Before & After> 25 of New York City’s Most Transformative Road Diets

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New York City has been adjusting to its new Mayor Bill De Blasio, who took office at the beginning of the year. The new mayor has been slowly revealing his team of commissioners who will guide the city’s continued transformation. As AN has noted many times before, De Blasio’s predecessor Michael Bloomberg and his team already left a giant mark on New York’s built environment.

With little more than paint, planters, and a few well-placed boulders, Bloomberg and former Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan‘s street interventions have been some of the most evident changes around the city. Whether it’s at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, above, or at Snøhetta’s redesigned Times Square, these road diets shaved off excess space previously turned over to cars and returned it to the pedestrian realm in dramatic fashion as these before-and-after views demonstrate.

As we continue to learn more about our new Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, take a look back at 25 of the most exciting road diets and pedestrian plaza conversions across New York City from the Bloomberg era.

See more transformations after the jump.

Architecture Bookstores Are Dead. Long Live An Architecture Bookstore?

Interior of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Garrett Ziegler / Flickr)

Interior of the Rizzoli Bookstore. (Garrett Ziegler / Flickr)

Last week news broke that the Rizzoli Bookstore on 57th Street  is doomed. The owners of the well-loved building, which is not officially landmarked, plan to demolish it to to make way for another luxury residential tower. This set off another round of fretting about the future of bookstores, especially art and design bookstores.  But the news for bookstores might not be all bad. We hear that a new Urban Center may be brewing that would join together at least 11 New York civic organizations that have been adrift in hidden offices all over the city into a single “center” with an exhibition space and an architecture book store. Stay tuned.

Watch a video of the Rizzoli Bookstore after the jump.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Respond to DS+R Plan to Tear Down Folk Art Building at MoMA

Architecture, East, Preservation
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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Conceptual sketch of DS+R's plans for MoMA. (Courtesy DS+R)

Conceptual sketch of DS+R’s plans for MoMA. (Courtesy DS+R)

Diller, Scofidio + Renfro announced today that their reorganization of the Museum of Modern Art will include the replacement of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien’s former American Folk Art Museum at 45 West 53rd street. Liz Diller said in her briefing that DS+R hoped to save the Folk Art building and repurpose it into a usable exhibit space or a connecting bridge between the new Jean Nouvel tower (which will have three floors of MoMA galleries) and the older parts of MoMA. However, “saving” the structure with its misaligned floors (to MOMA existing galleries) would mean compromising the integrity of the Williams Tsien structure.

One can imagine the logic of DS+R’s decision, but Williams and Tsien are, like any architects, sad to see the demise of their 2001 building that Herbert Muschamp said “transcend(s) cultural categories even as it helps define them.”

Read Williams and Tsien’s statement after the jump.

Bjarke Ingels Reportedly Designing Major Apartment Building in Harlem.  Bjarke Ingels Reportedly Designing Major Apartment Building in Harlem Something BIG is coming to Harlem. According to the New York Post, Long Island–based Blumenfeld Development has hired the Bjarke Ingels Group to design a proposed residential project on East 125th street. The Danish and American architects have reportedly signed on to build a 200,000 square-foot apartment building on a site between Lexington and Third avenues, known as Gotham Plaza, which currently contains a decade-old DMV building. While renderings have yet to be unleashed, judging from Bjarke’s incoming West 57 project, we can surely expect something exciting from the 200-unit apartment building, 20 percent of which will be affordable.

 

New Bill to Allow Developments to Rise along Manhattan’s Hudson River Park

City Terrain, East
Monday, November 18, 2013
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Pier 40 at Hudson River Park (Courtesy of Martin Wippel/Flickr)

Pier 40 at Hudson River Park (Courtesy of Martin Wippel/Flickr)

Buildings will soon rise to new heights alongManhattan’s Hudson River Park. Governor Cuomo just signed legislation to allow the cash-strapped park to sell 1.6 million square feet in air rights to developers. The bill will enable developers to build new projects one block from the five-mile waterfront park, which can now include commercial tenants, schools, performing art organizations and venues, and TV film and media studios.

Continue reading after the jump.

After More Than A Decade, A New Office Building Opens on the World Trade Center

East
Thursday, November 14, 2013
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Mayor Bloomberg presides over the Four World Trade Center ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Edward Reed / Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office)

Mayor Bloomberg presides over the Four World Trade Center ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Edward Reed / Courtesy NYC Mayor’s Office)

Yesterday, something remarkable happened. More than a decade after the destruction of the World Trade Center, the walls and fences surrounding a small corner of the site came down and the public was able to glimpse a new stretch of Greenwich Street—which will eventually bisect the site—as well as Fumihiko Maki‘s completed 72-story tower, Four World Trade. The minimalist tower is the first completed building on the site, though tenants will now begin building out their floors.

Watch a time-lapse construction video after the jump.

