NYC DOT Eyeing Vanderbilt for Pedestrian Plaza..  The Bleak Vanderbilt Avenue during morning rush: June 14, 8:45AM. The New York Times explored the news of Vanderbilt Avenue becoming a pedestrian plaza through a not-so-rosy Ivy filter today, featuring a photo of the Yale Club rather than the street in question.  AN first reported that the “site has obvious potential for a DOT plaza” back in mid-June when we first examined the Grand Central rezoning proposal that City Planning will present to Community Boards 5 tomorrow night.

 

New York’s Armories Look Toward Next Life

East
Monday, July 9, 2012
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Rendering of the Kingsbridge Armory showing its use as an ice center.

Rendering of the Kingsbridge Armory showing its use as an ice center.

New York’s historic armories are getting a second chance at life with the city looking to reimagine both the Crown Heights Armory in Brooklyn and the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx. The Crown Heights crowd has been wowed by the adaptive reuse of the Park Slope armory as a community gathering spot. Borough President Marty Markowitz favors a roller rink. Up in the Bronx two developers are duking it out to realized that venue as either a Latin-infused marketplace or an ice skating rink sponsored in part by former Rangers captain Mark Messier.

Meanwhile, the grandaddy of repurposed armories, the Park Avenue Armory, announce last week that they secured $15 million from the Thompson Family Foundation toward their own $200 million Herzog & de Meuron renovation.

Tea Time Pavilion Made From 250,000 Plastic Coffee Stirrers

East
Friday, July 6, 2012
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Jean Shin and Brian Ripel's "Tea House" is at the DeCordova sculpture park through the fall (Courtesy Clements Photograph and Design)

Jean Shin and Brian Ripel's "Tea House" is at the DeCordova Sculpture Park through the fall (Courtesy Clements Photography and Design)

Rarely do red plastic coffee stirrers conjure notions of Walden Pond, but for architect Brian Ripel and artist Jean Shin, the notion is not that far fetched. The duo’s Tea House rooftop installation at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts sits about a mile from Thoreau’s retreat. Ripel pointed out that the connection is somewhat difficult to discern in isolation, but the gabled pavilion frames pristine views absent of any evidence that the museum sits a mere twelve miles from downtown Boston.

Continue reading after the jump.

Tennis Architecture from Newport to the Bronx

East
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
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The multi-level Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in the Bronx is decidedly democratic. (Courtesy Peter Gluck and Partners)

The multi-level Cary Leeds Center for Tennis & Learning in the Bronx is decidedly democratic. (Courtesy Peter Gluck and Partners)

Teddy Roosevelt once remarked on the commercialization of sports: “When money comes in at the gate, the game goes out the window.” With Wimbledon in high gear and tennis at the Olympics looming, tennis is getting more than its share of commercial attention lately. Just last month the United States Tennis Association announced it would spend a half billion dollars to upgrade the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Queens, where the U.S. Open is played. The project is linked to the $3 billion Willets Point project.

A roundup of tennis architecture news after the jump.

Trump Channels Moses at Jones Beach.  The Moses-era cafe was destroyed in 2004. (Courtesy NYState Parks via WSJ) Following a lengthy battle over design issues, Donald Trump and New York State reached a deal over his proposed $23 million catering hall to replace a destroyed Robert Moses-era restaurant at Jones Beach, the Wall Street Journal reported. The new restaurant and catering facility will be called Trump on the Ocean (shown here as a rendering). Officials at Trump told the paper that the developer has fond memories of the beach and has long been an admirer of The Power Broker.

 

NYU to Take Another Shave on Last Lap of ULURP Process

East
Friday, June 29, 2012
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NYU's plan encompasses two superblocks south of Washington Square (Courtesy NYU)

NYU's plan encompasses two superblocks south of Washington Square (Courtesy NYU)

The Zoning Committee of the New York City Council is holding a hearing today for NYU’s proposed expansion. It is the last stop on the ULURP tour that has garnered some of the most contentious debate in a neighborhood that has seen more than its share of zoning upheaval over the past year. Usually the council votes in agreement with the council member representing the district. As such, all eyes were on Council Member Margaret Chin, whose Downtown district includes the Washington Square area where the expansion is being proposed. While Chin said that the plan is “unacceptable as it stands” she didn’t outright reject the plan.

Continue reading after the jump.

Videos> 32 Years After Whyte, Seagram Plaza Still a Flurry of Activity

East
Thursday, June 28, 2012
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For the past eleven years, photographer Jesse David Harris has had unfettered access to two of the most architecturally significant buildings in New York: the Seagram Building and Lever House, both owned by RFR Holdings. As staff photographer for the Lever House Art Collection he began to shoot the Seagram Building with deference to Ezra Stoller. The photographer’s familiarity with the building evolved alongside technology. Last year, Harris began a time-lapse project that reflects his time with Mies van der Rohe’s masterpiece.

