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.
With his “court-scraper” nearing completion on Manhattan’s 57th Street, Bjarke Ingels is doubling down on Manhattan. The Real Deal has reported that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has filed an application to build an 11-story, mixed-use residential project in Harlem. While we don’t know exactly what to expect from BIG just yet, the New York Post reported that the structure could cantilever over Gotham Plaza. No matter what the firm brings to the site, it’s a safe bet that it won’t look like the standard-issue residential buildings rising in New York City.
Every so often, New York City’s MTA shares a batch of construction photos to remind New Yorkers that one of its long-delayed projects is still chugging along beneath their feet. The latest photo set takes us underneath Manhattan where the MTA is busy borrowing tunnels that will one day connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central. The whole project is expected to cost nearly $11 billion and won’t be wrapped up until 2023, so no need to rush through the gallery.
Van Alen and National Park Service select finalists to re-imagine visitor experience at national parks
The Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) have announced four finalists in their competition to modernize visitor experience at four national parks. While the National Parks Now competition aims to “[design] the 21st Century National Park experience,” it’s about more than launching an app or two and boosting WiFi signals.
Demolition of the graffiti mecca known as “5Pointz” in Long Island City, Queens has become a flashpoint in New York City development. The iconic arts institution was literally whitewashed by the developer last spring and has since been turned to rubble to make way for two rental towers. As the controversial project continues in Queens, the destruction of another world-renowned graffiti forum, just a few miles away in the South Bronx, has gone largely unnoticed.
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission changes course, won’t remove sites from historic consideration
As AN wrote earlier this week, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) was prepared to “de-calendar” about 100 historic buildings and sites at a meeting next Tuesday. The Commission’s planned action expectedly drew a loud and spirited backlash from preservation groups. Now, just a few days before the action was scheduled, it appears the response has had the desired effect. The New York Times is reporting that the Commission has withdrawn its proposal. “In withdrawing the proposal, [LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan] said she wanted to provide more time for people to speak up for certain properties while making clear all would be dealt with sooner rather than later,” explained the Times.
In an effort to supposedly streamline New York City’s landmarking process, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will drop 96 buildings and sites from consideration for historic preservation. These sites span all five boroughs and include Union Square, Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, and the Pepsi-Cola sign in Long Island City (above).
The Parson’s exhibit How Things Don’t Work: The Dreamspace of Victor Papanek should have the tagline, “There are few professions more harmful than industrial design.” Every designer should see the show before it closes on December 15. There are many designers today who believe that design—what we might think of as the planning or intention behind the creation of a material object—can solve almost any physical problem. But the Austrian-born and American-educated designer Papanek, the subject of this exhibition, had a different and more expansive view of the field.
With the final rafter installed on Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transit Hub the New York Times has done a deep-dive on how, exactly, the long-delayed structure ended up costing close to $4 billion. While the hub ultimately looks more like a stegosaurus than a dove taking flight, as Calatrava originally envisioned, it is undeniably a head-turning piece of dramatic architecture. But one that will be forever grounded by the reality of its staggering price tag.