Rick Cook of COOKFOX Discusses His Proposed Building Along the High Line

East
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
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(Courtesy DBOX)

(Courtesy DBOX)

A new “class A” office building adjacent to the High Line, 510 West 22nd Street, is now in the planning stage and the developers have released a video of its designer, Rick Cook of COOKFOX Architects, describing the building. But is anyone worried that the High Line may become a dark walkway through forest of buildings? Not Cook, who bases his design on the public qualities of the old elevated rail line that transformed 10th Avenue from the “end of the world to the center of the universe.” But has there been a bigger boon to real estate development in New York since Central Park?

First Glimpse of New York’s Latest Super-Tall Skyscraper by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

East
Friday, October 25, 2013
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A first peek at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill's New York City tower. (Courtesy CB 5 / AS+GG)

A first peek at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s New York City tower. (Courtesy CB 5 / AS+GG)

A new condo tower designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill was announced late last year, but details of the super-tall tower have been scant. The 88-story tower at 215 West 57th Street will be one of New York City’s tallest buildings, reaching up to 1,550 feet. That means it will top the Empire State Building’s measly 1,454 feet and come in second only to the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center. (If you’re paying attention to the spire / antenna semantics game ongoing at One World Trade, AS+GG’s new tower would beat its midtown rival by a little over 200 feet.) Adrian Smith is no stranger to designing soaring skyscrapers—he designed Dubai’s Burj Khalifa while working at SOM, still the tallest tower in the world. The architects declined to comment further about the tower.

 

 

Susan Morris Picks the Winners at the 2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival

East, Features, On View
Friday, October 18, 2013
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Still from the film Away from All Suns!

Still from the film Away from All Suns!

2013 Architecture & Design Film Festival
Tribeca Cinemas
54 Varick Street
New York
212 941-2001

“Erecting a building is like making a movie….both processes involve blending light and movement into space and time. A model is like a script: at best it’s a promise and at worst it’s a safeguard. And, as with a script, a moment comes when you have to test your model against reality. You must start shooting the film, start erecting the building.”
The Interior Passage

We can see these starts when the two art forms come together in the 4th annual Architecture & Design Film Festival at the Tribeca Cinemas where 25 films will be screened through October 20. This year, the trend is toward process films that chronicle movements and initiatives (planning, education, preservation), portraits of buildings more than individuals, and Modernism referenced even when it’s not the direct subject.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> The Skyscraper Museum Traces the Logic of New York’s Luxury Skinny Towers

East, On View
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
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(Courtesy Skyscraper Museum)

(Courtesy Skyscraper Museum)

Sky High & the Logic of Luxury
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
New York, NY
Through April 19, 2014

For Manhattan architecture, the sky has always been the limit. The current trend in super-slender, luxury high-rise residential buildings has excited a niche clientele and captured the attention of skyscraper architects. This October, The Skyscraper Museum explores these ultra slim constructions, from their contextual rise to the modern engineering technologies that have rendered them possible.

Continue reading after the jump.

Pictorial-ism> Photos from the Architecture League’s 2013 Beaux Arts Ball

East
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
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The Architectural League's 2013 Beaux Arts Ball. (Fran Parente)

The Architectural League’s 2013 Beaux Arts Ball. (Fran Parente)

On Saturday night, New York’s architecture community gathered in Manhattan’s historic 69th Regiment Armory  to celebrate the Architectural League of New York on the centennial of the original 1913 Armory Show. The sold out party welcomed 1,350 design-minded revelers dressed as their favorite “–ism,” the theme of this year’s event, representing everything from surrealism, revivalism, Dadaism, classicism, and brutalism. In all, over $100,000 was raised for the League.

SITU Studio designed an installation to bring scale to the cavernous armory space, working with Renfro Design Group on an integrated lighting scheme. A series of white fabric prisms were suspended from the ceiling, serving to humanize the space while providing an armature for digital projections. Pulsing music built excitement throughout the night, which culminated in a procession of giant vellum marionettes, each controlled by a team of three performance artists, and a troupe of vellum-clad artists wandering through the armory, encouraging attendees to dance.

View the photo gallery after the jump.

More Time with Norman, Please: Foster + Partners’ New Manhattan Tower Fails To Impress

East, Unveiled
Thursday, September 26, 2013
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Rendering showing facade detail of Norman Foster's 551 West 21 Street. (Hayes Davidson /  Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Rendering showing facade detail of Norman Foster’s 551 West 21 Street. (Hayes Davidson / Courtesy Foster + Partners)

Foster + Partners likes to think of itself as a high-design firm with glamorous projects all over the world. But the banal rendering accompanying this week’s announcement of a new 19-story, “luxury” residential tower, 551 West 21 Street, belies their design skills. Could it be that they have a two-tier design strategy in their office where glamorous cultural institutions get “Sir Norman” and commercial towers get, well, something less?

Continue reading after the jump.

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