Yesterday afternoon, we had the pleasure of attending the opening day of Ben van Berkel’sNew Amsterdam Pavilion in Peter Minuit Plaza, just outside Battery Park in Manhattan. After walking around the pavilion and watching New Yorkers’ first encounters with the new sculptural piece, we had the opportunity to study the project with Mr. van Berkel as he explained his ideas and process. The pavilion is a gift from the Netherlands to New York in honour of 400 years of friendship; yet the pavilion does not attempt to physically manifest a representation of that relationship. Rather, the pavilion can be interpreted in different ways and speaks to both the history and the future of the city.
More about our talk with van Berkel and more images after the break.
Through February 2010, New York’s Urban Center Books is exploring the relationship between architecture and print with Unpacking My Library, an exhibition of the book collections of prominent New York architects such as Steven Holl and Michael Sorkin.
The Waterpod ProjectTM has been floating around the New York area for the past few months gaining a lot of attention. Beginning in Newtown Creek, between Brooklyn and Queens, the Pod is moving down the East River and Hudson River. As reported by Melena Ryzik for The New York Times (view her articles here) this experimental project investigates the blend of community living and artistry. Showcasing artworks, performances and such, the WaterpodTM, is an eco-conscious environment that was designed “In preparation for our coming world with an increase in population, a decrease in usable land, and a greater flux in environmental conditions, people will need to rely closely on immediate communities and look for alternative living models; the Waterpod is about cooperation, collaboration, augmentation, and metamorphosis,” explained Mary Mattingly, a photographer who thought of the Waterpod idea.
Robert D.Henry Architects just finished the latest SHO Shaun Hergatt restaurant at 40 Broad Street in Manhattan, New York. The restaurant aims to “touch on all of the five senses” to create a full dining experience. “The more our senses are engaged synchronistically, the more powerful our experience; this viewpoint shapes everything we do now,” explained Henry.
This competition has been a field for experimentation on digital manufacturing, new materials and new construction techniques -all under a tight budget-, as we saw in 2008 with the P.F.1 by WORKac.
To keep the courtyard fresh, a series of “hut” like structures conformed by inverted catenaries (part of an on going research by the practice) acting as chimneys: The faux fur that covers them collects heat from the sun, transfering it to the air inside the huts creating a chimney effect that keeps air flowing to cool the lower level.
The resulting space corresponds to the after-party concept envisioned by MOS:
The main purpose of the afterparty is to provide a relaxing environment, as compared to the earlier venue, where the atmosphere is usually more frenetic. During an afterparty people often sit down, relax, and chat freely, meet new people in a more controlled setting. If the original party was one that continued until late at night, the afterparty will often include a morning snack, which usually counts as breakfast. …. Possibly in contrast to relaxation, the afterparty can provide a chance for people to get away from the eyes of people who were overseeing the main party. This tends to be more common in events such as school balls where alcohol consumption is not allowed, and provides a location where the partygoers will be allowed to drink. In this case, the afterparty may turn out to be more lively than the main party, as the people are freed from the restrictions that were placed on them during the main party.
All photos by Florian Holzherr. See more after the break:
With the countless number of ridiculously tall skyscrapers planned for around the world, it is remarkable the controversy an 82-story skyscraper for Midtown Manhattan can create. Three years ago, MoMa completed an $858 million expansion, yet the museum is still in need of additional room to house its growing collections. The Modern sold their Midtown lot to Hines, an international real estate developer, for$125 million. Hines, in turn, asked Pritzker Prize Laureate French architect Jean Nouvel to design two possible solutions for the site. “A decade ago anyone who was about to invest hundreds of millions on a building would inevitably have chosen the more conservative of the two. But times have changed. Architecture is a form of marketing now, and Hines made the bolder choice,” reported Nicolai Ouroussoff for The New York Times.