Revisit Holly Whyte’s vantage point after the jump.

Furness Finale: A Tribute After 100 Years

East
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
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Dolobran (Courtesy Lower Merion Historical Society)

Dolobran, 1881 (Courtesy Lower Merion Historical Society)

The Friends of Frank Furness Facebook page is lit with tributes to the Philadelphia architect who died 100 years ago today. Furness diehards made the trek to his grave last Sunday. The remains of the civil war veteran and architect were lost until a group seeking to pay tribute to Medal of Honor recipients got in touch with Laurel Hill Cemetery to find him fifteen years ago. A modest military headstone marks the final resting place, but far more impressive monuments, in the form of his masterworks, dot the streetscape of Center City, Philadelphia. Read More

On View> New Practices New York 2012 Exhibition and Lecture Series Gets Underway

East Coast, Newsletter
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
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Abruzzo Bodziak's window installation at the Center for Architecture. (Branden Klayko / AN)

Abruzzo Bodziak's window installation at the Center for Architecture. (Branden Klayko / AN)

2012 New Practices New York
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
Through September 8

When Joe Aliotta took over chapter presidency for AIANY in January he said he wanted to bring fresh faces to the profession. New Practices New York (NPNY) and the Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) competitions became the cornerstone of his Future Now theme for 2012. New Practices opened on June 14 and ENYA’s Harlem Edge show is opening on July 12 at the Center for Architecture. The NPNY competition was open to multidisciplinary firms undergoing the process of licensing. This year’s brought seven firms to the winner’s circle: ABRUZZO BODZIAK ARCHITECTS,  Christian Wassmann, formlessfinder, HOLLER architecture, The Living, MARC FORNES & THEVERYMANY, and SLO Architecture.

View the winner’s work after the jump.

Times’ Take on Topping Four World Trade

East
Monday, June 25, 2012
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Four Word Trade was topped today. (AN/Stoelker)

Last month, workers climbed skyward at Four Word Trade, which was topped today. (AN/Stoelker)

At a panel discussion on architecture journalism held at the Center for Architecture last month, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo griped that The New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman had yet to weigh in on the 9/11 Memorial. Indeed, even the Times‘s go-to architecture reporter Robin Pogrebin had to concur. She noted that she too had raised the question. Nevertheless, World Trade Center reporting—let alone criticism—can be a full time job. Although Pogrebin continues to report on the cultural venues slated for the site, the architectural aspects of the project have been the province of David Dunlap from the get-go.

With the topping of Four World Trade today at 977 feet, Dunlap once again provides a highly detailed report, as he did two weeks ago in his analysis of the grossly altered designs of One World Trade. Standing in the shadow of One World Trade, Dunlap notes that architects Fumihiko Maki and Osamu Sassa have no problem with his building being labeled “the biggest skyscraper New Yorkers have never heard of.” “Subtlety extends one’s appreciation,” Sassa told the Times. Kimmelman, meanwhile, has made a trip to the area, but to review a glass canopy, “in the shadow of One World Trade Center no less.”

¡Perfecto! Williams Tsien & DBB to Design US Embassy in Mexico City

International
Friday, June 22, 2012
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Tsien and Williams accepting Architectural League's Presidents medal in 2004. (Courtesy Architectural League)

Tsien and Williams accepting Architectural League's Presidents medal in 2004. (Courtesy Architectural League)

The U.S. Department of State has announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and Davis Body Bond will team up to design a new Embassy Compound in Mexico City. The husband and wife team has been riding an enormous wave of praise for their recently opened Barnes Foundation Museum in Philadelphia, but just when you thought the last of the praise was proffered, in comes Martin Filler’s rave in this week’s New York Review of Books (“wholly unexpected,” “ravishing,” “dazzling”).

That should give critics a breather till the duo’s University of Chicago Logan Center opens this fall. In the mean time, the next twenty months will be focused on working with Davis Body Bond designing the new embassy, with a construction contract to be awarded in 2015. The selection is the first under the State Department’s new Design Excellence program.

Busted Up: Billings Index Plunges Amid Global Economic Uncertainty

National
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
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BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

BILLINGS (BLUE) AND INQUIRIES (RED) FOR THE PAST 12 MONTHS. (THE ARCHITECT'S NEWSPAPER)

“It’s like déjà vu all over again,” AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said of the steep springtime drop reflected in May’s Architectural Billings Index (ABI). Baker was referring to the trend from 2011, when design activity took a substantial hit after an initially healthy first quarter. “But we don’t want to have a repeat of last year,” he added referring to the sluggish numbers that continued to shadow the profession through the fall. The new numbers were the worst since October and, Baker said, reflect trends in the larger economy.

Continue reading after the jump.

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