Slideshow> New York Subway Construction Creates Enormous Cathedrals of Transit

East, Newsletter
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
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Manhattan's East Side Access Tunnel will connect the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Terminal. (Courtesy MTA)

Manhattan’s East Side Access Tunnel will connect the Long Island Railroad with Grand Central Terminal. (Courtesy MTA / Patrick Cashin)

There’s plenty of tunneling going on underneath the streets of Manhattan. On the west side, digging through the city’s bedrock has given way to interior station fit-ups for the Dattner-designed 7 line subway stations connecting Times Square to Hudson Yards as early as 2014. To the east, sandhogs continue to carve through solid rock for the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway Line while other crews outfit the tunnels with concrete and rebar.

Between the two, more massive caverns are being opened up beneath Grand Central Terminal, which turned 100 this month, that will extend the Long Island Railroad to the famed station from Sunnyside, Queens in 2019. The $8.24 billion East Side Access Project will allow commuters to bypass Penn Station and enter Manhattan 12-stories below Grand Central. Now, the MTA has released a dramatic set of photos from inside the 3.5-mile-long tunnel, revealing enormous cathedral-like spaces connected by perfectly cylindrical tunnels. Take a look.

View the slideshow after the jump.

In Construction> High Line Construction Reaches into Hudson Yards

East
Friday, February 15, 2013
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Hudson Yards broke ground late last year, but the Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed tower that will one day be the headquarters of fashion-label Coach isn’t the only construction activity causing a buzz on the 26-acre site on Manhattan’s West Side. Wrapping around the south and west sides of the Hudson Yards site, construction crews are busy building out the final segment of the High Line, including sandblasting and refurbishing the steel viaduct, repainting the steel structure’s beams, girders, and columns with the High Line’s signature “Greenblack” color, and removing and storing existing railroad tracks. Landscape construction is expected to begin later this spring.

The Friends of the High Line recently stopped by the construction site with photographer Timothy Schenck to take these photos of work in progress. Be sure to take a look at James Corner Field Operations’ design for the final segment here.

More photos after the jump.

Tree Expert: Speed Art Museum Mystery Tree Likely A Youngster

Midwest
Friday, February 15, 2013
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The Oak tree in 1974, left, and a more recent view, right. (Speed Art Museum / Via WFPL)

The Oak tree in 1974, left, and a more recent view, right. (Speed Art Museum / Via WFPL)

Over the past week, news of one allegedly-very-old tree cut down on the University of Louisville’s campus where a wHY Architecture-designed addition to the Speed Art Museum is being built has tree experts in Louisville counting rings on a stump. Students creating a map of all 2,500 trees on the University’s campus as part of Dr. Tommy Parker’s Urban Wildlife Research Lab had estimated the tree was over 300 years old, generating an impassioned oped in the student newspaper. The Speed and local news sources looked further into the mysterious tree, using the stump and historical photos of the museum (above) to determined that the tree was really only 60 years old. Steven Bowling, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Speed Art Museum, also wrote in with this statement about the tree’s removal:

As part of the Speed Art Museum’s long planned expansion, the Speed and its architect, wHY Architecture, carefully analyzed the site and its space constraints. The goals were threefold: to protect the Museum’s 1927 historic building to accommodate the Speed’s growing audience, to link the expanded green spaces of the Museum with the University of Louisville Campus and to seamlessly integrate art and nature on the 6-acre site. During the planning phase, the Speed, together with the architects, reviewed several possibilities in consultation with landscape architects and an arborist to expand the Museum’s footprint with minimal interruption to the historic building, the surrounding area, and trees within the Museum’s footprint. In the final plan, the tree needed to be removed. Removal of the tree, which the arborist determined was 60 years old, allows the site to be re-graded and expands accessibility for all visitors to the Museum and its grounds. While both the Museum and the architects regret the removal of that tree, the new Speed Art Museum which will re-open in 2016 will provide students and visitors with expanded green space that includes an art park and public piazza, as well as the planting of more than 40 new trees.

Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St. Louis Broke Ground 50 Years Ago Today

Midwest
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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St. Louis' Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

Fifty years ago, the St. Louis waterfront was one gigantic parking lot after 40 blocks of the city’s gritty industrial quarter were cleared in the late 1930s to create a site for a new Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It took another two decades to get anything built, but on February 12, 1963, the missing slice of St. Louis began to change as ground was broken for Eero Saarinen’s famous Gateway Arch that still defines St. Louis in one dramatic gesture.

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Report: NTSB Chair Front Runner For Next Secretary of Transportation.  Report: NTSB Chair Front Runner For Next Secretary of Transportation With Ray LaHood out as President Obama’s Secretary of Transportation, observers have been speculating on who might take the nation’s top transportation post. According to The Hill blog, the latest front-runner is standing National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chair Deborah Hersman, replacing LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has said he wants to focus on his remaining time in office. Hersman has said she is not interested in the job, and according to the Hill, the NTSB responded in a statement, “Chairman Hersman’s full attention is focused on the important work of running the NTSB.”  [Via Planetizen.]

 

Did wHY Architecture’s Speed Art Museum Expansion Fell a 309 Year Old Tree in Louisville?

Midwest
Friday, February 8, 2013
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Rendering of wHY Architecture's addition to the Speed Art Museum. (Courtesy wHY Architecture)

Rendering of wHY Architecture’s addition to the Speed Art Museum. (Courtesy wHY Architecture)

[Editor’s Note: Following the publishing of this story, the Speed Art Museum and tree researchers studied the tree, determining that it was, in fact, not three centuries old, nor a Valley Oak. The tree in question is now believed to be a 60-year-old English Oak. Read the update here.]

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, is currently closed to visitors until 2015 while a dramatic stacked-box addition is built to the north of the institution’s original 1927 neo-Classical building on the University of Louisville’s Olmsted-designed Belknap Campus. The $50 million expansion, designed by Culver City, CA-based wHY Architecture with Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architects, who were later dropped from the project, will triple the museum’s gallery space and add to the already robust arts scene in Louisville.

This week, one alert writer at the student newspaper, The Louisville Cardinal, noticed something missing at the construction site: the University’s oldest tree. The approximately 309-year-old Valley Oak had been cut down when the site was cleared late last year. Only a stump now remains behind the construction fence. The author, Wesley Kerrick, noted the tree pre-dates not just the University, but the city, state, and country in which it resides, as it sprouted sometime in the late 17th or early 18th century. Kerrick expressed frustration over the fact that the tree couldn’t have been saved.

Continue reading after the jump.

Colloquium to Revisit the Building of Tadao Ando’s Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis

Midwest
Thursday, February 7, 2013
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The Pulitzer Foundation by Tadao Ando. (Courtesy Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts)

The Pulitzer Foundation by Tadao Ando. (Courtesy Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts)

Tadao Ando’s architecture strives for perfection, with glass-smooth concrete walls nearly as reflective as mirrors, ideal proportion and geometry creating a sacred sense of space, and design details that reveal no part of a building is too small for consideration. In fact, as one story goes, Ando requested that a foot-thick concrete wall at his Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis be rebuilt multiple times since it didn’t meet his strict standards.

The Pulitzer, one of only a handful of buildings the Japanese architect has completed in the United States and the first in the US intended for public use, opened in 2001, demurely set behind a concrete wall in the city’s Grand Center neighborhood. This Friday and Saturday (February 8 and 9), the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Washington University in St. Louis are hosting the free Building Pulitzer colloquium looking back at the four-year construction period of Ando’s Pulitzer Foundation.

Continue reading after the jump.

Situ Studio’s Hurricane Sandy-Salvaged “Heartwalk” Installation Under Construction

East
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
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(Courtesy Situ Studio)

(Courtesy Situ Studio)

Next week, the fifth iteration of the Times Square Alliance’s Valentine Heart installation will officially open to the public. Brooklyn-based Situ Studio revealed their installation, Heartwalk, in January, which will be built with salvaged boardwalk boards from from the Hurricane Sandy-stricken Rockaways, Long Beach, Sea Girt, NJ, and Atlantic City.

