The New York City Department of Transportation recently broke ground on the second phase of Fordham Plaza’s reconstruction in the Bronx. The revamped space will have all the standard-issue pieces of a New York City pedestrian plaza—the planters, benches, seating, trees, lights, and kiosks—but, ultimately, the plaza represents a significant investment in existing transportation infrastructure.
In the decade since it was rezoned, Downtown Brooklyn has grown up in a big way. Just look at its skyline and the new apartment towers and hotels that call it home. The open air between those buildings will soon be filled because development isn’t slowing down—it’s just getting started. But the next decade of change in Downtown Brooklyn could offer much more than the first. That’s because as new buildings rose, the area’s street-level never kept pace: public space is still scarce and underused, streets are hard to navigate and dangerous, and educational and cultural institutions have been disconnected. Today, however, Mayor de Blasio announced strategies to change all that by injecting the booming district with new (or refurbished) parks, redesigned streetscapes, new retail, and better connections between its many cultural and educational institutions.
WXY appointed Adam Lubinsky as principal. Lubinsky received a Ph.D. in Planning and Urban Design from the University College London, where he also has been teaching.
Ben Bischoff is taking over operations at MADE as the sole principal of the company. Bischoff co-founded MADE with Oliver Freundlich and Brian Papa, who are both departing to “pursue individual interests.”
Ray Huff has been named director of the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston. Huff was the founding director of the Charleston program when it was initiated in 1987 and has served as an instructor there for much of the time since.
J. Scott Kibourn has been appointed Principal and Chief Operating Officer of Perkins Eastman‘s international operations.
CENTRIA Metal Architectural Systems has named Tom White Design and Development leader. White was previously Corporate Director for Business Development at the architectural firm Burt Hill.
HR&A is opening an office in Washington, D.C. and welcoming back Lionel Lynch as the principal leading the effort.
SmithGroup has tapped Paul Johnson, FAIA, who has been with the firm since 1986, to lead the firm’s Building Technology Studio in Detroit.
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New zipper benches designed by WXY are in place at Peter Minuit Plaza. The skateboard-proof benches in front of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal got a proper workout yesterday, despite the cold. The sinuous design begins as two benches facing opposite directions before zipping up and melding into one surface offering the sitter a choice of two views.
Morphing benches seem to be making statements in more places than just New York as well. Last week’s AN Fabrikator story spotlighted subway benches in Philly that scrunch up to discourage people from lying down. It would seem that firms are taking on bad behavior by pushing the design envelope.