Christoph Bartmann, director of the Goethe-Institut New York, began today’s Archtober tour with a history of its time in the city. After many years on the Upper East Side, the organization had to relocate to a temporary space in Soho to comply with German fire safety regulations. After viewing dozens of potential spaces throughout Lower Manhattan, it found its new home on Irving Place. The 3,000 square foot 1st floor, formerly occupied by a mystical religious community, was in bad shape when the new tenants first arrived—it was truly bare-bones.
Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor
1000 Richmond Terrace, Snug Harbor Campus, Building A Staten Island
Gluckman Tang Architects
The recently reopened Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor, housed in a former dormitory for aged and decrepit sailors, has a renewed vitality in a historic setting. “When restoring historic buildings, make interventions as quietly as you can,” Richard Gluckman told Archtober enthusiasts gathered at the museum today.
175 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
D. H. Burnham & Co. (1902)
A fantastic crowd of Archtober enthusiasts joined us for the outdoor history lesson from Alice Sparberg Alexiou—not only the author of The Flatiron: The New York Landmark and the Incomparable City that Arose With It—but also a descendant of a post-war Transylvanian real estate developer who owned, along with Harry Helmsley and another investor, the Flatiron Building for fifty years.
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
2 East 91st Street, Manhattan
Babb, Cook & Willard (1902)
Gluckman Mayner Architects with Beyer Blinder Belle (2014)
Part a historic house tour and part a lesson on material culture and curatorial practices, today’s Archtober lunchtime session packed a ton of information into 60 minutes. Brooke Hodge, deputy director of the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum, showed us around one of the finest mansions of Manhattan.
The David & Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation is a busy hub of technology housed within a building from McKim, Mead & White’s late 19th-century campus plan for Columbia University. In subsequent years, the space, which occupies part of the eastern wing of the Pulitzer Building, was broken up into small offices.
Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park
150 Furman Street, Brooklyn
Maryann Thompson Architects
It was a perfect day for Archtober-ites to walk onto Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park and engage in an enlightening tour of its creation, from concept to completion. Kait Kurs from Maryann Thompson Architects began at the entrance—the threshold that separates the big city and pier. It is what makes Pier 2 an island of recreation that includes playgrounds, picnic areas, an inline skating rink, and courts for basketball, handball, bocce, and tetherball. Essentially, it is a “toy box” for the larger park.
Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
94 Greenwich Avenue, Manhattan
Steven Holl Architects
Passersby often stop to peer through the slipped-disk façade of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle in the West Village, according to Margaret Magnuson, who graciously opened the store to us this morning. Led by Olaf Schmidt and Filipe Taboada of Steven Holl Architects, our group of architecture and scent enthusiasts filtered into the 400-square-foot space. Although it is small, the shop is a jewel box of texture and form, an abstract insertion of a retail volume into a historic building.
Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure
614 Broadway, Staten Island
Our intrepid Archtober team ventured across the New York Bay to usher in the weekend with a visit to the Staten Island Zoo. After a breezy ferry ride (along with some time on the subway, bus, and our own two feet), we met up with James Slade, who, together with his wife and partner Hayes Slade, designed the Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure.
The NYCHA Red Hook West Urban Farm
6 Wolcott Street, Brooklyn
A gaggle of green-thumbed Archtober enthusiasts joined thread collective’s Elliott Maltby and Gita Nandan to learn about the NYCHA Red Hook West Urban Farm. Situated in Brooklyn, the one acre plot has served as a model for other farms being developed on New York Housing Authority properties, including at Howard Houses in Brownsville and in Coney Island.
550 West 54th Street, Manhattan
Archtober-ites probably expected to enviously gawk at the views and wander through the wedge-shaped, amenity-filled, courtyards of Mercedes House, one of the recent luxury rental additions to Midtown West. What they probably didn’t expect was TEN Arquitectos partner Andrea Steele’s eloquent and educational lesson on the challenges and opportunities of zoning in New York.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Entry Building, Arch, and Steinberg Visitor Center
990 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn
WEISS/MANFREDI, Architecture Research Office
With blue skies overhead and abundant sunshine, it was the perfect day to funnel from Brooklyn‘s clamorous urban streetscape into the transportative, protected landscapes of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. On this double-header Building of Day tour, Archtober-ites explored the threshold from the city grid into the meandering, arboreal pathways at the garden, as experienced in two new entrance pavilions designed by WEISS/MANFREDI and ARO.