Preservationists watchful as New York’s American Museum of Natural History taps Jeanne Gang for addition
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).
With 2014 quickly receding into history, here’s a look at what blog posts AN‘s readers clicked on most last month. Big international stories, many with starchitects attached, abounded in New York, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, and Rio de Janeiro. All of December’s top stories point toward the future, with many under-construction projects that will be sure to dominate additional headlines this year. Here’s a glimpse at what was in the news.
The QueensWay has had a bumpy rollout. In October, when the Trust for Public Land and the Friends of the QueensWay unveiled their plan to transform an abandoned railway in Queens into something like the High Line, they were immediately faced with skepticism and criticism from around the city. That pro-QueensWay plan came with plenty of eye candy courtesy of splashy conceptual renderings from dlandstudio and WXY. This all got people asking why millions of dollars should be spent turning the rails into a fancy park when the rails could be refurbished to provide a useful commuter rail line.
The New York architect and designer Dr. Haresh Lalvani has been researching the forms of living things-particularly those of shape codes akin to our own DNA makeup for 30 years. This research and analysis he then translates into sculptural forms that seem always to be merging and growing not fixed or frozen in place. At his solo exhibition, Mass Customization of Emergent Designs, at Moss Gallery at Design Miami in 2011, he used an algorithm to create 1,000 design variations of a common fruit platter out of a total of 100,000,000,000 possible designs before the computer crashed.
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.
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.