City Council has approved Cornell’s two-million-square-foot tech campus planned to break ground in 2014 on New York’s Roosevelt Island. Masterplanned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM), the ambitious carbon positive campus will offer housing for 2,000 full-time graduate students, world-class education facilities, a hotel, a corporate co-location building, and more than an acre of public open space. Construction will commence with the first, state-of-the-art academic building that will be designed by Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, who will incorporate the latest environmental advances, such as geothermal and solar power, to achieve net-zero energy for the landmark structure.
For the past four decades, as cities faced financial pressures, high-rise public housing met its decline. Cities throughout the country demolished public housing that was failing financially and socially, like Chicago’s Cabrini-Green Housing Project whose demolition was completed in 2011, to make way for mixed use developments that encouraged economic and social diversity by way of the HOPE VI Program. This strategy resulted in the uprooting and relocation of former residents who faced uncertainty throughout the process.
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) stands out among housing authorities in the United States due to its size – 179,000 units in 2,600 buildings across the city – and the fact that the buildings are relatively well maintained. NYCHA has avoided resorting to demolitions to deal with its issues, instead resorting to special police services that costs NYCHA a purported $70 million a year. Over the past decade NYCHA has been underfunded by approximately $750 million causing backlogs in necessary repairs.
To address the mounting costs of public housing, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has proposed an infill strategy that would attract developers onto NYCHA land and create a new layer of commercial space and residential units in public housing developments. The goal over the next five years is to develop methods of preservation for the housing development and promote mixed-use and mixed-income developments to generate income for NYCHA.
More on the plan after the break.
An interesting phenomenon is taking place in London: the priciest tiers of its housing market are increasingly being driven by overseas investment, primarily from the Far East. The most interesting – and perhaps most concerning – aspect of these investments is that at least 37% those who buy property in the most expensive neighborhoods of central London do not intend to use that property as a primary residence. This results in upscale neighborhoods and residential properties that are largely abandoned and contribute almost nothing to the local economy of the city. Parts of Manhattan are experiencing similar behavior, leading us to ask the question “what is happening to our cities as they become more and more globalized and how will this trend affect city economies around the world?”
Read more after the break…
In an effort to “unlock people’s imaginations” about Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has challenged Santiago Calatrava, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SHoP Architects and SOM to propose four new visions that exemplify the potential of the highly disregarded area.
The challenge comes amidst a heated debate on whether or not the city should restrict Madison Square’s recently expired special permit to 10 years, rather than in perpetuity as the arena’s owners – the Dolan family – has requested. This would allow time for the city to “get it right” and come up with a viable solution for the arena and station that, as NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman states, would not only “improve the safety and quality of life for millions of people but also benefit the economy”. Think Kings Cross in London. With a thoughtful mix of public and private investments, the crime-ridden station was transformed into a thriving cultural destination that benefited all parties.
More after the break…
Despite NYC’s recent bout with nature, Mayor Bloomberg is undeterred from developing housing along NYC’s long stretch of waterfront, taking into account that proper measures are taken for storm and flooding mitigation. The latest in large scale developments comes to Hunter’s Point South in the neighborhood of Long Island City in Queens. The first of such a scale since the 1970s development of Co-Op City in the Bronx, plans will include two phases of design and construction. The first phase, designed by SHoP Architects with Ismael Leyva Architects will bring two residential towers with 925 permanently affordable apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail space, infrastructural installations, a five-acre waterfront park, and a 1,100-seat school.
Join us after the break for more on this large scale development in Long Island City.
Non-profit art organization FIGMENT asked the question “What would an art pavilion made out of recycled materials and based around the idea of “The City of Dreams” look like to you?” STUDIOKCA decided that it looks like an earthly cloud made of recycled water bottles; “A place to dream, in the ‘city of dreams’.”
This competition-winning cumulus, entitled ‘Head In The Clouds’, is campaigning to be the central pavilion at FIGMENT’s free art festival on Governor’s island in NYC this summer. The cloudy-centerpiece will contain a stage for events and provide a place for the 200,000 festival-goers to dream and contemplate the changing light.
Support their Kickstarter campaign here and continue reading after the break for more info…
After months of debate, the United States Congress has passed a bill that will allocate $51 billion to Hurricane Sandy relief helping the thousands who lost their homes and businesses to the devastating storm last October. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that $400 million of the aid will be used to fund New York’s buyout program, an initiative to help address the damaged homes and coastline. The program is two-fold; in part it will help reimburse the property damage caused by the storm, but the initiative has a larger goal, which is to address the nature of coastal flooding and create a barrier that would mitigate the damage created to the coast by storm surges in the future. Since the storm, there have been many suggestions as to how to prepare for the type of damage brought on by Hurricane Sandy of 2012 and Hurricane Irene of 2011. These suggestions range from flood gates to barrier reefs. Cuomo’s buyout program, as reported by the Architect’s Newspaper Blog, hopes to encourage residents along vulnerable flood zones to sell their land to the city for the development of a natural coast that would absorb the impact of strong winds and storm surges.
More after the break…
It’s a race to the top as developers are reaching higher and higher with impressive glass skyscrapers that house exclusive apartments and panoramic views across Manhattan, level with some of the city’s tallest buildings. Gary Barnett of Extell Development Co. is the man behind the 1,005 foot high One57 tower in Midtown Manhattan. He announced last month that he would be developing the tallest residential building in New York City (without the help of a spire). Adrian Smith, chosen as the architect for the job, is best known for his work on the Burj Dubai. The new building, still in its early stages of design planning and financing, will tower over the Empire State Building at a planned 1600 feet, that’s just 176 feet shy of World Trade One, the tallest building in Manhattan.
