for Public Architecture and principal at Jonathan Kirschenfield Architect PC, has been selected to receive the inaugural Henry Hobson Richardson Award. The award, presented by the New York State chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), lauded Kirschenfeld for his “contribution to the quality of New York State public architecture.”
From CLOG. In many countries, architects assume that designing to meet the local building code assures that their buildings are safe for the public. But what if a building’s harm is not in the risk of the building falling down, but in the building performing as intended? If designed for the wrong purpose, can a building be a human rights violation, and if so, what should an architect do about it?
Coinciding with the release of CLOG : PRISONS, the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City and the Masters of Urban Design Program at the Spitzer School of Architecture are hosting a lecture and panel response organized by CLOG that will critically examine the architecture of incarceration.
President of Architects, Designers, Planners for Social Responsibility
Global Justice Director, HOK
Amir Varick Amma
Formerly Incarcerated; Social Activist; Member of the Campaign to End the New Jim Crow and Co-founder of P.A.P.A II
Dr. Divine Pryor
Executive Director of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions
Director of Graduate Urban Design Program, CCNY
Title: CLOG : PRISONS Launch Event at Spitzer School of Architecture
From: Mon, 05 May 2014 18:30
Until: Mon, 05 May 2014 20:30
Venue: Spitzer School of Architecture
Address: The Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, New York, NY 10027, USA
Richard Kelly illuminated some of the twentieth century’s most iconic buildings: the Glass House, Seagram Building and Kimbell Art Museum, to name a few. His design strategy was surprisingly simple, but extremely successful.
Lighting for architecture has been and still often is dominated by an engineering viewpoint, resigned to determining sufficient illuminance levels for a safe and efficient working environment. With a background in stage lighting, Kelly introduced a scenographic perspective for architectural lighting. His point of view might look self-evident to today’s architectural community, but it was revolutionary for his time and has strongly influenced modern architecture.
Read more about Richard Kelly’s remarkable, and unsung, contribution to architecutre, after the break.
This summer, the drawings, theories and works of architect Lebbeus Woods are headed to the city that Lebbeus considered home. After a five-month stay at SFMOMA, the exhibit “Lebbeus Woods – Architect” will be at the Drawing Center in SoHo, Manhattan until mid-June. The following story and overview of the exhibition, by Samuel Medina, originally appeared at Metropolis Magazine as “Coming Home”.
It’s all too biblical an irony that Lebbeus Woods—architect of war, catastrophe, and apocalyptic doom—died as strong winds, rain, and waves barreled down on Manhattan, his home for some 40-odd years. Woods passed the morning after Hurricane Sandy flooded Lower Manhattan, almost as if the prophet had succumbed to one of his turbulent visions. But this apocryphal reading is just one way to view Woods’s work, which, as often as it was concerned with annihilation, always dared to build in the bleakest of circumstances.
Throughout 2014, three major New York institutions – the AIA New York Chapter | Center for Architecture, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Spitzer School of Architecture at City College – will be hosting exhibitions and programs that will celebrate Catalan architecture in New York City. These events serve as the foundation for “Barcelona-New York City Urban Bridge 2014: A Year of Catalan Architecture in New York.”
Defined by their grids and their waterfronts, Barcelona and New York are also distinguished by the passionate devotion of their dwellers to the life of the city. Visit the calendar of events to learn more about the connections between these two great cultural capitals.
Richard Serra has been announced as the first artist to win the Architectural League of New York President’s Medal. Serra, an American sculptor known for his large-scale sheet metal installations, was honored for “contributions his work makes to the way we think about space, viewer and object, site, and materiality, concerns relevant to both architects and the artist.”
As both crowdsourcing and crowdfunding gather momentum in the architecture world, they also gather criticism. The crowdsourcing design website Arcbazar, for example, has recently attracted critics who label it as “the worst thing to happen to architecture since the internet started.” A few months ago, I myself strongly criticized the 17John apartment-hotel in New York for stretching the definition of “crowdfunding” to the point where it lost validity, essentially becoming a meaningless buzzword.
In response to this criticism, I spoke to Rodrigo Nino, the founder of Prodigy Network, the company behind 17 John, who offered to counter my argument. Read on after the break for his take on the benefits of tapping into the ‘wisdom of crowds.’
Philip Johnson’s “iconic” New York State Pavilion has been listed as a “National Treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This designation, which was announced today at the 1964-65 World’s Fair’s 50th anniversary celebration in Queens, declares the pavilion a “historically, culturally and architecturally important site” and will help raise awareness and funding for its preservation. It is now one of just 44 national sites bearing this recognition.
“In the last 50 years, Flushing Meadows Corona Park has grown from the site of the World’s Fair to the home of the World’s Park,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “As we celebrate this anniversary, it is just as important that we look to the next 50 years and plan for the Park’s future. I would like to thank the National Trust for Historic Preservation for honoring the New York State Pavilion as a ‘National Treasure’. This designation will highlight the importance of the Pavilion as a national icon, and help us to continue the conversation about how it can best serve Queens’ residents.”
For the first time in decades, Philip Johnson’s New York State Pavilion will open to the public tomorrow (April 22) in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, “the Pavilion represents a pivotal time in American history when the allure of putting a man on the moon inspired renowned architect Philip Johnson to create this emblem for Space Age enthusiasm,” described Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Chad Kellogg and Matt Bowles of AMLGM have envisioned a new residential tower typology for New York that can connect and transform unused space surrounding various transportation hubs into a dense, mixed-use housing tower.
The proposal, dubbed Urban Alloy, which won first in Metropolis’ Living Cities Residential Tower Competition and received honorable mention in Evolo Skyscrapers 2014, is capable of responding to a number of unique spacial and environmental situations, providing a new way for the city to grow “organically” and provide adequate housing for the expanding population.
Read on for the architect’s description…
Tod Williams has broke his silence in his first interview since the Museum of Modern Art announced their decision to raze the former Folk Art Museum, expressing devastation that the building will be “reduced to a memory.”
“Yes, all buildings one day will turn to dust, but this building could have been reused,” Tod Williams. “Unfortunately, the imagination and the will were not there.”
Though MoMA has promised to preserve the building’s iconic copper-bronze facade, Williams is concerned it will forever stay in storage.
Proposals are being suggested on how to resurrect the facade, as the New York Times reported, including a concept from Nina Libeskind, chief operating officer of Studio Daniel Libeskind, and AIA New York executive director Fredric M. Bell that will be presented to MoMA next week. However, Williams expressed disinterest at the idea of installing fragments of the building elsewhere.