Van Alen and National Park Service select finalists to re-imagine visitor experience at national parks

The Falls Gorge and bridge, Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, Paterson, NJ. (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)

The Falls Gorge and bridge, Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. (Courtesy Van Alen Institute)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

Collective-LOK’s stunning Van Alen storefront to open next week in New York City

Architecture, East, Interiors, News, Newsletter
Thursday, December 4, 2014
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The Van Alen Institute's new street-level space. (Courtesy Cameron Blaylock)

The Van Alen Institute’s new street-level space. (Courtesy Cameron Blaylock)

To commemorate its 120th anniversary, the Van Alen Institute is opening a new street-level space in New York City next Tuesday. The space, designed by Collective–LOK and located at 30 West 22nd Street, functions as a programming hub, event space, and gallery. Collective–LOK is a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under). The team’s proposal, called “Screen Play,” won the Institute’s  2013 Ground/Work competition, which received over 120 design submissions.

Continue reading after the jump.

Bright public art installation to light up New York City’s cold, dark winter

Art, City Terrain, Design, East, Lighting, Newsletter
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
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New York Light and the Flatiron Building. (Courtesy INABA)

New York Light and the Flatiron Building. (Courtesy INABA)

The summer is officially over, folks. The beaches are closed, the sun is switching to its seasonal, part-time schedule, and your coworkers are drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes again. There is no ignoring an inevitable truth: winter is coming and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, if you live up north that is. You could move to Florida, but beyond that, there is nothing you can do about it. For those of us stuck in New York City this holiday season, it’s not all bad news. We will soon be able to feast our frostbitten eyes on a new public art installation in front of the Flatiron Building.

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Van Alen Institute Launches Competition Seeking Land Reuse Strategies for New Orleans

(Courtesy Van Alen)

(Courtesy Van Alen)

Earlier this month, the Van Alen Institute announced Future Ground, an international design competition that is hoping to attract fresh strategies for reusing the many vacant lots that dot New Orleans. The competition is seeking submissions from landscape designers, architects, planners, public policy wonks, and pretty much anybody in the business of shaping urban environments and is supported by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA), which owns more than 2,000 vacant lots.

There are somewhere around 30,000 empty lots and abandoned structures throughout New Orleans today, most of them left by Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the city in 2005. As the 10-year anniversary of the storm approaches, Future Ground is looking to create design and policy strategies capable of adapting to changes in density, demand, climate, and landscape in New Orleans over the next half-century in an effort to turn these abandoned landscapes into lasting resources.

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New York City Mayor de Blasio announces latest round of picks for agency heads

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. (NYC Mayor's Office)

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. (NYC Mayor’s Office)

There’s a game of musical chairs and commissioners happening in New York City politics right now. With former Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) chair Meenakshi Srinivasan now heading the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Mayor de Blasio has nominated Margery Perlmutter to fill the vacant role. Perlmutterwho would go to the BSA from the LPC where she is a commissioneris a registered architect and a lawyer who focuses on land-use issues. The mayor also announced two new picks for LPC commissioners including Adi Shamir Baron, the former executive director of the Van Alen Institute, and John Gustafsson, chairman of the Board of the Historic House Trust of New York City.

Van Alen Institute Convenes International Council of Architects in Venice

The Van Alen Council meets in Venice. (Beppe Ferrari)

The Van Alen Council meets in Venice. (Beppe Ferrari)

This week in Venice, the New York–based Van Alen Institute convened a group of leaders at 13 top architecture firms to brainstorm ideas that will guide the non-profit institution with an increased international perspective. The group will meet twice a year “to identify and investigate issues facing cities internationally, and to guide the impact of the Institute’s public programming, research, and design competitions,” according to a press release from Van Alen. The goal is to find topics that the institute can explore more deeply in its ongoing efforts such as Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape exploring our relationship with urban life.

Continue reading after the jump.

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Young Love in Times Square

Art, Design, East, Unveiled
Monday, January 6, 2014
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Archpaper01-TSquareheart

A rendering of the folly to be installed in February (Courtesy Times Square Alliance)

Brooklyn-based Young Projects have been announced as the winner of the annual competition to design a Valentine’s Day themed installation in Times Square. Times Square Arts, the wing of the Times Square Alliance responsible for public art programs, worked with the Van Alen Institute to select this year’s design, which will go on display in early February.

