When the new Fulton Center opened this weekend—after seven years of delays and cost overruns that lifted the project’s price tag from $750 million to $1.4 billion—New York City got two things: a modern upgrade to its transportation network and an iconic piece of architecture. With new well-lit concourses, pedestrian tunnels, escalators and elevators, and more intuitive transfer points between nine subway lines, Fulton Center will drastically improve the transit experience for the 300,000 people who pass through it every day. But even with these significant improvements, all anyone is talking about is the center’s eye-catching glass oculus and its hyperboloid Sky Reflector-Net installation. Step inside the station, and you’ll understand why.
Finally. After years and year of delays, Bush Terminal Piers Park in Sunset Park, Brooklyn is open. DNAinfo reported that the opening comes more than 10 years after people started talking about turning the brownfield site into a public space. The long-anticipated park includes a waterfront esplanade, wetlands, tidal ponds, lawns, and athletic fields designed by AECOM and Adrian Smith Landscape Architecture. There is also a comfort station by Turett Collaborative Architects.
As we speak, Long Island City’s graffiti mecca, 5Pointz, is being demolished so two beige apartment towers can rise in its place. But lest we forget the history of the iconic institution, Jerry Wolkoff, the owner of 5Pointz, wants to trademark its name so he can spray it on the residential replacement he is developing.
Mexico has a unique architectural and artistic culture that spans generations and decades. It’s is a combination of a powerful indigenous vernacular created when the Spanish met the native peoples, sophisticated European designers immigrating to the country, and a long period when it was cut off from the international flow of capital and ideas. But now a new generation of young architects is redefining this tradition in the most creative and exciting ways. One of those young designers—Frida Escobedo—is in New York and will be presenting her work at the Swiss Institute on Saturday.
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.
What is New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s position on design and public space? Does he care about design or think it is simply a prerogative of the city’s middle class populations? It is one the conundrums of the current administration that it wants to create 200,000 units of affordable housing but does not seem to care about the architecture of the buildings or or how they might affect their surrounding neighborhoods. There is much that is laudable in the mayor’s push for new affordable housing, but will all this new construction be a step back from the progressive attitude of the Bloomberg administration concerning the physical and spatial aspects of the city?
These issues—and others of great concern to the city’s design community—will be the topic of discussion tonight at the AIANY’s Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place in a panel discussion called “A Changing Landscape: Public Space and the New Administration.”
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 #30
Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility
472 2nd Avenue, 29th Street Pier, Brooklyn
Eadaoin Quinn, the education and administrative coordinator at the SIMS Municipal Recycling Facility presented a classroom full of Archtober enthusiasts with a detailed and informative presentation of the automated process of material sorting and recovery that is recycling. Quinn told us about the machinery of sorting, starting with the “liberator shredder,” which opens the large garbage bags that recyclables arrive in by truck or barge.
Archtober Building of the Day #29> Green-Wood Cemetery Columbarium, Tranquility Gardens, and Chapel/Crematorium
Archtober Building of the Day #29
Green-Wood Cemetery Columbarium, Tranquility Gardens, and Chapel/Crematorium
500 25th Street, Brooklyn
The trend in burial at Green-Wood Cemetery is decidedly toward cremation. Built in 1838, and the final resting place of 570,000 people, it is “literally running out of space,” according to Green-Wood President Richard J. Moylan. He estimated they’ll run out of space for in-ground burials in the next five years. “We could pack them in tighter, but that would ruin it,” he said.
The New York City Comptroller’s office marked the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy with a dire report on the expected costs of the next big storm. Based on updated flood insurance maps from FEMA, the report finds that over $129 billion worth of property sits within the city’s 100-year floodplain – an increase of more than 120% from earlier maps. (100-year flood zones cover areas that have a 1% chance of flooding each year.) “In short, FEMA’s revised maps depict a greatly expanded floodplain that places almost three and a half times as many structures in high-risk zones and anticipates greater severity of flooding for those buildings already in the flood zone,” reads the report. “This new landscape holds important implications for resiliency investments, flood insurance, and the role of government in protecting homeowners from the next great storm.”