There First

East
Thursday, March 11, 2010
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Designed by Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) Rescue 1, completed in 1988, is the first facility designed for a rescue company. (Courtesy Eduard Hueber)

My story on Rescue 3′s new firehouse in the Bronx, designed by Polshek Partnership, alleged that it was the first such facility ever designed specifically for a rescue company’s needs. Alas, that assertion was woefully wrong. In 1987, Elemental Architecture (then The Stein Partnership) designed the new headquarters for Rescue Company 1—the first rescue company in the world. Located on West 43rd St. in Manhattan, the building includes many features tailored to the elite unit’s needs. These include a quick release system that allows the company’s Zodiac boat to be dropped from the ceiling and attached to the top of the apparatus, a decontamination shower (now a standard feature for FDNY and many other fire departments), and a SCUBA recharging station. Read More

Manslaughter

East
Monday, March 8, 2010
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The May 30th, 2008 crane collapse on East 91st St.

Today, the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has handed out an indictment to two companies, their owner, and a crane mechanic in connection with the 2008 collapse of a tower crane on East 91st St. that killed the crane operator and a worker. New York Crane, J.F. Lomma, James Lomma, and former employee of New York Crane, Tibor Virganyi, face charges of criminally negligent homicide and manslaughter, as well as charges of assault and reckless endangerment. “Today’s indictment is an important step not only in holding these defendants accountable for their conduct, but should send a message to the construction industry that that profit cannot be put ahead of safety,” said Vance in a statement. New York Crane also owned the tower crane that collapsed on March 15 at the Azure condo on East 51st St. That incident was even more catastrophic, demolishing a building and killing seven people. The two collapses exposed corruption and bribery within the DOB’s crane unit, forced the resignation of then-Commissioner Patricia Lancaster, and gave rise to a study of construction oversight and safety.

Gateway Of India

International, Other
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
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Built in 1911 to commemorate a visit from King George V and Queen Mary, Mumbai's Gateway of India is now welcoming a wealth of American architectural talent.

The past ten years have seen an impressive amount of economic growth and infrastructural development in India, and the nation is becoming more and more a well established market for American architectural talent. This trend doesn’t seem to be changing as we embark on a new decade. One sign of that is the September 2009 opening of an office in Mumbai by structural engineering firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA). Founded in 1923 in New York City, LERA has contributed its services to many of the city’s iconic structures (such as the World Trade Center) and has designed buildings all around the world, but this will be its first foreign office. A release by the firm cited a “growing workload” and the need to “facilitate client relations” as key reasons for the opening. LERA will join a number of other American architecture firms that have recently opened branches in the subcontinent, including HOK and Perkins Eastman. See some of the projects LERA has worked on after the jump.

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DOT Makes It Rain

National
Friday, February 19, 2010
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The DOT awarded the Moynihan Station project $83 million.

On Wednesday, right on deadline, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the winners of its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant winners. Out of 1,400 applications totaling $60 billion in requests, the agency awarded $1.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money to 51 transportation projects in 41 states. The projects ranged in scale from bike paths to major bridges and freight rail installations and the grants ranged in size from $3 million to $105 million. Priority was given to projects that needed federal funds in order to complete their funding package and to projects that are expected to be completed within three years. In New York, the DOT awarded $83 million to the first phase of Moynihan Station. This bit of good news for the project, which has been mired for years in funding difficulties, was bolstered yesterday when Amtrak reaffirmed its intentions to move its operations into the proposed station.

Energy City

National
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
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Last year, the Center for Land Use Interpretation of Culver City, California, exhibited its study of the Texas oil industry: Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry. The centerpiece of the exhibit was a 12-minute “landscan” video of the petrochemical infrastructure along the Houston Ship Channel—refineries, tank farms, pipe lines—the largest such installation in the world. Now, at long last, the CLUI has posted the video online, giving us another breathtaking perspective of this terrifying and beautiful landscape.

Times Square Fish Tale

East
Thursday, February 11, 2010
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A Toronto-based developer may build a 600,000-gallon aquarium in the base of the FXFowle-designed 11 Times Square. (Courtesy FXFowle)

Did you have a nice time watching Phantom of the Opera? Did you buy all that you could carry from The Disney Store? Have fun strolling down the soon-to-be-redesigned Broadway plazas? Why not pop around the corner and check out a peep show? I’m not talking naked ladies here, I’m talking real live sharks! This isn’t a joke. In the very near future this may be an option. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Jerry Shefsky—a Toronto-based developer—is near to closing a deal with SJP Properties to put a 600,000-gallon aquarium in the base of the company’s brand spanking new 11 Times Square office tower. In addition to the aforementioned sharks, the $100 million project would include tanks featuring rays, penguins, otters, and drier attractions such as a pirate museum. This could even serve as a model for other financially troubled projects in the city. Perhaps turn Stuytown into a zoo? Not that it isn’t one already.

