After a protracted land use review with vitriolic community meetings that disquieted even battle-hardened presenters, the Landmarks Preservation Commission finally approved plans by the Rudin development family and North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical to renovate the St. Vincent’s O’Toole building in Manhattan’s West Village. As of Tuesday, the former Maritime Union headquarters is set to become a comprehensive health care facility with emergency services.
Presenting to the community board has got be one of the toughest parts of an architect’s job. The mood in the room at last night’s CB2 meeting for St. Vincent’s Campus Redevelopment Project was cantankerous at best. The public scoping meeting, one of the first steps in the review process, gave an overview of the building massing on the site and delved into environmental impacts. Time for community input was scheduled to follow the developers’ presentations, but that didn’t stop the crowd from shouting down Perkins Eastman’s Frank Gunther and FX Fowle’s Dan Kaplan. As Kaplan worked his way through his presentation he was interrupted with shouts of “Soulless architecture for soulless people.” They were no kinder to Gunther, who discussed several details of the O’Toole renovations, including the removal of the ceramic tiles. Gunther said the tiles were not original to the building’s facade, which was concrete.
Perkins Eastman confirmed today that the global practice is merging with Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn and the firms will be consolidating their offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and China. When the merger is complete, the new firm – yet to be named – will have a total of nearly 600 employees, 500 from Perkins Eastman and 85 from EE&K. Steven Yates with Perkins Eastman says no major layoffs have taken place in the past nine months and the company is not planning any layoffs as part of the merger.
Perkins Eastman is the designer behind Times Square’s glowing red stairs and a mega-project in Queens while EE&K has been busy master planning Cleveland’s waterfront. Anyone care to take a guess at the new firm’s name?
The past ten years have seen an impressive amount of economic growth and infrastructural development in India, and the nation is becoming more and more a well established market for American architectural talent. This trend doesn’t seem to be changing as we embark on a new decade. One sign of that is the September 2009 opening of an office in Mumbai by structural engineering firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA). Founded in 1923 in New York City, LERA has contributed its services to many of the city’s iconic structures (such as the World Trade Center) and has designed buildings all around the world, but this will be its first foreign office. A release by the firm cited a “growing workload” and the need to “facilitate client relations” as key reasons for the opening. LERA will join a number of other American architecture firms that have recently opened branches in the subcontinent, including HOK and Perkins Eastman. See some of the projects LERA has worked on after the jump.
Today we got an email from the fine folks at Archphoto announcing that one of its trio of photographers, Paúl Rivera, has been featured in the current issue of the Japanese architecture magazine, A+U. The featured work was of the MASterworks award-winning TKTS Booth, including the above photo. In addition to being an unexpected and breathtaking view of the structure and surrounding environs, it made us realize something we hadn’t yet about the much-talked about closure of Broadway in the square: While all those cars whizzing by may have been a pedestrian and congestion nightmare, they sure brought wonderful life to the countless photos that have come to define the Crossroads of the World.
We just got our invitation to the Municipal Art Society’s annual MASterworks awards. Contained therein are the heretofore unannounced winners, as well. (You can find all four after the jump.) Sadly, the party is invite only, but it’s at the new glassy, glamorous Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons, so if nothing else, you can wander by Tuesday night and press your face to the glass, making puppy-dog eyes at we revelers therein. It’ll be the perfect Oliver Twist/recession moment. If you’re lucky/pretty, we might even sneak you in the side door. Read More
The opening yesterday in Father Duffy Square of the new TKTS booth—conceived 35 years before the current trend in pop-up venues—was attended by Mayor Bloomberg, Bernadette Peters, and loyal members of the 69th, if not the naked cowboy. Even the original designers of the red steps, Australians Tai Ropiha and John Choi, were on hand, although organizers were quick to call their competition winning design (best of 683 entries from 31 countries) of January 2000, just a concept.