Skyscraper Expert Antony Wood Calls for a Facades Revolution

Battery Park high-rises, New York City. (Anthony Quintano/Flickr)

Battery Park high-rises, New York City. (Anthony Quintano/Flickr)

As the director of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Dr. Antony Wood spends a lot of time thinking about the high-rise envelope, which he calls “its single most important interface to the external environment.” For decades, hermetically sealed glass was the gold standard in facade design for tall buildings. With sustainability an increasingly urgent priority, things have begun to change for the better, says Wood. “But we have barely scratched the surface,” he argues. “So much more needs to be done.” Wood will issue his call to action next month in a talk and subsequent panel discussion at Facades+ NYC, the premier conference on high performance building envelopes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Remember the Battery Park City wheatfield? Conceptual artist is back with a horticultural pyramid in Queens

(Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)

(Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park)

Monuments of pre-civilization feats in construction and engineering, pyramids are the latest muse of conceptual artist Agnes Denes who, in 1982, transformed what is now Battery Park City into a two-acre wheatfield.

Continue reading after the jump.

With this purchase of five acres of waterfront land, is the South Bronx New York’s newest development hot spot?

Development, East, News, Skyscrapers
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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(Courtesy Bing)

(Courtesy Bing)

The Chetrit Group and Somerset Partners are betting big on the Bronx. The developers have recently purchased 5 acres of industrial land along the Harlem River. The Wall Street Journal reported that they plan to build up to six 25-story market-rate apartment towers on the land.

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Ferry Fiasco: Ice shuts down ferry service on New York City’s East River

A ferry struggles with ice on the East River. (Several seconds / Flickr)

A ferry struggles with ice on the East River. (Several seconds / Flickr)

 

As AN reported, it will be quite difficult for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to pull off his plan to launch a five-borough ferry system. There are, of course, the obvious issues surrounding subsidies, ridership, operators, and dock placement that could all cause major headaches down the road. While the mayor starts charting his path through these details, another potential problem came to the fore: winter weather.

Continue reading after the jump.

After a year-long search, the Met chooses David Chipperfield to design the museum’s new wing

The Met. (Flickr / Andrew Mace)

The Met. (Flickr / Andrew Mace)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced that David Chipperfield has been selected to “develop a new design for the Southwest Wing for modern and contemporary art, and potentially for adjacent galleries for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, as well as additional operational spaces.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Talking SHoP with facades expert Gregg Pasquarelli

SHoP Architects' 626 First Avenue, currently under construction. (Courtesy SHoP)

SHoP Architects’ 626 First Avenue, currently under construction. (Courtesy SHoP)

Since its founding in 1996, SHoP Architects has been committed to fostering architectural innovation despite on-the-ground constraints. In New York, those constraints often take the form of municipal regulations. “From day one SHoP was always a firm that was interested in pushing the limits of design, really getting into materials and craftsmanship,” said principal Gregg Pasquarelli. “But we were also building in the pressure tank of New York, where a lot of the innovation has to occur in the skins of the buildings, because zoning is so prescriptive.” Pasquarelli will outline his firm’s approach to cutting-edge facade design in the context of New York’s regulatory environment in the afternoon keynote address at next month’s Facades+ NYC conference.

Continue reading after the jump.

Comment> The Met Plaza redesign undermines the institution’s civic grandeur

The old Met plaza. (Courtesy Paul Gunther)

The old Met plaza. (Courtesy Paul Gunther)

In February of the year 2012, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art first announced the redesign of the City-owned Fifth Avenue-fronted plaza along its grand McKim, Mead & White Beaux-Arts facade, there was little opposition from preservationists. A $65 million underwriting pledge from museum trustee, David H. Koch, catalyzed the selected competitive plan from Philadelphia-based OLIN. It proceeded through the approval process with relative dispatch.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Artist invites viewers to walk through steel at the New Museum’s 2015 Triennial

Art, East, On View
Monday, March 9, 2015
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(Courtesy of Kriska Decor)

(Courtesy of Kriska Decor)

Streaming from the ceiling like colored rain, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s steel curtain installation is far less delicate than it appears. Up close, the completely see-through curtain of steel mesh looks like raindrops stitched together, whose straight-down free-fall is punctuated by geometric and and insect-like laser cutouts framed in powder-coated steel.

Continue reading after the jump.

Towering over Queens: Central Long Island City site to make way for another high rise

Development, East, Skyscrapers
Friday, March 6, 2015
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The site is marked in blue. (Courtesy Bing)

The site is marked in blue. (Courtesy Bing)

Yet another tower could rise in Long Island City, Queens. Citigroup is expected to sell a prime development site next to its SOM-designed, 51-story turquoise office tower that dominates the neighborhood’s skyline.

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Sandhogs continue to make progress on New York City’s enormous $11 billion East Side train tunnel

(MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew)

(MTA Capital Construction / Rehema Trimiew)

New York City’s MTA has posted another collection of East Side Access construction photos to remind New Yorkers that its majorly delayed and hugely over budget project is still actually chugging along. When East Side Access is ultimately completed, at the cost of nearly $11 billion, it will connect Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central making life easier for about 80,000 commuters. But that’s a long ways off—last we heard, the project will not be completed until 2023.

Check out construction progress after the jump.

Thorsten Helbig on Engineering Cutting-Edge Facades

Knippers Helbig provided custom parametric modeling, full facade engineering service, and structural design for Massimiliano Fuskas' Shenzhen International Airport. (Courtesy Massimiliano Fuksas)

Knippers Helbig provided custom parametric modeling, full facade engineering service, and structural design for Massimiliano Fuskas’ Shenzhen International Airport. (Courtesy Massimiliano Fuksas)

As an engineer, Thorsten Helbig, co-founder of Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering, has a unique perspective on facade design. “We conceptualize a facade as an integral part of a whole, as part of a larger system,” he explained. Helbig, who will deliver the morning keynote address at next month’s Facades+ NYC conference, identified two focal points. The first is the relationship of the building envelope to structure. The second is performance: “What can the facade offer back to the building?” Helbig asked

Continue reading after the jump.

Eavesdrop> Breakfast in Peril: This enormous mirror comes crashing down on the Soho brunch set

East, Eavesdroplet, Interiors
Thursday, March 5, 2015
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The collapsed mirror at Balthazar restaurant. (@lizeswein / Twitter)

The collapsed mirror at Balthazar restaurant. (@lizeswein / Twitter)

 

One doesn’t expect to be in danger when noshing on a croissant and sipping some coffee at a swanky Soho Brasserie—maybe a spilt Bloody Mary at worst. But, one morning in February, at Keith McNally’s Balthazar, the preeminent power breakfast spot in Soho, customers got quite the fright when an enormous mirror, mounted to a wall, came crashing down on them.

Continue reading after the jump.

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