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Freedom At 200 Feet

East
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
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Construction on One World Trade Center, formerly known as the Freedom Tower, has reached 200 feet above street level.

The Port Authority announced today that steel erection for One World Trade Center has reached the 20th floor, or 200 feet above street level. For this particular project, that means that 8,000 tons of structural steel have been installed by DCM Erectors—700 tons more than all the steel in the Eiffel Tower. Currently, ironworkers are installing 16 giant steel nodes, some as big as 175 tons, which will act as joints between the framing of the podium and the rest of the tower. From here on out construction should move much faster, and completion is expected in 2013. The first 20 floors required very complex framing, whereas the remainder of the erection will be standard office floors. You can view more images of the construction at the Port Authority’s Flickr page.

Do Not Let Me Down

International
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
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The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is one of the only major structures to survive the earthquake and has become an important base for relief operations.

Engineering News Record brings us the news that the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is one of the few major buildings to survive the January 12th earthquake with only minor damage. According to the report, the facility remained functional during and after the earthquake: the electricity stayed on, communications systems continued to function, and water and air kept operating. As a result the building has become an important center for relief efforts. The reason that the 134,000-square-foot structure escaped the general devastation seems to be that it was built recently in accordance with the International Building Code and the State Department’s Overseas Building Operations requirements. The building was constructed between 2005 and 2008 as a design-build project by New York City-based Fluor Corp, was bolstered by reinforced concrete shear walls, and had mechanical and electrical systems built to withstand seismic events.

lumenHAUS on Broadway

East
Thursday, January 28, 2010
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Virginia Tech's entry to the 2009 DOE Solar Decathlon, lumenHAUS, in Times Square.

If you can’t make it to the Hafele showroom tonight for the presentation on lumenHAUS—Virginia Tech’s entry to the 2009 DOE Solar Decathlon—don’t worry about it. AN was in Times Square last night to get the inside skinny on the solar-powered wonder house. In a quest to reconcile contemporary goals of sustainability with modern architecture, the VT team went beyond solar arrays. They began by studying the Farnsworth House and looking for ways to increase its insulation while maintaining its connection to its surroundings. That inquiry led to the design of a steel-framed glass box outfitted with two layers of sliding panels. Read More

The Sun In Times Square

East
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
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Virginia Tech's entry to the 2009 DOE Solar Decathlon is on display this week in Times Square.

If you didn’t have a chance to make it down to D.C. for the 2009 Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, now is your chance to make up for it. Starting today and running through Sunday, Virginia Tech’s entry will be on display in Times Square. Known as lumenHAUS, the 800-square-foot single family home is replete with high tech features such as an iPhone interface, smart controls that automatically adjust climate systems, and of course solar power. If any of this peaks your interest, professors from the Virginia Tech School of Art + Design will be giving a presentation tomorrow night from 6:00 to 7:30 at the Hafele showroom, 25 East 26th St.

Gehry Windfall

East
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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Emergency services closed down streets yesterday after high winds blew debris off of the Gehry-designed Beekman Tower.

Yesterday’s high winds and rain did more than make life miserable for AN staff members with holes in their shoes. They also brought a stop work order down on Forest City Ratner’s Beekman Tower. According to the DOB’s complaint, metal and plywood fell from the 72-story Frank Gehry-designed structure in an approximately 2 1/2-block radius around City Hall Park. No injuries were reported, though a metal turnbuckle did collide with a parked car and emergency services shut down streets. These events followed the DOB’s issuance of a high wind advisory on Sunday. In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Building Commissioner Robert LiMandri sternly reminded contractors that such advisories must be heeded. The GC at the Beekman Tower is Kreisler Borg Florman.

Farm Economics

Other
Friday, January 22, 2010
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Students at PS 216 in Brooklyn will soon have a new class in their curriculum: Farming 101. (Courtesy WorkAC)

A couple of days ago the New York Times buried a bit of architecture news in their Dining & Wine section: WorkAC has designed facilities for the first New York affiliate of the Edible Schoolyard program. Initiated by the Chez Panisse foundation and begun 15 years ago at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA, the program offers students the opportunity to be involved in the planting, growing, and harvesting of seasonal produce. While much of the project will involve tearing up an asphalt yard to make way for planting beds, the heart will be a new kitchen classroom designed by WorkAC, which has dabbled before in edible architecture. The building’s butterfly-shaped roof will collect rainwater for irrigation, and a 1,600-square-foot moveable greenhouse will extend the growing season. The building will be solar powered and will also include a chicken coop, dishwashing facilities, and a toolshed. More images after the jump.

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