Before the impossibly “super-thin” tower became ubiquitous on the Midtown Manhattan skyline, Raimund Abraham’s Austrian Cultural Forum challenged the limits of what could be built on the slenderest of urban lots. Working with a footprint no bigger than a townhouse (indeed, one occupied the site before the present tower), Abraham erected a daring twenty-four story high-rise only twenty-five feet across. Instantly recognizable by its profile, a symmetrical, blade-like curtain wall cascading violently toward the sidewalk, ACFNY was heralded by Kenneth Frampton as “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Museum of 1959.” 
For the next year, visitors at New York's Brooklyn Bridge Park will have the chance to interact with "Please Touch the Art", an exhibition of works by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. Playful, inventive, and immediately striking, Hein's work engages audiences as "active participants," inviting spontaneity and user interaction. Curated by Nicholas Baume, the exhibition contains three bodies of work by Hein: the soaring water jets of Appearing Rooms, the sixteen bright red benches of Modified Social Benches, and the reflective vertical planks of Mirror Labyrinth NY.
Learn more about the Mirror Labyrinth NY installation and view selected images after the break.
Next week, the New Museum in New York will kickstart the annual IDEAS CITY Festival on Thursday, May 28th. Themed after Italo Calvino's "The Invisible City," the three-day event will "explore questions of transparency and surveillance, citizenship and representation, expression and suppression, participation and dissent, and the enduring quest for visibility in the city" through a number of platforms, such as panels discussions, poetry slams, mobile art installations, workshops, exhibitions and most notably the transformation of New York City's Bowery neighborhood into a "temporary city of ideas."
Interested in attending? Five of our readers have the chance to win tickets to the festival's opening conference. Enter the sweepstakes below for a chance to watch a screening of Mannahatta: Studies for an Opera about Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, listen to Bjarke Ingels discuss the relevance of literary speculation, and much more (the full conference schedule).
All those who will be in New York City on May 28th are eligible to participate. Follow the instructions to enter below.
Construction has commenced on Steven Holl Architects' Hunters Point Community Library in Queens, New York. Rising along the shoreline on the city's East River near a cluster of newly built high-rise condominiums, the 22,000 square-foot (6,705 meter) library aims to provide a community-centric public space and park to the increasingly privatized Long Island City waterfront.
Herzog & de Meuron's 56 Leonard is taking shape in New York. Due to top out this summer, the 60-story condominium has become known as the “Jenga tower” for its cantilevered glass facade. Upon its completion in 2016, the 821 foot-tall (250 meter) Tribeca building will be comprised of 145 residences and will feature a Anish Kapoor sculpture at its base. Check out the Rob Cleary time-lapse above to view the building's progress over the last year.
SecondMedia has been selected as the winner of Storefront for Art and Architecture's 2015 Street Architecture Prize Competition. Now in its third year, the biennial international competition seeks to implement temporary outdoor installations that facilitate "new forms of collective public gathering." Participants in the 2015 competition were asked to respond to the theme of New York's IDEAS City Festival, "The Invisible City." SecondMedia's winning proposal 'Foamspace' -- which envisions creating an "urban lounge" with Geofoam blocks -- beat out over 70 submissions from teams of artists, engineers, and architects across the globe.
Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.
LocationGarrison, NY 10524, USA
Architect in ChargeSharon Davis
Project ArchitectJeff Wandersman
Location99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014, USA
Partners in ChargeM.Carroll, E.Trezzani
Partner in Charge Cooper RobertsonScott Newman, FAIA
Renzo Piano has designed a limited-edition handbag for the Italian fashion brand Max Mara to match his newly completed Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The leather, top-handle bag, inspired by the "pure design and sophisticated materials" of the Whitney, features distinct ribbing inspired by the museum's facade.
"Our aim was to apply one of the most characteristic elements of the museum project - the facade - to the bag: hence the idea of the modular strips enveloping the exterior," said Piano in an interview with Max Mara. "We tried to maintain a simple, pure design, working only on the details by applying a creative use of technology and placing the accent on respect for the materials."
According to the New York Post, Renzo Piano has been commissioned by Michael Shvo and Bizzi & Partners to design his first US residential tower. Planned to rise in the southern Manhattan district of Soho at 100 Varick Street, the Piano-designed tower will include up to 280,000 square-feet of housing and reach nearly 300 feet. Featured amenities include a "gated private driveway" and "automated parking." Stay tuned for more details.