The Situ team has been busy removing hardware from the weathered planks and planing them for a smooth surface. The pre-assembled pieces will be taken to Times Square for assembly, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on February 12 at 11:00a.m. According to a statement from Situ Studio, “Visitors can enter the installation itself and literally stand in the heart of the world’s greatest city.”

More photos after the jump.

Slideshow> Second Avenue Subway Construction Update

East
Thursday, January 31, 2013
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(Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

(Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin)

The much-talked-about 7 line subway extension on Manhattan’s West Side isn’t the only mega-infrastructure project making progress in New York. Construction continues far below the streets of Manhattan’s East Side as crews tunnel through bedrock for the Second Avenue Subway line. This week, the MTA released a gallery of photos showing construction progress on stations between 63rd and 73rd streets. The photos show the enormous rock caverns that will one day be subway stations being prepped with liners, rebar, and concrete casing. According to Gothamist, construction progress varies by station, with the 72nd Street station 96 percent complete and the 86th Street station 42 percent done.

More images after the jump.

Emeco Sinks Restoration Hardware’s Battleship: Navy Chair Dispute Settled

National, Newsletter
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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Emeco's Navy Chair. (Courtesy Emeco, Montage by AN)

Emeco’s Navy Chair. (Courtesy Emeco, Montage by AN)

During World War II, the U.S. Government asked Wilton Carlyle Dinges, founder of the Hanover, PA-based Electrical Machine and Equipment Company (now Emeco) to design a lightweight chair rugged enough to “withstand water, salt air and sailors.” That design became known as the Navy Chair (or the Model 1006 for purists) and today has become a staple of industrial-chic design. Now you can add “copycats” to that list after a legal dispute, involving a nearly-identical chair from Restoration Hardware called the “Naval Chair,” has been settled.

Continue reading after the jump.

Restoration of Thomas Jefferson’s University of Virginia Rotunda Underway

East
Monday, January 28, 2013
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The University of Virginia Rotunda. (Patrick Morrissey / Flickr)

The University of Virginia Rotunda. (Patrick Morrissey / Flickr)

No one really knows what Thomas Jefferson’s Rotunda, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, representing the enlightened human mind, and standing at the head of the University of Virginia’s Academical Village lawn in Charlottesville, VA, looked like originally. The structure burned in 1895, the result of an electrical surge from a local streetcar line, and records of the original design are not complete. Over the years, various generations have rebuilt and restored the structure according to their own interpretations of Jefferson’s design and to the needs of the time. Now 40 years after the last major renovations took place for the nation’s bicentennial, UVA has covered the Rotunda in scaffolding and begun the latest round of improvements to the once-crumbling structure.

Continue reading after the jump.

When New York’s East River Froze Over

East
Friday, January 25, 2013
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"Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge," 1871. (Courtesy New York Public Library)

“Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge,” 1871. (Courtesy New York Public Library)

It’s been a mild winter so far in New York, and with the first onset of below-freezing temperatures, city folk are donning their heavy jackets and gloves. And while the winds whipping around the glass and steel towers of Manhattan might feel as if it’s as cold as it’s ever going to be, consider a century ago when temperatures were low enough to freeze the East River from the banks of Brooklyn to the Manhattan waterfront, still two different cities at the time, providing thrill-seeking pedestrians with an instant new crossing years before the Brooklyn Bridge was built.

The above view was engraved in 1871 and titled, “Crossing the East River on the Ice Bridge,” depicting dozens of New Yorkers walking across what would normally have been a busy maritime thoroughfare. While such a natural feat seams unlikely today, Gothamist has collected clippings to show that the phenomenon was known to occur around once a decade on the East River during the 19th century and there have been reports of similar frozen-river bridges along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers as well. For instance, in 1851, an estimated 15,000 pedestrians, horses, and sleighs crossed the frozen river.

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