Continue reading after the jump.

Getting in on the Ground Floor: Collective-LOK Wins Van Alen’s Ground/Work Competition

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Winning Proposal (Courtesy of Collective-LOK/Van Alen Institute)

Winning Proposal (Courtesy of Collective-LOK/Van Alen Institute)

The Van Alen Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to public realm improvements in New York City, has announced Collective-LOK as the winner of its Ground/Work competition. The winning team—a collaboration between Jon Lott (PARA-Project), William O’Brien Jr. (WOJR), and Michael Kubo (over,under)—was selected from a pool of over 100 applicants, and beat out two other finalists: Of Possible Architectures and EFGH. The competition called on designers to re-imagine the ground floor level to accommodate new offices, bookselling platform, galleries, and event and programming space.

Continue reading after the jump.

Three Finalists Reveal Designs for an Activated Van Alen Institute

East, Newsletter
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Proposal by Of Possible Architectures.

Proposal by Of Possible Architectures.

New York City’s Van Alen Institute (VAI) is turning 120 next year, and to celebrate, the institute is taking its message of inspired architecture and urbanism to the street. The storefront space on West 22nd Street has been home to the institute’s popular LOT-EK–designed bookstore and event space, organized around a stack of bleachers made from reclaimed wooden doors painted highlighter yellow. VAI’s new director, David van der Leer, is tackling the redesign and expansion of the sidewalk space to maximize the organization’s public visibility as it evolves its mission into the 21st century.

Three finalists—Collective-LOK, EFGH Architectural Design Studio, and Of Possible Architectures (OPA)—were selected from over 120 respondents to VAI’s “Ground/Work” competition earlier this year, and now their schemes have been revealed.

View the finalists’ proposals after the jump.

Van Alen Insitute Announces Ground/Works Competition Finalists

East
Friday, July 26, 2013
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Van Alen Institute Storefront on West 22nd Street (Courtesy Van Alen)

Van Alen Institute Storefront on West 22nd Street (Courtesy Van Alen)

The Van Alen Institute has announced three finalists for its competition Ground/Work, which called on emerging designers and architects to reimagine the institute’s New York storefront. In celebration of Van Alen’s 120th anniversary, the competition furthers the institute’s ambition to bring innovative architectural ideas into the public dialog by reframing the organization’s relation to the street.

Young designers were invited to consider the Van Alen’s shifting role within New York City through the redesign of its physical space, integrating all of its functions and creating a more visible and accessible presence on the ground floor of 30 West 22nd Street. From over 120 teams, representing more than 350 young designers up to ten years out of school, three finalists were selected: Collective-LOK, EFGH, and Of Possible Architectures.

Continue reading after the jump.

Van on Van: Guggenheim Curator to Lead Van Alen Institute

East, Newsletter, Shft+Alt+Del
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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David van der Leer. (David Heald / Courtesy BMW Guggenheim Lab)

David van der Leer. (David Heald / Courtesy BMW Guggenheim Lab)

David van der Leer, an associate curator of architecture and urban studies at the Guggenheim, has been appointed executive director of New York’s Van Alen Institute. He will take over in May. The Institute, which has existed for more than 100 years in various forms, is dedicated to improving the public realm through exhibitions, competitions, and programming initiatives in New York and beyond. Reached by email, van der Leer declined to elaborate on his plans for the Institute.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Parks for the People Reimagines Our National Parks as Social & Cultural Destinations

East
Monday, November 12, 2012
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(Courtesy Val Alen Institute)

(Courtesy Val Alen Institute)

Parks for the People
The Octagon Museum
1799 New York Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
Through November 30

Parks for the People presents student ideas of how to reimagine our national parks as natural, social, and cultural destinations. Teams from City College of New York, Rutgers, Cornell, Florida International University, Kansas State, Pratt, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Washington competed in a semester long studio, engaging questions of the preservation, sustainability, accessibility, and technology in 21st century national parks. The National Parks Service, Van Alen Institute, and the National Parks Conservation Association sponsored the competition, which ultimately declared the teams from City College, for their work on the Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas, and Rutgers, for their project at the Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site in Pennsylvania (above), the winners. All seven entries, each representing a different region of the country, will be on view at the Octagon Museum in Washington, D.C.

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