“Bolder” is certainly fitting to describe Nouvel’s Torre de Verre which is planned for 53 West 53rd Street. The 1,250 foot tower will offer approximately 40,000 sq feet of new gallery space for the MoMa, in addition to 150 residential apartments and 100 hotels rooms. The tower’s unique silhouette will dominate the Midtown block, rising higher than the iconic Chrysler Building. Its irregular structural pattern has been called “out of scale” on numerous occasions by opponents of the project. Some complain that the tower will “violate the area’s integrity” noting that its height will obscure views and light. Shadow studies show that the building may plunge apartments in the area and the ice-skating rink at Central Park into darkness.
The aesthetic is definitely foreign to Midtown and, yet, while most are quick to reject change, the tower will sit in an area surrounded by highly revolutionary buildings. Its new neighbors include Philip Johnson’s “Lipstick Building” at Third Avenue; Hugh Stubbins’ Citicorp Building at Lexington Avenue, Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building and SOM’s Lever House at Park Avenue. At some point in time, each of those buildings exemplified a change in style, and yet now, they are staples in the area’s heritage.
With controversy still surrounding Nouvel’s design as it moves through the city’s review process (ULURP), John Beckmann and his firm, Axis Mundi decided to do something about it. A few short days ago, Axis Mundi unveiled a conceptual alternative design for 53 West 53rd Street. The alternative features a 600 foot, 50 story mixed use building that ”rethinks the tall buildings that have become synonymous with New York City’s identity.” Beckmann explained, ”Historically, the skyscraper was a unitary, homogeneous form that reflected the generic, flexible office space it contained…The Vertical Neighborhood is more organic and more flexible–an assemblage of disparate architectural languages. It reflects an emerging reality for tall buildings as collections of domestic elements: dwellings, neighborhoods, streets.”
More images and more about Axis Mundi’s alternative after the break.
A few months ago we had the chance to enjoy the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles for Postopolis! LA. The renovation of an old building was very well done, very good work in terms of details.
And for the Standard Hotel in New York, André Balazs repeats the formula of good design and details, but on a brand new building by Polshek Partnership Architects. The concrete building reminds of Le Corbusier works, standing over The Highline. The integration at the public space level turns this building into more than just another addition to the NY skyline, becoming an urban piece of the Meat Packing district, a detonator of the current renovation of the area.
The 20-story tall building includes 337 rooms, a restaurant (The Standard Grill) and a bar (The Living Room). Interiors were designed by NY based architects Roman and Williams.
Our friend Rob Ley sent us info on their latest installation, Reef, which we’ll be checking out next week. Reef, an installation by Los Angeles Designers Rob Ley (Urbana) and Joshua G. Stein (Radical Craft) is currently on view at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. This kinetic sculptural installation takes advantage of new Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) technology to create a responsive environment.
The editors at suckerPUNCH are sponsoring an open international design competition. Perfectly situated but notoriously maligned, the Gowanus Canal borders the vibrant Brooklyn neighborhoods of Red Hook, Park Slope, and Carroll Gardens. As a result of heavy industrial pollution, the canal took on an iridescent purple sheen gaining it the nickname “Lavender Lake.”
In May 2003, James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro competed against 720 teams from 36 countries to win the infrastructure conversion project of the New York City High Line. More than half a decade later, the High Line’s transition to a public park is almost complete. On June 8th, architects, elected officials, and advocates watched as Mayor Michael Bloomberg cut the ceremonial red ribbon, officially announcing the opening of the first of three sections. The new park offers an alluring break from the chaotic city streets as users have an opportunity to experience an elevated space with uninterrupted views of the Hudson River and the city skyline.
More info about the park, including an incredible set of photos by architecture photographer Iwan Baan and a video by Brooklyn Foundry after the break.
UPDATE: We corrected some credits of this project. You can see the full list here.
Over the next few weeks, a series of fundraising benefits dedicated to educating the public about New York City’s architecture is being hosted by Private Spaces/Private Access. Openhousenewyork (OHNY) will host five cocktail receptions in an effort to promote awareness about design to all who participate.
Amidst financial buildings and high-rise apartments, Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut has redefined the conventional skyscraper. His 132 story complex for the south edge of Roosevelt Island addresses the pressing need for environmental and ecological sustainability. This conceptual design focuses on creating a completely self-sustaining organism that not only utilizes solar, wind, and water energies, but also addresses the pending food shortage problem.