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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
“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.