The Architectural League of New York has awarded its President's Medal to Henry N. Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects. The League's highest honor, the medal was awarded to Cobb “for the truly consequential work he has created as designer, educator, thinker, writer, and leader,” says the jury citation.
"We are inspired by his decades-long passion for the art of architecture; by his analytic rigor, manifest in subtle and articulate buildings and penetrating readings of history and place; by the broad and profoundly informed humanist culture that suffuses his writings and approach to education; and by the unbounded curiosity and delight he takes in new ideas, new work, and new talent. Henry N. Cobb embodies that combination of capability and conviction—artistic, intellectual, practical, and civic—that defines the ideal architect.”
World Expos have long been important in advancing architectural innovation and discourse. Many of our most beloved monuments were designed and constructed specifically for world’s fairs, only to remain as iconic fixtures in the cities that host them. But what is it about Expos that seem to create such lasting architectural landmarks, and is this still the case today? Throughout history, each new Expo offered architects an opportunity to present radical ideas and use these events as a creative laboratory for testing bold innovations in design and building technology. World’s fairs inevitably encourage competition, with every country striving to put their best foot forward at almost any cost. This carte blanche of sorts allows architects to eschew many of the programmatic constraints of everyday commissions and concentrate on expressing ideas in their purest form. Many masterworks such as Mies van der Rohe’s German Pavilion (better known as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition are so wholeheartedly devoted to their conceptual approach that they could only be possible in the context of an Exposition pavilion.
To celebrate the opening of Expo Milano 2015 tomorrow, we’ve rounded up a few of history’s most noteworthy World Expositions to take a closer look at their impact on architectural development.
Bjarke Ingels has built a reputation for formulating new urban hybrids. From merging power plants with ski slopes to reintroducing nature to the workspace, Ingels' well-respected practice BIG is missioned to realize the fictitious world we all dream to inhabit by redefining conventional building typologies. An example of this is the Danish practice's New York "courtscraper" - W57, a clever union of the courtyard building and skyscraper that guarantees sunlight to all its inhabitants. Watch the video above to learn more.
A new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that BIG may replace Foster + Partners to realize the World Trade Center 2 (WTC2) tower - the final tower planned to be built on Ground Zero. The 79-story tower, originally designed in 2006, was stalled due to the economic crash of 2008.
According to the report, 21st Century Fox and News Corp have "tipped" BIG to redesign the tower should they strike an agreement with project backers Silverstein Properties and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to move into the tower. If the deal goes through, the two companies would occupy nearly half of the building - enough to kickstart development.
Construction is underway on SHoP Architects' newest addition to the New York skyline - 626 First Avenue. The conjoined residential towers, slated for completion in early 2016, aims to stimulate development on the city's East River. Once complete, they will add 800 residential units to the area connected via a sky bridge. Featured amenities will include an indoor lap pool, communal lounge areas, rooftop deck, fitness center, and film screening room. In addition to the cooper structures, SHoP will also design all the buildings' interiors and furniture, making the development a true gesamtkunstwerk.
Read on for more images of the project and a fly-through around the structure.
Uncovered by New York YIMBY, five new images have been revealed showing SHoP Architects' supertall and super-slender tower at 111 West 57th Street in Manhattan, just south of Central Park on what has become known as "Billionaire's Row" (on account of the slew of new residential skyscrapers with some unit prices approaching $100 million).
Manhattan based real-estate company HFZ Capital Group has announced "The Bryant," David Chipperfield Architects' first residential condominium project in New York City, located at 16 West 40th Street. The proposal for the 32-story building features a hotel on the lower levels, with 57 apartments ranging from one- to four-bedrooms, including two duplex penthouses, on floors 15 through 32 - offering residents "the rare opportunity to live in a new construction, residential development on the fully-restored Bryant Park," according to the developers.
No architect played a greater role in shaping the twentieth century Manhattan skyline than Ralph Thomas Walker, winner of the 1957 AIA Centennial Gold Medal and a man once dubbed “Architect of the Century” by the New York Times.  But a late-career ethics scandal involving allegations of stolen contracts by a member of his firm precipitated his retreat from the architecture establishment and his descent into relative obscurity. Only recently has his prolific career been popularly reexamined, spurred by a new monograph and a high-profile exhibit of his work at the eponymous Walker Tower in New York in 2012.