Calatrava on the state of NYC architecture & his own controversial World Trade projects

The World Trade Center site. (Courtesy Port Authority)

The World Trade Center site. (Courtesy Port Authority)

The Real Deal recently scored an interview with Santiago Calatrava, the so-called “symphonist of steel” behind the upcoming (and wildly over budget) World Trade Center Transit Hub, and the nearby Saint Nicholas Church. In the interview, Calatrava explained how New York City’s building code impacted the two projects’ designs, offers his thoughts on the World Trade Center master plan, and comments on the construction quality of the Transit Hub. Overall, the controversial architect lavishes praise on just about everyone—from Daniel Libeskind to Larry Silverstein to the Port Authority.

Plan for a parametric townhouse of undulating brick “flames” is rekindled in Tribeca

Model of 187 Franklin. (Courtesy SYSTEMarchitects)

Model of 187 Franklin. (Courtesy SYSTEMarchitects)

Getting the blessing of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission can be a tricky thing. Typically, your best bet is to go contextual: stick with historic materials and keep the modern ornamentation to a minimum. That is clearly not the approach that SYSTEMarchitects‘ Jeremy Edmiston took for a parametrically designed Tribeca townhouse in search of facelift.

COntinue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Frick Director Responds to Expansion Critics

THE FRICK'S EXPANSION WOULD EXTEND THE SIX-STORY LIBRARY BUILDING THROUGH TO 70TH STREET AND FILL IN AN EXISTING GARDEN. (COURTESY DAVIS BRODY BOND)

THE FRICK’S EXPANSION WOULD EXTEND THE SIX-STORY LIBRARY BUILDING THROUGH TO 70TH STREET AND FILL IN AN EXISTING GARDEN. (COURTESY DAVIS BRODY BOND)

[Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com]

Regarding the article “Frick Fracas,” (AN_14_12.4.2014), while there has been much debate about the Frick’s proposed addition to address its longstanding space needs, much of it rests on mischaracterizations about the history and original purpose of the site where it will be located.

Continue reading after the jump.

Video> Norman Fosters lets a drone loose in the Hearst Tower

Foster inspecting this new-fangled drone thing. (Screengrab from Hearst video)

Foster inspecting this newfangled drone thing. (Screengrab from Hearst video)

To celebrate the upcoming 10th anniversary of New York City’s Hearst Tower topping off, Lord Norman Foster let a drone loose inside his iconic work. In a video produced by the tower’s namesake, the Hearst Corporation, Foster marvels at how drone technology opens up an entirely new perspective on the 46-story structure. Someone needs to introduce this guy to Martha Stewart.

Watch the video after the jump.

Were the World Trade Center Transit Hub’s lateral struts part of the original Calatrava design?

Santiago Calatrava's World Trade Center Transit Hub. (William Menking / AN)

Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub. (William Menking / AN)

 

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub—or as its designer Santiago Calatrava likes to think of it, the “bird in flight”—is just blocks from AN‘s office, so we get to walk by and watch it try to take off regularly. But in the weeks before the holidays, odd “struts” started to be welded between the structure’s giant fins or blades.

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It’s Friday, so why not let this drone give you a birds-eye tour of New York City?

Screenshot from "Ultimate Aerial Video of NYC!"

Screenshot from “Ultimate Aerial Video of NYC!”

We know, we know, we know—the internet is being overrun with drone-photographed, time-lapse videos of cities and ruins. They are like cat videos, or BuzzFeed quizzes, or thought-pieces on Hillary Clinton’s ground game in 2016: they’re everywhere and they’re unavoidable. But sometimes they’re pretty great. This five-minute video by Victor Chu is called “Ultimate Aerial Video of NYC!,” and, well, yeah, it kind of is!

Watch the video after the jump.

Preservationists watchful as New York’s American Museum of Natural History taps Jeanne Gang for addition

Architecture, East, News, Preservation
Thursday, January 8, 2015
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The Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History (David Sundberg/ESTO)

The Rose Center at the American Museum of Natural History (David Sundberg/ESTO)

Last year, Chicago-based Studio Gang Architects opened a New York office, and now it is clear they made a smart decision in doing so: the firm has been selected to design a six story addition to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The current museum complex is an eclectic jumble of architecture styles, and it’s most recent addition is the Rose Center for Earth and Space by the Polshek Partnership (now Ennead).

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> One Rat Center

East, Eavesdroplet, Skyscrapers
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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one-rat-center

(Michael Tapp / Flickr; Montage by AN)

 

Speaking of One World Trade, Condé Nast’s highly publicized move-in did not go entirely as planned. According to Gawker, Vogue, which is occupying floors 25 and 26, had to delay the relocation of its editorial department due to an infestation of rats. The rodent problem was evidently so dire that the fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief, a one Anna Wintour, went so far as to issue an order to her staff that they must ensure her office is a rat-free zone before she sets foot inside.

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Eavesdrop> Not My Spire: Sculptor wants no connection to World Trade topper

(Anthony Quintano / Flickr)

(Anthony Quintano / Flickr)

Sculptor Kenneth Snelson is tired of having his name all over the derided spire atop One World Trade Center. It has been widely reported that Snelson consulted with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on the 441-foot-tall spire that brings the tower to its highly symbolic height of 1,776 feet. But he said he was only peripherally involved in the early stages of the design and is not all that connected to what now towers above Lower Manhattan. Snelson said everyone involved in the design of the spire had the best intentions, but as for its final iteration, he’s no fan. “I don’t know why somebody doesn’t decide, ‘well, we should remove the spire,’” he said.

Councilman wants New York City offices to turn their lights off

Lighting, Sustainability, Urbanism
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
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New York City at night. (Flickr / Luke Redmond)

New York City at night. (Flickr / Luke Redmond)

As part of New York City‘s quest to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, Queens councilman Donovan Richards has introduced legislation that would force commercial buildings to switch their lights off after their occupants head home.

COntinue reading after the jump.

“UUGGHH”: Mysterious, graffiti-covered New York City landmark likely to go condo

Architecture, Art, East, Preservation
Monday, December 15, 2014
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Screengrab of HOTTEA's work at 190 Bowery. (Screengrab from HOTTEA video)

Screengrab of HOTTEA’s work at 190 Bowery. (Screengrab from HOTTEA video)

A developer has finally gotten his hands on one of Manhattan’s most intriguing and desired properties: 190 Bowery. The six-story Renaissance Revival building opened in 1898 as a branch of the Germania Bank, but had been the private home and workspace of photographer Jay Maisel since 1966. Back then, he bought the building for $102,000 and held onto it for decades as property values skyrocketed in Nolita. For that reason, 190 Bowery has become a beloved, graffiti-covered piece of New York nostalgia, defying gentrification as everything else around it adapted with the times. But that’s about to change.

Continue reading after the jump.

This beautiful photo of Lower Manhattan won SOM’s World Trade Center photo contest

Architecture, Awards, East, Skyscrapers
Thursday, December 11, 2014
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(Gerry Padden / Courtesy SOM)

(Gerry Padden / Courtesy SOM)

While the critics sure don’t like it, many other casual observers are big fans of Lower Manhattan‘s World Trade Center. This morning, SOM announced the winner its #WelcomeOneWTC photography contest it held to mark the grand opening of New York City’s latest controversy-laden skyscraper.

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