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.
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.
- 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!
To celebrate the start of a seven-month land use review process, Cornell has released preliminary renderings of the first academic building planned for Cornell Tech – the new world-class technology and entrepreneurship campus in New York City that was masterplanned by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM).
The modern campus strives to rethink academic workspace, prioritize environmental performance, and exploit the unique urban condition of Roosevelt Island. In May, Pritzker Prize laureate Thom Mayne, founder of Morphosis, was appointed as architect of the first landmark building, which will set the stage for the carbon positive campus.
Continue after the break to learn more.
Tonight, Kengo Kuma will be lecturing at the Woodbury School of Architecture in San Diego at 6:30pm. Shortly following his Woodbury appearance, the Japanese architect will then make his way across the country to Columbia University’s GSAAP (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation)Wood Auditorium in New York City to present his lecture, Minimize: Small Architecture after 3/11, on Wednesday the 10th at 6:30pm. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
New York’s Mayor Bloomberg is pushing for an updated zoning code for Midtown Manhattan which will affect the blocks around Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building, and north toward the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and Lever House. This new code, called Midtown East, would replace existing building height restrictions and allow high-rise towers to soar in the 70-block area currently outfitted with older buildings of lower stature. If Midtown East is approved, developers would be able to build twice the size now permitted in the Grand Central area, bringing an estimated 16,000 employees in a neighborhood that now has 230,000 office workers.
In such a densely populated area of Manhattan, what will be the urban implication of allowing building heights to soar past their current height regulation? While the potential to increase the real estate value is a driving force for such an initiative, will this financial gain outweigh the drawbacks of new stresses that will be placed upon existing infrastructure and city functioning? The Bloomberg administration feels that such an initiative is needed to maintain the Grand Central area as “one of the premier business addresses”; however, the community is not as fast to support the idea and regard the proposal as just another example of Bloomberg’s latest attempts to make his mark on the city before his years in office are through.
More after the break.
In an effort to make New York City’s built environment “more livable and hospitable” the Department of Design and Construction (DDC), Health and Mental Hygiene, Transportation (DOT), and City Planning have developed the Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design to be referenced in conjunction with the DOT’s Street Design Manual and other guidelines produced by NYC. The guidelines are written for urban planners, designers and architects and are driven by the need to address health concerns such as obesity and diabetes through intelligent design. Our built environments give us cues as to how to inhabit them and have tremendous effects, sometimes subconscious, on our lifestyles. Do you walk, drive, or bike to work? Do you take the stairs or the elevator? We make these types of decisions, which are largely based on comfort, on a daily basis. But the guidelines established in this manual are intended to give designers the tools to encourage healthy lifestyle choices to address the social concerns of NYC. So, what can planners, architects and designers do to create an active and healthy city? Find out after the break.
The New York Economic Development Corporation and Mayor Bloomberg of NYC announced the completion of the final plan for Willets Point - a peninsula on the Flushing River in Northern Queens, New York. The development of Willets Point is part of the urban renewal project associated with Citi Field – the Mets’ new stadium. Nicknamed the Iron Triangle, the project will include housing for mixed incomes, retail and entertainment amenities, a hotel, a convention center, office space, parks and open space, and a new public school, all of which falls under the umbrella of LEED-certified buildings and infrastructure. As with every redevelopment plan, there are positives and negatives to restructuring the community.
Read on for more after the break.
Walk into the cafeteria at the Googleplex and you are nudged into the “right” choice. Sweets? Color-coded red and placed on the bottom shelf to make them just a bit harder to reach. “Instead of that chocolate bar, sir, wouldn’t you much rather consume this oh-so-conveniently-located apple? It’s good for you! Look, we labelled it green!” 
Like the Google cafeteria guides you to take responsibility of your health, Google wants to transform the construction industry to take responsibility of the “health” of its buildings. They have been leveraging for transparency in the content of building materials, so that, like consumers who read what’s in a Snickers bar before eating it, they’ll know the “ingredients” of materials to choose the greenest, what they call “healthiest,” options.
These examples illustrate the trend of “medicalization” in our increasingly health-obsessed society: when ordinary problems (such as construction, productivity, etc.) are defined and understood in medical terms. In their book Imperfect Health, Borasi and Zardini argue that through this process, architecture and design has been mistakenly burdened with the normalizing, moralistic function of “curing” the human body. 
While I find the idea that design should “force” healthiness somewhat paternalistic and ultimately limited, I don’t think this “medicalized” language is all bad – especially if we can use it in new and revitalizing ways. Allow me to prescribe two examples: the most popular and the (potentially) most ambitious urban renewal projects in New York City today, the High Line and the Delancey Underground (or the Low Line).
More on “curative” spaces after the break. (Trust me, it’s good for you.)
We’ve been covering the Freedom Tower quite extensively, sharing documentaries, time lapse videos, renderings and even news the tower’s first major tenant. And, today, director Gaspard Giroud shared this amazing clip of the progress on the tower. Commissioned by Silverstein Properties, Piranha NYC, a motion graphic design and visual effects company, wrote, produced, art directed, filmed, and finished all vfx for this inspiring piece marking the 10th year anniversary of 9/11. The clip was then presented a few days ago at Tower 7 in the presence of Mayor Bloomberg. We love how the film condenses the building’s time lapse of construction – especially the reflections of the progress in car windows and even through the glass façade of a neighboring building. And, of course, it’s a beautiful thing to see people occupying the finished tower. What do you think of the film?