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Developers use cutting-edge technology to restore Ralph Walker crown.
When JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group purchased the 1927 Ralph Walker high-rise in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in order to transform it into the Stella Tower condominiums, they realized that something was not quite right about the roofline. “The building had a very odd, plain parapet of mismatched brick,” recalled JDS founder Michael Stern. “We were curious about why it had this funny detail that didn’t belong to the building.” The developers tracked down old photographs of the property and were pleasantly surprised by what they saw: an intricate Art Deco thin dome crown. “We were very intrigued by putting the glory back on top of the building,” said Stern. They proceeded to do just that, deploying a combination of archival research and modern-day technology to recreate a remarkable early-twentieth-century ornament.
Firetrucks, police cars, and a helicopter surrounded 1 World Trade Center this afternoon to save two window washers who became trapped near the 69th floor on the south side of the building. According to the New York Times, the machine controlling the scaffolding, to which the washers were strapped, malfunctioned. Firefighters were able to reach them by cutting a hole in a nearby window and then bringing them to safety. An official from the fire department said he believed the cause of the scaffolding failure was a snapped cable.
“They are in a difficult spot,” a fire department spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. “They are feeling the effects of hanging in there.”
When we talk about the batch of luxury towers coming to 57th Street, we’re typically talking about very tall, very skinny, very glassy buildings. But not, of course, when it comes to W57—Bjarke Ingels‘ very pyramid-y addition to the street he calls a “court-scraper” for its combination of the European courtyard building with a New York skyscraper. Last time we checked in on Bjarke’s pyramid—sorry, Durst would prefer we all call it a “tetrahedron”—it was only a few stories high. That was back in June, and since then, the sure-looks-like-a-pyramid has topped out at 450 feet and crews have begun installing its facade.
Archtober Building of the Day #31
Starlight at the Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue
Cooper Joseph Studio
Starlight, the aptly named chandelier in the neo-Georgian rotunda of the Museum of the City of New York, was a marvelous termination to our fourth Archtober. Wendy Evans Joseph, principal at Cooper Joseph Studio, described the light fixture with meticulousness equal to the design itself.
Archtober Building of the Day #28
Times Square Reconstruction
Broadway and Seventh Avenue (West 42nd to West 47th Streets)
“Looking for calm within the chaos,” was how Nick Koster of Snøhetta, described the firm’s design for the Times Square Reconstruction. Just then a topless woman dressed as a super hero sashayed past the Archtober tour group, which contained about a dozen school children.
Archtober Building of the Day #23
NYU School of Professional Studies
7 East 12th Street
Mitchell | Giurgola Architects, LLP
A rainy day did not deter Archtober, and the hardy were amply rewarded with an up-to-the-minute view of an urban university hard at work. I want to change the name to “multi-versity” to capture the many different functions, schools, demographics, studies, and programs that the ever expanding universe of NYU now comprises. A recent addition is the newly renamed School of Professional Studies on 12th Street. Carol Loewenson and Stephen Dietz of Mitchell-Giurgola Architects, led the tour of the renovated Fairchild Printing Building. Projects like these—complex renovations where some operations must be maintained in place—require the steady, strong leadership of architects who find the puzzle of programmatic problem solving the bread and butter of successful practice.
Archtober Building of the Day #22
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
655 West 34th Street
Designed by Pei Cobb in the early 1980s, the Jacob K. Javits Center had fallen into a considerable slump in the years following its debut. Plagued with structural problems, today’s Archtober tour leader and head of the building’s extensive overhaul, Bruce Fowle, began in the center’s Crystal Palace by showing photos of the space before his firm’s massive undertaking. He highlighted two of the worst features of the original structure—the dirty, impossible-to-clean glass and extensive water damage. Almost immediately after opening, large canvas “diapers” were constructed to catch the ever-leaking roof, costing the center nearly one million dollars a year to alleviate the constant influx of water.
Archtober Building of the Day #20
Donald Judd Home and Studio
101 Spring Street
Architecture Research Office; Walter B. Melvin Architects
The Soho of the 1970s has come and gone, grungy artists’ studios replaced by glitzy storefronts and luxury condos. However, two decades after artist Donald Judd passed away in 1994, his presence still permeates 101 Spring Street. It’s in the nooks he carved out for his children and his books, his kitchenware and furniture, and, most of all, his art.
Archtober Building of the Day #20
The Metropolitan Museum of Art David H. Koch Plaza
1000 5th Avenue
Do you know the difference between hedging your trees and pollarding them? Thanks to the enlightenment provided by our tour guides from OLIN’s design team, Partner Dennis McGlade and Associate Scott Dismukes, those who attended yesterday’s Archtober tour do now. The London Plane trees in the bosques adjacent to the ground level entrances at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be pollarded—trimmed each winter to the same height. The Little Leaf Lindens, which form the two flanking rows of sidewalk trees will pruned annually to form aerial hedges, thus distinguishing them from the fluffy naturals of Central Park.
Archtober Building of the Day #19
Campbell Sports Center, Columbia University
Broadway & 218th Street
Steven Holl Architects
We rode the subway to the northern tip of Manhattan to tour Columbia University’s Campbell Sports Center, designed by Steven Holl Architects. The design, based on football play diagrams, incorporates “points on the ground, lines in space” that develop from the sloping site in this industrial section of Inwood. Olaf Schmidt, associate-in-charge of the project, led the Archtober tour through the building.
Archtober Building of the Day #17
East 34th Street Ferry Terminal
E 35th Street at FDR Drive
Public architecture is alive. The 34th Street Ferry Terminal, designed by KVA Architects, integrates structure, social use, the natural environment, and digital technology to realize an architecture that is sensitive and responsive to its surroundings. This approach, called “soft” or “resilient” infrastructure, creates a dynamic civic space in which flows of water, people, and information are manifested in the structure. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s 1900 poem, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the design emphasizes the fecundity of the waterfront and the multiple uses of the pier, not only that of the commuter but also that of the wanderer, viewer, or fisherman. Technology accentuates elements of nature so that the commuter might slow down, absorbing the light, water, and the beautiful terminal, before entering or re-entering the city.
Archtober Building of the Day #15
Red Bull Studios
220 West 18th Street
Jeffrey Inaba didn’t have wings, but guided a big group of Archtober enthusiasts and pick up party goers on a tour of Red Bull Studios in Chelsea. Introduced by Lance Jay Brown, 2014 AIANY President, the former Angelino, via OMA, presented a slick 38,000 square foot music studio/gallery/corporate office that spans all trends. With a psychedelic installation curated by Phong Bui and Rail Curatorial Projects, the public spaces, cleverly planned with acoustics and crowd control in mind, sang out with raucous voices of overstimulation—not INABA’s work. The planning, though, underlying the funk and festivity was rock solid, creating a diversity of public space, engaging from the street, clear divisions of public and private, and fantastic core toilets.